Thursday Reads: No Achomlishments!

Good Morning!!

Another day, another Trump tantrum. Poor Donald. He just can’t handle Nancy Pelosi. What is it about her that gets under his notoriously thin skin?

The Washington Post: A Trump Twitter-style diatribe — live from the Rose Garden.

Trump, ever the director and star of his own White House movie, staged his outburst in two acts.

Act 1: Blow up a White House meeting with Democratic lawmakers that was over before the first handshake. Bye-bye, Infrastructure Day.

Act 2: Stride to a podium at a hastily arranged Rose Garden news conference to say he won’t work with Democrats on infrastructure or anything else while they pursue the “investigation track.”

What set the president off was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saying earlier Wednesday that Trump has engaged in a “coverup” related to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation and other probes.

“I don’t do coverups,” Trump angrily told reporters who had been hustled outside with little notice and less information.

Trump — who with his allies is actively working to block more than 20 separate investigations by Democrats — called himself “the most transparent president, probably, in the history of this country,” and said he had been ready to discuss infrastructure and other priorities before Pelosi’s remark.

 

White House stenographer Peter Baker and his colleagues provide background on why Trump flipped out:

Mr. Trump and Democratic leaders were to meet on Wednesday morning to develop a $2 trillion plan to rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges, airports and other infrastructure. But Ms. Pelosi first met with Democrats on Capitol Hill to deflect pressure on impeachment, which she has opposed. Emerging from that meeting, she sought to signal sympathy with Democrats angry at the president’s efforts to block their investigations, declaring that “the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.”

Mr. Trump saw the comments and did not hide his fury when she and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, arrived at the White House. The president walked into the Cabinet Room and did not shake anyone’s hand or sit down, according to people in the room. He said that he wanted to advance legislation on infrastructure, trade and other matters, but that Ms. Pelosi had said something “terrible” by accusing him of a cover-up.

After about three minutes, the president stalked out before anyone else could speak. From there, he headed to the Rose Garden, where a lectern had been set up with a preprinted sign that said “No Collusion, No Obstruction” along with statistics intended to show that the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was more than thorough.

Here’s the weird graphic that accompanied Trump’s tantrum in the Rose Garden yesterday.

“Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up,” Mr. Trump said. “I don’t do cover-ups.”

“I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi: ‘I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I’d be really good at that, that’s what I do. But you know what? You can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with,’” he said….

“He just took a pass and it just makes me wonder why he did that,” Ms. Pelosi said. “In any event, I pray for the president of the United States and I pray for the United States of America.”

Mr. Schumer expressed shock at the outcome. “To watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop,” he said.

Mr. Schumer said Mr. Trump’s eruption was hardly spontaneous, noting the preprinted sign on the lectern. Instead, he suggested that the president had staged it because he had not come up with a way to pay for such an enormous spending package.

Read the rest at the NYT.

Dana Millbank: Trump seems to be transparently mad.

This is not the work of an orderly mind.

President Trump stormed into the Cabinet Room 15 minutes late Wednesday morning and immediately proceeded to blow up a long-planned meeting with Democratic leaders about an infrastructure bill. He raged against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the terrible, horrible things she has said about him, and he vowed not to work on any legislation until Democrats stop investigating his administration. He stomped out of the room before Democrats had a chance to reply, then marched into the Rose Garden for an unscheduled news conference — or, more accurately, a 12-minute parade of paranoia.

Nate Beeler / Columbus Dispatch

Positively everybody was out to get him. They were out to get him in the third person: “They hated President Trump. They hated him with a passion,” he said. They were out to get him in the first-person plural: “These people were out to get us, the Republican Party and President Trump. They were out to get us.” What’s more, they have been after him “pretty much from the time we came down the escalator in Trump Tower.” And now they probably will impeach him because they “do whatever they have to do.”

He raged on. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has “been an enemy of mine for many years.” The “whole thing was a takedown attempt.” The assembled press “ought to be ashamed of yourselves for the way you report it so dishonestly.” And, even though he was the one who blew up the infrastructure meeting, he just knew that Democrats were “not really thinking they wanted to do infrastructure or anything else other than investigate.”

