Has Donald Trump Landed Yet?
Not you, Sergey. Or you, Sergey.
Moments after Donald Trump and a YOOGE retinue of courtiers were wheels up on their Very Bigly Middle East Vacation, near-simultaneous scoops arrived from the New York Times and the Washington Post.
The first, today's bombshell from the New York Times: While President Trump was yukking it up with Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak last week -- either before or after dropping some "code word classified" intel on them -- the president told them that firing "nut job" James Comey as FBI director the day before was a huge relief that would take the pressure off him and Russia, according to a White House summary of the meeting. Also, telling the Russians about that was supposed to be a "negotiating tactic," somehow. We'll give you a moment to squint, clean your glasses, and look at the screen with your head tilted like a Labrador retriever. Yes, he still really said that:
“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”
It is unknown if that statement is still operative.
The Times says the document is "based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office" -- by either a true patriot, an idiot, or both! -- "and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting." The Times confirmed its existence with two officials, one of whom read it to them; the other simply confirmed "the broad outlines of the discussion," presumably while making a two-fingers-toward-his-open-mouth gagging gesture.
Oh, yes, and this gets even stupider: Not only did Sean Spicer not dispute the story, he issued a statement saying that Trump was absolutely right:
“By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia’s actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia,” Mr. Spicer said. “The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it.
Golly. Shame on that terrible James Comey, cramping the prospects for peace like that. Anything else, Spicey?
Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations.
Well that just goes without saying! So basically, they aren't even bothering with denials anymore, just yelling at the leaks and hoping maybe the water around their ankles doesn't get much deeper. An old Steven Wright Joke comes to mind: "I like to fill my tub up with water, then turn the shower on and act like I'm in a submarine that's been hit."
But all of this was just a "negotiating tactic," according to a government official quoted by the Times:
A third government official briefed on the meeting defended the president, saying Mr. Trump was using a negotiating tactic when he told Mr. Lavrov about the “pressure” he was under. The idea, the official suggested, was to create a sense of obligation with Russian officials and to coax concessions out of Mr. Lavrov — on Syria, Ukraine and other issues — by saying that Russian meddling in last year’s election had created enormous political problems for Mr. Trump.
Huh. so the idea is to make the Russians feel sorry for what they did to Trump by helping him win the election (or at least trying their darnedest), and then when they see what a pain that's been for him, they'll help him out by softening their position on the stuff they want him to do for them? Does Vladimir Putin sound like the kind of fellow who changes his mind because of pity for pussies? We are beginning to see how Donald Trump is such a genius negotiator that he managed to go bankrupt in the casino business.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post had its own fine addition to the Trump Russia canon: Russia probe reaches current White House official, people familiar with the case say.
The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest [. ...]
The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.
Twitter is currently full of Talmudic parsing on whether "Senior White House adviser" is title (Jared Kushner/Stephen Miller) or description (all the rest of them, possibly including Steve Bannon, Ivanka, Mike Pence, or, hell, Kellyanne Conway, if she in fact still exists).
But was it really Jared Kushner? Totally.
The White House also has acknowledged that [Jared] Kushner met with [Sergey] Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., in late November. Kushner also has acknowledged that he met with the head of a Russian development bank, Vnesheconombank, which has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014. The president’s son in law initially omitted contacts with foreign leaders from a national security questionnaire, though his lawyer has said publicly he submitted the form prematurely and informed the FBI soon after he would provide an update.
Vnesheconombank handles development for the state, and in early 2015, a man purporting to be one of its New York-based employees was arrested and accused of being an unregistered spy.
President Trump is expected to land in Saudi Arabia in 12ish hours, where he will partake in a men's-only Toby Keith concert, many assurances that he is much better at presidenting than that horrible black Obama, and enough red-faced profane screaming to be heard at the Mir.
Your Wonkette welcomes what is supposed to be an eight-day break from the psychological abuse of the past four months, the incessant drama, and the stupid dumb words in their incomprehensible order. It should last until morning.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.