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Pierce writes: "I am fully aware that, more than any other occupant of that office, this president* is capable of creating a sturdy bubble in which he is the indomitable and wise master of the universe, all objective evidence to the contrary."

Donald Trump. (photo: Getty)
Donald Trump. (photo: Getty)


The Ship Is Sinking. The Rats Are Scrambling.

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

12 April 18


The president is losing whatever grip he had.

he hinges are all hanging loose and broken.

From the The New York Times:

Inside the White House, Mr. Trump—furious after the F.B.I. raided his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen—spent much of the day brooding and fearful and near what two people close to the West Wing described as a “meltdown.” Mr. Trump’s public and private wrath about the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election are nothing new. But the raids on Monday on Mr. Cohen’s Rockefeller Center office and Park Avenue hotel room have sent the president to new heights of outrage, setting the White House on edge as it faces a national security crisis in Syria and more internal staff churn.

I am fully aware that, more than any other occupant of that office, this president* is capable of creating a sturdy bubble in which he is the indomitable and wise master of the universe, all objective evidence to the contrary. But, ever since the FBI dropped by Michael Cohen’s office, it seems that this might be the event that shatters the bubble for good.

We can safely speculate that Cohen knows everything: the money, the scams, the women, the Russians. All of it. And in the days since the raid, Cohen has abandoned the truculent public persona that had served him so well in the past in favor of being someone who seems grateful that he wasn’t hauled off to Pelican Bay on the spot.

From CNN:

"I am unhappy to have my personal residence and office raided. But I will tell you that members of the FBI that conducted the search and seizure were all extremely professional, courteous and respectful. And I thanked them at the conclusion," Cohen said in a phone conversation on Tuesday with CNN. Asked if he was worried, Cohen said: "I would be lying to you if I told that I am not. Do I need this in my life? No. Do I want to be involved in this? No." The raid was "upsetting to say the least," he added.

This would seem to indicate that Cohen has sized up matters and decided that his best move is to flip on the president*. Back in ‘73, you wouldn’t have seen Gordon Liddy complimenting the FBI on his arrest, I’ll tell you that. They don’t make thuggish apparatchiks like they used to.

Anyway, back at Camp Runamuck, things are going pretty thoroughly haywire. From the Times:

Mr. Trump’s mood had begun to sour even before the raids on his lawyer. People close to the White House said that over the weekend, the president engaged in few activities other than dinner at the Trump International Hotel. He tuned into Fox News, they said, watched reports about the so-called deep state looking to sink his presidency and became unglued. Mr. Trump angrily told his advisers that people were trying to undermine him and that he wanted to get rid of three top Justice Department officials — Jeff Sessions, the attorney general; Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mr. Mueller; and Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director — according to two people familiar with what took place.
He eventually calmed down and the anger abated. But it was stoked anew on Monday, after the F.B.I. raids on Mr. Cohen. Mr. Rosenstein in particular was a source of Mr. Trump’s anger on Monday, and some aides believed the president was seriously considering firing him, to a degree he has not in the past.

Ah, but the strawberries, that’s where I had them…

Few people still at the White House are able to restrain Mr. Trump from acting on his impulses after the departures of crucial staff members who were once able to join forces with other aides to do so. That included Hope Hicks, his former communications director; Rob Porter, his former staff secretary; and, in 2017, the chief of staff Reince Priebus and the chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon. John F. Kelly, the current chief of staff whose influence over the president has waned for months, appeared beaten down and less hands-on, according to two White House officials. Mr. Kelly has told Mr. Trump it is frustrating for staff members that the president deems most news media stories fake news but believes the ones accusing various advisers of leaking, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Let us sum up, shall we? We have a deeply corrupt and incompetent president*, who’s never been entirely on the rails, sensing quite accurately that he’s very close to being run to ground by a prosecutor he can’t bully or bribe out of his way. And, as this Times story indicates, as the ship continues to list, the traffic down the ratlines is getting awfully heavy.

