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22 Jul

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

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World Politics

Europe

Steve Bannon Former White House chief adviser plans foundation to fuel far right in Europe>>

Former White House chief adviser says he wants to rival to George Soros’s influence

Steve Bannon has announced plans to establish a foundation in Europe that he hopes will fuel the spread of rightwing populism across the continent.

Donald Trump’s former chief advisor in the White House told the Daily Beast that he wanted to offer a rightwing alternative to George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, which has given away $32bn to largely liberal causes since it was established in 1984.

United States

The president kowtowed to Putin, Democrats and the media cried treason … and the Republican base stayed solid

All of Trump’s backflips on Russian interference – video

The idea of Donald Trump hosting a campaign rally, keeping thousands of supporters in suspense and then pulling back the curtain to reveal that his special guest speaker is Vladimir Putin sounds like a wild hallucination. But not quite as wild as it was a week ago.

The US president capped a mind-boggling week by asking his staff to invite the Russian leader to the White House in the autumn, just before the midterm elections.

“It’s remarkably bad timing,” said Rick Tyler, a political analyst. “Putin might as well come and campaign in the midterms.”

Trump’s first summit with Putin in Helsinki last Monday is assured a place in the history books. It culminated in a joint press conference that left the political, media and national security establishments picking their jaws from the floor, Democrats demanding answers about Trump’s cryptic relationship with Russia and everyone asking anew how long this most singular presidency can survive.

Yet for all the intrigue and slapdash diplomacy, the episode seemingly did little harm to Trump among his loyal ranks of supporters, merely reinforcing suspicion of his critics and suggesting that, from his point of view, the summit might not have been such a mistake after all.

First, Trump and Putin spent more than two hours in conversation with only interpreters for company. Trump’s national security officials admit they still have no idea what was said or promised. Then came the press conference beneath crystal chandeliers, against a backdrop of American and Russian flags, the scene framed in gold leaf. Trump stood taller and broader than Putin but the judo black belt would soon turn the weight of his opponent against him.

Attempting to blow his own trumpet, Trump declared: “Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.” Putin’s face was inscrutable. There were involuntary giggles among the White House press corps.

But it was towards the end of the event that true disaster struck. Putin, who had scored a propaganda coup by successfully hosting the World Cup, handed Trump a football. “That will go to my son, Barron,” the businessman and reality TV star said. “We have no question. In fact, Melania, here you go.” He bounced the ball towards his wife; the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, shot out an arm and caught it.

The laughter in the room had barely faded when Jonathan Lemire, a journalist from the Associated Press, asked: “Just now, President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every US intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did … Who do you believe?”

He doesn’t know what he’s doing and he has made Putin much more than he is

Rick Tyler, former Ted Cruz strategist

It was a question that cut to the chase and it floored the president. First, bizarrely, he flailed for fringe conspiracy theories about the Democratic National Committee’s computer server. Then he said: “My people came to me – Dan Coats [director of national intelligence] came to me and some others – they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

He added: “So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

This time there was a stunned silence, save for the intense hammering of keyboards. Had an American president really sided with the authoritarian leader of a hostile country over his own intelligence and law enforcement agencies? He had. It was, said Ash Carter, former defense secretary, “like watching the destruction of a cathedral”.

It also evoked the sharpest bipartisan rebuke since Trump drew moral equivalence between white supremacists and anti-Nazi activists in Charlottesville, Virginia, almost a year ago. Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans weighed in as expected with talk of disgrace, humiliation and treason, but there was also criticism from allies such as the former House speaker, Newt Gingrich, and elements of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. Many baffled observers wondered if Putin did indeed have something on Trump and whether the president of the United States had gone rogue.

Tyler, a former spokesman for the 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, said: “He somehow concluded that standing on stage with a despot from Russia was going to make him look strong but in the end it made him look weak. He diminished himself significantly. He’s not a negotiator, he’s not a deal-maker and all those things he promised in the campaign, it was just salesman’s shtick. He doesn’t know what he’s doing and he has made Putin much more than he is.”

And yet, what happened next served only to demonstrate Trump’s vice-like grip on his party, and the White House, and the challenge that remains for Democrats to hold him to account.

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Bill Shine has failed to discipline Trump and faces scrutiny of his own following sexual harassment allegations against former colleagues

bill shine

Bill Shine, a former Fox News co-president, was hired as White House communications director this month. Photograph: Jim Bourg/Reuters

When the White House announced the hiring of the former Fox News co-president Bill Shine this month, the former anchor Gretchen Carlson offered a caustic response.

“This …. on the 2 year anniversary eve of filing my harassment lawsuit,” she tweeted. “Life … works in mysterious ways.”

Carlson sued the former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in July 2016, alleging she had been fired for rejecting his unwanted sexual advances. The suit was settled for $20m and an apology.

Shine was not accused of sexual harassment but Carlson’s meaning was hard to miss. Shine was at Fox during a turbulent period in which multiple women made claims of sexual misconduct against Ailes and the former host Bill O’Reilly. Some alleged that Shine, as one of the network’s top executives, not only ignored their complaints but helped to cover them up.

Shine was named in lawsuits or complaints alleging that he ignored or sought to suppress allegations against Ailes and O’Reilly.

Laurie Luhn, who accused Ailes of sexual harassment over many years, alleged that Shine arranged travel for her meetings with Ailes. He also recommended psychiatrists she could see, Luhn said, when she suffered a mental breakdown.

Julie Roginsky, a Fox News contributor, and Andrea Tantaros, a former host, both said Shine had attempted to conceal sexual harassment complaints against Ailes. Fox News reached an undisclosed settlement with Roginsky. Tantaros’s suit was dismissed.

Shine denied all the allegations, stating he was not aware that any harassment took place. Nonetheless, he was forced out of Fox News in May last year.

Advocates against sexual assault said Shine’s appointment as Donald Trump’s director of communications showed that the administration had a dismissive attitude towards victims of harassment and misconduct. Trump himself has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, allegations he denies.

“Having Mr Shine in this White House role is a constant reminder that the White House does not appear to care about sexual harassment of women,” said Gloria Allred, an attorney who has represented one of Trump’s accusers.

“His presence there as a supporter of President Trump, who is accused by many women of grabbing them and kissing them without their consent, is an insult to all women and makes the stain of the White House even larger than it was prior to Mr Shine’s assuming this new role.”

The White House and representatives for Fox News did not return requests for comment.

Installed at the White House, Shine has met familiar obstacles. Like those who came before him, he has not been able to discipline the president.

Last week, a tumultuous swing through Europe began with Trump insulting allies at a Nato summit in Brussels. The president then had to issue a rare apology, to Theresa May, after launching an extraordinary attack on the British prime minister in an interview with the Sun.

This week’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki provided some of the president’s most controversial moments in office. After siding with the Kremlin over US intelligence authorities on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Trump was forced to offer numerous clarifications and climbdowns.

By Friday, Shine was under the spotlight himself, amid revelations that he was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in New York last year as part of a criminal investigation into how Fox News handled claims of sexual misconduct. The New York Times reported that Shine did not testify, but submitted to a voluntary interview with prosecutors.

He was not charged. The Times said prosecutors were seeking information regarding whether Shine played a role in “intimidating and discrediting” women who brought sexual harassment complaints.

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Just what the party needs’ Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders woo Kansas progr>>

Trump tape President says lawyer’s recording of model payment discussion may be illegal>>

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