As embarrassing as it is chaotic: “President Trump on Monday put the brakes on a preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the Kremlin had swiftly denounced as ‘international economic raiding.’ ”
This will make for a frenetic season-ending episode. “Although [Michael] Cohen’s lawyers fought in court to keep the name secret, [Judge Kimba] Wood ruled against them, leading to their making public that Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, was the client.” Unreal.
Amid the turmoil, the Government Accounting Office does its job. “A government watchdog agency concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency violated federal laws in spending more than $43,000 to install a private phone booth in EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s office.”
A takeaway from the pandemonium surrounding former FBI director James Comey’s book tour. “One obvious lesson is that it would be good for political parties to choose presidential candidates who are unlikely to induce FBI investigations.”
Why the Cohen raid created such hullabaloo. “Trump is clearly agitated about [Robert S.] Mueller [III], but that investigation does not seem to have gotten under his skin like the Cohen raid, which hasn’t even resulted in charges yet. That is in keeping with his longstanding sensitivity about anyone peering into his business. When faced with inquiries about his business, Trump tends to work the refs or to try to distract attention. When that fails, he buys his way out of trouble, paying fines that, while substantial in absolute terms, do negligible damage to his bottom line.”
No, they are not up to handling a world in disarray. “[I]t isn’t clear the Trump administration, with a new secretary of state awaiting Senate confirmation, an understaffed and demoralized diplomatic corps and a newly arrived national security adviser, is entirely prepared for the moment.”
Trump is going to trigger international mayhem over a trade deficit that his fiscal policies created. “Rising budget deficits have to be funded with increased net capital inflows—i.e., a deteriorating current account balance—and/or rising net domestic private savings. Fiscal stimulus can directly raise the trade deficit by boosting overall spending, and any upward pressure on the dollar from higher interest rates can additionally shift spending from domestic to foreign goods.” Oh.