Morning Briefing: Welcome to Day 432 of Your Waking Nightmare
— With all the news that has broken in the last couple of days, this is my favorite story: Despite Donald Trump’s protestations to the contrary, no one wants to be his lawyer in the Mueller probe. Everyone says they are “conflicted out.” The conspiracy theories lawyers he announced he would hire backed out; Ted Olson was like “Fuck off,” and two more lawyers rejected him earlier this week.
So Donald Trump hires the only guy who he can find to work for him, a guy named Andrew J. Ekonomou. What kind of experience does he have? Well, no criminal defense experience. He has no D.C. experience. He’s never worked for a major law firm. But he does have a Ph.D. in medieval history, and according to TPM, his law firm “specializes in bringing civil and criminal forfeiture proceedings against convenience store owners accused of running video poker machines.”
That’s Trump’s new lead attorney.
He is so fucked.
It’s particularly bad timing, too, because the guy he just fired — John Dowd — reportedly discussed pardoning Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort while they were under investigation. That’s just one more piece of evidence to toss into the mounting pile in the case for obstruction of justice.
— Meanwhile, the Emoluments lawsuit against Trump moves ahead, and for that, Trump can partially thank Maine Governor Paul LePage. The judge cited LePage’s stay at a Trump hotel in ruling that the lawsuit could proceed. LePage himself was furious with the ruling. “I didn’t realize I could buy the president so cheap, a night in his hotel and he’s in my back pocket,” LePage told the station. “That’s all I’m gonna say. The judge that did that is an imbecile! He’s a complete imbecile. That’s all I can tell you.
With this lawsuit, the Mueller probe, Stormy, the defamation lawsuit, and the Karen McDougal lawsuit, Trump is eventually going to have to be deposed or testify. When that happens?
— As expected, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, was finally fired by Trump. He did not go quietly, writing in an op-ed in the NYTimes:
“The environment in Washington has turned so toxic, chaotic, disrespectful and subversive that it became impossible for me to accomplish the important work that our veterans need and deserve… I am proud of my record and know that I acted with the utmost integrity. Unfortunately, none of that mattered. As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country.”
His replacement? Ronny Jackson, Trump’s personal physician, who has zero qualifications. From Axios:
Nobody in the White House that Jonathan Swan has spoken to can satisfactorily answer the question of how his personal White House physician is qualified to run the second largest agency in the federal government, and one of the most consequential and dysfunctional institutions in America. The most anyone seems to be able to offer is that Trump loves him, thinks he’s generically “great,” and did a fabulous job on TV presenting a rosy picture of Trump’s health to the country.
There’s speculation that Jackson will not even be confirmed, but at least it wasn’t this guy:
Trump's doctor looks like the guy who prescribes you weed without even hearing your fake excuse. pic.twitter.com/PZB8gzSdBE— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) August 26, 2016
— If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Laura Ingraham trashing a high school kid because he wasn’t accepted into UCLA:
Are you really picking on a teenager who just watched his classmates die in pools of their own blood less than two months ago?— Brooke Binkowski (@brooklynmarie) March 28, 2018
In 20 years, that kid is gonna have power over Laura Ingraham in some way. I can’t wait to see how he wields it.