Ignoring the Bear in the Room

Ignoring the Bear in the Room

Trump wants Americans to forget about the Russian attack on our elections.

He talked for 80 minutes about tax cuts and immigration, Obamacare and veterans, but somehow President Trump got through Tuesday’s State of the Union speech without mentioning the bear in the room.

That’s no small feat – bears, especially Russian bears like this one, are hard to ignore – but I suppose we shouldn’t’ be surprised. The president spent much of his first year in the White House dismissing and/or ridiculing the mountain of evidence that Russian cyber-criminals ran an elaborate campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton and help him win the 2016 election; he and his speechwriters probably figured there was no need to revisit all that.

As Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn observed after the speech, Trump clearly wants Americans to forget about the Russian bear’s political sabotage. Trump’s only reference to Russia on Tuesday was part of a call for more spending on the U.S. military, which already burns through nine times as much money annually as its Russian counterpart.

All that military spending, of course, is directed at overseas military threats. It would be nice to see Trump show at least some concern with the Russian threat to our democracy here at home.

Just this week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a Trump appointee, told the BBC that after secretly planting hundreds of thousands of social media messages designed to undercut Hillary Clinton and help elect Trump in 2016, Russian cyber spies are at work on more mischief for this fall’s congressional midterm elections.

But rather than offering aid to state election officials who are trying to figure out how to protect their voting machines and registration records against hackers, Trump is focused on derailing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s 2016 attack and the possible involvement of the Trump campaign in it.

He can’t be allowed to succeed, Hobert Flynn said Tuesday night. “The Republican Congressional leadership is fast becoming complicit in Trump’s obvious obstruction of justice,” she added.

“Congress must put country over party” Hobert Flynn said.  “Every American has a right to know what happened when we were attacked and that it won’t happen again.”