Monday, February 19, 2018

What Is Trump Hiding?

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman concludes that Donald Trump's abject indifference to Russian hacking of America's elections admits of just two possibilities: either Trump is criminally incompetent or there's something he's hiding from the American people.

Our democracy is in serious danger.

President Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy.

That is, either Trump’s real estate empire has taken large amounts of money from shady oligarchs linked to the Kremlin — so much that they literally own him; or rumors are true that he engaged in sexual misbehavior while he was in Moscow running the Miss Universe contest, which Russian intelligence has on tape and he doesn’t want released; or Trump actually believes Russian President Vladimir Putin when he says he is innocent of intervening in our elections — over the explicit findings of Trump’s own C.I.A., N.S.A. and F.B.I. chiefs.

In sum, Trump is either hiding something so threatening to himself, or he’s criminally incompetent to be commander in chief. It is impossible yet to say which explanation for his behavior is true, but it seems highly likely that one of these scenarios explains Trump’s refusal to respond to Russia’s direct attack on our system — a quiescence that is simply unprecedented for any U.S. president in history. Russia is not our friend. It has acted in a hostile manner. And Trump keeps ignoring it all.

Friedman's got a point. After all, Congress passed additional sanctions against Russia and Putin's clique. Trump didn't veto the measures but he's balked at implementing them. Without Trump's nod they won't go into effect.

It is so obvious what Trump is up to: Again, he is either a total sucker for Putin or, more likely, he is hiding something that he knows the Russians have on him, and he knows that the longer Mueller’s investigation goes on, the more likely he will be to find and expose it.

Donald, if you are so innocent, why do you go to such extraordinary lengths to try to shut Mueller down? And if you are really the president — not still head of the Trump Organization, who moonlights as president, which is how you so often behave — why don’t you actually lead — lead not only a proper cyberdefense of our elections, but also an offense against Putin.

But whatever it is, Trump is either trying so hard to hide it or is so na├»ve about Russia that he is ready to not only resist mounting a proper defense of our democracy, he’s actually ready to undermine some of our most important institutions, the F.B.I. and Justice Department, to keep his compromised status hidden.

That must not be tolerated. This is code red. The biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office.


Lorne said...

Those area ll excellent questions Friedman poses, Mound, and he does a very good job of demonstrating the peril American democracy is in.

Anonymous said...

I think I need to take my bullshit detector in for tuning. Normally it's deep in the red by the end of the first paragraph of a Friedman column. Something's seriously wrong when the Mustache of Understanding doesn't even cause a twitch.


The Mound of Sound said...

I'm not particularly fond of Friedman but, from time to time, he can get past himself and deliver a decent column.

I've done several posts today on the perilous state of American democracy and have gone through a number of Paul Revere-grade commentaries. They were pretty good and yet I was left wondering about these calls to arms, why now? Why weren't you championing this 20 years ago, back when Trump would have been considered a farce?

My guess is that, in the wake of 9/11, even American journalists were reluctant to criticize the state of their nations' democracy less that be seen unpatriotic, even seditious. And so we find ourselves here today when, barring some seismic upheaval, it may be too late and too massive an undertaking to resuscitate American democracy. Even if that is so, other democracies, including our own, need to use this democratic decline as an object lesson so that we don't wind up sitting on our hands as democracy is taken from us as it has been the American public.

Jay Farquharson said...


Media expert Driftglass notes:

We saw this during the final collapse of the Bush Administrations, as the crimes and criminal incompetence of that clusterfuck administration multiplied beyond the media's ability to cover up. A "Holy shit, maybe those Libtards have a point"inflection point in the media that came when all that they had spent years defending and excusing finally became publicly indefensible and inexcusable."

The only "weird thing" is it's taken a year, not 7 years.

Is our Media learning?


Owen Gray said...

I think Friedman calls this one correctly. It's possible that Trump is too self absorbed to see the danger. But I suspect the Russians have got al lkinds of stuff on him -- and Trump knows it.