So You Think You Can Govern: Search & Recuse

Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
This week on television we saw tons of lies, hypocrisy, and new clothes — and that doesn’t even include what went down on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. We're talking Washington, D.C. To keep tabs on all of the high stakes drama, we’re recapping the actions of U.S. officials like they are reality stars hosting a dog charity fashion show where everyone has “something to say to the group.”
Change Of Address
On Tuesday, Donald Trump performed another solo gig in his first address to Congress as president, and he put his best foot forward. There was slightly different hair, a marginally better fitting suit, and no shiny red tie in sight. It’s like Trump had his own personal episode of What Not To Wear, only of course that didn’t happen, because no way in hell would Carmindy let that bronzer disaster go on for one more second.
His speech seemed to be two things at once: an attempt to win over the alienated part of the country with a more pulled-together, and dare I say “presidential,” tone, and also a vehicle for his same old hate and stunts. Kind of like how a cocktail party can be both a platform for Carnie Wilson’s budding cheesecake business, Love Bites, and a dramatic all cards on the table talk between Lisa Rinna, Kim Richards, Eden, and Kyle.
In the address, Trump managed to acknowledge the rising wave of anti-semitism (though earlier in the day he implied that might be an inside job). But he also announced his shiny new government-sanctioned hate group, VOICE; trotted out the woman widowed by his own failed SEAL mission; and introduced a woman with a debilitating disease, as if to say, “Let’s put that reporter mocking I did behind me, I’m good now!”
Even more remarkable than the speech itself, was the amnesia spell it cast on the media. Reports immediately praised Trump as presidential and unifying, when days — if not hours — earlier he called the majority of the press fake news and the enemy of the American people. It’s like the media is married to DJT, and he showed up with bodega flowers after boning all of the flight attendants on his private jet. And the media was like, for me? You shouldn’t have!
Lying Under Oaf
Trump’s week made a hard left (or, right) on Wednesday evening, when it was revealed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had lied to the Senate during his confirmation hearing about communicating with Russia.
Sessions met with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, twice last year, but did not disclose that when asked about it. In the January hearing, he denied having those meetings, then later was like, “You know what? Now that I think about it, I did meet with the Russian ambassador while working on Trump’s campaign.” He and Lisa Rinna should talk. The whole thing feels very reminiscent of her “not remembering” if she said Kim Richards was close to death before realizing on the phone with Harry Hamlin, “Oh I did say that to Eden in a boutique.” Whoops. There’s a current debate over whether this actually constitutes perjury (the Sessions thing; I think we can all agree on the Rinna case).
For his part, the president apparently has “total confidence” in Sessions as Attorney General. Well that’s nice. I feel like he had full confidence in someone else on his team, too. Man, who was it? I can’t remember. Oh wait, it was General Flynn, who resigned mere hours after receiving the president’s vote of confidence. The next Republican to get the president’s public support should probably start printing out résumés.
Many Democrats are calling for Sessions to resign or at the very least recuse himself from the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the presidential election. He went for the least and recused himself. It’s no resignation, but this move did sate our desire to use the word “recuse” a bunch of times this week.
We Swear We Have A Really Great Idea About Health Care It's Just Private & We Can't Tell Anyone
Meanwhile at a totally different designer boutique across town, Republicans kept moving forward with their repeal and alleged replacement of Obamacare. But — plot twist — they’ve found that enacting healthcare policy is like a Meryl Streep/Alec Baldwin rom-com: It’s complicated. Who knew?
So where is this perfect piece of legislation that will end the suffering we’ve endured under the ACA (such as paying reasonable premiums and generally having health coverage)? It’s missing.
Maybe it’s in someone’s Brooks Brothers jacket pocket? Or it slipped under the backseat of a new BMW? My guess is, it doesn’t exist. The Republicans have been notoriously cagey about what exactly their replacement for Obamacare will look like, relegating their work on it to private briefings and secret committees. Whenever they get it together, Rand Paul has a copy machine they can use. (Once he’s done printing Sessions’ résumés for him.)
Tune in next week to see Scott Pruitt replace drinking water with soot, Paul Ryan reveal that the new healthcare plan is to ban sickness, and Trump’s hair guy go rogue and give him a style made of actual human hair.
Crying Watergate
Without citing any proper sources or revealing where the information came from, President Trump took to Twitter early on Saturday morning to reveal to the world that he just found out President Obama had "his 'wires tapped'" during the campaign. The best avaiable extrapolation of what he's talking about to guess that he's talking about some arm of the government, under the direction of the sitting president at the time, tracking phone calls made by his campaign office.
Trump called it McCarthyism and said it's "Nixon/Watergate," echoing what others have been saying about his administration's ties to Russia.
In a normal administration, crimes of this nature wouldn't simply be tweeted out by the president. A proper statement would be released by the White House only after some investigation, possibly lead by a special prosecutor, would was done under the president's direction.
Trump wrote, "I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!" Yes, probably so! Let us introduce you to the entire team of lawyers who work for you under Jeff Sessions in the Justice Department. Oh wait, it would be a massive conflict of interest for Sessions to be involved since this is tied to the ongoing investigation of your team's ties to Russia during the election.
Awkward. Misinformation. Distraction. Sad!
Kevis Lewis, a spokesperson for Barack Obama weighed in with a statement that a "cardinal rule" of his administration was not to interview with Department of Justice investigations. Putting it more unequivically, he wrote, "neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false."

B Roll

Rick Perry has been confirmed as the Secretary of Energy. Sure hope he brings all of his useful cha-cha experience to the position.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer attempted to announce the new HUD secretary via Twitter, but accidentally tweeted that Donald Trump himself was the new secretary. All you can do is your best, Sean.
While in office as the governor of Indiana, Vice President Mike Pence used a private email for state business, and got hacked. Come on, even Hillary knew not to use AOL.
Donald Trump Jr. was likely paid $50,000 for speaking engagements by an organization with Russian ties. Because, sometimes the jokes write themselves.
Oh, and the guy behind is trying to make a reality dating show, as if dating in Trump’s America isn’t already terrifying enough.

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