Does Trump really want to take a look in the rearview mirror? #hiMitch

Does Trump really want to take a look in the rearview mirror? #hiMitch

by digby

Greg Sargent examines the possible unanticipated fallout from Trump blaming of Barack Obama for his failure to stop the Russian interference:
The problem for Trump is that this line of inquiry also leads right back to the conduct of his fellow Republicans in the face of this Russian effort to undermine our democracy — conduct that was undertaken on his and the GOP’s behalf.
It is true that the Obama administration failed in key ways to safeguard the 2016 election. But it has also been established by dogged reporting that leading congressional Republicans rebuffed top Obama officials who wanted them to show a united, bipartisan public front against that Russian sabotage. As The Post has reported, when those officials made that request of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), he refused, claiming (in The Post’s words) that “he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.”

Former CIA director John Brennan has gone on the record about these efforts. “In those briefings of Congress, some of the individuals expressed concern that this was motivated by partisan interests on the part of the [Obama] administration,” Brennan recently said in a “Frontline” documentary. “I took offense to that. I told them that this is an intelligence assessment; that this is an intelligence matter.”

In the light of Mueller’s new indictment, we should revisit this. Before, we didn’t really have any idea just how extensive a case for Russian meddling was presented to GOP lawmakers. But now we have a much clearer sense of just how elaborate the Russian scheme really was — and a much clearer sense of the degree to which it was aimed at tipping the election to Trump. Indeed, the Mueller indictment doesn’t touch the role of WikiLeaks and the cybertheft aimed at top Democrats, which suggests that it only scratches the surface of what is known.

All this makes it more likely that a credible, detailed case was presented to GOP lawmakers in those meetings — not just of the scope of the Russian plot but also that its aim was to help install Trump in the White House, as part of a “strategic effort to sow discord in the U.S. political system,” as the indictment puts it. And so, Trump’s new spin in the face of the indictment — that it reveals Obama’s failure to act in the face of the threat — also invites more scrutiny of their conduct in the face of that threat.

Writing at Crooked Media, Brian Beutler points to a deep tension in the media debate over the Mueller indictment. Observers are struggling to come to terms with how extensive the Russian sabotage effort really was, while simultaneously avoiding grappling with whether it might have helped tip an extremely close election to Trump — an uncomfortable topic, because that might place a question mark over Trump’s legitimacy.

And that raises another related uncomfortable question — a forward-looking one. Trump and his media allies have gone to enormous lengths to discredit and hamstring a full reckoning into what happened. Numerous Republicans in Congress have perverted and weaponized the oversight process to lend an assist to that effort. Because Trump refuses to take Russian sabotage of the 2016 presidential election seriously, Trump is conspicuously failing to organize a response to the threat of Russian meddling in upcoming elections, even though intelligence officials warn this effort is already upon us.

Republicans such as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) have greeted the Mueller indictment by claiming our election security must be taken seriously. But how many Republicans are openly calling out Trump’s inaction in that regard, which the indictment gives us ample grounds for taking even more seriously? As the Atlantic’s David Frum suggests, we need to discuss a “bigger and darker question,” namely whether Trump — and, crucially, congressional Republicans — may not particularly care about this threat if they stand to benefit from it.

Much of this is speculative, which provides a way for those who find these topics awkward to avoid reckoning directly with them. But the specific conduct of GOP lawmakers in declining to show a united front against Russian sabotage of our democracy is a topic that needn’t remain speculative. It can be fully fleshed out and established with empirical, journalistic inquiry. Trump has unwittingly invited this inquiry. We should take him up on it.

Again. They seem awfully confident that further Russian interference will accrue to their benefit. Why else would they be so blase about it?

Maybe it's time to take a look at that DCCC hack again ...