A week in the life? That’s all it was, just 7 days, even if Week #105 felt like a month of Sundays.
There’s nowhere to begin or end since it seemed like everything was happening all at once; fireworks, tornadoes, blizzards, sonic booms, brass bands and giant gongs, joined by every shrieking car alarm in the neighborhood, none of them ever relenting for a second.
Might as well start with the quote of the week from the most unlikely source, ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, an odious fool himself who was formerly under Trump’s spell but finally snapped out of it (and is selling a book about it) with this perfect exercise in pointing out the obvious when he characterized Trump’s White House as having “a revolving door of deeply flawed individuals — amateurs, grifters, weaklings, convicted and un-convicted felons — who were hustled into jobs they were never suited for, sometimes seemingly without so much as a background check via Google or Wikipedia.”
Christie was far from the only Republican in open opposition to the president as the Trump Shutdown approaches the one-month mark, and real suffering is beginning to take place as a result.
The House of Representatives, once again a fully functional Branch of Government under Speaker Pelosi, opened the week on Friday passing targeted bills to reopen specific government agencies one by one, all of which died in the Senate even though the votes were there to pass them, thanks to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refuses to bring a bill to the Senate floor that Trump does not support.
And so the shutdown continues, since The House will never allow a cent to build any damned wall, and Trump doesn’t care about anything else but the wall, and will keep the government shut down no matter who gets hurt, until Congress agrees to his vanity project that almost no one thinks will work, including his own Border Patrol. Trump was also forced to admit he won’t declare a National Emergency on the border, but he did invent a new “much bigger” Caravan forming in Honduras (not true).
Friday was the day when the first US troops began leaving Syria, but tragically 4 of them are coming home in body bags, killed by the same ISIS both Trump and Vice President Pence assured us were defeated. Then his National Security Advisor John Bolton cancelled the 30-day withdrawal plan Trump announced last week by saying we will stay until ISIS was really defeated. None of which clears up exactly what is our Syrian Policy, or if a Syrian Policy even exists.
As if Friday wasn’t already a bad enough day for Trump, the New York Times reported that the FBI had opened an inquiry into whether Trump was secretly working on behalf of Russia following his firing of FBI Director James Comey, and that the results of this investigation were handed over to Robert Mueller when he was appointed as Special Counsel. And then there were the questions as to what happened to the records of 5 one-on-one meetings between Trump and Putin, and why were the translators’ transcripts seized and hidden from members of his own government. Sticky stuff like that.
The FBI investigating a sitting president for being a foreign spy is, to say the least, a pretty sensational story, one rightfully earning global headlines, and inescapably resulting in insane responses from Trump. A sampling of Trump’s Saturday Twitter feed:
“Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!”
…Funny thing about James Comey. Everybody wanted him fired, Republican and Democrat alike. After the rigged & botched Crooked Hillary investigation, where she was interviewed on July 4th Weekend, not recorded or sworn in, and where she said she didn’t know anything (a lie),….
…the FBI was in complete turmoil (see N.Y. Post) because of Comey’s poor leadership and the way he handled the Clinton mess (not to mention his usurpation of powers from the Justice Department). My firing of James Comey was a great day for America. He was a Crooked Cop……”
There was more (isn’t there always?) just as delusional, ignorant and cruel, plus his endless repetition to anyone asking him about the story, that “I am insulted by the question!”
Not too insulted to appear guilty as sin by lifting the sanctions against Russian companies owned by Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian Oligarch close to Vladimir Putin and a man who figures prominently in the Russian Collusion investigation, his name arising again and again in connection to the Trump Campaign, Trump’s close associates and members of his family as well as the Administration, the Internet Research Institute that hacked our election, the inauguration, Russian spy Maria Butina, and negotiating a backdoor line of communication between the Kremlin and the White House.
Either that is one hell of a lot of extraordinary coincidences, or Oleg Deripaska is exactly who he appears be, an arch villain spymaster allied with Putin and hellbent on destroying the United States. It cannot be both.
The lifting of these sanctions was the issue that prompted 111 Republican Representatives and a dozen GOP Senators to defy Trump by voting against lifting them, but once again McConnell saved Trump’s bacon and rallied the Senate to defeat the measure, leaving Mr. Deripaska free to take his unfrozen assets and dirty millions out of the country while the taking is good.
Sunday Trump proposed that the Veterans Administration privatize veterans’ health care, not by simply allowing them to use the existing health care systems in their area and reimbursing them, but by building a whole new VA system of clinics that are privately owned, enriching wealthy corporate “health contractors” (penny-pinching leeches), and marginalizing veterans residing in less populated regions.
Sunday was also a day for lunatic Tweets, most notably about militarizing the Mexican border like some 2,000 mile-long Maginot Line, and Trump’s unacceptably crazy threat “to devastate Turkey economically if they attack the Kurds.”
While Turkey is a nation led by difficult autocrat, it is crucial ally and member of NATO, so Trump’s out-of-the-blue threat earned not only an angry dismissal from Turkish President Erdeğan, but international outrage from the leaders of almost every nation. Except Russia, of course, where Vladimir Putin relishes the prospect of sowing discord in the NATO alliance by any means at his disposal, and once again, Trump was at his disposal.
