Trump just warned that Mueller’s investigation has offended Putin, and that “people will die” if it continues.

There doesn’t seem to be audio yet, but it’s being reported by several new agencies that, today, while flying aboard Air Force One from Da Nang to Hanoi, Trump doubled down on his ‘the Russia investigation is fake news’ narrative, telling members of the press that he’s chosen to accept the word of Vladimir Putin on the matter, apparently in spite of the evidence to the contrary. According to the accounts of those who were on Air Force One, Trump, after repeating that the whole story was an “artificial Democratic hit job,” said that he’s asked Putin whether or not the Russian government meddled in our election, and that Putin has denied it. And this, Trump told the journalists who were present, was enough to satisfy him. “Every time (Putin) sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,'” Trump told them, “and I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.” And, he added, “Everybody knows there was no collusion.”

Trump, according to the reports of the journalists who were there, indicated that he and Putin had, in fact, just discussed the matter again. “I just asked him again,” Trump said. “He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election.” Trump then went on to imply that Mueller’s investigation was making the world a less safe place, as Putin was becoming “insulted by” the whole thing. In fact, Trump warned that “people will die” if this continues. But, he added, there’s still an opportunity for our two nations to put this behind us and move on. “(We) have the potential to have a very good relationship,” Trump told those assembled for the 26-minute question and answer session. “I think it’s a shame that something like this can destroy a very important potential relationship between two countries that are very important countries Russia could really help us,” Trump added.

Refusing to acknowledge that many within his own administration, like White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and White House Counterterrorism adviser Thomas Bossert, acknowledge Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump said the whole thing was dreamed up by “political hacks.” The following is a direct quote from Trump… “So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker. So you look at that and you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with them.”

Well, as you might imagine, not everyone is enthusiastic about what Trump had to say. Here are just a few examples.

Michael McFaul, U.S. Ambassador to Russia (2012 to 2014) and Stanford professor of political science: “I am disturbed that our president believes a KGB agent and continues to refuse to believe the CIA. I can never remember a time in our history when this was so. I hope Trump’s national security team will be more forceful in convincing the president of the basic facts of Russia’s violation of our sovereignty last year.”

Thomas Wright, Director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution: “The worst part of this is not that Trump takes Putin’s word over the evidence based analysis of his own intelligence agencies. It is not even that he plays the role of a useful idiot as he kowtows to Putin yet again. The worst part, by far, is that a hostile power is engaged in an ongoing attack on America’s political system and Trump is deliberately stripping the nation’s defenses bare and leaving us exposed to future assaults. It is unilateral disarmament plain and simple… We have never seen this type of weakness in a U.S. president before.”

CIA spokesperson: “The director (Mike Pompeo) stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 intelligence community assessment entitled: ‘Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections.’ The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed.”

At this point, I have to think that Trump is daring the intelligence community to arrest him.

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  1. Iron Lung
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink


  2. wobblie
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Our intelligence community is world renown for its veracity.

  3. Posted November 11, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Wobblie, my assumption is that your comment was meant to be taken as sarcasm. Is that the case? And, if so, would like to go on record saying that you’d believe Putin over the authors of the “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections” report?

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Even Bannon in his recent NYT interview (largely unintelligible) said that the Russians can’t be trusted and are bad actors on the world stage. Trump is interested in opening up the arctic to drilling and other business deals with Russia. He clearly isn’t concerned about world security. He is in office to advance his business interests, which include lining the pockets of Russian oligarchs to which he is indebted.

    I’m glad those interests are being held at bay because of the Mueller investigation. It’s interesting to look at where the effective resistance to Trump and totalitarian creep has been most effective— government bureaucrats, the judiciary, states attorneys general, the military, the traditional press (which Trump calls ‘the opposition’) and the intelligence community have held him at Bay more effectively than protest. All institutions which leftists deride and argue are complicit in the worst actions of our government. And they may be. All these things can be true at once. And that’s a level of complexity that ideology can’t manage. The integrity of our institutions matter. They should be both scrutinized and properly valued. Maybe we will get there.

  5. Bob
    Posted November 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I’m starting to believe Trump might be more or less innocent on the Russian stuff. He’s obviously genuinely fucking stupid and probably watching old Solid Gold reruns while government happens in the other room.

  6. wobblie
    Posted November 12, 2017 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Yes. There will be plenty of obstruction of justice charges, money laundering charges , FARA failures, but not one criminal prosecution of charges related to the election. Get over it.

  7. Posted November 12, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t have thought it possible but I’m even more pissed off now. Trump, through Fox News, just amended his statement, saying that he does believe the intelligence community when it comes to Russian interference (kind of), but what really matters, in his opinion, is what Putin believes. And he feels as though Putin really believes his government didn’t interfere. Here’s the transcript of Trump’s discussion with Fox’s John Roberts.

  8. Posted November 12, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

  9. Jean Henry
    Posted November 12, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Belief keeps winning the battle against facts.

