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“TREASON” by the commander-in-chief…


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: July 17, 2018, 08:10:21 pm »


from The New York Times…

Trump Sheds All Notions of How a President Should Conduct Himself Abroad

Rather than defend America against those who would threaten it, he attacked
his own citizens and institutions while hailing the leader of a hostile power.


By MARK LANDLER | 9:52PM EDT — Monday, July 16, 2018

President Trump, in a joint news conference with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, dismissed his own intelligence agencies' conclusions that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. “I have President Putin,” he said. “He just said it's not Russia.” — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
President Trump, in a joint news conference with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, dismissed his own intelligence agencies' conclusions
that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. “I have President Putin,” he said. “He just said it's not Russia.” — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


WASHINGTON D.C. — President Trump, who gleefully defies the norms of presidential behavior, went somewhere in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday where none of his predecessors have ever gone: He accepted the explanation of a hostile foreign leader over the findings of his own intelligence agencies.

Mr. Trump's declaration that he saw no reason not to believe President Vladimir V. Putin when he said the Russians did not try to fix the 2016 election was extraordinary enough. But it was only one of several statements the likes of which no other president has uttered while on foreign soil.

He condemned the Justice Department's investigation of his campaign’s ties to Russia as a “disaster for our country.” He suggested that the F.B.I. deliberately mishandled its investigation of Russia's hacking of the Democratic National Committee. And he labeled an F.B.I. agent who testified about that investigation before Congress as a “disgrace to our country.”

In the fiery, disruptive, rules-breaking arc of Mr. Trump's statecraft, his assertions during a news conference with Mr. Putin marked a new milestone, the foreign policy equivalent of Charlottesville.

Just as Mr. Trump flouted the most deeply held traditions of the American presidency in equating the torch-wielding white nationalist marchers and the activists who fought them last summer in Virginia, he shredded all the accepted conventions in Finland of how a president should conduct himself abroad.

Rather than defend the United States against those who would threaten it, he attacked his own citizens and institutions. Rather than challenge Mr. Putin, an adversary with a well-documented record of wrongdoing against the United States, he praised him without reservation.

His statements were so divorced from American policy goals, so at odds with the rest of his administration, so inexplicable on so many levels that they brought to the surface a question that has long shadowed Mr. Trump: Does Russia have something on him?

The president's motive, it seemed, was to fight, tooth and claw, for the legitimacy of his victory in the 2016 election. In the process, he impugned the nation's law enforcement agencies and publicly undermined the consensus view of its intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the campaign.

When asked whether he would use his news conference with Mr. Putin to denounce Russia for its behavior, Mr. Trump acknowledged that his own director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, and other senior officials had told him that Russia was culpable.

But, the president declared, “I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia.” He added, “I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be.”

Then he unleashed a fusillade of accusations about Hillary Clinton and her missing emails, the F.B.I., the D.N.C.'s unexamined computer server and the testimony of the F.B.I. agent, Peter Strzok. He also offered a defiant defense of his “brilliant” presidential campaign, reminding reporters of the Electoral College tally, 306 to 232.

To a domestic audience, these assertions were familiar — the grist for countless early-morning Twitter posts or stream-of-consciousness outbursts during “Make America Great Again” rallies. But to hear Mr. Trump utter them while standing next to the leader of the very country accused of carrying out those attacks was a spectacle of an entirely different order.

“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant,” Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said in a statement. “Today's press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

John O. Brennan, who served as C.I.A. director under President Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter: “Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’. It was nothing short of treasonous.”

Even Mr. Coats pushed back, issuing a statement saying that the intelligence agencies would stick to their assessment of “Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”


A question being asked of Mr. Trump during the joint news conference with Mr. Putin. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
A question being asked of Mr. Trump during the joint news conference with Mr. Putin.
 — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


On Sunday, Mr. Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, had defended the president’s decision to meet with Mr. Putin by noting that President Franklin D. Roosevelt met Stalin, the Soviet tyrant, at the end of World War II — presumably a reference to the Yalta conference in February 1945. “Let's try and have historical perspective here,” Mr. Bolton said.

Historians, however, said Yalta only dramatized the depth of Mr. Trump's failure in Helsinki. Robert Dallek, who wrote a recent biography of Roosevelt, noted that Republicans faulted the 32nd president for appeasing Stalin in 1945. But Roosevelt, he said, had a far weaker hand — with the Red Army already occupying Eastern Europe — than Mr. Trump had.

“Roosevelt was dealing with the harsh realities that were coming out of World War II,” Mr. Dallek said. “We have no clear idea, but lots of guesswork, about why Trump seems to be so much in the pocket of Vladimir Putin.”

As he did after white supremacists beat their opponents in Charlottesville, Mr. Trump reached in Helsinki for a kind of moral equivalence.

“I hold both countries responsible,” he said, when asked whether he blamed Russia for anything. “I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we've all been foolish. We should've had this dialogue a long time ago — a long time, frankly, before I got to office.”

While the president lashed out at all manner of domestic enemies, he said nothing about Russia's annexation of Crimea, its predatory behavior toward Ukraine, its bloody intervention in Syria or the alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil.

So disorienting was Mr. Trump's performance that at times, it fell to Mr. Putin to try to cushion the blow — as if he recognized the damage that the president's remarks would cause in the United States.

When a reporter asked whether Mr. Trump had objected to Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, Mr. Putin answered that of course the American president had objected. Mr. Trump stood by in silence.

When another reporter asked why Mr. Trump should believe Mr. Putin's denials of Russian interference, the Russian president replied, “Where did you get this idea that President Trump trusts me or I trust him? He defends the interests of the United States of America, and I do defend the interests of the Russian Federation.”

Mr. Putin made clear that he had rooted for Mr. Trump to win the election. “Yes, I did,” he said. “Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”

Yet on perhaps the most unsettling question of all — whether Russia possessed compromising material on the president — Mr. Putin offered Mr. Trump no comfort. Instead of simply saying it did not, Mr. Putin said he was well aware of the rumors, but that he had not been told that Mr. Trump had visited Moscow as a private businessman. And anyway, he added, hundreds of American business people visit Russia every year.

“Do you think we try to collect compromising material on each and every single one of them?” Mr. Putin asked.


__________________________________________________________________________

Mark Landler is a White House correspondent at The New York Times. In 24 years at The N.Y. Times, he has been diplomatic correspondent, bureau chief in Hong Kong and Frankfurt, European economic correspondent, and a business reporter in New York. He is the author of Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Twilight Struggle over American Power (Random House).

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on July 17, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York print edition with the headline: “Attacking U.S. Institutions And Praising an Adversary”.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Trump, at Putin's Side, Questions U.S. Intelligence on 2016 Election

 • Trump Trusts Putin's Denial, but Seven U.S Intelligence Groups Blame Russia for Election Meddling

 • Republicans Rebuke Trump for Siding With Putin as Democrats Demand Action


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/16/us/politics/trump-putin-summit.html
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2018, 09:56:52 pm »


from The New York Times…

EDITORIAL: Why Won't Donald Trump Speak for America?

The president lays himself at Vladimir Putin's feet.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD | 10:33PM EDT — Monday, July 16, 2018

Illustration: Lilli Carré.
Illustration: Lilli Carré.

THE last time President Trump claimed that “both sides” were responsible for bad behavior, it didn't go well.

That was nearly a year ago, after a march of neo-Nazis descended into violence and a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters, killing a woman.

On Monday, Mr. Trump again engaged in immoral equivalence, this time during a gobsmacking news conference after his meeting in Helsinki, Finland, with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. A reporter referred to last week's indictments of 12 Russian military officials for a coordinated cyberattack on the 2016 election and asked Mr. Trump if he held Russia responsible. “I hold both countries responsible,” Mr. Trump said.

Even in a presidency replete with self-defeating moments for the United States, Mr. Trump's comments on Monday, which were broadcast live around the world, stand out.

The spectacle was hard to fathom: Mr. Trump, standing just inches from an autocratic thug who steals territory and has his adversaries murdered, undermined the unanimous conclusion of his own intelligence and law enforcement agencies that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 election with the goal of helping Mr. Trump win.

