There’s a new dominant storyline in Washington today, and it’s that Donald Trump is terrified.
His desperate attempt to spin the election results as a victory, his angry threat to go to war against House Democrats if they investigate him, and his explosive hostility to reporters at his press conference all indicate a new phase of anxiety.
He was already more than a little freaked out by Robert Mueller’s investigation. His de facto firing of attorney general Jeff Sessions today may or may not reduce that threat.
But there’s nothing at all he can do about the House being run by Democrats — which changes everything.
Washington has orbited around Trump as if he were a celestial body thus far, but now there is a new center of gravity.
House Democrats can now set the narrative. They can hold hearings, launch investigations and wield subpoenas.
And despite the radical transparency that Trump’s Twitter feed provides directly into his brain, the way business actually gets done in his administration has been carefully hidden from public view.
That means that even a moderate amount of oversight threatens to reveal extraordinary levels of corruption, incompetence, and venality at all levels of his administration.
House Democrats of course won’t stop there. They will assuredly look into Trump’s finances as part of their investigation into his personal involvement in corruption and collusion. And the danger there really can’t be overstated. At the very least, they would likely uncover evidence of how his luxury real-estate business was fueled by money-laundering for Russian oligarchs and others.
Mueller, meanwhile, is said to be planning to issue an initial report into possible obstruction of justice by Trump and his team in a matter of weeks. And if he gets fired, my sources suggest he’ll do it even sooner.
Trump is frantic is because he is losing control – of the narrative, and, consequently, himself.