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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Donald Trump & Co. swivel on Russia, Clinton, Ukraine, taxes

A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin denied allegations

A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin denied allegations that the Kremlin has collected compromising information about U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Don Emmert

Several of President-elect Donald Trump’s major positions have been swiveling as his inauguration nears.

Trump on Wednesday said of pre-election cyberhacks on Democrats: “I think it was Russia.”

Earlier he had mocked American officials’ charges of a Vladimir Putin role in political leaks. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Trump had sniped.

Briefly, Trump paid court in a news conference Wednesday to mainstream media who debunked claims Russia blackmailed him.

Face-to-face, his usual blanket “dishonest media” jibes were aimed only at those news organizations whose coverage irked him.

The same morning, Rex Tillerson, his secretary of state nominee, delivered his own Russian reversal during a Senate confirmation hearing. The United States, he suggested, should have more forcefully confronted the Russians’ past moves in Ukraine.

But during last summer’s GOP convention, Trump’s campaign killed a platform plank that would have vowed U.S. weapons support for Ukraine.

Then there’s terrorism. On Tuesday, attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions said: “I have no belief and I do not support the idea that Muslims, as a religious group, should be denied admission to the United States.”

That wasn’t Trump’s stance after jihadist terrorist attacks in France and California. He called for “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Since, Trump bobbed and weaved over how he’d proceed. Sessions’ statement was the clearest sign yet that the ban had outlived its usefulness as a sales pitch to voters.

Then there’s Hillary Clinton. During his confirmation hearing, Sessions moved away from his own campaign remarks that Clinton should be prosecuted over her emails.

“We can never have a political dispute turn into a criminal dispute,” Sessions testified, saying he’d recuse himself from any such case.

Trump on Wednesday also indicated once and for all that he will not release his taxes for public inspection. Not only did he repeat that the filings are “under audit,” he insisted Americans don’t care about the issue.

“No, I don’t think so. I won. And became president. No, I don’t think they care at all. I don’t think they care at all.”

Last January, Trump said he’d make the disclosure. “We’re working on that now,” he said then.

Another turnaround: waterboarding. On Thursday, Trump’s CIA-chief-in-waiting, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), said he would “absolutely not” resume United States’ torturing of any suspects.

Less than a year ago, candidate Trump memorably vowed in a debate: “I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”


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