Yes, we continue to see Der Trumpenführer preening and seeking to satiate his narcissism and making efforts to threaten and intimidate anyone who crosses him, but as a column in New York Magazine argues, what truly motivates Trump now comes down to one thing: stopping the Russiagate investigations and the possible treason and criminal conduct that they likely to reveal. Hence his incessant attacks on Jeff Sessions and the news media. No one acts this desperate unless there are very serious matters that must remain hidden. Donald Trump, Jr.'s, emails are likely the tip of the iceberg and with Vladimir Putin furious over the new sanctions against Russia coming from Congress with a veto proof vote, one has to wonder when Putin will decide to throw Trump to the wolves since other than causing chaos and destabilizing America, he's proving to have been a poor investment for Putin. Here are excerpts that look at Trump's now consuming obsession:
At this juncture the priorities of Donald Trump have winnowed down to a single agenda item: saving himself and his family from legal culpability for their campaign interactions with the Russians and their efforts to cover up those transactions ever since. Almost everything this president does must be viewed through this single lens. If you do so, you’ll find his actions usually make sense.
This overriding motive explains both this week’s orchestrated staff turmoil in the White House and the simultaneous assaults on the civil rights of transgender American troops and all LBGTQ employees in the private workplace. The primary purpose of all of it is to distract from investigations into potential Trump-family criminality and to galvanize a base that Trump believes will protect him against the rule of law. If you have already forgotten Jared Kushner’s loophole-strewn profession of innocence from Monday, that’s the point.
It would seem particularly counterintuitive for Trump to go after the like-minded Sessions, who was not only the first sitting senator to endorse his campaign but whose Department of Justice has just filed the court papers seeking to cripple federal civil-rights law to roll back protections for employees based on sexual orientation. Sessions also shares Trump’s xenophobic opposition to immigration and his antediluvian approach to criminal justice. What’s more, Session’s political allies are Trump’s allies — from conservative Republican senators like Richard Shelby and Orrin Hatch to media cheerleaders like Breitbart and Tucker Carlson. But all of that is negated by Trump’s sole priority of derailing the Russian investigation.
Trump assumed that Sessions would fix the investigation on his behalf, much as he expected corruptible local officials to fix his legal violations as a real-estate developer, and was appalled that Sessions’s recusal made that impossible. If Sessions survives, it will be only because Trump finds an easier way to achieve his No. 1 goal, the firing of Robert Mueller. That’s bound to happen no matter who stands in the way.
Trump is a diva who doesn’t like anyone else to share his spotlight, and Scaramucci is a drama queen who seems determined to pull focus from his boss at any opportunity. He just can’t help himself. . . . His inevitable sadomasochistic humiliation at the hands of the man he “loves” will be nothing if not entertaining to watch.
Meanwhile, the departures and purges, this White House’s Nights of the Short Knives, will continue. The secretaries of Defense and State, Jim Mattis and Rex Tillerson, often considered the adults in the cabinet, are now castrated, serving as at best bystanders to major policy decisions. (Mattis, typically, was given only one day’s notice about the transgender troop ban.) The only Trump appointees whose jobs are safe are Ivanka and Jared. Trump is in the bunker now.
The president no doubt feels that he could pull out a gun and shoot his attorney general on Fifth Avenue, and his base would still remain loyal. I have no doubt he’s correct: This is the same quarter of the populace that believes it makes sense to endanger themselves by replacing Obamacare with a wish and a prayer — the same crowd that believes transgender patriots serving their country in uniform, not Russians who hacked our election, are a clear and present danger to American security.
The Democrats will inevitably rebound after Trump’s implosion as they did after Richard Nixon’s, but, as was the case in the short-lived Jimmy Carter interregnum of the 1970s, the party’s comeback will prove short-lived if there is not a blood transfusion of new leaders and genuinely “bold” ideas.