I can't believe you people in the mainstream media are taking this even semi-seriously:
President Trump on Tuesday made his most forceful comments to date about Russia’s campaign to disrupt U.S. elections...
A low bar to clear.
... warning Moscow that his administration would counteract any attempts to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections.
"Warning." That's hilarious.
Though Trump has at times doubted that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election...
Trump still doubts it -- or wants us to. At this point, I don't know what he actually believes. He may have been directly involved in collusion and yet may literally believe the Fox News version of the narrative, even though it contradicts his actual lived experience.
... he told reporters Tuesday that “certainly there was meddling” and that the U.S. government must be vigilant to prevent foreign intrusions in future elections.
Keep reading to learn how seriously you should take his assertion that "certainly there was meddling."
“I think you have to be really watching very closely,” Trump said. “We won’t allow that to happen. We’re doing a very, very deep study, and we’re coming out with, I think, some very strong suggestions on the ’18 election....”
There is no study. There will be no suggestions, strong or otherwise.
Asked at a news conference alongside Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven whether he worries about Russia interfering again, Trump said, “No, because we’ll counteract whatever they do.”
For some reason, instead of responding to these questions with the "NO COLLUSION" tape that regularly plays in his head, he's responding with the tape that says, "I'm the toughest SOB who ever lived and bad guys better not mess with me." It's ... not really credible.
Trump’s comments signal a turnabout.
No, seriously, they don't.
He initially rejected the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election to help boost his campaign.
And he will again, maybe in a few weeks, maybe in a few hours.
During his first year as president, Trump held no Cabinet or high-level National Security Council meetings about combating Russian interference. He and his administration have sought to roll back or simply have not enforced measures to hold Moscow accountable, such as sanctions passed overwhelmingly by Congress.
Last week, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command, testified to Congress that the U.S. government is “probably not doing enough” to convince Russia to change its calculus or behavior ahead of this November’s midterm elections.
Rogers said Trump has given him no new authorities or capabilities to strike at Russian cyber-operations. He said Russian President Vladimir Putin “has clearly come to the conclusion that ‘there’s little price to pay here and therefore I can continue this activity.’ ”
On the one hand: Trump's record. On the other hand: Trump's word today. Surely we're not supposed to go with Trump's word, are we?
... In his Tuesday comments, Trump insisted that his administration was at work trying to protect U.S. election systems from foreign interference, but he provided no details other than advocating for paper-based voting systems.
“You have to be very vigilant and one of the things we’re learning is, it’s always good — it’s old-fashioned, but it’s always good — to have a paper backup system of voting,” Trump said. “It’s called paper, not highly complex computers. Paper. A lot of states are doing that.”
I've written about this aspect of Trump's personality: He loves to grab onto one simple idea and offer it as the panacea all the experts are overlooking, though he can identify it because he's so damn smart. In this case it's ... ballots with paper backup. Which are a good thing, but they do nothing to counteract hacks into voting systems or the dissemination of disinformation and other propaganda, much less the pilfering and publication of sensitive information from candidates and parties the Russians don't like.
You may wonder why Trump feels the need to offer a solution at all. Apparently, there's been enough talk about talk about election interference that he's started to feel as if it makes him look weak. He doesn't care -- he just wants to look macho.
Trump acknowledged Russia interfered in the 2016 election but insisted it did not influence the outcome and qualified his answer to suggest there may have been other actors.
“The Russians had no impact on our votes whatsoever, but certainly there was meddling and probably there was meddling from other countries and maybe other individuals,” the president said.
"Maybe other individuals"! Somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, you'd better watch out! President Trump is not going to take any more of your damn election interference!
This was meaningless. It should be reported as if it's meaningless. Trump's views on this subject haven't changed. He's just trying out a different line of bullshit.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog