“WHERE ARE THE KIDS?”
— Twelve teenagers trapped with their adult coach in a Thai cave riveted the world for three weeks until the last of them is rescued on July 10.
— Thousands of minor children whom the US government separated from their families under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy remain separated. For some of those kids, the separation is permanent. Last week, the Justice Department told a federal court that the Department of Homeland Security had 19 children under age five whose parents it had already deported. On July 9, DOJ said the number was nine — with another nine released into the US. And there’s one child for whom HHS has no information about the parent(s). None. Still to be revealed: Of the approximately 3,000 minors separated from their parents, how many have been reunited? And for how many others has government malfeasance made reunification impossible? Don’t all of these kids deserve at least as much international media attention as the teenagers trapped in a Thai cave?
— The July 4th holiday celebrated American independence.
— Simultaneous Trump-Russia Timeline events demonstrate how Trump and his minions are imperiling American democracy:
June 28: Trump repeats, yet again, Putin’s lie that Russia didn’t meddle in the election:
(The capitalization of “Meddling” and “Election” is a mystery.)
July 1, 2018: Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, appears on Face the Nation. Asked about his recent conversation in Moscow with Vladimir Putin regarding Russia’s 2016 and 2018 election interference, Bolton says, “[W]hat President Putin said, through a translator of course, but what he said was there was no meddling in 2016 by the Russian state… Well I think that’s that’s an interesting statement.”
Bolton is a Yale-educated attorney who has now become another Trump lawyer-enabler. In an effort to defend the indefensible, he’s parsing words. Bolton’s attempt to distinguish “Russian state” from the fact that Putin himself directed Russia’s 2016 election interference operation is worse than sophistry. What is Bolton really doing? Rolling out Trump’s newest defense of Putin. Welcome to another iteration of Trumpworld “doublespeak.”
July 3: Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) leads a Republican-only congressional delegation to Moscow where he and seven others members of Congress meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, former Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (who is now member of Russia’s upper parliament), and other Russian officials. To appreciate the significance of Kislyak’s presence, go to the Trump-Russia Timeline and click on hs name.
The four-hour session is closed to public view. But in opening remarks, Shelby tells Lavrov and his entourage: “We could be competitors — we are competitors — but we don’t necessarily need to be adversaries.”
Likewise, Shelby tells Vyacheslav Volodin, a close Putin ally and speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament (Duma), “I’m not here today to accuse Russia of this or that or so forth. I’m saying that we should all strive for a better relationship.”
In a plenary session of Russia’s lower parliament, members greet Shelby and his fellow Republicans with applause.
Following the meeting, Russian state television presenters and guests mock the US delegation for putting a weak foot forward. “The message of tough talk they promised in Washington ‘changed a bit’ by the time they got to Moscow,” according to reporting by The Washington Post.
Next to the Republicans’ Moscow trip, juxtapose this underreported Independence Day item:
July 3: While senior GOP members of Congress receive accolades from Putin’s proxies, the US Senate Intelligence Committee issues a bipartisan summary of its findings, which include:
- The January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) that Russia interfered with the 2016 election is a “sound intelligence product.”
- “The Committee concurs” that Russia’s “influence campaign was approved by President Putin.”
- Moscow “sought to denigrate Secretary Clinton.”
- “The ICA relies on public Russian leadership commentary, Russian state media reports, public examples of where Russian interests would have aligned with candidates’ policy statements, and a body of intelligence reporting to support the assessment that Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for Trump.”
What Lies Beneath
Once upon a time, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) stood alone among fellow congressional representatives in his outspoken defense of Russia. (Go to the Trump-Russia Timeline, click on Rohrabacher’s name, and see the entries that enmesh him deeply in the Trump-Russia scandal.) Rohrabacher’s infection is spreading and now the epidemic pervades the GOP.
When Trump and Putin meet privately in Helsinki on July 16 — without any US diplomats or aides in the room — this much is certain: Some outcomes will become obvious immediately. If Trump accepts Russia’s annexation of Crimea, lifts US sanctions, or cedes Syria to Putin’s chosen leader, the world will see it and weep.
But it will take a longer time for the public to learn the whole truth about everything that happens in the private session between Trump and Putin. Someday, future historians will evaluate the pieces of American greatness that Trump gave away — and the magnitude of personal gain that he received in return.
Here’s the complete list of entries for this week’s update of the Trump-Russia Timeline:
LATE MARCH 2016: British Intelligence Alerts NSA to Russian Hack of DNC
JULY 1, 2018: Bolton Says Putin Denied Meddling by ‘Russian State
JULY 3, 2018: Trump Tweets “Witch Hunt”
JULY 3, 2018: GOP Congressional Delegation Meets Lavrov, Kislyak and Others in Moscow; Russian Legislature Applauds
JULY 3, 2018: Senate Intelligence Committee Confirms Russian Meddling in US Election
JULY 5, 2018: Cohen Hires Former Clinton Aide
JULY 6, 2018: Giuliani Sets New Conditions for Mueller Interview
NEW: JULY 7, 2018: Trump Tweets “Witch Hunt” as Strzok Agrees to Testify Publicly
NEW: JULY 8, 2018: Giuliani Revises Trump-Comey Conversation About Flynn; Renews Assault on Mueller Probe