“My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me, and some others, they said they think it’s Russia,” Mr. Trump said at one point, speaking of his director of national intelligence. “I have President Putin; he just said it's not Russia. I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be.” (In a statement on Monday afternoon, Mr. Coats reiterated that, in fact, it was.)

Mr. Trump called the special counsel's Russia investigation “a disaster for our country” and then performed a selection of his greatest solo hits: “Zero Collusion”, “Where Is the D.N.C.'s Server?” and finally the old chestnut, “I Won the Electoral College by a Lot”.

Even top Republicans felt moved to speak up.

“The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally,” Paul Ryan, the House speaker, said. “There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals.”

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said, “The Russians are not our friends, and I entirely believe the assessment of our intelligence community.”

Senator John McCain was more direct. “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant,” Mr. McCain said.

Not to worry, Mr. Trump assured us: Mr. Putin “was extremely strong and powerful in his denial.” So he must have been telling the truth.

Mr. Putin, for his part, was happy to admit that he wanted Mr. Trump to win the election: “Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.” He mocked the idea that he had compromising material on President Trump — though without denying it — perhaps because Mr. Trump's own words were compromising enough.

Mr. Putin offered to have Russian intelligence work with its American counterpart to get to the bottom of the meddling case, on the condition that Russian authorities were allowed to question American intelligence officials as well — which Mr. Trump called “an incredible offer.” Yes, incredible.

And still, the indictments related to Russian infiltration keep coming: On Monday, the Justice Department, acting independently of the special counsel's investigation, charged a Russian with acting as an agent for her country in the United States to cement ties between the Republican Party and the National Rifle Association. The 29-year-old woman, who allegedly has ties to a top Russian official, is being held without bond.

Mr. Trump has said he wants to revive a relationship with Russia that badly deteriorated under President Barack Obama. His opening statement to journalists proclaimed the goal of continuing “the proud tradition of bold American diplomacy” and emphasized that “diplomacy and engagement is preferable to conflict and hostility.”

In theory, such objectives make sense. But Mr. Trump seems to be singularly naïve, or deliberately ignorant, about why his own senior national security advisers have identified Russia as one of America's chief geostrategic adversaries, along with China.

Despite a weak economy, corruption and other domestic problems, Mr. Putin has crushed most political opposition at home and is aggressively asserting Russian power abroad. His agents — possibly those from the same military intelligence service that interfered in the American election — have used chemical weapons that poisoned four people in Britain, one of whom died.

He is working hard to sabotage America's ties to NATO and the European Union and to weaken American influence in the Middle East. Russia poses such a cyber-threat to the United States that Mr. Coats last week said “the warning lights are blinking red again.”

There used to be no doubt that American leaders could be counted on to defend the interests of the United States and the democratic alliance it led. President Ronald Reagan did so in 1987 when he exhorted the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall. So did President George H.W. Bush when he told Mr. Gorbachev that Germany would remain in NATO after unification in 1990. And President Obama did so before the 2016 election when he told Mr. Putin to knock off the hacking.

Other than according Mr. Putin the honor of a meeting that begins to erase the ostracism he suffered for invading Ukraine, it is hard to see what Mr. Trump accomplished. The two men talked about forging a new treaty to replace the New Start Treaty, which constrains nuclear weapons and is to expire in 2021, and also discussed cooperating on Syria, though they seem to have passed up a chance for concrete action.

There has been no sign that the United States has derived any benefit from Mr. Trump's obsequiousness toward Mr. Putin, though Mr. Trump himself has now at least gotten a shiny new soccer ball.

It remains a mystery why the president, unlike any of his Republican or Democratic predecessors, is unwilling to call out Russian perfidy. He has no trouble throwing his weight around when he is in the company of America's European allies, attacking them as deadbeats and the European Union as a “foe,” or when he excoriates the news media as “enemies of the people.” Put him next to Mr. Putin and other dictators, and he turns to putty.

All that's clear is that a president who is way out of his depth is getting America into deep trouble.


