Vladimir Putin has become the shadowy supervillain of U.S. politics: a seemingly omnipotent, five-dimensional-chess-playing mastermind subverting American society, sowing “chaos” across Europe, and subverting the entire world democratic order. Ever since Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton famously sniped about who was really Putin’s “puppet,” Putin himself has been conspicuously absent from discussions of potential collusion. Like Keyser Soze or Thanos, Putin is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere.
Since the 2016 election, investigative journalists have played the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, except linking Trump to Putin, with varying degrees of futility. Trump-Michael Flynn-Sergey Kislyak-Putin? Trump-George Papadopoulos-Joseph Mifsud-Putin? Trump-Paul Manafort-Oleg Deripaska-Sergei Prikhodko-Putin? For those with an interest in the workings of Kremlin politics, one benefit of the Mueller investigation—and all of the intelligence tools at their disposal—is that it examines not only efforts emanating from the Trump side but those from the Russian side as well. In many cases—as the Mueller report suggests—those efforts did not always link up with one another, though perhaps it was not for a lack of effort.
President Donald Trump has rejected a Washington Post report that he has refused to share details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin with top U.S. government officials.
Trump, in a telephone interview late Saturday with Fox News, dismissed as “ridiculous” the Post story that alleged he went to great lengths to hide the content of his talks with Putin, even confiscating the notes of his interpreter and ordering that person to not discuss what was said.
Trump said he had “a great conversation” with Putin in Helsinki in July 2018.
When asked why not release details of the nearly two-hour conversation, Trump said: “I would, I don’t with care.
During an MSNBC panel discussion on Donald Trump’s close relationship with Russia — that also delved into the GOP going along with the president — a former Defense Department official pointed out that Russia is likely unnerved at special counsel Robert Mueller’s success at linking them to the Trump campaign.
Speaking with AM Joy host Joy Reid, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Evelyn Farkas said the Kremlin is watching the investigation revelations with great concern.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said President Donald Trump is running another money-making scam by pulling U.S. troops out of Syria, against the advice of Republican lawmakers and his own administration.
Trump announced Islamic State militants had been defeated, which he later walked back, and ordered the Pentagon to begin planning for a full withdrawal of American forces in the civil war-torn Middle Eastern nation.
“This is the scariest thing,” said “Morning Joe” contributor Donny Deutsch. “He’s not beyond a ‘wag the dog’ (scenario). ‘Wag the Dog,’ of course, was a movie where a politician was in trouble and they created a fake war against Albania, and he’s doing the opposite right now.”