We’re just going to leave this here today pic.twitter.com/WkFVQ4BzIf
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 13, 2018
Have been out of pocket all day and have just finished reading the indictment and I can’t believe Trump is still going to meet Putin afterwards. The message to Putin is clear: I believe you, not my own judicial system.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) July 14, 2018
Trump on his summit with Putin: "I’m not going in with high expectations but we may come out with some very surprising things."
— Paul Danahar (@pdanahar) July 13, 2018
Intel gathered by US officials captured some of the Russians accused in today’s indictments congratulating each other and celebrating the success of their operation during the campaign. They were also captured celebrating Trump's victory, source tells CNN https://t.co/xi9M1K7R35 pic.twitter.com/Mhg0xp4BT8
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) July 13, 2018
And that was the test. Moscow wanted to see if he really was the scummy, nothing sacred, cut every corner gangster he seemed to be, or if it was just an act. If their quasi-deniable lawyer left the building without handcuffs, they knew Trump would play ball.
— zeddy (@Zeddary) July 13, 2018
Not getting enough attention. Trump criticized the Russia investigation today for hurting our relationship with Russia. Soon after, Rosenstein made it clear that Trump was briefed on the new indictments of Russians for attacking the US "earlier this week" pic.twitter.com/hi32fK5RvQ
— Josh Schwerin (@JoshSchwerin) July 13, 2018
They’ll be alone. Trump probably won’t even bring it up. If trump knew earlier in the week, he relayed it to Putin.
— Gilda Stahl (@StahlGilda) July 13, 2018
I asked 16 different former US officials who have dealt with Russia summits for every president since Reagan about this Putin – Trump summit. They are pretty terrified… https://t.co/9kKOr4OigZ
— Susan Glasser (@sbg1) July 13, 2018
… On Monday, in Helsinki, Trump will have his long-awaited summit with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, a meeting he has personally pursued over the cautions of his advisers and despite the long political shadow of alleged Russian influence over his 2016 campaign. Beyond the allure of aggrandizement and President Trump’s affinity for the Russian strongman, why the meeting is taking place now remains a mystery. Is the purpose to discuss arms control? Syria? Ukraine? To rehash the 2016 election? Remarkably, it’s not clear, and that in and of itself marks this as a most unusual summit…
There is no agreed-upon substantive agenda for the meeting, as Trump himself confirmed on Thursday, and the session will take place only a couple weeks after the date was finalized. The sum total of the preparation was a single trip by Trump’s national-security adviser, John Bolton, to Moscow. He came out of the trip with none of the “deliverables” typically determined in advance of such high-level summits. (“The meeting is the deliverable,” the Russians apparently told Bolton.) Few details about the summit have been released by the White House, given Trump’s penchant for last-minute changes, but as of now it appears that it will be a four-hour affair (rather than the seven hours requested by the Kremlin), with a lengthy one-on-one between Trump and Putin first, followed by an expanded meeting to include Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman. Fiona Hill, the top National Security Council adviser for Russia, isn’t going to be in the meeting, though a White House official told me she was going to be on the ground in Finland, and even a talked-about preparatory session between Pompeo and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is not going to happen. According to current and former officials, Bolton’s N.S.C. has not had a single principals-level meeting to discuss Russia policy or the plans for the summit in advance of what will certainly be one of the most important sessions of Trump’s Presidency.
… During the past few days, I’ve asked sixteen former U.S. government officials who have worked with every American President going back to Ronald Reagan, including a former national-security adviser, four U.S. Ambassadors to Russia, the former top U.S. national intelligence officer for Russia, and two Deputy Secretaries of State, about summit preparation. The former officials, who often disagree about Russia, do not now: they are as united as I’ve ever heard them, in nearly two decades of Russia-watching, that there is no historical precedent for Trump’s meeting with Putin. Especially concerning is the fact that the U.S. government is headed into such a summit with a degraded and disregarded policy apparatus that has been systematically marginalized and excluded from the President’s actual foreign policy. Many of the former officials told me they were genuinely alarmed at the hostile state of relations between Russia and the United States, a state of affairs almost invariably described these days as the worst since the Cold War, and said they would welcome a productive face-to-face meeting between the two leaders. But few expect that to be the case…
All of which is why, in the end, even those most supportive of talking with Putin right now seem to be hoping that not much of anything will come out of the meeting. Strobe Talbott, Bill Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of State, who was there for Putin’s very first meeting as President with his U.S. counterpart, wondered if Bolton can rein Trump in from “buddy-buddy stuff with Putin” or stop him “from even hinting that Crimea annexation is O.K.” Stephen Hadley, George W. Bush’s national-security adviser during his second term, put the “best” case this way: “There is no blowup or love fest, there are no major concessions, and the two leaders agree on a few very modest steps to restore relations between the two countries.” Sarah Mendelson, a senior Obama appointee with extensive Russia experience, was even more succinct. Her best case: “Nothing of significance is said or done.”…
You know what I think our best hope is, right now? Putin could suddenly refuse to meet with his puppet — tell the world that he and Mother Russia feel disrespected by Lord Smallgloves’ inability to rein in his unruly American subjects and ‘fake news’ media. (Not at all the way these things are done under Putin’s regime!)
Imagine Dear Leader Donny Dollhand’s impotent flailing at such a turn, especially if Vlad times his announcement until Trump’s already in Helsinki! It would be an epic, history-making troll from this trollish era’s Trollmaster… but, tragically, there’s probably too much Putin and his oligarchs expect to extract from Trump’s flabby trash-nourished carcass for that to actually happen.