__________________________________________________________________________

The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

• A version of this editorial appears in The New York Times on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, on Page A20 of the New York print edition with the headline: “Mr. Trump Parrots Russia's Leader”.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/16/opinion/donald-trump-putin-russia.html
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2018, 10:25:31 pm »


from The New York Times…

Trump Shows the World He's Putin's Lackey

Maybe the president is exactly as compromised as he looks.

By MICHELLE GOLDBERG | 11:05PM EDT — Tuesday, July 16, 2018

President Donald J. Trump with President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
President Donald J. Trump with President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.

NO MATTER how low your expectations for the summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin on Monday, it was hard not to be staggered by the American president's slavish and toadying performance.

On Friday, the Justice Department indicted 12 members of Russia's military intelligence service for a criminal conspiracy to interfere with the 2016 election and hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign. The same day, Trump's director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, gave a speech about America's vulnerability to cyberattacks, particularly from Russia. “I'm here to say, the warning lights are blinking red again,” he said, comparing the threat to the one that preceded September 11.

But standing beside Putin in Helsinki on Monday, Trump sided with the Russian president against American intelligence agencies while spewing lies and conspiracy theories. “He just said it's not Russia,” he said of Putin's denials. “I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.” Continuing in a free-associative fugue, he asked, “What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the D.N.C.?” referring to a debunked right-wing claim about a former Democratic I.T. staffer. “What happened to Hillary Clinton's emails? Thirty-three thousand emails gone, just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn't be gone so easily.”

Perhaps the most sinister part of the news conference was Trump's seeming openness to a deal in which F.B.I. investigators could question people in Russia in exchange for letting Russians question Putin critics in America. Putin referred specifically to associates of his arch-nemesis Bill Browder, a businessman (and British citizen) who has succeeded in getting seven countries, including the United States, to pass laws punishing Russian oligarchs suspected of corruption. (The Russians who met with members of the Trump campaign at Trump Tower in June 2016 wanted to discuss this law, the Magnitsky Act.)

“I've known for a long time that Putin has been trying to use every trick in the book to get me arrested in a foreign country and extradited back to Russia,” Browder told me after the news conference. It's chilling that Trump appeared willing to help Putin with his vendetta.

The news conference left observers reeling. John O. Brennan, a former director of the C.I.A., tweeted that Trump's display was “nothing short of treasonous.” Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, described it as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” Even some Trump partisans were aghast. Newt Gingrich decried it as the “most serious mistake” of Trump's presidency.

While I was as shocked as everyone else, I shouldn't have been. Trump's behavior on Monday recalled his outburst at Trump Tower after the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, when he insisted there were “very fine people” among the racist demonstrators. Both times, everything Trump said was in keeping with things he’d said before. The shocking part was his frankness. Then, as now, it forced, if just for a moment, a collective apprehension of just what a repulsive abomination this presidency is.

It's always been obvious that Trump does not hold Russia’s hacking of the 2016 election, which he publicly encouraged and gleefully benefited from, against Putin. None of us yet know the exact contours of Trump's relationship with Russia, whether Putin is his handler, his co-conspirator or just his hero. But it's clear that Trump is willing to sell out American democracy for personal gain. After all, on July 27, 2016, he publicly called for Russia to find Clinton's emails, and, thanks to Friday's indictments, we now know Russia started trying to hack the domain used by her personal office that very day. Trump's collusion with Russia has always been out in the open, daring us to recognize what's in front of our faces.

Some doubt that Trump is a Russian puppet precisely because his fealty to Putin is so blatant and undisguised. They should consider the case of Mariia Butina, which broke wide open just hours after the Trump-Putin meeting.

Butina, who worked for the Russian politician and alleged organized crime figure Alexander Torshin, presented herself as a Russian gun rights activist, and spent years cultivating links to the National Rifle Association. She became a fixture in some pro-Trump circles and was reportedly especially close to a conservative operative named Paul Erickson. Last year, in a Daily Beast profile, the journalist Tim Mak described Butina as hosting a birthday costume party that was attended by Trump aides. “She dressed as Russian Empress Alexandra while Erickson was dressed as Rasputin,” Mak wrote. At the party, Butina reportedly boasted that she'd helped the Trump campaign communicate with Russia. If there was a reason to doubt that she was a Russian spy, it was only that one would expect a Russian spy to be subtler.

