Twilight of the Trump: Closing In

There are reports that Mueller will be seeking an interview with Trump soon. There also are reports that Trump’s lawyers are trying to stop that from happening.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he would testify under oath about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. But now it looks like Trump’s lawyers are worried about a potential interview with special counsel Robert Mueller — and are seeking ways to avoid it.

NBC News reports that Trump’s attorneys are in initial talks with federal investigators about how a possible interview might take place. Trump’s lawyers have suggested the president could provide written answers to Mueller’s questions instead of sitting down face-to-face with Mueller’s team. They’ve also floated the idea of not having the president take part in the interview at all. The Washington Post also reports that a Trump-Mueller interview could take place within weeks.

But legal experts I spoke to doubt Mueller would settle for anything less than a sit-down with Trump. “I highly doubt that Mueller will accept written questions and answers,” Renato Mariotti, who served as a federal prosecutor from 2007 to 2016, told me in an interview. “Prosecutors are interested in a subject’s responses to detailed lines of questioning without the opportunity to have lawyers carefully craft their client’s answer.”

Heh. In other news, Jonathan Swan at Axios reports that Trump spends most of his days watching television and tweeting.

President Trump is starting his official day much later than he did in the early days of his presidency, often around 11am, and holding far fewer meetings, according to copies of his private schedule shown to Axios. This is largely to meet Trump’s demands for more “Executive Time,” which almost always means TV and Twitter time alone in the residence, officials tell us. …

… Trump’s days in the Oval Office are relatively short – from around 11am to 6pm, then he’s back to the residence. During that time he usually has a meeting or two, but spends a good deal of time making phone calls and watching cable news in the dining room adjoining the Oval. Then he’s back to the residence for more phone calls and more TV.

The 11-to-6 schedule is not exactly jam-packed.

On Tuesday, Trump has his first meeting of the day with Chief of Staff John Kelly at 11am. He then has “Executive Time” for an hour followed by an hour lunch in the private dining room. Then it’s another 1 hour 15 minutes of “Executive Time” followed by a 45 minute meeting with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Then another 15 minutes of “Executive Time” before Trump takes his last meeting of the day — a 3:45pm meeting with the head of Presidential Personnel Johnny DeStefano — before ending his official day at 4:15pm.

This is fairly typical, Swan says. So he has an official five-hour workday, during which time he has to sit through three meetings in between lunch and yelling at the TeeVee.

Basically, no one is doing the job of president of the U.S. In his case, that may be just as well. Steve M points out that very often stuff Trump says about his policies and the policies his officials present to Congress and the public bear no resemblance to each other. The officials appear to be working around him.

Ross Douthat believes that White House staff are (barely) keeping the government together. And he asks, “Can the people who surround Donald Trump work around his incapacity successfully enough to keep his unfitness from producing a historic calamity?” I repeat, this is Ross Douthat, people.

I could be wrong, but I’m predicting Trump’s presidency won’t survive the year.

7 thoughts on “Twilight of the Trump: Closing In

  1. I think Trump thinks he can bully and BS Mueller. Trump might think he can demand Mueller disprove Trumps claims on the spot or Mueller will have to go home. As you point out, trumps lawyers are trying to prevent a meeting under oath where Trump will commit perjury several times.

    Rumor is that the Grand Jury last week handed down an indictment or two. That will cause sphincter muscles to clench in the West Wing. Mueller wants Manifort to sing. That's in a holding pattern until trial is closer. Will others join the choir?

    If it all comes together, so what? The Senate will not impeach. Trump will run again and lose. The GOP hopes that 2020 will end Trump, but will he leave the stage?

    I agree the show that Trump and the GOP are putting on is awful but who will bring down the curtain before 2020?

    • Doug — I think he’s going to crash so hard even congressional Republicans will decide they’ve got to 25th Amendment him. We’ll end up with President Pence, alas.

  2. His State of the Union address is coming up, and that might reveal some sign of whether he's as tightly wrapped as he claims to be. If it turns out to be a rehash of a tired campaign speech or incessant boasting on his intellectual prowess, I'm sure there'll be a lot of criticism and commentary about his fitness for office. I think more and more people are starting to see that the emperor has no clothes and it's costing America dearly in ways that erode the foundations of our democracy.

  3. If it all comes together, so what? The Senate will not impeach. 

    I'm not so sure about that. Seems to me that if Mueller gets the goods on Trump he'll become such a pariah that nobody will stand in his defense. As it appears now they all a confederacy of dunces, but once the shit hits the fan it will be every man for himself.

    My mother used say to me..Know that when you are in trouble, you are in trouble alone. All of Trump's current defenders are only defending him because they are still able to derive a benefit from that relationship and there still remains a margin of political safety to be seen as a Trump defender. But once it goes south for Trump, it's gonna be a pile on of condemnation directed at Trump and his clown show. Allies will be as scarce as hen's teeth.

     My biggest fear is that Trump will pull the plug on Mueller and his team before they secure irrefutable proof that Trump obstructed justice and that their campaign colluded with the Russians or their agents. If Trump does act out of desperation I hope Mueller follows Comey's example and leaves a trail for the investigation to continue. I believe Mueller is wise enough to know what he's up against in dealing with a character like Trump.

     Off topic.. but I have to comment on how impressed I am with all the advances in modern technology.. I was playing with Google map and I found the place where I lost my virginity. What a mind blower! It was more than just a trip down memory lane.

  4. The consensus continues to grow with every news cycle …we all know in our guts he is NUTS!

    In everyday Americans terms …"THIS mother fucker IS crazy!"

    Will the GOP/Republican Party/Congress/Senate do anything to stop the damage?

    Nothing in their past history indicates that they will.

    We have to conclude …they are crazy too!

  5. As always, I fall back on yin/yang theory.  Yin/yang are not just opposites but they are complementary meaning they work together to maintain balance in nature and the universe.  When one of them reaches its maximum, it automatically yields to the other.  If this doesn't happen, there is some sort of collapse and the opposite takes over.  I have observed that yang has been dominant in the world for a long time and perhaps too long.  Examples of yang dominance are patriarchy, man's attempt to control nature, e.g. cutting down trees and eliminating other plants and wildlife and building  cities.  I could go on but I hope you get the picture.  I don't know much about chaos theory but I suspect chaos is a yang condition and as such it will run its course and will have to yield to the yin which I see as order.  I predict this is what will have to happen to the Trump  administration.  If it is resisted, it will not be pretty. 

    Since I am retired, I have a lot of time to think and reflect and so the above is my theory.  It may be correct, it may be wrong.  Time will tell.

  6. Sounds as though we may have another William Howard Taft on our hands if he keeps eating like that…

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