Dispatch February 21, 2020

Trump Is Colluding With Russia Again

President Donald Trump is already colluding with Russia again to attack American democracy and help him win the 2020 election. According to The Washington Post and The New York Times, Trump berated and then fired his acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire because career officials briefed Congress about the fact that Russia intended to help him in 2020, just like it did in 2016.

In other words, Trump is aiding and abetting the Russian government by undermining the U.S. government’s response, and is using his power as president to do so.

Russian interference, and the Trump campaign’s collusion, worked in 2016 in part because both remained largely hidden.

Trump is actively enabling Russia’s next attack for his own personal benefit.

  • Initial reports said Trump was concerned that Democrats could “exploit” the fact that Russia is supporting him, but the reality is clear: Trump is concerned that revealing Russian interference would undermine his ability to benefit from it.
  • Replacing Maguire with Grenell undermines the intelligence community’s ability to do its job by uncovering attacks, whether they’re from Russia or anywhere else.
  • It also sends a clear message to hostile foreign governments that they are free to attack American democracy all they want, as long as it helps Trump.
  • Meanwhile, Trump’s accomplices, once again led by McConnell, are leaving America’s elections vulnerable to foreign intervention while doing everything they possibly can to obscure not only the possibility of another Russian attack, but also the truth about the last one.

Congressional Republicans cleared the way for exactly this type of interference. This is what every Republican Senator (except one) condoned when they voted to acquit Trump. They ratified the authoritarian argument that, as long as Trump believes his reelection is in the national interest, he is allowed to use his powers as president to strike any corrupt bargain with a hostile foreign power—even if it means sacrificing American democracy, to make it happen.

We may not yet know exactly how Russia intends to disrupt the 2020 election, but we know that Trump intends to enable and exploit them just like he did in 2016. Dismissing his acting Director of National Intelligence to make sure Russian interference stays secret is just the first step.