Heading to Canada today for the annual G7 summit,Donald Trump has called for reinstating Russia to the ‘Group of 7’ nations.
Russia was ousted four years ago from the group of leading industrial countries after invading Crimea and they haven’t left.
Why reward Putin and pals for nothing?
From The New York Times:
“Russia should be in this meeting,” Mr. Trump said. “Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting? And I would recommend — and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting, it should be a part of it. You know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run and the G-7 — which used to be the G-8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
Russia joined the group in the 1990s after emerging from the wreckage of the Soviet Union, making it the G-8, but its armed intervention in its neighbor Ukraine in 2014 and seizure of the Crimean peninsula angered other major powers. The remaining members, led by President Barack Obama, expelled it in a sign of global resolve not to let international borders be redrawn by force.
Mr. Trump offered no specific reasoning for why Russia should be let back in even though it retains control of Crimea and has not lived up to an international agreement to end its intervention in eastern Ukraine.
Man, Trump sure is loyal to the country that elected him.
|Don Trump Jr. (L) and Donald Trump (R)
In a newly released memo, Donald Trump’s lawyers admitted for the first time that Trump dictated a statement to deceive the public about his son’s June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian government lawyer.
In a confidential letter to special counsel Robert Mueller in January, President Donald Trump’s legal team acknowledged for the first time that Trump “dictated” the first misleading statement put out about his son’s controversial 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower.
“You have received all of the notes, communications and testimony indicating that the President dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump, Jr.,” the letter said, according to The New York Times, which published a copy of it. “His son then followed up by making a full public disclosure regarding the meeting, including his public testimony that there was nothing to the meeting and certainly no evidence of collusion.”
Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, NBC interview, 7/16/17: “The President was not — did not — draft the response. The response came from Donald Trump Jr. and — I’m sure — in consultation with his lawyer. … Let me say this — but I do want to be clear — that the President was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, daily press briefing, 8/1/17: “He certainly didn’t dictate, but he — like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do.”
The White House has denied any involvement in the misleading statement which originally described the meeting was about child adoption. Instead, emails showed Russian actors were offering dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. took the meeting after responding, “I love it!”
|Donald Trump (L) Vladimir Putin (R)
After a 14-month investigation, the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no evidence to dispute the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia, on orders from Putin, carried out an unprecedented election interference effort to help the Trump campaign and hurt the Clinton campaign in 2016.
Even Fox News is reporting the news:
Senate Intelligence Committee leaders on Wednesday backed the 2017 intelligence community report that formally accused Russia of trying to interfere in the U.S. presidential election to boost then-candidate Donald Trump.
Their statements followed a final closed-door interview on the matter with top Obama administration officials. The committee, led by Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., spoke Wednesday with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan and former National Security Agenda Director Michael Rogers (who retired earlier this year).
“Committee staff have spent 14 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft, and analytic work, and we see no reason to dispute the conclusions,” Burr said in a statement. “There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections. I look forward to completing the Committee’s inquiry and issuing our findings and recommendations to the American people.”
Donald Trump backtracked today on his previous Twitter rant threatening Russia and Syria with a missile strike saying that an airstrike wasn’t necessarily imminent.
“Never said when an attack on Syria would take place,” Trump tweeted this morning. “Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS.”
Trump curiously asked for praise from Americans for doing his job: “Where is our ’Thank you America?’”
Donald Trump appeared to threaten Syria and Russia Wednesday morning in a tweet post that vowed missiles fired at Syria “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!'”
From The New York Times:
President Trump put Syria and Russia on notice Wednesday morning in a Twitter post, promising that missiles fired at Syria “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’” and telling the Kremlin that it should not partner with a “Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!” After the threat, the president said in a separate tweet that relations between the United States and Russia are worse than ever.
On Tuesday, the Russian ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, warned the United States and its allies that any missiles fired at Syria would be shot down, according to a Reuters report. There were already indications that Syria was moving key aircraft to a Russian base in the Mediterranean Sea, taking pains to protect important weapons systems.
Remember when Trump said attacking Syria would lead to “very bad things happening?”
And remember when Trump tweeted that “broadcasting” our military moves wasn’t smart?
Donald Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this morning and, according to reports, Tillerson found out when he saw the president’s tweet announcing the news.
Tillerson and Trump have often found themselves on opposing sides of foreign policy over the past year.
