THE 'TREASON' SHOW
By TATIANA PROPHET
On Monday July 16, U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a joint press conference after their closed-door meeting, which had lasted two hours.
Read the full transcript here.
About halfway through his short opener, Trump said he had raised the issue of Russian interference in "our elections."
"I felt this was a message best delivered in person. Spent a great deal of time talking about it," he said. "President Putin may very well want to address it and very strongly, because he feels very strongly about it."
He then talked about Syria, calling it a "complex" crisis, and stating that the United States would not allow Iran, Russia's ever cozier ally, to benefit from "our successful campaign against ISIS."
The very first question, from Alexei Meshkov of Interfax Information Agency, was regarding Trump's very vocal opposition to a Russian pipeline to Germany, in which the EU powerhouse would, in Trump's words, become a "hostage" due to its dependence on Russian oil. The reporter implied there was perhaps a political rationale for Trump's stance, but Trump came back to say the superpowers would be competing for the world's natural gas consumers. Factually, the majority of Russia's economy depends on oil and gas exports. And in 2017 Trump's actions have resulted in a quadrupling of U.S. exports of natural gas to Europe four-fold from 2016.
Putin then weighed in on Trump's opposition to the pipeline, saying there was "space for cooperation here."
Well there very well had better be cooperation, because objectively, Trump has Putin over an LNG barrel. But all we are interested in is Russian disinformation on social media and the publication of Democratic Party e-mails.
It was only when a Reuters reporter asked Trump what he would consider that Russia should be "held responsible for" that American media began paying attention. Everyone already knows whatever Trump says in his prepared remarks is insincere. Right?
In his usual fashion, Trump was blunt. He tried to put the meddling into perspective, saying the most important topic the two nations needed to work on was "nuclear proliferation."
Then he stated what they had discussed behind closed doors, that Putin is still denying the charge. "He just said it's not Russia."
Then he appeared to be quarterbacking the investigation, talking about certain irregularities in the probe, like the fact that the FBI did not physically examine the DNC server that was hacked, a claim that former FBI Director James Comey himself had stated in his testimony to Congress before he was fired.
"Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server and what is the server saying? With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats came to me and some others and said they think it’s Russia.
"I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server [Trump later said he used the wrong word, claiming he meant to say “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia”]. But I have confidence in both parties. I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server."
He then discussed an "incredible offer" by Putin, which would be to allow Robert Mueller's team to interview the 12 Russian intelligence agents who were recently indicted by the Special Counsel.
And then, as we all know, all hell broke loose. Memes about Trump being Putin's "bitch" pumped through social media. TIME magazine put together a photoshopped hybrid of Putin and Trump, with more of Trump's hair and facial structure, and more of Putin's eyes and nose.
And now for the opinion part of this article. The only reason that nearly the entire Washington establishment, consequently the media and every MSNBC viewer would be so outraged at the offer to let the 12 indicted men be interviewed by Mueller, is if we believe in American exceptionalism: that we follow a unique path and are above international law. We don't need to conduct depositions of the 12 GRU agents because we already know they are guilty. Interesting.
May I remind everyone that Russia and the United States are both permanent members of the United Nations security council? Obviously, we're not allies, but we share the burden, with China, England and France, of at least attempting to maintain global security.
What is so wrong with the idea that in an investigation like this, the prosecutor would be given access to defendants for a deposition?
Putin himself responded, when asked why the American people should believe him. Also my opinion, I have never really trusted Putin. I was very concerned with the propaganda efforts of his pet project Russia Today, which tends to espouse more Green Party values and such oligarchical groundswells as Occupy Wall Street.
But I still found his answer interesting. He said:
"As to who is to be believed, who is not to be believed: you can trust no one. Where did you get this idea that President Trump trusts me or I trust him? He defends the interests of the United States of America and I do defend the interests of the Russian Federation. We do have interests that are common. We are looking for points of contact."
This reminds me of the time after Charlottesville, when all the remarks the President made about how hatred has no place in our world, were left on the cutting room floor and the only thing that remained was the idea that Trump had said there were "many sides." Yet even the Charlottesville PD said people were hitting each other with homemade weapons. Exactly who was hitting whom then? He also said there were some "very fine" people at the event. (Many believe he called Nazis "very fine people." But there were a lot of parties there that day. There were bikers who rode there to pack heat and keep the peace. There was Antifa, and there was a group of dazzled young men who thought it was a good idea to follow some idiots with tiki torches. And yes, some were displaying swastikas, and they were chanting "Blood and soil," which was a key Nazi slogan, and an idiotic one at that.
This isn't meant to be a debate on Charlottesville; but it is meant to indicate that the absolute firestorm of seething anger that results from cherry picking the President's words, is really getting old. When reputable media organizations leave out the positive side of his words, or prejudge them as insincere, we have a serious problem. The only outcome of his Charlottesville remarks are that maybe the idiots who think whites are being hunted and persecuted will think back on how a U.S. President denounced violence and hate, but called for equal protection under the law, regardless of someone's views. Apparently there are some fascist leaning candidates running for office via the Republican Party. At least one of them hid his anti-Semitism to get signatures for the ballot. I'm here to tell you, it is possible to denounce racism, hate and violence while at the same time upholding equal protection under the law. That's why we are a country of laws, because everyone is treated equally and the burden of proof is on the accuser.
It seems a large percentage of our people believe that wanting to give an accused man, or country, a fair trial, amounts to treason. As the most recent indictment states, it is not proof of guilt. That happens with judicial process. Many on social media compare Trump's actions to those of Neville Chamberlain's when he met with Hitler in 1938 in Munich, and along with France and Italy, gave Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland to the land-hungry Führer.
I find it strange that the same media organizations who denounce Trump for not strangling Putin on stage, ignore his very real measures he has taken against the Russian President. In contrast to Neville Chamberlain, Trump has publicly challenged Putin on the 2014 annexation of Crimea, saying it was illegal. Further, in April he approved the sale of 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, a move President Obama refused to do, not wanting to escalate the conflict.
In the Helsinki summit, the idea that a U.S. president would in any way compare and contrast the actions of the world's other superpower with the actions of his own nation is "providing aid and comfort to the enemy." In other words, treason.
Since when is wanting to treat another nation fairly a sign of treason? So are we supposed to reject all suggestions that might further transparency?
Apparently, American exceptionalism is the same reason that the United Nations has consistently rejected Russian offers to provide its own investigators at the site of chemical weapons attacks in East Ghouta and elsewhere, since 2013 and most recently, this April -- mistrust is so bad, that we can't even see what they might have to say -- in a deposition!
The Russians may manufacture evidence, they may lie; but they may not. If we reject all offers of working together, then we are the standing in the way of transparency, and we'll never know if cooperation may have cleared up a lot of prejudices we carry for the Russian people and government. But we say, Putin is Public Enemy No. 1!
President Trump addressed all of these issues in his opening speech:
"As president, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics or the media or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct. Constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia forwards the opportunity to open new pathways toward peace and stability in our world. I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. As president, I will always put what is best for America and what is best for the American people."
We're watching you, Trump, both your words -- and your actions.