This weekend, Butina was arrested in Washington, and on Monday her indictment for acting as a Russian agent was unsealed. She was accused of conspiracy to “exploit personal connections with U.S. persons having influence in American politics in an effort to advance the interests of the Russian Federation.” There's a useful lesson here in evaluating Trump's behavior. Sometimes things are exactly as bad as they appear.


__________________________________________________________________________

Michelle Goldberg became an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times in 2017. She is the author of three books: Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World and The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi, the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West. Her first book was a finalist for the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, and her second won the Ernesta Drinker Ballard Book Prize and the J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award. Previously she was a columnist at Slate. A frequent commentator on radio and television, Goldberg's work has appeared in The New Yorker, Newsweek, The Nation, The New Republic, The Guardian and many other publications, and she's reported from countries including India, Iraq, Egypt, Uganda, Nicaragua and Argentina. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, on Page A21 of the New York print edition with the headline: “Trump Shows The World He's Putin's Lackey”.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • An Easy Win for Vladimir Putin

 • Trump and Putin versus America

 • Republicans Rebuke Trump for Siding With Putin as Democrats Demand Action


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/16/opinion/trump-putin-summit-russia-collusion.html
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2018, 03:34:27 am »

yes war would be better lol
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2018, 04:05:59 pm »


from The Washington Post…

This sad, embarrassing wreck of a man

Which Republicans will stand behind a president who puts Russia first?

By GEORGE F. WILL | 2:57PM EDT — Tuesday, July 17, 2018



AMERICA's child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing day care. It was a useful, because illuminating, event: Now we shall see how many Republicans retain a capacity for embarrassment.

Jeane Kirkpatrick, a Democrat closely associated with such Democratic national security stalwarts as former senator Henry Jackson and former senator and former vice president Hubert Humphrey, was President Ronald Reagan's ambassador to the United Nations. In her speech at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, she explained her disaffection from her party: “They always blame America first.” In Helsinki, the president who bandies the phrase “America First” put himself first, as always, and America last, behind President Vladimir Putin's regime.

Because the Democrats had just held their convention in San Francisco, Kirkpatrick branded the “blame America first” cohort as “San Francisco Democrats”. Thirty-four years on, how numerous are the “Helsinki Republicans”?

What, precisely, did President Trump say about the diametrically opposed statements by U.S. intelligence agencies (and the Senate Intelligence Committee) and by Putin concerning Russia and the 2016 U.S. elections? Precision is not part of Trump's repertoire: He speaks English as though it is a second language that he learned from someone who learned English last week. So, it is usually difficult to sift meanings from Trump's word salads. But in Helsinki he was, for him, crystal clear about feeling no allegiance to the intelligence institutions that work at his direction and under leaders he chose.

Speaking of Republicans incapable of blushing — those with the peculiar strength that comes from being incapable of embarrassment — consider Senator Lindsey O. Graham (South Carolina), who for years enjoyed derivative gravitas from his association with Senator John McCain (Arizona). Graham tweeted about Helsinki: “Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections.” A “missed opportunity” by a man who had not acknowledged the meddling?

Contrast Graham's mush with this on Monday from McCain, still vinegary: “Today's press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” Or this from Arizona's other senator, Jeff Flake (Republican): “I never thought I would see the day when our American president would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression.” Blame America only.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and others might believe that they must stay in their positions lest there be no adult supervision of the Oval playpen. This is a serious worry, but so is this: Can those people do their jobs for someone who has neither respect nor loyalty for them?

Like the purloined letter in Edgar Allan Poe's short story with that title, collusion with Russia is hiding in plain sight. We shall learn from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation whether in 2016 there was collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign. The world, however, saw in Helsinki something more grave — ongoing collusion between Trump, now in power, and Russia. The collusion is in what Trump says (refusing to back the United States' intelligence agencies) and in what evidently went unsaid (such as: You ought to stop disrupting Ukraine, or downing civilian airliners, or attempting to assassinate people abroad using poisons, and so on, and on).

