Unfortunately, Trump Era weeks aren’t something that truly end, where you can breathe a sigh of relief and say “Phew, is it over?” Nope, because the very next day brings another series of train wrecks, courtesy of the craziest president outside of a Stanley Kubrick movie.
Donald Trump began Week #123 in office on Friday by waxing eloquent about burning and maiming desperate refugees when he insisted his Schrödinger’s Wall along the Mexican border (which is both being finished and just getting started at the same time) be painted matte black so the Southwestern sun will render it burning hot to the touch, and be tipped with deadly sharp spikes, taking its Medieval theme to the next level. No word yet on vats of boiling oil or battalions of archers with longbows.
On Saturday the President had nothing on his schedule but golf and Twitter, the golf game notable only because this was the one that broke $100 million in tax dollars spent on Trump’s golf habit. His Tweets were the usual insane drivel, but gave us a clue as to his actions later in the week when he reprised his classic “Hillary’s E-mails” schtick, then accused Hillary Clinton and James Coney of treason and of spying on his campaign, then slammed House Democrats for not allowing him to blame his own crimes on them.
Referring to a criminal investigation of alleged serious crimes committed by Trump and his associates that was opened by Federal agencies that exist only to open investigations into alleged serious crimes as “spying” is a unique approach to law enforcement, to say the least, but unfortunately one eagerly embraced by his new Fixer/Attorney General William Barr, who has shown an absolute relish for doing things Trump’s way; shredding the rule of law, the Constitution and just using the weight of his office to make unilateral declarations to settle matters. (See: The Barr Report on the Mueller Report)
One of Trump’s financial sponsors and alleged coconspirator in financial crimes, the controversial Deutsche Bank, was back in the news on Sunday when it was reported that five employees in the Oversight Department repeatedly tried to warn the bank about money laundering on a massive scale they had uncovered in one of their branches that was taking in untraceable billions in cash from Russia mobsters, their findings implicating both President Trump and his son-in-law and now Senior Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner. These would not be the first potentially incriminating Trump financial documents to take a step closer to official scrutiny this week.
On Monday, the 5th child died in one of Trump’s child prisons, of course getting no mention from the White House, the President preferring instead to concentrate on unveiling his codefendant Jared Kushner’s long-awaited Middle East Peace Plan, two years in the making and basically boiling down to “Everyone has a price.” What else but bribery could we expect from two corrupt thugs in suits who concocted crooked schemes with suspicious people their whole professional lives?
Glowing from his Great Statesman moment, Trump announced he was creating the office of (!) “Immigration Czar” to oversee the godawful mess he made of the immigration issue (his potential Czar is earnestly negotiating a future Cabinet slot in exchange for taking this thankless job, one of the few people remaining who is naive enough not to realize that his reputation will be completely ruined by his association with Trump and the rear exit is the only place he’s headed), hinted that the infrastructure deal he made with Congress would have to wait until after he straightened out the trade disaster he created, then decided that Joe Biden’s family would have to be investigated for crimes in China, a week after his phony charges that Biden’s son committed crimes in Ukraine were proven completely ridiculous and well as groundless.
Trump lost a court battle that day when a judge decided that Congress does indeed have the right to access financial documents as part of their oversight duties, a decision the president immediately appealed, basically claiming that Executive Privilege gives him the right to keep any evidence of his crimes a secret because he’s the president, so there!
Then the House of Representatives held Attorney General Barr in Contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the un-redacted Mueller report, even as Barr was flexing political muscles to further the President’s agenda, a partisan activity normally scrupulously avoided by Attorneys General, who enforce laws, not policies, and prosecute criminals, not political rivals.
Not only that, but the IRS told Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin that it did not matter what he or the Attorney General felt about the matter, they were obligated by law to turn over Donald Trump’s tax returns to House Ways And Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, making even more work for Trump’s battalion of criminal lawyers as they tried to devise a way to break a law because “the law was old.”
While all this was going on, discarded former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was being interviewed secretly for 7 hours by the House Foreign Affairs committee “on his experiences in Trump’s Cabinet,” sharing, among many other things, Trump’s interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin. What did not remain secret of his testimony was Tillerson, the US Secretary of State whose most historic moment will forever be calling the President of the United States “a fucking moron,” reciting to Congress “A Tale of Two Presidents,” with one president entering every meeting thoroughly prepared, crisply focused, in command of every topic, dominant, and making certain to hammer home his every point, while the other president was Donald Trump.
You know, the man to whom briefings are uncomfortable interludes where he has to stop talking and hear word/noises coming out of other people’s mouths, who is the only president since George Washington who did not form a proper Transition Team because he told Chris Christie the two of them could work out how this government operates in (!!) 2 hours, and the guy who shows ups at noon to run the United States government, the largest and most complex organization on earth? Yeah, that guy.
