With the most pathetic of excuses, senior Trump officials have rationalized the president’s flagrant defiance of their all-caps warning not to congratulate Russian dictator Vladimir Putin on his sham election victory.
According to a tweet this morning from FOX News’ chief White House correspondent, John Roberts, Trump’s team told him that the president did not see the memo saying, “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” because the briefing they gave him prior to his call to Putin was by phone, not in person.
Senior @WhiteHouse official tells @FoxNews that while NSC's Putin call briefing memo said "DO NOT CONGRATULATE", @realDonaldTrump likely didn't see the memo as his pre-call briefing was by phone – not in person – and 'do not congratulate' was not mentioned in the phone briefing.
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) March 21, 2018
There are a number of holes in the White House story.
1.) When delivering a message of vital national security import, one must ensure that the president hears it. If the staff did not do so, they are incompetent.
2.) It lends credence to the reports saying Trump doesn’t read.
3.) Why didn’t Trump know not to congratulate Putin in the first place — especially after the autocrat’s recent poisonings of former Russian intelligence officials living in the United Kingdom, the United States’ top ally?
4.) Trump should not have called Putin at all, not merely because of his murder of dissidents and fraudulent Russian election, but because he aggressively invaded our national energy grid, including nuclear plants, and undermined American democracy with a multi-pronged campaign to bury Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, in order to end Obama-era sanctions censuring Russia for invading Crimea.
Even many Republicans agree that Putin must have some serious kompromat — compromising material — on Trump that makes the world’s biggest bully suddenly as gentle as a lamb when it comes to one person and one only, Vladimir Putin.
Whether that blackmail material is the infamous “pee-pee tape” mentioned in British former spy Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier or, more likely, evidence of Trump’s criminal financial dealings, it almost certainly exists, since Trump has done next to nothing to stand in the way of a 2018 midterm repeat of Russia’s 2016 election attack, which has been corroborated by all of the president’s intelligence chiefs.
Trump calls Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation a “WITCH HUNT,” but his actions continually reveal him to be under the thumb of the authoritarian leader who helped him get to the Oval Office (where Trump promptly spilled highly classified intelligence to top Russian officials).
Hopefully, Mueller’s investigation will yield enough evidence to convince even Trump’s most craven Republican lackeys that it is in their own best interests to impeach him.
That being a long shot, the rest of us have to march to the polls in November to flip Congress, so that Democrats have the supermajority necessary to impeach Trump and Pence and promote a progressive Speaker of the House to the Presidency.