There is no midway point between guilt and innocence. One can be guilty or innocent. You cannot be a little bit guilty…or a little bit innocent. It’s like being a little bit pregnant.
So, anyone who supports Donald Trump - any of the 53 Republican Senators, 199 House Members or 62,984,825 Americans who voted for him - please explain how Trump is innocent of being a pawn for Russia’s Vladimir Putin...knowingly or otherwise?
Remember, there’s no continuum here. He is either guilty or innocent…I need an explanation because what he has said and done makes him look…incredibly guilty.
Here are facts for those of us who really count on…well, truth. Truth really counts when your words and deeds affect…oh, let’s just say billions of people worldwide because you’re president of the United States. Consider the following before defending a president that increasingly has borscht all over his face.
It is irrefutable that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election…and favoured Trump.
Trump took Putin’s word over every U.S. intelligence and security agency about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Spanning 14 years - from 2003 through 2017 - Russians bought 86 Trump properties in all-cash deals worth US$109 Million…an indication of possible money laundering. As late as the summer of 2016, Trump was still working with a Putin aide to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
In a 2008 interview, Donald Jr. said, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” Other son, Eric, bragged in 2014, “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”
On July 27, 2016, Trump accused Hillary Clinton of shenanigans, and asked, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find 30,000 emails that are missing.” Later that day…in what otherwise might be the coincidence of coincidences…Hillary Clinton’s personal and campaign email servers were hacked…by Russians.
There were 101 contacts between Trump people and Russians and go-betweens…including the one on June 9, 2016 at Trump Tower between the Trump braintrust and a contingent of Kremlin-connected Russians with the promise of “dirt on Clinton.” This and every other contact was disavowed or covered up…every one.
George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates and Carter Page - all players in the Trump campaign - had close links to Moscow. Three pleaded guilty in Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probe.
Just a couple weeks ago, Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign chairman - a job he did without pay - admitted he gave his Russian business partner polling data. That Russian business partner is suspected of links to Russian intelligence. The social media attacks launched by Russians would have found the polling data invaluable, according to experts.
Trump friend Roger Stone - with ties to WikiLeaks - appears to have had advance knowledge of Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s hacked emails. Trump talked about big news coming in a few days…and in another coincidence of coincidences…on that day less than two hours after the release of the infamous Trump “Grab ’em by the pussy” video…WikiLeaks released Podesta’s emails.
Trump fired Comey to try and stop the FBI investigation - admitting so in a live television news interview, and the next day met and shared top secret information with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister…all while allowing a bogus Russian photographer in the Oval Office and barring all American news media.
Trump finally fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions because he recused himself and would not fire Comey.
Dozens of times, Trump has attacked and ridiculed the Department of Justice and the F.B.I., referring to them variously as “dirty cops” and “thugs” and “scoundrels.”
Trump attacks long-time allies - NATO members like Canada - and sides with Russia or Putin…consistently. He supports extremist and populist political leaders - France’s Marine Le Pin and Hungary’s Viktor Orban - just as Putin does. He admires autocratic leaders and dictators.
Last week, it came out that he considered leaving NATO...one of the pro,army reasons there hasn’t been a WW III in the past 70 years.
Trump attacks celebrities, sport figures, politicians, journalists and everyday U.S. citizens in Tweets…but only has praise for Putin…not a single negative Tweet in more than two years as president.
Trump re-wrote history recently, saying Russia was right to invade Afghanistan to prevent terrorism…which happened to be the official Kremlin line just two weeks before. Even a C-average college grad knows the 1979 invasion by the USSR was to prop up the communist-led government in Afghanistan against rebels.
Trump announced a military pullout of Syria…to the benefit of Russia and Iran…though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton were unaware of the policy decision beforehand. They were involved instead on the clean-up on aisle 3.
Trump - more than any other accomplishment - creates chaos and uncertainty in virtually every governmental agency. His own White House staff and Cabinet members are constantly guessing what he will do next. Putin has to love that.
And when Russia attacked a Ukrainian ship last year…Trump was silent…just what Putin would want. Laughably, last summer Trump called the people of Montenegro “very aggressive” and said they could cause a world war! Montenegro? Another coincidence…Russia warned that Montenegro was a dangerous, aggressive nation just a few weeks prior.
And who doesn’t think it looks guilty to meet with a leader of an adversary state five times in two years…more than six hours of face-to-face talks…without a single note or American witness on what was said? That’s what Trump did with Putin. What does Putin have on Trump?
These are just some of the facts that look suspicious to any reasonable person. Most Republicans and Trump supporters don’t care much for facts though. Instead, they foist lies on the public…start chain emails that are nothing more than propaganda. Very Russian. I wonder if and when they might admit reality.
Last week, Trump’s terse response to the question about Russia’s influence over him was curiously reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook.” Trump said - in the same five-word measure: “I never worked for Russia.” I didn’t believe Nixon when he said it…and I don’t believe Trump now.
The evidence - however circumstantial - is overwhelming on Trump. The scales of justice seem so heavily weighted toward guilty…innocence doesn’t seem possible. After all, you can’t be just a little bit guilty.
— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines. His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.