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“Sunday Political Brunch: Will This Ever End?” – May 21, 2017

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Mark Curtis

I honestly don’t know where to begin; and I honestly don’t know where this will end. This has been one of the most bizarre weeks --- politically speaking – that I have every witnessed. It’s like the rain storm that never ends. There are huge implications, so let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“Location, Location, Location” – I’ve often said in this column that when the political heat gets too hot, the best things a politician can do are change locations, and change the topics of conversation. President Trump departed the U.S. on an eight-day international trip. He’s probably hoping that will deflect some of the attention he’s been getting here at home. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Italy are among his stops. Maybe the questions will be about foreign relations and terrorism, but I doubt that will be all.

“My Dear Friend Boris” – I will never, ever forget President Clinton visiting Russia on a much-ballyhooed foreign visit on September 1, 1998. Mr. Clinton was probably looking forward to knocking his impeachment scandal off the front page. As he stood next to Russian President Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin, came this question from a reporter: “Sir, you were just speaking of the challenges that we face as a nation. And what has the reaction since your admission of a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky caused you any -- given you any cause for concern that you may not be as effective as you should be in leading the country?” Clinton repeated his apology and asked for forgiveness, but he looked like he wanted to crawl under the Kremlin carpet and die.

“Shut Up Already” – The worst political wounds are usually self-inflicted. I advised post-election that Donald Trump should stop his daily tweets, or at least choose his battles more carefully. He’d often go on a rant about something of little consequence and it would blow up into a big story. He’s a provocateur and he likes to stir trouble. Friday on a talk radio interview Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) echoed my sentiments. “He likes to pour gasoline on the fire, every hour of every day,” said Manchin, advising the White House to tone it down. It wasn’t just Democrats. “I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House,” said Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY).

“Nixon’s Most Famous Quote” – At the height of the Watergate scandal, President Nixon gave a speech to - of all people – a convention of newspaper editors. Nixon – like Trump – was no fan of the press. During that address he said, “…people have got to know whether their President is a crook. Well I am not a crook.” A lot of people are comparing the current White House problems to the Nixon years, particularly after the firing of FBI Director James Comey. The two cases aren’t exactly parallel, and there are some “apples and oranges” comparisons. But the Trump investigations could become all-consuming, as with the Watergate and Clinton probes.

“No, No, Next Question” – On Thursday in a joint news conference with the President of Columbia, President Trump was asked if he requested then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation of fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Trump responded tersely, “No, no. Next question.” -- Maybe we’ll get some clarity, as Comey has now agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee sometime after Memorial Day. Trump has asserted that Director Comey – on three occasions – said Trump was not the focus of the Russian election hacking investigation. Comey – as mentioned – has asserted there was some White House pressure to halt the Flynn-Russia probe. And now former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been appointed Special Counsel, to lead the Russia investigation. Stay tuned!

“Why All of This Matters” – I lived through Watergate and was a student of it. I covered the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal for a full-year as a reporter in Washington, D.C. 1972 President Nixon made his breakthrough, historic trips to China and Russia. I don’t remember a single significant accomplished of Mr. Nixon, once the scandal hit full-bore. President Clinton had very productive years from 1995 through 1997, but once the Lewinsky affair broke, the administration’s agenda came to a screeching halt. The biggest danger of the Trump-Russia-Comey mess is that little else of significance my get done in Washington, D.C. for the foreseeable future.

What are your thoughts on all the new revelations – or accusations – concerning President Trump? Just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.


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