Sommet d’Helsinki: Attention, une faute peut en cacher une autre ! (Leftist witch hunt: Guess who forced Trump into the impossible choice of kowtowing to Putin or to the delegitimization of his own election ?)

Sur toutes ces questions, mais particulièrement la défense antimissiles, on peut trouver une solution, mais il doit me laisser une marge de manœuvre. Sur toutes ces questions, mais particulièrement la défense antimissiles, on peut trouver une solution, mais il doit me laisser une marge de manœuvre. (…) C’est ma dernière élection. Après mon élection, j’aurai plus de flexibilité. Barack Obama (27.03.2012)
Je n’ai jamais vu de ma vie, ou dans l’histoire politique moderne, un candidat à la présidentielle chercher à discréditer les élections et le processus électoral avant que le vote n’ait lieu. C’est sans précédent et ce n’est basé sur aucun fait. Si quand les choses tournent mal pour vous et que vous commencez à perdre, vous rejetez le blâme sur autrui, alors vous n’avez pas ce qu’il faut pour faire ce boulot. (…) Mais le point important sur lequel je veux insister ici, c’est qu’il n’y a pas de personne sérieuse qui pourrait suggérer que vous pourriez même manipuler les élections américaines, en partie parce qu’elles sont très décentralisées et que le nombre de votes est important. Il n’y a aucune preuve que cela s’est déjà produit par le passé ou qu’il y a des cas où cela se produira cette fois-ci. Et donc je conseillerais à M. Trump d’arrêter de pleurnicher et d’essayer de défendre ses opinions pour obtenir des suffrages. Barack Obama (18.10. 2016)
Il n’y a jamais eu collusion, l’élection, je l’ai gagnée haut la main. Cette enquête russe nous empêche de coopérer, alors qu’il y a tant à faire. Donald Trump
The probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore, so far that I know virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they are going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign. It was a clean campaign. (…) I do have a relationship with him. And I think that he’s done a very brilliant and amazing job. Really, a lot of people would say, he has put himself at the forefront of the world as a leader. Donald Trump
First of all, he said there was no collusion whatsoever. I guess he said he said as strongly as you can say it. (…) I think it’s a shame, we are talking about nuclear proliferation. We’re talking about Syria and humanitarian aid, we’re talking about all these different things, and we get questions on the witch hunt. And I don’t think the people out in the country buy it. But the reporters like to give it a shot. I thought that President Putin was very, very strong. (…) And at the end of this meeting, I think we really came to a lot of good conclusions, a really good conclusion for Israel. Something very strong.(…) in Syria, we are getting very close. I think it’s becoming a humanitarian situation, and a lot of people are going to move back to Syria from Turkey and from Jordan and from different places, they’re going to move back, less so from Europe. But they will be moving back from lots of different places. So I really think we are not far apart on Syria. I do think that on Iran, he probably would have liked to keep the deal in place because that’s good for Russia. You know, they do business with — it’s good for a lot of the countries that do business with Iran, but it’s not good for this country and it’s ultimately not good for the world. And if you look at what is happening, is falling apart, they have rights in all their cities. The inflation is rampant and going through the roof, and not that you want to hurt anybody, but that regime, we will let the people know that we are behind them 100 percent. But they are having big protests all over the country, probably as big as they have ever had before. And that all happens since I terminated that deal. (…) And he also said he wants to be very helpful with North Korea. We are doing well with North Korea. We have time. There is no rush. You know, it’s been going on for many years, but we are doing very well. As you know, we got our hostages back. There’s been no testing. There’s been no nuclear explosion, which we would have known about immediately. There’s been no rockets going over Japan. No missiles going over Japan. And that’s now been nine months, and the relationship is very good. You saw the nice letter he wrote. (…) I think it was great today, but I think it was really bad five hours ago. I think we really had a potential problem. I think with two nuclear nations. Ninety percent of the nuclear power in the world between these two nations, and we’ve had a phony witch hunt deal drive us apart. (…) You have to understand, you take a look, you look at all these people, I mean, some were hackers, some of them. Then again, you know, these are 14 people and they have 12 people. These aren’t 12 people involve in the campaign. Then you have many other people. Some told a lie. You look at Flynn, it’s a shame. But the FBI didn’t think he was lying. With Paul Manafort, who clearly is a nice man. You look at what’s going on with him. It’s like Al Capone. Donald Trump
I’ll begin by stating that I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies. Always have. And I have felt very strongly that, while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that — and I’ve said this many times — I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also; there’s a lot of people out there. There was no collusion at all. And people have seen that, and they’ve seen that strongly. The House has already come out very strongly on that. A lot of people have come out strongly on that. (…)  Now (…) I got a transcript. I reviewed it. I actually went out and reviewed a clip of an answer that I gave, and I realized that there is need for some clarification. It should have been obvious — I thought it would be obvious — but I would like to clarify, just in case it wasn’t. In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word « would » instead of « wouldn’t. » The sentence should have been: I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t — or why it wouldn’t be Russia. So just to repeat it, I said the word « would » instead of « wouldn’t. » And the sentence should have been — and I thought it would be maybe a little bit unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video — the sentence should have been: I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia. Sort of a double negative. (…) I have, on numerous occasions, noted our intelligence findings that Russians attempted to interfere in our elections. Unlike previous administrations, my administration has and will continue to move aggressively to repeal any efforts — and repel — we will stop it, we will repel it — any efforts to interfere in our elections. (…) As you know, President Obama was given information just prior to the election — last election, 2016 — and they decided not to do anything about it. The reason they decided that was pretty obvious to all: They thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and they didn’t think it was a big deal. When I won the election, they thought it was a very big deal. And all of the sudden they went into action, but it was a little bit late. So he was given that in sharp contrast to the way it should be. And President Obama, along with Brennan and Clapper and the whole group that you see on television now — probably getting paid a lot of money by your networks — they knew about Russia’s attempt to interfere in the election in September, and they totally buried it. And as I said, they buried it because they thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win. (…) Yesterday, we made significant progress toward addressing some of the worst conflicts on Earth. So when I met with President Putin for about two and a half hours, we talked about numerous things. (…) President Putin and I addressed the range of issues, starting with the civil war in Syria and the need for humanitarian aid and help for people in Syria. We also spoke of Iran and the need to halt their nuclear ambitions and the destabilizing activities taking place in Iran. As most of you know, we ended the Iran deal, which was one of the worst deals anyone could imagine. And that’s had a major impact on Iran. And it’s substantially weakened Iran. And we hope that, at some point, Iran will call us and we’ll maybe make a new deal, or we maybe won’t. But Iran is not the same country that it was five months ago, that I can tell you. They’re no longer looking so much to the Mediterranean and the entire Middle East. They’ve got some big problems that they can solve, probably much easier if they deal with us. (…) We discussed Israel and the security of Israel. And President Putin is very much involved now with us in a discussion with Bibi Netanyahu on working something out with surrounding Syria and — Syria, and specifically with regards to the security and long-term security of Israel. A major topic of discussion was North Korea and the need for it to remove its nuclear weapons. Russia has assured us of its support. President Putin said he agrees with me 100 percent, and they’ll do whatever they have to do to try and make it happen. Donald Trump

