THE SHAMBLES OF TRUMPS PRESS CONFERENCE: WHAT DOES IT PORTEND?

kak5h285o9mt79zjrhzd
Image taken from Gawker Media

By: Harry C. Blaney III

The Trump press conference today was a shambles for both Trump and honesty and transparency in politics. His main target seemed to be the press and the intelligence community. Part of the conference was spent trying to put aside any criticism of self-dealing. However, with his family still in total control of his assets and the Trump Organization, the President-Elect will continue to face criticism and lingering questions about conflicts of interest. Trump also declared his company would not make any more “significant” foreign deals, but the tone and substance of these decisions would give an informed citizen a deep concern for our nation’s direction if closely examined. 

He took on, as expected, the intelligence community on the leaked reports that alleged Russia had personal dirt on him. Trump made his anger clear and seemed to threaten the intelligence community. He denied that the report was leaked by his staff and painted it as the work of his political opponents. He said his intelligence community appointees would provide a report on foreign hacking but did not address the deeper question of his relationship with these agencies once president.

But from what he did say, and what he implied, that relationship will be strained. This is then likely to be a weak point for our larger security strategy as an ignorant president will be uninformed of vital realities in our complex and conflict filled world by agencies with which he is in open conflict.   

He would not answer the question if any of his staff or family had any contact with the Russian authorities during the campaign or after the election. Regarding Russia and Putin, he acknowledged that they had conducted hacking, but pointed much more to China and non-state actors as a major source of hacking. He deflected any questions on Putin’s support for his candidacy. He said, in effect, he could handle Putin and hope to gain his cooperation, but would defend US and fight to protect American interests. As Trump defined it, a good personal relationship with the Russian President would be an asset rather than a liability. He also tweeted that he had no business interests in Russia.

A good portion of the news conference was taken up by a Trump Organization lawyer outlining the means by which he was going to disassociate himself from conflicts by turning his assets over to his two adult sons!  

He said the US government defenses against cyberwarfare were weak under Obama and with the Democratic Party, and he would make government defenses strong. Just how was not stated except he would bring in the best people.

But as we have seen over the last two years, much of his statements were vague and discombobulated even contradictory. He did not really answer many of the questions asked. He mostly made a pitch of why he was so great and all would be just wonderful and repeated many of his slogans from the campaign and tweeter posts. There were almost no specifics on many key issues except he still held that Mexico would pay for the wall and hinted at taxes against Mexico, but the wall would start without money from Mexico. Trump justified this change by noting he wants to begin construction immediately and not wait “a year and a half” to conclude negotiations with Mexico first.

Nuclear issues and climate change were largely ignored to the detriment of the conference providing insight on these issues as nuclear security is one of the critical issues for our nation and world and the same can be said about climate change.

Hang on to your hats readers this is going to be a difficult four years.

After the press conference I was reminded of the poet’s Alfred Lord Tennyson’s lines: “Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within.”

We welcome your comments!

The comment section can be found here or below.

Advertisements

THE HACKING OF DEMOCRATIC SITES WITH INTENT TO HARM: TRUMP’S REACTIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR US ALL.

THE HACKING OF DEMOCRATIC SITES WITH INTENT TO HARM:
TRUMP’S REACTIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR US ALL.
 

By Harry C. Blaney III

Now that we have a definitive unclassified American intelligence reading and finding of the extent and purpose of the Russian hacking of American political parties and efforts to influence the 2016 presidential elections. Those responsible for its writing and those with access to the classified document say the unclassified finding is in keeping with the more detailed classified document. Now the question is whether there will be further U.S. action in response to this report and what the consequences for both sides will be?

We have not yet seen, but may soon see this week, the response by the Obama administration to these now public findings. Also of great importance will be the reaction and statements by Donald Trump and Republican Party leaders. Both Trump and the Russians have been, and are still downplaying, the significance of these acts of active cyberwarfare.

The final great question is whether the reactions and policies and strategies that follow will enhance the security of America and its allies as well as protect the democratic institutions and processes of all NATO members and other American allies. In that context we can put in place protective and preemptive actions to halt or, more likely mitigate, and effectively respond to efforts to divide and weaken Western institutions, especially NATO and the EU. The Russians also have an active program to bring into power far right-wing fascist parties with an anti-American, anti-EU/NATO, anti-liberal democratic, and pro-Russian tendencies. If Russia has its way, these parties will be dependent on Russian support and money – all efforts already undertaken by Russian intelligence agencies, surrogates, and online trolls.

