NATO – Successful Alliance or Obsolete

He Said

July, 2016 – “If they fulfill their obligation to us the answer is yes.” Trump, responding to a question about defending NATO allies if Russia should attack them.

And if they were behind in their payments, “Then yes, I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, ‘Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.'”

He Said

January, 2015 – “It’s obsolete because it wasn’t taking care of terror… A lot of these countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to be paying, which I think is very unfair to the United States,” Trump said. “With that being said, NATO is very important to me. There’s five countries that are paying what they’re supposed to. Five. It’s not much.”

They Said

January, 2015 – “NATO is working but there are things about it that need to change and there are parts of it that are, in the words of Trump, ‘obsolete‘”, Anthony Scaramucci, a hedge fund manager who is joining Trump’s White House staff as an adviser, told an audience at the World Economic Forum (WEF).

January, 2015 – “If we did not have NATO today we would need to create it,” General Mattis, Trump’s Secretary of Defence nominee said, explaining in a written questionnaire that he believes the alliance “must harness renewed political will to confront and walk back aggressive Russian actions and other threats to the security of its members.

My view is that nations with allies thrive and nations without allies don’t,” General Mattis said.

I’m confident that the president-elect expects us to live up to our word to include NATO in Article V,” Mattis said, referencing the collective defense clause in the NATO treaty.

January, 2017 –

Rex Tillerson, Trump nominee for Secretary of State in response to Senator Todd Young who asked if the US should defend a NATO member country from Russian invasion called the Article 5 commitment “inviolable” and said the US would stand by it.

In response to a clarifying question about Article 5 of the NATO agreement creating a binding obligation for the US to assist any member who is a victim of aggression regardless of their size or geographic location?” Tillerson responded, “Yes, sir, I do.

Paul Ryan widens the crack between Hill Republicans and Donald Trump

The space between Trump, his nominees, and the GOP congressional leadership was visibly wider this week as folks in front of Senate committees and on news programs addressed the coming agenda.  Thursday night CNN’s town hall showed Paul Ryan disagreeing with several of Trump’s campaign statements. Of course, during the campaign Trump make statement disagreeing with some of these too.

Just a week after the election, the cracks were starting to show between Trump and Republicans on some pretty major issues. Now that the election is over and it’s time for Republicans to govern, they appear to be growing wider.Deportation forces? Despite President-elect Donald Trump’s use of the phrase, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) promised in a CNN town hall Thursday night: “In Congress, it’s not happening.”

Oh, and Russia. Pretty much everyone in Washington except Trump wants to slap sanctions on Russia, Ryan included.

CNN Report provided details on Ryan’s Russian comments.

Ryan took a tough line on Russia, saying the United States must “step up our game” and adopt a “stronger Russia engagement policy, for sure, across the board.”
“The fact that a foreign government tried to meddle in another government’s election is wrong,” Ryan said, calling for stronger sanctions against the country.
He called Russia a “global menace led by a man who is menacing.”
“Vladimir Putin does not share our interests,” Ryan said. “He frustrates our interests. He violates his neighbors. … He’s not democratic. I really think a lot of the things that he is doing is to try to delegitimize the other democracies so that his illegitimate democracy doesn’t look as illegitimate by comparison.”

And regarding Trump’s use of Twitter, Ryan sees little to no relief coming.

“I think he’s going to keep doing this, and I think he’s going to be probably a little more restrained in his tweets probably, but it’s all relative,” Ryan said.

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The Trump-ification of the media

Lots of changes in the “free press” heading into an administration change.

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has a new gig on the One America News Network. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Before we even had a chance to miss him, Corey Lewandowski is returning to television as an analyst on the One America News Network, bringing his fact-starved brand of pro-Trump […]

Lewandowski’s hiring represents a broader media trend ahead of Trump’s inauguration: An ability to convey the billionaire’s perspective, or at least relate to his tens of millions of supporters, is now a sought-after quality.

