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Trump's written notes spotted on Russia statement

President Donald Trump, facing an onslaught of bipartisan fury over his glowing remarks about Vladimir Putin, said more than 24 hours afterward that he had misspoken during his news conference with the autocratic Russian leader.

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 6:00 AM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 6:11 AM

Wriggling his backside further into the velvet luxury of the 19th Century armchair, Vladimir Putin could be forgiven a sigh of satisfaction.

He mirthlessly smiled at an exchange on Russia 1's "60 Minutes" political panel discussion as it dissected his recent summit with Donald Trump.

Leonid Kalashnikov (Russian State Duma): "America is to blame for the deterioration in relations, he wrote this on Twitter even before the meeting!"

Evgeny Popov (host): "Look, it's really strange, he's the President of that exact country, how can he say that ... It's really odd, well, you can't bash your own country, especially when you're its President."

Olga Skabeeva (host): "Well, yes, especially when he [Trump] says that because of the foolishness and stupidity of the United States, we have bad Russian-American relations. Indeed, this smells like he is a Kremlin agent..."

The dialogue is CNN's verbatim transcription and translation of a part of Tuesday night's show, the day after the Helsinki summit.

Of course, I'm speculating at Putin's reaction. Perhaps he was a little put out at the suggestion that Trump was an asset. But sometimes (and as former director of the FSB, the successor organization to the KGB, he should know), hiding in plain sight can be the best place to seek invisibility.

But in any case, the Russian President's resting face is one of self-confident self-satisfaction. Over the last few days he could be forgiven for being outright smug. Perhaps even allowing himself a conspiratorial wink in the shaving mirror.

After all, for Putin, things are falling into place.

No matter that a dozen of his alleged GRU (military intelligence agents) had been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe for attempting to disrupt the 2106 US elections.

Nor that British investigators are closing in on who they believe were Russian agents behind the use of a globally banned nerve agent in the sleepy cathedral city of Salisbury.

No matter that human-rights groups were screaming "murder!" at his air force's bombing of Syrian civilians.

No matter that this was the fourth anniversary of the killing of 298 people on an Malaysia Airlines flight shot down with a Russian BUK missile over Ukraine.

This "Tsar" had seldom seemed less vulnerable (another irony on the 100th anniversary of the murder of Russia's last royals, the Romanovs).

No. Things were good.

After all, some useful idiots were rampaging around among his enemies sowing just the sort of discord and chaos that he would love to have ordered. It was as if they really were his agents.

Attributed, probably erroneously, to Lenin describing liberal supporters in the West who could be relied on to spread Bolshevik propaganda, the term "useful idiot" was often applied to members of groups like the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

The Soviets sought to help and influence CND, left-wing politicians, trade unionists and artists into undermining the West, inside the West. The "idiots" were not traitors. They knew not what they did. They were dupes.

Now US President Donald Trump was being accused of treason by a former head of the Central Intelligence Agency. That, to Putin, is useful.

Why would the former FSB chief not chuckle? There's nothing like universal distrust and doubt at the highest levels in the leadership of the enemy to ensure a good night's sleep.

Twenty years ago, a younger Putin, an expert on Eastern Germany, had seen the Soviet-dominated nations like Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria the Baltic states, slough off the Kremlin's yoke and embrace democracy, membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union.

Russia's military might had been spent. Its prestige diluted. The very idea of the Cominitern -- international communism -- buried by capitalism.

Mother Russia was barefoot and humiliated after the rapacious collapse of the Soviet Union in the '90s.

Russia was powerless, it seemed, to stop Georgia and then Ukraine (homeland of the original Russ tribes!) flirting with membership of the NATO and European clubs.

There had to be another way to restore Russian pride and regional power. To get its presence felt in the world. Perhaps the West's own power was its greatest weakness.

Nothing rots armor plating like complacency. Now that the West believed it had won, it was going to learn otherwise.

Touring Europe, Trump railed at NATO. He threatened to pull funding from the military alliance that has protected the West for 70 years. He'd even cast doubt on the doctrine of "an attack on one is an attack on all," which had bonded big nation to small throughout the years of the Soviet threat.

With "enemies" like Trump, Vladimir Putin hardly needed friends.

Add to that the idea that the US President disrespected US intelligence and then backtracked on his very clear statement a day after and the scene becomes surreal.

Trump's full-blown praise of Putin had become embarrassing.

No wonder Putin had intervened during the Helsinki press conference to put across the American view of his annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

It had to be tempered even by the Russian President himself. There was a danger of global incredulity at these incredible scenes.

But this has been a week of rich harvest for the Kremlin.

Chaos in Washington matched with tumult in the Mother of Parliaments, in London.

If there is one organization he detested, and feared, as much as NATO it is the European Union. It knitted together disparate nations into a vast democratic behemoth capable of swallowing and infecting Russia's neighbors with its free trade and freedoms.

But, thanks to the British, it was now pulling itself apart.

Led by men who were unwilling, or unable, to see that whatever benefits they thought Britain leaving the EU could bring, those advantages were going to be met with parallel strategic benefits to Russia.

The EU would be weakened. Its centrifugal forces (with a little encouragement) could be exploited through nationalism, especially among the young democracies of Eastern Europe, which could be turned to look nostalgically back towards Moscow.

These movements would need charismatic champions. Men for whom truth is mutable, expertise to be shunned.

Take Boris Johnson, a perfect foil for Russian interests. A performer loved at home and derided abroad. A symbol of the very Western decadence Russia nationalists were encouraged to believe Putin protected them against.

Inexplicably anti-European, he'd risen to become the UK's Foreign Secretary before resigning in a bid to smash existing Brexit plans. Yet he's not published a word, not one coherent word, of how he saw an "independent" Britain making its way in the world.

Johnson is backed up by Nigel Farage, who is alleged to have links to WikiLeaks -- itself linked to Russian intelligence operations.

And his campaign funding is now under police investigation while darkness surrounds the role of Russia in the whole farrago.

How utterly exquisite. Putin could not make this up -- surely?

For Putin, chaos in the ranks of his enemies is victory. And without a shot being fired directly at NATO or the EU, nor any violence against America, there is chaos in Europe, Britian and America.

All driven by men who one could not say were traitors, nor even idiots, but they have been most useful -- to Putin's Russia.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320107

Reported Deaths: 7378
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22291269
Hinds20741421
Harrison18444317
Rankin13917282
Jackson13731249
Madison10270224
Lee10060176
Jones8473167
Forrest7834153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636088
Lafayette6314121
Washington5426137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4161136
Union415877
Neshoba4064180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387087
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3372111
Alcorn327473
Scott320374
Yazoo314371
Adams308386
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298984
Simpson298589
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272274
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248963
Tishomingo232268
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast over the next few days. This will at least keep our area dry for our Wednesday and maybe a little room for a few showers on our Thursday, however nothing major.
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