The enemy within

7/21/2018, 8:55 a.m.
If anyone still believes President Trump isn’t a pawn of Russian government interests, they must have been asleep during Monday’s ...

“Trump is the best investment Putin ever made,” one angry observer remarked. “So where do we go next after treason?”

This gambit by Mr. Trump also further empowers white nationalists in the United States and across the globe, who share Mr. Trump’s racist xenophobia. Many of them chanted “Russia is our friend” during frightening and violent August rallies in Charlottesville.

We are not swayed or impressed by Mr. Trump’s weak attempt Tuesday and Wednesday to try to roll back the nonsense he served up in Helsinki. We believe that he has deeply threatened our nation’s global standing as a sound democracy. Because of him, the United States is now viewed around the world as politically and ethically unreliable.

By his threats and taunts at last week’s NATO summit in Brussels, Mr. Trump has stomped yet again on this nation’s closest allies. He insulted German Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling Germany a “captive” of Moscow for its support of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia and sought to undermine British Prime Minister Theresa May by telling a British newspaper that one of her political opponents would be a great prime minister. He also called the European Union “a foe” for its trade policies.

This is the behavior of someone who is seeking to cause chaos among America’s European allies who have stood firm with the U.S. against the Russian incursion and takeover of Crimea and assisted with airstrikes in Syria in response to suspected chemical weapons attacks by the Russian-backed Syrian government of dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Clearly, Mr. Trump is working against the interests of the United States and on behalf of Mr. Putin and Russia. Mr. Trump must go.

We call on clear-thinking members of Congress to launch impeachment proceedings immediately. We believe Mr. Trump should be indicted for treason. 

We also call on Congress to toughen the sanctions imposed beginning in 2014 by the Obama administration following Russia’s takeover of Crimea. Former President Obama added more sanctions in 2016 — and expelled Russian diplomats — after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had interfered with the presidential election. 

Mr. Trump squashed further sanctions against Russia after they were announced by U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in response to Russia’s support for the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attacks. That is another indication of Mr. Trump being in the pocket of Mr. Putin.

Lastly, and importantly, we call on members of Congress, Gov. Ralph S. Northam, the Virginia General Assembly, state and local election officials and civil rights groups to do something we cannot count on Mr. Trump to do — ensure the integrity of our election system so that the Russians can’t hack or interfere with this November’s elections.

If ever there was a time for outrage, this is it. Our democracy is under attack from within.