(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
In the beginning of the week the White House could not get its story about Rob Porter straight. John Kelly stuck with his lie that he had acted immediately after finding out that Porter had beaten up two ex-wives, and Sarah Sanders pontificated about ‘the process’ that had taken so long. It got worse when FBI Director Wray testified in Congress that the Porter file had been closed in July 2017 and that the White House had been informed no later than November 2017. Even Sarah Sanders could not stick with Kelly’s story, and there are strong rumors that she has demanded that from now on he’ll tell his own lies. On top of this it was revealed that by November 2017 130 White House staffers did not yet have the appropriate security clearing, including 10 of 30 Assistants to the President, among them Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and even White House Counsel McGahn. Considering that many of these assistants handle classified material – Jared even the president’s daily security briefing that Trump doesn’t read – this situation contains high security risks and makes anything Hillary Clinton ever did with her emails pale by comparison.
The heads of all the intelligence services who testified before Congress confirmed that Russia had interfered with the 2016 election and was preparing to do so again in 2018. Trump had not imposed the sanctions a large majority in Congress requested and did not take any other action, only strengthening the impression that he is in Putin’s pocket. He could not remain entirely silent about Porter though, and after one week forcefully declared that he is opposed to all domestic violence. The High School shooting in the middle of the week gave Trump an opportunity to play the comforting role that is reserved for the president in these situations, but he failed miserably by giving a speech that probably caused more nightmares for the children he addressed than they had before. Trump did not mention the word ‘gun’ once, making clear to the NRA that he wasn’t going to do anything about gun control and instead picturing the shooting as a mental health issue. Subsequently the main stream media did their duty and reminded us that the only gun law Trump has signed made it easier for mental patients to acquire assault weapons.
In the wake of the shooting NRA-backed Republican rhetoric reached a new low. Paul Ryan called the requests to finally do something about gun control a ‘knee jerk reaction,’ and senator Grassley had totally forgotten that he sponsored the aforementioned bill, but both offered their thoughts and prayers like so many Republicans, including senator Rubio, who pocketed more than $3 million from the NRA. We can only hope that the GOP’s gutless hypocrisy will be remembered in November.
Next, Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen surprised the world with the announcement that he had ‘facilitated’ a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, without revealing where the money came from. It brought Trump’s philandering back in the limelight and was followed by the bombshell revelation that concurrently with Stormy he had conducted an affair with a former Playmate.
To top it all off, Steve Bannon spent 20 hours with Mueller’s investigators, after he had promised to tell the Special Counsel everything, and former campaign adviser Rick Gates was finalizing a plea deal. It looks like the indictment of 13 Russians that was announced today is only the beginning.
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