Today is about how we can strengthen America’s economy even more. And we think the best place to start is with America’s middle-class families and our small businesses. So today, we’re here to talk to you about making permanent this tax relief — one, so they can continue to grow; two, so we can add a million and a half new jobs; and three, we can protect them against a future Washington trying to steal back those hard-earned dollars that you and the Republican Congress has given them.J’ai relu le texte de mes déclarations et je me suis aperçu qu’il manquait une négation. Je voulais dire: «Je ne vois pas de raison pour que la Russie ne l’ait pas fait» (interférer dans l’élection, NDLR). Je pense que ceci clarifie la question. J’ai une foi et une confiance entières en nos formidables agences de renseignement. J’accepte leurs conclusions selon lesquelles des interventions de la Russie ont eu lieu. Nous agirons avec force pour repousser et stopper toute (nouvelle) interférence dans nos élections. Cette ingérence de Moscou «n’a eu aucun impact» sur le résultat du scrutin qu’il a remporté.
Donald Trump
Many on the left, they want you to believe this alleged interference is shocking, unprecedented turn of events, but we all know that Russian election meddling is not new at all. Now, remember, ahead of the 2016 presidential election cycle. In 2014, the House Intel Committee chairman, Devin Nunes, he issued a very stern warning about Putin’s belligerent actions and attempts to denigrate the United States and, by the way, yes, impact our 2016 election. And we also know, you can go way back to 2008, we know that Russia hacked into both the McCain campaign and even the presidential campaign of Barack Obama himself. And despite this, in 2016, when Hillary Clinton appeared to have a firm lead in the polls — oh, just before the election, it was President Obama who laughed off any notion that American elections could possibly be tampered with. How wrong he was. (…) That’s when he thought Hillary was going to win. Now that Trump is president, after nearly a decade of playing down Russian interference and its impact on our elections, the left is in total freak out mode, trying desperately to connect Russian hacking to the Trump presidency. This is a total left-wing conspiracy, a fantasy. This is the witch hunt. Every single report, every investigation into our election shows absolutely no votes were changed, none were altered in the 2016 election. Not a single vote. And by the way, it’s important to point out every major country in the world engages in election interference. As Senator Rand Paul put it, we all do it, and this includes the Clinton campaign. In fact, if you’re looking for Russian interference, look no further than Hillary Clinton and the DNC in 2016. They actually paid, oh, yes, through a law firm that they funnel money, Fusion GPS. Yes, then they got a foreign entity, foreign spy by the name of Christopher Steele, he put together phony opposition research, and now the infamous dossier, which has been debunked, filled with lies, Russian lies, Russian propaganda, and all paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party to manipulate you, the American people in the lead up to the 2016 election. Nobody in the media seems to care about Obama’s attempt at interference in the last Israeli election against our number one ally in the Middle East, Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And by all accounts, today’s meeting, always productive and very important. As we all know, there are a lot of serious issues between the U.S. and Russia, but predictably, even before this meeting took place, yes, the destroy Trump, hate Trump media, they were already, hoping and predicting failure. You see, success for Donald Trump is bad for their agenda, especially in the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections. (…) Former CIA director, you know the guy that was a former communist turned CNN paid hack, John Brennan, he actually tweeted out: Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were his comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican patriots, where are you? John, let’s address you for a second here. What have you done on Obama’s watch to prevent Russian meddling? What role did you play in all of this?  (…) As you can see, it was all a predetermined outcome. It didn’t matter what happened at today’s meeting. Your mainstream media just blind hatred for President Trump and they long predetermined that anything the president does is terrible. It’s devastating, apocalyptic. And at this point, they are just a broken record. (…) Look at the economy. Look at the progress in North Korea. And while the left always acts like the sky is literally falling because Donald Trump actually wants to discuss safety and security with nuclear weapons, nuclear proliferation, Syria, Iran, a lot of other important issues, including interference. By the way, meeting with Putin is that bad, we all know the truth. U.S. diplomacy is in good hands, despite what they have told you. The president has never been afraid to walk away from a bad deal, never been afraid to call out foreign leaders, and hold all of them accountable. As we saw, he was critical of the British government’s execution of Brexit. And, by the way, he rightfully called out many of our allies in NATO. Why? They are not paying their fair share for their own national defense, even criticizing the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and her country’s lucrative energy deals Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which creates a dangerous dependency on Russia and energy, which is the lifeblood of their economy. After all, if the West is so worried about Russia, well, why would they be willing to give him billions and billions of dollars to make Russia rich again? Instead, the president is now rightly pushing Germany to kill its oil and gas deals with Russia and get their energy from us in that the United States, which would also mean millions of high-paying career jobs for Americans. Now, this move would not only benefit the United States, it would also absolutely wreck Russia’s economy. Now, Putin should be very concerned about that possibility, as it would literally destroy Russia’s economy and probably destroy him politically. (…) And now, the president has been even more forceful with our enemies. Look at North Korea, little rocket man, fire and fury. Our button works, yours doesn’t, and it’s bigger. Now, despite what the media predicted, there is real progress on the Korean peninsula, because the president’s peace through strength strategy is working. It always works. Appeasement doesn’t work. Bribing dictators doesn’t work. Now, there hasn’t been a single rocket fired in months, American hostages, thank God, they have come home. One nuclear site in fact has been dismantled and shuttered, and the process continues to this day. And this is something else that the mainstream media will never tell you. President Trump has been incredibly tough on Russia. This is something they won’t report under his administration, the U.S. issued sanctions against roughly 200 individuals and entities related to Russia. Other stinging economic sanctions against Russia have also increased, and U.S. forces on the ground in Syria inflicted heavy casualties on even Russian soldiers during a skirmish earlier this year, an enormous embarrassment for Vladimir Putin. And the United States has been busy arming Ukraine with lethal weapon systems, but the media, they are not going to focus on any of this. Instead, it’s Russia, Russia, Russia, collusion, collusion, collusion. If they are not talking about Stormy, it’s all the time. It’s 24/7. Now, with this is a backdrop, the president moves forward with his very important diplomacy and as a leader of the free world, President Trump, he must meet with the leaders of Russia, China, North Korea, and others (…) And specifically, Russia must stop coordinating with the Iranian regime. They must stop supporting President Assad in Syria. And yes, they need to stop, yes, meddling in anybody’s elections and be held accountable for their actions. Now, the years of weak and feckless leadership under Obama are now over. No more cargo planes full of cash, and as President Trump frequently says, a good relationship with Putin and Russia, when you’re not trying to bribe them, it is very positive thing for the country. However, under President Trump, any hostile or aggressive action by Putin’s regime will be and should be met with strength, not appeasement, not bribery, not cash, not kissing the rings of dictators. And while the mainstream media and left, as they peddle their conspiracy theories, well, the administration is now putting forth some truth and some precedent and some facts. And by the way, Reagan proved it to all of us. Peace through strength works. Diplomacy is important. Trust but verify. Sean Hannity
Let me go back, because everybody in the media is so focused on this. In 2014, in « The Washington times, » Devin Nunes said with certainty that Russia would try to impact the 2016 elections. Barack Obama in the month before the 2016 elections, and I will read and I will quote , « No serious person out there would suggest that somehow you can even rig America’s elections, no evidence that it has happened in the past, which is not true, and number two, or that it could happen in this election, and I invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and to go out there and try to get votes. » He said that two weeks before the election. Sean Hannity
L’un des premiers producteurs d’aluminium du monde, le russe Rusal, s’est retrouvé gravement fragilisé ce lundi par les nouvelles sanctions décrétées par les Etats-Unis contre des oligarques russes et leurs entreprises, qui risquent de porter un nouveau coup à l’économie russe. (…) Confronté à un vent de panique boursière généralisé sur les marchés russes, le gouvernement russe a dû monter au créneau pour assurer qu’il soutiendrait les entreprises visées par ce nouveau train de mesures punitives, qui constituent une escalade d’une violence inattendue dans la confrontation entre Moscou et Washington. Au total, ces sanctions, censées punir Moscou notamment pour ses « attaques » « les démocraties occidentales », ciblent 38 personnes et entreprises qui ne peuvent plus faire affaire avec des Américains, notamment sept Russes désignés comme des « oligarques » proches du Kremlin par l’administration de Donald Trump, présents dans des dizaines de sociétés en Russie comme à l’étranger. Le Dauphiné Libéré (09.04.2018)
How did Trump luck out by getting such hopeless geebos for opponents? It can’t just be chance. At every turn, these dummies choose to lock themselves into the most implausible and indefensible positions imaginable, then push all their chips into the center of the table. It’s almost supernatural – maybe Trump won the intervention of some ancient demon by heading over to the offices of the Weekly Standard and snatching away one of its Never Trump scribblers to use as a virgin sacrifice. How did this guy win, and in doing so crush the avatar of the establishment, the smartest woman in the world, Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit? One of his secrets to success is really no secret at all. It is to embrace the obvious. Unlike our exhausted establishment, Trump rarely holds to bizarre, indefensible positions. You would think that would be an instinctive thing for politicians of both parties – “I know! I’ll adopt stands on issues that won’t make my constituents ask ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’” – but it isn’t. Instead, the establishment has somehow talked itself into taking positions that are so clearly ridiculous that Normals scratch their heads, baffled at what they are being told by their betters via the lapdog liberal media. Look at NATO. The entire foreign policy establishment is scandalized that Trump says he expects the Europeans to cover their fair share of the NATO nut. Now a normal American is going to think “Yeah, I think they ought to pay their share of their own defense. Sounds reasonable.” But the establishment collectively wets itself – “HE’S DESTROYING THIS ESSENTIAL ALLIANCE BY ASKING THE PEOPLE BENEFITING FROM IT MOST TO ACTUALLY PARTICIPATE IN IT!” And the Normals (many of whom, like me, actually served in NATO) wonder, “Well, if it’s so essential, why aren’t the allies eager to pay for it?” And the establishment responds, “SHUT UP, RUSSIAN STOOGE! ASKING THE ALLIES TO MAKE NATO MORE EFFECTIVE BY PAYING WHAT THEY PROMISED, WHICH IS STILL A FRACTION OF WHAT THE U.S. PAYS, IS PLAYING RIGHT INTO PUTIN’S HANDS. ALSO, THE EMOLUMENTS CLAUSE SOMEHOW.” Here’s a test. Leave DC or New York, drive a few hours out to America, find a random guy on the street and ask, “Hey, don’t you think it’s awful that Trump wants our allies to increase their contributions to their own defense to just about half of what the U.S. pays?” You can safely assume he’ll respond, “Wait, why only half?” The Normal/Elite disconnect was also in full effect regarding the new SCOTUS dude. The establishment decided it’s going to bork Brett by pointing out that he bought baseball tickets and apparently liked beer in college, like there’s not a significant portion of Americans who wouldn’t be thrilled to have their next justice be nicknamed “Kegmaster K.” And what’s the new fussiness about alcohol, or are they upset because he quaffs brewskis (RUSSIANS!) instead of guzzling chardonnay? The Dems weren’t so picky about partying in 2016 when Stumbles McMyTurn was staggering all over the map. Well, not in Wisconsin. Then the establishment attacked Brett’s family for looking like a normal family instead of a traveling freak show. The Kavanaugh kids didn’t have nose rings or teen tatts, and they presumably know which bathroom to use. This, to the establishment, is unforgiveable. To Normal Americans, this constant social warfare against people who don’t want to be sketchy mutants is just more inspiration for more militancy. The Democrats have also decided that they want to go into November on the platform of abolishing ICE and opening the borders to future Democrat voters from festering Third World hellholes. Perhaps they didn’t read the polls, but Normal Americans – the ones not appearing on CNN, working for Soros-funded agitator collectives, or in college squandering their dads’ money on degrees in Oppression Studies – actually like borders. If Trump’s brain trust gathered together in his palatial Mar-a-Lago estate to concoct a scheme to get the Democrat Party to adopt the most tone-deaf possible platform, they could not have drafted one better than what the Democrats have created for themselves. The Dems ought to be required to report everything they have done lately to the Federal Elections Commission as an in-kind donation to the Republicans in 2018. And then there is the Mueller/ FBI/Collusion/Treason charade, which has normal people asking, “Is that still a thing?” Yeah, kind of, though it becomes less thingy every day as it becomes obvious that Sad Bassett Hound Mueller and the Conflict-of-Interest Crew’s got no-thing. The establishment is convinced that Peter Strzok came out of that hearing not looking like a guy who probably has a sex dungeon in his basement. But he totally looked like he has a sex dungeon in his basement, thereby launching a thousand memes of him leering, smirking, and generally channeling Paul Lynde. One of the secrets of Trump’s success is having really, really stupid enemies, enemies who are so tone-deaf and out-of-touch that they simply cannot adopt commonsense positions that resonate among normal Americans. The establishment instead insists on telling Americans that up is down, black is white, and girls can have penises. Nope. No wonder the Normals have gotten militant, and no wonder a leader like Donald Trump came along with the vision to exploit the opening the establishment left for an outsider to rise and prevail by embracing the obvious. Kurt Sclichter
Trump being Trump, he is unable to separate (a) the way Russia’s perfidy has been exploited by his political opponents to attack him (i.e., the unsuccessful attempt to delegitimize his presidency) from (b) Russia’s perfidy itself, as an attack on the United States. No matter how angry this president may be at the Democrats and the media, the significance to any president of Russia’s influence operation must be that it succeeded beyond Putin’s wildest dreams. Whether you’re a Democrat invested in the narrative that Russia’s shenanigans cost Hillary Clinton the presidency, or a Republican in denial that Putin sought to boost Trump at Clinton’s expense, the reality is that Putin was undoubtedly trying to sow discord in our body politic. That interpretation of events is something any president should be able to rally most of the country behind. The provocation warrants a determined response that bleeds Putin, the very opposite of kowtowing to the despot on the world stage. Now, let’s put to the side the recent cyber-espionage and other influence operations directed at our country. It has been only four months since Putin’s regime attempted to murder former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the British city of Salisbury. It has been only a few days since a British couple fell into a coma after exposure to the same Soviet-era nerve agent (Novichok) used on the Skripals. The second incident happened just seven miles from the first, strongly suggesting that Putin’s regime is guilty of depraved indifference to the dangers its targeted assassinations on Western soil — the territory of our closest ally — pose to innocent bystanders. In 2006, the Putin regime similarly murdered a former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in London, poisoning his tea with radioactive polonium. Meanwhile, reporting that is based mainly on the account of a former KGB agent (who defected to the West and has been warned he is a target) indicates that Putin’s operatives are working off a hit list of eight people (including Sergei Skirpal) who reside in the West. Putin’s annexation of Crimea was just the most notorious of his recent adventures in territorial aggression. He has effectively annexed the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the separatist war he is puppeteering in eastern Ukraine still rages in this its fifth year. He is casting a menacing eye at the Baltics. This, even as Russia props up the monstrous Assad regime in Syria and allies with Iran, the jihadist regime best known for sponsoring anti-American terrorism around the world. And just five months ago, at a major speech touting improved weapons capabilities, Putin spiced up the demonstration with a video diagramming a hypothetical nuclear missile attack on . . . yes . . . Florida. There is no doubt that we have to deal with this monster. Realpolitik adherents may even be right that there is potential for cooperation with Russia in areas of mutual interest (at least provided that the dealing is done with eyes open about Putin’s core anti-Americanism). But there is no reason why we need to deal with Russia in a forum at which the U.S. president stands there and pretends that a brutal autocrat, who has become incalculably rich by looting his crumbling country, is a statesman promoting peace and better relations. I would say that no matter who was president. In the case of President Trump specifically, for all his “you’re fired” bravado and reports of mercurial outbursts at some subordinates, he does not like unpleasant face-to-face confrontations. He may unload at a rally, but face to face, the president’s m.o. is to defuse confrontation with unctuous banter — an easy solution for someone who seems not to believe that anything he says in the moment will bind him in the future. This, inevitably, leads to foolish and sometimes reprehensible assertions (e.g., saying, in apparent defense of Putin, “There are a lot of killers. What? You think our country’s so innocent?”). The president appears to subscribe to the Swamp school of thought that negotiations are good for their own sake — though he conflates what is good for him (promoting his image as a master deal-maker) with what is good for the country (negotiations often aren’t). This is another iteration of the president’s tendency to personalize things, particularly relations between governments. That trait puts him at a distinct disadvantage with someone like Putin, who knows well the uses of flattery and grievance.
Donald Trump avait déjà tenu de tels propos et indiqué ses doutes sur le rapport des renseignements concluant à l’ingérence de la Russie dans l’élection, au premier semestre 2017. Mais ce qui était peu prévisible, c’est qu’il a remis en cause le travail des renseignements américains devant Vladimir Poutine, et en terre étrangère. Cela montre qu’il a franchi un seuil, une étape. (…) Cela choque les Républicains qui ne peuvent désormais plus ignorer la position de Donald Trump, qui a dit devant des caméras, et face à Vladimir Poutine, qu’il fait davantage confiance au président russe qu’à la justice et la police de son pays. Or, le parti des Républicains est le parti de la loi et de l’ordre. Pour eux, voir un président des Etats-Unis faire moins confiance aux institutions qu’à un dirigeant étranger, cela pose un énorme problème. D’autant plus qu’avant l’élection de Trump, les Républicains étaient en opposition avec la Russie de Poutine. Leurs critiques reflètent aussi ce malaise. (…) au-delà des protestations verbales symboliques, il ne devrait rien se passer concrètement, pour trois raisons. D’abord, Trump est aujourd’hui bien plus proche de l’électorat républicain que ne le sont les élus du parti au Congrès (élus en 2012, 2014 et 2016). La preuve, c’est que selon l’institut de sondages américain Gallup, en 2014 22 % des sympathisants républicains sondés jugeait la Russie comme étant une amie ou un allié, mais ils sont 40 % aujourd’hui. L’électorat républicain, sans doute sous l’effet de Trump, s’est radouci envers la Russie. Deuxièmement, que pourraient faire les Républicains ? Les institutions américaines permettent au président des Etats-Unis de faire à peu près ce qu’il veut en politique étrangère. Un impeachment ou une motion de censure sont hautement improbables. D’autant que les élus sont en pleine campagne électorale des mid-terms, ils n’ont pas d’intérêt à aller contre le président. Enfin, il faut se souvenir que les Républicains ont passé un pacte faustien avec Trump. La plupart des élus y sont allés avec des pincettes, en se bouchant le nez, mais Trump leur a apporté la Maison Blanche, de manière inespérée, et il a exécuté l’agenda économique et social des conservateurs : baisse d’impôts, nomination de deux juges conservateurs à la Cour suprême… Cela vaut bien un Helsinki. (…) Trump n’a jamais fait mystère de sa volonté d’un « reboot », un redémarrage dans les échanges avec la Russie. Sauf qu’à Helsinki on a plutôt vu une soumission, une vassalisation du président américain. Pour Poutine, dont le pays est sous le coup de fortes sanctions à la fois américaines et européennes, c’est une victoire diplomatique et symbolique importante. C’est tout de même très étrange, pour un président dont l’entourage est sous le coup d’enquêtes fédérales pour une collusion avec la Russie, de donner autant de gages éventuels de quelque chose de trouble dans son lien avec Poutine. (…) Par ailleurs, sur le fond, les deux dirigeants n’ont pas annoncé grand-chose à l’issue de leur tête à tête de 2 heures et de leur entretien avec leurs conseillers d’une heure. Ils ont relancé l’idée d’un groupe commun de cybersécurité, mais c’est tout. En dépit de cette volonté affichée d’un nouveau départ, comme avec la Corée du Nord d’ailleurs, il n’y a aucune matière pour l’instant. Le seul dossier sur lequel ils ont insisté, c’est le désarmement nucléaire et la lutte contre la prolifération nucléaire. Mais Poutine a réitéré à Helsinki son soutien à l’Iran, à l’encontre de la position de Trump. Corentin Sellin
Les excuses ne sont pas le fort de Donald Trump. Il a été nourri par ses mentors – feus son père, Fred, et l’avocat maccarthyste Roy Cohn – dans la conviction qu’elles ne sont qu’un aveu de faiblesse. Depuis, il s’y tient: ne jamais reconnaître une erreur, ne jamais battre en retraite. Il faut donc que la tempête ait été puissante pour que le président américain ait effectué mardi un repli tactique. À Helsinki, la veille, il avait accordé plus de crédit aux protestations d’innocence de Vladimir Poutine qu’aux accusations étayées de ses services de renseignements à propos des interférences russes dans la campagne de 2016. Il était parfaitement satisfait de sa prestation, confirme un collaborateur à la Maison-Blanche, jusqu’à ce qu’il prenne la mesure des reproches quasi universels en regardant la télévision à bord d’Air Force One durant le vol de retour. Même Fox News, qui l’applaudit en tout, jugeait «une clarification nécessaire». Même Newt Gingrich, l’ancien speaker de la Chambre, qui a écrit deux livres en deux ans pour donner du sens au trumpisme, l’appelait à «corriger immédiatement la plus grave erreur de sa présidence». Trump s’est donc plié à cet exercice déplaisant, à sa manière. Il a formulé le démenti le moins vraisemblable qu’on puisse trouver, afin que ses supporteurs ne soient pas dupes. «Je voulais dire: je ne vois aucune raison pour laquelle ce ne serait PAS la Russie», a déclaré le président. (…) «Cette excuse défie toute crédibilité, estime Jonathan Lemire, le correspondant de l’Associated Press dont la question avait provoqué le dérapage. Pour admettre que sa langue ait fourché dans cette phrase, il faudrait ignorer tout le reste de sa conférence de presse» avec le président russe. (…) Bien peu, chez ses partisans comme parmi ses adversaires, ont pris cette mise au point pour argent comptant. Car Donald Trump l’a lue ostensiblement devant les caméras avec le ton mécanique de quelqu’un qui accomplit une formalité, et en s’écartant deux fois du script préparé par ses collaborateurs. D’abord pour s’exclamer: «Il n’y a pas eu de collusion du tout!», une phrase qu’il avait rajoutée à la main. Ensuite pour atténuer le démenti tout juste formulé: «J’accepte la conclusion de notre communauté du renseignement selon laquelle l’interférence de la Russie dans l’élection de 2016 a eu lieu. Ce pourrait aussi être d’autres gens ; des tas de gens un peu partout.» (…) «Trump a mis au point une méthode d’excuses composée à parts égales de retraite et de réaffirmation», analyse Marc Fisher dans le Washington Post, pointant «le changement de ton quand il exprime ses véritables sentiments». Selon lui, on assiste au même «processus» que l’été dernier lors des incidents racistes de Charlottesville: «Insulte, excuses réticentes, signal clair qu’il croit vraiment ce qu’il avait dit au départ, répétition.» De fait, le correctif de mardi ne vise pas à clore la polémique, il lui offre seulement la protection d’avoir dit une chose et son contraire. Maintenant qu’il a rempli cette «obligation formelle», le chef de la Maison-Blanche peut continuer à asséner sa version des faits. Le Figaro
Sous les yeux d’un Poutine buvant visiblement du petit-lait, Donald Trump lâche une réponse surréaliste ce lundi au palais présidentiel d’Helsinki où il donne une conférence de presse avec son homologue russe, au terme de leur sommet bilatéral de quelques heures, face à une salle pleine à craquer de journalistes. Du jamais-vu. Le reporter de l’agence AP vient tout juste de lui demander qui il croit, concernant l’existence d’une immixtion russe dans la campagne présidentielle de 2016. Ses propres services qui affirment unanimes qu’il y a eu une attaque russe massive pour orienter le cours de l’élection? Ou Poutine qui dément absolument? À la stupéfaction générale des journalistes, Donald Trump ne veut pas trancher. «J’ai confiance dans les deux. Je fais confiance à mes services, mais la dénégation de Vladimir Poutine a été très forte et très puissante», déclare-t-il. Ce faisant, il assène un coup terrible aux services de renseignement de son propre pays, au vu et su de la planète entière. C’est une manière de dire qu’il est si soupçonneux à l’encontre de l’enquête russe qu’il pencherait presque pour «la vérité» que Poutine entend imposer. «Ce que j’aimerais savoir, c’est où sont passés les serveurs?» (du Parti démocrate, qui ont été hackés par la Russie, NDLR), s’interroge Trump. Il insiste: «Et où sont passés les 33.000 e-mails de Hillary Clinton, ce n’est pas en Russie qu’ils se seraient perdus!» Pour le président américain, «il n’y a jamais eu collusion, l’élection, je l’ai gagnée haut la main», sans l’aide de personne. «Cette enquête russe nous empêche de coopérer, alors qu’il y a tant à faire», dit Trump. Sur l’estrade, où les deux hommes sont côte à côte, Poutine jubile, comme s’il assistait à un spectacle qui ne semble pas le concerner mais dont il se délecte néanmoins. Événement sans précédent dans l’histoire des deux pays, Trump ouvre un boulevard à son homologue qui a toujours défendu une forme de relativisme, destiné à démontrer que les institutions démocratiques des États-Unis ne sont pas plus fiables que la parole du président russe. C’est une technique éprouvée. (…) Avant la séance de questions, la conférence de presse avait pourtant plutôt bien commencé, les deux hommes mettant l’accent sur la nécessité de reconstruire une relation «très détériorée» sur une base pragmatique. «Notre relation n’a jamais été aussi mauvaise mais depuis quatre heures, cela a changé», avait déclaré Donald Trump, visiblement satisfait, mais plutôt sérieux et contenu. Lisant ses fiches d’un ton neutre, Vladimir Poutine, lui, avait énuméré une longue liste de sujets sur lesquels Washington et Moscou pourraient coopérer, de l’établissement d’un cessez-le-feu entre Israël et la Syrie sur le plateau du Golan jusqu’au désarmement bilatéral entre les deux plus grandes puissances nucléaires, en passant par la dénucléarisation de la péninsule nord-coréenne. Cerise sur le gâteau, le chef du Kremlin a aussi proposé de prolonger l’accord de livraison de gaz qui unit son pays à l’Ukraine et qui doit expirer à la fin de cette année. Une initiative susceptible d’apaiser à la fois Washington et l’Union européenne. Mais très vite, la relation russo-américaine a été rattrapée par ses vieux démons, ceux de l’ingérence russe dans le scrutin présidentiel de 2016. Toutes les inquiétudes que les observateurs américains et européens nourrissaient vis-à-vis de l’ambiguïté de Trump sur la Russie, et de sa capacité à être manipulé par l’ex-espion du KGB Vladimir Poutine, ont soudain trouvé confirmation. Ce lundi soir, des réactions indignées commençaient à fuser depuis Washington. Le Figaro
De retour d’Helsinki, le président américain s’est employé mardi à éteindre la tempête politique provoquée par ses propos tenus la veille, dans lesquels il désavouait ses propres services secrets. Au milieu des critiques suscitées par son attitude devant Poutine à Helsinki, Donald Trump, de retour mardi à Washington DC, a profité d’une réunion à la Maison-Blanche avec des élus pour se dédire: «J’ai relu le texte de mes déclarations et je me suis aperçu qu’il manquait une négation. Je voulais dire: «Je ne vois pas de raison pour que la Russie ne l’ait pas fait» (interférer dans l’élection, NDLR). Je pense que ceci clarifie la question. J’ai une foi et une confiance entières en nos formidables agences de renseignement. J’accepte leurs conclusions selon lesquelles des interventions de la Russie ont eu lieu. Nous agirons avec force pour repousser et stopper toute (nouvelle) interférence dans nos élections.» Cette ingérence de Moscou «n’a eu aucun impact» sur le résultat du scrutin qu’il a remporté, a toutefois tenu à souligner le milliardaire républicain. Difficile de se contredire plus explicitement, une démarche en soi remarquable de la part d’un président allergique à admettre le moindre tort. Mais les accusations touchaient un nerf sensible, jetant sur lui le soupçon infamant de faiblesse, ou pire, de trahison. «J’ai vu les renseignements russes manipuler beaucoup de gens dans ma carrière, mais je n’aurais jamais cru que le président des États-Unis serait l’un d’eux», avait ainsi déclaré Will Hurd, un ancien de la CIA élu républicain du Texas. Le Washington Post dénonçait «la collusion, à la vue de tous», entre Trump et Poutine. Le New York Times l’accusait de «s’être couché aux pieds» du président russe, par «mollesse» et «obséquiosité». Même le conservateur Wall Street Journal avait dénoncé son «empressement» auprès du chef du Kremlin comme «un embarras national». Le Figaro
Dans le flot de réactions inquiètes qui fusent, trois explications du «mystère d’Helsinki» émergent. La première, revendiquée à demi-mot par nombre de leaders démocrates et même républicains, est une explication carrément complotiste. Elle présuppose que Donald Trump a été «ferré» depuis longtemps par les services secrets russes et que ces derniers auraient finalement fini par le propulser au sommet du pouvoir américain, au terme d’une magnifique opération de déstabilisation. Une variante de cette hypothèse est que Trump a été compromis lors de son voyage russe de 2013 et que Moscou «le tient». Deuxième hypothèse, sans doute plus crédible: celle de l’obsession de la légitimité chez un président en divorce total avec le système politique qu’il est censé présider. Parce qu’il a le sentiment que toute la machine d’État – ce fameux État profond qu’il déteste – est contre lui et que son élection est constamment en question, Trump semble incapable d’accepter l’idée qu’une immixtion russe ait pu faciliter sa victoire. Son insécurité est telle qu’il préfère croire aux «contes» politiques de Poutine plutôt que de reconnaître les conclusions de ses services sur les attaques russes contre la démocratie américaine. Un scénario qui aurait été facilité par son ego surdimensionné, face à un ancien espion du KGB ultra-expérimenté. À ces versions peut s’en ajouter une troisième. Celle d’un plan de Trump en direction de la Russie, pour la rallier à l’Amérique, sur des dossiers clé comme la en dépit des divergences idéologiques et des conseils quasi unanimes des experts (que Trump a toujours méprisés). Ce mardi, plusieurs observateurs russes évoquaient une telle hypothèse, soulignant que la première partie de la conférence de presse avait fait apparaître certains thèmes de coopération potentiels, notamment le soutien à Israël (contre l’Iran?). «Je suis prêt à prendre un risque politique pour promouvoir la paix, plutôt que de sacrifier la paix à la politique», a d’ailleurs dit Trump pendant la conférence de presse, phrase qui a été noyée dans le scandale de la question de l’immixtion. Laure Mandeville
NATO’s problems predated Trump and in many ways come back to Germany, whose example most other NATO nations ultimately tend to follow. The threat to both the EU and NATO is not Trump’s America, but a country that is currently insisting on an artificially low euro for mercantile purposes and that is at odds with its southern Mediterranean partners over financial liabilities, with its Eastern European neighbors over illegal immigration, with the United Kingdom over the conditions of Brexit, and with the U.S. over a paltry investment in military readiness of 1.3 percent of GDP while it’s piling up the largest account surplus in the world, at over $260 billion, and a $65 billion trade surplus with the U.S. Germany, a majority of whose tanks and fighters are thought not to be battle-ready, cannot expect an American-subsidized united NATO front against the threat of Vladimir Putin if it is now cutting a natural-gas agreement with Russia that undermines the Baltic States and Ukraine — countries that Putin is increasingly targeting. The gas deal will not only empower Putin; it will make Germany dependent on Russian energy — an untenable situation. Merkel can package all that in mellifluous diplomatic-speak, and Trump can rail about it in crude polemics, but the facts remain facts, and they are of Merkel’s making, not Trump’s. The same themes hold true regarding attitudes toward Putin, who (again) predated Trump and his press conference in Helsinki, where the president gave to the press an unfortunate apology-tour/Cairo-speech–like performance, reminiscent of past disastrous meetings with or assessments of Russian leaders by American presidents, such as FDR on Stalin: “I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of man. Harry [Hopkins] says he’s not and that he doesn’t want anything but security for his country, and I think if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing in return, noblesse oblige, he won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.” Or Kennedy’s blown summit with Khrushchev in Geneva: “He beat the hell out of me. It was the worst thing in my life. He savaged me.” Or Reagan’s weird offer to share American SDI technology and research with Gorbachev or, without much consultation with his advisers, to eliminate all ballistic missiles at Reykjavik. Trump confused trying to forge a realist détente with some sort of bizarre empathy for Putin, whose actions have been hostile and bellicose to the U.S. and based on perceptions of past American weakness. But again, Trump did not create an empowered Putin — and he has done more than any other president so far to check Putin’s ambitions. Putin in 2016 continued longstanding Russian cyberattacks and election interference because of past impunity (Obama belatedly told Putin to “cut it out” only in September 2016). He swallowed Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine after the famous Hillary-managed “reset” — a surreal Chamberlain-like policy in which we simultaneously appeased Putin in fact while in rhetoric lecturing him about his classroom cut-up antics and macho style. Had Trump been overheard on a hot mic in Helsinki promising more flexibility with Putin on missile defense after our midterm elections, in expectation for electorally advantageous election-cycle quid pro quo good behavior from the Russians, we’d probably see articles of impeachment introduced on charges of Russian collusion. And yet the comparison would be even worse than that. After all, America kept Obama’s 2011 promise “to Vladimir,” in that we really did give up on creating credible missile defenses in Eastern Europe, breaking pledges made by a previous administration — music to Vladimir Putin’s ears. It would be preferable if Trump’s rhetoric reinforced his solid actions, which in relation to Putin’s aggression consist of wisely keeping or increasing tough sanctions, accelerating U.S. oil production, decimating Russian mercenaries in Syria, and arming Ukrainian resistance. But then again, Trump has not quite told us that he has looked into Putin’s eyes and seen a straightforward and trustworthy soul. Nor in desperation did he invite Putin into the Middle East after a Russian hiatus of nearly 40 years to prove to the world that Bashar al-Assad had eliminated his WMD trove — which Assad subsequently continued to use at his pleasure. There is currently no scandal over uranium sales to Russia, and the secretary of state’s spouse has not been discovered to have recently pocketed $500,000 to speak in Moscow. In a perfect world, we would like to see carefully chosen words enhancing effective muscular action. Instead, in the immediate past, we heard sober and judicious rhetoric ad nauseam, coupled with abject appeasement and widely perceived dangerous weakness. Now we have ill-timed bombast that sometimes mars positive achievement. Neither is desirable. But the latter is far preferable to the former. Victor Davis Hanson
We are in dangerous times. Amid the hysteria over the Russian summit, the Mueller collusion probe, nonstop unsupported allegations and rumors, the Strzok and Page testimonies, the ongoing congressional investigations into improper CIA and FBI behavior, and a completely unhinged media, there is a growing crisis of rising tensions between two superpowers that together possess a combined arsenal of 3,000 instantly deployable nuclear weapons and another 10,000 in storage. That latter existential fact apparently has been forgotten in all the recriminations. So it is time for all parties to deescalate and step back a bit. Trump understandably wants to avoid progressive charges that he is obstructing Robert Mueller’s ostensible investigation of Russian collusion, and he also wants some sort of détente with Russia. Mueller has likely indicted Russians, timed on the eve of the summit, in part on the assumption that they would more or less not personally defend themselves and never appear on U.S. soil. Add that all up, and Trump apparently has discussed with Putin an idea of allowing Mueller’s investigators to visit Russia to interview those they have indicted. But in the quid pro quo world of big-power rivalry, Putin, of course, wants reciprocity — the right also to interview American citizens or residents (among them a former U.S. ambassador to Russia) whom he believes have transgressed against Russia. Trump needs to squash Putin’s ridiculous “parity” request immediately. Mueller would learn little or nothing from interviewing his targets on Russian soil — and likely never imagined that he would or could. On the other hand, given recent Russian attacks on critics abroad, Moscow’s interviewing any Russian antagonist anywhere is not necessarily a safe or sane enterprise. And being indicted under the laws of a constitutional republic is hardly synonymous with earning the suspicion of the Russian autocracy. Most importantly, the idea that a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Professor Michael McFaul — long after the expiration of his government tenure — would submit to Russian questioning is absurd. Of course, it would also undermine the entire sanctity of American ambassadorial service. So, Putin’s offer, to the extent we know the details of it, will soon upon examination be seen as patently unhinged. In refusal, Trump has a good opportunity to remind the world why all American critics of the Putin government — and especially of his own government as well — are uniquely free and protected to voice any notion they wish. Victor Davis Hanson
AP reporter John Lemire placed Trump in an impossible position. Noting that Putin denied meddling in the 2016 elections and the intelligence community insists that Russia meddled, he asked Trump, “Who do you believe?” If Trump had said that he believed his intelligence community and gave no credence to Putin’s denial, he would have humiliated Putin and destroyed any prospect of cooperative relations.Trump tried to strike a balance. He spoke respectfully of both Putin’s denials and the US intelligence community’s accusation. It wasn’t a particularly coherent position. It was a clumsy attempt to preserve the agreements he and Putin reached during their meeting. And it was blindingly obviously not treason. In fact, Trump’s response to Lemire, and his overall conduct at the press conference, did not convey weakness at all. Certainly he was far more assertive of US interests than Obama was in his dealings with Russia. In Obama’s first summit with Putin in July 2009, Obama sat meekly as Putin delivered an hour-long lecture about how US-Russian relations had gone down the drain. As Daniel Greenfield noted at Frontpage magazine Tuesday, in succeeding years, Obama capitulated to Putin on anti-missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, on Ukraine, Georgia and Crimea. Obama gave Putin free rein in Syria and supported Russia’s alliance with Iran on its nuclear program and its efforts to save the Assad regime. He permitted Russian entities linked to the Kremlin to purchase a quarter of American uranium. And of course, Obama made no effort to end Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. Trump in contrast has stiffened US sanctions against Russian entities. He has withdrawn from Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. He has agreed to sell Patriot missiles to Poland. And he has placed tariffs on Russian exports to the US. So if Trump is Putin’s agent, what was Obama? (…) The Democrats and their allies in the media use the accusation that Trump is an agent of Russia as an elections strategy. Midterm elections are consistently marked with low voter turnout. So both parties devote most of their energies to rallying their base and motivating their most committed members to vote. (…) But (…) the problem with playing domestic politics on the international scene is that doing so has real consequences for international security and for US national interests.(…)  for instance (…) Europe is economically dependent on trade with the US and strategically dependent on NATO. So why are the Europeans so open about their hatred of Trump and their rejection of his trade policies, his policy towards Iran and his insistence that they pay their fair share for their own defense? (…) The answer of course is that they got a green light to adopt openly anti-American policies from the forces in the US that have devoted their energies since Trump’s election nearly two years ago to delegitimizing his victory and his presidency. Those calling Trump a traitor empowered the Europeans to defy the US on every issue. Trump’s opponents’ unsubstantiated allegation that his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 elections has constrained Trump’s ability to perform his duties.(…) Time will tell if we just averted war. But what we did learn is that Israel’s position in a war with Iran is stronger than it could have been if the two leaders hadn’t met in Helsinki. (…) Trump’s opponents’ obsession with bringing him down has caused great harm to his presidency and to America’s position worldwide. It is a testament to Trump’s commitment to the US and its allies that he met with Putin this week. And the success of their meeting is something that all who care about global security and preventing a devastating war in the Middle East should be grateful for. Caroline Glick

