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the beginning of the end?
July 26, 2017

Powerhouse link aggregator The Drudge Report has uniquely shaped online traffic flow and the conservative news agenda for two decades, garnering its reclusive curator, Matt Drudge, a position of real influence among right-of-center politicos. Drudge galvanized his readers' support for President Trump during the 2016 election, but now CNN reports his own enthusiasm for the president is beginning to wane.

Drudge is "growing impatient," an unnamed associate of the site editor told CNN, because he "takes some credit, I think, for getting Trump elected into the White House and he expected him to follow through on the promises he campaigned on. Look, it's not going well so far. Some of it is, but for the most part it's trouble. Drudge can see that. He's not blind to reality."

Another person with ties to Drudge said it "seems like Matt is starting to get a bit miffed" and does not feel at all "beholden" to Trump if the president doesn't keep his promises.

Drudge is reportedly attending regular meetings at the White House, talking with Trump himself as well as key advisers like Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. Still, his coverage of Trump has acquired a more critical tone of late. "Drudge smells smoke and maybe sees some fire and he is trying to figure out this: Does he put the fire out? Can the fire be put out? Or does he put himself in the position to pour kerosene on the fire and take advantage of that?" said conservative writer John Ziegler, who worked with Drudge on a talk radio show. "So basically, Drudge is trying to figure out if he is the fireman or the arsonist." Bonnie Kristian

May 11, 2017

A week after his inauguration, President Trump invited former FBI Director James Comey to a private dinner at the White House, where he demanded his loyalty, several Comey associates told The New York Times.

Comey said the pair made small talk about the election and the size of Trump's inaugural crowd before the president asked Comey if he would "pledge his loyalty to him," the Times reports. Comey said no, he would not be "reliable" in the political sense, but he would always be honest. Later in the meal, Trump again stated he needed Comey's loyalty, and Comey repeated that he would give him "honesty."

FBI directors are meant to be independent of the president, and Comey, who was fired Tuesday by Trump, told associates he now believes this was the beginning of the end for him. He also said he was concerned about how it would look for him to have a solo dinner with the president while the FBI was investigating possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. The White House told the Times this account of the dinner is not accurate. Catherine Garcia

July 19, 2016

Former President George W. Bush reportedly isn't sure the Republican Party will ever get another shot at the presidency. At a reunion for former members of his administration back in April, Bush reportedly admitted to a small group of former aides and advisers that he's seriously concerned that this election cycle, which has seen the party choose Donald Trump as its nominee, might spell the end of the GOP, Politico reported Tuesday. "I'm worried that I will be the last Republican president," Bush said, per Politico's report.

While many Republican elites are similarly concerned this Election Day will wreak havoc, not everyone is convinced that harm will be irreparable. Politico reported that top Republicans are already planning ahead for how to fix whatever mess Trump makes. "Here's the conclusion I've come to: American democracy and our form of government is much stronger than any individual," said former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, a Trump endorser. "Things look pretty bleak right now. But this too shall pass."

Head over to Politico for the full story on how GOP elites are working to make sure Bush's fear doesn't become a reality. Becca Stanek

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