  10. Dave
    Posted November 12, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    The Don in a crime syndicate does not issue direct orders. They are passed through layers of command down to Joey Baggadonuts who then goes out and puts plugs in the target.

    When Putin uses the singular pronoun, in a technical sense he is telling the truth. HE did not ACTUALLY interfere. However, our intelligence agencies agree that Russian actors did interfere in our elections. Putin either laundered his orders to them and/or did nothing to stop them.

    Julian Assange did some similar linguistic gymnastics. Regarding the released hacked emails, Assange says: ” Our source is not a state party.” That does not mean that Russia was not responsible. It does leave open the possibility that an intermediary laundered the origin.

    Our Don really is in over his head. The scrubbing of order origins may have worked in NY real estate, but not so much in the White House. FOX news asking him to give an unequivocal answer seems unusual.

  11. Lynne
    Posted November 12, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I hope that in 500 years some playwrite turns this into an entertaining drama that will be the Julius Caesar of its day.

  12. Lynne
    Posted November 12, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I offer no explanation for the misspelling of playwright

  13. Posted November 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Do it again, Lynne, and I’ll block you.

    And I agree 100%, Dave. He’s in way over his head. I’ve used the analogy before, but there’s a “bust out” scene in The Sopranos that rings true. Let me see if I can find the link.

  14. Posted November 12, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

  15. Iron Lung
    Posted November 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    It is possible that people don’t even believe much of it, but rather will go along with it because it makes them feel powerful.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted November 12, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Iron Lung– That is essentially what I’m hearing from Trump voters. They are extremely disaffected with politics. They feel remaindered (and no small part of that is White anxiety). At least Trump seemed to be speaking to them directly. He crafted his messages to their applause. What ever they likes, he just repeated over and over again. And Bannon does understand populism. He knew what a successful populist candidacy looks like. And he saw that Trump was such an empty (and needy) vessel that he could be manipulated to bring that message forward. Trump made this 14% of America feel powerful and in charge. And they still would rather believe that (as would he) than reality. But I have yet to meet one who doesn’t think Trump is a bit untethered. They also think we are not giving him a chance and the media and public are being to hard on Trump and on them.

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted November 12, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t even know what to make of this:

  18. ypsidoodledandy
    Posted November 12, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to post another view on Russia and the election, which you can read if your mind is not already closed.

    I will say your rage seems to have overcome your reason, as you stooped to red baiting in your comment above about a reader believing Putin over U.S Intelligence.

    Which is not to say there are not things to worry about re: Russia:

  19. Anonymous
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    I found this quote from former CIA Dierctor Brennan in the NYT interesting.

    “People don’t realize Russia has been very, very heavily sanctioned,” Mr. Trump said. “And I feel that having Russia in a friendly posture, as opposed to always fighting with them, is an asset to the world and an asset to our country, not a liability.”

    Mr. Brennan, appearing later on CNN’s “State of the Union,” suggested that the president was being manipulated by Mr. Putin.

    “I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump’s interest in being flattered,” he said. “And also I think Mr. Trump is, for whatever reason, either intimidated by Mr. Putin, afraid of what he could do or what might come out as a result of these investigations.”

  20. Iron Lung
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Mr. Trump’s weakness is astounding. Even his interactions with Shinzo Abe were troubling. Abe knew from the start how to get what he wanted out of Trump, simply by flattering him and lobbing softballs about American policy. Abe isn’t even particularly shrewd, very much unlike Vladimir Putin, a master manipulator.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The China trip was a parade of mutual ass-kissing. It’s hard to know what to make of it, but France led the way to this flattery diplomacy with the US and it clearly works for Trump. He has every personality characteristic of an effective totalitarian but intelligence. Whether his idiot level intelligence makes us more or less safe is a big question for me. Everyone having his number is not necessarily a good thing, but it may make them feel less backed into a corner.

    “Managing up’ works well right up until the higher up realizes that’s what’s happening. The there is rage. Scorched Earth. Let’s hope he doesn’t recognize what’s happening until the time comes to remove him.

    (I can’t believe I’m talking about a democratically elected US president this way.)

  22. Lynne
    Posted November 13, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I also wonder often, in many different contexts, if Trump’s utter incompetence is a good thing or a bad thing. The answer varies by situation (PR is seeing the harmful effects) but I agree there is huge value in world leaders not feeling backed into corners. What happens if Trump starts to get backed into a corner himself? Let’s just hope he declares that corners are for winners and leaves it at that.

  23. Tommy
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    The ‘tell’ – in terms of when the retarded orangutan is out of his element and talking utter bullshit – is when he repeats the same word or phrase over and over again. His answer to the above question uses the word ‘believe’ 7 times. That’s how I know he is full of shit … scratch that, he’s always full of shit.

  24. wobblie
    Posted November 18, 2017 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    Article states 22 criminal charges are being prepared against 7 defendants.

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