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Russia Investigation Seems Stranger Than Fiction

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Russia Investigation Seems Stranger Than Fiction


Reprinted with permission from ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION.

Neither John le Carre, nor Frederick Forsyth, nor Robert Ludlum could have topped the real-life drama of international intrigue that is currently consuming Washington. None of those spy novelists could have created a tale as twisted, characters as corrupt or a plot as implausible. Nor would they have crafted a story that has the Russians winning without a single shot fired.

Yet, that’s where we find ourselves. Just look back at the stunning testimony of Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this week (June 13).

Asked by Sen. Angus King of Maine whether he’d had a briefing on Russian interference in the election of an American president, Sessions said he had not. “But I have to tell you, Sen. King, I know nothing but what I’ve read in the paper. I’ve never received any detailed briefing on how hacking occurred or how information was alleged to have influenced the campaign,” Sessions said.

That is, quite simply, astonishing. The attorney general acknowledged that the intelligence community has come to the conclusion that the Russian government interfered in the election in an effort to boost Donald Trump’s chances, but Sessions shrugged it off. Never mind that he has authority over the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is part of the national security apparatus.

While it’s true that Sessions rightly recused himself from any investigation into Russian hacking in March, he had already had a month to learn about Russian interference in the election. And he could still ask for a briefing without putting the investigation, now headed by special counsel Robert Mueller, in jeopardy. Isn’t he concerned?

Sessions’ lack of alarm about Russian interference is matched by that of several Republican senators, who have gone to great lengths to try to insulate both Sessions and Trump from any suggestion of wrongdoing. Desperate for a defense now that Mueller may be investigating the president, Trump’s allies complain about leaks and, incredibly, Hillary Clinton’s emails.

That just shows the extent to which Moscow has come out ahead. And Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has managed that while spending far less on defense than the United States does. In the 2017 fiscal year, the U.S. will spend approximately $611 billion on our military, according to federal data. Russia, by contrast, will spend $69 billion. We spend more on defense than the next eight nations combined.

(Incredibly, Trump campaigned on the claim that the U.S. Armed Forces had been stripped of their primacy during the Obama years. He pushed an increase in military spending through Congress.)

Clearly, Putin hasn’t managed to upset the international order through sheer military might. While the Pentagon still focuses on tanks and ships and warplanes, the Russians have seen the future more clearly, concentrating on cyber warfare. They use propaganda, fake news and an admirable understanding of the psychology of American voters.

This week, the Senate did rouse itself to take away the president’s authority to overturn sanctions against Russia unilaterally. In a rare show of bipartisanship, the Senate voted 97-2 on a measure that also bolstered those sanctions, originally put in place by President Barack Obama. That means even Republicans are aware of the danger represented by a resurgent Russia that is bold enough to interfere in an American election.

But that vote won’t stop Putin — not when his government has succeeded in casting doubt on the integrity of the American electoral process, exacerbating partisan tensions and, as a bonus, befriending an American president perfectly willing to place his financial interests over the welfare of the republic. Putin already knows how to deal with corrupt kleptocrats. The Kremlin is full of them. If he can tempt Trump with a few billion-dollar deals, what has he got to lose?

Of course, if you were reading this in a le Carre novel, you’d dismiss it as ludicrous. Who would have thought you’d be reading it in your newspaper?

(Cynthia Tucker won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.)

Cynthia Tucker Haynes

Cynthia Tucker Haynes, a veteran newspaper journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, is a Visiting Professor of Journalism and Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Georgia. She is also a highly-regarded commentator on TV and radio news shows.

Haynes was editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper for 17 years, where she led the development of opinion policy. More recently, she was that newspaper’s Washington-based political columnist. She maintains a syndicated column through Universal Press Syndicate, which is published in dozens of newspapers around the country. Besides winning the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, Haynes has also received numerous other awards, including Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists.

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  1. kep June 20, 2017

    This is stranger than fiction because the narrative changes as liberals continuously find NOTHING. First it was collusion, now it’s obstruction. BS. Lynch, Hillary, Comey, and Emperor Obama ALL were guilty of obstruction of justice in the “Hillary matter”, yet no charges by the Obama DoJ. Why? Because liberals are sanctimonious, hypocritical liars that feel they are above American laws. Liberals are seditious TERRORISTS that should be purged from American society.

    1. PrecipitousDrop June 20, 2017

      It’s too bad you’re in love with a conman and his stooges, kep.
      The investigation must scare the daylights outta you.