C’est bien la chasse aux sorcières et la conspiration gauchiste, imbécile !

A l’heure où au lendemain d’un aussi calamiteux qu’énigmatique sommet du président américain avec son homologue russe …

Qui nous a valu un surréaliste – mais depuis doublement désavoué – numéro de génuflexion de Donald Trump devant un Poutine empoisonneur des peuples et maitre reconnu des fausses équivalences morales

Comme, entre les références à – excusez du peu ! – Pearl Harbor, la Nuit de cristal et le 11/9, un tout aussi invraisemblable déluge des plus délirantes critiques de la part de ses adversaires politiques ou médiatiques …

Qui rappelle …

Mis à part le chroniqueur de Fox news Sean Hannity, l’historien militaire américain Victor Davis Hanson ou la célèbre éditorialiste du Jerusalem Post Caroline Glick

Qui il y à peine six ans ces mêmes belles âmes n’avaient rien trouvé à redire lorsque le président Obama avait fait part à Poutine, sur un micro resté ouvert, de sa « flexibilité » possible après sa réélection …

Que deux semaines avant l’élection présidentielle de 2016 le même Obama rappelait au candidat Trump « l’impossibilité de manipuler les élections » américaines du fait de leur caractère « décentralisé » et du « nombre de bulletins » …

Et qu’enfin, contrairement à l‘Administration précédente et entre sanctions et actions militaires ou dénonciations de mauvais traités, il y a longtemps qu’il n’y avait pas eu un gouvernement américain aussi intransigeant avec la Russie et ses affidés ?

Et dès lors comment qualifier …

Pour expliquer un comportement aussi mystérieux et schizophrénique de la part du président américain …

Les agissements d’une gauche américaine qui n’ayant toujours pas digéré sa défaite de 2016 …

Court-circuite totalement, via ses chiens de garde médiatiques, les réelles avancées dudit sommet notamment concernant la sécurité d’Israël face à l’aventurisme militaire iranien …

Et place délibérément son président à nouveau devant un choix impossible

A savoir celui cette fois-ci de la génuflexion devant Poutine ..

Contre ses propres services qui n’avaient alors rien fait …

Ou sous prétexte d’une influence russe qui, hostilité anti-démocrate oblige après huit ans d’administration Obama, ne pouvait avoir qu’un effet marginal ou anecdotique …

L’assentiment à la délégitimation de sa propre élection ?

Le voyage européen de Trump, un «carnage» et une énigme
Laure Mandeville
Le Figaro
17/07/2018

DÉCRYPTAGE – Durant son périple de cinq jours sur le Vieux continent, le président américain a mis l’Otan en ébullition tout en amorçant un redémarrage des relations russo-américaines, quitte à provoquer le désarroi américain et occidental.

Le voyage avait commencé par une volée de bois de vert administrée à ses alliés de l’Otan et de l’Union européenne. Il s’est fini par une «génuflexion» devant le président Poutine à Helsinki et un désaveu de son propre pays, exprimé à la face du monde entier. «Un carnage diplomatique», a pour sa part écrit l’éditorialiste du Financial Times Edward Luce, qui affirme que le contraste entre la brutalité utilisée face aux Européens et le soutien inconditionnel apporté à Poutine (malgré l’annexion de la Crimée, l’invasion rampante de l’Ukraine, l’attaque au poison Novitchok contre l’ex-espion Skripal, les mensonges répétés sur la frappe d’un missile russe contre un avion de ligne néerlandais et, pour finir, les tentatives de déstabilisation des élections) a jeté «l’Occident dans une crise existentielle».

«Le résultat du voyage de cinq jours de M. Trump, est un Otan en ébullition et un redémarrage réel des relations russo-américaines, entièrement en faveur de M. Poutine», constate-t-il.

Difficile d’être en désaccord avec l’analyse. Mais reste une lourde énigme. Pourquoi Donald Trump a-t-il pris le risque de susciter un séisme américain et occidental, en prenant fait et cause pour Vladimir Poutine sur la question de l’immixtion russe dans la campagne présidentielle, allant jusqu’à dénigrer ses propres services de renseignements en sa présence?

