The Id in the White House

Trump Maladministration

Among the several deranged things Trump tweeted this morning was this:

I have no memory of Lester Holt getting caught “fudging” any tape. Trump appears to be refering to the May 2017 interview in which Trump admitted he fired James Comey because of “this Russia thing.” NBC News has the entire, unedited video online.

It’s kind of fascinating that the Id in the White House brought this up today, more than a year later. Greg Sargent writes that people around The Creature believe he is vulnerable to impeachment on obstruction of justice charges, and I bet someone tried to explain to him why what he said to Lester Holt would become Exhibit A.

Naturally, in the Creature’s tiny mind, the facts must be re-arranged so that he never said it.

I believe I’ve already said that I doubt the House Democrats, assuming they take over the majority next year, will make a serious attempt to impeach Trump as long as there’s no chance he would be removed from office by the Senate. Nor should they, until enough Republican senators are on board with getting rid of him. But they will do everything short of that to destroy him politically, starting with releasing his tax returns. Heh.

The minions and toadies trying to protect The Creature are worried that he is not prepared for what’s likely to come at him from a Democratic House:

President Trump’s advisers and allies are increasingly worried that he has neither the staff nor the strategy to protect himself from a possible Democratic takeover of the House, which would empower the opposition party to shower the administration with subpoenas or even pursue impeachment charges.

Within Trump’s orbit, there is consensus that his current legal team is not equipped to effectively navigate an onslaught of congressional demands, and there has been broad discussion about bringing on new lawyers experienced in white-collar defense and political scandals.  …

… Still, Trump has not directed his lawyers or his political aides to prepare an action plan, leaving allies to fret that the president does not appreciate the magnitude of what could be in store next year. …

… One adviser recalled recently telling Trump, “They will crush you if they win. You don’t want them investigating every single thing you’ve done.”

The article goes on to say that Trump hasn’t seemed to have accepted the probability that the Dems will re-take the House. But we know it worries him, because he’s such a totally unfiltered id. His finances may be hidden, but whatever goes on in his psyche is as obvious as a wart on a nose.

Take Trump’s recent White House meeting with evangelical leaders, for example.

US President Donald Trump, facing scrutiny for hush money payments to a porn star and a former Playboy model, pleaded with evangelical leaders for political help during closed-door remarks on Monday, warning of dire consequences to their congregations should Republicans lose in November’s midterm elections.

“This November 6 election is very much a referendum on not only me, it’s a referendum on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment. It’s a referendum on so much,” Trump told the assemblage of pastors and other Christian leaders gathered in the State Dining Room, according to a recording from people in the room.

“It’s not a question of like or dislike, it’s a question that they will overturn everything that we’ve done and they will do it quickly and violently. And violently. There is violence. When you look at Antifa — these are violent people,” Trump said, describing what would happen should his voters fail to cast ballots. “You have tremendous power. You were saying, in this room, you have people who preach to almost 200 million people. Depending on which Sunday we’re talking about.”

Never mind that the violence part is nonsense. Never mind that Al Gore got into all kinds of trouble for making campaign phone calls from the White House, and here Trump was holding a campaign rally in the Oval Office. Let us put that aside. What’s fascinating about this is that it tells us what’s weighing on Trump’s psyche. He’s afraid. He wants his buddies the evangelical leaders to affirm his fear and make the scary things go away.

He showed us another glimpse into the Twilight Zone in his head by claiming to the evangelical leaders he had “got rid of” the Johnson Amendment, which bans churches from endorsing candidates.

“Now one of the things I’m most proud of is getting rid of the Johnson Amendment,” the president said, according to NBC News. “That was a disaster for you.”

But the law actually remains in place after an attempt to kill it last year was unsuccessful.

He did sign an executive order last year that eased enforcement of the Amendment, and maybe he thinks that was all it took to “get rid” of it.  I wanted to draw one of those consequence trees about what this claim might be telling us. At the top it would ask if Trump truly believed his executive order got rid of the Amendment. If Yes, that would lead to the conclusion he is mentally impaired; if No, he believed no one in the room would notice he was lying. And what conclusions might you draw from that? And that he was in the Oval Office urging evangelical leaders to break the law?

For some previews of Trump’s continuing psychological meltdown, see No Matter How Bad It Gets, Trump Will Never Give Up.

U.S. President Donald Trump makes motorboat noises. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque – RC1D94FA7CB0

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. doug  •  Aug 30, 2018 @4:02 pm

    Explain that to me again. [puzzled expression] If the democrats win the House in November, Antifa is going to riot. In protest? In celebration? It's the losers who riot in protest. The threat of violence from right-wing nuts goes up as the noose tightens on Trump. Antifa doesn't have clean hands re violence, though I don't know of any injuries they have caused. But the idea they will riot because Democrats won is laughable. 

