Apparently, the White House is a big fan of “transparency” when it comes to memos they hope are critical of our intelligence agencies, but not so much when our own president colludes with the leader of a country that interfered with our free elections.
Already, Putin is making demands on the U.S. based on this secret meeting.
Statements have come from Moscow that the two leaders reached agreements involving military issues during their private chat and that they’re ready to begin implementing them. However, U.S. law prohibits military-to-military cooperation between the United States and Russia. Congress passed the measure in the wake of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and it has been renewed every year since. Trump, not a details-guy, may have forgotten that…
“The Pentagon now is left holding the bag on how they fulfill the either promises or vague responses on [military-to-military] cooperation, and whether those issues are in the national security interest of the United States,” said Mark Simakovsky, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.”
What else did our collaborator-in-chief promise the former member of Soviet intelligence?
“After last week, we have to face the reality that we do not know—because even the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon and Trump’s own National Security Council do not know—what Trump would do in a security crisis with Russia,” said former Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski.
Action #1: Subpoena the American interpreter from the Helsinki summit.
Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Senator [___] to subpoena the American interpreter present at the Trump/Putin meeting at the Helsinki Summit and bring her in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The security of our country, not just our elections, is at stake, as well as the safety of our allies in Europe.
Senator Feinstein: DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430 (On the Committee)
and Senator Harris: DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884 (On the Committee)
Other Contacts: https://hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com
Action #2: Support the DETER Act – H.R.4884/S.2313
D.E.T.E.R. – Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines Act of 2018 was originally proposed in January but has gained new prominence after Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Putin in Helsinki and after the White House temporarily entertained the idea of sending US officials to be interrogated by Russians in exchange for Russian cooperation with the investigation into its interference in the 2016 US election. Read the text here.
Rep. Julia Brownley: (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal: (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Senator Feinstein: DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Other Contacts: https://hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com
There were only 4 witnesses to the Helsinki meeting. Trump, Putin, and two interpreters. There were no notetakers and it would be charitable to describe one of the witnesses, Mr. Trump, as “unreliable”, as he’s unable to create a coherent narrative of the part of the Helsinki summit that was filmed for the public. Putin, a former intelligence officer, assuredly recorded the private meeting to add to his kompromat collection.
Trump said they discussed a range of issues, including efforts to denuclearize North Korea, the Middle East peace efforts and cyber attacks. Russian officials have said Putin made concrete proposals to Trump during their one-on-one talk regarding conflict in Ukraine. It’s pretty clear that economic sanctions against Russia were mentioned too. Right off the top in their news conference, Putin hinted at relief from the Magnitsky Act. “Today’s negotiations reflected our joint wish, our joint wish with President Trump, to redress this negative situation in the bilateral relationship, outline first steps for improving this relationship to restore the acceptable level of trust, and going back to the previous level of interaction on all mutual interests and issues.” This is code for “Putin wants access to his money again.” As for the rest of his goals, “Putin defines Russia’s interests in opposition to—and with the objective of thwarting—Western policy,” said Ash Carter, Obama’s last defense secretary. “It’s very hard to build a bridge to that motivation.
Putin repeated in front of the cameras the whoppers he assuredly told Trump in private, such as there should be a treaty against weapons in space, that Russia was not responsible for interfering with our election, and that our military forces were working well together in Syria. He then circled back to the money… “We agreed, me and President Trump, we agreed to create a high-level working group that would bring together captains of Russian and American business. After all, entrepreneurs and businessmen know better how to articulate this successful business cooperation. We’ll let them think and make their proposals and suggestions in this regard.”
On camera, Putin implicitly threatened financier and Magnitsky originator Bill Browder by name. If you haven’t read the history of “business” in Putin’s Russia, read it here now. Spoiler: it ends with the torture/murder of a lawyer named Sergei Magnitsky, who inspired the law that prevents Russians and others who are complicit in human rights abuses and corruption from traveling to the West, as well as owning assets or using our financial system. Trump mentioned that in their private meeting, they talked of extraditing Michael McFaul, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Russia for the first two years the Magnitsky Act was in place.
McFaul, who is now a Hoover fellow at Stanford University and the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. “Even during the Stalin era, the Soviet government never had the audacity to try to arrest US government officials. Think about that.”
The House tried to subpoena the interpreter.
House Republicans, led by their head Russian cheerleader Devin Nunes, blocked the motion on a party line. Not a surprise, as the House Intelligence Committee, under Nunes, couldn’t get to the same finish line their Senate counterpart did on Russian interference in our election.
Let’s kick this up to the Senate!