In other words, Tillerson spent 7 hours telling Congress that Trump is not only a fucking moron, but a lazy and completely unprepared moron who is in way over his head and delegates complex tasks to the fawning incompetents with whom he surrounds himself. Speaking of which, Tillerson singled out young Jared Kushner again for being a constant thorn in the State Department’s side for never consulting them or other Federal Agencies before doing anything stupid overseas, and how he was a naïve amateur easily fleeced by worldly foreign rivals, and a high risk for potential corruption (no stretch of the imagination on Tillerson’s part there, as Kushner is currently the target of multiple criminal investigations).
On those happy notes Trump winged his way to a MAGA rally in Pennsylvania where he would raise eyebrows not only by acting like his usual preening, lying asshole self, but telling stunned Pennsylvanians how their Native Son Joe Biden “deserted you for another State” when his family moved from Pennsylvania to Delaware when Biden was (!) 10 years old, but the real kicker was hinting that after his second term, there would be a (!!!) 3rd, a 4th and a 5th Trump term in office, somehow remaining President until he is 90 by refusing to leave office like a fat Robert Mugabe, defying laws, election results, his country’s Constitution and actuarial tables.
And no, nobody showed up with a straitjacket and sedatives to escort him to the 25th Amendment Ward, more’s the pity, because he still had another mini-rally in him for Week #123, and plenty more damage to do to our country.
But then out of the blue Trump went on strike on Wednesday. He kept a scheduled appointment in the White House with Congressional leaders to discuss the nuts and bolts of the bipartisan $2 trillion infrastructure bill the President and Congress had agreed upon several weeks ago. Very unfairly to him, one of those Congressional leaders was the scary lady that is always mean to him, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who Trump fears even more than he fears salads. Not only was he unprepared to discuss the details of this complex piece of legislation (even though he had spent his career building infrastructure), he was unable to last more than 3 minutes before throwing a tantrum and stalking out, declaring he would not work with the Democrats until they called off every investigation of him, his administration and his family.
•Fun Fact: not working with Democrats when Democrats hold a majority in the House of Representatives means the government can’t do a damned thing until 2020. On the other hand, that would leave a lot more time for MAGA rallies and laying the groundwork for those extra 3 terms in office, so maybe Trump is crazy like a fox? A rabid, batshit crazy fox, but still…
Best part was that Trump walked directly from the meeting to a group of waiting reporters and cameras to whine about Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer, and repeat his demand that the Democrats put an end to all investigations into his campaign and his finances. For this performance, Trump had his staff cover the Presidential Seal on the podium with posters than looked like they were run off in Kinkos, reading “NO Collusion” and “NO Obstruction, where he promptly threw another tantrum trying to prove how calm he remained when he threw his earlier tantrum and stormed out of a meeting.
Trump would later spend hours on Twitter furiously denying his fury and insanely defending his sanity (yes, he revisited “I’m a stable genius” territory again this week, giving the nation’s comedy writers and talk show hosts another easy layup). Speaker Pelosi has the man plain spooked, and spookier still, we can notice him getting visibly crazier (who knew this was even possible?) when he mentions her name. He watches her every TV interview as she deftly dissects his (lack of) character and stubbornly insists that the President starts acting like a man, in spite of the fact that he is Donald Trump. Talk about your unreasonable demands!
That was the day a 6th child died in Federal custody, as the Trump Administration denied dumping refugees on communities that voted for Democrats. Perhaps they might consider “dumping” the sick children on local hospitals instead of locking them in prisons to languish and die. It’s just never easy to delineate proper Concentration Camp etiquette, since the only recent historical examples we have are a lot shorter on humanitarianism than might be desired. To highlight this national disgrace, a 96 year-old Holocaust Survivor made a video that went viral globally with her simple message: “I want everyone to remember that the Holocaust started only with words, and that words matter.”
It was also the day when another judge ruled that Deutsche Bank is indeed obligated to turn over Trump’s financial records to Congress, and explained the ruling in a powerful judicial opinion, saying it would be absurd for the President to think that Congress is both obligated by law to oversee the Executive Branch, and at the same time be prohibited from viewing any evidence or related materials that would help them oversee said Executive Branch (Schrödinger’s Powers of Oversight).
Speaking of Executive stuff, Donald “This Will Never Be A Socialist Country!” Trump announced he was giving away $15 billion to American farmers who his trade war with China is costing about $30 billion. The missing $15 bil? That’s the “pain and sacrifice” part of Trump’s astonishingly inept handling of one of the most basic functions of any government, importing stuff you need and exporting stuff other people need so everyone can survive without mobilizing armies. It’s not rocket science, and the trade policies that Trump seeks to replace made America the richest country on Earth. Leave to a rich old fatso to want more.
