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The Trump Presidency Falls Apart
After an extraordinary 10 days, the tenure of the chief executive may have deteriorated beyond his ability to repair it.
By David A. Graham

May 8: Yates testifies and calls out WH/Flynn/Trump lies
May 9: Trump fires Comey, at the reported recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Sessions
May 10: White House retracts recommendation “Trump did it on his own”
May 11: Trump admits the Russia probe was a factor in Comey’s dismissal in an NBC interview
May 12: Trump twitter-threats Comey re: tapes of their convos
May 15: Trump shares sensitive classified intel with Russian foreign minister and ambassador
May 16: a memo from Comey leaks — quotes Trump as asking him to drop the FBI investigation into Flynn “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go”

Be sure to tune in tonight for another episode of, Trump’s a Shitshow

The End of Trump

The question is no longer whether there are grounds to impeach Donald Trump. It is when enough Republicans will put their loyalty to America ahead of their loyalty to their party.

Trump’s statements last week about his firing of former FBI director James Comey provide ample evidence that Trump engaged in an obstruction of justice – a major charge in impeachment proceedings brought against Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton.

It’s worth recalling that the illegality underlying Nixon’s impeachment was a burglary at the Watergate complex, while the illegality underlying Clinton’s was lying to a grand jury about sex with an intern in the White House.

Trump’s obstruction is potentially far more serious. It involves an investigation about whether Trump or his aides colluded with Russia in rigging a presidential election – the most direct assault on American democracy in history,

Last Thursday, in an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt about his firing of Comey, Trump said: “I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.” Trump also said that he had pressed Comey during a private dinner to tell him if he was under investigation.

Trump conceded that the ongoing investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election, which includes a probe into the possibility that Moscow was coordinating with the Trump campaign, was one of the factors Trump considered before firing Comey.

“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won,’ ” Trump said.

The law is reasonably clear. If Trump removed Comey to avoid being investigated, that’s an obstruction of justice – an impeachable offense.

On Friday, Trump tweeted that Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

Here, the law is also clear. Seeking to silence, intimidate or even influence someone who is likely to offer evidence in a congressional or criminal proceeding is also an obstruction of justice – and an impeachable offense.

As a practical matter, though, nothing will happen until a majority of the House decides on bringing a bill of impeachment. Which means, under the present congress, twenty-two Republicans would have to join with House Democrats to put enough pressure on the Speaker of the House to allow such a bill to be considered.

The odds of this occurring in this Congress, under present circumstances, are approximately zero.

So – barring a “smoking gun” that shows Trump’s complicity with Russian operatives in interfering in the 2016 election – Trump’s fate seems to hinge on the midterm elections of 2018.

Those elections are less than eighteen months away. That’s a long time in American politics. Under a Trump presidency, that’s an eternity.

But there’s another possibility.

In my experience, most elected politicians have two goals – to do what they consider to be the right things for the American public, and to be reelected (not necessarily in that order).

If Trump’s poll numbers continue to plummet – particularly among Republicans and Independents – twenty-two House Republicans may well decide their chances for being reelected are better if they abandon him before the 2018 midterms.

Paul Ryan and the House Republican leadership might make a similar calculation, at least enough to put a bill of impeachment on the table.

Most House Republicans prefer Vice President Mike Pence to Donald Trump anyway. As one said to me several months ago, “Pence is a predictable conservative. Trump is an unpredictable egomaniac. Most of us are more comfortable with the former.”

There’s a good chance Trump’s polls will continue to fall. First, he’s shown to be his own worst enemy. Even when things are going reasonably well, he seems bizarrely intent on stirring controversy – and saying or tweeting things that get him into trouble.

There’s also a matter of the economy. The expansion that began in 2009 is getting long in the tooth. If history is any guide, we’re due for a slowdown or recession. And justified or not, presidents get blamed when Americans lose jobs.

Donald Trump doesn’t have the character or the temperament to be president of the United States. But this obvious fact isn’t enough to get him fired.

He’ll be fired when enough Americans decide they can’t abide him anymore.

Then, maybe in an impeachment proceeding, it will come out that Trump did something incredibly stupid – like give a nod of approval to one of his campaign bottom feeders like Roger Stone to tell a Russian operative to go ahead with their plan to interfere in the 2016 election.

The House impeaches. The Senate convicts. That’s the end of Trump. 

Tom Brady thinks visiting Donald Trump’s White House isn’t “a political thing.” He’s wrong.

  • Five New England Patriots players are protesting their team’s visit to the White House this year. QB Tom Brady is not one of those players.
  •  In an interview with NBC Sports’ ProFootballTalk, the Super Bowl MVP and Trump pal went so far as to claim that the visit wasn’t even about politics. (See quote above)
  • It’s convenient that the person most outspoken about how nonpolitical a visit to Trump’s White House would be is the person least likely to be impacted by Trump’s politics. 
  • For the players doing the protesting, however, few things are more political than palling around with the most openly bigoted president in recent memory. Read more (Opinion)
'Timeless,' 'Elementary' fans want more seasons, says Save Our Shows poll
Fans want to make time for NBC's Timeless in USA TODAY's Save Our Shows poll.

The viewers have spoken, and they want to make time for NBC’s Timeless.

The freshman series was the favorite in USA TODAY’s Save Our Shows poll, with 49% of voters saying they’d like the historically minded time-travel drama to stick around for a second season. CBS’s Elementary, wrapping its fifth season this month, was a very close second with 48% (a difference of 1,350 votes), with NBC’s Blindspot and ABC’s Last Man Standing tied for third place with far less support.