Americans elected a president who — this is a safe surmise — knew that he had more to fear from making his tax returns public than from keeping them secret. The most innocent inference is that for decades he has depended on an American weakness, susceptibility to the tacky charisma of wealth, which would evaporate when his tax returns revealed that he has always lied about his wealth, too. A more ominous explanation might be that his redundantly demonstrated incompetence as a businessman tumbled him into unsavory financial dependencies on Russians. A still more sinister explanation might be that the Russians have something else, something worse, to keep him compliant.

The explanation is in doubt; what needs to be explained — his compliance — is not. Granted, Trump has a weak man's banal fascination with strong men whose disdain for him is evidently unimaginable to him. And, yes, he only perfunctorily pretends to have priorities beyond personal aggrandizement. But just as astronomers inferred, from anomalies in the orbits of the planet Uranus, the existence of Neptune before actually seeing it, Mueller might infer, and then find, still-hidden sources of the behavior of this sad, embarrassing wreck of a man.


__________________________________________________________________________

George F. Will writes a twice-weekly column on politics and domestic and foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He began his column with The Post in 1974, and he received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1977. He is also a regular contributor to MSNBC and NBC News. His books include: One Man's America: The Pleasures and Provocations of Our Singular Nation (2008), Restoration: Congress, Term Limits and the Recovery of Deliberative Democracy (1992), Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball (1989), The New Season: A Spectator's Guide to the 1988 Election (1987) and Statecraft as Soulcraft (1983). Will grew up in Champaign, Illinois, attended Trinity College and Oxford University and received a PhD from Princeton.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Trump says he accepts U.S. intelligence and misspoke in Helsinki

 • VIDEO: Opinion | If Putin wanted a U.S. president to do his bidding, it would look exactly like this

 • Kathleen Parker: It's time to excise the Trump cancer

 • Molly Roberts: The Trump baby blimp is wonderfully obvious


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-sad-embarrassing-wreck-of-a-man/2018/07/17/d06de8ea-89e8-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2018, 05:13:27 pm »


from The New York Times…

Critics of Trump Have a New Word in Their Vocabulary: Treason

Never in anyone’s lifetime has a president engendered such a wave of discussion
about whether his real loyalty was to a foreign power over his own country.


By PETER BAKER | 3:54PM EDT — Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Protests outside the White House on Monday night after President Donald J. Trump's news conference with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Finland. — Photograph: Tom Brenner/for The New York Times.
Protests outside the White House on Monday night after President Donald J. Trump's news conference with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Finland.
 — Photograph: Tom Brenner/for The New York Times.


WASHINGTON D.C. — After 17 months, three weeks and six days of Donald J. Trump's tumultuous presidency, some of his fellow Republicans had finally had enough. “The dam has broken,” Senator Bob Corker, a Republican critic from Tennessee, said on Tuesday.

But has it really broken and if so for how long? As Mr. Trump scrambled to patch any holes on Tuesday by reimagining his extraordinary news conference with Russia's president the day before in Helsinki, Finland, the question was whether he had reached a genuine turning point or simply endured another one of those episodes that seems decisive but ultimately fades into the next one.

For the moment, at least, this time did feel different. After seeming to take President Vladimir V. Putin's word over that of America's intelligence agencies on Russian election meddling, Mr. Trump was being accused not only of poor judgment but of treason — and not just by fringe elements and liberal talk show hosts, but by a former C.I.A. director.

In a presidency without precedent, mark another moment for the history books. While the accusation of treason has been thrown around on the edges of the political debate from time to time, never in the modern era has it become part of the national conversation in such a prominent way.

To the president's defenders, this all sounds like another eruption of what they often call Trump Derangement Syndrome. That he drives his critics to such extremes, they argue, says more about them than it does about Mr. Trump. As the president backtracked on his deferential comments at Monday's meeting with Mr. Putin and asserted that he really does accept that Russia intervened in the 2016 election, allies assumed that this, too, would blow over.

