This is the point where you want that middle aged lady from the insurance company TV commercial to visit the White House and explain to an elderly and confused president “That’s not how this works. That is not how any of this works!”
Okay, we knew going in that Trump only had a vague impression of how the US Government operates, and no clue as to the limits of presidential powers, but here we are at Week #119 and he still thinks Congressional subpoenas are optional (they hold the same weight as any court in the land), that the White Counsel is his personal lawyer (nope, they work for the American people), and that the Supreme Court can step in and save his fat ass from impeachment (no way, José, the Chief Justice presides over the process and there’s no appeal possible).
Donald J. Trump’s learning curve, however, hit a dead end about 65 years ago, and what we have is an overgrown, somewhat dim and very spoiled 7 year-old lashing out at a world that refuses to cater to his whims. With most of the nation calling for his head on a platter and Congress refusing to surrender the power of the legislative branch to the chief executive because he wants it that way, Trump takes to Twitter like a sulky schoolgirl to vent his spleen, and this week gave us a colossal Tweet Tsunami, more interesting to mental heath professionals trying to figure out what the fuck is wrong with this guy than to average citizens trying to figure out what the fuck is wrong with this guy.
At leasts psychiatrists have the training, knowledge and the clinical detachment necessary to unravel a damaged psyche, while the rest of us simply cannot detach ourselves from the horrific reality that is President Donald J. Trump, quite possibly the worst human being this country ever produced.
Trump began and ended the week Tweeting more than a flock of hungry parakeets, starting on Friday when he called the Special Counsel’s work “the Crazy Mueller Report” written by “18 angry Democrat Trump haters,” when in fact Mueller and most of his team are lifelong Republicans, were appointed by Republicans and entirely supervised by Republicans.
His inane repetition of “total exoneration” and “witch hunt” for the past month convinced only his diehard supporters as his approval ratings dipped below the approval rating of hemorrhoids, while the rest of the nation finally got to read the Mueller Report, almost universally recoiling in horror at the depth of depravity, incompetence and flagrant lawlessness in Trump’s White House.
On Saturday, his “lead lawyer” and subliminal backstabber Rudy Giuliani chimed in about the Mueller Report with this gem: “The narrative is written as if it’s all true and somebody proved it” (Hello! That’s what investigations do, prove things, and that is their only purpose.).
Rudy was joined by Trump’s patron, Vladimir Putin, who tore a page out of Trump’s “total exoneration” book as he crowed to his own supporters in Moscow. Unfortunately for Putin, Saturday was also the day when we learned of his efforts to create yet another backchannel to Trump via his son-in-law Jared Kushner (an easy mark, alway hungry for Russian money to bail out his real estate boondoggles), this time using the business connections of the same Russian oligarchs who were sanctioned by Obama for illegal activities and un-sanctioned by Trump so they could continue said illegal activities unmolested.
Fortunately for Putin and Trump, their loyal supporters are not fluent enough in English to read the Mueller Report, but unfortunately for Donald (and Rudy), more and more Americans are reading it, and even Bill “Sharpie” Barr could not redact it enough to prevent it from being a How-To Manual for getting away with crimes by being a huge insane asshole.
All of which made problematic this statement from Giuliani on Sunday’s “Meet The Press” show: “There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” when in fact there is everything wrong about taking information from the Russians when that information is designed to sabotage our presidential election, and the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin won an American presidential election does not make it right.
Acting like Russia shared the cure for cancer with us fooled no one but Trump’s semiliterate base, and least of all Congress, which has taken the report at its appalling words and is taking action against Trump by subpoenaing key figures in the report’s narrative, gathering information on Trump’s shady business dealings and opening even more investigations.
Trump’s response on Monday was to (!) sue Congress and House Oversight and Finance Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, as well as suing his accounting firm, in order to he keep his financial crimes a secret, the first time a President has ever sued Congress. Trump also interfered with the IRS in an attempt to prevent the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal from obtaining his tax returns, ordering his Secretary of the Treasury to obstruct the requesition by “checking on the legality” of the long-established law allowing Congressional Committee Chairpersons to view the tax returns of any American taxpayer, presidents included.
Using our court system for his own ends has been a Trump tactic for decades, whether forcing creditors he refused to pay to settle for less than he owes them, or to withdraw their claims altogether because they cannot afford a long legal battle. He has used these delaying tactics again and again, even when he and his lawyers knew they have no legal standing and are bound to lose.
The United States Congress, however, is not a window contractor to be put out of business by stiffing them for their fees and tying them up in court for years, and Trump desperately needed a distraction from the heat of Congress breathing down his neck and the pervasive national dialogue of impeachment, impeachment and impeachment.
What better way than to threaten peace in the Middle East yet again and alienating powerful nations? Trump decided on Monday to blacklist Iran by insisting that no nation purchase their petroleum, knowing there is no better way of setting up dangerous confrontations with rival nations and alienating our allies than to threatened their access to oil. Or, more probably, not knowing, or even caring, since Trump never thinks past today’s dilemma and never takes anything into account but his own wellbeing (see: Trump’s Kiddie Koncentration Kamps).
