Nicholas Burns, a former US ambassador to NATO and George W. Bush administration official, accused President Trumpof “dereliction of the basic duty to defend the country” for Trump’s disinterest in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Burns testified before the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday. Mr. Burns said he finds it, “dismaying and objectionable that President Trump continues to deny the undeniable fact that Russia launched a major cyber attack against the United States — regardless of what party he launched it against.” He questioned why the president had not launched an investigation of his own in order to protect the United States from future cyber attacks of this nature.
Adam Schiff (D-CA) was asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper on The Lead about Nicholas Burns’s testimony — in particular the “dereliction of duty” assertion. Tapper read some of Burns’s statement to Schiff and said, “That seems rather strong. What do you think?”
“I would completely agree with that. The national security needs of the country have to come first, they certainly have to come as a higher priority than whatever effect this would have on how he views the legitimacy or the size of his election victory. That is not of great consequence here. Right now the message the Russians are getting is that they’re not gonna pay much of a price for this. Indeed their best spokesperson is the President of the United States… because he is the one casting doubt on what they did.”
Schiff added that, “We are very poorly prepared if the Russians interfere in the midterms — if this president won’t acknowledge what happened in his own election, what hope do we have that he’ll speak out when they do this again?”
The question is how long Trump and his closest allies can continue to pretend the Russian interference didn’t happen and/or isn’t important. Polling continues to show that the overwhelming majority of Americans take it as fact that the Russians interfered with the 2016 presidential election. Perhaps more importantly, the majority of Americans believe that Donald Trump has tried to interfere with the investigation into the Russian interference.
One realizes Trump is a long admirer of a certain Führer, but clearly the Goebbels approach is not working here. The lie was big enough, it has been repeated enough, but, crucially, people are not believing it.