The Real Collusion May Be With Saudi Arabia

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

It’s becoming clear that the Trump Administration came into being seeing the United States as an asset for sale. NBC: Whistleblowers from within President Donald Trump’s National Security Council have told a congressional committee that efforts by former national security adviser Michael Flynn to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia may have violated the law, and investigators fear Trump is still considering it, … Read More

Trump’s NYT Interview

Ken AshfordChina, Election 2020, Emoluments Violation, L'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

A very interesting and Trumpian interview that Trump gave with the New York Times last night. Some highlights: Twice, Trump lies to Maggie Halberman of the NY Times, and she corrects him, and then he just admits he was wrong. This happens a lot: when he’s challenged, he just concedes. Trump makes a new claim about Trump Tower Moscow: he … Read More

Are Congressional Republicans Growing A Pair?

Ken AshfordIraq, Syria, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

The Hill: Frustrated Republicans say it’s time for the Senate to reclaim more power over foreign policy and are planning to move a measure Thursday that would be a stunning rebuke to a president of their own party.  GOP lawmakers are deeply concerned over President Trump’s reluctance to listen to his senior military and intelligence advisers, fearing it could erode national … Read More

ISIS Not Defeated

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

NBC News reports: U.S. service members were among those killed by an explosion in Syria on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the coalition fighting the Islamic State group said. Earlier, a senior Kurdish security official told NBC News that members of the U.S.-led coalition were caught up in a blast at a market in the northern city of Manbij. The official could … Read More

Exhausting Futility Continues

Ken AshfordGubmint Shutdown, Immigration and Xenophobia, L'Affaire Russe, Polls, Russia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Shutdown Day Number 23 and there is no sign of movement. Trump apparently has little to do but tweet all day — childish attacks on Elizabeth Warren (racist attacks there) and on Jeff Bezo’s personal life. But that is kind of the point that Trump wants to make — he’s ready to work on a deal and Dems are off … Read More

Trump’s Ignorance Of Afghanistan Is Scary And Curious

Ken AshfordAfghanistan, Military Issues, Russia, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

At a press briefing at the end of a cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump took questions from the press, and went on for 90 minutes in a rambling monologue festooned from end to end with falsehoods on a variety of subjects. But one particular statement he made has stood out: But then Trump went right off the deep end with a disquisition on … Read More

Trump’s New Positions On The Wall And Syria Has Some Conservatives In An Uproar

Ken AshfordImmigration and Xenophobia, Republicans, Syria, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Let;s start with the wall and note how sad Trump has become. He used to have so much vision: Oct. 3, 2015“We’re going to build a wall, and it’s going to be impenetrable, it will be a real wall.” — Jan. 16, 2016“China built a wall that’s 13,000 miles long 2,000 years ago. My ambition is for ours to be … Read More

Trump Undermines Military Intelligence — This Time On Syria

Ken AshfordRussia, Syria, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

On Monday, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement publicly pledged that the U.S. commitment to Syria would not waiver. The very next day, Trump reportedly decided to rapidly withdraw all U.S. troops there.  Today he tweeted this: Trump appears to be discarding his entire Syria and Iran strategy at a single stroke, giving up any and all U.S. influence in the … Read More

Update On The OTHER Russia Scandal

Ken AshfordGun Control, L'Affaire Russe, Political Scandals, RussiaLeave a Comment

In a week of political scandals, it is important that this one doesn’t get lost because, although it doesn’t implicate Trump, it implicates the Republican Party as well as the Republicans’ source of campaign income, the NRA. I’m talking of course about Marina Butina.  I’ve talked about her here and here. Butina was arrested in July after the FBI raided … Read More

Crazy Days

Ken AshfordGeneral corruption, L'Affaire Russe, Middle East, Stormy Daniels & Karen McDougal Affairs, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

It’s impossible to keep up with the news anymore. Here is just today: Donald Trump’s inauguration committee is under investigation. Apparently they managed to spend twice as much as any other recent president for an inaugural celebration that was half the size of any other recent president. Maria Butina pleaded guilty to infiltrating the NRA on behalf of Russia. Trump is now on … Read More

Trump On A Twitter Tear This Morning

Ken AshfordImmigration and Xenophobia, L'Affaire Russe, Stormy Daniels & Karen McDougal Affairs, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

He rants about the investigations, Cohen, the wall…. in a largely fact-free tirade. This is creative accounting at best. I don’t know how much the US benefits from the NAFTA 2.0 Trade Agreement (i.e., the USMCA), but by most accounts, it’s not that different from the original NAFTA.  And anyway, the benefits go to manufacturers, farmers, etc. — not the … Read More

Trump Gives MBS A Thanksgiving Pardon

Ken AshfordCrime, Middle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

BREAKING: Trump says he’s taking no new punitive measures against Saudi Arabia over the killing of US-based Saudi columnist. — The Associated Press (@AP) November 20, 2018 Trump on MBS/Khashoggi: “Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe … Read More

Trump’s Eyes

Ken AshfordForeign Affairs, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

How Trump looks at allies versus Putin This was in France this weekend as world leaders gathered to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War One. The overseas trip, largely ceremonial for everyone, was a complete disaster for Trump, starting with his failure to show up because of rain: On Sunday, in unrelenting rain, more than … Read More

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