Trump Thanked Putin For Cutting America’s Diplomatic Corps

While many Americans are rightfully concerned that Trump is playing to a big-time wrestling script with thermonuclear war as possible result, the reality show character’s close relationship with Vladimir Putin is not commanding much news coverage. However, yesterday while some Americans were considering building bomb shelters in their backyards, Trump showed that he still embraces Russia and continues rejecting America and more importantly, its diplomats.

No doubt Trump has yearned for a reason to thank Putin for his valuable (campaign) support over the last year-and-a-half, but that would just further implicate his complicity in Russia’s attack on democracy. Still, Trump found a way to express his gratitude to Putin and “stab American diplomats in the back” in the process; because diplomats prevent wars.

When Trump was asked what his thoughts were on Putin expelling about 775 diplomats from Russia as retaliation for new congressionally-mandated sanctions, he seized the occasion to express how “very thankful” he was that Putin expelled hundreds of American diplomats from Russia. He even explained why he was grateful.

Trump said:

I want to thank him [Putin] because we’re trying to cut down our [State Department] payroll, and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There’s no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.”

No sane person thinks Trump was being facetious in offering his gratitude to Putin; no small number of diplomats and foreign policy experts have bemoaned loudly that Trump’s refusal to even partially staff the State Department is a gargantuan disaster waiting to happen. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is rabid about cutting down on diplomats, and the idea that Trump wants a non-functioning State Department has nothing to do with “saving a lot of money.” He is more than willing to spend a “lot more money” on bombs and bullets in one fiscal year than it costs to run the State Department for a decade.  Trump and his key alt-right advisors ardently believe that the best way to conduct foreign policy with any country is not diplomacy; they love threats, belligerence, bullying and war. It is the worldview Trump has demonstrated over the past few days in the grandest fashion imaginable.

There have been several reports that the State Department is woefully understaffed with no plans, or intent whatsoever, to fill those positions. And they are crucial positions around the world that do not include janitorial or kitchen help jobs. This danger is not all down to Trump, but it is likely he directed Secretary of State Tillerson not to bother himself with putting up nominees for “low priority” positions such as assistant secretary for diplomatic security. Some Americans may recall that Republicans consider diplomatic security at the bottom of their low-priority concerns to explain why the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi lacked adequate security and protection.

As many former diplomats and foreign policy experts have noted, there is much “more than an ineffectual State Department here, there is real danger.” The real danger is when, not if, something in the world goes terribly wrong like when a poor manager and inexperienced malcontent issues biblically-inspired threats of “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Every administration faces crises throughout their tenure, and everything falling on Trump stems from the rest of the world’s perception that he is a sap and those foreign policy crises are only going to increase in number and frequency. As noted in the Washington Post, America’s foes feel emboldened with an incompetent in the White House.

They also state the peril of Trump endangering national security by not filling important diplomatic positions; or worse, thanking a hostile foreigner for “cutting down our [diplomatic] payroll and letting a lot of people go.”

It is frightening to imagine what happens when “a crisis erupts in an area of the world that Tillerson hasn’t bothered to staff,” or another attack on an embassy occurs when Tillerson has not bothered to put up a nominee for assistant secretary for diplomatic security? “Tillerson and the president Trump will be in deep trouble.

Remember too that Trump claimed filling his administration with billionaires with exemplary business backgrounds would ensure that his government will have better management and only the very best people will be employed. “Instead they cannot perform the most basic management task of an administration — picking personnel.”

A career foreign service officer who served as an ambassador to Poland in the Clinton Administration and on the National Security Council under Bush really put Trump’s idiocy and third-rate management skills under a spotlight with two simple rhetorical questions. Dan Fried asked:

Under what theory of management is there not an assistant secretary for Europe or Asia?”  And, “How do you make an administration effective when your institutions are weak?

Trump believes his administration is effective because he controls one powerful institution; the United States military and its robust nuclear arsenal. It is likely why he said the hundreds of diplomats “Putin let go to cut America’s State Department payroll” are not going back. It is also highly likely that since Secretary of State Tillerson is BFFs with Putin, Trump believes diplomats are unnecessary; Putin will help Tillerson run the State Department and probably help him cut the diplomatic payroll even more.

It is particularly prescient right now that Trump is demonstrating what he thinks of diplomats or seeking a diplomatic solution to end his nuclear pissing match with the North Korea’s version of Donald J. Trump. One thing is crystal clear after Trump’s showy display of gratitude for some Rusky budget cutting assistance; Trump is too enamored and thankful to ever get into a pissing match with Vladimir Putin.

