Donald Trump’s brand-new communications director got a glimpse of the challenge he faces this weekend. As Anthony Scaramucci toured the Sunday shows, promising a new era of better relations and positive vibes, his boss was firing off his most active string of Twitter complaints in some time, taking shots at Democrats, Republicans, the press, James Comey, Robert Mueller, and—for the second time in less than a week—his own attorney general:
So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2017
The president’s choice of words to describe Attorney General Jeff Sessions is bizarre, though the condescending mockery matches the tone he often uses for adversaries. To paraphrase Trump, somebody’s doing the beleaguering, and that person is Trump himself, who railed at Sessions during an interview with The New York Times last week, saying he wished he hadn’t appointed him, and that Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation was unfair to Trump.
The demand for a closer look at Hillary Clinton, however, is more significant, and appeared in several other weekend missives:
So many people are asking why isn't the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
...What about all of the Clinton ties to Russia, including Podesta Company, Uranium deal, Russian Reset, big dollar speeches etc.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
My son Donald openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
As Trump’s troubles deepen—as they continue to do, both politically and legally—he and his defenders have ever more frequently invoked Hillary Clinton as an excuse and a distraction. The more partisan precincts of Fox News, for example, continue to hammer away at Clinton’s emails, or to bury Trump-related news under buzzy headlines about the defeated Democratic presidential candidate. Conservative media has also tried to elevate an example of apparent inappropriate Democratic conversations with the Ukrainian government to the level of the Russia investigation; my colleague Uri Friedman parses that comparison here. On Monday, former Representative Jason Chaffetz strangely asked why Congress was questioning Jared Kushner, a top Trump campaign official who met with Russian nationals, and not Chelsea Clinton for Benghazi, an incident that occurred when the Clinton daughter was not working at the State Department, and which has also been extensively investigated. (The best guess is that Chaffetz is referring to emails Hillary Clinton sent her daughter around the time of the attack.)