Trump O’Clock

Seems like 6pm is the time to start breaking Trump stories:

House majority leader to colleagues in 2016: ‘I think Putin pays’ Trump:

KIEV, Ukraine — A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016 exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

Nothing else really happened in Trump related news. Oh wait, yes, there’s this:

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has appointed Robert S. Mueller III, the former F.B.I. director, to serve as a special counsel to oversee its investigation into Russian meddling in the election, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced on Wednesday.

The appointment of Mr. Mueller dramatically raises the stakes for President Trump in the multiple investigations into his campaign’s ties to the Russians. It follows a swiftly moving series of developments that have roiled Washington, including Mr. Trump’s abrupt dismissal of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and the disclosure that the president urged Mr. Comey to drop the bureau’s investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

“I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authorities and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Mr. Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination.”

While a special counsel would remain ultimately answerable to Mr. Rosenstein — and by extension, the president — he would have greater autonomy to run an investigation than a United States attorney would. Mr. Mueller will be able to choose to what extent to consult with or inform the Justice Department about his investigation as it goes forward.

What Could Go Wrong?

Trump will be giving a speech in Saudi Arabia about Islam written by Stephen Miller:

A speech was added in Saudi Arabia to provide an “inspiring yet direct” message to the Islamic world, according to national security adviser H.R. McMaster. That’s an echo of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, who addressed Muslims in Cairo in his first major speech on foreign soil.

A second address in Israel, which local newspapers reported would take place at the ancient archeological site of Masada, was moved indoors to a museum. Transporting Trump to the mountaintop overlooking the Dead Sea would have required the use of a cable car.

Both speeches were being drafted by Trump’s policy adviser Stephen Miller, who helped write Trump’s convention and inaugural addresses, with input from the large collection of advisers who are helping to plan the trip: son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, McMaster and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell.

Trump’s Next Step

One of Trump’s favorite philosophy is that when you are being attacked, you never go on defense but just counterattack as hard and as low as you can go, damn the consequences. He’s been consistent about this. Rosie O’Donnell criticizes him about some Miss USA thing and he spends the next few years lobbing fat jokes her way. The Access Hollywood tapes come out and he brings Bill Clinton’s accusers to his debate against Hillary. Comey’s firing sets off a controversy and he then tweets an implied threat to Comey about “tapes”. That tweet is especially damning since if there were no recordings, he just created a whirlwind of suspicion pointed at himself and if there are recordings then he alerted us all to some physical evidence that can be subpoenaed. The only thing that tweet did was create publicity which is really the only thing in life Trump is actually good at.

My guess is that Trump’s reaction to this latest Flynn development is to start lashing out hard and lower than before. Trump is not going to go off quietly into the night like Nixon. The real fireworks will begin when Trump senses the GOP backing away from him. He hates anything he perceives as disloyalty. May have to dust off my popcorn.gif for this. (Or this could just all fade away in the next few weeks like the Access Hollywood tape.)