WHAT hold does Russian President Vladimir Putin have on U.S. President Donald Trump that up to this day, despite U.S. intelligence reports and indictments against Russians, the hard-hitting, name-calling, and supposed defender of the United States against foreign adversaries has remained the number one guardian of Russia?
During a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on Tuesday, March 6, Trump said the Russians had “no impact [on] our votes [in 2016] whatsoever.” This, Trump also tweeted via his POTUS twitter handle stating:
.@POTUS: “The Russians had no impact on our votes whatsoever, but certainly there was meddling…You have to be really watching very closely. You don’t want your system of votes to be compromised in any way.”
While Trump finally admitted that the Russians meddled in the election, the president said in response to questions of how the U.S. intends to deter Russian efforts in the upcoming election:
“We’re doing a very deep study and coming out with strong suggestions in the 18 election,” and even the 2020 elections.
The president said the U.S. will counteract whatever they [Russia] do very strongly, and even suggested that it’s “always good to have a paper back up voting system” as a backup against cyber-interference and vowed to counteract any future influence “very strongly.”
How could Trump make the conclusion that the Russians had no impact on the votes? Perhaps Russia did NOT manipulate the actual vote counts and tallies. Intelligence reports have proven that Russia spread fake news against Hillary Clinton, especially in the battleground states, and that would have helped Trump win votes. Of course, this is hard to measure, but that was what the Kremlin cyber warfare was all about.
The Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were quick to say the House investigation should end soon, despite the Democrats’ counter-argument that many areas of the issue regarding the collusion of Trump with Russia have yet to be investigated on.
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, was quick to respond to Trump’s statements and tweets, saying on Twitter: “No, Mr. President. The FBI investigation began when it was discovered that the Russians had secret discussions with your foreign policy advisor about dissemination of stolen Clinton emails.”
“And how can you criticize Obama for not doing more, when you do absolutely nothing?”
Schiff went on to state on Twitter, as well as in interviews: “No cabinet meeting devoted to protecting 2018 elections from foreign interference. Bipartisan sanctions to punish and deter Russian meddling sitting in your desk drawer for months. $120 million allocated by Congress to fight Russian propaganda unspent. This is dereliction of duty.”
This claim has already been corroborated by Trump’s own National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee: “I haven’t been granted any additional authorities, capacity, capability”.
”I need a policy decision that indicates there is specific direction to do that,” Rogers said.
The president’s favorite cable news channel FOX News also reported that $120 million to fight Russia meddling remains unused.
The State Department has reportedly spent none of the $120 million allocated by Congress to counter foreign efforts to interfere in U.S. politics, Fox News said.
This brings me back to my question: What hold does Putin have on Trump? That is what Special Counsel Robert Mueller is finding out.
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos