Friday, October 13, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He is Unfit to Be President, And Republi-CONs Know It

UPDATE XIII:  "[W]hat are Corker’s 'issues'? He has asserted that Trump requires constant handling to control his volatility: 'I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him.' Corker has accused Trump of lacking strategic thinking: 'A lot of people think that there is some kind of ‘good cop, bad cop’ act underway, but that’s just not true.' Corker has called out Trump’s routine deceptions: 'I don’t know why the president tweets out things that are not true.' Corker has talked of Trump’s vacuity: He acts 'like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.' Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has expressed the fear that Trump’s instability could lead to conflict: 'We could be headed toward World War III with the kind of comments that he’s making.' . .

[In other words,] Corker accuses the president of being a chaotic, directionless, shallow liar who could start a nuclear war. . . [Trump's response, he] Corker for being short. This is, after all, the way gentlemen resolve their differences.

GOP denial about Trump has generally taken Ryan’s form. The president may be eccentric and divisive, but Republicans need to keep their heads down and think of tax reform. This assumes that the main challenge is to avoid distraction from essential tasks.

But the real problem has always been Trump’s fundamental unfitness for high office. It is not Trump’s indiscipline and lack of leadership, which make carrying a legislative agenda forward nearly impossible. It is not his vulgarity and smallness, which have been the equivalent of spray-painting graffiti on the Washington Monument. It is not his nearly complete ignorance of policy and history, which condemns him to live in the eternal present of his own immediate desires.

No, Corker has given public permission to raise the most serious questions: Is Trump psychologically and morally equipped to be president? And could his unfitness cause permanent damage to the country?

It is no longer possible to safely ignore the leaked cries for help coming from within the administration. They reveal a president raging against enemies, obsessed by slights, deeply uninformed and incurious, unable to focus, and subject to destructive whims. A main task of the chief of staff seems to be to shield him from dinner guests and telephone calls that might set him off on a foolish or dangerous tangent. Much of the White House senior staff seems bound, not by loyalty to the president, but by a duty to protect the nation from the president. Trump, in turn, is reported to have said: 'I hate everyone in the White House.' And also, presumably, in the State Department, headed by a secretary of state who apparently regards his boss as a 'moron.'"

Read the Washington Post, Republicans, it’s time to panic.
UPDATE XII:  "Our constitutional system designates the president as the person to execute the laws. Congress passes them, the president signs them, and then he is obligated to enforce them. His oath is clear on this point: 'I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.' What if he won’t or cannot execute his duties and/or cannot preserve, protect and defend the Constitution? The Constitution says the remedy is impeachment.

Within the past 24 hours we’ve seen the president threaten to ignore or violate the First Amendment and threaten a group of Americans with denial of service to which they are legally entitled."

Read also the Washington Post, Trump threatens not to do his job — when is enough, enough?

Read also the Washington Post, Impeachment probably won’t save us from Trump. But the 25th Amendment might.

UPDATE XI:  "Perhaps the discussion of Trump’s tailspin is hyperbole; Trump could be of perfectly sound mind and simply be the worst, most unfit person to hold the office."

Read the Washington Post, When do we reach 25th Amendment territory?, which notes that "the Founding Fathers had a solution for removing unfit presidents: impeachment in cases of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” If read correctly, the impeachment mechanism covers a range of misconduct well beyond illegality."

UPDATE X:  The case is being built to justify removing The Donald from office, and each day he adds to it.

Read The New York Times, The President’s Self-Destructive Disruption, which states:

"Donald Trump ran for the White House as a change agent hostile to the habits of Washington, the place he nicknamed 'the swamp.' It worked. But the customs he continues to upend as president are the scaffolding that supports the otherwise fragile words of our written Constitution. Mr. Trump’s rejection of them is more threatening to both his presidency and our constitutional regime than any technical violation of the law that he has been accused of (at least so far).

