On Friday, President Donald Trump told Fox News, “I just heard today for the first time that (former President) Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it,” Trump said in the interview set to air Sunday on “Fox & Friends Weekend.” “The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before the election. … If he had the information, why didn't he do something about it?”
Then, today, the President tweeted more about the issue blaming Obama, Hillary Clinton and Democrats.
On Friday, Trump tweeted:
Huh? What? Is he kidding us? Does Trump who is putting his credibility on the line compared to that of former FBI Directors James Comey and Robert Mueller, really want us to take him seriously with these type of bizarre statements?
Actually, “Doublespeak” understates Trump’s Russia statements and actions.
Trump, in that tweet on Friday suggested that news of that morning had just released new shocking information that he never known before—that the Obama administration knew far in advance of the November elections about Russia meddling and they did nothing about it. The Fox News interview went further and implicated Obama's own knowledge and his alleged failure to respond.
If Trump is truly being honest with his statements, my question is--what planet has he been living on? Surely not earth.
A little excursion down memory lane shows us that Obama knew about Russia and even told Putin personally to “cut it out”. This information has been so publicly discussed that even Martians probably know what Trump claims he didn't know until this past Friday.
So, let's travel back into time.
On Wednesday December 14, NBC news revealed, U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack
“U.S. intelligence officials now believe with "a high level of confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.”
Dec. 14 Revealed: How Obama warned Putin face-to-face to stop hacking the election - but is now under fire for botching response from intelligence experts
“Obama elected to give an in-person warning to Putin at a summit meeting in Hangzhou, China in early September, informing his counterpart that interference in the election or manipulating the vote would invite a strong U.S. response.
In response, the following day, Trump tweeted the following:
U.S. intelligence officials now believe with "a high level of confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
"I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections ... we need to take action and we will," he said according to excerpts of the Thursday interview released by NPR.
"At a time and a place of our own choosing. Some of it may be ... explicit and publicized; some of it may not be ... Mr. Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it," Obama said.
The following day, December 16, Obama at his last news conference for the year, was more explicit about his September conversation with Putin. Obama said:
“So in early September when I saw president Putin in China, I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn't happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out and there were going to be serious consequences if he didn't. And in fact we did not see further tampering of the election process.”…
“I wanted to make sure everybody understood we were playing this thing straight. That we weren't trying to advantage one side or another but what we were trying to do is let people know that this had taken place,” he said. “Part of the goal here was to make sure we did not do the work of the leakers for them by raising more and more questions about the integrity of the election right before the election was taking place at a time when the president-elect himself was racing questions about the integrity of the election.”
So, information that the Obama administration knew about Russia had been so public, as early as October 6 when the administration then disclosed that 17 US intelligence organizations agreed that Russia was interfering to the elections.
In those mid-December days, it was “hot” news that the Administration believed Putin was orchestrating the activity. It became even "hotter" news December 16, when Obama revealed he told Putin in September to stop it and that there was no evidence that the type of computer compromises complained about, had continued.
For Trump to claim that he now for the first time knew that the Obama administration and Obama knew about this and took no action--is not only laughable, but stunning that this was front page news on 24 hour cable and the President-elect, did not know what everybody else did?
How could Trump not know what the media reported in December since he tweeted about it back then? How could Trump not know about the Obama administration’s knowledge and Obama’s actual knowledge of Russian disruptions since Obama talked about it during the NPR interview and the news conference the following day.
The issue has been so center-stage and access of this information has been so accessible, that for Trump to claim sudden awareness tells us how farcical his statements are. If there was any question about what American intelligence knew about the Russians, all Trump had to do once he became the president-elect was to ask Obama about Russia and Putin. Instead of tweeting so often that the Russian investigation was a witch hunt, a hoax, a fraud, all Trump had to do was investigate. All Trump had to do was to ask intelligence what they knew. But he apparently has not done so or in my opinion has refused to ask.
The irony is laughable. Remember? He said he did not need to take daily briefings. Really? All Trump had to do once becoming President was to inquire about Obama and Russia rather than to make up allegations about Obama tapping his phone or the recent Trump fakery about having Comey tapes or the numerous false statements he has uttered since he swore, in front of millions on that cold Friday, "so help me God".
