* Josh Dawsey and Philip Rucker report that the president is ready to mobilize the government to find out who’s being mean to him:
President Trump called Friday for the Justice Department to investigate the anonymous author of an op-ed depicting a “resistance” inside the government and said he is considering taking legal action against the New York Times for publishing it.
The column, published online Wednesday, was written by someone the Times identified only as a senior official in the Trump administration. It depicts a “two-track presidency” in which some top staffers make up a “resistance” force working to thwart the president’s “misguided impulses” in the name of protecting the nation.
“We’re going to take a look at what he had, what he gave, what he’s talking about, also where he is right now,” Trump told reporters. If the anonymous author has a high-level security clearance, the president added, “and he goes into a high-level meeting concerning China or Russia or North Korea or something, I don’t want him in those meetings.”
Traveling aboard Air Force One to Fargo, N.D., from Billings, Mont., Trump told reporters that there is a national security imperative to root out the anonymous author, whom he called “a sick person.” He said Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who he has long criticized publicly in especially harsh terms — should use the investigative powers of the Justice Department to determine who authored the column.
We all know this has nothing to do with national security or negotiations with foreign countries. Trump wants someone’s head on a pike.
On one end of Pennsylvania Avenue this week, President Trump and his closest advisers labored to beat back perceptions, fueled by an anonymous essay in The New York Times and a bruising new book by Bob Woodward, that he had all but lost control of the presidency from within. He lashed out anew at his attorney general, shouted “TREASON” and demanded investigations of his detractors.
But as he raged, Republicans in the Senate were pressing steadily through angry liberal protests and Democratic perjury traps toward perhaps the most lasting impact of the Trump era: a conservative shift in the balance of the Supreme Court capable of shaping the country for a generation.
The dueling images of a president on the edge and a conservative Congress soldiering forward explain succinctly why almost all elected Republicans here have quietly supported Mr. Trump through his travails — or at least not chastised him too loudly. The payoffs for what Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, called the party’s “Faustian bargain” have been rich and long awaited: deep cuts in corporate and personal tax rates, confirmation of a wave of conservative judges for the lower courts, and soon an ideological shift in the highest court of the land.
Oh, those sweet sweet corporate tax cuts — what wouldn’t they do for them?
* Seung Min Kim reports that John Dean, who knows something about such matters, is warning that confirming Kavanaugh would lead to the “most presidential-powers-friendly court” in modern times. Exactly what we need right about now.
* Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann explain how the most recent polling shows that Democrats now have a plausible path to winning the Senate.
* Nikki Haley is so eager to let the president know she didn’t write the op-ed that she wrote her own saying that when she wants to disagree with Trump she picks up the phone and calls him.
* Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux runs down what’s still on Robert Mueller’s to-do list.
* Lisa Graves, who authored Dem memos that Kavanaugh obtained during a previous confirmation fight, argues that not only shouldn’t he be put on the Supreme Court, he should be impeached and removed from his current post.
* With Republicans complaining about Democratic tactics against Kavanaugh, Norm Ornstein explains that the real reason the hearings seem chaotic is that Republicans have undermined so many Senate norms.