Editorial: Trump fails to respond to Russia interference

  • President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit last July 7.

    President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit last July 7. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

 
Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted12/16/2017 2:00 PM

For months now, the country has been consumed with investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The day-after-day coverage of the investigations has been impossible to escape and the partisanship that has greeted the coverage has sadly been all but impossible to ignore.

 

For the most part, the focus of the politicians, the news media and the country has been on the Watergate-style questions: Did the Trump campaign collude with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton? More to the point, did President Donald Trump himself collude with the Russians? And in the wake of the investigation, has Trump or anyone associated with him sought to obstruct justice?

These are important questions, to be sure. After all, they hold the potential to bring down a president.

And hardly an American breathing lacks for opinions as to the answers, even though none of us have enough information to know with any degree of certainty what those answers are. Such is the level of polarization that plagues our politics these days.

Lost in all of this, meanwhile, is the grave threat our democracy faces.

Let us call your attention to a fascinating Washington Post article appearing elsewhere in the paper today.

"How Trump Rejected the Russia intelligence" is such an exhaustive, riveting and eye-opening expose that we turned an entire section over to it in Sunday's print editions and provide it with the length it richly merits on dailyherald.com.

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We encourage you to read it.

In part, it provides precious insights into the personality and decision-making processes of our enigmatic 45th president. The Post does an astute job of chronicling history as it unfolds, almost in real time.

But the depth of the flavorful profile is less significant than the underlying conclusion: Our democracy is under strategic and systematic attack by a foreign power and the White House, sidetracked by the politics surrounding the challenge, is doing almost nothing to combat or prevent it. As a result, our country is doing little to combat or prevent it.

Let's not lose sight of the bigger issue here.

The bigger issue is not a president's survival, but our country's survival, the survival of our democracy and the institutions that protect it.

The evidence of the president's complicity with Russia is, at the very least, unclear. But the evidence of Russia's interference is not.

We and other Western democracies are under threat and we must contest the assault.

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