Monday, February 06, 2017

Former Acting CIA Chief: Trump's Dangerous Deference to Putin

While Republicans for the most part continue to act as apologists for the the batshit crazy things Trump, a/k/a Der Fuhrer, says and even go to greater lengths to normalize what would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell is calling out Trump's fixation on Russia's Vladimir Putin as nothing less than bizarre.   What is most frightening is that this deference is likely jeopardizing America's interest.  Worse yet, the possibility of Putin holding blackmail information on Trump or Russian financial leverage on the Trump empire remains disturbing.  A piece in Politico looks at Morell's concerns.  Here are highlights:
[Morell] suggested there is “some special bond” between Trump andVladimir Putin that is undermining U.S. interests.
“It suggests that he doesn't have a good understanding of what Putin has done over a very long period of time,” Morell said during an appearance on “CBS This Morning” Monday morning. “It’s a very bizarre statement.”
Trump has repeatedly stated admiration for Putin, which has led to bipartisan congressional blowback. During an interview with FOX’s Bill O’Reilly, Trump said a strong relationship with Russia is necessary to defeat the Islamic State.
The president defended Putin after O’Reilly said Putin is “a killer.”
“You got a lot of killers,” Trump said. “What, you think our country’s so innocent?”
Morell criticized Trump and said there’s “no equivalency” between the deaths of Russian journalists and political opponents and actions taken by the United States overseas.
He said Trump’s affection for Putin may come from goodwill accrued by Putin by complementing Trump during the campaign. However, more sinister reasons, such as financial ties or Russia having compromising material on Trump, may be to blame.
“There is some special bond here that seems to be overriding the facts and the interests of the United States of America.”
Although there are rumors of Russia having compromising material on Trump, those rumors have been unsubstantiated.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Vice President Mike Pence have voiced concerns about Russia’s actions in Eastern Ukraine. However, Putin likely cares primarily about Trump’s opinion, Morell said.
“I think Putin is an authoritarian, so he believes that the voice of the most powerful person is the most important,” he said. “So the voice he hears most loudly is the president's, and he will discount the voices of others.”
 I continue to hope that either the CIA or foreign intelligence services will obtain documentation that confirms whether Putin has financial or blackmail control over Trump.  Should it prove that Trump has betrayed America's interests, one can only hope impeachment - or better yet, treason - charges are brought against Trump and, in an ideal world, Pence as well. 

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