Really, what does Putin have on Trump?

The intelligence community strikes back:

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.


According to nearly a dozen people who either attended the meeting with the president-elect or were later briefed on it, the four primary intelligence officials described the streams of intelligence that convinced them of Mr. Putin’s role in the election interference.

They included stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee that had been seen in Russian military intelligence networks by the British, Dutch and American intelligence services. Officers of the Russian intelligence agency formerly known as the G.R.U. had plotted with groups like WikiLeaks on how to release the email stash.

And ultimately, several human sources had confirmed Mr. Putin’s own role.

That included one particularly valuable source, who was considered so sensitive that Mr. Brennan had declined to refer to it in any way in the Presidential Daily Brief during the final months of the Obama administration, as the Russia investigation intensified.

So, Trump was shown almost incontrovertible evidence before his inauguration and yet he still continuously questions it. It really makes one wonder what Putin has on him.

And this makes one think about it even more:

At this week’s summit in Helsinki, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed what President Trump described as an “incredible offer” — the Kremlin would give special counsel Robert S. Mueller III access to interviews with Russians who were indicted after they allegedly hacked Democrats in 2016. In return, Russia would be allowed to question certain U.S. officials it suspects of interfering in Russian affairs.

One of those U.S. officials is a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, a nemesis of the Kremlin because of his criticisms of Russia’s human rights record.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to rule out the Kremlin’s request to question McFaul and other Americans. Asked during the daily press briefing whether Trump is open to the idea of having McFaul questioned by Russia, Sanders said President Trump is “going to meet with his team” to discuss the offer.

There are a bunch of comebacks here, including this one from John Kerry:

The administration needs to make it unequivocally clear that in a million years this wouldn’t be under consideration, period. Full stop,” adding that the proposal is “not something that should require a half second of consultation. Dangerous.

This is what happens when you don’t prepare for a summit–you say stupid things because you don’t know what you’re talking about. Or, at least, you can claim that so people are a bit less likely to wonder what Putin has on him.

President Trump: traitor or just Russian apologist?

President Trump thinks both the US and Russia are to blame for bad relations:

Yes, I do. I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago — a long time, frankly, before I got to office. And I think we’re all to blame. I think that the United States now has stepped forward, along with Russia. And we’re getting together. And we have a chance to do some great things, whether it’s nuclear proliferation, in terms of stopping — because we have to do it. Ultimately, that’s probably the most important thing that we can be working on.

But I do feel that we have both made some mistakes. I think that the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore.

And he believes both Putin and the US intelligence agencies:

So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven’t they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months, and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server? And what is the server saying?

With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me — Dan Coats came to me and some others — they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia.

I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server. But I have — I have confidence in both parties. I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They’re missing. Where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? Thirty-three thousand emails gone — just gone. I think, in Russia, they wouldn’t be gone so easily. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.

So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer; he offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer.

Ok, I have to admit I’m not sure if he’s saying that he trusts them both or squirrel.

For fun Putin implied that Trump wants to help prop up oil and gas prices:

If I may, I’d throw in some two cents. We talked to Mr. President, including this subject as well. We are aware of the stance of President Trump. And I think that we, as a major oil and gas power — and the United States, as a major oil and gas power as well — we could work together on regulation of international markets, because neither of us is actually interested in the plummeting of the prices.

Trump administration: we care about laws for others

The Trump administration was required by court to reunite all children under 5 taken from their parents by last Tuesday. How did they do?

The Trump administration says it has reunited 57 of 103 young migrant children with their parents after separations of weeks or months, but won’t return another 46 children for reasons that range from concerns about their safety to their parents having been deported.

That is illegal:

The ACLU said the government is in violation of Sabraw’s order because it failed to meet Tuesday’s deadline. Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said the organization would decide Thursday ‘‘what remedies to recommend to the court for the noncompliance.’’ A hearing is scheduled Friday morning.

