News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: The Great Handshake Snub

Poland's first lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda, second right, reaches her hand to U.S. First Lady Melania Trump as U.S. President Donald Trump reaches his hand for a handshake after his speech, Thursday, July 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

Good Friday Morning.

Here is what’s on President Trump’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will attend the G-20 Summit Leaders’ Retreat.
  • In the afternoon, the President will participate in an expanded meeting with President Peña Nieto of Mexico. The President will then join the G-20 Summit Leaders Working Lunch.
  • Later in the afternoon, the President will attend the G-20 Summit Leaders’ Working Session II.
  • The President will then participate in an expanded meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. IT’S HAPPENING!
  • In the evening, the President will attend the G-20 Summit Reception.
  • The President will then attend the G-20 Summit Concert.
  • Later in the evening, the President will attend the G-20 Summit Social Dinner.

Trump to meet RUSSIAN Putin today

Or perhaps they will “reunite,” if you get your news from CNN. The meeting will take place during the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The New York Times says the meeting will be a win-win for Putin.

Whatever the outcome of the encounter on Friday — which will be on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting of world leaders in Hamburg, Germany, but is expected to overshadow it — the Kremlin is betting that Mr. Putin can stage-manage the event so that he comes out looking like the stronger party.

If nothing much emerges from the meeting, analysts said, the Kremlin can repeat the standard Russian line that Mr. Trump is weak, hamstrung by domestic politics.

But if Mr. Trump agrees to work with Mr. Putin despite a list of Russian transgressions beginning with the annexation of Crimea and ending with its interference in the 2016 presidential election, he will also look weak while Mr. Putin can claim that he reconstructed the relationship.

“It is a win-win situation for Putin,” said Andrei V. Kolesnikov, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

Whatever Russia hopes to get from the meeting, the fake news stories about RUSSIAN hacking will loom over the discussions.

The Kremlin is aware that Trump critics will be watching for further signs that the American leader is soft on Russia. “Trump is being accused of cooperating with Russia, so if he makes any concessions to Moscow, these accusations will gain strength,” said Aleksei Makarkin, deputy head of the Center for Political Technologies, a Moscow think tank.

The Kremlin has watched, chagrined, as the Trump administration has rolled back various positions stated during the campaign — his questioning of the viability of NATO, for example, or his expressions of sympathy for the Russian position on Crimea.

“The Kremlin is astonished that the president cannot behave like a real president, like ours, so what can they do in this situation?” Mr. Kolesnikov asked.

Commentary in the official Russian news media suggested that Moscow was baffled by the lack of a confirmed agenda, while various senior officials and the Kremlin press service have listed possible talking points that cover virtually every major international issue.

Stay tuned to PJ Media for more coverage of the G-20.

Judge declines to modify Trump travel “ban”

Following the Supreme Court decision upholding the president’s “travel ban,” a federal judge in Hawaii declined to clarify what the SCOTUS meant went it qualified the “ban” by excluding those with “a bona fide relationship” to a person or entity in the U.S.

Politico explains:

The ambiguity of the order left the Trump administration to interpret what “bona fide” meant in this context. In guidelines released last week, the administration concluded parents, children and spouses, among others, qualified as close family who could circumvent the ban.

Left off the list, however, were grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and other “extended” family members. Before implementing the new criteria last Thursday, the administration appeared to waiver on the fate of fiancés, but ultimately counted them among those exempted from the policy.

Court Judge Derrick Watson was the same judge who blocked the original ban, but this time he did not want to interfere with the SCOTUS decision.

“Because Plaintiffs seek clarification of the June 26, 2017 injunction modifications authored by the Supreme Court, clarification should be sought there, not here,” he wrote.

Media freaks out over Polish handshake “snub”

In order to avoid any substantive discussion of President Trump’s travels abroad, the media has taken up a sort of radical micro-gesture analysis to provide news content.

Ladies and gentlemen, here is CNN’s best and brightest, Chris Cillizza:

Here’s the video, which cuts out conveniently:

USA Today has a roundup of attention the “snub” received.

Was the “snub” newsworthy or is something like this more important…

At least a dozen nuclear power sites breached

This could make the Trump-RUSSIAN Putin meeting a bit awkward today.

Hackers working for a foreign government recently breached at least a dozen U.S. power plants, including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, according to current and former U.S. officials, sparking concerns the attackers were searching for vulnerabilities in the electrical grid.

The rivals could be positioning themselves to eventually disrupt the nation’s power supply, warned the officials, who noted that a general alert was distributed to utilities a week ago. Adding to those concerns, hackers recently infiltrated an unidentified company that makes control systems for equipment used in the power industry, an attack that officials believe may be related.

And who is to blame for this?

The chief suspect is Russia, according to three people familiar with the continuing effort to eject the hackers from the computer networks. One of those networks belongs to an aging nuclear generating facility known as Wolf Creek — owned by Westar Energy Inc., Great Plains Energy Inc. and Kansas Electric Power Cooperative Inc. — on a lake shore near Burlington, Kansas.

The possibility of a Russia connection is particularly worrisome, former and current officials say, because Russian hackers have previously taken down parts of the electrical grid in Ukraine and appear to be testing increasingly advanced tools to disrupt power supplies.

Now we will see the consequences od crying wolf about RUSSIAN hacking. My first impulse is to wonder if this is real hacking or hacking like the election was hacked. This is very serious, but people have tuned out many reports from the media about what the RUSSIANS are up to because it’s clear the media has an agenda to damage the president with evidence-free, unverified leaks about the 2016 presidential campaign.

The DHS and FBI are aware of the situation. “There is no indication of a threat to public safety, as any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks,” the government agencies said in a joint statement.

The Department of Energy said the intrusion was limited to administrative and business networks.

“Regardless of whether malicious actors attempt to exploit business networks or operational systems, we take any reports of malicious cyber activity potentially targeting our nation’s energy infrastructure seriously and respond accordingly,” the department said in an emailed statement.

So where do the RUSSIANS fit in?

“We don’t tie this to any known group at this point,” said Sean McBride, a lead analyst for FireEye Inc., a global cybersecurity firm. “It’s not to say it’s not related, but we don’t have the evidence at this point.”

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And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!