Donald Trump has just made Vladimir Putin happy

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Cooper: Any candidate would say what Sanders said

“I said, ‘You know, it’s a very appropriate time, because things are falling in this moment and they are lining up showing what has been a hoax all this investigation, it has been a total shame and I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw many things they happen in the next number of weeks “” Trump told reporters about his conversation with Putin. “This is just one piece of a very dishonest puzzle.”

You don’t have to think about it too much to imagine the huge smile on Putin’s face when he heard those words from Trump. Because this means that Trump continues to be unable to dissociate the discoveries that Russia has actively sought to interfere in the last presidential election from the idea that admitting that fact somehow robs his credit for winning.

The two things, of course, are not mutually exclusive. Russia stepped into the election to help Trump and injure Hillary Clinton, is Trump has won.

The President’s inability to grasp this nuance means that he continues to reject the findings of the intelligence community, the Robert Mueller special council investigation and the Republican-led Senate intelligence committee, which concluded that, yes, Russia has conducted a vast and profound campaign to interfere in the 2016 elections and, yes, it was meant to help Trump, whom they considered best for their Clinton interests. (To be clear: none of these investigations produced conclusive evidence that a single vote was modified by Russia’s effort.)

And unfortunately, this is not the first time that Trump has rejected the results of those various investigations while Putin was present.

In July 2018, at a summit in Helsinki, Finland, Trump and Putin emerged from a private two-hour meeting and asked the press questions. Asked directly if he accused Russia of election interference, Trump replied: “I hold both countries accountable. I think the United States has been foolish. I think we have all been foolish … … And I think we all have to blame . ” Later, when it was insisted that the intelligence community concluded that Russia had stepped in to help and injure Clinton, Trump said: “So I have a lot of faith in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that the president Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. “

That was then – and is now – music for Putin’s ears. And that’s because Trump’s blind spot on Russian interference isn’t just a backward problem. It has important consequences for the next 2020 elections.

“We estimate that foreign actors will see the 2020 US election as an opportunity to advance their interests,” said then National Intelligence Director Dan Coats in January 2019. “We expect them to refine their skills and add new ones. tactics as they learn from each other’s experiences and efforts in previous elections. “
In a written declaration presented to Congress during the same period, Coats was more specific. “Moscow can employ additional influence toolkits – such as spreading misinformation, conducting hack-and-leak operations or manipulating data – in a more targeted way to influence US politics, actions and elections,” he wrote.

It’s simple: Russia considers its interference in the 2016 elections a great success. And they are planning to take it to the next level in 2020.

Virtually everyone in the United States government understands this, except the President of the United States. The problem is that his opinion is far more important than anyone else’s. As in, Trump sets priorities for his administration. It also sets what is not a priority.

“In the previous months Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign, she tried to focus the White House on one of her top priorities as a secretary for internal security: to prepare for new and different forms of Russian interference in the 2020 elections.

“President Trump’s chief of staff told her not to present him in front of the president …

“… Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, made it clear that Mr. Trump has still equated any public discussion about the malicious Russian election with questions about the legitimacy of his victory. According to a senior administration official, the Mr. Mulvaney said that “it was not an exceptional topic and should be kept below its level.” “

It’s amazing stuff. And he talks about how Trump’s inability to see the truth about what Russia did in 2016 seriously hinders our government’s efforts to combat what’s coming in November.

Even more worrying is that Trump has secured Putin – on two occasions! – is personally aware of his skepticism about Russia’s role in the last election. This is literally a dream scenario for the Russian president.

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