Trump’s “Perverse Miracle”

E.J. Dionne is always thought-provoking, but his column yesterday about the collapse of (small-d) democratic norms at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue–and especially his description of the President’s current twitter storm attacking Jeff Sessions–was, as the saying goes, “dead on.”

Trump’s latest perverse miracle is that he has progressives — along with everyone else who cares about the rule of law — rooting for Sessions. The attorney general is as wrong as ever on voter suppression, civil rights enforcement and immigration. But Sessions did one very important thing: He obeyed the law.

When it was clear that he would have obvious conflicts of interest in the investigation of Russian meddling in our election and its possible links to the Trump campaign, Sessions recused himself, as he was required to do.

Trump’s attacks on Sessions for that recusal are thus a naked admission that he wants the nation’s top lawyer to act illegally if that’s what it takes to protect the president and his family.

My only quibble with this analysis is the assumption– implicit in the description–that Trump understands the difference between legality and illegality. His entire career calls into question his comprehension of law as distinct from power.

To the extent that his mental processes could be called “thought,” it appears that Trump approaches law as the ability to wield authority. The central notion of the rule of law–that no one is above the law, that rules are created in conformance with certain standards of fundamental fairness, and that they apply to everyone, irrespective of wealth or status–is clearly outside his comprehension.

Even Sessions–a contemptible bigot who has spent much of his professional life opposed to rational policies if they advanced equal rights–understood his obligation to remove himself from a situation in which he had an obvious conflict of interest.

Gail Collins summed up the situation with her usual mordant humor:

Now Trump wants Sessions gone so he can replace him with an attorney general who will fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Sessions can’t do it because he recused himself from all things Russia-related.

Mueller’s probe into the Trump camp’s relationship with Russia terrifies the president, especially if it involves an investigation of Trump family finances. So obviously, we are rooting for Sessions to stay right where he is … and, um, keep persecuting immigrants, ratchet up imprisonments for nonviolent crimes and maybe go back to his old dream of imposing the death penalty on marijuana dealers.

Well, I told you this was about irony.

In just over six months, Trump has the whole country rooting for the lesser of two evils….a “perverse miracle” indeed.


  1. Yet another demonstration that Trump considers himself more of a king than a president.

  2. “His entire career calls into question his comprehension of law as distinct from power.”

    This is true for all contained within our corporate capitalistic controlled country – aka, Fascists.

    I’d say real progressives vs faux progressives are enjoying watching Trump blow up the whole Washington scene. Washington has been a joke for decades…dating back to the Cold War hysteria. The hysteria was an excuse to use military spending as a way to pump the economy.

    The perverse irony is the current Cold War strategy was resurrected by Hillary Clinton campaign leadership as a way to distract from the fraud occurring at the DNC and her embarrassing loss to Trump.

    And don’t forget, the media participated in the scheme. Les Moonves, CEO at CBS famously said, “Trump might be bad for America, but he’s great for CBS.”

    I’m sure Les wasn’t the only media CEO saying that to his peeps. 😉 More perverse irony?

    It’s become a spectator sport since Trump isn’t following the “script” or “best practices” on how to play along in the scam against the American people. The scam is very old…dating back to the 1780’s. 😉

    Oh well, “perverse irony” is all I’ve witnessed in Washington…regardless of the party designation.

    Under Fascism, there is no people’s party. Both parties are controlled by the Fascists. 😉

  3. I woke up during the night, bedroom TV tuned to MSNBC, to see the ACA repeal vote stalled. Dozed off only to wake to the Breaking News that the vote had failed; sorry I missed the actual vote. I flipped to CNN to see the same news reports and pictures of the Senate floor; decided to check Fox News to see how they were taking the result. They were airing Senator Chuck Shumer’s speech after the vote; “We are not celebrating, we are relieved.” Proud to see that honest response; there is nothing to celebrate on this 7 year battle – which may not be ended by the vote last night.

    The “perverse irony” of the Senate vote was the third Republican who provided the winning vote “for our side”. I was expecting Lindsey Graham to keep his word due to the “possible” agreement from Ryan regarding the House Committee hearing if they passed the “skinny” version. Senator John McCain’s vote will be his legacy; more important than his losing bid for the presidency. “perverse irony” when we least expect it and from the person who surprised us with his earlier “yes” vote to discuss the known losing version of the ACA replacement.

  4. Republicans are their own worse enemies. Over the long haul, their disregard for a law here, a regulation there adds up so that eventually they put a Mafia type in the White House waging war on the Constitution and everyone in sight.

