Make that two Federal Disaster Areas in America this week, the volcano-threatened Hawaii and Washington DC, reeling from the never-ending Hurricane Donald.

Week #70 of The Trump Era began with the news that Russian oligarch Alexander Torshin and his associates had been courting prominent American conservative politicians on behalf of the Kremlin since 2009, most notably Sarah Palin (who could see them from her house, after all), and Donald Trump, who at that point in his life, almost nobody took seriously.

Trump countered, not with angry Tweets for a change, but by (!) delivering on his campaign promises, first by announcing that drug prices would be falling in America, then promising a massive infrastructure plan to rebuild… wait for it… North Korea! 

He also promised to “instruct the Commerce Department” to save the jobs at an ailing giant tech corporation in (!) China. 

Turns out Trump backed off to Big Pharma and his drug price-cutting plan is in fact not as big as he claims (what else is new), and China just so happens to be contributing $500 million to a Trump-licensed hotel and theme park project being built in Indonesia that will earn big money for Trump. So much for pledging not to undertake any international projects with his private business while in office.

As far as North Korea, apparently the offer of a national makeover wasn’t enough for Kim Jong-Un, who abruptly ended his peace talks with South Korea and threatened to cancel next month’s summit meeting with Trump.

It seems Kim was miffed at new National Security Advisor John Bolton for openly calling for his overthrow and violent death (“the Iraq and Libya models”), and not thrilled about war drills being conducted by American and South Korean forces in the region while peace talks were in progress. 

Or it could be Trump breaking a nuclear treaty just last week, then announcing plans to impose more sanctions on Iran this week. Or Bolton threatening our allies and fellow Iran deal signatories with sanctions if they continue to do business with Iran. Small wonder Kim just wasn’t feeling the love here.

Also of keen interest to Kim was the grand opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem, presided over by First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner (who also got in more legal trouble this week), marked by the slaughter of 60 Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces, and the wounding of 2,000 more as they protested the opening of an embassy opposed by most of the world. Kushner rubbed salt in the wounds of the dying as he blandly blamed dead people for having the nerve to get killed and ruin his wife’s gala event.

Kim’s tantrum left President Art of The Deal scrambling to come up with more enticements for him to go nuclear-free, desperate to do something big and statesmanly instead of the usual wallowing in the swamp of criminal investigations and porn star payola scandals that passes for an American presidency these days. 

So, later in the week Trump sweetened the pot by promising Kim that the USA would guarantee North Korea’s safety, but the exchange of rockets and airstrikes between the Iranian and Israeli armies in Syria the day after Trump broke the Iranian treaty didn’t exactly give Jong-Un the warm fuzzies. Still, Trump insists the summit will go on as scheduled.

Trump also defended his embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt, who rewarded the boss’s loyalty by doing away with yet another safety rule designed to prevent giant explosions that kill lots of people. It was a smart rule but it had Obama’s name on it, so clearly it had to go.

Speaking of campaign promises ignored, Trump demanded of Congress that the next government funding agreement not only gets done a month early, in August, but has “full funding” for his wall, or he will cancel their summer vacations until they pass the bill. If they don’t, he will “shut the country down,” the equivalent of threatening to hold your breath until you turn blue waiting for Mexico pay for the wall. 

Meanwhile, his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen was all over the news for trying to shake down everyone in sight, selling “presidential access” to the tune of millions. Uber Cars (vulnerable to unfavorable legislation) and the nation of Qatar (in need of highly-placed friends in Washington) released statements that Cohen had demanded $2 million apiece to “consult” for them, even though you can fit what Cohen knows about Uber or Qatar into a thimble.

Cohen’s unusual banking habits have generated three Suspicious Activity Reports (SARS) to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, one of which is the source of the information about Cohen’s hustle. 

The reason why Cohen’s SAR was leaked to the public was because his other 2 SARS are “missing” from the federal government’s data base, and this unprecedented occurrence so alarmed a career law enforcement officer that he made this SAR public before it too was made to disappear, risking his career and his freedom to save his country. 

