The temptation to compare what we’re seeing these first few weeks of Trump’s presidency to Nixon and Watergate is irresistible. Via the UK Independent:
Carl Bernstein, whose reporting with Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee helped expose the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, has told his 26,000 Twitter followers: “The most dangerous ‘enemy of the people’ is presidential lying – always. Attacks on the press by Donald Trump [are] more treacherous than Nixon’s.”
Apparently questioning Trump’s mental stability, Bernstein added: “Real news (not fake) is that Donald Trump is trying to make conduct of the press the issue instead of egregious (and unhinged) conduct of POTUS [President of the United States].”
Donald Trump’s brain and his way of doing business have been the human forerunner of Snapchat for his entire 40 years in public life. We just didn’t know to call it that. Thoughtlessness and statements and insults spill out of him, have their desired effect, then disappear from his head within seconds, replaced by the next round. They may linger and do damage like unexploded land mines for everyone else, but for him they’re just stepping stones to the next snap. In coincidentally perfect Art of the Deal symmetry, SNAP is now available for public investment as a stock the same week that the minute-to-minute transactional simplicity of Donald Trump is collapsing all around him.
I’ve been waiting, as have many, for the collective weight of all the lying to be like that unavoidable bullet pass to the face that implants “Spalding” on your cheek. The reality, the pain, it hurts… but you dare not cry. It feels a bit different this time. However, there have been dozens of moments of “this is it… this is a line he crossed that he’ll finally never recover from” the past two years, so nothing is certain. Will the gutless, spineless propaganda machine on behalf of Trump at Fox that generates these kinds of fake fair and balanced headlines fend off the dogs, as in the past:
I doubt it this time. Misunderstanding? Sure….
I believe this is how the Greatest Con Ever Sold spun out of Trump’s control:
Always remembering that he hides his tax returns because they surely show business and financial relationships with Russia that truly would have killed his candidacy and possibly those deals and future deals themselves, Trump went down a dangerous road where he thought he couldn’t lose. As initial feelers of support came from Putin and Co, he allowed and encouraged that support via the nonstop Wikileaks Democratic email reveals, looked the other way while associates and subordinates like Paul Manafort, Jeff Sessions, and Michael Flynn kept the highway clear with meetings… and in the end, the winkidink on sanctions. No problem, Trump must have thought, since there was no way he’d win the general election anyway and no one investigates a loser’s tactics. But why worry since his business/financial relations with the Russian regime would be hugely strengthened by the comraderie fortified during the losing-but-noble campaign. In other words, I’ll either be president, or I’ll be even richer than I am. A Donald win-win…. for Campaign Trump or the Trump Organization. Of course we now can see that the either/or analysis turns out to be a false choice, since Trump is shamelessly using the office of the presidency to not only be president, but to get rich. That easily explains his admiration for and his reluctance to criticize Putin and Mother Russia.
Josh Marshall puts out an important piece on Michael Cohen, Trump’s secretive lawyer, consigliere and his real conduit to Russia and Ukraine.
Trump has repeatedly insisted he has no loans from the Russia and no ‘deals’ in Russia. There is no specific evidence to refute his claims. But Trump’s real need has been for investment capital and wealthy people to purchase units in his luxury projects or those to which he licenses his name. And there is voluminous evidence for both.
Press attention has tended to focus on people like Carter Page and Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn. But Cohen plays a far more central role in this era of Trump’s business history than these others. He is also the only one who shows up clearly acting as a go-between to the President for someone trying to shift administration policy to reduce or eliminate sanctions on Russia.
Like Watergate, it will get down to Howard Baker’s famous question, “What did the president know, and when did he know it?” Except this time, it will not take several years to get the answer.