All the lessons Donald Trump has taught us : The Conversation


Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has shown us a great deal in his short time on the political stage. For that, we should be grateful. Here are the lessons taught by Prof. Trump.

Source: All the lessons Donald Trump has taught us : The Conversation

Trump’s private talks with Putin may contain clues to his Russia romance | US news | The Guardian


Since Donald Trump was sworn in as president he has met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, five times. The details of their conversations remain unknown to the public, and in most cases even to senior administration officials.

Democrats in Congress are now demanding more details of communications between the two leaders. Secrecy around such meetings, they say, raises fresh questions about the nature of Trump’s relationship with Putin at a time when his ties to Russia are the subject of several investigations.

The meetings with Putin are not the only subject of such Democratic demands. House leaders left little room for doubt this week that they will utilize their newly minted majority to cast a wide net around the president, his family and their businesses.

The judiciary committee issued document requests to 81 individuals and entities, seeking information on everything from contacts between Trump aides and Moscow to hush money payments to women and possible obstruction of justice.

It all came a week after Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testified before Congress and implicated the president in alleged criminal activity spanning decades.

 

Source: Trump’s private talks with Putin may contain clues to his Russia romance | US news | The Guardian

Thinking the unthinkable about Donald Trump | Salon.com


According to reports last weekend, the FBI first began to suspect Trump was working for Russia when he fired FBI Director James Comey in May of 2017. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” The New York Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

Let’s stop right there and have a look at the operative words in the Times report, “working for Russia.” People who have been following the Trump-Russia story, now more than two years old, have considered a lot of possibilities with Trump and Russia, but it seems from the reaction the Times story produced, whether Trump was actually “working for Russia” hasn’t been one of them for many. The subject of this particular corner of the FBI investigation raises a couple of interesting questions. What did the “work” Trump may have been doing for Russia consist of? Why would an independently wealthy businessman like Trump “work” for a country which has opposed us around the world for so long?

From Trump’s reaction to the Times report over the weekend, he appeared to have been unaware that the FBI was exploring the question of whether he worked for Russia. But if you look back at what we might call Trump’s “Russia denials,” especially those he made during the campaign — which were often spontaneous and unprompted by allegations by Democrats or questions from the press — it seems that at least working with Russia was constantly on his mind.

As early as July 26, 2016, during his campaign for president, Trump woke up and tweeted, “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.” He wasn’t even the Republican nominee yet.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.

21.8K people are talking about this
On October 10, 2016, during the second presidential debate, Clinton speculated that Trump was always praising Putin “maybe because he wants to do business in Moscow, I don’t know the reasons.”  Trump quickly fired back: “I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia.” Clinton had not raised the question of “loans from Russia.” Trump did.

In the third debate on October 20, when Trump said Putin had “no respect” for her or President Obama, Clinton shot back, “Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.” Trump seemed threatened by the charge. “No puppet. No puppet,” he cried defensively. “You’re the puppet! No, you’re the puppet!”

 

Source: Thinking the unthinkable about Donald Trump | Salon.com

A New Reason for Trump to Release His Tax Returns: Helsinki – Bloomberg


In case you’ve forgotten about them, President Donald Trump’s personal income tax returns still matter. So do the Trump Organization’s business relationships and finances. If you ever doubted either of those things, consider the president’s meeting in Helsinki on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During their press conference, the subject of “compromising” information arose at the very end of their briefing.

“Sir, do you — does the Russian government have any compromising material on President Trump or his family?” Jonathan Lemire, an Associated Press reporter, asked Putin.

Trump shook his head and smirked, gazing down at his lectern. Putin chuckled.

“Yeah, I did hear these rumors that we allegedly collected compromising material on Mr. Trump when he was visiting Moscow,” Putin replied, before noting that it was impossible to gather intelligence on the multitude of Western businesspeople who visit Russia. Trump was never important enough in his pre-presidency days to warrant the Kremlin’s attention, he added.

 

Source: A New Reason for Trump to Release His Tax Returns: Helsinki – Bloomberg

Trump’s Treason by Father Complex – Foreign Policy


New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said Monday that “the only possible explanation” for U.S. President Donald Trump’s lavish endorsement of Russian President Vladimir Putin at their meeting in Helsinki is “the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump.” He’s wrong. The much likelier explanation is that, perhaps for the first time in his life, Donald Trump feels a type of love.

Put yourself in Trump’s place for a moment. If you knew that a sword of Damocles was hanging over your head, would you demonstrate your own guilt with every word and deed? No, you would try to make good your debt to Putin without calling attention to that debt. You would criticize Putin publicly and do his bidding privately. And Putin would bank his winnings with a grim little smile and take the criticism. Instead, Trump has done the exact opposite, fawning over Putin in public while allowing sane people in his administration to protect the United States from its most determined adversary. This does Putin much less good.

