This ‘Russian election meddling’ nonsense is one of the phoniest things ever in American politics

By Dan Calabrese

A Democrat I know and like, a friend from here in my own city who is very active in politics here, just came and sat down next to me in the coffee shop. I won’t tell you his name because I don’t want to ruin his life by outing him as a friend of mine.

But he said to me, “I want you to make me feel better. I’m scared.”

He’s scared because, based on President Trump’s comments at yesterday’s joint presser with Vladimir Putin, he’s convinced that the United States is now subservient to Russia. He’s convinced that the Russian’s meddling in our election is one of the great international scandals of all time and it’s all the more so because Donald Trump refuses to express his outrage over it.

“Let me ask you a question,” I said. “What do you think was the first American elections the Russians tried to screw with?”

He said he didn’t know.

“Do you think it was 2016?”

Certainly not, he said. Surely the Russians have been screwing with our elections for as long as we’ve been having them, but that’s not the point. The point is that this awful American president stood there and doubted his own intelligence people while seeming to accept the denial of a man you probably shouldn’t believe if he tells you he wants you to have a nice day.

Since he said he wanted me to make him feel better, I pointed out all the Trump policies – disrupting international energy markets, selling arms to Ukraine, countering the EU’s gas deals with Putin, exiting the Iran nuclear deal – that are decidedly not in Russia’s best interests. I tried to explain that the optics may appear one way, but Americans are far too obsessed with optics, and Trump’s actual policies in no way support the idea that he is Vladimir Putin’s lapdog.

That devolved quickly into speculation about whether Trump even makes the policies, or is too much of a bumpkin to do so and is merely controlled by the people around him. But in the end he conceded he would have to research whether Trump’s actual policies are as pro-Russian as the media tell us his attitudes are.

But there is a more important point to be made here, not about the way Trump handled himself in dealing with this issue but about the issue itself. This is without a doubt the phoniest issue the media and the political class have ever shoved in America’s collective faces.

The proposition they’re selling us is that they are stunned, shocked, outraged and appalled because Russia dared – dared – to meddle in our electoral process.

They are not.

Russia has been trying to destabilize America’s politics since before anyone reading this was born. They did it during the Cold War. They did it during the Yeltsin period. They’ve done it under Putin. They will do it when Putin’s gone. Whatever they may have done in 2016 is nothing new and nothing even all that extraordinary.

And no one who has been around Washington any length of time fails to understand this, and that includes the news media. Now, there may be reporters who are ignorant about the history and are caught up in the fever pitch about this. The media operate on a pack mentality have little understanding of history, even recent history.  Something that’s happened hundreds of times before and got virtually no attention could suddenly be the biggest news story in history as it happens for the 101st time, just because this time it’s taking off for whatever reason.

In the case of whatever Russia may have done in 2016, it is getting attention from the media and the political class for one reason and one reason only: It is a way to cast aspersions on the victory of Donald Trump, a man they loathe and were determined to stop. It is suddenly the greatest emergency of our time, even though the exact same thing happened in 2012, and 2008, and 2004, and 2000, and 1996, etc. And a president who doesn’t order Vladimir Putin on the world stage to stop it is a traitor, even though not a single one of his predecessors ever did so, and they were as aware as Trump  is that the Russians did this sort of thing.

I laid out for you earlier this morning some of the far more important issues we have with Russia. If Trump had stood up there yesterday and said it was fine for Putin to occupy Crimea, or to poison political dissidents, or to help Iran build nukes, or to control U.S. uranium, or to complain about missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, or to float cheap loans to Venezuela, then I would have been really pissed off at Trump.

But I can’t get on board with your outrage about Trump brushing off the “election meddling” thing because it’s a completely phony issue. Not only that, but it’s a blatantly political issue being kept alive solely for the purpose of damaging Trump politically. If that were not the case, then Rod Rosenstein wouldn’t have announced 12 indictments just a weekend before Trump’s meeting with Putin – indictments of 12 Russians who will never see the inside of a U.S. courtroom, but the announcement of which was sure to dominate all coverage of the Trump/Putin meeting.

Make no mistake. Rosenstein timed that intentionally to blow up his own boss’s plans. He knew exactly what he was doing. He made an announcement with no real legal significance but with the maximum political shellshock effect, and that was the whole idea.

It’s hard to blame Trump for not wanting to make his meeting with Putin all about this phony nonsense issue that the media only want to talk about in order to cast aspersions on Trump and his presidency. You think it’s disgraceful that Trump handled it the way he did? I think it’s disgraceful we’ve spent two years obsessing over this BS when most of the people doing the obsessing know it’s utter garbage.

Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!