Press: Whose side is Trump on?

Press: Whose side is Trump on?
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Several sports commentators called it the most exciting World Cup ever. But, whether you watched a little or a lot of it, one thing was for sure: You could always tell which team athletes on the field were playing for. That’s not the case with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE.

Especially not after his news conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Invited to turn to Putin and denounce Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and insist it never happen again, Trump declined. Then, standing alongside the Russian president, he said he believed Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies and his own Justice Department.

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Rewind the tape. Play it again. Yes, it’s true: In front of the entire world, Donald Trump said he trusts Vladimir Putin more than he trusts Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsDNC unveils new security checklist to protect campaigns from cyberattacks Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall Is Putin attacking Sanders, Harris and Warren to help Trump? MORE. And he blamed the Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE investigation, more than anything Russia did — shooting down a Malaysian airliner, invading Ukraine, annexing Crimea, poisoning former spies on British soil or interfering in our presidential election — for any problems in U.S.–Russia relations. He even accused the United States of acting “foolishly” and “stupidly.”

Is there any longer any doubt? For Donald Trump, his slogan “America First” really means “Blame America First.” His refusal to acknowledge Russia’s 2016 interference is all the more disturbing after the Justice Department’s blockbuster announcement last Friday.

In its depth and breadth, nothing in recent memory comes close to the 29-page legal bombshell released by Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinEx-Trump aide: Can’t imagine Mueller not giving House a ‘roadmap’ to impeachment Rosenstein: My time at DOJ is 'coming to an end' Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump MORE. In it, the Department of Justice — yes, lest we forget, Donald Trump’s Department of Justice — indicted 12 members of the Russian military for hacking into computers of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2016 presidential election.

The 29-page document not only provides names and rank of the accused, it also reveals in stunning detail how they operated: when they started, whom they targeted, what phony names they used, what information was gathered, whom they conspired with, how they paid for it and when and to whom their stolen findings were released.

This should have been the final nail in Russia’s coffin. The Justice Department indictments confirm what 17 U.S. intelligence agencies and the Senate Intelligence Committee have already concluded: that the Russian government, under the direction of President Vladimir Putin, deliberately interfered in America’s 2016 presidential election in order to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDem strategist says Clinton ‘absolutely’ has a role to play in 2020 Left-leaning journalist: Sanders would be 'formidable candidate' against Trump Clinton hits EPA for approval of pesticide dump: ‘We need bees!’ MORE. There’s no doubt about that.

This was the ultimate proof. Trump was briefed by Rosenstein on the Justice Department’s findings before leaving for Europe. This was all the ammunition he needed to confront Vladimir Putin in person. Tell him it was wrong. Tell him we consider it an act of war against the United States. And tell him we will never tolerate such attempts to undermine our democracy again.

Instead, Donald Trump didn’t just blink. He did worse than blink. He took Russia’s side over the USA. In fact, he said he didn’t see any reason why Russia would have bothered trying to influence our election. And then, in a monumental embarrassment to all Americans, he used the world stage to brag about what a “brilliant campaign” he ran, how easily he beat Hillary Clinton, how handily he won the Electoral College — and once again denounce the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” created by Democrats.

No wonder Vladimir Putin walked off the stage with such a big smile on his face. He set a trap and Trump walked right into it. Meanwhile, Americans are scratching their heads and asking: Whose side is Donald Trump on?

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”