White House lawyers have had to warn President Donald Trump repeatedly against reaching out to his fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, two people familiar with the matter tell The Daily Beast.It's all about Trump and his feelings. Michael Flynn had no business being in the White House, reportedly couldn't get the security clearances he needed, was clearly compromised and a danger to national security, and yet Trump is aggrieved and that's all that matters to him. He doesn't understand the duties of the office, he doesn't understand the responsibilities of the office, he doesn't understand the consequences of his actions in the office. All that matters to Trump are the feelings of Trump. Which leads us directly to:
Trump, angered by press coverage of the Russia investigation and Gen. Flynn, has asked senior staff and the White House counsel’s office multiple times if it was appropriate to reach out to the fired National Security Adviser, according to a source close to Flynn and a Trump administration official with direct knowledge of the exchanges.
“While the president does not regret firing Gen. Flynn, he feels he is a good man who served his country bravely and honorably and who is being treated unfairly by the press and the Democrats on Capitol Hill,” another Trump administration official said. These officials requested anonymity as a condition of discussing legal advice to the president.
When President Donald Trump hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office on Wednesday just hours after firing the FBI director who was overseeing an investigation into whether Trump’s team colluded the Russians, he was breaking with recent precedent at the specific request of Russian President Vladimir Putin.How you gonna say no to Putin? Which, yes, gets worse, because of Exhibits C, D, and E:
The chummy White House visit—photos of the president yukking it up with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak were released by the Russian Foreign Ministry since no U.S. press was allowed to cover the visit—had been one of Putin’s asks in his recent phone call with Trump, And indeed the White House acknowledged this to me later Wednesday. “He chose to receive him because Putin asked him to,” a White House spokesman said of Trump’s Lavrov meeting. “Putin did specifically ask on the call when they last talked.”
I couldn't let foreign delegations bring phones/cameras into my EEOB office, yet Trump let Russian gov photographer+equipment into the Oval.— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) May 10, 2017
David Cohen is a former Deputy Director of the CIA. Colin Kahl is a former Deputy Assistant to Barack Obama and National Security Advisor to Joe Biden. John Negroponte was on NPR this morning, sure that proper security measures were taken in the Oval Office, because: sure, right? Right?I was in the Oval daily. Had to leave phone/camera outside. Apparently that doesn't apply to Russ Gov in this WH. https://t.co/nQsFBECIVm— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) May 10, 2017
The administration official also said the White House had been misled about the role of the Russian photographer. Russian officials had described the individual as Lavrov’s official photographer without disclosing that he also worked for Tass.Sure; they were on top of everything.
“We were not informed by the Russians that their official photographer was dual-hatted and would be releasing the photographs on the state news agency,” the administration official said.
As for the firing of Comey: first, there's a new excuse from the White House:
Gorka: Trump Fired FBI Director to Make a Statement After Comey’s Latest Testimony https://t.co/A2k1mG0mQw— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) May 10, 2017
I'm sure this will improve morale at the FBI, as now they know the beatings will continue until then:
Bobby Chacon, a former FBI agent who served in Los Angeles and New York and retired in 2014, compared the abrupt firing to “a punch in the stomach to agents”.But the real danger is that we don't realize the "genius" of Donald Trump. Lawrence Tribe thinks Trump is "crazy like a fox":
“I myself, and I would speak for a lot of agents, feel very disrespected by the administration and how this was handled,” he told the Guardian. Other former agents said the way Comey was fired was an “outrage” and said that the Trump administration’s approach “besmirches the reputation of the FBI”.
In defending the FBI director’s firing, the Trump administration has argued that agents on the street were ready to see Comey go.
“The rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director,” deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a White House press briefing Wednesday.
But former agents said the abrupt firing was shocking and disturbing.
“All the agents felt like the director should at least be called” to be informed of his firing, Chacon said. The way the news was delivered seemed “almost like a public embarrassment and humiliation”, Chacon said. “If it’s done to the director, by association, it’s done to the agents themselves.”
“He is yet again changing the headline from what was disadvantageous for him; namely what a pistol [former AG] Sally Yates was” in testifying about Trump’s former top national security adviser’s ties to Russia, Tribe said. “That was the headline, and suddenly the headline is all about, should we have an independent counsel [to do the Russia investigation] and commission and what kind of counsel. It is a cloud of stuff.”Actually he's crazy like a child who knows how to always get attention, even if it's negative attention. He doesn't understand the difference, but he's on the verge of finding out. As Peter Wehner, former deputy assistant to the president under George W. Bush and director of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives, puts it: “Don’t underestimate the role incompetence and volatility/instability play in all this.” Trump is not crazy like a fox; Trump is crazy like a child. A 70 year old child. The proof of that? Here's one more reason Trump felt Comey wasn't loyal and had to go:
In the weeks leading up to Comey’s firing, Trump administration officials had repeatedly urged the FBI to more aggressively pursue leak investigations, according to people familiar with the discussions. Administration officials sometimes sought to push the FBI to prioritize leak probes over the Russia interference case, and at other times urged the bureau to investigate disclosures of information that was not classified or highly sensitive and therefore did not constitute crimes, these people said.
If you can cast your mind back to Monday, you'll recall former DNI James Clapper schooling the Senator from Louisiana about this: "...unclassified is not leaking." But it should be criminal, because it pisses off Trump! Amirite? Besides, we still have a few exhibits left. Early on, the thinking was the White House couldn't be so dumb as to not realize how this would be received.
Turns out, they were:
“I think the surprise of a great many in the White House was that as soon as this became a Trump decision, all of the Democrats who had long been calling for Comey’s ouster decided that this was now an awful decision,” [White House Communications Director Michael] Dubke said. “So there was a surprise at the politicization of Democrats on this so immediately and so universally.”Trump's ignorance is contagious. Told ya so!
And we still have these questions:
Why was Sessions involved in discussions about the fate of the man leading the FBI’s Russia investigation, after having recused himself from the probe because he had falsely denied under oath his own past communications with the Russian ambassador?
(Because his word is as worthless as tits on a boar hog?)
Why had Trump discussed the Russia probe with the FBI director three times, as he claimed in his letter dismissing Comey, which could have been a violation of Justice Department policies that ongoing investigations generally are not to be discussed with White House officials?
(Because he's a liar who can't tell truth from fiction?)
These are actually very serious questions. Another is why Trump can't tell the difference between a resignation and firing someone who is investigating you. Indeed, he still thinks throwing a temper tantrum is a winning strategy:
Manipulative genius? Or whiny 70 year old brat?