[As the Special Counsel closes in on the president, Trump Republicans — Trumplicans — are going off the rails to defame FBI and Mueller]
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— RECENT HEADLINES —
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“President Tweets Angry Retort to John Kelly’s Assertion Yesterday That Trump Was Not ‘Fully Informed’ When Promising Border Wall, and That Kelly Had Persuaded Him Wall Was Unnecessary” (1/18/2018)
“FBI Investigating Whether Russian Money Was Funneled Through NRA to Elect Trump” (1/18/2018)
“Fusion GPS Testimony Released From House Intel. Cmte., Spotlights Likely Trump Money Laundering; Founder, Glenn Simpson: ‘We threw a line in the water and Moby Dick came back.’” (1/18/2018)
“U.S. Government Shuts Down After Spending Bill Impasse; Dems. Want DACA Settled” (1/19/2018)
“One-Year Anniversary of President Donald Trump’s Inauguration” (1/20/2018)
“Shutdown Ends, ‘til Feb. 8; McConnell Gives Commitment to Bring Up DACA Before Then” (1/22/2018)
“FBI Dir. Wray Threatened to Quit as Trump, Sessions Pushed Him to Fire Deputy McCabe” (1/22/2018)
“Trump Puts Tariffs on Imported Solar Panels, Dealing Big Blow to Renewable Energy” (1/22/2018)
“AG Sessions Questioned by Special Counsel Last Week, 1st Known Cabinet Interview” (1/23/2018)
“Top Evangelical Tony Perkins Gives Trump a ‘Mulligan’ for Porn Star Affair and Payoff” (1/23/2018)
“Fired FBI Dir. James Comey Was Interviewed by Special Counsel Late Last Year” (1/23/2018)
“Trump Met w/ Then-Acting FBI Dir. McCabe: Asked How He Voted and Decried Dem. Wife” (1/23/2018)
“Special Counsel Mueller Wants to Interview Trump Soon About Comey, Flynn Firings” (1/23/2018)
“Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) Goes off Rails With ‘Secret Society’ Accusation About FBI and DOJ in Attempt to Shield Trump From the Inevitable: Criminality Found by Special Counsel Bob Mueller” (1/24/2018)
“Trump Says He’ll Testify Under Oath; His Attorneys Immediately Walk That Back” (1/24/2018)
“Trump DOJ Warns Rep. Nunes (R-CA) Against Releasing Confidential Memo, Which Nunes and GOP Have Been Politicizing as ‘Proving’ a Phony Deep State Conspiracy Against President” (1/24/2018)
“Flurry of Requests by Dems. to Release Confidential Docs. Countering Nunes Memo” (1/24/2018)
“President Has Continued Attacks on FBI Officials in Whom Comey Confided After Trump Asked Him for Loyalty Pledge and Asked for Comey to ‘Let the Flynn Investigation Go’” (1/25/2018)
Last Saturday was the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s Inauguration. I’ve seen several articles lamenting that Trump is all we talk about anymore. At the one-year mark, many pundits and celebrities are complaining that Donald has — to use a popular phrase — sucked all the oxygen out of, not just the room but, all of America’s discourse for the past 12 months. Everything is Trump, Trump, Trump all the time on cable news, local news, and at watercoolers around the country. One well-known activist celeb is vowing to detox by limiting her news consumption to one hour of Rachel Maddow a day. Good luck.
We don’t have a water cooler at our office, but I know what they mean. I’m troubled by the same feelings. It’s exhausting. Of course, Donald Trump loves this. It is his doing. It is his reason for being.
But it’s painful. The guy we can’t stop talking about is the guy, whom upon meeting, virtually everyone thinks is an a**hole. But as 80-some percent of Republicans will tell you, “He’s my a**hole.”
It is a horns-of-the-bull quandary. You talk about Donald too much, you give him what he wants while desensitizing those in the electorate who don’t normally tune in until it’s time to vote. You talk about Donald too little, and you miss highlighting the 5.7 lies per day and his latest attacks on American democracy, the rule of law, human decency, and the world’s moral axial tilt. What’s a caring opinion writer to do?
I don’t know. I do know that I look forward to a non-a**holean president, to a time when even Mike Pence (second in line) or Paul Ryan (third in line, in case Pence is also guilty of crimes) sits in the Oval Office. Of course, liberals will hate either one’s policies and judicial appointments. But they won’t force Americans to explain why our president picks his nose on the world stage, wipes it on Germany’s sleeve, then intentionally coughs on Britain’s lunch.
