You’re Hired! You’re Fired! Yes, the Turnover at the Top of the Trump Administration Is … “Unprecedented.”

Peggy Noonan Compares Trump Campaign Staff to ‘Island of Broken Toys’: ‘He Couldn’t Get the Grown Ups to Join’

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Trump’s ‘team’ since 2016 has changed, in February 2017 alone, nineteen staffers left along with Michael Flynn.
AIWA! NO!//Some roles have been more volatile than others. For example, there have been four White House communications directors, with stints ranging from less than a week (Anthony Scaramucci) to more than six months (Hope Hicks). Sean Spicer, while serving as press secretary, filled the position twice — once in an acting capacity after Michael Dubke resigned.

Peggy Noonan, a columnist for Wall Street Journal and author of nine books, compared President Donald Trump‘s campaign staff to the “island of broken toys.”

It all happened during a panel discussion on Meet the Press. 

“I think part of the story perhaps with the president and all of these people who’ve been indicted or come under questioning is that he may not have any deep insight into their nature because he didn’t really know them, ” she told the panel.  “So he almost can’t judge where they’re going next.”

https://content.jwplatform.com/players/vlhGCIjS-zffGtjRq.html

Then she said this: “The people around Trump during the campaign were an island of broken toys. They were individual operatives. They were driven by their own drama. Trump couldn’t get anybody else. He couldn’t get the grown ups to join. He got who he got.”

President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office of the White House
Sources in the White House describe ‘borderline chaos’ following  allegations about Trump team

Author Doris Kearns Goodwin added, “And that shows the lack of experience, coming in from the outside and not bringing in the people who knew what they were doing.”

Host Chuck Todd then suggested that Trump has built his world that way for a long time.

“Trump’s always built his worlds that way,” Todd said. “It’s not just in politics. He’s always sort of ends up with, you know, everybody with their own agendas.”

US economy is humming. President Trump is tweeting. Meanwhile – Mueller is just about to knock on Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr’s doors – possibly on the president’s as well

The Economy Is Humming. Trump Is Tweeting. Republicans Are Worried. And it’s not looking pretty with mid-term poll on the horizon

AIWA! NO! ||CRIMSON TAZVINZWA||WASHINGTON —Under normal circumstances this would have been a walk in the park; focusing on human interest issues such as the booming economy and unemployment at its lowest rate ( 3.9%) – the Republican Party mid-term poll win would have been a foregone conclusion.  A given. But alas! It’s not to be because Trump’s tweets keep on ambushing and tripping on otherwise positive news i.e. rampant economic performance the country has seen in many years.The booming economy is no longer the magical political bullet for Republicans under Trump.

Data extracted on: September 16, 2018 (3:19:27 PM)

United States Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Series Id:           LNS14000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Data extracted on: September 16, 2018 (3:19:27 PM)

As Democrats enter the fall midterm campaign with palpable confidence about reclaiming the House and perhaps even the Senate, tensions are rising between the White House and congressional Republicans over who is to blame for political difficulties facing the party, with President Trump’s advisers pointing to the high number of G.O.P. retirements and lawmakers placing the blame squarely on the president’s divisive style.

Image result for trump mad tweets
Trump tweets angry response after being called ‘deranged’ and ‘dotard’ by Kim Jong Un – ABC News

Yet Republican leaders do agree on one surprising element in the battle for Congress: They cannot rely on the booming economy to win over undecided voters. To the dismay of party leaders, the healthy economy and Mr. Trump have become countervailing forces. The decline in unemployment and soaring gross domestic product, along with the tax overhaul Republicans argue is fueling the growth, have been obscured by the president’s inflammatory moves on immigration, Vladimir V. Putin and other fronts, party leaders say.

These self-inflicted wounds since early summer have helped push Mr. Trump’s approval ratings below 40 percent and the fortunes of his party down with them.

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort surrenders four properties and money from several bank accounts in plea deal with Mueller Russia collusion probe

Federal Agencies  seize 4 of Manafort’s homes as part of plea deal with Mueller team. The former Trump campaign chair admitted to conspiracy charges

 

AIWA! NO!Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, is surrendering four properties and money from several bank accounts as a part of a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Manafort has agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation in exchange for reduced charges, according to the New York Times. As a part of the deal, he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy and one charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Prosecutors dropped five other charges that included lobbying violations and money laundering.

He had said repeatedly that he would not cooperate with Mueller but reassessed his situation after his trial last month on separate charges. In that case, he was found guilty on eight counts of bank fraud, tax fraud and failure to report a foreign bank account.

During the trial, real estate was found to be one of the main ways Manafort made his deceptions. One such instance involved his Trump Tower condo, which he claimed as his primary residence. One of his associates, however, testified that Manafort was actually renting out the property.

Documents from the trial showed that Manafort said he had real estate interests worth $216 million. Most of those properties he co-owned with Jeffrey Yohai, his former son-in-law, through Baylor Holdings, LLC. Yohai, for his part, is in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings over four California properties owned by Baylor. He’s also being sued in New York for allegedly running a ponzi scheme.

The prosecution also claimed Manafort made bogus financial representations in order to obtain loans from banks. That included mortgages on the Trump Tower condo, as well as a townhome at 377 Union Street in Brooklyn and a condo at 29 Howard Street in Manhattan.

Manafort’s second trial on separate but related charges stemming from political consulting work he did in Ukraine was supposed to start next week.

The Real Deal interviewed Manafort’s real estate fixer Brad Zacksonlast summer, who said that the world was attacking his friend “for no reason.”  [NYT] – Eddie Small

THE TRUMP Tower Meeting

buzzfeed/aiwa! No!//A Series Of Suspicious Money Transfers Followed The Trump Tower Meeting. Investigators are focused on two bursts of banking activity — one shortly after the June 2016 meeting, the other immediately after the presidential election.H2 collusion

The June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower has become one of the most famous gatherings in American political history: a flashpoint for allegations of collusion, the subject of shifting explanations by the president and his son, countless hair-on-fire tweets, and boundless speculation by the press.

But secret documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News reveal a previously undisclosed aspect of the meeting: a complex web of financial transactions among some of the planners and participants who moved money from Russia and Switzerland to the British Virgin Islands, Bangkok, and a small office park in New Jersey.

The documents show Aras Agalarov, a billionaire real estate developer close to both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, at the center of this vast network and how he used accounts overseas to filter money to himself, his son, and at least two people who attended the Trump Tower meeting. The records also offer new insight into the murky financial world inhabited by many of Trump’s associates, who use shell companies and secret bank accounts to quickly and quietly move money across the globe.

Aras Agalarov

Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

Aras Agalarov

Now, four federal law enforcement officials told BuzzFeed News, investigators are focused on two bursts of transactions that bank examiners deemed suspicious: one a short time after the meeting and another immediately after the November 2016 presidential election.

The first set came just 11 days after the June 9 meeting, when an offshore company controlled by Agalarov wired more than $19.5 million to his account at a bank in New York.

The second flurry began shortly after Trump was elected. The Agalarov family started sending what would amount to $1.2 million from their bank in Russia to an account in New Jersey controlled by the billionaire’s son, pop singer Emin Agalarov, and two of his friends. The account had been virtually dormant since the summer of 2015, according to records reviewed by BuzzFeed News, and bankers found it strange that activity in Emin Agalarov’s checking account surged after Trump’s victory.

After the election, that New Jersey account sent money to a company controlled by Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a longtime business associate of the Agalarovs and their representative at the Trump Tower meeting. Kaveladze’s company, meanwhile, had long funded a music business set up by the person who first proposed the meeting to the Trump camp, Emin Agalarov’s brash British publicist, Rob Goldstone.

Ike Kaveladze (left) spoke to congressional investigators in November 2017.
<span class="subbuzz__attribution js-subbuzz__attribution
xs-text-6 xs-block”>Mark Wilson / Getty ImagesIke Kaveladze (left) spoke to congressional investigators in November 2017.

Scott Balber, an attorney representing the Agalarovs and Kaveladze, said their transactions were wholly above board. “I’m actually perplexed why anybody is interested in this or why anybody in their right mind would treat this as suspicious,” he said. “These are all transactions either between one of Mr. Agalarov’s accounts and another of Mr. Agalarov’s accounts or one of Mr. Agalarov’s accounts and an account in the name of one of his employees.”

Goldstone’s spokesperson, David Wilson, dismissed the notion that his client’s transactions were suspicious as “ridiculous.” Prosecutors have not charged the Agalarovs, Kaveladze, or Goldstone with any wrongdoing.

The transactions came to light after law enforcement officials instructed financial institutions in mid-2017 to go back through their records to look for suspicious behavior by people connected to the broader Trump-Russia investigation. The bankers filed “suspicious activity reports” to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which in turn shared them with the FBI, the IRS, congressional committees investigating Russian interference, and members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

Suspicious activity reports are not evidence of wrongdoing, but they can provide clues to investigators looking into possible money laundering, tax evasion, or other misconduct. In the case of the Agalarovs and their associates, bankers raised red flags about the transactions but were unable to definitively say how the funds were used.

