Five ways Trump can dominate everything  

“From trade to NATO to the Helsinki summit, Trump is going on the offensive. His opponents should beware.”

Jacob Heilbrunn, for The National Interest, writes:

With the resignation of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Donald Trump has fresh wind in his sails. As he prepares to nominate a second Supreme Court Justice and to head to two big foreign-policy summits as well as travel to the United Kingdom, Trump is on something of a rebound from his crisis at the border last week. Writing in CNN, the Princeton University historian Julian Zelizer argues that Democrats have badly underestimated Trump: “The possibility for President Trump to seriously transform American policy keeps growing and the potential for a two-term presidency can no longer be dismissed. This unstable, shallow television star is starting to demonstrate that he has some very real political muscle to keep pushing forward.”

Heilbrunn articulates five ways he thinks President Trump can dominate everything. However, he also includes the caveat that things can still go horribly wrong for The Donald — and America:

Is a Trump success guaranteed? Not a chance. Perhaps Trump will drive the economy into recession, or even depression, by pulling out of the World Trade Organization or by embarking upon a calamitous war with Iran. Maybe it really will be America alone if Trump blows up our alliances in Europe and Asia, while antagonizing China.

Read the whole thing …

Fact Checker: President Trump has made 3,001 false or misleading claims so far

“Of course, not every day is filled with falsehoods, but the president makes up for his slow days with days that offer an extraordinary number of misleading claims.”

From The Washington Post via msn:

In the 466 days since he took the oath of office, President Trump has made 3,001 false or misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president.

That’s an average of nearly 6.5 claims a day.

When we first started this project for the president’s first 100 days, he averaged 4.9 claims a day. Slowly, the average number of claims has been creeping up.

Indeed, since we last updated this tally two months ago, the president has averaged about 9 claims a day.

Our interactive graphic, created with the help of Leslie Shapiro and Kaeti Hinck of The Washington Post’s graphics department, displays a running list of every false or misleading statement made by Trump. We also catalogued the president’s many flip-flops, since those earn Upside-Down Pinocchios if a politician shifts position on an issue without acknowledging that he or she did so.

Trump has a proclivity to repeat, over and over, many of his false or misleading statements. We’ve counted at least 113 claims that the president has repeated at least three times, some with breathtaking frequency.

Seventy-two times, the president has falsely claimed he passed the biggest tax cut in history — when in fact it ranks in eighth place. Fifty-three times, the president has made some variation of the claim that the Russia probe is a made-up controversy. (If you include other claims about the Russia probe that are not accurate, the count goes to 90.) Forty-one times, the president has offered a variation of the false claim that Democrats do not really care about the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Trump terminated.

Thirty-four times, the president has wrongly asserted that a border wall was needed to stop the flow of drugs across the southern border, even though the Drug Enforcement Administration says a wall would not limit this illegal trade, as much of it travels through legal borders or under tunnels unaffected by any possible physical barrier.

Thirteen times in the past five weeks, Trump has claimed his long-promised border wall is already being built, even though Congress denied him the funding and prohibited the use of prototypes he had viewed with great fanfare.

Of course, not every day is filled with falsehoods, but the president makes up for his slow days with days that offer an extraordinary number of misleading claims — such as 53 on July 25, 2017, or 49 on Nov. 29, 2017. These are often days when the president has had a series of freewheeling interviews or given a campaign-rally-style speech.

For example, only days ago, on April 28, Trump racked up 44 claims, many of which came from the president’s 80-minute speech in Michigan. (April 28 is tied in third place with Dec. 8, 2017 for most number of claims in a single day.) In his speech, Trump touched on many of his main themes, such as immigration and jobs, adding in a liberal dose of his favorite false facts. Among them:

Read the whole thing …

Dan Rather: Covering Trump is like facing a ‘fertilizer spreader in a windstorm’

Talk about a word-picture:

Veteran journalist Dan Rather on Sunday said it’s critical for the press to point out President Trump’s false statements to the public, no matter how difficult it can be to keep up. […]

“I do think that most people get it,” he continued. “That most people understand that they’re facing on a daily basis from the White House and from the president himself, the rough equivalent of you’re facing a fertilizer spreader in a windstorm.”

Gillibrand: Congress should take action if Trump doesn’t resign

The same Gillibrand who protected and defended “former President Clinton when he was accused of sexual misconduct” is singing a different tune now that it comes to President Trump.

From The Hill:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said Sunday she believes Congress should hold President Trump accountable for the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him.

