The New York Times (yes, I know) has quite a scoop from Michael Schmidt. The scoop is in the details – the overall story is that Trump thought that as President he would be capo di tutti capi. In that position, then, it makes sense that his Attorney General would be his consigliere. That was the role he understood Robert Kennedy to have played for his brother John and Eric Holder for Barack Obama.
Except it doesn’t work that way, and the lawyers around Trump were smart enough to recognize that. Nonetheless, Trump insisted on firing James Comey for his unwillingness to clear Trump publicly of any wrongdoing relative to Russian interference in the election. That couldn’t be the official reason, of course, so Trump demanded that Ron Rosenstein come up with a reason. Schmidt seems not to have seen the letter Trump drafted on Comey’s firing, which was modified for public release. We don’t know who put in the reasons about Comey interfering in the Clinton email investigation.
Trump did not want Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, which he’s said publicly. Donald McGahn, the White House lawyer, went to Sessions to urge him not to recuse. Lawyers in the Justice Department convinced him he should.
There’s a fair bit of chatter in the article about the Mueller investigation, more than I recall seeing elsewhere. The sources are identified as
The accounts of the episodes are based on documents reviewed by The Times, as well as interviews with White House officials and others briefed on the investigation.
“Others briefed on the investigation” could include lots of people. It’s been a long day for me, and I’m not even going to try to guess, but you certainly may.
Lots of interesting tidbits, although less salacious than Wolff’s book, which I see is supposed to be out tomorrow. Trump’s people wanted a copy, and this seems to be the way the publisher wanted to oblige.
In other news, James Fallows says “It’s Been an Open Secret All Along.”
The scandal of Michael Wolff’s new book isn’t its salacious details—it’s that everyone in Washington has known its key themes, and refused to act.
Read them both.
A tweet I saw earlier today, or maybe yesterday, said that all the next Democratic candidate for president needs to do to win the campaign it to say “I am a normal human being. I promise to be president in a way that does not require your 24/7/365 attention and concern.”
And open thread!