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Trump’s Saudi Arabia visit was ‘bizarre, unseemly, unethical and un-American’: WaPo columnist

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Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum blasted President Donald Trump and his administration on Sunday for choosing Saudi Arabia as the destination for Trump’s first international trip as president.

Citing the oil-rich nation’s extensive record of human rights abuses, its all-powerful royal family’s grip on the nation’s finances and its abuse of women — who are forced to cover their faces, not allowed to drive and who must ask a male relative for permission to travel — Applebaum took Trump and his advisers to task on a number of points.

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“(H)ere is a list, for the record,” she said, “of just a few of the ways in which President Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia was bizarre, unseemly, unethical and un-American.”

Saudi Arabia was a rotten first choice, she said, of all the nations in the world the new president could visit.

“The past four American presidents, two Republicans and two Democrats, made their first trips to either Mexico and Canada, countries that are close trading partners, close allies, compatible democracies and of course neighbors,” she said. “Trump chose, instead, to make his first presidential visit to an oligarchic kleptocracy which forces women to hide their faces and forbids them to travel without a male guardian’s permission.”

However desperate the administration might be to distance itself from the ever-expanding Russia investigation and last Friday’s bombshell revelations about Trump’s conduct with a Russian delegation in the Oval Office, making a speech about radical Islam from the heart of Saudi Arabia, Applebaum said, was a blunder.

“Although Saudi Arabia is afraid of some forms of Islamist extremism, it supports others. Saudi Arabia sponsors extremist Wahabi mosques and imams all over the world; Osama bin Laden was a Saudi citizen, as were 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers,” she noted.

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She also dinged the administration for its participation in the “sinister” sword dance ritual — given the Saudi government’s practice of beheading criminals — and hammered Ivanka Trump for using the visit as an elaborate “public relations gambit” and an opportunity to line her charitable foundation’s coffers with a $100 million donation from the House of Saud and the government of the United Arab Emirates.

Read Applebaum’s full column here.

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President helped ‘increase anti-Trump turnout’ in red-state governor’s races — which could spell disaster for the GOP

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President Donald Trump was once the Republican Party's greatest asset in an election, mobilizing thousands of supporters to rush to the polls. Recently, however, it seems he's now driving anti-Trump votes up so much that it may no longer be worth the Trump trouble.

“So you’ve got to give me a big win, please,” Trump told a Louisiana crowd this week before the GOP candidate lost the governor's race in a red state.

“What Trump did in Louisiana was increase voter participation. While he increased the pro-Trump turnout, he also increased the anti-Trump turnout. That’s kind of the lesson here,” polling analyst Ron Faucheux told The Washington Post in an interview.

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Ambassador Sondland was updating Trump officials on progress of ‘push for investigations’ — including Mulvaney

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The Wall Street Journal obtained emails showing that ahead of President Donald Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ambassador Gordon Sondland was updating officials on the strive for investigations.

Chief of staff and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was one of the main points of contact, and he replied to the email saying he would schedule the call with Zelensky.

“I talked to Zelensky just now. He is prepared to receive Potus’ call. Will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will ‘turn over every stone,’” Sondland wrote in an email on July 19.

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White House desperately scheduling things for Trump to do so he won’t watch the impeachment hearings

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donald trump on the phone

Given President Donald Trump worked to intimidate witnesses in real-time during the hearings on the impeachment inquiry last week, the White House is desperately searching for something that can keep him busy.

Axios reported Sunday, the presidential daily schedule will be designed to keep the president distracted with their own counter-programming.

"Trump's schedule for the coming week shows him governing," Axios reported. He'll be promoting jobs and talking about things like "art and culture."

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