    Regarding a strategy for dealing with House investigations next year, I agree–there is none. Trump is running a show, and the idea that the other team will impose reality on his illusion, he thinks he can combat with more PR. Trump thinks his base is all he needs. If 80 to 90% of Republicans support Trump, then Trump believes he can block impeachment. If he's not impeached, Trump believes he won't be indicted. Both of those may be true.

    Trump won't be president in 2021. An A/G for a Democratic administration, faced with a mountain of evidence of flagrant violations of the law by Donald Trump will have to declare that a) the president is above the law or b) the matter of guilt will be decided by a jury who applies the facts to the law.

    Which brings us back to violence. If Trump is sent to jail in November 2021, Trump supporters won't just riot – they will go to war.

     

  2. paradoctor  •  Aug 30, 2018 @5:13 pm

    Trump projects like an IMAX. This is a dog-whistle to his hounds.

    Let him do his worst. We will do our best.

  3. uncledad  •  Aug 30, 2018 @6:45 pm

    What Trump does is wake up everyday and throw sh#t in the air. He knows the popular media (outlets that large numbers of people pay attention to) who should be concentrating on other important issues pertaining to him will become distracted and chase the new shiny ball. This seems obvious to me, particularly with his attacks against the media themselves, they cannot resist. And why not it works for him. The man lies constantly yet is never really held to account because the DC press corp keeps moving on. A couple of weeks ago he made the absurd claim that United States Steel will be opening six new plants, this is an obvious lie yet it was never seriously questioned, he just tells another lie and everyone goes the other way. Today VP (vacant stare) Pence said the "liberal media" had met it's match. While I disagree with the premise of the "liberal media" I do agree that they are being played for fools.

  4. Ed  •  Aug 30, 2018 @9:00 pm

    Does anyone happen to more than I do about the right wing conspiracy mindset? Specifically, are there rumors floating around that Mike Pence is the chief conspirator trying to destroy Trump so that he can be POTUS? 

     

    Or are there Trumpists who believe that Pence is the main White House leaker, again with the same motivation?

     

    This is important because if Trump is forced from office he will spew all kinds of conspiracy charges at the "Deep State" and the Democrats. It is high time to get the wingnuts to be highly suspicious of the one man with the most to gain if anything happens to DJT.

     

    Also, it seems reasonable to conjecture that Pence is indeed conspiring to get rid of the one thing that stands between him and his lifelong dream. I have no trouble believing that; the important thing is to get the MAGA crowd to believe it. 

  5. moonbat  •  Aug 30, 2018 @10:55 pm

    Josh Marshall, at TPM:

    …We’re heading toward a genuine constitutional crisis with the President. “Constitutional crisis” is sort of a meaningless word. But let me try to give it more specific meaning: a threat to the rule of law and adherence to the constitution which the constitution itself does not provide a ready solution to, not under present political circumstances.

    The President is getting rid of staunch right-wing ideologues because they will not allow him — whatever their other faults — to prevent the rule of law from applying to him and his family. To use an analogy, they’ll help him with his misdemeanors but so far at least not with his felonies. That’s what the laying the groundwork to fire Jeff Sessions is about. That’s what the firing of Don McGahn is about. When your boss announces you are leaving and you didn’t know you were leaving, that’s called being fired. Even the inability to state this obvious fact is a symptom of a larger problem: since there’s no apparent solution to the President’s push to make himself invulnerable to the law, we prefer not to say what is happening.

    We don’t know the precise order of events. But the President is apparently intent on pardoning Paul Manafort — something that even by Trumpian standards has no real justification other than obstructing justice — and either ending Robert Mueller’s investigation or putting it under the control of a loyalist who will defang it.

    This is happening before our eyes. There’s as yet no apparent path by which any of this will be prevented. The one partial path, which is political in nature as it should be, is if the House of Representatives moves to Democratic control in January. The issue isn’t impeachment….

  6. Swami  •  Aug 31, 2018 @2:56 am

    uncledad …The important thing to know is the reason why he's trowing shit in the air. He's consumed with being exposed and held accountable for his criminal activity. I kinda see it similar to Scheherazade telling her 1001 Arabian Nights tales to stave off her execution. Trump knows he's got to fend off his pursuers somehow, so he's doing the best he can with what he's got. It's kind of a lame approach,but it does give him hope that maybe he can make it to the finish line in 2020.

     Personally I don't think he's going to survive. I'm sensing a major shift in the political winds in where his antics are rapidly eating away at his survivability. And I suspect Mueller's report will deliver a death blow to his presidency. It's going to be every man for himself after Mueller's report is released.

