Week #69 began on Friday with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announcing “The Justice Department will not be extorted.” Normally that would be good news, a proper and expected reaction by a government official rebuffing individuals seeking inside information about an ongoing investigation.

But this was not just any investigation in question, it is Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of all things Trump, and those seeking to compromise the investigation were not ordinary thugs, but Republican Congressmen seeking to tip off the Prime Suspect.

And this is not just any Justice Department, but Trump’s Justice Department, which is headed by a man (sort of, anyway), Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had to recuse himself from any investigation into Russian collusion because he was one of the colluders, and who this week promised to separate children from their parents as a matter of immigration policy.

Meanwhile, their boss was in Texas on Friday kissing the NRA’s ass at their annual convention, completely forgetting about the recent Parkland High School massacre and turning his back on the Children’s Crusade for gun control spawned by government indifference to their lives.

It was there that he cruelly mocked our 2 closest allies, France and the UK, with a childish pantomime of outrageous claims, vicious lies and sheer stupidity. Our Allies didn’t know whether to be enraged or embarrassed for America.

And this was the quiet part of Week #69. 

This was a week when the pros and cons of torture were openly discussed as Trump’s nominee for CIA Director Gina Haspel underwent sharp questioning over her role as a CIA torturer during the Bush Administration. Ms Haspel had offered to withdraw her nomination to spare the president the grief of airing the Agency’s dirty laundry, but Trump doubled down on his support of her and insisted she stand for the nomination.

Ms Haspel endured some uncomfortable questions by sticking to the script about how the CIA has sworn off torture and secret prisons, and deflecting some questions so many times that she claimed she had answered them, demonstrating her mastery of the evasive dance of all Trump personnel when asked awkward questions, summing things up with a cheery “I don’t believe that torture works.” 

“And who would know better?” was the unasked question her bland response begged.

The sad and predictable thing is, all this hoopla has brought torture-enthusiasts out of the woodwork. Even the Godfather of Waterboarding, Dick Cheney chimed in from his unclosed location, wholeheartedly endorsing the renewed use of torture. 

The man does have legacy to protect, which is more than you can say for the Republicans (one of them a highranking White House Aide) who callously abused Senator John McCain over this issue, a war hero, a tortured Prisoner of War, Senator and the former standard bearer of their party, who is now suffering from terminal brain cancer. One supposes that, like their leader, they prefer war heroes who didn’t get captured. Or get cancer or disagree with them.

Rudy “He Just Needs To Get His Facts Straight” Giuliani did no one but himself a favor when he announced he was leaving his law firm to work full-time for the president, presumably as Secretary Of Throwing The Boss Under The Bus On TV 

The Mueller Investigation also grabbed headlines, first by refusing to submit written questions to Trump in lieu of live questioning under oath, then threatening to subpoena Trump’s testimony before a Grand Jury.

Mueller’s accidental ally, porn star Stormy Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, uncovered irrefutable evidence of Michael Cohen receiving massive payments from a Russian oligarch and several huge corporations in what appears to be a scheme for selling presidential access. 

This new line of investigation neatly ties in with everything Mueller is investigating, painting a picture of pervasive corruption never before seen in the White House. So serious are these allegations that Trump himself was not the lead headline for (!) 2 whole days.

Never one to allow others to steal his headlines, President Trump turned the world on its ear by pulling America out of the Iran Nuclear Treaty and announcing renewed sanctions on Iran, infuriating not only our allies, but the entire world. 

Then he poured gasoline on his own fire by threatening sanctions against (!) the other signatory nations unless they too pulled out of the treaty. The world did not have to wait long for the results of his rash action as Iranian and Israeli armies exchanged missiles and air strikes the very next day.

While that fire was burning out of control and America’s reputation for keeping its word in tatters, Trump moved on to his next fiasco, once again publicly speculating that his upcoming talks with Kim Jong-Un could be a bust and he might just walk out, in spite of Kim’s goodwill gesture of returning 3 American hostages. 

Trump used the return of the hostages to maximum public relations effect, showing up at the airport at 3AM Thursday morning to greet the returnees and repeatedly shout “you’re welcome!” as each emerged from the plane, pretty much the only attention the three men received.

It was all about Trump after that, immediately boasting about breaking  the TV ratings record for the time slot, then reversing his earlier sabotage of their upcoming summit by calling Kim Jong-Un “an honorable man,” then thanking him for returning the men and “treating them well.” (Reality check: They were hostages! In a North Korean prison! They were not treated well.)

First Lady Melania Trump kicked off her “Be Best” campaign, dedicated to “the well-being of children.” Good thing too, since poor children’s well-being was being severely challenged by her husband this week when Trump asked Congress to cut $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program. 

In either a master stroke of passive aggression or a stunning display of cluelessness, Mrs. Trump also renewed her calls for an end to Cyber-Bullying, making that 2 causes she espouses in direct opposition to her husband.

Fortunately for some poor children, the Internal Revenue Service has informed taxpayers, lawmakers and employers to hold on just a sec here, Obamacare is still in force and remains the law if the land and, all sound and fury to the contrary, no one had repealed it.

Trump rounded out the week addressing a political rally in Indiana on Thursday, doing what he does best; campaigning for an office he already holds. He took the opportunity to trot out his greatest hit, demonizing Democratic leadership, minorities, unfair treaties, and drooling over the prospect of a giant border wall.

Hard to say what was the worst part of Week #69, the torture debate, the Iran treaty violation, the transparent lies, the open sale of presidential access by Michael Cohen, Trump’s stooges trying to frame Rosenstein and Mueller, enraging our allies, or turning a hostage homecoming into a TV ratings gam. All one can say is… we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

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