Trump, Trump, Trump

German government still struggling to establish contacts with the new administration

Handelsblatt Global: Trump Team Leaves Germany Out in the Cold. “As Donald Trump officially enters office, the German government is still struggling to establish contacts with the new administration and distinguish campaign bluster from actual policy.” January 20, 2017.

“Ms. Merkel’s foreign policy advisor, Christoph Heusgen, has called for Germany and Europeans to have “strategic patience“ with the new U.S. administration, which is largely staffed by people who have little or no government experience.

Mr. Heusgen said his initial conversations with the Trump team gave him the impression that they have little understanding of the European Union and how it operates.

Ms. Merkel’s cabinet is resting its hopes on retired Marine Corps general James Mattis, Mr. Trump’s pick for secretary of defense, as a voice of reason within the new U.S. administration. Mr. Mattis is well connected in Europe and views NATO as an anchor of stability.”

In Violation of the Constitution?

New York Times: Foreign Payments to Trump Firms Violate Constitution, Suit Will Claim. By Eric Lipton and Adam Liptak. January 22, 2017.

“A team of prominent constitutional scholars, Supreme Court litigators and former White House ethics lawyers intends to file a lawsuit Monday morning alleging that President Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his hotels and other business operations to accept payments from foreign governments.

The lawsuit is among a barrage of legal actions against the Trump administration that have been initiated or are being planned by major liberal advocacy organizations. Such suits are among the few outlets they have to challenge the administration now that Republicans are in control of the government.”

Alternative Facts?!

The Guardian: I’ve reported on Putin – here are my tips for journalists dealing with Trump. “There’s been much hand-wringing about how the media should deal with the Trump administration. First of all: don’t get distracted.” By Alexey Kovalev. January 23, 2017.

“consider the Trump team’s proposition to move the press room out of the White House to a more spacious facility to accommodate the “off the chart“ interest in the new president. And to dilute the “elite“ DC press corps with bloggers and talk radio hosts: to anyone who’s ever seen the mad scramble for Putin’s attention inside that cavernous hall where his press conferences are held, the purpose is obvious.

The biggest threat to informing the public in Russia is not censorship, state pressure or fake news: it’s the chaff constantly thrown out to keep the media distracted. There are politicians in Russia that throughout their decades-long careers have done nothing but make statements aimed at raising outrage or suggesting deliberately absurd bills, with the sole reason of staying in the headlines. Putin himself and his spokesman Dmitry Peskov are famous for their tendency to brazenly deny the plainly obvious – only to make a rhetorical U-turn later, completely dumbfounding everyone.”