It is not entirely clear what President Trump wants to achieve with his various initiatives both domestically and internationally. It is clear that he wants to disentangle himself from the Muller investigations. It is not so clear what he intends to do internationally. Nobody understands his Russia dealings and nobody really understands what he intends to do with Korea, with China or with Europe. The actions of his international policy team are haphazard at best. He says or tweets one thing and his national security advisor or his Secretary of State says another.

As far as the Muller investigation goes Trump is pretty much boxed in. He would like the Justice Department to end the investigation but the inquiry is too far along for Justice to cut off the proceedings. Moreover, the trial of Paul Manafort just got under way and it is unlikely that the trial will be stopped just to accommodate the president. Consequently, Trump will have to put up with whatever comes out of that trial.

The most important development for the President is his trade war. He may have gone into that risky effort thinking that he has all the cards on his side. But it turns out not to be true. The tariffs on steel and aluminum he introduced are clearly more harmful to the US than they are to America’s adversaries. He introduced tariffs on other goods which will be equally detrimental. The tariffs on soybeans and other agricultural goods will be especially troublesome. America is not the only country producing those goods which means the US farmers will suffer from the tariffs.

So far, the economic statistics still look good for Trump, but that is unlikely to last. The employment numbers have held up very well, but they will not do so over the longer run. The building industry is already suffering from construction and housing sales going down. In that sector employment could decline substantially in the months ahead. President Trump is toying with potentially a devastating recession hitting the country.