Saturday, February 3, 2018

Trump's Long Game Of Slowiy Eroding Our Institutions...




It can never be said that Donald J. Trump is anything less than smart. Smart in a crafty yet disingenuous sort of way. He has been able to succeed in moving his agenda. Which is to say he is slowly dismantling the Obama legacy, he has removed regulatory oversight, without regard to public safety, he has appointed conservative judges, he has worked to undermine the credibility of the free press, and he has methodically undermined our institutions of justice. His crafty methodology also has the affect of obstructing justice in the Russia investigation without causing harm to himself. At least thus far. Trump is, without a single doubt, a crafty and dishonest leader. One who has little concern for the people of this nation (other than the 30-40% who adore him) or the institutions that protect we the people from the likes of an authoritarian administration and a leader that is more interested in what he thinks is right than enforcing the rule of law. Someone exactly like Trump.

The Atlantic - In the current scandal, so often compared to Watergate, there’s a tendency to seek direct parallels. This is enhanced by the clear threat to special counsel Robert Mueller from the president, complete with reports that Trump ordered White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller, and backed down only when McGahn threatened to resign.

The current, unnamed scandal won’t work in the same way, and the search for a Saturday Night Massacre is misguided for two reasons. First, people are already being fired. And second, even when they’re not, Trump is accomplishing many of the same things that would otherwise be accomplished with firings via other means.

Even without one, big showdown over firings, Trump is already pushing staffers out at prodigious speed. (This has inspired some pundits to brand it a “slow-motion Saturday night massacre.”) First was FBI Director James Comey. This week, Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, was pushed into earlier retirement after massive pressure from the White House. (Axios reported that Trump had previously wanted McCabe fired, but that Wray refused; on Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. argued McCabe had been fired.) The president has expressed regret for appointing Attorney General Jeff Sessions because of Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation and said Sessions ought to resign, though Trump reportedly rejected a resignation letter. He has also variously threatened or tried to fire Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed and is overseeing Mueller because Sessions is recused. In the Oval Office Friday around noon, Trump wouldn’t say whether he had confidence in Rosenstein. “You figure that one out,” he said.

SKIP

Not only is the president openly feuding with parts of the executive branch, he elides the fact that the top leadership of the FBI and Justice Department are, with McCabe and Comey’s departures, entirely appointed by his own administration.

If the goal is to purge officials who Trump thinks represent some sort of threat to him, that’s already under way. But Trump also doesn’t have to purge them to achieve what he wants. He just has to create an environment that stifles things he believes represent a threat to him.

The president has been surprisingly open about his desire to release the memo in order to discredit the Russia investigation, even before he had read it. He has been warned time and again against actually removing Mueller, but if he can’t do that, trying to relegate it to politically suspect territory does the trick. He’s used other methods, too, like asking James Comey for loyalty, asking that Comey let Michael Flynn off for lying to the FBI, asking McCabe for whom he had voted, and asking Rosenstein whether he was “on my team.” Furthermore, he has proven surprisingly averse to actually firing people.

SKIP

What Trump is doing is slowly eroding the unwritten parts. Nixon discovered, to his chagrin, just how strong the unwritten constitution was when he set out to fire Cox. Trump, either by design, by the grace of his advisers staying his hand, or thanks to his remarkable intuitive grasp for politics, is playing a longer game of undermining. It’s not just top officials who are subject to it, either. Former CIA officer Bob Baer argued on CNN on Friday, following the release of the memo, that it would have a chilling effect on FBI officers in the field, who might think twice about bringing information about Russian activity to superiors for fear of political blowback.

Trump’s long game is craftier than the Saturday Night Massacre, but that doesn’t mean it’s invincible. SKIP

Trump doesn’t really object to procedural errors, though—what he objects to are the findings that investigators have produced. The White House initially said Comey had been fired for mishandling the Clinton investigation, but that made little sense, since Trump had made contradictory critiques of Comey, and sure enough, the president quickly blew up the official rationale in an interview with Lester Holt, in which he said he’d fired Comey over the Russia probe. The power of the Nunes memo (when unwritten) was that it promised to show procedural errors in the FBI and DOJ’s work. Once it was published, however, it became clear that the accusations of procedural errors are murky at best, while on the broad point, the memo undermines the Trump line that the Russia probe stems from a partisan dossier, noting that the inquiry into the Trump campaign had actually begun months before the dossier itself came into play.

The search for an analogue to the Saturday Night Massacre is alluring to both the media and Trump’s detractors because it’s much easier to cover a single, major event like a mass-firing than a slow-rolling erosion like what’s going on, and much easier to rally opposition to it as well. Immediately after the election, my colleague Adam Serwer wrote that the media was completely unprepared to cover a Trump presidency. Journalists who continue searching for a new Saturday Night Massacre and ignore the broader picture will show that one year into Trump’s tenure, they still haven’t caught up.

Those who have taken the time to familiarize themselves with Trump's history, his shady business dealings, his multiple bankruptcies, his public life, and his badly flawed personal character know that Trump is not an honorable man. He is driven by three primary things, winning at all costs, whatever that may entail, how every issue and event affects him personally, and being admired and fawned over by all. Even when the admiration he so desperately craves and needs has to be but a creation of his own mind.

Complete article BELOW THE FOLD

7 comments:

  1. I recommend everyone take a click on over to the usual right wing Trumpism weblogs. They're all twisting themselves into pretzels spinning the Nunes "memo" to fit their alternative reality.

    Of course the "Great" Donald has proclaimed the Nunes "memo" has completed vindicated him. Guess that's all anybody needs to know about that.

    Really, you can't make this shit up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I went there. Everyone seems to have verbal loose stools.

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  3. LOL! A most appropriate way to put it.

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  4. Some of you guys are are able to venture into that noisome hamper of full devils-diapers that is WYD and get a full blast in the face from the FreeStinke skunk... But you have stronger constitutions than I do, perhaps.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Speaking for myself, I simply don't back down in the face as*holes like FreeStinke, rusty, redneck and the entire host of bigots and racists at WYD. I attempted to "play it nice" in the beginning and have intelligent conversation, but I soon learned the pond scum had no interest in that.

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  6. Good for you, just hope you disinfect when you return :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I enter those sites I'm wearing full body Kevlar armour, military approved gas mask and face shield, and nuclear tipped sarcasm.

      It's all out offensive tactical maneuvers applied to strategic defense strategy.

      But no matter what when I return to the the side of truth and light it takes awhile to clear the nostrils of the stench. It's just that potent.

      Delete

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