Mary Anne Marsh: Thanks to Trump, Christmas has come early to the Kremlin

Nancy Pelosi confronted Donald Trump at the White House last week questioning why he removed U.S. troops from Syria and his loyalty to the United States. “All roads lead to Putin,” she stated.

Pelosi’s statement not only sent Trump into a fury, it also crystallized the problem our country faces: Trump’s actions routinely seem to benefit Vladimir Putin, not the United States of America.

This stark situation was reinforced that same day in a blistering op-ed authored by Adm. William McRaven, who led the operation that killed Usama bin Laden. “[I]f this president doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office — Republican, Democrat or independent — the sooner, the better,” he wrote. “The fate of our Republic depends upon it.”

REP. PAUL GOSAR: TRUMP WAS RIGHT TO WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM SYRIA – WE SHOULD PROTECT US BORDERS INSTEAD

In the essay, McRaven described a recent encounter with troops. He wrote, “The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within…These men and women, of all political persuasions, have seen the assaults on our institutions. … They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own. They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield. …

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“We are the most powerful nation in the world because we try to be the good guys. … If our promises are meaningless, how will our allies ever trust us? If we can’t have faith in our nation’s principles, why would the men and women of this nation join the military? And if they don’t join, who will protect us? If we are not the champions of the good and the right, then who will follow us? And if no one follows us — where will the world end up?”

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Even Republicans are starting to recognize that Trump isn’t putting the interests of the United States first.

On Friday, Rep. Francis Rooney, R.-Fla., who represents a 59 percent Trump district, stated after Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney seemed to admit there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine, “I didn’t take this job to keep it. I took this job to do the right thing at all times — the right thing. … I’ll be looking at my children a lot longer than I’m looking to anybody in this building.” He added, “I’ve been real mindful of the fact that during Watergate, all the people I knew said, ‘Oh, they’re just abusing Nixon, and it’s a witch hunt.’ Turns out it wasn’t a witch hunt. It was really bad.”

On Saturday, Rooney announced he will not run for reelection.

So what happened to provoke Pelosi, McRaven and Rooney?

Well, Christmas came early to the Kremlin thanks to Donald Trump … and a lot of gifts were delivered in the last two weeks alone.

First, Trump gave approval to Turkey to invade Syria. That means Russia can operate with impunity in Syria. With Trump’s capitulation, Russia is positioning itself as the power to trust in the region. That’s why the Kurds, who fought and beat ISIS on our behalf, and who Trump betrayed are now trying to make a deal with Putin. In the meantime, Turkey is committing genocide against the Kurds and no one stopping them. Until the pause announced last week, innocent men, women, and children were being slaughtered.

Even Republicans are starting to recognize that Trump isn’t putting the interests of the United States first.

These attacks have prompted renewed talk of banishing Turkey from NATO, which could break up the alliance – a longtime goal of Putin’s. In fact, Erdogan meets with Putin this week. Normally, the United States would lead the effort to remove Turkey but Trump won’t do it. Adding insult to injury, Trump has invited Erdogan to Washington in November. A war criminal in the White House is something every American should agree is unacceptable and outrageous.

Second, remember at the United Nations when Trump urged Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to “get together and solve your problem” with Putin? Well, Zelensky appears ready to sign a deal over eastern Ukraine largely on Putin’s terms. Clearly, Zelensky’s hand has been forced as Ukraine lost the backing of the United States, as evidenced by Trump’s reported withholding of aid in exchange for detrimental information on his political opponent Joe Biden. The potential Ukraine-Russia deal has also led to protests in the streets of Ukraine, furthering Putin’s goal of unrest and instability in this region.

Third, Trump wants to bring Putin into the G-7 fold. Russia was banned from the group for annexing Crimea. Trump will use the next meeting, which he will host, to insist Putin be readmitted, despite even more egregious behavior since the annexation. Even if Putin is denied admission, he’s already reaped the benefits of having the United States advocating for him and against our allies … again.

Last, but not least, it was also announced the United States and Russia will hold joint cyber exercises. Just in time for the 2020 election and only 105 days until the Iowa caucuses. After blatantly interfering in our elections in 2016, and with apparently nothing to stop them in 2020, what could possibly go wrong? Help Trump? Hurt Trump’s opponents or potential Democratic nominee? Sound familiar?

Why? Why is Trump doing everything he can to make Putin happy? Does the president want Putin interfering in another U.S. election, essentially helping Trump? Is Putin putting pressure on Trump? Does Putin think Trump will be impeached and removed from office so he’s getting what he wants now?

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The answers to these questions and more will likely be revealed during the impeachment inquiry. Those answers will also force us to face one of the biggest tests of our democracy -- and failure isn’t an option.

In the meantime, Christmas has come early to the Kremlin and Russia is celebrating at our expense.

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