Quand on revient sur le fil des événements, la séquence «occidentale» du voyage d’Europe est finalement assez compréhensible. Face à l’Otan, l’ancien homme d’affaires s’est comporté en accord avec ses priorités de toujours, à savoir qu’il lui fallait absolument arracher à ses alliés ce que ses prédécesseurs avaient toujours échoué à obtenir, faute, selon lui, de ténacité: un rééquilibrage du budget de la défense de l’Alliance qui allégerait le fardeau américain. «Il faut que ça change, l’état des lieux est injuste pour l’Amérique», n’a-t-il cessé de tonner, avant de parler de l’Otan comme d’un «facteur d’unification formidable». Tout dans cette partie était du Trump classique. Les «coups de poing» sur la table, la capacité à hurler le matin puis à apaiser le jeu le soir. Tout ne visait qu’un but: obtenir un changement favorable à l’intérêt de «L’Amérique d’abord».

Séquence russe

Le problème de la mystérieuse et scandaleuse séquence russe qui a suivi à Helsinki est que, en désavouant son pays, Trump a semblé oublier qu’il était le président des États-Unis. «À la fin de la semaine, “L’Amérique d’abord” s’est mise à ressembler incroyablement à “La Russie d’abord”», a résumé d’un tweet l’expert Richard Haas. À travers toute la classe politique américaine, les accusations de «trahison» et de «faiblesse» se sont multipliées. Interrogé sur le fait de savoir si on pouvait comparer le comportement de Trump avec Poutine à celui de Roosevelt face à Staline à Yalta, l’historien Robert Dallek semblait perplexe: «Roosevelt était face aux dures réalités de la sortie de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Nous n’avons pas d’idée claire mais juste des hypothèses sur la question de savoir pourquoi Trump semble être à un tel degré dans la poche de Vladimir Poutine», a-t-il répondu.

Dans le flot de réactions inquiètes qui fusent, trois explications du «mystère d’Helsinki» émergent. La première, revendiquée à demi-mot par nombre de leaders démocrates et même républicains, est une explication carrément complotiste. Elle présuppose que Donald Trump a été «ferré» depuis longtemps par les services secrets russes et que ces derniers auraient finalement fini par le propulser au sommet du pouvoir américain, au terme d’une magnifique opération de déstabilisation. Une variante de cette hypothèse est que Trump a été compromis lors de son voyage russe de 2013 et que Moscou «le tient».

L’obsession de la légitimité

Deuxième hypothèse, sans doute plus crédible: celle de l’obsession de la légitimité chez un président en divorce total avec le système politique qu’il est censé présider. Parce qu’il a le sentiment que toute la machine d’État – ce fameux État profond qu’il déteste – est contre lui et que son élection est constamment en question, Trump semble incapable d’accepter l’idée qu’une immixtion russe ait pu faciliter sa victoire. Son insécurité est telle qu’il préfère croire aux «contes» politiques de Poutine plutôt que de reconnaître les conclusions de ses services sur les attaques russes contre la démocratie américaine. Un scénario qui aurait été facilité par son ego surdimensionné, face à un ancien espion du KGB ultra-expérimenté.

À ces versions peut s’en ajouter une troisième. Celle d’un plan de Trump en direction de la Russie, pour la rallier à l’Amérique, sur des dossiers clé comme la Corée, la Chine ou l’Iran, en dépit des divergences idéologiques et des conseils quasi unanimes des experts (que Trump a toujours méprisés). Ce mardi, plusieurs observateurs russes évoquaient une telle hypothèse, soulignant que la première partie de la conférence de presse avait fait apparaître certains thèmes de coopération potentiels, notamment le soutien à Israël (contre l’Iran?). «Je suis prêt à prendre un risque politique pour promouvoir la paix, plutôt que de sacrifier la paix à la politique», a d’ailleurs dit Trump pendant la conférence de presse, phrase qui a été noyée dans le scandale de la question de l’immixtion.

Les deux heures de conversation en tête à tête entre les deux hommes ont-elles pu déboucher sur un accord stratégique secret, que Trump a jugé suffisamment important pour faire front avec Poutine, sur la question de l’immixtion dans la campagne américaine? «On avait l’impression qu’ils étaient alliés face aux journalistes», a noté un observateur russe. Le résultat immédiat de ce plan, s’il existe, sera sans doute à l’opposé de ce que voulait Trump. Un désarroi américain et occidental qui devrait susciter une levée de boucliers contre Poutine. «Je crains la réponse qui va venir Washington», a noté l’éditorialiste du Moskovski Komsomolets, appelant à ne pas crier victoire.

Voir aussi:

Trump prend parti pour Poutine, contre ses propres services
Laure Mandeville et Pierre Avril
Le Figaro
16/07/2018

VIDÉO – À Helsinki, le président des Etats-Unis a obstinément refusé de condamner Moscou pour l’ingérence dans la campagne présidentielle américaine.

À Helsinki

Sous les yeux d’un Poutine buvant visiblement du petit-lait, Donald Trump lâche une réponse surréaliste ce lundi au palais présidentiel d’Helsinki où il donne une conférence de presse avec son homologue russe, au terme de leur sommet bilatéral de quelques heures, face à une salle pleine à craquer de journalistes. Du jamais-vu. Le reporter de l’agence AP vient tout juste de lui demander qui il croit, concernant l’existence d’une immixtion russe dans la campagne présidentielle de 2016. Ses propres services qui affirment unanimes qu’il y a eu une attaque russe massive pour orienter le cours de l’élection? Ou Poutine qui dément absolument? À la stupéfaction générale des journalistes, Donald Trump ne veut pas trancher. «J’ai confiance dans les deux. Je fais confiance à mes services, mais la dénégation de Vladimir Poutine a été très forte et très puissante», déclare-t-il.

Ce faisant, il assène un coup terrible aux services de renseignement de son propre pays, au vu et su de la planète entière. C’est une manière de dire qu’il est si soupçonneux à l’encontre de l’enquête russe qu’il pencherait presque pour «la vérité» que Poutine entend imposer. «Ce que j’aimerais savoir, c’est où sont passés les serveurs?» (du Parti démocrate, qui ont été hackés par la Russie, NDLR), s’interroge Trump. Il insiste: «Et où sont passés les 33.000 e-mails de Hillary Clinton, ce n’est pas en Russie qu’ils se seraient perdus!» Pour le président américain, «il n’y a jamais eu collusion, l’élection, je l’ai gagnée haut la main», sans l’aide de personne. «Cette enquête russe nous empêche de coopérer, alors qu’il y a tant à faire», dit Trump.

Poutine jubile

Sur l’estrade, où les deux hommes sont côte à côte, Poutine jubile, comme s’il assistait à un spectacle qui ne semble pas le concerner mais dont il se délecte néanmoins. Événement sans précédent dans l’histoire des deux pays, Trump ouvre un boulevard à son homologue qui a toujours défendu une forme de relativisme, destiné à démontrer que les institutions démocratiques des États-Unis ne sont pas plus fiables que la parole du président russe. C’est une technique éprouvée.

«Moi aussi j’ai travaillé dans les services de renseignement, lance le chef du Kremlin au journaliste américain. Mais la Russie est un pays démocratique. Les États-Unis aussi non? Si l’on veut tirer un bilan définitif de cette affaire, cela doit être réglé non pas par un service de renseignement mais par la justice.» Au reporter qui le presse de dire s’il est intervenu dans le processus électoral américain, il répond seulement: «Je voulais que Trump gagne parce qu’il voulait normaliser les relations russo-américaines… Mais laissez tomber cette histoire d’ingérence, c’est une absurdité totale!… La Russie ne s’est jamais ingérée dans un processus électoral et ne le fera jamais.»

Vladimir Poutine a été piqué par la question d’un journaliste de Reuters qui évoquait la possibilité d’une extradition des douze agents russes suspectés par le procureur Robert Mueller d’avoir piraté le compte du serveur démocrate. «Nous y sommes prêts à condition que cette coopération soit réciproque», a rétorqué le chef du Kremlin, laissant entendre que les États-Unis devaient eux aussi poursuivre les espions américains opérant sur le sol russe.

Avant la séance de questions, la conférence de presse avait pourtant plutôt bien commencé, les deux hommes mettant l’accent sur la nécessité de reconstruire une relation «très détériorée» sur une base pragmatique. «Notre relation n’a jamais été aussi mauvaise mais depuis quatre heures, cela a changé», avait déclaré Donald Trump, visiblement satisfait, mais plutôt sérieux et contenu.

Lisant ses fiches d’un ton neutre, Vladimir Poutine, lui, avait énuméré une longue liste de sujets sur lesquels Washington et Moscou pourraient coopérer, de l’établissement d’un cessez-le-feu entre Israël et la Syrie sur le plateau du Golan jusqu’au désarmement bilatéral entre les deux plus grandes puissances nucléaires, en passant par la dénucléarisation de la péninsule nord-coréenne.

Cerise sur le gâteau, le chef du Kremlin a aussi proposé de prolonger l’accord de livraison de gaz qui unit son pays à l’Ukraine et qui doit expirer à la fin de cette année. Une initiative susceptible d’apaiser à la fois Washington et l’Union européenne. Mais très vite, la relation russo-américaine a été rattrapée par ses vieux démons, ceux de l’ingérence russe dans le scrutin présidentiel de 2016. Toutes les inquiétudes que les observateurs américains et européens nourrissaient vis-à-vis de l’ambiguïté de Trump sur la Russie, et de sa capacité à être manipulé par l’ex-espion du KGB Vladimir Poutine, ont soudain trouvé confirmation.

«Un signe de faiblesse»

Ce lundi soir, des réactions indignées commençaient à fuser depuis Washington. «La Maison-Blanche est maintenant confrontée à une seule, sinistre question: qu’est-ce qui peut bien pousser Donald Trump à mettre les intérêts de la Russie au-dessus de ceux des États-Unis», a écrit le chef de l’opposition démocrate au Sénat, Chuck Schumer, sur Twitter après la conférence de presse commune des deux dirigeants à Helsinki, parlant de propos «irréfléchis, dangereux et faibles».

«Le président Trump a raté une occasion de tenir la Russie clairement responsable pour son ingérence dans les élections de 2016 et de lancer un avertissement ferme au sujet des prochains scrutins», a regretté le sénateur républicain Lindsey Graham. «Cette réponse du président Trump sera considérée par la Russie comme un signe de faiblesse», a ajouté cet élu souvent en phase avec le milliardaire républicain. «C’est une honte», a dénoncé pour sa part l’ancien sénateur d’Arizona Jeff Flake, dans l’opposition républicaine à Trump. «Je n’aurais jamais pensé voir un jour notre président américain se tenir à côté du président russe et mettre en cause les États-Unis pour l’agression russe.»

Voir également:

Après avoir rencontré Poutine à Helsinki, Trump est-il «un faible» ou «un traître» ?
Philippe Gélie
Le Figaro
17/07/2018

Le chef de la Maison-Blanche a fait l’unanimité contre lui aux États-Unis en se désolidarisant de ses services de renseignement devant le président russe.

De notre correspondant à Washington,

Donald Trump est parvenu à faire quasiment l’unanimité contre lui avec sa prestation à Helsinki face à Vladimir Poutine. «Lamentable», «surréaliste», «répugnant», «horrible», «antipatriotique», «une honte nationale»… Un déluge de commentaires négatifs venus de la droite comme de la gauche. Même Fox News a eu des états d’âme, c’est dire.

Si l’empressement de Trump auprès de Poutine lui a valu son lot de reproches, c’est surtout l’échange avec Jonathan Lemire de l’Associated Press qui a marqué les esprits. «Le président russe nie avoir interféré dans l’élection de 2016, toutes les agences de renseignement américaines concluent l’inverse: qui croyez-vous?» À question simple, réponse alambiquée. «Où sont les serveurs (informatiques du Parti démocrate, NDLR)?», s’est lancé Trump, avant de donner son sentiment: «Le président Poutine dit que ce n’est pas la Russie. Je ne vois pas de raison pour que ce soit elle

Le directeur du renseignement national, Dan Coats, nommé par Trump, a jugé bon de publier une mise au point immédiate, apparemment sans l’avoir fait valider par la Maison-Blanche: «Nous avons été clairs dans notre évaluation des interférences russes dans l’élection de 2016 et de leurs efforts persistants, généralisés, de saper notre démocratie. Nous continuerons à fournir du renseignement objectif et sans fard en appui de notre sécurité nationale.»

Le «Charlottesville» de la politique étrangère?

«Extraordinaire», s’est exclamé le New York Times, pour qui cet épisode est «l’équivalent de Charlottesville en politique étrangère», une référence aux événements racistes de l’été dernier où Donald Trump avait vu «des gens bien des deux côtés». Cette fois, «il a jeté aux orties toute notion conventionnelle sur la façon dont un président doit se comporter à l’étranger. Au lieu de défendre l’Amérique contre ceux qui la menacent, il attaque ses propres concitoyens et institutions tout en applaudissant le chef d’une puissance hostile.»

Le site du Washington Post affichait lundi soir une pleine page de chroniques aux titres incendiaires: «Trump remplace la fierté nationale par la vanité personnelle», «C’est un fan de Poutine, un jour nous saurons pourquoi»… Même le Wall Street Journal, habituellement mesuré dans ses critiques, s’est fendu d’un éditorial sévère, titré: «La doctrine ‘Trump d’abord’». Estimant que son «empressement» au côté du président russe fut «un embarras national», il l’accuse «d’avoir projeté de la faiblesse.»

Plus que les adjectifs désobligeants, c’est ce soupçon qui risque de toucher un point sensible chez Trump. La plupart des interrogations suscitées par le sommet d’Helsinki oscillent entre deux infamies: est-il un faible ou un traître?

Les démocrates confortés dans leur thèse

Le représentant républicain du Texas Will Hurd, un ancien agent de la CIA, déclare sur CNN: «J’ai vu les renseignements russes manipuler beaucoup de gens dans ma carrière. Je n’aurais jamais cru que le président des États-Unis serait l’un d’eux.» John O’Brennan, ancien directeur de la CIA sous Barack Obama, ose tweeter le mot: la conférence de presse de Trump «n’était rien moins que de la trahison.» Nancy Pelosi, chef des démocrates à la Chambre, embraye: «Cela prouve que les Russes ont quelque chose sur le président, personnellement, financièrement ou politiquement.»

Dans les rangs républicains, John McCain est le plus sévère, comme d’habitude, l’accusant «d’avoir été non seulement incapable, mais de n’avoir pas voulu se dresser contre Poutine» et d’avoir fait «le choix conscient de défendre un tyran.» Lindsey Graham déplore «une occasion manquée» qui sera «perçue comme de la faiblesse» et recommande de vérifier si un système d’écoute n’a pas été dissimulé dans le ballon de foot offert par Poutine à Trump! Côté démocrate, le sénateur Chuck Schumer reproche lui aussi au président d’être «inconséquent, dangereux et faible.»

Ari Fleisher, ancien porte-parole de George W. Bush et supporteur de Trump, avoue son désarroi sur Twitter: «Je continue à croire qu’il n’y a pas eu de collusion entre sa campagne et la Russie, mais quand Trump accepte les arguments de Poutine aussi facilement et naïvement, je peux comprendre pourquoi les démocrates pensent que Poutine doit avoir quelque chose sur lui.»

Une rencontre programmée avec les élus du Congrès

Sur Fox News, Bret Baier a qualifié la performance présidentielle de «surréaliste» et Neil Cavuto de «répugnante», un ton inédit sur cette antenne. Il ne s’est guère trouvé que Sean Hannity, confident et inconditionnel du président, pour le défendre dans son émission lundi soir: c’est la «chasse aux sorcières», la «conspiration gauchiste» qui est «dégoûtante», a-t-il martelé, avant de diffuser l’interview que lui avait accordée Trump juste après le sommet. On n’y a rien appris de plus, mais le journaliste a fait de son mieux, saluant d’emblée la réponse «très forte» du chef de la Maison-Blanche sur «les serveurs démocrates».

Durant le vol du retour, Donald Trump a tweeté à bord d’Air Force One: «J’ai une grande confiance dans mes responsables du renseignement. Toutefois, pour construire un meilleur avenir, nous ne pouvons pas nous focaliser sur le passé. Les deux plus grandes puissances nucléaires doivent s’entendre!» Une rencontre avec les élus du Congrès a été ajoutée à son agenda ce mardi pour tenter d’apaiser leurs inquiétudes.

Voir de même:

Trump se dédit et accuse la Russie d’ingérence dans la présidentielle de 2016
Philippe Gélie
Le Figaro
17/07/2018

De retour d’Helsinki, le président américain s’est employé mardi à éteindre la tempête politique provoquée par ses propos tenus la veille, dans lesquels il désavouait ses propres services secrets.

