Trump Invites Putin To D.C. For A Second Summit

The Trump Administration is inviting Vladimir Putin to Washington, D.C. for a second summit in the fall. What could possibly go wrong?

Yesterday, the White House announced that the President had invited Russian President to Washington, D.C. for a second summit conference in just four months, and perhaps the most interesting part about is how senior members of the Administration found out about it:

WASHINGTON — President Trump plans to invite President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to visit Washington in the fall, the White House said Thursday — an invitation that stunned the nation’s top intelligence official, who said he was still groping for details of what the two leaders had discussed in their encounter this week in Helsinki, Finland.

“Say that again,” the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, replied when Andrea Mitchell of NBC broke the news while interviewing him at a security conference in Aspen, Colo. “O.K.,” Mr. Coats said, taking a deep breath and chuckling awkwardly. “That’s going to be special.”

The announcement came as the White House spent a third day trying to explain statements made by Mr. Trump after the Helsinki meeting, and as uncertainty spread throughout the government about whether he had reached agreements with Mr. Putin on Syria and Ukraine, leaving his military and diplomatic corps in the dark.

Yielding to intense criticism, Mr. Trump rejected a proposal by Mr. Putin for Russia to question American citizens, including a former ambassador to Moscow, Michael A. McFaul, in return for giving the United States access to 12 Russian military intelligence officers indicted on charges of trying to sabotage the 2016 presidential election.

Two hours after the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, issued that reversal, she said on Twitter that Mr. Trump had asked his national security adviser, John R. Bolton, to invite Mr. Putin, framing the decision as part of a dialogue that began in Helsinki and would continue at lower levels until the Russian president comes to Washington.

Beyond saying the meeting would be in the fall, the White House did not announce a date. That means Mr. Trump could meet Mr. Putin again before the midterm elections, giving him a chance to redress the widespread criticism of how he handled the first meeting and possibly injecting further volatility into the campaigns.

But to Mr. Coats, who has been at odds with Mr. Trump about whether Russia meddled in the election, the prospect of another one-on-one encounter was clearly rattling. He said he would “look for a different way of doing it,” and expressed frustration that Mr. Trump had opted to meet Mr. Putin in Helsinki with only their interpreters in the room.

“If he had asked me how that ought to be conducted,” Mr. Coats said, “I would have suggested a different way. But that’s not my role; that’s not my job. So, it is what it is.”

Mr. Coats said he expected that the details of the meeting would trickle out in the coming weeks. But with Mr. Trump not giving a full account, some officials worry that the Russians now control the narrative. On Thursday, Bloomberg News reported that Mr. Putin told diplomats that he proposed to Mr. Trump holding a referendum to help resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Inundated with questions, the White House was either unable or unwilling to respond. A spokesman for the National Security Council said: “Presidents Trump and Putin discussed a wide range of national security issues in Helsinki. The U.S. position on Ukraine remains the same.”

(The Justice Department, for its part, described on Thursday its plan for countering cyberattacks and foreign influence campaigns, like Russia’s effort to intervene in the 2016 election.)

In a tweet Thursday morning, Mr. Trump said he looked forward to a second meeting with Mr. Putin “so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed.” He listed Ukraine, Israel’s security, nuclear proliferation, trade, North Korea, and Middle East peace.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the announcement of a second Putin summit was the fact that it apparently came as a surprise to Trump’s own Director of National Intelligence, who was being interviewed in Aspen, Colorado at the time the news broke:

The nation’s intelligence chief continued on Thursday to harden his warnings about the cyberthreat from Russia and expressed surprise at hearing that President Trump planned to invite its leader, President Vladimir V. Putin, to the White House, but promised to deliver a candid assessment to Mr. Trump about the dangers of such a visit.

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, appeared genuinely astonished during a national security conference in Aspen, Colo., when he was told that the White House announced plans to invite Mr. Putin to Washington.

“Say that again?” Mr. Coats asked Andrea Mitchell of NBC, the event moderator, before uttering an exaggerated and drawn-out “O.K.” He added, “That is going to be special.”