So it was no surprise when it was revealed that Trump actively sought to pull out of NATO last year, an unthinkable notion that fortunately went nowhere, since there were still a few responsible adults in the Trump Administration in 2018 (now, not so much).
Sunday was also when Mick Mulvaney found out what it was like to be Trump’s Chief of Staff, when he made the mistake of trying to negotiate a deal to reopen the government in a meeting at the White House with Congressional leaders. He made an offer to the Democrats which enraged Trump, who screamed at him “you’re fucking it all up, Mick!” Trump’s refuses to negotiate, instead raising his demands when he holds few cards. Mulvaney will find, like John Kelly before him, that public humiliation, childish petulance and unpredictable insanity are his new daily reality.
Trump was also warned by Congress to shut up about Michael Cohen’s upcoming testimony before the House Judicial Committee or they will charge him with Witness Tampering and Obstruction of Justice after Trump threatened Cohen’s father in law with prosecution for unnamed crimes in a Tweet complaining about Cohen’s testimony.
Cohen, who will follow his testimony before Congress by reporting to prison to begin serving a 3 year sentence, was not intimidated, and instead upped the ante by revealing that Trump paid him $50,000 to try to fix political polling results in 2015 to make him appear to be a more viable candidate. He also said Trump directed him to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow deal, which it turns out Trump pursued right up until his inauguration, in violation of The Constitution and umpteen Federal laws.
His choice for a his new Attorney General acquitted himself well at his Senate confirmation hearing on Monday, which was not exactly the good news for Trump one might think when William Barr revealed his longstanding close friend with (!) Robert Mueller. Yep, that Robert Mueller, The Special Counsel, a man who had become the most important man in the Trump Administration without saying a word, content to let his subpoenas and convictions do his talking.
Reportedly Trump was taken aback to find out Barr and Mueller are besties, even though Barr says he mentioned it to Trump in their preliminary interview. Apparently Barr has yet to learn that you need to say the most important things to Trump first since he stops listening to what other people are saying after 2 or 3 sentences.
In what had to be an unfolding horror show to Trump, Barr endorsed Mueller’s character, his abilities and the importance of finishing his investigation and making the results public, and promised to provide the Special Counsel with any resources needed to complete the investigation, and (uh-oh!) to never interfere with Mueller without cause.
Well, at least Trump could find some solace with a hamburger party and preparing for his upcoming State of The Union Speech… not so fast, said the nation and Nancy Pelosi.
As far as his hamburger party, Trump hosted the Clemson Tigers football team, the Collegiate National Champions, offering them 300 cold burgers from fast food joints. claiming the White House cooks were on furlough due to the shutdown. It wasn’t a total loss for the bewildered young football players, who have now been offered a bunch of real meals by everyone from former NY Giant Michael Strahan to famous restaurants.
As to prepping for his State of the Union Speech to take his message directly to the American people and build his case for his wall, Pelosi pulled the rug out from under him there too when she rescinded her invitation to the Capital, citing security concerns due to the Trump Shutdown, suggesting a postponement to when the government reopened, or he could just submit in writing or give the address from the Oval Office minus the pomp and ceremony that is Trump’s life’s blood.
And speaking of security concerns, Trump triggered a whole lot more of them when he exacted revenge on Speaker Pelosi by cancelling her trip to Afghanistan to visit the troops, the kind of trip always kept secret until the last minute in order not to alert our enemies in a combat zone to the whereabouts of high government officials and military officers. Not the first time Trump’s big yap has put American lives in peril.
And speaking of Trump’s big yap, he opened it wide again to make his standard racist reference to Senator Liz Warren and her sliver of Native American DNA, and along with his usual Pocahontas barb, he made a joking reference to (!) Wounded Knee, an 1890 act of genocide against Native Americans that has become a rallying cry, and is completely off the list of things to joke about.
Trump’s mouth wasn’t the only only one spewing craziness this week, as his lead attorney in the Russian Collusion case and main competition is the Crazy Old Codger category, Rudy Giuliani, went on national TV again, and pretty much admitted that there was indeed collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia with this eye-popping statement: “I never said there was no collusion” (yeah you did, a bunch of time on videotape). Apparently his defense of the president has devolved into Trump being too stupid to notice everyone who worked with him and half of his family colluding with Russian agents hundreds of times.
Trump then recalled 50,000 furloughed Federal employees back to work (without pay) as the shutdown continued to damage the country, while one man willing to do even more damage testified at his confirmation hearing as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Andrew Wheeler referred to Global Warming by telling the Senate “I would not call it the greatest crisis,” even though almost everyone else on earth considers it the greatest crisis to ever face humanity.
In trade negotiations with China, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin hinted that Trump’s disastrous Chinese tariffs would soon be lifted as it becomes clear how damaging they are to both American agriculture and industry.
To close out this horrid week, it was revealed that Trump took a lot more children prisoners that the 2,737 reported inmates in his Children’s Concentration Camps, but no one knows exactly how many more were ripped away from their parents, since detailed records were not kept of their whereabouts, or even whose child is whose.
We can either look forward to more junk food being served on silver platters, more subpoenas served on Trump’s Rogues’ Gallery, or perhaps arguing over what is “regular crazy” or “unacceptable crazy” and wondering how it came to be that we find ourselves in this predicament.