Dec 15, 2017

Trump, GOP ignore issues with Russia, Putin

Photo: Jorge Silva / AP

We constantly have to remind ourselves how not-normal these times are, and The Washington Post today finds a fresh way to illuminate President Trump's anomalous and inexplicable views on Russia.

Be smart: "His position has alienated close American allies and often undercut members of his Cabinet ... against the backdrop of a criminal probe into possible ties between [his] campaign and the Kremlin."

  • "Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House," The Post's Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe and Phil Rucker write on the front page.
  • "Trump has never convened a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or what to do about it."
  • Why it matters: "The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president — and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality — have impaired the government's response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government."
  • "Rather than search for ways to deter Kremlin attacks or safeguard U.S. elections, Trump has waged his own campaign to discredit the case that Russia poses any threat and he has resisted or attempted to roll back efforts to hold Moscow to account.

The numbers on how Republicans and Democrats view the Trump campaign's Russia ties, per the latest AP polling:

  • "Overall, 62 percent of Democrats say they think Trump has done something illegal, while just 5 percent of Republicans think the same. Among Republicans, 33 percent think he's done something unethical, while 60 percent think he's done nothing wrong at all."
  • "63 percent of Americans... say Trump has tried to impede or obstruct the investigations into whether his campaign had Russian ties... 86 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of independents and 24 percent of Republicans agree."

P.S. White House readout of Trump-Putin call yesterday: "President Trump thanked President Putin for acknowledging America's strong economic performance in his annual press conference. The two presidents also discussed working together to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea."

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Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief presents a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.

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