Customs are the punctuation marks of republican politics, the silent guides we follow without pausing to consider their authority. They operate in a space that is difficult for formal rules to codify. That the president of the United States speaks with caution and dignity, that he exercises the pardon power the Constitution grants him soberly rather than wantonly, that he respects the independence of law enforcement, and that, to the extent reasonable politics permit, he speaks truthfully — these are all customs, not laws. Law is powerless to impose them and powerless without them.

When Mr. Trump drains language of its normal meaning, the law can do nothing about it. His ridiculing of the United States senator who leads the Foreign Relations Committee, his repeated use of the word 'fake' to describe news coverage when he actually means 'unpleasant' and his style of rhetoric in front of the United Nations, where he called terrorists 'losers' and applied a childish epithet to the head of a nation in whose shadow tens of thousands of American troops serve and with whom nuclear war is a live possibility, are all cases in point. There is no way to formalize conventions of maturity and dignity for presidents. Custom fills that void. . .

Most ultimately find the traditions of the office to be a shield. Mr. Trump is finding them to be a constraint he cannot bear. Worse, because many elements of his base associate these customs with failed politics, every violation reinforces the sense that he sides with them over a corrupt establishment. . .

The unique arrogance of Mr. Trump’s rejection of the authority of custom is more dangerous than we realize because without custom, there is no law."

Read also CNN, Trump's authoritarian streak., which notes that "[l]ike many strongmen, Trump nurses an ego in need of constant affirmation. . . Militarism -- another obsession of autocrats -- also exercises Trump."

UPDATE IX:  Read Vanity Fair, “I Hate Everyone in the White House!”: Trump Seethes as Advisers Fear the President Is “Unraveling”, which reports:

"[H]half dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisers . . .all describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president that seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods. . .

[S]everal people close to the president have recently told me in private: that Trump is 'unstable,' 'losing a step,' and 'unraveling.' . .

Two senior Republican officials said Chief of Staff John Kelly is miserable in his job and is remaining out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of disastrous decision. . .

One former official even speculated that Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have discussed what they would do in the event Trump ordered a nuclear first strike. 'Would they tackle him?' the person said. Even Trump’s most loyal backers are sowing public doubts. This morning, The Washington Post quoted longtime Trump friend Tom Barrack saying he has been 'shocked' and 'stunned' by Trump’s behavior. . .

While Kelly can’t control Trump’s tweets, he is doing his best to physically sequester the president—much to Trump’s frustration. One major G.O.P. donor told me access to Trump has been cut off, and his outside calls to the White House switchboard aren’t put through to the Oval Office. . .

Even before Corker’s remarks, some West Wing advisers were worried that Trump’s behavior could cause the Cabinet to take extraordinary Constitutional measures to remove him from office. Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment—the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, 'What’s that?' According to a source, Bannon has told people he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making it the full term."

UPDATE VIII:  "President Trump’s attack on NBC is now a sustained attack on the press and the concept of a free press. He declared in tin-pot-dictator rhetoric: 'It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.' That’s a direct repudiation of the First Amendment in the context of threats to pull NBC’s license. That’s not merely outrageous and indefensible; it is, I would argue, one of many instances in which Trump’s words reveal an inability to carry out his oath of office.

Bob Bauer writes: 'A president who is a demagogue, whose demagoguery defines his style of political leadership, is subject for that reason to impeachment.' . .

When we add to that Trump’s public abuse of members of his own Cabinet, members of Congress, judges, etc., we can see classic demagogic conduct. That entails, Bauer argues, 'manipulation of language to attract and maintain popular support in service of the demagogue’s unbounded self-interest. The leadership function has become pathologically personalized; personal ends and ambitions are of primary importance to the demagogue. His self-interested ends justify the use of virtually any means—or at least any he could hope to get away with.' And that description truly embodies Trump’s behavior. Recall that Trump thinks members of the executive branch including the FBI owe an oath of loyalty to him personally rather than to the Constitution. That too is the mind-set of a lawless demagogue.

