Temple Chima UbochiMonday, February 27, 2017
Bonn, Germany




Continued from Part 1

Russia was "an evil, smaller empire" and that should always be kept under check (Republican Congressman, Rep. Darrell Issa)

I think most Americans have a right to know whether or not this was a General Flynn rogue maneuver, or was he basically speaking for somebody else in the White House (Senator Lindsey Graham)

I was disappointed to learn that the facts that had been conveyed to me by Gen. Flynn were inaccurate. I fully support the president's decision to ask for his resignation (Vice President Mike Pence)

President Trump 'has nothing to show' for first month in office except 'fear. To people who are sick -- fear, to people who are immigrants -- fear, to people who are concerned about the greed on Wall Street -- taking us back to where we were (House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi)

President Donald Trump is "dangerously naive". He has a "pathological unwillingness to criticize anything the Kremlin does". He is discrediting U.S. intelligence agencies and "telling the world they can't be believed" (The Global Politico)

atest is that Trump will address the Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 28. It has been insinuated that his first address to Congress will be a forward-looking one about the "renewal of the American spirit". It's most likely that he will propose increasing the military spending, while cutting from every other area. According to the AP, the White House says President Donald Trump's upcoming budget will propose a whopping $54 billion increase in defense spending and impose corresponding cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid.

More on the latest: According to CBS News, the president hosted a dinner for the nation's governors on Sunday, Feb 26, saying he will work with them to find a replacement for Obamacare. But his administration still faces fallout over reports that the White House discussed an investigation with the FBI. Then on Wednesday, March 1, President Donald Trump is expected to sign a new refugee and immigration executive order, one day after addressing lawmakers at a joint session of Congress. The new order might be dead on arrival, as the former CIA Director, John Brennan, said Sunday, Feb. 26, that he doesn't believe it will make the country significantly safer. In his words: "I don't think the travel ban is going to help in any significant way".

Trump has not been forthcoming, and has not explained his campaign ties to Russia. Bloomberg Editorial recapped a few anarchic days in Donald Trump's Washington: At least six agencies are investigating Trump's ties to Russia. The president is deriding the spies. The spies are keeping secrets from the president. The White House is mulling a purge. Everyone is leaking to the news media. And no one has any answers. Trump blamed the press for exposing Flynn's indiscretion, something that can be equated with felony. How can Trump blame 'unfair' media for the decision to oust Flynn? Trump said: "I think it's very, very unfair what's happened to Gen. Flynn, the way he was treated and the documents and papers that were illegally - I stress that, illegally - leaked. People are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton." What was he talking about here? This Trump's statement makes one to wonder the other crimes he perpetrated which were covered up.

Verily, I tell you that Trump's words and actions have confirmed that we shouldn't equate the possession of wealth with goodness or intelligence. A Fox News anchor, Shepard Smith, while criticizing President Trump during his freewheeling news conference, for his refusal to answer questions about his campaign's ties to Russia, said, after that Trump's news conference: "It's crazy what we're watching every day. It's absolutely crazy. He (Trump) keeps repeating ridiculous, throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we're some kind of fools for asking the question. Really? Your opposition was hacked and the Russians were responsible for it and your people were on the phone with Russia on the same day it was happening and we're fools for asking the questions? No sir. We have a right to know. You call us fake news and put us down like children for asking questions on behalf of the American people."

Who will Trump blame, when he created the problems himself? Sometimes, we do things to suit us at a particular moment, not thinking of what the effect will turn out to be tomorrow. During the campaign, Trump never envisaged that his words and actions will be used to judge him later. Probably, he never thought of winning, so, for him, during the campaign, it didn't matter. But, now, as the president, his words are being used against him. The point here is that Trump sabotaged himself, as far as the Russian issues are concerned, and he should only blame himself, a point the Huffington Post made by writing that so-far sketchy evidence of Trump's campaign colluding with Russia slots right into a narrative that Trump himself created. In July of last year, his campaign lobbied successfully to remove an anti-Russia plank from the 2016 Republican platform; he then directly asked Russia to hack and release Hillary Clinton's emails. During the debates, he repeatedly scorned the idea that Russia was behind hacks of Clinton's emails, despite being briefed that it was.

