With the news that special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury to investigate Russia’s election-tampering and the Trump campaign’s role in it, Thursday was the single worst day in the single worst week of the Trump presidency.
Even before this devastating news, if you wanted to pick a week where the Trump administration got its ass handed to it at virtually every turn, this would be it. At almost every moment in the news cycle, Team Trump was getting beaten like a rented mule. The fallout of the Anthony Scaramucci firing is barely cool to the touch, and already this week’s pile of steaming radioactive waste from this White House is hip-deep.
Virtually nothing is going right for Trump. “Alexa, order more schadenfreude.”
On Wednesday, Trump was forced into signing the bipartisan Russian sanctions bill. Passed by overwhelming, veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate, Trump was trapped like a Russian mink in a snare. After pretending the dog ate his homework for a day by claiming the White House didn’t have the bill, and with the knowledge that he would face the staggering political loss of a veto override, he grudgingly, reluctantly, painfully signed it. As a caveat, Trump included one of the most whinging, self-pitying signing statements on record, some of it clearly crafted by the Toddler in Chief himself with self-aggrandizing references to everything but his golf handicap.
One rule of Trump’s Russia problems: They never get better. There’s never a day where you can say “Well, he really put that behind him!” Almost immediately after signing the sanctions, Vlad’s BFF at 1600 Pennsylvania was getting trolled by the Russians, including this gem:
Medvedev did everything but mention the Moscow Ritz-Carlton. It was a clear warning shot. Trump’s probably not getting much sleep tonight.
The central organizing principle of Trump’s administration isn’t Making American Great Again. It’s Covering Up Russia Problems. These sanctions have irritated his supervisors at the home office in Moscow, so now he has Mueller to one side and Putin to another. The pressure’s rising.
Intimately related to the Russia problem was another massive loss for Team Trump: the death of the cruel, phony attempt to frame Hillary Clinton and the Democrats for the murder of Seth Rich. Rich wasn’t killed by the Clintons, but Fox News and the White House were apparently delighted to torture his family.
The accusations in a new lawsuit against Fox News and subsequent reporting over the withdrawn story of Seth Rich’s murder have already implicated outgoing White House press secretary Sean Spicer—who met with the investigator working on behalf of Trump superfan Ed Butowsky—but may reach Donald Trump himself. The active creation of false news stories by Fox News reporters and executives specifically to counterprogram against evidence of Russian attempts to help Trump win the presidency has been a devastating blow to the White House’s war on “fake news.”
Dad-of-the-Year Donald Trump was also revealed to have personally written his namesake son’s deceptive and false statement about the Trump Tower meeting with Russians who came to New York to offer the Trump team compromising information on Hillary Clinton. You could almost hear the howls of laughter from the special prosecutor’s SCIF. Trump’s TV lawyer Jay Sekulow was beclowned by this revelation after parading to half-dozen TV outlets claiming the elder Trump had nothing to do with the absurdly inept statement.
Speaking of wars, the White House War on Leaks hit its 191st day of abject failure Thursday, with a torrent of leaks across departments. Increasingly, the tone is “Help us save the president from himself!”
Another blow fell late Wednesday afternoon, as the alliance of the new Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster nailed its first hides to the barn. The previously untouchable Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who served as disgraced Gen. Mike Flynn’s stay-behind agent at the National Security Council, and who was the handler for the disastrous effort to use Fredo Nunes as a patsy for the failed “unmasking” distraction, was fired with barely a reach-around. News also broke that Rich Higgins, another NSC official who saw radical Islam in everything from Iraq to the decision to bring back the McRib, was let go. The freakout by alt-right bloggers like Mike Cernovich was incandescent.
With the rise of Kelly, we’re also subject to another round of rumors that future liver-transplant waiting-list member and hobo shitlord Steve Bannon may flee the White House, his dreams of an alt-reich populist movement dashed on the rocks of Trump’s failures. Bannon’s star has risen and fallen in the past months, but without the ability to play in the national-security space, and blocked by the Goldman boys from launching a populist trade war, the former Brietbart publisher may want to spend more time with his Mercers.
As for the two disparate bits of boob-bait the White House tossed out this week, think again. The first, a long tease on Trump’s promises to finally launch his trade war against China, is running into a buzzsaw of reality from the Goldman Mafia who inhabit a meaningful portion of the senior economic positions in the White House. It might have pleased the base, but it’s going exactly nowhere. Watch the Dow and Nasdaq if Trump launches a trade war, particularly Apple and other tech giants that depend on a frictionless, global supply chain. It won’t be pretty.
The second was a promised immigration bill, which is about to die a swift, pointless death in the Senate. The left and Democrats took the bait, instead of letting Trump build it up for another crushing defeat for his base. Yes, it will thrill the xenophobes and the “speak-’Murican-dammit” crowd, but Mitch McConnell’s interest in another agonizing, divisive legislative deathmatch on immigration is somewhere close to zero.
As the cherry on the fecal sundae of Trump’s bad week, it’s clear the deep state has even gotten to the loyal and generous Rasmussen poll, which shows Trump at an all-time low. Increasing numbers of Americans say they believe Trump isn’t honest or capable. As his numbers pass some critical support thresholds, the magic of 2016 starts to morph into the fear of 2018 in the minds of many elected officials. The Great Distancing has begun. To top it all off, even Matt Drudge helpfully pointed out that Trump’s number is lower than Obama ever received.
Meanwhile, Bob Mueller continues to staff up, building a crew that will keep drilling through the Russia connections. And, Mr. President, if you’re reading: They’ve got your tax returns. Sleep tight!
This is by far Donald Trump’s worst week... and I’m writing this Thursday morning.