In 1938, Winston Churchill published a collection of his speeches warning that his homeland was not adequately contending with the threat posed by Nazi Germany. The title: “While England Slept.” Eighty years later, a similar observation can be rendered concerning the United States. Much of the political and media elite and the citizenry seem to be sleepwalking past a horrific and fundamental fact: The current president of the United States has helped to cover up a serious attack on the nation. This profound act of betrayal has gone unpunished and, in many quarters, unnoticed, even as it continues. With Donald Trump about to meet Vladimir Putin on Monday—rewarding the thuggish authoritarian Russian leader with a grand summit in Helsinki—this is an appropriate moment to remember that their dark bromance involves a mutual stonewalling of wrongdoing.
Though the US intelligence community, most of Trump’s top national security aides, and Republican and Democratic congressional leaders have all agreed with the assessment that Putin’s regime mounted information warfare against the United States in 2016 to cause discord during the election and help Trump win the White House, Trump has continued to assist Putin’s brazen campaign of denial. Two weeks ago, Trump, in a tweet, gave credence to Putin’s claim that Moscow did not intervene in the election. “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” Trump maintained. Instead, Trump insisted, the real scandal was that the Democratic National Committee in 2016 did not hand over to the FBI its servers, which were hacked by Russian intelligence. This server business is a phony Fox News-fueled scandal; the DNC provided copies of its servers to the bureau. And even if there were anything untoward about the server matter, it still would pale in comparison to a foreign adversary assaulting an American election with hacks and the dissemination of stolen material.