But the list of Republicans rebuking the president included not just the usual suspects like Mr. Corker, who has been a frequent critic and plans on retiring when his term is up in January, but friends of the president like the former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who called his performance in Finland “the most serious mistake of his presidency,” and the conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, which called it a “national embarrassment”.

Even some of the normally friendly folks at Fox News expressed astonishment, including Neil Cavuto and Abby Huntsman, whose father, Jon Huntsman, is Mr. Trump's ambassador to Moscow.

While Republican leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin trod more carefully on Tuesday, focusing their fire on Russia rather than the president, they were seeking ways to demonstrate their distance, perhaps with new sanctions on Moscow or hearings to grill members of the Trump administration.


Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin on Monday at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland on Monday. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin on Monday at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland on Monday.
 — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


And Republicans were eager to latch onto Mr. Trump's retreat to avoid a confrontation. “I wish he had said it in front of President Putin and the world yesterday, but yeah, I take him at his word if he said he misspoke, absolutely,” Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said on Fox News.

That Russia would become the third rail for the party of Ronald Reagan is a sign of just how far politics have shifted under Mr. Trump. Republicans once denounced President Barack Obama for suggesting that he would have more “flexibility” to work with Mr. Putin after his re-election; now Mr. Trump treats Mr. Putin as a trusted friend.

And that was too much for John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director who had already emerged as one of Mr. Trump's most vocal critics. He called the performance “nothing short of treasonous”. The late-night hosts Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel also invoked treason on their shows. The front-page banner headline for The New York Daily News declared “OPEN TREASON”.

Max Boot, the former Republican who has become one of Mr. Trump's sharpest critics, noted in a column on Monday in The Washington Post that accusing him of treason was once unthinkable. No longer. “If anyone is ‘the enemy of the people’, it is Trump himself,” he wrote.

Mr. Trump returned to the White House on Monday night as protesters outside the gate shouted, “Welcome home, traitor.” Even Dictionary.com trolled the president, tweeting out a definition: “Traitor: A person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.”

It later said that searches for “treason” had increased by 2,943 percent. By Tuesday afternoon, the word “traitor” had been used on Twitter 800,000 times and the word “treason” about 1.2 million times.

Even some opponents, however, expressed caution. “The word treason is so strong that we must use it carefully,” Eliot A. Cohen, a former State Department official under President George W. Bush and a longtime critic of Mr. Trump, wrote on Twitter. “But that press conference has brought the President of the United States right up to that dark, dark shore.”

Mr. Trump fired back by calling Mr. Brennan a “very bad guy” in an interview with Fox News. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, likewise dismissed Mr. Brennan. “This is coming from the guy who voted for the Communist Party USA candidate in 1976,” he wrote on Twitter. “Give me a break.” Mr. Brennan has acknowledged voting for Gus Hall, the Communist candidate in 1976, as a rebellious young man “signaling my unhappiness with the system,” but never considered himself a Communist.


John Brennan, a former C.I.A. director, accused Mr. Trump of treason after Monday's meeting with Mr. Putin. — Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times.
John Brennan, a former C.I.A. director, accused Mr. Trump of treason after Monday's meeting with Mr. Putin.
 — Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times.


Mr. Trump's supporters said the president's adversaries have gone off the deep end. Lou Dobbs, the Fox Business Network host, said on Monday night that Mr. Trump's opponents overlooked times when Mr. Obama tried to influence foreign elections, apparently referring to moments such as when a former aide worked against the re-election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel.

Mr. Dobbs said Mr. Trump had made great progress in foreign policy by crippling the Islamic State and holding unfair trading partners to account. “I mean, these are fools who are prattling off their complaints today about the way he conducted himself in a joint news conference with the president of Russia,” Mr. Dobbs said. “It's idiotic.”

Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, seconded him. “I would completely agree with that,” he said. “We all ought to start rowing in the same direction. Let's get everybody to work. Let's do the great things that the president has fought for the American economy so that we can beat our competitors on the battlefield rather than in sniping at each other through the media.”