     It's going to on par with the invasion of Iraq where everybody wanted to distance themselves from the debacle after the fact.."Oh, no, I only voted for the authorization of the use military force to support the president, not for the invasion of Iraq"

  7. goatherd  •  Aug 31, 2018 @7:03 am

    Ed,

    I try not to exceed my comfort zone with right wing conspiracy theories.  As I've mentioned before, I live in a very red county, and for many years it's been apparent that while I live in the same place as my evangelical friends, we live in different worlds.   Several years ago, one of my neighbors introduced me to her husband, who was at the same stage of life, still finding his balance as a codger.   In an attempt to find common ground he asked me what sort of interests I had.  I don't recall my answer, but his response was, "I like conspiracy theories, and I believe them all."  My response must have been lukewarm because the rest of the conversation was not memorable.  But, I do recall a few occasions when the topic of discussion was whether or not the newly minted president Obama was the Antichrist or not.  That seems ironic to me now, because if I believed in such things, I might also believe that I had a couple of likely candidates.

    Once people reach this level of crazy there is no easy way back.  The craziness breaks down into anger, fear and sometimes, violence.  As Doug wrote, some might be willing to "go to war," others will commit sporadic, random acts of violence.   The big question is where the numbers fall.   When grasshoppers swarm, they become locusts.  One man with an AR-15 in his closet is a certain kind of threat, fifty men (and women) with AR-15s are quite another.

    One thing that I find bothersome is when someone with a good heart and a good brain is converted to the MAGA crowd.  There seems to be a process that begins with statements like, "He's doing a great job with the economy!" and ends in a much darker, angrier place.  It's facile to dismiss them as ignorant or stupid, because, very often, that's not the case.  Our lives might be more secure if it were.

    If you see Trump as the conman that he is, his dogwhistles and calls to arms are painfully obvious.  The themes he introduces are so transparent that you have to wonder how anyone could miss his game.  But, when the conman becomes the savior, the story changes.

     

  8. Billikin  •  Aug 31, 2018 @2:54 pm

    It is important to remember that Trump is a bullshit artist. Scott Adams, an early Trump cheerleader, has studied hypnosis and suggestion (as have I), and has called Trump a Master Persuader. If you say that means Trump is a Master Conman, Adams will not disagree. Adams may also agree to Master Manipulator. All of which means that Adams can see through Trump, but, as far as I can tell, he is still a Trump cheerleader. (Adams now makes podcasts, which I am not going to waste my time on.) None of this means that Trump is calculating. He operates on gut instinct. But he has the instincts of a shark. The water is not safe. 

     

    Adams on Trump recently: "President Trump’s hyperbole is directionally accurate." For hyperbole read bullshit, OC. Without more detail, I don't know if I would agree. Probably not. Remember, as Trump's cheerleader, Adams is employing suggestion, as well. Note that Adams does not say that Trump is directing his bullshit; he, ahem, merely suggests it. 

    One technique of suggestion is to throw out a lot of suggestions, a number of which may be contradictory. The fact that they are contradictory does not mean that you are confused, but confusion is part of the technique. When people are confused, and they don't dismiss you, they try to make sense of things. If you are the President, most people will not dismiss you. People who believe in you or support you will latch on to the suggestions that they want to or need to and ignore the suggestions that contradict those. Enemies may be confused, critics may say you're crazy. It is good to be underestimated.

    One suggestion that I find particularly troubling is the apparent nonsense that if the Republicans lose control of Congress in the coming elections, the winning side will turn violent. That does not make sense. They just won without violence. Trump, OC, provides a reason. (I say, of course, because it is a suggestion. Giving a reason helps it to take. Trump is calculating to that degree.) What suggestion is it? It is a suggestion to Trump supporters to turn to violence. It also signals that if there is violence, Trump will blame the other side. Unlike Eisenhower, Trump will not nationalize the National Guard to protect civil liberties. I don't think that Trump will attempt to crack down on his political enemies. Or if he tries to do so, that he would succeed. But Trump has issued a suggestion to his militant supporters to react with violence if the Republicans are defeated at the polls. Who knows where that could lead? 

  9. csm  •  Aug 31, 2018 @4:25 pm

    The McCain funeral is really saying a lot about the “president” without referencing him at all. In the service at the Capital Pence stood up and awkwardly mentioned Trump, made all the more awkward by the conspicuousness of his boss’ absence.  When is a President and First Lady not in attendance for the funeral of a sitting senator, of his own party?  The fact that he was not invited is not even taken as a slight, not even by his own supporters because even they know Trump is not right, and that having him there would have brought indignity to the event.

    So here you have a president not welcome at the funeral of a sitting senator of his own party, and for good reason.  I believe this will hit home even for the most out to lunch of voters who are not Trump cultists.  As ridiculous as Bush II could be, even he had a sense of decorum and respect.

