Trump’s Ship is Going Down

There aren’t enough life rafts on this boat to save anyone but the women and children.

I don’t remember a time when someone on President Obama’s staff said something like this about their boss:

“Every day he looks more and more like a complete moron,” said one senior administration official who also worked on Trump’s campaign. “I can’t see Trump resigning or even being impeached, but at this point I wish he’d grow a brain and be the man that he sold himself as on the campaign.”

Or this:

“If Donald Trump gets impeached, he will have one person to blame: Donald Trump,” one of those administration officials said.

Trump spent the hours before leaving on his nine-day foreign adventure screwing every pooch in the Western Hemisphere. And he left his administration shell-shocked, distraught, and downright angry. He also made a pretty iron-tight case for removing him from office.

David C. Gomez, a former FBI assistant special agent in charge, said Trump’s comments demonstrated a profound inability to grasp the potential consequences of his words.

“In terms of potential criminal activity, it’s amateur night at the White House,” Gomez told The Daily Beast. “These guys—and Trump especially—don’t know how to not implicate themselves.

“On a big case like this, the ideal thing would be a wiretap on your number one subject,” Gomez added. “But in this case, you don’t need a wiretap. He just comes right out and says it.”

Imagine for a second the vanishingly small possibility that there’s simply nothing to the allegations of cooperation between the Russians and the Trump campaign. If Trump knew they would find nothing, then he would have been wise to urge complete cooperation and to assure the public that he would honor their concern by doing every thing he could to assure a speedy resolution of the investigation. He has done the exact opposite.

What’s odd is how he demonstrates his consciousness of guilt. If it were me, I wouldn’t be seen within miles of a Russian, let alone invite them into the Oval Office to talk about how I took the heat off the investigation by firing the FBI director.

But we don’t really need to guess what’s in his mind because he tells us. He doesn’t have someone call Comey and threaten him to stay quiet. He tweets about it. He gives interviews where he freely admits that he fired Comey because of the Russian investigation. He doesn’t reach out discretely to the Russians. He explains to them on the record in the West Wing in front of witnesses and stenographers that he thinks he can do their bidding now because he’s taken the heat off by undermining the investigation.

To say that he doesn’t know how not to implicate himself is putting it mildly.

He’s still talking about wanting to hire Michael Flynn back after this is all over, which means that he is living in an alternative universe where Michael Flynn wasn’t on the Kremlin payroll.

His best defense right now is actually mental incapacity, because it’s as plain as day that he doesn’t have a minimal grasp of reality. David Brooks appropriately compared the Trump administration to a caldera “covered by deadening ash.” There was nothing left of it when Trump boarded his plane and there will certainly be nothing left of it when he returns.

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

Everything that has happened up until now has been child’s play compared to what’s coming.

And the administration knows what’s coming or they wouldn’t be this desperate:

Within hours of Mueller’s appointment on Wednesday, the White House began reviewing the Code of Federal Regulations, which restricts newly hired government lawyers from investigating their prior law firm’s clients for one year after their hiring, the sources said.

An executive order signed by Trump in January extended that period to two years.

Mueller’s former law firm, WilmerHale, represents Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who met with a Russian bank executive in December, and the president’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is a subject of a federal investigation.

Legal experts said the ethics rule can be waived by the Justice Department, which appointed Mueller. He did not represent Kushner or Manafort directly at his former law firm.

If the department did not grant a waiver, Mueller would be barred from investigating Kushner or Manafort, and this could greatly diminish the scope of the probe, experts said.

The Justice Department is already reviewing Mueller’s background as well as any potential conflicts of interest, said department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.

Even if the Justice Department granted a waiver, the White House would consider using the ethics rule to create doubt about Mueller’s ability to do his job fairly, the sources said. Administration legal advisers have been asked to determine if there is a basis for this.

Under this strategy, the sources said the administration would raise the issue in press conferences and public statements.

Moreover, the White House has not ruled out the possibility of using the rule to challenge Mueller’s findings in court, should the investigation lead to prosecution.

Why would the investigation lead to prosecution? Who leaked this information, and did they somehow not know that it would make them look as guilty as sin?

There aren’t enough life rafts on this boat to save anyone but the women and children.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.