This has been a week for the history books. I’m not contending that it’s been a good week, but certainly one that I think we’ll look back at with incredulity.

Coming off the coattails of a somewhat disastrous trip to Brussels and the UK, I talked with my friend David Gura of MSNBC on Sunday. Frankly, President Trump must have had a really bad round of golf to call the European Union our foe. He is sorely mistaken; they are among our greatest friends and partners, sharing our values and –  through NATO – our strongest military alliance. As I’ve said before, I don’t think the President was wrong to push NATO members to increase spending on defense, but the acrimonious nature in which he conducted himself last week in Brussels does the U.S. and our allies no favors.

Two days later Trump showed up in Helsinki, Finland cozied up to an authoritarian leader, and refused to stand up for the United States and our intelligence community by confronting Putin about the proven 2016 election meddling. I played out best – and worst – case scenarios for the Helsinki summit with CNBC Squawk Box on Monday, but any way you slice it, we determined that Russia’s President Putin comes away with all the glory, while President Trump is left having “been had.”

Unsurprisingly, my predictions came to pass – and how! I spoke with NBC Boston’s Alison King just after the Helsinki press conference wrapped, and I’ll tell you, I’m sure Putin walked away feeling like he’d hit a home run. A few of the goals he accomplished? Greater division in the U.S., reduced credibility in our intelligence, and sowing greater distrust between us and our allies. Trump often thinks about world politics as a zero sum game; after the Helsinki showing (even if he’d never say it himself), he had to recognize the score of this game was “Putin, 1 – Trump, 0.”

With our President’s insistence on how great the press conference was (even after reading a hostage-letter style-statement to “correct” the record), the hits this week just kept on coming.

I had a long conversation with NPR’s Here & Now about the Trump-Putin summit, and while I was shocked and saddened to see an American president hold the Russian president’s word in higher regard than that of his own intelligence officials, I was not entirely surprised. Still, we have to seek what can be taken away from this meeting and here, as is the case with other world players, we need to take a position of “confront where we must, cooperate where we can.”

It won’t ever be easy to confront Putin on Russian meddling in U.S. elections, and taking him to task on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea requires a leader with conviction and strong moral fiber, but if we’re going to hold these meetings, the hard work must be done. Does that mean we can’t find places where Russia and the U.S. can work together? No. Focusing on fighting the narcotics trade, collaborating on counter-terrorism measures, fighting piracy and arms control are all areas where we can look to act on aligned interests. But you can’t have one part of this negotiation without the other. Remember the mantra: Confront where we must, cooperate where we can.

In closing, I’ll tell you I’m not looking to beat a dead horse but this week presented so many head-turning moments, it’s hard not to recount the impact of what has occurred. The damage done by a U.S. president who contradicts his top intelligence officials twice in 72 hours is staggering: the cratering divide that it creates in our country is felt from coast to coast; the alliance with our closest friends and allies in NATO (not to mention the impact on those troops who have been sent to defend the borders with Russia!) takes a hit to the knee caps; and the walloping it metes out to democracy, as a principle, is heart-wrenching.

No, this was not a good week for America, for strong, value-based alliances, or for democracy. But we must remain optimistic, because history is on our side. I spoke about it with my friends at MSNBC this week but I’ll share it again, because the message is of utmost importance: Democracy isn’t perfect, but it will still prevail.

As always, thanks for watching, listening, and reading.

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