Meanwhile, Trump-adoring Breitbart News suddenly seems to some journalists like the place to be. Breitbart this week hired the Wall Street Journal’s John Carney to lead a new section devoted to economics and finance.

“Breitbart was way ahead of the curve on politics and the rise of Trump,” Carney told Bloomberg News. “I think there’s an opportunity to do that for business, finance and economic news.”

True/False: Did Trump Receive Info about Russian Claims of Blackmail Material?

Investigating the accuracy of a memo that was first reported on in October, 2016, by MotherJones and released to the public on January 10, 2017 by Buzzfeed claiming Russia operative had information to blackmail trump, Snopes wrote: Memos leaked to the media claiming that Trump was blackmailed by Russian operatives are not verified.
In fact-checking Donald Trump’s first press conference since the election, PolitiFact decided to pass on a declaration about the blackmail material in the intelligence briefing and look at more easily tested claims like people don’t care about the release of his tax returns.
Fact Checker

Fact Checker decided to verify other items from Trump’s press conference but weighed in a bit of hypocrisy. Trump speaking about the report said, “I think it’s a disgrace that information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public.”
Fact Checker responded,

“We cannot resist noting that Trump was the leading purveyor of false “birther” claims, based on no evidence, that Obama was not born in the United States. He frequently claimed that Obama had spent $2 million to cover this up — a number he plucked out of World Net Daily, which promotes conservative-leaning conspiracy theories.”

Claims made by Trump’s lawyer regarding Trump’s plan to turn business dealings to kids via a trust.

Trump Receives Intelligence Briefing on Russian Claims of Damaging Info


Last week, intelligence officials provided President Obama and Don Trump with a summary of unsubstantiated reports about Russian attempts to compromise him, including indications that Russia had obtained compromising and embarrassing personal information about Trump. After CNN first reported this yesterday (and was subsequently not allowed to ask questions of Trump at Trump’s press conference) numerous news outlets have covered this story. So far, only one, Buzzfeed, has shared the complete 35-page report which was used to create the 2-page briefing summary.

Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him – CNN

Trump Received Unsubstantiated Report That Russia Had Damaging Information About Him – NYTimes

A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump – Mother Jones from October, 2016

About that Explosive Trump Story: Take a Deep Breath – Lawfare

Buzzfeed made it very clear the report was unsubstantiated. They were very clear the report came from a former British intelligence operative hired initially by republican presidential candidates and then by the democratic party. Yet, they released the full report anyway and became a target for significant ridicule on their ethics.

BuzzFeed’s publication of Trump memos draws controversy – CNN Money


Watch Fox News Defend Rival CNN Against Donald Trump’s ‘Fake News’ Claim – Yahoo

We are here to help discover the truth and it appears the releasing of these unsubstantiated rumors of golden showers in a Russian hotel do little to help with the truth. Yes, the report does indeed exist. Yes, the author of the report is someone whose professional skills are held in high regard by American intelligence officers. Yes, a summary of the report was provided to the President and to the target. But sharing the details of this unsubstantiated document does not inform people of the truth. It just as likely gives an inaccurate impression and as we’ve seen in the past, a lasting one that is not easily converted when accurate reports are made available.

  • The intelligence agencies provided President Obama and DJT with information about a report that Russia attempted to compromise DJT and were claiming to have info damaging to DJT. TRUE
  • A report exists that includes detailed information which would embarrass DJT if accurate. TRUE
  • The author of the report claims this information reflects things Russian authorities claim they have about DJT. TRUE
  • The acts represented in this report about DJT occurred. UNKNOWN

As much as you may like the idea that those willing to repeat, slander, and say anything at any time with no regard to the truth can also be the target of inaccurate, incomplete, or unsubstantiated reports. Lies or those things which may not be true do not help us come together and create better decisions and improve people’s lives. Now, as to how people react to information about them presented this way? Well, that does indeed tell a lot about a person’s character and mental toughness. It’s just getting going.  Hang on.

Donald Trump Blasts Allegations In Dossier Claiming He Has Close Ties To Russia