Just yesterday, NBC News reported that Tillerson had called the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent in the U.K. “a really egregious act” that appears to have “clearly” come from Russia.
Trump said he wouldn’t condemn Russia until after reviewing the facts.
Donald Trump must have gotten a call from his boss Vladimir Putin in Moscow and been told to fire Tillerson.
Of course, you may recall that back in October of 2017 the story broke that Tillerson had called Trump “a moron.”
Moral of the story? You can call the president a moron and keep your job; blame Russia for poisoning an ex-spy and you’re out.
As had been rumored for months, CIA Director Mike Pompeo will become the new Secretary of State, and his Deputy Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, will take the reins at CIA.
Some news items you might have missed:
• UK “Survival of the Fittest” reality show contestant Ryan Cleary (above) recently came out as bisexual.
• Sally Field is trying to hook her gay son up with Winter Olympics darling Adam Rippon.
• Trump’s proposed budget cuts for HIV/AIDS funding would lead to 300,000 more deaths per year.
• A homophobic ad in Russia warns folks the gays will take over unless they vote.
• A top Republican pollster says Oprah Winfrey is “triggering” for Donald Trump.
• Out crossover artist Andre Xcellence has released I’m Coming, his highly charged EP of Xcellent music that he calls the soundtrack of his life.
The EP includes “So What?”, a celebratory anthem that invites gays and straights to party on the dance floor together. Check out the release on iTunes here or on Spotify here.
|Andre Xcellence EP “I’m Coming”
It will come as no surprise to anyone today that back when Donald Trump owned the Miss Universe Pageant, his picks for finalists often overrode the decisions of the judges.
And often, those finalists came from countries where Trump had business interests.
Jeffrey Toobin writes for The New Yorker:
From 1996 to 2015, Donald Trump co-owned the Miss Universe Organization, which also included the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Teen U.S.A. pageants. A day or two before a pageant began, Trump would casually visit the contestants while they conducted their final rehearsals. Former contestants told me that Trump would circulate among the young women, shaking hands and chatting with each of them, periodically turning to speak with Paula Shugart, the president of the Miss Universe Organization, who followed him at a discreet distance. (Paula Shugart declined to comment.)
Adwoa Yamoah, who competed as Miss Canada in 2012, told me, “He made comments about every girl: ‘I’ve been to that country.’ ‘We’re building a Trump Tower there.’ It was clear the countries that he liked did well. He’d whisper to Paula about the girls, and she’d write it down. He basically told us he picked nine of the top fifteen.”
Kerrie Baylis, who was Miss Jamaica in 2013, described a similar scene and added that, when the finalists were announced, “the list looked like the countries that Donald Trump did business with, or wanted to do business with.” Shi Lim, who competed that year as Miss Singapore, told me, “The finalists were picked by Trump. He was really in charge. We called it the Trump card.” (A Miss Universe spokeswoman said that the pageant rules allowed the company’s staff, including Trump, to participate in naming the finalists.)
Toobin goes on to chronicle Trump’s obsession with Russian business, and explains how the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant (held in Russia) helped create many connections between Team Trump and several wealthy Russian businessmen.
Well worth the read.
Amid allegations of state-sponsored doping, the International Olympic Committee has banned Team Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Those Russian athletes willing and able to prove they are “clean” may be invited to take part on a case by case basis.
Those athletes must meet strict guidelines and will compete under the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia” (OAR). They will wear a uniform with that name on it and the Olympic anthem will be played at any ceremonies.
The invitations will be decided upon by a panel led by the Chair of the Independent Testing Authority (ITA), Velerie Fourneyron, but it will be the IOC who ultimately decides.
Russia’s Olympic Committee has been ordered to reimburse the IOC’s costs of investigating the doping scandal and it must also pay $15 million.
Vitaly Mutko, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and former Minister of Sport, has been barred from attending any future Olympic Games.
In this week’s podcast:
• Chile begins debate on same-sex marriage
• Hate crimes against LGBTs have doubled in five years in Russia
• Democratic senators introduce the LGBT Elder Americans Act
• A growing number of millennial men are more prone to identify as the more fluid “mostly straight” than use the term “bisexual”
• The highly anticipated gay-themed film, “Call Me By Your Name,” leads the 2017 Independent Spirit Awards with six nominations and does great box office in its first week in domestic release.
• Pink and Channing Tatum challenge gender-norms in her new music video, “Beautiful Trauma.”
All that and more on this episode of The Randy Report.