Friday, September 18, 2020
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Another Trump Twitter tirade

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper listens to questions while testifying on Capitol Hill before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President-elect Donald Trump said Saturday that “only ‘stupid’ people or fools” would dismiss closer ties with Russia, and he seemed unswayed after his classified briefing on an intelligence report that accused Moscow of meddling on his behalf in the election that catapulted him to power.

“Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump said in a series of tweets.

He added, “We have enough problems without yet another one,” and said Russians would respect “us far more” under his administration than they do with Barack Obama in the White House.

Trump repeatedly has questioned the assessment by American intelligence agencies that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 election, and a classified report presented to him Friday seemed to have little changed his thinking.

The report explicitly tied Russian President Vladimir Putin to election meddling and said that Moscow had a “clear preference” for Republican Trump in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

But Trump tweeted that with the many global issues confronting the United States, it doesn’t need testy ties with Russia on the list. “Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad” to have a good relationship, he said, and suggested his approach might allow the adversaries to work together to solve “some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!”

Even as intelligences officials looked back in their reports on the election, they also made a troublesome prediction: Russia isn’t done intruding in U.S. politics and policymaking.

Immediately after the Nov. 8 election, Russia began a “spear-phishing” campaign to try to trick people into revealing their email passwords, targeting U.S. government employees and think tanks that specialize in national security, defense and foreign policy, the report said.

The report was the most detailed public account to date of Russian efforts to hack the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and individual Democrats, among them Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

The unclassified version said Russian government provided emails to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks even though the website’s founder, Julian Assange, has denied that it got the emails it released from the Russian government. The report noted that the emails could have been passed through middlemen.

Russia also used state-funded propaganda and paid “trolls” to make nasty comments on social media services, the report said. Moreover, intelligence officials believe that Moscow will apply lessons learned from its activities in the election to put its thumbprint on future elections in the United States and allied nations.

The public report was minus classified details that intelligence officials shared with President Barack Obama on Thursday.

In a brief interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Trump said he “learned a lot” from his discussions with intelligence officials, but he declined to say whether he accepted their assertion that Russia had intruded in the election on his behalf.

After finally seeing the intelligence behind the claims of the outgoing Obama administration, Trump released a one-page statement that did not address whether Russia sought to meddle. Instead, he said, “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election” and that there “was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines.”

Intelligence officials have never made that claim. And the report stated that the Department of Homeland Security did not think that the systems that were targeted or compromised by Russian actors were “involved in vote tallying.”

The report released publicly lacked details about how the U.S. learned what it said it knows, such as any intercepted conversations or electronic messages among Russian leaders, including Putin, or about specific hacker techniques or digital tools the U.S. may have traced back to Russia in its investigations. Exactly how the U.S. monitors its adversaries in cyberspace is a closely guarded secret. Revealing such details could help foreign governments further obscure their activities.

The unclassified version included footnotes acknowledging that it “does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.” It said its conclusions were identical to the classified version, which was more detailed.

The unclassified report said the Russian effort was both political and personal.

“Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency,” it said. “We further assess Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

Putin most likely wanted to discredit Clinton because he blames her for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he resents her for disparaging comments she has made about him, the report said.

Before the intelligence agencies completed their assessment, Obama announced sanctions against Russia. Trump has not said whether he will undo them once he takes office, but lawmakers are calling for more punitive measures against Russia and have little to no appetite to roll back any current sanctions.

Trump said he would appoint a team within three months of taking office to develop a plan to “aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks.”

On Saturday, he said he wanted retired Sen. Dan Coats to be national intelligence director, describing the former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee as the right person to lead the new administration’s “ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm.”

Coats, in a statement released by Trump’s transition team, said: “There is no higher priority than keeping America safe, and I will utilize every tool at my disposal to make that happen.”

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Associated Press writers Deb Riechmann, Eileen Sullivan, Julie Pace, Eric Tucker, Chad Day and Jack Gillum contributed to this report.

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Copyright © 2017 Capitol Hill Blue

Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

9 thoughts on “Another Trump Twitter tirade”

  1. By that definition, then, I guess I’m stupid and a fool.

    It’s not relations with Russia that bother me, it’s relations with its current autocratic kleptocracy masquerading as a government that bothers me, where a few billionaires loot the place and many many poor go hungry and cold.

    Given that’s what President-elect Trump has pretty much done all his life, it’s no surprise that he’s fond of that idea.

    I am not fond of it.

    Jon

    • I’m afraid that our newly “elected” president is like Geo. W. Bush. That he’s never wrong, and if he was, he’d never admit it. But because we’ve never seen Trump’s tax returns, we’ll never know his dealings with the Russians. And that’s going to be just fine to the main stream media and all of the shills who voted for him.

        • I’ve said it before. The Republicans have a propaganda machine that is on the same par of Nazi Germany’s and North Korea’s. Trump could very well be reelected in spite of his malfeasance and that of the Republican party while in office.

    • It is known the tRump has been trying for a hotel in Moscow for the past thirty years. Russian Banks (also China) have also loaned tRump huge loans because at one point it was next to impossible for him to get an American Bank to loan him anything. Putin has him by the gonads, so tRump will always say that Putin is his BFF.

      • Of course, if there were countless “investigations” about Trump’s allegiances with the Russian Oligarchs, the Republicans will be crying about the “liberal press.” With the Republicans, it’s party first, the wealthy and large corporations second, and country third. I’m wondering how far members of the Republican party are going to put up with his shenanigans. Will there be a breaking point? I’m tending to doubt it. This is going to be very interesting to watch how they try and cover the ass of Trump and their own.

          • The Republican’s social “concerns” to keep their not-too-smart base distracted from the real issues: God, Guns, Gays, Gynecologists.

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