As much as the president continues to deflect, distract, and lie his way through it, the fact remains that Russia hacked and manipulated the 2016 presidential elections and no one can say with certainty that the Trump campaign wasn’t involved in their efforts.
It seems as though the Trump administration would be eager to prove their innocence by making a show of being tough on Russia in light of intelligence agencies’ reports regarding that hacking, but on October 1, they missed a crucial deadline in imposing sanctions for their attempts to undermine U.S. democracy. The deadline required the Trump administration to provide guidance on identifying individuals who are “a part of, or operate for or on behalf of, the defense and intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), along with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) lashed out at Donald Trump today as a result of the missed deadline.
‘The delay calls into question the Trump administration’s commitment to the sanctions bill which was signed into law more than two months ago, following months of public debate and negotiations in Congress.’
McCain and Cardin also said that a letter to the White House dated September 28 requesting information on the progress of meeting the deadline and working with allied countries to curtail the abilities of Russian government operatives to continue these attackswas ignored.
‘In addition to the administration’s lack of responsiveness on this deadline, there does not appear to be a significant diplomatic effort to engage our allies in Europe and lead an effort to increase pressure on Moscow. Congressional intent was clear, reflected in the overwhelming bipartisan majority in favor of the legislation.’
The legislation McCain’s statement refers to was passed on July 22. Congress agreed on a bipartisan level on numerous sanctions to be imposed on Russia and specifically curtailed the president’s ability to lift those sanctions in their entirety. The New York Times called the bill:
‘A remarkable handcuffing by a Republican-led Congress six months into Mr. Trump’s tenure. It is also the latest Russia-tinged turn for a presidency consumed by investigations into the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian officials, including conversationsbetween Trump advisers and Russian officials about prospective sanctions relief.’
Trump signed the bill on August 2, but stated that some of its provisions were “clearly unconstitutional” while reserving the right to refuse to enforce those sanctions, saying “while I favor tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior by Iran, North Korea, and Russia, this legislation is significantly flawed.” He does not appear to favor those tough measures, however, since he has failed to meet deadlines and cooperate with congressional committees on this particular issue.
Apparently, Trump is far more concerned with NFL players kneeling to protest police brutality against people of color, Jemele Hill’s Twitter account, NBC’s reporting, and insulting Sen. Bob Corker and Mayor Carmen Luis Cruz than Russia’s efforts to derail democracy in the United States. If Robert Mueller’s investigation goes as expected, Americans may soon know why.
Featured image screengrab via YouTube