When politicians and administrations have to announce bad news, they usually try putting it out there on Friday afternoon. They figure that on Friday afternoon, people are too distracted by their weekend plans to pay attention to political news, and that no one reads the Saturday morning newspaper. Today we saw a Friday afternoon news dump play out from Donald Trump’s White House in rapid succession. The amazing part: this is Wednesday. There’s a reason for it.
The day began when it was reported that Donald Trump’s longtime fixer Michael Cohen had begun the process of cutting a plea deal, and that he was days away from being arrested if he didn’t cut the deal first. By the time the day was over we learned that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her deputy Raj Shah are preparing to quit the White House, and that White House Counsel Don McGahn had recused himself from the Trump-Russia investigation. This was not a coincidence.
Resignations and recusals are the kinds of “bad news” stories that typically get dumped out on a Friday. While there are other factors in play, there’s no overlooking the fact that this all surfaced just hours after it became clear to everyone in the White House that Michael Cohen is about to flip on Donald Trump. They think this is a death sentence for the Trump administration. Two of Trump’s top people are now headed for the exit. A third is no longer bothering to hide his recusal.
We still have no way of putting a timeframe on Donald Trump’s ouster, because the political and criminal justice systems each operate on their own peculiar timeframes. But with Michael Cohen about to expose Trump, and Paul Manafort now a day and a half from being forced to cut his own plea deal or immediately report to prison, the big rats are fleeing while they still can.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report