Before he takes office, hearings started in Congress this week on the appointments of Pres.-elect Trump’s nominees for Attorney General Sessions and Secretary of State Tillerson. Also, Trump gave a press conference, his first since last July. The News media were quivering with excitement. Especially since they had a juicy story, that proved to be untrue, that the Russians may have had compromising evidence against Trump from his previous visits to Russia.
First, let’s deal with this. Not only did Trump absolutely deny this, and the Russians did too, but it appeared from later reports, that this was all a misunderstanding. Bssed on a report on MSNBC, not know for it sympathy for Trump, it appears that there was an addendum of 2 pages, to the intelligence briefing that Trump was given a few days before, that pointed out some kind of compromising information the Russians might have collected on him. This was based on an uncorroborated report of a former Briish spy. Apparently, this report was not shown or discussed with Trump at the time, but it was later illegally leaked to a news organization named BuzzFeed, that published it, and it was taken up by CNN and issued as news. Many other news media, to their credit, refused to publish this as unsubstantiated rumor, including the NY Times, also not known for its support of Trump. Trump specifically pointed out in his press conference that many media outlets were not taken in by this deliberate attempt to undermine him days before his inauguration. He also broke protocol by deliberately refusing to allow the reporter from CNN to ask a question and the reporter was also deliberately rude to the Pres. elect. It’s about time it was made clear who operates these press briefings.
As far as the hearings are concerned, although they are by their very nature quite boring, it is clear that the designees selected by Trump are indeed very highly qualified and will no doubt be approved by the respective committees due to their Republican majorities. We in Israel and indeed much of the Middle East and Europe, are very much looking forward to a new and more supportive approach to US allies and greater opposition to IS and Russia and other anti-American forces. We hope this can be achieved not by war but by deterrence, something that Israel knows a great deal about. Iran must be deterred from its expansionist, terrorist agenda; N. Korea must be deterred from its aggressive policies; China must be deterred from its expansionist plans in the S. China Sea; Russia must be deterred from its expansionist plans in Ukraine, Syria and the Baltics; and IS must be definitively destroyed. If the Trump Adminsitration can achieve some of these goals then it will be a new and better world.