Magazine July 30, 2018, Issue

NATSEC EXTRACT

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam, November 11, 2017 (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

SattComX98B Handprint
HELSINKI, FINLAND

NONVERIFIED FBI COPY

Begin Extract

Static. Unintelligible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE: Um, are you okay, sir?

POTUS: I’m fine. We’re fine. Go already.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE: Just leaving. Unless you want me to stay? I can sit and just not even listen, just be here, I’ve got some games on my phone and I can —

POTUS: We’re fine! We’ve got the thing for the tea or whatever —

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE: Samovar, sir.

POTUS: Yeah, didn’t ask. Anyway. Got that, and I’ve got my Twizzlers and my Starburst and my Diet Coke and it’s gonna be a nice chat. Right?

Silence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE: He’s not saying anything, sir.

POTUS: He’s mad. It’s his little act. The silence thing. It’s your little act, Vladimir, and it’s not going to work with me because I invented that act!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE: Maybe I should stay and —

POTUS: Go!

Footsteps. Door register.

Elapsed silence: 0:11:54

POTUS: You think I can’t just sit here? You think this bothers me? C’mon. You know me. I know you. You’re mad, you’re upset, you’re thinking that I double-crossed you, I know, I know. You sit there like every bank I ever dealt with! We gave you money, we gave you this we gave you that we got nothing. But look! I’m here! And I could be in a lot better places, believe you me. Don’t enjoy the Nordic areas. So spare. So unadorned. And the people! Oh my God! With the sour face and the — you know, I was here five minutes, five minutes, maybe more — but maybe less! — and I already heard three people tell me about the generous family-leave thing they’ve got going here. And I said to them, “We’ve got the same thing back home on the border. We’re trying to get families to leave!” It was crickets. No sense of humor, these people.

Elapsed silence: 0:02:11

POTUS: Family leave is a good idea though. We should have that. We will have that. But better.

Elapsed silence: 0:05:22

POTUS: You’re looking at me like a death ray, Vladimir. Like, what, laser beams out of the eyes? Am I supposed to be scared of this? The silence? The stink eye you’re giving me? You think you’re the first guy who’s lent me money to sit across the table from me and just . . . seethe? I don’t get this. We’re in business, let’s be sensible. I want this deal to be good for everyone, me included. Me especially. Me mostly. Okay, you know what? I get antsy sitting still. I like the bustle. So, here’s the deal. I’m gonna take out my phone and let me tell you when I take out my phone I get lost in it and that’s it I’m gone. Ask anyone. Ask anyone who works for me and they’ll tell you that Trump and his phone, I say it’s like my only really good relationship, you know? C’mon! That was witty, you have to admit. I’m an extremely witty person. Everyone says that.

Elapsed silence: 0:01:57

POTUS: Well, as I said to the guys at Citibank and Morgan Stanley and Lehman and Continental Illinois and JPMorgan and Chase and Bank of New York and Security Pacific Bank, hey, look, I tried! Not every deal makes money. You took a risk, I took a risk, that’s what we do. I really thought I could get those sanctions lifted for you guys and I was all set to do just that and then, you know, you have people too, Vladimir, the people who come into the office and suddenly it’s maps of this area and photos of that area and I’m very appreciative of the briefings you gave me but they were not so good, pretty awful to be perfectly honest, maybe even the worst ever. Crimea, it turns out, Vladimir, isn’t really part of the original Russian deed of trust, if you get what I’m saying. I’m using real-estate terms, Vladimir, because they relax me and I’m getting agitated from the negative energy you’re sending out.

Elapsed silence: 0:10:11

POTUS: Too much wood. In this room. Too woodsy. I’m a chrome guy.

Elapsed silence: 0:03:36

POTUS: I’m POTUS, you know? What they call me? President of the United States, just the first letters, spells “POTUS,” so that’s what I am in the little documents and whatnot. POTUS. You’re president of the Russian Federation, so I guess you’re PORF. Sounds like something really bad on one of those European menus, right? Will you be having the POTUS or the PORF? Hey, look who’s playing tonight at the El Camino! It’s POTUS and PORF! It’s fun. It’s fun wordplay, Vladimir. Fun wordplay between friends.

Elapsed silence: 0:07:22

POTRF: It would be “POTRF.” Pot. Orf. You forgot the “T.” Just like you forgot covenants and promises. And now we must talk about how you make good, how you make better. Now must have sanctions —

POTUS: I am so sorry, Vladimir, but we are all out of time. Can we do this again, soon?

End Extract

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Books

Wisconsin Spring

Charles J. Sykes reviews The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics, by Dan Kaufman.

Sections

The Week

The Week

The Chinese cat that accurately predicted World Cup matches died suddenly. But are they sure it isn’t just flopping?

Most Popular

The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime

Thomas Abt’s book Bleeding Out (2019) has garnered a fair amount of attention for its proposals to deal with gun violence in mainly black urban neighborhoods. The entire focus of the book is on interventions in high-crime locations to stem the violence, including: hot-spots policing, working with young males at ... Read More

The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime

Thomas Abt’s book Bleeding Out (2019) has garnered a fair amount of attention for its proposals to deal with gun violence in mainly black urban neighborhoods. The entire focus of the book is on interventions in high-crime locations to stem the violence, including: hot-spots policing, working with young males at ... Read More
U.S.

Toward Justice — and Order — in Minneapolis

George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died shortly after being physically restrained by four Minneapolis police officers on Monday. His arrest on suspicion of a non-violent crime (passing a counterfeit $20 bill) was caught on a cellphone video and at least two store surveillance videos. From the videos that are ... Read More
U.S.

Toward Justice — and Order — in Minneapolis

George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died shortly after being physically restrained by four Minneapolis police officers on Monday. His arrest on suspicion of a non-violent crime (passing a counterfeit $20 bill) was caught on a cellphone video and at least two store surveillance videos. From the videos that are ... Read More
U.S.

The Return of the Tea Party

It’s 2009 again, or feels like it. That was when spontaneous, grassroots protests against overweening government sprang up and were widely derided in the media as dangerous and wrong-headed. The protesters then were inveighing against Obamacare; the protesters now are striking out against the coronavirus ... Read More
U.S.

The Return of the Tea Party

It’s 2009 again, or feels like it. That was when spontaneous, grassroots protests against overweening government sprang up and were widely derided in the media as dangerous and wrong-headed. The protesters then were inveighing against Obamacare; the protesters now are striking out against the coronavirus ... Read More
White House

There’s No Fix for Trump’s Bad Tweets

Whether social media have been good or bad for society is an open question. Whether social media have been good or bad for President Trump isn’t as difficult to discern. For even the most sober-minded and introspective figures, Twitter can serve as a dangerous temptation. For a man as capricious and mercurial ... Read More
White House

There’s No Fix for Trump’s Bad Tweets

Whether social media have been good or bad for society is an open question. Whether social media have been good or bad for President Trump isn’t as difficult to discern. For even the most sober-minded and introspective figures, Twitter can serve as a dangerous temptation. For a man as capricious and mercurial ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Spread of the Debt Virus

The current U.S. budget deficit could soon exceed a record $4 trillion. The massive borrowing is being driven both by prior budget profligacy and by a hurried effort by the Donald Trump administration to pump liquidity into a quarantined America. The shutdown has left the country on the cusp of a ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Spread of the Debt Virus

The current U.S. budget deficit could soon exceed a record $4 trillion. The massive borrowing is being driven both by prior budget profligacy and by a hurried effort by the Donald Trump administration to pump liquidity into a quarantined America. The shutdown has left the country on the cusp of a ... Read More