Trump just can't quit Vladimir Putin. Any doubt about Russia's involvement in our election has long since been laid to rest, but Trump and facts are inversely related. At the Asia-Pacific Summit, Trump appears to have swallowed Putin's disclaimer hook line and sinker. Trump correctly fears that Russian interference raises questions about the legitimacy of his election. What he seems oblivious to is that his denials about Russian interference make him seem complicit in it. His vulnerability on this score and his compulsive need to be flattered have made him a laughing stock behind his back in China and Russia. Others, like Saudi Arabia, have simply used it as leverage to pursue policies that are antithetical to our interests as in its threats to Lebanon and Qatar. More immediately at the Summit, Trump said the U.S. won’t be ‘taken advantage of anymore’ in trade, but hours later, Pacific Rim nations reached a deal on trade without America.
Trump is a failure at every level, in both domestic and foreign policy, but first and foremost we must protect our democratic process.
Given Trump's denials, it is of great concern to know whether the US government is taking steps to prevent this kind of interference in our election from occurring again. Congress has called social media to account for their role in the fiasco and each platform seems to be taking action of its own to identify political speech and bots that spread fake news. Congress may well pass legislation to regulate them if they fail to act on their own. Several states have taken steps to maintain a paper election tally and use voting machines that cannot be hacked. These are first steps, but hardly enough to forestall the kind of interference we can expect in 2018 and 2020. Action at the federal level is a must. So far we have no evidence to indicate the necessary steps are being taken. This may well be Trump's most egregious failure.
“He said he didn't meddle,” Trump said, answering questions in the press cabin on the Air Force One. “I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. … He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.”‘He said he didn’t meddle’: Trump talks with Putin about U.S. elections and Syria in brief interactionshttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/11/11/he-said-he-didnt-meddle-trump-talks-with-putin-about-u-s-elections-syria-in-brief-interactions/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_trump-putin-635am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.d6faf971d9c2
U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russian hackers stole thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee and made them public, while also spreading misinformation in an attempt to help Trump beat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump, however, has said he does not believe that Russia actively sought to help him.
On Saturday Trump described former FBI director James Comey, who testified to Congress that Trump asked him to drop an investigation into his campaign's ties to Russian officials, as a proven “liar” and “leaker.” Trump called the former U.S. intelligence officials who concluded the Russians tampered — including former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and former CIA director John Brennan — “political hacks.”
Of the investigations into his campaign, Trump said: “This is really an artificial barrier that’s put in front of us for solving problems with Russia.” Of Putin, he added: “He says that very strongly, he really seems to be insulted by it, and he says he didn’t do it. He is very, very strong in the fact that he didn’t do it. You have President Putin very strongly, vehemently, says he has nothing to do with that.