Donald Trump, Russia & the 2016 Election

General Flynn apparently lied to Vice President Pence about his contacts with Russia, and it cost him his job. Attorney General Jeff Sessions misled the Senate about his contacts with Russia, and it caused him to recuse himself from the FBI’s Russia investigation. For those keeping score, then, contacts with Russia have cost Trump a campaign chair (Manafort), a foreign-policy adviser (Page), and a national security adviser (Flynn), while also sidelining the attorney general from the FBI’s investigation. Put all that — really only a partial summary of the Trump team’s Russian contacts — together and you can see why the FBI is currently investigating not just Russian efforts to influence the presidential election but also contacts between Trump’s team and Russian officials.

…the chairman of a House committee that is supposed to provide oversight of the Trump administration. Given that reality, the following chain of events is deeply problematic:

Earlier this month, Nunes was called to the White House grounds (anonymous leaks indicate that his meeting there was in some way facilitated by senior Trump-administration lawyers and national-security aides) to view documents that indicated that Trump administration officials may have been wrongly unmasked in reports of communications with foreign officials. 

…It was certainly unusual for Nunes to go alone to the White House to view this information, and what followed was even more so: He held a press conference on White House grounds and claimed to have “briefed” the White House on information he apparently got from the White House. At the same time, he refused to share the information with other members of his committee or to identify his source(s). Compounding the problem, when the press discovered his first, secret White House meeting, he appeared to mislead reporters, creating the impression that White House aides knew nothing about it.

In the final analysis, Nunes acted more like a Trump aide or lawyer than like the chair of a House committee. It looks as if the Trump administration used him to provide a form of external validation of Trump’s claims of improper surveillance — and that’s not his role.

…The Russian government has run one of the most cost-effective and disruptive espionage operations in history. Through a few simple hacks of the DNC, some basic online trolling, and garden-variety propaganda spread by modern means, the Kremlin has turned a superpower’s politics upside down. Its chief geopolitical rival is divided, with leaders obviously more furious at each other than at the foreign power who created the crisis. Russia may well face a day of reckoning for its attack on our democracy, but for now it has won, and the magnitude of its victory increases with each petty and partisan turn in Washington’s most consequential drama.

Donald Trump, Russia & the 2016 Election: A Controversy Explained | National Review

Taking the context in is a key part of processing information and experiences as we come across them. The above is from the National Review, an organization which promotes a conservative viewpoint. With this in mind it shouldn’t surprise the more moderate reader that the article contains a lot of what seems like defensive partisan posturing.

What is noteworthy though, is that between the rote pandering gobbledygook a few very salient points are put forth which draw a boundary between  the National Review’s version of a conservative belief system and the interests of the Trump White House.



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