One question that is being asked is whether Trump plans to “clean house” or “de-fang” the CIA and other intelligence agencies and/or set up his own intelligence unit in the White House as has been rumored. This would and should be seen as a major gift to Russia and it security and military forces. Our allies are already scared of what they hear and our cooperation with them on security and intelligence is at risk.

But of even more importance is how to balance the long term American strategic and political interest of working to help create the conditions for a responsible, rational, and cooperative Russia. A Russia where its people can have large measures of freedom and see a future as part of a larger peaceful, cooperative, and non-threatening international community. From what we have seen so far, it is not at all clear that Trump and his often reckless, extreme, and myopic ideological advisors have the temperament, knowledge, and openness to receive expert and unbiased advice or the smarts to navigate that complex path. It also takes courage and patience to fight the “long-game” and there is little ego satisfaction to simply avoid catastrophic mistakes.

In that long-run both Russia and America must learn to live with each other otherwise we as a human civilization will not survive. Both sides have more than enough nuclear weapons to destroy civilization. This is not time to play games on the part of either side. That is a mistake that Putin has made and in the long run will cost him and Russia dearly.

We may on our side have a new leader that is even more reckless and more ignorant of the necessity of caution, understanding complexity, and the proper use of the tools of diplomacy and carefulness than Putin – not a very happy combination for the world.

In Russia, Putin’s advisors have become lackeys. These and his appointment of former KGB colleagues with the same mind set that won’t argue with him – some of them who have dissented have lost more than their jobs. The result is a nation lead by kleptomaniacs, self-serving officials, and lackeys. The result is an inefficient economy, inequality, and the deadening hand of authoritarian rule that deprives Russia of joy, initiative, and not least openness of debate and any real democracy. Its brutal suppression of its citizens’ freedoms, media, and free organized groups are all part of Putin’s aim to create a dictatorship with the use of all the instruments of the state to ensue his rule without question. Is it this Russia that Trump so admires and sees as his modal? 

 

putintrump
Image taken from the New York Review of Books

In America, those already chosen by Trump, in large part, were picked because of unquestioned obedience, with a fair share of flawed but be-medaled military paraded by Trump like “arm candy,” or billionaires without a nickel of experience in running a government. There are already reports that Trump’s son-in-law will be controlling foreign Affairs from the White House and that he is the “go-to” person if you want Trump’s ear on foreign affairs or security issues.

All of this is a sign of setting up a family plutocracy. One has to wonder what real role will the incoming Secretary of State have or Trump’s new National Security Council head? That, along with disrespect for the intelligence community when it needs to tell an “inconvenient truth.” Especially this is the case when it has to say the truth to a leader most known for his habitual lies and an ego that brooks no dissent.

In short, we could see an administration made up of not much more than useful idiots, stooges, and unquestioning family members with no experience in governing on sensitive national security issues! Cyberwarfare by Russia may not be needed in a Trump administration

WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS: The comment section is found here or below.

CHINA, ASIA, AND TRUMP: STUPIDITY STILL AT WORK!

By Harry C. Blaney III

The last few days have shown again the total lack of seriousness, long term strategy, and assessment of risks and gains, compounded by ignorance of even the basics of foreign and national security policy and history by Trump and his rag-tag retinue.

The Taiwan “call” debacle is only one of many such acts of unbelievable imbecility which we are now learning was a deliberate programmed act instigated by an outside representative law firm working for the Taiwan government led by Robert Dole who it is reported arranged the call in conclusion with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. And while this makes this act more serious in the eyes of China, it also has implication for our understanding of how out-of-it the Trump regime is of the fundamental interest and the playing field of Asia. My old boss at the State Department, Henry Kissinger and architect of the “Opening to China” in the 1970s, had visited Trump before this odd call and also had briefed China President Xi. Clearly I am sure Trump did not take whatever Kissinger told him about the hard fact of the arrangement of relative power in Asia and the binding elements of the Shanghai Agreement.

Even Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said her phone call with Trump should not be interpreted as a shift in U.S. policy. She stressed that both sides “see the value of maintaining regional stability.” In effect she tried to indicate that the impact of the call may have been a “bridge too far” at this moment.

