When will this international embarrassment end?

So, it finally happened… Trump and Putin met face-to-face at the G-20 event in Hamburg yesterday, their first face-to-face meeting since Trump ascended to the presidency of the United States. [note: While Trump now denies having ever met Putin in the past, he’s stated previously that they knew one another.] According to accounts of the closed-door meeting, Trump did broach the subject of Russia’s interference in our last election, but, after some discussion, he apparently he told the Russian oligarch that the time had come for us to move beyond it. According to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, one of the few people allowed in the room, it was decided that, since “we (could) not come to an agreement about what happened,” we should put this “intractable disagreement” behind us, and move on. Here’s the Fox News announcement about this joint decision to move forward.

According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was in the room as well, Trump also apparently accepted Putin’s word that, despite the assessment of the FBI, CIA, DNI and NSA, he and the Russians had noting to do with altering the course of our election.

And, as if that weren’t enough to piss off our intelligence community, Trump, according Lavrov, then apparently suggested that our two nations form a working group to study how we can better curb cyber interference in elections… this, in spite of new evidence that Russian hackers have broken into the voting systems of almost every state as well as several of our nuclear sites.

Here, for those of you who might have been avoiding coverage in hopes of feeling better about our place in the world, are a few photos from yesterday’s summit.

Demonstrating what Vice President Pence calls “unapologetic American leadership,” Donald Trump sits alone as world leaders discuss issues of global importance around him.

Having walked away to either tweet or tan, Trump chooses to have his daughter Ivanka, instead of our Secretary of State, take his place at the table of world leaders, demonstrating to the world that the United States is now little more than a family business.

After giving Putin a few gentle pats on the back, and saying what an “honor” it was to be in his presence, Trump went behind closed doors with Putin to bond over their hatred of “fake news,” and other things that despots bond over. Upon exiting their meeting, Putin, who is known to have had several journalist murdered in Russia, implied with a laugh that he could help Trump with is free press problem.

World leaders think to themselves, “How much fucking longer do we have to tolerate this nonsense?”

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  1. wobblie
    Posted July 8, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Obama was a Kenyan Socialist. We are being played.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted July 8, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Tillerson has since amended his comments, adding the following. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe him.

    “He raised the concerns of the American people [over Russian meddling] and pressed Putin [on that] more than once.”

  3. Ilana Houten
    Posted July 8, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    “Though the mills of God grind slowly; Yet they grind exceeding small;
    Though with patience He stands waiting, With exactness grinds He all.”

    -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    It will happen.

  4. Meta
    Posted July 8, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    From the Weekly Standard.

    If Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s readout of Donald Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin is a preview of the Trump administration’s approach to Russia, it’s going to be a rough three and a half years. In a diplomatic depantsing that will have repercussions far beyond Russia, Tillerson’s comments did more to further Russia’s interests than Russian propaganda outlets could have possibly hoped to accomplish themselves.

    Tillerson told reporters that Trump and Putin “acknowledged the challenges of cyber threats and interference in the democratic processes of the United States and other countries.” Well then.

    Vladimir Putin acknowledged generic “challenges” of unspecified “cyber threats” related to U.S. elections and those in other countries? Who cares? What Putin wouldn’t acknowledge was far more important: The Russians were the source of the cyber threats…

    Tillerson reported that after the two men had a “robust and lengthy exchange on the subject,” Putin “denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.” Putin’s denials are false, of course, and the offenses are grave. Russia’s election meddling is part of a longer pattern of provocation largely ignored by the Obama administration and now tolerated by Trump. But the president apparently didn’t want to let reality intrude on his desire for better relations (he began his meeting by telling Putin that he was “honored” to meet him) and Tillerson didn’t seem to care. “So, more work to be done on that regard,” Tillerson said, dismissively.

    If that’s where the issue rested after today’s meeting, that’d be bad enough. But Tillerson made matters worse. He offered additional thoughts on what “more work” might be done. Trump and Putin, Tillerson announced, “agreed to explore creating a framework around which the two countries can work together to better understand how to deal with these cyber threats.”

    A framework for understanding? Not consequences? Not sanctions? Not even the threat of retaliation from the United States?

    There is no need for a framework of understanding. Vladimir Putin understands what this diplo-feculence means: The Trump administration will not punish him in any way for his aggressive attempts to interfere in the 2016 election. And we don’t need a framework for understanding to see what that’ll mean for future elections—here and elsewhere: It will happen again.

    The intelligence community predicted as much six months before Friday’s meeting. As the January 6 report said: “We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.”

    In the unlikely event that there was any remaining confusion about U.S. capitulation, Tillerson used a response to a reporter’s question to end it. “I think what the two presidents, I think rightly, focused on is how do we move forward; how do we move forward from here.”

    The embarrassment wasn’t limited to interference in U.S. elections. There was Syria, too, where Tillerson claimed that American and Russian “objectives are exactly the same.”

    It is absurd to claim that our objectives in Syria—where the United States has called for the end of the Assad regime that Russia is supporting—are exactly the same. Forget being identical; in most cases, they aren’t even coincidental.

    Read more:

  5. Joe M.
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Minor nitpicking, but the Russians have not hacked any nuclear sites.

    They are targeting the companies and executives involved in our nuclear power industry, but no one has come remotely close to hacking the sites themselves.

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