Donald Trump has a special trick that protects him from the scorn he deserves: His outrageous behavior comes at such a furious pace that it’s difficult to keep up.
We put aside his bragging about grabbing women’s genitals when he claimed that he won the popular vote. We put aside his rejection of climate science when he tried to rob 22 million people of health insurance. And so on.
Let’s not allow this to happen when it comes to Russian meddling in last year’s election. Our democracy is at risk. And Trump is not lifting a finger to defend it.
The attention now is focused on the sins of Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son. Last year, during the heat of the campaign, he met with a Russian lawyer with close ties to senior Kremlin officials after she offered to spill dirt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Don’t let that story distract you. Yes, it is beyond alarming that the campaign would bite at such an offer from a foreign adversary, one known to have sabotaged elections in the West. And by initially lying about the purpose of the meeting, Donald Jr. has inflamed suspicions.
But don’t be distracted by the possible sins of the son. The truth is we probably won’t know if the Trump campaign colluded with Russia until we hear from the special prosecutor, former FBI director Robert Mueller.
Focus instead on the tangible sins of the father, who is almost inviting the Russians to repeat their assault on our democracy.
On foreign soil, our president dismissed the verdict of American intelligence agencies, who unanimously concluded with “high confidence” that Putin personally ordered his intelligence agencies to mess with our election and help Trump win.
Trump shows only indifference. In his nine meetings and phone calls with his first FBI director, James Comey, Trump never once asked about the evidence, Comey said. Why would that be?
Trump claimed that he pressed Putin about the meddling in a private meeting at the G-20 summit last. Only a fool would bank on that claim, given Trump’s habit of lying.
But it misses the point by a mile. A tongue-lashing is no answer. Trump has imposed zero punishment on Russia over its meddling — no economic sanctions, no threat of retaliation, not even a public statement of outrage.
He even proposed a joint effort with Putin to combat cyber-warfare, an idea so ludicrous that he abandoned it within a day after a storm of bipartisan mockery.
“There’s only one person in Washington, that I know of, that has any doubt about what Russia did in our election, and it’s President Trump,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a leading Republican, said Sunday on Meet the Press. “The more he talks about this in terms of not being sure, the more he throws our intelligence communities under the bus, the more he’s willing to forgive and forget Putin, the more suspicion. And I think it’s going to dog his presidency until he breaks this cycle.”
This is a breathtaking failure of leadership. So, it falls to Congress to deliver a stinging answer to Putin, one worthy of those who fought and died to protect our democracy. We cannot allow Trump’s indifference to carry the day.
More:Tom Moran columns