Federal prosecutors have used suspicious activity reports not only to investigate possible election interference and collusion, but also to charge people, such as Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, with financial and other white-collar crimes. Manafort was convicted last month of bank and tax fraud, and Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russia.

Over the past nine months, BuzzFeed News has reported on the financial behavior of Manafort, former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, accused foreign agent Maria Butina, GOP operative Peter W. Smith, and others.

In the case of the Agalarovs and their associates, the documents show funds moving quickly between accounts across the globe, often, bankers said, with no clear reason and with no clear purpose for how the money was supposed to be used. By collecting such detailed banking records, US law enforcement officials are trying to figure out how Russia’s interference campaign was financed — but in doing so, they are also pulling back the curtain on an opaque financial system controlled by the world’s wealthiest people.

From left: Donald Trump, Aras Agalarov, Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, and Emin Agalarov
<span class="subbuzz__attribution js-subbuzz__attribution
xs-text-6 xs-block”>Ethan Miller / Getty ImagesFrom left: Donald Trump, Aras Agalarov, Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, and Emin Agalarov

A Swiss account and an offshore company

When Donald Trump hosted the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013, Aras Agalarov was his host. The two men toured the capital and hatched plans to build the tallest building in Russia together, a gleaming new Trump Tower in Moscow. The Agalarovs spent about $20 million to host the pageant at Crocus City Hall, their glitzy mega-mall, and Emin Agalarov, a part-time pop singer, scored a coup when Trump agreed to film a cameo for one of his music videos.

Given these close ties, it wasn’t difficult for Goldstone, Emin’s publicist, to line up a meeting in the midst of the presidential campaign. On June 3, 2016, Goldstone sent Donald Trump Jr. an email asking to get together. Goldstone was explicit: A top Russian prosecutor had given Aras Agalarov damning information about Hillary Clinton — “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” he wrote.

Agalarov is one of the Kremlin’s favored developers, having tackled complicated and costly projects, such as a superhighway ringing the capital and two soccer stadiums built for the 2018 World Cup. In 2013, Putin awarded Aras Agalarov the Order of Honor, one of Russia’s highest civilian awards.

After Trump Jr. spoke by phone with Emin Agalarov, the meeting was set. At about 4 p.m. on June 9, Goldstone, Kaveladze, a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin, and at least two others arrived at Trump Tower. In a conference room on the 25th floor with sweeping views of Midtown Manhattan, they met with Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Manafort, then an adviser to the campaign.

By most accounts, the 40-minute meeting, during which Manafort checked his phone and Kushner emailed his assistant, didn’t result in usable information on Trump’s rival. In fact, the Kremlin-connected attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, pivoted off Clinton and spoke at length about overturning US laws meant to stop Russian financial misconduct.

“Look,” Trump Jr. reportedly told the group, “we’re not in power. When we win, come back and see us again.”

Eleven days later — on June 20, the day Trump fired campaign chief Corey Lewandowski and put Manafort in charge — Aras Agalarov used a company called Silver Valley Consulting to move millions that bankers flagged as suspicious.

<span class="subbuzz__attribution js-subbuzz__attribution
xs-text-6 xs-block”>BuzzFeed News; Getty Images

Silver Valley’s only address is a post office box in the capital of the British Virgin Islands, a country seen as a haven for money laundering and tax evasion. On June 20, Silver Valley sent through its Zurich-based account at Societe Generale Suisse a wire transfer for a little more than $19.5 million to Agalarov’s account at Morgan Stanley in the US.

That same day, another entity controlled by Agalarov — ZAO Crocus International, an arm of his business empire — sent a wire transfer through Societe Generale Suisse for about $43,000 to the same Morgan Stanley account.

In mid-2017, after US banks and law enforcement officials had already begun scrutinizing the financial records of dozens of individuals connected to the Trump-Russia probe, bankers at Societe Generale in New York tried to learn more about the Silver Valley transactions — but got nowhere.

Swiss employees of the bank told their American colleagues that the account was closed in May 2017, but that “due to Swiss confidentiality laws the requested information cannot be provided.” Switzerland is known to have some of the strictest bank secrecy laws in the world; it is a crime for bankers to release the identity of account holders.

