It’s Biden’s Washington, but the press can’t get enough of Trump
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Not to mention omicron, inflation, supply shortages and other challenges that comprise the grinding work of government. And there’s the little matter of whether he’ll get Democrats to pass his $2 trillion social spending bill before Christmas, or ever.
But there are all kinds of developments in this other universe known as Trump World that keep stealing the spotlight.
We have never had a situation where a former president generated so much news more than a year after being defeated at the polls — which, of course, remains a major point of contention for Trump partisans.
There is a synergy here between Donald’s dogged determination to stay in the news and media outlets — whose audiences love to hate Trump — that pounce on every development.
Trump is newsworthy, of course, because he’s the dominant figure in the Republican Party, is trying to knock off non-loyalists in the midterms and may well run for his old job in 2024.
But then there’s also the investigative machinery that always seems to shadow Trump, led by the Democratic-dominated Jan. 6 committee.
On that front alone, the subpoena battles generate a near-constant flow of headlines.
Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, had agreed to be interviewed by the House panel. But Meadows’ lawyer told Fox on Tuesday that he will no longer cooperate, based on disputes over what is covered by executive privilege and the committee’s insistence on reviewing his cell phone records.
Two other key figures — former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and John Eastman, who wrote the memo saying Mike Pence could reject some Electoral College results — are pleading the Fifth. That’s pretty serious business. Of course, the Biden DOJ has obtained an indictment against Steve Bannon for defying a subpoena, but that doesn’t seem to have spurred cooperation.
Marc Short, who was Pence’s chief of staff, is cooperating, however, with the Pence World view being very different than that of the Trumpists.
As awful as the Capitol riot was, a battalion of journalists is aggressively pursuing the notion that the former president may well succeed next time.
“Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun,” says an Atlantic cover story.
“The Trump Conspiracy Is Hiding in Plain Sight,” warns New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie.
Meadows, by the way, is out with a book that, we learned via the Times, says Trump’s oxygen dropped to dangerously low levels when he contracted Covid last year. A CNN medical analyst has already proclaimed that Trump was “in danger of dying.”
It was Meadows’ book “The Chief’s Chief” that revealed Trump had tested positive three days before the first debate against Biden. Meadows soon agreed with his ex-boss’s “fake news” claim because the book says two negative virus tests quickly followed –except that Trump went to Walter Reed three days after the debate.
That led to a Washington Post deep dive on the more than 500 people Trump came into contact with in the week after the initial test. And others say Trump feels betrayed by Meadows (as he did after books by Stephanie Grisham, John Bolton and other former aides).
But wait, there’s still more Trump news! Devin Nunes is resigning his seat in Congress to become CEO of Trump’s new media company and battle online “censorship.”
That’s a remarkable move, given that the Trump loyalist is in line to chair the Ways and Means Committee in a Republican House.
But this highlights yet another probe: Federal regulators are looking into the proposed merger between the Trump firm and a shell company that was formed to take it public.
Trump told his ex-spokesman Sean Spicer on Newsmax that the SEC investigation is a “witch hunt” that could lead to “pure communism” in this country. Shades of Bob Mueller.
And keep in mind there’s the ongoing probe of the Trump Organization, which was supposed to spell big trouble for the founder after CFO Allen Weisselberg was charged, but … hasn’t so far.
Back in the world of government, Biden announced a new strategy to crack down on financial corruption. But a major chunk of the media industry remains devoted to chronicling all things Trump – perhaps missing the clicks and ratings he reliably delivered.