War! Trump finally bombed Syria after threatening to do so for a week, nominally to punish Syrian President Assad’s military for his decision to use chemical weapons against his own people, but as much to do battle with the majority of the American people who want him and the whole corrupt Trump Administration gone.
Fittingly enough, Week # 66 of the Trump Era kicked off on Friday the 13th, with First Daughter and Minister Without Portfolio Ivanka Trump taking the president’s place and representing the United States at the Summit of The Americas in Lima, Peru.
It seems that Trump was too busy bombing Syria and furiously Tweeting about Korea, Russia, Robert Mueller and uppity celebrities to participate in regional cooperation on mutual security and trade policy decisions and, in the absence of a reliable America, giving Western Hemisphere nations more encouragement to make their own plans without the USA.
Some say he should have sent his Secretary of State to Lima, but we do not have a Secretary of State at the moment, and his nominee for that position, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, was busy holding secret meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to set up an imminent summit meeting with Trump, a meeting Trump has already sabotaged by saying he just might walk out on Kim if things are not to his liking.
He has also pissed off South Korea’s President Moon Jae-In, who represents the nation that will have to most directly live (or die) with the results of this meeting and wants to be the main negotiator with Kim, or at least have his nation’s legitimate concerns represented effectively.
So one would assume President Trump must be diligently preparing for this complex and potentially hazardous meeting, taking briefings from experts and getting up to speed on the myriad issues concerning North Korea and all its regional neighbors, with Trump himself calling this summit his “Great Man of History” moment.
But that is an assumption for a different sort of president, not Mister Seat of His Pants who, rejecting all preparation and expert advice, is telling his people “just get me in a room with him and I’ll figure it out.”
It must be an awesome feeling to be in such command of facts and figures, and so brilliant on any given topic, that the knowledge of experts is a superfluous impediment. Look for Trump to return home barefoot and dressed in a barrel.
On Sunday, Russian President (and Trump’s main sponsor) Vladimir Putin warned that further air strikes against Syria by Western powers would cause chaos, so Trump declared “Mission Accomplished” for bombing empty buildings and deserted airstrips after warning Syrian and Russian authorities of the intended targets.
To prove to Putin that he meant business, on Monday he scrapped the new sanctions against Russia that his United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley had just announced to the world at the UN, setting off a war of words between Haley and Trump’s new (!) financial advisor Larry Kudlow, a person whose job in no way involves him commenting on foreign policy, or Ms. Haley’s state of mind.
Then, in a stunning combination of pettiness and message-sending, Trump pardoned (!) Scooter Libby, convicted over a decade ago of lying to the CIA for his role in exposing an American spy and endangering uncounted lives.
Why Libby, why now? Simple, he was arrested by James Comey’s FBI, and Comey is back in the public eye in a big way after releasing his book and being interviewed on a dozen prominent TV shows.
By pardoning Libby, Trump implicitly undermines Comey’s work with the FBI, and sends a message to his own former staffers that a presidential pardon is preferable to testifying against him.
And speaking of testimony, it is Michael Cohen’s potential for bringing down the administration that has Trump most worried, with the FBI in possession of unknown quantities of Trump’s secrets after their raids on his home, office and hotel room. Cohen’s lawsuit claiming blanket attorney-client privilege was denied, and a judicial review ordered to sort out the incriminating from the protected.
It just wasn’t Trump’s week for judges (it never is) when one of them ordered Cohen to divulge that Trump propagandist and Michael Cohen defender Sean Hannity was also his client, another judge ruled that Trump’s former Playboy Bunny mistress Karen McDougal was now free to tell her story of their love affair in public, while another judge finalized the $25 million payments to defrauded Trump University students.
Congressional Republicans tried to blunt Comey’s impact by getting the Department of Justice to hand over the 7 memos Comey wrote after his private meetings with Trump, but that backfired too when Comey’s versions of events rang truer with the public than the president’s dubious selective memories, with the one where Trump asked about the possibility of (!!!) jailing journalists getting a lot of attention.
Other prominent Trump allies and enablers like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Attorney General/Chief Whipping Boy Jeff Sessions jumped on the Save Trump’s Ass bandwagon when McConnell blocked efforts to pass a law protecting Robert Mueller from being fired by Trump, and Sessions looking into filing criminal charges against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Congressional Republicans are also trying to start yet another investigation of Designated Bogeyperson Hillary Clinton and her emails, inspiring a collective global yawn.
Meanwhile, Trump’s other mistress, the porn star Stormy Daniels, is also not going away, and her attorney Michael Avenetti is turning out to be more than a match for Cohen and Trump’s other attorneys as he makes the rounds of TV interview shows and courtrooms.
Notorious for his aversion to reading official papers and detailed briefings, Trump proved himself adept at reading the handwriting on the wall, so he hired 3 more criminal defense lawyers, most famously the rabid Rudy Giuliani, who hinted that he might negotiate “a quick settlement” to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian Collusion investigation, a scenario that has 2 chances to succeed; one fat and one slim.
The only person meriting “Great Man of History” points seems to be Robert Mueller, who comments on nothing, leaks nothing, yet haunts Trump’s dreams like the Ghost of Christmas Future.
This has been your (sigh…) Presidential Week In Review.