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Where Trump Sees Foreign Danger

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Robert B. Reich       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   6 comments

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From Robert Reich Blog

From commons.wikimedia.org: A NIghtmare on Any Street
From commons.wikimedia.org: A NIghtmare on Any Street
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What's the most worrisome foreign intrusion into the United States -- unauthorized immigrants, Chinese imports, or interference in our democracy?

For Trump, it's immigrants and imports. He doesn't care much about the third.

"Border security is national security," Trump said last week, as he threatened a government shutdown if Congress didn't come up with money to build a wall along the Mexican border (at an estimated cost at least $25 billion).

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Meanwhile, Trump has ordered his administration to consider raising tariff rates on $200 billion of Chinese goods, prompting China to threaten higher tariffs on $60 billion more of American goods.

Yet Trump continues to assert that talk of Russian meddling in American elections is "a big hoax." And his White House still has no coordinated plan for dealing with it.

Trump has it backwards.

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Illegal immigration isn't the problem he makes it out to be. Illegal border crossings have been declining for years.

And if the Chinese want to continue to send us cheap imports that we pay for with U.S. dollars and our own IOUs, that's as much of a potential problem for them as it is for us.

But Russian attacks on our democracy are a clear and present threat aimed at the heart of America.

Facebook recently announced it uncovered a major disinformation campaign with the hallmarks of the same Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency responsible for election interference in 2016.

Trump's own Department of Homeland Security found that in that 2016 election, Russian hackers tried to breach election systems in at least 21 states, likely scanned systems in all 50 states, stole the private information of hundreds of thousands of people, and infiltrated a company that supplies voting software across the nation. These findings led to the July indictment of 12 Russian Intelligence Officers.

Russian hackers are likely planning the same sort of intervention in this November's midterm elections. Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, worries about Russia's ongoing "willingness and a capability" to hack into the American election infrastructure, including voter rolls and voting machines.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray warns that "Russia ... continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day." Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, says "Russians are looking for every opportunity ... to continue their pervasive efforts to undermine our fundamental values."

Trump himself has admitted that his campaign aides met with Kremlin-linked Russian nationals on June 9, 2016 "to get information on" Hillary Clinton -- even though federal law prohibits soliciting help from foreign nationals in connection with a federal election.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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