Add to that Trump lies, the constant big and small ones, the ridiculous and the mendacious. We know from his persist telling of untruths that have been long ago debunked that he has become indifferent to or unfamiliar with the real world when facts do not comport with his views. Couple that with his attack on an independent source of information — the free press — and one sees a president morphing into an authoritarian who imagines he is unencumbered by the law. . .

In and of themselves, Trump’s words might not be sufficient to justify impeachment. But when you combine them with his severe intellectual and temperamental limitations that require constant monitoring by a triumvirate of generals, and his attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation, there is little doubt that he is precisely the sort of person whom the Founding Fathers had in mind when they included the impeachment clause."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s words can be the basis for impeachment.

UPDATE VII:  How might Republi-CONs rid themselves of their troublesome Franken-Trump/Trumpenstein (©

Read the Washington Post, Laying out a comprehensive case that Trump obstructed justice.

UPDATE VI:  "As the implosion of President Trump continues amid the increasingly bitter intraparty war engulfing the GOP, let’s not lose sight of the very real impact this spectacular meltdown could have: It could end up harming millions and millions of people.

This morning, Trump unleashed two tweets that telegraph the massive damage that may yet ensue. The first bashed Democrats for allegedly not wanting to secure our border and claimed this imperils a deal to protect the 'dreamers.' The second signaled that Trump is set to broaden his efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

These two stories are intimately related to Trump’s travails amid the GOP infighting we’re now seeing. When Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) fed these divisions by blasting Trump’s temperamental unfitness for the presidency, he suggested that it threatens the prospect of armed conflict and global destruction. But you can also draw a direct line from Trump’s unfitness to serve — and the battling among Republicans — right through to his gamesmanship with the dreamers and sabotage of the ACA, both of which also threaten real harm to enormous numbers of people.

The Post has a remarkable report on Trump’s frustration and fury over the insufficient plaudits he has received for his handling of hurricanes and over his conviction that congressional Republicans are letting him down. All this has made Trump more eager 'to solidify his standing with his populist base and return to the comforts of his campaign' . .

It’s that this could get worse. Republicans believe Trump’s escalating attacks on Corker, and the senator’s scalding responses, threaten to further imperil other Trump goals, such as tax reform. And above all, Trump appears preoccupied with ensuring that 'his people' don’t think he’s 'feckless' — that is, a big loser. . ."

[H]is desire to boast of wins before roaring rally crowds puts [people] in peril.

Read the Washington Post, As Trump implodes, he threatens to hurt millions — out of pure rage and spite.

UPDATE V:  "The truth can no longer be ignored: Donald Trump is dangerously unfit to be president and could lead the nation to unthinkable disaster. So what are we going to do about it?

The White House 'has become an adult day care center,' where the president’s senior aides spend 'every single day . . . trying to contain him.' That terrifying bit of information was disclosed Sunday by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), whose decision not to run for reelection has freed him to point out that the emperor is indeed naked.

'Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,' Corker told the New York Times. His colleagues in the GOP Senate majority 'understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around [Trump] to keep him in the middle of the road.' Trump treats the presidency as if it were 'a reality show' and is so erratic that he could put us 'on the path to World War III.'

The shocking thing is that Corker is merely saying publicly what many others say in private. Trump is not qualified, by temperament or character, to exercise the awesome powers of the presidency. A man who acts like a bratty, vindictive child has been given the power to launch nuclear weapons.

He has three years and three months remaining in his presidential term. What are we going to do?" [Emphasis added.]

Read the Washington Post, Trump has more than three years left in his term. What are we going to do?

UPDATE IV:  "As the curator of the Trump-as-toddler Twitter thread, I was dubious that John F. Kelly would be able to make President Trump act like a big boy while he was in power. But after Stephen K. Bannon was no longer inside the White House to rile up the president, the hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts did start to wonder whether some degree of normality could be achieved.

Silly staff.

The past week definitively revealed the mirage of a maturing president.

[The article then excerpted the stories below.]

Let me stress that each of the excerpted stories above broke in the past 48 hours. The pace is quickening.