    2. Thoughtopsy June 20, 2017

      Hey moron,

      Firing the guy investigating you then saying on TV that you fired him for investigating you is LITERALLY obstruction of justice. Just because your Orange Jesus doesn’t have the brains to keep his mouth shut and blabs his idiocy to the public does not suddenly make the sky green, or gravity go in reverse…

      President Dumbf**k also repeatedly stated:
      “No-one in my campaign has been in communication with the Russians.”
      Now we know that ALMOST EVERYONE was in communication with the Russians.. by THEIR OWN admission. We aren’t making that up. THEY admitted they met secretly with the Russians and then they lied about it over and over. Some on security clearance forms (likely a crime), and some in testimony to the FBI (a crime).

      Only a completely delusional pinhead would somehow be able to completely ignore these facts and drool on about how there’s “nothing there”.

      How do I know you’re a delusional pinhead?
      Because if Hillary had the same number of people around her caught lying about Benghazi and then being forced to own up to their deliberate lies, then Hillary fired the person investigating her… you would be frothing all over your romper about special prosecutors and locking her up.

      No-one did that, and she didn’t fire anyone investigating her… YET you and your bottom feeding knuckle-dragger friends all STILL called for a special prosecutor and chanted “Lock her up” at those illiterate red-neck circle-jerks called Trump “Rallies”.

      I doubt you can be more hypocritical or pathetic… but keep trying.

      1. kep June 20, 2017

        LOL. I love this echo chamber where all you braindead liberals chant the daily propaganda. Comey would have been fired by whomever was elected because he was no longer an impartial civil servent. He decided, on his own, that he was not only an investigator, but also the judge. Kinda like these liberal judges that think that they are more than judges. They also believe that they are lawmakers, which they are NOT.
        Hillary didn’t fire anyone. That much of your rant is true. Rather she bought them off with promotions. The tarmac meeting of Lynch and Bill Clinton WAS illegal. Lynch telling everyone to not investigate into Hillary WAS illegal.
        PRESIDENT TRUMP has not committed ANY crime even if he did stop the investigation. By Constitutional law, he has the RIGHT To do so.
        Considering that most of PRESIDENT TRUMPs key staff are very successful business people, they would have had dealings in some way with Russia, but none of it had anything to do with the election, and you lying liberals already know that.
        Liberals are TERRORISTS that should be deported or jailed.

        1. I know a joke June 20, 2017

          Counterpoint: you’re so goddam stupid you think Obama was born in Kenya; there’s NO POSSIBILITY that your opinion on any subject is valid.

          1. Nice irrefutable logical comparison ad hominem shortcut!
            So he was born in Kenya, was he!?
            Makes sense. Thanks Joker.

          2. I know a joke June 21, 2017

            Oh look it’s the guy who hand-waves away the murder of children.

        2. PrecipitousDrop June 21, 2017

          Sharper legal minds than yours are investigating Trump’s crimes, kep.
          We’ll try to keep you posted.

          1. kep June 21, 2017

            Really too bad all those legal minds don’t seem to understand the American Constitution. Liberals have never really cared much for the Constitution as they seem to think it is an outdated worthless piece of paper that just keeps getting in the way of liberal policies. Emperor Obama even once said that American laws were just a suggestion as to how he should proceed whilst signing an unconstitutional executive order.
            Liberals should try SUPPORTING PRESIDENT TRUMP instead of trying to terrorize Americans.

          2. PrecipitousDrop June 21, 2017

            I’m content to be the liberal who continues to remind everyone that you, kep, falsely claim to be a military veteran.
            It helps people get a better perspective you you post things like, “…too bad all those legal minds don’t seem to understand the American Constitution.”

            P.S. It’s the US Constitution, kep. An “American Constitution” would include all the nations in the North, Central and South America.

          3. kep June 21, 2017

            I don’t falsely claim anything, unlike creatures such as yourself. You people, and I use that term very loosely, are so stupid that you are only good for reminding every thinking human just how bad luving under liberal rule would be. Liberals are seditious TERRORISTS that should be deported or jailed.

          4. PrecipitousDrop June 21, 2017

            Cat’s outta the bag, kep.
            Denial is futile.
            But, keep flailing if it makes you feel better.

          5. Bill P June 21, 2017

            Once again you just make up thing and don’t offer proof of your delusional rants. You made this claim “Emperor Obama even once said that American laws were just a suggestion as to how he should proceed whilst signing an unconstitutional executive order.” Where is your proof? When and where did President Obama make allegedly this comment?

            The rest of your comment is just pure unadulterated bullshit!

          6. kep June 22, 2017

            Why do you lefties always want everything done for you? How do you live without being able to do the simplest things, like THINK?
            Do some research of your own, and stay away from your approved liberal propaganda sites. They LIE.

          7. Bill P June 23, 2017

            You didn’t answer the question you babbling twit. I did the research twit and President Obama never stated what you claimed. Your comeback is just another arrogant and unfounded piece of bullshit. You made the original claim where is your source for it. The real answer is you made it up or found it on a right wing fake news website.

