Turns out America's journalists and pundits may have finally figured out that Trump isn't mentally deficient or suffering from dementia, he's really an awful racist narcissist manipulative asshole who knows exactly what he's doing with his tirades: stoking the flames of rage in order to save his ass from prison.
Over the past 24 hours, President Trump has delivered a concentrated dose of misinformation, self-sabotage, hypocrisy, and bigotry that stands out even by the standards of his short and eventful political career.
The president blew up negotiations to fund the government with a tweet attacking Democratic congressional leaders. He retweeted inflammatory and misleading anti-Islam videos from a bigoted far-right British politician. He joked about presenting a “Fake News Trophy” to media networks. He called attention to Matt Lauer, the NBC host fired on Wednesday for sexual misconduct, despite Trump’s own past admissions of sexual assault. He baselessly implied that NBC host Joe Scarborough, a onetime informal adviser, might have been involved in the death of an intern years ago in Florida. And several outlets reported that the president privately continues to claim preposterous things, including that it wasn’t him on the Access Hollywood tape and that Barack Obama really wasn’t born in the United States.
It’s unclear what precipitated the meltdown. Trump was having a decent stretch in office, including relatively smooth progress for the GOP tax bill. Taken individually, none of these examples is all that unusual for Trump. His bigotry toward Muslims has been on display for years. He has blown up budget negotiations before. He frequently passes along unverified and false information. His hypocrisy about sexual-harassment allegations is not new. He has a weakness for conspiracy theories.
Taken together, however, they offer yet another display of poor judgment and divisive leadership from the putative leader of the free world, and they again cast doubt on his fitness for his office. They are also further evidence that Trump’s hypocrisy, bigotry, and dishonesty are not an act. He means it all.
On Tuesday, North Korea launched what appears to be its most powerful rocket yet, one it claims is capable of reaching the East Coast of the United States. There’s no time when it’s safe for a nation to have a leader who cannot grapple with reality, but it is especially dangerous at a moment when a nuclear adversary is brandishing ever more powerful rockets at the United States.
The videos that Trump retweeted were from Jayda Fransen, the leader of the far-right political party Britain First. Fransen was convicted last year of harassing a Muslim woman for wearing a hijab. The three videos that Trump retweeted are a mixed bag. The first, labeled, “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!” depicts an attack by supporters of the deposed Islamist president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, on a young man; his killer was later hanged. The second is labeled “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” According to Dutch media reports, however, none of the people involved are Muslims. The provenance of the third, labeled “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” is unclear; it shows a man crushing a ceramic statue, and has no apparent point beyond inflaming anger at Muslims. The office of British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned Trump for retweeting the videos.
Trump has no hesitations about inflaming anger toward Muslims, and in fact he revels in it. But while some supporters wrote off such behavior as politicking during the campaign, Trump’s persistence now indicates a more deep-seated bigotry. His continued provocations also hurt his cause. His tweets about the “Muslim ban” on immigration have already caused judges to rule against the order in court, and Neal Katyal, a lawyer arguing against the ban, suggested Wednesday that he’ll use the latest tweets against Trump as well.
He doesn't care. He believes he will ultimately be vindicated as the greatest leader in human history. But if you want to know what set this tirade off, you don't have to look far at all.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has postponed an anticipated grand jury testimony linked to his investigation into Michael Flynn amid growing indications of possible plea deal discussions.
Additional witnesses were expected to be questioned soon including a public relations consultant hired by Flynn's lobbying firm who was given an early December date deadline to appear before the grand jury, according to a person at the company.
Ahead of the delay, the impression was that the testimony needed to happen soon, the source said.
"Time seems to be of the essence," said the source at Sphere Consulting, the PR firm where the consultant worked.
The grand jury testimony was postponed, the person said, with no reason given. There could be many reasons for a delay, including scheduling issues.
Every time it seems there's another story about Robert Mueller closing in on Trump, he blows up. The more scared Trump is, the worse the meltdown, and this is the worst tirade Trump has been on yet.
Sphere's government relations arm, SGR LLC Government Relations and Lobbying, is one of several companies Flynn Intel Group hired to work for Inovo BV, a Netherlands-based company owned by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, according to filing made by Flynn Intel Group under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Inovo hired Flynn to research Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of being behind the 2016 attempted military coup to overthrow him, the filing said.
Inovo paid Flynn's group $530,000 for the research, which was supposed result in a video documentary but it was never finished. Sphere's SGR was paid $40,000.
Sphere has been cooperating for months with the investigation. The inquiry was originally opened before the appointment of the special counsel, according to the source. Sphere, which was subpoenaed around June, was described as "a cooperating witness at best." Sphere has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Interviews conducted by special counsel investigators have included questions about the business dealings of Flynn and his son such as their firm's reporting of income from work overseas, two witnesses interviewed by the team told CNN. The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires people acting as agents of foreign entities to publicly disclose their relationship with foreign countries or businesses and financial compensation for such work.
There's no doubt that Flynn and his son are looking at a lifetime behind bars here...unless they can offer Mueller up a bigger fish. It's very possible that fish is Jared Kushner or Jeff Sessions, but I'm betting it's Trump himself.
Today's behavior by Trump, given the stories this week of Flynn's plea deal, makes total sense. He's scared out of his mind and lashing out as everyone he hates, Muslims, the media, North Korea, you name it. He knows what's coming.
So does Mueller.