Trump and the Russians

Mark Shields and David Brooks, speaking on the PBS NewsHour, had their usual incisive commentary on Trump’s response to the intelligence community’s report on Russian interference with the U.S. presidential election.

Two big and important issues are Trump’s inability to see Russian meddling in any terms other than how the report might tarnish his election. The second issue is how Trump’s trashing of the intelligence community is going to affect their work for him going forward. People generally don’t work very hard — especially in jobs where their lives are often at risk — when the ultimate recipient of their intelligence goes out of his way to diminish their integrity and competence.

The gravest issue by far is the shift this signals in bipartisan U.S. foreign policy — the one in place for the last 70 years, under multiple presidents and administrations. Trump, Steve Bannon, and some populist leaders in Europe like Marine LePen, apparently no longer believe in the U.S./Europe alliance against Russian encroachment, or in institutions like the U.N. and NATO. Rather, they would like to see a U.S.-Russia alliance against ISIS, with our traditional alliances left to diminish in importance.

I doubt that very many Trump voters thought about this, or are thinking about it now. I’ve never seen a more mindless group of people — Trump himself said he could shoot someone and his followers wouldn’t care. I think he’s right. Republicans in Congress also seem pretty spineless when it comes to Trump.

He’s not even in office yet, and the danger to our democracy grows by the day.

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