What’s next? Ordinary toddlers eventually tire out after throwing a tantrum. But this is when the analogy breaks down. Full disclosure: Trump is not really a toddler, but an overindulged plutocrat who has never had to cope with political failure. With each negative shock or story he faces, his behavior worsens, and that just leads to a new cycle of negative press and disaffected GOP officials. The political effects of this is to weaken his historically weak presidency, making it harder for him to do anything that would counteract this trend. This doom loop means that his behavior is only going to get worse.

That is great for my Twitter thread. It is awful for America."

Read the Washington Post, President Trump’s temper tantrums are coming at an accelerating pace.

UPDATE III:  How can you say that the Donald is unfit to be president?

Read the Washington Post, Palace Intrigue:

"Inside the White House, Trump’s mounting frustration and isolation are causing him to lash out at allies — imperiling critical relationships and putting his own legislative agenda at stake. Robert Costa, Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker report:

'Trump in recent days has shown flashes of fury and left his aides, including [Chief of Staff John Kelly], scrambling to manage his outbursts. … One Trump confidant likened the president to a whistling teapot, saying that when he does not blow off steam, he can turn into a pressure cooker and explode. 'I think we are in pressure cooker territory,' said this person[.] … In a late-afternoon, unsolicited email to reporters Monday, Pence’s office blasted out a blanket response under the vice president’s name addressing 'criticisms of the president' …. while touting his handling of global threats[.] … But Pence’s words did little to reassure some Trump allies, who fear that the president’s feud with [Sen. Bob] Corker could cause more trouble for the administration and further unravel threadbare relationships on Capitol Hill.'

Reaction to Corker’s comments inside the White House has been mixed. 'Some Trump aides believe it is dangerous for the president to fight with Corker, the chairman of a powerful Senate committee who is not running for reelection and therefore feels he has nothing to lose. Other Trump aides blame Corker for what they consider an act of betrayal, arguing that he started the feud in a bid for relevance[.]'

Bigger picture: Trump’s political outbursts are also a major play to his populist base, especially following the defeat of Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.). 'The president has groused to numerous White House aides about his concerns over his popularity with 'my people' — his base,' our colleagues write. 'He blames the Republican establishment and others for failing to enact his agenda and making him look feckless, and is unhappy with losing in Alabama … Trump also made it known to several people that he wished to have a rally in North Carolina over the weekend and not just a fundraiser[.] [He ultimately just held a fundraiser, but later] complained that he wished he had gotten back out in front of the rowdy crowds he loves[.]'

Administration officials have described several guardrails used to keep Trump’s impulsivity at bay. Politico’s Josh Dawsey reports: 'Trump, several advisers and aides said, sometimes comes into the Oval Office worked into a lather from talking to friends or watching TV coverage in the morning. . . . Then, staffers would step in to avert a rash decision by calming him down. … [Former chief of staff Reince Priebus’s] strategy was largely to delay. Instead of ousting [Jeff] Sessions like Trump wanted, Priebus, [Steve] Bannon and others had outside advisers close to Trump call him and explain the ramifications. They tried to remind him what a dedicated campaign supporter Sessions was — and that his firing could set off unpredictable dominoes.'

The Atlantic’s David Frum argues that, while such 'containment' methods may allow cooler heads to prevail, they also threaten the power of the presidency: 'Thank you and congratulations to those officials struggling to protect American security, the Western alliance, and world peace against Donald Trump. But the constitutional order is becoming the casualty of these struggles. The Constitution provides a way to remedy an unfit presidency: the removal process under the 25th amendment. Regencies and palace coups are not constitutional. I dare say many readers would prefer a Mattis presidency to a Trump presidency. But to stealthily endow Secretary Mattis with the powers of the presidency as a work-around of Trump’s abuse of them? That’s a crisis, too, and one sinister for the future.'

