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Morning Briefing: Just How Deep Has Trump Gotten Us Involved with Putin?

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 19, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 19, 2018 |


There is a lot to go over today. I’m not even sure where to start, but how about here:

— There is a reason that this is coming out now, and who knows who leaked it, but the NYTimes is reporting that two weeks before his inauguration, Trump received massive troves of clear, incontrovertible evidence that not only did the Russians meddle in our election, but that Vladimir Putin directed the meddling.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Why is this important? Becuase Trump knew and has known, and accepted at the time that Putin interfered in our elections, and has been spending the last year and a half denying it, so either Trump really is compromised or he is terrified of people believing that his election victory was illegitimate. Because it is. Did the Russians actually change any votes? Maybe not. Did they change minds? Absolutely!

— Not that it matters to Republican voters. Not that anything where it concerns Trump matters to Republican voters. In a new Axios poll, a whopping 79 percent of Republicans approve of the way that Trump handled the press conference with Putin. The bond between Trump and his voters is clearly unbreakable. If publicly siding with an authoritarian, geopolitical enemy and calling out our own intelligence services doesn’t break the spell, I don’t think anything will. The Republican party is hopeless and probably will be until Trump is no longer around. Fortunately, Republicans are not the majority in the country, and 58 percent of Americans overall disapprove of the way that Trump handled the press conference (91 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of Independents expressed disapproval).

— There’s really not much Democrats will be able to do, either, until we at least offer a national alternative to Trump. As far as Stephen Bannon is concerned, however, the only real threat to Trump in 2020 is Oprah, or someone like her, and Oprah is not interested at the moment. Dwayne Johnson? Tom Hanks? Shonda Rhimes? Somebody help us out here!

— And yet, and yet:

House Republicans plan to vote Thursday on a spending bill that excludes new money for election security grants to states, provoking a furious reaction from Democrats amid a national controversy over Russian election interference.

— Meanwhile, I am terrified by the fact that the White House did not outright reject the possibility of sending American citizens — including a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul — over to Russia for questioning from the KGB. I mean: What the fuck? The State Department, thankfully, will never let that happen, but the fact that it’s even a consideration for Trump should show you how fucking far over the bend he has gone. From WashPo:

The willingness of the White House to even contemplate handing over a former U.S. ambassador for interrogation by the Kremlin drew ire and astonishment from current and former U.S. officials. Such a proposition is unheard of. So is the notion that the president may think he has the legal authority to turn anyone over to a foreign power on his own.

— I mean, Trump apparently made actual agreements with Putin. What agreements? Who the hell knows?

U.S. officials are “scrambling” to find out what verbal agreements Trump made with Putin. Let me repeat that again: U.S. officials are scrambling to find out what agreements Trump made on behalf of the United States with Putin.

— Yup!

— The Russians know what’s up.

— For what it’s worth, the The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has opened a criminal investigation into the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which could lead to possible criminal referrals. I’m not even sure how that would work, or if it could, but at least it’s something.

— In midterms news, Republican Rep. Jason Lewis — who is in a very competitive House race in Minnesota — is coming under fire nationally for comments he made five years ago on his radio show.

“Well, the thing is, can we call anybody a slut? This is what begs the question,” Lewis said. “But it used to be that women were held to a little bit of a higher standard. We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can’t call her a slut?”

He also suggested that women were more likely to vote liberal because they are guided by emotion rather than reason. I hope this news gives them a lot of emotions to be driven by.

(Image via FX)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.