When Donald Trump’s confidential memo to Special Counsel Robert Mueller surfaced in the New York Times today, it wasn’t immediately clear who leaked it, or why. Then Trump himself promptly gave away that he and his team leaked it, which helps give us a better understanding of why they did it, and what’s really going through their heads at this point.
It’s long been well established that Trump suffers from a case of projection. Whenever he does something wrong, or he’s caught doing something wrong, he arbitrarily accuses his adversaries of having done the same. While he was rigging the election with Russia, he was using the debates to accuse Hillary Clinton of having rigged the election. When people began asking if his sniffing and jittery behavior was the result of drug abuse, he demanded that Hillary take a drug test. We could cite hundreds of other examples.
So when Donald Trump posted this tweet in response to the memo, we knew exactly what happened: “Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media? Should be looking at Dems corruption instead?” Trump accused Mueller and the DOJ of having leaked it, because he’s the one who leaked it. Mueller’s side wouldn’t have leaked it anyway, because it wouldn’t have wanted to risk weakening its legal position by revealing confidential communications, which judges tend to frown on. But why did Trump leak it?
This was a phenomenally weird move on Donald Trump’s part. The memo is from January, and it makes a series of threats against Robert Mueller. In the five months since, Mueller has continued to push forward, and Trump has failed to act on any of his threats. This makes him look weak and full of crap. So why put it out there? Perhaps Trump is delusional enough to think that this memo somehow makes him look strong. After all, he’s shown us time and again that he doesn’t understand how leverage works.
It’s also worth noting that Donald Trump is currently spending the weekend at Camp David with Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Tiffany Trump. We knew they were huddling up to try to devise a last ditch strategy for pushing back against the Trump-Russia investigation. Now we know that strategy included leaking this memo. If this is the best the braintrust can come up with, then the braintrust has no brains. Also, why is Tiffany now participating in an obstruction of justice plot? She’s the only one who wasn’t already in danger of going to prison.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report