Our current President is a thoroughly impulsive and stupid man. This is recognized even among his admirers, even if they use different language to describe the same attributes. And he strikes me as the kind of person who does not fully recognize how poor some of his decisions are until they are literally blowing up in his face. He throws hand grenades for fun; as long as they land somewhere else, it's hilarious and awesome. When one bounces off a wall and comes to rest at his feet, only then does he stop to consider that maybe throwing hand grenades around is not very smart.
And then he blames someone else, right before it explodes.
No matter how slow people like this may be to learn from their mistakes, as a 70 year-old adult I have to imagine that some small part of him is second guessing that decision to launch a frontal assault on America's tangled and massive web of intelligence agencies before he even took office. You might think that a person with as much baggage and as many closet-skeletons as this guy would think twice before provoking the professionals who specialize in lurking around in the darkness, uncovering one's past, and you know, toppling elected officials. Don't let the fact that they didn't get the exploding cigar into Castro's hands fool you. They're pretty good at this.
With Tuesday's late revelations that the campaign team had extensive contact with Russian intelligence throughout 2016, it is clear that the Flynn debacle is only the tip of an iceberg that is likely to end up on top of the White House. Two quotes from Paul Manafort (the campaign staffer who raised eyebrows because of his previous work in Russia and the Ukraine and ties to people in the FSB and around Putin) suggest a key shift among people in the President's orbit from "Push the alternative facts on the cuck media!" to "Cut a deal, turn state's evidence, and stay out of prison".
Mr. Manafort, who has not been charged with any crimes, dismissed the accounts of the American officials in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “This is absurd,” he said. “I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”
When a person in the world of government and politics begins including the term "knowingly" in his or her speech, that person is already well into the process of preparing to tell this story in a courtroom.
Mr. Manafort added, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”
Good luck with that line in court, kiddo! "The undercover cop didn't tell me she was a prostitute, and she really looked like a prostitute! So I'm off the hook, right?"
Maybe I'm projecting or being optimistic, but this week – Can you believe it's only week four? – has a very distinct Coming Unraveled feeling to it. The flow of leaks is turning into a tsunami. No one in the administration is swaggering around and trying to project a juvenile idea of dominant confidence. They all look and sound like they're a split second away from turning on one another, and like more than one or two hushed conversations to the effect of, "How much trouble are we in here?" have taken place. Obviously neither you nor I are in the White House to know for certain, but the tone and atmosphere around the one-two punch of the Flynn debacle and these new Russia revelations feels different. Maybe it will dissipate and we will return to Bullying Bravado normal. Or maybe the man who never thinks about the potential consequences before speaking or acting is beginning to wonder if making enemies of the people most likely to be able to reduce him to a smoldering crater in the Earth was a wise thing to do.