Between 2006 and 2016, Silver Valley made nearly 200 transactions for $190 million. Bankers believed that most were legitimate and were part of Agalarov’s global construction business. But some of the transactions raised red flags.

Bank officials said they found high, round-dollar amounts sent to or received from shell companies. Round-dollar wire transfers often trigger alarm bells because most transactions are not that clean. Bankers also noted that some of the transactions passed through multiple companies, a process that can indicate “layering,” a way to hide the original source of funds.

US bank examiners also found that Silver Valley received nearly $900,000 in 2012 from a Russian investigated in the past for tax evasion and embezzlement. Balber, the Agalarovs’ attorney, said that the company wasn’t immediately able to find a record of a transaction with that individual.

The following year, Silver Valley received two payments from an aviation firm that were flagged by bankers because they learned that a shareholder was involved with a suspected Russian money laundering scheme. Balber said the payments were for a land purchase and that it was “crazy” that bank examiners would label a transaction as suspicious because of a shareholder’s involvement.

“I have spoken to all kinds of investigators in all kinds of agencies about” the Trump Tower meeting, said Balber. “And I have never heard anybody ask me a single question or say a single word about one of these transactions.”


A dormant account comes alive

As the brutal presidential campaign hurtled toward Election Day, it was clear that even Trump’s own camp didn’t think he would win. Top advisers planned their postelection careers. The candidate reportedly didn’t have a victory speech written. Even pro-Kremlin forces were ready for a loss — they prepped a #DemocracyRIP Twitter campaign to cast doubt on Clinton’s legitimacy.

After Trump won, as people scrambled for jobs, influence, and riches, a chain reaction of bank transfers started among the Agalarovs and their associates.

Beginning 13 days after the election, the Agalarovs’ bank account in Russia made 19 separate wire transfers to a New Jersey personal checking account belonging to Emin Agalarov and two friends from high school. That checking account, held at TD Bank, had been opened in 2012. Bank examiners thought it was unusual that the account had never before received a Russian wire transfer and that its only deposit since the summer of 2015 was for $200, in January 2016.

<span class="subbuzz__attribution js-subbuzz__attribution
xs-text-6 xs-block”>BuzzFeed News; Getty Images

The postelection transfers to the checking account were in large, round-dollar amounts ranging from $15,000 to $175,000. Between November 2016 and July 2017, the sum topped $1.2 million.

But what triggered alarms wasn’t just that activity in the account had jumped since Trump’s election. It was also how the checking account handled the money. While some of it went toward credit card bills, mortgage installments, and other run-of-the-mill payments, TD Bank officials also saw the checking account quickly pass funds to an account controlled by another participant in the Trump Tower meeting.

On Nov. 21, 2016, Emin Agalarov’s checking account received $165,000 from an account based in Russia belonging to his family. The following day, the account sent $107,000 to Corsy International, a company run by Kaveladze, the longtime Agalarov associate who attended the Trump Tower meeting.

Bankers were suspicious for a number of reasons. For one, Kaveladze was an employee of the Agalarovs’ Crocus Group, their sprawling construction and real estate empire based in Russia. Why, bankers wondered, would the funds start in Russia, briefly make a pit stop in Emin Agalarov’s New Jersey account, and finally be sent to Corsy International? Balber, the attorney for Kaveladze and the Agalarovs, would not address questions about specific transactions, but said they were all legitimate.

Second, bankers noted that Kaveladze — who after the election pushed for an additional get-together with the Trumps and some of the original Tower meeting participants — had previously been investigated for money laundering. According to a Government Accountability Office report published in 2000, Kaveladze established more than 2,000 corporations in Delaware for Russian real estate brokers, then set up bank accounts for them in the US. The brokers used these accounts to launder about $1.4 billion, the report found. Kaveladze was never charged with a crime and he referred to the GAO’s probe as a “witch hunt.”

Finally, bankers focused on the New Jersey address of Corsy International: a small, windowless office in an unremarkable building near the Hudson River. It was suspicious, officials reported, that such large sums flowed through such a nondescript location. When examiners began investigating this address, they discovered at least eight other companies located there, all of them controlled by Kaveladze, Emin Agalarov, or their associates.

The headquarters for these companies is Suite 309. There is no sign on the door. When a reporter visited last month, a man refused to open the door and said he was unable to talk or even accept a business card.

Left: The lobby of the office building housing Corsy International. Right: Suite 309, where eight companies connected to Kaveladze, Emin Agalarov, or their associates are based.
<span class="subbuzz__attribution js-subbuzz__attribution
xs-text-6 xs-block”>Anthony Cormier / BuzzFeed NewsLeft: The lobby of the office building housing Corsy International. Right: Suite 309, where eight companies connected to Kaveladze, Emin Agalarov, or their associates are based.

