WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an administration seemingly built on and fueled by scandal, the administration’s latest fiasco has put them in perhaps one of their toughest positions in three years. Over the weekend, an explosive new report in The New York Times indicated that President Trump and his staff were briefed by intelligence agencies on a plot implemented by the Kremlin against U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.
United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter. They believed at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties, two of the officials said. (The Failing New York Times That, For Some Reason, Keeps Defying the President and Not Failing)
Unsurprisingly, the president used his favorite social media account to defend himself. Replying to a tweet sent by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — one of Trump’s most stalwart defenders in Congress — indicating Graham was open to a congressional investigation into the matter, Trump claimed that his intelligence briefers “did not find this info credible” and so it wasn’t passed on to either himself or Vice President Mike Pence, a claim refuted by the reporting of several large news outlets.
Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!! https://t.co/cowOmP7T1S
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
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As with any Trump Era scandal, the official White House talking points and explanations seem to change with the direction the wind happens to be blowing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in that particular moment. While it’s unclear exactly what the president and vice president knew and when they were told about Russia taking out bounties on U.S. soldiers with Taliban fighters, the president himself seemed willing, if not a little eager, to offer yet another explanation this morning while walking laps around the White House lawn.
“Stay back everyone! At least six feet. You gotta stay back at least six feet from me,” Trump warned the reporters covering him.
One reporter asked if the six feet of distance Trump requested between himself and the press pool was to honor social distancing guidelines. Trump cackled at the question.
“No! I’m a big, strong, burly, tough guy! Those guidelines for the WEAK. Okay? The WEAK,” Trump explained. “No, I need you guys to all stand six feet from away from me because I had two extra helpings of garlic pork sausage last night, and I’ve got the Huckabee-Sanders something fierce!”
Trump held a finger aloft while “squeezed out stinky wheezer,” then continued.
“Been doing a lot of thinking about this whole Russian Bounty thing,” Trump began again. “I’m sure you’ve all heard of it by now. The Russian Bounty thing. And I gotta say, as with the Bob Mueller Angry Democrat thing, the Jamal Khashogi thing, the kicking the translator out of the room while I dish with Lavrov thing, the Ukrainian shakedown thing, or pretty much everything else you fake news enemies of the people have tried to sink me with, it’s all a bunch of bullcrap that doesn’t mean anything!”
The president paused once more, making a face while the reporters heard what sounded like a dying elephant trying to escape his trousers.
“I have to tell you all, this is being blown way out of proportion,” Trump insisted. “Why should we care if Russia wants to pay Taliban soldiers to throw paper towels at our soldiers? As far as I’m aware, Bounty is one of the best paper towels that you can get! It’s not like they’re chucking store brand paper towels at our troops for chrissakes!”
When he was first made aware of the situation, Trump said he was “bigly alarmed” but once he found out the brand of paper towels that were being paid for by Russia, he decided it “was actually probably a good thing.”
“I mean, guys? It’s the quilted, quicker, picker-upper,” Trump said, “BOUNTY! If you ask me, people should be excited, and thanking me, really, that our fine young troops don’t have to buy their own paper towels, and the taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill either! That’s what I call a win-win in my line of work. Then again, I call bankrupting casinos ‘success’ in my line of work, so you know, grain of salt or whatever.”
Senator Graham has indicated that Trump’s explanation is “probably going to be just fine” and all he needs to feel satisfied about the bounties.
“As long as the president strings two, and I mean literally two, semi-coherent words together, that’ll do just fine for me,” Graham said. “It’s amazing how little you can care when you trade your soul for some spray-tan and a little fleeting political power.”
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.