Sunday, November 11, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He had to be ordered by France to delay a "chance" meeting with Vladimir Putin.

There had been speculation for weeks that Trump would use the ceremonies in Paris this weekend to meet privately with Vladimir Putin, whose government illegally helped to get Trump elected with cyber-espionage and propaganda campaigns. The source for this speculation was the Putin regime itself, which frequently shares news about the U.S.-Russia relationship with the American public before Trump's own government does.

And while Trump did not have the stamina for a limousine ride yesterday to honor fallen American soldiers, he did apparently have time for Putin today. But the meeting was cancelled at the last minute when French president Emmanuel Macron raised objections.

Once again, the source for this news was the Russian government itself, which seems to delight in deciding for Trump how much Americans are allowed to know of his Russia contacts, and when they are allowed to learn it.

In addition to their Helsinki meeting this past June, when Trump met alone with Putin and then openly sided with him against the United States' intelligence services, the two had an "impromptu" meeting at last year's G20 summit. On that occasion, Trump chose to rely on Putin's translator, a breach of security and diplomatic protocols. This meeting, too, was disclosed to the world only because Russia announced it.

Why does this matter?

  • France shouldn't have to protect the United States from its own president's overconfidence.
  • An administration with nothing to hide in terms of its connections with a hostile foreign power like Russia wouldn't try to hide them.