(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
Whether you are still in the Trump administration or no longer part of it, your past can always come back to haunt you. A video of Mick Mulvaney surfaced in which he called Trump ‘a terrible human being,’ and Michael Flynn tried to make a judge believe that he didn’t know you’re not supposed to lie to the FBI. Mulvaney salvaged his appointment as acting Chief of Staff by saying that at the time he didn’t know Donald Trump, but Flynn was not so lucky. The judge threatened to throw the book at him, in spite of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn get no jail time, and eventually forced Flynn to show that he really is a good boy by having him co-operate with Mueller three more months before being sentenced. In contrast to his unwavering support for Flynn, who already met with Mueller’s staff nineteen times and apparently provided them with useful information, Trump called Michael Cohen ‘a rat,’ using a term out of the mafia lexicon that indicates the president justifiably sees himself as a mob boss.
As Mueller’s net tightens around the president the Attorney General of New York shut down the Trump Foundation for self-dealing and tax evasion, stating that the charity basically served as a checkbook for the Trumps. The fraud goes back to the early years of the foundation, since one of the expenditures was a $7 enrollment fee for Don Jr. in the Boy Scouts of America. Trump and his eldest children are no longer allowed to serve on the boards of other non-profits, which means that the US President cannot serve on the board of the Staten Island Little League. Rudy Giuliani appeared to contribute to Trump’s woes by telling an interviewer that Trump was still engaged in discussions about a Trump Tower in Moscow in November of 2016. Giuliani often fucks up, but it’s Hizzoner’s role to throw out stuff Trump has lied about that’s going to come out anyway, so this was probably intentional. Giuliani also said that Trump would only sit down with Mueller over his dead body, but ominously added ‘I might be dead.’
On Wednesday Trump suddenly announced the complete withdrawal of US troops from Syria via Twitter, declaring that ISIS has been defeated. His decision took the Pentagon, the State Department, Congress and US allies by surprise, but was praised by Putin, who said ‘Donald is right.’ ISIS still holds a small enclave in Syria, but the main beneficiaries will be Russia and Iran, whose positions in Syria are strengthened, while the Turks, who put strong pressure on Trump to withdraw the 2,000 servicemen, will start slaughtering Syrian Kurds – America’s main allies – as soon as the troops are gone. For Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and he resigned with a scathing criticism of Trump’s betrayal of allies and undermining international alliances.
Trump was not done creating distractions, and on Thursday, bullied by Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, declared that he would not sign a Continuing Resolution that would keep the government funded without allocating $5 billion for ‘The Wall.’ The president backpeddled on an earlier, bizarre statement that Mexico would pay for the wall via the USMCA agreement, and went as far as comparing the wall with ‘the wheel.’ In an act of desperation the lame duck House passed a funding bill that included the $5 billion but is bound to die in the US Senate, after which a cruel Trump shutdown becomes a reality.
At the Department of Justice the Mueller probe, the ultimate reason for Trump’s panic moves, is endangered by both the acting and the nominated Attorney General. Matt Whitaker refused to recuse himself, and it turned out that Bill Barr has written a memo opposing the ‘obstruction of justice’ part of the investigation. So far Robert Mueller has always been one step ahead of his distractors, and hopefully he will keep it that way.
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