Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin held a joint press conference this morning after their private meeting. As I wrote previously, we know nothing about what was discussed between the two of them. But most of us are still trying to get over the shock of what the President of the United States just did publicly. I think this tweet pretty well captures it:
The only argument against Trump being a Russian asset is that an asset worries about his cover. https://t.co/ydPtf1vJZX
— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) July 16, 2018
In case you weren’t able to watch it, this couple of minutes captures the gist of what happened:
Asked whether he believes US intel or Putin, Trump goes on tirade against FBI over “DNC Server”, says it’s not clear who to believe. pic.twitter.com/d7Viw1Vn4B
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) July 16, 2018
The president not only indicated that he believes the Russian president over his own intelligence services, he went on a tirade of conspiracy theories, including one that even his own Justice Department has debunked. Former CIA Director John Brennan, who isn’t given to hyperbole, tweeted this:
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) July 16, 2018
The “where are you?” question to Republican patriots is something to watch. Even the president’s own enablers in congress have agreed with our intelligence services that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 election. Just yesterday conservative commentator Byron York pointed out what Trump’s chief enabler in the House, Rep. Devin Nunes, included in his committee’s report.
The Russian government’s multifaceted malign influence campaign was the subject of extensive public reporting in the months before the January 5, 2017, publication of the classified ICA [Intelligence Community Assessment] titled Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections. While many of the facts concerning the attack have been widely disseminated, there are important elements of the Russian campaign that remain classified.
The purpose of the Committee’s review of the Russian information operations was to establish the facts, as well as the federal government’s understanding of those facts. This chapter specifically examines (1) the cyberattacks that targeted U.S. political organizations (including the method of the attack and its attribution); (2) the dissemination of hacked material; and (3) the role of Russian state media and social media in Russia’s malign influence campaign.
In the clip up above, Trump just repeated Putin’s denial and then said that he doesn’t see any reason why it would be Russia.
Let me take a minute to remind you of something Martin just wrote.
Russia has been busy interfering in elections and boosting far-right white nationalist parties on two continents, downing passenger jets, throwing journalists out of windows, poisoning and assassinating people in their homeson foreign soil and killing others with radiation and military grade nerve agents.
And yet the President of the United States just stood beside the Russian leader denying what our intelligence services, Congressional Republicans, and most members of his administration know to be true. He also refused to hold Russia accountable for anything and said basically that both countries are to blame. As Josh Marshall wrote, “There is no reasonable explanation for the simple facts we see other than that Russia has some kind of hold over President Trump.”
When it comes to what Republicans will do with all of that, we’re already seeing evidence that James Fallows was right.
One has to wonder if Trump could ever cross a line that would cause his Republican enablers to hold him accountable. If this news conference doesn’t, nothing will. The only way to stop this madness is to vote them out in November.