And with Trump and Putin, there is this very strange way in which Trump constantly forgives Putin for his bad actions. He dismisses accusations against Putin. He says – he finds alternate explanations. Just to give you a couple quick examples, we have all followed the story of the Russian hacking during this election. And Trump has been very reluctant to admit that this actually happened. You know, and he said, you never know. It could be a 400-pound guy sitting on his mother’s bed.
But it goes back much farther. You know, when Trump was asked about whether Putin has political opponents and journalists killed, Trump said, well, you don’t know that. People say that he does it. But I don’t know if it’s true. When the passenger jet MH17 was shot down over Ukraine a couple of years ago, and international investigation concluded, this was supported by all kinds of Western intelligence agencies – that the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatists using a missile supplied by Moscow. Trump was asked about that. And he said, well, people say that. But you don’t know.
And there’s other theories out there. Even the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian who drank polonium from a tea cup in London and died after that – he was a big Putin critic. Trump has been asked about that – same thing. We don’t know. We don’t know. He seems almost, you know, willfully blind to this pattern of Putin’s actions in a way that doesn’t add up. It makes you think that there’s something going on that we don’t completely understand. And that’s really frustrating and, I think, for a lot of people, very troubling.
President Trump has never shown any reluctance to sacrifice a surrogate to serve a short-term political need
.. Vice President Mike Pence, who was part of the small group of advisers who planned Mr. Comey’s ouster in near secrecy.
.. it is not clear what type of changes Mr. Trump is prepared to make or who he can draw as a replacement. In the short term, Mr. Trump and his team have focused their energies on a familiar fixation — rooting out leaks in the leaky West Wing.
.. The president, said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, “resembles a quarterback who doesn’t call a huddle and gets ahead of his offensive line so nobody can block him and defend him because nobody knows what the play is.”
.. He has been especially critical of Mr. Spicer, they said, openly musing about replacing him and telling people in his circle that he kept his own press secretary out of the loop in dismissing Mr. Comey until the last possible moment because he feared that the communications staff would leak the news.
.. Mr. Trump has raised the Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle to allies as a possible press secretary
.. Those who have managed to stay in Mr. Trump’s orbit over a period of time have developed unique adaptation skills.
Campaign aides learned not to lean too much on his accounts of events, steering away from unequivocal public pronouncements unless they could point to his words.
.. a sense, associates say, that a tacit agreement exists between him and the people who work for him: In exchange for the wealth, fame and power he conveys to them, they agree to absorb incoming fire directed at him.
.. “With Mr. Trump, it’s pretty simple: Once he makes up his mind on something, that’s it,” said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump political adviser who remains close to the president’s team.
“You either work for him” or quit
Republicans distrust many in the news media and see it as an institution that has decided to undermine an outsider president in return for website clicks and subscriptions.
They see news organizations working in concert with forces actively seeking to derail if not destroy the first Republican administration in eight years. Speaker Paul D. Ryan echoed that theme on Wednesday.
“It is obvious there are some people out there who want to harm the president,” he told reporters.
Trump Is Delivering
Like many of the voters in their states and districts, congressional Republicans are happy with the steps being taken by the Trump administration on immigration, crime, trade and deregulation. They see the president through an entirely different lens than that of his fierce critics.
“He’s an outsider in this process as I am, and I will tell you I give him high marks in the first four months in office,” Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia and a Trump ally, told Fox News on Tuesday. “This is a president that is beginning to reassert the national interests of America.”
Fear of a Special Counsel
Republicans remain skeptical that agreeing to a special counsel would in any way lower the temperature on the controversy raging around the White House.
Instead, they worry that moving in that direction might only inflame the situation
It is highly likely that we are witnessing a tectonic shift in the conduct of U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy. A populist movement across the United States, driven by perceived corruption and inequality, culminated in the election of Donald Trump. As is typical of populist leaders, Trump is attempting to consolidate power within his immediate circle. Trump’s approach is to discard traditional policy-making processes, then amplify his choices through social media in order to garner support.
- Trump appears to be engaging in a strategy of undermining long-standing impartial U.S. Government institutions that are cornerstones of the national security and foreign policy apparatus. His tactics include public criticism, discounting the validity or worth of the organizations, and extreme budget cuts.
- .. The opposition Democratic Party, while vocal, remains largely ineffective. The Democrats have lost seats in Congress and state government for the last 7 years.
- .. A national wire service later reported the decision was made as a result of Mr. Comey’s unwillingness to preview testimony he gave before the U.S. Congress last week.
- .. Trump’s lack of discretion on Twitter creates a rich source of direct insight into how he processes information and handles the challenges of governing.
The Republican-controlled Congress does not exhibit signs of restraining the Presidents’ agenda. Despite predictions of U.S. political scientists and others following the U.S. presidential election, the Republican-controlled Congress has not, to date, restrained Mr. Trump.
- .. Trump had adopted an aggressive approach towards Congress, including one-time Republican allies. Trump publicly issues harsh criticisms of member who he perceives as opposing or questioning his vision or agenda. As with other public communications, Mr. Trump’s preferred method is through Twitter.
- .. Members of Congress are more likely to be sensitive to the public opinion than Mr. Trump is.