On Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump held his first press conference since July 2016 and quickly proved why it might be better if he never holds another. During the presser, Trump surprised everyone by admitting for the first time that he believed Russia was behind the cyber attacks aimed at the Democratic National Committee and high-level Democratic officials connected to Secretary Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
As far as hacking, I think it was Russia, but I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people,” Trump said.
Trump once again embraced the idea of fostering a closer relationship with Russia, while inferring that if Russia did help him, that wasn’t a bad thing.
If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset and not a liability,” he said.
Last week, intelligence officials briefed Trump on their assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the goal of helping him win the presidency. After the briefing, Trump continued to cast doubt on the findings while dismissing the notion that the cyber attacks had any impact on the election. He’s also framed the discussion as a Democratic “witch hunt” against Russia. Trump also avoided a question regarding whether or not his aides were in contact with Russian officials during his campaign. Instead, he insisted that Russia would not engage in future hacking against the U.S.
He shouldn’t be doing it, he won’t be doing it,” he said. “Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I’m leading it than when other people have led it. You will see that. Russia will respect our country more. He shouldn’t have done it, I don’t believe he’ll be doing it more. Now, we have to work something out, but it’s not just Russia.”
Trump then promoted his lie that the DNC’s “hacking defenses” were weak compared to the Republican National Committee’s strong security, which is why the Russians were not able to gain any information from the RNC’s computers. However, FBI Director James B. Comey stated on Tuesday, that the Russians did successfully hack the RNC’s system. Trump went on to suggest that the DNC deserved to be hacked and that the information released from the hacking justified the crime.
Hacking is bad and it shouldn’t be done. But look at the things that were hacked. Look at what was learned from that hacking. That Hillary Clinton got the questions to the debate and didn’t report it,” he said. “That’s a horrible thing. That’s a horrible thing. Can you imagine if Donald Trump got the questions to the debate? It would have been the biggest story in the history of stories and they would have said immediately ‘you have to get out of the race.’ And nobody even talked about it. It’s a very terrible thing.”
The president-elect was also dismissive of the idea that Russia had damaging information about him.
I’ll be honest. I think if they did have something, they would have released it, they would have been glad to release it,” he said. “I think, frankly, had they broken into the Republican National Committee, they would have released it, just like they did about Hillary and all of the horrible things her people like Mr. Podesta said about her.”
Trump’s affinity with Vladimir Putin’s regime is beyond embarrassing. He has now admitted that Russia was behind attacking American democracy but cherry-picked which parts of the intelligence community’s conclusions he wants to believe. His arrogance and deliberate ignorance is the exact opposite of presidential behavior and will lay the groundwork for future disasters if both Democrats and Republicans are not able to keep him in check.
If Donald Trump completes his four-year term without being impeached or imprisoned, then right-wing nutjob evangelist Franklin Graham may be on to something about Trump’s “divine” luck. Because between his impulsive narcissistic rants and his ethically challenged decisions, the odds are that Vice President-elect Mike Pence will be the 46th President of the United States before 2020.
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