And then there’s the money-laundering question

The Post gathers up some items under the heading: After the president fired James Comey, the cloud hanging over the White House just got bigger and darker.

— Donald Trump has surrounded himself with sycophants and amateurs who are either unwilling or unable to tell him no

He’s got no one intelligent and independent to warn him when he’s about to walk off a cliff.

That’s not surprising, of course; it’s more like inevitable. No one intelligent and independent would want to work for Trump. That’s perhaps the fatal flaw in being as comprehensively awful as Trump: the awfulness repels people of quality and doing without them can’t work forever.

— Senior officials at the White House were caught off guard by the intense and immediate blowback to the president’s stunning decision to fire James Comey. They reportedly expected Republicans to back him up and thought Democrats wouldn’t complain loudly because they have been critical of Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Indeed, that was the dubious excuse given publicly for his ouster.

They were saying that, in wonder and amazement, on cable news last night. I shared the wonder and amazement. Seriously? How is that possible?

I guess that demonstrates just how hard it is to find even halfway competent people willing to work for Trump. You have to be really thick not to realize that Trump’s firing Comey would not be a good look.

Spicey had a rough night. The story he tells is bizarre:

“As Spicer tells it, (Deputy Attorney General Rod) Rosenstein was confirmed about two weeks ago and independently took on this issue so the president was not aware of the probe until he received a memo from Rosenstein on Tuesday, along with a letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions recommending that Comey be fired. The president then swiftly decided to follow the recommendation, notifying the FBI via e-mail around 5 p.m. and in a letter delivered to the FBI by the president’s longtime bodyguard. ‘It was all him,’ Spicer said of Rosenstein.” (No serious person believes this.)

It does sound like Trump though. It sounds exactly like Trump. Rosenstein writes a memo, Sessions passes it on along with advice from himself, Trump reads it and is struck all of a heap and leaps to perform An Action. That’s Trump all over. An adult in that job would talk to people first, would think, would consider the likely consequences. But Trump? Nah – he just reacts to stimuli. Rosenstein’s memo was a stimulus.

The Trump people said golly isn’t it time to move on from this Russia thing?

CNN reported that federal prosecutors – as part of the ongoing Russia probe – have now issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. “The subpoenas represent the first sign of a significant escalation of activity in the FBI’s broader investigation that began last July into possible ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia,” Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz and Pamela Brown reported. “The subpoenas issued in recent weeks by the US Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, were received by associates who worked with Flynn on contracts after he was forced out as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014.”

And then…

It emerged yesterday that Senate investigators have asked the Treasury Department’s criminal investigation division for any relevant financial information related to Trump, his top officials, or his campaign aides. “We’ve made a request, to FinCEN in the Treasury Department, to make sure, not just for example vis-a-vis the President, but just overall our effort to try to follow the intel no matter where it leads,” said Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, per CNN. FinCEN is the federal agency that has been investigating allegations of foreign money-laundering through purchases of U.S. real estate. “You get materials that show if there have been, what level of financial ties between, I mean some of the stuff, some of the Trump-related officials, Trump campaign-related officials and other officials and where those dollars flow — not necessarily from Russia.” Until the Treasury Department responds with documents, Warner said, he plans to withhold support for Trump’s nominees.

That could be the proverbial

Image result for smoking gun

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