Trump’s war of words with Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee took place mostly, where else, on Twitter. In foreign policy, “containment” is supposed to be what the United States tries to do to its enemies — not to its own commander-in-chief. But containment is what Corker said is happening at the White House.
“I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” Corker told the Times. He also said Trump was treating the presidency like a “reality TV show.”
I may not have a perfect ass, but I have a President who is one
So just another week in Trump land, and another influential Republican that’s gotten into a pissing match with him. Sen. Bob Corker, who I’ve always thought has a pretty decent head on his shoulders, is Trump’s latest target. But first, let’s look at history.
I’ve been watching the Ken Burns/Lynn Novak documentary on Vietnam recently. It’s an epic historical documentary, and carefully chronicles the way the U.S. government lied to its own people over the course of 3 administrations spanning Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon. It’s eerie the way they play the secret tapes of presidents talking to their advisors about their doubts about the war, then that same day go on national T.V. and openly lie to the public.
Fast forward 25 years and we experience the debacle of the Bush/Cheney misadventure in Iraq. Even though Bush’s own father, George H.W. Bush had the good sense to not get bogged down in Iraq, and a true bipartisan military hero Colin Powell warned against it, off we went into the mosh pit that consumed so much blood and treasure for so very little. And once again, our government lied to us, and our allies. Why didn’t we heed the lessons of Vietnam? Because this was different – it’s terrorism, not communism. So it’s a whole new ball game. NOT!
So, once again we have a new situation where our government is lying to us. But this time it’s very, VERY, different. This time it’s the Republican establishment lying to us about the competency of their own Republican president. They tried to warn their party faithful early on that Trump is a train wreck, but the conservative minority in the country (yes, they are definitely a minority) said – ‘Wow- we like crazy. We haven’t tried crazy yet. Let’s do crazy!’ So they did, in the most improbable election of the last 100 years.
For the past 8 months there’s been this bizarre suspension of reality by Republican leaders in Congress about the lunatic tendencies of their own president. He’s the elephant in the room. Occasionally someone like Bob Corker (who has nothing left to lose since he’s not running for re-election, or John McCain who has nothing left to lose since he might succumb to cancer any day) has the guts to call Trump out. The others cower behind the Emperor’s clothes, except he’s not wearing any.
Someday in the future, well after those now in Congress have retired, there will be a day of reckoning about the Trump administration. Maybe it will be another Ken Burns documentary– after he’s done one about Iraq. And it will probably include many current Republican leaders reflecting on how they ‘drank the kool-aid.’ ‘We all thought we just needed to hold on long enough to slash taxes on the rich, eviscerate Obamacare, outlaw immigration, ban abortion, vanquish the EPA, and eliminate transgender people. After that, we were ready to confront Trump. If only things had worked out differently… ’.
What ‘worked out differently’ means will be experienced in your life time.
“Under the normal, traditional rules of politics of the last 40 years of my life, a president would not poke a senator in the eye when he has a two-seat majority and a major legislative agenda needing to be accomplished,”
Who in the name of all that’s holy would think these are “normal, traditional” times?
At first glance, not much, We’re all Americans, all love our country to death, and all have XY chromosomes. After that, the comparisons are weak. Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and James Kelly are all accomplished business or military leaders. I’m not. They all work for Trump, and I don’t. None of them wear lipstick or sweater dresses and are willing to climb up on a table and try to look sexy – at least, not any more.
But those are all superficial differences. At the moment, I think all four of us are focussing on keeping this country together during the great roller coaster adventure of the Trump presidency. We’re riding out every air raising turn and twist, primal scream lurch, and vomit-producing tilt imaginable. After all, if you’ve led the largest multinational company in the world, commanded hundreds of thousands of troops in the world’s most powerful military, or lived your entire life male when you know you should have been born female, four years is a cake walk. (O.K. – I took some liberties with the last example…)
O.K. Here’s the thing: Sen. Bob Corker (Republican from Tennessee) is a pretty smart guy and a total straight shooter. He recently was quoted as saying that Tillerson, Mattis, and Kelly “help separate our country from chaos." Each has endured slights and stupidity from Trump and his closest confidents, and I sense each would walk out the door in an instant if they did’t think their departure would worsen the country by allowing Trump to appoint someone totally incompetent and stupid. So they endure the daily circus.
Tillerson, Mattis, and Kelly are basically babysitting the Trump administration. They make sure the house doesn’t burn down before the parents come home to vote in 2018 and 2020. (Some parents – going out for two years at a time and thinking they can trust little Donald to behave…).
So no, I have little in common with Tillerson, Mattis, and Kelly. I won’t reach their levels of stature and heroism. And I’ll never work for Trump. On the other hand, none of them can rock a sweater dress like I can. (I’ve seen them try – it’s not pretty…). But we can all put on our poker faces and endure, for the sake of the nation.
President Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials during a meeting last week at the White House, two US officials confirmed Monday to BuzzFeed News.
The meeting included Russia’s ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The disclosures were first reported by the Washington Post, which cited current and former US officials who said the information was considered so sensitive that some details had been withheld from American allies and was restricted within the US government.
Two US officials who were briefed on Trump’s disclosures last week confirmed to BuzzFeed News the veracity of the Washington Post report, with one noting that “it’s far worse than what has already been reported.” The official was referring to the extent of the classified intelligence information Trump disclosed to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister.
The information Trump shared included intelligence on an ISIS plot that had been passed to the US by a partner, which was not identified. But Trump’s disclosure was considered a potential blow to the intelligence-sharing arrangement, and White House officials reportedly moved quickly to contain the fallout.
At least one member of the Senate Intelligence Committee was briefed on Trump’s disclosures, an intelligence committee staffer said. Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the committee, was not briefed, according to his office. Other members of the committee also said they did not receive a briefing.
