You don’t need to think hard to imagine the big smile on Putin’s face when he hears those words from Trump. Because what it means is that Trump continues to be unable to separate the finding that Russia is actively trying to interfere in the last presidential election from the idea that acknowledging that fact somehow robbed him of his credit for victory.
The two things are, of course, not mutually exclusive. Russia interfered in the election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton, and Trump wins.
The President’s inability to understand that nuance means that he continues to reject the findings of the intelligence community, the investigation of special advisor Robert Mueller and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee – all of which concluded that, yes, Russia is running a broad and deep campaign to interfere in the election 2016 and, yes, it aims to help Trump, who they believe is better for their interests than Clinton. (To be clear: None of the investigations has produced definitive proof that the voting without a vote was changed by Russian efforts.)
And unfortunately, this is not the first time Trump has rejected the findings of various investigations when Putin was present.
That was – and is – music to Putin’s ears. And that’s because Trump’s blind spot on Russian intervention isn’t just a matter that seems backward. This has big consequences for the upcoming 2020 elections.
It’s simple: Russia views its disruption in the 2016 elections as a huge success. And they plan to take it to the next level by 2020.
Almost everyone in the US government understands this fact – except for the President of the United States. The problem is that his opinions are far more important than those of others. As in, Trump sets priorities for his administration. And he also sets what is not a priority.
“In the months before Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign, he tried to focus the White House on one of the highest priorities as homeland security secretary: preparing for new and different forms of Russian interference in the 2020 elections.
“President Trump’s chief of staff told him not to bring him in front of the president …
“… Mick Mulvaney, White House chief of staff, explained that Mr. Trump still equates any public discussion about Russian election activities that slander with questions about the validity of his victory. According to a senior government official, Mr Mulvaney said it was” not a good subject and should be guarded below the level. ‘ “
That is an astonishing thing. And talking about how Trump’s inability to see the truth of what Russia is doing in 2016 is seriously hampering our government’s efforts to combat anything that will happen in November.
Even more troubling is that Trump has confirmed Putin – on two occasions! – Personally aware of his skepticism about the role Russia played in the last election. It was truly a dream scenario for the Russian president.