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Donald Trump vs. John Kelly vs. Jared Kushner vs. Jeff Sessions vs. H.R. McMaster

The most common complaint in any White House when it comes to how the media cover a president and his administration ...

Posted: Feb 21, 2018 10:44 PM
Updated: Feb 21, 2018 10:44 PM

The most common complaint in any White House when it comes to how the media cover a president and his administration is that there is way too much focus on palace intrigue and not nearly enough on policy proposals.

That is, that the media's obsession with who's up and who's down in the eyes of the president winds up overshadowing the details of what and how the president is going to make laws.

But the Trump White House isn't traditional in any way -- this very much included.

This is a White House that is all palace intrigue and almost zero policy. President Donald Trump is someone who, dating back to his days as a reality star, loves to play members of his inner circle off against one another. He believes this sort of law-of-the-jungle management style brings out the best in those around him. People operate best when in combat for their work lives -- and all that.

The result? A White House in which battles between senior staffers or even between the President and members of his Cabinet are the rule rather than the exception. The personalities in the ring rotate but the (in)fighting is constant.

Witness the last 24 hours.

On Tuesday night, The New York Times reported that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and White House chief of staff John Kelly were feuding over the latter's attempt to reform the security clearance issues within the administration highlighted by the resignation of former staff secretary Rob Porter.

Wrote Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Maggie Haberman:

"Mr. Kushner, frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly has targeted him personally with the directive, has told colleagues at the White House that he is reluctant to give up his high-level access, the officials said ...

"... But Mr. Kelly, who has been privately dismissive of Mr. Kushner since taking the post of chief of staff but has rarely taken him on directly, has made no guarantees, saying only that the president's son-in-law will still have all the access he needs to do his job under the new system."

Little did we know that Kushner-Kelly was just the undercard!

On Wednesday morning, Trump himself tweeted this:

"Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren't they the subject of the investigation? Why didn't Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren't Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Sessions!"

(Trump initially misspelled Sessions' name by leaving off the last "s" and then later corrected his tweet.)

That jab amounted to the latest in a series of swats Trump has taken at his attorney general. Trump has called Sessions "beleaguered" and "very weak" via Twitter and said he would never have appointed the former Alabama senator as the nation's top law enforcement official if he suspected that Sessions would recuse himself in the Russia investigation.

This, from Dan Merica's story on Trump's latest tweet, is eye-opening in regards to the ongoing strains in the Trump-Sessions relationship:

"It was clear to people Trump was speaking with over the weekend and sources with knowledge of his feelings, though, that his disdain for Sessions hasn't gone away.

One person said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's televised announcement Friday of indictments against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election reignited Trump's anger at Sessions.

'He will never get over Sessions recusing himself,' a person familiar with the President's thinking said."

Sessions is far from unique in falling out of favor with the President. In just the last week, there have been reports (or public examples) of Trump's ire directed at the following people: Kelly, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.

And Trump has privately fumed at a far-longer list of administration officials including Rosenstein, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Supreme Court nominee/justice Neil Gorsuch and special counsel Bob Mueller.

That list doesn't even include the various senior-level people Trump has fired or pressured out, including former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, chief of staff Reince Priebus, deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, senior political strategist Steve Bannon and, of course, former FBI Director James Comey.

Or his feuds with Republican senators like John McCain, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Mitch McConnell, Lisa Murkowski, Lindsey Graham and Dean Heller, among others.

Trump likes confrontations. He likes public back and forths. He likes insult trading. He knows that palace intrigue makes good TV -- and that's what he serves up.

Process -- who does Trump like or hate RIGHT now -- isn't a sideshow in the Trump administration. It's the only show in town.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320174

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22294271
Hinds20755424
Harrison18450317
Rankin13923282
Jackson13733249
Madison10273225
Lee10063176
Jones8473167
Forrest7837153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636288
Lafayette6314121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606148
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4162136
Union415877
Neshoba4065180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3373111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314571
Adams308486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272374
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232369
Winston230282
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210659
Holmes190574
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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After such a unseasonably cool, dry start to your Wednesday, temperatures will heat up pretty quickly. Humidity remains relatively low, keeping rain out of the forecast. But it does return quickly into late-week, ramping rain chances up as we approach the weekend.
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