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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

As Republican lawmakers try to pull the wool over America’s eyes on Russia’s continuing attack on our nation, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has a message for them: Shut. Up.

“The piece of the Mueller report about Russian interference is not ‘case closed,’” Gates, a Republican who served as defense chief for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said Sunday on Face the Nation. “And, frankly, I think elected officials who depend on honest elections to get elected ought to place as a very high priority measures to protect the American electoral system against interference by foreigners.” Gates also called Donald Trump’s failure to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin about the incursion in a recent call a “mistake.”

“I think he should’ve said, ‘We’ve had this discussion, the evidence is in and don’t ever do this again or there will be consequences for Russia,’ ” Gates said. “I think he very much should have raised it with him.”

Trump announced Monday that he would once again meet with Putin at the upcoming G-20 conference in Japan in late June. The Russian media had reported the meeting a day earlier, claiming Trump had requested it—which is frankly completely plausible and yet another example of Russia owning the media war with the Trump administration. Surely, the meeting will give Trump another chance to suck up to Putin and chat about his re-election bid while completely ignoring Russia’s 2016, 2018, and upcoming attacks on America’s elections.

Gates declined to speculate on Trump’s motivations for having such a “peculiar relationship with Putin” but noted that most of Trump’s advisers had a slightly more clear-eyed view of Putin. “The interesting thing is everybody around the president actually has a much more realistic view of the Russians, and that includes up on the Hill,” Gates said.

He also recommended returning the favor by creating some problems for Putin at home by informing the Russian people about “the magnitude of corruption of Putin.”

IMAGE: President Barack Obama (2nd L) and Vice President Joe Biden (L), along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Also pictured are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates at right.  REUTERS/White House/Pete Souza/Handout

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)