Just catching up on some Trump news I didn’t get around to yesterday:
Trump gave William Barr total authority to declassify and release anything he wants regarding the Russia investigation. This is a transparent attempt to allow Barr to cherry pick items and release them out of context, knowing that the press will give them big play even though they know they’re being played. This was the Republican strategy during the Benghazi and email investigations, and it worked great. The Washington Post reports that Trump is obsessed with giving a contract to build his wall to a big-time Republican donor:
President Trump has personally and repeatedly urged the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award a border wall contract to a North Dakota construction firm whose top executive is a GOP donor and frequent guest on Fox News, according to four administration officials….[Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the commanding general of the Army Corps] was summoned to the White House again Thursday, after the president’s aides told Pentagon officials — including Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s chief of staff — that the president wanted to discuss the border barrier. According to an administration official with knowledge of the Oval Office meeting, Trump immediately brought up Fisher, a company that sued the U.S. government last month after the Army Corps did not accept its bid to install barriers along the southern border, a contract potentially worth billions of dollars.
The weird thing is that this might not be corrupt in the usual meaning of the word. Apparently Fisher’s CEO is a sort of Trump-esque blowhard who goes on conservative radio and TV to claim that he has fabulous new technology that would allow him to build 200 miles of the wall in less than a year. Trump is totally enamored of this claim, even though the Army Corps of Engineers apparently isn’t. A doctored video was released that seemed to show Nancy Pelosi slurring her words like a drunk while she addressed a crowd. It was immediately referenced on Fox News, of course, even though it was obviously a fake. So far Donald Trump hasn’t retweeted it, but give him time. And did I mention that Trump held a press conference yesterday in which he called on various staffers to confirm for the cameras that he had been totally calm in his meeting with Pelosi earlier in the day? I did, didn’t I? Still, it’s worth mentioning again: Trump was totally calm. He did not storm out of the meeting like a child because Pelosi had said something mean about him. Capiche? He was totally, extremely, exceptionally, strikingly calm. Really, really calm. CALM, dammit. Don’t you guys listen?
Read more: motherjones.com