Showing posts with label Trump-Rogue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trump-Rogue. Show all posts

January 12, 2019

FBI: Inquiry to See If TRUMP Secretly WORKING For RUSSIA


In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

The investigation of the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said. 

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after F.B.I. officials opened it. That inquiry is part of Mr. Mueller’s broader examination of how Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired with them. It is unclear whether Mr. Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter, and some former law enforcement officials outside the investigation have questioned whether agents overstepped in opening it.

The criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation, former law enforcement officials said in interviews in recent weeks, because if Mr. Trump had ousted the head of the F.B.I. to impede or even end the Russia investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security concern. The F.B.I.’s counterintelligence division handles national security matters.

If the president had fired Mr. Comey to stop the Russia investigation, the action would have been a national security issue because it naturally would have hurt the bureau’s effort to learn how Moscow interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Americans were involved, according to James A. Baker, who served as F.B.I. general counsel until late 2017. He privately testified in October before House investigators who were examining the F.B.I.’s handling of the full Russia inquiry.
“Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” Mr. Baker said in his testimony, portions of which were read to The New York Times. Mr. Baker did not explicitly acknowledge the existence of the investigation of Mr. Trump to congressional investigators.

No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials. An F.B.I. spokeswoman and a spokesman for the special counsel’s office both declined to comment. 

Rudolph W. Giuliani, a lawyer for the president, sought to play down the significance of the investigation. “The fact that it goes back a year and a half and nothing came of it that showed a breach of national security means they found nothing,” Mr. Giuliani said on Friday, though he acknowledged that he had no insight into the inquiry.

The cloud of the Russia investigation has hung over Mr. Trump since even before he took office, though he has long vigorously denied any illicit connection to Moscow. The obstruction inquiry, revealed by The Washington Post a few weeks after Mr. Mueller was appointed, represented a direct threat that he was unable to simply brush off as an overzealous examination of a handful of advisers. But few details have been made public about the counterintelligence aspect of the investigation.

The decision to investigate Mr. Trump himself was an aggressive move by F.B.I. officials who were confronting the chaotic aftermath of the firing of Mr. Comey and enduring the president’s verbal assaults on the Russia investigation as a “witch hunt.”

A vigorous debate has taken shape among some former law enforcement officials outside the case over whether F.B.I. investigators overreacted in opening the counterintelligence inquiry during a tumultuous period at the Justice Department. Other former officials noted that those critics were not privy to all of the evidence and argued that sitting on it would have been an abdication of duty.

The F.B.I. conducts two types of inquiries, criminal and counterintelligence investigations. Unlike criminal investigations, which are typically aimed at solving a crime and can result in arrests and convictions, counterintelligence inquiries are generally fact-finding missions to understand what a foreign power is doing and to stop any anti-American activity, like thefts of United States government secrets or covert efforts to influence policy. In most cases, the investigations are carried out quietly, sometimes for years. Often, they result in no arrests.

Mr. Trump had caught the attention of F.B.I. counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump had refused to criticize Russia on the campaign trail, praising President Vladimir V. Putin. And investigators had watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia. 

How the Mueller Investigation Could Play Out for Trump
If Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, finds evidence that Mr. Trump broke the law, he will have decisions to make about how to proceed. We explain them.

May 23, 2018
Other factors fueled the F.B.I.’s concerns, according to the people familiar with the inquiry. Christopher Steele, a former British spy who worked as an F.B.I. an informant, had compiled memos in mid-2016 containing unsubstantiated claims that Russian officials tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail and bribe him. 

In the months before the 2016 election, the F.B.I. was also already investigating four of Mr. Trump’s associates over their ties to Russia. The constellation of events disquieted F.B.I. officials who were simultaneously watching as Russia’s campaign unfolded to undermine the presidential election by exploiting existing divisions among Americans.

“In the Russian Federation and in President Putin himself, you have an individual whose aim is to disrupt the Western alliance and whose aim is to make Western democracy more fractious in order to weaken our ability, America’s ability and the West’s ability to spread our democratic ideals,” Lisa Page, a former bureau lawyer, told House investigators in private testimony reviewed by The Times.