Threat of Treason Charges Already Looming Over Trump Presidency

 

 

One of the most laughable claims throughout the past year-and-a-half’s brutal presidential campaign was dirty Donald Trump’s claim that his intent in running was to “make America great again.” It was an absurd campaign slogan because not only was America already “great” because a fascist like Trump was never allowed to get close to the halls of power, but because Donald Trump exists to promote his own greatness; the bankruptcy king has never had any interest in American greatness. Donald Trump has been accused, and rightly so, of being a bully, a corrupt business operator, a swindler, a brutish thug, a pathological liar, and a devotee of both Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler.

Now, a former assistant Secretary of State has strongly intimated that Donald Trump is on a direct path to be charged with treason, making him an official honest-to-dog traitor to America.

In an opinion column for the Boston Globe, former assistant Secretary of State and international human rights expert John Shattuck posited that “a specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump.” According to Mr. Shattuck, if Trump does not “welcome a thorough investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election,” it raises serious questions that make him defenseless against “charges of treason.” Mr. Shattuck wrote,

A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump. He has brought it on himself by dismissing a bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a ‘ridiculous’ political attack on the legitimacy of his election as president.”

What Trump says is ridiculous is what seventeen separate American intelligence agencies unanimously concluded was Russia waging cyber warfare against the United States to impact the presidential election. In fact, the lead agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), concluded that Vladimir Putin intended to influence the election in favor of his hand-puppet Trump. Like many political commenters have, Shattuck reminded readers that after the election, the current director of the National Security Agency and commander of the United States Cyber Command, Admiral Michael Rogers stated,

This [Russian espionage] was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance. This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily. This was a conscious effort by a nation state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

Late last week, an American senior intelligence official revealed that there is substantial evidence that Trump’s co-conspirator Vladimir Putin personally authorized and directed the attack on America; something Trump blows off as “ridiculous.” Shattuck asks why Trump is publicly rejecting the seventeen intelligence agency assessments and particularly; why he is criticizing “the bipartisan proposal for a congressional investigation?” An honest and patriotic American would exhibit the strongest possible interest in leading a concerted national effort against a hostile foreign power’s attack on the core of American democracy, but despicable Don is no more patriotic to America than he is honest.

The Globe article gave four reasons Trump is trying desperately to portray the intelligence community as incompetent, politically-motivated, corrupt and untrustworthy, but only one stands out as the most credible in a conspiracy to commit and then cover up treason. Shattuck writes that Trump “may be seeking to cover up evidence of involvement or prior knowledge by members of his campaign team or himself in the Russian cyberattack.”

One would argue that Trump IS seeking to keep his and his team’s collusion with the Russians out of the public eye; an act that makes him guilty of treason and misprision of treason. As a reminder, any American guilty of “misprision of treasonaccording to 18 U.S. Code § 2382 is a person “having knowledge of the commission of any treason [who] conceals and does not disclose.” Treason, according to the US Code and the United States Constitution is committed by a person “owing allegiance to the United States who . . . adheres to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort.”

It doesn’t take a very bright mind to conclude that by denigrating or trying to prevent an investigation of the Russian attack on America, dastardly Donnie is giving aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States. It is a crime that is greatly enhanced if Trump’s bullying of the intelligence community and criticism of a congressional investigation are ploys to cover up his own, or his staff’s involvement in or prior knowledge of the attack.

There is more than sufficient evidence that Trump and his inner circle have had close ties to Putin and the Kremlin prior to, during, and after the Russian attack on America. Whether it was Trump and Putin operative Paul Manafort, National Security Advisor designate Michael Flynn palling around with Putin and appearing as a commentator for Russian state television, or Trump’s son boasting that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets, we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia;” there is a definite close connection between Putin and “the Trump.”

In fact, after the election, the Russians knew Americans would stay rolled over even after being attacked and boasted that yes; there were communications between the Kremlin and the Trump. Two days after the election the Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabokov, was quoted by the New York Times and Washington Post saying, “there were contacts” between Moscow and the Trump campaign during the election campaign, and that members of the campaign staff “were staying in touch with Russian representatives” after the election.

Of course one doesn’t need a Senate Select Committee to connect the Trump-Russia dots, or to comprehend that in nominating a close friend of Putin and director of a Russian oil company as secretary of state, dirty Donald is giving aid and comfort to the enemy; the Constitution’s definition of treason.

There is little doubt, at least in this author’s mind, that Donald Trump is going to move the proverbial “Heaven and Earth” to obstruct any investigation whether it is from Congress or not. Forget the idea of the Department of Justice investigating Trump; that federal agency is under the aegis of the executive branch and vulnerable to a Trump tantrum.

The only hope for a defense of America is that Republicans in the Senate, and possibly some in the “alt-right House, will put patriotism before party and take appropriate action in the face of an attack on America. If they fail to investigate the Trump Russia connection as vigorously as they have investigated the Democrats they targeted, then they are not only un-American, it likely means they have “knowledge of the commission of any treason” and by “not disclosing” the extent of the attack are, by legal definition, themselves guilty of misprision of treason.