“I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness… If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would do so. I like to think I’m a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”
This was the Boston lawyer who was instrumental in breaking Joseph McCarthy. Some years later he took a role in Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder saying, “it looked like that was the only way I’d ever get to be a judge.”
On the bench as the judge, Joseph N. Welch of Boston, the lawyer who distinguished himself in the Army-McCarthy hearings, does an unbelievably professional job. He is delightful and ever so convincing. Mr. Preminger scored a coup in getting him.
Fast forward to July 13, 2018. Now, instead of Senator McCarthy — his ugly tactics, and his imagined monsters — we have an only too real president. Who, after being informed of a new set indictments (United States of America v. Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, et al.), has plans to meet the foreign spies’ master in Helsinki on Monday. Yes, a one-on-one meeting (no Americans present) with the very man who plotted to put him in office. Why? In defiance of protocol and good statesmanship, it leaves the world wondering. (Do I hear subversion? Treason?) Does it end here? Not according to National Intelligence Director Dan Coats:
“These [Russian] actions are persistent, they’re pervasive and they are meant to undermine America’s democracy on a daily basis, regardless of whether it is election time or not.”
Of particular interest is how these Russians paid for their cyber-attacks, and how the timing of those attacks coincided with various public statements and hires in the presidential campaign.
Reflecting in a broader sense than this specific indictment, not only is the timing damning but so are the president’s words parroting Russian propaganda about “rigged witch hunts” the “deep state” and “fake news” — it’s disinformation straight out of the GRU (previously KGB) handbook. It comes spewing out every time the DOJ fits another piece to the puzzle. Which is why Saturday’s tweet was particularly puzzling, somewhat subdued, and completely nonsensical. Is this the “he should have stopped me” defense?
As we all know, the intemperate tweeter was informed by the FBI of Russian interference on August 17, 2016. And yet he continued to work with people compromised by the Russians who are now either in jail, cooperating with the investigation, or are subjects of the investigation. Interesting. Further, he notoriously said this, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” at a news conference on July 27, 2016, at the same time the Russians targeted Hillary Clinton’s email accounts.
It’s almost as if he’s not in control of his own actions. Puppet, anyone?
Here we have Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, in his announcement about the indictment, and the operations of those who work for Putin.
“According to the allegations in the indictment, the defendants worked for two units of the main intelligence directorate of the Russian general staff known as the G.R.U. The units engaged in active cyber operations to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
There was one unit that engaged in active cyber operations by stealing information, and a different unit that was responsible for disseminating the stolen information. The defendants used two techniques to steal information. First, they used a scheme known as spearfishing which involves sending misleading email messages and tricking the users into disclosing their passwords and security information.
Secondly, the defendants hacked into computer networks and installed malicious software that allowed them to spy on users and capture keystrokes, take screenshots, and exfiltrate or remove data from those computers.”
In closing his statement Rosenstein said this:
“A partisan warfare fueled by modern technology does not fairly reflect the grace, dignity, and unity of the American people. The blame for election interference belongs to the criminals who committed election interference. We need to work together to hold the perpetrators accountable. And we need to keep moving forward to preserve our values, protect against future interference, and defend America.”
That is a lovely statement, but perhaps the blame extends to all those in power who held their tongues for political gain; McConnell, Ryan, et al., those who put their personal interests over the well being of our democracy, and those who let rancor be their guide, instead of “grace, dignity, and unity” — exactly all those who fell for the Russians’ con, or profited by it.
As for “moving forward to preserve our values…and defend America,” I give you Robert Mueller, Special Counsel for the Department of Justice, in a photo taken by Alex Wong for Getty Images.
I wonder who will play him in the movie…