Trump-Putin Meet, Rube Meets Murderer
Instagram screen capture, via NBC News on Twitter

“I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries,” Trump told reporters on Thursday at a news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, a day ahead of his first in-person meeting as president with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.” [Bloomberg]

TRUMP IN POLAND… Words fail.

“His visit was carefully orchestrated to be consistent with the right-wing government in Poland,” added Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. “From their point of view, all that mattered is the monument to the Warsaw Uprising, a story of Polish heroism and martyrdom.” [Politico]

It was Ivanka Trump who went to the Ghetto Uprising Memorial and the Museum but also asked to visit “the other side,” where 300,000 Jews were “shipped” to the Treblinka death camp.

Autocrats are proud of Trump and his contempt for the free press, diplomatic norms, and protocol, including that you don’t trash your own country as president when abroad.

…and for those of you following the media coverage revolving around Will Trump Confront Putin on Russian Election Meddling-blah-blah-blah?

The question and answer “press conference” was a doozy.

“[President Obama] did nothing. The reason is, he thought Hillary was going to win… And if he thought I was going to win, he would have done plenty about it…”

BUT… Trump also said Russia must “cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere” and “its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran.”

If only Trump was as freaked about North Korea as he is about all things Iran. Maybe then the notion of playing the China card wouldn’t fill me with a mix of bemusement and terror. The laughable suggestion of a military “freeze-for-freeze” illustrates how tied up in knots this situation remains.

From Jake Sullivan and Victor Cha

China, rather than the United States, should be paying for North Korea to halt and roll back its nuclear and missile programs. …

We should reject the freeze-for-freeze. But beyond that, we should tell China that it has to pay to play. The basic trade would be Chinese disbursements to Pyongyang, as well as security assurances, in return for constraints on North Korea’s program. China would be paying not just for North Korean coal, but for North Korean compliance.

In a Chinese freeze-and-rollback agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency would monitor compliance. If North Korea cheated, China would not be receiving what it paid for. The logical thing would be for it to withhold economic benefits until compliance resumed.

North Korea is NOT going to “roll back its nuclear and missile programs…”

It’s the Saddam Hussein effect, compliments of the last Republican who sat in the White House.

Meanwhile, national security advisor HR McMaster continues to consolidate his faction inside 1600. Bannon’s former NSC ally, a former Breitbart writer, and aide to Michelle Bachmann is out.

As for the Trump-Putin meeting, let’s hope Donald learned something from his experience with Xi. Trump thought he could cajole the Chinese leader into using their leverage on North Korea with a resort visit.

All DJT got for his hubris is the surprising news — at least to intelligence sources inside the Pentagon — that North Korea is moving faster than Iran on a deliverable nuclear weapon that can hit the U.S.