This has been a very bad week for the President. Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, and Jeff Sessions are causing him more pain than any Democrats or journalists. These are men who at one point were extremely loyal to him.
Rumors that Manafort might give over dirt on the Trump campaign in exchange for favorable sentencing are strong… and they’re the least of Trump’s worries right now. More immediate are his former lawyer, Cohen, and his current Attorney General, Sessions. The former seems to have plenty of beans to spill and a strong motivation to do so while the latter is shredding any doubt that he’ll be a hedge between the President and Robert Mueller.
But if Cohen’s guilty plea and Tuesday’s conviction of campaign manager Paul Manafort do not imperil Trump today, what they portend is ominous. For Cohen handled Trump’s dealings for more than a decade and has pledged full cooperation with prosecutors from both the Southern District of New York and the Robert Mueller investigation.
Nothing that comes of this collaboration will be helpful to Trump.
Also, Manafort, now a convicted felon facing life in prison, has the most compelling of motives to “flip” and reveal anything that could be useful to Mueller and harmful to Trump.
What’s remarkable here is not that Trump attacked Sessions publicly. After all, Trump has called Sessions “weak” and beleaguered” and told multiple news outlets that he would have never hired Sessions if he had known the attorney general was going to recuse himself in the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
No, the truly unique thing here is that Sessions decided to actually speak up in his own defense. The only other time — that I can find — that Sessions directly responded to a Trump attack was back at the end of February, when the President tweeted this:
It’s difficult to fathom why the biggest threats to Trump’s Presidency came from men he wholeheartedly trusted. However, once we throw in the reality of who Trump is and what he does, it becomes pretty clear that this was inevitable.
Throughout his life, Trump has demonstrated a lack of regard for those who are around him while simultaneously demanding their undying loyalty. It’s as if he swings hardest at people who work for him when they do anything he deems disloyal. This is why his closest confidants are always one abusive comment away from abandoning him. Whether in public or private, Trump’s abuse of “his people” is well documented and strangely comical.
In the business world, the billionaire could afford to betray people while still expecting them to stay loyal. It’s in his nature to be abusing to those close to him. This trait wasn’t a secret that’s rearing its ugly head now that he’s in the White House. It’s been well known for decades, yet most Republicans chose to ignore it.
Most of his supporters still refuse to see things for how they are. They think this is just another series of attacks from the left and their lapdogs in the press. Unfortunately for them, these aren’t manufactured stories or “fake news,” and most of the analyses I’ve read other than the far-left attack pieces have been pretty spot on.
For once, even mainstream media is right when they say he’s in trouble. Sure, they’ve been saying that since he launched his campaign, but this time they’re correct. Even a broken watch is right twice a day.
By abusing those closest to him, Trump has created the vehicles of his political demise. Every day, the damage is mounting on the GOP. The only things they have going for them now are the flawed two-party system and an opposition party that can’t get its own act together. For this reason, the GOP has a slightly better chance than the President of making it through the next two election cycles without major losses.
The left has spent over three years trying to manufacture attacks against Trump that would force many of his supporters to abandon him. But Trump has proven to be his own worst enemy by picking the wrong people and then abusing them until they become his enemies.