He ricocheted randomly among inchoate thought fragments: Infrastructure. WITCH HUNT! Unemployment. NO COLLUSION! Drug prices. HOAX! A special election in Pennsylvania. ONE-SIDED HORRIBLE THING! Tax cuts. DON JR. HAS GONE THROUGH HELL! I love the American people. IMPEACHMENT! Regulations. A DISGRACE! ABUSE!

Read more at the WaPo.

INTERLUDE: Trump is a textbook case of malignant narcissism. It’s as if we’re all attending a psychiatric case conference. From Wikipedia:

On 11 May 1968, the psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg presented his paper Factors in the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Narcissistic Personalities, from the work of the Psychotherapy Research Project of The Menninger Foundation, at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association in Boston.[6] Kernberg’s paper was first published in hard copy on 1 January 1970.[6] In Kernberg’s 1968 paper, first published in 1970 in the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association (JAPA), the word ‘malignant’ does not appear once, while ‘pathological’ or ‘pathologically’ appears 25 times.

Steve Sack / Minneapolis Star Tribune

Developing these ideas further, Kernberg pointed out that the antisocial personality was fundamentally narcissistic and without morality.[6]Malignant narcissism includes a sadistic element creating, in essence, a sadistic psychopath. In his article, “malignant narcissism” and psychopathy are employed interchangeably. Kernberg first proposed malignant narcissism as a psychiatric diagnosis in 1984, but so far it has not been accepted in any of the medical manuals, such as the ICD-10 or the DSM-5.

Kernberg described malignant narcissism[7] as a syndrome characterized by a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), antisocial features, paranoid traits, and egosyntonic aggression. Other symptoms may include an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and a sense of importance (grandiosity). Pollock wrote: “The malignant narcissist is presented as pathologically grandiose, lacking in conscience and behavioral regulation with characteristic demonstrations of joyful cruelty and sadism“.

At Politico, John Bresnahan and Burgess Everett discuss: Why Pelosi is so good at infuriating Trump.

On Wednesday, for the third time in barely six months, a meeting between the president, the speaker and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blew up in spectacular fashion.

And in each case, Trump handed Pelosi a huge gift, a priceless moment that helped unify the Democratic Caucus behind her at a crucial time.

“She’s smarter than him, and she’s tougher than him, and I think that bothers him,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), a Pelosi ally. “It’s hard to get inside that head of his and figure out what drives him, other than an oversized ego and an undersized sense of ethics.”

Trump doesn’t have a condescending nickname for the speaker as he does for other Democrats. He even appears to have a grudging respect for Pelosi, the first woman to serve as House speaker. He treats her as a peer who commands her chamber with a firm hand, and he knows she can deliver on votes, and that she is willing to call any bluff at any time….

“Guess what? He behaves like a child. This is what we have in the White House now,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who served under Pelosi in the House. “I’m used to it. I’m not expecting a grown-up any longer. I’m not expecting him to grow into the role.”

And for Pelosi, the timing is perfect. As the drumbeat for impeachment grows within her caucus, she can argue that what they’re doing is already working. Trump clearly doesn’t know how to respond to the barrage of Democratic investigations; they’re winning in the courts and he’s throwing fits. So why bother with impeachment, especially when Democrats know that a GOP-run Senate isn’t going to remove him from office?

Meanwhile, the Trump-Pelosi confrontations are getting to be recurring spectacles, and even Republicans know it hurts the president’s image.

“It’s a disaster,” said a senior Republican who requested anonymity. “It plays right into her hands.”

And on top of being smarter and tougher, she’s a woman. And her strategy of encouraging investigations while supposedly “tamping down” talk of impeachment is working. All those impatient Democrats on Twitter are too dumb to see what Pelosi is up to. It’s obvious that impeachment is very much on the table. Check out this assessment from a Republican political strategist.

