WASHINGTON, DC – On both sides of the White House fence, near-nervous breakdowns abound. The White House staff is said to be in a state of near collapse – bouncing from one presidential crisis to another, trying all the while to hide from a screaming president. On the other side of the White House fence, much of Washington watches the disintegration of a presidency, and even Democrats aren’t taking much joy in it. A president seemingly out of control makes any thoughtful citizen uneasy at best.
Reliable reports emanating from the White House indicate that the president spends much of his day watching television news and raging at what he sees (with one exception: Fox News) and at aides for allowing such reports to happen. Aides try to avoid bringing him bad news for fear of being yelled at.
The appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who had his own reputation to rescue) won’t do much for President Donald Trump’s mood. Mueller, a widely respected former FBI director, will keep alive for some time the investigation into whether Trump’s campaign or political associates colluded with Russia in its effort to elect Trump. It is a question that clearly drives Trump to distraction – and he dare not try to fire Mueller. But if, as Rosenstein’s announcement said, Mueller is limited to investigating “federal crimes,” broader issues will escape examination. There are impeachable offenses that aren’t crimes.
Indeed, the latest bout of turmoil began with Trump’s sudden firing on May 9 of FBI director James Comey. That move startled so many people in and out of the White House because it seemed to come out of nowhere, and there was no good explanation for it.