This week’s White House report card finds President Trump landing in Asia after a topsy-turvy week that ended on a high with a good jobs number and sustained 3 percent economic growth. But he can’t hide from the legal troubles related to the Russia probe.
The unemployment rate is now at almost what economists would call full employment and another 261,000 new jobs were created last month. The stock market is at new record levels and consumer confidence has grown again.
But all is not well. Two major campaign aides to President Trump were indicted on Monday for laundering Russian money. While the charges are not about their 2016 campaign activities, grand juries are most often used to probe other charges and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller certainly wants to hear what they have to say about others in the campaign. The president may be fair game on this.
Mr. Trump has thrown his Secretary of State under the bus again — sending unclear diplomatic messages just as he makes a trip to some very nervous Asian nations.
The GOP has finally submitted a tax reform plan, but a plan is not a deal. This one is full of holes -- proposing to end deductions for state and local taxes as well as for high mortgage payments. It also promises to raise the deficit by $1.4 trillion over 10 years. Anything that raises the deficit, without corresponding cuts in spending, must get 60 votes. It does not look like any Democrat will support it, so how does any of it pass?
One bright spot for the President is former DNC chair (and now probably former Democratic operative) Donna Brazile's new book on how Hillary Clinton hijacked the Democratic Party and screwed everybody else. Sure to be a best seller.
Mr. Trump's polling numbers barely moved but he is still here.
President Trump had a bad, terrible, not so awful, pretty good week. The ball kept bouncing so quickly, the White House seemed to suffer from attention deficit disorder.
The much-hyped first indictments from Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia were rendered against Paul Manafort, briefly Trump’s campaign manager, and Manafort's business associate, Carter Page. Neither indictment had anything to do with the alleged collusion. Neither mentioned Trump or Russia. A guilty plea was also entered by George Papadopoulos, a tangential figure in the campaign, for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. News reports of panic in the White House seemed hugely overblown.
The worst Islamist terrorist attack in New York City since 9-11 left at least eight dead and more than a dozen injured when an Uzbek citizen drove a truck down a bike path shouting “Allah Akbar,” leaving New York Mayor Bill de Blasio wondering what the man’s motive was. De Blasio may have figured out the motive when the attacker -- who had been shot by one of New York’s finest -- asked that an ISIS flag be displayed in his hospital room. The president first said the man should be shipped to Guantanamo Bay for trial by a military tribunal, then said he should be executed, and then backed away from the "off to Gitmo" statement.
The long-delayed Republican tax bill was unveiled Thursday. If it passes -- and it may not -- it will lower corporate tax rates, jiggle the tax brackets and do nothing about the Obamacare taxes or the Obamacare individual mandate. It will raise the national deficit considerably. The Republican Congress did nothing whatever in 2017 to rein in spending.
Mr. Trump took off on his first trip to Asia. Next week he’ll visit Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines. The top subject will be disarming North Korea of nuclear weapons. The odds are heavily against his success.
Meanwhile, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reported that the Taliban has gained control over more of the country in the past six months while Taliban attacks have increased in frequency. Trump’s “new” Afghanistan strategy isn’t working.
Jed Babbin is an Examiner contributor and former deputy undersecretary of defense in administration of former President George H.W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin
John Zogby is the founder of the Zogby Poll and senior partner at John Zogby Strategies. His latest book is and author of We are Many, We are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America. Follow him on Twitter @TheJohnZogby
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org