Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cancers (UPDATED)

-- Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of malignant brain cancer. We've had many things to say about him over the years, but in this particular fight, we wish him well.

-- Another malignant cancer, Donald "Rump" Trump, sat down with New York Times reporters and had a lot of things to say (transcript here):
President Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.”  [Ed.: note the third person "the president."]
In a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters, Mr. Trump complained that Mr. Sessions’s decision ultimately led to the appointment of a special counsel that should not have happened. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Mr. Trump said. [Ed.: he would have picked someone who would have gladly obstructed the investigation at his request.]
In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, the president also accused James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in May, of trying to leverage a dossier of compromising material to keep his job. Mr. Trump criticized both the acting F.B.I. director who has been filling in since Mr. Comey’s dismissal and the deputy attorney general who recommended it. And he took on Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel now leading the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election. 
Mr. Trump said Mr. Mueller was running an office rife with conflicts of interest and warned investigators against delving into matters too far afield from Russia. Mr. Trump never said he would order the Justice Department to fire Mr. Mueller, nor would he outline circumstances under which he might do so. But he left open the possibility as he expressed deep grievance over an investigation that has taken a political toll in the six months since he took office. 
Asked if Mr. Mueller’s investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look at his family’s finances beyond any relationship to Russia, Mr. Trump said, “I would say yes.” He would not say what he would do about it. “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.” *  [Ed.: sounds like more obstruction of justice.]  (our emphasis)
If one needed a purer demonstration of a malignant, sociopathic narcissist in action, look no further than this interview (which we would bet was taken against the advice of his legal team).

His transactions with others (Sessions in this case) are judged purely on what's good for him, Rump, and provides yet another example of his willingness to throw even his closest aides under the bus if they don't demonstrate "loyalty." His corrupt, criminal mind imagines James Comey was actually trying to get leverage over him with the "pee tape dossier" (projection, much?). Finally, he issues a not- so- veiled threat to Robert Mueller not to look into the Rump family finances (too late!), which is of course the only place to look to get a clear picture of the extent to which Putin has his claws into him -- not, as he disingenuously claims in the interview, because he has no investments in Russia, but because they hold financial leverage over him.

Something about this interview suggests that maybe he's aware of another big shoe about to drop and is getting his distracting story lines out. We'll soon find out. (UPDATE: Maybe this is the shoe they knew was going to drop.)

BONUS: Scott Lemieux goes through the interview and finds a deeply ignorant, self- absorbed, excessively odd Man Baby -- but then, we already knew that.  Good read.

* Or as the folks at Wonkette describe it, "Well, Trump didn’t produce a map with a red “X” and say, 'Mueller better not dig here, because that is definitely NOT where the bodies are buried.'” 

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