All these anonymous quotes are coming from people who are clearly immunizing themselves against ever having signed aboard this catastrophe, in the hopes that they will one day have careers in politics again. This has to be stoking the president*’s paranoid rage to the point where it’s melting ice lagoons on Neptune. Meanwhile, there’s a genuine crisis brewing over Syria, and there’s only one person who can give the national command orders, and he may be unravelling by the hour.

Maybe voting for someone just because he pretended to be pissed at the same people you’re pissed at wasn’t the best idea in the world.


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+16 # MikeAF48 2018-04-12 12:59
Trump to Cohen I was a big man yesterday, but boy you otta see me now. Its crying time.
 
 
+38 # janie1893 2018-04-12 13:55
95% of WhiteHouse time spent on validating/prot ecting/convinci ng POTUS to behave presidentially, 5% of time spent on national business. Something is out of kilter.
 
 
-44 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-04-12 14:11
Let's see now, we've been reading this sort of "the sky is falling around Trump" for about three years now and Trump always seems to be doing fine. If the NYT says "Trump is furious" the best thing is to know that the NYT is furious that they can't seem to make him resign.

It was just this sort of over-confidence that Trump would self destruct that led to Hillary's humiliating defeat. I'd be careful about getting into the Robby Mook insanity in the run-up to the Nov. 2018 elections.
 
 
+25 # tclose 2018-04-13 07:27
"always seems to be doing fine?" - you've got to be kidding us, right?
 
 
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-04-13 19:08
tclose -- In fact and sadly, I am not kidding. Trump's right wing agenda is marching on at a brisk pace. Consider this:

1. He's appointed and confirmed more federal judges in his first year than any president in history.

2. His EPA secretary, Scott Pruitt, has removed more environmental regulations that the last several presidents have enacted.

3. He's withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement and suppressed any talk or any science about climate change form his administration.

4. He is starting to build the border wall.

5. He has imposted a dealine on DACA recipients.

6. He's added about $100 billion to the Pentagon budget per year.

7. He's passed a massive tax cut for the very rich.

I don't need to go on. You are responding to the chaos and hysteria in the media. Trump is doing fine. Firing a lot of people is his style. Mueller is like a boil on his ass -- annoying but not really a problem. It will soon burst and then go away.

As liberals or democratic socialists, we should be focusing on Trump horrible right wing policies and stop being distracted by our right wing media.
 
 
+4 # LionMousePudding 2018-04-13 16:48
Take out "Trump is doing fine" and the above is a useful thought.
 
 
+22 # tedrey 2018-04-12 15:13
Lovely writing here, Charles. When this is over afterwards, if there is an afterwards to be over with, we can start dissecting the American bubble within which a third of a billion people with grandiose illusions of righteousness, omipotence, and invulnerabity prepare the fate of the rest of humanity. (What *will* they do next?) I'd like your take on that prospect also.
 
 
+43 # Texas Aggie 2018-04-12 15:44
"Maybe voting for someone just because he pretended to be pissed at the same people you’re pissed at wasn’t the best idea in the world."

Ya think? What was your first clue? The thing about rapists coming from Mexico? Something before that? Birtherism maybe? Even before that? How about running a casino into bankruptcy?
 
 
+14 # economagic 2018-04-12 20:26
Yes, it takes real talent to run a casino into bankruptcy. But it takes even more to run an inherited life insurance company into bankruptcy, as did "Smart Jim" Inhofe, the senior senator from Oklahoma.
 
 
+41 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-04-12 15:46
Mr Pierce, you can get all self righteous as you want, but the Media is partly responsible for this mess. You gave THE DONALD Billions in free publicity, trashed Hillary and ignored Bernie Sanders (who would have beaten Trump). Plus, you focus on all the sleazy sh-t (porn stars) and pretty much ignore The Republicans feeding frenzy (de-regulating Wall Street, the Environment. cutting taxes on the rich, privatizing education, etc., etc.)
 
 
+10 # tclose 2018-04-13 07:50
"pretty much ignore The Republicans feeding frenzy (de-regulating Wall Street, the Environment. cutting taxes on the rich, privatizing education, etc., etc.)"

Thanks, Pablo - this is right on.
 
 
+5 # LionMousePudding 2018-04-13 16:50
Agreed; well spoken.
 
