Foreign policy expert Richard Haass explained the risks President Donald Trump faced in his planned one-on-one meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The president has agreed to meet alone with Putin, with no other U.S. officials present, which panelists on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” agreed was incredibly unusual and dangerous.
“It’s almost as if he has something to hide,” said host Joe Scarborough.
Haas, the longtime president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the meeting was fraught with peril.
“It’s beyond unusual,” Haass said. “You often have small meetings. I worked for presidents, usually the president and his opposite number and one staffer, most often the national security adviser — that would be the small meeting. Then you have the larger meeting and each side would have six or ten people.”
Trump also met alone with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month in Singapore, but a follow-up meeting this weekend with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went poorly — in part because the president failed to reach a conclusive agreement on nuclear disarmament.
“Last time it was done was Singapore,” Haass said. “We’ll be dealing for a long time with the fallout of that.”
He said the stakes in a Trump-Putin meeting were too high to come out with dueling narratives, which happened after his meeting with Kim.
“This meeting, of all meetings, given the stakes, given the political backdrop, given the stakes, you really need a careful record for followup,” Haass said. “You need to document what Putin said, you want to document what the president said.”
“The consequences here of the United States and Russia,” he added, “whether it’s over Ukraine, Syria, we could talk about the specific issues of the two having the same kind of reaction of the United States and North Korea, where you essentially have two different readouts of the meeting, is really dangerous.”
White House is happy GOP lawmakers said Trump is too incompetent to do a quid pro quo: CNN’s Jim Acosta
On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported that the White House is happy with how Republicans defended President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill — even though their central talking point was that the president tried to engage in a quid pro quo with Ukraine but failed.
"The White House officials that responded back to the president said that they thought he had a great day when it comes to this hearing up on Capitol Hill," said Acosta. "They don't see any damage done to the president after this first day of testimony."
"I will tell you, though, Anderson, the talking points are shifting," added Acosta. "White House officials I spoke to this evening said that they were pleasantly surprised by the performance turned in by some of these GOP lawmakers who were essentially saying, well, this was an attempted quid pro quo, it wasn't a quid pro quo, so, therefore, it's not impeachable. So, Anderson, their talking points have shifted once again. They've gone from saying there was no quid pro quo to, well, an attempted quid pro quo isn't that bad after all."
Appeals court again rejects Trump’s attempt to hide his financial records from Congress — and SCOTUS will likely weigh in: report
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that the full panel of judges on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has upheld a lower court's decision requiring President Donald Trump's accounting firm to turn over several years of financial records to Congress.
The decision was 8 to 3, with two of the dissenters judges Trump appointed. Among the majority was Chief Judge Merrick Garland, who was famously denied a Supreme Court appointment by Republicans so they could cement an ideological takeover of the judiciary.
MSNBC panel mocks Devin Nunes for trying to ‘out-crazy’ everyone in the impeachment hearing
During his Wednesday show with former Republican Rep. David Jolly and "The Root" editor Jason Johnson, MSNBC host Chris Matthews couldn't help but note Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) seemed like a weird outlier during the impeachment hearings.
"It was certainly an interesting show. Everyone seemed to be doing their own thing," Matthews said. "I’m not sure what Nunes was up to. He didn’t seem to be a leader of the pack here, he was doing this out-crazy peripheral stuff about Hunter Biden and Ukraine in 2016 and trying to get the whistle-blower exposed. None of that had to do with the conversations President Trump had with Zelensky or the whole cabal to shake this guy down for dirt on Biden. He was just walking around the far fringes of the topic."