Trump’s Administration Continues to Crumble

It’s been over a year now and with every bombshell, political observers ask if the latest will be the end for the Trump.  And it never has been and never will be one event that will push his presidency over the cliff.  Instead, we see a slow drip of bad news that indicates Trump is dying a death of a thousand political paper cuts.

Just this week, we saw Trump fire his Secretary of State, which is basically the number #3 position in the administration behind the president and vice president.  And he did it with a tweet.  Today we learned that Trump has effectively fired national security advisor McMaster.  The only reason McMaster remains in the position is that they are trying to find a new place to put him so he is not completely embarrassed.

Next we hear rumors that chief of staff Kelly is headed out the door.  Reports are mixed.  Some say he’s going to resign today, some say he and Trump “worked it out,” some say he is going to be on his way out in the next weeks.  Who knows.

Rumors of firings have reached a fever pitch.

We also learned this week that Vanessa Trump, the wife of Don Jr., has filed for divorce.  But instead of hiring a divorce lawyer, she instead decided to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent her in the divorce.  Perhaps she knows a lot about crimes that took place within the Trump Organization?  The fact that Mueller is now subpoenaing documents from Trump’s company shows that people like Vanessa are getting really concerned.

As for Vanessa, she seems to be cut from the same cloth as the Trumps:

Trump filed for divorce from Don Jr. on Thursday, providing a statement to Page Six. It’s assumed that the couple have a prenuptial agreement since Trump filed for an uncontested proceeding, meaning there will be no back-and-forth over the custody of their five children and assets.

Page Six spoke to Nancy Chemtob, an attorney unassociated with the Trumps’ divorce proceedings, who speculated that Vanessa Trump timed the filing so it could come before the Robert Mueller investigation potentially put her husband’s assets in danger. Planned out like a true ill thug.



Trump to Fire More People

The president fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday via an early morning tweet.  And it looks like the president really liked humiliating Tillerson with the surprise and the disrespect of announcing it publicly on social media before Tillerson knew anything.  It also looks like the president is not done.

First up, we have Andrew McCabe, someone that the presidents’s supporters hate as a person with a “conflict of interest.”  Looks like President Trump is trying to get Sessions to fire McCabe a day or two before he is set to retire, obviously having an impact on his pension.

We also now have reports that Trump wants to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions as well, and in fact appears to be actually in the planning stages of this:

President Donald Trump has been formulating a plan to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Vanity Fair reported on Wednesday.

Sessions has been a target of Trump’s ire since he recused himself from the FBI’s Russia investigation last March, following reports that he was not forthcoming during his Senate confirmation hearing about his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign season.

Next we have National Security Adviser McMaster:

And three sources told me that the next official likely to go is National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster

Is this all part of a brilliant leadership strategy to deflect criticism, out play everyone, and win the political game?  Probably not, in fact it appears to be a sign that Trump is feeling extreme pressure and is starting to get out of control and nonsensical:

When he’s under pressure is when he tends to do this impulsive stuff,” said Jack O’Donnell, former president of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. “That’s what I saw in the business. When he began to have pressure with debts, when the [Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City] was underperforming, is when he began acting very erratically.”

O’Donnell pointed to the increasing pressure on Trump with the Russia investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the scandal surrounding Trump’s alleged affair with a pornographic film star. “I think he likes the vision of himself being in control,” O’Donnell said. “I doubt he realizes the consequences of North Korea, just like he didn’t realize the consequences in business of walking in and firing someone at the Taj without thinking about it. It’s Trump.

The walls are caving in?


Trump Purges the State Department

Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his morning shit tweet.  Tillerson had no advance notice of this.  Soon after, Trump then fired Tillerson’s number #2 man, no pun intended, at the State Department.  We also learned that Trump fired his personal assistant and had him escorted off the property due to a criminal investigation into the assistant’s finances.

Meanwhile, voters in Pennsylvania will be selecting a new Congressman in a special election. T rump and the rest of the Republican party have been trashing their own candidate, and Trump’s purge on the same day of the election signals that these folks already know the election is lost.  Firing a lot of people out of nowhere on the same day of an election doesn’t exactly make the voters warm to you.

Hope Hicks Abandons Donald Trump

Hope Hicks, the White House Communications Director, was one of Trump’s most trusted advisors, like “family.”  But she got herself into big trouble during congressional testimony the other day when she admitted that she told “white lies” for Trump.  She also refused to say whether a long list of Trump’s family members and close associates also asked her to lie.  In other words, they asked her to lie for them, and she lied for them, but didn’t want to admit it to Congress:

After Hicks provided that answer, [Congressman] Rooney said [Congressman] Swalwell “went through the phone book,” asking Hicks whether a “litany of 50” people, including “the entire Trump family,” had ever asked Hicks to lie. The list of names, both Rooney and Swalwell said, included Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, Corey Lewandowski, Michael Cohen and others. Swalwell also asked Hicks whether she heard Mr. Trump ask others to lie for him.

Hicks gave a “blanket” response by declining to answer in each instance, Rooney said . . .

