The United States is the Only Country That Has Always Had a Peaceful Transfer of Power For Our Entire History.
That Said, There Will Always be a Cloud Over This Administration. For the First Time in Our History There Was Unquestionable Russian Interference in Our Free & Fair Elections
This is usually a tremendous day for the United States. There is always one party in the 2-party system, but everyone puts down their clubs to witness the peaceful transfer of power. I believe the US is the only nation that can say we have never had a coup, martial law or things we see in the so called Banana Republics where this is commonplace related to transferring power from one leader to the next.
It is with great discomfort that I write that our entire Intelligence Community (IC), the massive 17 agency apparatus meant to keep the Commander-in-Chief the best informed person on the planet. At this moment, as Trump prepares to take the oath – ready or not and there is plenty of news to suggest he is far from done. So far Trump asked President Obama if 50 or so staffers can stay around for what the President-Elect’s spokesperson, Sean Spicer, called “continuity of government.” This is an admission the Trump Team is not prepared to get to work at 12:00 noon today as they should be, they need Obama’s people to help show them how things operate on a daily basis. This is a sad statement of Trump’s overall preparedness for the office. Nothing during the campaign or transition gave one the impression they are gunning for January 20th.
This is similar to Trump’s cabinet nominees being rushed through as fast as Obama’s were, but what is NOT spoken is the fact that all disclosures were submitted for review by the relevant committee the Monday after the inauguration so by the time the hearings occurred, the senators had all the materials well in advance of the hearing so the conflicts of interest can be explored and satisfactorily addressed. Mrs. DeVos, the nominee for Secretary of Education wanted to address questions to the nominee on her billions and whether any conflicts of interest were present in such a massive portfolio. But to this moment, as far as I know, she has still not provided her basic disclosure handed in by President Obama’s nominees on the day after the election in 2008.
The Cloud Hanging Over This Inauguration: RUSSIA.
This cloud will remain until the investigations are completed. We know from an article published yesterday that investigations into intercepted communications and inappropriate communication and Financial Transactions between senior members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials since around April 2016. An article published January 18, 2017 – just 2 days ago – in McLatcheysDC revealed the “FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into the well-established Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump.”
In addition to the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) were involved with the investigation for several months according to the article’s two (2) sources.
“Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.”
That Russia hacked into the election and used their known pawn, Wikileaks, to make sure a daily dribble of sometimes embarrassing emails were leaked t o the Press on a daily basis to guarantee domination of the news cycle, which was achieved. This was known and included in a Joint Statement from the ODNI that there was “a consensus” that Russia was behind the attacks. Russia has long done conducted these cyber-ops in every former Soviet states to delegitimize the government to allow Russia to increase its old “sphere of influence” that existed under the U.S.S.R
Our NATO allies have been telling us this was happening regularly in the former Soviet spy agency. The US knew its old nemesis, Vladimir Putin has been trying to reestablish the old-Soviet sphere of influence. The election of an authoritarian figure like Trump has the entirety of Europe frightened as to Russian intentions to destabilize democratically elected Governments in former Soviet States. These former Soviet bloc countries have been subject to Russian cyber-attacks for years and the US knew it, but I sincerely doubt we ever expected the “old–Soviets” to conduct an operation of this magnitude against the United States election. But they did and it and, at minimum, delegitimize the electoral process and confidence American citizens have in that sacred democratic process. One could argue they are already skeptical of elections and participated at an embarrassingly low 47% d in that process in this of all years. That seed of doubt sown by the Russians is already a major success if it goes no farther but the investigation continues since April.
In the hacking realm, nothing more damaging than revealing what observers knew already: that the DNC clearly “greased the wheels” for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders resulted in enough Sanders’ supporters home on election day to have swung it in Trump’s favor. I hate to say that, not only have I suspected precisely this exact collaboration between the Russian Intelligence Service (FSB) and Wikileaks, I also suspected direct collaboration between Trump and the FSB – formerly known as the KGB where Vladimir Putin spent his entire career as a Soviet Spy.
This fact along with the well-known reality that Russia opposes everything the US and our European allies stand for based on the NATO treaty in place since the end of WWII. A very important alliance which has as the most significant part of the alliance – the Article V provision which means an attack on one NATO country is an attack on ALL NATO countries. Few realize that provision was only used once – after al Qaeda attacked the homeland on September 11, 2001. Those allies are still fighting with us today. This makes any notion that our NATO allies owe us something seem a statement in poor taste. Perhaps some behind the scenes discussions, but not for the Public Realm and most certainly not appropriate for Twitter.
President-Elect Trump has been making statements that are completely opposite U.S. Policy and every president since WWII. It happens to be a complete 180 degree turnaround from consistent and bipartisan policy for 75 years. There have been no major wars in Europe partly because of the NATO alliance. Vladimir Putin sees it as a threat to his goal, which is to remedy what he calls the “greatest tragedy of the 20th Century: the fall of the Soviet Union.” Now he has an ally in the White House that calls “obsolete” NATO alliance
Eliminating the Sanctions placed on Russia after their invasion into the Ukraine and ultimate annexation of the Crimean Peninsula – the first time one country has annexed another since the Second World War. Trump has mentioned lifting those sanctions and recognizing the Crimean Peninsula as part of Russia. That will pay a serious debt, if one is owed, to Russia and the oligarchs that we would know about if we had seen a tax return. But we did not for the first time in modern US History despite there being no law against disclosing part of that tax return for public consumption. This is a way to ensure our president has no conflict of interest that may be present if he or she were to owe billions in debt to foreign banks or individuals. We do know Mr. Trump owes $627 million to the Bank of China.
We know since President Obama met with Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, the individual who is in charge of all 17 intelligence agencies, on Thursday and President-Elect Trump Friday. During that meeting, the 2 page summary of the 35 page dossier that purports to lay out the Russian effort to obtain “Kompromat” or compromising information on a Presidential candidate.
After that meeting, James Clapper released a statement that led to another ill advised tweet in which Trump mischaracterized the information relayed to him, leading Director Clapper to issue a statement indicating Trump mischaracterized the information and that the IC (intelligence community) determined the dossier “crap & Fake News.” Like so many Tweets, that was definitely NOT what the statement said. The DNI had to clarity in writing – a rare step by anyone in the IC – that the IC reached no conclusions as to the reliability of the information contained in the dossier (different from saying we have concluded it is not reliable).
More importantly it said no information from the dossier was used in any conclusions. We have to again look at what was not said. We know there’s an investigation looking into possible collusion between what is now our 45th President (just sworn in), and we have known since the before the dossier was leaked. That means the dossier simply corroborated (at least partially) other information that originally led to the investigation being initiated. Trump failed to notice the nuance and reading between the lines.
Regardless, a President was sworn in that is being investigated for potentially colluding with a foreign adversary that we know to have affected and interfered with the cornerstone of our Democracy – Free & Fair Elections. The investigation also includes an alleged transfer of funds from the Kremlin to Trump. I hope there is nothing more to this than we already know… but I doubt it. I hope President Trump exceeds all expectations…but I doubt it. I hope there is not the corruption that seems imminent given the new President paid $25 million to settle a lawsuit for defrauding our fellow Americans. The President takes office with a 30% approval rating – precisely 1/2 the 60% of an immensely popular, now former President Barack Obama. We hope he succeeds because if he succeeds, America theoretically succeeds.
Time will tell. From this point forward, he now has to Govern the United States of America rather than campaign. Let us hope he studies more and tweets less. Most importantly, lets hope he does well for America.