Trump Administration Tries To Cover For Saudis

Ken AshfordForeign Affairs, Middle East, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

If Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Riyadh to read the Riot Act to Saudi rulers over the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi, he hid it well behind cheery smiles and professions of amity. But then outrage has been conspicuously absent from the Trump administration in the two weeks since Mr. Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, never to be … Read More

Breaking: Saudis Admit To Killing Khashoggi: Said It Was An Accident

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

It looks like the Saudi prince is trying to clear his name by throwing certain operatives under a bus. Source tells NYT the Saudis are preparing to describe a scenario that would protect MBS from blame.The source said the royal court would soon put out a narrative that an official within the kingdom's intel services carried out the killing of … Read More

President “America First” Is Sure Quick To Believe Other Countries

Ken AshfordCrime, Foreign Affairs, Middle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Fielding a question on the White House lawn, Donald Trump showed that he is always ready to believe a dictator … even when it requires saying something utterly ridiculous. Asked about the disappearance, and suspected murder, of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump was ready to say who it wasn’t. Trump: The king firmly denies any knowledge of it.  And, just like Vladimir Putin … Read More

Trump On 60 Minutes

Ken AshfordEnvironment & Global Warming & Energy, L'Affaire Russe, North Korea, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

In his first non-Fox interview in months, Trump talked to Leslie Stahl for “60 Minutes”.  Here’s a highlight of the insanity Climate change “I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again. I don’t think it’s a hoax, I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s manmade. I will say this. I don’t want to … Read More

The Apparent Murder of Khashoggi and the Chaos of The US-Saudi Relationship

Ken AshfordCrime, Foreign Affairs, Middle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Jamal Khashoggi, a well-known Saudi Arabian journalist and Washington Post columnist who has been critical of his country’s government, vanished last week. His disappearance is straining Turkey-Saudi relations and could complicate Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent attempts to recast his government as forward-thinking and reform-minded — as well as his country’s close relationship with the US. The 59-year-old … Read More

Trump, After Killing NAFTA, Strikes “Understanding” With Mexico If He Can Get Them On The Phone

Ken AshfordEconomy & Jobs & Deficit, Foreign Affairs, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

What a disaster this President is .@FoxNews begins coverage of U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement #USMTATRUMP: I believe the President is on the phone. Enrique? (uncomfortable 10-sec pause) Err, you can hook him up, please. STAFF: Coming! TRUMP: You wanna, uh, put that on this phone, please? Hello?🤦‍♀️ pic.twitter.com/carlPz1HMj— Bad Fox Graphics (@BadFoxGraphics) August 27, 2018 "Enrique?" pic.twitter.com/nH205gPOZs— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August … Read More

They Have To Explain Time Zones To Our “Very Stable Genius President”

Ken AshfordForeign Affairs, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Politico’s Daniel Lippman rounds up several harrowing new details of Trump’s attempts to interact with world leaders. Trump’s shortcomings as a global strategist include, but are not limited to, the following areas: Knowing all the countries. Maps indicate the world contains a bunch of countries whose existence Trump was never made aware of previously. “Trump appeared confused by Nepal and Bhutan, which … Read More

It’s Not Just Trump Anymore

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Republicans, Russia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Michelle Goldberg asks “Are Republicans Covering for Trump, or for Themselves?” Of all the interlocking mysteries of the Trump-Russia scandal, one that I’ve found particularly perplexing is the utter servility of congressional Republicans before a president many of them hate and believe to be compromised by a foreign power. Yes, I know they’re thrilled about tax cuts and judges. Given … Read More

More Cleanup On Aisle Trump

Ken AshfordCybersecurity, L'Affaire Russe, Russia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Yesterday, the day after Trump’s unconvincing walkback of believing Putin over the US intelligence community, this happened at a press pool spray: The exact exchange that just occurred in the White House 👇 REPORTER: Is Russia still targeting the US, Mr. President? TRUMP: Thank you very much. No. (Shakes head) REPORTER: No? You don’t believe that to be the case? … Read More

Treason Summit Fallout

Ken AshfordElection 2016, L'Affaire Russe, Russia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

It’s been compared to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. These comparisons, to me, aren’t apt.  For one thing, people died.  More importantly, those tragedies weren’t self-inflicted. But the gravity of what Trump did has even surpassed his “both sides” comment of Charlottesville. Virtually every politician and pundit has condemned the disastrous press conference.  “Treason” and “traitor” are on many lips, while … Read More

Treason Summit

Ken AshfordL'Affaire Russe, Russia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

On the heels of the NATO summit, where President Trump dissed our strongest allies, Trump is now visiting Vladimir Putin in Russia. Just moments ago, he and Putin ended their special two-hours-and-10-minutes one-on-one meeting with no advisers and no witnesses and no note-takers. One official, according to CNN, said it was because he doesn’t want his aides interrupting or undercutting … Read More

Trump Acts Like An A-hole At NATO Because Of Course He Does

Ken AshfordForeign Affairs, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Donald Trump opened his visit to NATO by doubling down on his efforts to attack America’s closest allies and deploying his I’m-not-a-puppet-you’re-a-puppet defense on Russia. Trump: Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia. Germany is a captive of Russia, It’s very inappropriate. When he was confronted by NATO … Read More

Cart Before The Horse

Ken AshfordNorth Korea, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Wow.  Trump seems to think North Korea is no longer a threat and that it is a done deal. In reality, Trump returned to America from the Singapore meeting having secured only a vague promise, not unlike others the North Koreans have broken in the past, about working toward the goal of denuclearization. Yet North Korea has just as many … Read More

Yeah, We Got Hoodwinked In Singapore

Ken AshfordNorth Korea, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Kristof: It sure looks as if President Trump was hoodwinked in Singapore. Trump made a huge concession — the suspension of military exercises with South Korea. That’s on top of the broader concession of the summit meeting itself, security guarantees he gave North Korea and the legitimacy that the summit provides his counterpart, Kim Jong-un. Within North Korea, the “very … Read More