This week was a good week to have read some newspapers. Here’s what happened:
Promoting his book of portraits, George W. Bush leveled some criticism a Trump’s bashing of the media, among other things.
Politico gave an illuminating profile of Trump’s management style of his businesses going back to the 1980s. It is full of interviews with people who used to work with him. Their verdict is that Trump is now managing his administration the same way he did his businesses.
Washington Post reporters spoke with Trump voters in Iowa. Their verdict is that Trump needs to start focusing on “us, on our country, on our issues here.”
CBS News released a poll that divides the country into four groups: Trump believers (22%), conditionals (22%), curious (21%), and Trump resisters (35%). (Commentary: which camp do you think I belong to?)
CNN reports that the Trump Administration was going to introduce its new travel ban the day after his address to Congress. But they delayed it so not to distract from all the positive press the speech had caused. (Commentary: maybe any admin. would have done that, but it strikes me as odd to hold back on one of your central policies for fear it would step on good press. Are they getting gun shy?)
Speaking of the congressional address, here is an interview with conservative thinker Yuval Levin on Trump’s presidential performance. Levin makes a philosophical distinction between the presidency as an institutional mold that shapes an individual to it versus an individual’s platform: Trump uses the presidency as a platform, but sometimes tries to fit into the mold. Also, David Brooks gives his review of the speech.
The Russia connection got a lot smokier this week (still no fire):
- WaPo reports that the FBI was going to pay a salary to the spy who was digging up intel on Trump’s ties to Russia. The money was to go to Christopher Steele after his election season contract was up with some private companies. However, the FBI never made these payments. And Steele is now in hiding.
- The New York Times reports that Obama officials purposefully, strategically scattered and archived intelligence about Trump-Russia connections throughout the federal government so that this intel could not be easily destroyed and would be accessible by future investigations.
- Here is the WaPo story about Sessions’s meetings with the Russian Ambassador that lead to Sessions recusing himself from said investigations.
Finally, the GOP Congress is still trying to legislate. Paul Ryan has a draft Obamacare replacement bill but has sequestered it in a private reading room in the basement, presumably so that details will not be leaked and used to attack this bill. People eager to get leaked details so they can attack the bill are most Democrats and some Republicans, like Rand Paul.