Poetry: Why He Said It

July 20, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Reuters photo



Don Krieger




Why He Said It



Press Conference, Helsinki Summit, 16 July 2018





President Trump’s opening remark:

Our relationship has never been worse …

… that changed as of … four hours ago


These are bald lies, childish and grandiose,

which is why he said it.




I cannot make decisions …

… to appease partisan critics,

or the media,

or Democrats …


As president, I will always put what is best for America


When asked: Do you hold Russia at all accountable …


He says:

There was no collusion …

I beat Hillary Clinton easily …


These are contradictory things to say, and foolish.

He refuses to hold Russia accountable,

rather he does what he said he cannot,

he appeases his partisans,

his pride, and President Putin,

which is why he said it.




President Putin is asked:

Why should Americans … believe …

that Russia did not intervene in the … election …


President Trump says:

the electoral college is … advantageous for Democrats …

… There was nobody to collude with. There was no collusion …


Again he appeases his partisans and President Putin,

but there is more, he perseverates

with an anxious, protective, interruption.

Does he seek approval from his peer?

Is he compelled to show loyalty?

We only know how wrong this is,

how unnecessary,

that he is impaired,

which is why he said it.




President Putin says:

… you can trust no one …

… where did you get the idea

that President Trump trusts me or I trust him?

He defends the interests of the United States …

I defend the interests of the Russian Federation …

Isn’t it natural to be sympathetic towards a person …

… who wants to work with us?


He taunts those

who understand the fiction

that President Trump defends America.

He comforts President Trump

who does not understand,

with sympathy and approval,

which is why he said it.


President Putin continues:

Business associates of Mr. Browder …

… never paid any taxes …

… They sent … 400 million …

… to the campaign of Hillary Clinton …

… it might have been legal …

… but the way the money was earned was illegal.


He describes money legally spent in America

that was illegally earned in Russia,

this is money laundering.

He accuses Hillary Clinton’s campaign

which President Trump understands.

He does not accuse Trump real estate interests

which President Trump also understands

which is why he said it.




President Putin is asked:

Did you want President Trump to win the election

and did you direct any of your officials to help him …


President Putin says:

Yes, I did.

Yes, I did.


He affirms the simple truth,

a stunning breath of fresh air.

He says this because he can

and no one pushes back,

not President Trump, not the press,

nor the people of America or Russia.




President Trump is asked:

… President Putin denied … election interference …

… Every US intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did …

… would you denounce what happened …


President Trump says:

… Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee?

… Where are those servers?

… it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s thirty three thousand emails.


For a third time, he appeases his partisans,

again he perseverates,

but there is more.

this time the question is not for President Putin,

this time it is he who is confronted.

He is agitated, irrational,

he ignores the question,

he ignores Putin’s answer from a moment before

and he betrays his office.

Again we see how wrong this is,

that he is impaired,

but also that he is cowed and caught,

which is why he said it.




President Putin says:

… I was an intelligence officer myself …

… Russia is a democratic state …

… Do you believe that the United States is a democracy?


He taunts those who see

his triumphant whip hand

and this time

President Trump sees too,

which is why he said it.




President Putin is asked:

… Can you tell what President Trump … indicated …

… about … recognizing Crimea as part of Russia?

… does the Russian government have any compromising material …


President Putin chuckles and says:

… he continues to maintain that it was illegal to annex it.

… And now to the compromising material.

… back then, when he was a private individual, …

… St. Petersburg economic forum, for instance.

There were over 500 American businessmen …

… I don’t even remember the last names of each and every one of them.

Do you think that we tried to collect compromising material

on each and every single one of them?”


Economic sanctions have hurt Russia

and President Putin personally.

He diverts the Crimea question,

instead he toys with those who dream

that he holds President Trump hostage.

He taunts President Trump with his power

whose hidden truths only they know.

They are bound by that

like secret lovers

which is why he said it.




Click here for an audio reading of the poem





The transcript from which the quotes were taken may be found here:



Here is an article containing links to several different videos of the press conference, several different transcripts, and comments regards differences/alterations in both the videos and the transcripts provided by different outlets including the Russian and US governments:



Here is the full text of William Browder’s prepared statement to the US Senate Judiciary Committee for his testimony from July, 2017. The death on 16 Nov 2009 of Russian attorney Sergei Magnitsky in a Russian prison led to passage of the Magnitsky Act in 2012 and the current Global Magnitsky Act by the US Congress in December, 2016 to address human rights abuses throughout the world. Individuals in Russia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, and 11 other nations have been nominated for sanctions under the law. Sanctions include seizure of assets and the individuals to whom that has been applied include 18 of Russian wealthiest men.







Don Krieger

I have built satellites, worked in the operating room, been in a cult, …

I earn my living as part of a group which is trying to understand and treat head injury.

In my poetry and short blog pieces, I want to express ideas with unambiguous clarity and intensity.

I willingly sacrifice rhyme and meter, art, cleverness, elegance, and beauty for these.

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