“That’s the goal, to make us less of a moral authority to spread democratic values,” she added. Parts of her testimony were first reported by The Epoch Times.

And when a newly inaugurated Mr. Trump sought a loyalty pledge from Mr. Comey and later asked that the end an investigation into the president’s national security adviser, the requests set off discussions among F.B.I. officials about opening an inquiry into whether Mr. Trump had tried to obstruct that case.

But law enforcement officials put off the decision to open the investigation until they had learned more, according to people familiar with their thinking. As for a counterintelligence inquiry, they concluded that they would need strong evidence to take the sensitive step of investigating the president, and they were also concerned that the existence of such an inquiry could be leaked to the news media, undermining the entire investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election.

The first was a letter Mr. Trump wanted to send to Mr. Comey about his firing, but never did, in which he mentioned the Russia investigation. In the letter, Mr. Trump thanked Mr. Comey for previously telling him he was not a subject of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation.

Everyone Who’s Been Charged in Investigations Related to the 2016 Election
Thirty-seven people have been charged in investigations related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Aug. 21, 2018
Even after the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, wrote a more restrained draft of the letter and told Mr. Trump that he did not have to mention the Russia investigation — Mr. Comey’s poor handling of the Clinton email investigation would suffice as a fireable offense, he explained — Mr. Trump directed Mr. Rosenstein to mention the Russia investigation anyway.

He disregarded the president’s order, irritating Mr. Trump. The president ultimately added a reference to the Russia investigation to the note he had delivered, thanking Mr. Comey for telling him three times that he was not under investigation.

The second event that troubled investigators was an NBC News interview two days after Mr. Comey’s firing in which Mr. Trump appeared to say he had dismissed Mr. Comey because of the Russia inquiry.

“I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it,” he said. “And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

Mr. Trump’s aides have said that a fuller examination of his comments demonstrates that he did not fire Mr. Comey to end the Russia inquiry. “I might even lengthen out the investigation, but I have to do the right thing for the American people,” Mr. Trump added. “He’s the wrong man for that position.”

As F.B.I. officials debated whether to open the investigation, some of them pushed to move quickly before Mr. Trump appointed a director who might slow down or even end their investigation into Russia’s interference. Many involved in the case viewed Russia as the chief threat to American democratic values.

“With respect to Western ideals and who it is and what it is we stand for as Americans, Russia poses the most dangerous threat to that way of life,” Ms. Page told investigators for a joint House Judiciary and Oversight Committee investigation into Moscow’s election interference. 

F.B.I. officials viewed their decision to move quickly as validated when a comment the president made to visiting Russian officials in the Oval Office shortly after he fired Mr. Comey was revealed days later.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to a document summarizing the meeting. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
Follow Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos on Twitter: @adamgoldmanNYT, @nytmike, and @npfandos.

A version of this article appears in print on Jan. 12, 2019, on Page A1 of the New York edition

October 25, 2018

Bombs Sent to Democratic Leaders and Critics of Trump From ExPresidents to Civilians Like De Niro


Police officers in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Manhattan near the scene where a pipe bomb addressed to the actor Robert De Niro was found.CreditCreditDrew Angerer/Getty Images
By William K. Rashbaum, Alan Feuer and Richard Pérez-Peña

Two additional pipe bombs, one addressed to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the other to actor Robert De Niro were found in Delaware and New York City, law enforcement officials said on Thursday, the latest in a wave of similar devices sent to several prominent Democrats who have been the rhetorical targets of President Trump and other right-wing figures.

A law enforcement official said the envelope and printed address labels on the package sent to Mr. De Niro were similar to those on explosives sent to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others, and an X-ray showed it contained a similar device resembling a pipe bomb.

“This appears to be from the same sender,” the official said.

None of the devices have harmed anyone so far, and it was not immediately clear whether they could have actually exploded. It was also uncertain whether they were the work of one person or multiple people.

The United States Postal Service records images of mail that comes into its system. Officials searched those images overnight and found several other suspicious packages, a law enforcement official said. It was not immediately clear how many they discovered.

