(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Trump started the week with a tweet-storm dismissing the possibility that Michael Cohen might turn on him, but on Thursday considerably increased the chance that that will happen.  In an at times hysterical rant on Fox & Friends, during which he visited all his demons, the president blew up his positions in two cases that are currently in court, and then threw Cohen under the bus.  First, reversing all his earlier statements, Trump revealed that Cohen had represented him in the Stormy Daniels case, strengthening Daniels’s argument that her non-disclosure agreement is void because Trump never signed it.  Next, he said that Cohen only did a minimal amount of legal work for him, which implies that only very few of the documents and files the FBI took from Cohen’s office and residences are protected by client-lawyer privilege, a number that possibly will be reduced even more by the crime-fraud provision.  Finally, Trump sent Cohen the message that he’s on his own, by saying that prosecutors are only interested in Cohen’s businesses, which he has nothing to do with.  It was his most serious mistake, because Cohen, who already felt slighted, is the last person Trump should want to antagonize.

Although the court case in lower Manhattan seems to contain the most danger for Trump, who has offered to ‘make himself available’ for a review of Cohen’s papers, the Mueller probe goes on.  News broke that the search of Paul Manafort’s house was related to the infamous meeting with Russians in Trump Tower, and it turns out that the female Russian lawyer who attended that meeting has much stronger connections to Putin’s circle that she had led to believe.  In that context it is important that the Federal Bribery Statute of 1962 applies both to elected officials and to nominees, and that any Quid Pro Quo can be considered bribery.  By contrast, the GOP majority in the House Intelligence Committee issued a report that there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.  Rudy Giuliani is now representing Trump in the Special Counsel investigation and that may be problematic, both because his legal skills have faded and because during the campaign he bragged about having received information about Hillary Clinton’s emails out of the New York FBI office, which might still make him a witness.  His first assignment was to feel out Mueller with regards to interviewing Trump.

After Trump’s Fox News rant an interview by Mueller is even more unlikely than it already was, because it’s now obvious that Trump cannot keep it together even for a short while in an ultra-friendly environment and would incriminate himself.  Still this represents a dilemma for Trump, who wants the investigation to end but knows that Mueller won’t end it unless he has interviewed or subpoenaed the president.  In the latter case Trump will take the fifth, like Cohen already did in the Stormy Daniels case.

An official visit by the French president was a welcome diversion for Trump, who could not keep his hands off Macron and treated him like a gorilla mother who is picking the fleas off her young.  Yet, in spite of all the appallingly demonstrated affection, Trump and Macron remained completely divided on the Iran deal, the Paris Agreement, and issues like nationalism and populism.

And while Scott Pruitt and Mick Mulvaney are competing for the honor to be the most corrupt member of the Trump administration, White House physician Ronnie Jackson had to withdraw his candidacy to run the Veterans Administration, primarily because he turned out to be a drug dispensing drunk.

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