AP’s Jonathan Lemire and Reuters’ Jeff Mason, the reporters who had asked Trump if he believed his own intel officers or Putin about Russian election meddling, and asked Putin if he had kompromat on Trump, raced around the morning landscape taking questions from dumbfounded on-air talent. Ditto former CIA director Brennan who had described Trump’s performance as treasonous.
Even Trump’s fave morning show, Fox News’ Fox & Friends criticized him this morning, though in the gentlest possible way [Video below].
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stopped by MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss Trump as Putin’s “useful idiot,” warning Republicans of the peril of normalizing Trump’s Helsinki presser behavior. Borrowing a Mussolini gag, she described Trump’s Russia strategy to date: “If you pluck the chicken one feather at a time nobody will notice.”
“We have just plucked a lot of feathers here,” she said of Trump’s Scorched Earth European Tour. “It’s very important for us to make clear that Trump has over-plucked.”
“Putin has a plan,” Albright warned. “He wants to undermine democracy; he wants to separate us from our allies in Europe. He wants to reassert influence in the Middle East, and our president is a help in all of this.”
On Fox Business Network, reliable Trump cheerleader Maria Bartiromo told viewers “there is no question about” Russians having meddled in the election. But the president did not want to address that in front of Vladimir Putin which is a head scratcher.”
Instead, Trump threw his intel community under the bus at the presser which, Bartiromo said, raises the possibility of resignations in those intel orgs. In a stroke of understatement, she called Trump’s presser performance “probably the low point of the presidency so far.”
And, even if he missed those broadcasts, Trump likely saw Fox & Friends this morning, where Brian Kilmeade had a message for POTUS:
“I will say this to the president, when Newt Gingrich, when General Jack Keane, when Matt Schlapp say the president fell short and made our intelligence apparatus look bad – I think it’s time to pay attention.”
“It’s easily correctable,” Kilmeade advised Trump. “Nobody’s perfect, especially in ten intense days of summits, private meetings, and everything on his plate. But that moment is the one that’s going to stand out unless he comes out and corrects it.”
Steve Doocy jumped in to say “A lot of people get confused,” then added quickly, “I’m not saying the president’s confused.”
“But, a lot of people are confused about the Russia collusion thing. There is a big difference between collusion and the meddling. The president says there was no collusion… But, pretty much everybody and their brother, except Vladimir Putin, knows that there was meddling.”