You may be old enough to remember when Vladimir Putin was Donald Trump’s one true friend —you know, way back in early July during the infamous bonding episode in Hamburg. Now that Congress has stepped between them to slap new sanctions on Russia, Putin has retaliated by demanding that 755 Americans leave their diplomatic posts, even though there aren’t 755 American diplomats in Russia. In any case, tensions between the two countries are now suddenly growing even more, well, tense. It’s almost as if Russia had interfered in the 2016 election or something. Via The New York Times.
Always be closing? The Kevin Williamson story on how Donald Trump longs to be Alec Baldwin’s Blake in David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross is tearing up the Internet. The problem, Williamson writes in The National Review, is that Trump may want to be Blake — whose “What’s my name? Fuck you, that’s my name” speech is every would-be alpha male’s creed — but, in fact, he’s washed-up Shelley Levene, who can’t close the deal.
Peggy Noonan puts it another way in The Wall Street Journal: Trump is Woody Allen without the humor.
Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are back, this time warning Trump not to sabotage Obamacare as Trump considers cutting off the subsidies that allow many of the working poor to afford healthcare coverage. Via The Los Angeles Times.
Now that he has shaken up his staff, Trump is moving back toward his winning campaign strategy: making America afraid again. Via Vox.
It can’t escape anyone’s notice, but Trump is now a man without a party. With Reince Priebus gone, it’s basically Republicans, Democrats and Trump. The question is how congressional Republicans will react to that reality. Via Politico. And the next question, Molly Ball asks in The Atlantic, is how or whether Republicans will react to Priebus’ very public humiliation.
How the Trump-Sessions friendly alliance turned into an icy standoff. And it’s a standoff at this point that shows no signs of ending. Via The Washington Post.
It’s no wonder that Democratic politicians seem to be moving decidedly to the left. It may be because the Democratic center no longer exists. Via New York magazine.
Ross Douthat on the GOP: We have an empty majority, a party that can rule but cannot govern. But what Democrats have shown is that while Republicans can’t govern, they can still win if the other party is terrible at politics. Via The New York Times.
Vanity Fair goes inside what may be the last great newspaper war — The New York Times vs. The Washington Post in the matter of all those leaked Trumpworld bombshells.