When asked who Trump believes about the Russian hacking of the 2016 election — his own intelligence agencies or Vladimir Putin, the American president gave a direct and unequivocal answer.
He believes Putin — a fascistic despot with a history of lying and killing — over his own country.
“They said they think it’s Russia; I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. Trump said. “I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people,” the president continued. “But I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
So there you have it, Russia did not hack America’s democratic process in 2016 because Vladimir Putin said so. This despite every single intelligence agency in the country stating almost unequivocally that the Kremlin directly interfered with the US election. If you don’t trust the US intelligence agencies, there there is also an abundance of publicly available evidence that shows this to be the case too. There is simply no way to deny the fact that Russia hacked US democracy to get Trump elected unless you have a vested interest in in not being the case. Those people fall into the following three categories:
1. The far left.
The far left believes that centrist Democrats represents the most dangerous threat the humanity ever created, so everything else is a distraction. Why this is the case is anyone’s guess, but apparently fighting for universal health care coverage, believing in climate change, and wanting to fund children’s education does not constitute devout enough liberalism from the likes of Glenn Greenwald, Caitlin Johnstone, Susan Sarandon etc etc. Trump colluding with Russia is a distraction from the real enemy of the people: the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi.
2. The far right
The far right is now so far removed from reality that it isn’t worth discussing their worldview any more. Whatever Trump says goes, so if today the sky is luminescent yellow, then the sky is luminescent yellow. If Trump says he did not collude with Russia, then he cannot have done by virtue of hims saying so.
3. The Republican Party
There is little difference between the far right and the Republican Party, but it is worth drawing a distinction. The far right are completely insane and do not understand how far gone they are. The GOP on the other hand is still comprised of (some) semi-rational members who are aware of things like climate change, the president’s clear collusion with Russia, and evidence based reality. However, they are primarily concerned with ramming tax cuts through to benefit their wealthy donors, and they understand that Trump is their best bet of getting it done. He is more popular than they are with average conservative voters, and they are cowardly beyond belief so won’t ever stand up to him. If Trump says he did not collude, then that’s the party line.
The rest of the world is quite clear on what happened: Putin directed an attack on US democracy to help get Donald Trump elected, lied about it, and is continuing to order more attacks on the US and its allies to subvert the democratic process and tear their societies apart.
Russia remains one of the gravest threats to global stability, and the global alliances created in the wake of World War II to contain it are fracturing at an alarming pace. The fact that the United States is now no longer interested in containing Russian aggression is a major blow to civilized democracies around the world. Ethno-nationalism is sweeping across the globe with Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the helm, with only the European Union and global opinion left to stop it.
Trump’s astonishing performance in front of the Russian president is grounds for immediate impeachment on the grounds that he is no longer even pretending to work in the interests of his own country. However, given Republicans control all branches of government, this is not going to happen and we’ll have to wait until the adults are voted back into power in November of this year. And when they are, their first move must be to make Trump pay for humiliating his country and insulting the government agencies that work for him and keep the nation safe.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.