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

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

President Donald Trump’s story about his decision to cancel planned airstrikes on Iran is not adding up.

Observers have noted Trump’s claim to have stopped the airstrikes as the clock was ticking down — on Twitter he said there were just ten minutes left for him to make a decision — and that only then did he realize that there would be approximately 150 casualties from the strike. This, he said, would be a disproportionate response to Iran’s downing of an unmanned drone.

As Fox News’ Shep Smith noted, “Something is wrong here.” The network’s reporting suggested that Trump should already have been aware of the possible casualties, as common sense would suggest, far earlier than ten minutes before the launch. National security lawyer Bradley Moss argued that, if true, Trump’s account shows a “total breakdown in process.”

And contrary to Trump’s claims, the New York Times reported Thursday that planes were already in the sky to carry out the military operation and ships were in place when the order was withdrawn.

Finally, the Washington Post published a report Friday that said officials in the administration are disputing Trump’s public account.

Early in the day, the president said he called off the counterattack at the last minute because it would kill 150 people in retaliation for the downing of an unmanned surveillance drone. “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights [sic] when I asked, how many will die,” he tweeted.

But administration officials said Trump was told earlier Thursday how many casualties could occur if a strike on Iran was carried out, and that he had given the green light to prepare for the operation Thursday morning.

Trump’s morning tweets appeared to gloss over the fact that he was the one, as commander in chief, who had ordered the retaliation against Iran in the first place.

Trump administration officials, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security decisions, said the president approved the strikes after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps earlier in the day shot down the Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk, a move Trump described as a “very big mistake.”

But he later changed his mind, the officials said.

So it seems there’s good reason to think Trump is being straightforward about the general outlines of what happened. The question is: Why won’t he tell the truth about the details?

IMAGE: A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mahmood Hosseini/TIMA 

 

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.)