Fire and Fury confirms our worst fears – about the Republicans | Jonathan Freedland

Donald Trump’s utter unfitness for the presidency has been laid bare in Michael Wolff’s new book. What will it take for his party to remove him from office?

What did you think would be the Republican reaction to the latest revelations about Donald Trump? Did you expect the party’s luminaries to drop their collective head into their hands, or to crumple into a heap in despair at the state of the man they anointed as president of the United States?

They’d certainly have had good reason. In the book Fire and Fury, which on Thursday received the greatest possible endorsement – namely a “cease and desist” order from Trump’s personal lawyers – the journalist Michael Wolff paints a picture of a man whose own closest aides, friends and even family believe is congenitally unfit to be president.

The Republicans have predicted many times that Trump would change. They've been wrong every time. He won’t change

Related: Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House review – tell-all burns all

Related: Late-night hosts: 'Trump's own people think he's dumb as a watermelon'

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The year of Trump has laid bare the US constitution’s serious flaws | Jonathan Freedland

I once wrote a hymn of praise to the achievements of the founding fathers. There’s still much to celebrate – but their inspirational vision needs an urgent update

There’s a million things to love about Hamilton, the musical that has opened in London to reviews as glowing as those that greeted its debut on Broadway. The lyrics are so ingenious, so intricate and dexterous, that the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, has a claim to be among the most exciting writers, in any medium, in the world today. Rarely have I seen an audience delight in the tricks and rhyming pyrotechnics of language the way I saw a preview audience react to Hamilton a fortnight ago.

As I say, there are countless other pleasures. The staging is inventive, the melodies memorable and, by having black and minority ethnic actors play Alexander Hamilton and his fellow founding fathers, the musical instantly offers a powerful new take on America’s tragic, enduring flaw: race. But it was the idealism of the show – which venerates Hamilton and George Washington and unabashedly romanticises the revolution that birthed the United States of America – that struck a particular chord for me.

Related: Hamilton is creative and radical – in the proud tradition of musical theatre | Mark Lawson

America, as that great revolutionary Thomas Paine said, is too often 'like dead and living bodies chained together'

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From Trump to Brexit, 2017 was the mourning after the year before

The two seismic events of 2016, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, continued to cause mayhem throughout 2017

If 2016 was the year the democratic world went on a wild bender, 2017 was the year of the hangover. It was when we woke, slumped on the floor, still in yesterday’s clothes, heads pounding, to see how badly we’d trashed the room the night before. It was the year in which we contemplated the damage done, feared what more was yet to come – and searched out glimmers of hope that, somehow, we might avoid the worst.

But it was also the year in which troubles that had been stored up years or decades earlier – some ignored, others denied – burst through the surface, demanding our attention and crying out for something else too: a reckoning long overdue.

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The NHS staff who rallied to my son’s aid show there is hope, even in bleak times | Jonathan Freedland

Brexit and Trump dominate the news. But amid the gloom we should not forget that a vital part of our nation continues its inspiring work

There has been so much bad news this year that I thought I’d offer a little sparkle of something more heartening. Perhaps it might serve as a reminder that even those clouds that have darkened our skies most – the menacing dominance of technology, the strained state of our public services – are, every now and again, lined with a trace of gleaming silver.

The story begins with an accident. Cycling home from school, my 16-year-old son, Jacob, was knocked off his bike by a van that had veered into the cycle lane. I rushed to pick him up and took him to our nearest hospital, the Homerton, in east London. By the time we got there, the pain in his left leg was so bad he couldn’t get himself out of the car. It took a nurse and an orderly to prise him from the front seat and into a wheelchair.

'It's cheering to hear of a small effort to create something that helps people rather than hurts them'

Related: The blue passport is taking back control? No, it was first imposed on us from abroad | James E Baldwin

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The Donald Trump quiz of 2017

Who started the rumour about Melania’s body double? What happened to Sean Spicer? And how much golf has the commander in chief really played?

What was the nickname of the shortest serving director of communications in White House history?

