Trump’s Eagerness To Meet With Putin At G20 Summit Has Some Advisers Feeling Leery

I remember being anxious before my first backstage hangout with Metallica. What would I wear? How would I fix my hair? Would I get to meet Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield?

All the details are important to a fan, so I can imagine Donald Trump’s giddy anticipation of a sidebar meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany, next month.

It’s not like they don’t have a lot to talk about, either.

According to a report in the Associated Press, Trump wants full press coverage and all the little extras that will make the meeting a splashy media event. His administration officials, however, are apparently experiencing small brain bleeds, as they try to convey that maybe now isn’t the time for him to put his man-crush on blast to the world.

But Trump and some others within his administration have been pressing for a full bilateral meeting. He’s calling for media access and all the typical protocol associated with such sessions, even as officials within the State Department and National Security Council urge more restraint, according to a current and a former administration official.

Some advisers have recommended that the president instead do either a quick, informal “pull-aside” on the sidelines of the summit, or that the U.S. and Russian delegations hold “strategic stability talks,” which typically don’t involve the presidents. The officials spoke anonymously to discuss private policy discussions.

The contrasting views underscore differing views within the administration on overall Russia policy, and Trump’s eagerness to develop a working relationship with Russia despite the ongoing investigations.

It’s inevitable that there will be some interaction between the two presidents, as is pointed out by Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. They’re going to be at the same meeting, so of course, they’ll meet. They’ll speak.

The AP article went on to explain that while there could be benefits to having the two leaders meet, such as working through a deal in handling the ongoing conflict in Syria, there could also be dangers. Putin has ulterior motives. He wants sanctions eased, and Russia’s interests in Syria have worked against America’s interests.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that as a former KGB agent, Putin knows how to manipulate, and Trump has neither the savvy, experience, or self-control to handle someone with Putin’s background.

Nina Khrushcheva, a Russian affairs professor at the New School, said Trump is in an “impossible position.”

“He can’t be too nice to Putin because it’s going to be interpreted in a way that suggests he has a special relationship with Russia,” she said. “He can’t be too mean because Putin has long arms and KGB thinking. So Trump needs to have a good relationship with him but he also needs to fulfill his campaign promises of establishing better relations with Russia.”

And Trump’s continuing attempts to downplay the seriousness of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election is not the way a leader in control, or working for the best interest of his nation should be behaving, ahead of an important meeting that will be closely watched by the world.

As Jay Caruso pointed out earlier, Trump’s current whining deals with former President Obama’s handling of Russia’s election meddling, instead of just dealing with what we know happened. That doesn’t make him look like a leader.

The disconnect between Trump and his advisers in the State Department and National Security Council over Russia runs deeper than the debate over a G20 bilateral.

A former administration official who spoke anonymously to discuss classified information said that frustration is growing among foreign policy advisers over the failure of the White House to embrace a more cautious and critical approach to Russia. All 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have agreed Russia was behind last year’s hack of Democratic email systems and tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Trump.

Trump has to directly “say to Putin, ’We’re not happy about you interfering in our election,’” said Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. “If you don’t say that, you are going to get hammered by the press and Congress and you can guarantee Congress will pass sanctions legislation against Russia.”

“They also need to keep their expectations very, very modest,” added Pifer. “If they aim for a homerun in Hamburg, my guess is they’ll strike out.”

It won’t be a homerun, given Trump’s previous blunders, but if his advisers can get a firm handle on him ahead of time, any major gaffes may be avoided.

It’s really the most we can hope for.

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Source: Red State


BREAKING: Supreme Court Will Take On Trump’s Travel Ban

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday, amidst a release of case decisions and announcements of cases it will take on after its summer recess, it will hear arguments on the Trump administration’s notable first big blunder, the travel ban.

The court also reinstated the portion of the ban that affects people from five mid-eastern countries — Iran, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, and Syria — which was a part of the government’s request.

The post BREAKING: Supreme Court Will Take On Trump’s Travel Ban appeared first on RedState.

Source: Red State


Lubbock ISD chief makes ludicrous claim on Texas school funding

Speaking about public school funding and the Texas Legislature, Lubbock ISD chief Berhl Robertson was quoted by KAMC television as saying: “It came back with much less money and very little for Lubbock ISD. We are pretty discouraged about no additional funding and not a lot of attention paid to the 5.3 million children in […]
Source: Pratt on Texas


Power outages reported from overnight storms

Several power outages are being reported following overnight storms across the South Plains. As of 4:43 am, Lubbock Power & Light’s outage map shows 44 customers affected by outages. The icons shown on the map indicate crews are working on at least 5 areas across Lubbock, several areas have been assigned to crews, and a few new reports of outages are popping up.  According to Xcel Energy’s electric outage map as of 4:43 am, 50 or less customers are experienci…
Source: KCBD News


The Left Is Good At Protesting But Not Much Else

Anti-war protests were all the rage in 2002 and 2003. In the lead-up to the Iraq War, protests in New York and Washington D.C. attracted hundreds of thousands of people. They had signs, burned President Bush in effigy, and walked around with small gasoline containers to emphasize the “war for oil” narrative.

Fast-forward to 2011 and the left engaged in Occupy Wall Street protests, aimed at curbing the supposed excess of the financial markets. When Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in November, some spontaneous and some not spontaneous demonstrations broke out the same night. After Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Women’s March attracted close to 500,000 people to protest Trump’s presidency before it started.

What’s remarkable is that despite the success in organizing these protests and gaining a ton of media attention, they had little if any tangible impact electorally. George W. Bush won reelection in 2004. Barack Obama used the stock market as a means of beating Mitt Romney in 2012. Despite all the anger from the left directed at President Trump, Democrats are 0-4 in special congressional elections expected to send a “message” to Trump.

Now that the Senate is debating and preparing to vote on their version of the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), the left is ready to do some protesting. Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress, tweeted the following:

It is more of the same. There will be a big spectacle near the Capitol. Tens of thousands will likely show up, disrupt traffic and the event will get a ton of media attention and for what? If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the organizations are putting the protests together are doing it as a means of getting people to write checks, similar to the garbage conservative “scam” PAC’s that ask for money to “recruit” politicians for leadership positions they don’t want.

The Democrats poured $30 million in a special congressional race only to watch the candidate, Jon Ossoff, get fewer votes than the Democratic candidate — a candidate most people are convinced does not exist — who ran against Tom Price in 2016.

For a time I was convinced Donald Trump’s ineptitude might be a hindrance to Republicans in 2018. But watching Democrats and their manifest incompetence on display going back to the 2016 campaign, I’m not that concerned. For all the ways they can organize protests and get people out to on the street to speak truth to power, they cannot channel that energy into winning elections.

The response to the GOP healthcare plan is not a rational response, designed to get people in the middle to say, “You know what? Let’s keep the ACA.” Democrats are instead screeching, “The GOP plan will literally kill people!” That will work great to get their base voters out to form a human chain at the Capitol but what will it do for other voters? Voters who may not be happy with the GOP but aren’t going to listen to a bunch of yelling and screaming along with standard Democratic pablum.

If the left could organize people to vote in the way they can get people to protest, they might actually win something. Something tells me they’ll just chug along doing the same old thing and wake up after election day wondering, “Where did we go wrong?”

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Source: Red State


New Russian Ambassador Makes Life Hard for Trump and Tillerson

As I just posted, long time Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak has been recalled to Moscow.

Who has Russia selected to replace him?

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister has been named as Russia’s ambassador in the United States, foreign ministry sources have told The Moscow Times.

Career diplomat Anatoly Antonov will now need to be approved by Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, before formally taking the post.

The former deputy defense minister was first chosen as a possible candidate in the autumn of 2016, when the Kremlin believed that Democrat party nominee Hilary Clinton would take the White House.

Antonov was seen as a “hardliner” on the West, who would be able to negotiate with Clinton amid strained U.S.-Russia ties, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday.

The fact that Russia is sending a “hard liner” to replace Kislyak should calm down the “Russia is not our friend” crowd, but it won’t because those same people never cared about Russia until Trump was elected. But a hardline ambassador is not a problem, we’ve had lots of those sent by Russia since 1917. Antonov is under EU sanctions over his role in the aggression against Ukraine:

Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov is the highest-profile target of new sanctions due to be formally endorsed by European Union foreign ministers on Monday, diplomatic sources told Reuters.

Envoys of the 28 EU governments agreed this week on a list of Russian and pro-Moscow Ukrainian people and organisations that will be added to the EU’s sanctions list in its latest response to violence by pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine.

If Tillerson wants to play hardball with Moscow, because Antonov’s appointment seems like a calculated insult, he should refuse to accept his credentials and force Moscow to send a replacement. That probably won’t happen but it would be epic political theater if he did.

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Source: Red State