Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Friday that it’s impossible for President Donald Trump to obstruct justice because of the fact that he’s president.
“Technically, the President of the United States cannot obstruct justice,” Gingrich said at the National Press Club in an event to promote his new book, “Understanding Trump.” “The President of the United States is the chief executive officer of the United States. If he wants to fire the FBI director, all he’s got to do is fire him.”However, Gingrich himself has in the past voted to impeach a president over such charges. While speaker of the House, Gingrich voted in 1998 to impeach President Bill Clinton on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury.
From The Washington Post, by Alexandra Petri:
President Trump responded to the news that the Public Theater was putting on a defiant production of “Julius Caesar” by staging his own production of “King Lear” during a very strange Cabinet meeting on Monday.
It went approximately as follows.
Trump: All right. Which of you shall we say doth love us most, that we our largest bounty may extend where nature doth with merit challenge? Go around, name your position, talk about your work. Start with Mike.
Mike Pence: I love you more than words can wield the matter. Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty. Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare. No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor; as much as child e’er loved, or father found. A love that makes breath poor and speech unable. Beyond all manner of so much I love you. Serving you has been “the greatest privilege of my life,” Mr. Lear.
Jeff Sessions: Sir, I am made of that self mettle as my sister, And prize me at her worth. In my true heart, I find she names my very deed of love — Only she comes too short, that I profess Myself an enemy to all other joys, Which the most precious square of sense possesses. And find I am alone felicitate in your dear highness’ love. “An honor to be here.”
Jim Mattis: I respect the troops a lot.
Trump: Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again.
Mattis: (uncomfortably) I prefer to maintain a dignified silence in the presence of media.
Mike Pompeo: Hey, that’s my line!
Rick Perry: i like you more than i like my hat
and i like my hat a lot
my glasses i don’t like because i sometimes feel that they are judging me and whispering that i am not smart
but you and my hat are both okay
i take it off to honor you
thank you for showing the Earth who was boss, and for showing the Paris accords that the only real Paris is in the Lone Star State.
Linda McMahon: Thank you for letting me work at the Small Business Administration! With you in charge we will have to change the name, because nothing will be small. Businesses will not be small, and dreams will not be small. You will lift us up and hold us in the palms of your right-size hands. You have won the biggest smackdown of all, against the economy, which before was raw and now is cooked.
Alexander Acosta: When I look at you, I feel the way dogs feel when they look at anyone. Merely to breathe your air is an unthinkable honor. (begins to strike himself on the chest) No, air, leave my foul and corrupted lungs and go where you may be appreciated, into the magnificent lungs of Donald Trump, where you will help to power a true king among men. Turn his blood even redder and help to make him strong. He must be strong — for all of us.
Tom Price: My king, please glance into the doorway, where my strong son has brought you a nightingale made entirely of gold and silver. Take it with my compliments and let its tinkling mechanical song fill your heart with joy and make your people glad. If you wish, my son will join your household as your loyal retainer. His presence will vouch for my loyalty, and he knows what will happen to him if I fail you.
Mick Mulvaney: Your budget is more beautiful than the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and was put together much quicker. It will benefit the same people. Also, you smell nice, like an expensive pine tree.
Elaine Chao: You have helped me to make hundreds of people happy!
Trump: Only hundreds?
Chao: (swallows nervously) That is a lot. Just try to count to a hundred. It’s not even POSSIBLE.
(Trump appears to think for a long time, then slowly nods.)
Sonny Perdue: My lord, when you walk in the street, dogs leave their masters to follow at your heels and cats who see you experience loyalty for the first time. Young brides, stepping out of churches, release their husbands’ arms and rush to throw themselves at your feet. The husbands would do so, too, if they did not know that it would not make you slightly uncomfortable, and the mere thought of making you uncomfortable fills them with a sorrow greater than any sorrow they have ever known. When you smile, it is not winter anymore. You alone can melt the frozen heart and the frozen polar ice cap. Also, you are very popular in Mississippi.
Ben Carson: I know what it is to hold a human life in my gifted hands and perform a surgery that is a matter of life or death. So you will understand when I say that the most precious thing I have ever held in my hands is … you. You mean everything. Everything. Everything. (begins to weep with emotion) I believe that if you touched any of us right here, you could heal us all and there would be no need for science. But you must do what you think best.
Reince Priebus: You smell like a thousand angels. Sometimes I think you might be an angel. If heaven is not serving you, I don’t know what is. Maybe there is no heaven. I am grateful to God every day for putting you into my life. You are sunshine. My only sunshine. The only sunshine. “On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ven give us to serve your agenda and the American people.”
This seems fine.
And Graham said he expects the Senate to pass a sanctions package that could slap Russia with penalties for its interference in the 2016 election. If Trump doesn’t sign it, he said, “He would be betraying democracy.”
“I’m going to bury democracy nice and deep where no one can find it.”
From Politico: Regarding Trump’s feud with London’s Mayor Khan
The present dispute was, in contrast, started by Trump. Given its context — the apportioning of blame in the aftermath of a terrorist attack — it would have been politically impossible for Khan to remain silent.
Besides, Khan is a mayor. Mayors respond to verbal aggression; mayors engage in political dust-ups. It is part of the small-bore nature of mayoral politics. It has often struck me that Trump governs the U.S. as if he were the country’s mayor, not its president. No issue is too small, or too picayune, for him to ignore; no slight is too inconsequential not to transcend. His is the very mayoral politics of handshakes and long-held grudges, and his Manichean methods have the flavor of City Hall, not the White House.
