The Morning Briefing: The Red Scare Heats Up and Much, Much More
Good Tuesday morning.
Here is what's on the president's agenda today:
- The president meets with members of Congress
Reactions to Trump's meeting with Putin
Yesterday, the president met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the two leaders held a joint press conference following their meeting. Trump was widely panned by people on both sides for treating Putin gently and questioning American intelligence agencies' assessments that the Russians tried to meddle in the 2016 elections. Negative reactions were swift and in some cases, over the top.
Anderson Cooper said the president's performance at the press conference was disgraceful. Senator John McCain agreed. Senator Chuck Schumer wonders if the RUSSIANS don't have some kind of dirt on Trump. A former aide for the U.S. ambassador to RUSSIA, Jon Huntsman, called on Trump to "resign if you have any honor." Of course, there were always going to be people who ripped Trump over the meeting no matter what happened.
Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence, also countered Trump: "The role of the Intelligence Community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the President and policymakers," Coats said in a statement. "We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security."
Former Obama CIA chief, probable anti-Trump coup co-conspirator, and partisan freak John Brennan claimed Trump's performance was treasonous.
Hillary Clinton put in her two cents and even Newt Gingrich weighed in: “President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin,” Gingrich tweeted. “It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected—-immediately.”
One of the more over-the-top reactions -- and that's saying something -- was Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who asked where "military folks" were. I'm not sure what this means, but Cohen clarified he was not calling for a coup. Of course.
All around not a great performance by Trump. I recognize he is in a tough situation because the resistance isn't really concerned with RUSSIAN interference per se, they are only interested in RUSSIAN interference as a way to delegitimize Trump's victory. Obama was fine to look the other way as long as conventional wisdom dictated that Hillary was going to win the election.
But there is a difference between RUSSIAN meddling and Trump working with the RUSSIANS to steal the election from Hillary and Trump should try and make that distinction himself, even if the #mediaresistence doesn't.
The president responded to the outcry following the press conference:
Chris Wallace interviews Putin
RUSSIAN lady arrested
Yesterday, a woman was arrested on charges of conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of the RUSSIAN government when she snuggled up to various center-right organizations, allegedly on behalf of the RUSSIAN government. Her lawyer denies the charges.
“Maria Butina is not an agent of the Russian Federation,” her attorney Robert Driscoll said in a statement Monday afternoon. “She is a Russian national in the United States on a student visa who recently graduated from American University in Washington, D.C.”
Driscoll said she “has been cooperating with various government entities for months regarding public allegations related to her contacts with various American and Russian individuals,” testified for eight hours before the Senate Intelligence Committee months ago and provided “thousands of documents.”
It's not entirely clear what exactly went down or if the groups she was trying to work over knew she was acting on behalf of the RUSSIAN government. The FBI said Maria Butina's intent was to “exploit personal connections with U.S. persons having influence in American politics in an effort to advance the interests of the Russian Federation.” Butina is also connected to Aleksandr Torshin, who is under investigation for laundering money for the NRA.
This story is developing so stay tuned for updates.
Historical picture of the day:
And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!