Donald Trump needs foreign help to get reelected in 2020, just the way he needed Russia’s help in 2016. In fact, Trump has made it perfectly clear to the world that he welcomes foreign interference on his behalf, telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos last year, “I think I’d take it.” Of course, he would—he needs it.
But that’s only what Trump has said in public. In private, we know that he’s shaking down foreign leaders in any way possible in order to enlist their help in his reelection bid. That’s exactly what Trump did in the “I would like you to do us a favor though” phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, urging him to investigate his political rivals eight times. So publicly, Trump’s pushing out open calls for pro-Trump interference by foreign governments and, privately, he’s dropping the hammer on countries that need U.S. support in order to extract help from them in his quest to cheat the American people yet again.
But the mere acknowledgment that Trump will actually receive the help he has sought is cause for heads to roll. That’s what the intelligence community dared to assert in a congressional briefing last week, setting up that latest Trump administration purge at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The intelligence official, Shelby Pierson, intimated that Russia had “developed a preference” for Trump in 2020. Gasp! Quick, find your pearls. Oh wait, Trump’s got them and he’s crushing them in his tiny man hands. He’s enraged. His stack is blowing—smoke out the ears, hair on fire, madness! Acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire—out! Principal executive at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Andrew Hallman—out! And now purges of insufficiently loyal public servants are being considered at agencies like the Justice Department.
On the one hand, this is all deeply disturbing and frightening. On the other, it’s just insanity on Trump’s part. Everyone but his craziest MAGA cultists already knows that Russia helped Trump get elected in 2016 and very obviously has always planned to do its part for him again in 2020. Psst, Trump: Everyone’s in the loop. No worries. It’s not like someone revealed that he has ridiculous hair or some shocker like that.
Trump is such a fragile little man, it’s frightening. And the fact that he can’t handle the truth is now hamstringing America’s ability to protect itself from malign foreign actors. Apparently, the truth hurts.
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