Say what you will about Donald Trump, he is predictable. He is, after all, a man who has never had an unspoken (or unwritten) vindictive thought. Add to that the inevitable, predictable consequent behavior of a malignant narcissist presiding over an administration that is daily haemorrhaging power and credibility, and the tweets, asides and comments practically manufacture themselves – right down to the usual misspellings, capitalizations and bizarrely unique Trumpian grammar.
The recent New York Times revelation (first put together ten months ago by Palmer Report), that White House Counsel Don McGahn has spent some thirty hours talking to Robert Mueller’s investigative team, came as a palpable electric shock to team Trump. Key to this revelation is a fundamental reality that everyone but Trump is aware of, which is that Don McGahn works not for the person of Donald Trump, but for the Office of the President of the United States, and, most significantly, the preservation, protection and defense of that Office.
All of which caught Trump on the back foot, and the obvious fiction that he knew about it all along and even engineered it because he has “nothing to hide” rings distinctly untrue. After all, when did Trump ever forgo an opportunity to crow to his base about how courageously transparent he is?
Here we have yet another opportunity to observe the creature Trump in its usual habitat, always shocking but hardly ever a surprise anymore. The tenuous political capital of a competent president is hardly the equivalent of a say, Louis XIV, but wielded artfully and skilfully can nevertheless be considerable. In the unsteady, amateurish hands of Donald Trump it has been all but squandered. We cannot know exactly what Don McGahn has said to Robert Mueller, but we can be pretty sure it’s very bad news for Trump.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.