Scaramouche.

Minnie the Moocher.

The Mooch.

Scaramanga.

Who started the online rumour that Melania Trump had been replaced by a body double?

Carl Bernstein.

Sean Hannity.

Alex Jones.

Marina Hyde.

What menu did Donald Trump demand White House chefs recreate?

The dinner John F Kennedy once served in honour of US Nobel laureates.

The meal Abraham Lincoln ate on his first night in the White House.

McDonald’s.

Noma.

Trump reportedly described the White House as?

“The greatest residence in the history of the world, believe me.”

“The best house any leader ever lived in.”

“A real dump.”

“A place so lavish, you wouldn’t believe it.”

Trump memorably accused Barack Obama of playing too much golf. As of mid-December, how many of the 300-plus days that Trump has been president has he spent time at a golf course?

11 days.

79 days.

22 days.

59 days.

How did former FBI director James Comey hope to avoid being seen by Trump at a White House reception?

By using the techniques of a top, undercover federal agent.

By deploying state-of-the-art espionage technology.

By hiding in the curtains.

By dressing up as Melania.

7. What did Trump promise to send to Little Rocket Man, Kim Jong-un?

Love and affection.

Time and patient diplomacy.

A robust, fully proportionate international response.

Fire and fury.

What did Donald Trump discuss when he addressed a rally of boy scouts?

Loyalty.

How to make a bonfire.

A washed-up billionaire friend of his who once had a yacht.

The responsibilities of the next generation.

When he pulled out of the Paris accords on climate change, Trump said his duty was to prioritise?

Jobs, not trees.

People, not planets.

Pittsburgh, not Paris.

America, not the world.

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer is now?

A cast member of Saturday Night Live.

A Republican congressman.

A fellow of Harvard.

The husband of Melissa McCarthy.

Rick Perry once called for the Department of Energy to be abolished. Trump appointed him to run:

The Federal Reserve.

The Department of Energy.

Yosemite national park.

The Federal Election Commission.

Which of the following tasks is NOT included in Jared Kushner’s portfolio of duties:

Restructuring the US government.

Brokering Middle East peace.

Reforming the US criminal justice system.

Resetting US relations with Russia.

2 and above.

You are a living rebuke to the world’s hugest ego. Your ignorance of all things Trump is an act of heroic resistance. Bravo.

3 and above.

You are a living rebuke to the world’s hugest ego. Your ignorance of all things Trump is an act of heroic resistance. Bravo.

4 and above.

You are a living rebuke to the world’s hugest ego. Your ignorance of all things Trump is an act of heroic resistance. Bravo.

5 and above.

Don’t you realise what a danger this man poses to the future of the human race? Don’t you even care?

6 and above.

Don’t you realise what a danger this man poses to the future of the human race? Don’t you even care?

7 and above.

Don’t you realise what a danger this man poses to the future of the human race? Don’t you even care?

8 and above.

You’re keeping across the news, without letting the Orange One inside your head. Keep at it.

9 and above.

You’re keeping across the news, without letting the Orange One inside your head. Keep at it.

10 and above.

You’re keeping across the news, without letting the Orange One inside your head. Keep at it.

11 and above.

You are in danger of becoming a Trump obsessive. Maybe take up a hobby?

12 and above.

You are in danger of becoming a Trump obsessive. Maybe take up a hobby?

0 and above.

You are a living rebuke to the world’s hugest ego. Your ignorance of all things Trump is an act of heroic resistance. Bravo.

1 and above.

You are a living rebuke to the world’s hugest ego. Your ignorance of all things Trump is an act of heroic resistance. Bravo.

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Trump may celebrate his tax giveaway – but it could speed his downfall | Jonathan Freedland

This bill stinks – the men behind it will benefit from it personally. But once it’s passed, the president is just that little bit less useful

Donald Trump is set to close this most turbulent year with his first big win. Today, barring a last-minute hitch, both houses of the US Congress will send the president a tax reform bill that he will sign with full ceremony. He’ll lavish praise on himself and say he’s making good on his promise to make America great again. Or as he put it via Twitter: “Biggest Tax Cuts and Reform EVER passed. Enjoy, and create many beautiful JOBS!”

