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Politics, Trump Week in Review

WEEK #71 OF THE TRUMP ERA IN REVIEW, FRIDAY, 5/18/18 TO THURSDAY, 5/24/18 

Yeah, it got worse. That seems to be Trump’s whole point – making things constantly worse by saying and doing such outrageously horrible shit that we forget all the previous outrageously horrible shit he’s said and done while we deal with his latest onslaught.

Let’s not get caught up in pronouncing this one the Worst Trump Week Yet (since he only takes that as a challenge), but Week #71 will surely be in the running for that dubious honorarium once all is said and done about this permanent typhoon we call the Trump Era.

It begins on Friday with yet another horrific school shooting, this time in a Texas high school where 9 children and a teacher were shot dead by a student, and most notable for being the school massacre that was ignored and forgotten in the shortest amount of time, a day or two at most. 

Hard to say if this was because we have grown callous to these frequent atrocities as a form of emotional self-protection, or simply because non-Trump news stories are swiftly ground up and turned into so much mulch by the Woodchipper in Chief.

Indeed, one of his more tone-deaf actions this week was to ease the restrictions on the export of American firearms before these dead children’s bodies grew cold, presumably so the rest of the world can more easily share our joy in self-annihilation.

Trump remained in the White House over the weekend for a change, in full bunker mentality, lashing out at enemies both real an imagined with one of his patented Tweet Storms, especially delusional, insane and duplicitous, even by Trump standards (such as they are). In the time-honored tradition of Tinpot Dictatorships everywhere, he demanded that his political rivals be investigated, arrested and jailed simply because he had imagined them to be guilty of all sorts of things, none of which made a lick of sense or had even the slightest suggestion of being legal.

It was one imaginary enemy in particular, however, that dominated Trump’s thoughts (or whatever passes as a thought process for him), as he created in his mind an “FBI spy” planted in his campaign from its very beginning, reporting directly to either President Obama or Hillary Clinton and charged with “destroying Donald Trump.” (If only!)

Trump’s people had already irresponsibly released the name of the FBI confidential informant who had helped them investigate allegations of Russian collusion within the Trump campaign, endangering the man’s life and the lives of anyone with whom he had dealings in unrelated FBI covert operations. This borderline criminal act also compromised any future FBI covert investigations by reducing the likelihood of concerned citizens stepping forward to assist the FBI. 

The FBI’s denials of the absurd notion that they planted a spy were ignored, and Trump demanded an investigation by the Department of Justice into the Department of Justice employees investigating him (Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team), something akin to the prime suspect on an episode of “Law & Order” getting to launch an investigation into Detective Lenny Briscoe and ADA Jack McCoy.

But when you’re the sort of president that Trump is, you ignore the Constitution and summon DOJ personnel to the White House and demand a peek at the evidence against you, in violation of just about every code of ethics and carefully delineated Separation of Powers rule under which this nation had operated for 240 years.

At first he attempted to stack the deck in his favor by including only his 2 favorite stool pigeons, Republican Congressmen Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy, to the exclusion of any Democrats, but had to back off that insane demand and the meeting was convened on Monday with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (Mueller’s direct superior), FBI Director Christopher Wray and the “Gang of 8,” consisting of the House and Senate leaders from both political parties.

While no one is quite sure what went on at this meeting or what information was shared with the Prime Suspect in Chief, the Democrats announced afterward only the obvious and foregone conclusion, that there was no FBI spy and that the DOJ violated no laws in discharging their duty to investigate alleged crimes that came to their attention.

Trump did manage to include one of his defense attorneys in the meeting, a man with no security clearance at all, who presumably got to examine the highly classified information involved, another clear violation of the law.

Speaking of Security clearances, Trump’s son-in-law and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner finally managed to get his permanent Top Secret Clearance restored, this in spite of being under criminal investigation himself. So did his wife, First Daughter Ivanka Trump, handbag designer and Special Presidential Envoy (or whatever it is that she does in the White House that requires Top Secret clearance, no one is quite certain, not even the rest of the White House staff).

And speaking of lawyers, two of them also managed to gain whatever little attention was possible in the shadow of the Trump news juggernaut; Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his new adversary and reliable comic relief, Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani said Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of any “potential interview” with Trump due to the president’s heavy schedule and Tweet-length attention span, and to “wrap-up” his investigation by September 1st, a baldfaced lie worthy of Giuliani’s only current client, President Trump. 