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans had their own strategy for dealing with the latest Trump feud with one of their own: avoidance. Sean Sullivan reports: 'Those who did speak did so obliquely — by praising Corker generally but steering clear of inserting themselves directly into the brutal clash. ‘Sen. Corker is a valuable member of the Senate Republican caucus and he’s also on the Budget Committee and a particularly important player as we move to the floor on the budget next week,’ said [Mitch McConnell.] … The reaction highlighted the broader strategy Capitol Hill Republicans have adopted when it comes to the president’s tendency to wage rhetorical war against their own or incite other controversies: don’t engage in public no matter how anxious they may be in private.' . .

And Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman dissects the tense relationship between Trump and his chief of staff, John Kelly: 'According to conversations with four prominent Republicans close to the White House, Trump has grown frustrated with Kelly in recent weeks at what he sees as Kelly’s highhandedness. 'They’re fighting a lot' one source explained. The most recent flashpoint was Kelly’s decision late last month to reassign Peter Navarro, Trump’s nationalist trade adviser, to report to Gary Cohn, without first clearing it with Trump.'

'How long Kelly lasts in the job has become a topic of speculation in the West Wing. 'He doesn’t love this job. He’s doing it as a duty for the country,' one person close to Kelly said. According to two sources, one name being floated as a possible replacement is real-estate developer and Trump’s longtime friend Tom Barrack.'

Kelly has a 'Mar-a-lago strategy:' 'According to two sources, Kelly has developed a Mar-a-Lago strategy to prevent Trump from soliciting advice from members and friends ... Sources briefed on Kelly’s plans said he will attempt to keep Trump 'out of the dining room.'" [Links in original, formatting removed, emphasis added.]

The summary quotes from:

The Washington Post, A ‘pressure cooker’: Trump’s frustration and fury rupture alliances, threaten agenda,

Politico, White House aides lean on delays and distraction to manage Trump,

The Atlantic, The Problem With 'Containing' Donald Trump,

The Washington Post, After Trump-Corker flap, Hill Republicans choose a simple strategy: avoidance, and

Vanity Fair, Amid a Widening Rift, John Kelly Has a Mar-a-Lago Strategy to Contain Trump.

Bottom line: The Donald is UNFIT to be president, and Republi-CONs know it.

UPDATE II:  The fact that he is unfit is good news to his opponents.

Read the Washington Post, Bob Corker tirade encapsulates five reasons why Trump has failed at governing, which notes:

"Trump’s myopic impulse to counterpunch whenever he feels attacked caused him to lose another news cycle and will overshadow an immigration proposal that the White House planned to talk about today. It also underscored several of the factors that have caused the president so much trouble:

1) Trump is unserious about passing legislation. . .

2) Trump has alienated several Senate Republicans that he needs more than they need him. Since taking office, Trump has criticized Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Dean Heller, Rand Paul and others by name. That doesn’t include several others he went after as a candidate, including Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Ben Sasse. . .

3) Trump cares more about showmanship than statesmanship. . .

Corker called Trump 'a reality show' president last night, telling the Times that he acts 'like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.'
4) Trump still does not understand how government works. Much of what has gone haywire since January was a foreseeable consequence of electing someone with no prior government or military experience to lead the government. . .

5) The president’s credibility is shot in Washington.
Trump claims Corker 'begged' him for his endorsement. Corker says Trump repeatedly offered his support and called him just last week to ask him to change his mind about retiring. Someone is not telling the truth. Whom do you believe?

'I don’t know why the president tweets out things that are not true,' Corker told the Times. 'You know he does it, everyone knows he does it, but he does.'

Trump’s penchant for twisting the truth on things big and small makes it very hard for people to take him at his word. Remember, he categorically denied James Comey’s accounts of their one-on-one conversations — even though the ousted FBI director had written memos about them immediately after they took place. 'This is why people take contemporaneous notes when they speak to the president,' quipped Preet Bharara, a U.S. attorney who was fired by Trump after being told he’d be kept on.

