While Republicans continue to modify the way they interact with President Trump, “it is not clear what a meaningful, sustainable divorce” from the president “could even look like.”
“The most extreme remedies, like impeachment, remain nonstarters in Republican circles. The party has likewise declined to embrace any formalized censure against the president, an option pushed Wednesday by House Democrats — though last month’s sanctions on Russia, passed against the administration’s wishes, were a notable bit of bipartisan defiance.
“Among Republicans, though, the next steps are complicated by the president’s ramshackle legislative strategy: The White House has effectively outsourced its agenda to its partners in Congress.” (New York Times)
AND SENATORS AREN’T HAPPY. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that Trump “lacks an understanding of the character of the nation and that the White House needs to make ‘radical changes’—otherwise, he fears for the country.
“‘The president has not been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,’ Corker told members of the media after speaking to Chattanooga’s Rotary Club Thursday. ‘And we need for him to be successful; our nation needs for him to be successful. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat … The world needs our president to be successful.’” (Nooga)
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee “is not prone to outspoken outbursts and thinks carefully before delivering his analysis. So his critique that the President has not shown sufficient stability, competence or understanding of the character of the country that he leads was devastating.”
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) “was another Trump ally who had been wrestling with a painful political and moral dilemma. But he also broke ranks Thursday, saying he could not defend the ‘indefensible’ in the wake of Trump’s comments about the alt-right rallies in Charlottesville.”
Adding fuel to the fire, “James Murdoch, the 21st Century Fox CEO and son of Rupert Murdoch, who is one of Trump’s close informal advisers, wrote a withering email denouncing the President’s reaction to the White Supremacist rally and the violence it sparked.” (CNN)
OBSERVING ALL THIS. “Journalists and analysts have fallen in the habit of declaring almost every week in this presidency the worst yet. Perhaps befitting a president unlike any of his predecessors, this is a journalistic trend never seen before.
“This is the 30th week since Trump was sworn into office. A neutral ranking of those weeks would show that 20 have been bad for the president, while only four weeks have been positive for him. The other six weeks were neither good nor bad.” (National Journal)
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"President Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against China, following through on a long-time threat that he says will punish China for intellectual property infringement and create more American jobs. The tariff package, which Trump plans to unveil by Friday, was confirmed by four senior administration officials. Senior aides had presented Trump with a $30 billion tariff package that would apply to a range of products, but Trump directed them to roughly double the scope of the new trade levies."
"President Trump’s attorneys have provided the special counsel’s office with written descriptions that chronicle key moments under investigation in hopes of curtailing the scope of a presidential interview, according to two people familiar with the situation. Trump’s legal team recently shared the documents in an effort to limit any session between the president and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to a few select topics" on order to "minimize his exposure. ... The lawyers are worried that Trump, who has a penchant for making erroneous claims, would be vulnerable in an hours-long interview."