“Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in a case widely seen as an attempt to neutralize President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic,” the Financial Times reports.
“Who needs Vladimir Putin when we have Donald Trump? If you were Vladimir Putin and you wanted to disrupt this election, what would you do? You’d spread disinformation. You’d make people doubt the legitimacy of the vote. You’d peddle conspiracy theories and you might want to mess with mail-in voting. That’s all happening without him. Our president is doing that.”
— Charlie Sykes to The Guardian
Here’s a good one from David Corn at Mother Jones
One of the key lines in the House Democrats’ impeachment report distills the Trump-Ukraine scandal to a simple idea: “[T]he impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection.”
And in the report’s preface, the Democrats place Trump’s Ukrainian caper within the larger context of foreign intervention in US elections, namely Russia’s covert attack on the 2016 contest, which was mounted in part to help Trump win the White House: “we were struck by the fact that the President’s misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president. Instead, the efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by a President who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the President welcomed and utilized.”
The point was clear. Trump muscling Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to produce political dirt that could influence the 2020 election for Trump’s personal advantage was a continuation of Trump’s behavior in 2016. This contextualization brings back into the spotlight Vladimir Putin’s clandestine assault on American democracy—and how Trump encouraged and exploited that attack. So now, as Trump is under scrutiny for pressing Ukraine to influence the 2020 race, it’s a good time to review all the ways that Trump aided and abetted a foreign adversary’s scheme to subvert a US election the last time the nation was choosing a president.
Read the whole sordid history here.
Every conspiracy theory has a source. More often than not, however, the source is impossible to track down. Not so with Trump’s pet theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election.
The source of that thoroughly disproved assertion was Trump’s handler, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Putin first mentioned it in public during a news conference with right-wing Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, in 2017:
So Trump insists there is no collusion,
Despite contrary evidence in profusion.
But when he spends 90 minutes on the phone
With Vladimir Putin — alone,
Well, you can begin to understand our confusion.
Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine may be beaten and battered,
But it still has a sabre to rattle in its scabbard.
But this time it’s not Trump
The Kremlin’s seeking to pump up —
Its election-meddling websites favor Hawaii’s Dem, Tulsi Gabbard.
New York Times: “Mr. Trump has adamantly insisted there was ‘no collusion’ with Russia during his 2016 presidential campaign. But each of the five times he has met with Mr. Putin since taking office, he has fueled suspicions about their relationship. The unusually secretive way he has handled these meetings has left many in his own administration guessing what happened and piqued the interest of investigators.”
Is “Comrade Trump” Vladimir Putin’s creation,
A Manchurian president set to destroy our nation?
Whenever they met
Did Trump say “Da,” not “Nyet?”
If so, we can only wonder what was lost in translation.