Thursday Reads: Watching Trump Sink Into Psychosis

Good Morning!!

Something big must be coming from either Mueller’s investigation or the Southern District of New York, because Trump is truly losing it. Hard to believe, but his tweets are getting crazier than ever and serious people are questioning his sanity.

This morning,  Trump actually claimed that NBC doctored the video of his Lester Holt interview. Vice News:

Donald Trump is now claiming that his infamous May 2017 TV interview, seen by millions, in which he freely admits to firing former FBI Director James Comey because of the Russia probe is somehow fake.

Among a series of unglued tweets, Trump accused NBC anchor Lester Holt of “fudging” the tape that is reportedly being looked at by special counsel Robert Mueller as evidence of obstruction of justice.

Trump’s bizarre claim 16 months after the fact came amid a rant about fake news in which he again labeled reporters the “enemy of the people.” [….]

This is the first time Trump has questioned the veracity of the recording in the 476 days since the interview was first broadcast.

During the interview Trump said of Comey’s firing: “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.’”

Trump’s attacks on the press are bearing fruit. CNBC: Man who echoed Trump attacks on the media is charged with threatening to kill Boston Globe employees over pro-press editorial.

A man was charged on Thursday with threatening to kill employees of the Boston Globe following the paper’s decision to coordinate a national response to President Donald Trump‘s attacks on the media, according to a release issued by the Justice Department.

In more than a dozen threatening phone calls to the newspaper, Robert Chain, 68, threatened to kill Globe employees and referred to the publication as “the enemy of the people,” according to the release. The threats started Aug. 10, the day the Globe announced that it would be coordinating editorials from papers around the country to “protect free press from Trump attacks.”

More than 300 publications published editorials on Aug. 16 as part of the project, according to a tally from the Globe. That day, Chain allegedly threatened to shoot Globe employees in the head, “later today, at 4 o’clock.”

Chain, of Encino, Calif., was arrested Thursday and eventually will be transferred to Boston. He is expected to appear in federal court in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon.

Here’s what Trump tweeted to his millions of cult followers this morning.

Earlier Thursday, Trump wrote in a post on Twitter that he could not “state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is.”

He signed off the tweet: “Enemy of the People!”

And Here are Chain’s words:

Last night The Washington Post published this piece about how much trouble Trump could be in and how unready he is to deal with it: ‘Winter is coming’: Allies fear Trump isn’t prepared for gathering legal storm.

President Trump’s advisers and allies are increasingly worried that he has neither the staff nor the strategy to protect himself from a possible Democratic takeover of the House, which would empower the opposition party to shower the administration with subpoenas or even pursue impeachment charges.

Don McGahn

Within Trump’s orbit, there is consensus that his current legal team is not equipped to effectively navigate an onslaught of congressional demands, and there has been broad discussion about bringing on new lawyers experienced in white-collar defense and political scandals.

The president and some of his advisers have discussed possibly adding veteran defense attorney Abbe Lowell, who currently represents Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, to Trump’s personal legal team if an impeachment battle or other fights with Congress emerge after the midterm elections, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Trump advisers also are discussing recruiting experienced legal firepower to the Office of White House Counsel, which is facing departures and has dwindled in size at a critical juncture. The office has about 25 lawyers now, down from roughly 35 earlier in the presidency, according to a White House official with direct knowledge.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

Yesterday Trump fired White House Counsel Don McGahn via Twitter, and this morning he’s tweeting responses to the news coverage.

Sure, dipshit. And now he’s admitting publicly that it was his decision to dump McGahn. Yesterday, he claimed McGahn was leaving voluntarily.

Vanity Fair: Don McGahn’s Exit Signals An Explosive New Phase In The Russia Probe.