The device sent to Mr. Biden was found at a U.S. Postal Service facility in Delaware, a law enforcement official said. Similar to the one sent to former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the envelope was misaddressed and was being redirected to the return sender written on the mailing label, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman. Another package was also discovered at the same facility, a law enforcement official said, but it was not immediately known who it was address to.

Security personnel at Mr. De Niro’s company, TriBeCa Productions, discovered the package about 5 a.m. and called the New York Police Department, whose bomb squad responded, officials briefed on the matter said. It was removed about 6:30 a.m. and taken to the Police Department’s range in the Bronx for disposal.
Targets of Potential Explosive Devices
At least nine suspicious packages have been discovered since Monday.

Hillary Clinton
Chappaqua, N.Y.
George Soros
Katonah, N.Y.
John O. Brennan
Robert De Niro
New York City
Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Maxine Waters
Barack Obama
Maxine Waters
Los Angeles
Eric H. Holder Jr.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Sunrise, Fla.

A device intended for Mr. Holder was misaddressed and sent to Ms. Wasserman Schultz's office because her name was on the return address. | By Jugal K. Patel and Joe Ward
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said Thursday that an “eagle-eyed security employee” at TriBeCa Productions noticed similarities between the package and photos of envelopes that were discovered on Wednesday.

They have featured half-a-dozen first-class postage stamps on manila envelopes lined with Bubble Wrap and bearing return addresses with the name, misspelled, of Ms. Wasserman Schultz, who was once chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. The mailing labels were computer-printed.

[For a country already on edge, the attempted attacks marked an unsettling turn ahead of the midterm election]

Some packages, including the device delivered to CNN’s offices in New York, arrived by courier, a law enforcement official said. Mr. de Blasio said that the authorities did not know whether that meant the sender of the devices lived in the New York area.

“We certainly don’t know whether they are here or elsewhere in the country” Mr. de Blasio said on CNN on Thursday morning. “There is somebody by definition who is a serial bomber, yes, and a terrorist.”

In anticipation of additional packages being found on Thursday, the Police Department has deployed additional officers outside news media offices and elected official’s offices, Mr. de Blasio said.

Early Thursday, swarm of police vehicles and ambulances on standby choked the streets of the TriBeCa neighborhood just a block from the Hudson River. The police closed off several blocks around the building that houses the film company and Mr. De Niro’s restaurant. Flashing blue and red lights from dozens of patrol cars and SUVs cast a harsh glow on the faces of puzzled commuters arriving for work at the offices of Citibank a block away.

The device sent to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was found at a U.S. postal service facility in Delaware, a law enforcement official said.CreditDavid Swanson/The Philadelphia Inquirer, via Associated Press
Mr. De Niro, like the other recipients of packages, has been an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump. During the Tony Awards ceremony in June, he gave a speech in which he attacked the president with an obscenity, and a video of his comments was widely shared on social media. 

On Wednesday, President Trump at first denounced the attempted bombings, saying at the White House, “We have to unify.”

[After the bomb scares, President Trump tried bipartisanship, then blamed the media]
A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!

But at a nighttime rally in Wisconsin, he took a more pointed tone, criticizing the news media and Democrats even as he asked Americans to “come together in peace and harmony.”

And on Thursday morning, the president did not address the bombings directly, he blamed the media on Twitter for the “anger we see today in our society.”

Federal, state and local investigators in New York, Washington, Florida and Los Angeles are involved in the widening case, which has not resulted in any injuries but has sent a shock through the nation’s political and media establishments.

The first bomb was found on Monday at the home of George Soros, the billionaire advocate of liberal causes, in Westchester County, north of New York City.

On Wednesday, officials revealed that similar devices, all contained in manila envelopes, were sent to several people, including Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton, and Representative Maxine Waters of California — all Democrats.

Another bomb, addressed to John O. Brennan, a Republican and a former C.I.A. director, was sent to the offices of CNN in Midtown Manhattan. And yet another was sent to Eric H. Holder, Jr., the attorney general under Mr. Obama, but because it was addressed incorrectly, it went to the return address on the package — the offices of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat and former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

August 8, 2018

Hollywood City Council Passes Resolution To Remove Trump's Star on Walk of Fame

Samantha SchmidtThe Washington Post

Since before the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star has seen just about everything. It was smashed into pieces — twice. It was vandalized with a swastika, enclosed with a miniature border wall, defaced with profanity and graced with the presence of a gold-painted toilet telling passersby to "TAKE A TRUMP."
Trump supporters have fought back, defending the star. Late last month, hours after a man destroyed the star with a pickax, a fierce brawl ensued, leaving one person kicked in the head and another bleeding from the face. 

