The Roundup: June 27 – July 3

Last week, Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Japan — and their conversation was a shocking affirmation of the findings of the special counsel on a global stage. 

Putin directly ordered an attack on the 2016 election to help Trump win, and instead of warning against further election interference, Trump made light of the situation. Turning to Putin, he joked, “don’t meddle in our elections, President,” and the two shared a chuckle at America’s expense.

Why is this so dangerous? For one thing, it invites Russia to interfere in our elections all over again in 2020. 

For another, Putin opposes the Western-style liberal democracy on which America is built. He’s not interested in free speech, civil liberties, the rule of law, voting rights, accountability for elected officials, and other core tenets of American democracy. Yet Trump encourages Putin to pursue his authoritarianism on a global stage and refuses to truly confront him about the 2016 election interference. Doing so would force him to admit that he and his campaign team welcomed Russia’s help, fundamentally undermining the legitimacy of his election. 

Trump’s comments abroad only reinforce the importance of holding him accountable through the mechanisms available to us at home.

Congress has the power to open an impeachment inquiry into Trump — and they need to do so immediately. Mueller’s testimony in the coming weeks will illuminate what he uncovered during his investigation, but in the meantime, we need you to call your representative and demand that they publicly support an immediate impeachment inquiry into Trump.

Read more important highlights from the G20 and the rest of this week’s news:

Vox: Trump jokes with Putin about Russian election meddling and getting “rid” of journalists
Mueller’s final report detailed numerous Russian attempts to cause discord online and operations by Russian military intelligence to hack Democrats. So while it may be fun to banter about legitimate national security threats, Trump’s inability to say or do the bare minimum to publicly condemn Russia’s actions is extremely troubling. This type of interference poses an  ongoing threat to our national security. US intelligence officials have warned that the Russians will be back in 2020, and it’s likely other adversaries will join them.

The New York Times: Trump and Putin Share Joke About Election Meddling, Sparking New Furor
The first encounter between Trump and Putin since Mueller reported that Russia conducted a “sweeping and systematic” operation to sway the 2016 election proved more convivial than confrontational. Rather than challenge Putin, Trump treated it as a laughing matter. In the process, he triggered a fresh furor over his accommodating approach to Russia and brought back old questions that have haunted him since he took office.

CNN: Ivanka Trump: Adviser, daughter, and, this week, diplomat
Over the course of the four-day trip, Ivanka Trump attended multiple bilateral meetings at the G20 in Osaka. Former Obama State Department spokesperson, Pentagon press secretary and CNN analyst John Kirby said that her outsized role during the trip raises “legitimate concerns” regarding the transparency of Ivanka Trump’s responsibilities as a White House official, and, subsequently, her lack of accountability mechanisms as an unelected staffer.

Axios: Report: U.S. is underestimating Putin’s “grand strategy” for Russian dominance”
A new Pentagon report: “Contrary to conventional analysis, after two decades under Vladimir Putin, Russia represents an ideological challenge to the West, not just a political and military rivalry. The unwillingness of Western experts and governments to confront the ideological — as well as political and military — aspects of our rivalry with Putinism means that the threat of significant armed conflict is rising.”

Politico: Senate’s Russia reports to start publishing in July
Final versions of the Senate’s five-part report on Russian interference in the 2016 election will be released in stages starting in July. The committee has reviewed more than 300,000 pages of documents and conducted interviews with more than 200 witnesses, including a recent closed door sit-down with Donald Trump Jr.

The Washington Post: Trump schedules a campaign rally in N.C. on same day Mueller testifies publicly to Congress
Trump’s campaign announced Tuesday night that he would return to Greenville, N.C., on July 17, offering some counterprogramming to Mueller’s testimony earlier in the day before the Democratic-led House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

USA Today: Trump wants to strike fear in anyone who might investigate or expose him, and it’s working
Since taking office, Trump has been pressuring the Department of Justice to prosecute his political opponents and the law enforcement team responsible for initiating the Russia investigation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resisted. But when Trump installed William Barr as the head of federal law enforcement, Trump had a strategy in mind. With a presidential twist of the arm, Barr raised a white flag before the first tendon snapped. 

Talking Points Memo: Nadler Says Mueller’s Public Hearing Will Have A ‘Profound Impact’
“Do you think this would have such a profound impact that it could strengthen calls for an impeachment inquiry?” asked a reporter. “Well, I don’t know. It might,” Nadler responded. “But I think it will have a profound impact because the Russians attacked our democracy. The Trump campaign certainly welcomed that assistance.”

New York Magazine: Republicans Prepare to Badger Mueller at First Public Hearing
With Mueller’s public testimony to two House committees nearly two weeks away, Trump’s most loyal allies in Congress are gearing up for a dramatic confrontation with the former special counsel. Republicans are aiming to puncture his “reputation and cast doubt on the integrity of his work,” according to a new report in Politico.

The New York Times: Weeks of Talks Led a Reluctant Mueller to Testify
The protracted negotiations came to an abrupt stop late on Tuesday night when representatives for Mueller agreed that he would show up if the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees issued subpoenas for an appearance on July 17. House members knew that Mueller, a former federal prosecutor and a director of the F.B.I. under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, would not defy a subpoena.

 

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