The White House / Flickr donald and melania trump...
The White House / Flickr

Whatever went on behind the closed doors of Trump/Putin conference, it clearly didn’t just stretch out longer than expected, it went in a direction that deeply worried the other members of team Trump. How badly was it out of control? This bad,

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Hey, this is going so well that we should really send his wife in there to see if she can stop it … is a thing no one ever said. Just what was it that set off the “go find Melania” alarm?

According to Tillerson, Trump did talk to Putin about hacking of the US election … but Trump and Putin agreed that this subject was “a hindrance” to US/Russian relations. So, according to Lavrov, Trump accepted Putin’s statements that Russia had not been involved.

Tillerson says that Trump made no effort to produce evidence supporting Russian hacking. In fact, he did the opposite. According to Lavrov, “Trump told Putin that some circles in the US are exaggerating the topic of Russian cyber meddling.” Circles that apparently include the CIA, FBI, and NSA. Again, Trump and Putin agreed that what was really important was “moving forward.”

And to move forward, Donald Trump agreed to form a joint task force with the Russians to address cyber security. All of which sounds as if Trump agreed to drop any effort to sanction or otherwise hold Russia to task for interference in the election, and instead offered to give the robbers access to the information on where the keys are stored and how the security is wired.

The back and forth statements between Lavrov and Tillerson don’t exactly line up, with Tillerson claiming that Trump “pressed” Putin over hacking and Lavrov stating that Trump “accepted” Putin’s denials. But the Melania factor certainly argues that, whatever Donald Trump was saying, someone desperately wanted him to shut up.

That someone didn’t win.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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