Stephen Hadley is a former Bush administration national security official, but he is a Republican first and foremost, apparently.
First, we go in a circle over the secrecy of the meeting with Trump and Putin.
"To have a meeting like that with Putin and have a basic disagreement over who said what to whom about key issues like this is extraordinary not to have a note taker or any kind of record," Mitchell pointed out.
Hadley's response: "Well, you have the Secretary of State, the President of the United States, and the Secretary of State was undercut by the president."
Quick to make amends for criticizing King Trump, however, Hadley added, "They made progress on Syria. A lot of the concerns that people had that they might swing for the fences and Trump might be taken advantage of by a more experienced President Putin, none of that happened."
In fact, it was a "pretty good first meeting between the two leaders."
And EVEN BETTER: "President Trump got the denial everybody expected from Putin. I think it was a lot of people had a lot of apprehensions about that first meeting between the two presidents. Looks to me, from the outside, like it went pretty well."
It went pretty well for Putin, maybe, as Andrea Mitchell pointed out gently by suggesting perhaps asking Putin whether he did a thing is not as effective as telling Putin we know he did a thing and there will be consequences.
"Isn't there an affirmative thing, other than raising the question, getting the expected denial, raising it again in a different way? And then undercutting his own Secretary of State, and his own staff briefed on the way back saying there was this cybersecurity task force, a joint task force, which has been derided by a lot of intelligence professionals and saying, never mind, tweeting the next day, we're not going to do that after all," Mitchell concluded, with eyebrows raised.
The back and forth on Junior's emails was just Hadley downplaying their seriousness, as if he wouldn't have his hair on fire if it had been Chelsea Clinton. But it is the very end of this interview that had me shouting NO NO NO NO. This is NOT OKAY.
Mitchell asked Hadley about norms, reminding Hadley that George HW Bush wrote a letter to his family when he started his run for the presidency. It said, "Son, and to all the family members, people will call you, you'll have a whole lot of new friends of people wanting something from somebody named Bush. Do not follow up on any of those calls. We have to be beyond reproach. Pass it on to my office, we're now in the middle of a presidential campaign."
"That is so different from the connections that the Trump children and their associates have," Mitchell observed.
Hadley responded that it's no big deal, because HW Bush had had a career in public service (including at the CIA) and could give good advice to his children.
However... "The Trump family is new to this business. We elected a President of the United States, who has never spent one day in government at any level. And he brought with him a family and group of people who did not have government -- a top White House official?"
"They are going to make mistakes. They're going to make mistakes," he chided.
NO. A THOUSAND TIMES NO. This makes me shouty and stabby, especially when Mitchell leaves it there.
FIRST. We DID NOT elect a family. In fact, I'd argue WE didn't elect this orange sh&tgibbon at all. A handful of men's rights advocates, haters and fools in three swing states managed that. Or else the Russians did it when they screwed around with our voter databases. We don't know yet.
But we did not elect a family.
SECOND. It is unacceptable to say they're just naifs who make mistakes because they don't understand government. They damn well better figure out how to hire the best and brightest who DO understand the damned government because the ship of state is going to sink and we won't be able to dredge it up.
Do NOT go on cable television and make excuses for this crime family. They are adults who choose to be incurious and ignorant, and who are stupid enough to pretend it's just great to let the Russians interfere in our elections as long as they're on the side of the Trumps.
Good DAY, Mr. Hadley. Don't come back.