As I've told you many times now, Donald Trump is driven by malignant narcissism and petty revenge, and now that he believes the worst is over on the Mueller report, he is now coming for those who he feels have wronged him.
For nearly two years, the Mueller probe had been a source of great anxiety and stress in the halls of the West Wing. Some staffers hired lawyers to help them navigate the investigation, and many were fearful of becoming ensnared based on what they might overhear or witness. They described Mueller’s findings as a best-case scenario that would buttress the president’s mood, solidify Republican support and allow Trump to present a better message for reelection.
“What they do is they clear the deck for there to be an evaluation based upon his record as president,” said former New Jersey governor Chris Christie (R), a Trump ally, who called it a “very good day” for the president. “It lifts a cloud that was over the White House for the entire time he was there.”
Within an hour of learning the findings, Trump called for an investigation of his critics and cast himself as a victim. Aides say Trump plans to highlight the cost of the probe and call for organizations to fire members of the media and former government officials who he believes made false accusations about him, while aggressively mocking his critics and one of his favored enemies, the news media.
“Hopefully somebody is going to be looking at the other side,” Trump said, describing the Mueller investigation as “an illegal takedown that failed.”
“It’s a shame that our country had to go through this,” Trump said. “To be honest, it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this.”
White House aides and Trump allies moved quickly to take advantage of the moment. Campaign officials released a lengthy video called “Collusion Hoax!” and White House officials issued a flurry of talking points that defended the president while attacking Democrats.
Republican National Committee officials issued a long set of “talking points” that delineated the cost of the probe — $50,230 per day for 675 days, in their calculation — and attacked the news media and Democrats for extensively focusing on the investigation.
Aides and Trump allies said they believe the findings will bolster the credibility of the president — who traffics in untruths and conspiracy theories — while also undermining Democrats, some of whom have predicted that Trump would be found guilty of conspiring with the Russians and obstructing Mueller’s investigation.
If you thought the attacks on our free press were bad before -- and let's not forget Trump's hatred drove people to shoot up newsrooms and attempt to mail bomb journalists -- now Trump is feeling fully in his rage wheelhouse.
The demands to fire his critics will not end, not in our burgeoning autocracy.