Russia, Russia, Russia
Everything is “Russia, Russia, Russia!” Over the past year, this has been a common lamentation from the president and others in the White House. I’m still amazed that some internet meme-producer or anti-Trump comedian (Is there any other kind?) hasn’t parodied this Trumpian complaint by applying it to the famous catchphrase from the 1960s-70s sitcom: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” I was more of a Leave It to Beaver kid, but you couldn’t go through life in the latter half of 20th-century America without knowing about the Brady siblings’ resentful wail of, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”
Russia, Russia, Russia. This is the primary reason we can’t, and shouldn’t, stop talking about President Trump’s escapades. There has been a flurry of recent reporter activity and leaks surrounding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. I liken this to the way dogs, birds, and other animals seem to sense that an earthquake is coming. Reporters, like those other prescient creatures, have a feeling when something big and catastrophic is about to happen. They all get nervous, jittery.
The big news from the past few days has been the Special Counsel’s witness schedule. We know Bob Mueller subpoenaed Steve Bannon, and they agreed on terms to talk by the end of January. We know fired FBI Director James Comey was interviewed late last year about the infamous contemporaneous memos he wrote after being strong-armed several times by the president. We now know Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed last week — the first known Special Counsel questioning of a Cabinet member.
Robert Mueller’s office has talked to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats (whom Trump reportedly asked to have the FBI impede the Russia investigation); CIA Director Mike Pompeo (who witnessed the president’s reported impedance request to Coats); and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers (who, along with Coats, refused to answer the question from Congress as to whether the president ever asked them to intervene on the Russia probe). Additionally, Mr. Mueller has been through Hope Hicks, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Don McGahn, and numerous other important White House and campaign staff.
We know that former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn have been singing like canaries under their guilty plea agreements. And there are strong signals that former Paul Manafort business partner and Trump deputy campaign manager Rick Gates is about to flip after being indicted late last year along with Manafort.
Now it has become known that Mueller’s team is ready to query Donald in the next few weeks, at least about Comey’s and Flynn’s departures. Uh-oh. The word is that, while Trump’s attorneys might be able to negotiate the shape of the coffee table, Donald will have to talk or Mueller will subpoena him to the grand jury.
The plain-as-a-hair-on-your-face (— thanks to Steve Bannon) fact is that if Mr. Trump is innocent — of conspiracy to collude with Russians, obstruction of justice, money laundering, or of being a supreme a**hole — he should be happy to talk and tell his side. But people who know him well, like long-time fellow shyster Roger Stone, are advising Trump to avoid testifying at all costs, lest he be sure to perjure himself.
Deep State, Deep State, Deep State
Just as the dogs and birds are warning us of the impending earthquake, many Republicans in Congress and almost all of Fox News (Shephard Smith, how do you hold out?) are descending to sell us oceanfront property in Ohio and Indiana. As Trump’s fall becomes more imminent, they have turned up to 11 their attacks on Mueller and the FBI. They are doing serious damage to our national law enforcement agency, to protect a criminal presidency, and they don’t care.
The White House has been talking up the “Deep State” — nefarious, secret anti-Trump forces within the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. intelligence agencies — ever since Trump was inaugurated and immediately proved he was unfit for the job. By their telling, the Deep State is trying to undermine the will of the American people by conspiring to unseat President Trump.
Trump allies are currently circulating a secret memo — written by the staff of discredited House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) — that supposedly exposes the FBI’s criminal bias against the president. But they won’t show it to intelligence agencies or many Democrats. It seems the secrecy component is specifically to up the memo’s (bogus) credibility. Simultaneously, their cohorts in Congress and the media are loudly demanding the memo’s release. It’s brilliant.
On the bright side, even the Trump Justice Department says Nunes and crew are dishonestly and dangerously playing politics with their memo scheme. Apparently the memo authors, again, Nunes’ staff, have cherry-picked a few classified pieces of information (appearing to support the Deep State lie) from a larger batch shown to intelligence committee leaders by the DOJ under assurances of secrecy. Nunes not only didn’t keep the secrets, he conveniently left out all information that contradicts his conspiracy theme. Anyway, DOJ is warning them not to release this classified reporting until intelligence agencies can vet it.
