[Under President Trump’s “leadership,” America is an embarrassment. We come off as a poor-me, pitiful victim of all the other countries in the world.]
— RECENT HEADLINES —
“Trump Denies Knowledge of Stormy Daniels Hush Money; Says, ‘You’ll have to ask my attorney Michael Cohen’; 1st Public Comment on Stormy by President; Stormy’s Attorney Ecstatic” (4/5/2018)
“President Still Floating Replacing AG Jeff Sessions w/ Embattled EPA Head Scott Pruitt” (4/5/2018)
“5 EPA Whistleblowers Have Been Reassigned, Pushed Out for Criticizing Pruitt’s Behavior” (4/5/2018)
“Mueller Obtained 7 Additional Search Warrants in March, Against Paul Manafort” (4/5/2018)
“Special Counsel Mueller Intensifying Focus on Trump Personal Lawyer Michael Cohen” (4/5/2018)
“Trump Threatens $100B in Additional Chinese Tariffs; Trade War Appears Imminent” (4/5/2018)
“Stock Market Drops 572 Points Amid Increasing Fears of Trade War With China” (4/6/2018)
“Trump Admin. Puts New Russian Sanctions on 7 Oligarchs and 12 of Their Companies, 17 Senior Gov’t. Officials, State-Owned Weapons Trading Company; Still no Live Statement From Trump” (4/6/2018)
“McMaster’s Last Day at WH; Security Counsel and WH Staff Give Warm, Rousing Sendoff” (4/6/2018)
“McCain Slams Trump for Signaling Syria Exit, Likely Prompting Latest Syrian Gas Attacks” (4/8/2018)
“FBI Executes No-Knock Search Warrant on Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen’s Office, Home, Hotel Room; Cohen Is Being Investigated for Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud, Campaign Finance Violations” (4/9/2018)
“President Melts Down at Cabinet Mtg. on Syria, Says FBI Cohen ‘Break-In’ Is Attack on U.S.” (4/9/2018)
“Trump Sought to Fire Robert Mueller in Dec., Talked Down by Aides; 2nd Known Time” (4/10/2018)
“Stormy Daniels Is Reported to Be Cooperating With Special Counsel Robert Mueller” (4/10/2018)
“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Begins 2 Days of Congressional Testimony; Is Evasive” (4/10/2018)
“DOJ Career Attorney Dana Boente’s Notes Corroborate James Comey’s Testimony” (4/10/2018)
“Paul Ryan Will Not Seek Re-Election, Signaling Heavy GOP Midterm Losses; Ryan’s Career Mission Was Cut Taxes on Rich, Cut Entitlements, Cut Debt/Deficit; He Got Tax Cuts, Blew up Debt” (4/11/2018)
“GOP Senators Finally Consider Introducing Bill to Protect Special Counsel Mueller” (4/11/2018)
“Mueller Looking at Cohen for Attempting to Thwart Release of Access Hollywood Tape” (4/11/2018)
“Cohen Search Warrants Contain 1st Known Mention of Trump in Any Probe Documents” (4/11/2018)
“Trump Tweet-Threatens Russia With Syria Missile Strikes: ‘Get ready, Russia’” (4/11/2018)
“WH Insiders: Trump Is Having ‘Meltdown’ Over Cohen Searches, ‘He’s losing his sh**’” (4/11/2018)
“Bannon Exhorts Trump to Cripple Mueller Probe: Stop Cooperating, Fire Rosenstein and Ty Cobb, Exert Retroactive Executive Privilege for Completed WH Interviews and Subpoenaed Documents” (4/11/2018)
“9 Days After Mueller Appt., He Ordered DOJ to Preserve all Russia, Comey Firing Records” (4/11/2018)
“Former FBI Director Comey’s Book Is Sneak-Previewed: President Trump Is Skewered” (4/12/2018)
Just after I put this article to bed, James Comey’s new book (A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership), officially due out next week, was excerpted widely across news media. It is extremely damaging to the president. Comey is the former FBI director fired by Donald last May in an effort to stop the Bureau’s Trump-Russia investigation. It goes to show: Just because you portray yourself as a phony victim doesn’t mean they’re not really out to get you.
America as Victim
Have you noticed that Donald Trump is always touting the U.S. as victim? He constantly blames and complains in the name of the United States. Trump’s America is always getting the short end of the stick. America’s friends talk behind her back and take advantage. America’s boss is trying to get her fired. America’s husband takes her for granted. America’s mother-in-law is critical of her but not the other son’s wife.