Exact timing aside, McGahn’s exit comes at a critical moment for Trump and the Republican Party. A blue wave could hand Democrats control of the House beginning in 2019, allowing them to initiate congressional investigations, issue subpoenas for information related to the president and his businesses, and begin impeachment proceedings. At the same time, McGahn’s departure is likely to set in motion a series of changes that will fundamentally alter Trump’s relationships with his White House legal team, the special counsel’s office, and his personal attorneys. Last summer, when the president asked McGahn to fire the special counsel, he reportedly threatened to resign. (McGahn’s likely successor, Clinton-impeachment alum Emmet Flood, is expected to be less cooperative with document requests. According to the Times, Flood recently contested a special counsel request to interview Chief of Staff John Kelly, citing the president’s executive privilege.)

Emmet Flood. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM.

The shake-up of the White House general counsel’s office may also precipitate more significant changes to Trump’s relationship with the Justice Department. A key point of tension between Trump and McGahn has been Jeff Sessions’s recusal from the Russia investigation last year, which McGahn reportedly failed to prevent and which Trump views as the “original sin” that set in motion the series of events leading to Mueller’s appointment. In recent weeks, Trump has revived his public attacks on his long-suffering attorney general, and has spoken with his personal lawyers about firing him, according to The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, what was once a largely unified wall of G.O.P. support for Sessions has begun to crack. While Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other high-ranking lawmakers continue to stand by Sessions, others have seemingly resigned themselves to the inevitability of his firing. “Trump doesn’t like him,” Senator and Trump confidant Lindsey Graham told reporters Tuesday. “This relationship has soured, and I’m not blaming Jeff. It can’t go on like this.” Others have begun signaling that if Trump is to fire Sessions, it should at least wait until after the midterm elections, effectively endorsing an expiration date for the attorney general. “They’d do it before, but they’re worried about the effect it would have on the midterms themselves,” Senator Bob Corker told the Post. “It’s about the investigation, and I think the Mueller investigation ought to go on unimpeded.”

The combination of a new White House counsel and a new attorney general in charge of the Russia probe could pour gasoline on the already-fiery dynamic between president and special counsel. Ousting either man could look like further evidence of corrupt intent on the part of Trump, should Democrats ultimately pursue impeachment. More important, it could presage an aggressive new legal strategy by the president and his lawyers as Mueller’s investigation grinds toward a conclusion. Given that the midterms are just around the corner, avid watchers of the probe expect any new indictments to be issued by September 7—the 60-day mark before the elections—in order to avoid the appearance of partisanship.

That’s next Friday, and remember the Grand Jury on Fridays.

You have to read this piece at CNN by Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner: Mike Pence went to college and found God.

People who met Mike Pence at Hanover College say something happened there to change him. In the fall of 1977, when he arrived, Hanover was the kind of liberal arts school where young minds were gently opened by professors and classmates. Pence moved in the opposite direction there, becoming more rigid and doctrinaire as he studied for a history degree.

Eventually his faith led him to reject some friends and even regard his fiancée, Karen, as a sinner whom he would have to forgive in order to marry. These habits of mind, later revealed in his hostility to equality for gay people and even climate science, were formed when he was barely an adult.

Vespers was organized around songs and testimonies of faith. It offered community to students who were adjusting to the emotional challenge of leaving home. It also gave the guitar-playing Pence the opportunity to preach with the zeal of a new convert to right-wing Christianity. His schoolmate Linda Koon recalls a charismatic fellow who turned cruel when she failed to meet his definition of true faith.

“He was rigid, condescending and exclusionary,” Koon said in an interview. “You had to fit into his little pocket of Christianity, and I didn’t fit.”
Koon’s problem was that she couldn’t recount a dramatic come-to-Jesus tale of Christian conversion. “He acted like he had been struck by lightning,” she said. “I had just grown up in the Lutheran Church and had always been a Christian. That wasn’t good enough. He told me that wasn’t good enough, ‘God doesn’t want your kind.’

Head over to CNN to read the rest.

So . . . what stories have you been following?

26 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Watching Trump Sink Into Psychosis”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice Thursday, everyone!

