The big item on the agenda for today is the face-to-face meeting between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting in Helsinki, Finland comes three days after Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in connection with cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and the US election infrastructure in 2016.
In advance of the meeting, polling shows that Russia and Putin have become more popular in the US. Since the 2016, despite revelations about Russian cyberattacks, there has been a “reset” of opinions about the country, primarily among Republicans. Gallup recently found that the share of Republicans who view Moscow as an ally has doubled since Donald Trump took office. Perhaps that is why Nebraska Republican Ben Sasse felt compelled to take to Twitter to educate the public about Mr. Putin.
Sasse has recently reappeared on Twitter after a self-imposed hiatus that has lasted most of this year. The Trump-sized tweetstorm on the senator’s popular Twitter account began with the questions, “Exactly who is Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader our president is about to meet with in Helsinki? And what does he want?”
“It’s a complicated question. But here’s what we do know,” Sasse continued.
“Putin is a murderer. He has ordered the assassinations of political adversaries and used outlawed chemical weapons to do it. He oversees Russian military units that shot down Malaysian flight 17 and murdered almost 300 civilians.
“Putin is a crook and a liar. He has broken almost every agreement he has signed with the United States, including on Syria and Ukraine. He has become one of the world's richest men through embezzlement and stealing from his own people.
“Putin is an enemy of America. He sees us as his main enemy and is engaged in ongoing attacks on our nation through information warfare and hacking our infrastructure. It’s not just that he messed with our election in 2016; he attacks us regularly, and will again in 2018.
“Remember, Putin ordered the influence operations that have been exposed in the most recent indictments, did not hesitate to invade Ukraine and Georgia, organized a coup in Montenegro, funded xenophobic political parties across Europe, and crippled Estonia with cyberattacks.
“No matter how much Putin flatters the President, he is a KGB thug who jails political opponents, encourages/orders the murder of Russian dissidents and defectors at home and abroad, and who directs a military that bombs women, children, and the injured in hospitals in Syria.”
The Sasse tweetstorm abated with advice for President Trump. “I don't think President Trump should be dignifying Putin with this meeting,” Sasse said. “When Reagan met with Gorbachev, he did so from a position of strength & moral clarity about the evil empire that the Soviet Union was, and w/ a clear purpose to end the Soviet Union's threat to the US.”
“President Trump should have only one message for Putin tomorrow,” Sasse concluded. “Quit messing with America.”
But Sasse wasn’t completely finished yet. President Trump, who has yet to condemn the Russian cyberattacks on the US addressed in the indictment, tweeted this morning, it was to attack the “Rigged Witch Hunt” rather than the Russian assault on the foundation of American democracy.
“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” the president tweeted before his historic closed-door meeting with the neo-Soviet ruler.
“A better thing, Mr. President, would be to declare: ‘Russia is the enemy of America and our allies, and we will expose and respond to their continued cyber-attacks against our nation,’” Sasse replied.
Welcome back to Twitter, Sen. Sasse. We have missed your outspokenness and honesty over the past few months.
Originally published on The Resurgent