Donald Trump, openly musing about an unconstitutional and autocratic two-year extension of his presidential term, will do anything to stay in the White House. That will include getting Vladimir Putin’s help, again. Definitely.
When Trump reached out to Putin by phone on Friday (or maybe by FaceTime) the number one topic—the only topic—that should have been discussed wasn’t. The two shot the shit for over an hour, even talking about the Mueller report which detailed Russian interference in the 2016 election and that topic never came up between the two. The Russian “hoax,” he said, was a big topic for them. “We discussed it. He actually sort of smiled when he said something to the effect that it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse,” Trump said, making everyone wonder about the translation services Trump might have had. “But he knew that, because he knew there was no collusion whatsoever.” Right, if Putin says so.
Asked repeatedly about the orange elephant in the room—the proven Russian interference in the election—Trump finally answered, “We didn’t discuss that. […] Really, we didn’t discuss it.” How could that have not come up, at all? On Sunday’s Fox News program, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was pressed by Chris Wallace to explain. “Sometimes conversations just aren’t long enough to include every issue that might be brought up,” was his eventual excuse.
In more than an hour’s worth of conversation, there just wasn’t the time for Trump to talk about Putin interfering in our elections. So many other priorities to talk about in nearly 90 minutes.
Putin couldn’t have received a more obvious invitation to do it for Trump again. The omission comes straight from the horse’s mouth, reiterating what his lawyer Rudy Giuliani said a few weeks ago: “There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.” Just in case that wasn’t clear enough for Putin. “Who’s to say it’s even illegal?”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she recognizes the risks here. “We have to be prepared,” she said, and “inoculate against” Trump refusing to step down in 2020 if he’s defeated. Handily enough, there’s an inoculation available for that: impeachment. There’s more than enough in the Mueller report to demand it, more than enough to make public every single day on our televisions and in social media, and enough to deter the Russians from doing it again. It might even be enough to make the Republicans turn against him, for self-preservation, if nothing else.
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