Let’s just start off the Week #49 Review with an actual Trump Tweet from this week: “I Have the Most Beautiful Political Brain Around, Okay?”
49 weeks into his presidency, Trump finally got to sign his name to a major piece of legislation, an omnibus dismantling of America disguised as a tax reform bill and what Trump calls his “Christmas Present to America.” Once again the Senate passed the bill in the dead of night, ensuring its passage with a last-minute bribe to Senator Bob Corker that will earn him 6 to 7 million dollars a year. “The Corker Insertion” convinced the recalcitrant Corker that being a self-proclaimed Deficit Hawk was not as important as becoming even richer than he is already.
With 82.5% of the tax cuts going to wealthy individuals and corporations (permanent), and the meager tax cuts to small groups of middle class taxpayers (temporary), it also repealed the requirement for Americans to buy health insurance and jacked up the price of health coverage to most of us, which will eat up their modestly increased take-home pay and encourage millions to forego health insurance altogether.
While his less than-astute remaining supporters crowed like Ralph Kramden mistakenly thinking he had struck it rich, the reality is that it will add $1.5 trillion to our deficit and increase the wealth gap in the USA into a Grand Canyon-sized chasm.
Trump began the week by trashing the FBI again (“It’s a shame what happened to the FBI.”), praising Wikileaks, and hosting a dinner on the 5th Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Kindergarten Massacre for (!) the National Rifle Association.
He called on the Department of Justice to purge the FBI of people “loyal to Comey” and replace them with those “loyal to Trump,” an insane notion for law enforcement agents who swear loyalty to the United States of America and the US Constitution, never to an individual.
Then he gave a speech to the FBI Academy graduating class where he ranted about Fake News, then told the new Special Agents he would “always have their back.” On the tip of a dagger, but still…
With the talk on all the news shows about how Black women were the voters most responsible for the defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama, Trump fired the only one working for him, Reality TV celebrity Omarosa Manigault, in what became a wild and ugly scene culminating in Secret Service Agents physically restraining Ms. Manigault and escorting her from the White House Grounds.
Now she is threatening to write a tell-all book about the toxic atmosphere in Trump’s White House, which ought to be pretty interesting.
Week #49 doesn’t get any better.
Over the weekend the Administration created speculation that Trump will do something dramatic this week by having Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announce that he “hadn’t heard anything” about the president’s plans to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and shut down all investigations into the Russian Collusion Scandal.
Bringing up something exactly no one else was saying makes it a certainty that Mnuchin “has heard nothing,” but was in effect telling us that Trump is thinking of doing exactly that. Democratic Congressmen and Senators fired back with both barrels, going very loud and very public in their insistence that Trump keep his hands off Mueller’s investigation into the Trump election campaign, transition team and administration’s collusion with Russia to steal the election on behalf of Trump in exchange for lifting Obama’s economic sanctions on Russia and other as yet unnamed demands.
Speaking of Russia, Trump also basked in the glow of Vladimir Putin’s praise after the CIA tipped off their Kremlin counterparts about a terrorist bomb plot in Russia that was averted thanks to the tip.
And speaking of investigations, Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided to get in on the action and start an investigation of his very own into the Trump Administration’s favorite Bogeyman, (who else?) Hillary Clinton and the supposedly crooked uranium deal, a routine business transaction cleared by 9 Federal Agencies at the time.
Perhaps it slipped his mind, but Sessions has already sworn under oath before Congress that he would recuse himself from any future investigations into Secretary Clinton, specifically mentioning the uranium deal. So, unless Sessions is hiring another Special Counsel to investigate “Benghazi II,” he will be liable to face both perjury and Contempt of Congress charges.
Trump’s lawyers also got into the act by attacking Mueller and demanding he end his investigation into their client very soon. You know they are Trump’s lawyers because they fired off an angry letter detailing their demands to Congress, which has absolutely no jurisdiction over Mueller’s investigation (the same lawyers who defended Trump’s (!) “right” to have protestors violently ejected from rallies). They will meet with Mueller’s representatives on Friday to kick off week #50, as a courtesy extended by Mueller out of respect for the Office of The President, if not the man occupying it.
The Attack Ferrets at the administration’s unofficial Ministry of Propaganda, Fox News, have been waging a ferocious campaign to discredit Robert Mueller and plant doubts in the public’s mind about the integrity of his investigation, bellowing that he must be a criminal since he was FBI Director at the time of the celebrated uranium deal, dovetailing nicely with Session’s planned investigation of a closed matter.
So far this had been a hard sell since Mueller is an ex-Marine decorated for bravery in combat and a universally respected prosecutor and FBI Director, considered by both sides of the political aisle to be a man of integrity, honor and outstanding ability. The fact that he is a lifelong Republican complicates the right wing’s case against him, but to their credit they have never let facts and reality get in the way of their desired narrative once they set their mind to something.
Trump did have one win in a courtroom this week, when a New York State Court dismissed a lawsuit against him, and one loss, when a Federal Court tossed out his ban on transgenders in the military.
After the celebrating over the tax bill died down on Capitol Hill, Congress remembered to pass a 2-week spending bill to avoid a government shutdown at Christmastime, since neither they nor the president have been able to formulate a budget, almost 3 months overdue. Perhaps they are reluctant to let go of President Obama’s booming economy and the great numbers it provides so they can take all the credit for another man’s work.
To cap off this madcap week, UN Ambassador Nimrata Randhawa “Nikki” Haley went berserk after the UN censured the United States over Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol, in essence branding the United States a Rogue State. She threatened 129 countries with retribution like a mobster angry over someone muscling in on his turf.
The Teflon Don backed her up, issuing his own threats to cut off foreign aid, and pitting the USA against the rest of the world. In less than one year Trump has squandered America’s world leadership role, turning us into a pariah nation and the entire planet’s laughingstock, while the world makes its plans, alliances and trade deals without a reliable America.