You know, it was just a couple days ago I did a Trumpworld Grab-bag, and only yesterday-ish that Trump fired Comey, so it seems like it's a little soon to have all this WTF on my plate regarding the Little Fine-Tuned Engine that Could, but apparently, this is the new reality now. And as the above picture barely suggests--it's a mess you guys.
The above picture certainly looks jocular enough, President Trump and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak (who I've mentioned talking to so many of Trump's associates before) enjoying pleasantries in a photo from the Russian news service TASS because they were the only folks allowed to cover the meeting. Aw--that was kind of fucked up. Usually, these guys would be meeting with, say, the Secretary of State and not in the Oval Office, and a press pool of American journalists would probably be there instead of just guys who work for Putin. These are the kind of optics you might think of avoiding if there was some kind of investigation into whether your Presidential campaign colluded with Russia (or if you just care about security, just sayin')...
But what the hell, if this was an administration that cared about such things, they probably would not have had Henry Kissinger show up in a weird walk-on role at precisely the minute they're being called "Nixonian". That's...kind of a middle-finger move, I think?
In other news, the whole rationale the Trump folks tried to lay out about being very disappointed over Comey's handling of the Clinton investigation? That was bullshit, as basically any sentient being would have figured. Turns out this "lack of confidence" mostly started when Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that there was an investigation into Trump without giving Trump a heads-up about what he was saying and then had the nerve to request resources for it. (The investigation, that is.) There's several sources for this one, and it just makes a hell of a lot more sense than what Trump and Friends were laying out. Also, the claim made by Trump et als that Comey lost the trust of the FBI is a little bit belied by talking with folks in the FBI. (The Deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, not happy that the responsibility to Comey's firing as falling on him, threatened to resign. Because AG Sessions, who recused himself from anything to do with the Russian hacking investigation, except, apparently, recommending the firing of the Director of the FBI and interviewing his replacement, can't, Rosenstein would be the bloke to recommend an independent counsel, if that was going to happen.)
And as I said yesterday, this sort of thing has made people more interested in pursuing the investigation, because Trump is certainly acting like there is a there, there. And it's important to keep the subject of the investigation distanced from the direction the investigation is taking to prevent a cover-up, which is most likely why Comey didn't give Trump a heads-up (and that is called "independence", not "insubordination"--which ideally would be needed for any investigation to be effective).
This dynamic, where the President feels like he should be able to stall or close an investigation because he says so is particularly disturbing because the congressional GOP seems to be closing ranks instead of acting as a check on executive power. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected calls for an independent prosecutor, and it looks questionable to me that we're going to see them take this seriously.
But what I do think we'll be hearing in the near-future, is an increase of leaks--because the Trump Administration has definitely not gone about stopping them the right way (by being actually transparent, instead of transparently lying). And maybe that will bring the political pressure needed to bear. One can hope.
Oh, and for people who are just noticing this weird feature I've started--here's the Grab-Bag Back Issues, for your reading pleasure:
3/12/2017: Trumpworld Grab-Bag
3/13/2017: Another US Attorneys' Thing?
3/21/2017: It Looks Bad Because it is Bad
3/22/2017: And Now it Looks Worse
3/25/2017: The News is Real, The Leak was Fake?
3/27/2017: Another Trumpworld Grab-Bag
4/4/2017: Yet Another Trumpworld Grab-Bag
4/12/2017: Once Again, A Trumpworld Grab-Bag
4/14/2017: A Good Friday for a Trumpworld Grab-Bag
4/27/2017: Trumpworld Grab-bag: The Lost Art of Vetting
5/9/2017: This is a Great Day for a Trumpworld Grab-Bag
(Some, of course, aren't titled "grab-bags", but they certainly fit the theme.)