Not only won't Trump punish Russia for election interference, he's done nothing to make sure it doesn't happen again.
The Russian government last year pulled off perhaps its most important disruption coup against the U.S. in modern history, by actively interfering with the 2016 election. And since then, Russia has completely gotten away with it.
Not only has Donald Trump shown virtually no interest in punishing Russia for its interference or making sure it never happens again, but he doesn’t even want his senior security advisers bringing up the pressing topic.
“Trump has never convened a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or what to do about it,” the Washington Post reported on Thursday. A former high-ranking official described an “unspoken understanding” among members of the National Security Council that even discussing the issue is a problem that Trump “would see as an affront.”
Intelligence officials also seek to avoid Trump’s “ire” by excluding Russia-related information from his oral daily briefings, instead burying it in the written documents.
“If you talk about Russia, meddling, interference — that takes the PDB off the rails,” a former senior intelligence official told the Post.
The Post piece, which was crafted around 50 interviews with current and former government officials, clearly confirms that Trump is actively turning a blind eye to Russia’s cyber attack on U.S. democracy. He’s done virtually nothing to punish Russia for its actions, and even less to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Imagine if, in the year following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, President George W. Bush had made it clear the topic angered him and he didn’t want his security advisers discussing Al Qaeda with him.
Recall that back in June, when former FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress about being fired by Trump, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) asked Comey whether Trump showed “any concern or interest or curiosity about what the Russians were doing.”
Comey said Trump had showed no interest in the matter: “I don’t remember any conversations with the president about the Russia election interference.”
He then then warned Congress, “They’re coming after America.”
Meanwhile, the intelligence coming out of Russia is that the Kremlin views its 2016 campaign to attack U.S. elections to be among its most successful intelligence operations ever.
“The Kremlin believes it got a staggering return on an operation that by some estimates cost less than $500,000 to execute and was organized around two main objectives — destabilizing U.S. democracy and preventing Hillary Clinton, who is despised by Putin, from reaching the White House,” the Post reported.
Today, the U.S. intelligence community has been unwavering in its insistence that Russia clearly interfered with the 2016 election. And Russian only helped one candidate last year — Trump.
Indeed, a mountain of evidence is piling up that Trump’s campaign routinely, and intimately, worked with Russian operative during the campaign to thwart Clinton’s candidacy. It’s a truly astonishing development, to have a major party nominee teaming up with a foreign adversary to rig an American election.
“What the president has to say is, ‘We know the Russians did it, they know they did it, I know they did it, and we will not rest until we learn everything there is to know about how and do everything possible to prevent it from happening again,'” former CIA director Michael Hayden told the Post. Trump “has never said anything close to that and will never say anything close to that.”