In their first face-to-face meeting, Putin was playing chess. Trump was simply getting played.
As was expected by everyone, except perhaps Donald Trump and some of his most most fervent sycophants, there was a clear winner in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin — and it wasn't Trump.
Even before they met, Russia was demanding that the United States return the diplomatic compounds on American soil that had been seized by President Barack Obama in retribution for interfering in our election. And the Trump administration appeared eager to do so — and to meet any other number of demands Russia might have.
When the two leaders met, Trump offered a warm handshake and a friendly slap on the back. It was the kind of greeting Trump never offers to America's allies, whom he regularly shuns and insults.
Trump had warm words for the Russian strongman too.
"We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, the United States and for everybody concerned," Trump said. "It’s an honor to be with you."
It wasn't the kind of greeting that German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered the man who has been trying to hack European countries as well. Merkel literally rolled her eyes right in Putin's face.
Trump's meeting with Putin, which was expected to last a mere 30 minutes, went on for more than two hours. What happened in the meeting is not known. And it's unlikely that anyone will ever know, given that Putin is a master manipulator of the media and Trump is a chronic liar.
After the meeting, in an off-camera briefing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump and Putin discussed "Russian interference" in the election and added "Putin denied" doing so.
What isn't known is whether Trump condemned the interference, thanked Putin for his assistance, or perhaps the two men simply laughed at what they have both described as "fake news."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is already letting the world know — true or not — that Trump further undermined the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community during their meeting:
Russia FM Lavrov—"Trump told Putin that some circles in the US are exaggerating the topic of Russian cyber meddling" https://t.co/b0nwUBCm2g
— Alec Luhn (@ASLuhn) July 7, 2017
What is known is that Putin went into the meeting fully prepared to show his dominance over Trump. Trump, on the other hand, was prepared with a list of "deliverables" to appease the country that tried to rig our election and install Trump in the Oval Office.
And while Putin has been focused on sending Russian spies to the United States to infiltrate our intelligence systems and manipulate future elections, Trump has been far more focused on attacking the media.
As Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) archly noted earlier in the week, "I wish he treated Vladimir Putin more like he treats CNN."
Putin went to Germany to make Trump look like a fool. By all accounts, he succeeded.