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The NATO-Strzok Circus

The NATO-Strzok Circus

by digby


My Salon column today on the shitshow abroad and at home:

After all the fireworks at the NATO meeting on Wednesday, I assumed they would wind down on Thursday and President Trump would head off to jolly old England with a smile on his face for a nice visit with the Queen and a few rounds of golf in Scotland. By acting like a crazed, unpredictable imbecile he had made his point: he's got the biggest swinging hands in the free world and there's nothing these pip squeak allies can do about it.

Unfortunately, he wasn't finished. He showed up late for another meeting, took it over and started browbeating everyone again about spending and trade demanding they embark on a massive military build-up and insisting they spend that money on American equipment because it's the best. Then he held a press conference and much like the one he held after the Singapore pageant it was delusional. He declared himself a hero for getting the allies to agree to spend more (he didn't) saying “If you ask Secretary General Stoltenberg, he gives me total credit.” He said NATO is much stronger than it was two days before.

When asked if he would contradict any of these statements in a tweet after the meeting he actually repeated one of the most absurd comments he's ever made, and that's saying something. He said:

That's other people that do that. I don't. I'm very consistent. I'm a very stable genius.
Fact check: False.

He's not just unstable, he seems to be coming apart at the seams. Politico reported that the NATO allies have concluded, in so many words,that the president of the United States is nuts.

British Prime Minister Teresa May might have thought her conversations with Trump were confidential, what with the "special relationship" between the two countries and all but she got a big surprise after the big state dinner with Trump in London last night:


Trump told the tabloid that he threatened May that if she followed through with her soft-Brexit plan the US would not make a bilateral trade deal and would go with the EU instead. I think we know that's fatuous nonsense but he wanted to make sure it was public because May's job is very tenuous and it's pretty clear that Trump wants to help topple her, apparently in order to install his pal Boris Johnson. This would be unusual for any other president, but Trump is a big fan of foreign interference in the democratic process on his behalf so he just went for it.

He also said that he told May how to do Brexit right but she wouldn't listen. Sure he did ...

The Brits were not amused:

By the time you read this, we'll probably know just how bad it is.

Meanwhile, back in the States my hoped for congressional counter-balance took a hard right turn and went over the cliff. While the Senate earlier in the week had taken some symbolic bipartisan votes about NATO and trade to send a message that Trump's diplomatic misconduct was not reflective of the entire US government, the Republicans in the House of Representatives said,"you want crazy? We'll give you crazy."

The all day House oversight and judiciary committees grilling of Peter Strzok, the top counter-intelligence FBI agent who had been involved in both the Clinton email case and the early months of the Russia investigation until he was found to have texted rude remarks about Trump to his girlfriend was a three ring circus. The Republicans were the clowns.

Apparently believing that their best chance of deflecting whatever the special prosecutor finds out about the Russian interference is to destroy the reputation of the FBI and the Department of Justice, they decided to become the human version of Donald Trump's twitter feed. It wasn't pretty.