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Portrait of a Man Consumed By Fear: Trump Panic-Tweets

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Portrait of a Man Consumed By Fear: Trump Panic-Tweets

 

scarybiscuits7 / Flickr Donald Trump has mastered the art...
scarybiscuits7 / Flickr

Well, it looks like Donald Trump’s dog-wagging escapade in Syria didn’t have the desired effect of deflecting attention from his legal woes and disastrous presidency. He is still the same lying cretin, determined to undermine the rule of law, as prior to the bombing raid. And the American people still see him as that. Trump’s shills on Fox News even failed in their attempt to blame the whole Syria situation on Obama.

That might be the shortest media-distracting, manufactured war campaign in history. He got one day out of it. Which makes it just another unqualified PR fail that is so typical of Trump’s whole life. So it’s on to Plan B: Smear former FBI Director James Comey in advance of the release of his tell-all book, A Higher Loyalty. And apparently having no presidenting to do, Trump dived into this strategy with gusto on Sunday morning. He posted a flurry of tweets, most of which were aimed directly at Comey. And all of which were a pathetic illustration of someone so obviously frightened by the unfolding of events that he can’t control himself. Let’s begin at the beginning:

Trump revisits his Slimeball commentary that was such an embarrassment two days ago. For the record, Comey’s remarks about the election were simply to state that the environment in which he was making his decisions was inherently political and, with candid soul-searching honesty, he said he couldn’t be sure that that didn’t have an impact on him. Unfortunately, it did have an impact and is a conspicuous low point in his tenure at the bureau. But not for the reasons so poorly articulated by Trump. As for wanting a job – he already had one. The FBI director is appointed for a ten year term, of which he was only in his fifth year. Is anyone surprised that our “stable genius” president didn’t know that?

Here Trump rattles off a litany of right-wing stalking points that are flaming misrepresentations of reality. It’s too time consuming to debunk them all again. So let’s just focus on Trump’s repeated parenthetical that Comey should be in jail. Having no evidence of a crime would make that difficult. However, by flatly stating that Comey is guilty of these things, Trump may have let him off the hook by prejudicing the jury pool and making a fair trial impossible. A competent president would have known not to do that. p.s. Comey’s “badly reviewed book” is currently #1 on Amazon.

Just because Trump would never waste time talking about his grandkids doesn’t mean that normal humans don’t do that. And some better questions than his old, pre-election gossip would be: Why can’t we find out what happened in Don Jr.’s meeting with Russians? Or on Micheal Cohen’s trip to Prague? Or what Trump is saying privately to Vladimir Putin? Or why he has so many non-disclosure agreements with playmates and porn stars? Or what about those hookers in Moscow?

This is just a flat out lie. Trump’s demand for personal loyalty is a common feature of both his business and political relationships. Many of his associates have already conceded this. Also, not knowing someone doesn’t make such a pledge less likely. It makes it more likely. And Comey’s notes were written contemporaneously to the events, before he knew what would transpire or what effect Trump’s behavior would have. That’s what makes them valuable and credible.

Now Trump is just venting his wishes for what he hopes will happen. More to the point, he’s projecting what he fears will happen to him. Because he is – you know – not smart.

The endgame of all this whining will still center around Trump’s devastatingly low approval ratings. All but a sliver of deadenders abhor him. And even many Republicans find him too obnoxious to stand next to. Specifically with regard to his feud with Comey, “yuge” majorities of the American people are siding with the FBI guy. No matter how much Trump stamps his feet and throws infantile tantrums, he can’t change that. And his lame attempts to do so just make him look all the more guilty – let’s just say #SAD.

Update: Comey responds:

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The media has made Rudy Giuliani the voice of the Mueller investigation, to the benefit of Trump

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The media has made Rudy Giuliani the voice of the Mueller investigation, to the benefit of Trump

 

Daily Brian / Flickr Giuliani dials back statements on Trump...
Daily Brian / Flickr

For over a year now, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has played his cards close to the chest. While Donald Trump’s White House may leak more regularly than an aging colander, Mueller has kept a tight ship. Those few occasions when anything from the special counsel’s office has slipped into public view, have mostly been when those on the other end of indictments—particularly Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort—have forced Mueller to at least tip a card toward a federal judge. What’s been demonstrated by the resulting court filings is mostly just how strong and detailed Mueller’s case against the people he has so far indicted actually is, along with proof that the DOJ authorized the special counsel to dip into actions like Manafort’s role in disrupting the government of Ukraine.

But if Mueller has sailed through months with his crew demonstrating the most-zipped-lips in the whole of D. C., that time has come to an end. Because, as Politico notes, for weeks now, America has had the keen insight of someone who is venturing into the Mueller investigation then coming back to tell the tale: Intrepid explorer Rudy Giuliani. Keen observers of Giuliani’s frequently gibberish-rich television appearances have been able to discern such critical facts as:

The only problem with all of this is that there’s just one thing that Robert Mueller has actually said:

As is its custom, Mueller’s office declined to comment on Giuliani’s statements.

And that’s the issue: Robert Mueller has not commented on Giuliani’s statements. He hasn’t commented on anyone’s statements. He’s not going to. Which demonstrates admirable consistency and a firm, apolitical approach to the job. Except that the one thing Giuliani actually knows about Robert Mueller is that he’s not going to comment. Which is letting Giuliani pretend to speak for him.

