The Perpetual Pandemonium Circus!

Reviewing the news of the day, it strikes me how exhausting the so-called Trump Administration is. We’ve gone from No-Drama Obama to the Perpetual Pandemonium President. And this is particularly remarkable in that nothing unusually catastrophic is going on right now. The Donald is just one unforced error after another. My new name for him is The tRumpus.

Anyway … Today the tRumpus made yesterday look worse. Aaron Blake writes at WaPo:

In one fell swoop, Trump totally contradicted his three top spokespeople and offered a polar-opposite version of events than they had provided.

After they had spent the past 45 hours emphasizing that this was a decision Trump arrived at after receiving a memo and recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, Trump just blurted out that he was going to fire Comey all along. Basically, he admitted the memo was a ruse and a political ploy.

This was today’s unforced error: Trump told NBC News’s Lester Holt that he had decided to fire Comey before he had received a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. You’ll remember that yesterday’s story was that Trump fired Comey on Rosenstein’s recommendation.

Notice that Lester Holt didn’t trick Trump into admitting this. Trump just blurted it out. He can’t even keep his own stories straight.

It didn’t help that the Washington Post had reported earlier that Rosenstein had threatened to resign after realizing the decision to fire Comey was being pinned on him. The Wall Street Journal is reporting (source) that Rosenstein asked asked White House Counsel Don McGahn to “correct what he felt was an inaccurate depiction” of his involvement in Comey’s firing.

The Real Story, from several news sources, is that Trump had been growing increasingly agitated about Comey for not backing up the claim that Trump had been wiretapped by Obama, and also for Comey’s continued pursuit of the Russian hacking issue. And then last week when Comey said in testimony that he felt “mildly nauseous” about his possibly having affected the outcome of the election. Trump took that as a personal insult.

So Comey was unceremoniously dumped from his job only because Trump was pissed off at him, and he was dumped without even the grace of being asked to resign. And today Trump piled on by calling Comey a “showboat” and a “grandstander.” As in most things, Trump probably has no clue that this is not How These Things Are Done.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are considering a new kind of “nuclear option” if they feel they aren’t getting answers to What the Bleep Is Going On. Jeff Stein at Vox explains:

Unlike the House of Representatives, the Senate operates under what are called “unanimous consent” agreements. If Senate Democrats withhold their consent, the routine functioning of the body — from committee hearings to routine floor votes — could grind to an immediate halt.

“It would stop everything in the Senate and effectively shut it down,” said Josh Huder, a congressional scholar at Georgetown’s Government Affairs Institute. “If they go down this road, things could get pretty slow and ugly in the Senate.”

They haven’t decided to do this, mind you, but they’re seriously talking about it.

On top of that, this happened yesterday — Josh Marshall writes,

I wanted to add some context to one of the more surreal moments of this surreal day. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met first with Secretary of State Tillerson and then a short time later with President Trump in the Oval Office.  …

… Many also noted that while US press was barred from the meeting, Lavrov was allowed to bring the the Russian state news agency to photograph the event. …

…Foreign Ministers don’t usually meet with the President of the United States. I’m not saying it never happens. It does sometimes, especially if its the foreign minister of a major power, which of course Russia is. It also happens when there’s some particular business of importance to be hashed out. But Foreign Ministers generally meet with the Secretary of State, Defense Ministers meet the Defense Secretary, etc. It’s a rather straightforward matter of counterparts, parity and status. A Foreign Minister meeting with the President, particularly a chummy meeting in the Oval Office, is not standard procedure and generally signifies a warmness of relations between the two countries or some specific business to be hashed out. …

According to Susan Glasser, Trump had the meeting because Putin asked and said it was important.

And the timing couldn’t be better, right? But today CNN reported that Trump was furious that the Russians published the photographs taken by the Russian photographer.

The White House did not anticipate that the Russian government would allow its state news agency to post photographs of an Oval Office meeting between President Donald Trump, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to the US, a White House official said.