What is also interesting is that none of Trump’s foreign policy associates cautioned him about the possible risks of such an action. Or if they pressed him to this act they did so not telling him of the costs but simply were playing to their blind extreme ideological right-wing views without telling the “Emperor” that there might also be high costs especially when it come to dealing with the Elephant in the room that is China as far as Asia goes.

What is really worrisome for a sane foreign or security policy going forward is knowing again that his myopic advisors do not seem capable to do what is a necessity of policy making and advice: to give both pros and cons to the decision maker and especially give the high risks of actions which would harm American long-term interests over short-term gains.

Finally, Asia is important and China is often the path to progress on many issues and also an adversary in some areas that need constant and thoughtful assessment and attention of the deepest kind. This includes trade, investment, global security including nuclear proliferation, dealing with a nuclear armed North Korea, the conflict over jurisdiction in the South China Sea, and the preservation of our alliances with Japan and South Korea.

Our interests must also be our concern for the independence and stability of other Asian nations. President Obama was right to establish the “Pivot to Asia” which incorporated a close dialogue and work with China with the protection of other nations from a possible aggressive and overreaching China. Trump apparently does not see these fine points and looks more increasingly like the “Bull in the China Shop.”

WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS, CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR COMMENTS!

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE NOMINATION AND ITS IMPLICATIONS : A MIXED BAG?

By Harry C. Blaney III

On Friday, Donald Trump nominated retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, who served more than 40 years in the Marine Corps.  According to the press, Trump said to a rally Thursday night in Cincinnati: “We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our Secretary of Defense.”

General Mattis is by all accounts a mixed bag. Some say he has a number of redeeming qualities and others see him as an undisciplined character who from time to time gets into trouble with his mouth and his policy perspectives and actions. Nothing new in Washington!

There is also two problem areas: one is a conflict of interest with a blood testing firm that has problems with the FDA, and the other is that there is a rule that bans a retired military officer serving as Defense Secretary until he has been retired for at least seven years. According to the reports, word from Capitol Hill hints Congress will exempt Mattis from the ban. But he is likely to be given close scrutiny by the Senate Armed Forces Committee at his hearing for the post.

This may be unfortunate as he may take with him all the preconceived military perspectives and may look at key issues with a stove pipe perspective that an experienced civilian secretary would not and must weigh and be able to question effectively the advice of the “generals.” We need to remember that the US generals advising John F. Kennedy all recommend preemptive massive bombing of Cuba in the crisis of the 1961, which would have resulted in a nuclear war since the Russian commander in Cuba had nuclear weapons in place and had been authorized to use them on the US without further orders. This would have been a global catastrophe. Diplomacy by elected civilians saved the world from that result.

This appointment has special need for care. The Secretary of Defense is in the line of command on the use of nuclear weapons. Enough said.

General background of “Mad Gog” General Mattis:

The Mad Dog tag in question was retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, who for more than 40 years served in the Marine Corps. The 66-year-old general, called a “warrior monk” by his peers for his depth of knowledge and lack of family — he never married — is also known to turn a memorable phrase, including: “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” (Washington Post, 12/2/2016)

Mattis in 2001 was a one-star general who led a task force of more than 1,000 Marines on a mission in Kandahar province in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, led the seizure of the airport there establishing an early coalition command centers in the country.  He commanded in 2002 a division of Marines during the invasion of Iraq and returning in 2004 to lead the savage urban combat in Fallujah.  Mattis, had an assignment with the NATO’s supreme allied command and has warned that the Russian president is trying to “break NATO apart.”  He finally served as the head of the U.S. Central Command, the combatant command that is in charge of U.S. wars in the Middle East. He was commander of Centcom from 2010 to 2013 when his assignment was cut short for some say differences with President regarding dealing with Iran which he saw as a major threat.  In that capacity, he oversaw the surge of forces in Afghanistan and the start of the Syrian civil war. Mattis is now a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Here in simple format are the pros and cons:

ONE THE POSITIVE SIDE:

Mattis does not share the islamophobia of the appointed National Security Advisor to Trump which is a good thing and may temper stupid acts that would worsen the situation in the Middle East and beyond.  There are reports that he urged his troops in Iraq to be sensitive to local feelings and work with the local people. But Lt. General Flynn at the NSC will be far closer to power and Trump the final decision-maker, along with his prejudices which are well known bringing some of his weaknesses in terms of facts and reality.