 
+18 # Carlosmik 2018-04-12 16:02
What Pierce says here is true, except for his belief that Cohen has "decided that his best move is to flip on the president*" Don't count on it. Cohen probably (and rightly) believes Trump will pardon him, so there's no need to "flip", especially when there' so much $ to gain by staying loyal.
 
 
+39 # margpark 2018-04-12 16:12
I fear Trump addicts are occupying a different bubble. They seem to think he is being quite successful. They believe he is a very successful businessman who completely financed his run for the presidency. I do not know whose kool aid they are drinking but I fear getting Trump out of the oval office will only convince them dark forces were at wok.
 
 
+17 # economagic 2018-04-12 20:06
Worse, it will unleash the even darker forces that animate Mike Pence.
 
 
+9 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2018-04-13 14:13
Quoting economagic:
Worse, it will unleash the even darker forces that animate Mike Pence.
Pence will be a problem only if Democrats fail to win either the House or the Senate. If they get both, Pence will have to walk on eggshells to avoid impeachment himself.
 
 
+8 # Jim Rocket 2018-04-13 07:37
Yesterday Democracy Now pointed out that Trump has been very successful at packing the courts with right-wing judges. So he can be proud of that. That's a gift that keeps on giving for decades.
 
 
+5 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2018-04-13 14:11
Quoting Jim Rocket:
Yesterday Democracy Now pointed out that Trump has been very successful at packing the courts with right-wing judges. So he can be proud of that. That's a gift that keeps on giving for decades.
There is one ray of hope on those *judges*. They, like every other appointed member of the Executive Branch, can be impeached.
 
 
+29 # elkingo 2018-04-12 22:51
Look, the guy is plain nuts. Clinically. Really. Nobody has been realizing it because it is just too enormous to believe. But he is. He's Nero, Caligula, Mad King Ludwig. The Emperor is really naked folks and must be deposed, before this gets irreversible, like the end of the world.
 
 
+12 # DongiC 2018-04-13 02:08
Just heard that there may be tapes (audial) around that Michael Cohen made of his conversations with many of the people of the Trump organization. Including, maybe, with King Trump himself. This is nuclear as is the idea that these tapes are now in the possession of the FBI. Yikes, ir's like history repeating itself. Kind of. Cohen who was Mr. Fixer knew where many of the skeetons were buried. Good-bye Donald Trump your bullying days are about over!
 
 
+11 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-04-13 06:19
I would not really say that the rats are scrambling to get off of the sinking ship. It is just the opposite. The real rats are scrambling onto Trump's ship. Pompeo is getting confirmed this week. Now there's a real rat jumping on board. John Bolton, who may be King Rat, is now in the white house and gnawing up the place.

The Trump administration just gets worse and worse by the month. But the people he's bringing in are fronts for the true power in the US. They will not be brought down. Bolton and Pompeo are neo-cons, who now dominate both the republican and democratic parties. They are the true power brokers in the US because they are fronts for the military-indust rial-banking-is raeli complex.

All of the people who had even the slightest bit of good sense have been driven away from Trump's administration. By this I mean Flynn principally. The forces doing the driving away are the FBI and CIA.

This is getting really scary and ugly. I just think harping on Trump's corruption and incompetence is not relevant. The people he's bringing in are competent in consummate evil and corruption is nothing to them.
 
 
+10 # Aliazer 2018-04-13 09:42
Folks, these are the ploys and games that the powerful play among themselves, while distracting the plebe that something major is happening!!

Trump is still there because he is still useful to the powerful. Russia, Gas poisoning,etc. are mere distractions, while this country continues being stripped naked with ridiculously low interests for seniors
and usurious rates for the borrowers,etc.. , etc...!
 
 
+12 # chapdrum 2018-04-13 15:45
When at (very) long last, Republican politicians have their often-"Trumpete d" patriotism tested, it is OF COURSE no surprise that they remain silent while Don and his wrecking crew threaten world peace, dismantle our institutions and take it all to the bank. Too bad there isn't a World court with the power to dismantle the entire Republican Party.
 

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