Column: Preferring Putin over U.S. interests

Donald Jr.'s testimony on his meeting with Russian lawyer.

www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/7/16270068/donald-trump-jr-statement-russia

Trump publicly asks Russia for hacked information

www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNa2B5zHfbQ

Congressional sanctions on Russia

www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3364

Trump repeats Putin being "very insulted"

www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/11/putin-and-trump-want-political-solution-to-syria-conflict-kremlin-says

Trump calls out Jinping on trade violations

www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/11/09/trump-gives-china-great-credit-for-taking-advantage-us-trade-relations.html

Trump has taken a step that, in any other time, for any other high office holder, or by any other president, would be the end of the line.

This is not about collusion. Collusion and interference are two separate topics that need to be clearly separated. Trump’s recent step is yet a third topic.

First on collusion (see the online links for references): There is no proof of successful collusion but there doesn’t need to be. When someone says they tried to rob a bank but failed, they’re not innocent.

They’re guilty of an attempted crime. When Donald Jr. and leaders of the campaign met with the Russian lawyer in hopes of secret information to help the campaign, any candidate with scruples would have said, “Not interested. Stay out of our politics. We’re calling the FBI.”

By their open admission, they jumped at it. That was attempted collusion.

During the campaign, Trump, in front of a crowd and TV, asked the Russians to get stolen information and use it to help bring down his opposition. That was attempted collusion.

On interference: That Russia-planted fake stories messing with our politics and stirring social strife is confirmed by our intelligence agencies, by reports from Twitter and Facebook, and by the U.S.

Congress who sanctioned Russia.

To Trump’s new step afoul: When Trump met Putin he asked Putin if he’d done this interference. Any other president wouldn’t have been asking anything. Any other president would have been telling Putin things, strong things. Any other president would have stood up for U.S. interests.

With other leaders Trump pushes them out of the way to get to the front of the photo op, dominates handshakes, and calls out their issues in front of them in press conferences. With Putin he seems to want to be pals. Not like the theories that Putin has anything on him, just like he has a strange admiration for him, and is willing to throw U.S. interests under the bus to curry favor.

Curry the favor of the leader of a country who is currently attacking us in this way. He even repeated Putin saying he gets, “very insulted” by the accusations, as if we should ignore Russian aggression because it might offend his pal. The mere, casual, pleasant meeting with such a leader is itself capitulation.

He says he wants to move on to other issues with Russia but he also had issues to work on with China, but that didn’t stop him from calling out their trade violations in front of President Jinping while both were at a public event. And China is not attacking our politics or social issues. With Putin, he’s eager to set Russian aggression aside for this personal relationship.

This nearly treasonous behavior, making nice with a leader who is attacking us and should be confronted, is being done by no less than the person currently occupying the office of President.

Are we done with this guy, now?

Tom Cantlon is a local business owner and writer and can be reached at comments@tomcantlon.com.