The site has become a symbol not only of the nation's celebrity president but of the polarization surrounding him. And a nearby city council has had enough of it.
On Monday night, the West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to ask for the removal of Trump's star, due to the president's "disturbing treatment of women and other actions that do not meet the shared values of the City of West Hollywood, the region, state, and country." It cited President Donald Trump's lewd comments on the Access Hollywood tape, his policy of separating families at the border, and his denial of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Since the city of West Hollywood does not have any control over the Walk of Fame, the council's resolution simply urges the City Council of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to remove the star.
"These are the sort of icons and images that define us as Americans," West Hollywood Mayor John Duran told The Washington Post late Monday night. "To think that we would pay tribute to someone who's causing such a horrible disaster to our country's values."
Trump received his star on the Walk of Fame in 2007 for his work as the producer of the Miss Universe Pageant. His is one of more than 2,500 coral terrazzo and brass stars on the two-mile stretch of the popular Hollywood tourist attraction. Each year a committee sifts through about 200 nominations to select 20 to 24 new stars to add to the Walk of Fame.

The city council of West Hollywood, which neighbors Los Angeles, has "never felt compelled to intervene" in decisions regarding the Walk of Fame, Duran said. The council didn't make such calls for star removal when scores of powerful men in Hollywood were accused of misconduct amid the #MeToo movement. It did not pass a similar resolution to eliminate the star of Bill Cosby after the disgraced comedian was convicted of sexual assault.

"They've had their day in court, they've had their trial," Duran said of men like Cosby. But this time is different, Duran said, because Trump is the "leader of the free world." "There's a sense of lawlessness that is occurring that is largely being orchestrated by the president." The council passed the resolution not because Trump is a conservative or Republican, Duran said, but because he has created a "constitutional crisis."
In light of the revelations of the #MeToo movement, the city's resolution also asks that the officials overseeing the Walk of Fame consider revisiting the qualifications for earning a star. West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore John D'Amico, who introduced the proposal, thinks the Walk of Fame "needs to do a deep dive into their history" and consider what other stars should be removed, he said in an interview with The Post.
Duran acknowledges that the resolution is, at this point, purely symbolic. Leron Gubler, the president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the Walk of Fame, said in a statement to CNN that it will refer the issue to the group's Executive Committee for consideration at its next meeting. "As of now, there are no plans to remove any stars from the Hollywood Walk of Fame," Gubler said. 

Despite previous demands to remove Cosby and Trump's stars, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has refused to do so.
"The answer is no," Gubler said in 2015 in response to inquiries about the Cosby and Trump stars. "The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a registered historic landmark. Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk."
So the council's resolution is not likely to do much in the immediate future. Still, the move drew a rowdy crowd of an estimated 100 people to city hall Monday night, where residents were encouraged to weigh in on the debate.
Emotions ran high. Insults were shouted across the room. At one point, Duran had to remind those in the audience to have a civilized debate, even though today's politics may "seem uncivilized."
Among those who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting was a 24-year-old named Austin Mikel Clay, who introduced himself by saying, "You may know me as the man who actually destroyed Donald Trump's star."
Clay turned himself into police after he swung a pickax at Trump's star at 3 a.m. late last month. He is now facing a felony charge of vandalism and is expected to be arraigned next week.
Wearing a black blazer and white button-down shirt, Clay said he felt Trump's star was a threat to public safety. "With all the violence that's erupting over the star in its current condition, I could see someone getting seriously hurt."
He called Trump "unethical" and "fraudulent," and criticized him for "putting children in cages," and removing them from their parents at the border."He is racist. He's a bigot," Clay said.
"I would like to preserve the integrity of the Walk of Fame as an honorable landmark for the American landscape," Clay said.
A number of Trump supporters at the meeting condemned the resolution. "He earned it," said one woman, who described herself as a Latina supporter of the president. "It needs to be respected. Be proud of that star."
"You want to remove stars? Start with all the pedophilia in Hollywood," she added.
A transgender man, James Wen, stepped up to the microphone to decry the president's move to ban transgender members of the military. "Stars in the military are awarded to great leaders, great generals," Wen said. "This is our commander in chief and when a commander in chief, when a general is not becoming of their position, they are either asked to resign or a star is removed. It is time to have the star removed."
As Wen walked back to his seat, Duran said he heard someone in the audience yell out to Wen, "You're actually a woman. Start acting like a girl."
In a video of the meeting, Duran is seen pounding a gavel on the table in front of him.
"Excuse me. We do not speak to members of the transgender community with such horrible remarks," he said, prompting a round of applause from the audience.
Later in the meeting, Duran said that some of the comments made by Trump supporters in the audience "are a reflection of that anger and angst and divisiveness" in the country right now.
Their behavior "pretty much solidified that what we're doing is right," Duran said.

