Editorial: Trump needs to make election safe for voters, not Russian hackers

Posted August 13, 2020 5:00 a.m. EDT

CBC Editorial: Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020; Editorial #8574
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company.

There is one statement President Donald Trump made at a recent news conference that no one will challenge.

“Well, I don’t care what anybody says,” Trump barked to a reporter during a recent news conference.

It came in response to any concerns he might have about evidence his intelligence agencies uncovered that again, Russia is seeking to interfere in the U.S. elections in his favor. The leader of the free world MUST care about foreign nations meddling in the most important function of our democracy. It is a violation of the law for campaigns to solicit or accept contributions from foreign nationals. Further, foreign nationals cannot engage in any political activity connected to an election for political office.

His factual statement about dismissing REAL facts isn’t surprising. The president’s averaged 23 false or misleading claims daily – practically one an hour folks -- since taking the oath of office. Chris Cillizza of CNN documented 34 “wildest lines from Donald Trump's wildly inaccurate” Monday press conference.

How far will Donald Trump go in his efforts to impose his fiction on reality?

Recently, the New York Times uncovered that about a year ago intelligence agencies produced a classified report revealing the Russian government favored President Trump in the 2020 presidential election. It paralleled the broad agreement that Russia favored Trump in 2016 and sough to interfere in that election on his behalf.

Trump didn’t like the report and the director of national intelligence was asked to revise the assessment. “He did not — and not long afterward, Mr. Trump declared the director was out,” the Times reported.

Think of it. The president of this nation is more concerned about a fictitious problem – voter fraud via mail-in ballots which has rarely been a problem – than he is in a REAL effort to interfere and manipulate the elections by foreign nations.

Let’s be clear. “Russia conducted an unprecedented, multi-faceted campaign to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” That is no assessment from Trumps enemies or political opposition. That is the conclusion from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, headed at the time by Richard Burr, the Republican from North Carolina.

“Russia’s aggressive interference efforts should be considered ‘the new normal.’ That warning has been borne out by the events of the last three years, as Russia and its imitators increasingly use information warfare to sow societal chaos and discord. With the 2020 presidential election approaching, it’s more important than ever that we remain vigilant against the threat of interference from hostile foreign actors,” Burr said.

But our president and the enablers around him wallow in denial. The exchange during the news conference was arresting.

“I think that the last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because nobody has been tougher on Russia than I have, ever,” Trump said in reply to a reporter’s question about concerns of foreign meddling in the campaign.

The reporter persisted. “That’s not what the intelligence is showing, though.” Trump shot back, “Well, I don’t care what anybody says.”

We can’t fathom that a president says he doesn’t care about foreign interference in our elections. It is NOT ok.

The president should be leading – but like too many critical concerns the nation faces – the president is in a state of denial. It is the obligation of the president to protect our elections from foreign interference.

Congress and the states – where there remains critical authority to make sure elections are conducted openly and fairly – must act to make sure our elections ARE NOT manipulated. Why hasn’t the Congress – particularly the Senate acted based on the very troubling findings of Sen. Burr’s committee? When a problem is so clearly identified, it must be fixed. Burr should be in the forefront of proposing and pushing for laws to protect the integrity of our election from international meddling.

It is Donald Trump’s duty as the current president to make sure the next president is elected by American voters – not by Kremlin hackers and social media bots.

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