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Putting Putin in His Place

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Putting Putin in His Place

Putting Putin in His Place
July 16
16:27 2018

There are three issues regarding the announcement of the indictments of 13 Russian operatives for meddling in the American election. The first relates to the charges themselves – what they did to spread chaos among the American electorate. What did they do to earn those indictments?

The second relevant issue is who these bad actors are – or more precisely, their occupations. And finally, there is the question of timing for the announcement of the indictments.

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Starting with the last first, it seems beyond debate that Mueller and the folks at the Department of Justice selected this moment to impact on President Trump’s meeting yesterday with Vladimir Putin. This is an announcement that could have been delayed until after Trump’s trip to Helsinki to clink glasses with the Russian autocrat.

Speculation can go in many directions – unless one is part of the anti-Trump resistance movement. It could have been intended to stiffen Trump’s spine when dealing with Putin. On the other hand, it could have been to avoid Trump facing an embarrassment by coming home to this news after having a cozy bromance with Putin. Whatever the reason, it is pretty safe to assume that the time was not accidental or incidental. In issuing these indictments, the Department of Justice was not oblivious to yesterday’s meeting. It had to be part of the calculation.

But, it was also part of Trump’s calculation. According to the reports, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had briefed the president on the pending indictments a day or two before the public announcement. Trump could have ordered a delay in the public announcement, but he did not.

Then there is an issue of who these folks are. This takes the Russian collusion indictments up the scale from the first round involving low-level technical operatives, followed later by the indictments of private sector oligarchs friendly with Putin – and now senior military and intelligence officers in the upper reaches of the Russian government. These are folks who work for Putin. These are the folks that get their marching orders directly from the guy at the top.

The Russian officials indicted were the project managers for the meddling operation. They supervised the setting up of the phony businesses and accounts as well as the hacking operations center – and all with the blessing or demand of Vladimir Putin. It is a strong reaffirmation of a fact that was widely known since the first time Russian interference was confirmed by the Obama White House on the eve of the election.

Considering the charges, themselves, there is again good news for the Trump administration. As with the second round of Russian indictments, there was no indication of any collusion with the Trump campaign. In fact, the indictment went out of its way to reassure the public that no Americans were implicated as conspirators.

The second indictment focused on the Russian social media efforts to create chaos among the American public – and it was not exclusively for the benefit of the Trump campaign. Some were merely to poke confrontations on hotly contested issues – racial dissension, as one example. There were elements of the meddling campaign designed to hurt the Clinton campaign. And, yes, much of the effort appeared to benefit Trump.

What is not clear, despite the judgment of the elitist media in the court-of-public-opinion, is whether the Russians were trying to actually elect Trump. Or, were they using the Trump campaign as a foil to disrupt the Clinton campaign and weaken her future presidency. It is important to keep in mind that at the time of the meddling, virtually no one in America, in politics, in the media and even in Russia thought that there was even a slight chance of Trump actually becoming president. That was largely true of most of the Trump campaign people, too. The Russian goal may not have been a President Trump, but rather a damaged President Clinton.

There is also reassuring news in the indictment in that there was no indication that that activities of the Russians disrupted the actual vote count. In other words, they did not flip the election to Trump.

This indictment focused on the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign. Certainly, those actions and the leaking of private emails were damaging to Clinton. Again, it needs to be remembered that the Russians had attempted to hack the Republican National Committee (RNC) but failed. Unlike the RNC, the folks at the DNC rejected the FBI’s warning and offer of assistance in protecting their systems. That may account more for the one-sided leaks better than the theories of Trump collusion.

But what now?

Every Cabinet and Intelligence official agrees that Russia meddled, and have been outspoken with their informed opinion. Also, so sayeth the Senate Intelligence Committee after the extensive hearing. Trump has, on occasion, said that he also believes Russia meddled, but has been hesitant to make condemning statements about Putin. This has led to all those accusations that he is in league with the Russian dictator. That might be a reasonable assumption if it were not for the fact that Trump had been harder on Russia than any recent president. Democrats and the anti-Trump media rebuts that claim, but it is factually true when you look at the new sanctions on Russia, the condemnation at the UN, diminishing Russian influence in Syria, giving arms to Ukraine, withholding Russian occupancy from the buildings they used outside of Washington, calling on Germany to stop buying Russian gas, seeking to increase the military capability against Russia by increasing the NATO budget, promising arms to smaller NATO nations at a discount – and even supporting the inclusion of more nations in NATO.

It would seem that Trump has adopted his own form of Teddy Roosevelts’ MOS – speak softly, but carry a big stick.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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  1. None
    None July 17, 16:54

    You really need to stop your lies. People know better and are not blind. We all wish a Trump well and want him to be successful, if he does the right thing and treat people fairly. However, he has only shown himself to be a racist and a proponent of Steve Bannon’s Deep state ideas. There is a plot by the far right to destroy and eliminate people of color. The Russians don’t realize that these political views include eliminating them as well.

    Reply to this comment
    • bob
      bob April 20, 19:37

      none is a great name for you, you have none! it’s racist to talk about people of color, i’m a person of color, i’m caucasian, white is a color look it up, no one is trying to kill off browns! it’s not steve bannon’s deep state try reading dr jerome r. corsi’s book ” killing the deep state” the name deep state is made up but to be able defeat your enemy you must be able to name him, sun tzu! potus maintains a talking relationship with dictators to be able to try to influence their ways!

      Reply to this comment
  2. Ed
    Ed July 18, 11:19

    Excellent article, tells the full story of the Russian involvement in hacking and Pres Trumps strategy in dealing with Russia.

    Reply to this comment

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