Dana Milbank writes: I bumped into Bret Baier, the Fox News host, at a Washington cocktail party Wednesday night where it seemed everybody was chatting about the latest White House insanity: President Trump’s joking about “Pocahontas” to Native Americans, reviving the Obama “birther” allegation, suggesting the “Access Hollywood” video was fake, retweeting anti-Muslim videos made by British white supremacists.
Most assumed Trump was just being crazy, but Baier had a theory: Whenever Trump escalates such antics, he is agitated about news that is about to break. Maybe, Baier speculated, Trump knew something about the Russia probe we didn’t yet know.
Now we do. On Friday morning came former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea, the most ominous development for Trump yet in the Russia investigation. Court documents show that Flynn is cooperating with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and that Flynn’s Russian contacts were done under direction from higher-ups — and there weren’t too many higher than Flynn on the campaign other than Trump himself. The notion that Flynn has the goods on Trump would explain why Trump was reluctant to fire him, tried to get the FBI to stop probing Flynn — and seemed unglued this week as news of Flynn’s cooperation was about to become public.
Though predictions are perilous in the age of Trump, this really could be the beginning of the end of the national horror his tenure has been. If Baier is correct — as I believe he is — that Trump gets ever more outrageous when he feels cornered, then this means the nation is entering a perilous period. We can expect Trump to grow more dangerous and desperate in his distractions as he hears Mueller’s footsteps. Although Trump’s erratic behavior is damaging in its own right to alliances and civility, the greatest danger is that while we chase Trump’s distractions, we lose sight of real calamity. [Continue reading…]