Photos of Wednesday’s meeting, taken by a Russian state news media photographer one day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey amid questions about possible Trump campaign collusion with Moscow, were ultimately posted by Russia’s news agency, TASS. …

… “They tricked us,” an angry White House official said.

“That’s the problem with the Russians — they lie,” the official added.
The Russians used the photos to troll the White House in its social media posts Wednesday. The Russian Foreign Ministry posted a photo of a smiling US President shaking hands with Lavrov on Twitter, adding strange and ironic optics to the questions already swirling around the White House over Comey’s firing.

I mean, what the bleep? Were these clowns born last week?

And this afternoon, the White House continued to dance in its own doo-doo by announcing that Comey’s firing will help bring the Russian investigation to an end. That’s supposed to be reassuring?

13 thoughts on “The Perpetual Pandemonium Circus!

  1. Notice that Lester Holt didn’t trick Trump into admitting this. Trump just blurted it out. He can’t even keep his own stories straight.

    It strikes me that Trumps people, including his vice-president are trying to ascribe logic, and standard political and ethical norms to the decisions Trump makes. They seem to do this without actually talking to or being on the same page as the president himself. The things he does are so outside the mainstream that his staff is forced to dream up half truths and half-backed talking points. It’s fun to watch but scary to consider what will happen in an actual emergency. Like your first sentence implies ” this is particularly remarkable in that nothing unusually catastrophic is going on right now”. What happens when the shit really hits the fan? Hold onto your butt!

  2. Trump just can’t help himself. He keeps digging a bigger hole just by opening his big mouth and spurting out whatever he thinks. The problem with lying is that you have to have a very good memory. And it’s even worse when everything you say is recorded. What a mess!!!

  3. Irregardless, (“Irregardless is a word commonly used in place of regardless or irrespective, which has caused controversy since the early twentieth century”) that I had to listen to a person with a bad tie and a gaudy yellow shirt use on Public TV tonight is still a double negative.  But regardless of political perspective , the quality of thought and skill of language usage on this blog  is beyond my level of my ability to commend and more than one can deserve.  Out of the park today again.

  4. So, the morning after shit-canning Comey for the probable reason of not openly pardoning/excusing t-RUMP’s and his campaign stooges probable ‘Russia, with Love (cash/influence)’ connections – a real Dick (Nixon) move – t-RUMPLE-thin-sKKKin welcomed Russian media and photographers into the (We the people’s) Oval Office – while excluding America’s medi…
    He allowed the Russians INTO The Oval Office!?!?!?
    Good thing the Russians don’t have micro/nano-electronic technology and teeny-tiny devices to leave behind to listen/view, and report to Vlad!
    They do?

    And what?
    When he allowed the US in, after the Russians left, there sat Henry Kissinger?

    “Waiter, can I get my life’s check here?
    Oh, and call the Coroner.
    I’m done.
    I’m dying from a massive overdose of irony…”

  5. Kissinger looked like something created in Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. Kind of ironic that uncledad would post a Dylan song.. although by the looks of Kissinger he should have posted ..Knocking on Heavens Door,or more precisely, Knocking on Satan’s Door.

  6. I wonder how long it will be before Jared Kushner’s father gets his presidential pardon? Seeing how Trump is walking all over the establishment I don’t suspect that optics is going to be a big concern.

  7. Even with two spokespersons and the tRumpus and all the reports that I heard today, I do not believe I heard any one discuss working on things that will benefit the American people, which is why they are there. However, that may come as a surprise to any of them. It is all trump, trump, trump, me, me, me and the United States Government is here to serve the tRumpus and nothing but the tRumpus. This man is stark raving mad. I am going to watch some movies tomorrow and if any one asks me about current events, I will respond with “trump who?” He is a horrible, horrible excuse for a human being.