Because Trump always wants the last word, he tweeted about Corker last night for a fourth time after the Tennessean pushed back:

Donald J. Trump

Bob Corker gave us the Iran Deal, & that's about it. We need HealthCare, we need Tax Cuts/Reform, we need people that can get the job done!
3:51 PM - Oct 8, 2017

In fact, Corker opposed the deal. (Read his August 2015 op-ed for The Washington Post: 'Congress should reject the bad Iran deal.')"

UPDATE:  "A dominant news story last week was the controversy over whether Secretary of State Rex Tillerson actually called President Trump a “moron.” But even if he didn't, there's now an increasing volume of people who have worked closely with Trump offering similarly dim depictions of him — and doing so publicly.

The most recent came Sunday, when Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) fought back against Trump's criticisms of him by tweeting that the White House has turned into an 'adult day-care center.'

Senator Bob Corker

It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.
10:13 AM - Oct 8, 2017

. . .

A couple of weeks back, it was Trump's former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon suggesting Trump was basically duped into endorsing appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) in a special election. 'I have to tell you,' Bannon said, 'I think at some time later, after [the special election], a real, you know, review has to be done of how President Trump got the wrong information and came down on the wrong side of the football here.' Bannon's preferred candidate, Roy Moore, won the race against Strange.

And on Sunday, shortly before Corker's tweet, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney also weighed in on that information flow. He told 'Meet the Press' that before Kelly came onboard, Trump was getting information that 'just wasn't ready for the president' . . .

Mulvaney's comments are certainly more diplomatic than the rest, but he's also talking about the president of the United States here — and he's talking about him as if Trump can't process information well unless it is sufficiently narrowed and tailored to him. And his and Bannon's characterizations of Trump's level of informational sophistication confirm all kinds of previous (anonymously sourced) reports that suggested Trump is highly susceptible to what the last person he spoke to has told him and needs constant minding. (Dan Drezner has done a nice job keeping track of these.) Wars have reportedly been fought in the White House over who can tell Trump what — as if he can't decide these things for himself.

Also important here: the four people we're talking about. This is one of Trump's top Cabinet secretaries, his former top White House strategist, a leading adviser on tax and budget issues in Mulvaney, and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Corker. Corker's Tennessee colleague, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R), once said Trump was closer to Corker than any GOP senator. . .

[T]he totality of these remarks don't paint a flattering picture of the president at all, and they come from people who would know best."

Read the Washington Post, Bob Corker and the fast-growing list of those close to Trump who talk about him like he’s a child.

Read also:

Trump's Big CON: He is The Child President, and

Trump's Big CON: He is Not Very Smart, CONt.

"President Trump’s feud with GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee escalated over the weekend, and in an interview with the New York Times, Corker flatly warned that Trump’s antics may set us 'on the path to World War III.'

But, while that is obviously alarming, what Corker said elsewhere in the interview may end up having more of an impact, because it opens the door to a whole new round of press scrutiny of the GOP’s ongoing enabling of Trump. Corker confirmed that most Senate Republicans view Trump as, well, dangerous and crazy:

    Mr. Trump poses such an acute risk, the senator said, that a coterie of senior administration officials must protect him from his own instincts. 'I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,' Mr. Corker said in a telephone interview. …

    Without offering specifics, he said Mr. Trump had repeatedly undermined diplomacy with his Twitter fingers. 'I know he has hurt, in several instances, he’s hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out,' Mr. Corker said.

    All but inviting his colleagues to join him in speaking out about the president, Mr. Corker said his concerns about Mr. Trump were shared by nearly every Senate Republican.

    'Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,' he said, adding that 'of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.'

Elsewhere in the interview, Corker declined to answer when asked if he believes Trump is unfit for the presidency. But the only reasonable way to read all these comments is as a declaration that Trump is indeed unfit — and that most Republicans know it. After all, Corker had previously said that Trump’s inner circle is helping to 'separate our country from chaos.' Now he has added that Trump needs to be restrained by his inner circle from devolving into conduct that could end up unleashing untold global destruction — and that most Republicans know it. . .

