“President Trump upended the NATO summit here Thursday by calling an emergency meeting of leaders and threatening that if all member countries do not immediately increase their defense spending commitments, the United States would go it alone,” the Washington Post reports. “It was not clear whether Trump was threatening a U.S. withdrawal from NATO, but some diplomats perceived his comments that way.”
“Trump told NATO leaders that if they did not meet their defense spending targets of 2 percent of gross domestic product by January, the United States would go it alone… The officials said Trump threatened to ‘do his own thing.’”
Politico: “Some officials urged caution in interpreting Trump’s remarks, but say allies clearly heard a threat.“
The original agreement allowed member countries to meet the 2% mark by 2024. And then, in a 180-degree insane turn, President Trump “strongly recommitted American support for NATO on Thursday, saying that he had won great concessions from allies on military spending, though he did not offer any details,” the New York Times reports. Said Trump: “The United States was not being treated fairly, but now we are. I told people that I’d be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially. I believe in NATO.”
“But if his public remarks were friendly, the tone behind closed doors was much harsher.”
And his handshake buddy French President Macron has already called Trump a liar, denying Trump’s claim that NATO allies have agreed to boost defense spending beyond 2 percent of gross domestic product, the AP reports. Said Macron: “There is a communique that was published yesterday. It’s very detailed. It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024. That’s all.” Macron also denied reports that Trump threatened to withdraw the United States from the NATO military alliance in a dispute over funding. So stay tuned for an attack on Macron akin to what happened to Justin Trudeau.
Oh yes, and Trump again called himself a “very stable genius” after a Croatian reporter asked at the NATO summit if he’d change his tone on Twitter regarding the alliance once he’d left, Axios reports. Said Trump: “No, that’s other people that do that. I don’t. I’m very consistent. I’m a very stable genius.”
How today's ludicrous Peter Strzok hearing destroyed the GOP's FBI conspiracy theory: https://t.co/0pD0lODChA
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) July 12, 2018
Beto O’Rourke (D) “raised an eye-popping $10.4 million in the last three months — catching up to Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R) six-year haul in just over 15 months as he seeks to topple the Republican darling,” the Dallas Morning News reports.
“The El Paso congressman’s ability to vastly outpace the incumbent is no longer in doubt. Cruz collected about $4 million during the same period, and O’Rourke has extended his streak of raising more than the incumbent in one of the nation’s costliest races.”
President Trump kicked off his diplomatic visit to the U.K. today by gifting his host a political nightmare https://t.co/uONoZVLpqT
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) July 13, 2018
President Trump told The Sun that British prime minister Theresa May “ignored his advice by opting for a soft Brexit strategy. And he warned her any attempts to maintain close ties with the EU would make a lucrative US trade deal very unlikely.”
Said Trump: “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.”
Robert Kagan: “But even Trump must know the likely response in Europe. The insults and humiliations he inflicted on allied leaders will not be forgotten or forgiven. They will make it impossible for European leaders to win public support for the spending Trump disingenuously claims to want. What German leader after such a tongue-lashing could do Trump’s bidding and hope to survive politically?”
“Any student of history knows that it is moments like this summit that set in motion chains of events that are difficult to stop. The democratic alliance that has been the bedrock of the American-led liberal world order is unraveling. At some point, and probably sooner than we expect, the global peace that that alliance and that order undergirded will unravel, too. Despite our human desire to hope for the best, things will not be okay. The world crisis is upon us.”
“President Trump is remaking the global trade order without significant political resistance or penalty, unchecked by a largely compliant Congress and bolstered by the loyalty of his supporters — even those likely to be hurt by his burgeoning global trade war,” the Washington Post reports.
“Congress’s passivity in the face of Trump’s escalating trade conflict is one of several factors that have made it easier for the president to push on. Others have included markets that haven’t melted down, business leaders who have done little beyond using rhetoric to criticize the trade spat, and Republican voters who have stood by their president. In each of these cases, critics of his trade policy had hoped Trump would find reason to be dissuaded.”
“The first skirmishes in the battle over the nominationof Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court are about timing, as Republicans seek to hold hearings and install him on the court before the new term in October,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been noncommittal on exactly how swiftly he can move, as well as on how to handle requests to review potentially millions of documents that crossed the desk of the nominee when he was a White House staff secretary for former President George W. Bush.”
”The prospect that the volume of the Bush papers could hold up the confirmation process was a late concern for the White House as it narrowed in on the nominee.”
America’s not going to see a fraud as pathetic as Paul Ryan for some time https://t.co/VaAubAtL2J
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) July 12, 2018
“President Trump wants to update the paint job on the next version of Air Force One, ditching the iconic robin’s-egg blue (which he calls a ‘Jackie Kennedy color’) for a bolder, ‘more American’ look,” Axios reports.
“North Korean officials didn’t show up for a planned meeting with U.S. counterparts to discuss returning the remains of American war dead… in the latest sign of tensions between the two sides,” Bloomberg reports.
“U.S. negotiators arrived Thursday at the militarized border between the two Koreas as previously announced by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and were kept waiting.”
