NDN Calls On The House To Conduct A Broad Security Review

Once the House appoints its Impeachment managers and the rules of the Senate trial are set, it is our hope that Congress also begins a project just as urgent – a broad review of the damage done to our standing in the world and our national security by the President’s willingness to put his own interests and the interests of others before the interests of the American people. 

After learning earlier this week that Trump's Ukraine "plumbers" had received money directly from a dirty oligarch close to Putin, yesterday the Washington Post published an alarming new story about Putin's influence over our President:

......"Almost from the moment he took office, President Trump seized on a theory that troubled his senior aides: Ukraine, he told them on many occasions, had tried to stop him from winning the White House.

After meeting privately in July 2017 with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Trump grew more insistent that Ukraine worked to defeat him, according to multiple former officials familiar with his assertions.

The president’s intense resistance to the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia systematically interfered in the 2016 campaign — and the blame he cast instead on a rival country — led many of his advisers to think that Putin himself helped spur the idea of Ukraine’s culpability, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.

One former senior White House official said Trump even stated so explicitly at one point, saying he knew Ukraine was the real culprit because “Putin told me.””

While a great deal of time and effort has been spent by Congress and the Mueller team looking into what happened in 2016, what Congress has to focus on now are the gifts the President has repeatedly given to other nations which have appeared at odds with stated US foreign policy. While time should be spent looking into his relationship with the Gulf Arab states and Turkey, the most important part of this review should be looking into a series of alarming decisions the President has made in just the past year which have helped Russia and harmed the security interests of the United States. 

I go into detail about these decisions in this recent analysis, but in sum the President has taken aggressive steps in recent months to change our policy towards Syria, Iran, Ukraine, Venezuela and Europe/NATO in ways which seem to be designed to achieve only one thing – advantaging Russia. The great fear we all had about Putin helping get Trump elected was that one day he could call in the chit – and based on what Trump has done in the last twelve months it sure looks like he’s called it in.

What would a broad security review look like? As I wrote recently, it could manifest in many ways, but it seems like it should be led by the Intelligence Committee with the support of Armed Services and Foreign Affairs.  If Chairman Schiff becomes one of the Impeachment managers, perhaps the Intelligence Committee’s Vice Chair, the very able Rep. Jim Himes, could take the lead for the House.  Concurrent public hearings could be held, and a report released this summer, perhaps in July.  We can view the Mueller, Horowitz and House Impeachment Reports as early evidence that can be flowed into whatever final report this process produces. 

Taking a step back, the testimony we heard from the parade of foreign service officers just a few weeks ago was as much about concerns that what the President was doing in Ukraine would benefit Putin and Russia as it was about how it would harm our democracy and elections here in the US.

Friends, there is just far too much evidence now that Russia’s Putin has some kind of dangerous and unnatural hold over our President.  It is time for these often whispered concerns to become front and center in our national debate.  If President Trump remains in office after the Senate trial, we simply cannot go through another election without the American people having a clearer understanding of the influence foreign leaders have had over our President, and how this influence has harmed the standing of our great nation abroad and made the world far more dangerous for all of us.