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Trump’s Helsinki Comments Were a Defense of U.S. Voters, Not of Russia

Yes, you read that right -- Trump, in essence, defended American voters with his conciliatory comments about interference in the U.S. presidential election. This wasn’t his only motivation -- there were others -- but one thing is for certain: none of them were “treason.”

The most obvious motivation was Trump’s standard business modus operandi of taking the psychological high ground by complimenting the man on the other side of the table. Through praise and pacification, Trump hopes his adversary will let down his guard to allow for more communication and negotiation, or hopes he will be distracted while Trump plans harsher methods in the future.

This isn’t 3-D chess. It’s a simple tactic. Personally, I don’t favor it because it’s too much like the appeasement policies of former administrations, but my only solace is these are only words and should be taken with a grain of salt, especially in these dog-and-pony-show political moments. Whether Trump will actually pacify with a lame reset as President Obama and Hillary Clinton did is yet to be seen. So far, this appeasement hasn’t translated into foreign policy.

Second, context matters. Trump didn’t just plop down in Helsinki and criticize America’s intelligence community and give Putin leeway when it comes to the Russian government meddling in the U.S. election on a whim. This meeting came after two years of unprecedented investigation of a presidential candidate and a president who has been accused of colluding with a foreign government based only on opposition research by the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign.

The media leaks, counterintelligence investigation, improper FISA warrants, use of spies before a full investigation has even begun, a special counsel probe into collusion without evidence of a crime, biased investigators, more media leaks, and hounding of the president at every step by the intelligence community have disrupted our political system far more than any Russian meddling could -- meddling that wasn’t new to 2016, by the way.

The fact is, despite the many indictments in the investigation, there have been no charges of collusion and no evidence of collusion, but the narrative of collusion continues. Trump’s election by the American people has been repeatedly questioned and his presidency targeted for delegitimization by individuals wielding a great deal of power in secret. Even now, calls for impeachment based on thin air are ringing across the media and in the halls of government.

This false narrative has been driven by members of the FBI and the intel community who had a hand in propping up false evidence in an investigation, and who worked with foreign governments to gather information in a case against Trump with no basis in fact. In the words of FBI special agent Peter Strzok: “We will stop him!”