May 13, 2017

This week in Trumpland: say it ain't Comey

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

There's only one thing on the mind of Trumpland this week: the firing of FBI Director James Comey. It's saturated the news for the better part of a week — largely through POTUS' own special skill of keeping a single story on life support across multiple news cycles. So let's get the story straight on how everything went down and huddle amongst the bushes of Trumpland.

The firing: The actual act was as uniquely Trumpian as it gets. POTUS had his private head of security hand-deliver Comey's termination letter to FBI headquarters. Of course, Comey was actually a few thousand miles away in Los Angeles, where he saw the news on TV — which he reportedly thought was a prank at first. And in the most LA twist of all: a helicopter tracked Comey's every move on traffic-choked freeways back to his private jet. If the Russia investigation doesn't fit…

The press shop: Someone else who got blindsided by the news: Sean Spicer. He reportedly tried to email a statement announcing the firing but gave up and yelled it at reporters outside his door instead. Then the bushes incident happened. Then he had some badly-timed Naval Reserve duty, which let Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders step into the spotlight. And she's apparently the only one who escaped Trump's ire in the press shop this week. Not the best night for Melissa McCarthy to be hosting SNL, huh?

The recovery: But things got back on message through Wednesday! Say it with me: "POTUS followed the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General." Say it over and over and over again. That's what Kellyanne and Mike Pence and Sanders did — all day long on Wednesday. It was spin, but it was defensible spin. It looked like the White House was gonna get through this one!

The interview: Then POTUS sat down with NBC News' Lester Holt and all of that went out the window with a few simple words: "I was going to fire [him] regardless of recommendation." So Sanders tried to say she'd hadn't talked directly with POTUS to discuss his motivations, Mike Pence was misled again, and Kellyanne was nowhere to be seen. And, on a bigger level, that raised even more questions about the whole Russia thing. So probably best just to hunker down and…

The tweets: …tweet? Yeah, naturally POTUS unleashed a tweetstorm of epic proportions yesterday morning. He hinted at doing away with live press briefings — and that wasn't even the bombshell. He suggested that he might have "tapes" of his conversations with Comey. It was in quotes, like "wiretapping," so who knows what next week in Trumpland is going to bring?

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 5,695,155 — Total deaths: 355,688 — Total recoveries — 2,351,177Map.
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  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
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