    Those votes for Trump continue to say more about those voters than Trump. And what it says is not a good thing. The problem is not just in Washington, it is all around us in people who think what Trump is doing is fine and dandy.

  5. How did we get to the point where the person protecting the rule of law from a tyrannical President is a bigot doing near equal damage elsewhere in our society?

  6. It is the main concern that has plagued my thoughts all along, does he even understand LAW? The answer is of course, ‘No.’ In fact at this point it should be clear to anyone who has been in business of any kind – you do not get wealthy ripping people off. My money says the man has been a mob patsy all along and in particular Russian Mob. He has to pass money, launder it through businesses that he never set up for sure! He knows how to order people to do something but it is always to his benefit. Praise is not for others, the man is deranged and mad as a hatter. Anyone who cannot see that is deluded. He has no ‘moral compass’ he has no human compassion unless it makes him happy in his perverse mindset. His happiness, clearly – is our HELL.

  7. I’m not a lawyer (no kidding) but didn’t Sessions commit perjury-twice-during his senate confirmation hearings? And wasn’t perjury one of the impeachment charges against “Slick Willie?”

  8. I will say one thing in “dense” of Trump. While it appears true that he has no understanding of law or decorum, there’s no reason he should have one. At no point in his career has the law had any real effect on him. We have a serious issue in this country (most countries I assume) with “might makes right” and “he who has the gold makes the rules”. Wealthy people rarely go to jail and have the money to stop/stymie/infinitely delay most ramifications for any of their actions. Why would Trump, Tillerson, any of these “captains of Industry(TM)” think the law applies to them now when it never has before?

    It must be tough to bribe governments all over the world and bask in kickbacks and slush funds your entire life and then suddenly have someone interested in checking to see what you’re actually doing.

  9. It’s impossible to understand. If there’s a wrong way to do something, Fake President Donald Trump will find it. Trump will go down in history as the President who accomplished less than that accomplished by all but one President … William Henry Harrison … who was inconsiderate enough to die after only 31 days in office.

  10. corprate ceo trump expects American to sit on its hands while the clown performs. Maybe some laws will hold him at bay. Im sure the money he has been loaned through russian banks long before this contempt,will suface,and deface him. Maybe hes a stone cold broke and grasping far a sessions goes,what do you expect from a hillybilly bigot in a suit. the state of alabama is testament to the south continues slanting of people,and keeping race for people to kick. when sessions was given the ag job,it was obvious how the right still acts,and carries on its right wing bigot agenda. stay tuned,i have a feeling this will finally play out at the ballot box,on the popular vote…

  11. Agree with Todd @ 7:41 and Dirk Gently @ 9:24 (Holistic Blogger).

    I read not to long ago a writer mentioned in an article: Trump’s Big Sin, in the eyes of the Corporatists that run the world, is showing us the ugly side of the Plutocracy, that is the Plutocrats are accustomed to breaking the law or circumventing it, but it must be kept under wraps. Image is everything, it all needs to appear nominally honest. The Trumpet and the Trumpet Family are showing us how the system really works.

    The Clinton’s worked the system with their World Wide speaking fees, which put millions of dollars in their pockets. Since 2013 Bill Clinton has been paid $26.6 million for 94 speeches; Hillary’s grand total is slightly less: $21.7 million for 92 private appearances.

    Trump’s new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has made a slip also by ranting away, with locker room language and Hell Fire and Brimstone.

  12. I just want to say that Sessions is doomed to fail and Trump will make sure of that. I have nothing else but contempt for Sessions.

    As for the vote last night to repeal Obamacare – John McCain is as much a phony and coward as #45. He changed his mind twice this week since he returned to the Senate. So all of the glory should go to Sen Murkowski and Sen Collins who have said NO from the get go. We need to give the ladies their due and shame McCain for his waffle on this vote. He is the reason I stood outside in 100 degree heat (and high humidity) to protest in front of his office on Wednesday. My first ever protest! Shame on McCain, Shame, shame shame. Way to Go Ladies! You Two Rock!

  13. Well no matter what happens we can expect to see Pence standing behind Trump like a bobble head, nodding away in positive affirmation of what ever is spewed out, by the Trumpet or the White House.

