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Alexandra Erin @alexandraerin
, 39 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Three guesses what this tweet is about and the first two don't count.

He still doesn't dare actually speak her name.
You might have missed it if you were focused on the oncoming storm of the interview, but: those hotshot lawyers that last week Trump was hoping would have a "silver bullet" for his legal problems?

They gave his custom a pass.
If you look at the statements about that, you can see they were seeking a way out as soon as they came onboard. From the first meeting post-announcement-of-hiring, both sides started saying it might not be a good fit, and they started pumping the brakes on the arrangement.
Then Trump tweeted this weekend that it's not that he can't find a lawyer, it's that his current team is just so gosh danged GOOD, plus it wouldn't be fair to us the American people if he had to bring new lawyers on now and work to get them up to speed.
This despite the fact that he parted ways with John Dowd a week ago and was very publicly actively seeking a new lawyer with a new strategy.
The adage that Trump Fans Like Trump has a corollary, though: Trump Fans Believe Trump. If he says that he has all the lawyers he wants and he's turning lawyers away, that *must* mean all the talk of him trying to hire them is more "real leaks" of "fake news", and sour grapes.
(Remember "the leaks are real but the news is fake"? We were so young then.)
I have to go make breakfast, will pick this up again later.
Okay. So. Anyway.

I'm seeing a lot of people asking "Who wrote this tweet? Trump wouldn't say voluminous." And I have to say, I think there's a trap we're falling into there, as a culture.
When it becomes an article of faith that Trump doesn't use big words, we throw out any time he does as an anomaly that proves it's not him, thus preserving the record of Trump not using big words, thus "proving" that we were right all along.
Trump uses big words. Especially words like "voluminous", which, to be honest, is a little out of place in that sentence not because it's him saying it, but because it's hardly the most natural fit.

Which is part of how he uses them.
Remember Trump saying he has the best words? He latches onto words that are particularly euphonious to his ear.

What sorts of words? Well, if someone told him that his speech was euphonious, we'd hear him repeating it, I'm pretty sure.
If you think I'm making this up... I'm pretty sure I've heard Trump say the word "braggadocious" way more times than I've heard anyone else who wasn't quoting him or talking about him saying it has.
I've heard and read "braggadocio", the Italian word at the root of it, all over the place. But "braggadocious"? That one stuck with him.
So I read a tweet where he's saying "voluminous" and it's slightly out of place but not technically incorrect and I don't think, "His lawyer wrote this." It's Trump, "being his own best spokesman". Trying to channel a bit of the Don King hype and evoke an air of erudition.
Anyway. He neither referenced the network/show nor Stormy Daniels. I don't think people are far off when they suggest that he's rattled by this.

Exihibit B: His administration (relatively quietly) expelled 60 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the nerve agent attack.
I doubt that action was decided by him or done precipitously, but he didn't block it. He didn't upend it. He didn't undermine it. He didn't go on a contradictory rant on Twitter about how Russia is our friend and that's a good thing as it happened.
Peter Navarro and Steve Mnuchin are talking about the China tariffs in a way that suggests that they'll be walked back if they can just figure out the "peace with honor" way of withdrawing from the trade war.
None of this is an indication of where we'll end up (it'll just take one moment of anger from him to double down on the trade war with China, for instance), but I take them as an indication of where we are now, and that is: Trump is, for the moment, subdued. Fretful.
The other week I said that Trump, despite all indications, was having a very good week as far as he was concerned. Felt like he was winning. Top of the world. Fired Tillerson, thought he was getting a handle on this Mueller thing, acting all tough on trade.
All the stories coming out about him were that he felt like he'd turned a corner and figured out this whole "presidenting" thing and it was going to be smooth sailing for now.
This is Trump's secret: he's been waiting for The Pivot to happen, too. He expected this to be easy and he expected he'd be great at it, and he's been waiting for that to happen.
So when things go right (or he feels like they are), he thinks it's "clicked" and now he's unlocked easy mode... which means when it turns out he still has problems, it's devastating.
So, this week, Trump fired his lawyer who doesn't think he's clever enough to outfox Mueller in a sit down and tried to hire two new lawyers to replace him... and they passed. He got backed into a corner on the appropriations bills and his base isn't all buying the excuses.
And while he called Mueller out by name in a moment of bravado back while he was filling invincible, nothing happened as a result, Mueller didn't blink or back down, and now he's wondering if that was a mistake, if it didn't actually make him look weak.
And the lawyer who told him not to do that is gone, which suggests to Trump that perhaps multiple mistakes were made.
And now... now Mattis is grumbling that he doesn't know if he can work with Bolton. Bad enough that Trump is getting pilloried for picking Bolton, but he's in danger of losing another of his cherished Generals over it.

But if he backs down so soon after the lawyer embarrassment?
Remember that Trump's distaste for firing people stems in large part from not wanting to imply that he made a mistake in hiring them.
If he's got two high-profile hires that in rapid succession fall apart before the person even takes the job, that's going to weigh on him.
So he might stay with Bolton even though it further erodes his grip on the presidency, just because he can't stomach the alternative.
I don't expect Mattis to actually resign rather than try to work with Bolton; you don't get to be a general by not being able to shut up, put aside your feelings, and follow the chain of command.
Buuuut I also wouldn't rule it out. Bolton is that repulsive and that contentious a pick, and Mattis has thus far thrived on the autonomy that Trump gives him. If he thinks Bolton is going to start yanking on the chains of command?
(In straightforward terms, the Secretary of Defense does not answer to the national security adviser. The Secretary of Defense answers to the commander-in-chief. In practical terms, the Secretary of Defense answers to whoever the commander-in-chief listens to over the Secretary.)
As I explained early on in Trump's tenure, regarding his love of unofficial "counselors" and his ability to fire/overrule his cabinet: the biggest power of the presidency is delegation.

Technically ALL the power of the executive branch is vested in that one office.
This is what that "decider" stuff was about, with George W. Bush. We can't pass a law that says Trump has to listen to the Secretary of Defense over his natsec adviser (or his penpal Steve, or his friend Sean) on a matter because ultimately the power those offices wield is *his*.
John Kelly has curtailed the influence of Trump's cadre of "counselors" by limiting their access to them, but that works because Trump puts up with it, because he likes the idea of military efficiency that Kelly brings more than he dislikes Kelly meddling with his life (for now).
But you can't stop the National Security Adviser from advising him. It's literally his job.
So. Anyway.

That's how things stand for Trump at the start of the week. He's had a disaster of a weekend following a bad week, and he knows it. That could change at any moment, though. His moods are mercurial and he rarely believes one thing exclusively for very long.
If you appreciate my analysis, please consider pitching in to help it keep going week. Living isn't free and so neither are we. paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr…
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