There hasn’t been a single smooth week in the Trump presidency, but last week was, by popular consensus, the worst of them so far. Given the struggles of this president, that’s no small statement. What was remarkable was the breadth of Trump’s troubles. His top legislative priority was, once again, knocked flat. He had to replace Reince Priebus, making Priebus the shortest-tenured chief of staff to serve in the heart of a term. He publicly feuded with Republican senators, saw his new messaging guru call a colleague a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic,” and went to war with his attorney general.
There were so many bleak developments that by Friday it was impossible to keep track of them all. For example, did you remember that during the same week, the National Security Council’s top Middle East official was pushed out in a power struggle, Energy Secretary Rick Perry was pranked by Ukrainian jokesters, and Trump was rebuked by the Boy Scouts of America?
Here’s how it went down:
The week starts with Trump firing off a series of tweets. Having complained about Attorney General Jeff Sessions during an interview with The New York Times the week before, Trump once again attacks “our beleauguered A.G.” Specifically, Trump calls for the prosecution of his vanquished political rival Hillary Clinton, demanding she be investigated for crimes for which she was already investigated, and cleared, by the FBI. Trump also attacks the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, calling him “sleazy Adam Schiff.”
Amid the attacks on Sessions, Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s top campaign surrogates and a rumored replacement for Sessions, tells the press he’s not interested in the job, and says that, pace Trump, Sessions was right to recuse himself from any Russia-related investigations.
Meanwhile on Monday morning, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, is on Capitol Hill testifying behind closed doors about his interactions with Russians during and after the election. That’s part of one of the several probes into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Meanwhile, the attorney Trump has nominated to lead the criminal division of the Justice Department, Brian Benczkowski, tells Congress he represented Alfa Bank, an institution closely tied to Vladimir Putin, in the time between working for the Trump…