It is, of course, altogether possible that Trump believes that he is innocent of a crime or impeachable offense of which he is, in fact, guilty. Since the U.S. president appears to be incapable of recognizing any fault or failure of his own, his own inner conviction tells us much less about actual facts than would be true with a normal person. He may very well have obstructed justice, for example by firing FBI Director James Comey last year, without having any belief that an investigation of his behavior would uncover guilt. Nevertheless, the extraordinary lengths to which he has gone to embrace Putin so obviously point to that guilt that even Trump would act otherwise unless some deep emotional commitment is at work.

 

Source: Trump’s Treason by Father Complex – Foreign Policy

24 hours later, Trump claims he misspoke in Helsinki, meant to say Russia did have reason to meddle in election


President Donald Trump attempted on Tuesday to clarify his widely criticized comments in Helsinki, saying that he had misspoken when he said a day earlier that he did not see why Russia would have meddled in the election. Trump said Tuesday he meant to say he did not see any reason why it wouldn’t have been Russia that interfered.

“I thought that I made myself very clear, but having just reviewed the transcript…I realized that there is a need for some clarification,” Trump said Tuesday at the White House. “The sentence should have been…’I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia’.”

At the Monday press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said about election meddling in 2016: “(Putin) just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Trump also said on Tuesday that he had “full faith and support” for the American intelligence community and supported their assessment that Russian meddled in the 2016 election, but continued to claim that others could also be responsible.

“I have felt very strongly that while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying…that I accept our American intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” the president said.

But, Trump added, “Could be other people also, there’s a lot of people out there.”

 

Source: 24 hours later, Trump claims he misspoke in Helsinki, meant to say Russia did have reason to meddle in election

Madeleine Albright: Trump behavior in Helsinki ‘un-American’ : MSNBC


Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joins Morning Joe to discuss Monday’s joint news conference in Finland with President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin and why she says Trump’s behavior there was un-American.

http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_mj_albr_180717

Source: Madeleine Albright: Trump behavior in Helsinki ‘un-American’ : MSNBC

‘Shameful,’ ‘treasonous,’ ‘disgraceful’: Trump slammed from all sides for news conference with Putin


President Donald Trump was swiftly rebuked by lawmakers, TV anchors and pundits across the political spectrum Monday after his joint news conference in Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has criticized the president’s posture toward Russia in the past, called it “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

The summit, which took place between Trump and Putin at Finland’s presidential palace Monday in Helsinki, was a “tragic mistake,” McCain said. But dismissing the news conference that followed as a “pathetic rout” of a political novice is too generous, he added.

 

Source: ‘Shameful,’ ‘treasonous,’ ‘disgraceful’: Trump slammed from all sides for news conference with Putin

Trump is Working for Putin: Josh Marshall Calls It : Daily Kos


Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo looks at what is happening and says it: We’ve Got a Problem. A Big Problem.

…The last twenty four hours of attacks on our closest allies capped by President Trump’s seemingly out of the blue demand to bring Russia back into the G-7 (making it again the G-8 which it was for most of the post-Cold War era until Russia was expelled over the annexation of Crimea) simply brings the matter into a newly sharp relief. If candidate Trump and President Putin had made a corrupt bargain which obligated President Trump to destabilize all U.S. security and trade alliances (especially NATO, which has been Russia’s primary strategic goal for 70 years) and advance the strategic interests of Russia, there’s really nothing more remotely realistic he could have done to accomplish that than what he has in fact done.

emphasis added

Marshall discusses some of the implications of this, and looks at possible objections, but he really can’t come to any other conclusion.

…Back to the main point. We have a President who clearly got a great deal of assistance from Russia in getting elected. We can argue about how important it was to his victory. But the reality of the help is not in any real dispute. His campaign at a minimum had numerous highly suspicious contacts with people either in the Russian government or acting on behalf of the Russian government while that was happening. That is a very generous interpretation. He’s doing all the stuff he’d have been asked to do if such a corrupt bargain had been made. At a certain point – and I’d say we’re clearly at or past that point – it really doesn’t matter whether we can prove such a bargain was made.

 

Source: Trump is Working for Putin: Josh Marshall Calls It : Daily Kos

Skeptical McConnell distances from Trump on Russia, travel ban | TheHill


 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has labored mightily to avoid criticizing President Trump but two weeks into the new administration, it’s getting harder to downplay their differences.

On Sunday, McConnell told CNN he disagreed with Trump’s view of Putin, questioned the president’s claim of massive voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election and cautioned against the administration going too far with restrictions on travel from predominantly Muslim countries.

McConnell also chided Trump, albeit tacitly, for lambasting of a federal judge who ruled against his executive order temporarily banning visitors from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Syria from entering the U.S.

The majority leader is adept at deflecting questions and sticking to his talking points when it comes to possible differences with the president.

He prefers to emphasize their shared goals, including the repeal of ObamaCare, comprehensive tax reform and broad regulatory reform.

But Sunday on “State of the Union,” McConnell highlighted several splits with the Trump administration.

Source: Skeptical McConnell distances from Trump on Russia, travel ban | TheHill