Au milieu des critiques suscitées par son attitude devant Poutine à Helsinki, Donald Trump, de retour mardi à Washington DC, a profité d’une réunion à la Maison-Blanche avec des élus pour se dédire: «J’ai relu le texte de mes déclarations et je me suis aperçu qu’il manquait une négation. Je voulais dire: «Je ne vois pas de raison pour que la Russie ne l’ait pas fait» (interférer dans l’élection, NDLR). Je pense que ceci clarifie la question. J’ai une foi et une confiance entières en nos formidables agences de renseignement. J’accepte leurs conclusions selon lesquelles des interventions de la Russie ont eu lieu. Nous agirons avec force pour repousser et stopper toute (nouvelle) interférence dans nos élections.» Cette ingérence de Moscou «n’a eu aucun impact» sur le résultat du scrutin qu’il a remporté, a toutefois tenu à souligner le milliardaire républicain.

Difficile de se contredire plus explicitement, une démarche en soi remarquable de la part d’un président allergique à admettre le moindre tort. Mais les accusations touchaient un nerf sensible, jetant sur lui le soupçon infamant de faiblesse, ou pire, de trahison. «J’ai vu les renseignements russes manipuler beaucoup de gens dans ma carrière, mais je n’aurais jamais cru que le président des États-Unis serait l’un d’eux», avait ainsi déclaré Will Hurd, un ancien de la CIA élu républicain du Texas. Le Washington Post dénonçait «la collusion, à la vue de tous», entre Trump et Poutine. Le New York Times l’accusait de «s’être couché aux pieds» du président russe, par «mollesse» et «obséquiosité». Même le conservateur Wall Street Journal avait dénoncé son «empressement» auprès du chef du Kremlin comme «un embarras national».

Stupéfaction générale

Lundi, les dénégations du 45e président des États-Unis sur la question brûlante de l’ingérence russe dans la campagne 2016, attestée de façon unanime par les enquêteurs du FBI et les agences américaines du renseignement, avaient provoqué la stupéfaction générale. Interrogé lors d’une conférence de presse commune avec le président Vladimir Poutine à Helsinki sur la question d’une ingérence russe dans la présidentielle américaine, Trump avait affirmé que cette information lui avait été fournie par le chef de la CIA, mais qu’il n’avait aucune raison de la croire. «J’ai le président Poutine qui vient de dire que ce n’était pas la Russie (…) Et je ne vois pas pourquoi cela le serait», avait lancé Donald Trump, laissant entendre qu’il était plus sensible aux dénégations du dirigeant russe qu’aux conclusions de ses propres services.

Lors de son vol de retour de la capitale finlandaise, le président américain n’avait pu que constater les conséquences de ses égards vis-à-vis de son homologue russe, se retrouvant vertement critiqué jusque par des ténors du parti républicain. Donald Trump doit réaliser que «la Russie n’est pas notre alliée», a ainsi lancé le chef de file des républicains au Congrès, Paul Ryan. Le sénateur républicain John McCain a quant à lui dénoncé «un des pires moments de l’histoire de la présidence américaine».

Voir de plus:

Les zigzags diplomatiques de Trump sèment le trouble
Philippe Gélie
Le Figaro
18/07/2018

VIDÉOS – Les changements de pied du président américain sur l’attitude à adopter face à la Russie suscitent l’incompréhension en Europe et aux États-Unis.

De notre correspondant à Washington

Les excuses ne sont pas le fort de Donald Trump. Il a été nourri par ses mentors – feus son père, Fred, et l’avocat maccarthyste Roy Cohn – dans la conviction qu’elles ne sont qu’un aveu de faiblesse. Depuis, il s’y tient: ne jamais reconnaître une erreur, ne jamais battre en retraite.

Il faut donc que la tempête ait été puissante pour que le président américain ait effectué mardi un repli tactique. À Helsinki, la veille, il avait accordé plus de crédit aux protestations d’innocence de Vladimir Poutine qu’aux accusations étayées de ses services de renseignements à propos des interférences russes dans la campagne de 2016. Il était parfaitement satisfait de sa prestation, confirme un collaborateur à la Maison-Blanche, jusqu’à ce qu’il prenne la mesure des reproches quasi universels en regardant la télévision à bord d’Air Force One durant le vol de retour. Même Fox News, qui l’applaudit en tout, jugeait «une clarification nécessaire». Même Newt Gingrich, l’ancien speaker de la Chambre, qui a écrit deux livres en deux ans pour donner du sens au trumpisme (1), l’appelait à «corriger immédiatement la plus grave erreur de sa présidence».

Trump s’est donc plié à cet exercice déplaisant, à sa manière. Il a formulé le démenti le moins vraisemblable qu’on puisse trouver, afin que ses supporteurs ne soient pas dupes. «Je voulais dire: je ne vois aucune raison pour laquelle ce ne serait PAS la Russie», a déclaré le président. «On se demande bien qui a pensé à ça, mais peu importe», ironisait mercredi le Wall Street Journal dans son éditorial. «Cette excuse défie toute crédibilité, estime Jonathan Lemire, le correspondant de l’Associated Press dont la question avait provoqué le dérapage. Pour admettre que sa langue ait fourché dans cette phrase, il faudrait ignorer tout le reste de sa conférence de presse» avec le président russe. Même en lui faisant crédit de rectifier le tir, «cette déclaration a été faite avec 24 heures de retard et au mauvais endroit», a déclaré le sénateur démocrate Chuck Schumer.

«Obligation formelle»
Bien peu, chez ses partisans comme parmi ses adversaires, ont pris cette mise au point pour argent comptant. Car Donald Trump l’a lue ostensiblement devant les caméras avec le ton mécanique de quelqu’un qui accomplit une formalité, et en s’écartant deux fois du script préparé par ses collaborateurs. D’abord pour s’exclamer: «Il n’y a pas eu de collusion du tout!», une phrase qu’il avait rajoutée à la main. Ensuite pour atténuer le démenti tout juste formulé: «J’accepte la conclusion de notre communauté du renseignement selon laquelle l’interférence de la Russie dans l’élection de 2016 a eu lieu. Ce pourrait aussi être d’autres gens ; des tas de gens un peu partout.» Pour faire bonne mesure, il avait biffé de sa plume une phrase l’engageant à «amener toute personne impliquée devant la justice», une promesse qu’il n’a pas faite.

«Trump a mis au point une méthode d’excuses composée à parts égales de retraite et de réaffirmation», analyse Marc Fisher dans le Washington Post, pointant «le changement de ton quand il exprime ses véritables sentiments». Selon lui, on assiste au même «processus» que l’été dernier lors des incidents racistes de Charlottesville: «Insulte, excuses réticentes, signal clair qu’il croit vraiment ce qu’il avait dit au départ, répétition.» De fait, le correctif de mardi ne vise pas à clore la polémique, il lui offre seulement la protection d’avoir dit une chose et son contraire. Maintenant qu’il a rempli cette «obligation formelle», le chef de la Maison-Blanche peut continuer à asséner sa version des faits: «Tellement de gens au sommet du renseignement ont adoré ma performance à la conférence de presse d’Helsinki», a-t-il tweeté mercredi. Et: «Si la réunion de l’Otan a été un triomphe reconnu […], la rencontre avec la Russie pourrait se révéler être, sur le long terme, un succès encore plus grand.»

Les supporteurs du président l’approuvent quoi qu’il fasse et, lorsqu’ils ont des doutes, se convainquent qu’«il est plus dur en privé» ou qu’«il a un plan» ou qu’il concocte en secret «un mégadeal». Mais les responsables républicains semblent de moins en moins enclins à cette crédulité.

Tandis que le Wall Street Journalappelle le Congrès à «endiguer Poutine – et Trump», les élus envisagent d’adopter de nouvelles sanctions contre le Kremlin, voire d’inscrire la Russie sur la liste des États sponsors du terrorisme. Les démocrates demandent aussi à auditionner tous les participants au sommet d’Helsinki, ce que le secrétaire d’État, Mike Pompeo, fera mercredi prochain devant le Sénat.

(1) Understanding Trump , 2017, et Trump’s America , 2018.

Voir encore:

Sommet d’Helsinki: «On a vu une soumission, une vassalisation de Trump» face à Poutine
INTERVIEW Le spécialiste des Etats-Unis Corentin Sellin revient pour « 20 Minutes » sur l’attitude de Donald Trump lors de sa rencontre avec Vladimir Poutine…
Propos recueillis par Laure Cometti
20 minutes
17/07/18

Les propos de Donald Trump sur l’éventuelle ingérence russe lors de l’élection présidentielle de 2016 ont provoqué un coup de tonnerre outre-Atlantique. Lors de sa rencontre avec Vladimir Poutine à Helsinki, le président américain a indiqué croire davantage aux dénégations de son homologue russe  qu’aux rapports établis par les services de renseignements de son pays.

Ces déclarations faites lors d’une conférence de presse commune ont suscité de très virulentes critiques, même au sein de l’entourage du président des Etats-Unis. 20 Minutes revient sur cette séquence diplomatique et politique avec Corentin Sellin, agrégé d’histoire, professeur en classe préparatoire et spécialiste des Etats-Unis*.

Les propos de Donald Trump sur l’ingérence russe dans l’élection de 2016 sont-ils si nouveaux ?

Ils étaient prévisibles car Donald Trump avait déjà tenu de tels propos et indiqué ses doutes sur le rapport des renseignements concluant à l’ingérence de la Russie dans l’élection, au premier semestre 2017. Mais ce qui était peu prévisible, c’est qu’il a remis en cause le travail des renseignements américains devant Vladimir Poutine, et en terre étrangère. Cela montre qu’il a franchi un seuil, une étape.

Pourquoi cette prise de position du président américain choque autant aux Etats-Unis, même ses alliés Républicains ?

Cela choque les Républicains qui ne peuvent désormais plus ignorer la position de Donald Trump, qui a dit devant des caméras, et face à Vladimir Poutine, qu’il fait davantage confiance au président russe qu’à la justice et la police de son pays. Or, le parti des Républicains est le parti de la loi et de l’ordre. Pour eux, voir un président des Etats-Unis faire moins confiance aux institutions qu’à un dirigeant étranger, cela pose un énorme problème. D’autant plus qu’avant l’élection de Trump, les Républicains étaient en opposition avec la Russie de Poutine. Leurs critiques reflètent aussi ce malaise.

Ce tollé suscité par Trump chez les Républicains peut-il lui coûter quelque chose politiquement ?

Non, au-delà des protestations verbales symboliques, il ne devrait rien se passer concrètement, pour trois raisons. D’abord, Trump est aujourd’hui bien plus proche de l’électorat républicain que ne le sont les élus du parti au Congrès (élus en 2012, 2014 et 2016). La preuve, c’est que selon l’institut de sondages américain Gallup, en 2014 22 % des sympathisants républicains sondés jugeait la Russie comme étant une amie ou un allié, mais ils sont 40 % aujourd’hui. L’électorat républicain, sans doute sous l’effet de Trump, s’est radouci envers la Russie.

Deuxièmement, que pourraient faire les Républicains ? Les institutions américaines permettent au président des Etats-Unis de faire à peu près ce qu’il veut en politique étrangère. Un impeachment ou une motion de censure sont hautement improbables. D’autant que les élus sont en pleine campagne électorale des mid-terms, ils n’ont pas d’intérêt à aller contre le président.

Enfin, il faut se souvenir que les Républicains ont passé un pacte faustien avec Trump. La plupart des élus y sont allés avec des pincettes, en se bouchant le nez, mais Trump leur a apporté la Maison Blanche, de manière inespérée, et il a exécuté l’agenda économique et social des conservateurs : baisse d’impôts, nomination de deux juges conservateurs à la Cour suprême… Cela vaut bien un Helsinki.

Ce sommet marque-t-il un tournant dans les relations entre Washington et Moscou ?

Trump n’a jamais fait mystère de sa volonté d’un « reboot », un redémarrage dans les échanges avec la Russie. Sauf qu’à Helsinki on a plutôt vu une soumission, une vassalisation du président américain. Pour Poutine, dont le pays est sous le coup de fortes sanctions à la fois américaines et européennes, c’est une victoire diplomatique et symbolique importante.

C’est tout de même très étrange, pour un président dont l’entourage est sous le coup d’enquêtes fédérales pour une collusion avec la Russie, de donner autant de gages éventuels de quelque chose de trouble dans son lien avec Poutine. Selon le Washington Post, il y a aussi un problème interne à la Maison Blanche, car Trump n’a pas suivi les recommandations de ses conseillers.

Par ailleurs, sur le fond, les deux dirigeants n’ont pas annoncé grand-chose à l’issue de leur tête à tête de 2 heures et de leur entretien avec leurs conseillers d’une heure. Ils ont relancé l’idée d’un groupe commun de cybersécurité, mais c’est tout. En dépit de cette volonté affichée d’un nouveau départ, comme avec la Corée du Nord d’ailleurs, il n’y a aucune matière pour l’instant. Le seul dossier sur lequel ils ont insisté, c’est le désarmement nucléaire et la lutte contre la prolifération nucléaire. Mais Poutine a réitéré à Helsinki son soutien à l’Iran, à l’encontre de la position de Trump.

* Coauteur de Les Etats-Unis et le monde de la doctrine de Monroe à la création de l’ONU : (1823-1945) (Ed. Atlande).

Voir aussi:

Who is betraying America?
So far, unlike Obama’s foreign policy by this point in his presidency, none of Trump’s exchanges have brought disaster on America or its allies.
Caroline B. Glick
The Jerusalem Post
07/20/2018

Did US President Donald Trump commit treason in Helsinki when he met Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin? Should he be impeached?

That is what his opponents claim. Former president Barack Obama’s CIA director John Brennan accused Trump of treason outright.
Brennan tweeted, “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki [with Putin] rises to and exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous.”

Fellow senior Obama administration officials, including former FBI director James Comey, former defense secretary Ashton Carter, and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates parroted Brennan’s accusation.

Almost the entire US media joined them in condemning Trump for treason.

Democratic leaders have led their own charge. Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen from Tennessee insinuated the US military should overthrow the president, tweeting, “Where are our military folks? The Commander-in-Chief is in the hands of our enemy!”

Senate minority leader Charles Schumer said that Trump is controlled by Russia. And Trump’s Republican opponents led by senators Jeff Flake and John McCain attacked him as well.

Trump allegedly committed treason when he refused to reject Putin’s denial of Russian interference in the US elections in 2016 and was diffident in relation to the US intelligence community’s determination that Russia did interfere in the elections.

Trump walked back his statement from Helsinki at a press appearance at the White House Tuesday. But it is still difficult to understand what all the hullaballoo about the initial statement was about.

AP reporter John Lemire placed Trump in an impossible position. Noting that Putin denied meddling in the 2016 elections and the intelligence community insists that Russia meddled, he asked Trump, “Who do you believe?”

If Trump had said that he believed his intelligence community and gave no credence to Putin’s denial, he would have humiliated Putin and destroyed any prospect of cooperative relations.

Trump tried to strike a balance. He spoke respectfully of both Putin’s denials and the US intelligence community’s accusation. It wasn’t a particularly coherent position. It was a clumsy attempt to preserve the agreements he and Putin reached during their meeting.

And it was blindingly obviously not treason.

In fact, Trump’s response to Lemire, and his overall conduct at the press conference, did not convey weakness at all. Certainly he was far more assertive of US interests than Obama was in his dealings with Russia.

In Obama’s first summit with Putin in July 2009, Obama sat meekly as Putin delivered an hour-long lecture about how US-Russian relations had gone down the drain.

As Daniel Greenfield noted at Frontpage magazine Tuesday, in succeeding years, Obama capitulated to Putin on anti-missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, on Ukraine, Georgia and Crimea. Obama gave Putin free rein in Syria and supported Russia’s alliance with Iran on its nuclear program and its efforts to save the Assad regime. He permitted Russian entities linked to the Kremlin to purchase a quarter of American uranium. And of course, Obama made no effort to end Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.

TRUMP IN contrast has stiffened US sanctions against Russian entities. He has withdrawn from Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. He has agreed to sell Patriot missiles to Poland. And he has placed tariffs on Russian exports to the US.

So if Trump is Putin’s agent, what was Obama?

Given the nature of Trump’s record, and the context in which he made his comments about Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, the question isn’t whether he did anything wrong. The question is why are his opponents accusing him of treason for behaving as one would expect a president to behave? What is going on?

The answer to that is clear enough. Brennan signaled it explicitly when he tweeted that Trump’s statements “exceed the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’” The unhinged allegations of treason are supposed to form the basis of impeachment hearings.

The Democrats and their allies in the media use the accusation that Trump is an agent of Russia as an elections strategy. Midterm elections are consistently marked with low voter turnout. So both parties devote most of their energies to rallying their base and motivating their most committed members to vote.

To objective observers, the allegation that Trump betrayed the United States by equivocating in response to a rude question about Russian election interference is ridiculous on its face. But Democratic election strategists have obviously concluded that it is catnip for the Democratic faithful. For them it serves as a dog whistle.

