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Trump: I never worked for Russia

President Trump said definitively he never worked for Russia after offering a non-denial when questioned about an FBI investigation into whether he was working with Moscow.

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 5:37 AM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 5:58 AM

In any other time, with any other president, the spectacle of the commander in chief honking hoarsely on the White House lawn about how "I never worked for Russia," would be the political equivalent of a five-alarm fire. Never in history has an American president been required to answer such serious, credible questions about his loyalties.

Today it's just another plot twist in the lurid telenovela that is Donald Trump's presidency.

The New York Times reported that after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the feds began investigating whether the President was an intelligence threat. This suspicion arose naturally after Trump complained about Comey to Russian diplomats and then told NBC's Lester Holt that he had the "Russia thing" in mind when he axed the director.

The "thing" that troubled Trump was Moscow's attack on the 2016 election, which cast a dark shadow on his claim to legitimacy. In a fitting dramatic twist, his fateful decision to fire Comey prompted the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, whose work imperils Trump even more than his own chaos.

And the chaos is profound. You need only to consider the last few days to see the kinds of self-inflicted injuries that would have been momentous in another time:

On Thursday, Trump flew to Texas for an on-the-border photo op intended to boost his campaign to build a wall that would supposedly stop an "invasion" from the south. Despite the fact that no invasion is underway and that many politicians along the border reject it, Trump has continued to promote this boondoggle idea.

On Friday 800,000 federal workers experienced their first payless payday (some got check-like statements for $0.00) and stories of their anxieties began to accumulate. In a remarkable display of cluelessness, the President, who in his business career has declared bankruptcy many times, but thanks to family wealth never suffered personally, said, "I can relate."

On Saturday, the Washington Post revealed that the President has kept secret, even from his own aides, the content of his many conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As America's main antagonist around the world, Putin's words should be examined closely by the experts. By hiding them, and personally confiscating his interpreter's notes from one meeting, Trump suggests he has much to hide.

Also on Saturday, officials of the Transportation Security Administration began noting serious problems with airport security screening related to the partial government shutdown, which Trump has said, quite publicly, is his responsibility. Working without pay, TSA agents have begun to call in sick, and in Miami, one terminal has been closed, intermittently, due to staffing shortages. Security line wait times are stretching to 90 minutes in Atlanta The US Travel Association estimates the shutdown is costing the economy $100 million per day in lost travel spending.

On Sunday, CNN confirmed an Axios report that Trump has lashed out at his budget director and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney during a budget negotiation with congressional leaders. "Stop, stop, just stop -- What are you doing? You're f---ing it all up, Mick," the President reportedly said during the session. Of all Trump's aides, Mulvaney has been so loyal, even to the point of abandoning his personal convictions on certain matters, that one might think he would be the last person Trump would humiliate in this way.

Trump's demand for billions to build a useless wall is the reason for the government shutdown. The wall was also the centerpiece of a campaign that relied on countless lies and misrepresentation to provoke fear and racial animus to motivate his base of support.

This brings us back to the President standing on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday. In between references to a fast food banquet he had planned and a smarmy comment about two FBI agents (he referred to one as the "lover" of the other), Trump declined to join the GOP chorus condemning the white nationalism of Iowa Rep. Steve King. (The New York Times, in a profile article last week, quoted King as saying: "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?")

But going easy on King, Trump maintained his commitment to the anti-immigrant theme that helped him gain the White House. He also kept alive a dramatic storyline he will no doubt exploit in future episodes of the drama he seems to favor over actual public service.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119066

Reported Deaths: 3612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21563768
Lake10745324
Elkhart6734112
St. Joseph6679115
Allen6364205
Hamilton4965109
Vanderburgh384231
Hendricks2779124
Monroe267137
Tippecanoe259013
Johnson2362125
Clark226757
Porter222447
Delaware201162
Cass19589
Vigo187928
Madison171475
LaPorte151941
Warrick140743
Floyd140464
Howard133964
Kosciusko127117
Bartholomew119357
Marshall102124
Dubois100919
Boone99746
Grant96636
Hancock94843
Noble92932
Henry82226
Jackson77610
Wayne77314
Morgan73940
Shelby68329
Daviess68129
Dearborn67928
LaGrange64711
Clinton63414
Harrison59824
Putnam59011
Gibson5455
Knox5379
Lawrence51829
Montgomery51321
DeKalb49111
White48814
Decatur46139
Miami4394
Greene42936
Fayette42314
Jasper4032
Steuben3977
Scott39311
Posey3541
Sullivan33812
Jennings31712
Franklin31525
Clay3105
Ripley3108
Orange28724
Whitley2876
Carroll28013
Adams2773
Wabash2758
Starke2737
Washington2702
Wells2694
Spencer2683
Jefferson2523
Huntington2503
Fulton2462
Tipton22922
Randolph2238
Perry22213
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1690
Pike1691
Rush1584
Vermillion1320
Fountain1302
Blackford1223
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1033
Benton860
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0227

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 152907

Reported Deaths: 4783
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin27283615
Cuyahoga17603657
Hamilton13340321
Montgomery7993166
Lucas7377364
Butler6151112
Summit5393252
Warren313649
Mahoning3114282
Marion311447
Stark2946175
Pickaway268445
Lorain234286
Delaware232821
Fairfield214654
Licking196063
Columbiana195180
Wood194273
Trumbull1921132
Clark185341
Clermont176123
Lake166051
Greene153634
Medina149339
Miami147652
Allen147372
Portage117766
Mercer113919
Erie96047
Tuscarawas94320
Wayne94268
Richland94119
Ross90426
Madison85512
Darke81144
Athens7402
Geauga73349
Hancock73110
Belmont72427
Lawrence68622
Shelby66910
Ashtabula66248
Auglaize62511
Putnam62523
Sandusky58720
Huron5727
Union5512
Scioto5287
Seneca49514
Ottawa47230
Muskingum4553
Preble44716
Holmes3999
Jefferson3424
Henry33715
Defiance33212
Champaign3143
Logan3143
Clinton30512
Perry3039
Fulton2991
Brown2923
Knox28915
Jackson2667
Washington26323
Morrow2622
Hardin25713
Ashland2484
Crawford2486
Coshocton23511
Fayette2346
Highland2313
Williams2163
Wyandot21512
Pike2040
Gallia19713
Meigs17711
Guernsey1748
Hocking1679
Carroll1527
Adams1374
Van Wert1283
Paulding1130
Monroe11018
Harrison643
Morgan500
Vinton483
Noble350
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