In August, Jane Chong and Benjamin Wittes offered a useful set of guidelines for thinking about Trump’s misconduct. They divided it into three categories. First, there are his 'abuses of power,' such as the nonstop self-dealing, the pardoning of former sheriff Joe Arpaio, and the firing of his FBI director. Second, there are his 'failures of moral leadership,' which constitute a general degradation of his office via, among other things, his unprecedented, serial lying and efforts to destroy the institutional legitimacy of the free press. To this second category we can add Trump’s refusal to unequivocally condemn the Charlottesville white supremacists and the White House’s use of taxpayer funds to stage a weekend stunt in which Vice President Pence walked out of a football game, which are both part of a broader effort to continue stoking divisions.

Third, there is the 'abandonment of the basic duties of his office,' which includes the failure to make appointments and (I would add) the deep rot of bad faith that has infested the White House’s approach to policy: He indicated he’d sign anything at all that would let him boast of destroying Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment. I would suggest a fourth category of misconduct: Trump’s sheer megalomaniacal indifference to the fundamental notion that his office confers on him any obligation to the public of any kind. This overlaps with the conduct discussed above and also includes the refusal to release his tax returns and his ongoing sabotage of the Affordable Care Act, which could harm millions.

As Chong and Wittes note, what’s challenging is to determine what sort of level of degradation of our institutions, political system and norms of political conduct all of this misconduct adds up to when taken together. We do know that congressional Republicans continue to enable many of these strands in isolation, and they continue to airbrush away the significance of misconduct that is glaring enough to require their condemnation, usually by making some variation of the claim that Trump is learning on the job. But Corker has now asserted that Republicans know Trump’s presidency constitutes an ongoing, abnormal, multifaceted danger to the country. "

Read the Washington Post, Bob Corker just confirmed it: Republicans know Trump is unfit.

As noted before, this can't end well for the country.

Trump's Big CON: He Won't Be Draining the Swamp, Quite the CONtrary (CONt., Part 4)

"During his seven months in office, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has filled his days meeting with executives from many of the companies he regulates, while all but sidestepping environmental and public health groups. But the face time with industry representatives has extended well beyond his Washington office.

On April 26, for example, Pruitt had lunch with executives from Southern, one of the nation’s biggest coal-burning utilities. They dined at Equinox, a restaurant near the White House, where the baby-carrot-and-red-beet salad with shrimp runs $28. Later that day, Pruitt met with senior leaders at Alliance Resource Partners, a major coal-mining operation, for a dinner at BLT Prime, a steakhouse in the Trump International Hotel, just across from EPA headquarters.

On other occasions, Pruitt traveled to a Ritz-Carlton golf resort in Naples, Fla., for a National Mining Association meeting; to another golf resort in Arizona to speak at a board meeting for the National Association of Manufacturers; and to a resort in Colorado to speak at an event organized by the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The meals with company executives and other evidence of Pruitt’s close ties to industries his agency regulates were laid out in a detailed copy of Pruitt’s calendar obtained by the liberal nonprofit group American Oversight. The New York Times on Tuesday reported details from American Oversight’s Freedom of Information Act request.

The insights into Pruitt’s previously undisclosed meetings add to an already familiar story of how he has spent his time since becoming administrator in February. While EPA leaders traditionally talk with a broad array of stakeholders, Pruitt has overwhelmingly leaned toward meetings with corporate executives in industries regulated by the EPA, and in multiple cases he has quickly ruled in their favor on a range of issues. A more limited version of Pruitt’s schedule from April to September, obtained and reported last month by The Washington Post, showed that he often met with executives from the automobile, mining and fossil fuel industries while only rarely making time for environmental or public health groups. . .

[For more examples, read the article.]

'The EPA has tried very hard to keep Pruitt’s actual work quiet,' Climate Investigations Center Director Kert Davies said in an email. 'It took a court order to get the details we learned today. . . . For Pruitt, it’s the same as it ever was, a lack of transparency and far too cozy connections with the industries he is supposed to be regulating.'"

Read the Washington Post, Fancy dinners, far-flung speeches: Calendars detail EPA chief’s close ties to industry.