On the “Andy Griffith Show” the town of Mayberry had two mayors, Mayor Pike and then Mayor Stoner. Trump is an amalgam of both.
From “A Mayberry State of Mind”:
“Mayor Pike is a man easily swayed by public opinion. Like some small-town politicians, any opinion he has or any decision he makes is generally backed by at least one member of his town council and if it isn’t, his mind is quickly changed. Full of civic pride, Pike often refers to Mayberry as “our fair city”, and he likes nothing better than organizing welcoming ceremonies for visiting dignitaries and celebrations highlighting the accomplishments of a fellow Mayberryite.
In fact, Pike is at his most enthusiastic when finding an occasion to showcase the talents of one or the other of his three daughters. And though we never hear Mayor Pike sing, it must be assumed that he feels his daughters get their talent from his side of the family…
Unlike Mayor Pike, Mayor Roy Stoner is a very stubborn man and once his mind is made up, generally never changes it and it is rare indeed if he reverses himself on a decision. Stoner is a real stickler for playing by the rules and going by the book. Not one for informalities, he even insists on calling Andy by his formalized name of Andrew, which is often said in a very condescending manner.
While Mayor Pike isn’t seen to get involved in the day-to-day business of the sheriff’s office, Mayor Stoner doesn’t seem to be able to keep himself out of it. Appearing to not have much faith in Andy’s detective skills, Stoner calls in an investigator from the state’s special investigative unit to help solve a rash of cattle thefts in Mayberry; Andy later solves the crime on his own. And when doubting Andy’s ability to understand that even those who break the law are basically good and honest citizens who deserve the benefit of a doubt, Stoner finds himself literally up a tree, trapped by a bear.
However, Stoner can’t be singled out as the only one who makes trouble for Andy. Between the time-consuming task of selling the old town cannon and the unsavory chore of evicting a man, Pike causes his share of troublesome situations as well. Suffice to say, both mayors of Mayberry know how to create just enough mayhem to keep Sheriff Taylor on his toes.”
This is one of the cards I received for my 70th birthday this last Saturday.
From New York Magazine, by Jonathan Chait:
In his speech announcing his plans to withdraw from the international climate agreement, President Trump highlighted the city in which the pact was made as a central argument against it. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he said. “It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — along with many, many other locations within our great country — before Paris, France.” The administration deems this rhetorical sally against France so successful it is following up with a “Pittsburgh, not Paris” rally.
Whipping up nationalist anger against France is not a strategy Trump invented. The Republican party used it to some effect in the run-up to the Iraq war, which France opposed (and was vindicated). The conservative media was filled with anti-French diatribes, including a book portraying France as America’s “oldest enemy,” while the GOP-controlled House renamed “french fries” as “freedom fries.” Since the strategy worked before — until the war it was being used to sell turned into a catastrophe — the plan is to try it again.
In fact, France is not the “enemy” here, or even the major protagonist of the agreement Trump is denouncing. The Paris climate agreement is not designed for Parisians any more than the Yalta Treaty was designed to help Yalta or the surrender at Appomattox was constructed for the citizens of a small town in Virginia.
But perhaps the most hilarious aspect of the Trump rally is its location: Lafayette Square. Lafayette is named for the Marquis de Lafayette, a French general who played a crucial role in helping the American revolution. Lafayette is a symbol of French sympathy for the United States and its ideals. There is literally no stupider location in the entire world to stage an anti-French American rally.
Juliette Kayyem @juliettekayyem
The only upside of today is that no legitimate reporter will write another story to tell us women how Ivanka will save our kids.
From Politico, by Thomas E. Ricks:
So I think that McMaster should step down—not just for his own good, but for the good of the country. What if he is replaced by a right-wing extremist who operates on an alternative set of “facts”? So much the better, I say.
Here’s why: The saving grace of Donald Trump as president is his incompetence. He knows almost nothing of how the federal government works. He seems to have been repeatedly surprised by the checks and balances written into the Constitution by the Founding Fathers. And he seems uninterested in learning.
Effectively, we have no president. Rather, we have someone who plays the president on television and on Twitter. Aside from a few of his pet subjects, such as immigration, Trump seems to have almost no effect on the workings of the federal government. What we have seen is a demonstration that it is actually a fairly robust establishment. On Iran policy, for example, Defense Secretary James Mattis seems to chug along by himself, pursuing an approach that is basically a somewhat more aggressive version of President Barack Obama’s policy. An ideologue likely would be as ineffective as national security adviser as Trump has been as president, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
In my revised view, the less control Trump has over the federal government, the better. Think of it this way: Which would be more dangerous, a Mafia family overseen by the cruel and competent Michael Corleone, or one led by his ineffectual brother Fredo? So, I say, Let Donald be Donald.
Trump met with Pope Francis this morning, and per Reuters, this happened:
Francis also gave Trump a signed copy of his 2017 peace message whose title is “Nonviolence — A Style of Politics for Peace,” and a copy of his 2015 encyclical letter on the need to protect the environment from the effects of climate change.
“Well, I’ll be reading them,” Trump said.
“This doesn’t have my name in it.”