July 22, 2017

Trump in Transition (v19)

Hanging out on the porch, listening to the birds, and letting my mind wander to the latest 'transition' by the president.

Trump has hired a NY big money loudmouth, Anthony Scaramucci, to be his new director of communications.Here's some of what we learned about "the Mooch" in  The Atlantic:
The Wall Street financier and former Obama donor once called then-candidate Trump “a hack politician,” a big-mouthed “bully,” and “an inherited money dude from Queens County” and backed two other Republican presidential contenders, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, before embracing Trump as the party’s nominee.
And, we're told, this son of a construction worker has a background very similar to Trump's:
Like Trump, he parlayed business success into celebrity by writing books, appearing on cable news, and even hosting his own financial show. He and the president also share a lack of ideological rigidity, which meshes with the business-first ethos of the Wall Street veterans in the White House while clashing with GOP stalwarts like Priebus and Sean Spicer, the press secretary who resigned as a result of Scaramucci’s hiring.
Congratulations to Spicer on finally getting out. Why it took getting a new boss for him to rise to the occasion is between him, the bushes and his Easter Bunny but we all have our own last straw, and at least it's over now. He's safe, and we can move on.

Speaking of moving on, what do you say when you accidentally bump into someone? Pardon me is going to be my go-to phrase.

According to this Washington Post article,
Some of president Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's Russia investigation, building a  case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grand pardons, according to people familiar with the effort. 
Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump's lawyers have been discussing the president's pardoning powers among themselves. 
#Whatthesniff  is going on? Maybe he's bored from tweeting and beating the Fox News - CNN - MSNBC buttons to death on his TV remote?

The irony of the most interest-conflicted president, first family, and administration in living memory expressing concern over anyone else's potential conflicts of interest is beyond laughable, isn't it? And,
lest they forget, President Clinton was impeached because of activities related to a semen stain on a blue dress worn by someone other than his wife, not for activities associated with a land deal called Whitewater.

These investigations go where they will and the chips fall where they may - and the president messes with that at his peril (at least in normal times...). 

Finally, let's turn to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who is in need of a transition himself. Sessions, you'll recall, recused himself from Russia - Trump investigations or anything else related to the Trump campaign, to remove any potential issues with impartiality.

This week Trump, in a rambling conver(...oh, pardon me, I mean in an interview) with the New York Times, said this about whether the AG had given him a heads up about the recusal:
Zero. Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have -- which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself?  If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said "Thanks Jeff, but I can't, you know, I'm not going to take you." It's extremely unfair, and that's a mild word, to the president. So he recuses himself then I end up with a second man, who's a deputy... 
Does Trump even know what recusal means, or what the AG does? And, until the potential ethical issues stemming from campaign-related activities were exposed, from what could Sessions have recused himself?

I suppose, in his interview for the job, he could have said to Trump,
Listen, you and I both know you ran a shady campaign; we both know your family and advisers, including me, acted like morons and may have broken some laws when we kissed up to Russia with your full knowledge and approval. That's gonna hurt when it all comes out, and we both know it will.  When it does I'll need to step back to protect you. Any issues with that? 
Trump, who hired Mike Flynn knowing his shady background, wouldn't have cared, I'm sure. But Sessions didn't do that, and he paid the price this week. He insists he will continue to serve as our Attorney General.
I have the honor as serving as attorney general, it's something that goes beyond any thought I would have ever had for myself. We love this job, we love this department and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate.  
Yeah --  it's no longer "appropriate" to stay on. Take a cue from your recusal statement, and bow out before it gets any worse.
During the course of the last several weeks, I have heard that the president is miffed at and confused by my trying to be ethical while helping promote his law enforcement agenda. Most recently, in an interview with the New York Times, he laid bare his distaste for my taking an ethical stand to protect his administration.
Having concluded that neither I nor anyone else has any idea what the president will do or say next, and given his obvious lack of regard for ethics in general, I have decided to resign from my position as attorney general.
This announcement should be interpreted as confirmation that I would rather be an unemployed ethical person than an appointee of this president.  
And then, he and Sean Spicer can go have a beer.