Beam Me Up, Scooter

Former presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer was on the witness stand in the Scooter Libby trial today and gave testimony that the New York Times says “could prove very damaging” to the former vice-presidential aide. Testifying under a grant of immunity, Fleischer told the court that Libby was the first person to tell him that Ambassador Joseph Wilson had been sent on a mission to Niger by the CIA at the suggestion of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, who was herself, Libby disclosed to him, an employee of the CIA’s counterproliferation division.

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Beam Me Up, Scooter

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Letter From a Shitholer

A moment for moral clarity.

Dear President Trump:

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Two Dossiers, Zero Standards

Hypocrisy and self-righteousness.

BuzzFeed News editor in chief Ben Smith would like you to know that he’s proud of his organization’s decision to publish the raw, unverified intelligence product that has come to be known as the Steele Dossier. He shouldn’t be.

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The Fiction that Destabilizes the Middle East

Liberating Lebanon.

If I were compiling a foreign policy wish list for 2018, high on the list would be ending the fiction that Lebanon is an independent country rather than an Iranian satrapy governed by Iran’s foreign legion, Hezbollah. The Western foreign policy establishment maintains this fiction out of good intentions; it wants to protect innocent Lebanese from suffering the consequences of Hezbollah’s military provocations against its neighbors. But this policy has enabled Hezbollah to devastate several neighboring countries with impunity, and it’s paving the way to a war that will devastate Lebanon itself.

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The GPS Isn’t Working Right

Podcast: Follow the bouncing ball...

Trump has a meeting and everybody cheers, then he decides to oppose his own administration’s policies and everybody gets depressed again. Meanwhile, Right and Left are going bonkers over Russia, collusion, and the testimony of the oppo-research firm Fusion GPS. With these topics, we give you an hour of hot podcast content featuring me and Noah Rothman and Abe Greenwald and Sohrab Ahmari. Give a listen.

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Defending Trump’s Tweets Backfires

Is it really worth it?

When it comes to foreign affairs, Donald Trump has not governed as he campaigned. So far, he has largely abandoned radical populist isolationism and protectionism in favor of conventionally hawkish tweaks on the status quo, abandoning ideology in favor of consistency. Doing so, he’s had a relatively successful run. For this White House, cautious but positive verdicts on the Trump administration’s conduct just don’t cut it. Trump must be a transformative figure, incapable of miscalculation or imprudence; he says so himself, after all. Trump cannot have mere successes, and they most certainly cannot be unexpected or the result of a concession to critics. This president’s image must be burnished at every turn, even if that means besmirching the legacies of Trump’s Republican predecessors.

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