On the eve of a new administration, Mother Jones' David Corn does some criminal accounting on our four-year Trumpster fire and how it all began with Russia. Russia. Russia. Russia. Man, Putie Tang sure got a great ROI in cultivating Don the Con.
Donald Trump has betrayed the United States at least four times. He downplayed and failed to adequately respond to a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and wreaked economic havoc for tens of millions. He mounted an extensive disinformation campaign to subvert the 2020 election, seeking to weaken American democracy and overturn the legitimate results. He did nothing while murderous insurrectionists attacked the US Capitol—he reportedly watched the assault with excitement—and prevented the orderly and peaceful transition of power. But his first great betrayal—the one that made the others possible—was Russia.
Lost in the shouting over collusion has been the fundamental point that Trump helped an enemy of the United States pull off an attack because that assault was beneficial for him. Call it treason, call it treachery, it was a foul deed. And Trump's skulduggery worked. The Russian operation continued through the campaign, and Trump gained from it.
Trump's denials of this attack were perhaps the first sign of how he would lead the Republicans into the perilous territory of alternative reality. Because Trump, the GOP presidential nominee, was insisting there was no Kremlin operation, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got in line. He refused President Barack Obama's request to join the White House in issuing a bipartisan response to Putin's assault. McConnell sided with party—that is, Trump—over country. Consequently, the Russia attack became a highly partisan matter, and the United States response was undermined. In this hyper-politicized environment, the Clinton campaign's warnings about Russian intervention were largely disregarded. Trump was able reap the reward of Putin's operation without paying a price for assisting an enemy.
Read the rest.
Image: Screengrab from WH/US Gov video