Prologue

We are now witnessing two acts by Trump that are all about protecting his presidency over protecting our country. This isn’t even about “party”; it’s all about Trump.

Releasing the Nunes memo

This document, which has now generated an extraordinary level of controversy, is the product of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and a subset of committee Republican colleagues. They sorted through extensive material looking for any bits of information that could be strung together to form a narrative that condemns the FBI for its handling of both the investigation into HRC e-mails, and intelligence related to Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia. Not surprisingly, 45’s supporters have insisted on the memo’s release into the public domain as it puts into question the validity of SP Mueller’s probe into any possible collusion between the president and Russia.

Prompted by higher-ups in the Intel community, Deputy FBI Director Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray have warned Trump that the Nunes memo contains classified information that ought to be redacted so that it not be part of any public disclosure. Obviously, such select information would be of value to our enemies who would like nothing better than to shut down sources from which we gather information that is key to our national security.

As of the date of this blog, Trump has assured congressional Republicans that he is “100%” in favor of releasing the memo. Will it be redacted? If it isn’t, then 45 has put our national security at risk in favor of saving his own skin.

Russian sanctions? Pffffft !!!

That Russia sought to meddling in our last election is now accepted as a matter of fact. In response to that cyberattack, both houses of Congress, in near-unanimous votes, passed  new and more repressive sanctions against Russia and specific members of that nation’s oligarchy. Those sanctions were sent to Trump for review with a January 29th deadline for his implementing them. That deadline just passed without the sanctions being put into effect.

As a rationale for this inaction, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has argued that existing sanctions are already acting as a deterrent to future Russian meddling. This argument is problematic on several different levels:  (1) the claim of effective deterrence is offered without a shred of supporting evidence; (2) it flies in the face of CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s assertion that the Russians are committed to continue their meddling; and (3) by refusing to implement new and rougher sanctions, Trump is lending indirect support to the belief that he is under Putin’s control and, for whatever reason, will do the Russian leader’s bidding. If a question can be “begged”, here is one that can be screamed; i.e. “What does Putin have on Trump?”

This is extraordinary !! The new sanctions are a matter of law and 45 has chosen to not enforce it. This puts the ball squarely in Congress’ court. One avenue it can take is to pass new legislation depriving Trump of any immediate future opportunity to review the sanctions, thus forcing him to implement them or be subject to open rebuke for not doing so. To demur yet again, Trump runs the risk of  violating his oath of office; i.e. “To faithfully execute….” Add that to the growing grounds for impeachment.

 

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