President Donald Trump apparently couldn’t make up his mind on what he wanted to tweet about Saturday morning, so he decided to tweet about everything. In a long string of tweets, Trump ranted against the news media, leaks, and Hillary Clinton while defending his son, Donald Trump Jr, and his newly appointed communications director, Anthony Scarmucci. And those are just the highlights in the series of 10 tweets. The most revealing tweet was this one:
While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
I interrupt this an admission that if and when he does pardon those close to him, and even himself, than it will be for crimes that they have committed. He is saying that we shouldn’t think about pardons right now because the only crime that been committed is those committed against him. But if there are crimes revealed to have been committed on his behalf, direction or for his benefit, well perhaps then we should think of pardons.
Mike Allen: “The President is building a wartime Cabinet, for political and legal war. One longtime ally who’s likely to have a more visible, frequent role: Newt Gingrich, husband of Callista Gingrich, Trump’s choice for ambassador to the Vatican.”
“Trump relishes fights, and creates plenty of them. But now he’s in a real one, with special counsel Bob Mueller signaling that he plans an expansive, exhaustive investigation aimed at Trump, his relatives, and current and former political lieutenants.”
“One West Wing confidant says Trump really might dismiss Mueller. So POTUS needs ‘a group that can fight through what could end up being something quite amazing.’”
Taegan Goddard posts this little nugget: “A Republican who served on the Trump transition team and has close ties to many in the White House, including some Trump family members, tells me that the “shakeup” of the president’s legal team wasn’t being reported correctly. Trump wasn’t firing his lawyers. Instead, they were firing him.
According to this source, these lawyers no longer agree with the president’s strategy for dealing with the Russia investigation. Trump is willing to try to end the investigation by any means necessary, including firing special counsel Robert Mueller and other Justice Department officials. The lawyers know that will force a constitutional crisis and they want no part of it.
Scaramucci officially takes his post on August 15, when Congress should finally be on recess and when many Americans tune out for family vacations. That would also be the best time to drop the hammer on Mueller. He could also issue proactive pardons to key participants in the Russia scandal, such as Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and even his children. If this reporting is correct, don’t expect a quiet August. My source said that forcing a constitutional crisis by firing Mueller may finally cause Trump’s support by GOP lawmakers to crumble. But anyone who has followed Trump knows that he won’t go down without fighting.”
Breaking: Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters w/ Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show https://t.co/xTxP39X7AM
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) July 21, 2017
New York Times: “A newfound memo from Kenneth W. Starr’s independent counsel investigation into President Bill Clinton sheds fresh light on a constitutional puzzle that is taking on mounting significance amid the Trump-Russia inquiry: Can a sitting president be indicted?”
“The 56-page memo, locked in the National Archives for nearly two decades… amounts to the most thorough government-commissioned analysis rejecting a generally held view that presidents are immune from prosecution while in office.”
From the memo: “It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties.”
The Fox-Newsification of the White House. My story on today's shakeup and Trump's culture war against the press:https://t.co/ZmmCfkUp99
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) July 21, 2017
Jared Kushner “failed to disclose dozens of financial holdings that he was required to declare when he joined the White House as an adviser to President Trump, his father-in-law,” the Washington Post reports.
“A separate document released Friday also showed that Kushner’s wife, presidential daughter Ivanka Trump, had been paid as much as $5 million from her outside businesses over an 84-day span this spring around the time she entered the White House as a senior adviser and pledged to distance herself from her private holdings.”
“Kushner’s new disclosure, released by the White House, detailed more than 70 assets that his attorneys said he had inadvertently left out of earlier filings.”
— Ian McDonald (@ianrmcdonald) July 21, 2017
This is the ideological distribution of the parties over time in the house. The Democrats have NOT moved left, they are in pretty much the same spot they have always been. All you can say about the Democrats is that there are no more conservative Democrats on the right side of the spectrum anymore. We are all mostly liberal now. But look at the GOP, they have strongly veered right and they are responsible for polarization.
CNN: “The leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee have cut a deal with President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort to avoid being subpoenaed for a high-profile public hearing next week, with the two men agreeing to provide records to the panel and to be privately interviewed ahead of any public session.”