In Trump’s America, she had the worst childhood of any other country she knows. America’s dad set a 10 p.m. bedtime on school nights and grounded her for getting home late. The abuse! America’s sister always got more attention and has way more baby pictures in the family photo album. “Mom always liked you best” (— thanks to Tommy Smothers). Trump’s America lies about how bad her childhood was to garner sympathy, no matter how it hurts her parents. Trump’s America puts other countries down to lift herself up. She hurts other countries’ feelings in an attempt to make them feel as bad as she does. She’s passive-aggressive. She blames. She lies. She manipulates.
Most of us know someone with that victim mentality. Don’t you just get wholly annoyed at that person? In their mind, every bad thing that happens to them is always someone else’s fault; the world is out to get them; they don’t have control over anything; they always have the bad luck. “Poor, pitiful me.”
You know what you think of that person. You know what you’d like to say to that person: “Get your sh** together. Take responsibility. Stop bitching and moaning and complaining. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop hurting others. Get some therapy or go to a support group. Stand up for yourself. The world does not revolve around you. Goddammit, the world does not owe you!”
That’s how all the other countries view us. America looks pathetic. Under Trump’s “leadership,” we are an embarrassment. We come off as a poor-me, sorry-ass victim of all the other countries.
Mom always liked you best.
Trump as Victim
Where does this presidentially inspired national victim mentality come from?
Donald’s life story, of course. Long before he became president, some unauthorized biographer or magazine was always understating his personal wealth. Lots of jealous people accused him of not being a self-made man just because he started out with a “small” $1 million dollar business loan from his father in the 1970s. A measly million. (That would be over $6 million in today’s dollars.) (And he always knew he would inherit much of Dad’s multi-hundred-million-dollar estate, which he did in the 1990s.) Women have been out to bring him down with false accusations of sexual misconduct (even though he admitted as much during a little Access Hollywood locker room talk). Why, one woman even manipulated Donald’s personal lawyer into paying her $130,000 for not talking about a sexual affair that she didn’t have with Mr. Trump.
Among all his other annoying traits, Donald Trump is a classic victim. And like other classic victims, most everything happening to Donald right now is of his own making.
Here’s how a classic victim — this one born on third and thought he hit a triple — frames a bad situation of his own making:
“Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake [News] & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy! … No Collusion or Obstruction (other than I fight back), so now they do the Unthinkable, and RAID a lawyers office for information! BAD!”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y.; U.S. president; Twitter posts; 4/11/2018.)
Let me get this straight, Mr. President: You’re saying there was NO collusion?
First, the obligatory FACT-CHECK: Our president speaks in tweets. SAD! Second, most accurate news reporting hurts Trump, so he calls it all “fake”; most of the investigators are Republicans, as are most FBI staff; Bob Mueller is a lifelong Republican, originally appointed FBI director by George W. Bush; Rod Rosenstein is a lifelong Republican, hand-picked and appointed by Donald J. Trump; Rosenstein signed multiple FISA warrants as part of his job — Trump implies this is somehow sinister; the “RAID” (or “break-in,” as he called it earlier this week) was actually a court-ordered, warranted search — approved by top DOJ officials and a U.S. attorney’s office who are convinced there is solid evidence of crimes.
Finally, it’s “Democratic loyalists,” Mr. President, not “Democrat loyalists.”
Are we clear? Crystal?
What Goes Around …
The fruits of President Trump’s self-fulfilling victimhood are coming home to roost on the mast of his sailed ship — to thoroughly mix my metaphors. Yes, his presidency has been drenched in the taint of illegitimacy from the beginning. But that’s because the evidence shows it’s likely he and his team cheated to win the election. Yes, he has hordes of women credibly accusing him of sexual transgressions. But that’s because he defamed the early ones as liars, said some of them were too unattractive for him to molest, and was caught admitting to sexual assault when he didn’t know the tape was rolling.
Donald Trump is a victim now. But he brought his troubles on himself, as classic victims do. Most of what we know about the inner workings of the current White House comes from a consistent gush of leaks from his mistreated, frightened staff and not-so-confidential confidants who either are genuinely afraid for the country or enjoy giving Trump his comeuppance. The president is a victim of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from all-things Russia because Donald set the tone early for Sessions and other campaign aides to bend, and break, the law. In the NFL they call this the “bend-and-break offense.”
Here’s how a classic victim — galactically in over his head as president — could start an unnecessary catastrophic war:
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y.; U.S. president; Twitter post; 4/11/2018.)
