Trump: I never worked for Russia

President Trump said definitively he never worked for Russia after offering a non-denial when questioned about an FBI investigation into whether he was working with Moscow.

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 4:58 AM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 4:58 AM

In any other time, with any other president, the spectacle of the commander in chief honking hoarsely on the White House lawn about how "I never worked for Russia," would be the political equivalent of a five-alarm fire. Never in history has an American president been required to answer such serious, credible questions about his loyalties.

Today it's just another plot twist in the lurid telenovela that is Donald Trump's presidency.

The New York Times reported that after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the feds began investigating whether the President was an intelligence threat. This suspicion arose naturally after Trump complained about Comey to Russian diplomats and then told NBC's Lester Holt that he had the "Russia thing" in mind when he axed the director.

The "thing" that troubled Trump was Moscow's attack on the 2016 election, which cast a dark shadow on his claim to legitimacy. In a fitting dramatic twist, his fateful decision to fire Comey prompted the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, whose work imperils Trump even more than his own chaos.

And the chaos is profound. You need only to consider the last few days to see the kinds of self-inflicted injuries that would have been momentous in another time:

On Thursday, Trump flew to Texas for an on-the-border photo op intended to boost his campaign to build a wall that would supposedly stop an "invasion" from the south. Despite the fact that no invasion is underway and that many politicians along the border reject it, Trump has continued to promote this boondoggle idea.

On Friday 800,000 federal workers experienced their first payless payday (some got check-like statements for $0.00) and stories of their anxieties began to accumulate. In a remarkable display of cluelessness, the President, who in his business career has declared bankruptcy many times, but thanks to family wealth never suffered personally, said, "I can relate."

On Saturday, the Washington Post revealed that the President has kept secret, even from his own aides, the content of his many conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As America's main antagonist around the world, Putin's words should be examined closely by the experts. By hiding them, and personally confiscating his interpreter's notes from one meeting, Trump suggests he has much to hide.

Also on Saturday, officials of the Transportation Security Administration began noting serious problems with airport security screening related to the partial government shutdown, which Trump has said, quite publicly, is his responsibility. Working without pay, TSA agents have begun to call in sick, and in Miami, one terminal has been closed, intermittently, due to staffing shortages. Security line wait times are stretching to 90 minutes in Atlanta The US Travel Association estimates the shutdown is costing the economy $100 million per day in lost travel spending.

On Sunday, CNN confirmed an Axios report that Trump has lashed out at his budget director and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney during a budget negotiation with congressional leaders. "Stop, stop, just stop -- What are you doing? You're f---ing it all up, Mick," the President reportedly said during the session. Of all Trump's aides, Mulvaney has been so loyal, even to the point of abandoning his personal convictions on certain matters, that one might think he would be the last person Trump would humiliate in this way.

Trump's demand for billions to build a useless wall is the reason for the government shutdown. The wall was also the centerpiece of a campaign that relied on countless lies and misrepresentation to provoke fear and racial animus to motivate his base of support.

This brings us back to the President standing on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday. In between references to a fast food banquet he had planned and a smarmy comment about two FBI agents (he referred to one as the "lover" of the other), Trump declined to join the GOP chorus condemning the white nationalism of Iowa Rep. Steve King. (The New York Times, in a profile article last week, quoted King as saying: "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?")

But going easy on King, Trump maintained his commitment to the anti-immigrant theme that helped him gain the White House. He also kept alive a dramatic storyline he will no doubt exploit in future episodes of the drama he seems to favor over actual public service.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32888

Reported Deaths: 1188
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds264246
DeSoto176718
Madison135536
Jones115949
Neshoba101673
Harrison100312
Rankin99915
Lauderdale93781
Forrest92743
Scott78515
Jackson70417
Copiah62715
Washington62610
Leake59820
Lee57521
Holmes57041
Oktibbeha55728
Wayne55116
Warren54020
Yazoo5336
Grenada5227
Lowndes51513
Leflore50756
Lamar5007
Lincoln49234
Pike46617
Sunflower4368
Monroe43135
Lafayette4194
Covington3965
Panola3926
Bolivar37018
Attala36523
Simpson3603
Newton35210
Adams33218
Tate31912
Pontotoc3166
Marion30812
Chickasaw29119
Claiborne28910
Winston28210
Noxubee2738
Pearl River26932
Jasper2666
Marshall2643
Clay25111
Smith23412
Union23311
Coahoma2136
Clarke21125
Walthall2087
Lawrence1892
Yalobusha1838
Kemper17914
Carroll17111
Humphreys1569
Tallahatchie1564
Montgomery1432
Calhoun1425
Tippah14211
Itawamba1408
Hancock13413
Webster12811
Tunica1153
Jefferson1143
Jefferson Davis1144
Prentiss1113
Greene1089
Amite1043
George943
Wilkinson949
Tishomingo911
Quitman891
Alcorn762
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone722
Franklin472
Benton420
Sharkey400
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 46424

Reported Deaths: 1032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5687161
Mobile4315136
Montgomery4275109
Tuscaloosa238248
Marshall181511
Madison16208
Lee146337
Shelby141424
Morgan11575
Baldwin10399
Walker101825
Elmore97519
Dallas9189
Franklin90616
Etowah83413
DeKalb7905
Chambers64727
Autauga64312
Butler63728
Tallapoosa60669
Russell5890
Unassigned53826
Houston5366
Limestone5251
Lauderdale5146
Cullman4905
Lowndes47922
Pike4525
Colbert4426
St. Clair4402
Escambia4358
Calhoun4035
Coffee3923
Covington38110
Bullock36910
Barbour3622
Jackson3432
Talladega3337
Dale3261
Marengo32011
Hale31722
Wilcox2958
Clarke2876
Sumter28512
Winston2773
Chilton2762
Blount2581
Monroe2442
Pickens2446
Marion24114
Randolph2289
Conecuh2187
Macon2029
Choctaw19912
Bibb1981
Greene1888
Perry1791
Henry1403
Crenshaw1253
Washington1217
Lawrence1130
Cherokee1117
Geneva860
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa601
Cleburne391
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