Putin denies Russia interfered in US election

Russia President Vladimir Putin denied that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election, during an interview with Fox News.

Posted: Jul 17, 2018 7:14 PM
Updated: Jul 17, 2018 7:14 PM

Sometimes, I'm more alarmed by people's exaggerated reactions to Donald Trump than by Trump himself. It's the cult of exceptionalism. When Barack Obama was in charge, we were told that everything he did was a "first." Now that Trump runs things, everything he does is the "worst." And finally, with that Helsinki, Finland, press conference with Vladimir Putin, he seems to have provoked the GOP to join the hyperbole.

Now we know what constitutes a step too far for Republicans. Not banning most trans people from the military nor splitting up families at the border nor cutting taxes for the super rich. No, it's being nice to Russia.

This despite the fact that it's what practically every postwar Republican president has tried to do. In the 1968 election, Richard Nixon extended "the hand of friendship" to the USSR. In 1975, Gerald Ford also went to Helsinki, and signed an accord that recognized the territorial integrity of communist dictatorships. In 1984, Ronald Reagan offered "peace, cooperation and communication" to the Soviets. In 2001, George W. Bush met Putin, looked into his eyes and "got a sense of his soul." Bush said: "I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy."

Trump's mistakes are not unheard of, some of his policies are familiar. He's been criticized in the last few days for demanding that NATO allies raise defense spending. Why? It's a reasonable request. And Nixon tried it, too, in the '70s -- the so-called Nixon doctrine asked, in part, for the Europeans to spend more and shoulder America's burden.

As for the reaction to Trump's press conference, to call it an exaggeration is, well, an understatement. It's been likened to 1938 Munich, compared in moral depravity to the Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany, and in a ridiculous tweet by Garry Kasparov, the chess champion and human rights activist, called "the darkest hour in the American presidency."

Really? Are we going to put aside all of American history so we can claim this, right now, is its darkest hour? Are we to forget that previous presidents interned Japanese-American citizens? Or drove the Native Americans off their lands? Or endorsed racial segregation? Or supported a war in Vietnam based upon falsehoods that even Trump doesn't have the imagination to dream up?

Barack Obama on Tuesday gave a speech in South Africa in which he claimed that the difference between now and the past is that today when politicians are caught lying, they just go on lying. Does he really think this is new? Is he unaware that Nixon denied America was at war in Cambodia even as he dropped more tonnage on that tiny country than was dropped by the Allies during the entire Second World War?l

And if Trump's meeting with Putin truly shocks you, I urge you to Google photos of Jimmy Carter meeting the Shah of Iran. Or Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. Both these tyrants were once considered friends or partners with the United States, much as Reagan once described the Contras -- who were accused of kidnap, rape and torture in the Nicaraguan civil war -- as "the moral equal of our founding fathers."

Trust me, America has seen many Munichs, all of them just as morally compromising as Trump's with Putin.

Several dozen wrongs do not, of course, make a right. At his Putin press conference, Trump effectively took Putin's side against the American intelligence services, doing immense damage to US prestige and security. He rowed back a little the next day, conceding that he might have misspoken, that there was interference in 2016 -- but in a wriggly, unconvincing tone that implies he knows he's made a poor judgment but won't confront it honestly (something about saying "would" when he meant "wouldn't").

Trump is not a Russian agent, and we have no reason to believe he's being blackmailed; the psychological truth is probably that Trump cannot accept that Moscow played a role in the election victory he is so proud of -- with or without the Trump campaign's knowledge -- and so he prefers to believe that his own nation's agencies are in error.

This is not about Trump being an evil man, it's about him being an amateur, which is one of the qualities that won him votes.

Trump was elected as an anti-politician who would disrupt a broken order and even take risks. Sometimes they pay off: bringing Saudi Arabia and Israel together and tempting Kim Jong Un out from beneath his rock are all great steps forward. Other times, the President finds himself underprepared and out of his depth. Putin is a proven liar and manipulator, and while Trump may well be a master of deal-making, he simply isn't operating at the level Putin does.

Nevertheless, let's please not descend into panic. Trump encourages us to see everything as a big battle with winners and losers -- and yes, there are things worth standing up for. But look beyond the sensationalized, Trump-style rhetoric that everyone seems to indulge in nowadays to the quiet, sober, behind-the-scenes truth.

The Trump administration is perfectly tough on Russia. It has expelled Russian diplomats, attacked Moscow's ally in Syria (the US military also killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries in Syria in February), raised US defense spending and given arms to Ukraine. There's a lot that's revolutionary and unstable about Trump -- a lot, however, that stays the same.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296154

Reported Deaths: 6764
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19700230
Hinds18851392
Harrison16736281
Rankin12757265
Jackson12623228
Lee9694161
Madison9480203
Jones7990147
Forrest7234138
Lauderdale6837226
Lowndes6032140
Lamar589680
Lafayette5740113
Washington5220130
Bolivar4616124
Oktibbeha441593
Panola431995
Pearl River4178131
Warren4134115
Pontotoc410571
Marshall403592
Monroe3990127
Union396174
Neshoba3817169
Lincoln3552104
Hancock348975
Leflore3380118
Sunflower318986
Tate303174
Pike301296
Scott294570
Alcorn292263
Yazoo290565
Itawamba290175
Coahoma281169
Tippah279265
Copiah278758
Simpson276280
Prentiss270258
Wayne254341
Leake252871
Marion252778
Covington249580
Grenada247878
Adams234678
George232145
Newton230852
Winston221877
Jasper213645
Tishomingo212665
Attala206669
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182370
Clay179251
Stone172429
Tallahatchie171239
Clarke169371
Calhoun158028
Smith153033
Yalobusha145036
Greene127833
Walthall124340
Noxubee122831
Montgomery122639
Perry122135
Lawrence120321
Carroll118625
Amite111734
Webster110832
Jefferson Davis102231
Tunica99323
Claiborne98829
Benton93824
Humphreys92927
Kemper90323
Quitman77414
Franklin76119
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62727
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 497154

Reported Deaths: 10029
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson714001387
Mobile36252736
Madison32573462
Tuscaloosa24289414
Montgomery22708519
Shelby22112215
Baldwin19856285
Lee15021155
Calhoun13755288
Morgan13742252
Etowah13379320
Marshall11439210
Houston10110262
Elmore9451185
Limestone9413136
St. Clair9003225
Cullman8979182
Lauderdale8610212
DeKalb8486175
Talladega7582165
Walker6571259
Jackson6542103
Autauga631391
Blount6229127
Colbert5998120
Coffee5259103
Dale4657107
Russell406433
Franklin399778
Covington3989106
Chilton3891100
Escambia378772
Tallapoosa3613143
Clarke343953
Chambers3423111
Dallas3419142
Pike293372
Marion288895
Lawrence284683
Winston258668
Bibb245960
Geneva240270
Marengo238357
Pickens225055
Barbour212951
Hale211969
Fayette201357
Butler201166
Henry182941
Cherokee177739
Monroe166639
Randolph164640
Washington156635
Macon147243
Crenshaw146254
Clay145554
Cleburne139741
Lamar133733
Lowndes132551
Wilcox122525
Bullock117236
Conecuh107024
Perry105927
Sumter99432
Coosa89624
Greene88532
Choctaw55123
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