The truth is so painfully obvious. Trump has never wanted to be associated with the Russian controversies. He has done whatever he could do to blame other nations and people for the computer invasions, but surely not Russia. In January, when intelligence told him Russia was involved, he replied it could be some other entity. He even brought up the Iraq war WMD's suggesting how can anybody trust American intelligence. In doing so, he insulted the intelligence community so badly that he had to visit the CIA at Langley, the day after his inauguration. After his speech to the intelligence, he later said his speech was great and that he had received a standing ovation (which was also disputed by some attendees).
Yes, Trump claims Obama did nothing? In recent reporting, The Washington Post has evidenced the steps the administration took to counteract future cyber terror. The US placed digital mechanisms in the Russian system that could disrupt their infrastructure. That's doing nothing?
Did Trump ask about any of this? After all, he's not a 400 pound hacker living in New Jersey who has no access to this type of intelligence, he's the most powerful man in the world. And he has never inquired about the very type of activities and details he repeateldy has been calling a fraud?
So, Obama did nothing as Trump wants us to now believe? Really? Towards the very end of his administration, after receiving a report from intelligence, Obama even imposed sanctions upon Russia. Instead of agreeing with Obama, Trump complimented his own former National Security advisor Michael Flynn for what, in effect, was an act undermining Obama's retalitory action against Russia computer intrusions. After Obama removed Russian diplomats from the United States as punishment, Flynn discussed with the Russian Ambassador the possible lifting of those sanctions. The intelligence apparently intercepted that conversation, considered Flynn to be jeopardized and informed the White House. Trump did nothing. Instead of joining Obama in a united front to show Putin this country won't tolerate that type of acitivity that undermined our very democracy, Trump praised Putin for not responding after sanctions were imposed. Even after the Washington Post broke the story about Flynn lying, Trump lauded Flynn publicly for discussing lifting of the sanctions with the Ambassador. In short, Obama punished the Russians and Trump undermined those sanctions. And Trump has the gall to claim that Obama did nothing?
If Obama was in any way too limited in what he could have done, blame Trump. Never in the history of presidential elections has any candidate ever demeaned the American people and the process by calling the system "rigged". A deaf and blind martian could hear, see and know that had Obama made more of a public deal in pointing to Russia and Putin's election invasions, no less than Donald Trump would have used that against Obama and Clinton. In fact, after the October 6 US Intelligence announcement that Russia had intruded, Trump supporters openly claimed the Intelligence revelations was a hoax and an Obama-Clinton scheme to make Trump look bad. Actually, only two days after that October 6 revelation, during the second debate, when responding to the Russian controversy, Trump said, "But they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia because they think they're trying to tarnish me with Russia.". Does anybody need any more proof how Trump and his loyal surrogates and followers were already trying to deny Russia's involvement?
During the third debate, Hillary Clinton said, " And what's really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions. Then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the Internet.
This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly, from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election.
CLINTON: So I actually think the most important question of this evening, Chris, is, finally, will Donald Trump admit and condemn that the Russians are doing this and make it clear that he will not have the help of Putin in in this election, that he rejects Russian espionage against Americans, which he actually encouraged in the past? Those are the questions we need answered. We've never had anything like this happen in any of our elections before.
Obama has done nothing? The real question is--What in the world has Trump done?
He has had six months to do something about Russia and to date, there is no evidence of any action whatsoever. James Comey testified that Trump never brought up the issue in their nine encoutners. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also acknowledged he was not involved in any discussions. Sessions had been the foreign policy point person during the campaign and during the transition.
Just the very fact that after nine months of the media trying to get him, his team and his administration to finally admit that Russia interfered in our elections, now, by his recent tweets and Fox News interview statements, he appears to acknowledge the obvious. Think about the hypocrisy. Throughout the campaign, Trump blasted Obama for not using the term Islamic terror. Trump and others claimed that if one cannot define the problem, they can't fix it. Well, surely, if Trump has not even looked to see if there was a problem, never mind, never looking to see who caused it, you know he has not made any effort to fix it. And he has the chutzpah to blame Obama for doing nothing?
History is replete with shocking examples how Trump has deflected, denied and accused whenever the issue of Russia has arisen.