I don’t know, though. This development plays right into the Trumplican (Trump Republican) artifice of demanding the release of a document that the Deep State DOJ won’t allow them to release — even though Trump’s No. 1 legal lackey, Jeff Sessions, runs Justice.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) have come out this week with fabricated accusations of a “secret society,” supposed radical Democratic pockets of FBI agents and Justice Department staff working to bring down President Trump with “tainted” investigations. An “informant” told them about so-called off-site secret society meetings.
And, of course, Donald has been trashing the Bureau’s and Mueller’s integrity since he fired Jim Comey — with absolutely nothing to back up his criticisms and assertions.
The president and his apologists in Congress and on Fox and Friends have done an effective job of conning the American people by projecting false doubt about the integrity of the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Muller’s office. Even the respectable Republicans are giving their tacit approval to the smear scam by their silence. Their primary tactic has been inventing phony alternative scandals to the real one. Unmasking, Uranium One, Obama wiretapping, FBI text messages, Democrats in the Bureau, secret Nunes memo, secret society: These will go down in history as the last gasps of a failed corrupt presidency.
Unfathomable GOP Treachery
It is unfathomable to me that, even if these treacherous actors believe the lies they’re perpetrating, they could forfeit the security of our country and our democracy by ignoring the Russian threat, whether Trump was involved or not. I’m flabbergasted, infuriated, choleric, foaming, shirty, livid, rabid, and many other synonyms of apoplectic (— thanks to Merriam-Webster).
We knew many Republicans are bad people. Not all but many. But who knew that any of them, let alone the large percentage that are Trump supporters come hell or high water — and hell will be coming — would sacrifice the strength of American democracy and the security of our electoral system for a vile confidence artist who will help them achieve a few of their pet pieces of legislation.
It is nothing short of treasonous — in the spirit of the concept if not the letter of the law.
Robert Mueller is finally closing in on the crimes of President Trump. Anyone can see, just from what the Trump team has publicly admitted to and investigative reporting has exposed, that there are likely obstruction of justice offenses.
Last week, under pressure, the House Intelligence Committee couldn’t hold out any longer and released the testimony of Fusion GPS (who commissioned the Steele dossier) founder Glenn Simpson. Knowledgeable observers who have read the transcripts see many signs of Russian money laundering by the Trump organization over the past decade (which Steve Bannon also saw). Mr. Simpson summed up his testimony by explaining that his firm’s opposition research on candidate Trump (initially funded by the conservative Washington Free Beacon) started with standard general inquiries and produced more shady finances than they could believe. Said Simpson, “We threw a line in the water and Moby Dick came back.”
Finally, there can be no question of the Trump campaign’s desire to collude with Russia for help in winning the presidency. The numerous meetings between various campaign principals and Russian operatives have become legend — along with the campaign’s lies to cover up those meetings.
This is why we must keep talking about President Trump and his atrocities. Trump Republicans are getting desperate as the president is about to go down. They’re like cornered rattlesnakes. They’re like too many rats in a cage. If we don’t constantly speak out and loudly, Trump’s allies in Congress and on Fox News desperately will say anything to cover up and prop him up, without any pushback. The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a big mouth is a good guy with a big mouth (— no apologies to Wayne LaPierre).
Barron, Barron, Barron
On a serious note, don’t you feel sorry for Barron? Someday he’s going to be in prep school American History class. And the instructor will be presenting the section about past presidents and where they rank. President Trump will be at the bottom of the list as the undisputed worst and most dishonest chief executive in U.S. history. Oh, and dad will be remembered as posing as his own media spokesperson — “John Barron” — throughout the 1980s. (The Donald’s cover was blown in 1990 when he was forced to answer a lawsuit deposition question under oath: “I believe on occasion I used that name.”)
Apparently, Trump has had a fascination with the name Barron for many years. When he was cheating on Ivana with Marla, he often left her messages under the code name, The Barron. When he commissioned a pseudo-biographical television series about a New York real estate mogul, he wanted the protagonist to be named Barron. (Borchers, Callum; “The Amazing Story of Donald Trump’s Old Spokesman, John Barron — Who Was Actually Donald Trump Himself”; The Washington Post; 5/13/2016.)
The poor kid. Eleven-year-old Barron Trump, the young son of the worst, most dishonest American president in history, was named after his father’s phony media representative, whom Donald himself impersonated so he could brag about his sexual exploits in the third person.
If dad ever gets to be a real billionaire, Barron’s share of the inheritance might be several million dollars — maybe enough to take the sting out of being a branch on this damaged family tree. ■