And speaking of incompetents, fawning or otherwise, Dr. Ben Carson once again proved that his genius in the operating room ends after he takes off his scrubs. The man who went from being an icon and role model for his neurosurgeon’s skills to a household joke for his complete lack of any other skills is now running the nation’s public housing system, and demonstrated that he knows less about housing than Trump knows about using condoms. Anyone who has ever shopped for a house or condo knows that R.E.O. stands for “Real Estate-Owned” and has nothing to do with Oreo cookies, but Carson made that error in a Congressional hearing on Housing Policy on Wednesday, making just one thing crystal clear; that Housing Policy is something else we don’t have anymore. Maybe if Trump and Christie had brainstormed for 3 hours instead?
On Thursday Congress did its job again and reached a bipartisan agreement on the disbursement of disaster relief monies, including the aid to Puerto Rico that Trump opposed and minus the Concentration Camp-building funds that he tried to disguise as natural disaster relief instead of one more disaster of his own making. The bill enjoys the support of both Houses of Congress and has been agreed to by the President, so it is unclear if Trump will cross the picket line to sign this bill into law and finally begin rebuilding America’s stricken and damaged regions, or will the President remain on strike?
This was the day we learned that one Stephen M. Calk was indicted for trying to buy a position in Trump’s Cabinet by fraudulently lending his Election Committee Chairman and current Federal prisoner Paul Manafort (!) $16 million of his bank’s money, and Julian Assange of Wikileaks was formally charged with espionage against the US Government, a thinly disguised ploy to discourage Great Britain from extraditing Assange to the USA, thus making him unavailable to testify before Congress about his and Wikileaks’ role in the 2016 Russian election tampering and his contacts in the Trump campaign (•Spoiler Alert: it was Donald Jr•), since espionage carries a potential death sentence in America, and the UK does not extradite people facing a death sentence.
Trump’s trained seal and prolific protege in the Lying Sack of Shit Department, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, got in on the act by declaring “It’s insane to think President Trump can work with Pelosi,” once again linking the name Trump with the word “insanity,” albeit unintentionally, and dovetailing nicely with Trump’s carryover tantrum over how calm he was during his meltdown in front of Pelosi the previous day, and how she was the crazy one, not him, and we’re all the crazy ones too for not noticing, the shrill mantra of insane people everywhere.
Unhappy with his war of words against reality, Trump decided to mobilize the Justice Department on that front, giving Attorney General William Barr sweeping powers to frame Democrats for his crimes, even allowing him to declassify intelligence documents, which the intelligence community refused, just like they refused to grant the highest Top Secret clearance to Jared and Ivanka.
By officially ordering all his intelligence agencies to assist Attorney General William Barr in his “review (investigation) of surveillance issues surrounding Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign,” ordering them to release sensitive classified documents to the Attorney General and delegating significant and unprecedented political authority to Barr to use these potentially national security-damaging documents “as he sees fit.” Trump has consolidated political control over our Justice System, and is now attempting to bring our intelligence agencies under his direct control and into the service of his political agenda (5 terms in office and imprisoning his political rivals). The calendar still reads 2019, but suddenly seems stuck on 1984.
Raging with impotent anger and surrounded by hostility, Trump ended the week by fleeing headlong to his most reliable safe space, the welcome sanctuary of another political rally, only this time there was no scheduled rally, so he turned the Roosevelt Room in the White House into a mini-MAGA rally. He was supposedly there to talk about the big money he is giving to farmers to make up for screwing up their livelihoods, and surrounded by a posse of cowboy hat-wearing farmers, but it soon degenerated into one more Trump Pity Party as he lamented Congress inflicting “a thousand stabs,” repeated his accusations of treason against his political rivals and former government officials, called Rex Tillerson an idiot and loudly placed his own needs and personal welfare head and shoulders above the welfare and security of the country he mismanages. Only problem was that he was in the White House talking to reporters and bewildered farmers wondering why they were there and not in front of thousands of his acolytes cheering on his worst impulses. Instead of hearing “Lock her Up” and “4 More Years” right on cue from his MAGA peanut gallery, the room was filled with stunned stares and uncomfortable silence.
Once can’t help but get the feeling that Trump will be running for reelection forever, from wherever he lands after getting his ass dumped out the job, either by an angry electorate in 2020 or by Congress before that. He was the one throwing around “the I word” prolifically, practically chanting ‘impeachment, impeachment, impeachment,’ more than any other person in Washington, and many times more than Speaker Pelosi, who seems content to sit back like a spider watching Trump do all the heavy lifting as he entangles himself in a web of self-destruction and self-impeachment on a daily basis.