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Generally speaking, in the days before a president’s annual State of the Union address, the media spin themselves into psychics and happening tellers, spending hours on finish presaging what he’s going to contend and how the country is going to accept it while ignoring many other news. Once you see a debate “countdown clock” seem in the dilemma of the TV screen, you can be certain that the explanation will be awfully vapid until it runs out.
The White House customarily tries to build fad by leaking tidbits about the debate and the attendees and focusing courtesy on the president’s agenda. Naturally, this White House has opted for chaos instead. Officials have finished a temperate bid to explain that President Trump will “pivot” to a big bipartisan pitch, but at this point nobody believes a word he says, so a debate isn’t going to get him anywhere. Anyway, the boss and the House Republicans couldn’t stop inappropriately meddling in the Russia review prolonged adequate to get by his big day, so the whole practice was pointless.
As we know, Trump has been fighting the review from the beginning, aiming his madness both publicly and secretly at top members of the FBI and the Department of Justice. He and his supporters in worried media have motionless that these career law coercion and counterintelligence officials energetically helped Hillary Clinton hedge probity for her innumerable crimes and then attempted to wreak reprisal on Trump for being the biggest claimant ever and thwarting their sinful plans by cooking up the fraudulent Russia liaison to make it demeanour like he hadn’t really won the election. This devise enclosed comprehension agencies from a series of unfamiliar countries and members of the mainstream media who have been peddling their feign news to allege the storyline.
In sequence to “prove” all this, they are throwing spaghetti at the walls, and this week at slightest one strand stuck. It was reported a few weeks ago that Andrew McCabe, the embattled emissary executive of the FBI, was formulation to retire. It was abruptly announced on Monday that he was leaving immediately. After the news last week that, at Trump’s behest, Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to “purge” the group of McCabe and other top officials Trump believed were among the plotters — and Wray was described as heroically melancholy to quit if he didn’t have sum autonomy — this came as a bit of a surprise. It’s misleading what role Wray played in all this, but we know that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein both went to the White House on Monday.
We do know that Donald Trump deeply loathes McCabe on a personal level, however. NBC News has reported that the boss hit the roof when he saw video of former FBI Director James Comey getting on a supervision craft in California, after Comey found out from examination TV news that he’d been fired. Trump demanded to know if McCabe had certified the flight. When the emissary executive responded that he hadn’t but would have finished so if asked, Trump got very angry and presumably said, “Why don’t you ask your wife what it’s like to be a loser?”
He was referring to Jill McCabe, who had run for domestic bureau in Virginia as a Democrat and supposed a concession from a PAC tranquil by then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton ally. Her campaign had zero to do with the FBI, and that happened before Andrew McCabe had any impasse with the Clinton investigation, but never mind. It was adequate to make McCabe demeanour like an apparent plant, in Trump’s eyes.
Meanwhile, over in the House of Representatives, the president’s constant GOP manservants on the Intelligence Committee have voted to recover the barbarous “memo,” while refusing to recover the Democratic counter-memo at the same time. Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., wrote the GOP document, which purportedly shows that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sealed off on a FISA aver last open to continue the notice of former Trump campaign confidant Carter Page. According to rumor, Republicans have cherry-picked justification to make it seem that investigators depended exclusively or essentially on the scandalous “Steele dossier,” while many observers insist that no judge would ever have authorized the aver if that were so. Keep in mind that Page has been a suspected Russian agent (or stooge) since 2013, long before he came into Trump’s orbit.
This sold play is going to play out over the next few days. Trump has the final word on either the memo can be expelled but has already signaled that it should be. What everyone’s asking currently is where all these machinations are leading. Quite likely the administration is evenly maneuvering for the exclusion or reassignment of Rod Rosenstein so Trump and Sessions can install their own companion to manage the Mueller probe. The suspicion is that they could delayed it down or extent its range by gripping Mueller from questioning areas the boss wants to keep hidden.
Of course, Richard Nixon suspicion he had finished that too when he reluctantly named a regressive Republican named Leon Jaworski as special prosecutor in the arise of the cheer over his banishment of Archibald Cox during the Watergate scandal. Jaworski was doubtful of the review at first, but when he saw all the justification he was appalled. There’s no pledge that the person Trump chooses will be “loyal” to him rather than the Constitution.
But on Monday night on Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show, Frank Figliuzzi, who was arch of counterintelligence at the FBI under Mueller, floated another intriguing theory. He thinks this flurry of activity competence also be to give Trump a motive not to be interviewed in the Mueller probe, which people around the boss see as maximally dangerous, since Trump is an inveterate liar and may not be means to stop himself from committing perjury. Figliuzzi suggested that would meant Mueller would find a grand jury summons of the president, which would not be rare but would substantially be challenged in court.
So distant the courts have confirmed autonomy in traffic with the Trump administration’s disregard for the order of law. But there hasn’t nonetheless been a high-stakes domestic showdown in the Supreme Court. There was a time when people relied on the high justice as the ultimate neutral judge of such narrow-minded disputes, but after Bush vs. Gore we can have no some-more illusions about that. In fact, the Supreme Court’s regressive infancy provides role models for what Republicans are doing today. When pull comes to shove, it’s always party first, country second.
Heather Digby Parton, also famous as “Digby,” is a contributing author to Salon. She was the leader of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.