Tuesday, August 9, 2022

A Day That Will Live in Infamy

 (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
As I'd written in my last article in this forum, "They say there are no coincidences in politics. I've never wholeheartedly subscribed to that. After all, why should the political arena be immune to the sometimes outrageous turns of events that coincidence provides?"
     That was written just a little over two weeks ago, so I still hold to that. Yet, with people like Donald Trump, while history may not repeat itself, it rhymes and jingles and jangles like a Poe poem. For those of you who are well-versed in modern American history, it may not be lost on you that Mar a Lago got searched yesterday morning by the FBI on the 48th anniversary of Nixon announcing his resignation from the presidency. (In fact, with a seriously deferential nod to history, I even began this article last night on August 8th, at 9:01 PM, the exact moment Nixon began his next to last address to the nation.)
     And some of the rhymes were even provided by Trump himself, as he said, "They even broke into my safe! What is the difference between this and Watergate, where operatives broke into the Democrat National Committee? Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States."
     Let's just avoid all that low-hanging fruit for a minute and not allow ourselves the luxury of a riposte that brings up, say, the fact that Nixon never tried to overthrow the government. Or that the raid on Democratic National Committee HQ was an illegal one with no legal standing (Hence the subsequent coverup) whereas the search of Mar a Lago was. Or that the FBI isn't, in fact, full of Democrats or in the pocket of certain Democrats.
     The FBI and DOJ are, of course, being their typically hermetic selves and are not releasing any information as for what, precisely, the Bureau was searching. With Trump and his countless crimes, it could be anything and for each speculated document(s), there's a whole host of possible motives as to why, in contravention of federal law, Trump still had them in his possession. And, if his stuck pig protestations are any indication, why were they possibly in his safe?
     Of course, as random fate would have it, the search had been carried out mere hours before Axios published photos obtained by the NY Times' Maggie Haberman of the documents that had been flushed down the toilet at both the White House (left) and Air Force One (right). Both show Trump's distinctive scrawl and the Sharpie pens with which he's been obsessed for years and they put a new spin on the phrase "toilet paper".
It Wasn't a Raid
While Salon's Amanda Marcotte may, as usual, have the right wing dead to rights in her latest column, her sole mistake was in calling it a "raid". A raid is a law enforcement operation, with law enforcement oversight. What happened early yesterday morning at Mar a Lago was the execution of a search warrant. But that legal distinction hardly bodes better news for Trump, that the execution of the search warrant had judicial oversight, meaning a federal judge or magistrate had to sign off on it, as well as the Attorney General, Merrick Garland.
    Furthermore, federal prosecutors don't lightly request search warrants as judges and magistrates routinely make prosecutors meet a high bar of probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed. That especially goes for a sensitive area like Mar a Lago. But Mar a Lago was the place where, this winter, the National Archives had to show up in full force to collect 15 boxes of documents that had been illegally shipped to Palm Beach and stored in Trump's living quarters instead of being turned over to the National Archives according to the Presidential Records Act.
     This was after many months of negotiations between the Archives and Trump and goons, although it's hard to see why they should've felt it necessary or even possible to negotiate with a serial criminal like Trump. Obviously, they didn't get everything otherwise, federal authorities wouldn't have had to return to Mar a Lago.
     So, what did Trump hold back and why? Well, by Trump's own admission, they "broke into" his safe, in which, typically, people hold their most valued or sensitive possessions. We know much of the material that Trump illegally took back with him to Mar a Lago was Top Secret, meaning for the Commander in Chief's Eyes Only.
     That further invites speculation as to why Trump would want to hold on to Top Secret classified information. Well, the obvious suspicion, knowing Trump and his penchant for monetizing everything, especially the presidency, is Trump planned to sell that classified information to the highest bidder. If anyone fits the bill for a financially compromised ex President, it would be "billionaire" Donald Trump. In the next one to two years, he'll have in excess of $1.1 billion in loans, according to Forbes, that will mature and for which he doesn't have the liquid capital to cover.
    Of course, that's all speculation but, knowing Trump and his genetic predisposition to commit criminal acts, it's a reasonable one. After all, it Trump could be trusted, the FBI wouldn't have had to go to Mar a Lago yesterday to mop up after the National Archives. And how do we know highly sensitive documents weren't photocopied? Whatever they were looking for, it was something specific that the Archives knew they didn't get and they were reasonably sure could be highly actionable evidence that could greatly contribute to a criminal investigation.

Defund the Feds?
One would be hard-pressed to find another example within the last six or seven years of the Republican Party's antics that's more hypocritical. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Lead Paint Chips) led the charge, screaming about defunding the FBI, leading former RNC Chair Michael Steele to call her a "shitforbrains Republican" for even suggesting such a thing.
    Many of them have been the same Republicans who jumped for joy when former FBI Director James Comey announced an investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails 11 days before the 2016 election, an ill-advised decision that could've easily cost Clinton the Oval Office. Many of them were the same people who had gleefully screamed "Lock her up!" before, during and after that election.
    Now that the FBI is, finally, going after their Chinese-made chrome-plated fake idol, Trump, they're now suddenly the bad guys. Matt Gaetz, himself being fitted for an orange prison jump suit, compared the FBI to the East German Stasi. In a hilarious example of projection, Kevin McCarthy (R-Trump's Lap), openly threatened Merrick Garland and told him to "preserve your documents and clear your calendar" for "when" the GOP takes over the House.
     This is part and parcel to the emerging neo-fascist movement within the GOP that unequivocally states  that the law and law enforcement is only supposed to victimize Democrats and liberals, never them or one of their own. They shamelessly pull the "political persecution" and "witch hunt" cards faster than a FIFA referee pulling out a red card even though, again, they have no problem with weaponizing the Justice Department to suit their own ends.
     They're shamelessly taking full advantage of the fact that, true to its MO, the DOJ has no choice but to put up a wall of silence as they try to make their case against Trump. So they're trying to fill the void with sound and fury that blithely ignores the facts their own crimes and hypocrisy. Jane Hamsher used to call it the Mighty Republican Wurlitzer.
     Because the True Believers and the True Toadies (like McCarthy) don't like to be reminded of Trump's crimes, hence their unstinting support for him over the years. Because, continually being put on the defensive when others demand you justify their support of a career criminal like Trump has a tendency to put you in a position like the poor suffering bastard below.


At August 10, 2022 at 2:52 PM, Anonymous CC said...

If the Republicans retake Congress, they'll replace the FBI with the Gazpacho.

Not my idea. It came from a reply to Steele's tweet about "shitforbrains" Republicans.

Personally, I'd prefer the soup. Haven't had it in ages.


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