Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia on his first world trip as President of the United States. What could possibly go wrong? An irascible, unpredictable president with jet lag? It should all be fine. Visits to Saudi, Israel and the Vatican? All will be well, assuming Trump doesn't mix up religions as easily as failing to remember which countries he bombed recently.
The president leaves the USA, as impeachment proceedings near. Robert Mueller, formerly a director of the FBI, has been appointed special counsel on the investigation into Trump’s potential campaign ties to Russia. The problems reach into the highest levels of the White House apparently, with some suggestion Jared Kushner is implicated. It just gets worse.
Former FBI Director James Comey is to give evidence before Congress. Comey claims the president asked for his personal loyalty and pressured him to drop the Flynn enquiry, "He's a good guy ... Can't you let it go?" Well not really! That's obstruction of justice. Comey was fired but recriminations will follow.
Pleased with the knock out punch to Comey, Trump couldn't help bragging to the Russians in the White House .... "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's been taken care of. Comey was a crazy, nut job, I fired him". Trump may well have fired Comey but more will follow in his place.
Trump was also in trouble for releasing secret intelligence files about ISIS to the Russians. The Washington Post dropped a stunning story late Monday reporting that President Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during their visit to the Oval Office.
"This wasn't just any classified information. This was what is known as “code-word information,” one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies". Israeli intelligence was infuriated, their deep throat sources could be compromised. Putin was sympathetic to the plight of the president, offering to share notes on the meeting with Congress. Who could have realised the Kremlin had such a sense of humour.
As Trump lurches through series of crises, exhausted White House aides "polish résumés and face a new reality". Can he really last a full term? "No politician in history … and I say this with great surety has been treated worse or more unfairly." moaned Trump before the 2017 batch of coast guard graduates. He may have a point, assuming four assassinations of sitting presidents are excluded of course. Not a great student of history, "It's the greatest witch hunt in American History" claimed the President. How the citizens of Salem smiled.
The President will stop in Brussels for a NATO meeting on this week's tour. Foreign Policy’s Robbie Gramer offered exclusive details about how NATO allies are planning to deal with the unpredictable American leader.
“NATO is scrambling to tailor its upcoming meeting to avoid taxing President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention span. The alliance is telling heads of state to limit talks to two to four minutes at a time during the discussion.” One source briefed told FP, “it’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump, it’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing...they’re freaking out.”
How best to deal with Trump ... keep it short, boost his ego and give him an easy win. Tuck the real deal into the small print. He'll never find it ...
That's all for this week from The West Wing, Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot ... You can check out the series of blog posts here or leave any comments on the Facebook page here
|The Saturday Economist|
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