Volume I of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report explicitly lays out the massive Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 election to help elect Trump.
Yet in an hour-long phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, Trump didn’t confront nor vow to punish Putin’s government for its efforts. Rather, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the two men “agreed” that the Russia investigation is “over and there was no collusion.”
And shortly thereafter, Trump himself tweeted to brag about discussing the Russia investigation — or as he put it, the “Russian hoax” — with Putin.
“Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia,” Trump wrote after his call with Putin. “As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
Trump added that the two men “discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the ‘Russian Hoax.’ Very productive talk!”
It’s incredibly alarming that Trump was this dismissive of Mueller’s report in a one-on-one conversation with Putin.
What’s more, Trump initiated the call to Putin after the Mueller Report’s release, and yet still didn’t bring up the Russian attack on the 2016 election.
Mueller’s report meticulously documented Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” effort to interfere in the 2016 election to Trump’s benefit, including a report that Russia successfully hacked into an election security system in Florida — a terrifying revelation.
Mueller’s report also notes the Trump campaign’s multitude of conversations with Russia while the Russian attack on the 2016 election was ongoing, and the fact that the Trump campaign “expected it would benefit electorally” from Russia’s meddling.
“The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign,” Mueller’s report reads. “Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
And still, egomaniacal Trump refuses to address Russia’s attacks on American democracy.
In fact, the New York Times reported last month that senior officials in the Department of Homeland Security were explicitly told not to bring up Russian election hacking, and ideas to stop it from happening again, because doing so hurts Trump’s feelings.
The fact that Trump cannot stand up to Putin doesn’t bode well for how the U.S. would respond to another election hacking attempt by Russia.
And that should terrify every American who believes in the fundamental right to a free and fair election.
Published with permission of The American Independent.