Activism

The Trump Resistance Plan: Step 3 – Russia Interfered

It’s time for the real American majority to demonstrate its unity and mobilize.

TRP: Step 3 - Russia Interfered

People hold up a drawing of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin kissing during the Women's March on Jan. 21, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Time makes more converts than reason.

— Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)

Stay on message. The Trump Resistance Plan focuses on two messages that are central to our democracy: “Russia interfered” and “Presidential corruption matters.” This installment covers the first one: “Russia interfered.”

In a joint interview with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Jan. 7, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) described the stakes: “What Putin did poses a threat to the very fundamentals of our democracy…”

Sen. Graham emphasized that this is not a partisan issue: “We should get to the bottom of all things Russia when it came to the 2016 election, period. Wherever it leads in whatever form…”

 
Trump and Russia

Putin engaged successfully in a sophisticated cyberattack on a cherished American right — voting. Among other methods, Russia used WikiLeaks to distribute emails that it had hacked from the Democratic National Committee. The public record is incomplete, but the relatively few known facts paint a disturbing big picture. Roll the tape:

Other characters lurk in the background. After the election, Carter Page — an early foreign policy adviser to Trump — was in Moscow to “meet with business and thought leaders.” Rick Gates was involved with Paul Manafort in Ukraine and a deputy on the Trump campaign.

 
Find All Dots and Connect Them

The known data points cluster to create a clear impression: Putin helped Trump win and Trump welcomed the assistance. Why?

Trump’s admiration enhances Putin’s status on the world stage. If he can get Trump to lift economic sanctions imposed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, so much the better. Those sanctions are crippling Russia’s economy. Meanwhile, Trump’s persistent questioning of US intelligence findings undermines those agencies’ credibility while emboldening Putin to continue flexing his cybermuscles in European countries’ democratic elections.

What does Trump get in return? The presidency and who knows what else. His refusal to release comprehensive information about his business connections to Russia — or anywhere — leads to ugly inferences. Trump should want to dispel them, unless he can’t because they’re correct. Whatever Putin knows — and he may know a lot — might give him enormous leverage over the president.

Now add Trump’s comment to The Times of London on Jan. 15, 2017: “We should trust Putin.”

Expressing once again his skepticism about NATO, Trump lambasted German Chancellor Angela Merkel. That would have pleased Putin. The Western alliance contributed mightily to the collapse of the Soviet Union, which he called the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Putin seeks to destabilize the West and restore Russia’s lost sphere of influence.

 
Send the Message

Congress must authorize a special independent 9/11-type commission. Step 2 of The Trump Resistance Plan offers contact information and language for messages that concerned citizens can send to Republicans and Democrats in Congress, especially senators. Phone calls, written letters and office visits are even better.

Americans possess another potent weapon: The power of peaceful protest. Keep using it. And keep expanding the ranks.

The Women’s March was more successful because it also included husbands, fathers, brothers and sons. To be sure, issues affecting women affect everyone. But with new executive orders every day, Trump will generate additional protests on the environment, health care, civil rights, immigration and more. Divergent individual motivations for public demonstrations on any such issues need not undermine a united collective purpose.

To the contrary, they can complement it. The Revolutionary War was the first model for diverse Americans uniting to achieve a common objective. In the 1960s, the combined force of the civil rights and antiwar movements created a whole vastly greater than the sum of its parts.

Here’s the key point: Every patriot can join any anti-Trump demonstration. In addition to posters expressing concerns about particular issues, anyone can bring a banner that unites us all: “Russia interfered” and, as the next installment in this series explains, “Presidential corruption matters.”

Woody Allen said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.”

Stay on message and keep showing up.

 

(Editor’s Note: On February 8, the author updated this post to say the women’s march was “more successful” because of the participation of men. Previously, the post stated that the women’s march “succeeded” because of it.)

This is Part 5 in a series by Steven Harper. Read the other posts in the series: Trump Resistance Plan.

Steven Harper

Steven Harper blogs at The Belly of the Beast, is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, and contributes regularly to The American Lawyer. He is the author of several books, including The Lawyer Bubble — A Profession in Crisis and Crossing Hoffa — A Teamster’s Story (a Chicago Tribune “Best Book of the Year”). Follow him on Twitter: @StevenJHarper1.

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