Donald Trump's presidency 'likely to be second shortest in history', says presidential historian (The Independent link): Donald Trump’s presidency is likely to be the second shortest ever, a leading historian and author has claimed. Professor Ronald L Feinman predicted that the former reality TV star will stay in the top job "between the 31 days of William Henry Harrison in 1841", who died pneumonia and the "199 days of James A. Garfield in 1881", who died 79 days after he was shot by an assassin "after terrible suffering and medical malpractice".
Even if his time in office is "dragged out", Professor Feinman predicted that Mr Trump is unlikely to last the 16 months and 5 days of 12th president Zachary Taylor, who died of a digestive ailment while Head of State in 1850.
The 20th century American history professor, who recently published a book about the unfortunate fates of US leaders, added that he thought the “Pence Presidency” was inevitable. He was referring to Mr Trump's Vice President, Mike Pence, who would take over if Mr Trump was to leave the leadership.
In a blog post, he added that he thought it was likely that Mr Trump will be impeached or forced to resign in a matter of weeks.
His prediction comes shortly after the White House admitted the President was told several weeks ago that his National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had not told the truth about a telephone call with a Russian diplomat.
The news fuelled broader concerns about his closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the role his country may have played in helping Mr Trump's election.
Professor Feinman, who teaches at Florida Atlantic University, suggested the businessman turned politician is more generally unsuitable for office.
“Many foreign policy professionals are shaking their head at Trump’s inappropriate behaviour and language every time he speaks in public, or issues a Twitter comment, and his instability and recklessness”, he said, citing Mr Trump's decision to hold a security meeting over the North Korean missile test in a public space in earshot of other people as “a sign of his failure to act responsibly”.
“The fact that Vice President Mike Pence played a major role in pushing Flynn out is a sign that Pence is already asserting himself with Trump” he said, adding the Vice President often appears uncomfortable with Mr Trump’s “freewheeling and careless behaviour”.
No US president has ever been successfully impeached, although attempts were made to impeach Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson both were acquitted by the Senate.
Richard Nixon also resigned before he could be impeached for serious wrongdoing in the Watergate scandal.
Lawmakers are speaking in increasingly urgent tones about Trump's unusual foreign policy statements and his tendency to pick fights with domestic and international figures. They say it has taken a toll on the way key allies, foes and other foreign observers view the United States. Even members of Trump's own party are having difficulties vouching for him.
"A country's more than one person," said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., when asked whether he is concerned that the president's words have harmed the U.S. image. The senator, who dined Wednesday with Trump but has also criticized the president's posture toward Russia, added: "There's more than one voice in America."
In a striking speech to international defense officials gathered Friday in Germany, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., suggested that the survival of the Western world is at risk from some of the ideas Trump has embraced.
"The next panel asks us to consider whether the West will survive. In recent years, this question would invite accusations of hyperbole and alarmism. Not this year," McCain said, according to prepared remarks delivered Friday at the Munich Security Conference. "If ever there were a time to treat this question with a deadly seriousness, it is now."
McCain did not mention Trump, who did not attend the conference, by name. But it was clear that he was lamenting the policies and practices of the Trump administration - and their threat to global stability. He imagined how disturbed the security conference's founders would be. The forum was formed 50 years ago, at the height of the Cold War, to bring world powers together to discuss and further global stability.
"They would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see toward immigrants, and refugees, and minority groups, especially Muslims," McCain said. "They would be alarmed by the growing inability, and even unwillingness, to separate truth from lies. They would be alarmed that more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent."
In an interview for Sunday's "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd, McCain was asked about Trump's Friday tweet that the press is the "enemy of the American people."
McCain warned that a free press is "vital" to "preserve democracy as we know it."
"And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That's how dictators get started," McCain said, clarifying that he was not calling Trump a dictator but warning that dictators start by "suppressing free press" and "we need to learn the lessons of history."
The actual minutes of the meeting are unknown, as the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are staying mum on what was said. However, that the meeting happened at all is terribly bad news for Trump.
What is bad news for the rest of the nation is that a secret meeting had to be held in the first place, rather than discussing the matter in a public forum. Trump has shown himself to be willing to go to great lengths to silence his critics for the pettiest of reasons – let alone on the very serious subject of him laying in bed with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
The leading Democrat who sits on the intelligence committee, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) confirmed the committee is actively pursuing an agenda to stop Trump and his team from destroying evidence:
The committee has put in place a process to ensure the White House does not destroy documents lawmakers need for their investigation.
Warner further warned that he does not wish for the integrity of investigation to be lessened through partisan bickering, “What we are trying to do…is to not have this devolve into a partisan food fight that doesn’t serve the public purpose. This is so important that we get it right.”
Warner also commented on his exasperation with how Trump supporters – and the Republican Party as a whole – are willing to turn a blind eye towards the obvious involvement of the Russian government which has been confirmed by the NSA, FBI, and the CIA.
CNN President Jeff Zucker said Thursday that the recent ratings lift fueled by viewer fascination with the early days of the Trump presidency is putting the Turner Broadcasting unit on track for another record year of profitability.
“There is a tremendous amount of interest,” Zucker said during a press lunch held Thursday.
Zucker said CNN has set new highs in profit in the last three years, and 2017 will be no different. The network budgeted for a 25% decline in ratings for 2017 because 2016 was boosted by the unpredictable and often bizarre presidential election campaign. But the ratings and demand for ad time on the channel have remained strong in the early part of 2017. Zucker said CNN’s profit will be up again, hitting $1.1 billion.
In claiming a link between refugees and terrorism, Trump told a political rally in Melbourne, Fla., on Saturday: "You look at what's happening in Germany. You look at what's happening last night in Sweden ... Sweden ... who would believe this? Sweden, they took in large numbers, they are having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what's happening Brussels, you look at what's happening all over the world."