In an interview Monday, Giuliani said Mueller hasn’t objected to any of his statements. “I am relaying things accurately,” he said.

Robert Mueller’s silence concerning Giuliani’s statements gives absolutely no weight to Giuliani’s claims to be an accurate reporter. Giuliani could be going on national television to report that Mueller believes that Trump has psychic powers, the campaign collaborated with grey aliens, and that Trump’s dad bought the gun that Ted Cruz’s dad used to shoot JFK.

And Mueller would make exactly the same comments. Which is none.

It’s really quite a good trick. Giuliani—who has been on television demonstrably lying about every aspect of the case as it relates to Cohen and Trump—is being accepted as the Oracle of Mueller simply because the special counsel has held to his principles of staying quiet. And it doesn’t matter if Giuliani is right, wrong, or ridiculous. Because the media is so anxious to have any insight into the black box of the investigation, that they treat his every word as golden.

“There’s nothing that beats first-hand knowledge and Rudy claims to have first-hand knowledge,” said Matthew Miller, a former Obama Justice Department spokesman and frequent MSNBC contributor. “He’s an actor in this drama and the rest of us are commentators.”

Really? Are we sure about that? It’s not even clear that Robert Mueller would comment even if Giuliani was just going into the back room to puff on a Arturo Fuente Opus, then reappearing to tell us about his wonderful adventures on the other side of the wardrobe when he hadn’t met with Mueller’s team at all.

Mueller’s silences may be frustrating. But that shouldn’t be an invitation for Rudy Giuliani to fill them by blowing smoke.


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Trump opens himself up to hacking because using a secure phone is ‘too inconvenient’

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Trump opens himself up to hacking because using a secure phone is ‘too inconvenient’

 

Matt Johnson / Flickr Donald Trump...
Matt Johnson / Flickr

Donald Trump spends his time gabbing on the phone to his rich friends and rage-tweeting, and while he does those things, he may also be doing a third thing: exposing himself to surveillance and compromised information. That’s because Trump refuses to give up his convenience for greater security. He has two phones, Politico reports: one that makes calls and one to tweet and read news on.

While aides have urged the president to swap out the Twitter phone on a monthly basis, Trump has resisted their entreaties, telling them it was “too inconvenient,” the same administration official said.

The president has gone as long as five months without having the phone checked by security experts. It is unclear how often Trump’s call-capable phones, which are essentially used as burner phones, are swapped out.

Even better, Trump’s call-capable phone has a camera and microphone, so if anyone managed to hack into it, it would be an extra-special source of information on Trump’s movements and what was going on around him. But an anonymous White House official insists that the camera and microphone are no problem, because “Due to inherent capabilities and advancement in technologies, these devices are more secure than any Obama-era devices.” Mind you, “Obama-era” doesn’t just mean 2009, it means 2016. So … Trump entered office and within months, a phone with a camera and microphone was suddenly more secure than a phone without those features had been months earlier?

It’s almost too easy to contrast this with Trump campaigning on the idea that Hillary Clinton’s email security practices disqualified her from being president and in fact probably meant she should be jailed, and yet how can you not draw that contrast? Trump is intentionally disregarding security advice because it’s “too inconvenient” to have staff briefly take his Twitter phone away and swap it out once a month.

But since none of his supporters actually care about the disconnect between his campaign words and his actions in office any more than Trump cares about being truthful or consistent, there won’t be any political consequences until hacked information is used against him by a foreign government. Which he’ll blame on the FBI and Democrats, anyway.


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Trump Defies Cell Phone Security Protocol, Placing Ability To Tweet Above National Security

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Trump Defies Cell Phone Security Protocol, Placing Ability To Tweet Above National Security

 

Take News / Flickr Right here s Everybody Donald Trump...
Take News / Flickr

In the sanity of the Obama administration, cell phones were handed over every thirty days for security purposes.  In the Trump mal-administration, Trump has gone as long as five months without having his phone examined, finding it “too inconvenient” to deal with. Politico:

Trump’s reluctance to submit to White House security protocols that would limit his ability to tweet or contact friends freely is a case of the president’s personal peculiarities colliding with the demands of his office — a tension created in part because of society’s growing attachment to mobile technology over the past decade.

Naturally, in his characteristic myopic selfishness, Trump puts his own comfort even in trivial things above the larger issues of his duty to his office.

“Foreign adversaries seeking intelligence about the U.S. are relentless in their pursuit of vulnerabilities in our government’s communications networks, and there is no more sought-after intelligence target than the president of the United States,” said Nate Jones, former director of counterterrorism on the National Security Council in the Obama administration and the founder of Culper Partners, a consulting firm.

While the president has the authority to override or ignore the advice provided by aides and advisers for reasons of comfort or convenience, Jones said, “doing so could pose significant risks to the country.”

Trump campaigned in part on his denunciations of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state — a system that made classified information vulnerable to hacking by hostile actors.

“Her server was easily hacked by foreign governments, perhaps even by her financial backers in communist China — sure they have it — putting all of America and our citizens in danger, great danger,” Trump said in a June 2016 speech in which he called Clinton “the most corrupt person ever to run for president.” He repeatedly vowed on the trail to “lock her up.”

The most corrupt person ever to run for office did indeed run in 2016 and it was not Hillary Clinton.


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