If you’re interested in what it means that the Russians got access to the DNC’s “analytics” you’re definitely going to want to listen to this episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast. There aren’t that many people who have a really high level understanding of how this works, what you could do with this info and has run this for a national presidential campaign. We talked to one of those people. Listen here or download at iTunes.
So reviewing the President’s trip to Europe – he succeeded in “raising vast amounts of money” at the NATO Summit.
While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2018
Last night I finally had a chance to read the criminal complaint against Mariia Butina (the double i is actually the correct spelling). It’s quite a document. Alexander Torshin, who has become a player of some note in U.S. politics, is her co-conspirator and clearly runs her as an agent. There are also two Americans who knowingly worked with her – U.S. Person 1 (who appears to be GOP operative Paul Erickson) and U.S. Person 2.
Good morning. Here’s what our writers and editors have their eyes on today.
The President gave an interview to Sean Hannity, apparently just after he concluded today’s joint press conference. The interview just aired on Hannity’s 9 PM show. Below are three notable clips. A lot of the discussion was a rehash of things we’ve been hearing for weeks or months. But though he didn’t say it directly, the clear import of his account is that a primary or perhaps the primary topic of their conversation was Robert Mueller’s investigation. Trump repeated that President Putin confirmed that there was no collusion. More notably, he said that in their private conversation Putin repeatedly lamented that the Mueller probe had driven the two countries apart and prevented them from doing great things for the world.
Video after the jump.
About an hour ago the White House sent out a schedule for the tomorrow with a 2 PM meeting at the White House with “Members of Congress.” This is the first mention of such a meeting. So it seems to be new as of this afternoon or evening. Meanwhile Huffpo’s Jennifer Bendery reports on Twitter that she’s spoken to the offices of Ryan, Pelosi, McConnell and Schumer and none of them know what it is about, who is invited or anything else. It’s not clear to me whether they don’t know what it is about or whether they literally haven’t been contacted about it by the White House at all. It seems like the latter.
Russian foreign agent Maria Butina has been arrested for operating as an undisclosed foreign agent, tasked with infiltrating the NRA and other conservative political organizations in the US on behalf of Russia. It turns out her gun rights front group, Right to Bear Arms, paid for Sheriff David Clarke’s trip to Moscow.
Here’s what’s in the background of the Maria Butina criminal complaint.
So what is the fall out from the press conference?
Let me share a few thoughts.
Trey Gowdy just released a statement on the President’s press conference. It’s about what you’d expect in most respects. But the last sentence is key.
The video clips below speak for themselves. There’s little to add to them. I’m watching big think types on TV right now expressing outrage, surprise, bewilderment, anger that President Trump didn’t “hold Putin accountable.” Sometimes when you’re surprised again and again and again, it’s time to consider your assumptions.
If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’m pretty cautious in my arguments, cautious on a lot of fronts. I can be aggressive in how I frame those arguments. I sometimes speak in hyperbole. But in basic judgments I’m quite cautious. Something is fundamentally wrong here. There is no reasonable explanation for the simple facts we see other than that Russia has some kind of hold over President Trump.
President Trump’s press conference with President Putin was relatively normal by the extremely abnormal standards of the Trump Presidency – until the end. Then, when asked about who he believed, Russia or US intelligence, Trump went on a tirade against the FBI, lashing out about the DNC server, Hillary’s emails and more. Later, Putin provided a non-denial denial about a pee tape and Trump concluded with a final attack against Peter Strzok and the Mueller “witch hunt.”