Trump dodges question on Russian interference

President Donald Trump declines to say whether he agrees with US intelligence agencies' assessments that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, instead choosing to attack Hillary Clinton and the DNC.

Posted: Jul 17, 2018 12:45 PM
Updated: Jul 17, 2018 1:02 PM

How much longer can the foreign policy leaders in President Donald Trump's Cabinet stick by this President?

The Helsinki, Finland, summit will surely go down as one of the worst-ever presidential performances on the international stage. Not since President John F. Kennedy was thoroughly intimidated when he met with the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna, Austria, in 1961 has an American president been so completely and artfully outflanked by his Russian counterpart.

At a press conference in Helsinki standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, instead of endorsing the unanimous finding of US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, Trump observed that Putin was "extremely strong and powerful in his denial."

Well, that settles it then! We will always take the word of Putin, a former longtime KGB official whose actions around the world have run counter to American interests, against those of America's key intelligence agencies.

For good measure, Trump dumped on his own country, "I think that the United States has been foolish. We've all been foolish. We're all to blame." Really? In fact, as special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has painstakingly revealed, the ones to blame are a small coterie of officers in Russia's military intelligence agency GRU, acting no doubt under the orders of Putin.

Surely Trump's performance in Helsinki must have the members of his war Cabinet asking themselves: How can I continue serving in this administration? After all, these are serious public servants, much of whose lives have been bound up in countering first the Soviet threat and now the Russian threat.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis enlisted in the Marine Corps in the late 1960s when he was 18 and when the Cold War was at its height.

During his confirmation hearings to become defense secretary, Mattis described the Russians as the number one threat to the United States and opined that Putin was seeking to break up the NATO alliance.

In the Pentagon's defense strategy released in January, Mattis again described Russia as a key threat.

This was a similar conclusion to that of the national security strategy review overseen by now-departed national security adviser Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster that was released in December.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's first assignment as an Army officer was patrolling the border between West Germany and East Germany as the Cold War wound down.

At his confirmation hearing for secretary of state, Pompeo said, "Russia continues to act aggressively, enabled by years of soft policy toward that aggression."

In May, Pompeo said the United States has a "great deal more work to do" to safeguard the November midterm elections from outside interference.

Dan Coats, who oversees the 17 American intelligence agencies, testified in March that Russia "is likely to continue to pursue even more aggressive [cyber] attacks, with the intent of degrading our Democratic values and weakening our alliances."

After Trump's bizarre press conference on Monday, Coats' office released a statement pushing back on the President's bromance with Putin, saying, "We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy. ..."

In the past Trump's current national security adviser, John Bolton, has called Putin a "liar" and Russia's election-meddling in 2016 an "act of war." Bolton has moderated his tone on Russia of late, but clearly, he is naturally a skeptic of Putin and his works.

So, we are now in the bizarre place where the Trump administration seems to have two sets of policies about Russia. There is the policy of the administration, which has taken a fairly hard line on Russia, for instance, expelling 60 Russian diplomats in March after Russia's attempt to assassinate a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom with a nerve agent.

Then there is the policy of the President, who continues to embrace Putin and to deny the assessments of his own intelligence agencies. How long is this really sustainable for the members of Trump's war Cabinet? Or put another way, at what point should it no longer be tolerable?

West Lafayette
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 43°
Kokomo
Overcast
42° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 38°
Rensselaer
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 34°
Fowler
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 34°
Williamsport
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 41°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
40° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 40°
Frankfort
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 41°
Delphi
Overcast
39° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 34°
Monticello
Overcast
39° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 34°
Logansport
Overcast
39° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 39°
Clearer Wednesday after some patchy morning fog
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 166564

Reported Deaths: 4194
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26255795
Lake14627362
St. Joseph9725171
Elkhart9402142
Allen8741232
Hamilton6462117
Vanderburgh622464
Tippecanoe402416
Porter355450
Hendricks3442137
Monroe337538
Johnson3307131
Delaware314475
Clark308565
Vigo280641
Madison254796
LaPorte241464
Cass230125
Kosciusko210329
Warrick206865
Floyd188468
Howard170166
Bartholomew149058
Marshall149028
Dubois147926
Wayne145533
Grant135440
Henry134330
Boone131050
Hancock125044
Noble124535
Jackson122519
Dearborn103828
Morgan100440
Lawrence99238
Gibson95612
Clinton93516
Daviess93236
Shelby91835
Knox83910
LaGrange82815
Harrison80724
Fayette79021
Putnam78317
DeKalb78111
Posey7787
Jasper7075
Miami6905
Steuben6748
Montgomery64422
White63016
Greene58138
Adams5777
Scott55916
Decatur53339
Whitley4926
Ripley4888
Wells47311
Clay4697
Sullivan46714
Starke4608
Wabash4599
Huntington4545
Orange42525
Spencer4236
Randolph42110
Fulton3956
Washington3923
Jennings38813
Franklin38325
Perry37714
Jefferson3655
Pike36318
Jay3486
Carroll34713
Fountain3393
Tipton28523
Vermillion2761
Parke2604
Rush2544
Blackford2425
Newton24011
Owen2171
Martin2040
Pulaski1794
Crawford1651
Brown1503
Ohio1367
Union1180
Benton1110
Switzerland990
Warren921
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events