Anyone who has ever worked for the U.S. who had to get to their office through three sets of locked doors is outraged by the fact that White House staff without permanent clearances are handling classified materials the way a paperboy handles the news. Anyone who ever wondered if the peace lecture they attended with a classmate would affect their clearance application is shaking their head. Anyone who ever felt outrage at Edward Snowden, or Chelsea Manning, is fuming over what’s going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The president has claimed that lives of some of his staff members are being ruined, without due process, because of accusations of misconduct, “true or false,” “old or new.” His assertion shows that Trump misunderstands the concept of due process. Historically, redress for accusations against public figures is extremely limited. If it was otherwise, political speech would be chilled, there would be less investigative journalism, and the internet, a modern bastion of free speech, would be hobbled demonstrating there’s a good reason for the policy.
Ask three lawyers the same question and you’ll get three different answers, so it’s no surprise that there’s conflict in Donald Trump’s legal team over whether, or not, the president should talk to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. There is one tactical consideration, however, that supersedes all others. It has to do with Trump’s temperament.
The president is forgetful. To some, Trump’s poor recall, intentional or otherwise, is a virtue begetting flexibility. To others, it’s evidence of an irresistible impulse towards habitual lying. Politics is a profession, notably, of expediency, and that makes prior inconsistent statements de rigueur, but Trump has mastered the change of mind with unbelievable alacrity. He can alter course even mid-tweet. The lawyers who fear his meeting with Mueller on the grounds of Trump’s penchant for inconsistent statements are, probably, right.
The State of the Onion remains unchanged after Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address gets pealed away. The lengthy speech is unlikely to change much in America’s affect, despite the calls for unity and bipartisanship that have been lacking throughout nearly all of Trump’s first year in office. The morning after speaking, Trump still remains one of the most divisive presidents in history despite various accomplishments achieved with the help of a highly partisan congress.
If there’s a take-away from Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury,” it has to be that Donald Trump did not collude with Russia to win the 2016 election. Since none of Trump’s motivations appears to have been particularly altruistic, it’s clear, if Wolff’s theory is correct, that this unlikely candidate would have sought help from any power, foreign or domestic, to win anything. He’d rather have lost, like king in “The Mouse that Roared” who declared war on America in the belief that a loss would trigger foreign aid sufficient to bail out his tiny, broke kingdom.
Steve Bannon appeared before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday as part of its Russia inquiry. During his testimony, the White House, reportedly, decided what questions Bannon should, or shouldn’t, answer. The one that slipped through was Bannon’s admission that he had spoken to Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, and legal spokesman Mark Corallo, about Donald Trump Jr.’s confounding campaign meeting in Trump Tower, with Russian actors, about the adoption of orphans –code for lifting sanctions.
The president called Haiti a “shithole” this week, along with El Salvador and African nations, while expressing a wish for more Norwegian immigrants to the U.S. Then, he denied saying it, despite a senator’s first-person account of hearing the comment at a meeting to discuss immigration. Thus goes the White House, where another day means more insults, and more lies. Donald Trump represents an unending assault on the probity, and dignity, normally attached to U.S. presidents. Ever careless of history, and ignorant of its meaning, Trump manages to damage America’s standing in the world as often as he praises himself.
Donald Trump issued a cease and desist letter to Henry Holt and Company, publisher, Michael Wolff, author of “Fire and Fury,” Steve Bannon, and, soon enough, everyone in the United States who can read. Katie Tur, a MSNBC reporter previously attacked by Trump, called the revelations by Trump’s staff akin to “cannibalism on the deck of the Titanic.”
For a man who constantly talks about how much he’s winning, Donald Trump is obsessed with putting himself on permanent defense. Trump’s party dodged an immediate march towards extinction after the party’s unfortunate candidate, Roy Moore, faltered, President Trump didn’t escape as neatly. He will be forever tied to Moore, and the ethics of placing a single vote above principle.
The U.S. Supreme Court just heard arguments in MASTERPIECE CAKESHOP, LTD., ET AL., vs. COLORADO CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION, a case that will determine if bakery shops will be required to make wedding cakes for homosexual couples. The resulting decision is bound to be divisive and, once again, Justice Anthony Kennedy, likely, will be the determining vote.