Trump learns the limits of personal power, at home and beyond


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By Jonathan Allen

HANOI, Vietnam – President Donald Trump landed in Washington a few hours ago after suffering a brutal overseas attempt in which the limits of his power at home and abroad, as well as the dangers of his personal conduct, were revealed both and in a humiliating manner. .

Here in Southeast Asia, half a world away from home, Trump behaved with solicitude towards a notorious dictator before moving away from what even his most ardent allies saw as an agreement potentially calamitous nuclear at the last minute, leaving no obvious trace for an elusive The goal – to bring North Korea back into the community of nations – has been a central part of its foreign policy agenda.

"High-level diplomacy can involve high-level risks," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in an impulse reminiscent of the failure of negotiations, "but the president must be commended for his success." To be far from the situation, which has become insufficient, the de-nuclearization has progressed ".

Back home, Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney and counsel, was preparing a Trump story while his "consummate conman", while his Republican compatriots refused to defend the president's behavior, began to stand out more clearly from his efforts to appeal to management. authority to build a border wall and welcomed his inability to reach an agreement with Kim.

This is perhaps one of the worst weeks of Trump's presidency, concentrated in just a few painful days.

On Wednesday, in his compelling testimony before the Congress, Cohen described the president as a businessman who was discriminating against tax laws, the money of his charity and the payments of his subcontractors, and to a candidate who had little respect for the law by ordering Cohen to donate money. To conceal an alleged marital infidelity, pursue real estate development in Moscow during the 2016 election and discuss the benefits of Wikileaks publishing stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee to help it retain its wealth.

The public session brought signs Trump was losing steam – albeit in the margins – with his cheering section: his Republican colleagues in Congress.

Instead of defending Trump, the House Republicans of the Monitoring and Reform Committee chose to attack the character of Cohen – a tacit acknowledgment that it was harder to protect the president's reputation.

And while the dam has barely broken, Trump sees more and more cracks in the Republican coalition ready to support the national emergency, he said, in order to fund a border wall without the consent of the Congress.

On Thursday, Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Spoke in the Senate to offer a warning to Trump, asking him to reconsider the move.

"There has never been a case where a US president has asked for funding, Congress has refused and the president has then used the national emergency law to justify funding," he said. said Alexander in the Senate.

Alexander stopped saying that he would vote for a resolution passed by the House ending the declaration of urgency, but he stepped up the pressure on Trump within his own party to abandon him. of his plan to execute a final plan around the Congress, with the aim of canceling it. emergency statement now potentially just a GOP vote away from the approval. On Tuesday, with Trump in Vietnam, 13 House Republicans voted with a Democratic caucus of the Unified House to cancel the emergency.

Ron Bonjean, a former Republican Congress deputy and Rokk Solutions partner, said the resistance to Trump in the GOP would not get worse if he retained support from the party's main constituents.

"He actually has a pretty slight repugnance of the Republican Senate on the urgent statement as to what it could be right now bypassing Congress," Bonjean said. "As long as the base stays with the president, most Republicans do not separate from Trump for fear of facing a major challenge at home."

Bonjean added that while many Republicans do not know what to do with Kim's summit early, "getting away from Hanoi early was considered a good thing to do for the country and he deserved the praise for not to have reached an agreement it is not to be done. "

Trump, the leader of the free world, unable to bend Kim, the dictator of the tin pot of one of the last "rogue" countries in the world, left to his will the Trump in search of a transaction that was moving away from the altar. a dispute between the two countries over what was in dispute.

To add an intellectual insult to wounded American pride, Trump said he believed North Korea's Kim Jong Un's statement did not know anything about the treatment of Otto Warmbier, an American who died shortly after his return to captivity in North Korea. – an affirmation of ignorance that former US ambassador to the UN, Bill Richardson, has described as "totally impossible".

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who chaired the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee for many years, said Thursday that he hoped the summit's debacle would be a teaching moment for Trump. .

"I hope I will not be patronizing, because I do not think so," said Biden, who plans to run for president in 2020. "I hope the president has learned a very important lesson Diplomacy is important, preparation is important. "

Another thing that Trump has learned is that spending a few days on the road will not stop you from having a really bad week in Washington.

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