In Week #143 of the Trump Era, to say things are getting weird would be a vast understatement as we wonder which part of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party comes next, the demented diva with the yellow crown shouting “off with their heads,” or the ghoulish cat fading in and out of visibility. Which, in another context, would be fine and entertaining. America’s always up for some off-the-wall funny business, just not in the realm of the deadly serious work of running a superpower nation and conducting foreign policy in a perilous world. Not so much do we welcome the whacky and unpredictable in these complex areas of human endeavor.

Take Friday’s Edict From on High from Trump, when he decided by Executive Order that the land of “Give me your tired, your poor,” the country that turned that human raw material into the world’s most dynamic nation, would henceforth turn away immigrants who (!) could not afford health care insurance. Unless you’re Norwegian and hot, of course, then we’ll figure something out.

On Saturday we were treated to Trump’s 2017 musings about soldiers with (!) drawn bayonets lining the border. The 2,000 mile-long border. The 2,000 mile-long border he also wanted to protect with a 2,000 mile-long moat filled with hungry alligators, right next to his deadly spike-tipped wall. These presidential musings leave us wondering why he omitted catapults and chariots.

Which is more amusing that the news of a second whistleblower coming forward on Saturday to accuse the President of a crime, to which Trump’s response was to (!) reduce the size of the National Security Council staff and to order “a search for spies.” To which Congress responded by issuing subpoenas to the White House for documents pertaining to the now sensational Trump/Zelensky phone call.

To which Trump responded by blaming Secretary of Energy Rick Perry for insisting that Trump make the call. This is one thing that came as a surprise. Who remembered Rick Perry even worked there anymore? When he announced his impending resignation a week earlier, no one noticed or wondered why. Until now, that is, as he becomes the latest person in Trump’s orbit to be ground under the wheels of the bus.

Turns out Trump’s strong-arming of the Ukrainian President was not a one-man show, but a coordinated campaign by a sizable portion of Trump’s government, including his Vice President, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Secretary of Energy, various diplomats, his own personal attorney and shadowy political operatives, to force Ukraine to manufacture and prosecute phony crimes by Trump’s political rival and his son in exchange for foreign aid already approved by Congress, and the scheme involved the surreptitious removals of government officials unwilling to aid and abet their President’s crime.

Then Trump’s Ace in The Hole distraction blew up in his face when the North Korean delegation walked out of nuclear disarmament talks with American negotiators in Sweden, charging that the Americans “came empty handed,” with exactly no followup work to all those Trump/Kim meetings having been done, since Trump has exactly no plans for anything beyond photo ops and slogans.

On Sunday, Trump characteristically declared war. On the wrong people of course. This time it was Republican Senator Mitt Romney and our longtime allies, the Kurds. Romney, famous for his sporadic morality, has been very critical of Trump for openly displaying the vicious mendacity of the Republican Party rather than slapping a Smiley Face over their true intentions.

The Kurds, one the other hand, have been America’s most reliable military ally in the Middle East since 2003, and instrumental in defeating ISIS in Syria, where they still incarcerate 10,000 ISIS fighters. Turkey, on the other hand, thinks there are too many Kurds in this world and would like nothing better than to start a war against them in Syria and annex their land.

Turkey being a member of NATO complicates the picture and, Trump being Trump, he understands no complexities and exactly none of the recent or ancient history that shapes today’s Eurasia (and was likely Tweeting about Little Adam Schiff during his briefing on this crisis anyway), so in one of those “it’s good to be king” moments, Trump gave his blessing to Turkey’s President Recep Erdoğan to help himself to 5,000 square miles of land neither one of them owns, and our Kurdish allies call home.

But what Trump does know a lot about, and what he most carefully weighed, is his massive income stream from Turkey, tens of millions of dollars annually from Trump Towers Istanbul and many other building projects and properties, and the fact that Erdoğan has threatened this income stream before if Trump did not support his policies. That made it a no-brainer, since the Kurds contribute zilch to Trump’s personal fortune.

