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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

More on the Fifth Column

Amy Fried at The Bangor Daily News:
Rationalizing Russian aggression has come from a few on the far left, with blame for the invasion in part aimed toward NATO. But this group lacks influence among Democrats.

In contrast, Trump is not the only prominent figure in the American right to hail Putin. As Rep. Liz Cheney noted last week, “As Russian forces invade Ukraine, Russian TV features Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo and Tucker Carlson praising Putin.”

For years a segment of American conservatives has heralded Putin, a murderous, authoritarian kelptocrat. In 2017, Christopher Caldwell of the Claremont Institute wrote that Putin “is a hero to populist conservatives around the world and anathema to progressives.” “By conventional measures such as border protection and nationalism, Caldwell said “Putin would count as the preeminent statesman of our time.”

Support has also flowed the other way. Despite Trump claiming that Russia didn’t help him during the 2016 election, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Russians for participating in activities aimed to help Trump. The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee documented these efforts, many involving one-time Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who worked to undermine support for an independent Ukraine and removed a pro-Ukraine plank from the 2016 Republican platform.

Trump was impeached two years ago for trying to extort Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, withholding military equipment Congress had authorized in order to try to harm Joe Biden’s election prospects. Trump lawyer Rudy Guiliani participated in this effort and successfully got Trump to fire the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine because she would not participate in the extortion plan.

Only one Senate Republican — Mitt Romney — voted to convict Trump. Romney explained, “The president asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival. The president withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so. The president delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders.The president’s purpose was personal and political. Accordingly, the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of the public trust.”