Monday Reads: Oops! He’s done it again!Posted: September 18, 2017
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
It’s difficult to continually bear witness to a man holding our highest office prove himself unfit to be in the company of grown ups let alone the shadows of other Americans who’ve held and aspired to the job. You just know that most of us are embarrassed and appalled. The last two days have been an ongoing study in personality disorders.
First, there was the usual twitter vomit. Yesterday’s batch was particularly juvenile and offensive. Kremlin Caligula still can’t get over anything about Hillary Clinton and demonstrated it in his particularly heinous and misogynist way.
On the eve of a critical week of foreign policy challenges, Donald Trump started his Sunday by retweeting an edited video of him hitting a golf ball into Hillary Clinton’s back — and her falling over from the impact.
That message — a trollish attempt at humor with overtones of violence against women — went out to Trump’s 38.5 million Twitter followers and turned a Sunday expected to be focused on the President’s preparations for the United Nations General Assembly meetings this week into a now-familiar White House circus.
The simple fact is this: With every passing day, it becomes more and more clear that Trump not only will never act “presidential” but also seems to revel in taking the very word — and concept — and dragging it through the mud.
Trump has been fixated on the idea of “acting presidential” (or not) for some time.
“At the right time, I will be so presidential that you’ll call me and you’ll say, ‘Donald, you have to stop that,'” Trump told Fox News personality Sean Hannity back in March 2016. The following month, in an interview on the “Today” show, Trump made a similar promise: “I will be so presidential, you will be so bored. You’ll say, ‘Can’t he have a little more energy?’
And, at times in the campaign, he would go a day or even a few days in which gave a speech entirely from a teleprompter or didn’t personally attack another politician on Twitter or avoided savaging the reporters covering his campaign as some of the most dishonest people in the world.
But those periods were the exception, not the rule. Trump would always return to who he really is: a coarse provocateur — happiest when he is in the midst of some spat or another. While he bills himself as a counterpuncher, Trump is more accurately understood as a street brawler: He looks for fights and, when he finds them, he does anything and everything to win. The only goal is survival.
Since winning the White House, Trump’s promises of a presidential pivot have become fewer and farther between as he appears to have more fully embraced his Internet troll persona.
His internet troll persona also tweeted some nastiness at the only other leader in the world with nuclear weapons and about as many personality disorders as Trump. Plus, we got a double bonus hit on our good ally South Korea. Trolling has become Trump’s signature act of diplomacy.
For just under half an hour Saturday night, President Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, tackled the missile threat looming from Pyongyang. The pair of leaders condemned North Korea’s recent ballistic missile test — and once more vowed to strengthen their joint defenses and ratchet up economic pressure on Kim Jong Un still further.
Trump asked Moon “how Rocket Man is doing” — as the U.S. president put it in a Sunday morning tweet — and took note of the “long gas lines forming in North Korea,” presumably as a result of the stricter sanctions recently implemented.
Residents in the North Korean capital are scratching their heads. Although there are reports of price increases, they’ve seen no queues at the few service stations in Pyongyang, a city of about 2 million people that has more cars than it used to but is still far from congested.
“We are not aware of any long queues at the gas stations,” one foreign resident of Pyongyang said. “At least, I haven’t noticed anything. I asked a few Koreans, and they haven’t seen anything either.”
Another said there had been no obvious change since the last sanctions resolution was passed by the U.N. Security Council. “Traffic on Friday was as heavy here as I’ve seen it. Normal on Saturday. Quieter on Sunday.” In other words, the same as every week.
Trump was in peak troll form as he addressed the U.N. I knew this was likely to be a train wreck but as with all things Trumpvian you can’t speculate on the extent of the disaster. We got the usual Trump merchandising and branding activities along with a sickening, patronizing lunatic rant.
President Trump on Monday spent his first United Nations address trashing the United Nations — while touting one of his properties that sits across the street from its Manhattan headquarters.
“In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said at a forum about reforming the U.N.
“While the United Nations on a regular budget has increased by 140% and its staff has more than doubled since 2000, we are not seeing the results in line with this investment.”
Trump urged the U.N. to focus “more on people and less on bureaucracy” and to change its “business as usual,” though he laid out few specifics for reforms he would like to see. Even so, Trump gave no indication that he will weaken the U.S. support for the 193-nation organization.
Trump began his debut address with a plug for his nearby Trump World Tower.
“I actually saw great potential across the street, to be honest with you, and it’s only for the reason that the United Nations was here that that turned out to be such a successful project,” he said.
Trump completed the residential building in 2001, and its 45th floor has been purchased by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which uses it for part of the Saudi Mission to the United Nations.
Trump will spend most of this week in meetings and reception with the U.N., an organization he fiercely criticized before taking office.
As a candidate and President-elect, Trump said the U.N. was “not a friend of democracy” and dismissed it “a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.” He promised major change to come once he was sworn in.
Trump on Tuesday will give a speech to the entire 193-member General Assembly.
I have no idea why none of them stood up and walked out. Also, what’s the status of the emoluments lawsuit?
The other aspect of Mueller’s investigation that appears to be fairly advanced is his obstruction investigation. We know Mueller is looking at obstruction related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey for many reasons—most recently, the Justice Department refused to permit a Senate committee to interview two FBI officials who were witnesses on this issue, and when asked about the matter, referred questions to Mueller. This indicates that Mueller believes the FBI officials are potential witnesses. (If Mueller thinks he might use their testimony later, he would want to reduce the risk that potential defendants and their counsel can learn about it in advance. His trial lawyers don’t want to generate inconsistent accounts from witnesses that can be used to undermine them at trial.)
