Drip of Russia revelations puts damper on Trump's 'home run'

trump and putin nesting dolls Image copyright Getty Images

A week that began with a reset ended with Russia, the scandal that refuses to go away.

On Tuesday night, when Donald Trump delivered his first speech before a joint session of Congress, there was a new tone, in marked contrast to the shrillness of his American carnage inaugural, and even new tailoring, a more sleekly fitted suit.

His Twitter feed, that angry scream of consciousness, had also been unusually quiet.

"THANK YOU!" he wrote in caps on Wednesday morning, after his speech received admiring reviews not just from Republicans but some Democratic pundits as well.

Then on Wednesday night, after a day of unusually flattering coverage, came the triple whammy of stories from the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal: Russia, Russia, Russia.

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Donald Trump and the end of American exceptionalism?

Trump gives address to Congress Image copyright Getty Images

When a German Chancellor feels the need to explain the refugee convention to an American president, the speaker of British House of Commons says the leader of its closest ally is not welcome to address parliament, China positions itself as the grown-up in the room by chiding him for his blunt Twitter diplomacy and the botched travel ban is denounced not just by US adversaries, such as Iran, but allies, such as France and Canada, is it not time to sound the death-knell of American exceptionalism?

That is, the credo pushed by successive presidents that the United States is a beacon of democracy, an exemplar of human rights, an indispensable country imbued with special values and beliefs that grants it the moral authority and national self-belief to influence and admonish other countries, friend and foe alike.

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Barack Obama legacy: Did he improve US race relations?

: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney's funeral service June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina Image copyright Getty Images

Barack Obama sealed his racial legacy the moment he sealed victory in the 2008 election - a black man would occupy a White House built by slaves, a history-defying as well as history-making achievement.

In 1961, the year of Obama's birth, there existed in the American South a system of racial apartheid that separated the races from the cradle to the grave.

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New York: The city where Donald Trump hates being hated

Police officer in New York City Image copyright Reuters

After a year of being greeted by fawning crowds in the American heartland, Donald Trump appears to be struggling with the hostility that now surrounds him in New York City.

Outside Trump Tower, you don't see many people wearing Make America Great Again baseball caps or hear them chanting "build a wall!"

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Was the summer of liberalism really the dawn of Trump?

Confederate flag holder with Trump sign

The United States of America. There have been times over these past seven days, and this past year, when the very name of this country has seemed at odds with its divergent mood.

Increasingly the USA seems oxymoronic, a geographic expression rather than a term to describe a cohesive republic, "one Nation under God, indivisible."

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Hillary Clinton and the US election: What went wrong for her?

Media caption'I will be president for all Americans'

This election, surely the most extraordinary in American history, was a revolt against the political establishment.

And few people personify the political establishment more than Hillary Clinton. During this campaign, for millions of angry voters, she became the face of America's broken politics.

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US election: America the beautiful's ugly election

Media captionUS election: Relive the wild ride in 170 seconds

Some of the wisest words I have heard during this campaign came from the Governor of Ohio and Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich.

During a campaign stop at a brewery in Michigan, he explained how he had implored young aides, during a picturesque swing through the upper peninsula of the Great Lake State, to avert their eyes from their smartphones and to take in the scenery passing by unnoticed outside.

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US election: Hillary's humiliating low road to White House

Clinton walks up to the plane Image copyright Justin Sullivan

Hillary Clinton could be days away from earning the most powerful job in the land. But the road to the White House has been a rough one.

Her journey in these final days has taken her across this vast continent, and travelling with Hillary Clinton, on her plane and in her motorcade, I have got to see the view from her window.

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Trump raises spectre of 'imposter presidents'

Trump in Delaware Image copyright Getty Images

Sounding more like the potentate of some palm-dotted tropical island than a presidential candidate, Donald Trump twice declined to say during the final televised debate whether he would accept the results of the 2016 election.

The billionaire who has cast himself as the law and order candidate seemed ready to commit the democratic felony of refusing to accept defeat at the polls.

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UN focuses on refugees - will it be enough?

A woman walks past hundreds of refugee life jackets collected from the beaches of Chios, Greece, on the edge of the East River, to call attention to the refugee crisis in Brooklyn, New York, USA, 16 September 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption A woman walks past hundreds of refugee life jackets collected from the beaches of Chios, Greece, on the edge of the East river in New York to call attention to the refugee crisis

This week the centre of attention for the global refugee crisis shifts from the beaches of Greece, the refugee camps of Jordan, the shoreline of Libya, the fatal waters of the Mediterranean and the battlefields of Syria to the riverside home of the United Nations in New York.

The worst human displacement problem the United Nations has ever confronted will be the focus of two major events here aimed at galvanising worldwide action. As this film shows, the scale of the problem is immense:

Media captionMillions of people have been displaced - more than at any time since World War Two

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