aside Thomas L. Friedman: US Democracy Is In Code Red Because Of President Trump

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I never miss a Thomas L. Friedman column but this has to be in the category of one of his very best. He is commenting on the republican President Donald Trump’s and his sycophants in the US Congress lack of response to the FBI’s 37 page indictment against 13 Russian nationals and Russian entities, for having criminally interfered in the 2016 US presidential elections, with the goal to sow discord ans chaos among the American peoples and to effect the outcome.

There has been no outcry of  outrage that a foreign adversarial country has attacked our US democracy, emanating from the republicans in the White House and / or the US Congress. There’s not even a whimper.

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Here is the rest of the story…

On February 18, 2018, Thomas L. Friedman for the New York Times penned the following report, “Whatever Trump Is Hiding Is Hurting All of Us Now”

 “What would that look like? He would educate the public on the scale of the problem; he would bring together all the stakeholders — state and local election authorities, the federal government, both parties and all the owners of social networks that the Russians used to carry out their interference — to mount an effective defense; and he would bring together our intelligence and military experts to mount an effective offense against Putin — the best defense of all.”

“What we have instead is a president vulgarly tweeting that the Russians are “laughing their asses off in Moscow” for how we’ve been investigating their interventions — and exploiting the terrible school shooting in Florida — and the failure of the F.B.I. to properly forward to its Miami field office a tip on the killer — to throw the entire F.B.I. under the bus and create a new excuse to shut down the Mueller investigation.”

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“To the contrary. Our F.B.I., C.I.A. and N.S.A., working with the special counsel, have done us amazingly proud. They’ve uncovered a Russian program to divide Americans and tilt our last election toward Trump — i.e., to undermine the very core of our democracy — and Trump is telling them to get back to important things like tracking would-be school shooters. Yes, the F.B.I. made a mistake in Florida. But it acted heroically on Russia. What is more basic than protecting American democracy?”

“It is so obvious what Trump is up to: Again, he is either a total sucker for Putin or, more likely, he is hiding something that he knows the Russians have on him, and he knows that the longer Mueller’s investigation goes on, the more likely he will be to find and expose it.”

“Donald, if you are so innocent, why do you go to such extraordinary lengths to try to shut Mueller down? And if you are really the president — not still head of the Trump Organization, who moonlights as president, which is how you so often behave — why don’t you actually lead — lead not only a proper cyber-defense of our elections, but also an offense against Putin.”

“Putin used cyberwarfare to poison American politics, to spread fake news, to help elect a chaos candidate, all in order to weaken our democracy. We should be using our cyber-capabilities to spread the truth about Putin —just how much money he has stolen, just how many lies he has spread, just how many rivals he has jailed or made disappear — all to weaken his autocracy. That is what a real president would be doing right now.”

“My guess is what Trump is hiding has to do with money. It’s something about his financial ties to business elites tied to the Kremlin. They may own a big stake in him. Who can forget that quote from his son Donald Trump Jr. from back in 2008: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets.” They may own our president.”

“But whatever it is, Trump is either trying so hard to hide it or is so naïve about Russia that he is ready to not only resist mounting a proper defense of our democracy, he’s actually ready to undermine some of our most important institutions, the F.B.I. and Justice Department, to keep his compromised status hidden.”

“That must not be tolerated. This is code red. The biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office.”

16 comments

  1. Gronda, this is well done. Friedman offers his usual voice of reason. It should be noted that as of today, there are three Trump associates who have now pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. There will be a fourth (Gates) any day now. Granted, some of the lies are for covering for activities before the Trump campaign, but these folks were part of it. And, what should worry those with more to hide, they are talking. Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      This FBI Trump-Russia probe is for real. The DOJ and the FBI recently announcing the 37 page indictment describing in detail how the Kremlin successfully implemented a full throttle attack on our US democracy has put a damper on the White House’s claims that the FBI PROBE is a witch hunt, etc.

      The republicans who continue to support this Russian Asset in the White House are about to find out that most Americans do care about the Russia news story.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Gronda, we have both tried to forewarn members of Congress of the need to let Mueller and his team do their work. Friedman and even Shepard Smith are asking the needed questions along with others. While remembering their oath should be incentive enough, yet one more election turnaround like in KY yesterday should paint a more clear picture that this man is a cancer. Keith

        • Dear Keith,

          The turnaround in favor of democrats in KY was phenomenal. It should scare the dickens out of republicans.

          The tide is turning against the republicans prevarication in dealing with the Russia issue. It is at times like this that Senator John McCain has proved to be invaluable. I am hoping that Senator Romney will help with this when he becomes a US senator.

          Hugs, Gronda

        • Gronda, as you know the Russia prevarications are only a part. The lies around climate change, environmental attack, debt impact, gun deaths, CFPB and ACA are not painting s picture of good governance. As I have said many times, I don’t mind people being conservative or liberal, I just want them to be truthful and use real data. Our old party is not very trustworthy right now and is deserving of the backlash they are getting. Not all Republicans are like this, but their voice is being drowned out or they have left the party. Keith

  2. The biggest limitation with the FBI is that it “operates under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to/ both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” — Wiki

    Depending upon which administration currently in office, politics certainly play a role in determining the outcome of FBI’s investigations.

    For example, under Obama, Hillary Clinton got a pass with her illegal email server, altho Comey admitted that she leaked classified intel b/c of using an unsecured server, AG Loretta Lynch allied with Obama to squash the investigation and drop all charges.

