Opinion: Trump talks like a man who feels the heat

(AP)

“President Donald Trump impressed senators Wednesday with a cogent, engaged pitch on health care that didn’t veer wildly from the script.”

That’s the opening sentence in a Politico story this morning, because apparently it’s news when our president manages to act cogent and engaged on an important topic. That’s how far we’ve lowered the bar. But as the story also notes, the moment proved transitory. Within an hour of that meeting with Republican senators, the president was in the Oval Office talking to New York Times reporters, and all hell broke loose.

Trump harshly berated his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, a man who has backed Trump since the days when no one thought he had a chance, for deciding to recuse himself in the Russia investigation.

“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said, describing it as “very unfair to the president.”

That recusal decision came more than four months ago, and Sessions had no real choice. You can’t have an investigation into the Trump campaign headed by someone who had been deeply involved at the top levels of the Trump campaign. Nonetheless, it still clearly grates on Trump. He’s still upset that as a result of Sessions’ decision, he doesn’t have a Trump man in charge of an investigation into the Trump campaign; he doesn’t have someone whose loyalty he can call upon if it becomes necessary.

Trump went on to offer the novel theory that “the FBI person really reports directly to the president of the United States, which is interesting. You know, which is interesting.” It is indeed interesting, because U.S. law says no such thing. It says the FBI director reports to the attorney general, a line of authority created to insulate the law enforcement agency from political pressure. Trump doesn’t want to hear about such boundaries.

The president then questioned the impartiality of almost the entire FBI and Justice Department professional leadership, suggesting that they’re all out to get him.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a career prosecutor who oversees the Russia investigation after Sessions’ recusal?

“Rosenstein is from Baltimore. There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any. So, he’s from Baltimore.”

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a career FBI agent?

His wife ran for the Virginia state Senate two years ago. She ran as a Democrat. She took campaign money from a political action committee linked to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. And McAuliffe is friends with the Clintons, so ….

Special counsel Robert Mueller?

“A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case.”

Would Mueller be crossing a red line if he began investigating Trump family finances as part of his probe?

“I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”

Would he consider firing Mueller if his probe did expand?

“I can’t, I can’t answer that question because I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

I’d say he’s clearly reserving the right to fire Mueller if needed to contain the investigation.

And on and on the interview went. When asked about his famous one-on-one Oval Office meeting with former FBI Director James Comey, the one in which Trump allegedly pressured Comey to go easy on Mike Flynn, Trump now says that he doesn’t remember their conversation. That’s a significant change in his story. He also claims that even if he did pressure Comey to end the Flynn investigation, as president he had every right to do so.

“I could have ended that whole thing just by saying — they say it can’t be obstruction, because you can say: ‘It’s ended. It’s over. Period.’”

That too has implications for Mueller’s tenure as special counsel.

Later, when asked about the email thread in which Donald Trump Jr. was promised campaign help from the Russian government, the president repeatedly claimed total ignorance both of the content of the emails and of the subsequent secret meeting at Trump Tower. Nobody told him anything, and he knew nothing.

“I never saw the email.”

“I didn’t know anything about the meeting.”

“It must have been a very important — must have been a very unimportant meeting, because I never even heard about it.”

“Nobody told me. I didn’t know noth—— It’s a very unimportant — sounded like a very unimportant meeting.”

Did the content of those emails concern him in any way?

“I didn’t look into it very closely, to be honest with you.”

It’s odd, though. At another point in the interview, Trump reveals detailed, accurate knowledge of both the allegations in the email thread that he never read and about the proposed subject matter of the meeting that he knew nothing about.

“I thought originally it might have had to do something with the payment by Russia of the DNC. Somewhere I heard that. Like, it was an illegal act done by the DNC, or the Democrats. That’s what I had heard. Now, I don’t know where I heard it, but I had heard that it had to do something with illegal acts with respect to the DNC. Now, you know, when you look at the kind of stuff that came out, that was, that was some pretty horrific things came out of that. But that’s what I had heard. But I don’t know what it means.”

Somewhere he heard that.

This is not headed down a good road.

