Recapping the Extraordinarily Surreal Last 24 Hours in Politics
Yesterday, much of the country woke up to a series of Donald Trump tweets that amounted to witness tampering where he accused Sally Yates of leaking incriminating evidence against his National Security Advisor to the press.
He also used council instead of counsel. This necessitated that the President of the United States be corrected by the Merriam Webster dictionary.
Trump eventually deleted and retweeted it with the spelling corrected because I guess he was embarrassed about confusing council with counsel, but not embarrassed about witness tampering.
After that, and over the next few hours, we found out that President Obama himself warned Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn, something that the White House did not deny. Rather, the White House insisted that they thought President Obama was just joking around — that the warning was said in “jest,” and that Obama couldn’t be taken seriously about Michael Flynn because he’d fired him in 2014.
Nevertheless, Sean Spicer went in front of the press a couple of hours later and continued to try and blame Michael Flynn on President Obama, saying that it was Obama’s fault that Flynn was Trump’s National Security Advisor because the Obama White House had issued Flynn a security clearance years before, which meant — to the lazy Trump transition team — that they didn’t need to do any further vetting. It should be noted, however, that Michael Flynn — who was the first major figure to support Trump’s candidacy — was up for a number of positions within the White House, but Trump specifically chose one that did not require Senate confirmation.
If the day had ended there, it would have been extraordinary, but then Sally Yates provided testimony to the Senate. Much of what she did was simply confirm what we already knew: That she warned the White House that the Russians had leverage over Michael Flynn, and that Michael Flynn had lied to Vice President Pence. She asked that the White House “take action.” They took action by asking Yates if she planned to bring a criminal case against Flynn and asking her why it was her business if one person in the White House lied to another person in the White House. Yates basically put the ball in the White House’s hands. The White House took the ball and hid it in a closet until two weeks later, when The Washington Post revealed this same information, forcing Trump to fire Michael Flynn — who Trump knew had conversations with a Russian foreign agent and lied to his Vice President. Nevertheless, Donald Trump came out and said that Flynn was a good guy who was the subject of a witch hunt.
The biggest question remaining after Yates’ testimony is why Trump didn’t fire Flynn as soon as he found out that he’d been talking to the Russians and had lied to the VP about it. We know why, and Al Franken — during the hearing — basically said as much: Because Trump not only knew about this before Yates warned him, but Flynn probably spoke to the Russian official on Trump’s orders because the Trump Administration had likely colluded with the Russians to sabotage a Presidential election.
The highlight of the hearing, however, was seeing Sally Yates absolutely school not one, but two Texan Senators who tried to out-lawyer a career DOJ attorney. It did not go well.
Imagine being Sally Yates’s kid and trying to pull off a lie about where you were last night— Michael Crowley (@michaelcrowley) May 8, 2017
One other note from the hearing: James Clapper shut down Trump and the GOP’s argument that Clapper had said he knew of no collusion between the Russians and the Trump administration because — as Clapper noted — he didn’t know about the FBI counterintelligence investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia until March 20th, so he couldn’t have known. That did not stop Trump, however, from repeating that statement IN THE HEADER OF HIS TWITTER ACCOUNT. The quote was laid over the entire House GOP, which gave the impression that the House Republicans were in agreement with what Trump knew to be a false statement.
Trump — or someone on his staff — deleted the header photo overnight.
The White House was humiliated by Sally Yates’ testimony, and anyone who watched the hearing knew as much. Anyone who watched the news also knew as much, except for people who watch Fox News, who probably knew very little about the biggest story of the day.
The world of Fox programming in the Trump era is endlessly fascinating. https://t.co/eyreHojiPn— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) May 9, 2017
However, I will concede that, this morning, the Fox News website does seem to highlight a couple of important points from yesterday, which is that Trump had a very bad day and that Michael Flynn did a very bad thing.
Their top story this morning is also worth noting. Pro Publica learned that last week, when James Comey said that Huma Abedin had forwarded “hundreds of thousands of emails” to her husband Anthony Weiner’s computer to be printed for Hillary Clinton that he misspoke. What he meant by “hundreds of thousands of emails” was a “handful of emails.” The FBI is currently trying to figure out how to make this correction without throwing James Comey under the bus, although whoever provided this information to Pro Publica has already thrown James Comey under the bus.
This is a big story, although it is noteworthy that Fox News gave its top story not to Michael Flynn’s treason and Donald Trump’s attempt to cover it up but to Hillary Clinton’s emails, a subject that Ted Cruz inexplicably raised again during yesterday’s Senate hearing into the Russian sabotage of our election.
The National Security Advisor illegally spoke to a Russian agent, Trump tried to cover it up for 18 days, and the top story on Fox News is about emails.
Here, however, is the cherry on top of an already surreal fucking day.
First Hillary, now Marine. It's 2017 and the patriarchy's grip is as strong as ever.— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) May 9, 2017
You have got to be kidding me.
p.s. Bill Clinton also teamed up with James Patterson to write a thriller called The President Is Missing, because the day wasn’t weird enough already.
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