March 02, 2018 12:21 PM

 

His security-blanket “calmer” Hope Hicks has quit and Robert Mueller’s investigation rolls on unabated, so Donald Trump‘s one-time friend Donny Deutsch sees the president’s new trade war over steel tariffs as his “shiny new thing” to turn attention away from his troubles.

“You’re really starting to see the beginning of a cornered Donald Trump,” Deutsch, a New York City advertising executive said Friday on MSNBC, one day after Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum that sent the stock market falling and had allies like Canada denouncing the move as “unacceptable.”

The tariffs fulfilled one of Trump’s isolationist “Make America Great Again” campaign promises that are important to the GOP base most loyal to Trump, no matter how embattled he becomes. But, notes Retired Naval admiral Jim Stavridis, who is dean of Tufts University’s graduate school on international relations, “There are no winners in trade wars.”

“This was a very bad day, globally,” Stavridis said, also on MSNBC.

Continued Deutsch: “What is [Trump] capable of doing at the expense of the world or the United States or the consumer to save himself? I’m concerned that this is a harbinger of things to come. What will he do with North Korea at the expense of the rest of the world?”

Donald Trump and Donny Deutsch in 2006
Matt Carasella/Patrick McMullan/Getty

The ominous warning from a one-time friend who worked with Trump on his TV show The Apprentice, comes at the close of a week in which Hicks, Trump’s White House communications director and trusted confidant was questioned by the House Intelligence Committee and then announced her resignation.

Santiago Felipe/Getty; Evan Vucci/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The committee is undertaking one of three investigations—the others by the Senate and special counsel Mueller—into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and any ties between Russia and the Trump Team. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is front and center in that inquiry and it was revealed this week that his security-clearance was downgraded.

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Meanwhile, Hicks, in her testimony to the House committee, both reportedly admitted telling “white lies” for her boss (for which Trump reportedly berated her afterward) and also refused to answer “whole areas” of questioning, according to the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff. He now wants Hicks subpoenaed and forced to give complete testimony.

“Hope Hicks leaving [the White House] is very scary to me,” says Deutsch, calling her Trump’s “sanity check and calmer.”

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“That’s not there any more. And, as the Mueller noose continues to tighten and the Kushner noose continues to tighten, [Trump] is a man with his hand at the controls and yes a trade war is very, very concerning. What are the other things he is capable of doing at the expense of all of us to save or protect or deflect when it comes to his own hide?”

While Trump left Washington, D.C., on Friday for the North Carolina funeral of the Rev. Billy Graham, he left Washington regulars stunned by the pace and breadth of his troubles.

“The chaos continues,” Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat, said on CNN. “Whenever [Trump] is under attack, then he goes to his base, and it’s all about Trump—every day, all the time.”

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