Treason is listed by the Constitution as one of the specific justifications for impeachment along with bribery and other undefined “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as the framers put it. “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort,” the Constitution says.

No sitting president has ever been formally charged with treason, nor for that matter have many other Americans since the days of Aaron Burr or the political leaders who defected to the Confederacy during the Civil War. The closest was former President John Tyler, who sided with the South against the Union and was elected to the Confederate Congress but died before taking his seat. Franklin Pierce, another former president, was a Southern sympathizer and sometimes accused informally of treason.

Mr. Trump's critics reach for words like treason and traitor because they, like others, are searching for an explanation for actions that are so different from those of his predecessors. Other presidents, including Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush, sought to build good relations with Mr. Putin's Russia, but none seemed so willing for so long to overlook hostile Russian actions or side with Moscow over the agencies of their own government.

Whether this leads anywhere remains unclear. Past moments that seemed decisive, like the “Access Hollywood” tape and Charlottesville, came and went. For now at least, hurling the treason charge seems more about making a point than making a case in a courtroom or impeachment hearing. But it is an explosive word to use and that by itself suggests how fraught this moment in the nation's history has become.

Mr. Brennan said on “Today” on NBC News on Tuesday that he understood how charged the term was when he used it, but said that the events justified it. “I'm sure Ronald Reagan listening to what Mr. Trump was saying could not believe it and is rolling over right now unfortunately in his grave,” he said.


__________________________________________________________________________

Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times covering President Donald J. Trump. He previously covered the presidencies of Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Mr. Baker joined The Times in 2008 after 20 years at The Washington Post. He began writing about Mr. Obama at the inception of his administration, through health care and economic debates, the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the re-election campaign and decisions over war and peace in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. During his first tour at the White House, Mr. Baker was a co-author of the original story breaking the Monica Lewinsky scandal and served as The Post's lead writer on the impeachment battle. During his next White House assignment, he covered the travails of Mr. Bush's second term, from the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina to Supreme Court nomination fights and the economy. In between stints at the White House, Mr. Baker and his wife, Susan Glasser, spent four years as Moscow bureau chiefs, chronicling the rise of Vladimir V. Putin, the rollback of Russian democracy, the second Chechen war and the terrorist attacks on a theater in Moscow and a school in Beslan. Mr. Baker also covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was the first American newspaper journalist to report from rebel-held northern Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, and he spent the next eight months covering the overthrow of the Taliban and the emergence of a new government. He later spent six months in the Middle East, reporting from inside Saddam Hussein's Iraq and around the region before embedding with the United States Marines as they drove toward Baghdad. He is the author of four books, most recently Obama: The Call of History, an illustrated history of the 44th president. A native of the Washington area, Mr. Baker attended Oberlin College.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on July 18, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York print edition with the headline: “The Word ‘Treason’ Enters the Debate”.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/17/us/politics/trump-critics-treason-putin.html
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2018, 01:16:38 am »

Every US president before Trump has been friendly with Putin. This outrage machine is confusing as hell










hahaha more fake news propaganda bullshitshit
nice try Grin
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 01:33:21 am by Im2Sexy4MyPants » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2018, 01:18:25 am »



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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2018, 01:18:39 am »



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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2018, 10:37:53 pm »

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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2018, 04:20:35 pm »


from The Seattle Times....

Puppet Master

Trump wants to make Russia great again.

By DAVID HORSEY | 1:32PM PDT — Wednesday, July 18, 2018



DONALD TRUMP has done something no American president has ever done: take the side of a nefarious foreign power that has attacked the United States. In a press conference at the end of his summit meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Trump chose to believe the denials of the former KGB agent rather than the unanimous verdict of American intelligence agencies and the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election.

He also blamed his own government's investigation into the Russian cyber attack for bad relations between the two countries. Trump's obsequiousness with Putin — coming just a day after he called the European Union America's “foe” — brought condemnation from people across the political spectrum. Former CIA director John Brennan called it treason while Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, characterized Trump's actions as “shameful” and “tragic”.


__________________________________________________________________________

• See more of David Horsey's cartoons at The Seattle Times HERE.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/puppet-master
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