Is Trump worth it From Supreme Court to Putin a week of whiplash for skeptical conservatives

For conflicted conservatives, the past two weeks may have brought on a case of Trump-induced whiplash.

One week, the president is taking promising steps to steer the Supreme Court in a favorable direction. The next week, he's face-planting in an enormously consequential public appearance with Vladimir Putin.

The close timing of Trump's Supreme Court pick and disastrous press conference with Putin — separated by one week—raises the persistent question for a cohort of more cautious conservatives: Is Trump a net positive or a net negative?

Is the administration's conservative governance — manifest in tax cuts, the rollback of the administrative state, and federal judicial nominations — worth the risks? Is it worth damaging America's standing on the world stage? Foreign policy is only one point in the broader calculus, but it's obviously significant on its own.

Heading into November 2016, both the Supreme Court and foreign policy loomed large in the minds of Republican voters. When it comes to the Supreme Court, Trump is now likely to have two solid justices confirmed by the time of his re-election. But his performance in Helsinki on Monday earned Trump few defenders on the Right. The question for conservatives who approach Trump with either cautious approval or disapproval, then, is whether the impacts of the bad presser and other foreign policy blunders are outweighed by the president's conservative successes.

This Monday-to-Monday time lapse probably has people in that cohort (which I generally believe to be underestimated) revisiting their cost-benefit-analyses.


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An absolute disgrace Republicans blast Trump for his disgusting press conference with Putin

Image result for lindsey graham + jeff flake

Republicans blasted President Donald Trump for his remarks at a press conference Monday alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin. Republicans said Trump's performance was "shameful," "an absolute disgrace," and "moronic."

Republicans blasted President Donald Trump for his performance during a press conference Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

The press conference, which followed an hours-long private meeting between Trump and Putin, featured the president casting doubt over the US intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. He also attacked his Democratic opponents and the FBI, and said he holds both countries accountable for their state of relations while asked about the election meddling.

"My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me, some others, they said they think it's Russia," Trump said, referring to the Director of National Intelligence. "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 cited Putin's "extremely strong and powerful" denials of such interference during their meeting. And he seemed to endorse a plan Putin proposed that would allow special counsel Robert Mueller's team to work with Russian investigators to question 12 indicted Russians.

Some Republicans responded to Trump's remarks within moments of the press conference ending.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska issued a statement calling Trump's comment that both countries are responsible for the state of US-Russia relations "bizarre and flat-out wrong." "The United States is not to blame," Sasse said. "America wants a good relationship with the Russian people but Vladimir Putin and his thugs are responsible for Soviet-style aggression. When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs." Republican Rep. Justin Amash tweeted of the press conference that someone can be in favor of improved relations with Russia and with Trump meeting Putin "and still think

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Trump sides with Russia against FBI at Helsinki summit

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US President Donald Trump has defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 presidential election.

After face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote.

Mr Putin reiterated that Russia had never interfered in US affairs.

The two men held nearly two hours of closed-door talks in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Monday.

At a news conference after the summit, President Trump was asked if he believed his own intelligence agencies or the Russian president when it came to the allegations of meddling in the elections.

"President Putin says it's not Russia. I don't see any reason why it would be," he replied.

US intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russia was behind an effort to tip the scale of the US election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorised campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media

What has US reaction been?

In a strongly-worded statement, US House Speaker Paul Ryan said Mr Trump "must appreciate that Russia is not our ally".

"There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals," he said, adding that there was "no question" Moscow had interfered in the 2016 election.

"The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy."

Senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Mr Trump had sent the Kremlin a message of US "weakness".

He tweeted: "Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections."

Fellow Republican Senator Jeff Flake - a staunch critic of President Trump - called his words "shameful".

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Mike Pence ‘I Do’ Still Want Roe v Wade Overturned

Image result for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence are seen July 10.

From left to right, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence are seen July 10.

The vice president said Brett Kavanaugh was chosen for his “judicial philosophy,” not specifically to overturn the landmark 1973 case.

Vice President Mike Pence confirmed in a Tuesday interview on CNN that he still hopes to revoke a woman’s right to have an abortion in the United States.

Pence sat down with CNN’s Dana Bash to discuss President Donald Trump’s recent Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and the fate of Roe v. Wade, the historic 1973 ruling that legalized abortion throughout the country.

When Bash asked Pence if he would still like to see Roe overturned, the devout anti-abortion advocate responded carefully: “Well, I do, but I haven’t been nominated to the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh has.”

Kavanaugh is Trump’s pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who resigns at the end of the month.

“I’m pro-life and I don’t apologize for it,” Pence continued. “I’m proud to be part of a pro-life administration that’s advanced pro-life policies. But what I can assure you is that what the president was looking for here was a nominee who will respect the Constitution as written, who will faithfully uphold the Constitution and all of his interpretations of the law.”

Reproductive rights groups argue that Kavanaugh is a clear threat to legal abortion. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would likely be the fifth vote on the court to overturn Roe. Kennedy historically protected the landmark ruling as a known swing voter.

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