Trump is damaged most, not by sabotage, but by self-revelation.
.. The president has recently taunted FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for “racing the clock to retire with full benefits,”
- attacked the “Deep State Justice Department,” taken credit for the lack of commercial airline crashes,
- urged“Jail!” for former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, called for the sacking of two journalists,
- claimed the news media will eventually “let me win” reelection to keep up their ratings,
- displayed a sputtering inability to describe his own health-care reform plan,
- claimed that a cold snap disproves global warming,
- boasted of having “a much bigger & more powerful” nuclear button than Kim Jong Un,
- tried to prevent the publication of Wolff’s book,
- and insisted he is “like, really smart” and “a very stable genius.”
.. More likely, Trump is exhibiting a set of compulsions and delusions that have characterized his entire adult life. You can’t have declining judgment that never existed. You can’t lose a grasp on reality you never possessed. What is most striking is not Trump’s disintegration but his utter consistency.
.. If the secret tape of a president threatening a private citizen with jail were leaked, it would be a scandal. With Trump, it is just part of his shtick.
.. The president’s defenders, in perpetual pursuit of the bright side, argue for the value of unpredictability in political leadership — which is true enough. But Trump is not unpredictable. He is predictable in ways that make him vulnerable to exploitation.
He is easy to flatter, easy to provoke and thus easy to manipulate.
.. The Chinese have made an art of this
.. “I like very much President Xi,” Trump has said. “He treated me better than anybody’s ever been treated in the history of China.” Contrast this with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has treated Trump like an adult with arguments and criticism. Big mistake.
.. Trump has revealed a thick streak of authoritarianism. “I have [an] absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department,” he insists.
- .. “Libel laws are very weak in this country,”
- Rivals are not only to be defeated; they should be imprisoned.
- Critics are not to be refuted; they should be fired.
- Investigations are not to be answered; they should be shut down.
.. we are depending on the strength of those institutions, not the self-restraint of the president, to safeguard democracy.
.. At the beginning, they could engage in wishful thinking about Trump’s fitness. Now they must know he is not emotionally equipped to be president. Yet, they also know this can’t be admitted, lest they be accused of letting down their partisan team.
.. GOP leaders are engaged in an intentional deception, pretending the president is a normal and capable leader.
.. they will, eventually, be exposed. And by then, the country may not be in a forgiving mood.
Abedin has been around so long (she started her career as an intern in the First Lady’s office) she’s become more than a body woman.
She is now Clinton’s external hard drive.
When it comes to Clinton’s complicated web of relationships with donors, elected officials, union members, and longtime supporters, Abedin is where all of that information is stored — she knows who needs a phone call or a personal visit to feel heard and come on board, who can be acknowledged merely in a Tweet, and who is a lost cause for Clinton.
.. In the thousands of emails released by WikiLeaks so far, Abedin is rarely found offering her own suggestions about campaign strategy, or yet another opinion on framing language for one of Clinton’s speeches.
Instead, she simply channels the boss, manages the boss, or serves as a very Clinton-specific Google search of a human being — the fastest way for the rest of the campaign’s top brass to find who and what Clinton wants and knows. In short, she comes across in the email as the invaluable, irreplaceable uber-assistant of every powerful person’s dreams.
.. While attorney Cheryl Mills and Podesta circulated a headline from People Magazine about Al Gore declining to endorse Clinton for president, Abedin already had the inside scoop.
“Yes he warned us,” she responded. “This was months ago, close to beginning of campaign.”
.. “I think it’s helpful for her to participate in calls and meetings because she’s the institutional memory–and that’s always invaluable.”
In fact, it’s really ironic that, right now, her most trusted adviser is Huma Abedin, wife of Anthony Weiner. If there is literally anybody in America who could understand what Hillary went through, it is Huma, right now. If Huma becomes the Democratic nominee for president in 2028, then you’ll have a pretty good parallel for what Hillary Clinton’s trajectory has been.