I was in a plane most of yesterday, and now I’m on weird West Coast time, so my brain is behind and also confused, so let’s catch up on politics with a Morning Briefing at midday:
— This morning, Trump is attempting to smear James Comey’s name again, probably because Trump’s lawyers just made their case to Bob Mueller that Trump shouldn’t be charged with obstruction of justice and, in doing so, questioning the reliability of James Comey as a witness. Hence, this tweet:
Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over…and so much more. A rigged system!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2017
OK, a couple of things. I’ll let Comey’s friend Benjamin Wittes take care of the first:
This may come as a shock to Grassley and Graham and Trump, but judges sometimes do a memo/draft about an opinion before oral argument. /7/— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) September 1, 2017
Smart people think ahead and prepare. That appears to be an alien notion to our current President, but that's likely what happened here. /8/— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) September 1, 2017
And number two: Trump’s “justification” for firing James Comey was that he was too hard on Hillary Clinton. And now he wants to say the “system is rigged” because he thinks Comey was too easy on her? Also, HER EMAILS, FOR FUCK’S SAKE. This man, who completely disregards political norms, ethical boundaries and the Constitution, and who lies on a per-minute basis, wants to discredit a potential witness against him because that witness prepared something in advance?
Get the fuck outta here.
— Meanwhile, speaking of the Russian probe, Bob Mueller is also joining forces with the IRS to go after Trump and his henchman, and guess what the IRS has access to? Trump’s tax returns. Also, the IRS works exclusively on financial crimes like tax evasion and money laundering, so you know something else insidious is cooking.
— We’re getting mixed signals on DACA. Fox News yesterday reported that Trump had plans to end it. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that no decision has been made. Meanwhile, some moderate Republicans are attempting to pass legislation to prevent it from ending, but while they probably have the votes in the Senate, it’s less likely to pass in the House, where there are more
— Heh heh
It looks like Trump has accidentally liked a tweet that says he's not presidential material. pic.twitter.com/F6X1HrpjtL— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) September 1, 2017
— The Washington Post reported yesterday — citing sources within the White House — that Donald Trump hates the rigid structure that John Kelly has put in place in the White House, that he still sneaks in phone calls to Bannon when Kelly isn’t around, and hates the impression that’s given that he’s being managed like a toddler.
That explains these tweets:
General John Kelly is doing a great job as Chief of Staff. I could not be happier or more impressed - and this Administration continues to..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2017
…get things done at a record clip. Many big decisions to be made over the coming days and weeks. AMERICA FIRST!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2017
In other words, Donald Trump is thinking about firing John Kelly.
— This is potentially a big deal: NBC News reported yesterday that Paul Manafort made notes on his smart phone from that June 9th meeting last year with Russians that included the words “donations” and “RNC” close to each other. Donations from foreign entities are, of course, illegal. Also, this is important because Don Jr. tried to downplay the meeting by suggesting that Manafort wasn’t paying attention because he was on his phone the entire time. Well, yes: He was making notes, dumbass.
— Finally, it’s Friday before Labor Day, so be prepared for an onslaught of unpleasant breaking news this evening, when folks are paying the least amount of attention. My worry is that Trump will decide to end DACA and/or pardon Julian Assange or something around 9 p.m. tonight.