A CIA spokesman declined to comment on the record when reached by BuzzFeed News. The official referred requests for comment to the National Security Council, which did not respond to requests for comment.
Following last week’s meeting, the White House said that Trump spoke to the Russians about ending the conflict in Syria and reigning in the Assad regime there, as well as controlling Iran. The White House also said Ukraine and the Middle East came up at the meeting.
After news of Trump’s revelations broke Monday, Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Foreign Relations committee, said “obviously they’re in a downward spiral right now and they’ve got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening.”
“And the shame of it is, there’s a really good national security team in place…but the chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think makes — it creates a worrisome environment,” Corker told reporters in Washington.
A spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said that “we have no way to know what was said, but protecting our nation’s secrets is paramount.”
“The speaker hopes for a full explanation of the facts from the administration,” said Doug Andres, Ryan’s spokesman.
In a statement Monday evening, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Trump and Russian officials discussed “a broad range of subjects at their meeting,” including “common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism.”
“During that exchange the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods, or military operations,” Tillerson continued.
H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser who participated in the meeting, said in a statement that “the president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation.”
“At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly,“ he added.
McMaster reiterated that point during a brief news conference outside the White House Monday night, saying that at no time during the meeting "were intelligence sources or methods discussed.”
“I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” McMaster said.
The Washington Post, however, did not report Trump shared intelligence sources or methods, but rather the contents of the information gathered.
“This story is false,” Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser, said Monday night. “The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced,” she said.”
The meeting between Trump, Lavrov, and Kislyak happened the day after the firing of FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading an investigation into Russian interference with the US election, as well as potential ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Initially, the stated reason for Comey’s firing was his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. However, in an interview with Lester Holt, Trump later said he was thinking of the Russia investigation when he fired Comey.
Comey’s firing led to speculation that Trump had obstructed justice, as well as numerous calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor to oversee the Russia investigation.
“I don’t know when it will be enough for Republicans to understand that we need to get to the bottom of the connection between the president of the United States and the Russian government,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday afternoon that if the reports about Trump revealing information were true “it’d be troubling.” Warner called the revelations “a slap in the face to the intel community.”
Though Trump’s alleged revelations to the Russians last week prompted widespread condemnation Monday, they were probably not illegal, according to Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.
“This story is more about the president’s competence than his compliance with the law,” Aftergood told BuzzFeed News. “There is probably no legal issue here, since the President controls the classification system and has essentially unlimited authority to declassify or disclose classified information. The reported fact that Trump disclosed intelligence information to the Russians does not necessarily mean that it was declassified.”
BuzzFeed News reporter Emma Loop contributed to this report from Washington.
UPDATE: May 15, 2017, at 7:21 p.m.
A staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee said the committee had been briefed on Trump’s disclosure. Several members of the committee have since said they were not briefed and this story has been updated with additional information.
UPDATE: May 15, 2017 at 8:49 p.m.
“Obviously they’re in a downward spiral right now,” @SenBobCorker on Trump’s Russia revelations
“The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful — and our nation and our world needs for him to be successful, whether you are Republican or Democrat.
He also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation. He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today. And he’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that. Without the things I just mentioned happening, our nation is going to go through great peril.”
~~Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Aug. 17, 2017
It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker ® blasted President Donald Trump in a scathing interview
with The New York Times on Sunday, saying the “vast majority” of
congressional Republicans were concerned with the president’s volatile
behavior and that rhetoric from the White House could set America “on
the path to World War III.”
the interview ― an unprecedented assessment of the head of the
senator’s own party ― Corker said Trump concerns him and that the
president’s proclivity for Twitter tirades had “hurt” the country during
times of negotiation.
know he has hurt, in several instances, he’s hurt us as it relates to
negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out,” Corker
said, adding that “everyone knows” the “president tweets out things that
are not true.”
except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands
what we’re dealing with here,” Corker continued. “Of course they
understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous
amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the
middle of the road.”
Corker, a powerful and respected Republican, was an early supporter of Trump during the 2016 campaign but has since become one of his most outspoken critics in the Senate. He lambasted Trump over his response to protests by white supremacists in August and has been critical of the president’s foreign policy decisions.
Corker continued such condemnation on Sunday when he said the president was running the White House like “a reality show.”
“He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” he told the Times.
launched his own Twitter crusade against the senator earlier on Sunday,
saying Corker “begged” the president to endorse him for re-election.
Corker announced his impending retirement from Congress in September.
also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS,’ Trump
tweeted, before continuing: “He is also largely responsible for the
horrendous Iran Deal!”
Corker fired back an hour later, saying it was “a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.”
All the Republican establishment’s money and muscle couldn’t stop culture warrior Roy Moore from ousting Sen. Luther Strange here Tuesday night.
Now, suddenly, other outsider candidates see a much bigger opening to make Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a villain and turn the party on its head in the 2018 midterms.
“This shows it can be done,” said Danny Tarkanian, who is challenging Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada’s Republican primary. “It shows the amount of money McConnell and his super PACs put in the race can’t change the feeling that voters have right now.”
Moore’s victory comes at an uncertain moment for GOP lawmakers, donors and operatives. The party’s stumbles on Capitol Hill have fed into a growing frustration with its leadership, and Moore’s win underscores the vulnerability of incumbents such as Heller and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake. Another possible target, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, announced his retirement Tuesday.
For all the right-wing insurgency’s bluster – and despite its efforts in places like neighboring Mississippi in 2014 and Arizona last year – a sitting GOP senator had not been toppled in a primary since Indiana’s Richard Lugar in 2012.