I'm coming to believe that the guilty-as-hell Trump administration is seeking exoneration-by-pity. Never in the history of American political skulduggery has such absolute incompetence in covering up crimes been demonstrated — or invoked?
Nixon's plumbers, who had helpfully retained the White House's telephone number in their personal belongings (so that the FBI could instantly make the conspiracy connection) were at the head of their cloak-and-dagger class compared to the bumbling boors who have so far constituted the Trump-Russia Affair.
The administration's management of a scandal that is in fact bigger than Watergate has been so inept (one is tempted to say "Bush league") and self-wounding, I'm beginning to feel rather sorry for them; my piling on feels as though I'm making fun of the developmentally disabled.
Yesterday, when the "news" broke that House Intel Committee chair and Trump employee Devin Nunes had been "helped" by "a pair of White House officials" to "somewhat vindicate" the bumbler in chief, I could scarcely work up a yawn. Who didn't already suspect this — indeed, "this" as a transcendence of suspicion and a matter of knowledge? Who on God's red earth hadn't already connected the immensely prominent dots?
One of Nunes's helpful WH elves was Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a National Security Council clown and Michael T. Flynn stooge whose job was protected only through the intervention of the utterly mad Steve Bannon. The NYT's passage on "what prompted Mr. Cohen-Watnick to dig into the intelligence" is a screamer. "There were conflicting accounts" of Cohen-Watnick's motivation, writes the Times, but "one official" says it was "to find evidence that would justify Mr. Trump's Twitter posts about wiretapping." Well blow us away.
The Times then positively drips with straight-reporting sarcasm: "The real issue, Mr. Nunes has said, was that he could figure out the identities of Trump associates from reading reports." Oh that devilish Devin. He's a sharp one. But I've no doubt that his pitiable, real-issue reasoning was handed to him, in crayon, by the White House.
Then within hours broke the news that the already-proven-to-be-guilty-as-hell Mr. Flynn has requested immunity from criminal prosecution in exchange for congressional testimony. That's when my pity really kicked in. One of the bigger rats has abandoned the U.S.S. Trump, and he's now slapping detonators on its hull.
It would have never come to this had the campaign and then the administration been even remotely competent in the covering of its crimes. But Jesus! what a trail: Flynn, Roger Stone, Carter Page, Jeff Sessions, Paul Manafort, indeed the candidate and president himself ("Trump urges Russia to hack Clinton's email") — a confederacy of self-evident incompetence so titanic, it makes one wonder how any of the confederates ever made it so far in business, consulting, or politics.