[The most threatening danger, right at this moment, is that in an attempt to rescue himself from the domestic quicksand that is slowly and visibly sucking him in, Trump may opt to take some irresponsible action demonstrating his supposed machismo as the POTUS on the external front.
At the maximum, as a consequence, it may even wipe off the human race, along with many other forms of life, from the face of the globe. That possibility needs be actively forestalled.] I/II. https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a19746530/trump-russia-aides-deserting/ The Ship Is Sinking. The Rats Are Scrambling. The president is losing whatever grip he had. BY CHARLES P. PIERCE APR 11, 2018 Getty Images The hinges are all hanging loose and broken. >From the The New York Times: Inside the White House, Mr. Trump—furious after the F.B.I. raided his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen—spent much of the day brooding and fearful and near what two people close to the West Wing described as a “meltdown.” Mr. Trump’s public and private wrath about the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election are nothing new. But the raids on Monday on Mr. Cohen’s Rockefeller Center office and Park Avenue hotel room have sent the president to new heights of outrage, setting the White House on edge as it faces a national security crisis in Syria and more internal staff churn. I am fully aware that, more than any other occupant of that office, this president* is capable of creating a sturdy bubble in which he is the indomitable and wise master of the universe, all objective evidence to the contrary. But, ever since the FBI dropped by Michael Cohen’s office, it seems that this might be the event that shatters the bubble for good. Getty Images We can safely speculate that Cohen knows everything: the money, the scams, the women, the Russians. All of it. And in the days since the raid, Cohen has abandoned the truculent public persona that had served him so well in the past in favor of being someone who seems grateful that he wasn’t hauled off to Pelican Bay on the spot. >From CNN: "I am unhappy to have my personal residence and office raided. But I will tell you that members of the FBI that conducted the search and seizure were all extremely professional, courteous and respectful. And I thanked them at the conclusion," Cohen said in a phone conversation on Tuesday with CNN. Asked if he was worried, Cohen said: "I would be lying to you if I told that I am not. Do I need this in my life? No. Do I want to be involved in this? No." The raid was "upsetting to say the least," he added. This would seem to indicate that Cohen has sized up matters and decided that his best move is to flip on the president*. Back in ‘73, you wouldn’t have seen Gordon Liddy complimenting the FBI on his arrest, I’ll tell you that. They don’t make thuggish apparatchiks like they used to. Anyway, back at Camp Runamuck, things are going pretty thoroughly haywire. >From the Times: Mr. Trump’s mood had begun to sour even before the raids on his lawyer. People close to the White House said that over the weekend, the president engaged in few activities other than dinner at the Trump International Hotel. He tuned into Fox News, they said, watched reports about the so-called deep state looking to sink his presidency and became unglued. Mr. Trump angrily told his advisers that people were trying to undermine him and that he wanted to get rid of three top Justice Department officials — Jeff Sessions, the attorney general; Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mr. Mueller; and Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director — according to two people familiar with what took place. Getty Images He eventually calmed down and the anger abated. But it was stoked anew on Monday, after the F.B.I. raids on Mr. Cohen. Mr. Rosenstein in particular was a source of Mr. Trump’s anger on Monday, and some aides believed the president was seriously considering firing him, to a degree he has not in the past. Ah, but the strawberries, that’s where I had them… Few people still at the White House are able to restrain Mr. Trump from acting on his impulses after the departures of crucial staff members who were once able to join forces with other aides to do so. That included Hope Hicks, his former communications director; Rob Porter, his former staff secretary; and, in 2017, the chief of staff Reince Priebus and the chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon. John F. Kelly, the current chief of staff whose influence over the president has waned for months, appeared beaten down and less hands-on, according to two White House officials. Mr. Kelly has told Mr. Trump it is frustrating for staff members that the president deems most news media stories fake news but believes the ones accusing various advisers of leaking, according to people familiar with the discussions. Let us sum up, shall we? We have a deeply corrupt and incompetent president*, who’s never been entirely on the rails, sensing quite accurately that he’s very close to being run to ground by a prosecutor he can’t bully or bribe out of his way. And, as this Times story indicates, as the ship continues to list, the traffic down the ratlines is getting awfully heavy. All these anonymous quotes are coming from people who are clearly immunizing themselves against ever having signed aboard this catastrophe, in the hopes that they will one day have careers in politics again. This has to be stoking the president*’s paranoid rage to the point where it’s melting ice lagoons on Neptune. Meanwhile, there’s a genuine crisis brewing over Syria, and there’s only one person who can give the national command orders, and he may be unravelling by the hour. Maybe voting for someone just because he pretended to be pissed at the same people you’re pissed at wasn’t the best idea in the world. II. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/10/opinion/trump-michael-cohen-raid.html EDITORIAL The Law Is Coming, Mr. Trump Image CreditJon Han By The Editorial Board The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section. April 10, 2018 Why don’t we take a step back and contemplate what Americans, and the world, are witnessing? Early Monday morning, F.B.I. agents raided the New York office, home and hotel room of the personal lawyer for the president of the United States. They seized evidence of possible federal crimes — including bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations related to payoffs made to women, including a porn actress, who say they had affairs with the president before he took office and were paid off and intimidated into silence. That evening the president surrounded himself with the top American military officials and launched unbidden into a tirade against the top American law enforcement officials — officials of his own government — accusing them of “an attack on our country.” Oh, also: The Times reported Monday evening that investigators were examining a $150,000 donation to the president’s personal foundation from a Ukrainian steel magnate, given during the American presidential campaign in exchange for a 20-minute video appearance. Meanwhile, the president’s former campaign chairman is under indictment, and his former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. His son-in-law and other associates are also under investigation. This is your president, ladies and gentlemen. This is how Donald Trump does business, and these are the kinds of people he surrounds himself with. Mr. Trump has spent his career in the company of developers and celebrities, and also of grifters, cons, sharks, goons and crooks. He cuts corners, he lies, he cheats, he brags about it, and for the most part, he’s gotten away with it, protected by threats of litigation, hush money and his own bravado. Those methods may be proving to have their limits when they are applied from the Oval Office. Though Republican leaders in Congress still keep a cowardly silence, Mr. Trump now has real reason to be afraid. A raid on a lawyer’s office doesn’t happen every day; it means that multiple government officials, and a federal judge, had reason to believe they’d find evidence of a crime there and that they didn’t trust the lawyer not to destroy that evidence. On Monday, when he appeared with his national security team, Mr. Trump, whose motto could be, “The buck stops anywhere but here,” angrily blamed everyone he could think of for the “unfairness” of an investigation that has already consumed the first year of his presidency, yet is only now starting to heat up. He said Attorney General Jeff Sessions made “a very terrible mistake” by recusing himself from overseeing the investigation — the implication being that a more loyal attorney general would have obstructed justice and blocked the investigation. He complained about the “horrible things” that Hillary Clinton did “and all of the crimes that were committed.” He called the A-team of investigators from the office of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, “the most biased group of people.” As for Mr. Mueller himself, “we’ll see what happens,” Mr. Trump said. “Many people have said, ‘You should fire him.’” In fact, the raids on the premises used by Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, were conducted by the public corruption unit of the federal attorney’s office in Manhattan, and at the request not of the special counsel’s team, but under a search warrant that investigators in New York obtained following a referral by Mr. Mueller, who first consulted with the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. To sum up, a Republican-appointed former F.B.I. director consulted with a Republican-appointed deputy attorney general, who then authorized a referral to an F.B.I. field office not known for its anti-Trump bias. Deep state, indeed. Mr. Trump also railed against the authorities who, he said, “broke into” Mr. Cohen’s office. “Attorney-client privilege is dead!” the president tweeted early Tuesday morning, during what was presumably his executive time. He was wrong. The privilege is one of the most sacrosanct in the American legal system, but it does not protect communications in furtherance of a crime. Anyway, one might ask, if this is all a big witch hunt and Mr. Trump has nothing illegal or untoward to hide, why does he care about the privilege in the first place? The answer, of course, is that he has a lot to hide. This wasn’t even the first early-morning raid of a close Trump associate. That distinction goes to Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman and Russian oligarch-whisperer, who now faces a slate of federal charges long enough to land him in prison for the rest of his life. And what of Mr. Cohen? He’s already been cut loose by his law firm, and when the charges start rolling in, he’ll likely get the same treatment from Mr. Trump. Among the grotesqueries that faded into the background of Mr. Trump’s carnival of misgovernment during the past 24 hours was that Monday’s meeting was ostensibly called to discuss a matter of global significance: a reported chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians. Mr. Trump instead made it about him, with his narcissistic and self-pitying claim that the investigation represented an attack on the country “in a true sense.” No, Mr. Trump — a true attack on America is what happened on, say, Sept. 11, 2001. Remember that one? Thousands of people lost their lives. Your response was to point out that the fall of the twin towers meant your building was now the tallest in downtown Manhattan. Of course, that also wasn’t true. 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