November 26, 2018

CNN's New Day panel discussed Russia's aggressive moves on Ukrainian ships in a strategic waterway yesterday. What "The White House" says and what Trump says are two different things, surprise!

"Phil Mudd, this seems part and parcel to me of the messages the president has been sending over the last few months, whether it's about Khashoggi and now it's about this armed conflict over a waterway in the Azov Sea. How do you see it?" John Berman asked former CIA analyst Philip Mudd.

"I think the interesting piece is not just the messaging coming from the president but the consistency we have seen during his administration about divides what he says aggressively, presumably to talk to his base in America and what subordinates say, for example, on Jamal Khashoggi, the statements out of Vice President Pence have been different and the statements out of Congress is much different than what the president is saying," Mudd said.

"I would look at what Nikki Haley has been saying. Man, she has been pretty impressive. She says we have a meeting at the U.N. and that is the right message. The message should be de-escalation. There's no upside to the United States on ratcheting this one up. It's been consistent for 22 months now -- he says something aggressive and his administration says pull back."

"Yeah, but that raises a couple of obvious problems," John Avlon said. "First of all, if it's a continuation of contain the president, why do the president's impulses need to be contained? Look, we all learned with Russia and Crimea, the danger of buying into these muddy waters. We have to call aggression 'aggression.' Instead, he's not only threatening the EU, but add to that his previous statements about Montenegro, and not just the message the Saudis got in the wake of Khashoggi, but the way Putin may feel he can do whatever he wants because who is going to stop him, who is going to stop him over the Baltic states, who's going to stop him over the issues of the border with Crimea, and that's why this is so dangerous heading into the G20."

"Remember, he has held that view since President Bush was president," David Gregory said. "This is not a new phenomenon with President Trump. Watch what the administration does, not what President Trump says. There's no question that the appropriate response is to say as a body NATO will stand against this, and there is a difference between threatening the Baltic states and threatening Crimea and Ukraine. This is something that has been accepted by the international community, even though they've complained about it since Putin did it.

"On that point, when I do the panels with Trump voters, they have raised exactly what you guys are talking about, and said that It makes them uncomfortable, this disparity between that the president says and what administration officials say, and they wonder, 'Who's running the place?" Alisyn Camerota said.

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