Trump’s Retreat

Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow, 1812

The full route may take a few more months, but I think it’s finally begun. Even the staid Business Insider is reporting that Trump is a “controlled spy.”

By now it’s clear that Trump was utterly gobsmacked by the reaction to the “surrender summit.” He probably still doesn’t understand what he did wrong. But he seems to think he fixed everything with his non-correcting correction yesterday, not noticing that nobody but his most besotted followers believed him. It certainly hasn’t stopped the criticism and speculation that Trump is working for Putin.

The Financial Times, also not exactly a left-wing rag:

Senior Republicans need now to step out of the shadow of Mr Trump — and remember their party’s honourable role in crafting the bipartisan foreign policy that saw the US through the cold war. The party of Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan should recoil at President Trump’s behaviour in Helsinki. It needs to rediscover its soul, before it is too late.

The Financial Times op ed is headlined “Trump, Putin and the betrayal of America.” Do read the whole thing.

Today, Captain Oblivious has gone back to bragging about his great success in Moscow. But now Moscow is sending out press releases about a “military agreement” reached in Helsinki. Say what?

Russia announced it was ready to pursue agreements reached by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump “in the sphere of international security,” though the White House and Pentagon would not confirm any agreements had been made or offer any details. …

… “The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is ready for practical implementation of the agreements reached between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in the sphere of international security achieved at the Helsinki summit,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a Russian military spokesman, said in a statement Tuesday.

The Russian military “is ready to intensify contacts with the US colleagues in the General Staff and other available channels to discuss the extension of the START treaty, cooperation in Syria, as well as other issues of ensuring military security,” Konashenkov said.

Since nobody but Trump, Putin and the interpreters know what was said in the closed-door summit, nobody has any idea what the Russians are talking about. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen wants the U.S. translator to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on what was said. Any senator who doesn’t support that proposal is a Russian tool, just like Trump. And Roy Blunt.

“Um…,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said, pausing when asked if he wants to know what Trump said in the meeting. “I don’t understand the value of that two-hour meeting, but that’s the president’s decision to make not mine.”

You’re a senator, Senator. The Constitution says you have something to say about the president’s conduct of foreign policy. Remember?

Blunt, Devin Nunes, and some other obvious tools to the contrary, it’s clear the GOP establishment is shaken to its core by what happened in Helsinki. They may be more reluctant to cover Trump’s ass going forward.

Speaking of bare asses — A judge denied Paul Manafort’s request for a change of venue. More interesting, yesterday Bob Mueller asked a judge to grant immunity to five potential witnesses against Manafort so that they can’t plead the Fifth.

Manafort’s trial starts next week.