RT / YouTube Putin amp Trump chat casually before...
RT / YouTube

How about this for a paragraph in a news story, not an editorial:

The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president — and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality — have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government.

This morning’s Washington Post, describes, in stunning detail, how the insecurities of our Fearless LeaderTM have put out our democracy at risk. The very real threat posed by Russia has been all but ignored in order to assuage Trump’s fragile ego and massive insecurities about his election:

Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House.

Of course, Trump is being aided and abetted in his specious denials by Republicans in Congress, yesterday’s interrogation of Rod Rosenstein being Exhibit A. Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

Intelligence officials who brief the president play down information about Russia they fear might displease him, current and former officials said. Plans for the State Department to counter Russian propaganda remain stalled. And while Trump has formed a commission to investigate widely discredited claims of U.S. voter fraud, there is no task force focused on the election peril that security officials regard as a certainty — future Russian attacks.

Trump has never convened a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or what to do about it, administration officials said. Although the issue has been discussed at lower levels at the National Security Council, one former high-ranking Trump administration official said there is an unspoken understanding within the NSC that to raise the matter is to acknowledge its validity, which the president would see as an affront.

The Russians can’t get over their good fortune:

The feeble American response has registered with the Kremlin.

But overall, U.S. officials said, the Kremlin believes it got a staggering return on an operation that by some estimates cost less than $500,000 to execute and was organized around two main objectives — destabilizing U.S. democracy and preventing Hillary Clinton, who is despised by Putin, from reaching the White House.

The bottom line for Putin, said one U.S. official briefed on the stream of post-election intelligence, is that the operation was “more than worth the effort.”

What Russian interference?

U.S. officials declined to discuss whether the stream of recent intelligence on Russia has been shared with Trump. Current and former officials said that his daily intelligence update — known as the president’s daily brief, or PDB — is often structured to avoid upsetting him.

Russia-related intelligence that might draw Trump’s ire is in some cases included only in the written assessment and not raised orally, said a former senior intelligence official familiar with the matter. In other cases, Trump’s main briefer — a veteran CIA analyst — adjusts the order of his presentation and text, aiming to soften the impact.

“If you talk about Russia, meddling, interference — that takes the PDB off the rails,” said a second former senior U.S. intelligence official.

Seriously. “Don’t upset him!” is the driving force behind our national security policy!

The story goes into great detail on post-election briefings given to Trump by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers and FBI Director James Comey. Clapper, Brennan and Comey, of course, are now out of government and have become critics of the president.

Trump’s affinity for some the world’s worst actors has not gone unnoticed:

His demeanor with the German leader was in striking contrast with his encounters with Putin and other authoritarian figures. “Who are the three guys in the world he most admires? President Xi [Jinping] of China, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and Putin,” one Trump adviser said. “They’re all the same guy.”

And what about collusion? The story doesn’t delve too deeply into that angle — except to, once again, point to Trump’s insecurities as driving that storyline:

The allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, which the president has denied categorically, also contribute to his resistance to endorse the intelligence, another senior White House official said. Acknowledging Russian interference, Trump believes, would give ammunition to his critics.

Still others close to Trump explain his aversion to the intelligence findings in more psychological terms. The president, who burns with resentment over perceived disrespect from the Washington establishment, sees the Russia inquiry as a conspiracy to undermine his election accomplishment — “a witch hunt,” as he often calls it.

“If you say ‘Russian interference,’ to him it’s all about him,” said a senior Republican strategist who has discussed the matter with Trump’s confidants. “He judges everything as about him.”

Well, duh…

There’s a lot more in this story, including Trump’s frustration at not being able to wipe out Russian sanctions.

Trump’s insanity is driving our policy on a security issue that puts the very future of our democracy at risk. This long, detailed story is a must-read for everyone who cares about the future of our democracy.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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