In a follow-up question, Mr. Coats acknowledged his surprise. “We will be looking at what the potential intelligence risks could possibly be, and we will make that information available to the president,” he said.\

Mr. Coats’s appearance was the latest in a string of episodes in recent days in which he has unexpectedly shown a willingness to contradict Mr. Trump’s on-and-off skepticism about the evidence that Moscow intervened in the 2016 election.

A confrontation could be brewing. Mr. Coats has been taking an ever-tougher line on Russia, and as he continues to ring the warning bell, current and former officials have wondered whether he intends to stay long in his job or if Mr. Trump will allow him to remain.

Mr. Coats said he had no intention of leaving. “As long as I am able to have the ability to seek the truth, speak the truth, I am on board,” he said during the question-and-answer session at the Aspen Security Forum.

For many in Washington, the emergence of Mr. Coats as the most prominent administration official willing to push back against the president, gently but repeatedly, has been a surprise. As a two-time Republican senator from Indiana, Mr. Coats was known for eschewing the flashy, focusing on pushing his agenda with back-room conversations, not news-making speeches.

But he was not alone in his skepticism over a White House invitation for Mr. Putin. Current and former senior American intelligence officials expressed deep concern and skepticism. “It seems this is a reward for bad behavior,” said James R. Clapper Jr., Mr. Coats’s predecessor as director of national intelligence.

Mr. Clapper said that bringing Mr. Putin, a former K.G.B. chief, into the White House would pose stiff intelligence risks. “This will be a complex intelligence and counterintelligence challenge,” he said.

Mr. Coats also said he was not fully aware of what Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin discussed in their one-on-one meeting on Monday in Helsinki, Finland, but that he hopes to learn soon, a remarkable admission for a cabinet-level national security official.

And asked whether Mr. Trump should avoid a similar one-on-one meeting with Mr. Putin if he comes to the White House, Mr. Coats said he would “look for a different way of doing it.” White House officials said on Thursday that Mr. Trump planned to invite Mr. Putin to visit in the fall.

Here’s the Tweet from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announcing the proposed visit:

And here’s the video of the moment that Director Coats was advised of that Tweet:

Given how much of a disaster the Helsinki Summit was, there are really two possibilities regarding how a second Trump-Putin would go. The first, of course, is that things go about the same way that the first summit did and Trump walks away looking like an idiot who got played yet again. The second is that the President somehow manages to pull himself together and pull off a summit meeting that doesn’t look like a complete disaster. Taking into account not only the events of this week but also his recent performances on the world stage in other places such as the G-7 Summit in Canada, the NATO Summit in Brussels, and his visit just last week to the United Kingdom, the answer seems to be rather obvious. A Trump-Putin meeting this fall will most likely end up being as pointless and potentially disastrous as the Helsinki Summit was, especially since it seems clear that there won’t be any so-called “deliverables” coming out of the summit in the form of constructive agreements that would justify the honor of a meeting at the White House and, potentially at least, a State Dinner in Putin’s honor.

To pick just one example, President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev had a summit meeting in Washington, D.C. in November of 1987, but that wasn’t their first meeting (that took place in Geneva in 1985), or even their second (that took place in Rekyavik in 1986.) The Washington Summit was the third meeting between the two men, and it came after years of negotiations at lower levels at a number of levels and included substantive things such as the signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty that resulted in the removal of nuclear weapons from Eastern and Western Europe, as well as significant progress on issues such as chemical weapons and conventional arms as well as significant progress on the START Treaty that would eventually be signed during the Presidency of George H.W. Bush. Trump, on the other hand, appears to be inviting Putin for a second summit in the nation’s capital for, well, no reason whatsoever.

On another note, it strikes me that the timing of this invitation is really quite odd from a political point of view. While it’s been only a few days, the early polling in the wake of the Helsinki Summit shows that Trump is getting overwhelmingly negative reviews for his performance on Monday. It seems unwise to me to risk that something similar could happen so close to the midterm elections, especially given the fact that there are already indications that Republicans aren’t going to do well in November. Furthermore, inviting Putin to the United States prior to the midterms would arguably just serve to remind Americans of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the question of collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign, something that I doubt Republicans would be all that eager to do. It’s possible, of course, that the Trump White House is shooting for a date after the elections, but even that won’t guarantee that Democrats and the media won’t make an issue out of it in the elections in November.