August 4, 2018

Trump Really Wants To Shut The Government Down Due to His Deep Love To This Country? Except He Won't Be Able To!

 A Younger Trump with an Older Cohn who was Lawyer to both Trump and Rep McCarthy (1952),who was on a mission to find homosexuals and commies to drag them to his committee on unamerican activities. Many well known people in Hollywood commited suicide others were jail to latter be released but no one will hire them now. Trump at times, particularly when he went for the families applying for assylum (or crossing the border). No need for that, a decission made from the bottom of his seat after having some Colonel Chicken nuggets.
There is no evidence that Mcarthy hated the "Reds" his  fight was against certain people which  if succesful, will make him move up politicly. He was heading a committee which really had no purpose. If people working in any field happened to like the communism it didn't mean they were spyes. Compare it it now the President of The US saying how much he likes the head of that systema and How he admires him. No one has dragged him to jail yet and they won't uunless there is more proof he is exchanging information for favors, either personal forloans or national for secrets (coliusion).

Donald Trump is a man conflicted. All around him, people counsel caution, particularly when it comes to the midterm elections just three months away. Things are already bad enough, they say, so let’s not make them worse with something foolish like a government shutdown, in yet another attempt to get something (a wall along the southern border) that most Americans don’t want anyway.
Trump listens, but he does not believe. To him, what matters are not the American people, but hispeople — the ones who put him in office, the ones who come to his rallies, the ones whose faith in him only grows stronger, no matter what the polls say.
So when he’s in a friendly place and has the chance to ruminate on his dilemma, the conflict comes out. That’s what happened when he went on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show yesterday. Here are some excerpts of their conversation:
Limbaugh: Here you are suggesting that you’d be willing to maybe — you’d talk about — shutting down the government if that’s what it took to get this wall built.
Trump: Yeah.
Limbaugh: Now the traditional Republican says, “Oh, no! No! Don’t say that!” There you are saying, “Oh, yeah. I’ll be glad to do it if that’s what it takes.”
Trump: Yeah, I actually think it would be positive.
Limbaugh: People don’t understand your voters rally to you for that.
[. . .]
Trump: I have to say that I have heard this theory. I happen to think it’s a good thing politically. I’m not doing it for politics. I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do. So I’m not looking at politics. But I happen to think that border security would be a good thing before the election, but there are many people within our party that are good people that are like you that agree with you on everything you say. But they’d rather do it after. They don’t agree on doing it before, and I accept their opinion, but I happen to think it would be a good thing to do before.
You can almost hear his aides, and every Republican running in a swing district, cringing in fear. A Republican president shutting down the government by refusing to sign temporary spending bills passed by his own party would be a disaster. But as Trump tells Limbaugh, “My polls are great, but the question is, is it transferable?” He then goes on to list some Republicans running in primaries who won with his endorsement. Of course, when it comes to the electorate as a whole, his polls are the opposite of great, and it’s his unpopularity that is transferable to Republicans. 
The fact that Trump is saying these things to Limbaugh isn’t evidence that he’s going to ignore what everyone is telling him and force a shutdown. But it does show his state of mind. When he’s faced with this kind of conflict — he wants to do one thing while his advisers and allies are begging him to do something else — two things usually happen. First, he backs down when it comes to the policy. And second, he’s so mad about it that he either lashes out on Twitter, to little real effect, or he goes on radio shows to complain.
But you have to understand that, from where he sits, it makes perfect sense to ignore what other people tell him and to trust his own instincts. After all, didn’t all the people who supposedly knew what they were talking about say he had no chance of becoming the Republican presidential nominee in 2016, and then said he’d surely lose the general election? He knew something they didn’t back then, so why can’t it be that he knows something they don’t right now?
The truth is that what he knew then and what he knows now are the same thing: Xenophobia works, anger works, fear works, hate works. If you stir them all together into the most toxic brew you can manage, the political effect can be dramatic. He also believes that conflict and controversy are things to be sought out, not avoided.
But the fact that his white-nationalist campaign succeeded in the particular circumstances of 2016 doesn’t mean that forcing a government shutdown over a border wall is the way to win a midterm election in 2018. It would certainly thrill a certain kind of hardcore Trumpite, but those people aren’t going to be the determining factor in this November’s elections.
If Republicans do indeed lose big on Election Day, as now seems almost inevitable, Trump will know just what to say: It was because the party was too timid, because it didn’t cater enough to his people, and because it didn’t shut down the government and get the wall built. And he’ll be more sure than ever that he should trust his instincts and ignore what everyone tells him. 