Mueller also has set up interviews with White House officials who were reportedly involved in the decision to fire Comey, and Trump lawyers reportedly sent a memo to Mueller making legal arguments about obstruction and claiming that Comey is not a credible witness. This suggests Trump’s legal team believes Mueller is focused on obstruction. They wouldn’t waste their time otherwise.
The strength of the obstruction case against the president is still an open question, however. On the day Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, I told the New York Times that “a prudent prosecutor would want more facts before bringing this case against a president.” Since then, many more facts have been disclosed, including Thursday’s revelation that the president erupted at Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he learned of Mueller’s appointment, calling him an “idiot” and demanding his resignation.
The intensity of Trump’s reaction to the appointment is unusual and will prompt questions about why he cared so deeply about losing control over the Russia investigation. Moreover, former White House aides Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus and Vice President Mike Pence will likely be questioned about what they told the president to persuade him not to fire Sessions, and what he said in response. The president’s words could be used by Mueller as evidence of his “corrupt” intent, which he would need to prove obstruction of justice.
The most significant testimony could come from White House Counsel Don McGahn, who reportedly looked at a letter justifying Comey’s firing that was drafted by White House aide Stephen Miller at Trump’s direction. McGahn made numerous deletions and comments in the draft and also discussed his concerns verbally, according to the New York Times, but it was never published. Mueller has that letter, the Justice Department has confirmed.
Which leads us to this interesting development: “Trump lawyers spill beans, thanks to terrible choice of restaurant — next door to the New York Times”. No one around Trump can be accused of being a rocket scientist, ‘Rocket man’, however, appears to be surrounded by them.
It is every Washington reporter’s dream to sit down at a restaurant, overhear secret stuff and get a scoop. It rarely happens.
Still, everyone in town important enough to have secrets worth keeping knows that secrets are not safe on the Acela train and in Washington restaurants.
This is especially true in eateries next door to a major newspaper.
Yes, Ty Cobb and John Dowd, lawyers for President Trump, we’re talking to you.
But it’s too late now.
Dowd represents Trump but does not work at the White House. Cobb is a White House employee who is instantly recognizable to many because of his handlebar mustache.
Together, they went for what appears to have been a working lunch at BLT Steak, 1625 I St. NW in Washington. It’s close to the White House and very convenient.
It’s also next door to 1627 I St. NW, which happens to house the Washington bureau of the New York Times.
Sitting at the next table, according to the Times, was Kenneth Vogel, one of Washington’s most skillful investigative reporters. Vogel is a former reporter for Politico, which is based in Virginia, who arrived at the Times just in time for the Russia investigation and, as it turned out, just in time for lunch.
Vogel overheard the lawyers talking about White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II and Jared Kushner, president Trump’s son-in-law, as well as the infamous Trump Tower meeting. Here’s a sample from the article bearing the bylines of Vogel and Peter Baker:
Mr. Cobb was heard talking about a White House lawyer he deemed “a McGahn spy” and saying Mr. McGahn had “a couple documents locked in a safe” that he seemed to suggest he wanted access to. He also mentioned a colleague whom he blamed for “some of these earlier leaks,” and who he said “tried to push Jared out …”
The White House Counsel’s Office is being very conservative with this stuff,” Mr. Cobb told Mr. Dowd. “Our view is we’re not hiding anything.” Referring to Mr. McGahn, he added, “He’s got a couple documents locked in a safe.”
… Mr. Cobb also discussed the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting — and the White House’s response to it — saying that “there was no perception that there was an exchange.”
You can only imagine what the entire Trump Criminal Syndicate could get away with if they only knew what they were doing. Here’s the link to the actual NYT piece. You have to read it to believe it.
So, I can’t decide if Trump is being particularly peevish because Hillary Clinton and her book tour are getting lots of air time or if it’s simply because Mueller has got the goods on the Flynns and Manafort, Undoubtedly, the grand juries’ sites are on Don Jr or Jared who are next on deck. But, he’s being the usual troll extraordinaire which he tends to be when Russia heats up and his on camera time cools down. Ratings!! Winning!! Hugely!!! Biggly!!!
I want to end with a tweet I read last night from a St Louis Reporter.
He posted a video and interviewed other witnesses and some police on the scene. This is appalling. These racist acts are the direct result of an enabling president.
Police officers in St. Louis, Mo., reportedly chanted “whose streets, our streets” as protesters took to the streets early Monday to demonstrate against the acquittal of a white former police officer in a black motorist’s shooting death.
Officers wearing riot gear employed the phrase, according to The Associated Press. The phrase is a mantra typically used by protesters in recent years.
A photojournalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also reported hearing police chanting the phrase after making arrests. He added that a commander he spoke with said police officers using the phrase is not acceptable.
Protests have occurred after judge last week acquitted a former St. Louis police officer on murder charges in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. The state of civil rights in this country is as bad as I’ve seen it for quite some time. Unfortunately, it’s in the hands of the White Supremacist in Chief and his little sidekick the Oldest Living Confederate Widow.
Oh, and better start calling to save Obama care. Lady Lindsay and Dr Frankenstein on the Bayou are coming for your healthcare.
An activist’s work is never done.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?