Now that Donald Trump’s newly handpicked Attorney General William Barr has falsely spun the still-secret Robert Mueller report in pro-Trump fashion, and a number of major news outlets have played along by falsely reporting Barr’s words as if they were Mueller’s words, Donald Trump has decided that he’s been fully exonerated. More to the point, he clearly feels emboldened – and he’s moving in a dangerously ugly direction at rapid speed.
In the day and a half since Donald Trump falsely announced that he’s been exonerated, his Department of Justice has suddenly announced that it’ll go into court to try to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Trump’s Pentagon has suddenly announced that it’s found $1 billion for Trump to begin building his border wall. Trump’s campaign has given TV news networks a list of people who are supposed to be banned from the air. His flunky Lindsey Graham just announced that he’ll seek a new Special Counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton. And Trump tweeted last night about his desire to have President Obama investigated for some gibberish or other.
Many or even most of these moves will either fall flat of their own accord, be defeated in court, or end up backfiring. But this is where Donald Trump’s head is at now. He’s been falsely, temporarily given a reprieve. Instead of using this window of opportunity to try to make something of his failed presidency, he’s decided to use it to pander to his base and seek petty revenge on those who have dared to expose his corruption. It’s as if Trump has decided to try to prove to mainstream Americans that he’s every bit as awful as they’ve always believed.
What’s not clear is if Donald Trump truly thinks that William Barr’s cartoonish stunt has actually gotten him off the hook for his endless list of criminal scandals, or if Trump understands that Mueller’s report will surface and destroy him eventually. If it’s the latter, Trump may be trying to finish off America with the finite window of time he has left. House Democrats will have their hands on the Mueller report before much longer, because they’ve never had a larger priority. These next weeks may be among the most important – and perilous – in American history.