In an ideal world, the president of the United States would succeed in negotiating a nuclear arms treaty with a foreign government — and do so with full congressional support; his lawyer would respect the attorney-client privilege and not reveal confidences publicly; Congress would abide the old adage that politics ends where the water’s edge begins and lie low when the president is overseas on a delicate mission; the president would not engage in a grievous constitutional overreach that provokes a congressional negation; no one in his administration would have a top-secret security clearance who failed to be truthful to the law enforcement and intelligence folks investigating him; and the president would not fear RICO.
But we do not live in an ideal world — and all of these issues and events came to our consciousness last week.
Here is the back story.
President Donald Trump traveled to Vietnam last week to engage in negotiations with Kim Jong Un, the dictator of North Korea. Normally, when the president of the United States meets with a foreign leader to consummate an agreement between the countries, the actual meeting is a formality and a public relations triumph.
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That’s because normally, emissaries from the two countries have been meeting for months, hammering out the details of an agreement. It is in the private hammering-out that the real work of diplomacy is done, not in the public handshaking and backslapping.
But Trump’s foreign policy approach is anything but normal. Trump knew when he left Washington for Hanoi that there was no agreement between the countries, and he…