President Trump told CBS News that the European Union — comprising some of America’s oldest allies — is perhaps the country’s “biggest foe globally right now.”
Said Trump: “Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive.” He added: “I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills.”
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 15, 2018
President Trump also told CBS News that he hadn’t thought of pushing Russian President Vladimir Putin to extradite the dozen Russian officials charged with hacking Democratic email servers. Said Trump: “Well, I might. I hadn’t thought of that. But I certainly, I’ll be asking about it. But again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration.” He added: “And I heard that they were trying, or people were trying, to hack into the RNC too. The Republican National Committee. But we had much better defenses. I’ve been told that by a number of people. We had much better defenses, so they couldn’t. I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked.”
Jonathan Swan: “To the extent that Trump does confront Putin over meddling at tomorrow’s summit in Finland with Vladimir Putin — and the president has publicly promised to — it’s not with any genuine seriousness or enthusiasm, the sources say. It’ll be purely for domestic/media consumption.”
Less that Putin already won than that Americans lost —in ways we won’t see fully for years. Off to Fenway to cheer up after this sad take: https://t.co/WQM1V2jNuQ
— Heather Hurlburt (@natsecHeather) July 15, 2018
Masha Green: “The mere fact of the meeting, followed by a joint press conference with the American President, will be a demonstration of power for Putin. He needs to deliver nothing else. If, however, he is also able to nudge Trump toward a verbal acknowledgment of the legitimacy of Russia’s interests in its old sphere of influence—something that Putin will almost certainly bring up in conversation, making Trump likely to parrot an attitude he instinctively understands—Russians will perceive it as Putin restoring Russia’s superpower status.”
“Putin may also suggest a deal whereby the United States pulls out of Syria. Being able to make such an announcement would make Trump feel like the dealmaker he longs to be. To Russians, it would look like they had won the war. If any deal happens, though, it will be merely an accidental substantive bonus attached to a performance designed to be empty.”
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) July 15, 2018
Josh Marshall: “Benjamin Netanyahu worked laboriously mobilizing all his influence in Washington to persuade Donald Trump to meet Vladimir Putin.” This is not terribly surprising. And it dovetails with Adam Entous’s New Yorkerarticle from a week ago which explained how the Russian collusion story fits together with other parts of the story focused on the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Israel’s interests are simple: a post-conflict Syria in which Iran has as little role as possible. No role is not possible. But Israel’s focus is to keep Iranian forces or Iranian proxies several tens of miles back from Israel’s borders at a minimum (50-60 kilometers, this article says). The other just as critical goal is to keep Iranian missiles and air defense systems from anywhere on Syrian soil.
To achieve these aims, Israel needs Russia. Entous’s article argued that UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel each want a rapprochment between the US and Russia because only that will make possible or give Russia an interest in pushing back or restraining Iran, most specifically in Syria. Europeans fear, apparently correctly, that the idea is to trade Russian assistance with Iran for regularizing Russia’s gains in Ukraine and ending sanctions.”
The Russian foreign ministry published the full transcript of foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Larry King. In the interview, which aired on RT, Lavrov said the United States requested the one-on-one meeting between President Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin before their formal talks next week in Helsinki.
As part of Sacha Baron-Cohen’s new Showtime series, current and former Republican lawmakers endorsed a fake program to train and arm children as young as four years old.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) “this year reported a profit from a private equity fund that owns a health care group servicing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, including facilities that hold immigrant families with children,” Politico reports.
“In his most recent statement of economic interests, the multi-millionaire Illinois Republican governor disclosed earnings from a fund that owns Correct Care Solutions, a for-profit health care provider that has millions of dollars in government contracts with jails and prisons across the country, including immigrant detention centers.”
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) July 15, 2018
The Guardian: “Theresa May has revealed that Donald Trump advised her to ‘sue the European Union’ rather than negotiate with the 27-country bloc, in a private conversation that the US president referred to during his visit to the UK on Friday.”
“The prime minister was asked on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show what the ‘brutal’ Brexit negotiating advice was that Trump had talked about in their joint press conference outside the prime minister’s Chequers country retreat.”
Theresa May says Donald Trump told her to sue the European Union https://t.co/wZsendV5k0
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 15, 2018
“Six weeks after winning an overwhelming victory among California primary voters, Senator Dianne Feinstein suffered an embarrassing setback Saturday night as the state Democratic Party officially endorsed her rival for election this November,” the New York Times reports. “Kevin de León, the Democratic leader in California’s State Senate, won the support of the party leadership despite an effort by Ms. Feinstein to convince the party not to offer an endorsement.”
Inside the Democratic Party: Major changes ahead as Unity Reform Commission proposal moves forward https://t.co/0wS8Km5CCP
— Daily Kos (@dailykos) July 15, 2018
Washington Post: “In a 29-page indictment Friday, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III blamed specific officers in the Russian government for the 2016 hacking of Democrats, answering one of his investigation’s central questions while highlighting another he must still explain: Were any Americans involved in the conspiracy to interfere in the race for the White House?”
“As Mueller faces the task of resolving that piece of his inquiry — as well as his examination of whether President Trump has sought to obstruct the probe — people familiar with the investigation said the special counsel is pushing to wrap up a significant portion of his investigative work by the end of summer.”
“There are various factors that could alter Mueller’s efforts and timeline, most notably whether the standoff over an interview with Trump is resolved or ends up being litigated in court.”
Republicans finding that fascism and treachery aren't polling well https://t.co/HqpcJV1tKw
— Daily Kos (@dailykos) July 15, 2018
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained that National Security Adviser John Bolton was pulled from a planned appearance on CNN because the network “disrespected” President Trump. Said Sanders: “Instead of rewarding bad behavior, we decided to reprioritize the TV appearances for administration officials.”
NSC senior director Jennifer Arangio has been forced out after standing up for refugees https://t.co/gZxaWRVm45
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) July 14, 2018
“Prince Charles and Prince William were unwilling to meet Donald Trump on his visit to Britain, leaving the Queen to greet the US president alone,” the Sunday Times reports. “The first two in line to the throne let it be known during informal discussions about the arrangements for the president’s four-day trip that they did not want to take part.”
Top US intel official on Russian cyberattacks: "the warning signs are there" https://t.co/3CMVFp271J
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 14, 2018
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “and her emissaries have been reaching out to key Democratic officeholders in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina — three states early in the presidential primary calendar — making introductions and offering help in the midterm campaign. Altogether, her moves are among the most assertive steps taken by any Democrat to prepare for 2020,” the New York Times reports.
“Ms. Warren, 69, now leads a small advance guard of Democrats who appear to be moving deliberately toward challenging President Trump. Former Vice President Joseph Biden wielding a political network cultivated over decades, has been reasserting himself as a party leader, while Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) have emerged as fresher-faced messengers for the midterms. And Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the runner-up in the 2016 primaries, has been acting like a candidate as he considers another race.”
“All five have been traveling the country, raising money for Democrats and gauging the appeal of their personalities and favorite themes.”
Those aren’t the only five. While “[n]o mayor has ever sprung directly from City Hall to the White House,” as Politico reports, “that historic streak stands to be tested in 2020, with at least three Democratic mayors mulling presidential campaigns: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.”
It's possible four red-state Democrats in the Senate will cave and vote for Kavanaugh to preserve their seats. But it's also possible the key to holding their seats lies in Democratic unity to energize progressives. @TheAtlantic @dickpolman1 https://t.co/nzmgZdLRdK
— Vernon Loeb (@LoebVernon) July 14, 2018
Internal survey data shows that one year after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey “agents say they have less confidence in the ethics and vision of the bureau’s new leadership,” the New York Timesreports.
“The survey results further undercut one of the explanations that President Trump and his aides gave for firing Mr. Comey and replacing him with Christopher Wray. Mr. Trump said the bureau was in turmoil and agents had lost confidence in Mr. Comey.”
President Trump hit the links on Saturday, playing the course using a golf cart. Most players at Turnberry are required to walk the course https://t.co/PlhIGobqv7
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) July 15, 2018