|ANDREW HARNIK / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS|
The big news last week not involving Harvey and Irma concerned Reince and Sean.
Donald Trump's greatest concern in this September of his discontent is not a couple of mighty hurricanes, but former top aides Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer, whom he repeatedly humiliated and forced to lie and will now be telling Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and his Russia scandal investigative team all they need to know about how their former boss conscripted them in his extralegal efforts to quash a scandal he still maintains is fake news and a witch hunt.
These efforts included:
* Pressuring FBI Director James Comey and a top deputy to refute news reports about Trump campaign ties to Russian government officials.* Trying to sidetrack Comey when his investigation implicated campaign aides Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
* Firing Comey under false pretenses when he wouldn't back off and had the temerity to say publicly that the president was a liar.
* Impugning the integrity of Mueller by claiming he has conflicts of interest and his investigation is politically motivated.
* Drafting a false statement for son Donald Jr. after it was revealed he met with Russian intelligence operatives who promised him dirt on Clinton.
Priebus, Spicer and the four other top White House aides whom Mueller put on notice last week had ringside seats for internal discussions on the president's obstruction-of-justice smorgasbord. Several of his actions are impeachable offenses according to the letter of the law (Article II of the Constitution), but his removal has hit a brick wall in the form of the Republicans who control Congress.
But wait! While that control thing hasn't changed, what has is that the vile Trump has now turned his egomaniacal efforts to undermining the very congressfolk who stand between him and a one-way ticket back to his gilded penthouse in the sky.
Priebus and Spicer are especially ripe for Mueller's plucking.
This is because unlike the four other chickens in the White House roost that the special prosecutor has put on notice, Priebus and Spicer are not Trump loyalists, both having come from the Republican National Committee after Trump's election to add some gravitas (cough, cough) and experience to a very green White House team. The other four advisers are interim communications director Hope Hicks, administration counsel Donald McGahn and his assistant James Burnham, and Josh Raffel, who is Kushner's assistant.
McGahn merits special mention.
He was briefed twice by then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the days before Trump took office that Flynn could be susceptible to blackmail by the Russian government because of his extensive shady dealings with oligarchs and others beholden to Vladimir Putin. Flynn not only was not shown the door, but became Trump's national security director -- and privy to the deepest state secrets -- until he was forced out on the dubious grounds that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his extensive communications with the Russian ambassador.
The lies that Trump compelled Spicer to spout, ranging from the size of the Inauguration Day crowd to Flynn's role in the Trump campaign, would fill a small book. The humiliation of Priebus took many forms, chief among them Trump's accusation that he was leaking West Wing dirt and challenging him to prove otherwise.
Paybacks can be a bitch.
Life as we knew it changed forever 16 years ago today, which at least in the Northeast is
uncannily similar to the gloriously sunny morning of September 11, 2001. But the 9/11 attacks were not to be the only cataclysm to visit upon America in the opening decades of the 21st century.
Comparing 9/11 with the Trump presidency is a fool’s errand in some ways, but they are not dissimilar in two far-reaching respects:
First, Dubya used 9/11 as an excuse to undermine our core values. Trump has not needed another terror attack to continue that abasement.
Second, the waking nightmare of 9/11 lingered long after Ground Zero was cleared and the Freedom Tower rose from its ashes. The waking nightmare of Donald Trump — that same inescapable feeling of dread — will continue long after he is gone.
Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal.