– – – Tearline – – – Jul.13, 2017

In this week's Tearline: Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer, an iceberg the size of Delaware, and other giant messes.

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Tearline noun | ‘ter ï lin
The portions of an intelligence report that provide the substance of a more highly classified or controlled report without identifying sensitive sources, methods, or other operational information.

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What was that?!

In case you’re living on Mars and missed it, the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., released emails—because The New York Times had the story—confirming that in June 2016, he met with a Russian lawyer in order to receive promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton as part of Russia’s support for his father’s campaign. Let that sink in. More below.

Meanwhile, while it seems like eons ago, it was just last week that President Donald Trump met face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit. While there are a lot of questions and controversy swirling around the meeting—the joint cybersecurity group, what messages Trump delivered, and, of course, the investigation into collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign that overshadows it all—the takeaway is that Putin ate Trump’s lunch. Trump said it was “an honor” to meet with the man who has invaded Russia’s neighbor, caused mass humanitarian carnage in Syria, and violated U.S. sovereignty by intervening in the 2016 election. What did Trump get in return? Nothing. Putin is playing Trump, and Trump seems not to care. That’s bad for the United States because Putin’s cyberattacks on the United States and his destabilizing behavior in Europe and the Middle East have continued since the 2016 U.S. election and will only get worse without a sufficient deterrent.

What’s missing?

The United States, or rather, the Trump administration, keeps isolating the United States from its allies and the rest of the world. This was on full display when the United States pulled out of the Paris climate accord, and then again last week at the G-20 summit when the United States was left standing alone as the only country to not join the G-20 consensus on the importance of the Paris accord, which even Saudi Arabia—one of the world’s largest oil producers—joined. U.S. leadership, once again in the era of Trump, was missing.

What’s on deck in the world for next week

Today, Trump is continuing his international exploits in Paris—a city he has called “so, so, so out of control, so dangerous”—on Bastille Day, celebrating French national pride and the long-standing alliance between our two countries. The French people are none too pleased about Trump’s RSVP and have already planned protests and a “No Trump Zone” in the middle of the city. Trump is meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, which may make for some interesting conversation if Macron holds any grudges. While Macron is rolling out the red carpet for Trump, don’t forget that Trump actively supported Macron’s opponent—Marine Le Pen—in the French election earlier this year. On the agenda: Syria and counterterrorism.

Better ideas

As the Philippines fights Islamic State militants in the city of Marawi, the threat of terrorism in Southeast Asia is once again garnering widespread attention. Investments in diplomatic and development resources will be essential parts of any U.S. strategy to combat terrorism in the region, as the Center for American Progress’ Michael Fuchs made clear in testimony this week before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

Quote of the week

In case you missed it, the Department of Defense delayed lifting the ban on transgender troops earlier this month. Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the department needed the “additional time to evaluate more carefully the impact of such accessions on readiness and lethality.” Others’ response? “This makes no sense,” said one expert.

Read of the week

On Wednesday, a chunk of the Antarctic Peninsula approximately the size of Delaware broke away, causing experts to suggest that we need to redraw our world map. As our ice shelves become more and more vulnerable, New York magazine lays out the absolutely terrifying scenarios for what will happen as the world ultimately becomes too hot—even for humans.

Weekly Trump-Russia reminder

Donald Trump Jr. attended a meeting with a Russian attorney in the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign that was meant to “provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to [his] father.” He was excited—saying “I love it”—about the possibility of getting information damaging to his father’s opponent that was made clear it was part of Russia’s support for Donald Trump. If Trump Jr. was willing to tweet out screenshots of emails setting up the meeting and pieces like this and this are around because The New York Times had the story, what more might special counsel Robert Mueller—whose job it is to investigate the connection between Trump associates and Russia during the 2016 presidential election—already know?

175 days still violating the Constitution

President Trump has been violating the Constitution’s prohibition against corruption by foreign governments for 175 days, because his companies are receiving payments from foreign governments. For an in-depth look at Trump’s potential conflicts of interest, see this CAP interactive map and series of columns.
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Michael Fuchs

Senior Fellow

Stefanie Merchant

Special Assistant

Meredith Leal

Program Coordinator