Trump, convinced he alone outwitted the deep state, is now unleashed to be a purer version of himself. He will listen even less to his aides, except the most servile, like the recently appointed Attorney General William Barr who followed directions perfectly with his No Collusion, No Collusion Summary of the Mueller Report, stopping just short of his boss declaring it “bullshit.” To all those who thought Trump would have brought in a lawyer who hadn’t passed his Roy Cohn test for abject loyalty, think again.
What Barr doesn’t realize yet is that the White House is not Hollywood producer Mark Burnett’s Apprentice but his other hit show, Survivor, in which a group of strangers in an isolated setting compete for rewards and pray not to be eliminated. Trump stars in the presidential version in which he is always the Sole Survivor. Everyone else is voted off the island, soiled by the experience, and hard-pressed to re-enter polite society. All ye who work there might observe the job search of former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and consider getting out.
Those left in the administration are the ones who give in to Trump’s worst impulses. This week saw an outpouring of nostalgia for former White House counsel Don McGahn for doing no more than what your run-of-the mill courthouse lawyer would in taking notes like a “real lawyer” despite Trump’s scolding, and refusing to fire Mueller. That was enough for Rudy Giuliani to emerge from the rock he’s been placed under to dismiss as fake news McGahn’s testimony under oath.