From the NYT by Thomas L. Friedman on the Trump/Putin press conference:
Listening to Trump, it was as if Franklin Roosevelt had announced after Pearl Harbor: “Hey, both sides are to blame. Our battleships in Hawaii were a little provocative to Japan — and, by the way, I had nothing to do with the causes for their attack. So cool it.”
“The DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses, and they were able to be hacked,” Trump said in a CBS News interview with Jeff Glor, aired Sunday on “Face the Nation.” “I heard they were trying to hack the Republicans, too. But, and this may be wrong, but they had much stronger defenses.”
Trump: “There, there, Vlady. It’s those darn Dem’s fault, not yours.”
Nerve agent, schmerve agent. Amazon and Bezos are what people should be worked up about, according to Trump.
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country…not a level playing field!
“This is what keeps me up at night, believe me.”
The prospect of partnering with Russia on a cybersecurity unit raised eyebrows in Washington.
“It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Nobody’s saying, Mr. President, the Russians changed the outcome,” Graham said to Chuck Todd. “You won fair and square. But they did try to attack our election system. They were successful in many ways and the more you do this, the more people are suspicious about you and Russia.”
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who unsuccessfully challenged Trump for the Republican nomination, also blasted the idea. Rubio likened working with the Kremlin to prevent election meddling to partnering with Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s regime on a “Chemical Weapons Unit.” Assad is notorious for using deadly chemical weapons on his people, including children.
“While reality & pragmatism requires that we engage Vladimir Putin, he will never be a trusted ally or a reliable constructive partner,” Rubio said in a tweet. He added in another: “We have no quarrel with Russia or the Russian people. Problem is with Putin & his oppression, war crimes & interference in our elections.”
Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter made a similar fox-guarding-the-hen-house analogy on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This is like a guy who robbed your house asking for a working group on burglary,” Carter said of Russia and cybersecurity.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also responded with a dig at Trump’s statements. “No art to this deal: What kind of “tough negotiator” goes into talks undermining his country’s own position, as you did attacking US intel?”
Speaking shortly thereafter on “State of the Union,” Schiff said that it was “dangerously naive” to rely on the Russians for help. “The Russians want to take down liberal democracy,” he told Dana Bash.
Schiff said that if the U.S. was going to partner with Putin on cybersecurity, “We might as well just mail our ballot boxes to Moscow.”
From Politico, by Jack Shafer:
“Even Russia-scandal skeptics had to cringe at the servile mewling of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who spoke to the press after the two-hour-plus mini-summit, which included the principals, Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, and two translators. Tillerson said Trump raised the subject of Russian campaign meddling but that Putin had denied it and at that Trump agreed to move on.
If the mark of a great diplomat is the ability to speak craziness with a straight face, Tillerson earned admittance to the Dips Hall of Fame. A “framework” for cybersecurity cooperation would be set up between the two countries, he promised. This would be like going into the fencing business with the guy who burgled your house. Sounding more like a therapist than the secretary of state, Tillerson said, “We’re unhappy. They’re unhappy,” and explained that salvaging this “really important relationship” meant blotting out the recent unpleasantness. (Take a shot of amnesia and call me in the morning.) Then Tillerson produced a laugh line that topped his previous ones. “The Russians have asked for proof and evidence” of the meddling, he said. Perhaps he should buy Putin a subscription to the Washington Post.
And remember, Tillerson was the smart one representing the United States in the room.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who met with Trump earlier today, said the idea of Russia meddling in US elections is “absurd” and “fake information.”
“How is that possible, for a great power?” he said, calling it “humiliating” for the US to believe this.
He added that this topic was not discussed today in his meeting with Trump, nor were sanctions.
From New York Magazine:
Some Republican lawmakers have objected to President Donald Trump’s defense of Russian president Vladimir Putin by claiming the U.S. also “has got a lot of killers” in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. But GOP leaders weren’t the only ones miffed by the exchange.
“We consider such words from the Fox TV company to be unacceptable and insulting,” a Kremlin spokesman told reporters in response to the Fox News host, who said “Putin’s a killer” in response to Trump’s statement that he wanted closer relations with Russia and to work with Putin on defeating ISIS. O’Reilly was referring to allegations that the Russian leader has directed hits on journalists and political opponents.
The Kremlin added that, “Honestly speaking, we would prefer to get an apology from such a respected TV company.”
Never thought I’d say that…
Liz Cheney @Liz_Cheney
@POTUS statement suggesting moral equivalence between Putin’s Russia and the United States of America is deeply troubling and wrong.
“My plan is working very well. Thank you, Trumpski!”