As Donald Trump’s victimhood of his own making crashes down around him, he reacts by taunting one of our major nuclear adversaries. As one White House source described it, Trump is having a “meltdown.” “He’s losing his sh**.”
Donald is the victim of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into conspiracy with Russia to alter a presidential election, because Trump and his team have had 70-some suspicious contacts with Russian nationals, then lied about and covered up those contacts. Donald is the victim of Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice because Donald has blatantly obstructed justice by 1) first pressuring, then firing FBI Director James Comey to impede the Russia probe, and 2) systematically discrediting, firing, and/or hounding out of office the high-level FBI and DOJ officials who will be called to substantiate Comey’s testimony — that the president did indeed obstruct justice.
Trump earned this.
Donald is the victim of a U.S. attorney’s no-knock search warrants executed on the office, home, and hotel room of his personal lawyer and so-called fixer for the past 12 years, Michael Cohen. This is because it’s evident to anyone with a brain that Mr. Trump likely has been involved with shady business dealings (and shady characters) during his years in business, many likely facilitated by Cohen. And shady is being generous.
Trump earned this.
As is well-known since the April 9 Cohen premises searches — to anyone who watches cable news or reads a newspaper — a search warrant against anyone’s personal lawyer is extremely rare. And these search warrants, against the president’s personal lawyer, apparently required sign-offs by the deputy attorney general (because the attorney general is recused), other ranking lawyers in the Department of Justice, and the U.S. attorney of the Southern District of New York. Investigators had to get all those officials to agree there was cause, then had to supply detailed, powerful evidence of crimes to persuade a federal judge to issue the warrants.
Because Donald conspired with Russians to get elected and wanted to cover it up, he fired FBI Director Comey (ostensibly for being mean to Hillary Clinton). This produced the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump subsequently has been investigated for obstruction of justice because, among additional reasons, he spilled the beans to television journalist Lester Holt about the real reason he fired Comey (“this Rusher [sic] thing”), then bragged about same to Russians visiting the White House. Oh, and he dangled pardons for potential grand jury witnesses.
While Mueller was investigating Trump for Russian collusion and obstruction, he came across seemingly unrelated Michael Cohen crimes. Mueller passed those off to a U.S. attorney who now is investigating Cohen for bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations. Michael Cohen had one client between 2006 and 2017, Donald Trump. For which one client do you suppose he carried out fraudulent bank deals? For which one client would you guess Cohen made fraudulent wire transactions? And for which one client do you suppose Mr. Cohen committed campaign finance violations?
President Trump made his own bed, had prostitutes urinate on it, and now must sleep in it.
He earned this.
Mr. Mueller, Please Save Us From Our Trumpian Nightmare
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the country turns its weary eyes to you. We are tired of President Trump’s crimes and other atrocities. Every thinking person who is paying attention knows that Donald Trump is a danger to American democracy and that he and his Cabinet are dismantling the future safety and security of the United States. It is all on you, Bob.
It’s interesting to speculate what must be going through Special Counsel Mueller’s mind. He knows, like every other thoughtful person following the news, that Trump is destroying the presidency and seriously endangering the country. Yet he must remain preternaturally neutral while conducting his probe. You know there is a part of him that loathes Donald and everything he stands for. Yet Mueller must remain impartial.
By all accounts, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the absolute best choice in picking Bob Mueller for special counsel: He’s a Republican; Princeton grad.; former (second-longest serving) FBI director, who served admirably from the immediate aftermath of 9/11 to 2013; Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient during the Vietnam War; former U.S. attorney; former asst. attorney general for the Criminal Division; former acting deputy AG.
Still, he must be under colossal pressure to get it right. One part of him knows Trump must be taken down for the good of the country. But that part must be compartmentalized in his mind, to get it right. He must shut out of his brain what he knows to be true — that Trump is a dire threat to America — so he can remain unbiased and only follow the facts.
Every week that goes by brings more presidential carnage. Many of us are getting impatient with the special counsel: we average news-consuming citizens can see that Donald is guilty of several crimes, and probably many more. We rail that Trump is damaging the presidency for decades to come, which he is. But Mueller must do his work systematically, steadily, and without prejudice — as impossible as that seems. He must get it right for it to stick, to end the Trump presidency and begin to restore our faith in government.
If Special Counsel Robert Mueller gets this right, he will be no less an American hero than Abraham Lincoln, Ida B. Wells, Alice Paul, or Martin Luther King Jr. ■