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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, July 16, 2018

From Russia with Love

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign.

At The Guardian, Lloyd Green reviews Sean Spicer's book:
For three consecutive pages, The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President graphically details how Manafort beat back the efforts of Never Trump Republicans to steal the presidential nomination. Spicer gushes: “How Manafort and company did this was a scene out of 1950s politics – alternating between carrot and stick and sometimes bat.”
Time flies. In March 2017, Spicer was spinning a whole other yarn. Back then, at the White House podium, he was channeling the president, telling the press there was nothing to see: “Obviously there’s been discussion of Paul Manafort, who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.”
Manafort now sits in prison, having violated the conditions of his bail, awaiting trial on money laundering and tax evasion charges.
Jonathan Swan at Axios:
President Trump no longer doubts the basic intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election — he just seems incapable of taking it seriously, and tells staff that is simply what nations do, several sources close to Trump tell me.
Between the lines: There is no evidence that could ever change Trump’s mind, the sources said.

Why it matters: To the extent that Trump does confront Putin over meddling at tomorrow's summit in Finland with Vladimir Putin — and the president has publicly promised to — it's not with any genuine seriousness or enthusiasm, the sources say. It'll be purely for domestic/media consumption. Trump has signaled as much in the sarcastic way he's talked about this with the press.