Having dropped that stink bomb on global affairs, Trump then attended a children’s event, where he entertained them with imbecilic musings on the horrific Easter Sunday multiple-bombing massacre in Sri Lanka, spoke about the possibility of his impeachment and bragged about his strong economy, the last things a normal human being would mention to a crowd of small children. To his credit, though, he did not regale them with the same anecdotes about orgies on yachts that he famously shared with the Boy Scouts.
Congress remained unimpressed and subpoenaed former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify, and Trump threatening to block that move by claiming Executive Privilege and promising more time-consuming legal wrangling. What Trump forgot is that he was the one who encouraged McGahn to speak with Mueller’s team early in the investigation, and that his many hours of interviews revealed how Trump repeatedly ordered his White House Counsel to commit crimes that McGahn refused to carry out, not wanting to open himself to losing his license to practice law and/or facing criminal charges himself.
All of which led to the Twitter volcano on Tuesday, a copious eruption replete with insane ramblings, incredibly stupid lies and crazy accusations. Even for him this was disturbing, leading a nation to wonder just what the hell our President does all day other than throwing pathetic Pity Parties and lashing out at his own government and citizenry. The answer seems to be “not much” as we learn more and more how Trump delegates all the actual work of being president to inexperienced subordinates, content to handle only the lying and blustery boasting part of the job while others do the heavy lifting.
Trump did, however take the time out from his Tweeting to order all administration officials to boycott the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, as well as Congressional subpoenas, the former being simply a very petty move by a very petty man, the latter a blatant attempt to usurp Congressional power and blow our foundational Checks & Balances out of the water.
Congress seemed up for the challenge, issuing subpoenas, scheduling hearings and generally following up on the damning Mueller Report, which turned out to be the opposite of the exoneration Trump claims every 20 minutes or so, in spite of what his new Attorney General and fixer claimed. Congress is loaded with lawyers and Constitutional scholars who know exactly what they are reading and witnessing, and their oaths of office compel them to act.
Also acting against Trump’s crimes is the State of New York, which is obtaining the financial records of Trump’s dealings with the scandal-plagued Deutsche Bank, the prospect of which once drove Trump to try to fire Robert Mueller. The Special Counsel’s team did not do much with the Deutsche Bank allegations, what with Trump’s personal finances being outside its purview and its staff having so much other crime to unravel, but the New York State Attorney General is a whole other ballgame, an entity that cannot be stopped by Federal power, or its convictions negated by Presidential Pardons.
Over the course of the Russian Collusion investigation, Robert Mueller referred a great many of Trump’s crimes that were outside his unit’s mandate to other law enforcement entities, both Federal and State authorities, prosecutors’ offices without the narrow constraints of Mueller’s probe, filled with experienced attorneys who are ready, willing and able to follow the trail of evidence wherever it may lead, unbound by political considerations.
And speaking of Russian Collusion, we learned on Wednesday that Trump’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney made it clear to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (recently fired by Trump) that she was not to bring up election security with the president because he equated any mention of Russian election interference as a slur on his legitimacy as a president, telling the person charged with protecting our nation’s security and sovereignty that stopping the Russians from subverting the 2020 election (!!) ”wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his level.”
On Wednesday, Trump met with the man to whom he owes his presidency as much as to Vladimir Putin, the Chairman of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, supposedly to “discuss the public conversation,” but turned into a mini pity party with the president moaning about Obama having more followers than him and how Twitter “purged Trump followers.” The fact that those purged were Russian bots and non-human algorithms meant nothing to Trump, who understands very little about technology outside of its propaganda potential.
Frustrated, Trump engaged in saber rattling against both Mexico and opioids, threatening to use armed force against Mexico if they “don’t do more” about illegal immigration, and declaring a “War on Opioids” reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s failed War on Drugs, only with no actual planning involved. He has people for that, apparently, while he holds down the bellowing part.
One of his “people for that” is senior advisor and architect of Trump’s nightmarish Refugee Gulag, Steven Miller, who was also subpoenaed to testify before Congress and was forbidden to do so by Trump. Another is the former head of the office in charge of granting security clearances for the White House, Carl Cline, who is alleged to have provided Top Secret Clearances to 25 clearly unfit people over the loud objections of White House security clearance professionals (and the CIA), including Jared and Ivanka Kushner, on orders from the President delivered via then-Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Trump said “enough is enough” and vowed to defy Congress, and was assured by angry Committee Chairmen they will arrest and detain any individual who defies their subpoenas, no matter how high their position. Deadlines were given, and next week may see some unprecedented activity in American government, the arrests of a sitting President’s staff members.
The president closed out the week by announcing that “President Donald J. Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator that I know of in the history of the United States,” rejoicing that he stiffed Kim Jong Un for the $2 million bill that Trump agreed to pay in return for an America citizen tortured to death by Kim’s goons in North Korea, then repeating a vicious lie about (who else?) Obama.
Then he headed off to address a conference of The National Rifle Association, an organization whose power has exponentially grown under Trump to the point where they no longer hide the fact that they are functioning as the 4th branch of American government. Indeed, Trump endorsed their usurpation of governmental power with these exact (and as usual, grammatically-challenged) words: “The NRA getting stronger & stronger and doing some really great and important work.”
If only the same could be said of the Executive branch of our government. Instead, all we can say is, “that’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works.”