Rich Wilson at The Daily Beast: Pelosi’s Strategy Is Working, and Trump Is One Step Closer to Being F*cked.

I’ve been a deep skeptic of impeachment as a political strategy, putting me solidly in the Nancy Pelosi go-slow camp. I’ve argued time and again that the smart play is IIABN: Impeachment in All but Name, but the great beast of Washington shambles ever forward, its ponderous, inexorable tread leading it toward the inevitable impeachment proceedings against Donald John Trump, 45th president of the United States.

Can you make an impeachment case for obstruction based purely on the released information in the Mueller Report? Absolutely.

Are you there yet politically? Nope.

For my Democratic friends, I know how frustrating this seems to you. This week, forward progress on a number of fronts will help move the nation into the mental and political frame where impeachment could lead to the conviction of Trump, not just what he’ll view as a wrist-slap and a campaign motivation point for his base. You cannot shame the shameless. You cannot make a man who is without a single ethical standard change the behavior that allowed him to grift his way into office and to monetize the presidency….

For all that, the Democrats chomping at the bit to hold Trump to account are having a good week already, whether they know it or not. It’s so good, they’d be fools not to keep doing the things that are starting to work—the exercise of congressional power, the use of the courts to uphold the law, and the momentum building in the public mind for an accounting of Trump’s full-spectrum lawbreaking, contempt, obstruction, and corruption.

The Pelosi-Nadler strategy is starting to shift that political battlefield, and the legal landscape is breaking in their favor. The judicial branch isn’t yet a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump, Inc. Yet. Trump’s own mistakes are helping move the investigation strategy forward and are beginning to ensure that when Congress does start getting testimony and documents from the White House and Department of Justice, Trump will have painted himself into a corner he can’t tweet his way out of.

More interesting reads, links only.

The New Republic: Trump v. The “I” Word.

Kurt Bardella at NBC News: Trump’s House investigations tantrum proves Pelosi and Democrats are gaining momentum.

Bloomberg: Mueller Probed Cohen Ties to Oligarch’s Cousin, Filings Show.

The Daily Beast: Michael Cohen Called CEO Tied to Russian Oligarch Hundreds of Times, According to FBI.

Lawfare: Testimonial Immunity, Executive Privilege and the President’s Authority Over Former Officials.

NBC News: Wells Fargo, TD Bank have already given Trump-related financial documents to Congress.

The New York Times: Trump’s Financial Secrets Move Closer to Disclosure.

The Washington Post: Putin out-prepared Trump in key meeting, Rex Tillerson told House panel.

Forbes: The Truth Behind Trump Tower Moscow: How Trump Risked Everything For A (Relatively) Tiny Deal.

 


32 Comments on “Thursday Reads: No Achomlishments!”

  1. NW Luna says:

    Putin out-prepared Trump

    Lolsob. Because he’s Putin. He couldn’t have pulled that shit off with “over-prepared” Hillary.

  2. NW Luna says:

    Those handwritten notes — oh, what a furious and dangerous toddler.

    • quixote says:

      I could vote for Beto, Inslee. But I look at Biden — and I do know this shows my level of privileged insulation — just cannot see myself forcing my hand to mark my mail-in ballot for that blot.

      I’m sure you could multiply me by millions.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Having same issue here with Biden. It would depend on the polls I guess and how close they were for Georgia. I think my district is gerrymandered to isolate Dems, too.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I won’t vote for Biden or Bernie. Luckily, there’s no chance Trump would win Massachusetts, so my vote won’t count.

      • NW Luna says:

        Biden – nooooo. Too tired, too lackluster, too handsy. And I remember Anita Hill.

  3. NW Luna says:

    Trump administration’s spurning of Harriet Tubman opens a new front in the monument wars

    It was a cultural milestone when Barack Obama’s treasury secretary, Jack Lew, announced in April 2016 after years of deliberations that abolitionist Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who became a conductor on the Underground Railroad, would replace Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder who championed Indian removal and orchestrated the Trail of Tears, on the $20 bill. Lew set in motion a process that would unveil the new design in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.

