There were several bombshell stories this week pertaining to the Trump administration, the Trump presidential campaign and the man himself. Here’s one ranking of those stories, top to bottom in importance.
- The naming of a special counsel: Robert Mueller is respected by Democrats and Republicans, and more importantly he’s respected by the FBI. He headed that office under two presidents, and he comes across as a no nonsense, serious investigator. If there were efforts by the Russians to influence the outcome of the election and if members of Trump’s team knew about it, Mueller’s efforts will figure it out. A Reuters report suggesting that people in Trump’s campaign made have had at least 18 separate contacts with Russians made clear why Mueller’s work is vital. Then a report from the Washington Post on Friday noting that “a senior White House official” is linked to the ongoing Russia investigation made Mueller’s work even more necessary.
- Trump, Comey and the FBI: Each day, the details about President Trump’s relationship with former FBI director James Comey became clearer, and each day made that relationship more damaging for the president. It doesn’t seem to be far-fetched to say the president could face obstruction of justice charges for dismissing Comey, who refused to call off any investigation of Russian ties to members of Trump’s campaign. A memo written by Comey made clear that the president wanted him to set aside any investigation. He refused. He was fired, though the president initially used a different reason for explaining that decision.
- Trump and state secrets: It would be hard to make a legal case for treason, but President Trump’s decision to relay classified information to the Russian foreign minister and that country’s ambassador to the U.S. set off a tidal wave of conversation throughout the country (not to mention internationally). His revelations might have put an Israeli agent in imminent danger, and it might lead security services around the world to hesitate in sharing important intelligence with their American counterparts for fear that the president might share it with someone who shouldn’t be aware of it. Treason includes intent to harm the nation, and it’s a stretch to say the president had that in mind when he talked to the Russians. Efforts at denying the Washington Post report went nowhere.
- Trump prepares to speak to Muslim clerics about Islam: This has bad written all over it. The first stop on the president’s five-nation trip is Saudi Arabia, and it is there that he will discuss Islam with Muslim clerics. As for what could go wrong? As VOX.com notes,
Let’s just pause for a second to let that sink in: Trump’s plan to improve relations with the Muslim world is to travel to the birthplace of Islam and deliver a big speech written by his anti-Muslim adviser about the religion’s problem with extremism in front of more than 50 Muslim leaders.
- Trump meets with Turkey’s president, whose thugs later attack protesters. It’s bad enough the president met with a man who has moved his country closer to autocracy in recent years. It’s worse when the bodyguard of that leader attack men and women who are protesting against him. When the video became available for all to see, it crystallized in the minds of many that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is no friend of democracy, and President Trump has made a bad mistake in being effusive in support of him.