You will not hear these facts on Fox

Trump promised new NAFTA accord by today — Friday, August 31 — Canada says “No way!!  We are out of here!”  Deal collapses.

High-stakes trade negotiations between the White House and Canadian leaders unraveled Friday, amid strains caused by lingering divisions and comments President Trump made that suggested he would refuse to offer any concessions.

The breakdown put Trump’s effort to redraw the North American Free Trade Agreement in legal limbo. The White House formally notified Congress on Friday that it will enter into a trade agreement with Mexico. The letter stipulated that Canada could also be added “if it is willing.”

But it is unclear whether a three-nation trade pact can be replaced under congressional rules with a two-nation agreement. White House officials vowed to continue discussions with Canada, and talks are expected to pick back up on Wednesday.

“We are in bizarro-land!!”  Of course we are, that’s where Trump lives.

On Friday, CNN host Jim Sciutto said it wouldn’t be hard to believe that President Donald Trump leaked his own comments about Canada to Bloomberg, and then complained when they were published.

Trump claimed that he told Bloomberg reporters “off the record” comments that insulted Canada.

Jen Psaki, former White House Communications Director under Barack Obama, said that leaks rarely happened under her position.

“It’s important to note I worked with the Bloomberg reporters for eight years in the White House, and never once did they violate anything I said off the record or anything President Barack Obama said off the record,” Psaki said.

She added, “There is no way it comes from them, and that’s what they are accused of. There is a question as to whether it was somebody [else.] The transcripts typically go around broadly.   I suspect Trump himself leaked the remarks slamming Canada.”

National Enquirer scandal supports the Steele dossier

Ever since the release of the bombshell Steele dossier, reporters have been working to sort out how much of it is true.

The document alleges that Donald Trump was blackmailed into becoming close with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and ultimately accepted election help from a hostile foreign power.

We now know that Trump was very much susceptible to blackmail—whether by the Russians or someone else.

“Blackmail is at the center of the Steele dossier,” said host Chris Hayes.

Hayes then pointed to the New York Times reports on Trump’s relations with National Enquirer publisher David E. Pecker: “The idea of that is not at all far-fetched—in fact, it already exists.”

Natasha Bertrand of The Atlantic agreed Trump was very much susceptible to blackmail.

“This is potentially the most blackmail-able president in United States’ history,” she said. “The fact that the National Enquirer had decades of information about his affairs, his children, about even Melania, speaks volumes about the president’s life and all of the shady things he did throughout his career—many of which, most of which, perhaps all of which—he never faced real consequences for.”

Bertrand said that what what we know about the relations between Pecker and Trump substantiate two key parts of the dossier.

“This substantiates two big claims in the dossier,” she said. “The first , of course, is that Michael Cohen was President Trump’s fixer in all things related to Russia. Just as he was the fixer in relation to burying stories about Trump’s extramarital affairs, he was also, according to the dossier, his fixer in burying the story of the Trump campaign’s conspiracy with Russia to win the election. He was alleged to have paid off the hackers and to have kinda cleaned the whole thing up after the election.”

The second part? Trump’s reluctance to discuss his alleged sexual activities following his marriage to Melania.

“Trump is a little bit more skittish about his extramarital affairs becoming public than a lot of us have been led to believe,” she said. “There’s always this theory that perhaps the president wouldn’t care if news came out that prostitutes peed on a bed in Moscow  because he hated President Obama and wanted to defile the bed he slept on… Now we know that Trump has gone to great lengths to hide these details of his personal life, and it really makes you wonder that if those salacious details in that dossier are true, what lengths have the president gone to to keep the Russians from exposing them?”

Hayes then pointed to the New York Times reports on Trump’s relations with National Enquirer publisher David E. Pecker: “The idea of that is not at all far-fetched—in fact, it already exists.”

John McCain sticks it to t-Rump . . . again

I read an article this morning that listed John McCain’s 15 pallbearers and was struck, especially, by one of the names.  I don’t give a damn about movie stars and was only slightly interested in the politician’s names.  What stood out conspicuously was a Russian name:  Vladimir Kara-Murza.

