One of these days, Donald Trump should probably have a chat with the top members of his foreign policy team. On Friday, for example, the president said "nobody really knows" whether Russia intervened in the American election, and a day later, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said "everybody knows that Russia meddled in our elections."
Yesterday, it happened again when Haley tried to describe Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"What he did was bring up right away the election meddling, and he did that for a reason," Haley [told CNN's Dana Bash], referring to Russia's interference in the 2016 campaign. "One, he wanted ... to basically look him in the eye, let him know that: 'Yes, we know you meddled in our elections. Yes, we know you did it, and cut it out.'"
Soon after, Trump pointed in the opposite direction, pointing to Vladimir Putin's "vehement" denial of wrongdoing, which the president apparently accepts: he is, after all, ready to "move forward in working constructively with Russia."
Similarly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters the other day that Trump and Putin did discuss the push in Congress for additional sanctions on Russia. And yet, there was the American president yesterday, declaring, "Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved!"
The "nothing will be done" vow is clearly at odds with what 97 senators recently had to say on the subject, but it was also an example of the president publicly contradicting Tillerson on an important issue.
And if this sounds familiar, it's probably because Trump and his foreign policy team are regularly at odds.