This year’s turnout of 146,603 votes marked a new record for Save Our Shows, now in its 20th year. And Timeless star Matt Lanter, who plays Wyatt Logan, a soldier in a team trying to stop a villain from changing history, is thrilled. “That’s incredible to hear. Fan passion for this show is so high,” he says of the #RenewTimeless movement. “I just hope we get to make more of it, obviously for selfish reasons, but also because the fans deserve it.”  Lanter spent his break from the show, which ended its season in February, in Atlanta shooting Pitch Perfect 3.

…. And while the top 5 keepers were fairly consistent across state lines, Timeless was the clear favorite among viewers under 50 (74% of teen voters picked it),…. Women also picked Timeless as their favorite to return….

Timeless EPs Talk Rittenhouse Twist, [Spoiler]'s Condition, Season 2 Plans

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Monday’s Timeless finale

Timeless dropped a mother of a twist during Monday night’s finale when Lucy’s mom, Carol (played by Susanna Thompson), revealed to her daughter that she’s a member of Rittenhouse. That makes Lucy something akin to Rittenhouse royalty, coming from two of the mysterious organization’s strongest bloodlines.

“Rittenhouse has an operative on the mothership” — that would be Emma, who’s a mole! — “and soon they will control everything: the past and the present, the future,” Carol informed Lucy. “Together, we will change history.”

Elsewhere in the season ender: Lucy enlisted her grandfather to be a double agent within Rittenhouse in 1954. Back in the present, they tracked down his apartment full of intel, allowing them to arrest key members. Then Lucy arranged a secret meeting with Flynn to hand over the names of his family’s killers, and he, in return, gave her back her journal, which he claimed she gave him. (More on the when and how of that below.) But the peace was short-lived as Agent Christopher swooped in to arrest Flynn.

And last, but definitely not least interesting: Jiya had a strange physical reaction after taking a ride with the trio in the time ship, which was built for just three.

Below, creators Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan talk about Lucy’s shocking discovery, Jiya’s time-bending state and Season 2’s potential conflict.

TVLINE | Has Lucy’s mother always been Rittenhouse, or is she just a member in this timeline where she’s healthy?
SHAWN RYAN | She’s always been Rittenhouse. This is something that Eric [Kripke] and I had talked about even as we were making the pilot, before we even had writers on staff, that we felt that Lucy’s mother was Rittenhouse. We just debated when and how to reveal that. She’s someone who in both timelines… has always been a secret and an important member of Rittenhouse.

Keep reading

Video: First look at Misha as Eliot Ness

Sneak peek from @NBCTimeless new episode with @mishacollins​ as Eliot Ness that airs this Monday (Feb 13) at 10/9c on NBC. 

Timeless is created by SPN’s creator Eric Kripke and Misha has asked us to help get timeless renewed by watching it LIVE (if you’re in US) and also by spreading the word about it. So let’s do this!

Please signal boost!

If you want to help, start tweeting #RenewTimeless to @nbc today. Also use #timeless in your live tweets on Monday night.

Related: Misha’s interviews with tvline + sneak peek | Misha’s interview with PopSugar | [x]

It is a big season,” says Fogelman. “I think that no matter how long the series goes for, when it’s all said and done, Season 2 might feel like the biggest season in terms of story content.” Most notably, the show will finally address one of last season’s biggest mysteries—how and why Jack died —“and the series is going to move in unexpected directions from there.
—  Adweek (x)

Ivanka Trump says admitting Syrian refugees “has to be part of the discussion”

  • In an interview with NBC, Ivanka Trump argued that she was not “a back channel” to her father for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but rather an ally “on many issues” — such as refugees, apparently. 
  • “I think there is a global humanitarian crisis that’s happening, and we have to come together. And we have to solve it,” Ivanka said. 
  • When asked if that included opening the borders to Syrian refugees in the U.S., Ivanka answered, “That has to be part of the discussion, but that’s not going to be enough, in and of itself.”
  • Trump fans weren’t happy with Ivanka’s position and jeered her on Twitter. Read more (4/27/17 6:30 AM)
Save Our Shows 2017: Cast your vote for the 'bubble' shows worth saving
USA TODAY's 20th annual poll lets you pick which network series to keep, or drop

Nielsen ratings and network assessments of creative quality were once the primary barometers of which series survived. But in recent years, as streaming services began paying handsomely for reruns, networks have tended to heavily favor shows they own, and use profits — rather than ratings — as a primary yardstick. And the steady rise in delayed viewing, on TV and online, makes it much harder to make snap judgments about a series’ potential.

While immediate viewership for Timeless was low, it ranked as NBC’s No. 4 scripted series once viewing up to 35 days later is counted, “a stat I’ve never heard of until NBC publicized it,” says executive producer Shawn Ryan.

While networks’ ad-dollar haul isn’t as high for that long-term viewing, it indicates growing fan interest, which also helped NBC comedy Superstore earn an early renewal.

“Our show is very much a Rorschach test about what new metrics in television mean,” Ryan says. “If it’s true that it doesn’t matter when the viewers come to a show, I feel pretty confident we’ll be back. If the old metric still rules the day, then I guess maybe we might not.”

Spencer says the spring uncertainty goes with the territory: She says she’s appeared in eight pilot episodes for new series “that never saw the light of day.”

The same goes for her co-star, Malcolm Barrett: “From my very first TV show, I was already ready for it to be canceled,” with “an understanding that’s it’s not always immediately appreciated.  If the worst criticism is that it was ahead of its time, then I’m OK with that as a legacy.”