As a general rule, of course, there’s nothing wrong with world leaders meeting one-on-one. As Winston Churchill once put it, it’s better to jaw-jaw than to war-war. At the same time, though, it’s also generally been the case that these meetings typically only end up being fruitful when they built on a history of lower-level negotiations and agreements that allow both leaders to use such meetings to achieve something other than just appearing before the cameras. Rather than doing that, though, this President appears to view summits as mere photo opportunities that don’t actually accomplish anything. This is especially true when meeting with leaders of adversarial nations. We saw it in Singapore last month. We saw it in Helsinki on Monday. And, in all likelihood, we’ll see it again in Washington in the fall. As with those first two meetings, the United States won’t gain anything from the meeting, and the adversary will gain everything.

 

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Intelligence, National Security, Politicians, Russia, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jen says:

    “[…] this President appears to view summits as mere photo opportunities that don’t actually accomplish anything.”

    Precisely. And someone is thinking that a more heavily planned and tightly controlled summit-cum-photo opp will make the disaster that was Helsinki evaporate.

    The timing certainly is curious.

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  2. Mark Ivey says:

    Trump can’t wait to hang a YUGGE Russian flag on the Front of the White House so Putin can pose in front of it..

  3. MarkedMan says:

    Personally, I don’t see how anyone can still believe Trump isn’t owned by Putin, probably in many ways. But even if you believe that Trump may still be innocent, the “We have to wait until Mueller finishes his investigation because he is innocent until proven guilty” is absolutely the wrong standard to apply. This isn’t about giving a criminal defendant all his legal rights. This is about someone with literally the power of life and death in his hands behaving recklessly. This is a school bus driver who has been seen coming out of a bar, getting into his bus and weaving back and forth across the road. If that bus driver claims he just had a burger and a coke and that the weaving was because he was dodging small animals that darted in front of his bus, sure, you can’t fire him without due process. But you certainly, right that moment, stop him from picking up the kids.

    If Trump is innocent (he’s not) Mueller is his one shot at proving that. But instead of cooperating and speeding him along, he is trying to block and obstruct and sabotage the investigation. Exactly as a guilty person would do.

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  4. CSK says:

    Don’t forget that while Trump might have faced universal condemnation from the “enemy media” for the Helsinki disaster, Breitbart and the rest of the crackpot right-wing commentators are praising him as a statesman of incomparable brilliance. That’s all he hears–and all he needs to hear. It’s why he’s retracted his retraction. And it’s also why he’s invited Putin to Washington this fall.

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  5. MarkedMan says:

    BTW, the reason why Trump is going ahead with this now isn’t mysterious. It’s the same reason the day after he fired Comey he invited the Russian ambassador into the Oval Office, expressed that firing Comey had taken the pressure off him, and then revealed top secret information. It’s the same reason he “casually” met with Putin alone last year at a summit with no witnesses present. It’s the same reason he had to have this one on one meeting with Putin just now. It’s the same reason Jared Kushner was trying to set up a back channel communication system through the Russian Embassy, hidden from our own government. That reason? Trump is being managed by Moscow, and he found that once he became President it was extremely difficult to communicate directly with his handlers. He is pathetically desperate to be told what to do and he will endure almost any negative publicity in order to be reassured and guided by his masters.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    As Winston Churchill once put it, it’s better to jaw-jaw than to war-war.

    True enough. But I’m already sick of little Randy Paul and other GOPs arguing that it’s either whatever Trump is doing or war. I don’t recall that we were at war with Russia or North Korea before Trump. And we were talking at one level or another with both constantly.

  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Wow…I would never invite my boss to spend the weekend at my house.

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  8. Slugger says:

    Trump has a good reason to talk to Putin. Yesterday, the Russians announced testing of some new weapons including a cruise missile and new nuclear weapons. Trump should ask Putin if these announcements just a few days after their talks constitute a personal insult or the start of an arms race. “Mr. Putin, if you are trying to insult me, don’t bother; you are no Borat. If you want an arms race, remember that several of our fifty states have technology based economies bigger than your entire country. Stick to chess and ballet.”