    After nearly a year of deep investigative work, FBI agents became frustrated by the DOJ decision and morale is at all time low:

    https://nypost.com/2016/10/06/fbi-agents-are-ready-to-revolt-over-the-cozy-clinton-probe/

    I believe the same is happening with the Trump-Russia investigation. It is being severely hampered by DOJ and the Republican party. This is why a special counsel was called upon to investigate without interference.

    As of now, I do not see any result from SC Mueller so… he may be compromised as well, or ordered to stand down/ cover-up any Trump improprieties by the DOJ.

    This is just speculation on my part, but if history is any indication, Trump will get off just like Hillary. 😦

    • Dear 1EarthUnited,

      I respectfully disagree. The only way President Trump will get off is if he is truly innocent. My money is with the FBI, all the way.

      The case against Hillary Clinton is not widely understood. You are reflecting the view from the right only and missing a lot of facts.

      This is far from all the facts in her favor but it is a start. In the USA , a party cannot be charged criminally unless there is some codification in the law. What the right doesn’t tell you is that when she was Secretary of State from 2009-2013 there was nothing codified by which she could be criminally charged. This didn’t occur until 2014.

      There is a 1954 law where she was supposed to preserve her work product for history, but in the end, she was able to comply.

      Then there has to be intent to share classified data. The material she worked with where she used her own server was supposed to have already been separated out from any classified data. But mistakes do happen Out of 33,000+ emails there was a small % which were determined to have been classified, retroactively and 3 which had not been properly marked as classified as per protocol.

      The above facts are often absent from right wing reporting, but these are the facts the FBI were confronting.

      Then the irony is that the government server that she was supposed to be using had indeed been hacked and penetrated on multiple occasions by foreign entities but not her private server. I know this because there is no way that Russia wouldn’t have shared her personal information with the world that she had deleted from this server under the direction of her attorneys, if Russia had this in its possession.

      For FBI Director Comey to proceed with charging Mrs. Clinton, he had to believe he had evidence which would likely lead to a conviction in a court of law which he didn’t have.

      I am hoping if the Dems win back the US Congress, that an independent non-partisan commission is established to investigate all regarding the Trump-Russian saga and the Clinton email story. I want the truth, warts and all preserved for the history books.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Thank you Gronda for taking the time to analyze the investigations deeper. I admit i did not research these cases as thoroughly as you have, but like i’ve stated, this is just my opinion, which i accept may be totally wrong. I am open to the truth, warts and all just like you, that’s what truthful reporting is all about!

        From my perspective (which may be wrong), i feel there are partisan politics at play when the DOJ hand down it’s ruling. Unfortunately our “rule of law” is not very transparent, and there may be backroom deals which decide the fate of a nation without our participation (or even awareness).

        A good example is the gun control laws reversed under the current Trump administration due to business affiliations with the NRA, gun lobbyists in Washington and the big gun manufacturers. The DOJ happily complied without consent of it’s citizens. Where’s the justice?

      • When truth in politics is a wink and a nod we will never know the truth. Was Clinton paid through her foundation to help the Russians get contol of Uranium one? There is and will never be a paper trail.. And not now that thousands of emails were deleted. Did Trump collude with Russians.. Again probably there is no paper trail.. Just a wink and nod…Bank loans at lower than normal interest rates..dont prove anything.

        • Dear Erick Schultz,

          Welcome!

          I am not a fan of conspiracy theories. The Uranium One conspiracy is one that has been debunked by multiple credible fact check organizations including Snopes.com and Shepard Smith of FOX News.

          I cannot say whether President Trump colluded or not. I suspect (only) that Mr Mueller is looking to see if President Trump has been turned into a Russian asset because of his financial ties to Russia. If the president is indebted to Russians, it is possible that he is owned by Russia like the Mafia would own someone who was indebted to them..

          I suspect that he is a Russian asset because he acts, talks and looks like a Russian asset.

          Hugs, Gronda

      • Anyone who worked with classified material will tell you…any mistake will get you in trouble..like fired or denied access or criminal prosecution…no argument like you have made…makes sense or would be accepted.. Second who knows what were in the deleted emails that were subpoenaed..and no one was charged with hindering an investigation. Comey didn’t want to prosecute his new boss…or so he and everyone else thought.

  3. Dear Eric Shultz,

    The point is that Mrs. Clinton was not supposed to have classified material come to her via the email system that we are referring to and in fact, anything classified was supposed to have been separated out to be handled via a different system.

    She still should not have used a separate server but as it turned out the government server that she would have used was not secure and has in fact been compromised on at least 3 occasions, whereas, her own private server was not.

    None of this was codified into law at the time. Without this, she could not have been criminally charged. There was codification made into law which would have applied to her circumstances, but this was NOT done until after she left in 2014.

    The fact is, the FBI Director Comey was not a fan of Mrs. Clinton and was definitely not biased towards her. He had been on the prosecuting team working to convict Mrs. Clinton for the White Water scandal.

    Best regards, Gronda

  4. Dear Mr. Eric Shultz,

    If you read my posts, I rarely, almost never write anything without referencing my sources.

    You will be blocked from further discussions . No one is the complete arbiter of truth and fact which includes yourself. None of what you say regarding illegal immigration has a reference. Your assertions on your last comment are full of falsehoods and distortions. It has been thrashed.

    Please don’t post again. Gronda

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