Cashing out in Bangkok

In the earliest days of Trump’s presidency, the Agalarovs and their associates managed to remain out of the spotlight. Even as money changed hands behind the scenes, it took about seven months for their roles to become public.

But in July 2017, after the New York Times broke the news of the Trump Tower meeting, there was another flurry of financial activity. This time, it centered around the man who first reached out to the Trump campaign — Rob Goldstone, Emin Agalarov’s publicist.

Goldstone, a former journalist who found his niche in the music world, had helped guide Agalarov’s pop career and was on hand when Trump visited Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant. He was the main point of contact for the Trump Tower meeting, though he complained afterward to the Agalarovs that the get-together was one of the most “embarrassing” things they had asked him to do.

Rob Goldstone testified before congressional investigators in December 2017.
<span class="subbuzz__attribution js-subbuzz__attribution
xs-text-6 xs-block”>Alex Wong / Getty ImagesRob Goldstone testified before congressional investigators in December 2017.

During his congressional testimony, Goldstone said that Emin Agalarov was his only client. But he said he didn’t know the “chain of command” of who paid him.

The documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News show that most of the funds flowing into Goldstone’s music business, Oui 2 Entertainment, and his personal checking account came from Corsy International, Kaveladze’s company. Between July 2015 and January 2017, Oui 2 received more than half a million dollars from Corsy International. Bank examiners found this suspicious because Corsy was an import-export business, while Oui 2 was involved with music. It didn’t make sense, bankers reported, for these two companies to conduct transactions with one another.

Bankers were also concerned that Goldstone set up the meeting and received money through Kaveladze, who had previously been investigated for money laundering involving Russians.

While they couldn’t explain these transfers, bankers flagged additional suspicious behavior in Goldstone’s account shortly after the Trump Tower meeting came to light.

By July 24, 2017, about two weeks after the New York Times broke the story about the meeting, Goldstone had left for Bangkok. He told congressional investigators that he wanted to take time off, equating it to a college student’s “gap year,” so he could write a book. But bank officials questioned his financial behavior there, particularly a series of 37 ATM withdrawals totaling about $8,400. The last of those withdrawals was made in November 2017. His business partner, David Tominello, appears to have traveled to Bangkok as well, making 51 withdrawals during the same period for about $7,600. Bankers noted that the withdrawals came shortly after news broke about Goldstone’s role in the Trump Tower meeting.

On Aug. 31, 2017, while they were still overseas, Goldstone and Tominello tapped into a home equity line of credit to withdraw money. The two received the loan on an apartment in New Jersey and used the funds to transfer about $32,000 to Oui 2. Examiners said the two men were essentially using a loan to make “payroll,” which bankers thought was unusual, especially when they had such a lucrative source of income through Kaveladze’s company. They also found it “concerning” that the home equity line of credit funded ATM cash withdrawals in Bangkok.

After calling it ridiculous that any of the financial behavior would be flagged as suspicious, Goldstone’s public relations representative referred further questions to his attorney, who did not return detailed messages. Tominello also did not return detailed messages seeking comment. ●

  • Picture of Anthony Cormier

    Anthony Cormier is an investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. While working for the Tampa Bay Times, Cormier won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

    Contact Anthony Cormier at anthony.cormier@buzzfeed.com.

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

  • Picture of Jason Leopold

    Jason Leopold is a senior investigative reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. He is a 2018 Pulitzer finalist for international reporting, recipient of the IRE 2016 FOI award and a 2016 Newseum Institute National Freedom of Information Hall of Fame inductee.

    Contact Jason Leopold at jason.leopold@buzzfeed.com.

WASHINGTON DC – Theories about the anonymous author’s identity – Trump believes op-ed writer in ‘national security,’ Kellyanne Conway says

Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. – Billy Madison, 1995

Trump wants Sessions to investigate New York Times op-ed

The op-ed penned by an anonymous senior administration official on Friday has rattled the President and the White House, sending White House officials on a search to unmask the official in question.
Trump has repeatedly assailed the author as a “coward” and “gutless,” and called on The New York Times to release the author’s identity. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Trump said he would like to see the Justice Department investigate and uncover the author of the op-ed, even though he has yet to identify a crime that has been committed. But asked Friday about any efforts underway to ferret out the identity of the reporter, Conway said she is “not interested in an investigation of this.”
“I guess those who are investigating, great. I really hope they find the person. I believe the person will suss himself or herself out though because that’s usually what happens,” Conway said. “People brag to the wrong person. They brag that they did this or that they did that.”
But Conway tamped down the suggestion that there could be “an exodus” or a “massive purge” as a result of the op-ed or a forthcoming investigation.

