Jack Bernard, a retired SVP with a large national healthcare firm, has worked extensively with hospitals across the nation regarding cost containment and insurance. He was also the first Director of Health Planning for Georgia.

“Trump, with a Smile, Tells Putin ‘Don’t Meddle in the Election’”: WSJ headline, 6-28-19

As a child of the cold war and a former Republican elected official, I never thought that Russia would be our new best friend. But when our President decides that election meddling by our long-standing enemy is a big joke, encouraging it to happen again, then I guess that’s why I left the GOP.
Trump has always done a lot of business with Russian oligarchs. Back in 2008, Don Jr. said, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets…We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” And, in 2014: “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” (Dodson conversation)
Our President has inexplicably decided Russia should be invited back into the G-7 economic block, regardless of the fact that Russia illegally annexed Crimea, is trying to topple the western-leaning Ukrainian government, and is propping up a Venezuelan dictator.
Meanwhile, Trump slams our alliances with Europe, Japan, and Canada (a “security threat”). Our allies are unhappy about this new Trumpian realignment of the USA. Per a 6-12-18 Gallup survey of our allies’ citizens, they “have become very negative about US leadership after Trump’s election.”
According to Atlantic Magazine (5-17), these ties go back 30 years. According to that piece, our future President “hosted the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at Trump Tower in New York” in 1987 and has had business ties ever since.
As the article points out, we have no way of knowing the extent of these ties until Trump releases his complete tax returns, which will end up in court given his repeated refusal to provide them. There is no doubt that Trump’s nefarious Kremlin dealings, including what is revealed to them by his hitherto secret tax returns, will be a key subject of the House investigations. We may yet learn the answer to why Russia has suddenly become the best man at our wedding, that is unless the right-wing Supreme Court decides that strongman Trump is above the law and need not provide his tax returns to Congress.
On a Bill Maher show, conservative Linda Chavez (a long time Republican strategist who once worked for the Reagan administration) said what many of us have thought all along: The Russians have something on Trump.
I agree, but I believe she was wrong about what they are holding over his head. It’s not the infamous tape of the Steele dossier fame. After all of Trump’s numerous sexual faux pas with dozens of women, he would not really care much about that tape. He would just claim it was a forgery, a plot hatched by the Deep State, Crooked Hillary, and radical socialist Democrats to discredit him, preventing him from draining the swamp and making America great again. The GOP base, which only watches right wing media, would totally believe him just as they have in the past.
No, the Russians have Trump on a short leash because they have proof that he violated American financial statutes, almost certainly related to his dealings with the Russian oligarchs long in Putin’s camp. The exact nature of these dealings is yet to be revealed, of course. But the House will attempt to methodically track down the details.
To many real patriots, Trump is the main internal threat to American democracy, given his words and actions over the last few years. However, the underlying problem we Americans are facing is the lack of morality and fortitude on the part of Majority Leader McConnell. Doesn’t he recognize the threat that Russia poses to our democracy?
If Trump were a Democrat, he would have been impeached and removed long ago. But, McConnell’s weak, afraid of a primary challenge, and shows no leadership. And, Pelosi will not act to start impeachment hearings until he does.
Whether or not McConnell will eventually have the desire to halt Trump’s march towards authoritarian rule will be largely dependent on the GOP base. And, if you watch Fox News (as I do), it’s obvious that the base has been brainwashed into believing that the Mueller investigation was  a total waste of time and money and fully cleared Trump of both collusion and obstruction. Possibly, Mueller’s upcoming House appearance will rectify that, but I doubt it.
It’s also doubtful that the tax return issue will have made it through the courts before the 2020 election. If not, millennial independents and minority group Democrats will need to decide how badly they want to rid the nation of a budding dictator. If they stay home, and the GOP base comes out as I’m certain they will, we can expect more of the same for another four years. And Putin will continue to laugh at American foolishness.