After his disastrous press conference at the Surrender Summit, Russian asset Donald Trump was forced to “clarify” his remarks yesterday in a hostage video (press conference) reading from notes prepared by his captors, Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump’s body language and demeanor clearly indicated that he did not support his captor’s “clarification.”
“I’ll begin by stating that I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies. Always have … let me be totally clear in saying, and I’ve said this many times, I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place.”
But then the hostage ad-libbed a qualification from the prepared remarks: “Could be other people also. There are a lot of people out there.” This totally negated what he just said.
I realize that there is a need for some clarification. It should’ve been obvious, I thought it was obvious, but I’d like to clarify just in case it wasn’t. In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ The sentence should’ve been ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ So just to repeat it, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t’ and the sentence should’ve been, and I thought it would be maybe a little unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video. The sentence should’ve been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ Sort of a double negative. So you can put that in and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.
So out of all the crazy shit that Trump said at his disastrous press conference at the Surrender Summit, he would only change one word taken out of context of everything else he said? That’s not a clarification.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump offered a defiant rebuke of his critics, writing on Twitter:
Trump’s alternate reality (“big lie”) that NATO members agreed to his demands to substantially up their financial commitments is debunked by Nancy LeTourneau at the Political Animal blog:
It’s important to keep in mind that, after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, members of NATO agreed to increase their defense spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2024. Rather than going down prior to Trump’s first NATO meeting, here’s what that looked like:
That covers the second lie. With respect to the first one about NATO countries agreeing to substantially raise their commitment, here are some of the responses from heads of state as reported by the Associated Press:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel…said that U.S. President Donald Trump raised the topic of better burden-sharing among NATO members again, “as has been discussed for months,” and that, “we made clear that we’re on the way.”
French President Emmanuel Macron has denied President Donald Trump’s claim that NATO allies have agreed to boost defense spending beyond 2 percent of gross domestic product. Macron said: “There is a communique that was published yesterday. It’s very detailed.” He added: “It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024. That’s all.”
Romania will spend 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense…He denied that the U.S. President Donald Trump had been aggressive in his demands to make members up their spending.
In other words, NATO member nations have been increasing their defense spending, as they agreed to in 2014, in order to reach the 2 percent level by 2024. They will continue on that course. So nothing has changed.
[T]he first thing I thought was “Trump lied.” That’s hardly breaking news. It simply underscores that we can never believe anything he says.
The Twitter-troll-in-chief continued his alternate reality triumphalism of his Surrender Summit today.
And then the Twitter-troll-in-chief posed this false choice:
So Americans can either accept this traitor’s subservience to Vladimir Putin, or we want war with Russia? We have another choice: Americans can remove this traitor from office as a national security threat.
This morning, Russian asset Donald Trump continued his subservience to Vladimir Putin in undermining NATO. Trump Questions the Core of NATO: Mutual Defense, Including Montenegro:
In an interview that aired Tuesday evening with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Mr. Trump appeared to suggest that the NATO mutual defense compact is confusing, particularly the question of why an American would have to defend a small country like Montenegro, which is more than 5,000 miles away.
Mr. Trump has long raised questions about the future of the United States’ commitment to NATO, a defense treaty which was established to stave off aggression from what was then the Soviet Union. Montenegro joined the alliance in 2017, a year after Russia plotted a coup to overthrow Montenegro’s government and replace it with one that would be hostile toward NATO.
On Tuesday, Mr. Carlson asked Mr. Trump, “So, let’s say Montenegro — which joined last year — is attacked, why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack? Why is that?”
Mr. Trump immediately acknowledged the concern.
“I understand what you’re saying,” Mr. Trump said. “I’ve asked the same question.”
The answer, which Mr. Trump did not articulate in the interview, can be found in Article 5 of the treaty: If one NATO country is attacked, all NATO countries would be considered under attack as well and would join in defense.
The president continued, “Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people.”
He added, “They have very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War III, now I understand that — but that’s the way it was set up.”
Andrew S. Weiss, a vice president at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the president’s comments on Montenegro sounded as if they were lifted from Kremlin talking points.
“Who on earth could have planted this riff in his head about tiny Montenegro possibly starting World War III?” Mr. Weiss wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
Hmmm, I don’t know, Trump’s pal Putin in their private two-hour meeting at the Surrender Summit?
“By attacking Montenegro & questioning our obligations under NATO, the President is playing right into Putin’s hands,” Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
* * *
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Trump said, if president, he would not automatically defend NATO allies if they were attacked, for instance, by Russia. He said he would make a decision based on whether the attacked country had “fulfilled their obligations to us.”
Russian asset Trump today also appeared to walk back his “clarification” from Tuesday. Asked whether Russia was “still targeting” the United States, President Trump said, “No,” appearing to contradict assertions from his own intelligence chief. Trump Appears to Say Russia Is No Longer Targeting U.S. White House Says He Was Answering a Different Question.
President Trump appeared to say on Wednesday that Russia was no longer targeting the United States, contradicting his own intelligence chief just a day after promising that his administration was working to prevent Kremlin interference in the upcoming midterm elections.
“These actions are persistent, they are pervasive and they are meant to undermine America’s democracy,” Mr. Coats said in a speech on Friday.
And again on Monday: “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy,” Mr. Coats said.
But on Wednesday, when the president was asked whether Russia was “still targeting” the United States, Mr. Trump said: “No.”
* * *
Hours later, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said that Mr. Trump was answering a different question, and that “we believe the threat still exists.”
No one is buying this stone cold liar’s bullshit parsing of language.
Mr. Trump’s comments were the latest in a dizzying collection of conflicting statements from Mr. Trump since he emerged from a private meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday in Helsinki, Finland.
The president’s changing statements about Russia’s intentions toward the United States underscore his pattern of questioning his own intelligence agencies. And it also increases pressure on Mr. Trump to disclose details about what he and Mr. Putin discussed in their two-hour private meeting, after which Mr. Trump appeared to capitulate to the longtime American adversary.
* * *
Mr. Trump’s latest vacillation on Wednesday drew more outrage, including from his own party.
“I’m dumbfounded by the statement he does not believe that the Russians are still up to it,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on Wednesday. “We need to reconcile the difference between him and the intelligence community. I agree with the intelligence community. Tell me why I’m wrong, Mr. President.”
Mr. Graham said ignoring the threat posed by the Russians was “political malpractice” if the threat was real. “I believe it’s real,” he said.
Mr. Graham added, “If he is wrong, and the intelligence community is right and we get attacked because we didn’t prepare ourselves, that is a terrible legacy for him.”
It is terrible for this country and all Americans. It is not about Trump’s legacy.
Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said Mr. Trump’s rejection of American intelligence put the country’s security at risk.
“This president continuing to deny the reality of our country under assault by Russia and other parties, it raises questions not only about Trump’s credibility but his commitment to our nation’s security,” Mr. Warner, of Virginia, said.
Though the details of the president’s meeting with Mr. Putin are not publicly known, Russia’s defense ministry announced that it was ready to put in motion the unspecified agreements Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin reached.
Americans have the right to know everything discussed in Trump’s private meeting with Putin, and what he may have agreed to. He certainly has no right to keep this information from the Congress and from the state department, intelligence agencies, national security agencies, and department of defense.
America has a national security crisis. We have a compromised commander-in-chief who is the national security crisis. Trump needs to be removed from the presidency, yet Republicans will do nothing to control him or to stop him. They have a sworn duty to defend this country and yet they are entirely failing their duty, more interested in defending party tribalism.