×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
September 18, 2017

Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough on Monday marveled at "how stupid" President Trump's lawyers are. Scarborough's observations about Trump attorneys John Dowd and Ty Cobb's intelligence level emerged after the lawyers inadvertently gave The New York Times a scoop about the ongoing Russia investigation by talking loudly about the matter at a Washington, D.C., steakhouse while Times reporter Kenneth Vogel sat at the next table.

From that one conversation, Vogel gathered that Trump's lawyers are at odds over how much information to hand over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Cobb was overheard talking about a White House lawyer he thought was a "spy" for White House Counsel Don McGahn, and he claimed that McGahn had "a couple documents locked in a safe." At one point, Cobb also named a colleague he blamed for "some of those earlier leaks" and who he said "tried to push Jared [Kushner] out." Vogel's full report was published Sunday.

"I cannot believe how bumbling and how stupid these guys are. They are the most indiscreet attorneys — I mean it — I've ever heard in my life," Scarborough said, referring to them as "these clowns" and "these jackasses." He deemed the utter "lack of discipline" displayed by the lawyers representing the president "astounding," recalling how he'd learned as a lawyer at the young age of 23 that talking about clients outside the office is "something you just don't do."

Watch Scarborough reel over the Trump lawyers' ill-timed "yelling" below. Becca Stanek

9:50 a.m. ET
MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images

From redecorating the White House to proposing an Air Force One upgrade, President Trump is a man consumed with his image. But Russian President Vladimir Putin may be giving him a run for his money.

Putin rolled up to his Finland meeting with Trump almost an hour late Monday, The Washington Post reports. It's typical of the Russian leader, data from The Independent shows — and some say it's an attempt at showing dominance.

After ripping off his jacket on the tarmac, Putin ducked into a 22-foot-long, Russian-made vehicle that drew comparisons to Trump's "Beast" of a Cadillac, the Post noted. The massive vehicle is Russia's first luxury car produced in years, per state media.

Putin has elevated his brand during his presidency, graduating from oversized suits to shirtless horseback rides, the Post points out. He's carefully crafted a tough-guy image to counter his country's shaky one. That image — apparently built by once showing up four hours late to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel — has even earned him comparisons to Trump.

Putin also arrived 40 minutes late to meet former President Barack Obama, making his tardiness bipartisan. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:46 a.m. ET

President Trump's tweets have astounded, amazed, and enraged many people on many topics over the years, but usually his closest followers will give him a pass on his particularly outrageous posts.

His Monday morning tweet about strained U.S.-Russia relations, however, appears to be an exception. Brian Kilmeade, host of Trump's favorite news show Fox & Friends, had a hard time getting his head around the fact that Trump chose to place the blame on "U.S. foolishness and stupidity," and he asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) to offer some clarity.

"I like the president's tweets, I understand what he’s trying to do with the EU and NATO," said Kilmeade, who ordinarily vocally supports most of Trump's statements and policies. “But what I don't understand is this tweet. It's really not our foolishness and stupidity. They might not like the things we're doing — but would you really say foolishness and stupidity is a correct characterization?"

Gingrich vaguely agreed with Trump's assessment, saying he wouldn't "try to rewrite the president's tweets." He cited "weakness" from previous administrations, but said that Trump knows how to "deal with" Putin. Watch the moment below, via Fox News. Summer Meza

9:04 a.m. ET
Pat Benic-Pool/Getty Images

As President Trump meets with an actual, intelligence community-certified geopolitical foe Monday, his combative rhetoric may be costing America one of its closest allies.

In an interview with CBS News that aired Sunday, anchor Jeff Glor asked Trump to name the U.S.'s "biggest foe globally right now." In response, Trump named Russia, China, and the European Union, for "what they do to us in trade." "You wouldn't think of the European Union [as a foe]," he said, "but they're a foe."