August 3, 2018

A President Gone Viral Insane! SNL Shows What They Really Look Like

July 19, 2018

The US and Russia Are Still Enemies But Putin Is Got A Faithful Friend in Trump

Because it is hard to break old patterns of understanding the world, we have persistently misunderstood Donald Trump and what he is up to. Thus most observers of Monday's summit — critics and defenders alike — expected to see some version of the traditional meeting between American and Russian leaders: two adversaries coming together to address mutual concerns, raise objections, talk over possible solutions and seek common ground.
There was the standard list of issues — Syria, Ukraine, nuclear weapons — on which to make progress or not. There were the standard concerns: Would Trump give up too much, out of naiveté, or for other, more nefarious reasons? And there were the standard justifications: What's wrong with adversaries getting together to discuss their differences? Why not seek ways to lower tensions?  POLITICS  
What observers could not see, or refused to see, was that this was not a meeting between adversaries. It was a meeting between allies, with convergent interests and common goals.
These, incidentally, have nothing to do with the 2016 election. They have to do with a common view of the liberal world order that the United States helped create seven decades ago. Both leaders seek its destruction.
Putin's interests come as no surprise. He has regarded the U.S.-led liberal world order as Russia's greatest adversary his whole life. It contained and then undermined the Soviet Union — the breakup of which was the "greatest tragedy of the 20th century," as he once put it — and then deprived post-Soviet Russia of its sphere of influence in eastern and central Europe.
The triumph of the liberal world order after 1989 left Russia a second-tier power with a weak economy and embarrassingly diminished international clout. Putin has therefore sought, just as other Russian leaders have in the past, to weaken, divide and demoralize the liberal world. He has supported right-wing nationalist parties throughout Europe. He has tried to weaken and undermine the European Union and NATO. And it is understandable why. 
When the West is strong and coherent, Russia has little room to maneuver. Only when the West is in disarray — as it was during the Napoleonic Wars, for instance, or during the 1930s and 1940s — can Russia be a major global power and fulfill dreams of empire going back to Peter the Great. Only then can Russian leaders like Putin deliver geopolitical victories to distract attention from domestic failures.
Putin never had an interest in integrating Russia into the liberal world order, therefore, even though the average Russian would have benefited, at least materially. He depends on confrontation and chaos.
And, as it happens, so does Trump. That has certainly been his strength in domestic politics, and he has transferred his domestic modus operandi to the world stage.
His success at home came from stirring up populist, nationalist passions against what he and his supporters regarded as an entrenched cosmopolitan elite. It's hardly surprising that he would view the world through the same lens, that he would support populist, nationalist movements across Europe against the traditional parties that have upheld the liberal world order.
It is not just the European Union that he regards as a hostile foe — it is all the institutions and arrangements of the liberal world to which past American presidents of both parties have paid their allegiance. He regards them both as constraints on his freedom of action and as inherently hostile to him and his followers — which they are. Therefore, he seeks to destroy them, as he made clear not only at the NATO summit but throughout his presidency.
Like Putin, he has thrown his support to Hungary's Viktor Orban, as well as to the right nationalist parties of France, Italy, the United Kingdom and across Europe. Like Putin, he supported Brexit and sees it as a way of breaking the EU. Like Putin, he hates Angela Merkel and would prefer the triumph of right-wing parties in Germany.
Many asked before this week's summit what Putin would ask of Trump. Afterward, they breathed a sigh of relief that Trump did not give anything away. And the two men actually worked hard to make this look like the kind of summit people were used to, a typical meeting of adversaries trying to work out their differences and not entirely succeeding.
Few noticed, but it was rather odd for Putin to declare publicly that he and Trump did not agree about Crimea, especially when we know from some of Trump's own statements prior to the summit that they fundamentally do agree. Putin was putting on a show of great power disagreement, reassuring Trump's critics and defenders that the president was indeed standing up to him on some issues. And sure enough, even critics were quick to say that Trump, on substance, had given no ground. (Little could Putin imagine that Trump would then crumb the play by publicly siding with him on the question of election interference.)
What they apparently failed to notice was that Trump had already given everything away. In Putin's eyes, Syria and Crimea are trivialities compared with the collapse of the liberal West. At the summit, Putin acknowledged that he wanted to see Trump elected in 2016. While Western commentators persist in believing he must be disappointed, the payoff has probably exceeded his wildest dreams.