It seemed weird because I’ve read that Putin hated John McCain (for, among other things, taking the Steele dossier to the FBI, etc.).  Knowing that, I had to find out why McCain would want Vladimir Kara-Murza not only to attend his funeral but to have a prominent place as a pallbearer.

Interesting reading!  Vladimir Kara-Murza is not just anti-Putin; he’s also survived two near-fatal attempts on his life via the Kremlin’s favorite method, i.e. poisoning.

When I decided to diary this, I couldn’t find the article I’d read but Google was even better, via bringing up this more specific article from Newsweek:

Given President Donald Trump’s refusal to criticize Putin, most recently evidenced at their joint news conference last month in Helsinki, McCain’s choice seemed intended to send a final message to the two leaders who have both denied Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

McCain and Kara-Murza, who had known each other since 2010, had denounced Putin for years. McCain asked Kara-Murza in April, nine months after the Arizona senator had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, to help carry his coffin at his funeral, which will be held Saturday at Washington National Cathedral.

“I was speechless and heartbroken, close to tears at that moment,” Kara-Murza, who is vice chairman of the pro-democracy group Open Russia, told Politico on Tuesday. “I said yes, of course, and that it would be the most heartbreaking honor that anyone could think of.”

Read the rest here:  John McCain Picks Anti-Putin Russian Poisoned, Almost Killed as Pallbearer in Apparent Dig Against Trump

Few people get to make a statement after they’re dead but John McCain pulled it off magnificently!

Wall Street Journal calls bullshit on Trump’s “US-Mexico Trade Agreement”

The business-friendly editors of the Wall Street Journal are decidedly unimpressed with President Donald Trump’s hastily put-together replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

On the editorial page of the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper, the new agreement — involving Mexico but not Canada — was condemned as “notably worse in many ways,” based on what little is known about it.

“The Presidents of America and Mexico announced a new trade agreement Monday that Donald Trump called ‘much better’ than the North American Free Trade Agreement. We’ll reserve judgment until we see the fine print, but on first inspection this is half a Nafta that contains some improvements but is notably worse in many ways,” the editorial began, before warning, “Whether it can pass Congress is far from certain.”

According to the Journal, the good news is that the “U.S. also seems to have stepped back from its demand for a five-year ‘sunset’ that was essentially a backdoor way to dampen cross-border investment. The two parties agreed instead to a 16-year pact with a review period after six years.”

However, Trump’s decision to move forward without major trading partner Canada came under attack.

“The new deal has many problems, however, not least that it excludes Canada,” the editors wrote. “U.S. Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer used the desire of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to sign a deal before he leaves office to raise the negotiating pressure on Canada. Mr. Trump implied Monday that either Ottawa signs on or he’ll slap a 25% tariff on cars made in Canada.”

“Canada handled that threat with prudent restraint, praising the U.S.-Mexico ‘progress’ and offering to rejoin trilateral talks this week,” the editorial praised. “Mr. Trump griped Monday with cause about Canada’s dairy protection, but Canada is right to want to retain Nafta’s Chapter 19 provisions that provide a way to settle trade disputes by a special tribunal.”

The Journal went onto bash the Trump agreement for stripping “current protections from most U.S. investors in Mexico.”

“Countries other than Venezuela are smart enough not to send in the police to occupy a plant or hotel. They’ll use regulation to favor domestic competitors,” the editors wrote, with the warning, “Believe it or not, this was a Trump-Lighthizer demand: They figure that if U.S. companies are more vulnerable to foreign abuse, CEOs will keep their money at home. This is economic nonsense since American workers prosper when their companies prosper—abroad and at home. Why make it harder for U.S. firms to court customers abroad?”

The Journal then pronounced sentence on Trump’s deal by concluding: “The deal announced Monday has moving parts and there is still time to make improvements before it is signed and sent to Congress. We’re glad to see Mr. Trump step back from the suicide of Nafta withdrawal, but on the public evidence so far his new deal is worse.”