Donald Trump geared up to depart on his overseas trip to Davos in Switzerland today, and based on his past track record with such trips, this is bad news for everyone on his side. Trump is less closely coddled by his advisers during these trips, which means that he’s more prone to going on embarrassing and self-incriminating rants on Twitter or to traveling reporters. Trump isn’t even technically on the road yet, and he’s already going off the rails.
Trump is already announcing to reporters that he looks forward to speaking under oath with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He doesn’t mean that, of course. He’s already publicly changed his mind on this issue four times in recent weeks, making himself look more foolish each time he flip flops. So why is he suddenly saying this today? Because his Russia lawyers aren’t with him.
We’re seeing a pattern from Trump, with increasing frequency and severity, in which he tends to agree with whoever is standing nearest to him at any given time. He’s flip flopped on DACA multiple times this month, depending on whether he’s most recently spoken with a congressional Republican, a congressional Democrat, or one of his own advisers. He appears to be doing the same when it comes to the question of whether he’s willing to speak with Mueller. His attorneys do want him to do the interview – but he totally blew it today when he offered to give the interview under oath.
It’s not that Donald Trump will follow through on this. It’s that he’s just foolishly made the “under oath” part an issue. There are automatic criminal penalties for lying to federal investigators. But now he just pushed this fact to the forefront. It may be subtle, but it was a stupid unforced error on his part. Trump can’t be left alone by his handlers for five minutes without saying or doing something self-harming. How much further off the rails will he go during this overseas trip?
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report