The Slatest

Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: Is Donald Trump Such a Big, Grown-Up Boy That He Could Do All the President Jobs Himself?

Donald Trump in Richfield, Ohio on Thursday.
Donald Trump in Richfield, Ohio on Thursday.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative daily estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump leaves office before his term ends, whether by being impeached (and convicted) or by resigning under threat of same.

CNN has the good stuff today:

Several of President Donald Trump’s outside advisers have told him over the past week he requires neither a chief of staff nor a communications director, at least in the traditional definition of those jobs, according to a person familiar with the conversations.

Hell yeah! Let’s just do it and be legends! Unfortunately, CNN Debbie Downers its own scoop by cautioning that “there are no signs Trump is ready to dismiss [current chief of staff] John Kelly” while also suggesting he is likely to hire Kellyanne Conway in at least an interim role for the vacant communications director job.

On the other other hand:

The option of running his White House without a chief of staff has been planted in Trump’s mind, and he’s not rejected it outright.

The dream is alive!

The Sesame Street book I Can Do It Myself.
Screen shot/Amazon

Now, since the last edition of this column, Trump has begun to make some aggressive grunting noises (metaphorically) which indicate he might fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Your mileage may vary, but I think doing so would probably be the right strategic move for him; the longer Mueller works, the more dirt he finds, and the right-wing propaganda apparatus has done enough to smear Mueller, the FBI, and the Department of Justice’s handling of the Russia investigation that a firing doesn’t seem like it would register as the crossing of a red line to anyone who currently supports Trump. Firing Mueller would open Trump up to (further) legal liability in the event that adults are ever put back in charge of running the country, but this column’s question is whether Trump will be forced out of office before his current term ends, and terminating the special counsel investigation could be an effective way of postponing any reckoning until after 2020.

That said, as we are reminded by the CNN story, we’re talking about a president who is seriously interested in the idea of doing all the jobs in the White House himself and doesn’t even actually have a criminal defense lawyer working for him right now in part because he reportedly thinks he can handle Robert Mueller one-on-one in an interview. (How that impulse squares with the urge to fire Mueller is unclear, but judicious intellectual consistency has not been a hallmark of this administration’s approach to legal affairs.) He also just named the most recent doctor to have given him a physical to run the Veterans Administration, which is the “Steve Carrell’s character in Anchorman joining a conversation about love by stating that he is in love with the objects in his line of sight, such as desk and lamp” of Cabinet appointments. For now I’ll continue to bet (cautiously) that gravity will eventually catch up to this not-understanding-anything ding-dong and his half-ass presidency.

Today’s meter is unchanged.

Impeach-O-Meter: 55 percent.