The promise of impeachment for votes is too radical to serve as an official campaign strategy. For the purpose of attracting swing voters and not scaring moderate Democrats away from the party and the polls, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer say they have no interest in impeaching Trump. Impeachment talk, they insist, is a mere distraction.

But by embracing Brennan’s claim of treason, Pelosi, Hoyer, Schumer and other top Democrats are winking and nodding to the progressive radicals now rising in their party. They are telling the Linda Sarsours and Cynthia Nixons of the party that they will impeach Trump if they win control of the House of Representatives.

The problem with playing domestic politics on the international scene is that doing so has real consequences for international security and for US national interests.

Consider, for instance, Europe’s treatment of Trump.

Europe is economically dependent on trade with the US and strategically dependent on NATO. So why are the Europeans so open about their hatred of Trump and their rejection of his trade policies, his policy towards Iran and his insistence that they pay their fair share for their own defense?

Why did EU Council President Donald Tusk attack Trump with such contempt and condescension in Brussels? Tusk, who chairs the meetings of EU leaders, is effectively the EU president. And the day before last week’s NATO conference he chided Trump for criticizing Europe’s low defense spending.

“America,” he said with a voice dripping with contempt, “appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many.”

That of course, was news to the countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East that depend on America and work diligently to develop and maintain strong ties to Washington.

Leaving aside the ridiculousness of his remarks, where did Tusk get the idea that it is reasonable to speak so scornfully to an American president?

Where did EU’s foreign policy commissioner Federica Mogherini get the idea that it is okay for her to work urgently and openly to undermine legally constituted US sanctions against Iran for its illicit nuclear weapons program?

The answer of course is that they got a green light to adopt openly anti-American policies from the forces in the US that have devoted their energies since Trump’s election nearly two years ago to delegitimizing his victory and his presidency. Those calling Trump a traitor empowered the Europeans to defy the US on every issue.

Trump’s opponents’ unsubstantiated allegation that his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 elections has constrained Trump’s ability to perform his duties.

Consider his relations with Putin.

If there is anything to criticize about Trump’s summit with Putin it is that it came too late. It should have happened a year ago. That it happened this week speaks not to Trump’s eagerness to meet Putin but to the urgency of the hour.

After securing control over the Deraa province along Syria’s border with Jordan last week, the Assad regime, supported by Iranian regime forces, Hezbollah forces and Shiite militia forces began its campaign to restore regime control over the Quneitra province along the Syrian border with Israel.

As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and all government and military officials have stated clearly and consistently for years, Israel cannot accept Iranian presence in Syria. If Iran does not remove its forces from Syria generally and from southern Syria specifically, there will be war imminently between Israel, Iran and its Hezbollah, Shiite militia and Syrian regime allies.

Israel prefers to fight that war sooner rather than later to prevent Iran and its allies from entrenching their positions in Syria and make victory more difficult. So, in the interest of preventing such a war, Trump had no choice but to bite the political bullet and sit down to discuss Syria face to face with Putin to try to come up with a deal that would see Russia push Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria.

From what the two leaders said at their joint press conference it’s hard to know what was agreed to. But Netanyahu’s jubilant response indicates that some deal was reached.

Certainly their statements were strong, unequivocal signals to Iran. When Trump said, “The United States will not allow Iran to benefit from our successful campaign against ISIS,” he signaled strongly that US forces in eastern Syria will support Israel in a war against Iran and its allied forces in Syria just as it fought with the Kurds and its other allies in Syria against ISIS.

When Putin endorsed Israel’s position that the 1974 Syrian-Israeli disengagement agreement must be implemented along the border, he told the Iranians that in any Iranian-Israeli war in Syria, Putin will not side with Iran.

Time will tell if we just averted war. But what we did learn is that Israel’s position in a war with Iran is stronger than it could have been if the two leaders hadn’t met in Helsinki.

And this is exceedingly important.

Trump is being condemned for adopting a conciliatory tone towards Putin while employing a combative tone towards the Europeans and particularly Germany at the NATO summit. This criticism ignores how Trump operates in the international arena.

Trump views his exchanges with foreign leaders as separate engagements. He has goals he wishes to advance with China; with North Korea; with Russia; with Canada; with Mexico; with Europe; with Britain; with US Arab allies. In each separate engagement, Trump employs a combination of carrots and sticks. In each engagement he adopts a distinct manner that he believes advances his goals.

So far, unlike Obama’s foreign policy by this point in his presidency, none of Trump’s exchanges have brought disaster on America or its allies. To the contrary, America and its allies have much greater strategic maneuver room across a wide spectrum of threats and joint adversaries than they had when Obama left office.

Trump’s opponents’ obsession with bringing him down has caused great harm to his presidency and to America’s position worldwide. It is a testament to Trump’s commitment to the US and its allies that he met with Putin this week. And the success of their meeting is something that all who care about global security and preventing a devastating war in the Middle East should be grateful for.

Voir également:

Peter Beinart’s Amnesia
NATO’s problems, Putin’s aggression, and American passivity predate Trump, who had my vote in 2016 — a vote I don’t regret.
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review
July 17, 2018

Peter Beinart has posted a trademark incoherent rant, this time against Rich Lowry and me over our supposed laxity in criticizing Trumpian over-the-top rhetoric on NATO.

At various times, I have faulted Germany for much of NATO’s problems; I was delighted that we got out of the Iran deal and happier still that we pulled out of the empty Paris climate-change accord; and I agree that NAFTA needs changes. All that apparently for Beinart constitutes support for Trump’s sin of saying that the U.S. has “no obligation to meet America’s past commitments to other countries.”

Last time I looked, the Paris climate accord and the Iran deal (and its stealth “side” deals) were pushed through as quasi-executive orders and never submitted to Congress as treaties — largely because the Obama administration understood that both deals would have been summarily rejected and lacked support from most of Congress and also the American people, owing to the deal’s inherent flaws.

The U.S. may soon come closer to meeting carbon-emission-reduction goals than most of the signatories of the Paris farce. Following the Iran pullout, Iranians now seem more inclined to protest their theocratic government. They are confident in voicing their dissent in a way we have not seen since we ignored Iranian protesters during the Green Revolution of 2009. Incidents of Iranian harassment of U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf this year have mysteriously declined to almost zero.

The architects of NAFTA who in 1993 promised normalization and parity in North America through free trade and porous borders apparently did not envision something like the Andrés Manuel López Obrador presidency, which seems to think it exercises sovereignty over U.S. immigration policy, a cumulative influx of some 20 million foreign nationals illegally crossing the southern border over the last three decades, a current $71 billion Mexican trade surplus, $30 billion in remittances sent annually out of the U.S. to Mexico, record numbers of assassinations, and a nearly failed state as cartels virtually run affairs in some areas of Mexico. After all that, asking for clarifications of and likely modification to NAFTA is hardly breaking American commitments.

Beinart believes that, by giving some credence to Trump’s art-of-the-deal bombast about NATO, I therefore have excused Trump’s existential threats to the alliance. Beinart needs to take a deep breath and examine carefully whether Trump’s rhetoric about the vast majority of NATO’s members’ reluctance to meet their past promises undermines the alliance more than what the members themselves have actually done.

So far, Trump has upped U.S. defense spending and by extension its contribution to NATO’s military readiness, and he has gained some traction in getting members to pay what they pledged after the utter failure of past presidential jawboning (Obama rebuked “free-riders”). The real crisis in NATO is not U.S. capability or willpower, but whether a Dutch or Belgian youth would, could, or should march off to Erdogan’s Turkey should Ankara invoke Article V in a dispute with Israel, the Kurds, or Iraq, or whether governments such as those in Spain or Italy would really keep commitments and order their troops to Estonia if Russian troops swarmed in.

So NATO’s problems predated Trump and in many ways come back to Germany, whose example most other NATO nations ultimately tend to follow. The threat to both the EU and NATO is not Trump’s America, but a country that is currently insisting on an artificially low euro for mercantile purposes and that is at odds with its southern Mediterranean partners over financial liabilities, with its Eastern European neighbors over illegal immigration, with the United Kingdom over the conditions of Brexit, and with the U.S. over a paltry investment in military readiness of 1.3 percent of GDP while it’s piling up the largest account surplus in the world, at over $260 billion, and a $65 billion trade surplus with the U.S.

Germany, a majority of whose tanks and fighters are thought not to be battle-ready, cannot expect an American-subsidized united NATO front against the threat of Vladimir Putin if it is now cutting a natural-gas agreement with Russia that undermines the Baltic States and Ukraine — countries that Putin is increasingly targeting. The gas deal will not only empower Putin; it will make Germany dependent on Russian energy — an untenable situation.

Merkel can package all that in mellifluous diplomatic-speak, and Trump can rail about it in crude polemics, but the facts remain facts, and they are of Merkel’s making, not Trump’s.

The same themes hold true regarding attitudes toward Putin, who (again) predated Trump and his press conference in Helsinki, where the president gave to the press an unfortunate apology-tour/Cairo-speech–like performance, reminiscent of past disastrous meetings with or assessments of Russian leaders by American presidents, such as FDR on Stalin: “I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of man. Harry [Hopkins] says he’s not and that he doesn’t want anything but security for his country, and I think if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing in return, noblesse oblige, he won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.” Or Kennedy’s blown summit with Khrushchev in Geneva: “He beat the hell out of me. It was the worst thing in my life. He savaged me.” Or Reagan’s weird offer to share American SDI technology and research with Gorbachev or, without much consultation with his advisers, to eliminate all ballistic missiles at Reykjavik.

Trump confused trying to forge a realist détente with some sort of bizarre empathy for Putin, whose actions have been hostile and bellicose to the U.S. and based on perceptions of past American weakness. But again, Trump did not create an empowered Putin — and he has done more than any other president so far to check Putin’s ambitions.

Putin in 2016 continued longstanding Russian cyberattacks and election interference because of past impunity (Obama belatedly told Putin to “cut it out” only in September 2016). He swallowed Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine after the famous Hillary-managed “reset” — a surreal Chamberlain-like policy in which we simultaneously appeased Putin in fact while in rhetoric lecturing him about his classroom cut-up antics and macho style.

Had Trump been overheard on a hot mic in Helsinki promising more flexibility with Putin on missile defense after our midterm elections, in expectation for electorally advantageous election-cycle quid pro quo good behavior from the Russians, we’d probably see articles of impeachment introduced on charges of Russian collusion. And yet the comparison would be even worse than that. After all, America kept Obama’s 2011 promise “to Vladimir,” in that we really did give up on creating credible missile defenses in Eastern Europe, breaking pledges made by a previous administration — music to Vladimir Putin’s ears.

It would be preferable if Trump’s rhetoric reinforced his solid actions, which in relation to Putin’s aggression consist of wisely keeping or increasing tough sanctions, accelerating U.S. oil production, decimating Russian mercenaries in Syria, and arming Ukrainian resistance. But then again, Trump has not quite told us that he has looked into Putin’s eyes and seen a straightforward and trustworthy soul. Nor in desperation did he invite Putin into the Middle East after a Russian hiatus of nearly 40 years to prove to the world that Bashar al-Assad had eliminated his WMD trove — which Assad subsequently continued to use at his pleasure. There is currently no scandal over uranium sales to Russia, and the secretary of state’s spouse has not been discovered to have recently pocketed $500,000 to speak in Moscow.

In a perfect world, we would like to see carefully chosen words enhancing effective muscular action. Instead, in the immediate past, we heard sober and judicious rhetoric ad nauseam, coupled with abject appeasement and widely perceived dangerous weakness. Now we have ill-timed bombast that sometimes mars positive achievement.

Neither is desirable. But the latter is far preferable to the former.

Finally, Beinart ends by mistakenly suggesting that in 2016 I weighed in with “count us out” Republicans along with the other National Review authors. And he now suggests that I have flipped back to Trump: “Now, it appears, Lowry and Hanson want back in.”

But here, too, he is mistaken. I never participated in the “Against Trump” NR issue and never counted myself “out” during the November 2016 election, so how could I beg to be let back in?

Rather, like about half the country and 90 percent of the Republican party, I (as a deplorable) saw the choice in 2016 as a rather easy one between the latest iteration of Hillary Clinton and her known progressive agenda and Trump’s proposed antithesis to the ongoing Obama project of fundamental transformation.

And so far, nothing since November 2016 has convinced me otherwise.

Voir de même:

Putin’s False Equivalency
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review
July 19, 2018

We are in dangerous times. Amid the hysteria over the Russian summit, the Mueller collusion probe, nonstop unsupported allegations and rumors, the Strzok and Page testimonies, the ongoing congressional investigations into improper CIA and FBI behavior, and a completely unhinged media, there is a growing crisis of rising tensions between two superpowers that together possess a combined arsenal of 3,000 instantly deployable nuclear weapons and another 10,000 in storage. That latter existential fact apparently has been forgotten in all the recriminations. So it is time for all parties to deescalate and step back a bit.

Trump understandably wants to avoid progressive charges that he is obstructing Robert Mueller’s ostensible investigation of Russian collusion, and he also wants some sort of détente with Russia. Mueller has likely indicted Russians, timed on the eve of the summit, in part on the assumption that they would more or less not personally defend themselves and never appear on U.S. soil.

Add that all up, and Trump apparently has discussed with Putin an idea of allowing Mueller’s investigators to visit Russia to interview those they have indicted.

But in the quid pro quo world of big-power rivalry, Putin, of course, wants reciprocity — the right also to interview American citizens or residents (among them a former U.S. ambassador to Russia) whom he believes have transgressed against Russia.

Trump needs to squash Putin’s ridiculous “parity” request immediately. Mueller would learn little or nothing from interviewing his targets on Russian soil — and likely never imagined that he would or could.

On the other hand, given recent Russian attacks on critics abroad, Moscow’s interviewing any Russian antagonist anywhere is not necessarily a safe or sane enterprise. And being indicted under the laws of a constitutional republic is hardly synonymous with earning the suspicion of the Russian autocracy.

Most importantly, the idea that a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Professor Michael McFaul — long after the expiration of his government tenure — would submit to Russian questioning is absurd. Of course, it would also undermine the entire sanctity of American ambassadorial service.

McFaul, a colleague at the Hoover Institution, who would probably disagree with most of my views, years ago was targeted as an enemy by Vladimir Putin and more recently has been sharply critical of the Trump administration. But, of course, he is a widely admired patriot, a scholar, and voices his candid views, like all of us, under the assumption of free speech and absolute protection under the Constitution. As an ambassador, he was also accorded diplomatic immunity as insurance that his implementation of then U.S. policy would not earn him retaliation from Moscow, both then or now. McFaul is wise enough not to voluntarily submit to be questioned by Russian operatives, and the U.S. government must never suggest that he should.

So, Putin’s offer, to the extent we know the details of it, will soon upon examination be seen as patently unhinged. In refusal, Trump has a good opportunity to remind the world why all American critics of the Putin government — and especially of his own government as well — are uniquely free and protected to voice any notion they wish.

No, the President Did Not Need to Meet with Putin
Andrew C. McCarthy
National Review
July 17, 2018

The United States should have contacts with Russia, but the president should not be holding summit meetings with a despot.Prior to President Trump’s dismal performance at Monday’s meeting with Russian despot Vladimir Putin, I expressed bafflement over his longstanding insistence that we need to have good relations with Moscow. This has never made sense to me. We have often done quite well, thank you very much, while having a strained modus vivendi with Moscow, even when it was the seat of a much more important power than today’s Russia.

It is not possible to have good relations with a thug regime unless one is willing to overlook and effectively ratify its thug behavior. Yet the widely perceived “need” to have good relations with Russia leads seamlessly to a second wrongheaded notion: It was appropriate, indeed essential, for the two leaders to meet at a ceremonial summit.

There is no need, nor is it desirable, for the president of the United States to give the dictator of the Kremlin the kind of prestigious spectacle Putin got in Helsinki. When I’ve made this point, as recently as Monday night in a panel on The Story, Martha MacCallum’s Fox News program, I’ve gotten pushback that, I respectfully suggest, misses the point.

The counterargument, premised on the fact that it is important for the United States and Russia to have dialogue, maintains that this dialogue must be conducted at the chief-executive-to-chief-executive level. There is, after all, a long history of such meetings, tracing back to FDR’s recognition of the Soviet Union in 1933 (only after, I would note, years of antagonistic relations following the October Revolution).

To be clear, I did not and do not take the position that the United States should not have contacts with Russia in areas of mutual concern, or that it should not defuse tensions lest they escalate into unnecessary confrontations between the world’s two dominant nuclear powers. But these communications channels have long existed. They range from diplomatic, military, intelligence, and even law-enforcement contacts all the way up to occasional phone calls between the heads of state, and even the odd sidelines conferral between leaders at this or that multilateral conference.