Monday found President Trump ordered to turn over 8 Years of his Tax Returns to the Manhattan District Attorney investigating Trump, members of his family and the Trump Organization for violating New York State laws including insurance fraud, real estate fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and campaign finance crimes. He immediately appealed the decision of course, no doubt wishing to be the one to personally unveil his tax returns like he promised his supporters so many times. Must be saving that moment for a MAGA rally, a really big one.

On Tuesday, still smarting from criticism that Erdoğan took his lunch money, Trump decided to get tough. With his fellow Americans, the Presidents’ most frequent target of his characteristic viciousness. He went ballistic on Jacob Frey, the Mayor of Minneapolis, when Frey informed the Trump 2020 campaign that they would have to fork over the money up front for the local security required to protect his Thursday campaign rally there, so that his city would not join the long list of American cities the Trump Campaign has stiffed for their bills.

Like every deadbeat who ever lived, Trump took that as a huge insult to his honor and of course attacked Mayor Frey as another demonic enemy of America eager to push the Democrat’s Socialist Agenda. 

And speaking of accusing Democrats of pushing an agenda, Trump not only forbade European Union Ambassador Gordon D. Sondland from giving a legal deposition to Congress regarding Ukrainegate, but refused any cooperation at all with the impeachment inquiry by himself and his administration, adding additional criminal charges to those already being weighed against him. 

On Wednesday, in a development that may or may not have something to do with this unfolding film noir of a scandal, a Defense Intelligence Agency counter intelligence analyst Henry Kyle Frese was arrested for leaking information on an unnamed “foreign country’s weapons system” to reporters. Just as we had no idea last week who are Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, perhaps Week #144 will shed some light on Mr. Frese and his place in the scheme of things.

Then, as Turkish artillery and air strikes began killing our loyal Kurdish allies, Trump reminded us that the Kurds (!!) “didn’t help us in Normandy” as an exercise is rationalizing his betrayal, blissfully unaware that he has not said or done very many rational things in his 73 years of breathing.

While we’re discussing rationality (or its complete absence), Trump changed his mind and said he was now willing to cooperate with the Impeachment Probe if… and there were several big IFs. He told Congress that if certain rules are passed in his favor, and the entire House has an immediate vote on whether or not to proceed in the impeachment, he just might cooperate with them, even though he knows that these requests are not in anyone’s power to accommodate. In other words, “I won’t be cooperating so screw you Congress!”

Undeterred by the latest Trumpistrionics, Congress is proceeding apace with their impeachment probe in a case that keeps getting broader and deeper even as it becomes clearer and clearer regarding its expanding list of henchmen, both prominent names and suspicious clandestine conspirators.

And speaking of henchmen and clandestine conspirators, on Thursday we found out who are Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman when they were arrested at Dulles International Airport outside Washington DC just before boarding a flight to Vienna with (!) one-way tickets. These 2 associates of Rudy Giuliani, foreign-born American citizens, one Ukrainian and one Belorussian, have been charged with violating campaign finance laws, and will be sure to face other charges as we find out that these men were instrumental in getting a recalcitrant ambassador fired when she would not join their sting operation to frame former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

These men were also linked to illegal payments to a Trump Super Pac to the tune of $350,000 from a Ukrainian billionaire name Dmitry Firtash, currently under house arrest in Vienna. Incidentally, following his associates arrest, Giuliani abruptly canceled his scheduled trip to … wait for it! … Vienna! 

Then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Senior Advisor Michael McKinley abruptly resigned in protest of the shabby treatment of diplomatic personnel as investigators closed in on Pompeo’s involvement with Ukrainegate, the games of musical chairs with ambassadorships, the secret payments, clandestine meetings with unnamed foreign officials, extortion and election-tampering. What started as a typically Trumpian fiasco has turned into an Administration-wide operation, with new revelations appearing almost hourly as the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fall into place. 

Meanwhile, another Chinese trade delegation is heading to Washington, no doubt to find a completely unprepared American team to greet them with no proposals, no homework done, no official backing and completely distracted by the crimes of President Trump and the effort to bring him to justice. America is on pause, and your regularly scheduled governing will resume shortly.

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