Burnett: Trump is trying to save face

CNN's Erin Burnett asks why President Donald Trump decided to postpone his next meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Posted: Jul 26, 2018 12:49 PM
Updated: Jul 26, 2018 1:14 PM

On Tuesday, two seemingly unrelated things happened in the world of global politics.

First, political oddsmaker Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics forecasted for the first time that the chances of the House flipping to Democratic control were greater than 50-50.

Second, the Kremlin publicly indicated that it was lukewarm on the idea of a second meeting so soon after the Helsinki summit, stating that it hadn't really begun thinking about another meeting for this fall.

And on Wednesday, the White House announced it was pushing off plans for a second Trump-Putin Summit in Washington, DC, scheduled for this fall - just a few weeks out from the 2018 Midterms.

Coincidence?

Did Putin somehow signal to Trump that it probably wasn't in their mutual self-interest to be seen in public together so soon after Helsinki -- particularly after the trashing Trump received after returning to Washington?

Ever since the White House announced they were inviting Putin to come to the White House for another round of talks this fall, Democratic political operatives' hands may have been doing so much high-fiving that they were turning red and chafed. As Ron Klain, the former chief of staff to both Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden, told Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC's "The Last Word," the idea of a such a meeting would be a nightmare for Republican strategists and tantamount to political insanity.

"Everything Russia is toxic," Dave Jacobson, a longtime Democratic political strategist who is advising a number of Democratic congressional and statewide candidates in California and New Mexico this year, told us via a Twitter direct message. "Rewarding Putin...by rolling out the red carpet at the White House, would have undoubtedly spelled big trouble for the GOP at the ballot box this fall."

Traditional conservatives, such as Ted Cruz's national security guru Harry J. Kazianis, had publicly fretted at the election day casualties that a second presidential summit might incur. The Hill declared that the optics of putting Putin in the Oval Office would be political suicide. Putin "will not be welcome" in the Capitol, said Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) just a day before the White House announced it was scuttling the idea for this fall.

Had Putin ended up coming to Washington this fall, his visit might very well have directly impacted the balance of power in the House where there are now over 30 Republican-held House seats deemed "toss-ups" --by Sabato and other mainstream political oddsmakers - far more than the 23 seats the Democrats need to flip to take back control

The evisceration that Trump received back home in the US -- including from his own party -- following his widely criticized performance in Helsinki had become a political liability. For the first time, the mainstream media was openly speculating on whether there was a Kompromat held by Putin over Trump and if so, what kind -- little else could seemingly explain the President's obsequiousness beside his Russian counterpart.

The bottom line is that Putin needs Trump to stay strong -- at least strong enough to stay in power while Putin furthers his agenda of generating division and distrust between the US and her allies. A Democratic-led House would put a severe check on Trump's ability to blow up security pacts and undercut big trade deals. Putin needs Trump. If Putin overreaches, enabling a Democratic House to take power in 2018 -- or worse -- the election of a Democratic President in 2020, then his plans to shake up the global order will be dealt a severe blow.

Putin's fall trip to the US would have likely touched off a bipartisan firestorm with Trump in the middle of it and his GOP comrades running in tightly contested races around the country taking the heat. If Trump didn't see the political backlash coming -- despite what his aides were likely telling him - the Kremlin's lackluster enthusiasm got the message through.

There will be no summit this fall.

And that swooshing sound you hear in the distance is from GOP candidates across the US letting out a collective sigh of relief.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 76°
Columbus
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 75°
Starkville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 73°
Tropical Depression Claudette has now moved into Alabama and Georgia, leaving with some cloud cover but dry conditions. Most of us will stay dry through this Father's Day but some spotty showers will likely through the late afternoon.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather