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SIENNA RODGERS, LabourList|AIWAI! NO!|For your daily dose of Brexit news, there are a couple of developments to report. Theresa May, in Argentina for the G20 summit, has firmly ruled out a Norway-style deal as a back-up plan. Jeremy Corbyn has dismissed that too, as European Economic Area membership comes with free movement. (Although Stephen Kinnock would disagree.) But, more importantly, May has also rejected Labour’s proposal of a customs union – so there is no compromise to be made.
While MPs grapple with the detail of technical legislative work, activists on the left have been arguing about the correct response to Tommy Robinson’s Brexit march on 9th December. Another Europe is Possible’s Michael Chessum penned a Guardian piece earlier in the week describing the demonstration as representative of “the real-life, undeniable intersection of the Brexit project and the far right”. This sparked debate, as Lexiteers and others warned that conflating Brexit with extreme nationalism is dangerous and plays into Robinson’s hands.
Today John McDonnell has called on all Labour members to join Momentum’s counter-demonstration on the day. Touching on the recent debate, the Shadow Chancellor said: “This march isn’t about Brexit, it’s about far right extremists dressing up in suits and pretending to be respectable… It doesn’t matter whether you voted leave or remain, Tommy Robinson doesn’t represent you.”
But while Trump’s abrupt decision quashed concerns that the President would repeat his cozy performance alongside Putin during their last meeting in Helsinki, Finland, new allegations by the President’s former longtime attorney Michael Cohen revived questions about Trump’s financial ties to Russia as he arrived for the international summit. Trump’s planned meetings with a half-dozen other world leaders — combined with the possibility of diplomatic snafus — offer little promise of clearing the smoke of suspicion that is once again following him abroad.
The President also refused to back away from the shadow of the Mueller investigation, beginning his day with a fresh pair of tweets about the Cohen saga, saying his business dealings while a candidate were “very legal & very cool.
“Hours later, the White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement blaming the “Russian Witch Hunt Hoax” — a reference to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — for hurting US-Russia relations.”The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, which is hopefully now nearing an end, is doing very well. Unfortunately, it probably does undermine our relationship with Russia,” Sanders said, even as she insisted Trump’s meeting with Putin was canceled because of Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian Navy ships and sailors earlier this week.
Trump also said the situation in Ukraine was his “sole reason” for scrapping the meeting.A Kremlin spokesman told Russian state media earlier Friday that Trump and Putin would have a “brief impromptu meeting” on the sidelines of the G20.
Though the two leaders are likely to see each other and shake hands alongside other leaders at the international summit, a White House official said no meeting had been rescheduled between the two leaders.
The official said the Kremlin appeared to be “trying to save face” with the Friday morning statement.