With a gob-smacking offer to reinstate Russia to the Group of Seven, President Trump has rekindled suspicions that he is in effect repaying Russia for help in the 2016 presidential election. The Post reports:
President Trump on Friday said Russia should be readmitted to the Group of Seven leading economies, breaking with other world leaders who have insisted that Moscow remain ostracized after its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
“Now, I love our country. I have been Russia’s worst nightmare. . . . But with that being said, Russia should be in this meeting,” Trump said Friday as he left the White House. “It may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run. . . . They should let Russia back in.”
Trump’s comments, made just hours before arriving in Canada for the annual G-7 summit, have the potential to further upend talks with other leaders who were already fuming about the U.S. leader’s protectionist trade policies.
He hasn’t been Russia’s worst nightmare, of course. He has been a gold mine, helping to undercut the Western alliance, accepting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s representation that he didn’t know about hacking, effectively ceding Syria to Russia and Iran, and now this. Trump, it seems, is no longer bothering to conceal his willingness to play buddy-buddy with Moscow.
Meanwhile, Republicans remain in full denial about Russia’s intervention during the election on Trump’s behalf.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, after summoning the nerve to agree with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) that there is no evidence to support Trump’s cockamamie “spying” theory, quickly retreated to false, pro-Trump talking points. He declared, “In all of this, in any of this, there’s been no evidence that there’s been any collusion between the Trump campaign and President Trump and Russia.” In case that wasn’t clear, he added: “Let’s just make that really clear. There’s no evidence of collusion. This is about Russia and what they did and making sure they don’t do it again.” Wrong, wrong, wrong.
We have evidence that top Trump campaign officials, including the president’s son and son-in-law, met with Russian operatives who offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. We have evidence that foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was told by an intermediary, Joseph Mifsud, that Russians had “dirt” on Clinton. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about such contacts. After WikiLeaks released hacked emails damaging