Since it appears we are going to have lots of political news break over the next few weeks, I thought it might be a good idea to do some more political posting, which I have not been doing much of lately. The IG report on how the FBI handled the Clinton e-mail crimes is due out this week or next. Trump is laying the groundwork to fire Mueller and possibly behead his own Justice Department. It’s midterm season and there will be a summer battle over the next round of government budgets. Lots on tap this summer.
The first item is what we see happening with the FBI spying scandal. I must admit that I followed initially it because I liked boasting about having predicted it. Then I moved into cynical mode, assuming it would be swept under the rug like all of the crimes perpetrated by our rulers. I may have been wrong on that score. The people slowly unearthing the details and revealing them to the public appear to be extremely savvy political operators. I see now why the Democrats tried to assassinate Devin Nunes. He is a dangerous man.
One of the rare things in American politics these days is the smart politician who is not desperate to ham it up for the cameras. Nunes, Grassley, Goodlatte and their staffers have carried out this probe in a way we just never see. They took turns nibbling away at bits of the story, working with IG Horowitz, while quietly confronting the FBI and DOJ each step of the way. The level of coordination is what I find intriguing. It feels like maybe there is an inside player making sure everyone in on the same page and working their role.
On the other side of the ledger, the insane things coming from the Brennan camp are jaw-dropping. For the former CIA head to not-so-subtly threaten the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader on social media is incredible. Either the guy is insane or he really feels he is bullet proof. That would be an incredibly ballsy move to do behind closed doors with no witnesses. This guy is basically telling the political class they better remove the sitting president or else. It is not the sort of thing I ever expected to see in my lifetime.
What it could mean, is that off-camera, there’s a change in opinion. This assault on Trump was led by a well known group of people, the same people who ran the phony-baloney NeverTrump campaign. Brennan’s nutty public statements may reflect his sense that the tide is now running against him and his cronies. He’s not taking twitter because people are taking his calls. You have to think that the leaders of both parties would like to get away from this whole thing and the easy way to do that is turn on the conspirators.
The other aspect to this is Trump has played his hand about as well as possible. The press will focus on his handling of the Mueller stuff, but what Trump has managed to do is much more strategic. Look at his polling. Normally, even saints lose support after waves of bad press. Trump has managed to bob along around 50%, slowly creating an image of himself as David fighting Goliath. The Mueller problem, in light of the spying scandal, now looks like part of the elaborate scheme to thwart the will of the people by Washington.
That’s going to give him enormous amounts of political capital in the coming months. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of a popular president. The Ryan faction, which is bottling up all reform efforts in the House, has to be wondering if they picked the wrong team at this point. With their leader quitting to cash in as a lobbyist, we may see that coalition within the GOP start to fracture this summer. The tell will be if Ryan steps down early and we get a new Speaker. My guess is he is gone by Labor Day.
A long forgotten element of the intrigue in Washington is the Clinton e-mail scandal. That’s supposedly the next item IG Horowitz will report on and it is the reason he is has been digging around in all of this stuff. Many of the characters involved in the spying scandal were involved in the cover-up of the Clinton e-mail scandal. The main target is Andrew McCabe, so we probably learn just how much jeopardy he is in over this. Whatever caused Mr. Magoo to fire him, despite not wanting to do it, is in that reports.
Something Chuck Schumer said two years ago should be revisited. He publicly warned Trump that “Intel officials ‘have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you'” meaning Trump should not take on the FBI. Maybe it was just Schumer flapping his gums, but maybe there’s more to it. It is safe to assume that guys like Brennan were abusing their power for a long time. There may be another game afoot, behind the scenes, to rein in an intel community that has been out of control for longer than the public currently knows.
Finally, I used to compare Trump to the Asimov character “The Mule” because I saw him as the destroyer of the current order. I still think that is largely true. The one thing common in all of these scandals is the participants operated on the assumption that Trump can never win. It is not just that he could not get elected. They have been playing the game assuming that he had to fail eventually. The body of official Washington would expel him like a foreign object. Instead, everything is falling to pieces and Trump keeps winning.
It is going to be a fun summer.