May 4, 2019

Trump's post-Mueller phase

Trump talks to reporters about yesterday's call with Putin. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump is trying to move into a new, post-Mueller phase in his relationship with Vladimir Putin.

The state of play: Trump apparently feels liberated, after the conclusion of the Mueller report, to return to his default of trying to do business with the Russian president.

The tell: Trump said yesterday that he discussed trying to do trade deals, during a call with Putin that lasted more than an hour.

Why it matters: At Trump's core — and no matter the spin from the White House — he is transactional and has never absorbed or accepted the intelligence community’s findings about Russia’s attack on America’s election system. 

The context: The president seemed to return to Helsinki-era Trump while discussing the call:

  • Trump undercut his own intelligence community and national security team by suggesting the Russian president had benign intentions in Venezuela, and tweeting that he and Putin talked about the "Russian Hoax."
  • Trump admitted he didn't confront Putin about the widespread Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, detailed by Mueller.

How it's playing: "HEAR NO EVIL. AGAIN," said the CNN headline.

Go deeper

Trump forces fateful choices on Twitter and Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's war with Twitter is confronting social media platforms with a hard dilemma: whether to take fuller responsibility for what people say on their services, or to step back and assume a more quasi-governmental role.

The big picture: Facebook is trying to be more like a government committing to impartiality and protecting free speech and building mechanisms for arbitration. Twitter, pushed by Trump's inflammatory messages, is opting to more aggressively enforce conduct rules on its private property, like a mall owner enforcing rules inside the gates.

Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 5,851,494 — Total deaths: 362,238 — Total recoveries — 2,445,181Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,729,185 — Total deaths: 101,706 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  4. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  5. Transportation: National mobility keeps rising as more states reopen economies.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Saying goodbye to U.S. megacities.

Obama on George Floyd's death: "This shouldn't be 'normal'"

Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images for EIF & XQ

Former President Obama said in a statement Friday that the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, "shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America."

What he's saying: "[W]e have to remember that for millions of Americans being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal' — whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or watching birds in a park."