Splitting his Sunday between the golf course and Twitter, Donald Trump counter-attacks on several fronts, hoping both to blunt the Trump-Russia investigation and to make his “zero tolerance” on immigration a winning issue in November’s Congressional elections.

In an extraordinary shift — even by his standards — Trump also praised the publisher of The New York Times in the morning, only to denounce the newspaper and other journalists as “enemies of the people” in the evening.

Trump showed his agitation over the latest developments in the Russia inquiry, and his fury over the revelations of his former lawyer Michael Cohen about payoffs to Trump’s mistresses, by renewing his attempt to discredit the investigation.

He repeated his falsehoods about the sources of the inquiry and his blame of Democrats, but then added a personal attack on Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The blast defied last week’s media reports that Mueller is investigating the President over his Twitter activity, including possible obstruction of justice, and Trump immediately raised the stakes:

There is no evidence of a Mueller conflict of interest, and Trump gave no details of his allegations. Last year, Trump reportedly told advisors that Mueller is motivated because he owes membership dues at one of Trump’s golf clubs.

Further pressure on Trump — and thus more tweets in response — is likely this week with the trial of former campaign manager Paul Manafort, as well as ongoing coverage of Michael Cohen’s case.

Cohen is facing federal charges in New York over his financial activities. His long-standing relationship with Trump and the Trump Organization has come to the fore with the release of an audio tape — one of 12 cleared for consideration in court proceedings — in which he and Trump discussed a $150,000 payoff to quash the story of former Playboy model Karen McDougal, with whom Trump had a 10-month affair in 2006-2007.

There is a further threat to Trump because Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization and the Trump Foundation, has been subpoenaed to appear in the Cohen case.

Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of Trump’s “Art of the Deal”, assesses:

“Enemy of the People”

Trump’s assault on the media — at least those outlets who aren’t loyal to him — had a twist on Sunday.

Before going to the golf course, Trump appeared to bury the hatchet with The New York Times, but only by manipulating a meetings with its publisher into an attack on others:

Arthur Sulzberger responded by noting that Trump had asked for the discussion and had then violated the provision that it was off the record. Released by Trump’s statement from remaining silent, Sulzberger made clear that he had asked Trump to stop the reference to reporters as “enemies of the people”.

On return from the course, Trump read Sulzberger’s comments and then launched into a four-tweet rant. He accused the “very unpatriotic” media of a “Trump Derangement Syndrome” in which, reporting on the activities of Government, it is “puts the lives of many, not just journalists, at risk”.

He continued, “I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry”, before turning against the “failing New York Times” and deriding The Washington Post.

Pushing “Zero Tolerance” for the Election

Trump — or his staff — also used Twitter to push their election line of “zero tolerance” over undocumented immigrants, despite the publicity around hundreds of children who are still separated from parents.

Trump returned to his threat to close the Federal Government if he does not get his way over $25 billion for The Wall with Mexico, sharp reductions in immigration and admission of refugees, an end to immigrants bringing close relatives to the US, and a halt to the Diversity Visa Lottery program.

Trump’s attempts to get restrictive legislation and The Wall — including brief Government shutdowns early this year — were frustrated last year and again this spring by divisions among Republican legislators, as well as Democrat opposition to the proposals. The Administration responded in April with the introduction of “zero tolerance”, separating about 2,800 children from undocumented immigrant parents.

Despite a court-ordered deadline for reunion of the families, about 800 of the children remain in detention facilities. Reports indicate they are suffering psychological trauma and even enduring sexual abuse.

See TrumpWatch, Day 555: The 6-Year-Old Immigrant Forced to Sign Statement After Being Sexually Abused

The Government has said that it cannot reunify the remaining children because of the deportations of almost 500 parents, and because the others are incarcerated, pose a health and safety risk, or are considered unfit.

The Trump camp appears to be defying GOP leaders in Congress with the threat of an immigration showdown as an election strategy. Last week, the leaders thought they had reached a deal with Trump to delay a confrontation until after November, according to “a person familiar with their discussion”.

Funding for the Government needs to be approved in September as the fiscal year ends. Republicans are also worried that a showdown will deflect from their attempt to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanugh before the mid-term elections.