  9. Kathy says:

    “Why do things that happen to stupid people keep happening to me?”

    Remember, Cheeto Benito watches “the shows.” TV news is part entertainment, part information reporting. So it doesn’t show, though it may mention, lower-level officials meeting to negotiate complex issues. It does show the flashy, pomp-filled summit meetings, where big treaties are signed, and history gets made, and there’s a theme music and special logo and graphics, and anchors so infused with gravitas they triple the Earth’s gravitational field as they report this history-making historic moment.

    In other words, he has a shallow misconception of what a summit meeting is and what it’s for.

    You’d think he’d learn from being humiliated and criticized after each one. But if a person can be impervious to learning, then Trump is that person.

  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump thinks he’s going to pull a rabbit out of his hat and the whole world will oooh and aah and say, “Oh, now I see your brilliant n-dimensional chess move revealed in all its glory! Hosanna!”

    Problem: we don’t need anything Russia is capable of offering in the real world. What are we negotiating with Russia? Will Putin give back Crimea or Ukraine? Nope. Is he able to make peace in Syria? Nope. Can he force Kim to give up his nukes? Nope. Is he going to join us in some looney attack on Iran? Nope.

    So there is no rabbit. Just a hat. Trump is so clueless he was actually surprised by the loud howls of rage and derision following his last taint-tonguing of the KGB thug, and as usual he blurted out the first idiot idea to pop into his addled brain. Another summit! Because the last one worked so well. And at this Sudden Summit Trump will reveal. . . what? What is Putin gonna give us? Nothing. He has nothing to give. So what’s going to happen? We’re going to surrender something and Trump will call it a win.

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  11. Kylopod says:

    Completely OT – Update to something I mentioned a few days ago concerning the buggy features of OTB’s new system. I’ve suspected it for a while now, but have increasingly tested and confirmed it. Frequently when I have clicked to upvote someone’s comment, the number of upvotes would immediately jump several times. For instance, if I click on someone with an upvote of 2, instead of going to 3, it would go to 5. At first, I assumed it was simply that I happened to upvote at around the same time as several other users did. But I started noticing that this was occurring even in mostly dead threads. Moreover, the moment I refreshed the page, all the new upvotes would disappear, and it would go back to the number prior to when I clicked upvote.

    What I gradually determined is that the number of upvotes is somehow getting stuck. It’s recorded in the system but not displayed on the page. If you upvote the comment yourself, you temporarily see the true number–but it quickly disappears the moment you refresh. The display isn’t updated until a new comment is posted to the thread. I’ve seen individual comments make big leaps in the number of upvotes (say, 4 to 12) immediately after a new comment is posted.

    (Note that everything I’ve said is probably also true about downvotes–but I hardly ever use that feature so I wasn’t able to test it.)

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Is he going to join us in some looney attack on Iran?

    Not sure I’d bet against that last one, especially if “join us in” means “help Israel and Saudi Arabia con us into”.

  13. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    Note that everything I’ve said is probably also true about downvotes

    To make matters worse, duplicate votes are counted. I’ve found myself upvoting a comment, seeing it didn’t “take,” and upvoting it again.

    Also off-topic, but I seriously miss Obama. From a speech he gave the other day:

    “Democracy demands that we’re able also to get inside the reality of people who are different than us so we can understand their point of view … ” he argued. “And you can’t do it if you insist that those who aren’t like you — because they’re white, or because they’re male — that somehow there’s no way they can understand what I’m feeling, that somehow they lack standing to speak on certain matters.

    Quite the contrast with Hillary “Basket of Deplorables” Clinton, innit?

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  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Trump is so clueless he was actually surprised by the loud howls of rage and derision following his last taint-tonguing of the KGB thug

    Definitely one possibility. But I suspect not. Trump is a moron in many, many ways, but one thing he is not a moron about is how the press will react. I don’t think he wanted to do any of this. I believe Putin did not give him a choice. For instance, I believe that one of the things Putin told him when they were alone was that Trump needed to invite him to D.C, within a week. Trump knew how this was going to play out, but he cannot disobey.

