So many TrumpTales (tm) yesterday that I didn't know which to write about. So, instead, I figured that a capsule comment on each would be best. --
First bit of evidence that the Trump administration knows they're in trouble: when press secretary Sean Spicer described former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn as a "campaign volunteer" and former campaign manager Paul Manafort as someone who -- for six months -- played "a very limited role for a very limited amount of time," essentially throwing both men under the bus to distance the administration from them before any new revelations are made public..
I feel so much better and safer now that clothes designer Ivanka Trump has been given security clearance and will be moving an office into the White House. She has no plans of putting her design company into a blind trust because, apparently, that would be icky. No word yet if she will be replacing Turkish agent Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor.
Second bit of evidence that the Trump administration is in trouble: when House Republicans allowed this hearing to even be called rather than easily blocked it, and when its Republican chairman only spoke for a few minutes and then let the ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, make a 15-minute opening statement, laying out the issues and legal concerns in meticulous detail.
Sometimes life is just so full of whimsy, like Jason Linkins pointed out in his excellent and annotated article here about all the Republicans (including Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, and Kellyanne Conway) who, for the past year, have cried out that Hillary Clinton was unqualified to be president specifically because she was under FBI investigation. Surprisingly -- at least depending on your level of surprise -- not a word yet from any of them now that we have learned Trump and his team have been under FBI investigation since last July.
it turns out that a 400-pound guy living in his basement is not who hacked the DNC & tried to influence the election after all. Go figure, who knew? Of course, it's important still to remember that the man who tried to seriously pawn off this infantile theory on the American public -- and worse, do so even though he'd been briefed by the intelligence services that it was the Russians -- is now president of the United States and in charge of the country's security. But then, given that collusion between the Russians and Trump officials is being investigated, there's a reasonable chance that he knew that already, without having to be briefed about it.
When asked at the White House press conference if Trump would apologize now that FBI Director James Comey had testified under oath there's "no information that supports those tweets" from Trump, press secretary Sean Spicer quickly added the qualifier, "At the present time." But just to clarify: Comey didn't say anything at all in his answer about "at the present time." He said very clearly and succinctly that there was "no information", period. Trying to give a false impression of what was actually said seems a pretty weasely thing to do, especially from people who complain about "Fake news." But given that there is no information supporting Trump's "fake news" tweets that brought about the question to Mr. Comey in the first place, I suppose Sean Spicer's action pales by comparison.
In the Tone Deaf Horrible Timing Department, the winner (and now Hall of Fame candidate) is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who -- in the midst of the House hearing on possible Trump team collusion with Russia -- the Reuters news agency reported last night is expected to cancel his attending the upcoming NATO meeting in April (which is bad enough on its own, most-especially since it would have been his first) and instead will head to...Russia. Yes, really. Lest anyone forget, Russia is where he was awarded a Friendship Medal. On the other hand, the timing could have been worse. It could have been...well, no, it really couldn't have been much worse.
After the White House fired renowned U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who it is believed was in the midst of investigating Trump cabinet secretary Tom Price for insider trading, thereby losing Justice Department control over his investigations, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman yesterday hired Bharara's second in commend, Howard Master, as the state's senior enforcement counsel, where he will deal with issues specifically concerning the Trump White House as they related to New York, as well as public corruption.
Given the results, it's no small wonder that the day started off so poorly with the Gallup Poll reporting that Trump's approval rating is only 37% -- the lowest-rating ever for a president at this point in his presidency. Adding to this all an even greater sense of whimsy (or schadenfreude, take your choice), six years ago in 2011, Trump had ridiculed Barack Obama in a tweet for the then-president's approval rating being 39%...two points higher than Trump is right now. It must be noted, as well, that at this same point in Mr. Obama's presidency as Trump is at now, two months in, his approval was 60%. And also, by the end of President Obama's time in office, it was at 59%.
And just a reminder, yes, all of that was only yesterday.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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