The biggest political story on Tuesday centered around Sean Spicer’s comments about chemical weapons, Adolf Hitler, and the Holocaust, but several big stories broke yesterday that are really bad news for Donald Trump and his administration.
1. It was revealed that last summer the FBI and Justice Department obtained a FISA warrant targeting the communications of Carter Page, one of Donald Trump’s advisers during his campaign: While this shouldn’t be shocking to most people who’ve been following this, it does confirm reports from last September that U.S. intelligence officials were, indeed, investigating possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.
2. In the midst of increasing pressure linked to allegations of repeated sexual harassment, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly is going on a “vacation” as reports indicate he might not return to the network: If O’Reilly does get fired from Fox News, that would mean, in a span of less than a year, the network fired its CEO and top-rated host over allegations of rampant sexual harassment. That’s really bad news for a network that often serves as nothing more than Trump’s own version of some sort of state-run propaganda channel.
3. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers said the classified documents Rep. Devin Nunes claimed backed up Trump’s “wiretapping conspiracy” contradict his statement: In other words, it seems statements made by both Nunes and Trump concerning this mysterious intelligence they both claimed supported conspiracies about the Obama administration spying on Trump’s campaign were total nonsense. This report only helps to cement my belief that Congress needs to open up investigations into Nunes because more and more evidence seems to indicate he was actively working with the White House to undermine a congressional investigation.
4. Eric Trump said Syria’s actions “validate the fact that there is no Russia tie”: One thing you don’t do when you, or someone you defend, is accused of something shady, unethical, or corrupt is essentially confirm the suspicions of those who doubt you.
Many people, myself included, have questioned the rather convenient timing, at least for Donald Trump, of Syria’s most recent chemical weapons attack. After nearly four years of not using them, this happened right around a time when Trump desperately needed some sort of a distraction. With an approval rating that had sunk to 35 percent, his administration proving itself to be completely ineffective at getting legislation passed, and increased scrutiny over his ties to Russia, out of nowhere, Trump was given an international crisis that:
- Allowed him to look caring, humane, and compassionate for human life.
- Gave him an excuse to use military force in response to a monster slaughtering civilians with chemical weapons.
- Provided an opportunity to take a policy stance that goes against (at least publicly) Russia’s interests.
Except the truth is:
- In 2013, he repeatedly mocked and criticized President Obama for wanting to use military force in response to a Syrian chemical weapons attack that killed over 1,400 people — far more than last week’s attack — and he still refuses to change his administration’s policies on allowing Syrian refugees into the United States.
- Somehow he managed to order the launching of 59 Tomahawk missiles on an airbase that was up-and-running within a few hours of the attack.
- Being that the Syrian airbase wasn’t really damaged, and Trump’s policy on Syria hasn’t actually changed, as long as Assad doesn’t use chemical weapons again — nothing has really changed. Which makes any “damage” done to U.S./Russia relations seemingly easy to “fix.”
My point being, to people who are skeptical of all of the events that went down over the last week, Trump’s son saying that this situation “proves” that the investigations into his father are pointless is a pretty stupid thing for him to say. While that’s clearly something his father’s supporters might say — and have — someone in Eric’s position saying this makes it seem like it was “all part of the plan.” Now that the distraction worked (somewhat), but the attention is fading, the next phase is to use it to defend Donald Trump against the still increasing scrutiny concerning whether or not he colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 election.
So while Spicer’s comments were certainly idiotic and newsworthy, they were only part of another dizzying day of political news. While I know it’s difficult to keep up with this circus, we all have to be as diligent as possible until Trump’s out of office and we can start trying to pretend that this was a really terrible nightmare as we pick up the pieces and push forward repairing the damage.