  15. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:

    Same thing happens to me. One also has to refresh the page after clicking on it to get all the comments that may have been posted.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @James Pearce:

    Quite the contrast with Hillary “Basket of Deplorables” Clinton, innit?

    …and right on queue Pearce trots out Trump’s talking point and tries to divert the conversation into a discussion about Hillary…

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  17. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    Quite the contrast with Hillary “Basket of Deplorables” Clinton, innit?

    I really don’t appreciate your attempt to threadjack (I know I was doing it a little with my comment on the upvote feature, but I felt it was an issue that deserved attention–maybe there should be an open thread for technical OTB issues, but I don’t see how that would be manageable over time), but once again you are distorting Hillary’s “basket of deplorables” remark. I won’t say anything more about it except to link to my earlier comment explaining the full context of the quote and how it has been continually misrepresented:

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/the-gop-is-donald-trumps-party-now-2/#comment-2315150

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  18. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    According to all reports I read, Trump was very upbeat after the presser with Putin; he actually thought he’d done a great job. But then as he was flying back home and realized how he was being trashed even by Fox, he started getting enraged.

    I realize I pointed out above that Trump only pays heed to “news” that flatters him, but the tongue baths from Breitbart, The Gateway Pundit, and The Conservative Treehouse didn’t start till after CNNABCCBSNBC and every major paper had trashed him.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: Ironically, I upvoted your comment when I saw it. Now that I’ve returned to the page, I no longer see the upvote.

    I wonder if this also has something to do with the 15 minute edit window…

  20. Ben Wolf says:

    As with those first two meetings, the United States won’t gain anything from the meeting, and the adversary will gain everything.

    The Adversary. Life is not a fucking F. Paul Wilson book, Doug. You need to go all the way and call him Morgoth. Or maybe Super Hitler.

    Remember, the only good thinking is done in a state of sheer terror.

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  21. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK:

    According to all reports I read, Trump was very upbeat after the presser with Putin; he actually thought he’d done a great job.

    So, that could indicate that Trump is even more clueless than I thought. It is a significant piece of data. I suppose it could also mean that Trump was merely upbeat because Putin had not threatened him with any more destruction and had treated him like a good boy. But that seems a bit of a stretch…

  22. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Hmmm…will Republicans impeach a president for GIVING a blow job in the Oval Office?

  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    Wow, you’ve gone all the way around the bend, haven’t you, Ben? You have a problem with the notion that Kim or Putin are adversaries? What are they, buddies now? They’re both murderers if nothing else. But we shouldn’t refer to the KGB thug in Moscow who invaded Ukraine and Crimea and is currently backing Assad and aims his nukes our direction, as an adversary? All because it distracts from your sad, no-show Marxist revolution?

    Bernie Sanders lost, Ben. He lost because his ideas don’t have enough support. And the disaster we are now enduring is in large degree the fault of obsessive Hillary haters like you and the rest of the too-pure-to-vote college kids.

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  24. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Michael Reynolds: There was a story in the NYT that said that his mood grew increasingly foul as he watched the reaction on the news. I can only assume that means that he thought he did a great job, and the media’s reaction surprised him.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/16/world/europe/trump-putin-election-intelligence.html

  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The Holier than Thou Purity Police are indeed quite tedious.

  26. James Pearce says:

    Problem: we don’t need anything Russia is capable of offering in the real world.

    We never have needed anything material from Russia, but we do need things from them, intangible things like “Don’t invade your neighbors” and “Don’t sell weapons to our enemies.”

    Pearce trots out Trump’s talking point

    Pish. I quoted Obama, mostly to remind you that at one time we had a president who actually cared about liberalism.

    @Kylopod:

    I won’t say anything more about it

    Probably for the best…

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  27. de stijl says:

    He publicly utterly screws the pooch, gaslights us about that, and then tries to gaslight us on his previous gaslight. He’s a crappy President, but he’s aces at sheer ballsy bullshittery.

  28. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “Quite the contrast with Hillary “Basket of Deplorables” Clinton, innit?”

    As opposed to Obama’s “Clinging to guns and religion” and “You didn’t build that” lines, which were equally distorted by Republicans when Obama was a candidate?

