Saturday, November 17, 2018

Strictly Wrapped Up In Himself— And Spinning Out Of Control


“A caged animal” is an awful way to describe even an illegitimate “president” if the United States. But it isn’t inaccurate. On Friday, Carol Leaning and Josh Dawsey reported for the Washington Post that Trump wrote his own answers to Mueller’s questions. I wonder what percentage of his own hard core base-- even the most drug addicted, low IQ Trump worshipping zombies-- believe that. The man is so far gone he can hardly string two sentences together any longer.

While his team of lawyers labored over the answers, Trump wrote tweets denouncing Mueller and the Putin-Gate investigation. This was his contribution to responding to the questions:

“You always have to be careful answering questions for people who have bad intentions,” he said of the team Mueller has assembled to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and any possible coordination with Trump’s campaign. “I haven’t submitted them. I just finished them.”

The president’s comments, which he made to reporters gathered in the Oval Office for a bill signing, came after his lawyers surprisingly postponed submitting the answers as they had planned to on Thursday. Rudolph Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, told the Washington Post that the legal team was still deciding whether some of Mueller’s questions they agreed to answer in September would cause legal problems for the president.

According to people familiar with the delay, Trump’s lawyers believe they have now resolved the problem they faced.

Trump stressed Friday that he answered the questions personally, not his lawyers.

“My lawyers aren’t working on it. I’m working on it,” Trump said. “My lawyers don’t write the answers.”

The president has met with lawyers nearly every day this week in sessions to review his answers, including a four-hour session Wednesday that was frequently interrupted by other business. Trump spent more than four hours meeting with his attorneys Monday, broken up by phone calls the president had to take, and 90 minutes Wednesday night, according to people familiar with the sessions.

Trump also was asked Friday about his recent tweets, which seemed to betray a sense of frustration, where he called the Mueller probe “illegal” and said, without evidence, that Mueller’s team was “screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want.”

“I’m not agitated,” he said Friday. “It’s a hoax.”

The questions, roughly two dozen which focus on five topics, all predate Trump winning election. Trump’s lawyers have not yet agreed to answer a larger set of questions that relate to Trump’s time as president-elect and then as president, Giuliani said.

“There are some that create more issues for us legally than others,” Giuliani said Thursday. He said some were “unnecessary,” some were “possible traps,” and “we might consider some as irrelevant.”

Giuliani said the special counsel has not imposed a firm deadline, but he added that Trump’s answers could be submitted Friday. Another person familiar with the effort said they expect Trump to turn over the answers before Thanksgiving.
Trump-- barely able to spend 10 minutes in public because of all the Adderall he’s on-- claims he’s “not agitated,” because he is… agitated as hell and beyond agitated. They suspect that indictments are coming down for Jr. and possibly Kushner-in-law. People in touch with him claim he feels like the walls are closing in on him and many worry how he’ll lash out.

Jonathan Bernstein, in a Bloomberg OpEd yesterday, pointed out that the chaos is worsening and asked, rhetorically, if the distractions and disarray threatening to upend his presidency are damaging his already weak ability to stay focused? As we all can see clearly, the only thing he stays focused on his himself, never the country.
How chaotic are things now?

There’s no nominee to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was fired a week ago, and the acting attorney general is under fire from multiple directions. It’s already highly unusual to go this long without naming a new regular successor for such a critical post, and it’s not clear there’s any intention to choose one. There’s also no nominee to replace United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who announced her resignation back on Oct. 9. Nor is there one for the Environmental Protection Agency, which has been headed by Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler since July 9.

That’s three cabinet vacancies without a nominee.

And that’s not all. This week, the administration lost its deputy national security adviser-- the third person to hold that critical post over the 22 months Donald Trump has been in office. Perhaps Kelly Magsamen, a veteran of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, exaggerates when she says it’s the most important position in government. But Trump has also burned through three national security advisers, two chiefs of staff and two staff secretaries. (He’s still on his first director of the Office of Management and Budget, so I suppose that’s something.) If the various rumors circulating are true, those numbers may soon need updating.

That’s not to mention the serious possibility of new indictments from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, fallout from Trump’s other legal entanglements, or the certainty of tough oversight hearings from the Democratic House next year. Of course, Trump could ignore all that and focus on the job. But not even Bill Clinton, who specialized in what was then called “compartmentalization,” could really keep his mind on his official duties in the face of scandals blowing up around him. This president? I don’t think so.

It’s never easy to directly connect distractions at the White House with specific examples of letting the ball drop. And yet … does anyone really think that Trump has been actively supervising the disaster response in California? Is an administration that can’t manage to successfully pull off World War I commemorations in France really on top of what’s happening in Britain, in North Korea, in China, and on and on? Trump doesn’t even seem to have a strategy for passing the final spending bills for the current fiscal year, which must be completed by early December. He has sometimes threatened a government shutdown unless Congress funded his border wall. Is that another bluff? A serious ultimatum? Or has he checked out of the process and decided to sign whatever it is they give him to sign? If he has, what does that say about the administration’s role in legislating next year?

Yes, there’s always someone there to do the work even if Senate-confirmed nominees aren’t in place. And the federal bureaucracy keeps going even if the president is off sulking in his room. But the chances for slip-ups are increasing, and so is the likelihood that something will go seriously wrong. 

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At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate how long this is taking, and I worry that Justice will not prevail. The Rule of Law now appears to be a quaint anachronism which few remember.

At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bingo 6:09.

Remember it was Mueller who refused to find the culprit for the anthrax murders and attempted murders. Given that it was our own DOD's weaponized spore powder AND rice et al were already ginning up the anti-Iraq rhetoric (we gave Iraq anthrax spores to use against the Iranians), the ONLY vector should have been pointed right at cheney/rumsfeld. But Mueller somehow avoided that.

He's not going to "find" anything actionable against any trumps or kushners. He's not going to "find" any Russian money laundering for decades that the BBC and others have already proved (and Donnie fuckup jr. has already admitted to iteratively). He won't "find" any other kinds of Russian collusion that multiple journalists have already found.

His job was to run out the clock until after the election to minimize the anti-red wave and then "find" nothing. He had a lot of time, so he had to do several ancillary indictments on people who don't matter, which he did. But he'll close this thing out right after the new congress is seated with diddly shit.

All of us who refuse to remember history will be treated to it being repeated... as often as necessary for the Nazi's and corporations' (read: democraps') purposes.

6:09, for instance, it was 40 years ago the last time Sherman was invoked. The last admin to put white-collar fraudsters in prison was, ironically, cheney/bush. Kenny-boy Lay committed less than a billion in fraud. Blankfein/dimon et al committed 4 orders of magnitude more and were immunized by all parties.
We tried and hung Japanese war criminals for water boarding. Americans were immune 60 years later.
We've ceded our 1st, 4th and several other amendments (soon: the 14th). And we've contorted the 2nd into a justification for mass murder with impunity forever.

and nobody does anything to fix any of it. ever. because: democraps.

At 6:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read this 'spinning out of control' for 2 years now. How much longer do we have to wait?

Or is this just part of the process of keeping lefties stupid and deluded?


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