On the question of torture, Trump told the New York Times that he was very impressed and might even rethink his position on torture, which he advocated using throughout the campaign. Specifically Trump said:

“General Mattis is a strong, highly dignified man. I met with him at length and I asked him that question. I said, what do you think of waterboarding? He said — I was surprised — he said, “I’ve never found it to be useful.” He said, “I’ve always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture.” And I was very impressed by that answer.” (Note: It is illegal to use torture, especially by the military.)

There are a host of former military leaders and some outside military and strategic analysts that think Mattis wold be a good pick given the ignorance and instability of Trump. One problem is that often both the Secretaries of Defense and of State are not present when a president makes a key strategic decision and often it is only the National Security Advisor who is there along with the White House Chief-of-Staff whose knowledge of strategic and war issues is normally quite limited. In the case of Lt. General Flynn the chosen NSC head, his past behavior and prejudices are indicators of a not very balanced mind with too many blinders in his perspective. Can Mattis prove a balance to irrationality time will only tell.

Mattis’ long experience on the high level military front as noted above is a positive.

Of interest, is that the present Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement: “I have known General Jim Mattis for many years and hold him in the highest regard,” adding that he would work to facilitate a “seamless transition.”

ON THE NEGATIVE SIDE:

Mattis holds strong feeling against Iran and initially the Iran deal. Absent that deal the consequences could have led America into a war and and without it permit or lead Iran to start building nuclear weapons free of the strong constraints of the Iran agreement. But that attitude is balanced by Mattis more recent support for the Iran nuclear deal which he believes should remain in place with very strict oversight of compliance.

He is said to have a bias towards the Sunni gulf nations and prejudice against the Shia sides of Islam.

He has, as others have noted, little experience in Asia which looms as a key strategic theater and needs high level focus on its many high risks.

There is a real danger that at the NSC meetings of principals there will be a large set of former high level military officers at the table who may have a unified and “uniform” perspective but a wrong one from a long-term  strategic and diplomatic perspective. The first thought of this group may be to “make war” with military intervention rather that to “make peace” and apply diplomatic tools to problems solving. Most problems often need a diplomatic answer in order to not become needlessly involved in risky adventures with no positive outcome in sight and with great cost.

Much will come out in the Congressional hearings on this top key appointment and we will also see to what degree that Mattis can influence now Trump towards a more thoughtful approach to foreign and national security affairs and risks.

Finally, a new added set of possible prospects for Secretary of State have emerge over the weekend and this week, which frankly from reports are not looking to be the top people one would hope for. But they are saying a decision will be made this week.  More on this in another post.

We welcome your comments, click here to make a comment.

THE CUBA TRANSITION AND A TRUMP DILEMMA AND TEST FOR OUR NATION?

By Harry C. Blaney III

As one of the key foreign policy tests of Donald Trump’s unfortunate campaign promises and to “Make America Great” is what he will do regarding our Cuba policy.  He has indicated as a threat that if Cuba does not change its policies he will cut relations with that nation. But both the threat and its consequences are more likely to make America “little” rather than great and decrease its leverage not only in Latin America but globally.

The death of Fidel Castro is an opportunity to increase our engagement, not to disrupt an initiative that has promoted many of our long-term goals in Cuba and in Latin America. It is a test for rationality and national interest for the new regime and at the moment it looks as if they still do not understand simple facts and long-term strategic interests of this nation and for that matter of the international community.

Trump speaks of disengagement because Cuba is not the democracy we would hope for and has had a record of human rights violations. His twitter threat that : “I will terminate deal” is a bad example of recklessness which applied to a legion of issues would destroy America’s creditably.  But does Trump also want to “disengage” with countries with like or even worse such records of democracy and human rights violations like China, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, a number of the “-Stans” and a host of other nations around the world?  What has Cuba done that is worst than many of these countries?  And where is there a better place to have a constructive influence over time?

President Obama and John Kerry’s policy is, like that of many past presidents, to engage with nations, even those we disagree with on a host of issues, rather that make “America Small” by mindless disengagement. For the good of global security America must be a leader of the global responsible powers and support positive preventive diplomacy, negotiations, and dialogue as necessary tools to make the world safe.

In the first case President Obama’s outreach to Cuba is by any fair account a success, has provided a key access to that beleaguered and troubled nation, and given Americans and Cubans the ability to exchange ideas, trade and cultural activities as never before.

