Trump Hijacked U.S. Foreign Policy During His Impeachment

Private Political Interests Became the Nation’s in a Moment of Crisis

Photo Illustration by Ricky Ferrer / Foreign Affairs

At 9:00 PM on September 24, 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron waited on a secure line to speak with U.S. President Donald Trump. Macron was in New York for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly. But he wasn’t calling about UN business that night. In the previous 48 hours, he had met three times with the U.S. president and twice with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. His aim: to broker the first direct and official contact between leaders of the two adversaries since 1978. Now he was about to leave for Paris, and he had bad news for Trump. The Iranian leader had gotten cold feet at the last minute. According to French sources, Trump thanked Macron for his effort and encouraged him to keep trying.

At the time of Macron’s call with Trump, a political tornado had already begun to swirl around a different Trump call to a different

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