As President Trump feels the walls close in, he attacks the Justice Department. The attorney general responds, “I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in. … While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”
Trump knows it is safe to go on Fox, which is walled off from reality. “The effect of Trump being interviewed by a host of ‘Fox & Friends’ seems to be that he feels perfectly comfortable offering campaign-rally-style riffs on whatever he’s presented with, perhaps understanding that few of his assertions will be robustly contested. He always riffs with everyone, of course, but this [Ainsley] Earhardt interview seems to have been largely unbounded on his part.”
The walls protecting Trump crumble. “David Pecker, the chief executive of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors for providing information about Michael Cohen and Donald Trump in the criminal investigation into hush-money payments for two women during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the matter.” It’ll all come out.
Sane voices like those of Charlie Sykes are now outside the walls of the GOP, and speaking candidly: “Trump (and his many imitators) know that they can count on a supine party and sycophants in the conservative media to deflect or rationalize pretty much anything. It helps that there is an apparently infinite appetite for reputational self-immolation among Trump defenders. Just as dangerous is Trump’s effect on others in his orbit who seem to have absorbed his arrogant amoralism and the smug conviction that they are immune from consequences.”
By walling themselves off from Trump, Republicans become enablers. “It was the latest swipe at the American justice system, which the president has previously disparaged and scolded for being unfair, most notably in continuing the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether Moscow was coordinating with any Trump campaign aides. In the predawn hours on Thursday, the president tweeted, ‘NO COLLUSION — RIGGED WITCH HUNT!’ Flipping, or striking a plea bargain with prosecutors, is one of the most commonly used tactic in the federal justice system.”
Wall-to-wall anti-corruption talk plus full disclosure will be essential for Democrats running in 2020. “As part of a recent anti-corruption push and in a direct challenge to Trump, Sen. Elizabeth Warren [D-Mass.] just released 10 years of tax returns by posting them online. The federal and state returns were posted on her website Wednesday, a release date that comes as the conviction of Paul Manafort and guilty plea of Michael Cohen for felonies have dominated headlines, as has the case of the allegedly comically corrupt GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter [R-Calif.]. It also follows the serendipitously timed release of a plan she says would fight corruption in Washington: a bill packed with dozens of major changes requiring, for example, that members of Congress share their tax returns for the prior two years and every year they serve in their role. The bill also proposes a ban on top federal officials using their stature and access to become lobbyists when they leave office.”
Inside the walls of the Justice Department, lawyers must wonder whatever happened to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “Lindsey Graham: Trump Will Probably Fire Sessions, But Will ‘Create Havoc’ if He Does Before Midterms.” So just wait and spring it on voters after they vote?!