Just the one SAR was bad enough news for Trump, prompting the US Office of Government Ethics to refer his Financial Disclosure Form to Mueller’s boss Rod Rosenstein at the Justice Department for possible criminal investigation of the president’s reimbursement of Cohen for paying hush money to a porn star. Then another judge refused to throw out the sexual harassment lawsuit against Trump by a former contestant on his reality TV show “The Apprentice.”

Which brings us to Trump’s new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the one in charge of incriminating Trump over things no one asked him, and explaining away his old lawyer. Not only is Rudy constantly explaining how life and criminal liabilities are very different for the wealthy, neither he nor any of Trump’s other spokespeople even bother to deny Trump’s guilt anymore, arguing instead that he is (!?) above the law and cannot be indicted. Indeed, Giuliani claimed that Robert Mueller himself told him that his investigation does not have the power to indict a president while in office.

Whether that is true or not (and Mueller as usual maintains an ominous public silence), the significance of the “while in office” codicil was lost on Rudy, who is familiarizing himself with this complex case on national TV in a matter of days, a chore that would take lesser lawyers weeks to accomplish by reading stacks of documents and researching legal precedent.

And it looks like Donald Junior will be needing a high-quality lawyer of his own when the Senate released thousands of documents relating to his infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian agents to secure damaging information on political rivals. (To his credit, Giuliani threw in a freebie for Trump’s kid and tossed him under the bus too by going on TV and defending the practice of obtaining slander from hostile foreign governments, as if treason was the most normal thing in the world.)

Former acting president Steve Bannon (the one before Hannity) was also back in the news today (and in need of a good lawyer) when Christopher Wylie of Cambridge Analytica testified before the Senate that Bannon sought the personal information of hundreds of thousands of individuals in order to start a “culture war” when he was the Trump Campaign CEO. Once again, the hand of Russia was involved, and that means Robert Mueller will soon come knocking on Bannon’s door again.

Trump did congratulate America on the one-year anniversary of the Mueller Investigation, again calling it a witch hunt and blaming Democrats for everything of which he is accused, like a child with a chocolate-smeared face blaming the dog for raiding the cookie jar. 

Trump and his people are also pushing the Justice Department hard to expose the identity of a Top Secret FBI agent, potentially endangering the lives of those who had dealings with this undercover agent, and compromising many Top Secret operations to the detriment of America. They are claiming that (!) Obama had this “FBI spy” infiltrate the Trump Campaign, an absurd notion, and something that would be completely unnecessary given their penchant for blatant lawbreaking followed by a strange compulsion for careless self-incrimination.

Mueller celebrated the anniversary with characteristic silence, letting his actions do his talking; another guilty plea from a Trump associate, and getting 60 blank subpoenas issued to him by a judge to specifically target Trump Administration officials.

Former Secretary of State Rex “Trump’s a Fucking Moron” Tillerson jumped on the Screw Trump bandwagon, warning university graduates of “a growing crisis in ethics and integrity” in American public life, and saying “If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.” And this guy was the insider’s insider.

Trump got some good news when Gina Haspel was confirmed by the Senate as the first admitted torturer to head the CIA, and Attorney General Sessions not only doubled down on his heinous plan to take immigrant children away from their families, but instructed Federal judges to stop being lenient on illegal immigrants with close ties to US citizens. A good day for cruelty and oppression.

Feeling invigorated by such venom, Trump announced he would deny funds to Federally-funded clinics that discuss abortion, then called Mexican immigrants “animals” and declaring “Mexico does nothing for us.”

He and his Designated Liar Sarah Huckabee-Sanders both got very angry at the press for reporting his exact words instead of reading his mind to discover that he actually meant “MS-13 gang members” and not “immigrants.” 

Then he threatened to fire White House staffers over the leak of the terrible slander of the dying Senator John McCain. Not the staffer who made the vicious comment of course, just the ones who let the rest of the world know about it. 

Ah, for the innocent days when no one but the Russians took Trump seriously. And no one would take him seriously to this day if not for the unbelievable confluence of social media tampering, Russian collusion and aggressive election-tampering, right wing racist outrage and pure dumb luck with the Electoral College map that delivered us into the hands of an unstable megalomaniac conman and his gang of thieves.

Remember, this all happened in just one week, and Week #71 begins today. Pass the popcorn…

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