A majority of Americans support the opening of our relations, with diplomatic and  business communities agreeing with that approach. Further, many young Cuban-Americans want this opening and outreach to continue.  Yet Trump seems in this and in other areas to upend the security, economic and political opportunities that America has gained by a careful and cooperative approach in the international arena.

The test of Cuba policy is whether Trump can see past his destructive campaign rhetoric and look to the long-term gains inherent in constructive engagement with Cuba and other problematic nations. Our country is great, but blind stupidity and destructive policy and actions will only diminish it within and without our nation.

We welcome your comments! Click here to join the discussion.

Trump Considers Meeting with Putin as President-Elect; Obama Criticizes Trump’s Closeness to Russia

By, Harry C. Blaney III & John Gall

 

Donald Trump lobbed critiques at President Obama and Hillary Clinton on Monday over repeated insults creating an antagonistic US-Russia relationship. During this interview, Trump claimed he would possibly meet with Putin as President-Elect to repair the bilateral relationship:

“If I win on Nov. 8 … I could see myself meeting with Putin and meeting with Russia prior to the start of the administration. I think it would be wonderful.”

This would be an unprecedented action by any American political leader, as direct contact between national leaders should be conducted by the current President of the United States. By dealing directly with Trump as President-Elect, he would be undermining the executive power of President Obama during the final days of his second term in office.

On Tuesday, President Obama expressed his concern for Donald Trump’s embrace of the authoritarian leader:

“Mr. Trump’s continued flattery of Mr. Putin and the degree to which he appears to model many of his policies and approaches to politics on Mr. Putin is unprecedented in American politics and is out of step with not just what Democrats think but out of step with what up until the last few months, almost every Republican thought, including some of the ones who are now endorsing Mr. Trump…”

“[Russia] has to be part of the solution on the world stage rather than part of the problem. But their behavior has undermined international norms and international rules in ways that we have to call them out on. And anybody who occupies this office should feel the same way because these are values that we fought for and we protected.”

We have previously discussed Trump’s uncomfortably warm view of Putin, expressed by his encouragement of outside forces hacking the DNC and refusing to credit Clinton campaign cyberattacks to Russia, despite confident official announcements by the US intelligence community. Trump’s employment of advisers with close connections to Putin and his allies and suspicions of potential business ties to Russia also raises concerns that a Trump Presidency would provide Moscow with a foreign policy carte blanche.

This Presidential election has been filled with many shocking firsts, including Republican party support for a candidate who seems unable to criticize an aggressive Russia that violates the sovereignty of other nations, undermines our democratic process, and indiscriminately bombs civilians in Aleppo. It’s hard to imagine the party of Reagan, who declared the Soviet Union an ‘evil empire’ and spurred a dangerous game of atomic chicken through a horrifying nuclear arms race,  would throw their endorsement behind a candidate that fondly looks up to a former KGB and current authoritarian Russian strongman.

Imagine if President-Elect Obama met with Dmitry Medvedev in December 2008 to discuss arms reduction plans. The Republican Party would have called Obama an aspiring tyrant and secret Russian apologist, undermining President Bush’s efforts to conclude his foreign policy legacy.

________________________________________________________

We welcome your comments which can be posted here.

Visit our regularly up-dated Race to the White House section covering quotes, foreign affairs statements and policies of the presidential campaign candidates and parties.

RNS is also on twitter! Be sure to follow us @RNS_CIP 

PUTIN’S MAN ZHIRINOVSKY ON TRUMP, WAR AND U.S. ELECTION 2016

By Harry C. Blaney III

The question of Putin and Russian interest and involvement in the U.S. election debate, hacking of Democratic Party e-mails, and interference with US election voting all have been raised recently. They have also been mentioned by former Secretary Hillary Clinton. But more important are reports from U.S. intelligence sources that indeed Russians were involved in all of these activities. The significance of these activities has not been fully appreciated by the American public. The effort of Putin to impact and even change the trajectory of American democratic institutions in ways that will undermine our global leadership, respect and indeed security needs more understanding and attention. This is as serious an issue as any in this election.

A main danger is what we still do not know of how much the Russians have influenced Trump and his staff. There are hints that Trump’s people had advance notice of the WikiLeaks documents which likely had their sources from Russian intelligence.  We know that Donald Trump has praised Putin’s leadership, has said that Putin is a better leader than Obama And Trump has held a grudge against Obama and Clinton as has Putin.

