Trump has repeatedly lambasted the ongoing investigation into Russia’s involvement into the 2016 election as a partisan witch hunt intended to bring down his administration, as an excuse for Democrats upset that they lost the election, and, more broadly, as a hysterical response to his presidency.
This narrative omits quite a lot. It omits that Russia did try to tip the scales in his favor, something that Trump never acknowledges. It omits the fact that he is the person who is most responsible for the widening of the investigation (it was his firing of James Comey that forced the Department of Justice to bring in Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor and that brought him under investigation for obstruction of justice. And, perhaps most of all, it omits the fact that Trump is the hysterical one.
On Friday morning, The Washington Post reported the lengths to which the White House is trying to calm the president down about this investigation, which will likely run for months. Every morning at 6:30 a.m. he vents to his attorneys about the Russia investigation. The goal is to get Trump to rant in private so that he refrains from ranting in public:
The calls — detailed by three senior White House officials — are part strategy consultation and part presidential venting session, during which Trump’s lawyers and public-relations gurus take turns reviewing the latest headlines with him....
By the time the president arrives for work in the Oval Office, the thinking goes, he will no longer be consumed by the Russia probe that he complains hangs over his presidency like a darkening cloud. It rarely works, however. Asked whether the tactic was effective, one top White House adviser paused for several seconds and then just laughed.
This is completely bonkers, but it’s useful insofar as it shows how concerned Trump’s own aides are about his temperament—and how damaging they know Trump’s tweets have been. The tweet that raised the possibility that Trump was secretly taping his conversations with Comey is a case in point. On Friday, Mike Allen reported that Trump has told aides that he knows that it “hastened the chain of events that led to the appointment of special counsel Bob Mueller, who’s expected to delve into the business affairs of the president and his family.” And yet, for some reason, he’s still trying to publicly spin this tweet as proof that he’s a political genius.
But this doesn’t show that Trump is a genius. Instead it implies that James Comey was telling the truth about his interactions with Trump when he testified before Congress, something that Trump and his lawyers have vigorously denied. Trump may be venting to his lawyers every morning, but that hasn’t stopped him from making the hole he’s in even deeper.