What happens when you’re losing and you put down most or all of your remaining chips on what turns out to be a bad hand? Donald Trump is about to find out that answer. He decided that his last-ditch effort at sabotaging the Russia investigation would hinge on the ability of Devin Nunes to make Carter Page look like a stand-up guy. That predictably went haywire, and now that the Nunes memo about Page is public, everything is going haywire.
The goal of this memo, of course, was to make everything go haywire – just not in this manner. Trump was hoping it would create enough of a public outrage about the FBI’s use of FISA warrants on U.S. citizens that he could justify firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over it. No such luck. Aside from the remaining Trump apologists, no one is buying the idea that this memo exposes the FBI as the villain, or Trump and his allies as the victims.
Even worse for Trump, the primary focus is now whether the memo itself is an illegal act of obstruction of justice. What role did he play in crafting it? Why did he sign off on the release of classified information about an ongoing investigation? So much for the notion that this memo would give him cover to fire Rosenstein. Instead it simply hastened his own demise; the only real debate is by how much. Oh, and this day got even worse for Trump.
While Donald Trump and his allies were desperately trying to spin this memo disaster into a win, the stock market plummeted by 666 points. Investors lost confidence today, and not only because of the bad new economic numbers. The market hates instability. Trump’s bizarre swing and miss today appears to have led the market to decide that it’s time to bet against him surviving this. So now Trump is facing an even uglier Russia scandal and a faltering economy. This is his worst day yet. He’ll soon have even worse days than this.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report