As part of Donald Trump’s effort to Make America Great Again, the White House has been featuring various weekly themes that highlight all the great work of the administration. Editor’s note: the weekly themed approach was the brainchild of whoever was running the White House communications department at the time, but there is a new Mooch in town so things may change.
Among the weekly themes we have seen are so far are:
- Infrastructure Week, intended to show how the rebuilding of America’s roads, bridges and airports would add millions of jobs. Highlight of the week: FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to Congress
- Energy Week, intended to demonstrate that Rick Perry knew what department he had wanted to eliminate and had subsequently been appointed secretary of. Highlight of the week: Trump sort of admits to Russian interference in the election and blames Obama
- Workforce Development Week, intended to show how getting people into apprenticeships would help people get new skills for employment. Highlight of the week: Trump’s 2018 budget announcement that would gut various federal departments, including training programs
- Made in America Week, intended to show how Ivanka Trump’s line of clothes are made in Asia. Okay, so that was not the intended purpose. Highlight of the week: The Senate’s inability to repeal and replace Obamacare
So here we are in the week of July 24th. Jared Kushner testified privately to investigators of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday and with House Intelligence Committee representatives on Tuesday. Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort were supposed to appear publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee today but for now there will be private interviews. So what better week to declare it Tell the Truth Week©?
Tell the Truth Week© will feature various Trumpkins pretending to tell the truth. Kushner has hired some high-priced lawyers and public relations consultants to advise him on how to tell the truth. He might do somewhat better than Donald Jr. and Paul. The latter two have the apparent disadvantage of having been already thrown under the bus by Jared, who got to a congressional committee before they did.
Jared began Tell the Truth Week© by releasing an eleven page opening statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee. He informed the committee that he “did not collude” with that woman, Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. Nor did he collude with Russian lobbyist Rinat Akmetshin. Nor did he collude with the Russian banker Sergey Gorkov. Nor did he collude with Russian money launderer Ike Kaveladze. Nor did he twice collude with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And Kushner only suggested using Russian facilities to communicate with Moscow because Russian generals did not want to come to America to talk.
Jared explained that the revisions to his 100-page SF-86 Security Clearance Form were necessary because a careless assistant answered questions untruthfully under penalty of falsifying the document, which is felony carrying a five-year term in federal prison. Jared failed to note that he signed the false documents in four places. I can hardly wait to hear that assistant’s testimony about the Security Clearance Form.
Separately Jared also has had problems explaining why his family continues to promote Chinese investments in Kushner properties by noting that Jared is, after all, the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor. He also seems to have forgotten the stuff about getting a $285 million loan from Deutsche Bank, which itself is in trouble for some money-laundering matters with the Russians.
And then there is the question about the campaign’s demographic and analytic information that Jared supervised. There’s certainly no reason to think that the straight-laced Jared might ever slip such information to the Russians, whose hackers seem to have had amazing insight into which states and counties to dump their fake news into social media during the election.
No siree, no colluding with Russia on Jared’s part. Nyet.
Then there is Don Jr., whose email chain had the subject line “Russian – Clinton – personal and confidential” helped get Kushner invited to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Don Jr. fessed up to things day after day, adding additional Russian characters to the famous meeting as he went along – sort of like a Russian nesting doll.
And let’s not forget Paul Manafort. Manafort graciously took no salary from the Trump campaign, which he joined fresh off his multi-million dollar deals with the Ukrainians who are Putin buddies. More recently Sean Spicer tried to describe the former campaign manager as a short-term volunteer on the campaign. Just why was Paul buying up housing around the country after getting paid millions from Ukrainians (or Russians)? Money laundering sounds like a good possibility there. But then Manafort’s real estate deals were small potatoes compared with the $95 million sale of a piece of Palm Beach Florida property by Trump Senior to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.
And of course there is good old Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Attorney General of these United States of America, our premier defender of America law. Jeff plum forgot all sorts of details about his meetings with the Russkies. Heck, he couldn’t even remember that he had such meetings with them, what with his responsibilities helpin’ to run the Trump campaign and all. Trump is showing his gratitude now by pushing Sessions out the door, probably to get rid of the Robert Mueller investigation into the Russian mess.
I won’t get into lesser Trumpkins like Carter Page, who like other small role Trump-hangers-on lusts for attention, any attention, which often leads Page to tell about his Russian dealings, minor though they might have been.
Thinking about all of these Trumpkin twists and turns, at least Michael Flynn tried to get immunity to testify about what he knows.
And to be sure that she is not left out of the limelight we have Kellyanne Conway saying pay no attention to the Russian bear behind the curtain. Look at all the shiny objects that we left on the table. Even Congressman Chris Collins was brought back into Trump service to try to minimize the Russia thing.
As we move to the completion of Tell the Truth Week© we are left to ponder why, if there is no real Russia problem, is there all this talk about pardons? One of Trump’s defense team, Andrew Sekulow, said on ABC “[w]e have not, and I continue to not, have conversations with the president of the United States regarding pardons.” For those who learned their English style and form in the last century, re-read that sentence and try to diagram it.
Of course on the same day as Sekulow’s comments, newly appointed communications director Anthony (“the Mooch”) Scaramucci told Fox News, referring to pardons, “I’m in the Oval Office with the president last week, we’re talking about that — he brought that up.” So is Sekulow lying or is the Mooch, or are they both telling the truth and is it just POTUS who is again talking out of both sides of his mouth?
To my Republican friends who have read this far into this post, I kind of, sort of feel bad for you. Now that your party controls all of Washington it seems appropriate to expect that you would get the legislative package you yearn for. But with every passing day Obamacare repeal becomes less likely, Trumpcare is on the horizon, tax reform may or may not get approved after being skinnied-down, and immigration controls will be limited. There will be some problems with passing the 2018 federal budget and extending the debt limit.
Most of all, you have Twittering Donny hanging around the party’s neck, uncontrollable and doing damage to the party brand on a daily basis. But at least he is your president. Good luck.