In a plot reminiscent of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, they're killing each other off in Washington. Robert Mueller is investigating Donald Trump, and Donald Trump is investigating Robert Mueller. The president has essentially issued a dictum of no confidence in Jeff Sessions, whereupon Attorney General Sessions ominously declared that he'll stay on the job anyway, for as long as it's "appropriate."
As long as he has time to whip up a bunch of indictments against Trump, Incorporated? The soon-to-be paroled O.J. Simpson had better get moving on that multimillion-dollar TV deal of his, because there's a whole lot of competition waiting in the wings. By the time the dust settles, there might not be anybody left on the island. Sad.
With no many incestuous relationships going on in so many high investigatory and governing places, conflict of interest has long been a feature, and not a bug, among Establishment types. And Trump is not only milking this congenital chaos for all it's worth, he's adding to the churn daily with some truly malevolent glee.
He manipulates the mainstream media at the same time he is manipulated by them. Why else give a no holds barred interview to his frenemy, the "failing" New York Times? To keep everybody scrambling, and out of breath in the futile effort just to keep up with him.
The way Trump spilled his guts to the Times the other day, you even have to wonder whether he'd rather be the star of his own courtroom drama than be president of the United States. Just imagine the ratings for the United States vs. Donald Trump show. It would pre-empt regular programming and investigatory reporting even more than it's already being pre-empted. To Trump, popularity and notoriety are the exact same thing. Perhaps a stint in a minimum security Club Fed would be preferable to the prison that is the White House. He'd still have a bottomless commissary fund and all the Doritos and Fox News he can consume.
So before he tries to pardon himself and his entire clan, I hope he also remembers to sign an executive order allowing TV cameras in the courtroom. It's the least he can do. The American people deserve it. Not only would we get gavel-to-gavel coverage of the lengthy (months or even years-long) trial, the rule would also apply to the Supreme Court, which currently allows only audio transmissions of its proceedings.
Trump being Trump, he'd probably add the caveat that the camera must be aimed at him, his family, Ivanka's couture and jewelry, and his OJ-strength team of lawyers at all times. If he can prohibit pictures of the prosecution side, and most important, of the competing celebrities in the audience, he'll probably go for it. As long as it's all about him, what does he care?
He and his family naturally will also control all the licensing of movies and shows about themselves. Even though criminals are barred from profiting from their own stories, perhaps one of the grandchildren can be put in charge of the post-conviction family business. The six-year-old is already trained to perform Mandarin on cue, after all.
Trump will always be a star, albeit a dark, decayed star. He'll always have his fans. He'll always have Paris.
Despite common wisdom, a criminal trial of a sitting president is not outside the realm of whimsical possibility.
The New York Times had to file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain a Clinton-era legal memo hidden deep within the National Archives. (Apparently, the moniker "national" does not automatically connote that an agency will be transparent or public without first making the public jump through hoops!)
The memo, from the office of former Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr, thoroughly debunks the notion that Trump would be immune from prosecution until or unless he leaves office. Writes Times reporter Charlie Savage:
Included in the decades-old cache is a draft criminal indictment of Bill Clinton.“It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties,” the Starr office memo concludes. “In this country, no one, even President Clinton, is above the law.”Mr. Starr assigned Ronald Rotunda, a prominent conservative professor of constitutional law and ethics whom Mr. Starr hired as a consultant on his legal team, to write the memo in spring 1998 after deputies advised him that they had gathered enough evidence to ask a grand jury to indict Mr. Clinton, the memo shows.
The plot thickens. So stay tuned for the latest Tweets from the Circular Investigation Squad and from the righteous custodians of the Incestuous Industrial Complex. Or don't. It's the weekend, and it's the middle of summer.