What secret accord did Donald Trump reach with Vladimir Putin that would embolden the president of the United States to throw his country under the bus driven by the president of the Russia?
Use of the word “secret” is intentional because it reflects the fact Trump and Putin, who belong to a mutual admiration society, spent two hours behind closed doors Monday in Helsinki, Finland.
There were two other individuals in the conference room in the Hall of Mirrors on the banks of the Vantaa River, but they were the translators.
There were no advisers, no foreign-policy experts and no observers. There were no note takers; thus there isn’t an official transcript of the two-hour session.
There’s always the possibility the Russians had bugged the room, a practice Putin knows all too well given his background as a member of the KGB. If the conversation were secretly recorded, the Russians will never admit to it.
If there is a tape that contains any evidence of deal-making between Trump and Putin, it’s a sure bet the Kremlin will keep it under lock-and-key and use it to blackmail the president of the United States.
Therein lies Trump’s dilemma. He has placed his trust in one of the most untrustworthy leaders on earth.
But it wasn’t just the secret meeting that has caused concern around the world and is raising questions about Trump’s priorities.
The president’s embrace of blood-sucking dictators, including Putin and Kim Jong Un of North Korea, and his public criticism of America’s long-standing allies, including Great Britain and other members of NATO, lead to the conclusion that the United States is on a dangerous foreign-policy path.
The American people must not ignore or shrug off Trump’s public embrace of the Russian leader, who has made no secret of his desire to resurrect the old Soviet Union.
The world saw the two men share the podium after their private meeting and talk in glowing terms about each other.
One of the dangers of this kind of flippant diplomacy is that things are said which convey an unintended message.
President Trump, in once again trying to diminish the importance of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, said he believed Putin, who adamantly denied Russia’s involvement.
In going along with the Russian leader, Trump rejected the findings of America’s intelligence agencies and the U.S. Justice Department.
It is noteworthy that in answer to a reporter’s question, Putin said he wanted Republican Trump to win the presidency over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Trump doubled down on his rejection of the findings by saying the United States was equally to blame as Russia for the strained relations between the two nuclear powers.
In the wake of searing criticism from Republicans and Democrats in Congress and from veteran intelligence and foreign-policy experts, President Trump sought to clarify the statement he made in Helsinki regarding Russia’s interference in the election. He said Tuesday from the White House that he does believe the conclusions of the intelligence agencies.
But while he is now pointing the finger of blame at Russia, the president still will not publicly berate Putin for assigning his goons to disrupt the election.
The 12 Russian military intelligence officers who were indicted last week in Mueller’s ongoing investigation were operating at Putin’s behest.
That became clear in Helsinki during the news conference when the Russian president refused to commit to sending the 12 officers to the U.S. to answer to the charges that they hacked into the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party computers, releasing tens of thousands of stolen communications.
Instead of agreeing to extradition, Putin said Russian investigators would question the 12 intelligence officers. He tossed a bone to the U.S., saying Mueller and his staff could participate – in Moscow.
The fact that Trump thought it was a great idea speaks volumes about his eagerness to curry favor with the Russian dictator.
Why is an American president so eager to embrace the leader of a country that has been responsible for death and destruction around the world for such a long time?
It’s a question the Republican-controlled Congress should pursue.
Meanwhile, Trump needs to take a step back and reassess his view of world. Thus far, he has alienated America’s friends and embraced its enemies.