Monday's HOT MIC

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The Washington Post's Dana Milbank has always been kind of a loon, but he's off the deep end now. Here is the headline of his opinion piece today:

President Trump is killing me. Really. 

President Trump is killing me.

No, really. He’s killing me.

I went for my annual physical last month, and, for the first time in my 49 years, I had to report that I’ve not been feeling well: fatigue, headaches, poor sleep, even some occasional chest pain. My doctor checked my blood pressure, which had always been normal before: alarmingly high!

This could probably be seen as a parody or satire piece, but so can Milbank's entire body of work. Here's his self diagnosis:

At this point, I arrived at a self-diagnosis: I was suffering from Trump Hypertensive Unexplained Disorder, or THUD. For almost five decades, I had been the picture of health, but eight months into Trump’s presidency, I was suddenly ailing. Trump is the only variable, I told my doctor. “He sure is variable,” my doc replied, endorsing the diagnosis.

He then began monitoring his blood pressure and found that he reacts like a blithering ninny to the news.

The MSM is reveling in this non-stop opportunity to play victim and it is really, really sad to watch.

Most original way to avoid getting mugged ever?

From The New York Post:

A California woman faked having a seizure in order to stave off a mugging after being slipped a creepy note saying there are “two guns pointed at you now.”

Julie Dragland was on her way home to Dublin Saturday and boarded a Bay Area Rapid Transit train in Daly City when a person in dark clothes sat behind her and handed her the threat before 5 p.m., according to NBC Bay Area.

“There are 2 guns pointed at you now. If you want to live hand back your wallet + phone NOW + do not turn around and be descreet,” the note, scribbled in red ink, read. “Do not turn around until after you have left Civic Center + you will live.”

But instead of becoming a possible victim, the quick-thinking woman pretended to have a seizure – prompting the suspect, who boarded the train in downtown San Francisco, to flee at the Powell Street station.

In a less liberal place, the woman may have had a real gun of her own with which to defend herself. Absent that, this was absolutely brilliant.

Breaking bad:

They said Trump Tower was not wiretapped. Yeah, uh-huh. Guess who lives in Trump Tower?

Dispatches from America's longest war.

Worst political ad ever?

You make the call.

No. Way.

Hillary’s New Political Group Has Little To Show Except Soliciting Donations In First Four Months.

It's exactly what you expect.

When Clinton went public with her group on May 15 she said the group would be partnering with five left-wing political groups: Indivisible, Swing Left, Color of Change, Emerge America and Run for Something.

But four months later, it’s unclear what the group’s donors have to show for their money. Onward Together’s website still has just two tabs: one explaining the group’s mission and one asking supporters for donations.

An email signed by Clinton asking supporters for money last week excused her group’s lack of action. “You may not have heard much about the work we’re doing at Onward Together,” Clinton wrote. “That’s because we’re working behind the scene to fund, support, and amplify the work of the groups we’re supporting. We’re not the story: they are.” She closed the email by asking supporters to commit to a recurring monthly donation.

Just because the Clinton Foundation shuttered the Clinton Global Initiative doesn't mean that a girl's got to go without a slush fund.



That's weird -- I was just watching Alyssa Milano. Although to be perfectly honest, Embrace of the Vampire hasn't aged all that well.

And as you can see, it wasn't any good when it was new.

Cruel, but fair.

How Rex Tillerson alienated every ally he needs.

A former Bush guy is quoted saying, "He's got no support from the left on management and no support from the right on policy."

Axios has the (lengthy) bulletpoint list of all the people Tillerson has alienated. You might not agree with every point, but you've got to admit that Tillerson hasn't exactly shined at State.

• The President — not only has there been tension on a personal level, but the president has undercut and clashed with Tillerson over key policy issues like Qatar, North Korea and Iran.

Recall a few weeks ago when we reported Trump was growing increasingly frustrated with Tillerson, telling colleagues: "Rex just doesn't get it, he's totally establishment in his thinking."

The White House didn't challenge our report and ultimately issued the blandest statement — from a spokesperson, not Trump — in support of Tillerson.

• The State Department rank-and-file — a typical story about their rock bottom morale, here, and about the department's dysfunction, here.

• The White House — this goes well beyond the National Security Council. Tillerson's Chief of Staff Margaret Peterlin has accumulated an astonishing number of enemies across the administration.

The exchange of "Margaret stories" — including the time she reportedly vetted Condoleezza Rice's request for a phone conversation with Tillerson — has become a frequent topic of conversation among administration officials who've dealt with her.

• Capitol Hill — Republicans repudiated Tillerson's proposed funding cuts and straitjacketed his organizational proposals. Democrats, well, just read this blistering letter from Sen. Ben Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "If the State Department were a private company, it is hard to imagine that it would be allowed to operate for the better part of a year, and maybe longer, without critical senior management."Last week, the Washington Free Beacon reported there were tensions between the State Department and both the White House and key Republican senators, including Tom Cotton, over whether Israel should return $75 million in U.S. aid to comply with an Obama era agreement.

Tillerson's spokesman R.C. Hammond categorically denied the report: "The conversations are figments of somebody's imagination." I asked the White House and Capitol Hill sources close to the issue whether they'd corroborate Hammond's statement. Radio silence.

• The media — Tillerson got off to a bad start, by breaking with precedent and refusing to allow the press corps to travel with him.

• The foreign policy establishment — Eliot Cohen, who founded an influential foreign policy network with Tillerson's top adviser Brian Hook, told me: "I think he really will go down as one of the worst secretaries of State we've had."

There's been a series of brutal reviews calling Tillerson everything from an "unmitigated disaster" (Tufts' Daniel Drezner) to "quite possibly the most ineffectual secretary of state since America's rise to global prominence in 1898." (Max Boot, who told me the only pushback he received after it was published came from one of Tillerson's appointees.)

Far be it for me to start defending the already-hostile press or the mostly-useless foreign policy establishment. Oh, no. But I'm also not the nation's chief diplomat, who frankly could stand to show a little more diplomatic skill in dealing with two of Washington's most-entrenched interest groups.

But the other points are all... on point.

And here's the thing: It isn't like Tillerson has alienated everybody because he's been busting down doors and knocking over rice bowls and getting stuff done. He hasn't even managed to staff his own department. By any account, he hasn't really tried. And if there's such thing as a Tillerson Doctrine, I haven't heard of it -- and neither has anyone else in any of the world's capitals.

I had some modest hopes for Tillerson going in, figuring that the globe-trotting CEO of one of the world's major corporations -- and in the vital energy field at that -- couldn't be a total numbskull.

But on the small matters of staffing, execution, and vision, Tillerson has to date been a major disappointment.