Below is a summary of some of the excerpts from Trump since the summer of last year. Remember--Russia became an issue during the elections because of Trump’s refusal to say anything that would be injurious about the nation and about Putin. His financial history indicated some connection to Russia. He reneged on his promise to disclose his taxes and many wondered if the refusal was due to Russia? His campaign manager Paul Manafort suddenly left the campaign due to revelations about mysterious Russian-related payments to him. Trump's comments during the campaign about his lack of prior relationship to Putin was inconsistent. He said he met Putin before he said he did not. His son Donald Jr. had previously acknowledged money flowing in from Russia while the dad claimed otherwise.
There have been so many examples that show Trump has tried to distance himself from Russia and worse, so many examples where he claimed that Russia had nothing to do with the American elections. So, the real questions to ask are these:
What has Trump done to punish Russia, to ensure that it cannot do to the rest of the world and to America what the current President previously has repeatedly insisted that country did not do?
Why shouldn't Obama have been extremely concerned that greater public mentions of Russian intrusions would not be used as a campaign tool to discredit the election process? After all, Trump made numerous allegtions that the system was rigged. He even claimed that he could not lose unless the elections were stolen from him. Only days after Intelligence made the public revelations of Russian involvment, during the second debate, he claimed he was being unfairly targeted with Russian associations. Why would President Obama want to further undermine any more faith in the democratic process, given the very fact that Trump was intentionally using alleged conspiracies to foment anger against the administration, Clinton and the "system"?
The Obama administration was damned if they did and damned if they didn't. While we can now throw arrows at Obama, publically making this an issue during the campaign would have given Trump that much more of a weapon to destroy American's faith in our very democratic process.
Trump and his surrogates can tweet, accuse and incite but the record is very clear. Donald Trump refused to acknowledge what was becoming very obvious. Trump had a Russia problem and Russia had infected our election system.
Unfortunately and obviously, the real and serious question that mandates serious inquiry is this--How can Americasand our allies have any faith that our curent President will take the necessary actions to prevent future compromises of our election system given the fact he has done little or nothing, to date? Worse, how can we trust his future dealings with the Russian interference, given his prior behavior and statements shows he was and has been trying to save his own butt, certainly, not saving America from foreign invasions?
Just review some of his statements and tweets that he made to defend himself from Russian association. The below from CNN and other sources:
In June 2016, Trump discussed his lack of knowledge when he appeared on Russian sponsored TV with Larry King and said he did not think the hacking of the Democrats was Russia. Instead, he pushed forward it was the democrats themselves.
Sept. 27 during debate:
“"As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said, we should be better than anybody else, and perhaps we're not. I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia. Maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China, but it could also be lots of other people, it also could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?.....
"Now, whether that was Russia, whether that was China, whether it was another country, we don't know, because the truth is, under President Obama we've lost control of things that we used to have control over.
2nd Debate, October 10, days after 17 intelligence agencies took the extraordinary step and announced that the Russians were involved in interfering with the elections, Trump said “"But as far as other elements of what she was saying, I don't know Putin. I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together, as an example. But I don't know Putin. But I notice, anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians are -- she doesn't know if it's the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia because they think they're trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know nothing about Russia. I know -- I know about Russia, but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia. I don't deal there. I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia."
Dec. 11, post election, Trump said on Fox News: I think the Democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country," Trump said. "They have no idea if it's Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place," he said. "I mean, they have no idea."
Dec. 15th Tweet:
"If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”
Dec. 31 "I just want them to be sure, because it's a pretty serious charge," Trump told reporters at a New Year's Eve party in Mar-a-Lago, according to The Guardian. "And if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong."
Jan 3 "The "Intelligence" briefing on so-called "Russian hacking" was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!" he tweeted.
"While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines," Trump said in a statement following the briefing. "There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful."
"As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people,
April 30, 2017
Hackers could have been China or "a lot of different groups," Trump said on CBS' "Face The Nation."
"Knowing something about hacking, if you don't catch a hacker, OK, in the act, it's very hard to say who did the hacking," the President told CBS. "With that being said, I'll go along with Russia. Could've been China, could've been a lot of different groups.""
If Russia hacked, if Russia did anything having to do with our election I want to know about it," Trump said.