BY PETER F. STEVENS
For once, President Donald Trump has told the truth. He professes that nothing is more important to him than the proverbial “red, white, and blue.” That truth materialized as he stood alongside Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. With virtually every word that spilled from Donald Trump’s lips, the President displayed his devotion to the red, white, and blue—not to that of Old Glory, but to the same colors on the the flag of the Russian Federation.
As Conservative David Frum writes in the Atlantic, the United States “can no longer afford to wait to ascertain why President Trump has subordinated himself to Putin—it must deal with the fact that he has.” Frum adds, “We still do not know what hold Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump, but the whole world has now witnessed the power of its grip.”
Trump’s weak, obsequious deference to Putin came in the immediate wake of having trashed NATO and the EU in Brussels and prime Minister Theresa May on her home turf in the U.K. Whether wittingly or unwittingly, President Trump was singing straight from the Putin Hymnal.
For reasons that remain murky, Donald Trump gives every appearance of being Vlad’s Vassal. The President of the United States stood next to Putin—who orchestrated the Russian meddling into the 2016 election, the bleating of Trump supporters notwithstanding—and droned that Putin’s flimsy denials were as “strong and powerful” as the unanimous and proven conclusion of every American intelligence agency that the Russians put their thumb on the campaign and election scale to try and tip it Donald Trump’s way.
Frum, again a rock-ribbed Conservative, chides the President further: “Russia helped Donald Trump into the presidency, as Robert Mueller’s indictment vividly details. Putin, in his own voice, has confirmed that he wanted Trump elected. Standing alongside his benefactor, Trump denounced the special counsel investigating Russian intervention in the U.S. election—and even repudiated his own intelligence appointees.
“This is an unprecedented situation...”
As I’m finishing this column, there is breaking news from President Trump’s Twitter thumbs. He has just tweeted that he is “concerned” the Russians are meddling in our 2018 mid-term elections in favor of the Democrats “because he has been so tough on” Putin and company. A rancid chunk of Putinesque disinformation, Mr. President. Actually, let’s call your words what they are: yet another bald-faced lie and b.s. from you, Mr. President. Does he plan to raise this “concern” when Putin arrives for his autumn “sleepover” with our Presdent, who obviously believes that an invitation to D.C. is a fitting thank you to his BFF Vlad for his attack—not meddling or interference—on the U.S.
Trump’s public bending of the knee to Putin in Helsinki should constitute questions for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike. Not to mention the matter of his more than two-hour private meeting with Putin. What did they discuss? Were any “deals”struck, any concessions made by our President? As of this writing, the nation has no real answers—other than the words of a President who lies every day and defies his supine party to question him. Some 88 percent of his party continues to swallow whole their daily dose of falsehoods. To paraphrase the Bard, “Something is rotten in the State of America.”
All of which brings us to a certain proud Irish American named Judge Thomas Kavanaugh. As his eventual confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court looms, his writings about the power of the Executive branch have begun to surface. He has stated that the Supreme Court’s landmark 8-0 decision to order President Nixon to cough up the White House tapes that drove him from the Oval Office was possibly “erroneously decided.” Additionally, Kavanaugh has contended that the exigencies of office should shield a sitting President from even a subpoena, let alone an indictment. It seems that Kavanaugh believes the President is above the law. If so, Trump might well have picked Kavanaugh as a Supreme get-out-of-jail card who will have the President’s back if Robert Mueller does strike.
The media has waxed on about Kavanaugh’s Catholic creds—Mass-goer, CYO coach, and so on. All well and good, but the good judge has even had a St. Paul of Tarsus epiphany. As Ken Starr’s attack dog, Kavanaugh went after President Bill Clinton like, well, the hounds of Hell. Kavanaugh contended then that a Democrat President was not above the law. Now, having been struck by legal lighting that a President IS above the law with a Republican in the White House, GOP stalwart Kavanaugh miraculously jumped from the far corner of Trump’s Federalist Society list to near-certain confirmation to the Supreme Court. Is there a possibility, even a faint possibility, that the President has nominated a jurist who apparently asserts that Donald J. Trump must be shielded from Robert Mueller’s “witch hunt?” Who could believe that about a President who embodies the red, white, and blue?
BY PETER F. STEVENS