Trump Threatens Iran, Calls Russia Probe a 'Big Hoax,' and Lashes Out at Lawyer Michael Cohen in Increasingly Unhinged Twitter Rants: Reason Roundup
Plus: Will bank-crypto kill Bitcoin?
Trump's got his hand on the button, all right—the "send Tweet" button, that is. In a series of increasingly unhinged weekend statements that spilled over into Monday morning, the president insisted that his version of reality is the only one we can trust and that anyone who disputes it is simply beholden to the "Fake News," the "Corrupt Media," the "Department of 'Justice,'" and "Crooked Hillary." In Trump's reality, talking loudly on Twitter counts as diplomacy, everyone was out to get Trump from the beginning, and anything negative published about not just Trump but about Russian antics in general is just spin from "13 Angry Democrats," the "Fake News Media" (words he has tweeted disparagingly seven times since July 20), and others caught up in the FBI's "Witch Hunt."
On Monday morning, Trump fired off an array of repetitive and rambling tweets accusing Obama-era Justice officials of inappropriately seeking a warrant from a FISA court to look into Carter Page's activities, using the infamous dossier—paid for and disseminated (at various points) by Trump opponents on the right and the left—as a pretense. Over the weekend, the FBI released hundreds of pages of files related to Page, an energy consultant who became an adviser to the Trump campaign and also a confidential informant to the FBI about Russia matters. They show the shadowy world of FISA warrants being used against Page in the same shadowy way FISA warrants and courts generally are.
If you have issues with the Carter Page FISA application, then you have issues with FISA generally, because there's zero indication there's anything unusual about this application, other than the fact that its target worked on a U.S. presidential campaign.
— Julian Sanchez (@normative) July 22, 2018
Trump also opined on Twitter over the weekend that the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election was "all a big hoax" orchestrated by folks invested in Hillary Clinton becoming the next president.
I had a GREAT meeting with Putin and the Fake News used every bit of their energy to try and disparage it. So bad for our country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2018
And then there was—tucked between this typical fare—what seemed like a threat of nuclear annihilation against Iran. Cue the cable news and Twitterati with "We're all going to die!"
Almost a year ago, Trump set off a round of panicked prognosticating when he promised to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea. But now North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the U.S. president are show-biz-style besties, posing for photos and singing each other's praises despite the fact that little material has changed between the two countries.
Perhaps bolstered by this pseudo-diplomatic display, Trump tried the same tack with Iran, tweeting Sunday evening that if Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ever threatened the U.S., he would "SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE." Trump's all-caps message continued with a declaration that America would no longer "STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!"
His tweet seems to have come in response to recent Rouhani comments warning America not to mess with Iran.
But despite the freakout from folks stateside, the world—including Iranian leaders—shrugged.
"This is how seriously people take the United States of America these days. This is what our country has come to." https://t.co/GlCoppacOM
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) July 23, 2018
Meanwhile, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen claims to have audio of the president discussing his payoff to alleged former fling Stormy Daniels. Trump responded by tweeting that it was "inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client—totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!"
Bitcoin badgered by bank cryptocurrencies? The European Union's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs is warning that "if banks and central banks were to issue their own cryptocurrencies it could be bad news for the likes of bitcoin," notes Forbes.
"The arrival of permissioned cryptocurrencies promoted by banks, even by central banks, will reshape the current competition level in the cryptocurrency market, broadening the number of competitors," committee members wrote in a new report. "However, the market power of banks in traditional banking services might be used to limit competition in the cryptocurrency market through pre-emptive acquisitions or predatory pricing schemes."
• Sen. Rand Paul says he's genuinely undecided about Trump's Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh.
• Will Mike Pence usher in the Handmaid's Tale after all?
• The Summer of Snitches continues: White man calls cops on black man for "trying to break in" to the latter's own business.