The chaos produced by Donald Trump is almost certainly an external manifestation of the turmoil in his own mind, a projection of sorts. One of the challenges of life with Trump occupying the White House is the constant sense of unease and dread and imbalance he produces in us–demons Trump himself tries to exorcise or diminish by foisting them on us. By spreading his misery, he feels better.
This week was just another crazy, surreal circus under the Trump regime. Here are a few select takeaways from a large field of choices:
1) The New York Times reported just last night that Donald Trump’s behavior after firing James Comey was so bizarre and concerning that the FBI opened up a counter intelligence investigation because they were worried that Trump might be a national security threat by colluding with a foreign power. They felt Trump was potentially trying to impede the investigation of Russia–which they saw as a national security threat. Why did he seem to be working for Russia? The FBI doesn’t open an investigation like this lightly. They would only do it if their concerns were grave, and if they had some sort of evidence to bolster their fears. Stay tuned to this.
2) It became clear this week that Paul Manafort shared internal Trump campaign polling data with Russian government operatives while the chair of Trump’s campaign. This was the first real evidence of collusion, and Manafort’s intentions will determine whether this was also a criminal conspiracy, as all indications suggest. The next question will be, what did Trump know and when did he know it. Trump said over and over that there was “no collusion” precisely because he knew there was collusion and he wanted to construct a false reality and false narrative before the facts of the Mueller probe came to light. It’s what he does on almost every front–declare the reality he wishes were real and keep asserting it, even though it’s demonstrably false. See 1) above.
3) Trump’s attempts to bully the Democrats into funding some version of a border wall failed, and it pissed him off. “My way or the highway” didn’t work. He took the “national emergency declaration” off the table yesterday afternoon–though nothing is certain or permanent with Trump–so the government will remain shut down until Congress can unite. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of Americans are running out of money, suffering tremendous financial hardship because Trump suddenly decided to push for something he could have pushed as urgently two years ago. He didn’t then because his own party knew the wall was a ridiculous waste and wouldn’t have voted for it. Here’s what Paul Krugman had to say about the impact of the whole fiasco:
4) Donald Trump Jr. will be asked to appear soon in front of a House committee, perhaps by subpoena. We know a lot more about the Trump Tower meeting than when he appeared many months ago, so it will be harder for him to tell the truth and look good at the same time.
5) The markets recovered a bit last week, but it seems clear that there are many signs emerging of a slowdown, especially in overseas markets like China. So the probability of further volatility and slower growth is rising, while interest rates will likely stop rising, at least for now. Retail was especially hard hit last week by the demise of Sears, and Apple was hammered by slower than expected holiday sales of the new iPhone. The job market remains strong while wages remain shockingly resistant to gains. Another big market factor will be tax season, when many Americans could face higher taxes than expected from the GOP tax scam fully kicking in.
Enjoy your weekend, get some rest, but never stop resisting…