Russia

The Sessions connection

Featured image Today’s skirmish in the war on the nascent Trump administration is the Washington Post’s “Sessions met with Russian envoy twice last year, encounters he later did not disclose.” The Post reports that Attorney General Sessions met with the Russian ambassador twice last year while the presidential campaign was in progress, once in July and once in September. The second such meeting took place in Senator Sessions’s Senate office. Senator Sessions »

How Obama tried to undermine the president-elect

Featured image The New York Times reports that in the last days of the Obama administration, “some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Trump and [the] Russians — across the government.” According to the Times: As Inauguration Day approached, Obama White House officials grew convinced that the intelligence was damning and that they needed »

Darrell Issa goes off the deep end

Featured image In November, Rep. Darrell Issa had what, for him, may have been a “near death experience.” He almost lost his congressional race. Perhaps this explains why he agreed yesterday with Bill Maher that a special prosecutor should investigate Russia’s alleged interference with the 2016 presidential election. Issa started out on solid ground, telling the lefty talk show host that House and Senate intelligence committees would look into Russia’s activities “within »

“Hacking” then and now

Featured image In 2004, Emmy Award-winning CBS News producer Mary Mapes set out to report a story that would hobble George W. Bush’s campaign for reelection and lend a helping hand to Democratic nominee John F. Kerry. She had been working on the story on and off for years, longer than Ahab had been in search of Moby Dick. When a mentally deranged “source” finally produced a set of fabricated documents that »

The Russians are “dismayed” by Trump

Featured image European leaders (at least those from “old Europe”) have declined to take the Trump administration’s anti-Russia, pro-NATO statements seriously, but this is not the case in Russia. The Washington Post reports that “in Moscow, euphoria over Trump evaporates” as “Russian politicians, journalists and others express dismay” that “the White House puts daylight between itself and the Kremlin.” (These are the headlines of the Post’s story in the print edition) The »

Why do the Eurocrats hate him?

Featured image Yesterday, in discussing Mike Pence’s speech in Munich, I argued that the animosity towards President Trump expressed by some of our European allies has little or nothing to do with Trump’s statements about Russia and NATO. Rather, the animosity stems from the fact that Trump isn’t a leftist and the view that he is a vulgarian. American left-wing elites despise Trump. Why expect European left-wing elites not to? I forgot, »

Anti-Trump Europeans decline to be reassured by Mike Pence

Featured image As I discussed yesterday, President Trump sent his “A Team” to Europe to demonstrate America’s commitment to NATO. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Vice President Mike Pence all traveled to a major conference in Munich for that purpose. Kelly, Mattis, and Pence said the right things. Pence, who told the conference he was sending a message of reassurance directly from President Trump, stated that the »

Michael Flynn on the hot seat [UPDATED — WaPo talks of blackmail]

Featured image White House press secretary Sean Spicer said today that President Trump is still “evaluating the situation” regarding Michael Flynn, his national security adviser. This statement suggests that Flynn is in hot water with Trump. Flynn’s problem arises from allegations that he communicated with Russian officials about sanctions before Trump took office. In response to these allegations, Flynn may have been less than fully candid with Vice President Pence when he »

U.S. General: Russia is helping the Taliban in Afghanistan

Featured image Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, testified today that Russia is helping the Taliban. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russia has been publicly legitimizing the Taliban by claiming that it fights Islamic terrorists while the Afghan government does not. At the hearing, Nicholson declined to say whether Russia is providing material support — e.g., arms, training, etc. — for the Taliban (who, themselves, are »

Trump still sees Putin and Bush as morally equivalent

Featured image Last night, I caught part of Bill O’Reilly’s interview with President Trump, including an exchange that drained the moderate amount of enthusiasm I’ve been able to muster for the new president. O’Reilly asked Trump whether he respects Vladimir Putin. Trump said he does, but that this doesn’t mean he will get along with him. No major problem so far. In a sense, I think you have to respect what Putin, »

Two anti-Trump talking points falter in one day

Featured image A month ago, liberals were claiming that Donald Trump would be a tool of the Russians. After all, they hadn’t brought about his election, via WikiLeaks, for nothing. To be fair, it wasn’t just liberals who expressed concern about what Trump’s Russia policy might be. As a candidate, Trump took a softer line on Vladimir Putin than many, including me, liked. But it was the left that claimed something sinister »

Russian Influence in American Politics You Say?

Featured image News item: Sierra Club to oppose further natural gas power plants and pipelines. A report produced by the Sierra Club, subject of a Time magazine article on Thursday, revealed the club intends to build an environmental coalition to halt the next wave of the country’s natural gas expansion: over 200 planned natural gas power plants and pipeline projects, the club told Time. . . Many environmental groups—including the Sierra Club—once considered natural gas as part of »

Trump on the EU and NATO

Featured image The Washington Post reports that European leaders are “shocked” by statements Donald Trump has made about the EU and NATO. According to the Post, these leaders fear a “transatlantic split.” What should we make of this story from an American perspective? I think we need to analyze the EU and NATO separately. Regarding the EU, Post reporter Michael Birnbaum points to a statement by Trump that he expects the EU »

Trump’s news conference

Featured image Scott has already flagged the golden highlight of president-elect Trump’s new conference this morning. I want to note what, for me, were some other highlights. Trump thanked the New York Times and other mainstream outlets for not running with the story about his alleged interaction with Russia during the election campaign. He singled out the New York Times for praise. It is deserved. Trump pushed back hard against the BuzzFeed »

Rex Tillerson comes under fire from Sen. Rubio [UPDATED] [more from Rubio]

Featured image I watched the first hour and a half of Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearing before switching to Donald Trump’s news conference. Tillerson is an impressive witness and, I think it’s reasonable to assume, an extremely impressive man. His answers and manner of speaking stand in wonderful contrast to the man he will succeed (if confirmed) — John “Foghorn” Kerry. Tillerson is plainspoken, gives short answers when feasible, and likes to use »

Allegation: Russia has compromising information on Trump [UPDATED]

Featured image The Washington Post and various other outlets are reporting that a classified document delivered to President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump last week included a section summarizing allegations that Russian intelligence services have compromising material and information on Trump’s personal life and finances. According to the Post, U.S. intelligence agencies have not corroborated these allegations, which apparently are based on research done by an outside entity engaged in political consulting »

Has Trump made Republicans pro-Putin? [with correction]

Featured image The Washington Post has published a piece by James Kirchick called “How Trump got his party to love Vladmir Putin.” The title is ridiculous. Republicans don’t love Putin, and Kirchick’s article provides no evidence that they do. In fact, although Trump takes too soft a line on the Russian leader, there is no basis for saying that he loves, or even likes, Putin. The article itself is also over-the-top in »