    3. I know a joke June 20, 2017

      You’re a birther, though.

    4. Bob Eddy June 21, 2017

      But these investigations are just starting. What is disturbing is that with all the evidence of collusion people like you are not even open to investigating this matter, but spent millions of dollars and several years investigating Bengazzi In the absence of any verifiable evidence.

  2. I of John June 20, 2017

    This is a very dangerous game for everyone involved. Vlad is pushing it to the edge. One push too far will make America snap and no amount of propaganda or cyber-nonsense will make us stop from what ever rash violent action we will be spurred to take. This will make the war in Iraq, pale in comparison.

  3. Dominick Vila June 21, 2017

    There is nothing strange or questionable into conducting an investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 election. What is strange, and very disturbing, is the reaction of the current U.S. President to that investigation. I doubt his indifference to Russian meddling in U.S. politics is motivated by ideology, or even business priorities. The real reason Trump refuses to acknowledge Russian interference, and take action, is because in his mind doing so would be a blemish on his “historic victory”. We are dealing with a man consumed by malignant narcissism. A megalomaniac who looks at every issue through the narrow prism of how it reflects on himself, rather than as a national security matter. The Saudis and Israelis studied Trump better than we have, showered him with adulation, and got the deals they wanted from a man incapable to realize that he is being manipulated. The Europeans failed to do the same and were scorned, pushed aside, and lectured. I would not be surprised if we see a significant shift in European foreign policy, not necessarily because they like Trump (they despise him) but to ensure the favorable trade balance is not affected by Quixotic stands. Unfortunately for us, and judging by the latest Democratic defeat in Georgia, it is going to take a major debacle for the Republican rank and file to abandon the white supremacist man-child they elected.

    1. PrecipitousDrop June 21, 2017

      The Saudis and Netanyahu — an acquaintance of Trump for over 25 years — treat him like the doting uncles of a petulant child. Trump, as we saw, loves to be indulged this way.
      Europeans, however, made the grave mistake of incorrectly presuming Trump is an adult. The assembled members of NATO took the measure of the man and decided to do without him. (Trump thinks he IS the United States. NATO members know he is not.) He proved himself to be a perilous hinderance.
      The Russia investigations will take their course. Trump may or may not be held accountable by a toady House of Representatives. Certain members of Trump’s campaign, transition team, and administration will certainly be prosecuted. The remainder of Trump’s term, if he decides to continue, will continue to be ruined.
      The special congressional elections in Montana, Georgia, North Carolina and Kansas were hardly disappointing. There is often more to be learned from a loss, than a win. Margins were narrowed. That’s an improvement.
      The Democratic party organization, leadership, and fundraising were allowed to wither for eight long years under Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. She wore it like a sash in a beauty pageant, and took it off when the cameras turned elsewhere. It’s too early to tell how effective the new leadership under Tom Perez and Keith Ellison will be. I am concerned that I do not hear anything from them, or the DNC in local news, the nightly news, or Sunday shows. (What was their comment on the special elections? Anything?) It reinforces the notion that the Democratic party is insignificant. It demoralizes Democratic voters and alienates Independents. It is their job to build and maintain the party’s public profile.

  4. Since the early end of 2001 we have entered the Post-Truth era.
    “State” dogmatic has replaced religious dogmas (even though they remain well used by Dito).
    Fiction has become “reality” and anything goes.
    Lies upon lies create a tuff of schizophrenia. Sad.

    Russian “meddling ” is such a fantasy!
    Russia and Putin do not really care about the US except for its capacity to seed high toxicity by their various ingérences throughout the world that could endanger its national security!
    The administration changes, the pernicious policies remains.
    A 700 Billion “attack” budget is something to reckon with.
    Europe knows that ! It has been pushed in many wars by invisible hands.
    No more thank you!

    Russia has Russia to take care off first.
    The country is the largest in the world with virtually untapped resources.
    They have no reason to attack anybody as propaganda claims in order mainly to maintain people in fear and paranoïa to support MIC and NATO survival.

    All this is of the highest ridicule but you apparently like to delve in it !
    Why not! The world is giggling. It is about time.
    Keep investigating and trucking in your porridge. Cheers.

    1. Paul Bass June 21, 2017

      Ha Ha Ha, says the obvious Russian Troll.

      Go post on Fox, where someone might believe you.

      1. I don’t need anybody to believe me mate.
        Keep yourself in your fantasy and shiver.
        Send your tax money to MIC and your politicians who play around with you.

        1. Paul Bass June 21, 2017

          Don’t worry w/ 363 comments and only 58 upvotes no one really believes you!


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