Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers that Russia again is trying to influence the U.S. elections, chiefly through attempts to "denigrate" Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Sure, there's no surprise here — Wray's message is an echo of the intelligence community's public assessment on Moscow's meddling efforts issued last month. Wray added that Russia's "malign" efforts include using social media, proxies, state media and online journals to sow "divisiveness and discord" and "primarily to denigrate Vice President Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment."
President Trump and top members of his administration, meanwhile, have downplayed the well-founded reports of Russia's newest election interference and tried to play up the theory that China is meddling to get Biden elected. (Late last week, the administration announced that on Sunday it expected to restrict access to China's TikTok and WeChat communication apps in the U.S. by banning new downloads of the apps.)
The U.S. intelligence community, however, has assessed that although China and Iran prefer Trump to lose in November, to date neither country is acting on that preference in the same way as Russia.
Biden, in a CNN town hall last week said he could unite the country as "America's president" rather than a partisan one, and he cast the United States as unsafe under President Trump.
We love you, Joe, and we do think you will be in this for all Americans, not just Democrats. But merely to suggest that Donald Trump is dangerous — irresponsible is how you put it — is far too mild. It's a foregone conclusion.
Why is Trump dangerous? Wise observers have counted and recounted the ways, but here's a new wrinkle.
Last Thursday during a Constitution Day speech at the White House Conference on American History at the National Archives Museum, Trump criticized what he called "the liberal indoctrination of America's youth" and said he wants to create a "national commission to promote patriotic education."
In a speech overflowing with race-baiting dog whistles, Trump decried "left-wing mobs," and other themes his campaign and his base have rallied behind for months. You know what we're talking about — labeling all protesters as thugs, railing against racial sensitivity training and dismissing as unpatriotic rewrites of American history all calls for reconsidering established narratives about racism and slavery in the U.S.
In his speech Trump directly blamed school curricula for the violence that resulted from a handful of the protests, saying that "the left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools."
He went on: "We must clear away the web of twisted lies in our schools and classrooms and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country."
Trump claimed that current curriculum is comparable to anti-American propaganda used by foreign adversaries. He called The New York Times 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning project aimed at teaching Americans students about slavery, "toxic propaganda."
No. It is a long-overdue recounting of slavery's centrality to America's story. It deepens many Americans understanding of our past, and it is prompting important conversations about our history.
This president has no deep thoughts on critical race theory, and it's a sure bet he has not read the 1619 Project. He is just tossing out red meat for his base.
But what Trump is suggesting — a "national commission to promote patriotic education," called the 1776 Commission — sounds in itself like propaganda — totalitarian propaganda.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the former president of Estonia, cited Russia president Vladimir Putin in tweeting: "Putin did the same years ago and now that's what you get in Russia."
A federal judge finally has issued a nationwide injunction to force the U.S. Postal Service to reverse its July operational changes that slowed the nation's mail and likely would slow the delivery of ballots in the upcoming presidential election.
In an oral bench ruling Thursday, Chief U.S. District Judge Stanley A. Bastian, a Barack Obama appointee, said President Trump and U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy were "involved in a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service." And the judge said the 14 states seeking the injunction had "demonstrated that this attack on the Postal Service is likely to irreparably harm the states' ability to administer the 2020 general election."
In a further analysis, the judge wrote: "Although not necessarily apparent on the surface, at the heart of DeJoy's and the Postal Service's action is voter disenfranchisement. This is evident in President Trump's highly partisan words and tweets, the actual impact of the changes on primary elections that resulted in uncounted ballots, and recent attempts and lawsuits by the Republican National Committee and President Trump's campaign to stop the state's efforts to bypass the Postal Service by utilizing ballot drop boxes, as well as the timing of the changes."
Yes! Now we wonder how long reversing those changes will take.
Make a plan to vote. Soon.