We are reminded of the vulnerability of democracy as the narrative of Putinic revenge is described by the two-part PBS program Frontline. More troubling is how Putin’s revenge becomes Montezuma’s with nearly every Trump tweet:
What’s important in this overview of the 2016 election’s perfect storm is that it was influenced at some key moments such as the intersection of WikiLeaks, the Trump grabber tapes, and the news of Russian election interference by the PBO administration.
Combined with the still unfolding investigative story of targeting ads and voting in the actual election, we are suffering the tragedy of 45* and hoping democracy will survive.
The PBS show makes us hope that the DNC has taken all the 2016 hacking failures into account as the 2018 election looms.
More importantly the program should make viewers more sensitive to how the strategy of tension still exists in the 21st Century and that while there is some trust in US ability to counter Russian active measures, we also are increasingly aware of Trumpian complicity in crippling the federal government.
There’s a telling story — skirted over in the Frontline documentary but telling just the same — that Putin, at KGB headquarters for Eastern Europe in Dresden, was literally the last person to turn out the lights, while, outside on the street, a mob went wild, intoxicated by freedom and hopped up on booze. The story is that Putin locked the door behind him, looked at the mob with disgust and resolved then-and-there that the new Russia, his Russia, would never again be reduced by such squalor and disorder.
“Overriding all of this was President Obama’s concern about not doing anything that was going to become a self-fulfilling prophesy for the Russians, which was to call into question the integrity of the election,” former CIA Director John Brennan tells FRONTLINE.
“It’s a moment when politics and partisan positioning appears to take precedence over national security,” Greg Miller of The Washington Post tells FRONTLINE. “In other words, they are so worried about each other, the Democrats and Republicans as adversaries, that they can’t get around the idea that there is a bigger adversary.”
More important is the current situation that we will have two weeks of Trumpian embarrassment abroad including a bilateral chit-chat between Agent Orange and his Boss.
At home will be some of the usual fascination with the sideshow gaffes common to Trump trips.
But we persist.
The indictment revealed Papadopoulos was in Europe during the 2016 campaign, meeting Russian intermediaries and telling Donald Trump’s team that he could arrange a meeting between the future president and Vladimir Putin.
But, the indictment said, by January 2017, just days after the inauguration, Papadopoulos was trying to convince federal agents that his Russian contacts were nobodies and his 2016 dealings with them had had no bearing on the Trump campaign.
Papadopoulos was arrested and has been named by the FBI as a “proactive co-operator”. He pleaded guilty on 5 October to lying to federal investigators but the indictment was sealed and only revealed on Monday, the same day Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was charged with money laundering and other crimes. Manafort pleaded not guilty in a court appearance on Monday afternoon.
“That move was definitely meant for public consumption. They wanted to send a message to others, who will think, ‘They’re talking to him about me – if I’m going to cooperate this might be the time.’ They will be panicking, or maybe they are already cooperating,” said Barbara McQuade, a former federal prosecutor and now a professor of law at the University of Michigan.