The bill he’ll sign today is indeed the most substantial overhaul to the US tax system since Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts of 1986. Still, Trump and his fellow Republicans should pause before they knock back too much pre-Christmas champagne. This could be a victory that comes back to haunt them.

Related: Senate approves most drastic changes to US tax code in 30 years

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While you’re looking the other way, Trump is changing America for decades to come | Jonathan Freedland

The president’s incendiary tweets and the Russia scandal distract us from decisions that are reshaping the internet, the environment and democracy

Now twice as long, his tweets are half as good. The early-morning dispatches from the iPhone of Donald Trump, often sent while he lies in bed, propped up on a pillow, lack the poison punch they packed in the 140-character era. They ramble a bit now, losing focus. But they still command attention and dominate the news to an extent no one on the planet can match.

Related: US regulator scraps net neutrality rules that protect open internet

91% of Trump’s judicial nominees are white and 81% are male, reversing decades of steady progress

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The defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama is a rare moment to lift the spirits | Jonathan Freedland

It’s a grievous blow for Donald Trump, but can Moore’s loss in staunchly Republican Alabama start a pushback against the forces of hate? We can but hope

That unfamiliar sensation you experienced this morning? It’s the feeling you get when, at long last, you wake up to some good political news from America. For progressives around the world who would prefer to admire rather than to revile the United States, the last 13 months have brought cause only for despair. But the defeat of Roy Moore – who believes homosexuality should be illegal and that America was at its best in the age of slavery – is a moment to lift the spirits.

That a man of such vileness, also accused of being a child molester, should lose to a Democrat in deeply conservative, unbreakably Republican Alabama is more heartening still. It represents a grievous blow to Donald Trump, who endorsed Moore and campaigned for him, revealing the limits to the president’s supposed electoral magnetism.

Born

Related: Democratic euphoria as Doug Jones wins Alabama - in pictures

Related: Roy Moore’s stunning defeat reveals the red line for Trump-style politics | Richard Wolffe

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Theresa May’s EU deal will postpone the pain of Brexit, but won’t prevent it | Jonathan Freedland

A Brexishambles has been avoided, but the crucial question of the hard border in Ireland remains unresolved

The least important consequence of Theresa May’s dawn breakthrough in Brussels is that it might well have saved her premiership. After Monday’s Brexishambles, in which the prime minister had to tell Jean-Claude Juncker to put the cork back in the champagne thanks to a party-pooping call from the DUP, the clock was ticking on the prime minister. Failure to strike an agreement that satisfied both her Belfast allies and the negotiators in Brussels would, in the eyes of many Tory MPs, have removed the chief justification for her continued tenure in Downing Street: namely, that she can deliver Brexit. The Tory regicidal instinct, never still, was twitching.

Related: 'Sufficient progress' in Brexit talks announced after May's dash to Brussels

Related: How Brexit will unfold – Britain will get a deal, but it’ll come at a price | Charles Grant

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Donald Trump’s Jerusalem statement is an act of diplomatic arson | Jonathan Freedland

The US president’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel turns a naked flame on the single most combustible issue in the conflict

Not content with taking the US to the brink of nuclear conflict with North Korea, Donald Trump is now set to apply his strategy of international vandalism to perhaps the most sensitive geopolitical hotspot in the world. With a speech scheduled for later today that’s expected to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and reaffirm a pledge to move the US embassy to the city, he is walking into a bone-dry forest with a naked flame.

For the status of Jerusalem is the most intractable issue in what is often described as the world’s most intractable conflict. It is the issue that has foiled multiple efforts at peacemaking over several decades. Both Israelis and Palestinians insist that Jerusalem must be the capital of their states, present and future, and that that status is non-negotiable.

Related: Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move US embassy

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