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. dakinikat says:

    These press attacks are insane … it was only a matter of time that more Trumpanzees were going to go apeshit.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    • bostonboomer says:

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. dakinikat says:

    Leaked Emails Reveal Another Trump Staffer With Ties to White Nationalism

    Another Trump administration official has been outed for his ties to white nationalism. According to leaked emails obtained by The Atlantic, a policy analyst working for the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security, who has since resigned, was included in emails with known white supremacist leaders.

    The emails showed that analyst Ian M. Smith had been in contact with known white nationalists, including Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer, and Jared Taylor, who founded the white nationalist publication, American Renaissance. Smith was included on emails organizing events, such as an “Alt Right Toastmasters” night in 2016.

    One email exchange from October 2015 between Smith and Ben Zapp, a real-estate agent with ties to the Alt-Right shows the two joking and using Nazi slang. While discussing Friday night plans, Zapp used the term judenfrei, meaning “free of Jews,” to which Smith responded, “They don’t call it Freitag for nothing.”

    In the same exchange, Smith discussed wanting to speak with Matt Parrott, a former spokesperson of the now-dissolved Neo-Nazi group Traditionalist Worker Party that advocates for “racial purity.” TWP was also present at last summer’s deadly “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

    Smith is the latest in a series of departures from the Trump administration with alleged ties to white nationalism. Last week, Darren Beattie, a speechwriter and policy aide to Donald Trump who in 2016 attended a conference attended by white nationalists, left the White House, CNN reported. Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor, along with the anti-immigration white nationalist figure Peter Brimelow, also attended the conference.

    A day after Beattie was dismissed from his post at the White House, Brimelow attended a gathering at the home of Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow, the Washington Post reported. Kudlow said he was unaware of Brimelow’s white supremacist affiliations.

  7. dakinikat says:

    Elections have consequences

  8. NW Luna says:

    A blue wave could hand Democrats control of the House beginning in 2019, allowing them to initiate congressional investigations, issue subpoenas for information related to the president and his businesses, and begin impeachment proceedings.

    I love the sound of Republicans quaking in their boots.

  9. Enheduanna says:

    I love the sound of a$$holes losing money:

    Natl Enquirer has been losing millions since tRump stole the election.

    I know it’s not healthy to wish ill on anyone but I just cannot help myself. I want to see the tRump org run in to the ground and that whole cabal shunned by polite society forever.

  10. NW Luna says:

    Pence praises McCain in speech to veterans group upset by Trump’s failure to keep flags lowered

    Traditionally, presidents have issued proclamations to keep flags lowered for several days after senators die. After a torrent of criticism, Trump issued a proclamation later Monday to lower flags again until McCain is buried on Sunday.

    The American Legion was among the veterans organizations that weighed in. … “On behalf of The American Legion’s two million wartime veterans, I strongly urge you to make an appropriate presidential proclamation noting Senator McCain’s death and legacy of service to our nation, and that our nation’s flag be half-staffed through his interment,” Rohan said in the statement, which called McCain “an American hero and cherished member of The American Legion.”

    Somehow I doubt the Veterans were appeased by Pence’s speech.

  11. dakinikat says:

  12. NW Luna says:

  13. Enheduanna says:

    I stole this from Cannonfire – not sure how true it is but it’s pretty funny:

    Joseph’s post was about the Qanon idjits.

  14. dakinikat says:

  15. NW Luna says:

    ‘Totally dishonest’: Trump asserts only he can be trusted over opponents and ‘fake news’

    Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser, said the president is less actively trying to move public sentiment than reflecting back and amplifying the views of his existing supporters. “It’s more a byproduct of our flavored news,” he said. “You can now shop for news in any flavor you like, and so people put their trust in the news of the flavor they desire.”

    Ah, facts come in flavors now? Truth just depends on your preference? Science is an unpleasant flavor, so you reject it?

    I worry how long it will take our country to get over this.

  16. NW Luna says:

    I am so fcking angry! I loathe these racists.