So what is the Trump administration response?

‘‘Our message has been clear all along: Do not risk your own life or the life of your child by attempting to enter the United States illegally,’’ the statement said. ‘‘Apply lawfully and wait your turn.’’

Yup, when caught disobeying a court directive, they admonish others to not break the law.

Trump goes all in for making money off the deaths of babies

I guess once you’ve gone in for taking babies from their parents, you might as well go all in:

A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.
Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.
Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.
American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.

Making money by hurting the poor is a cliché, but not quite evil enough I guess:

The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.

I’m so proud to be from the US.

Trump supports the troops some more

President Trump continues to support the troops:

Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged, the Associated Press has learned.

The AP was unable to quantify how many men and women who enlisted through the special recruitment program have been booted from the Army, but immigration attorneys say they know of more than 40 who have been discharged or whose status has become questionable, jeopardizing their futures.

Some of the service members say they were not told why they were being discharged. Others who pressed for answers said the Army informed them they’d been labeled as security risks because they have relatives abroad or because the Defense Department had not completed background checks on them.

To become citizens, the service members need an honorable service designation, which can come after even just a few days at boot camp. But the recently discharged service members have had their basic training delayed, so they can’t be naturalized.

and support them some more:

Nicholas Bade showed up at an Air Force recruiting office on an icy morning in January, determined to be one of the first transgender individuals to enlist in the military.

He was in top shape and had earned two martial arts black belts. He had already aced the military aptitude test and organized the stack of medical records required to show he was stable and healthy enough to serve. So he expected to be called for basic training in a month, maybe two at the most.

Six months later, he’s still waiting. And so are nearly all other transgender people who have tried to join since a federal court ordered the Trump administration not to ban them from the military.

Civil rights groups immediately sued, claiming that a blanket ban was unconstitutional, and the courts blocked the new rules. Three federal judges hearing separate cases issued injunctions against the ban last fall that cleared the way — in theory at least — for transgender individuals to start enlisting Jan. 1.

Since then, scores have applied — but it appears almost none have been accepted.

The Defense Department refused requests for statistics on transgender enlistments. But Sparta, an organization for transgender recruits, troops, and veterans, says that out of its 140 members who are trying to enlist, only two have made it into the service since Jan. 1.

Not enough immigration

Since it’s the day after Independence Day, let’s take a look at part of the Declaration of Independence among the list of grievances:

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

Ok, this is actually partially bad since it’s saying the crown isn’t allowing them to take more native land but note the main grievance is that the crown is restricting immigration. Huh.

Also, we find that agencies in the Trump administration really are awfully bad at doing their job:

The Trump administration said Thursday that it had separated hundreds more children from their parents after illegal border crossings than had previously been revealed and that none of the families had yet been reunited.

About 100 of the children are younger than 5, Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, whose agency has custody of the children, told reporters on a conference call. The total number of children taken from their parents may be as high as nearly 3,000, he said. Previously, Azar and department officials had set the number at just more than 2,000.

They don’t even know how many children have been separated from their families and, despite a court order to do so, have not reunited any families. Really, they can’t even keep track of children? I hope they’re doing a better job with our nuclear weapons.

Trump wanted to go to war in Venezuala

Well, this is scary:

As a meeting last August in the Oval Office to discuss sanctions on Venezuela was concluding, President Donald Trump turned to his top aides and asked an unsettling question: With a fast unraveling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can’t the U.S. just simply invade the troubled country?

The suggestion stunned those present at the meeting, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom have since left the administration.

The next day, Aug. 11, Trump alarmed friends and foes alike with talk of a “military option” to remove Maduro from power.

But shortly afterward, he raised the issue with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, according to the U.S. official.

Then in September, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Trump discussed it again, this time at greater length, in a private dinner with leaders from four Latin American allies that included Santos, the same three people said and Politico reported in February.

Trump probably believes the US would be greeted as liberators.

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