The question, to the contrary, is whether the president of the United States should hold summit-style meetings with the Russian despot, complete with the pride, pomp, and circumstance of a glorious press conference, at which the two stand before the world as if they were amiable peers, trying their best to address the world’s problems.

We are no longer in the era of the Second World War, or even the Cold War. We are not in a ferocious global conflict in which a grudging alliance with Stalin’s Soviet Union makes sense (especially when the Russians are taking the vast majority of the casualties). Nor are we in a bipolar global order in which we are rivaled by a tyrannical Soviet empire. Modern Russia is a fading country. Yes, it has a worrisome nuclear stockpile, strong armed forces, and highly capable intelligence services; but these assets can scarcely obscure Russia’s declining population, pervasive societal dysfunction (high levels of drunkenness, disease, and unemployment), low life expectancy, and third-rate economy. Putin’s regime — more like a marriage of rulers and organized crime than a principled system of government — must terrorize its people to maintain its grip on power.

We don’t need summit meetings between our head of state and theirs. Even during the Cold War, when it could rightly be argued that we had to deal with our ubiquitous geopolitical foe, such meetings did not happen very often. For example, in the decade-plus between President Kennedy’s Vienna meeting with Khrushchev and President Nixon’s trip to Moscow, there appears to have been just one meeting (between LBJ and Alexei Kosygin in 1967). Contact was also sparse in the decade between the end of the Nixon–Ford term and Reagan’s first meeting with Gorbachev in 1985 (after which the meetings became more frequent as the Soviet Union declined and collapsed). Many of these meetings are memorable precisely because they were unusual events. Whether the top-level U.S.–U.S.S.R. meetings succeeded or not, they were arguably worth having because there was something potentially highly beneficial in them for us.

That is not true of top-level meetings with Putin’s Russia. We could have them or not have them and nothing would change for the better — in fact, as yesterday shows, things are more apt to change for the worse. Putin should be made to earn his meeting with America’s president by good behavior.

Whether you’re a Democrat invested in the narrative that Russia’s shenanigans cost Hillary Clinton the presidency, or a Republican in denial that Putin sought to boost Trump at Clinton’s expense, the reality is that Putin was undoubtedly trying to sow discord in our body politic.

Let’s consider the background circumstances of Monday’s meeting.

There is, of course, the cyber-espionage attack on the election. Trump being Trump, he is unable to separate (a) the way Russia’s perfidy has been exploited by his political opponents to attack him (i.e., the unsuccessful attempt to delegitimize his presidency) from (b) Russia’s perfidy itself, as an attack on the United States. No matter how angry this president may be at the Democrats and the media, the significance to any president of Russia’s influence operation must be that it succeeded beyond Putin’s wildest dreams.

Whether you’re a Democrat invested in the narrative that Russia’s shenanigans cost Hillary Clinton the presidency, or a Republican in denial that Putin sought to boost Trump at Clinton’s expense, the reality is that Putin was undoubtedly trying to sow discord in our body politic. That interpretation of events is something any president should be able to rally most of the country behind. The provocation warrants a determined response that bleeds Putin, the very opposite of kowtowing to the despot on the world stage.

Now, let’s put to the side the recent cyber-espionage and other influence operations directed at our country. It has been only four months since Putin’s regime attempted to murder former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the British city of Salisbury. It has been only a few days since a British couple fell into a coma after exposure to the same Soviet-era nerve agent (Novichok) used on the Skripals. The second incident happened just seven miles from the first, strongly suggesting that Putin’s regime is guilty of depraved indifference to the dangers its targeted assassinations on Western soil — the territory of our closest ally — pose to innocent bystanders. In 2006, the Putin regime similarly murdered a former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in London, poisoning his tea with radioactive polonium. Meanwhile, reporting that is based mainly on the account of a former KGB agent (who defected to the West and has been warned he is a target) indicates that Putin’s operatives are working off a hit list of eight people (including Sergei Skirpal) who reside in the West.

Putin’s annexation of Crimea was just the most notorious of his recent adventures in territorial aggression. He has effectively annexed the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the separatist war he is puppeteering in eastern Ukraine still rages in this its fifth year. He is casting a menacing eye at the Baltics. This, even as Russia props up the monstrous Assad regime in Syria and allies with Iran, the jihadist regime best known for sponsoring anti-American terrorism around the world.

He may unload at a rally, but face to face, the president’s m.o. is to defuse confrontation with unctuous banter — an easy solution for someone who seems not to believe that anything he says in the moment will bind him in the future.

And just five months ago, at a major speech touting improved weapons capabilities, Putin spiced up the demonstration with a video diagramming a hypothetical nuclear missile attack on . . . yes . . . Florida.

There is no doubt that we have to deal with this monster. Realpolitik adherents may even be right that there is potential for cooperation with Russia in areas of mutual interest (at least provided that the dealing is done with eyes open about Putin’s core anti-Americanism). But there is no reason why we need to deal with Russia in a forum at which the U.S. president stands there and pretends that a brutal autocrat, who has become incalculably rich by looting his crumbling country, is a statesman promoting peace and better relations.

I would say that no matter who was president. In the case of President Trump specifically, for all his “you’re fired” bravado and reports of mercurial outbursts at some subordinates, he does not like unpleasant face-to-face confrontations. He may unload at a rally, but face to face, the president’s m.o. is to defuse confrontation with unctuous banter — an easy solution for someone who seems not to believe that anything he says in the moment will bind him in the future. This, inevitably, leads to foolish and sometimes reprehensible assertions (e.g., saying, in apparent defense of Putin, “There are a lot of killers. What? You think our country’s so innocent?”).

The president appears to subscribe to the Swamp school of thought that negotiations are good for their own sake — though he conflates what is good for him (promoting his image as a master deal-maker) with what is good for the country (negotiations often aren’t). This is another iteration of the president’s tendency to personalize things, particularly relations between governments. That trait puts him at a distinct disadvantage with someone like Putin, who knows well the uses of flattery and grievance.

Summit meetings with brutal dictators do not well serve the president. More important, they do not well serve the nation.

Voir de plus:

The Likeliest Explanation for Trump’s Helsinki Fiasco
Jonah Goldberg
National review
July 18, 2018

Character, not collusion, best explains the president’s bizarre deference to Vladimir Putin.Last week, I wrote that the best way to think about a Trump Doctrine is as nothing more than Trumpism on the international stage. By Trumpism, I do not mean a coherent ideological program, but a psychological phenomenon, or simply the manifestation of his character.

On Monday, we literally saw President Trump on an international stage, in Helsinki, and he seemed hell-bent on proving me right.

During a joint news appearance with Russian president Vladimir Putin, Trump demonstrated that, when put to the test, he cannot see any issue through a prism other than his grievances and ego.

In a performance that should elicit some resignations from his administration, the president sided with Russia over America’s national-security community, including Dan Coats, the Trump-appointed director of national intelligence.

Days ago, Coats issued a blistering warning that not only had Russia meddled in our election — undisputed by almost everyone save the president himself — but it is preparing to do so again. But when asked about Russian interference in Helsinki, Trump replied, “All I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others. They said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be [Russia]. . . . I have confidence in both parties.”

Separately, when asked about the frosty relations between the two countries, Trump said, “I hold both countries responsible. . . . I think we’re all to blame. . . . I do feel that we have both made some mistakes.”

Even if Russia hadn’t meddled in the election at all, Trump would still admire Putin because Trump admires men like Putin — which is why he’s praised numerous other dictators and strongmen.

Amid these and other appalling statements, Trump made it clear that he can only understand the investigation into Russian interference as an attempt to rob him of credit for his electoral victory, and thus to delegitimize his presidency.

For most people with a grasp of the facts — supporters and critics alike — the question of Russian interference and the question of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign are separate. Russia did interfere in the election, full stop. Whether there was collusion is still an open question, even if many Trump supporters have made up their minds about it. Whether Russian interference, or collusion, got Trump over the finish line is ultimately unknowable, though I think it’s very unlikely.

But for Trump these distinctions are meaningless. Even when his own Department of Justice indicts twelve Russian intelligence agents, the salient issue for Trump in Helsinki is that “they admit these are not people involved in the campaign.” All you need to know is: We ran a brilliant campaign, and that’s why I’m president.

The great parlor game in Washington (and beyond) is to theorize why Trump is so incapable of speaking ill of Putin and so determined to make apologies for Russia.

Among the self-styled “resistance,” the answer takes several sometimes overlapping, sometimes contradictory forms. One theory is that the Russians have “kompromat” — that is, embarrassing or incriminating intelligence on Trump. Another is that he is a willing asset of the Russians — “Agent Orange” — with whom he colluded to win the presidency.

These theories can’t be wholly dismissed, even if some overheated versions get way ahead of the available facts. But their real shortcoming is that they are less plausible than the Aesopian explanation: This is who Trump is. Even if Russia hadn’t meddled in the election at all, Trump would still admire Putin because Trump admires men like Putin — which is why he’s praised numerous other dictators and strongmen.

The president’s steadfast commitment to a number of policies — animosity toward NATO, infatuation with protectionism, an Obama-esque obsession with eliminating nuclear weapons, and his determination that a “good relationship” with Russia should be a policy goal rather than a means to one — may have some ideological underpinning. (These policies all seem to be rooted in intellectual fads of the 1980s.)

But Trump’s stubborn refusal to listen to his own advisers in the matter of the Russia investigation likely stems from his inability to admit that his instincts are ever wrong. As always, Trump’s character trumps all.

Voir encore:

Sanctions américaines : le géant russe Rusal dégringole de 50 % en bourse
Les nouvelles sanctions décrétées par les Etats-Unis contre des oligarques russes et leurs entreprises ont fait l’effet d’un coup de tonnerre ce lundi.
Le Dauphiné libéré
09.04.2018

L’un des premiers producteurs d’aluminium du monde, le russe Rusal, s’est retrouvé gravement fragilisé ce lundi par les nouvelles sanctions décrétées par les Etats-Unis contre des oligarques russes et leurs entreprises, qui risquent de porter un nouveau coup à l’économie russe.

À la Bourse de Hong Kong, où ce géant est coté, l’action de Rusal a perdu 50 % de sa valeur, soit plus de 3,5 milliards d’euros partis en fumée. Le groupe a prévenu que les sanctions « pourraient aboutir à un défaut technique sur certaines obligations du groupe », affirmant évaluer « l’impact de tels défauts techniques sur sa position financière ».

Au delà de l’entreprise, qui joue un rôle majeur sur les marchés des matières premières, le prix de l’aluminium a connu sa plus forte hausse en trois ans sur la Bourse des métaux de Londres, le LME, la tonne prenant 3,55 %.

À Moscou, le marchés boursiers, pourtant habitués à de réguliers durcissements des sanctions occidentales depuis 2014, ont réagi violemment, chutant ce lundi de près de 10 %, tandis que le rouble revenait à ses plus bas niveau depuis plusieurs mois.

38 personnes et entreprises visées par les sanctions

Confronté à un vent de panique boursière généralisé sur les marchés russes, le gouvernement russe a dû monter au créneau pour assurer qu’il soutiendrait les entreprises visées par ce nouveau train de mesures punitives, qui constituent une escalade d’une violence inattendue dans la confrontation entre Moscou et Washington.

Au total, ces sanctions, censées punir Moscou notamment pour ses « attaques » « les démocraties occidentales », ciblent 38 personnes et entreprises qui ne peuvent plus faire affaire avec des Américains, notamment sept Russes désignés comme des « oligarques » proches du Kremlin par l’administration de Donald Trump, présents dans des dizaines de sociétés en Russie comme à l’étranger.

Parmi ces multimilliardaires figure Oleg Deripaska et les actifs sous son contrôle : les holdings Basic Element et En+ mais aussi Rusal, l’un des premiers producteurs mondiaux d’aluminium, dont il représente environ 7% de la production mondiale d’aluminium, au risque de déstabiliser tout ce secteur à l’échelle de la planète.

Oleg Deripaska, 50 ans et déjà proche du clan de Boris Eltsine dans les années 1990, a déclaré que son inclusion dans la liste était « désagréable mais anticipée » : « Les raisons de me mettre sur la liste des sanctions sont complètement dépourvues de fondements, ridicules, et simplement absurdes ».

Sa holding En+, également en chute libre à la bourse de Londres, a été « suspendue temporairement » par l’autorité financière. Elle avait débuté en fanfare sa cotation à Londres en novembre 2017, première société russe à s’y introduire depuis les sanctions de 2014.

« Il est très probable que l’impact soit défavorable aux activités et aux perspectives du groupe », a déclaré En+ dans un communiqué ce lundi. « Le groupe a l’intention de continuer à remplir ses engagements tout en recherchant des solutions (…) pour gérer l’impact des sanctions »

Moscou entend riposter

Moscou ayant promis une réponse « dure » dès vendredi, elle pourrait entraîner une nouvelle surenchère. « Cette histoire est scandaleuse au vu de l’illégalité (de ces sanctions), au vu de la violation de toutes les normes », a déclaré aux journalistes le porte-parole du Kremlin, Dmitri Peskov.

Le Premier ministre Dmitri Medvedev a demandé à ses adjoints de lui préparer des propositions concrètes pour soutenir les entreprises sanctionnées.

« Les sanctions américaines pourraient se traduire en une perturbation de l’offre mondiale, notamment aux Etats-Unis », ont expliqué les analystes de Commerzbank.

Voir par ailleurs:

Trump: Witch hunt drove a phony wedge between US, Russia
Fox news
July 16, 2018

President Trump addresses nuclear proliferation, European Union and media attacks. On ‘Hannity,’ the president calls Strzok a ‘disgrace’ to the country and FBI.

This is a rush transcript from « Hannity, » July 16, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And this is a Fox News alert.

It is 9:00 p.m. in New York City and our nation’s capital, 6:00 p.m. on the West Coast. It is 4:00 a.m. in Helsinki, Finland. And earlier today, President Trump, he went face to face with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Now, this is their third in person meeting, but their first official summit. All topics were on the table and appeared to be a no-holds-barred open, productive, adult discussion on many of the issues between our two countries.

I sat down for an interview with the president right after he met with Vladimir Putin. We’re going to play that for you in just a moment.

But first, a lot to get to, so sit tight for our breaking news — Helsinki addition — opening monologue.

(MUSIC)

HANNITY: All right. President Trump is just not slowing down, and some people in the media, on the left, they are having a very hard time dealing with the fact that he moved so fast. As I like to call it, it’s kind of moving at the speed of Trump. Now, this was the president’s 21st visit to a foreign country in just 18 months. And after today’s one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin, the two leaders held a joint press conference.

Let’s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I’m here today to continue the proud tradition of bold American diplomacy. From the earliest days of our republic, American leaders have understood that diplomacy and engagement is preferable to conflict and hostility. Nothing would be easier politically than to refuse to meet, to refuse to engage, but that would not accomplish anything.

As president, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease artisan critics or the media or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, big leaders, they also addressed the big elephant in the room, and that was election interference. Let’s watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore, so far that I know virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they are going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign. It was a clean campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, of course, this meeting comes just days after the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 12 Russian agents who were accused of hacking the DNC and the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, even though the DNC, they have refused to turn over their hack server to the FBI.

When will they turn that over? Where is that server?

Now, President Trump weighed in on this very issue during this joint presser. Let’s take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Let me just say, we have two thoughts. We have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven’t they taken the server? Why would was the FBI told to lead the office of the Democratic National Committee?

I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentlemen that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They are missing. Where are they?

What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? Thirty-three thousand emails gone. Just gone to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Exactly. What happened to all of those things?

And tonight, many on the left, they want you to believe this alleged interference is shocking, unprecedented turn of events, but we all know that Russian election meddling is not new at all. Now, remember, ahead of the 2016 presidential election cycle.

In 2014, the House Intel Committee chairman, Devin Nunes, he issued a very stern warning about Putin’s belligerent actions and attempts to denigrate the United States and, by the way, yes, impact our 2016 election. And we also know, you can go way back to 2008, we know that Russia hacked into both the McCain campaign and even the presidential campaign of Barack Obama himself.

And despite this, in 2016, when Hillary Clinton appeared to have a firm lead in the polls — oh, just before the election, it was President Obama who laughed off any notion that American elections could possibly be tampered with. How wrong he was. You may remember this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections. There’s no evidence that that has happened in the past or that there are instances in which that will happen this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Interesting. That’s when he thought Hillary was going to win.

Now that Trump is president, after nearly a decade of playing down Russian interference and its impact on our elections, the left is in total freak out mode, trying desperately to connect Russian hacking to the Trump presidency.

This is a total left-wing conspiracy, a fantasy. This is the witch hunt. Every single report, every investigation into our election shows absolutely no votes were changed, none were altered in the 2016 election. Not a single vote.

And by the way, it’s important to point out every major country in the world engages in election interference. As Senator Rand Paul put it, we all do it, and this includes the Clinton campaign.

