Schwab: Russians still coming, yet Trump sits on his hands

‘They’re laughing their asses off in Moscow,’ tweets Donald the Wordsmith, oblivious to the irony.

By Sid Schwab

We learned a lot from Robert Mueller’s indictments; more still from Trump’s reactions to them.

Much of it we already knew: America is under attack by Russia; in social media, right-wing talkers and the Foxified they found their weapons of choice. Whatever their aim when it began, they decided they wanted Trump in the White House; using a multi-pronged effort and plenty of money to put him there, they turned the strengths of democracy into weaknesses.

What we hadn’t known was the extent to which our intelligence agencies had eyes on the perpetrators. That the indictments contained direct quotes from inside was more than just a basis for charges; it was a shot aimed straight into the basket of Trump’s enablers having connections to Russians and denying wrongdoing.

Though the indictments referred only to “unwitting” pawns who believed it was with fellow Americans they agreed to spread lies, the charges neither addressed nor exculpated Kushner, Manafort, Don Jr., et al. Nor, importantly, Trump. We know things, the indictments said. The opportunity to mitigate your punishment is finite. Gates and Van Der Zwaan are the first to catch Mueller’s drift. (YouTube: tinyurl.com/2opera)

Because Russian efforts began before his candidacy, Trump made the spurious claim he was off the hook. Nice try. When it began was shortly after Trump took his puerile pageantry to Moscow. It’s a reasonable conclusion that by blackmail, shakedown or simply seeing Trump’s neediness and narcissism up close, Putin recognized tillable soil in which to plant his flag. Unknown, so far, is how deep it went.

There’s no denying Putin has gotten what he wanted. Trump continues to blame everyone but Russia; only grudgingly, then backpedaling, has he acknowledged their interference, much less enacted sanctions, including those he signed into law. It’s alleged Flynn promised Kislyak they’d undo President Obama’s sanctions, which, in yet another among his pathological lies, Trump claims never existed. Inconsistency and lies being Trump’s strong suit, he tried for a twofer: touting the 2014 starting date of Russian interventions while denying they happened. And he and Pence falsely claim it’s been concluded there was no impact on the election.

Floating another deflection, Trump says it wasn’t about electing him, it was about dividing us. Right. And how better to do it? To Trump, though, it’s lawful investigations into unlawful activities that create division.

“They’re laughing their asses off in Moscow,” tweeted Donald the Wordsmith, oblivious to the irony. Then, despicably exploiting the murders of children, he claimed the FBI’s mishandling of information about the Florida shooter was because they’re pursuing the “fake” Russia story. Will he go still lower? Of course. As will the execrable right-wing talkers and other deplorables slandering the Florida survivors, whose righteous eloquence they fear. You can’t scrape the bottom of a barrel that hasn’t one.

A president’s primary duty is to defend our country from its enemies, foreign and domestic. Trump’s dismissal, despite “incontrovertible” proof, as National Security Adviser McMaster put it, of an attack on America no less premeditated and destructive than Pearl Harbor or 9-11 is dereliction. Worse is his refusal to do anything about it, for which derelict is the mildest descriptor. How about appeasement, a Foxian favorite? Had it been President Obama, everyone still excusing Trump, every Congressional Republican, would be proclaiming treason and readying impeachment. In their hypocritical hearts, they know it’s true.

Direct observation supports the conclusions. In word, deed and non-deed, Trump is aiding and abetting Vladimir Putin, and has been from the start of his campaign. We don’t yet know how deeply Trump is in Putin’s tank, but we can assume his inaction on the attack is, at least in part, because he and Congressional Republicans want more of it next election. It’s their best shot.

Our democratic institutions, we’re told, can withstand even a dangerous bedlamite like Trump. Are we sure? Congress turns a blind eye. Trump stacks the courts with right-wing ideologues, threatens judges already in place. He calls the press “enemies of America,” shuns expertise. Voters are stupefyingly susceptible to Russian and Foxolimjonesian propaganda. We’ve just learned Russia hacked into voter rolls; our complicit House Republicans responded by voting to end the only government agency responsible for safeguarding election security.

“Laughing their asses off,” indeed. Pennsylvania Avenue is now Krasnaya Ploshad.

On Monday, Presidents Day passed without a president of the United States in office.

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

EMBARGO: No electronic distribution, Web posting or street sales before WEDNESDAY 3:01 A.M. ET, Feb. 28, 2024. No exceptions for any reasons. EMBARGO set by source. FILE — An AR-15 style firearm at Clark Brothers Gun Shop in Warrenton, Va., Feb. 25, 2018. The Supreme Court will soon hear arguments about a bump stock ban, a Trump administration rule put in place after the Las Vegas massacre. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)
Editorial: U.S. Supreme Court ‘ducks’ reason on bump stocks

The majority defies common sense and ignores potential violence to rule against a regulatory agency.

Blow: Juneteenth marked end to slavery; freedom’s taken longer

For most ‘freed’ slaves, emancipation came with strings that tied them to their work and former masters.

Justice should have removed controversial flags

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, as one of the most powerful,… Continue reading

Trump supporters should broaden sources beyond Fox News

After reading the recent letter listing reasons for voting for Trump, I… Continue reading

Kristof: Why West Coast liberals can’t get out of their own way

Politics is part theater, but out West too often we settle for being performative rather than substantive.

Father's Day is a holiday of honouring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society.
Editorial: Men, boys could use a little help to be better men

The work of fathers could be aided by a state commission focused on the issues of boys and men.

The City of Everett is set to purchase two single sidewalk restrooms from Romtec, a company based in Roseburg, Ore., for $315,000. (Romtec)
Editorial: Utilitarian but sturdy restrooms should be a relief

Everett is placing four stalls downtown that should be accessible but less prone to problems.

Artist Natalie Niblack works amongst her project entitled “33 Birds / Three Degrees” during the setup for Exploring The Edge at Schack Art Center on Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. The paintings feature motion-activated speakers that play each bird’s unique call. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Editorial: For 50 years Schack Art Center there for creation

The art center is more art studio than museum, supporting artists and fostering creativity in kids.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Tuesday, June 18

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Paul: Warning on social media helps, but much more necessary

We know the harms social media causes children; Congress should take steps to better regulate it.

Goldberg: Trump movie not coming soon to a theater near you

A movie about Trump and his lawyer, Roy Cohn, can’t find a U.S. distributor. Take a guess why.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.