Mr. Trump flings his feces so regularly and so wildly that it’s often hard to see any plan or pattern in the spatter. I recently heard three Trump tweets read aloud, in context, and it blew my mind a little. I share them here, the president’s swing from euphoria to paranoid, arguably coherent Hitler-in-the-bunker raving. It is good, sometimes, to step back, with the aid of hindsight, and look more closely at the thing that went by in a blur.
The tweets were read by a lawyer on an episode of an excellent podcast called “What Trump can teach us about Con Law”– Con Law being law student-speak for constitutional law. Mr. Trump never studied Con Law (obviously), and so each time he sets off a complicated constitutional shit storm the host of the podcast, and his neighbor and friend, a constitutional law professor, dissect the particular constitutional issue involved. The most recent episode was called Contempt Power. It laid out the limited options Congress has for holding people openly contemptuous of its constitutional powers to account.
As you might imagine, in the end, real enforcement depends on the federal courts who can order compliance. Courts packed with conservative judges vetted by the Federalist Society for their extreme right wing bona fides and appointed in record numbers by the man who demonstrates his contempt for the constitution daily are not a sure bet to rule by the spirit and the letter of the law. Additionally, even the fairest and most non-political of courts can take years to decide on a political matter.
The lack of a speedy legal way to compel people who tell Congress to fuck off to follow the law is another reason why impeachment, (once Americans are on board in sufficient numbers– and the Democrats have to keep pushing here), is the only real constitutional tool for a full investigation and excision of this tumor of a president.
The professor read the president’s first tweet after Barr announced, falsely, that the Mueller report had exonerated Mr. Trump. Hearing the tweets read out loud really drove home how wild and mad this prolifically tweeting president actually is. Trump was euphoric after Barr cleared him, tweeting:
Never mind that Mueller’s summary ends with these words (words that would not be seen by the rest of us for several more weeks, as Barr redacted and continued misrepresenting Mueller’s report):
If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,
Then it was only a matter of a few more weeks until Barr, after a wildly spinning hour long informercial for “his client’s” innocence, released the redacted report, including the redacted summaries that Mueller had prepared, and redacted, for immediate release on March 24th. Trump outdid himself with the celebratory tweet this time:
HBO was not crazy about the president’s appropriation of their copyrighted Game of Thrones motif as Trump seemingly portrayed himself as the Night King, supreme leader of the massive and inexhaustible zombie army that threatened to wipe out humanity (and was finally defeated, after epic carnage, toward the end of this final season).
At this point Trump seemed to have won, declaring the game over. Set and match. Suck it, bitches.
Then people started reading the redacted report, released the day before Good Friday, which coincided this year with the first night of Passover. The release was timed to minimize the damage of the actual report. Trump-haters nonetheless jumped on the redacted report, even as many of them prepared for religious holidays.
It was, shockingly, nothing like the report that Barr had summarized in the letter he later hotly denied was a summary. In fairness to Barr, nothing in his letter conclusively indicated that it was intended as a summary, unless you want to nitpick and single out the last sentence in paragraph two:
Although my review is ongoing, I believe that it is in the public interest to describe the report and to summarize the principal conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and the results of his investigation
We now know (as we learned weeks later just before Barr testily testified before Lindsey Graham and friends) that Mueller immediately wrote to Barr to protest the misrepresentation of his report, the confusion in the minds of America that Barr’s misleading summary and ongoing distortions had created. Unprecedented, as far as I know, for a Special Counsel to write a letter of protest to his boss about the deliberate mischaracterization of his work, and make it part of the public record. At the time, the day before Good Friday, all we had was the redacted report released on the eve of two major holidays right before the weekend. The president knew people were going to start talking about this “game over”/”no do-overs”, in light of new evidence,, so, beginning at 4:53 a.m. the next morning our president tweeted this:
Finally, time for vengeance, to bring justice (think Texas-style) to some “very sick and dangerous people” guilty of “very serious” capital crimes. Traitors will be hung from lamp posts, eleven and twelve year-old German boys will fight in the streets of Berlin until the last of them are killed… if the Reich is too weak to survive it deserves to be exterminated, I have been stabbed in the back by very sick, dangerous traitors…
The day after Mr. Trump’s paroxysm on twitter, some of the finest people, the finest people, celebrated the birthday of Mr. Hitler, who turned 129 this year, on April 20th, the day after Good Friday and the first night of Passover.