In fact, if you’re looking for Russian interference, look no further than Hillary Clinton and the DNC in 2016. They actually paid, oh, yes, through a law firm that they funnel money, Fusion GPS. Yes, then they got a foreign entity, foreign spy by the name of Christopher Steele, he put together phony opposition research, and now the infamous dossier, which has been debunked, filled with lies, Russian lies, Russian propaganda, and all paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party to manipulate you, the American people in the lead up to the 2016 election.

Nobody in the media seems to care about Obama’s attempt at interference in the last Israeli election against our number one ally in the Middle East, Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

And by all accounts, today’s meeting, always productive and very important. As we all know, there are a lot of serious issues between the U.S. and Russia, but predictably, even before this meeting took place, yes, the destroy Trump, hate Trump media, they were already, hoping and predicting failure. You see, success for Donald Trump is bad for their agenda, especially in the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC: We have never had a summit with the KGB spy master, someone who has, you know, completely studied and examined Donald Trump, and a president who spends the weekend golfing and has not been preparing.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: What do you think is going through Putin’s mind? And how is he likely to be interpreting President Trump’s behavior?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He’s delighted. He’s absolutely delighted. He wants to throw the United States off balance, and he wants to divide the United States with its allies. Mission almost accomplished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, CBS: This does not seem like a president who is really going there to really hold Putin accountable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, NBC: I just don’t see how we can expect anything to come out of this and why Donald Trump is forcing the issue so much.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HANNITY: And it gets even worse. Take a look at this despicable cartoon, yes, published by so-called paper of record, The New York Times Opinion Page on Twitter early this morning.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOST: Do you have a relationship with a Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: I do have a relationship with him. And I think that he’s done a very brilliant and amazing job. Really, a lot of people would say, he has put himself at the forefront of the world as a leader.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, that’s your corrupt mainstream media, pretty disgusting.

Now naturally, the anti-Trump hatred, the hysteria continued after today’s meeting. Look at this. Former CIA director, you know the guy that was a former communist turned CNN paid hack, John Brennan, he actually tweeted out: Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were his comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican patriots, where are you?

John, let’s address you for a second here. What have you done on Obama’s watch to prevent Russian meddling? What role did you play in all of this?

Now, you had just undermined this country, and frankly, you should be ashamed. Let’s take a look at this corruption.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, MSNBC: We are under attack from Russia. If they were physical missiles, like during the Cuban missile crisis, Americans would be in the streets and protesting, and asking the president to protect us. These are invisible missiles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, MSNBC: It’s time for Americans to be out on the streets and it to speak up about the democracy that we hold dear, and what we expect of the president of the United States.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: You have been watching the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader joint that I have ever seen.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

Voir enfin:

TRANSCRIPT: Trump backtracks on Russia comments

CNN

July 17, 2018

(CNN)President Donald Trump, facing an onslaught of bipartisan fury over his glowing remarks about Vladimir Putin, said more than 24 hours afterward that he had misspoken during his news conference with the autocratic Russian leader.

Here are Trump’s full remarks, in which he said « there is some need for clarification » about his comments on Russian interference in the 2016 election, as released by the White House:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Yesterday, I returned from a trip from Europe where I met with leaders from across the region to seek a more peaceful future for the United States. We’re working very hard with our allies, and all over the world we’re working. We’re going to have peace. That’s what we want; that’s what we’re going to have. I say peace through strength.
I have helped the NATO Alliance greatly by increasing defense contributions from our NATO Allies by over $44 billion. And Secretary Stoltenberg was fantastic. As you know, he reported that they’ve never had an increase like this in their history, and NATO was actually going down as opposed to going up. And I increased it by my meeting last year — $44 billion. And this year will be over — it will be hundreds of billions of dollars over the coming years.
And I think there’s great unity with NATO. There’s a lot of very positive things happening. There’s a great spirit that we didn’t have before, and there’s a lot of money that they’re putting up. They weren’t paying their bills on time, and now they’re doing that. And I want to just say thank you very much to Secretary Stoltenberg. He really has been terrific. So we had a tremendous success.
I also had meetings with Prime Minister May on the range of issues concerning our special relationship, and that’s between the United Kingdom and ourselves. We met with the Queen, who is absolutely a terrific person, where she reviewed her Honor Guard for the first time in 70 years, they tell me. We walked in front of the Honor Guard, and that was very inspiring to see and be with her. And I think the relationship, I can truly say, is a good one. But she was very, very inspiring indeed.
Most recently, I returned from Helsinki, Finland, and I was going to give a news conference over the next couple of days about the tremendous success. Because as successful as NATO was, I think this was our most successful visit. And that had to do, as you know, with Russia.
I met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing humanity. We have never been in a worse relationship with Russia than we are as of a few days ago, and I think that’s gotten substantially better. And I think it has the possibility of getting much better. And I used to talk about this during the campaign. Getting along with Russia would be a good thing. Getting along with China would be a good thing. Not a bad thing; a good thing. In fact, a very good thing.
We’re nuclear powers — great nuclear powers. Russia and us have 90 percent of the nuclear weapons. So I’ve always felt getting along is a positive thing, and not just for that reason.
I entered the meeting with the firm conviction that diplomacy and engagement is better than hostility and conflict. And I feel that with everybody. We have 29 members in NATO, as an example, and I have great relationships — or at least very good relationships — with everybody.
The press covered it quite inaccurately. They said I insulted people. Well, if asking for people to pay up money that they are supposed to pay is insulting, maybe I did. But I can tell you, when I left, everybody was thrilled. And that’s the way this was, too.
My meeting with President Putin was really interesting in so many different ways because we haven’t had relationships with Russia for a long time, and we started. Let me begin by saying that, once again, the full faith and support for America’s intelligence agencies — I have a full faith in our intelligence agencies.
Whoops, they just turned off the light. That must be the intelligence agents. (Laughter.) There it goes. Okay. You guys okay? Good. (Laughter.) That was strange. But that’s okay.
So I’ll begin by stating that I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies. Always have. And I have felt very strongly that, while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that — and I’ve said this many times — I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also; there’s a lot of people out there.
There was no collusion at all. And people have seen that, and they’ve seen that strongly. The House has already come out very strongly on that. A lot of people have come out strongly on that.
I thought that I made myself very clear by having just reviewed the transcript. Now, I have to say, I came back, and I said, « What is going on? What’s the big deal? » So I got a transcript. I reviewed it. I actually went out and reviewed a clip of an answer that I gave, and I realized that there is need for some clarification.
It should have been obvious — I thought it would be obvious — but I would like to clarify, just in case it wasn’t. In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word « would » instead of « wouldn’t. » The sentence should have been: I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t — or why it wouldn’t be Russia. So just to repeat it, I said the word « would » instead of « wouldn’t. » And the sentence should have been — and I thought it would be maybe a little bit unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video — the sentence should have been: I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia. Sort of a double negative.
So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.
I have, on numerous occasions, noted our intelligence findings that Russians attempted to interfere in our elections. Unlike previous administrations, my administration has and will continue to move aggressively to repeal any efforts — and repel — we will stop it, we will repel it — any efforts to interfere in our elections. We’re doing everything in our power to prevent Russian interference in 2018.
And we have a lot of power. As you know, President Obama was given information just prior to the election — last election, 2016 — and they decided not to do anything about it. The reason they decided that was pretty obvious to all: They thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and they didn’t think it was a big deal.
When I won the election, they thought it was a very big deal. And all of the sudden they went into action, but it was a little bit late. So he was given that in sharp contrast to the way it should be. And President Obama, along with Brennan and Clapper and the whole group that you see on television now — probably getting paid a lot of money by your networks — they knew about Russia’s attempt to interfere in the election in September, and they totally buried it. And as I said, they buried it because they thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win. It turned out it didn’t happen that way.
By contrast, my administration has taken a very firm stance — it’s a very firm stance — on a strong action. We’re going to take strong action to secure our election systems and the process. Furthermore, as has been stated — and we’ve stated it previously and on many occasions: No collusion.
Yesterday, we made significant progress toward addressing some of the worst conflicts on Earth. So when I met with President Putin for about two and a half hours, we talked about numerous things. And among those things are the problems that you see in the Middle East, where they’re much involved, we’re very much involved. I entered the negotiations with President Putin from a position of tremendous strength. Our economy is booming. And our military is being funded $700 billion this year; $716 billion next year.
It will be more powerful as a military than we’ve ever had before. President Putin and I addressed the range of issues, starting with the civil war in Syria and the need for humanitarian aid and help for people in Syria.
We also spoke of Iran and the need to halt their nuclear ambitions and the destabilizing activities taking place in Iran. As most of you know, we ended the Iran deal, which was one of the worst deals anyone could imagine. And that’s had a major impact on Iran. And it’s substantially weakened Iran. And we hope that, at some point, Iran will call us and we’ll maybe make a new deal, or we maybe won’t.
But Iran is not the same country that it was five months ago, that I can tell you. They’re no longer looking so much to the Mediterranean and the entire Middle East. They’ve got some big problems that they can solve, probably much easier if they deal with us. So we’ll see what happens. But we did discuss Iran.
We discussed Israel and the security of Israel. And President Putin is very much involved now with us in a discussion with Bibi Netanyahu on working something out with surrounding Syria and — Syria, and specifically with regards to the security and long-term security of Israel.
A major topic of discussion was North Korea and the need for it to remove its nuclear weapons. Russia has assured us of its support. President Putin said he agrees with me 100 percent, and they’ll do whatever they have to do to try and make it happen.
Discussions are ongoing and they’re going very, very well. We have no rush for speed. The sanctions are remaining. The hostages are back. There have been no tests. There have been no rockets going up for a period of nine months. And I think the relationships are very good. So we’ll see how that goes.
We have no time limit. We have no speed limit. We have — we’re just going through the process. But the relationships are very good. President Putin is going to be involved in the sense that he is with us. He would like to see that happen.
Perhaps the most important issue we discussed at our meeting prior to the press conference was the reduction of nuclear weapons throughout the world. The United States and Russia have 90 percent, as I said, and we could have a big impact. But nuclear weapons is, I think, the greatest threat of our world today.
And they’re a great nuclear power. We’re a great nuclear power. We have to do something about nuclear. And so that was a matter that we discussed actually in great detail, and President Putin agrees with me.
The matters we discussed are profound in their importance and have the potential to save millions of lives. I understand the many disagreements between our countries, but I also understand the dialogue and the — when you think about it, dialogue with Russia or dialogue with other countries. But dialogue with Russia, in this case, where we’ve had such poor relationships for so many years, dialogue is a very important thing and it’s a very good thing.
So if we get along with them, great. If we don’t get along with them, then, well, we won’t get along with them. But I think we have a very good chance of having some very positive things.
I thought that the meeting that I had with President Putin was really strong. I think that they were willing to do things that, frankly, I wasn’t sure whether or not they would be willing to do. And we’ll be having future meetings and we’ll see whether or not that comes to fruition. But we had a very, very good meeting.
So I just wanted to clear up, I have the strongest respect for our intelligence agencies headed by my people. We have great people, whether it’s Gina or Dan Coats, or any of them. I mean, we have tremendous people, tremendous talent within the agencies. I think they’re being guided properly. And we all want the same thing; we want success for our country.
So with that, we’re going to start a meeting now on tax reductions. We’re going to be putting in a bill. Kevin Brady is with us, and I might ask Kevin just to say a couple of words about that, and then we’ll get back on to a private meeting. But, Kevin, could you maybe give just a brief discussion about what we’ll be talking about?
REPRESENTATIVE BRADY: Yes, sir. Mr. President, thank you for having members of the Ways and Means Committee here today. You know, peace through strength is foreign policy that works. And it works best when America has a strong economy and a strong military. Under your leadership, House and Senate Republicans are delivering on both of them.
Today is about how we can strengthen America’s economy even more. And we think the best place to start is with America’s middle-class families and our small businesses. So today, we’re here to talk to you about making permanent this tax relief — one, so they can continue to grow; two, so we can add a million and a half new jobs; and three, we can protect them against a future Washington trying to steal back those hard-earned dollars that you and the Republican Congress has given them.
So thank you very much for having us here today.
THE PRESIDENT: And the time of submittal, what would you think that would be, Kevin?
REPRESENTATIVE BRADY: So we anticipate to the House voting on this in September and the Senate setting a timetable as well.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Well, that’s great.
Thank you very much everybody. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Q Did you talk about reducing sanctions with Mr. Putin? Did you talk about — did you talk about rolling back sanctions?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re not lifting sanctions. What?
Q The Russians sanctions will remain. Is that what you meant?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, everything is remaining. We’re not lifting sanctions.
Q Are you going to increase sanctions on Russia, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Not lifting sanctions. No.

One Response to Sommet d’Helsinki: Attention, une faute peut en cacher une autre ! (Leftist witch hunt: Guess who forced Trump into the impossible choice of kowtowing to Putin or to the delegitimization of his own election ?)

  1. jcdurbant dit :

    IT’S ALL ABOUT DELEGITIMIZING TRUMP, STUPID ! (Even never-Trumpers recognize the problem – at leat in part !)

    Donald Trump has long been loath to concede that operatives of the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election, feeling as he does that the media like to talk about it mainly to suggest that he only defeated Hillary Clinton thanks to the aid of foreign troublemakers. It’s understandable that he would feel some inner conflict about dealing with this subject. His adversaries on the left wouldn’t give a fig about Russian interference if the presidential contest had gone the other way, and the obsessive manner with which many Democrats treat the issue is manifestly about delegitimizing Trump’s presidency rather than holding Russia accountable (…) If we judge the administration by its policies rather than the president by his words, Trump isn’t a stooge. The Treasury Department’s sanctions on Russian oligarchs are clearly complicating Putin’s ability to maintain his power, and the Defense Department is rightly arming the beleaguered fighters of Ukraine…

    https://www.weeklystandard.com/the-editors/a-censurable-disgrace

    COMPARE WITH:

    AP reporter John Lemire placed Trump in an impossible position. Noting that Putin denied meddling in the 2016 elections and the intelligence community insists that Russia meddled, he asked Trump, “Who do you believe?” If Trump had said that he believed his intelligence community and gave no credence to Putin’s denial, he would have humiliated Putin and destroyed any prospect of cooperative relations.Trump tried to strike a balance. He spoke respectfully of both Putin’s denials and the US intelligence community’s accusation. It wasn’t a particularly coherent position. It was a clumsy attempt to preserve the agreements he and Putin reached during their meeting. And it was blindingly obviously not treason. In fact, Trump’s response to Lemire, and his overall conduct at the press conference, did not convey weakness at all. Certainly he was far more assertive of US interests than Obama was in his dealings with Russia. In Obama’s first summit with Putin in July 2009, Obama sat meekly as Putin delivered an hour-long lecture about how US-Russian relations had gone down the drain. As Daniel Greenfield noted at Frontpage magazine Tuesday, in succeeding years, Obama capitulated to Putin on anti-missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, on Ukraine, Georgia and Crimea. Obama gave Putin free rein in Syria and supported Russia’s alliance with Iran on its nuclear program and its efforts to save the Assad regime. He permitted Russian entities linked to the Kremlin to purchase a quarter of American uranium. And of course, Obama made no effort to end Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. Trump in contrast has stiffened US sanctions against Russian entities. He has withdrawn from Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. He has agreed to sell Patriot missiles to Poland. And he has placed tariffs on Russian exports to the US. So if Trump is Putin’s agent, what was Obama? (…) The Democrats and their allies in the media use the accusation that Trump is an agent of Russia as an elections strategy. Midterm elections are consistently marked with low voter turnout. So both parties devote most of their energies to rallying their base and motivating their most committed members to vote. (…) But (…) the problem with playing domestic politics on the international scene is that doing so has real consequences for international security and for US national interests.(…) for instance (…) Europe is economically dependent on trade with the US and strategically dependent on NATO. So why are the Europeans so open about their hatred of Trump and their rejection of his trade policies, his policy towards Iran and his insistence that they pay their fair share for their own defense? (…) The answer of course is that they got a green light to adopt openly anti-American policies from the forces in the US that have devoted their energies since Trump’s election nearly two years ago to delegitimizing his victory and his presidency. Those calling Trump a traitor empowered the Europeans to defy the US on every issue. Trump’s opponents’ unsubstantiated allegation that his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 elections has constrained Trump’s ability to perform his duties.(…) Time will tell if we just averted war. But what we did learn is that Israel’s position in a war with Iran is stronger than it could have been if the two leaders hadn’t met in Helsinki. (…) Trump’s opponents’ obsession with bringing him down has caused great harm to his presidency and to America’s position worldwide. It is a testament to Trump’s commitment to the US and its allies that he met with Putin this week. And the success of their meeting is something that all who care about global security and preventing a devastating war in the Middle East should be grateful for.

    Caroline Glick

    https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Column-One-Who-is-betraying-America-562993

    J'aime

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