by Brent Budowsky
While House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) pulls the plug on defending Donald Trump, and as congressional Republicans devolve into a state of anarchy as to whether they will defend or deplore their nominee, who descended to the gutter in the last presidential debate, WikiLeaks is continuing to publish hacked emails in a desperate attempt to save Trump’s ill-fated candidacy.
As The Hill correctly reported on Monday, WikiLeaks published emails to and from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and some of those emails were from me. While I do not publicly discuss private exchanges with high-level officials, since some of them have now been hacked and leaked, almost certainly by Russian espionage against America using WikiLeaks as a wire service for Russian propaganda, here is my response.
It is public information that American intelligence and counterintelligence officials are convinced that Russia is behind leaks against the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other hacks and leaks obviously designed to help Trump become president.
This may be the only time in American history that a Russian dictator and covert actions under his command have aggressively sought to elect their favored nominee as commander in chief. But this is not necessarily surprising: Donald Trump praises Vladimir Putin, says he might not defend Europe against a Russian invasion, seems to justify Russia’s annexation of Crimea, claims to not know that Russia is “in Ukraine,” acts in a way that would undermine NATO, sides with far-right European parties that would destroy European unity and contributes to racial divisions in America that Russia seeks to exploit through propaganda.
Since I suspect this column may be read by certain individuals in Moscow, I disclose here that my emails to Podesta included my opinion that President Obama and U.S. intelligence will never allow a Russian dictator to choose an American president, and would act to thwart such an operation.
Memo to President Putin: You have overreached. Back off. Stand down. Trump is a loser. Your operation has been blown.
Memo to Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): You receive highly classified briefings describing Russian espionage against the American election. You do not want the fate of your party tied to Vladimir Putin’s favored candidate for president.
Memo to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s vice presidential nominee, and any Republicans and conservatives who lack the courage, clarity and conviction to denounce Trump’s views on Russia and praise for Putin: You should denounce these views.
The Washington Post editorial board is right: Trump is Putin’s puppet. Republicans must not condone and Americans must not accept Putin’s puppet being made America’s commander in chief.
Meanwhile, as Putin plots his next move from Moscow, NBC and the production company that owns the rights to Trump’s “The Apprentice” show are considering whether to release — or keep secret —videos that may reveal more devastating words by Trump on tape that would further dramatize his crude sexism. Memo to whomever might possess such videos: You must publish or leak them for the good of our country.
Two final thoughts regarding my hacked and leaked Podesta emails.
First, as I have privately and publicly written, Bill Clinton was an outstanding president whose administration helped create tens of millions of jobs. His presidency left a legacy of prosperity that every Democrat and American should be proud of. The dignity he shows in response to Trump’s shift from adulatory praise to gutter-level attack ranks among his finest hours.
I gladly repeat here what I wrote to Podesta and in columns offering high praise to the Bill Clinton presidency as a compelling reason to support a Hillary Clinton presidency.
Second, it is true that I wrote to Podesta and in columns that Hillary Clinton should emphasize a more positive and sweeping vision to seek a mandate for a progressive change agenda and work with Bernie Sanders to make it happen. She has done this. The passionate support for Clinton by Sanders ranks among his finest hours, and it’s one more reason Putin and Trump will lose big on Election Day.