  14. While delighted with last night’s result in the Senate which (I hope) ends this tax cut bill (labeled as a healtcare bill) forever, I was again astounded by Trump’s tweet this morning to the effect that the Senate had by its vote “let the American people down.” Hello, Don. Only 13 percent of the American people favored Trumpcare which means that 87 percent were opposed to it, including for the record many medical associations and other such groups, so I have a question for the Donald: Who was really “let down” by last night’s vote. Answer: Wall Street and the rich and corporate class, who witnessed that juicy tax cut go down the drain, a cut that would have swelled our deficit that (you guessed it) Wall Street and the rich and corporate class continually complain about (aka Lakoffian framing and diversionary tactics gone amok). The American people were not “let down,” they were spared a “healthcare” bill that wouldn’t anywhere near meet their needs and a bump in our long term deficit that they would have to pay (since the rich were further exempted from such liability). McCain had nothing to lose given his physical and political situation in voting his conscience without fear of tweet retribution by a president who, other than the tax cuts (which would put money in his pocket) didn’t even know what was in the bill. We live in strange but occasionally hopeful times.

  15. Politically speaking, I’m certainly not too well educated. But, I simply don’t have any faith in anything Sessions has to say. I’m inclined t believe that the Russian recusal thing was simply forced on him by circumstances and that if he thought he could get away without doing it, he would have.

  16. oldymoldy; you are 100% correct but…had he not recused himself, with all the Russia information in the public eye at this time, Trump would have had legal reason to fire him. The CYA in the White House must be something of a circle jerk these days.

  17. No matter the outcome, America has been forever branded by this era. All bars have been lowered and no matter how high the standards of future governance are, history will remember also that we are also capable of this. Perhaps that’s a valuable lesson.

    While it’s tempting to not turn away from this slow motion accident underway there is more important work to be done – ending it decisively, once and for all, and as quickly as possible.

    Next year is critical so the work is now. There is only one alternative no matter how we slice and dice blame, Democrats. Republicans are still stacking the deck at every opportunity but from what I have read the problem that we must solve is simply turnout, always a challenge for midterms.

    So enough talk about how low we can go and more about stamping out the fire.

    We can repeal and replace Republican oligarchy.

  18. Yesterday was an eye-opening experience for sure. First, we have the Mooch releasing a tirade of unhinged, foul-mouthed comments against Preibus and Bannon, which he labeled as merely “colorful”. In addition to claiming that Bannon engages in anatomically-difficult acts of sexual self-gratification, he accused Preibus of being paranoid and schizophrenic. He has proven that he is just as ignorant and emotionally unstable as the orange blob who occupies the White House, that he thinks people can be bullied and intimidated into submission, and that he’s being a “tough guy”. Neither of them has any leadership or diplomatic skills, and no appreciation whatsoever for the fact that they are supposed to behave like gentlemen.

    Speaking of bullying, we hear that the orange blob threatened Lisa Murkowski with withdrawal of federal funds for rural health care centers unless she toed the line. Most Alaskans receive their health care from rural health centers because the population is so spread out. She didn’t budge. Murkowski, Collins, Graham and McCain were yesterday’s heroes, even though Graham voted “yes”.

    As Sheila has pointed out, we are in danger of outrage overload with this administration.

  19. With random firing of first one and then another appointee, Trump has shown that everyone concerned is not to worry about governing but rather covering his own posterior. Someone should tell him (if he can listen) that North Korea is rattling the saber, Russia is expelling our diplomats and our enemies everywhere are testing our resolve during this period of his concern with self (if he is interested). Sessions is, politically speaking, a dead man walking, as are any of his other appointees who do not recognize that covering the Donald’s tweets and foibles is job numero uno. He is creating a vaccuum in mattters of importance both domestic and international and you can be assured that such vaccuums will be filled by those who do not have our best interests at heart. Already there is talk that Merkel is the new leader of the free world, speaking of vaccuums. What’s next? Will the dollar lose its reserve currency status with this nincompoop who doesn’t understand the importance of maintaining it? It’s too bad the Constitution and/or its amendment doesn’t call for the filing of a guardianship when our chief executive has lost it because it is time to file one, with a 300 pound docent between him and the atomic button while such matter is pending.

  20. Gerald; will that direct action against Trump last night by three Republican Senators start the ball rolling? They deadened his #1 campaign promise. Especially two of the three being women and the third a dying man who refused to back down and stood strong for their constituents and all residents in their individual states? Are the Republicans so afraid of Trump’s financial powers they will continue to go along to get along?

    We know Trump is the one taking direct action with these resignations/firings; how long will those still in position let Moochie decide their futures? Does he have any legal authority to do more than lead Trump down the garden path? He isn’t officially an employee. Will Ivanka and Jared allow their control over Big Daddy be usurped by this foul-mouthed fool? I won’t ask “what next?” Will just check hourly on MSNBC for information…same Bat time, same Bat channel!

  21. Is being ousted by Trump becoming the highest political job reference in D.C.?

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