By Robert A. Vella
Richard Condon’s 1959 political thriller The Manchurian Candidate was the basis for two superb movies of the same name. The first one in 1962 starred Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey, and the remake in 2004 featured Denzel Washington and Liev Schreiber. The stories told fictional tales of hostile foreign powers brainwashing an American to act on command as an assassin to effectuate a clandestine coup d’état of the United States. If you haven’t seen these films, you should. They are quite gripping, and accurately depict the nature of politics.
While the remake portrayed a powerful corporate entity as the villain, the original Cold War era movie portrayed communist China and the Soviet Union as the perpetrators. Coincidentally, Vladimir Putin is a former Soviet KGB officer who now presides over the nation of Russia. Putin’s influence over U.S. President Trump might have nothing to do with brainwashing or any other type of psychological manipulation, but it is obvious nevertheless. Regardless of whether Trump is being blackmailed, coerced, fooled, or – more likely – just has an affinity for authoritarian strongmen, he has been serving Putin’s geopolitical interests since he ran for president in 2016.
You could say that Donald Trump is “The Siberian Candidate.”
In fact, Trump has been disseminating Russian disinformation from the moment he moved into the White House. He has called the Russian collusion investigations of the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a “hoax.” He has continually railed against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) established after World War II to protect European democracies. Trump has heaped praise upon Putin time after time, and has consistently refused to criticize his many contemptible actions including Russian interference in Belarus, the poisoning of Putin rival Alexei Navalny, and bounties paid to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S. military personnel. Now, Trump is repeating Russian propaganda against Joe Biden and is concealing U.S. intelligence reports about it; and, yesterday, he incited his supporters to commit voter fraud in North Carolina as a way to delegitimize the 2020 election so that he might remain in power.
All this and more serves Putin’s agenda to weaken and possibly destroy America’s democratic republic. It cannot be pure coincidence, and Trump’s behavior might be tantamount to treason.
Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
Here’s the news:
House Democratic leaders on Wednesday criticized the Department of Homeland Security for withholding the release of a draft intelligence bulletin warning law enforcement agencies of a Russian effort to spread disinformation about Joe Biden’s mental health.
The July notice from the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, which warned of a Russian plan to promote “allegations about the poor mental health” of Biden, was never released to federal, state and local law enforcement, after a senior DHS official raised concerns about the bulletin over email, as ABC News first reported.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested that voters in North Carolina should test their state’s election system by voting once by mail, then trying to vote a second time in person.
“Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if the system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote,” Trump told local station WECT after arriving in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Voting twice in the same election is illegal, and doing so deliberately is an example of the very kind of voter fraud that Trump has spent months railing against. In North Carolina, it is a felony “with intent to commit a fraud to register or vote at more than one precinct or more than one time, or to induce another to do so, in the same primary or election, or to vote illegally at any primary or election.”
Asked about Trump’s comments in an interview with CNN, Attorney General Bill Barr said he didn’t know what the law on double voting was in each state.
Marc Elias, a top Democratic Party lawyer who frequently argues high-profile elections cases in court, said that “the president just committed a felony” by telling people to violate election laws.
North Carolina election law says that it is illegal for “any person with intent to commit a fraud to register or vote at more than one precinct or more than one time, or to induce another to do so, in the same primary or election, or to vote illegally at any primary or election.”
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein warned voters that trying to cast two ballots is absolutely illegal.
“Today, President Trump outrageously encouraged NCians to break the law in order to help him sow chaos in our election,” Stein tweeted. “Make sure you vote, but do NOT vote twice!”
Patrick Gannon, a spokesman for the North Carolina Board of Elections, told the Times that the system would prevent a person from voting twice because only their first vote would be recorded while the second vote would be thrown out.
“Intentional willful double voting is a felony,” he added.
Donald Trump remained silent on Wednesday as world leaders called on Russian president Vladimir Putin to explain the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexey Navalny.
Navalny was taken ill on a plane in August after drinking a cup of tea at an airport in Siberia and is now being treated at a hospital in Germany.
German chancellor on Wednesday said that Navalny had been poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent, similar to one which was previously used to poison a former Russian spy in England in 2018.
Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, said Trump’s silence on the matter made him complicit.
World Leaders, including Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson offered vocal condemnation of Navalny’s poisoning and said that the Russian government should explain its actions in relation to the incident.
But Trump did not yesterday mention the incident, either in Twitter or in a statement, despite tweeting dozens of times throughout the day, and nor did US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Two polls released Wednesday showed the former vice president holding a sizable lead. Biden led Trump by 10 percentage points in a Quinnipiac University survey of likely voters and by 8 percentage points in a CNN poll of registered voters.
In the Quinnipiac survey, Biden leads Trump 52% to 42%. It was conducted Aug. 28 -31 — after both nominating conventions had ended — and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points. This was Quinnipiac’s first survey of likely voters in the 2020 general election cycle, so there are no previous numbers to compare.
CNN’s poll, conducted Aug. 28 to Sept. 1, found support for Biden among registered voters at 51%, with 43% backing Trump, a difference that was similar to a CNN poll conducted before the conventions. It had a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.
A Grinnell College national poll that came out earlier Wednesday had Biden leading Trump by 8 percentage points.
And polls by Fox News had Biden out in front in three states crucial to Trump’s re-election. In Arizona, the Democratic nominee leads the Republican incumbent 49% to 40%. In North Carolina, Biden leads 50% to 46%, and he is ahead 50% to 42% in Wisconsin. In all three surveys, Biden was bolstered by strong support among women and suburban voters.
At the same time, according to a Monmouth University poll, Trump has gained on Biden in Pennsylvania, a battleground state that, along with Wisconsin and Michigan, gave him the path to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
An internal Census Bureau document sent to members of Congress and obtained by NBC News warned that the new truncated deadline set by the agency’s director last month has the potential to undermine the integrity of the count and lead to “serious errors.”
The document was sent to the House Oversight Committee, which has been investigating the Census Bureau for several years since its failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the decennial count.
The document appears to be a presentation for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the agency, dated Aug. 3, 2020, and marked “Not for Public Distribution.” No author is listed on the document, and it is not clear what section of the bureau it came from. Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., wrote in a letter to congressional leaders Wednesday that she obtained the document from a “source,” rather than from one of the agency’s leaders.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday announced sanctions against two International Criminal Court officials — the Trump administration’s most aggressive move yet to try to deter an ICC investigation into possible war crimes by US military and intelligence officials.
The move was swiftly condemned by the international tribunal, human rights organizations and the foreign minister of the Netherlands, where the ICC is based.
“These coercive acts, directed at an international judicial institution and its civil servants, are unprecedented and constitute serious attacks against the Court, the Rome Statute system of international criminal justice, and the rule of law more generally,” the ICC said in a statement.
In a separate statement, O-Gon Kwon, the president of the Assembly of States Parties — the management oversight and legislative body of the ICC — rejected the measures, saying, “They only serve to weaken our common endeavor to fight impunity for mass atrocities.”
“We stand by our Court and its staff as well as those cooperating with it in implementing its judicial mandate. A meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly will take place shortly to consider the measures imposed by the United States and ways to give effect to our unstinting support for the Court,” Kwon said.