I’m told that I’m supposed to be hitting the panic button right now. I’m supposed to be whipping all of you into a panicked frenzy right now. I’m supposed to tell you that Donald Trump is moving in for the kill today, that he and his allies are aggressively making power moves that’ll allow him to magically get away with all of his various crimes and take over the country completely. The trouble with that narrative is that it’s the opposite of what’s happening today.
Holy crap did Donald Trump have a bad day today. He was hoping that Devin Nunes could somehow get him off the hook. But all Nunes came up with was a kindergarten level memo that even Trump’s own legal advisers ultimately begged him not to release, because they think it’ll do him more harm than good. Because Nunes is an idiot, he cajoled his fellow Republicans on the House Intel Committee into voting to release the memo. This will hurt Trump, not help him. If Nunes had a brain, maybe he could have found a way to help Trump, but Nunes is an idiot.
The Democrats who have read the memo are all but begging Nunes to release it, because they agree with Trump’s legal advisers that the memo will hurt Trump. The goal was obviously to turn public opinion against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in the faint hope it might give Trump the political muscle to fire him. But that ship sailed.
Then Trump used up what little political capital he had left on ousting FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has nothing to do with the Russia investigation. Is Trump too paranoid and stupid to understand that the controversial McCabe ouster only serves to further weaken him, without getting him one inch closer to curtailing the Russia probe? Or is Trump just so angry about not being able to fire anyone who is actually investigating him, he settled for taking down McCabe just to blow off steam?
Oh, and Trump let the deadline pass today for implementing the new sanctions against Russia. Trump’s smart move politically would have been to go ahead and implement the sanctions. Instead, he’s ensuring that the sanctions scandal once again comes front and center and blows up in his face. He’s apparently so afraid of retribution from Vladimir Putin, he’s willing to make the worst possible political move for himself.
These are not the confident moves of someone who is taking over. These are the low-percentage plays and frantic missed shots that people resort to when they’re on the ropes. Everything that Donald Trump tried today failed. He fired off much of his remaining arsenal. None of it hit the target. Some of it circled around and hit him.
Donald Trump has had some good days for himself since taking office. Those have been the days where he’s quietly signed corrupt executive orders and no one noticed. Those have been the days where he’s given a lousy but non-lunatic speech, and the media has praised him for not accidentally setting his podium on fire. Today, on the other hand, was a terrible day for Trump. In fact it was his worst day yet. He couldn’t have failed more spectacularly today.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report