You really have to wonder why John Kelly felt the need to tell us that Tillerson was sitting on the can when he broke the news to him on Friday that Trump was letting him go. Rex gave everything he had to the role. Granted, it wasn't much, but still he deserved a better send off than that. I think McMasters is dreading going to the toilet now that it is rumored he is next on the chopping block, and that Trump plans to bring John Bolton in as the next National Security Advisor.
As ugly as that sounds, it was even more ugly the way Trump dumped Andrew McCabe the following Friday. The deputy FBI director was two days away from retirement. Trump took absolute glee in this decision, proclaiming it a "great day for Democracy" on Twitter. He even wanted to strip McCabe of his pension. As it is, Andrew will take a huge cut unless Rep. Mark Pocan is true to his word and gives McCabe a short term job to complete his retirement package.
As for Tillerson, he was none too pleased with the forewarning, which I think is why he voiced his agreement with British officials in pointing the blame on Russia for last week's attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter. Strikes me that Rex has had enough of this charade and took a jab at Donald, leading the POTUS to make his announcement on Twitter before formally telling Rex he was sacked on Tuesday.
I also think this is the reason McMasters is on notice. The former general pushed to have the White House finally impose sanctions on Putin's cronies after Trump dragged his feet for the better part of a year. McMasters specifically referenced the ongoing conflict in Syria, believing Russia is complicit in the huge death toll. Trump really had no choice in the matter, but has to find a way to placate Vlad, who is none too happy about these sanctions, especially on the eve of the World Cup in Russia.
Putin is still smarting from the Olympic Athletes from Russia's poor showing in South Korea -- a far cry from their dominant display in Sochi four years ago. Now, here is Europe and America making Russia look bad just before the World Cup. You can sense his anger in a recent interview with Megyn Kelly on NBC.
Many have speculated why Trump holds Putin in such high esteem -- his love of autocrats, Putin's massive chest, but the consensus is that Putin has compromised our President, and Trump doesn't want an embarrassing revelation that would sink his administration.
Trump has taken most of his anger out on the FBI, but it has spilled over to members of his staff who want to see harsher sanctions placed on Russia for a broad number of reasons, not least of all the election hacking, which has been corroborated by numerous national security agencies, not just the FBI. The closer Mueller gets to the heart of his Russian connections the more Trump lashes out. He has been warned repeatedly not to touch Mueller, so he went after McCabe, who is the subject of a renewed investigation into the Clinton e-mails, which Trump had ordered.
As we know, our president watches Fox and Friends and numerous other conservative programs, which have been spreading this theory of a "deep state" determined to bring him down. Comey and McCabe are the favorite targets of this conspiracy theory. In conservatives' addled minds, this was all "confirmed" by the recent GOP memo penned by House "Intelligence" chairman Devin Nunes, Trump's hatchet man in Congress.
This leads one to wonder if Trump is truly oblivious to the Russian business and political ties that have surfaced, insulated all these years by his sons and advisors; or if he is just using the "deep state" as a convenient smoke screen in his attempt to discredit the FBI, and Mueller's investigation in turn. I suppose you could make a case for the former, depending on how deep you believe Trump's dementia to have set in, but more likely the latter as the FBI has long been a favorite target of conspiracy theories, even before The X-Files. Trump is trying to get as much mileage out of this public antipathy toward the FBI as he can.
Republican Congresspersons are hamstrung by the overwhelming support Trump still gets from the base of the party. To come out harshly against Trump is to commit political suicide in the upcoming midterm elections. A few senators believe they can withstand the wrath of Trump, but Corker took a second look at his Tennessee voting base and decided to creep back to the White House after his spat last year with Trump, as he apparently wants to run for re-election after all. Most just choose to remain deferential, harboring what ever troubling thoughts they have about Trump until Mueller's investigation is completed.
But, if you are a cabinet member or in the employ of the federal government, you really don't have much choice in the matter. So, Trump made a public example of Tillerson and McCabe sure to earn the approval of his comrade Vladimir Putin. This is how you deal with insubordinate subordinates! A show of strength that is also sure to endear him to his base. It's just too bad Trump hasn't kept himself fit, then maybe he could join Vlad on one of those hunting or fishing trips.