  29. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’d go with “he thought he did a fantastic job.” Never underestimate Trump’s capacity for self-deception, which is a function of his obsessive need for adulation and attention. Recall what Trump said about how “people in the highest levels of Intelligence” thought he did a dandy job at the press conference. Like who–Dan Coats? Whether he says craps like this because he genuinely believes it, or if he thinks other people will believe it, I don’t know.

  30. Kylopod says:

    @Moosebreath:

    As opposed to Obama’s “Clinging to guns and religion” and “You didn’t build that” lines, which were equally distorted by Republicans when Obama was a candidate?

    Ironically, it was Hillary herself who helped turn “bitter-cling” into one of Obama’s most infamous lines. (While Trump’s claim that Hillary invented birtherism is total bullshit, there is some truth to the statement that some of the smears that Republicans later used against Obama started, or at least were popularized, with the Hillary campaign.)

  31. de stijl says:

    From Bush 43 era, but it applies:

    “That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” He continued “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    Replace “act” with either “gaslight” or “bullshit(as a verb)” and it fits perfectly.

  32. PJ says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Nah, Putin is going to want to make his own tape like the one with Trump and the Russian women…
    I would guess that the White House pets have had accidents in the Oval Office, so I’d assume that the cleaning crew have had experience getting rid of certain carpet stains.

  33. Pete S says:

    I assume this invitation was extended because Trump forgot to bring the spare key to the Helsinki meeting…..

  34. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Is he able to make peace in Syria? Nope. Can he force Kim to give up his nukes? Nope.

    Not to quibble…but Putin could do those things…he’s just not going to.

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    I don’t even think he could. Putin doesn’t carry that kind of weight with Kim. If Kim listens to anyone it’s his big brothers on his northern border. As to Syria, I don’t think all of Putin’s horses and all of Putin’s men can put that Humpty Dumpty back together.

  36. de stijl says:

    @Moosebreath:

    I could claim to be dentist and recommend the best way to cure pyorrhea is to gargle Rhino urine.

    1. I might not actually be a dentist
    2. I might know fuck-all about pyorrhea
    3. I have no evidence that Rhino urine cures pyorrhea

  37. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Youre correct…I doubt anyone could get Kim to give up his nukes without a fight.
    What’s really funny is that Dennison wants Putin to help with NoKo, when he already told us that he solved the problem.

  38. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    And the disaster we are now enduring is in large degree the fault of obsessive Hillary haters like you and the rest of the too-pure-to-vote college kids.

    You live in a country chock-full of obsessive Hillary haters, Michael. You’d think that would sink in after two failed presidential campaigns and multiple people express it to you.

    @Moosebreath:

    which were equally distorted by Republicans when Obama was a candidate

    The problem with Hillary’s “deplorables” comment isn’t that Republicans distorted it. That’s to be expected.

    The problem is that it set the tone for how Hillary’s supporters were going to act. Now you’re a “bad liberal” if you don’t think Trump supporters are traitors. Thanks, Obama.

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  39. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Trump told someone on Fox a few weeks ago that maybe the “deal” with Kim would work, and maybe it wouldn’t, because he’d made deals before that didn’t work out.

  40. de stijl says:

    @James Pearce:
    @de stijl:

    I distrust your dentistry credentials, and it is highly likely that you know fuck-all about pyorrhea.

  41. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    You live in a country chock-full of obsessive Hillary haters, Michael. You’d think that would sink in after two failed presidential campaigns and multiple people express it to you.

    The level of hatred against her has not been consistent over time. In 2012 Gallup recorded her favorables at 66% positive, 27% negative. She was in fact substantially more popular than Obama at that point, and there were even pieces suggesting Obama should step down and be replaced by her for the 2012 nomination.

    Even during the first time she ran for president, her favorables were around 55% positive, 45% negative–polarizing, to be sure, but hardly catastrophic.

    While there have been large numbers of Americans who have hated her from the moment she stepped on the national stage more than 25 years ago, it didn’t start to become truly widespread until the 2016 cycle. It’s worth asking how that happened.

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  42. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    it didn’t start to become truly widespread until the 2016 cycle. It’s worth asking how that happened.

