Trump and the Russians Disagree on One Thing

On the question of whether or not the Russians interfered in the 2016 election, Donald Trump tends to go with whatever story suits his mood at the time. He has, on occasion, admitted that they did. But for some reason, he decided that today was a good day to go back to the claim that they didn’t.

Notice that he suggested that Russia denies meddling in our election. Apparently no one told the Russians that. Take a look at the clip of what they’re saying on Russian television: “We just elected Trump, that’s all.”

That’s not the first time I’ve seen a clip like that. Russians are absolutely gloating about how they elected Trump while the president pretends it never happened. In this instance, it’s not too hard to tell who’s lying.

Why would Trump chose today to resurface that particular lie? Could it have anything to do with the fact that they just announced a meeting between himself and Putin that will take place on July 16, less than a week after the NATO meeting?

We’ve just learned that during the G7 meeting in Canada, Trump didn’t just rant and rave at our allies over trade policy. He actually told them that “NATO is as bad as NAFTA.” Obviously this has our allies concerned about what Trump is going to do at their upcoming meeting.

NATO members say they fear that all the preparation and the desire to show solidarity in the face of a new Russian threat will be overshadowed, if not undone, by a divisive encounter followed by Mr. Trump’s prospective summit meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.

I’d say that they could stop worrying about that and simply count on it. These days Trump is feeling emboldened for several reasons. He’s gotten rid of all of his advisors that would urge caution, except for Defense Secretary James Mattis, who he apparently doesn’t listen to anymore. Recent Supreme Court decisions have bolstered his ego, as have his adoring fans at the campaign rallies he’s been holding. That has the president riding high and ready to go for broke.

Let’s remind ourselves what Vladimir Putin wanted when, back in about 2011, he started courting Donald Trump as basically a Russian asset. Here’s an excerpt about that from the Steele dossier:

[The Trump operation’s] aim was to sow discord and disunity within the U.S. itself, but more especially within the Transatlantic alliance which was viewed as inimical to Russia’s interests. Source C, a senior Russian financial official, said the Trump operation should be seen in terms of Putin’s desire to return to Nineteenth Century “Great Power” politics anchored upon country’s interests rather than the ideals-based international order established after World War II.

That “ideals-based international order” that was established after World War II is grounded in the NATO alliance. We’re going to see some fireworks from Trump on that one in a couple of weeks. Trump’s tweet about Russian interference this morning was the opening salvo for what is to come.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .