The 2016 general election debates were pretty jarring. Watching these grotesqueries felt a little like showing up for a Werner Heisenberg/Niels Bohr lecture about the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics and discovering that Bohr had been replaced at the last minute by Beaker from The Muppets.
But whatever else you want to say about the debates, they were a nauseating preview of the horror show to come.
Holy shit, were they ever.
In light of yesterday’s indictments, which should (but won’t, unfortunately) end any controversy about whether Russia attacked us during the 2016 election cycle, this exchange from the third and final Clinton-Trump debate is pretty alarming:
DONALD TRUMP: Now we can talk about Putin. I don’t know Putin. He said nice things about me. If we got along well, that would be good. If Russia and the United States got along well and went after ISIS, that would be good.
He has no respect for her. He has no respect for our president. And I’ll tell you what: We’re in very serious trouble, because we have a country with tremendous numbers of nuclear warheads — 1,800, by the way — where they expanded and we didn’t, 1,800 nuclear warheads. And she’s playing chicken. Look, Putin…
CHRIS WALLACE: Wait, but…
TRUMP: … from everything I see, has no respect for this person.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.
TRUMP: No puppet! No puppet!
CLINTON: And it’s pretty clear …
TRUMP: You’re the puppet!
CLINTON: It’s pretty clear you won’t admit …
TRUMP: No, you’re the puppet.
CLINTON: … that the Russians have engaged in cyberattacks against the United States of America, that you encouraged espionage against our people, that you are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do, and that you continue to get help from him, because he has a very clear favorite in this race.
So I think that this is such an unprecedented situation. We’ve never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election. We have 17 — 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.
WALLACE: Secretary Clinton…
CLINTON: And I think it’s time you take a stand …
TRUMP: She has no idea whether it’s Russia, China, or anybody else.
CLINTON: I am not quoting myself.
TRUMP: She has no idea.
CLINTON: I am quoting 17 …
TRUMP: Hillary, you have no idea.
CLINTON: … 17 intelligence — do you doubt 17 military and civilian …
TRUMP: And our country has no idea.
CLINTON: … agencies.
TRUMP: Yeah, I doubt it. I doubt it.
CLINTON: Well, he’d rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us. I find that just absolutely …
- The Russians did engage in cyberattacks against us.
- Trump did encourage the Russians — in broad daylight, no less — to attack us, and did so on the same day that Putin’s charges started their spearphishing campaign against Clinton.
- Trump is fulfilling Putin’s wish list, including doing everything he can to weaken our alliances, undermine our trade partnerships, and sow discord between our country and other NATO members.
- Putin did have a very clear favorite in the race.
- And, finally, Hillary did know who was behind the cyberattacks — because she gets her information from our intelligence agencies instead of Brian Kilmeade.
So there you have it. Hillary warned us, and now we’re in deep shit because too many people trusted a lifelong con man instead of her.
Enjoy that, America. We’re under attack, and your pr*sident couldn’t care less.