Former President Bush Explains Russian Meddling and the Chip on Putin's Shoulder

Former U.S. President George W. Bush speaks at a forum sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute in New York, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

I’ll never understand this devolving from the party of Reagan to the party of Trumpism, where we once recognized the dangers of an empowered Russia, but now have a [sort of] Republican president and his devotees who would rather attack our own intelligence community than hear a negative breath about Vladimir Putin.


And considering where we are now, can we safely assume that those who join Trump in defending a hostile foreign state are equally impressed with Hillary Clinton’s “Russian reset”?

Somehow, I doubt it, but it’s a pickle Trumpian loyalists have put themselves in.

At least we can rest knowing not all of the party leaders are so blindly loyal to the questionable whims of one man.

Former President George W. Bush spoke on Thursday at a summit in Abu Dhabi, and he is not a Trumpidian loyalist.

“There’s pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled,” Bush said, the news service reported. “Whether they affected the outcome is another question.”

“It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system,” he added. “Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”

He makes a good point, and it’s one Trump and Putin’s defenders always skate around: No one is saying the Russians changed the votes. No one is saying voting machines were compromised, switching votes from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump.

What has been said by our intelligence agencies, and confirmed by social media bosses, is that Russia did hack and then release the DNC’s emails. Russia did flood social media with ads and pages and bots, all designed to pump up Trump, as well as to inflame tensions among American citizens.


They weren’t doing this for kicks or as a practical joke.

They did it because an America ripped and weakened from the inside is less of a threat to their plans.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded last year that Russia interfered in the election, and evidence that Russian operatives used social media platforms to influence voter opinions continues to build.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that Russia is already attempting to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections.

Of course they are. If nothing else, they’ve been emboldened.

And while everyone has an opinion on whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia, that remains a topic that will have to be hashed out by investigators.

All the rest of us have are the uncomfortable certainties that Trump’s campaign team was made up of people with really questionable ties to Russia.

We know that Russian officials were present at the RNC convention in Cleveland, in July 2016, and that under the guidance of Trump and his team, the RNC were encouraged to loosen up the Republican platform regarding aggressive Russian activity in Ukraine.

We also know that further sanctions were unanimously voted on against Russia for their activities, and earlier this month, the deadline for those sanctions to be signed by the president came and went, and Trump refused to sign them.


Make Russia Great Again.

At the very least, there’s some respect for Russia there that Trump doesn’t feel particularly inclined to extend to members of his own party or his own intelligence community.

In his latest remarks, Bush also criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that he has a “chip on his shoulder.”

“The reason he does is because of the demise of the Soviet Union troubles him,” Bush said, according to the AP. “Therefore, much of his moves [are] to regain Soviet hegemony.”

This is correct. We don’t need one of the big two major American political parties openly cheering him on.



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