Trump Invites Dictator Who Ordered Attack On U.S. Democracy To The White House
The Rantt Rundown: Day 546 of the Trump presidency
The Big Story: After days of the White House attempting to walk-back statements made at, and about, the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, President Trump has decided to double down. The White House announced that President Trump has asked National Security Adviser John Bolton to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington this fall. This caught the country by surprise, and it apparently caught Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats by surprise as well. MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell appears to have broken the news to him in a live interview.
Remarkable reaction:@mitchellreports: The W.H. has announced on Twitter that Vladimir Putin is coming to the W.H. in the fall.
COATS: Say that again?
MITCHELL: Vladimir Putin, coming to the—
COATS: Did I hear you?
MITCHELL: Yeah, yeah.
COATS: OK. That’s gonna be special. pic.twitter.com/Ifwz7tMtW0
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 19, 2018
The Context: This comes amid a whirlwind last several days where:
- 12 Russians were indicted for their criminal espionage on the 2016 U.S. election.
- The President of the United States held a summit and sided with Putin who ordered this attack on American democracy.
- A report from The New York Times indicated not only was President Trump briefed on Russian interference before his inauguration; he was briefed on raw evidence that showed Putin personally ordered the attack.
- The President considered turning over American citizens (including former Russian Ambassador Mike McFaul) to Russia as part of Putin’s longtime goal of locking up rival Bill Browder. Have since denied the request in a deferential statement.
- A report from Bloomberg indicated Putin made an offer to hold a referendum in Crimea and Trump asked Putin not to disclose it so he could consider it.
That was just the last few days. The backdrop of this is, of course, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s multi-faceted counterintelligence investigation probing Russian interference, the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia, and potential obstruction of Justice on the part of President Trump. Adding another dimension to this are reports regarding Russian oligarchs attending exclusive parties at Trump’s Inauguration and Mueller’s increased interest in probing the money that flowed through Trump’s inaugural committee.
And on top of all of this are President Trump and the Republicans’ continued efforts to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and Americans’ faith in U.S. institutions (some of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goals). Not to mention President Trump’s attacks on western allies, which also fits into Putin’s goals.
The Look Ahead: President Trump appears to not be backing down from this strategy. Although his base is sticking by him, some Republican Congressmen are speaking out. Perhaps, the Republican Party will continue to shrink into Trump loyalists as its leader continues to test the limits of our national psyche.
In other news…
- Reuters: New York governor opens door to criminal case against Trump Foundation
- The Hill: Mueller releases list of more than 500 pieces of evidence against Manafort
- CNBC: Trump lays into the Federal Reserve, says he’s ‘not thrilled’ about interest rate hikes
- McClatchy DC: Nunes used political dollars for $15K in Celtics tickets, winery tours and Vegas trips
- Politico: Interior watchdog opens probe of land deal linking Zinke, Halliburton chairman
- The Washington Post: White House withdraws judicial nominee Ryan Bounds, after GOP realizes he didn’t have votes for confirmation