The comments prompted pushback from Germany on Monday, as Trump was meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin behind closed doors. "We can no longer completely rely on the White House," German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass told reporters Monday, per Reuters. "To maintain our partnership with the U.S.A. we must readjust it." German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been considered the de facto head of the EU since becoming chancellor in 2005.

Trump has threatened steep tariffs on auto imports from the EU, and his "foe" comments additionally follow the highly contentious NATO summit last week, where he threatened to withdraw American support from the alliance and pressed treaty members to rapidly and substantially increase their defense spending. Merkel called the summit "very intense" at the time, though she did call for Germany to up its defense contributions to the alliance. Kimberly Alters

8:47 a.m. ET

There was big news on Russia's 2016 election meddling late last week, when Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents in connection with hacking Democratic emails. But that's apparently not on the agenda for President Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland today.

The two leaders will be having "discussions on everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear to China," Trump spelled out in a pre-summit press conference alongside Putin. The talks will help the two countries form an "extraordinary relationship," Trump promised.

But that "everything" doesn't necessarily seem to include the Justice Department's Friday indictment of Russian agents who allegedly hacked the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton. While Trump said before Friday's indictment that he'd "absolutely" ask Putin about Russia's election meddling, Trump has since barely acknowledged the new charges, which mark a big step in laying out the details of Russian interference in the 2016 election. His Twitter feed simply blamed America for worsening U.S.-Russia relations, and faulted former President Barack Obama for the hacking. Kathryn Krawczyk

7:41 a.m. ET

President Trump blames America for souring relations between the U.S. and Russia. As it turns out, so does Russia.

In an early-morning tweet before his Monday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said that the U.S.-Russia relationship has "NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness" and the more recent "Witch Hunt," a reference to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Russia's Foreign Affairs Ministry had a simple response to Trump's finger-pointing:

The meeting comes just days after the U.S. Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents allegedly connected to email hacking in the 2016 election. The White House's response to the charges avoided condemning Russia, and Trump hasn't said whether he'll bring the charges up in his meeting with Putin. Some top Democrats urged him to cancel the summit altogether. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:35 a.m. ET
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Instead of using their discretion, two police officers in Roswell, Georgia, chose in April to let a coin-flip app decide whether to arrest a woman stopped for speeding.

WXIA-TV obtained body camera video of the incident, and Officer Courtney Brown can be heard asking Sarah Webb if she knows how fast she was going. Webb said she was sorry for speeding, but was late for work. Brown asks Webb to hand over the keys, and then walks to her patrol car, where she asks other officers if she should arrest Webb or give her a ticket.

Brown is heard saying she did not record Webb's speed, and then says, "Hold on," proceeding to open a coin-flip app on her phone, CBS News reports. Officer Kristee Wilson pipes up, and says if it's heads Webb should be arrested, and if it's tails, she should be free to go. The app gives Brown tails, but Wilson suggests she be arrested anyway, and Webb is detained, charged with going too fast for conditions and reckless driving. Those charges were ultimately dropped.

Police Chief Rusty Grant told CBS News on Friday he was "appalled" that any officers would "trivialize the decision making process of something as important as the arrest of a person," and said as soon as he heard about the incident, an investigation was launched and the two officers were placed on administrative leave. Webb, who said she didn't know about the use of the app until she was contacted weeks later by WXIA, called the incident "degrading." Catherine Garcia

2:06 a.m. ET
Pedro Mera/Getty Images

Throughout his campaign, Mexico's president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, vowed to fight corruption and cut down on perks for government officials, and on Sunday, he announced his plan to slash his own salary in half.

López Obrador said that he will earn 108,000 pesos, or about $5,707, a month, less than half what President Enrique Peña Nieto makes now. He also said no public official will earn more than he does during his six-year term. "What we want is for the budget to reach everybody," López Obrador told reporters.

Other changes he plans on making include cutting perks for elected officials like bodyguards, chauffeurs, and private medical insurance; forcing politicians to disclose their assets; ending pension plans for former presidents; and turning the presidential residence into a cultural center. He will take office in December. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads