After the Russians pwned Donald Trump once again, in public, and basically laid claim to the US while Trump rolled over and played dead, Morgan Finkelstein, the Press Secretary for the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund, said that Trump just surrendered to Russia on election interference.
“Trump just unilaterally surrendered to Russia on election interference,” Finkelstein said in a memo send to PoliticusUSA, in which Finkelstein likened the meeting between the two leaders to a “good first Tinder date.”
“After a bilateral meeting that sounded like a good first Tinder date, based on the official readout, Trump is rewarding Putin’s egregious behavior by giving Putin the platform he so desperately craves without getting anything in return. Trump is unilaterally surrendering American sovereignty and the right to fair elections free of foreign interference.”
They highlighted this from the readout of the meeting (which, by the way, was just sent to PoliticusUSA, after the off-camera briefing and delayed audio demand by the Trump administration), in which Tillerson told the press that the President focused on moving forward since “it’s not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed upon resolution of that question between the two nations so the question is what do we do now. And I think the relationship – and the president made this clear as well – is too important and it’s too important to not find a way to move forward.”
Q: “On the US election, could you spell out any consequences the Russians will face?”
Tillerson: “The president took note of actions that have been discussed by the Congress, most recently additional sanctions that have been voted out of the Senate to make it clear as to the seriousness of the issue. But I think what the two presidents – I think rightly – focused on is how do we move forward, how do we move forward from here? Because it’s not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed upon resolution of that question between the two nations so the question is what do we do now. And I think the relationship – and the president made this clear as well – is too important and it’s too important to not find a way to move forward. Not dismissing the issue in any way, and I don’t want to leave you with that impression. And that is why we agreed to continue engagement and discussion around how do we secure a commitment that the Russian government has no intention of and will not interfere in our affairs in the future, nor the affairs of others. And how do we create a framework in which we have some capability to judge what is happening in the cyber world and who to hold accountable. And this is obviously an issue that’s broader than just U.S.-Russia, but we certainly see the manifestations of that in the events of last year. Again, I think the president is rightly focused on how do we move forward from what may be simply an intractable disagreement at this point.”
Note the question was what consequences will Russia face, and the answer is basically none unless Congress does it. Sure, that might seem plausible, until we recall that President Obama left behind a good start on a time bomb Trump could deploy if he wished. Trump does not wish, it seems.
“It makes you wonder: what does Putin have on Trump that could make Trump act like a supplicant on the international stage? How deep in trouble is Trump that he couldn’t even perform the most basic task – asking Putin not to interfere in our elections?” Finkelstein asked, adding, “Trump’s unwillingness to put up a fight speaks volumes about what could be in Putin’s arsenal against him.”
The darkness surrounding the Trump administration’s trickle of information should be contrasted with the Russian foreign minister who talked on live TV about the meeting between the two leaders, claiming that Trump accepted Putin’s assertion that Moscow was not involved in the hacking of the 2016 election.
The Trump administration both forced the briefing to be off camera and put a delayed audio demand on the briefing. This is not normal. As I wrote earlier, this is called rolling over.
Finkelstein made a good point asking why, exactly, Trump would be willing to be humiliated like this on the international stage.