It’s hard to determine President-elect Donald Trump’s current position on intelligence that indicates Russian mischief in our presidential election. After meeting Friday with intelligence officials he is still expressing some skepticism. It has been his contention that the Democrats are just sore losers and want to blame Russian hacking of emails and alleged election interference for their loss at the polls and that they are trying to delegitimize his presidency. And even though I think Russian involvement in any way is a threat to the U.S., I also think I am correct in saying the U.S. itself is not innocent in messing with the internal politics of other nations (a not-so-secret, dirty secret). Also it appears that there is no evidence whatsoever the Russians or anyone else actually got into our voting machines or otherwise interfered with the actual vote. And I remarked to one family member that spreading around Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails (thus embarrassing her and her campaign) was something akin to “unauthorized dissemination of the truth”. Even so, I think Trump has put the nation in a crisis of leadership.
I don’t think I am engaging in political hyperbole when I say the United States is in a dire political crisis. To my way of thinking this transition into unknown territory with such an unhinged person at the helm is the gravest crisis since Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre when he fired the special prosecutor investigating his malfeasance in office.
We have someone coming into office with a strange admiration for the Russian dictator and who goes out of his way to disparage our intelligence community who warns that the Russians at least attempted to meddle or sabotage our free elections. Even if our intelligence apparatus is in need of repair or reorganization (and I wouldn’t know), this is not the way to handle things. We have an incoming president who makes off-hand comments, unsupported by fact, on Twitter (little bursts of not well-thought out thoughts or thought fragments), displaying our dirty laundry for the world to see. How will we live this down? The rest of the free world is deeply concerned. It depends upon us. The man has not even taken office yet and I fear he has already done near irreparable damage.
And what a difference. No matter what your politics, left or right or middle, or what your political party affiliation, if you are honest of heart you must admit, a consummate gentleman is leaving office and a boorish thug-like acting one is assuming office.
This strange fixation he (and some of his cabinet picks) has on Russia, going to great lengths to defend it and its leader, makes one wonder if our new president is not some kind of Manchurian candidate. I suppose he is mesmerized by raw power.
(George W. got the treatment when he famously looked into Putin’s eyes, so maybe its just bromance — and that was just comical; this current affair is more serious.)
What constitutes an impeachable offense under our Constitution is not necessarily clear, there being no clear sense of what specific “high crimes and misdemeanors” our forefathers had in mind, except I think treason would fall into the category.
Willfully ignoring danger presented by a foreign power and weakening our intelligence apparatus by public denigration and the resulting damage to morale certainly could amount to treason.
I would be the first to admit the track record of intelligence does not seem to be good, or maybe it is more the way that it is used or ignored, I’m not at all sure on that one:
Pearl Harbor (we had solid information it was coming, not all the details maybe)
Bay of Pigs (we should have known the rag-tag force we sent had no way of overthrowing Castro)
9/11 (such a scenario had been foreseen in at least one novel, the perpetrators were on a watch list, and nothing was done to thwart it)
Iraq weapons of mass destruction (I did not originally include this gem because it is well known this was a case of the Bush II administration under the skullduggery of Vice President Cheney ordering up intelligence to fit his needs, that is to invade Iraq)
First of all, the president-elect is not president yet. Second of all, tweeting is not the way to set policy. It is being used to confuse his detractors and the American people and the world as a whole, to intimidate businesses in his own little power play, and most of all to satisfy his ego.
Now the man will tell you that he has not disparaged the intelligence community. He has a pattern of saying things that can only be interpreted one way and then denying he said them and accusing anyone or any entity (the press) of distorting what he says.
At the rate he is going he may rack up enough high crimes and misdemeanors to make impeachment proceedings no more than a formality.
I find it hard to believe that Republican lawmakers are not appalled at what they have brought upon themselves (I mean they caved and supported his candidacy).
President-elect Donald Trump is holding the Republican Party along with the rest of the nation (and the world?) hostage.
Intimidating Trump tweets notwithstanding (he called the decidedly un-clownish Democratic minority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer “a clown”), we do have the separation of powers. While the majorities in both houses favor Trump and the Republican Party, each congressman and senator has constituents. As this crisis in leadership unfolds that constituency may become dismayed and restless.
We can only save ourselves.
Keeps those cards and letters and phone calls, emails, whatever, coming folks. Let your elected representatives know what you think.