Reader Comments 0

1098 comments
carterjoseph1950
carterjoseph1950

2pm Friday: Spicer out; Scaramucci in. One whipping boy leaves. Enter the new whipping boy. Trying to defend Mad King Donald. Will he last six months? Stay tuned. 

wurixegix
wurixegix

?--?•°•°• ? •°•°• ? •°•°• ?--? what William answered I'm startled that some one able to make £7740 in 4 weeks on the internet as Heather explained I'm alarmed that you able to earn £4863 in 4 weeks on the computer . see here now+,+.+/,+.+/+,+.////////www.jobpost9.com

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

If Dirty Bob had a molecule of integrity he'd fire his entire staff of partisan left wing hacks then resign.

But he doesn't so he won't.

That's why he's Dirty Bob.

YouLibs
YouLibs

@Philo_Farnsworth 

In his brief Marine Corps career, Robert Mueller earned a Bronze Star with Valor, two Navy Commendation, medals, a Purple Heart, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.


Philo is an internet troll who slimes Marine Corps heroes.

kitty72
kitty72

@YouLibs @Philo_Farnsworth  and POWs who don't completely kiss Cheeto's fat butt. Who agrees that because McCain was captured he is a loser. These Trumpers are sick folks. Pity them.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

7/21/2017  Another Russian Trump update, the office of Hank Johnson which is staffed with several technical giants of science say the Democrats have proof that a Russian/Trump collusion will lead to a total eclipse of the sun next month in an attempt to distract from the investigation of election fraud. Ossoff is offering to film the entire event

honested
honested

@Infraredguy 

When will chump attempt to govern?

He won the election, didn't he comprehend there was a job attached?

Brosephus
Brosephus

@DownInAlbany

LMAO!!!

He and his buddies make this trip every year.  Quit trying to be a butthole just for s**ts and giggles.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

DoubleDown considers it "playing devil's advocate."

kitty72
kitty72

@DownInAlbany  Learn to troll better. That was a truly pathetic attempt. Seriously? LOL

ElderSage
ElderSage

Bookman, you need to change your diaper, its wet again.

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

Trump is ... you gotta believe me ... he, well, you know, I don't know ... people are saying ... so if you believe them ... and well, why should you believe them? They are saying that Trump can't express — why do they use that word, express? Why don't they just say "say"? So, but I don't know, express is an OK word, don't you think? I think it's an OK word, but some people like "say" better. But some people say ... express ... whatever ... that Trump obviously doesn't think because he can't talk. 

Peachs
Peachs

Maybe the Republican Congress likes having a weak president. 

jezel-dog / Coach - me
jezel-dog / Coach - me

To the 60 percent....America is not listening. We do not have the attention of Congress.



Peachs
Peachs

@jezel-dog / Coach - me Watergate was a wake call for my generation, this asleep at the wheel, will either make us or break us. Nixon had support of the country, Trump has no support and is bullying the decision.  Nixon refused to pardon himself or any of his henchmen, Trump is looking for dishonorable escape route as we speak.  Trump is such a thug he makes Nixon look honorable. 

skydog12
skydog12

@jezel-dog / Coach - me

Been here before. This Congress is even more brain dead than the one in the 60`s.


The majority of people tried to get their attention with tens of thousands in the streets. No results.


The crazies came out and blew up the Capital steps. That got their attention bigly.

(They were safety minded crazies. They waited until 3 am)

Things don`t have to go that far, but who knows where we are headed?


Peachs
Peachs

@skydog12 @jezel-dog / Coach - me The great thing about Trump if all this traffic wan't around him he would have to get something done.  He has made so many bs promises this distraction is his only hope as sick as that is.

jezel-dog / Coach - me
jezel-dog / Coach - me

@skydog12 @jezel-dog / Coach - me trump is fighting for his life...literally. So he will stop at nothing. He is like a drowning dog...he will bite anyone.


Congress if filled with cowards...and crooks.


Only the press and intelligence community can check trump at this point....and the governors.


And maybe the 60 percent

skydog12
skydog12

@Peachs @skydog12 @jezel-dog / Coach - me

Oh it`s even worse than that.


My visit to con country (S Ga.) last weekend confirmed what I suspected and td confirmed in here. 

