Senate Holds Hearing On Russia Hacks As Trump Defends Putin (Bring The Mother Russia Trumpus)

American Bridge President Jessica Mackler issued the following statement on the Senate Armed Services hearing on the Russian hacks:

“Donald Trump’s relentless support for and defense of Vladimir Putin and Russia’s work to hijack America’s democratic process is dangerous for America and very clearly aimed at protecting Trump’s own self-interest.

“Whether Trump’s pandering to Putin is a result of Trump’s potential ties to Russian investors, impending business deals, or simply gratitude for Russia’s hacking on his behalf  — it’s clear that Trump for some reason feels beholden to Putin. It’s a disgrace that Republicans are capitulating to Trump and standing by Trump’s attacks on the U.S. intelligence community and defense of Putin.”

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It’s no surprise Donald Trump is on a daily basis siding with Vladimir Putin over the U.S. intelligence community. Trump praised Putin throughout the presidential primary and general election. And his Putin admiration stretches back even further: remember when Trump hopefully asked “[W]ill he become my new best friend?” in June 2013. Trump has additionally used Kremlin talking points — including that Russia never invaded Ukraine — and for that and his denial of the truth of Russia’s cyberespionage, earned the praise of Vladimir Putin and the Russian media.

And there’s evidence the conflicts exist. Donald Trump Jr. admitted in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” That would explain a lot of what’s been going on over the past month.

Trump hasn’t released his tax returns, so there’s no telling how deep his Russian ties and conflicts of interest go, but Trump’s concerted effort to defend the Kremlin — whether inspired by business interests or not — is indisputable.

Donald Trump is spending his days literally mocking U.S. intelligence sources, dismissing their consensus view that Putin and the Kremlin orchestrated an effort to influence November’s election. And yet he won’t even sit down for an intelligence briefing to hear their proof. He’s slated to sit for one tomorrow, but this is Trump — non-zero odds he either (a) bails or (b) attends the meeting then takes to Twitter to keep defending Putin.

A hearing this morning is one thing. But it means nothing if Republicans don’t follow up and sit idly by as Trump continues to conceal his vast conflicts of interest, traveling down a path of profiting off the presidency.

And remember: Trump explicitly asked Russia to conduct cyberespionage on the United States.

Trump knows Russia worked to get him in the White House.

Republicans in Congress know it, too. But they’re capitulating to Trump. A hearing today, driven almost exclusively by Democrats, does not count. The GOP and it’s most vocal “Russia hawks” are caving to Trump and defending the Kremlin.