This Is Not Normal, February 17, 2019 – February 24, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Transportation Secretary has met with Kentucky politicians and business leaders, at the request of the Senate Majority Leader, to whom she is married. Coincidentally, some of these politicians and business people have later gotten grants and other favors from the Transportation Department.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a senior official at the Department of Education reportedly tried to get rid of the department’s inspector general when she would not allow the Secretary of Education to influence an investigation.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to the Office of Government Ethics, the Secretary of Commerce filed an inaccurate financial disclosure form.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to a recent ruling by a federal judge, the Secretary of Labor broke the law several years ago when he, as a federal prosecutor, hid a non-prosecution agreement with a wealthy hedge fund manager accused of sexually abusing more than thirty minors. (For those of you keeping score, that’s *four* Cabinet-level scandals that would be a multi-day story in any less insane administration.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to the special counsel investigating the president’s campaign’s ties to Russia, the former campaign chairman “repeatedly and brazenly” violated laws over at least a ten-year period, including when he was on bail awaiting trial.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former lawyer has, apparently, a lot of information to offer federal prosecutors about financial crimes both at the president’s businesses and at the committee that planned the presidential inauguration.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Republican party, usually so quick to denounce the slightest hint of voter fraud, has been suspiciously quiet about the overturned North Carolina congressional race in which a consultant for the Republican candidate flagrantly violated election law.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a senator apparently threw binders at her staff, instituted a punitive maternity leave policy, and tried to have departing staff members’ job offers withdrawn.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president attempted to have an ally who had already recused himself put in charge of a criminal investigation into his former lawyer.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a former adviser to the president, awaiting trial on charges related to the president’s campaign’s collaboration with WikiLeaks and Russian officials, posted a photograph of the judge in his case next to an image of cross hairs. (I can’t help but notice that the witch hunt is catching a lot of witches. Also, they do not seem to be very nice or dignified people.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee wants to investigate the FBI for their handling of the investigation into the president’s campaign.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • call the special counsel’s investigation “totally conflicted, illegal and rigged!” (among his other myriad flaws, I notice that the president is not a fan of the Oxford comma);
    • refer to the former FBI director as “Leakin’ James Comey”;
    • refer to his former Attorney General sarcastically as “another beauty,” presumably for the sin of recusing himself from the Russia investigation;
    • conduct diplomacy with both North Korea and Venezuela via social media;
    • tweet (and I am honestly embarrassed to even type this) that “Andrew McCabe didn’t go to the bathroom without the approval of Leakin’ James Comey!” (when this is all over, I never want to hear another word about shirtsleeves in the Oval Office or tan suits or Dijon mustard);
    • claim that if his opponent had won the presidency the stock market would be “down at least 10,000 points by now” (there is absolutely no reason to believe this);
    • refer to himself as “your all time favorite President” (that sound you hear is Abraham Lincoln rolling over in his grave);
    • refer to a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary as “Crazy Bernie,” reminding me again that the 2020 presidential election is going to be a slow walk through Hell;
    • claim that “The Press has never been more dishonest than it is today” and that he was not called for a comment on stories (a reporter for the New York Times has flatly denied this claim);
    • refer to the New York Times as “a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”;
    • publicly call out an actor who made false claims about a hate crime while remaining silent about a Coast Guard lieutenant who was arrested planning the murders of multiple Democratic politicians;
    • claim that “There is far more ENERGY on the Right than there is on the Left” (again, there is no evidence of this);
    • claim that “Suburban women are coming back into the Republican Party in droves ‘because of the Wall and Border Security'” (in the November election, only three months ago, suburban women broke against the Republican party in large part because they did not like the president’s immigration policy); and
    • announce that there would be fireworks at the Lincoln Memorial on July 4, apparently under the impression that this was a novel idea he had come up with all on his own.
  • This week saw multiple “Witch Hunt” and “Fake News” references, as well as one “Crooked Hillary Clinton.” I should probably also mention that he accuses the Democrats of colluding with Russia in 2016 nearly every week, which I mostly ignore because it makes so little sense to me. Putin himself has said he wanted Trump to win the election, so why would the Democrats collude with him?

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