  10. Swami  •  Aug 31, 2018 @7:06 pm

    Of course Trump wasn't at McCain's funeral. I think he was busy composing an apology letter to Khizr Khan and his wife for insulting the sacrifice that their son gave for this nation.

  11. uncledad  •  Aug 31, 2018 @7:33 pm

    Swami: "And I suspect Mueller's report will deliver a death blow to his presidency. It's going to be every man for himself after Mueller's report is released"

    Anyone with half a brain would agree, but I see no reason why this won't be just like every other outrage? He'll just commit another and move on. If the R's hold the house and senate, who's gonna fight? Even if the D's take the house, nothing will happen. The man is a draft dodger that has made trashing a POW senior senator before and after he died, a feature. He's payed sex workers to keep quiet about his affairs when his youngest son was an infant. Bad enough but it happened in the last days of the election. Everyone knows what happening, nothing will budge the cult.

  12. aj  •  Aug 31, 2018 @8:35 pm

    The con man always needs new marks to con. Trump has run out of new ones. He has his brainwashed 35% and the Rs in congress. So he is spinning faster and faster, more desperate every day. He is up against the Law, so he attacks the Law and any lawyers who operate within it's parameters.  He wants his followers to save him. so we are driving full speed toward a precipice,

  13. Swami  •  Sep 1, 2018 @2:55 am

    uncledad …One reason why things might be different is because there is a cumulative effect building against the outrages he creates and lies that he puts out.  Add to that the idea that when Mueller issues his report it's going to be so comprehensive  and damning that nobody is going to want to jeopardize their political fortunes to defend him. The tide has turned and Trump is already on a downward trajectory. People don't gravitate to or invest in losers, and Trump's image is sharpening into that of being a loser. A big bag of shit!

    Once Mueller provides the critical information tying Trump to a criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice he'll become radio active. There'll be no hope for him to survive the political fallout.

     Today another one in the Russia probe showed up to admit to a felony. That's another step closer on the path that will lead to Trump's downfall.

  14. goatherd  •  Sep 1, 2018 @7:58 am

    For what it's worth:

     

    https://youtu.be/nknYtlOvaQ0 

     

  15. uncledad  •  Sep 1, 2018 @9:06 am

    Swami, believe me I hope your right. Political futures, I'm not sure Repugs care about political futures, there is no shame in that party anymore. Hell they threaten reporters with violence get convicted of tax fraud serve time and run for congress again, see Michael Grimm. Besides when they lose an election they get to collect wing-nut welfare for the rest of their days at the RNC or Heritage or one of the many sham PACs, political hack orgs? I guess my point is the man is reprehensible now, I'm not sure the Mueller report (which they have already convinced almost half the country is a sham) is going to make a much of a difference. You have to remember the base of the Repug party is watching FAUX and reading drudge, they will never get the details of the report so the cult will not budge? Again like I said, I hope your right. Goat your link went nowhere, did you mean this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp5JCrSXkJY

  16. uncledad  •  Sep 1, 2018 @9:07 am

    Poof, word turd in twit filter again!

  17. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 1, 2018 @10:55 am

    An ancient proverb:

    Beware of fat, orange-colored rats backed into corners. 

  18. goatherd  •  Sep 1, 2018 @11:11 am

    My "link went nowhere."  That's the story of my life.

    This is a Vox video about why obvious lies make good propaganda.  I found it interesting.  If this link doesn't work it should be easy to find.

    Thank you for your kindness uncledad

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nknYtlOvaQ0&t=347s 

  19. Swami  •  Sep 1, 2018 @1:18 pm

    gulag ..another ancient proverb…He who rides the back of the tiger cannot dismount.

  20. SAR  •  Sep 1, 2018 @2:16 pm

    csm, I have to disagree. Trump supporters don't care that he was snubbed at John McCain's funeral because they view McCain as a traitor to their idol. The right-wing comments on every McCain tribute article that I read were appalling. Absolutely vile. There were images of headstones with McCain's name inscribed with "Pee Here". And those were the milder ones.

    These people have become a cult where straying from the catechism is a capital crime.

     

     

  21. maha  •  Sep 1, 2018 @2:51 pm

    “Trump supporters don’t care that he was snubbed at John McCain’s funeral because they view McCain as a traitor to their idol.” That’s true, but hard-core Trump supporters are maybe a quarter of adult Americans, if you go by the “strongly approve” number in the recent WaPo poll. Those people probably are unbudgable. But that leaves us with a substantial percentage that sorta kinda goes along with him because they think they’re supposed to but maybe have misgivings.

  22. Billikin  •  Sep 1, 2018 @10:09 pm

    Thanks for the video link, goatherd. smiley

    The guy in the video within the video looked a lot like George Orwell to me. "We have always been at war with California."

  23. Billikin  •  Sep 1, 2018 @10:22 pm

    Oh, that's Masha Gessen. More power to her!