The Mystery Meeting

HELSINKI, FINLAND - JULY,16 (RUSSIA OUT) U.S.President Donald Trump (L) and  Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) enter the hall during their joint press conference in Helsinki, Finland, July,16,2018. Russian and U.S. Presidents have arrived to Helsinki for the summit. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
Mikhail Svetlov

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.

Regardless, it seems clear that the White House is in serious damage control mode. We have the same predictable criticism from the usual critics. But there’s also been real criticism from some of the President’s ardent defenders. Notably, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have issued careful reiterations of non-friendship with Russia and affirming the reality of Russian interference in the 2016 election. But nothing more.

The tenor of this moment does feel different. I think it is different. Over time I think it may have a big, perhaps a very big impact. But near term, I think the most likely outcome is that President Trump will come out, make a weak and pro-forma ‘yes they meddled’ type statement and Republican leaders will pronounce him fit for service and ready to go.

But that’s not the thing in motion. The investigation is moving forward too.

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