After winning the election, Trump spoke favorably of relaxing sanctions on Russia; appointed Michael Flynn (who is notably sympathetic to Russia, and once attended a dinner at which he sat right next to Russian President, Vladimir Putin, himself) as national security adviser; and tapped Rex Tillerson for secretary of state. Tillerson, of course, was CEO of ExxonMobil, a company with billions in oil leases in Russia locked up behind sanctions.

Throughout all this, Trump has lavished glowing personal praise on Putin (a trend which actually started years before the campaign). Among many, many examples, he boasted about befriending Putin backstage at a 60 Minutes interview, said that Putin was "a leader far more than [President Obama] has been," and has repeatedly downplayed Putin's authoritarian tendencies (like how his political opponents end up murdered).

Many, including the LA Times, have bemoaned Trump's inflammatory comparison of Russian President Vladimir Putin's deadly reprisals against domestic enemies with American acts of violence. A Retired US Army General, Barry McCaffrey, slammed President Donald Trump's defense of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on Monday, Feb. 6, calling it "the most anti-American statement ever made by the president of the United States." In an interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, Trump seemed to defend Putin when O'Reilly called him a "killer", by saying that the US has "made a lot of mistakes" as well. In Trump's words: "We've got a lot of killers. Boy, you think our country's so innocent? You think our country's so innocent?" He went on to reference the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq by saying: "Take a look at what we've done too. We've made a lot of mistakes".

McCaffrey, according to Business Insider, blasted Trump's statement, saying: "I'm actually incredulous that the president would make a statement like that," McCaffrey told MSNBC on that Monday, Feb. 6: "One could argue that's the most anti-American statement ever made by the president of the United States. To confuse American values with Putin, who's running a criminal oligarchy, who kills people abroad and at home, who imprisons journalists and takes away business property, who shares it with his former KGB agents, who invades and seizes Crimea and eastern Ukraine - this is an astonishing state of affairs".

The Republican controlled Congress is not worried enough, but has been dragging its feet on the issue, because Trump belongs to the Party. Only few Republican law makers are worried, and one of the few is Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, a prominent Republican Congressman, who said, on Friday, Feb 24, that a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate the alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. elections and also whether any of President Donald Trump's campaign associates had contacts with Russian officials.

If Trump was a democrat, his impeachment proceedings would have begun by now. The AFP noted that Republicans on Capitol Hill and outside the Washington Beltway are increasingly venting their frustration and worry -- sometimes publicly but more often among themselves -- about the new administration's missteps, speedy policy rollouts, abrasive tone and often tenuous relation to facts. In its words: "In a dozen AFP interviews, lawmakers, party grandees and congressional staff have painted a picture of an administration struggling to get up to speed on various fronts, trampling on White House protocol, and acting hastily instead of with deliberation and prudence as they pivot away from the policies of Trump's predecessor Barack Obama. The interviews were carried out shortly before explosive revelations in The New York Times that members of Trump's campaign and other aides were in repeated contact with Russian intelligence officials prior to November's election".

It's not enough to be only worried or to ask only questions; the Republicans should do something to get to the bottom of this immediately. Thomas L. Friedman also thinks that the GOP controlled congress is not according this issue the seriousness it deserves, and he wrote that if Republicans want to know how they should be behaving on this issue, they should ask themselves what they would be saying and doing right now if a President Hillary Clinton had behaved toward Russia the way Trump has, and had her national security adviser been found hinting to the Russian ambassador to hold tight because a softer United States policy toward Russia was on its way.

Friedman continued by asking: House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, what are you thinking by looking away from this travesty? You both know that if the C.I.A., N.S.A. and F.B.I. had concluded that the Russians had intervened to help Hillary Clinton get elected you would have closed the government and demanded a new election. Now it's all O.K.? So you can get some tax cuts? Gens. Jim Mattis and John Kelly, our new secretaries of defense and homeland security, you are great patriots who both put your lives on the line in uniform to defend American values from precisely the kind of attack Putin perpetrated. Are you O.K. with what's going on?

We need to rerun the tape. Ladies and gentlemen, we were attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, we were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, and we were attacked on Nov. 8, 2016. That most recent attack didn't involve a horrible loss of lives, but it was devastating in its own way. Our entire intelligence community concluded that Russia hacked our election by deliberately, breaking into Democratic National Committee computers, and then drip-by-drip funneling embarrassing emails through WikiLeaks to undermine Clinton's campaign. And what have we done about it? Other than a wrist slap against Moscow, we've moved on. That is not O.K.

To be continued!






Continued from Part 1