July 20, 2018

All Things Russia

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

. (The Flip Side)

On Thursday,

See past issues

The left is concerned that we may never know what transpired between Trump and Putin.

Both Putin and Trump have shown an affinity for bending -- and breaking -- the truth when it suits their needs. That's never a good thing, but it's a really not good thing when they are the only two people

aside from the translators) who know what really happened in that room. And when the geopolitical fate of the world rests, at least in part, on what transpired between the two men, that's worrisome.”

CNN

Moreover, “that [Trump] would think that turning over a diplomat to Russia could ever be possible shows his ignorance and the degree of his submission to Putin, and underscores that he should not hold such meetings alone.”

Newsday

“No, Donald Trump is not guilty of ‘treason,’a word that’s been bandied about much too loosely this week...

"Trump’s behavior in Helsinki is, however,

New York Times

Meanwhile, “the joint CyberCom-NSA Russia group is working with the FBI, the CIA and Department of Homeland Security, each of which has its own initiative to detect and deter Russian influence operations... The agencies are working within their own authorities, but ‘the lack of presidential guidance to address this as a national problem impedes the ability’ to carry out a more robust and effective effort.”

Washington Post

Trump's “goal, it seems, is to put so much pressure on Tehran that it has no choice but to completely change its behavior — but he could end up leading the countries to the brink of war in the process… Now is typically the time when cooler heads prevail, but it’s unclear if there are cooler heads around… It’s hard to overstate how avoidable this situation was.”
Alex Ward, Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

The right remains divided about the meeting.

The right remains divided about the meeting.

“Whatever one thinks of what he said in Helsinki, the overreaction is helping him plow through yet another media meltdown... Mr. Trump intuits, correctly, that the media push the issue in order to undermine his legitimacy. He obviously has no interest in helping them do that, hence he challenges the question’s premise.”

Wall Street Journal

The shocked, shocked response at Russian meddling in American domestic matters appears as a natural consequence of blanking out on the 20th century... That an agent of the same KGB that engaged in dirty deeds during the Cold War now leads the Russian nation and employed over-the-top tactics to intrude on the 2016 U.S. presidential election flows from the history that preceded.”

The American Spectator

“From the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats following the poisoning in Britain, to the countless sanctions levied on Russia, to the sale of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, to increased U.S. oil production, to calls for more NATO defense spending, Trump has been extremely tough on Russia.”

Washington Examiner

Some point out that “recklessness is par for the course with President Trump. When voters sent a wrecking ball to Washington they did so with an awareness that it might break things. But what happened in Helsinki was also... weak and cowardly. Those are things America cannot afford to be. Those are things Brand Trump cannot afford to be, either.”

Washington Examiner

At the same time, “in no way should a president be put under threat of having comments made in private to another foreign leader exposed unless indisputable evidence exists of possible malfeasance or collusion... The Democrats know this will never happen and are only calling for the interpreter to testify as a means to create unnecessary suspicion around the Trump-Putin meeting.”

Daily Wire

Congress has no role in negotiating with foreign powers... Unless there existed actual and objective evidence of a crime being committed — as opposed to a foolish foreign policy choice — Congress has no oversight role in these kinds of conversations between a president and another world leader.”

Hot Air

“The Democrats want to talk to Don McGahn, and maybe they will ultimately prevail in court to get his testimony, but what’s the point? McGahn talked extensively to Mueller, and surely everything remotely damaging is already in the report

“Congress has the report, and now it is up to it to decide. But it doesn’t want to. It’s too painful to admit that the Mueller report was a bust on Russia and that the obstruction material, while damaging to Trump, is hardly a slam dunk; that the public doesn’t support impeachment; that if the House goes through with it anyway, it will end with a whimper in the Senate; and that it’s better for Democrats to focus on beating Trump in 2020 than a forlorn impeachment.”
Rich Lowry, National Review

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

The last U.S. Blockbuster thrives on great customer service — and floppy disks.

CBC

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