In the drama of Watergate, the Nixon White House was brought down by the coverup — notably its attempt to stymie the FBI. Similar maneuvers by the Trump White House in its current distress are sufficiently blatant and ridiculous to inspire a Danziger tableau.
Do Trump and his associates have something to hide — something even bigger and uglier than Watergate? The ferocity of their reactions certainly arouses suspicion, and so did their peculiar effort to conceal the misconduct of fired national security adviser Michael Flynn, which they attempted to hide even from the hapless vice president.
During a rare public appearance at CPAC on Thursday, Steve Bannon wasted no time in criticizing the media. Referring to the media, Bannon remarked,”You know but we’ve known it since August 15th, I think if you look at the opposition party and how they portrayed the campaign, how they portrayed the transition and now they’re portraying the administration, it’s always wrong.”
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus flatly denied Sunday that the two camps colluded during the 2016 presidential campaign. Priebus also insisted that ousted national security advisor Mike Flynn had done nothing illegal in discussing sanctions against Russia with the country’s ambassador to Washington prior to Trump’s inauguration, and batted aside questions about disorder and disarray in the White House.
Top White House officials have been reviewing Flynn’s contacts with the Russians and whether he discussed the possibility of lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia once Trump took office. That would potentially be in violation of a law banning private citizens from engaging in foreign policy, known as the Logan Act.
“He’s not out of the woods,” said a U.S. official who is familiar with the transcripts of intercepted communications between Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, in late December. This official said Flynn “did discuss sanctions.”
We had all better get used to hearing from Reince Priebus, the incoming White House chief of staff, who comically attempts to explain away Trump’s years-long “birther” crusade against Barack Obama’s legitimacy by lying about it.
Donald Trump’s juvenile tweet deriding the legendary Meryl Streep as “overrated” went over the line — and Colbert’s rage is something to behold. Infuriated, he not only goes after the president-elect but saves a few sprays of vitriol for Kellyanne Conway, whose blatant dissembling has achieved historic levels, and Reince Priebus, who seems to believe that Russia has always chosen American presidents.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier proposed expelling 35 U.S. diplomats after President Barack Obama ordered the expulsions and sanctions, but Vladimir Putin said he would wait for the actions of President-elect Donald Trump before deciding on any further steps in relations with the United States.
In “Tweetin’ with the Prez,” Seth Meyers reviews Trump’s latest online humiliations, with a focus on his China blowup over the undersea drone picked up (and then returned) by the Chinese Navy. As usual the Late Night host offers accurate context for that episode, far less flattering than the spin offered by Trump’s minions.
Offering an overview of the Republican “voter fraud” myth, Samantha Bee includes a great 1970s clip of the late far-right guru Paul Weyrich, explaining exactly why Republicans always want fewer Americans to participate in elections. And she highlights current video of Reince Priebus, soon to be White House chief of staff, refining his capacity to lie on camera.
Journalists must raise the bar when interviewing Trump and his surrogates, from merely calling out falsehoods to actively putting statements into context and offering facts and data.
“This office has a way of waking you up,” Obama said. “Those aspects of his positions or predispositions that don’t match up with reality, he will find shaken up pretty quick because reality has a way of asserting itself.”
Before joining Trump’s campaign, Stephen Bannon provided an online forum for the “alt-right,” a loose confederation of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and anti-Semites.
Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Los Angeles, blocking traffic, and other cities including Miami and New York, where they again gathered outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
Nothing could be less surprising than the partisan response by Congressional Republicans, ever ready to string up someone named Clinton immediately, if not sooner.
“Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty,” Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday. He added in a later Twitter post, “It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”
“Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Evidence suggests that thanks to the party’s co-dependent relationship with Donald Trump, the GOP may be on the verge of permanently losing two of the fastest growing groups of new voters — Latinos and Asian-Americans. Support from these two groups is dipping toward a percentage in the single digits.
In the recorded conversation, Trump was wearing a microphone and chatting on a bus with NBC’s “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush. “I did try and fuck her. She was married,” Trump said. “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there.”
Fundraising has become Trump’s priority: He’s spending his time fundraising in solidly Republican states instead of focusing on battleground ones, and last week, Trump and RNC Chairman Reince Preibus went on a Southern fundraising tour.
Early signs of a bitter general election race emerged on Twitter Thursday afternoon, when the Trump and Clinton campaigns made jabs at each other on Twitter following President Obama’s endorsement of Clinton.
“These are things that he is going to have to answer for,” Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But I also think there are things from many years ago and I think that, you know, as Christians, judging each other I think is problematic.”
Even after the Republican donor class began “encouraging” candidates to end their campaigns, Trump’s anti-establishment war continuously put Priebus (and the Republican Party) on the defensive, forcing him to fend off accusations of establishment meddling in the nomination process.
Reince Priebus was navigating a minefield: the RNC’s rules committee voted Thursday against a rule that would have made it harder to nominate candidates on the floor.
RNC Chairman Reince Priaebus cited “bad faith” in announcing the party will suspend its partnership with NBC News for the Feb. 26 debate to be held in Houston.