    What if Hillary is more tolerable in some contexts than she is in others?

  43. CSK says:

    McKay Coppins has an article at http://www.theatlantic.com in which he discusses how the idea that Russia interfered in the election is being increasingly promoted by the right as a good thing, on the grounds that it spared us Hillary Clinton.

    Oh, and Michael Cohen’s lawyers leaked a tape of Trump discussing paying off Karen McDougall with Cohen. When learning of this, Trump reportedly said, “How could Michael do this to me?”

  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Yep. It was inevitable that the cult would end by justifying treason as a positive. Once you’ve justified tearing babies away from their mothers and then caging and losing said babies, you’re more than ready to justify treason.

  45. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Which is also why, if the pee tape exists and is ever released, it’s not going to make a whit of difference to the Trumpkins. There is nothing their savior could do that would lessen their slobbering adoration of him.

  46. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    What if Hillary is more tolerable in some contexts than she is in others?

    Every politician is more tolerable in some contexts than others. That’s not an explanation, it’s a deflection.

  47. wr says:

    @CSK: “Oh, and Michael Cohen’s lawyers leaked a tape of Trump discussing paying off Karen McDougall with Cohen.”

    I don’t think we know it was Cohen’s lawyers who leaked this information. It could be Trump’s team. The NYT story on the leak is almost all quotes from Rudy “Batshit” Giuliani desperately spinning that this tape is actually good for Trump, for reasons that are so insane they can’t be paraphrased. They could have leaked it in hopes of controlling the narrative. One thing seems clear, though — it didn’t come from Mueller’s team. Those guys are tight.

  48. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    Every politician is more tolerable in some contexts than others.

    But not every politician runs for president after their spouse already served two terms. Maybe she was tolerable as a Senator — if that what NY wanted– and tolerable as a Sec of State –if that’s what Obama wanted– but intolerable running for president?

  49. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    But not every politician runs for president after their spouse already served two terms.

    But that was equally true in 2008, and while Clinton fatigue was a factor in why she lost to Obama, she didn’t come anywhere near her record-shattering low favorability ratings she would go on to reach in 2016. She remained, in fact, relatively popular at the time, even at the peak of her contentious nomination battle. The country was not “chock-full” of Hillary haters back then.

  50. de stijl says:

    That a woman isn’t perceived as universally lovable and mommy-like is a story that will generate dozens of books. Shillary!

    That Ted Cruz was a huge enormous dick-wad concurrently will be a fucking footnote in some future thesis paper. If a woman has a strange laugh or she speaks too loudly at a campaign rally it is the end of civil discourse. If Trump or Cruz is a massive dick-head, well that’s just boys being boys, locker room talk – no harm, no foul.

    Politics ain’t cornhole!

  51. MarkedMan says:

    … and congratulations to Mr. Pearce for successfully turning this thread from a discussion of Trump’s treasonous behavior into a discussion of how it’s all Hillary’s fault. Your idol would be proud!

  52. de stijl says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Fuck me! I am so busted. You’re straight up correct. I slagged him hard and then bit on his worm anyway. Insidious lil fucker, ain’t he?

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92 and Michael Reynolds: In a brief defense of Ben Wolf, I will note that using the phrase “the adversary” adds rhetorical weight and, maybe, an element of hyperbole that clouds the point and can alienate potential audience that would not be as put off by the less weighty phrase “an adversary.” Words matter more than we take account for at times.

    Having said that, yes, they do indeed become tedious, and fatiguing, too.

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Pearce:

    We never have needed anything material from Russia, but we do need things from them, intangible things like “Don’t invade your neighbors” and “Don’t sell weapons to our enemies.”

    This statement implies that you believe that Trump’s approach can play a role in achieving such goals that other approaches might fail at. I suspect that you don’t believe this and are simply trolling for trolling sake (or because you feel genuine animus toward Reynolds that you can’t let go of).

    But in case you do think this, have you ever considered the economic advantages in owning a toll bridge? I happen to have a lease/option on one that leads into mid-town Manhattan that I could be persuaded to sell to a motivated buyer. And with Trump’s proposed infrastructure plan moving fully apace, opportunities such as this may go fast. Time is of the essence.