“I think he should resign, and if he’s unwilling to do that, which is what I assume, then Congress should hold him accountable. We’re obligated to have hearings,” Gillibrand said in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Gillibrand, who was among the first to call for former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to resign due to sexual misconduct allegations, was also one of several Democratic senators who late last year said Trump should resign due to sexual misconduct allegations that surfaced during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Some theories about Michael Flynn’s plea deal

“There’s a chance Robert Mueller is holding back for the moment.”

From Kate Brannen:

I’m continuing my look at the central mysteries of the Trump-Russia investigation, diving into a question that has former federal prosecutors and legal experts scratching their heads: the plea deal of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

As Lawfare’s Susan Hennessey and Ben Wittes have written, Flynn’s plea deal remains an unsolved mystery. The central question is: Why, after so much public reporting about Flynn’s potential criminal exposure, was his plea so limited—only one count for a set of false statements to the FBI? Many have interpreted the deal to mean that special counsel Robert Mueller gave Flynn a good deal, because Flynn had so much important information to share with the special counsel.

“I think Flynn is giving up the goods, big time,” Asha Rangappa, a former special agent in the New York office of the FBI and Just Security editor, said at the time.

In an interview with Politico’s Susan Glasser just last month, Sen. Mark Warner said, “The fact that he pled to one count would say to me that he’s probably got a story to tell, and my sense is that Mueller is getting closer and closer to the truth and that closer and closer to the truth is getting closer and closer to the president.”

I love a parade, but not this one

“Trump’s supporters and opponents alike are decent and patriotic. If only he lived up to their standard.”

From The Wall Street Journal:

Traveling this week in California and Texas, I was struck again by how every political discussion is about Donald Trump. People who used to bring up state races — “We’ve got a hot election for governor going on here” — rarely mention them, and immediately revert to the national. Like no other president in my lifetime, he obsesses the nation.

I heard two things that stuck with me and reminded me of what a lot of us know is the special tragedy of this moment—that most people on both sides of the pro- and anti- Trump divide are trying to be constructive, to think seriously and help the country. That is what makes our division so poignant.

A rock-solid Republican, a veteran of the Reagan wars who knows what it is to have all forces arrayed against you, spoke of opposing Mr. Trump. It isn’t a matter of style or snobbery, isn’t knee-jerk. The veteran said: People who are for Trump always say “Look, he’s got an unfortunate character and temperament, but he’s good on regulation, good on the courts.” The problem, the veteran said, is the but. Once you get to the but, you are normalizing him — you are making him normal, which means you are guaranteeing a future of President Trumps. That means you have lowered the presidency forever, changed it forever, just when the world’s problems are more dangerous, and thoughtfulness and wisdom more needed.

The veteran is trying to be protective, and a patriot.

Trump supporters, on the other hand, chose him and back him because he isn’t normal. They’d tried normal! It didn’t work! Of course he’s a brute, but his brutishness was the only thing that could surprise Washington, scare it, make it reform. Both parties are corrupt and look out only for themselves; he’s the one who wouldn’t be in hock to them and their donors. Is he weird? Yes. But it’s a weird country now. He’s the only one big enough to push back against what’s pushing us.

Rob Porter scandal reveals a White House with no principles

From The Washington Post:

This afternoon, President Trump finally commented on the rising scandal over Rob Porter, the now-former White House staff secretary who has been accused of domestic violence by both of his ex-wives.

“He says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that,” said the president, who takes men’s protestations of innocence over allegations like this very, very seriously. “We absolutely wish him well.”

This is a somewhat unusual scandal in that it doesn’t seem to involve Trump himself doing something corrupt, despicable or bizarre. But it is nonetheless a very Trumpian scandal, in that it provides a window into so much of the pathology that Trump has created in his administration.

Let’s begin with this question: If you work for Trump, what gets you fired? Do multiple, credible accusations of wife-beating do it? Well, no. Top White House officials knew for months of the allegations against Porter, and not only didn’t get rid of him — they gave him more responsibility. As The Post reports, White House Counsel Don McGahn knew about the domestic violence allegations a full year ago, and chief of staff John Kelly found out at least as long ago as last fall. Deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin also reportedly knew last fall about the allegations. There may well be others who knew as well.

Those allegations — and the fact that they could potentially be used to blackmail him — were the reason that Porter’s security clearance was being held up. Yet McGahn and Kelly not only didn’t see it as a problem, they were eager for Porter to stay on, apparently because he was a competent employee, something that is unusually rare in this White House. Kelly initially urged Porter to stay, and earlier this week called him “a man of true integrity and honor,” despite the fact that, as Politico reports, “Kelly had been aware for several weeks that Porter would never receive a full security clearance due to a protective order that had been filed against him by an ex-wife in 2010.”