Political News

The harrowing, wild and totally unpredictable last 24 hours in the world of Donald Trump

Posted May 17, 2018 10:29 a.m. EDT

— President Donald Trump has almost single-handedly redefined the pace, breadth and scope of news in his first 17 months in office. What would have been massive bombshells that might dominate a month -- or more -- of coverage of past White Houses become just one in a laundry list of big stories coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in a given week.

But even by those elevated and elasticized standards, the last 24 hours have been, to put a fine point on it, bananas.

Consider the news since Wednesday morning:

The Senate Judiciary Committee released hundreds of pages of interviews -- including from Donald Trump Jr. -- that sheds light on a critical meeting between Trump campaign brass and Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016. The Office of Government Ethics makes public Trump's 2017 financial disclosure statement, a document that makes nearly certain that he reimbursed Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer, for the $130,000 hush payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels. The Senate Intelligence Committee announced that it agreed with the Intelligence Community's assessment that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told CNN's Dana Bash that he had been told by the special counsel's office that they did not believe they could indict a sitting president Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seemed to troll his former boss in a speech at VMI, warning of the dangers of those who veer from facts. Trump commemorated the one year anniversary of the formation of the special counsel investigation -- it's today -- with a pair of tweets. "Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History...and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction," read one Trump tweet. "The only Collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an Election despite the spending of far more money!"

These are all HUGE news stories.

The Trump Tower meeting between Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya sits at the heart of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling and possible collusion in the 2016 election.

Trump's reimbursement to Cohen not only contradicts the official line out of the White House for months but also suggests the President and Giuliani may have purposely leaked out word of the payment to get ahead of this disclosure report.

A bipartisan group of senators rejecting the finding of the House Intelligence Committee Republicans that Russia had no favored candidate in the 2016 election puts those House GOPers on a very lonely island.

Giuliani insisting the President can't be indicted not only raises fascinating constitutional questions but also the reality that the special counsel's office has explored the possibility.

And then, of course, there is Trump himself and his grievance-fueled tweets about the length and alleged lack of findings of wrongdoing by Mueller and his team.

Taken together, it's not a stretch to say that we may well look back on the past 24 hours in a week or a month and see it as the most consequential day of the Trump presidency -- a day when the chess pieces moved not just on one board but on all the boards almost simultaneously. A day when every stream of allegations and accusations also joined together in one rushing river.

Or not. Because this is the Trump presidency, it would be foolishness to make too many (or, really, any) hard and fast predictions about what the future might hold. Tomorrow could bring another bombshell. Or three. The still-on North Korea-US summit could look more likely or be scrapped altogether. Trump's threat to push for full funding of his border wall could well lead to a government shutdown in the final weeks before the 2018 midterm election. The Mueller report might come out -- either implicating or exonerating Trump and/or one of the members of his family or closest political circle. Cohen, under pressure from investigators, could well flip on Trump and spill his guts on everything he knows about the President.

The truth of this presidency is that no one -- not even the President -- knows what the next 48 hours will bring much less the next week or month.

What we do know, however, is that what's happened in the last 24 hours is almost certain to matter as the jigsaw puzzle of the Trump presidency continues to kind of, sort of come into focus.

Mueller, Giuliani, Cohen, Daniels, Kushner, Manafort, Trump Jr., Veselnitskaya, and, of course, always always always Donald John Trump himself. These are our players. They all moved -- or were moved -- in some meaningful way over the last 24 hours. Now we have to wait to see where they end up.