In television shows and films the line is usually backed by a soaring score. In some hallowed hall the senior aides and Cabinet Secretaries declare that they serve at the pleasure of the president. But in the Trump Administration, the adage is being rewritten daily on cable news and Twitter: they serve the president’s displeasure.
Trump’s senior aides are increasingly the subject of Trump’s frustrations with the Russia investigation and Washington’s legislative morass. New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci’s late-Wednesday tweet speciously accusing Priebus of “leaking” his publicly available financial disclosure form followed a dinner with the President. And his more than 30-minute call to CNN Thursday morning, in which he compared his relationship with Priebus to Cain and Abel and suggested that the chief of staff should answer publicly for his leaks, followed an early-morning chat with Trump. Scaramucci also said he spoke to Sessions and that he would be consulting “buddies in the FBI” over the incident, later telling CNN that he was only doing so to scare supposed leakers. All the while, Trump has ignored the advice of top aides pushing him to stop attacking Sessions and deployed Scaramucci to turn up the pressure even more.
The consequences of Trump’s promotion of tumult isn’t confined to the realm of palace intrigue. The Joint Chiefs were left scrambling Wednesday to deal with the fallout of Trump’s hastily announced plan to ban transgender troops, having not been informed of his half-baked pronouncement.
The Senate searches for “skinny repeal” votes. The politics of the transgender troop ban. And The Art of the Hostage Deal.
Here are your must reads:
Trump’s Attacks Sow Chaos In Washington
A wild week in the nation’s capital [TIME]
Trump Talks Privately About the Idea of a Recess Appointment to Replace Sessions
But he’s still not ready to push him out [Washington Post]
Trump Administration Signals That Murkowski’s Health Care Vote Could Have Energy Repercussions for Alaska
Even supporters of legislation call the threat troubling [Alaska Dispatch News]
Scaramucci Still Stands to Profit from SkyBridge From the White House
The newly named White House communications director has earned millions from ownership stake since last year, according to his financial disclosure [Politico]
The Art of the Hostage Deal
TIME’s Elizabeth Dias on Trump’s efforts to bring back Americans held overseas
GOP Disunity Painfully Clear in Senate Debate
Party looks for ‘skinny repeal’ votes [Associated Press]
Why the Transgender Troop Ban May Backfire Politically
TIME’s Philip Elliott reports on the potential political miscalculation
“So if Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that.” — Anthony Scaramucci on CNN Thursday
“The President has expressed concerns since this Obama policy came into effect, but he’s also voiced that this is a very expensive and disruptive policy. And based on consultation that he’s had with his national security team, came to conclusion that it erodes military readiness and unit cohesion, and made the decision based on that.” — White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to reporters Wednesday
Bits and Bites