In the space of a single, dizzying day, the president of the United States confronted his party’s loss of the House of Representatives (putting him at risk of subpoenas, investigation, and even impeachment). In a rambling, combative news conference, he alternately reached out to his Democratic opponents and lashed out at them, threatening to investigate them.
And finally, as if all that were not enough, he fired his long-suffering attorney general, replacing him with a subordinate who is on record as having argued that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election should be curtailed in scope or budgetarily starved into oblivion.
Even by the rollicking, ripsnorting standards of Donald Trump’s Washington, it was quite a Wednesday, one that when the history of his presidency is written seems destined to live in Instagram infamy. Fasten your seatbelts: dangerous curves—or a constitutional crisis?—dead ahead.
Trump began the day with a wee-hours tweetstorm of self-congratulation “on our Big Victory last night,” ignoring that Republicans lost control of the House for the first time since 2010, and Democrats picked up governorships in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Kansas that would be crucial to his reelection. Soon enough, he followed that up with a threat to use his party’s slightly increased Senate majority to fire back at any congressional investigation of him. “Two can play that game!” he insisted.