!! Senate intel chair Burr (R) knocks Devin Nunes:
"The unmasking thing was all created by Devin Nunes."https://t.co/00Uw1gGTyd
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) July 21, 2017
NBC News: “Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, said Friday there is no dissent inside U.S. intelligence agencies about the conclusion that Russia used hacking and fake news to interfere in the 2016 presidential election — despite comments by his boss, President Donald Trump, that have seemed to cast some doubt about the unanimity.”
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 20, 2017
Eli Lake: “If you thought grownups like Mattis, McMaster and Tillerson were secretly running the administration, think again.”
“In the case of McMaster, administration officials tell me he is perceived not to be a reliable messenger of the president’s wishes. What’s more, administration figures tell me, principals including Tillerson, Mattis and CIA director Mike Pompeo have a direct line to Trump. They can go around McMaster and make their case on interagency disputes directly to the commander in chief. For a national security adviser, this dynamic is deadly.”
Why does Trump think health insurance costs $12/year? Because Gerber advertises life insurance for babies on Fox News for about that price.
— Christopher D. Long (@octonion) July 22, 2017
“Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on sweeping sanctions legislation to punish Russia for its election-meddling and aggression toward its neighbors, they said Saturday, defying the White House’s argument that President Trump needs flexibility to adjust the sanctions to fit his diplomatic initiatives with Moscow,” the New York Times reports.
“The new legislation sharply limits the president’s ability to suspend or terminate the sanctions. At a moment when investigations into the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian officials have cast a shadow over his presidency, Mr. Trump could soon face a bleak decision: veto the bill — and fuel accusations that he is doing the bidding of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — or sign legislation imposing sanctions his administration abhors.”
So we can't trust Mueller b/c too many of his staff gave money to Democrats. But we can trust Scaramucci who, like Trump, gave to Dems.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 21, 2017
Politico: “Senior Senate Republicans believe the high-profile vote expected Tuesday — followed by conservative backlash over the GOP’s failure to fulfill its seven-year campaign pledge — might provoke enough heat from the base to bring senators back to the negotiating table.”
“It seems like a long shot. But McConnell may be playing the long game — making his members walk the plank not as an act of desperation but as part of a strategy that just might work. He’s used it before to get what he wants.”
Treasury fines Exxon for "reckless disregard" of U.S. Russia sanctions while Tillerson was CEO.https://t.co/8Sv48U313F
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) July 22, 2017
At The Washington Post, Dana Milbank says Sean Spicer is the latest Trump casualty. He won’t be the last:
“In business, Trump tended to destroy those around him, walking away from failure relatively unscathed while others — lenders, partners, vendors — paid the cost. Something similar is happening to those around Trump now, but this isn’t a casino — it’s our country.
Nobody has been more slavishly loyal to Trump than Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of his earliest supporters in the Senate; now Trump is publicly savaging him. Trump is likewise disparaging Rod J. Rosenstein, the man he appointed to be the No. 2 at the Justice Department, as well as the special counsel that Rosenstein appointed. Trump has publicly contradicted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson twice (on Qatar and Russia sanctions) and has denied Tillerson even the dignity of staffing his own agency. Trump accepted Chris Christie’s over-the-top support during the campaign, then cast him aside.
He demands loyalty but offers little. Bodies, meritorious and otherwise, pile up: James B. Comey, Preet Bharara, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Corey Lewandowski, Carter Page, Mike Dubke, Monica Crowley, Mark Corallo, Marc Kasowitz and, now, Spicer. […]
Scaramucci won’t succeed any more than Spicer. The problem is more than personnel — it’s the principal.”
“Sean Spicer came to the White House on Thursday completely unaware President Donald Trump was planning to meet with Anthony Scaramucci, a longtime Wall Street friend, and offer him the job of communications director. Other top aides, including Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, also had no clue,” Politico reports.
“The wham-bam events of the past 24 hours were exceptional even by Trump’s standards: the dismissal of his top lawyer and the lawyer’s spokesman, West Wing blowups between the president and his top aides, a press secretary fending off rumors about his possible demise without knowing the entire truth, all while new reports landed about Trump going on the attack against the special counsel investigating his White House.”
“What struck one adviser who speaks to Trump frequently is that the president seemed calm — like he had a plan in mind all along — but just hadn’t shared it with many others.”