Well, this appears to have been “walk-back” week Inside the Beltway. President Trump says one thing one day about Russian Prez Putin and the lamentable Helsinki Summit only to change direction the next.
Did Trump sell out America and our intelligence community during what has been dubbed the Surrender Summit? Or did he display great leadership by going face-to-face with Putin in a private meeting?
Since I doubt that Trump has any plan other than to save his own ass, I’ll go with John McCain on this one.
Of course, “disgraceful” and “embarrassment” were hardly the harshest descriptors used by the talking heads on MSNBC who were frothing at the mouth 24/7. And even the administration cheerleaders at Fox News appeared to have some difficulty digesting what had actually happened.
So no. I can’t make sense of what happened in Helsinki. And it doesn’t look like anyone else can either. Note to self: I wonder if Mueller works weekends? I digress.
Anyway, I’m convinced that Russia meddled in our 2016 elections and I don’t see any reason why they won’t have at it again in November. And I’m concerned that we are so consumed by political bickering and obsessed with Trump’s tweets that we are taking our eye off the wrecking ball that may be heading our way in the not-so-distant future.
Here’s from Dan Coats, the current (as of today) Director of National Intelligence, from an article on Fox News:
President Trump should have issued a more full-throated condemnation this week of Russian election meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum.
But, Coats added, Trump was right to point out this week that Russian interference is just one of many potential threats facing the country.
“I wish he made a different statement,” Coats told his interviewer, NBC host Andrea Mitchell. “it’s undeniable that the Russians are taking a lead on this.
“We’re now learning about the dark side, and it’s pretty ugly,” Coats added. “What we see every day, against our institutions, against our military, against our financial services, against our criticial infrastructure — stretching from those who have major capabilities of doing this, starting with Russia, including China. … Add Iran into that, add ISIS into that.
To twist a line from the Beatles: I read the news today, oh boy.
But wait. Coats has more to say about a looming “Cyber 9/11.”
Still, Coats suggested that the outsize focus on Russian interference risks blinding Americans to other, potentially more serious threats.
“I’m concerned about a cyber-9/11,” Coats said. “Let’s say you shut down Wall Street for a week. What does that do to the world’s markets and people’s investments? … What about an attack on the electric grid in New England in January, that’s sophisticated to take it out for three days. How many people will die?”
Somebody better make sense of all that.