How is Donald Trump taking the news that three of his campaign advisers have been arrested in relation to his Trump-Russia scandal, and one of them has cut a plea deal? About as poorly as you’d expect. Inside reports from multiple news outlets paint a picture of an despondent, isolated, angry Trump who is now reduced to yelling at his television, even as his staff freaks out about what they know is coming next.
First there was the on-air report from CNN’s Jim Acosta that there is now a “sense of dread” within Trump’s White House, with the Game of Thrones-styled fear that “winter is coming.” Then there was the report from the Washington Post that Trump spent the day “separated from most of his West Wing staff” as he remained locked away upstairs, watching the arrests on television and refusing to come down to the Oval Office (link). Trump is also freaking out about the fact that Mueller is getting deeper into his finances, which include decades of shady deals.
The most interesting revelation from the WaPo piece is that Trump is indeed so clueless about criminal cases that he mistakenly celebrated the charges against Manafort, because they didn’t directly involve him. As Palmer Report suggested earlier today, Trump doesn’t understand that the initial charges against Manafort are simply aimed at putting the swiftest pressure on him to flip on Trump. Once it was revealed that George Papadopoulos had confessed to campaign collusion with Russia, however, Trump finally figured out that he was screwed.
Donald Trump had tweeted “there is NO COLLUSION!” after the Paul Manafort charges were announced. But in the eight hours since the Papadopoulos collusion news, Trump has gone completely silent. At this point he’s most likely either still yelling at his television set, or he’s passed out.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report