Reality is indeed stranger than fiction.
That’s becoming a common refrain when attempting to make sense of the rather stark juxtaposition between Donald Trump’s pretensions to patriotism on the one hand and, on the other, voluminous evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and Trump’s efforts to undermine America’s traditional alliances while forging friendships with dictators, autocrats and in the case of Kim Jong-Un, outright despots.
Take last month’s G-7 meeting in Canada, for instance, which was over before it started as far as Trump was concerned and which ended up prompting Peter Navarro to condemn Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to actual “hell”.
Here’s how BNP’s Chief Market Economist and Head of US Economics, Paul Mortimer-Lee, described the summit:
The G7 summit bordered on farce, with disagreements, bad temper and name calling. At the same time as US President Trump seemed to be set on making enemies of his friends, he appeared to be trying to make friends with his enemies, calling for Russia to be allowed back into the gathering and jetted off early (after arriving late) for a meeting with Kim Jong Un.
This week’s NATO summit only served to heighten concerns that Trump is actively trying to sabotage U.S. allies. He reportedly threatened to pull America out of the alliance, sending Pentagon officials into what some sources described as “damage control” mode.
Then, in an interview with The Sun, Trump appeared to try and undermine Theresa May by criticizing her Brexit approach as soft and explicitly endorsing Boris Johnson for Prime Minister.
All of this is bizarre in the extreme and lacks anything that even approximates a rational explanation.
Well, in what is perhaps the most spectacular example yet of the above-mentioned surreal juxtaposition between Trump’s surface-level adherence to international norms and the mounting evidence that he is in fact a part of an actual, real-life conspiracy to destroy those norms, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein indicted a dozen Russian intelligence officers for hacking the 2016 presidential election, during which they allegedly stole the names and passwords of Clinton campaign volunteers and the campaign chairman.
That announcement was seemingly timed to coincide with Donald Trump’s historic meeting with Queen Elizabeth.
Just as the visuals of Trump and Melania greeting the Queen were being blasted out across social media, Rosenstein took the podium and detailed the Department of Justice’s allegations against the Russian operatives.
Watch the following videos and try to appreciate how truly shocking it is that these two events happened at virtually the same moment.
For his part, Rosenstein suggested the timing here was not intentional, telling reporters that Trump was well aware of the coming charges.
President Trump was briefed on allegations against the 12 Russians and is "fully aware" of the actions taken by the Justice Department, Deputy AG Rosenstein says. https://t.co/MMOPo1XpSg pic.twitter.com/vgfNERGIBG
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 13, 2018