Friday, July 07, 2017


The Washington Post's Callum Borchers reports that Team Trump was badly outplayed, at least initially:
The White House allowed Russia to shape early impressions of Friday's meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin but responded quickly with its own account of the session that cast Trump as the aggressor who led off by expressing concerns about election meddling.

Putin got his version of events out first, telling Russian state media outlets that he and Trump discussed “a lot of issues such as Ukraine, Syria, other problems, some bilateral issues.”

“We again returned to the issues of fighting terrorism and cybersecurity,” Putin said.

Omitting any mention of a conversation about political interference, Putin raised the possibility that Trump hadn't brought it up during their two-hour sit-down on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg.
Borchers tells us that Sean Spicer and Rex Tillerson then held a news conference in which Tillerson insisted that the subject of election meddling was raised. Then it was the Russians' move, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Trump had accepted Putin's assurance that no Russian meddling took place. Then an "unnamed senior official" from the U.S. said Trump hadn't done that.

I hate the fact that current circumstances regularly lead me to agree with Joe Scarborough, but he's right about this:

It's clear that Russian state-run media did a good spin job. What about our state-run media? Well, here's the front page of Breitbart right now:

Where's the Trump-Putin meeting? Oh yeah, it's up in the corner. To Breitbart, the real news is that Trump is going to kick Mexico's ass on NAFTA, you betcha. Oh yeah, there was a meeting with Putin, too.

(Reuters says that Trump's meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto will "probably not lead to any major agreements," according to Mexico's foreign minister, Luis Videgaray; "We have to put it in context and not have expectations that are unjustified," Videgaray says.)

Breitbart seems not to want to put too much stress on the Trump-Putin meeting, perhaps because Trump got played, and Breitbart knows it. Better to divert the rubes by telling them that Trump is going to crush Mexico instead -- until we find out that's not true.

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