As in the edge of the cliff.
That’s where Trump finds himself this morning, peering over the edge and able to see the ghosts of Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre.
You may remember that Nixon, back in 1973, ordered the firing of a special prosecutor, which prompted an upheaval in the Justice Department during the Watergate scandal.
You also may recall that that came on the road to the end for Nixon.
So now, we come to Donald J. Trump, who for the first time unleashed his itchy Twitter finger and mentioned special counsel Robert Mueller.
Alarm bells rang all over Washington, with powerful Republicans in Congress saying, to paraphrase liberally, words approximating, “Holy fuck.”
“The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime,” Trump tweeted.
And then, on Sunday, he upped the ante with this:
“Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?”
Never mind, presumably, that Mueller is a Republican. Trump has never let the facts stand in the way of a good tweet.
That came after one of Trump’s lawyers, John Dowd, urged the Justice Department to shut down the Mueller probe.
Another Trump lawyer, Ty Cobb, poured water on the flames later, saying this:
“In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the administration, the White House yet again confirms that the president is not considering or discussing the firing of the special counsel, Robert Mueller.”
Somebody, at least, is calm in that White House.
One of the first alarm bells to ring after Trump’s tweet came from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, who said this on CNN:
“If he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency, because we’re a rule-of-law nation.”
And he’s in the same party as Trump, for fuck’s sake.
Politico put the near-crisis in this context, quoting an unnamed source:
“We know he’s obsessed with this case. He’s been obsessed with it from Day One, since before the special counsel’s been appointed. We know he actually enjoys talking about it because it goes to his nature. It goes to what he knows best: a fight.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, the Republican from Arizona, had a few words to say too – firing Mueller would be, in his words, crossing a “massive red line.”
And then Trey Gowdy, the outspoken Republican House member, advised Trump that if he’s innocent, he should act like it.
Which after all is the central point in this whole thing.
If the Mueller probe isn’t scaring the shit out of Trump, for whatever reason, why is he acting this way?
In 2015, a piece in Psychology Today by Ryne A. Sherman, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Florida Atlantic University, took a shot at what makes Trump tick.
He cautioned that he doesn’t know Trump personally, but having observed him from afar, concluded that Trump’s most defining characteristic is to be bold, saying:
“He seems unusually self-confident, and shows feelings of grandiosity and entitlement.”
That rings true, for sure.
At a guess, from here, even a man like that should be able to determine which way the wind is blowing – and it appears to be coming from the manure pile!