  55. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    The country was not “chock-full” of Hillary haters back then.

    Okay…but it was chock-full of people who did not want her to be president.

    @de stijl:

    If a woman has a strange laugh or she speaks too loudly at a campaign rally it is the end of civil discourse.

    If a man has electro-shock treatments, or goes “YEARGH!” in a very weird way, he’s done. But if you’re the woman who was married to the president of the 90s, you can lie about your health, hide secret e-mail servers down in your basement, lose an election to a boorish Nazi, and you’ll forever be a hero.

    1
    10
  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Pearce: What if it’s a reflection about the folk legend in America that a sizable percentage of Americans don’t want “a skirt” (any “skirt”) to be elected President but are reluctant to say so in “polite” company?

  57. de stijl says:
  58. James Pearce says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    What if it’s a reflection about the folk legend in America that a sizable percentage of Americans don’t want “a skirt” (any “skirt”) to be elected President but are reluctant to say so in “polite” company?

    I expected the sexism and thought Hillary would rise above it.

    That was very foolish of me.

    @de stijl: Hahahaha. If you have intellectual methods of “blocking” the bad information, you don’t need the technological ones.

  59. de stijl says:

    Game of Pricks by Guided By Voices (Tigerbomb version)
    https://youtu.be/HLINRoC4f1k
    Album version
    https://youtu.be/IlZlst4NBVw
    This song predated George RR Martin’s book.

  60. de stijl says:

    Guided By Voices Motor Away(album version)
    https://youtu.be/9J-V6AGuA2k

    Peak Pollard selling the shit out of a snippet that he didn’t know how to turn into a proper song.

    You know that thing where you know have the guts of a really great song, but it wants to be bigger? Pollard just stops there and releases it as is and shames us all. Genius fuck breaks all the rules, and then rulez.

    The most perfect song progression ever, and they just made it up one Tuesday cuz it sounded cool and they could. They’re cheatin’. They stole Heaven, have God’s playbook and are cribbing. That’s impossible, even for a computer.

  61. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    McKay Coppins has an article at http://www.theatlantic.com in which he discusses how the idea that Russia interfered in the election is being increasingly promoted by the right as a good thing, on the grounds that it spared us Hillary Clinton.

    I have trouble believing how short-sighted some people can be.

    Also how they overlook the obvious, though I did that as well.

    The Russians’ attacks were not all that expensive or difficult. Computers are pretty much the same everywhere, and there are only a handful of operating systems. Hacking a party server might not be easy, and should be harder now (one hopes). But you also have like 465+ races, most with two candidates each, and each have their own email systems. Plus who knows how many voting machines.

    Put Russia aside for a bit, we know they’ll meddle again. But what is to prevent China, Iran and North Korea from meddling this time? How about Cuba and Venezuela? Maybe non-state actors as well, or other hostile nations. Even friendly nations, for that matter.

    Oh, and they’ve had a couple of years to get ready.

  62. de stijl says:

    My Valuable Hunting Knife https://youtu.be/yPv4Xary0yc is an actual song, yes? It’s 2 minutes; that’s punk song length. The Ramones did that. I did that.

    Kinda, My Valuable Hunting Knife is another of those up-jumped song shards that just works. Genius guy makes new rules. He must be cheating. GEA, but the tuning is weird.

  63. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Sorta hoping against hope that France and Canada get in on the action and save us. Too late for that?

  64. An Interested Party says:

    I heard a story on NPR where they were talking with military veterans in the Florida Panhandle and these folks were talking about how clever Trump is and how he’s always got a plan and not to worry about Helsinki because he’s implementing some kind of scheme…now, how does one have any kind of rational conversation with people who think this way? There’s no way to reach a middle ground with people who believe such nonsense…I wonder when, if ever, do people realize that this conman is grifting them…

  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I dunno. Sounds a little reductionist to me. On the other hand, one of the more aware musicians in the zero hour jazz band at the high school I was teaching at said, “yeah, but isn’t that sort of the point?” when I made the same comment about a song we were listening to at a post-concert non rehearsal.

    As John Lennon noted–whatever gets you through the night.