Robert Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of the forthcoming book The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World.

July 17, 2018

Which One is Your President? The One Speaking or The One Nodding?

Putin: "The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs including [the] election process."

President Trump today, at a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said he didn't see "any reason" why Russia would interfere in the 2016 election, in response to a question on whether he believed Putin or U.S. intelligence agencies.

Our thought bubble from Jonathan Swan in Helsinki: "I just have no words. As press in this room, we are all sitting in here speechless and stunned. Trump cast doubt over the U.S. intelligence community and endorsed Putin’s denial. Trump was given an opportunity to denounce the meddling and he didn’t; he just pivoted to lines about the missing server and Hillary’s emails. While Putin spoke forcefully, lying, Trump nodded along. There’s no way of sugar coating or spinning this." 

Why it matters: This comes just days after Trump's own administration indicted 12 Russians for hacking the DNC with the intent of interfering with the election. The U.S. intelligence community has repeatedly concluded that Russia actively sought to interfere in the election, and plans to again.

When asked if he wanted Trump to win the election, Putin said, "Yes I did. Because he talked about bringing the US-Russia relationship back to normal." 
Putin: "The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs including [the] election process."
11:23 AM - Jul 16, 2018 More Key quotes from Trump: He said that the relationship between the U.S. and Russia “has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago.”

On that deteriorating relationship, Trump said: "I hold both countries responsible. I think the United States has been foolish... I think we've all been foolish. We're all to blame."
He called Putin a "good competitor," not an adversary.
"I beat Hillary Clinton easily... We won that race. And it's a shame that there can even be a little bit of a cloud over it."

"There was no collusion. I didn't know the president. There was nobody to collude with."
Trump called the Russia investigation "a disaster for our country."
When asked whether he believes the U.S. intelligence community or Putin over what happened in 2016, Trump said: "I don't see any reason why it would be [Russia], I really want to see the server." He added, "President Putin was extremely strong in his denial." 
And Putin:

“The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs including [the] election process.”

"Could you name a single fact that would definitely prove the collusion? This is utter nonsense. Just like the President recently mentioned." However, Putin offered to interrogate the 12 Russians indicted by the Justice Department.

Combatting the idea that Trump and Putin trust one another, Putin said, “You can trust no one.”
When asked about reports that Russia has compromising material on Trump: "Now to the compromising material, I did hear this rumor. When Trump visited Moscow back then, I didn’t even know he was in Moscow.”

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