They don`t really care about healthcare or anything else political. 

They just like the stick in the libs eye thing. Our way or no way.

Truly sicko`s.

Peachs
Peachs

Snowden plays in this somewhere.  He goes to Russia, they hack our election, and Assange another man without a country distributes them. I don't think Trump's crowd is or was smart enough to pull this off, I think this was a gift from Russia, he wasn't expecting.  They just got Trump to accept it like the weak president he is.

Peachs
Peachs

"With a showdown looming, presidential aides are looking for information that would get investigators recused or justify firing the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III."

omark
omark

@Peachs Good plan, just like Nixon firing Archibald Cox.

Peachs
Peachs

@omark @Peachs Trump like Nixon was and is self inflicted. Trump actually uses the deflection of Russia to disguise the fact he can't govern or get one thing he promised done.  He is the weakest president we ever had. He was that going in, and has gotten weaker as people realize what he is. 

omark
omark

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-lawyers-seek-to-undercut-muellers-russia-investigation/2017/07/20/232ebf2c-6d71-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html?utm_term=.9fc37d06783ehttps://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-lawyers-seek-to-undercut-muellers-russia-investigation/2017/07/20/232ebf2c-6d71-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html?utm_term=.9fc37d06783e

It looks more and more like the White House is descending into panic and chaos. The more time Donald spends defending himself from Mueller’s posse, the less time he has to make America great again.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. Next time you consider voting for a big blowhard that’s long on promises, and short on details, ask them to show you their taxes. You succeeded in ramming a sleaze ball con man down our throats. Thanks a pant load Trump supporters. Putin’s proud of you.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@omark

ask them to show you their taxes

Again I say--what was America thinking back in 2012 when Mitt Romney's refusal to release any but one (1) year's worth of tax returns* wasn't a bigger outrage than it was?

Think about it, and think about how even back then the right wing were doing their now-familiar "alternative narrative" bit. The problem WASN'T that Mitt wasn't willing to reveal his personal finances in the year that an AMNESTY was being offered to people with Swiss bank accounts (in 2009, if I recall correctly.)

No, the problem was--remember?--that "Dirty Harry" Reid said mean things about Mitt and passed along rumors he'd heard that Mitt hadn't paid any taxes at all.

We kind of dropped the ball on that one, didn't we? Played a lot of defense when we should've kept hammering Mitt on that even after he was defeated.


--

* and even that one year was provided kicking and screaming, and set the tone for "it's none of your business!" that we've been hearing about Trump's returns by his loyal soldiers on the right.

Peachs
Peachs

@omark The Republican Party was and is desperate.  They rule by loophole not mass appeal. The healthcare failure is proof. They should have vetted Trump, made sure what they had. Instead they just blew the last great chance to be a real party.

I have seen nervous little southern rural men like Sessions. He comes from a state where Baptist is spoken and every other governor goes to jail or leave office under the cloud of jail. Trump is trying to line him up as his fall guy. Trump is learning that talking Baptist and carrying a big stick when these rural guys get scared enough to do so ain't a pretty thing to watch.  They can get as dirty as any mobster Trump has every encountered. 

Peachs
Peachs

@Visual_Cortex @omark I think one of the problems with both of these parties is they have enough dirt on the other that nothing ever gets done.  This is why we need term limits.

DonJM
DonJM

Love this quote I saw somewhere today:  "Trump would shake the hand of Satan for $10 and an hour of camera time."

DonJM
DonJM

Mueller is about to start digging into the Trump Crime Syndicate's tax returns . . . follow the money!!!

honested
honested

@OldJacketFan @Brosephus @Paul42 

'rumor has it' that the wrong wing nuts will find it harder and harder to pretend the majority of Americans want a more difficult life just to prove that conserrrvative ideology doesn't work.

honested
honested

Walter Dellinger and Douglas Kmiec stung the tiny handed man on PBS Newshour this evening.


When Kmiec suggests "Congress will have to proffer a solution" you know the end of the tunnel is coming into focus.

elgrunir
elgrunir

no no NO!

It's Alfred E. Neuman....

"What, me worry?"