There was a quiet and barely noticed event at last year's Republican convention when Donald Trump was officially chosen as the party's presidential candidate. It involved one plank of the official Republican platform that called for America to provide "lethal defensive weapons" to Ukrainian forces fighting off Russian intrusions. Of all the policies in the platform it alone was something the Trump campaign couldn't abide and so it was quietly pulled, shelved.
When it was noticed and questions raised, Team Trump responded with apparent surprise and confusion. No one seemed to know how that had happened. Then campaign chairman Paul Manafort who had been on the Russian payroll to the tune of several millions of dollars denied he had anything to do with it. Not Paul, no, never.
On Sunday’s [July, 2016]“Meet the Press,” Manafort said that the effort to keep the platform from supporting arms for Ukraine, which I first reported last month, “absolutely did not come from the Trump campaign.”
Trump, when questioned, said he heard about it but only after the fact. He didn't know who was behind the deletion of that policy.
Months later it emerged that Trump's campaign advisor on national security, J.D. Gordon, admitted that he was responsible for getting the platform policy scrapped and did so at Trump's direction. Gordon also had a number of meetings with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
Diana Denman, the GOP delegate who proposed amending the Ukraine platform to include the "lethal weapons" language, contradicted Gordon's version of events in an interview with Business Insider in January. She said Gordon and another Trump campaign representative asked the cochairmen of the subcommittee to table the amendment after she read it aloud.
"Two men sitting over to the side of the room — I had no idea who they were but later found out they were Trump representatives — jumped up and tore over to get behind the three cochairmen," she said.
Gordon then left the room to make a phone call, Denman said. Equal parts confused and angry over her proposal being scuttled, Denman said she confronted Gordon about whom he was calling.
"I'm calling New York," Gordon replied, according to Denman.
"I work for Mr. Trump, and I have to clear it," she recalled him saying, apparently in reference to the amendment.
Joining Gordon at some meetings with ambassador Kislyak, was this guy, Carter Page. Page is now said to be one of the individuals under FBI investigation.
All of which now brings us to Russia and Ukraine and NATO and, again, those pesky "lethal defensive weapons."
Yesterday the U.S. House Armed Services Committee held a briefing session with four star general Curtis Scaparotti, commander of the US European Command and Supreme Commander of NATO.
Scaparotti told the Congressmen that Russia has put NATO back on a warfighting footing. Beginning around the 17:00 mark he discusses Ukraine and, at 18:30, renews the call for the US to provide lethal defensive weapons to Ukrainian forces.
Which puts Trump's top general in Europe, the Supreme Commander of NATO, foursquare at odds with the general's own commander in chief now widely suspected of being compromised by the same Russians that so worry general Scaparotti.