Beyond this latest screw up, Hicks has been in hot water for some time now.  She interviewed with Mueller for two days in December 2017.  Then in January 2018, Trump’s former legal team spokesman Mark Corallo said he thought Hicks was trying to figure out how to obstruct justice by making sure records regarding a 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian intelligence agents would be destroyed and “never found” by investigators:

Mr. Corallo is planning to tell Mr. Mueller about a previously undisclosed conference call with Mr. Trump and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, according to the three people. Mr. Corallo planned to tell investigators that Ms. Hicks said during the call that emails written by Donald Trump Jr. before the Trump Tower meeting . . . “will never get out.” That left Mr. Corallo with concerns that Ms. Hicks could be contemplating obstructing justice, the people said.

And the comments were not privileged because no lawyers were present during the conversation:

Mr. Corallo . . . told colleagues he was alarmed not only by what Ms. Hicks had said — either she was being naïve or was suggesting that the emails could be withheld from investigators — but also that she had said it in front of the president without a lawyer on the phone and that the conversation could not be protected by attorney-client privilege.

After the alarming conversation, Corallo then reported the incident to Steve Bannon:

Corallo, who previously served under Attorney General John Ashcroft, reportedly got off the phone, advised Trump to continue the discussion with lawyers present, took notes about the call, and told then-chief strategist Steve Bannon what had happened.

Bannon completely lost his shit in response and blew up at Hicks, which Triggered Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump (Fire and Fury, pp. 261-263:

. . . In time, he had come to see the twenty-eight-year-old as nothing more than a hapless presidential enabler and poor-fish Jarvanka flunky – and he believe she had deeply implicated herself in the entire disaster by participating in the Air Force One meeting. The next day, with more inquiries coming from reporters, he confronted Hicks inside the cabinet room, accusing her of doing Jared and Ivanka’s dirty work. The face-off quickly escalated into an existential confrontation between the two sides of the White House – two sides on a total war footing.

“You don’t know what you’re doing,” shouted a livid Bannon at Hicks, demanding to know who she worked for, the White House or Jared and Ivanka. “You don’t know how much trouble you are in,” he screamed, telling her that if she didn’t get a lawyer he would call her father and tell him he had better get her one. “You are dumb as a stone!” Moving from the cabinet room across the open area into the President’s earshot, “a loud, scary, clearly threatening” Bannon, in the Jarvanka telling, yelled, “I am going to fuck with your little group!” with a baffled President wanting to know, “What’s going on?”

[. . .]

For Bannon, this was just more Jarvanka desperation – they were the ones, not him, saddled with Comey-Mueller. They were the ones panicking and out of control.

For the rest of his time in the White House, Bannon would not speak to Hicks again.

Bannon saw the writing on the wall and apparently tried to scare some sense into Hicks.  So why would Hicks want to destroy records that could show that Team Trump was coordinating and conspiring with the Russian government to derail Hillary Clinton?  It might have something to do with a major criminal investigation that has already netted a number of indictments and criminal guilty pleas:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is asking witnesses pointed questions about whether Donald Trump was aware that Democratic emails had been stolen before that was publicly known, and whether he was involved in their strategic release, according to multiple people familiar with the probe.

President Trump seems to be unable to get away from the original sin of his presidency: his cooperation, coordination, and conspiracy with the Russian government to make hacked Hillary Clinton and DNC emails public and to do it in a way that did maximum political damage to Clinton while providing Trump with maximum political assistance.

Pressure Builds on Trump

Last week was supposed to be about Trump’s “infrastructure plan.”  But by the end of the week, after Special Counsel Bob Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals for tampering with the 2016 election, and Trump’s own National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster confirmed that it was “incontrovertible” that Russians interfered with the 2016 election, Trump went on a raging and out of control Twitter bender.  It seems the pressure is getting to the president:

In the meantime, President Trump keeps rage-tweeting. In the last 24 hours, he has issued bizarre rants against prominent Democrats involved in the Russia probe, patently false claims that he never denied Russian attacks on our election, put-downs of his own National Security Council boss, and, most insidiously, the claim that the FBI failed to prevent the recent terrible school shooting in Florida because the Bureau was spending too much time on the Russia investigation. That vile assertion has no basis in any fact or reality and betrays a highly stressed president under siege, without off-ramps, who knows that more indictments are coming his way.


Florida School Shooting: Reactions

President Trump was out today with his typical empty “thoughts and prayers” speech a day after 17 people, mostly children, were slaughtered in a Florida high school by a 19-year-old with a semi automatic rifle and a huge amount of ammunition.

Yesterday, Trump also suggested the other typical Republican talking point–that mental health, and not easy access to guns was the real reason behind the shooting.

Of course, it’s all empty words from Trump, a president who recently signed a law to make it easier for people with mental disorders to get guns.

President Donald Trump quietly signed a bill into law Tuesday rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.

The rule, which was finalized in December, added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs to the national background check database.

At least some of the 150,000 victims of mass shooting and school violence, however, are getting sick of Trump’s empty, routine and disrespectful reaction to shootings that doesn’t seem to change much or lead to any resolution to what is clearly a problem in American society.  One victim named Sarah, took to Twitter (the twitter account is now protected because of the amount of attention it received):

More reactions from the victims can be found in this article.

On the political end, one former GOP suggested that Americans need to vote out Republicans if they want a solution to gun violence:

“And so if this is the issue that defines your ideology as a voter, there are two things I would suggest tonight. First, flip the House. Flip the House,” Jolly told “CNN Tonight.” “Republicans are not going to do a single thing after this shooting we saw today. But I would also offer to Democrats, work for incremental wins.”

Trump’s own treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, also very vaguely referenced that it was time for the gun issue to be dealt with:

“I will say, personally, I think the gun violence — it’s a tragedy what we’ve seen yesterday, and I urge Congress to look at these issues,” Mnuchin said at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing.

The Russian propaganda network, aka Fox News, was also at it with their typical fact-free fantasies regarding the situation.  On Fox and Friends, the shooting was compared to Eagles fans who flipped cars during Super Bowl victory situation, and then moved on to the bizarre claim that video games are responsible for gun violence.


Ted Cruz (is he related to the shooter?), the resident asshole senator from Texas blamed the shootings on, of course, Obama.


Here’s the Fox and Friends transcript.  Where do these jokers come up with this trash?

KILMEADE: And what about virtual reality? Those glasses that put you in a battle, put you at war?

EARHARDT: The psychiatrist — during the break, we continued to ask him questions because we are fascinated by what’s going on in this guy’s mind? And he said, kids this day and age, they’re exposed to more violence. And he said the brain normalizes it. He said, back in World War I — was it World War I? — he said the soldiers would learn with a target. Then in World War I, they would learn with a silhouette of a human being. And now, kids are watching these video games that are horrific. And not all kids will actually do this kind of thing

EARHARDT: But they’ve normalized it where a kid — we saw the violence after the Super Bowl. These are fans that won and they’re vandalizing Philadelphia because it’s normal to do this now.

It is interesting to see how fast we learned so much about this shooting and why it happened, contrasted with the Vegas shooting where there are still many strange and unanswered questions.

Trump Memo Flops

In case you missed it, Congressman Nunes, the retiring head of the House Permanent Select Committee on intelligence, decided he wanted to release a memo which he claimed showed the FBI favored Clinton over Trump during the 2016 election.  Intelligence Community professionals slammed the moved and claimed it was dangerous to release classified information.

Trump, announced in his typical boisterous fashion that he couldn’t wait to release the memo, and this morning tweeted in part, “The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago.”

So this was set up by Trump and Nunes as a “devastating blow” to the “credibility of the FBI.”  Leaving aside the fact that a sitting president is taking the extraordinary step of directly attacking the highest profile federal law enforcement agency, the memo quite clearly does nothing to help Trump’s position.  Making the whole show over releasing it a rather odd performance by Nunes and Trump.

First, the memo is an attack against the FBI for investigating Carter Page, one of Trump’s flunkies.  Basically, it suggests the Page investigation was just a witch hunt initiated in the run up to the 2016 campaign, and was started based on the “Steele Dossier” that was released in 2016.  Steele has been attacked by Republicans as a Hillary Clinton political hit man.  Interesting news if that was true.  But it’s not.  The reality is the memo confirms that Page was under investigation for being an agent of the Russian government since 2014, and possibly as early as 2013.  This is long before Trump announced he was going to run for president and “build the wall.”

Second, the memo attacks Steele as an unreliable source because Steele talked to the media and not because Steele’s information was false.  In other words, attack the messenger.

Third, the Nunes memo claims that FBI agent Strzok, who has been the latest target of the Trump crowd as the “Hillary Clinton FBI mole,” had a clear bias to Clinton, and therefore had motivation to attack Trump.  This bias, the memo claims, led Strzok to initiate an FBI counterintelligence investigation against Page and another Trump flunky,

 Papadopoulos.  This again would be interesting if true.  The problem with this thinking is that it would be a bit strange for a supposed Hillary Clinton “FBI agent pro democrat spy” like Strzok to try to reopen the Clinton email investigation a week before the 2016 election–which if you recall caused significant political damage to Clinton just before an election.  Kind of strange for a Hillary Clinton suck up, no?

Fourth, Nunes and the Republicans claim the FBI was out to get Trump.  The memo, however, really only focuses on attacks against Carter Page as “unfair” and “biased.”  It’s a bit strange to say an attack on Page is an attack on Trump, especially since Trump and his flunkies have been in the media repeatedly saying that Page was only a low level volunteer nobody during the campaign.  So what would investigating a low level volunteer have to do with Trump?

Fifth, the memo’s secondary target, the Steele Dossier, was created by a company called Fusion GPS.  The memo claims that Fusion GPS and the Steele Dossier is essentially a democrat hit job against Trump.  Which would be strange because Fusion GPS was originally contracted by a republican group that wanted to find dirt on Trump, not democrats.

This whole memo saga has been quite strange.  The Trump crowd played it up like it was going to be a knock out blow, but it’s not.  Democrats were outraged, but it seems to have helped their case more than hurt it.  And the Intelligence Community didn’t want the memo released because they said it distorted facts, but the memo is a big nothingburger.  Seems like a lot of posturing and theatrics and drama over nothing.