– – – Tearline – – – Jun. 8, 2017

In this week's Tearline: Nine countries severe diplomatic relations with Qatar, Trump lashes out at London's Mayor following the terrorist attack on London Bridge, and Comey drops the mic.

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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?!

This week’s terrorist attack in London claimed the lives of seven people and injured dozens more. The most recent attack in England came just days before the general election vote on Thursday. As British officials helped the victims and worked ensure that there were no other imminent threats, President Donald Trump decided to use that serious moment as an opportunity to criticize those in the United States—including the judiciary and his own Department of Justice—for not supporting his Muslim ban. He also lashed out at London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan—hardly the way to treat an official of America’s ally, especially as he was trying to protect the people of London.

What’s missing?

Nine Arab and Muslim countries—including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain—cut off diplomatic relations with neighbor Qatar over accusations that it supports terrorism. Only Oman and and Kuwait continue to have ties with Qatar in the Middle East. The diplomatic break is also accompanied by halts to air, land, and sea travel to and from Qatar. This is a very significant move and greatly impacts the United States, which maintains a major military base in Qatar from which anti-Islamic State operations are launched. Trump took to Twitter to praise the move, even though he met with the emir of Qatar just a few weeks ago.

What’s on deck in the world for next week

The United Kingdom is going to the polls today in what has turned out to be an incredibly close race. The past week has been dominated by the London terrorist attack, raising questions about Prime Minister Theresa May’s record on funding cuts to the police while she was home secretary. The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, would likely take Britain in a very different direction from his conservative predecessors. Watch this election and its aftermath very closely.

Better ideas

In the era of fake news, discerning credible information can be complex, affecting our trust in government and our country’s institutions. Russian disinformation campaigns in the United States and elsewhere aim to discredit open societies, as was clear from Russia’s intent in interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Our CAP colleagues Max Bergmann and Carolyn Kenney break down Russia’s use of disinformation to explain its past, present, and possible future use of this war by other means.

Quote of the week

“To quote a British observer of us from some years ago, ‘Bear with us. Once we’ve exhausted all possible alternatives, the Americans will do the right thing’ … So, we will still be there. And we will be with you.” That was Secretary of Defense James Mattis speaking at the annual Shangri-La security conference in Singapore—and, apparently, trolling his boss, President Trump.

Read of the week

Last week, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, passed away. A Cold Warrior who spent years writing about U.S. foreign policy after he left government, Brzezinski was a lucid and strategic foreign policy thinker, whether one agreed with him or not. His thoughts on the emerging disaster of Trump’s foreign policy—made clear in this March NPR interview—are a reminder of the deep wounds Trump is inflicting on America and the world. 

Weekly Trump-Russia reminder

Former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee today. Two key takeaways? Trump fired him to change the course of the Russia investigation, and Comey strongly suggested that Trump himself is under investigation. Benjamin Wittes called Comey’s prepared testimony “the most shocking single document compiled about the official conduct of the public duties of any President since the release of the Watergate tapes.” Jeffrey Toobin says bluntly, “Comey’s statement establishes obstruction of justice by Trump. Period.”

140 days still violating the Constitution

President Trump has been violating the Constitution’s prohibition against corruption by foreign governments for 140 days, because his companies are receiving payments from foreign governments.

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Michael Fuchs

Senior Fellow

Stefanie Merchant

Special Assistant