At 5:22 p.m., the New York Times published its history-bending story on James Comey’s memo chronicling his January meeting with Trump and the lengths the president went to in order to put an end to the FBI investigation into Mike Flynn. It was a bombshell of a story that cast serious doubt on the integrity of the president, the soundness of his legal standing, and the firmness of his grip on power. On TV emboldened Democrats began ratcheting up demands for further investigation and floating terms like obstruction of justice and impeachment. It was as serious a moment as you can have in a presidency and it required a serious response, if not some soul-searching, to save not just what remains of the Trump agenda (whatever that is), but the remainder of his term in office. Given the stakes, it had to be played just right by the administration.
How did the Team Trump respond? They denied the story (obviously) and then less than an hour after the Times story that all but accused the president of obstructing justice, laying the most significant groundwork to date for impeachment, Team Trump used the accusations impugning the president’s ethical core to, you guessed it, raise money.