I wrote a @NYMag feature about @IfNotNowOrg, a bold group of young American Jews resisting Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. They might be the future of the Jewish left, but will their non-stances on the most divisive issues hold them back? https://t.co/snA4SFfgub
— Abraham Riesman (@abrahamjoseph) July 12, 2018
A new Gallup poll finds that 64% of Americans believe the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision on abortion should stand, while 28% would like to see it overturned.
“Partisans’ opinions are sharply polarized, with 81% of Democrats, 70% of independents and 41% of Republicans saying they do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. In contrast, 51% of Republicans, 22% of independents and 13% of Democrats want it reversed.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “is quietly lining up votes to succeed Paul Ryan as speaker, reaching out to key lawmakers across the Republican Conference and asking whether they will commit to back him as speaker next January,” Politico reports.
“In public, McCarthy says he’s not campaigning for the job, saying it’s more important to focus on saving the Republican majority in the House than a campaign for the top leadership post. Yet running for speaker is precisely what McCarthy is doing.”
Most Americans oppose abolishing ICE https://t.co/CCyPLU6Eih
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 11, 2018
Daily Kos: “Just as he’s launching his first TV ads of the general election [for Pennsylvania Governor], Republican Scott Wagner is busy trying to disavow a local cult leader who gave the invocation at a campaign event over the weekend. But Wagner’s efforts to squirm away from Hyung Jin Moon, whom the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has described as “the ‘second king’ of an assault rifle-wielding Christian sect headquartered in Eastern Pennsylvania,” are gonna require some extra Vaseline: The dedicated trackers at American Bridge captured audio of Wagner at the gathering telling a Moon acolyte (who made his affiliation crystal clear), “Ninety-eight percent of what you believe in, I believe in.”
And what does Moon’s cult believe in? We actually know because, amazingly enough, this isn’t the first time Moon has come up during this race. Back in January, Wagner’s GOP primary opponent, Paul Mango, appeared on Moon’s radio show and received intense criticism for doing so. During that interview, Mango nodded along as Moon declared that public school students are “getting indoctrinated into the homosexual political agenda—they’re getting indoctrinated in the transgender agenda.” Among those who slammed Mango at the time? Scott Wagner.
Wagner’s campaign claims that it had no idea Moon would be attending the meet-and-greet, but the event took place at a gun shop owned by none other than Moon’s brother. And we know Moon loooves guns: In video of Mango’s interview with Moon, a heavy-duty AR-15 sat propped in front of the host, who also wore a crown that appeared to be made out of bullets. (Not kidding.) It shouldn’t be that hard to not associate with gun-worshipping anti-gay cults or tell them you agree with what they say, but apparently, for Pennsylvania Republicans, it is.”
A new Washington Post-Schar School poll finds Americans are nearly split, 49% approving and 45% disapproving of the way special counsel Robert Mueller is handling the investigation into possible ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government.
What’s more, 48% say the question of whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election is a “serious issue,” while an identical 48% say it’s “more of a distraction.”
"Why would a president adopt these anti-NATO positions when they do not reflect the consensus of opinion within his own State Department, Defense Department, intelligence services, or his top advisors and congressional members of his own party?" https://t.co/QuETjd9MH0
— Niles Bliss (@nilesbliss) July 12, 2018
“This weekend, President Trump will take a break from visiting heads of state in Europe and detour to this tiny village in Scotland — so he can visit a luxury golf resort named after himself.” the Washington Postreports.
“The side trip will allow Trump the president a chance to shine an international spotlight on Trump the brand… But the visit will also highlight a challenge facing many Trump properties since his election. They were built on the premise that the Trump name symbolizes lavish hospitality, but are now trying to survive in an era in which it represents the opposite of hospitality to many in the United States and abroad.”
“Republicans sparred with FBI agent Peter Strzok from the very first question at a hearing Thursday over politically charged investigations, threatening him with a contempt citation for refusing, at the direction of an FBI lawyer, not to answer questions about the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election,” the Washington Post reports.
“Strzok, who was the lead agent on FBI probes into Hillary Clinton and the Trump campaign and is now the subject of an internal misconduct probe, was asked by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, how many individuals he interviewed in the first week of the Russia probe in the summer of 2016. He declined to answer.”
“Democrats immediately accused Republicans of treating Strzok unfairly and asked that the hearing be adjourned.”
The Fix highlights several key parts of the hearing.
A Court without Kennedy and with Kavanaugh is more likely to:
– Overturn Roe v. Wade
– Reject challenges to capital punishment
– Rule in favor of religious challenges to anti-discrimination law
– Bar government actors race-based affirmative actionhttps://t.co/wqkwEeOHWB
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 12, 2018
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is up for re-election this year, told Talkline radio that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh “has all the right qualities” of a Justice and that he will defer to his constituents when casting his vote.
Said Manchin: “I think he seems to be a very fine person of high moral standards. A family person who’s very involved in his community. Has all the right qualities. He’s well-educated. And with that, you know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution is going to be followed.”