The weird, bizarre and dangerous history between the current president of the United States and Russia, specifically its tyrannical president Vladimir Putin, took another odd turn this week after Donald Trump acted first aloof and then dismissive of intelligence reports from last month that Russians have been bankrolling terrorist fighters in Afghanistan and since late 2019 putting bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers. After a July 23 phone conversation with Putin of unknown original or subject – because Trump has been silent about these in the past anyway – there appeared to be no discussion of this rather grave information between the two “leaders”.

     “No, that was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly, that’s an issue that many people said was fake news,” Trump told in reporter Jonathan Swan, who has already conducted several revealing interviews with Trump in the past. Shockingly and quite embarrassingly for the craft of American journalism, Swan is the first reporter to press Trump on this. For some reason this has not been a high priority for the sleepy White House press that takes Trump’s click-bait nonsense about injecting bleach, postponing the election and V-shaped economic recoveries instead. This is especially egregious since, as covered in this space weeks ago, there is evidence the White House knew about what the official report registered as Unit 29155 of the GRU – Russia’s military intelligence agency – since it began and there have been actual military deaths allegedly associated with the allegations.

     Oh, there were some chatter about it for a day or so a few weeks back when the NY Times published a deep-dive into the reports, but understandably while Trump is assisting in the death of hundreds of Americans a week by continuing his unconscionable battle against scientists, doctors, governors and everyone else concerned with the spiking numbers of this virus, not to mention his fascist deployment of secret police to jail protestors and fly spy planes over American cities gathering cell phone information from all citizens, whether they are dissenters or not, will distract the press. But then television personality turned “press secretary” Kayleigh McEnany told the American people Trump never saw the briefing. “He doesn’t read briefings,” went the excuse. Then the poor overwhelmed simpleton spent the next days trying to convince everyone Trump does and can read. Or some such. All of it effectively kyboshing the killing of American soldiers as the commander-in-chief has no idea or could not care any less. “Why doesn’t anyone like me?” Trump asked instead, and then tweets that social media is “unfair.”

     I get that it is hard to concentrate in a circus. But no way should this have gone unchecked for this long, especially when considering this presidents proclivity to defend and prop up the myth of Putin, even against his own country’s intelligence, as in 2018 when he stood on foreign soil and committed treason refuting American intelligence, defending the Russian president, and brazenly siding with our enemy. 

     After using his prerequisite “hoax” routine with Swan, which is our president’s running “Take my wife, please” bit and has worked like a charm with the original Russian investigation that got him impeached and this Corona virus which he said would disappear magically in a few days and be gone when it warmed up in April, Trump said, “I have never discussed it with him.”

     This is odd for any president, even one as dumbfounded as this one. I mean, Trump consistently re-tweets nonsense that teenage racists post on the dark web with absolute zero vetting. His constant knee-jerk reactions to the slightest criticism by Hollywood celebrities, political opponents, cable news network pundits are legendary. Shit, in 1990 Trump took out a full-page newspaper ad asking for the death penalty against five black teenagers for a crime they did not commit. But a foreign enemy that has used cyber-attacks to interfere with our elections, along with aggressive international military moves in the middle east and all the rest, is a “hoax”?

     “I have never discussed it with him.”

     Hmmmm.

     And what exactly does “discuss other things” entail?

     Again, the Trump-Russian “thing” as Trump liked to call it when the president unceremoniously sacked the head of the FBI investing Russian interference that began to close in on him because a laughable preponderance of his campaign staff and people he tabbed for his cabinet had been busted talking to, making deals with, and having shady connections with Russian that began to surface as early as late 2016 and into 2017 when he was president, has been a consistent part of this presidency. It never fails to pop up. Why was Trump bragging to Russian diplomats about firing Director of the FBI James Comey hours afterwards in the Oval Office? Why did Trump make a deal with Russian ally and American enemy Turkey to pull troops from Russian stronghold Syria? And why did the United States pull 12,000 troops from Germany a few days after this mysterious July 23 call between Trump and Putin?

     Now, to use a Trumpism, many say it’s because Putin has “something on Trump.” The infamous Steele dossier that has been proven mostly correct over years of scrutiny makes allegations of Trump’s sexual exploits during Russian visits. Of course, there is the money-laundering and ties to the Russian mafia, some of which came out during the Mueller investigation and has his personal lawyer, the demented troll Rudy Giuliani, in hot water. But I tend to dismiss these as too conspiratorial. I have always thought Trump too stupid to actually hatch this kind of clandestine plan. I have maintained, and Trump has shown this to be true on several levels during his public career as a conman, that his feckless, damaged psyche makes it easy for him to subjugate his fragile ego to strongmen – Putin being the Mac-Daddy. “Daddy” being the operative word here.

     Think of Trump’s support for macho “domination of the streets”, as he commanded mayors during the first weeks of the George Floyd/Black Lives Matter protests, using force as the first resort. His praising of China’s use of tanks to murder students during the 1989 Tiananmen Square and the bombshell from former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s best-selling book, The Room Where It Happened about a private meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, wherein Trump advised Jinping to “go ahead with building concentration camps for Uighur Muslims” because it “was exactly the right thing to do.”

     Whatever the reason, Trump has been and still is very much in the back-pocket of one of the most despotic leaders on the planet who has been at cyber war against the U.S. for the entire time he has been president. Blessedly, that time is coming to an ignominious close. The American health system, its economy, its democracy is in ruins. Planned or not, Trump has succeeded in helping Putin weaken America. As I wrote years ago, Trump is our greatest threat, a terrorist that must be stamped out this November to return us to a sovereign nation that holds our enemies accountable. Whatever issues Trump has with Putin or the Russians then becomes private. Let his hidden tax returns be someone else’s concern.

     But make no mistake, something is going on with Trump and Russia, since the very beginning of this garbage-heap presidency. The latest actions of a president soon to be defeated is enough evidence. Listen carefully when the president questions our free and fair elections, our system, calling it “fraudulent”. Listen as he undermines the democracy and the nation he was elected to “lead” and see with your own eyes how the lives of American soldiers and our safety must take a backseat to the whims and wishes of a madman Russian.

     “I have never discussed it with him.”

      “That was a phone call to discuss other things.”

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