But of greatest importance so far is all the evidence indicates that Putin is more than hoping, but also acting on the theory of an American president who is clearly self-interested, ignorant of the niceties of global strategy and diplomacy, and has displayed total disdain for the importance of deep knowledge or listening to expert advice on critical issues in dealing with national security challenges.

One of the deepest fears from the word of Trump has been his explicit indication that he would act as an authoritarian leader (“lock her up”) and disregard the norms and laws of our nation including ordering an investigation of Clinton which would be against all legal norms.  This is not the only brutal authoritarian leader that Trump has admired and it seems that he thinks that as president these are good examples of himself as a “strong” leader.

Trump, to make it clear, is and would be a danger to our national security at every level and proof of that alone is he admires a ruthless opponent and authoritarian leader that is trying his best to undermine the democratic West, their institutions and defense. As one will see an example from the voice of one of Putin’s supporters below, who clearly wants to help Trump to better manipulate the outcomes of American-Russian conflicts. Indeed it is my view we may more likely have a dangerous armed conflict with Russia under a maniacal Trump than from a highly experienced Clinton who knows the national security issues and risks and acts with real understanding and experience.

The oddest recent development has been the dismaying statement by one of Putin’s colleague who leads a party that supports Putin, the Russian Liberal Democratic Party – a misnomer if there ever was one. The man is Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an unrestrained veteran lawmaker known for his wild rhetoric, much in the mold of Trump, who told Reuters in a recent interview that Donald Trump was the only person able to deescalate dangerous tensions between Moscow and Washington.

When you read Zhirinovksy think Putin for these are the words that Putin and or his people put into the mouth of one of his puppets to express their fear of a Hillary Clinton presidency and undermine her candidacy.

Russia Leaders Quotes:

Vladimir Zhirinovksy on Trump:

“Americans voting for a president on Nov. 8 must realize that they are voting for peace on Planet Earth if they vote for Trump. But if they vote for Hillary it’s war. It will be a short movie. There will be Hiroshimas and Nagasakis everywhere.”

“He (Trump) won’t care about Syria, Libya and Iraq and why an earth should America interfere in these countries? And Ukraine. Who needs Ukraine?…Trump will have a brilliant chance to make relations more peaceful … He’s the only one who can do this,”- Vladimir Zhirinovsky 10/12/2016 – Reuters

In contrast, Zhirinovsky described Clinton as “an evil mother-in law” and said her record as secretary of state under Obama in 2009-2013 showed she was unfit to lead her country.

Zhirinovsky also said about Clinton: “She craves power. Her view is that Hillary is the most important person on the planet, that America is an exceptional country, as Barack Obama said,” ….. “That’s dangerous. She could start a nuclear war.”

In characteristically chauvinistic remarks, Zhirinovsky said Clinton’s gender should also block her from the presidency:

“Most Americans should choose Trump because men have been leading for millions of year. You can’t take the risk of having one of the richest, most powerful countries led by a woman president,”

With regard to lewd comments Trump made about women in 2005 that have damaged his campaign,  Zhirinovsky defended the Republican: “Men all round the world sometimes say such things that are just for their comrades. We must only consider his business (and political) qualities.”

Putin on Trump:

““Trump’s a colorful person. And well, isn’t he colorful? Colorful. I didn’t make any other kind of characterization about him.

“But here’s where I will pay close attention, and where I exactly welcome and where on the contrary I don’t see anything bad: Mr Trump has declared that he’s ready for the full restoration of Russian-American relations. Is there anything bad there? We all welcome this, don’t you?”” – Putin on Trump 6/18/2016 – The Guardian

Russian Press:

“US intelligence has meddled in elections in other countries on numerous occasions starting with the Italian parliamentary elections of 1948… To my knowledge this is however the first occasion that US intelligence has directly and publicly meddled in a US national election, acting to help one candidate defeat another.”

– Russian media claims US intelligence report blaming Russia for hacking is example of the government helping Hillary Clinton win.  – Alexander Mercouris – theduran.com

Russia media, via RT, also suggests that neither Trump nor Clinton would be Putin’s top choice.

“As for Putin? He has said he’d like to work with a person who can make responsible decisions and implement agreements: “Their last name doesn’t matter.”” Putin has called Trump “colorful,” not “brilliant,” and has mentioned him only twice.

We welcome your comments; click here to give us your views