Bumped from last night. I thought it was worth a second look to see the statements, walked back and contradicted, the Homeland Security chief who made a claim then had to take it back, the National Intelligence Director who got sandbagged with Putin news in front of an audience live, the press secretary again taking up the front lines of this administration’s lies, bullshit and bizarro explanations of words like “No” and “would”. And then, the Resolution, organized by a small team including Bob Menendez, in essence reminding the President who he works for that managed a unanimous vote. – Rosi
Within the last few hours …
Today 4:25pm LIVE on NBC News: Andrea Mitchell – live on the air in the middle of an interview with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in front of an audience – reports breaking news that Vladimir Putin is coming to the White House in the Fall. Coats, clearly surprised, says “Say that again?” [Watch that happen]
Today 6:41pm CNN: We learn Trump’s stated reason for barring staff from his 2-hour private meeting with Russian President Putin was because he does not trust his staff, for fear there would be leaks about what was discussed or agreed upon. Corollary: Key White House staff and Trump administration officials still do not know what, if anything, was agreed on in that no-witnesses session.
Today around 5pm CNBC LIVE: After 72 hours of critical media coverage of his ‘disastrous’ Europe trip, troubling decision to meet with Putin without staff, White House chaos, and reversals of public statements, Trump goes on TV with CNBC’s Joe Kernan, and talks tough on Russia. This, in contrast to his Monday presser, in which he spent 45 minutes bashing American intelligence forces and heaping praise on Putin, 12 of whose own intelligence officers were just indicted for hacking into the DNC, the DCCC, and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, indictments coming as result of the Mueller probe – which Trump rejected Monday in favor of Putin’s denials to him.
Today 3:19pm The Hill: Led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and senators Bob Menendez (NJ), Dick Durbin (IL) and Brian Schatz (HI) senators vote 98-0 – that’s Democrats and Republicans – in a non-binding resolution warning Trump not to let Russia interrogate American diplomats and other officials of our government. Background: This after the White House first seemed open to a Putin proposal to allow Moscow to help interrogate U.S. citizens such as former Ambassador Michael McFaul & others who Putin says ” have something to do with illegal actions in the territory of Russia” in exchange for allowing special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to attend the questioning of 12 Russian intelligence officers indicted in connection with his investigation. That proposal seemed to stand for at least a day with no objection from the White House, with Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders telling reporters he was going to ‘meet with his team’ on the proposal.[Read the Resolution spearheaded by Menendez & colleagues, as prepared and passed 98-0]
Today 2:41pm Mediaite: Via press secretary SHS, White House backtracks on the Putin exchange proposal Trump called ‘an incredible offer’ just 3 days ago in his bizarre Monday press conference [transcript] alongside Putin.
Today 11:18am via Bloomberg: Homeland Security Secy Kirstjen Nielsen says during the Aspen Security Forum that she’s “seen no evidence” that Russian attempts to interfere in American election infrastructure was meant to serve one party over another. Hours later she was forced to reverse her statements, after multiple media outlets interpreted her words as a rejection of U.S. intelligence community findings that determined Russia’s actions were intended to swing the election to Trump.
Last night 6:04pm LIVE CBS News: Back on American soil now, and in an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor, Trump says he does hold Putin responsible for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. This, an apparent complete contradiction of his Monday statements alongside Putin.
More from last night via CNN: Trump explains his bizarre Monday statements by saying he said the the wrong word, saying ”would” instead of ”wouldn’t”. Trump: “The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,’ ” he said. “Sort of a double negative.”
– The White House was in deep damage control mode yesterday, again claiming Trump was misunderstood, after he said “No” when a reporter asked him if Russia was still targeting the United States. Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed Trump was saying “No” to answering more questions – and not to whether Russians are targeting this country. Reporters go back & forth with Sanders 16 times about what Trump meant by “No.” And more: Pressed on Wednesday on whether his acceptance of the U.S. intelligence analysis means that he thought Putin lied when he told Trump he denied Russian involvement, Trump said he “didn’t want to get into whether or not he’s lying.”
White House upside down: Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast
Menendez: Getty Images
Sarah Huckabee Sanders: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik