The Trump Presidency Falls Apart
After an astonishing week of revelations, Donald Trump’s presidency appears to be on the verge of collapse. Consider what has happened just in the last 10 days: a string of damaging stories about a president unprecedented since at least the Nixon administration.
On May 8, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates appeared before Congress, offering testimony under oath that contradicted White House statements about Michael Flynn’s firing as national-security adviser, and which indicated Trump had waited 18 days after learning Flynn had lied to the vice president and might be subject to Russian blackmail before firing him.
On May 9, Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing an investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible Trump campaign collaboration on it. Trump cited a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who criticized Comey’s handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton as too harsh. But that rationale was nonsensical on its face, because Trump had argued Comey was too lenient.
On May 10, amid reports that Rosenstein was livid about being fingered as the motivation for Comey’s firing, the White House changed its account and said there were other factors. Meanwhile, a flood of press reports indicated that Trump had actually fired Comey because he was upset about the Russia probe, and angry that Comey had told Congress that Trump’s accusation of “wiretapping” against Barack Obama was bogus.
On May 11, The Economist published an interview with Trump in which he betrayed near illiteracy about key economic issues facing the White House and his own proposed policies on them. Later that day, the president gave an interview to NBC News’s Lester Holt in which he directly contradicted the vice president and White House spokeswoman, admitting that the Russia probe was a factor in Comey’s dismissal. Trump also said that Comey told him three times he was not under personal investigation, and had asked Trump to meet for dinner in an attempt to keep his job. Later that day, Comey associates told the press that the president had lied, that Trump had invited a reluctant Comey to the meal, and further that Trump had demanded (but not received) a pledge of personal loyalty from the FBI director.
On May 12, Trump appeared to threaten Comey, saying he “had better hope that there are no ‘tapes’” of their conversations. The administration then refused to confirm or deny the existence of recordings made in the White House, claiming (preposterously) that the president’s position was clear. Later that day, Trump released a letter from lawyers that was intended to prove he had no business dealings in Russia. But the letter was widely mocked for writing off more than $100 million in income as “a few exceptions,” and tax experts said the letter proved nothing. The weekend was eerily quiet.
On May 15, Politico published a story about Trump’s news consumption that indicated his staffers were routinely passing him fake news stories, both to manipulate him and out of fear that giving him real news that might upset him. Politico also said Trump was unable to tell real news from fake, falling for a photoshopped Time cover before his staff intervened to tell him it was forged. Later that day, The Washington Post broke the news that during a meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, Trump had shared highly sensitive classified information obtained from an ally who had not authorized its sharing.**
On May 16, The New York Times and others reported that the source of the intelligence is Israel. Later in the day, the Times was the first to report on a memo that James Comey wrote after meeting with Trump on February 14 (the day after Flynn’s firing), in which Comey quotes Trump as asking him to drop the FBI investigation into Flynn and his ties to Russia. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump reportedly told Comey. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
It is difficult to assess the relative danger of each of these stories, because in any normal administration either of them could consume weeks if not months of attention as the press and politicians ferreted out each loose end.
In this case, each seems to be supplanted by a new self-inflicted casualty within hours.
Nonetheless, the Comey memo revealed Tuesday might be the biggest. For one thing, it ties together several of the Trump scandals. It takes in the questionable ties to Russia, Trump’s alleged tampering with investigations into his own aides and administration, and even his obsession with leaks—before he was blurting sensitive intelligence to Russian officials, he was reportedly telling Comey that reporters who received leaks from his government ought to be jailed. For another, it might offer the most solid proof of clear wrongdoing on the part of the administration.
Time and again, Trump’s errors have been dismissed—even, incredibly, by his own aides and defenders—as the work of a man who simply has no idea what he’s doing. He doesn’t understand the gravity of Flynn’s duplicity. He didn’t think firing James Comey would be a big deal. He didn’t intend to make a liar of his vice president; it just slipped out! Even in the case of the classified information, National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, while refusing to state that what Trump shared was classified, said the president wouldn’t have known its status either way.
These repeated lapses, taken together, create a case that Trump is simply not up to the job of the presidency.(emphases added)
Mere words cannot capture the extent of the sheer insanity in every single event here, much less the mind-blowing totality.
It's pretty fucking hard to fail so spectacularly given the resources of the POTUS and a unified Republican government and half of the news media putting out GOP propaganda. Still they were undone by hubris, idiocy and pure evil.
Awesome job, GOP.
* actually most people with any sense of politics, his bizarre campaign and knowledge of Trump's past and demented personality could see this coming a mile away. And of course most newspapers and pundits were telling people what a disaster Trump would be before the election.
** "Breathtakingly Irresponsible: Former Bush Iraq Adviser on Trump Sharing Secret Intel with Russians"