Sen. Rand Paul (R-NY) said that he was “honored” to deliver a letter from President Trump to the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip to Moscow this week, NBC News reports.
This speech by Hillary Clinton the week before the 2016 presidential election is prescient.
- “I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish.”
- “I think that the [Mueller] probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it.”
- “You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the [DNC’s] server. Why haven’t they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that.”
- “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. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.”
- “So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
- “And what [Putin] did is an incredible offer; he offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 [indicted Russians]. I think that’s an incredible offer.” (By the way, Putin’s condition for that offer? That Americans and U.S. residents who Russia believes have committed illegal actions should be questioned, too.)
“So what should be the major takeaway? That Trump tried to clean up a couple of statements from his meeting with Putin? Or that didn’t walk back everything else he said in Helsinki.”
“Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed a question Monday about whether the Russian government holds compromising material about President Trump, offering as evidence his claim that he was not even aware of Trump’s visits to Russia as a private businessman,” the Washington Post reports.
“However, Russian government officials — including Putin’s top spokesman — knew Trump was in Moscow in November 2013 to host the Miss Universe pageant and were told about the real estate developer’s eagerness to meet with Putin while he was there.”
“Putin did not explicitly deny that Russia has compromising information about Trump or his family. Instead, he offered a winding response about how little he knew of Trump’s travels to Russia.”
CNN: “What happened Monday in Helsinki isn’t likely to put the embers of those rumors out.”
A U.S. official gives CNN three reasons why President Trump wanted a one-on-one meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin:
- Trump requested alone time to better personally assess Putin and develop a leader-to-leader relationship.
- Trump has previously expressed anger at leaks coming from his meetings with foreign leaders and told aides he doesn’t want sensitive information leaking from his meeting with Putin.
- Trump doesn’t want aides, who may take a harder line on Russia, undercutting or interrupting him in his conversation with Putin.
David Ignatius: “Putin’s elite spy world has been penetrated by U.S. intelligence. That’s the implication of the extraordinarily detailed 29-page indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence (GRU) officers handed up by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators on Friday. The 11-count charge includes names, dates, unit assignments, the GRU’s use of ‘X-agent’ malware, its bitcoin covert funding schemes and a wealth of other tradecraft.”
“Putin must be asking himself: How did the Americans find out all these facts? What other operations have been compromised? And how much else do they know?”
“President Trump will sit down with two Fox News hosts for his first interviews following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” The Hill reports.
“Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson will each conduct separate interviews with Trump in Helsinki on Monday after Trump and Putin conclude their meeting.”
New York Times: “During a phone call with Mr. Putin in March, when the president was urged by aides not to congratulate the Russian president on his electoral victory, Mr. Trump did just that.”
“He told Mr. Putin that Russia and the United States should get along better. And he described as ‘stupid people’ the unnamed Trump administration officials whom the Russian president said had tried to prevent the call from happening.”
“I try to be careful with the language that I use. When people ask me questions, for example, about why is Mr. Trump so submissive to Vladimir Putin, and whether or not Mr. Trump fears that the Russians have something on him, I say, I don’t know. Perhaps. Maybe. I just don’t want to get into details about what I know or don’t know. I have to be very mindful of my obligations as far as classified material is concerned.”
— Former CIA Director John Brennan, quoted by the New York Times.
President Trump “plans to meet one-on-one with Vladimir Putin at the start of their July 16 summit in Helsinki, Finland… before allowing other aides to join the highly anticipated encounter with the Russian leader,” CNN reports.
“Without official note-takers or other witnesses, one-on-one meetings lack any official record, making it difficult afterward to determine whether agreements have been reached.”
Jonathan Chait: “Huh, that’s weird. It’s almost as if Trump has some kind of secret relationship involving money or blackmail with Russia he wants to discuss without fear of being revealed to his own country!”
“The White House is blocking off three days on the back end of President Trump’s upcoming mid-July trip to the United Kingdom and Brussels, leaving room for a potential summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Politico reports.
“Plans for a potential sitdown are still being finalized… But the current frontrunner venue under consideration for the meeting is now Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The location would offer Putin his desired neutral ground in a country close enough to Russia that he could return to Moscow in time for the final World Cup match on July 15.”
For members: A Perfect Photo Op for Democrats
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Michael Cohen worked secretly to negotiate a business venture and a meeting between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow aven after Trump denied doing business in Russia, BuzzFeed News reports.
“While fragments of the Trump Moscow venture have trickled out — most recently in a report last night by Yahoo News — this is the definitive story of the Moscow tower, told from a trove of emails, text messages, congressional testimony, architectural renderings, and other documents obtained exclusively by BuzzFeed News, as well as interviews with key players and investigators. The documents reveal a detailed and plausible plan, well-connected Russian counterparts, and an effort that extended from spearfishing with a Russian developer on a private island to planning for a mid-campaign trip to Moscow for the presidential candidate himself.”
“Russian President Vladimir Putin scored five goals in an exhibition hockey game with former NHL stars on Thursday,” ESPN reports.
“Five goals was on the low side by Putin’s standards — he scored eight in the 2015 game and seven last year.”
Susan Glasser: “This coming Monday, Putin, already Russia’s longest-serving leader since Joseph Stalin, will be inaugurated to a new six-year term. In March, Trump defied his own advisers to congratulate Putin in a post-election phone call, then surprised them again by inviting Putin to Washington for a summit meeting. It seems implausible and politically insane to imagine that Trump would even consider a chummy one-on-one with Putin now, especially when the risks to Trump from the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s Russia ties appear so significant. And yet the invitation, I’m told, was real, and reflects the President’s strongly expressed personal preference.”
“Will Trump follow through with it—and add yet another high-drama plotline to the already oversubscribed Trump show?”
“I thought it was hilarious.”
— Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), quoted by CNN, on President Trump’s congratulatory call to Russian president Vladimir Putin.