Mueller countered with a letter to Congress calling bullshit on Rudy’s claim, and announced the guilty plea of a business partner of Trump’s regular lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen,  the one who knows where all the bodies and dirty money are buried. The self-proclaimed “Taxi King of New York” (who kept running his and Cohen’s taxi business after having been legally barred from doing so) Evgeny Freidman, has agreed to fully cooperate with the Russian Collusion investigation in exchange for a reduced sentence for numerous charges of corruption and fraud.

And speaking of dirty money, it was revealed that not only Michael Cohen, but former Republican National Committee Finance Chairman Elliot Broidy were openly selling presidential access, administration jobs and shady favors to the highest bidder. Broidy even signed a legal contract with a Malaysian company charging them $75 million to have a massive fraud case against them dropped by the Department of Justice. It was also reported that a $400,00 payment to Cohen from the president of Ukraine resulted in a face-to-face meeting between him and Trump.

Donald Trump Junior was back in the news for yet another shady meeting in Trump Tower with foreign nationals offering to help his father get elected president. This time the meeting was with an Israeli social media manipulation expert Joel Zamel and George Nader, an emissary for the princes of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, who were “eager to help” Trump gain the presidency. This meeting was alleged to have been set up and attended by Mercenary Army General and infamous shady operator Erik Prince, whose eminently unqualified sister Betsy DeVos inexplicably wound up as Secretary of Education,

Though it is illegal for foreigners to participate in or donate to American election campaigns, Trump Junior dismissed any allegations of wrongdoing, not by denying the meeting took place, but by saying he “turned them down,” when even holding such a meeting for the stated purpose is illegal. 

Somehow Zamel wound up earning a $2 million payment from Nader to his (!) Philippine-based company, White Night, a curious transaction for a deal that was turned down.

In a related development, the FBI warned Congress about Russia and other international players attacking the upcoming 2018 elections, and announcing it had infiltrated and disabled Russian computer programs designed to interfere with our electoral process.

Trump experienced more rebukes from two American judges this week, this time in the form of a court order preventing him from blocking any more Twitter users for making disparaging comments in his Twitter page since Trump has somehow turned that social media site into an official political forum, and another judge turning down his bid to have a civil lawsuit against him squashed in a case involving yet another one of his victims of sexual harassment.

In more Tweet news, it was leaked by sources in the White House that some of Trump’s Tweets are ghost-written by staffers, who purposely use misspellings and bad grammar to better capture his “style.” Which would be just fine if the president was 8 years old, but is just one more appalling piece of news that fades from memory as even more appalling things occur.

No word on who wrote the letter to Kim Jong-Un cancelling their summit meeting planned for June 12, and already commemorated by a souvenir coin minted for the occasion (available cheap!). This news made instant global headlines, following hard on the heels of North Korea’s dismissive insults of Vice President Pence, in spite of Trump offering North Korea more concessions than Germany gave The Allies in the Treaty of Versailles.

Kim magnanimously left the door open for a summit in the future if America asks nicely and he can fit us into his busy schedule, graciously ignoring Trump’s boast about the size of his “nuclear arsenal.”

Also on the Doing International Damage front, infighting within the Trump administration sabotaged trade negotiations with China, and Trump poured more gasoline on the fires in the Middle East by having Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announce new sanctions against Iran, “the strongest in history.” 

On the Doing Domestic Damage front, Trump demanded that the U.S. Post Office (illegally, by the way) “double the postal rates” for Amazon (owned by Trump’s bitter rival Jeff Bezos, who he hates because Bezos owns the Washington Post, a serial exposer of Trump’s crimes.), and ordered an investigation into automobile imports to America for (!) “national security reasons” (even though it was not explained how your Corolla poses a threat to national security).

Trump was further enraged that no one applauded his administrations’s bold plan to erect concentration camps for the immigrant children they take away from their parents. It seems that out of 6,000 such children, 1,400 of them have gone missing, so you’d think people would be happy that they found a way to keep tabs on them. No word on the motto that will adorn the camp gates, only that “Arbeit Macht Frei” has been rejected as too derivative.

Not helping Trump’s foul mood was the California city of West Hollywood holding a Stormy Daniels Day on Wednesday, handing her the keys to the city and publishing a declaration applauding her courage for standing up to Donald Trump. 

Then the billionaire owners of the National Football League, seeking to avoid losing their sweetheart tax deal, caved in to Trump and trampled on the rights of their own players by imposing rules forbidding any of them from kneeling for the National Anthem as a form of social protest, another “controversy” created and sensationalized solely by Trump, and another chip chiseled off the First Amendment.

If you can follow and make sense out of the events of this week, you’re a smarter person than I.

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