  8. My theory is that Trump has been frustrated by Comey and the general Russian business because it all gets in the way of his big plan–to build a new special relationship with Russia. Meeting with Lavrov and Kisliyak the day after he fired Comey was a celebration dance, and a big f**k you to Comey and everyone else who has questions about Russian/Trump collusion. The later snit about possible listening devices and the publication of the photos is just the usual evasion of responsibility that Trump resorts to after almost every decision he makes–it’s the same as his “he did it” and pointing at Rosenstein. Trump almost never takes responsibility. But he’s thinking ahead. The voting commission is aiming at a national supression of voters who are likely Democrats. 2018 is coming.

  9. “If Senate Democrats withhold their consent, the routine functioning of the body — from committee hearings to routine floor votes — could grind to an immediate halt.”

    What’s to stop McConnell from changing the rules? The guy has zero scruples.

  10. One thing that *really* croggles me. Didn’t the Republicans do this – withhold unanimous consent – through most of Obama’s Presidency? That’s a serious question: if the answer is “no” please tell me!

    But if the answer is “yes”, then…what kind of complete fecking idiots let an opposing party get away with this? Why isn’t “they did this to us, and we’re TRYING to be the grown-ups in the room, but…” on the lips of every Democratic Senator?

    I swear, they’re helping the Republicans by pretending anything will go back to normal if allowed to do so. We now know that NOTHING will go back to normal through the normal process. Trump can fire someone investigating his people for made up reasons, and it will be blown off entirely if nothing is done.

    What really frosts me is this: Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server was a nothingburger on an iceberg lettuce wrap. She worked around normal process, and if she wasn’t careful, the Secretary of State might have cussed her out – oh, heh, right, she WAS the Secretary of State, and RHIP. Nothing illegal, nothing unlawful, and nothing even all that unusual about it. And that was blown into a scandal that drew law enforcement into the election. And Democrats all wrung their hands and said “it DOES look bad, it WAS a mistake, but it wasn’t THAT big a deal!”

    And here – you know what? I could be convinced Trump wasn’t smart enough to realize firing Comey could impede the FBI investigation – or that he just didn’t think about it at all. I’m willing to believe this was an “innocent”, brainless, tantrum, not in any way a high crime or high misdemeanor.

    But fornicate me SIDEWAYS – the Republicans, as a bloc, won’t even admit that it looks bad. (Yes, individual Republicans do make that claim. But if they caucused on this, they’d all agree that there was nothing criminal about it, “and didn’t you Dems dislike how Comey played your candidate? Weren’t you all saying, or secretly thinking, he deserved to be fired?”)

    Isn’t it time to recognize that nothing will ever become normal without some form of revolution?

    (That “revolution” might be completely non-violent – but it won’t “just happen” and it won’t “just happen, once we’ve forced a few tweaks to the system”.)

  11. Great summary over at the Left Coaster:

    …We are now firmly in obstruction of justice territory, which leads us towards impeachment. Republicans, who just last year yelled for Hillary to be jailed over Russian-supplied fake news alleging corruption, lying, and abuse of power now seemingly can’t be bothered with Tuesday’s developments. Why? Because they need Trump around long enough to sign their tax cut legislation and to appoint more conservatives to the federal bench.

    As for the administration itself, a fundamental misunderstanding permeates the political people and the president himself: they actually think the FBI Director and the Attorney General are there to serve the president and should swear loyalty to him. This is also how they feel about the intelligence services, and the notion that these key intelligence and law enforcement officials are in fact independent actors focusing on fact-finding wherever it takes them is an alien concept to them….

    …It may not take until the midterms for the cracks to develop in the GOP cover-up inside Congress. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are asking their caucuses going into an election year to defend an immoral, mentally unstable president who freely acts upon impulse with no adult supervision. If the GOP wants to be associated with that kind of branding, Democrats should welcome such an early Christmas present.

    But will the GOP wait for that damage to be done, knowing that it imperils their own seats, if they think that impeachment or the threat of it can deliver a better future for the Beltway Republicans?

    As for pandemonium, it’s completely in the style of Reality TV – a continuing swirl of chaos, with no resolution, it’s all about ratings and holding the viewers attention. Think supermarket tabloid stories bleeding into the larger public mind, continuously. All drama, all the time.

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