"President Trump named John R. Bolton, a hard-line former American ambassador to the United Nations, as his third national security adviser on Thursday, continuing a shake-up that creates one of the most hawkish national security teams of any White House in recent history. Mr. Bolton will replace Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the battle-tested Army officer who was tapped last year to stabilize a turbulent foreign policy operation but who never developed a comfortable relationship with the president." Bolton was an outspoken advocate of military action during the George W. Bush administration, and has "called for action against Iran and North Korea."
While Republicans continue to modify the way they interact with President Trump, “it is not clear what a meaningful, sustainable divorce” from the president “could even look like.”
“The most extreme remedies, like impeachment, remain nonstarters in Republican circles. The party has likewise declined to embrace any formalized censure against the president, an option pushed Wednesday by House Democrats — though last month’s sanctions on Russia, passed against the administration’s wishes, were a notable bit of bipartisan defiance.
“Among Republicans, though, the next steps are complicated by the president’s ramshackle legislative strategy: The White House has effectively outsourced its agenda to its partners in Congress.” (New York Times)
AND SENATORS AREN’T HAPPY. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that Trump “lacks an understanding of the character of the nation and that the White House needs to make ‘radical changes’—otherwise, he fears for the country.
“‘The president has not been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,’ Corker told members of the media after speaking to Chattanooga’s Rotary Club Thursday. ‘And we need for him to be successful; our nation needs for him to be successful. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat … The world needs our president to be successful.’” (Nooga)
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee “is not prone to outspoken outbursts and thinks carefully before delivering his analysis. So his critique that the President has not shown sufficient stability, competence or understanding of the character of the country that he leads was devastating.”
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) “was another Trump ally who had been wrestling with a painful political and moral dilemma. But he also broke ranks Thursday, saying he could not defend the ‘indefensible’ in the wake of Trump’s comments about the alt-right rallies in Charlottesville.”
Adding fuel to the fire, “James Murdoch, the 21st Century Fox CEO and son of Rupert Murdoch, who is one of Trump’s close informal advisers, wrote a withering email denouncing the President’s reaction to the White Supremacist rally and the violence it sparked.” (CNN)
OBSERVING ALL THIS. “Journalists and analysts have fallen in the habit of declaring almost every week in this presidency the worst yet. Perhaps befitting a president unlike any of his predecessors, this is a journalistic trend never seen before.
“This is the 30th week since Trump was sworn into office. A neutral ranking of those weeks would show that 20 have been bad for the president, while only four weeks have been positive for him. The other six weeks were neither good nor bad.” (National Journal)
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"When a Russian news agency reached out to George Papadopoulos to request an interview shortly before the 2016 election," deputy communications director Bryan Lanza encouraged him to respond. "You should do it," Lanza wrote in a September 2016 email, "emphasizing the benefits of a U.S. 'partnership with Russia.'" The Trump campaign has "sought to paint the 30-year old energy consultant as a low level volunteer" in the campaign, but recently disclosed emails show that Papadopoulos had contact with "senior campaign figures" in the Trump campaign, "such as chief executive Stephen K. Bannon and adviser Michael Flynn," who encouraged him to "broker ties between Trump and top foreign officials."