WASHINGTON DC – What’s the global fallout from the anonymous NYT op-ed on Trump?

“Many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses.”

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House on Sept. 5. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

This week, an anonymous opinion piece in the New York Times and a new book by the Bob Woodward both claimed that aides work around President Donald Trump to “thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

Among other concerns, the accounts have raised questions about how a “two-track presidency,” as the op-ed author put it, might affect America’s foreign relationships.

To many foreign commentators, the revelations weren’t much of a surprise. In the past few months, the world has seen Trump’s penchant for “autocrats and dictators,” the op-ed author wrote, while “the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly.”

In North Korea, Trump praised regime leader Kim Jong Un, though his administration continues to back sanctions against his country.

For foreign leaders, the release of the op-ed and book could deepen the question of who speaks for America, said Shadi Hamid, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, particularly at a time when the U.S. is trying to work through tensions with China and a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico. “It undermines the president’s effectiveness and authority,” he said.

“This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.”

While critics of Trump may like to see his standing abroad diminished, Hamid said, the two-track presidency could set a dangerous precedent. The next president could be just a controversial as Trump — whether a Republican, a Democrat or a socialist who is considered outside the mainstream — and with this White House in mind, those administrations could feel more comfortable forming a coalition to undermine that leader’s agenda, too. “How do we feel about unelected officials and other bureaucrats undermining a democratically elected president? Are we as Americans comfortable with that?”

Kim Wallace, managing director, United States at the Eurasia Group, said the book and column show “we have a constitutional crisis” if aides are making decisions for the president instead of following the procedures outlined under the U.S. Constitution for removing a president who is unfit.

This subversion could directly affect how other countries’ leaders deal with the U.S., Wallace said. At best, he said, other heads of state would just wait out whatever it is they are negotiating.

Take the tensions and tariff battle between China and the U.S., Wallace said. “I cannot imagine anything other than Chinese President Xi Jinping and his team have concluded that time has become one of their more important allies as they see the U.S. capital city in crisis.”

The same could hold true for NAFTA talks with Canada and Mexico.

“I doubt very seriously that the Canadians … feel an urgency to come to a conclusion on trade talks under any kind of artificial deadline,” Wallace said. Talks could stall as leaders wait to see whether tensions among the branches of government and within the White House will blow over or get worse, Wallace said.

As for U.S. enemies? “At some point you can imagine adversaries will feel that the destabilization of Washington presents opportunities for those countries to add to that destabilization,” Wallace added.

“If anyone ever wanted to invade America, now’s the time,” GQ correspondent Julia Ioffe, ‏quoting an anonymous friend, wrote in a Tweetthat soon went viral.

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who also served as White House chief of staff, weighs in on Thursday’s PBS NewsHour.

From the president’s perspective, the op-ed confirms what Trump has believed all along — that the establishment is working against him, said Danielle Pletka, senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Trump called the opinion piece “gutless” when asked about it at a gathering of the nation’s sheriffs. As for the book, Trump deemed it a “work of fiction,” pointing to statements from Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly that refuted the book’s claims.

Supporters have jumped behind this thinking, too.

If an American president is being undermined in matters of foreign affairs and diplomacy, “is that something we’re comfortable saying on the level of principle? I think that’s an open question, and I’m not particularly comfortable with it,” Hamid said.

WASHINGTON DC – Trump thanks Kim for his ‘unwavering faith in him’

The United States President Donald Trump
The United States President Donald Trump

Trump thanks Kim for his ‘unwavering faith in him’

AIWA! NO!The United States President Donald Trumpon Thursday thanked North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for his “unwavering faith” in him and said that the two will work together.
Trump took to Twitter to write, “Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith in President Trump.” Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!”

According to Yonhap, the North Korean leader Kim via a South Korean envoy said that his faith in Trump has remained unchanged.

READ RELATED:Kim Jong-un agrees to denuclearise ‘by end of Trump’s first term’, promises third Korean summit to be held this month

This comes after the North Korean leader met with delegations from South Korea at Pyongyang where talks regarding denuclearisation negotiations were held. Kim was revealed to the delegations that he was still firmly committed to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.