U.S. and Russian officials indicated on Friday — after a meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin — that the two countries would work together in a number of areas, including cybersecurity.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
Predictably, that was met with mixed reaction, given the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election to favour Trump – a conclusion the president has not said he 100 percent agrees with.
I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
To recap, on 6 January 2017, the CIA, FBI and NSA released a joint intelligence report which found that an intelligence operation was personally ordered by Putin with the purpose of “denying Hillary Clinton the presidency” and “installing Donald Trump in the Oval Office.” Putin held a grudge against Clinton since 2011, the report stated, blaming her for inciting mass protests against his regime. In addition to email hacking, Russian intelligence used state-funded broadcasts, third-party intermediaries and paid social media trolls to spread false information.
Bearing this in mind, we definitely agree with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who said President Trump’s plan to work with Russia on cybersecurity is “pretty close” to the “dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” Graham stressed that there is no evidence the Russian meddling influenced the vote, but he said that by denying the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies, Trump “throws our intelligence communities under the bus.” “This whole idea about moving forward without punishing Russia is undermining his entire presidency,” he said. Graham is pushing for increased sanctions on Russia. The Senate passed such a bill, but it is currently delayed in the House. Reports have indicated the White House wants to soften the language.
Trump tweeted Sunday evening that he has low hopes for his proposed U.S.-Russia cyber security unit.
“The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t-but a ceasefire can,& did!” Trump tweeted about three hours after tweeting about a ceasefire in Syria.
Trump is basically admitting his own attempts at diplomacy are useless?
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) July 10, 2017
The New York Times reported on Sunday that Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with the Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who promised damaging information about Clinton. Trump Jr. attended the meeting with the expectation that he would receive compromising information about Clinton, three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two other sources with knowledge of the matter told the Times.
Trump Jr. said in a statement to the paper that he had met with Natalia Veselnitskaya at the request of an acquaintance and denied that he received any information on Clinton.
An ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush, Richard Painter, said the meeting “borders on treason, if it is not itself treason. This was an effort to get opposition research on an opponent in an American political campaign from the Russians, who were known to be engaged in spying inside the United States. We do not get our opposition research from spies, we do not collaborate with Russian spies, unless we want to be accused of treason.”
Today, we’ll start with good news (in the office, the aircon above my head finally broke down, so I am warm and happy. Power of thought).
Yesterday morning, as most mornings, I posted on Instagram. The picture taken from the Dome of St Paul’s Cathedral was featured by one of the most popular feeds in the world, @London, who took the opportunity to wish all Americans happy Independence Day.
At the time of writing, the picture has got many, many likes.
It feels surreal, but anyway, the best comment was from a New Yorker in her 20s, whose immediate goal in life is to get Twitter banned by Trump. Oh, the youth!
Americans marked the 4th of July, the only day of the year America quotes the date the British way, in a variety of ways. Some got out their barbecues, others hit the beach, President Trump played golf, Ivanka Trump went to a party where half of the guests were liberal-minded Democrats, like George Soros, who cannot stand Ivanka’s father. CNN took the opportunity to make a gentle but important point to Donald Trump about his recent attacks on the media.
Trump will be playing for high stakes when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, later this week. The encounter between the two men, the first since Trump became president, will be closely scrutinised in light of the allegations of Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. election — and because of the ongoing probes into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. It is far from certain that Trump will even bring up the issue of Russian interference. At a White House briefing last week, national security adviser H.R. McMaster insisted “there’s no specific agenda” for the meeting. Ah, good, Trump’s infamous verbal free styling it is then!
“It’s really going to be whatever the president wants to talk about,” McMaster said.
McMaster later clarified that Trump’s overall policy on Russia has three priorities: to “confront Russia’s destabilising behaviour,” to deter the Kremlin from unwelcome actions and “to foster areas of cooperation.” I think the first two points somewhat undermine the last and Trump will never pull these off, but what do I know, I am not a career diplomat. Oh, wait, neither is anyone in the current State Department.
“There is a dramatic, almost theatrical, aspect to this,” Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak said. “Drama” is the operative word in the White House these days.
Trump will also meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the Hamburg event.
A new online poll finds that Americans trust CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times more than President Trump, Axios reported Tuesday. Amid Trump’s ongoing war against the press, trust is largely split among partisan lines, with 89 percent of Republicans viewing Trump as more trustworthy than CNN while 91 percent of Democrats think the opposite. Among all adults, trust for CNN is 7 points ahead of Trump.
The online poll by Survey Monkey was taken from June 29 to July 3 and surveyed 4,965 adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
Following a White House commission’s request that states turn over voters’ full names, addresses, dates of birth, political parties, social security digits, and other personal data, dozens of U.S. states have registered their on-the-record objections.
CNN reported that 44 states have now refused a request by the Trump administration to provide certain information about registered voters, ranging from their criminal records to time spent abroad. A CNN inquiry into all 50 U.S. states found that state leaders and voting officials across the country have been fairly quick to respond to the request for voter data, sent last Wednesday by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity – and, in most cases, to reject it.