Author: Aaron Blake

Not even Republicans buy the Trump team’s ‘collusion isn’t a crime’ defense

Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in January 2017. (REUTERS/Stephanie Keith/File Photo) by Aaron Blake August 15 at 8:15 AM Email the author Rudy Giuliani has said that collusion isn’t technically a crime. President Trump has said it’s totally normal to seek opposition research — even if it was from Russia. Not even Republicans buy these defenses. A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows there is actually a bipartisan consensus on the appropriateness of seeking information about a political opponent from a hostile foreign country. Fully 79 percent of Americans say it’s never acceptable, including 92 percent of...

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Trump just made 2 problematic admissions about the Trump Tower meeting

President Trump speaks during a rally on Aug. 4, 2018, in Lewis Center, Ohio. (John Minchillo/AP) by Aaron Blake August 5 at 10:52 AM Email the author President Trump has yet again tweeted about his personal legal issues in a way he perhaps shouldn’t have. That Washington Post reported Saturday that Trump had expressed concerns in the past week about his son Donald Trump Jr.’s legal exposure from the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. In a tweet about that report on Sunday, Trump said, “This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in...

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Trump’s meeting with Putin is apparently being kept secret even from U.S. intelligence

by Aaron Blake August 2 at 2:44 PM Email the author It has been almost three weeks since President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki for two hours, and we still have very little idea what they spoke about. Apparently we’re in the same boat as the head of U.S. intelligence. During a visit to the White House’s daily press briefing with other top national security officials who were there to talk about Russian interference in the 2018 elections, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats was asked what he knew about the Trump-Putin summit. “I’m not...

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Michael Cohen to Trump: I will flip on you

Michael Cohen arrives at court in May. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Michael Cohen once said he would “take a bullet” for President Trump. He reportedly said he would rather “jump out of a building than turn on Donald Trump.” He now sounds very ready to leap. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos posted Monday morning, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer sent his clearest signal to date that he is prepared to flip on Trump. But while there have certainly been others recently, this one came from the horse’s mouth. “Once I understand what charges might be filed against me, if...

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Is the administration backing off Trump’s demand that North Korea get rid of its nukes?

[embedded content] President Trump has assured us he’ll drive a hard bargain with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and he set the goal posts firmly at Kim getting rid of his nuclear weapons. Asked last month what he meant when he said “denuclearization,” Trump said: “It means they get rid of their nukes — very simple.” But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sounded a somewhat different tune Sunday. The newly installed top U.S. diplomat at times seemed to echo Trump’s hard line. He reiterated on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump’s goal was “the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.”...

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Is the White House being honest when it says David Shulkin resigned? If so, it should be able to prove it.

[embedded content] In any normal workplace, people would prefer that you to think they quit rather than they were fired. The Trump administration is clearly no normal workplace. Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has spent much of the last three days disputing the White House’s contention that he resigned and is instead insisting he was fired. And while it’s possible he is simply striving for accuracy, it seems just as likely it’s his way of taking a parting shot at President Trump. Federal law, after all, says Trump can appoint an interim VA secretary only if Shulkin “dies, resigns,...

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The White House’s false choices on Putin and Russia

President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit on July 7, 2017. (Evan Vucci/AP) On Tuesday, 17 days after Russia allegedly poisoned a former spy on the soil of a close U.S. ally using a nerve agent, President Trump made the case for taking it easy on Russia. “Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump tweeted in defense of his having congratulated Vlaidimir Putin on his apparently undemocratic reelection win. I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory (in past, Obama called him...

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Trump went way off-script on his Putin call — reinforcing the peril of the looming Kim Jong Un meeting

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. (Jorge Silva/AFP/Getty Images) President Trump announced two weeks ago that he would hold an unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. On Tuesday, Trump reminded us just how awry that meeting could go. The Washington Post is reporting that Trump was given key talking points for his call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday and that he disregarded just about all of them. He was not supposed to congratulate Putin on his allegedly unfair and undemocratic reelection win — his notes even had “DO...

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