    Steven Mnuchin, who replaced Lew, disclosed on Wednesday that the Treasury Department no longer plans to unveil a redesigned $20 bill so long as President Trump holds office. The secretary said a redesigned $20 bill will not come out until 2028 at the earliest…

    Alumni of the Obama administration say the symbolism of the Tubman decision is hugely significant. Dan Pfeiffer, Obama’s White House communications director, told me last night: “It has all the hallmarks of Trumpism — racism, misogyny, pettiness and whatever the opposite of virtue signaling is.”

    “Not moving forward is an insult not just to the African American community, but to all Americans who believe we should honor an American who contributed so greatly to the nation’s history,” added former Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

  4. NW Luna says:

    I bet Nancy’s “lack of confidence” comment really hit Trump where it hurts.

  5. bostonboomer says:

  6. bostonboomer says:

  7. dakinikat says:

    This made the Nixon years easier to cope with for me any way …

  8. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      Wow! I hate that I love this gossipy stuff – can’t help myself!

      Respect is a two-way street KC. And bald-faced lying to the world says you don’t have respect for anybody but your money-grubbing self.

      Not one person in this admin has any class.

    • Pilgrim says:

      K. Conway speaks of how rich Pelosi is. Hmm. Is it possible, I wonder, that Pelosi is richer than Trump. That would be very upsetting for him.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    This is such great news! I had blocked them, but still glad to see them go.

    • NW Luna says:

      I was following them but something started seeming odd a while ago, and they really didn’t have much new to say.

  10. Rebecca R Falk says:

    I am finding the division of trust-Nancy-Pelosi Dems versus start-impeachment-investigations- now Dems to be very disturbing, especially against a backdrop of really frightening moves Trump and his folks are making to go after their political opponents and head toward a new war, among other things. The way I see it is that the push toward impeachment hearings from below is needed, however impolite and unflattering toward Pelosi. And maybe Pelosi’s taunting of Trump is serving a purpose, but it doesn’t really play well with me, even though I am very disposed toward trusting and liking what she does. According to @Teri_Kanefield, and this seems right to me, there are usually about 1/3 of US citizens who don’t really support or understand the institution of democracy, and we can handle that number of people, because they are a permanent minority. We now have by her calculations about 41 or 42% in that category and that number is dangerous. We all know how that happened and the question is how to turn it around. Maybe Pelosi’s strategy addresses this and I don’t see it; that may be true. But impeachment investigative hearings would get a lot more information out there for that critical 8% or so who we need to turn away from Trump. Waiting too long may theoretically give Trump time to screw things up for himself, but it also gives more time for him and his people to destroy our system of government and hurt us. I’m really hoping that we are reaching a critical threshold at which point most Dems will get on board, there will have been enough waiting for the courts to do what they will do without postponing too long, and we can start unpeeling this rotten overripe moldy fruit that is spreading corruption and passing for an executive branch of our government.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I do think we are close to critical mass on impeachment. I expect more will start happening after the upcoming Congressional recess. In the meantime, what Trump and Barr are doing is increasingly frightening. I can only hope that CIA and FBI whistleblowers will come forward. Otherwise Barr is going to burn important sources and lives may be lost.

      • Rebecca R Falk says:

        I hope you are right!!! It is almost impossible to think otherwise. I am very demoralized by the new powers given to Barr by POTUS to declassify intel.

    • quixote says:

      Exactly. Pelosi needs to explain to us “Impeach the Orange Stain” people how waiting until impeachment is popular is something better than waiting around to do it in the Dump’s fourth term.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    The war criminal Trump wants to pardon has an attorney from Trump Org.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Well, imagine that? Another sheer coincidence.

    Trump thinks cruelty and breaking ethical standards is leadership.

  13. NW Luna says:

    Theresa May to resign, make way for new prime minister, after Brexit failures

    Hope the next PM realizes it’s better for the UK to stay in the EU. Unfortunately the next PM is almost certainly going to be a Conservative still.

  14. NW Luna says: