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EDITORIAL: If Trump brings on calamity, Chicago and our country won’t be immune

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint press conference after their summit on Monday in Helsinki, Finland. The two leaders met one-on-one and discussed a range of issues. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Sen. John McCain, who knows a thing or two about foreign affairs, had it right Monday when he said of the Trump-Putin press conference in Helsinki, “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”

Helsinki is more than 4,000 miles from Chicago, but President Donald Trump’s apparent hope of ditching our longtime allies in favor of closer ties with Russia — and ignoring Russian meddling in our elections — puts us all at risk.


Along with average Americans throughout the nation, Chicagoans are in danger of having the power of their votes subverted by continued attacks on our electoral system and paying the price of a trade war. History shows us the danger of words and decisions that steer the nation toward debacles that eventually hit close to home.

The president, who should have been standing tall for all of America, seemed incapable of deviating from talking points that would please Vladimir Putin. He professed himself willing to take Putin’s word for it that there had been no meddling in the 2016 election, ignoring the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies. He called the investigation into that meddling “a disaster for our country,” even though it has already produced more than 30 indictments, 12 of which involved Russian military intelligence personnel.

Trump even called a Putin proposal to let Russian intelligence agencies help investigate the election meddling case “an incredible offer.” That’s like Eliot Ness inviting help from Al Capone to clean up organized crime in Chicago.

When an American president takes the world stage, the president should trumpet the ideals that makes us who we are. Instead, Trump turned in a performance that former CIA Director John O. Brennan called “nothing short of treasonous.” And we don’t know what might else have been said behind closed doors.

McCain also said, “The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate.”

It is we, not Trump, who will pay the price.

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