Monday, January 29, 2018

Trump going down Nixon's path -- with far less intelligence

Trump and the Obstruction of Intelligence

by P.M. Carpenter | January 29, 2018

Since last May I have thought that Trump could never outdo his particular and exquisitely unique brand of stupidity — last May being when, in the Oval Office, he told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that he had fired "nutjob" FBI Director James Comey, thus "great pressure" was off. "He was crazy," said Trump of his own country's top law enforcement officer. Now, "I'm not under investigation," he added.

The photos of a bloated and blotchy president laughing along, in noticeable relief, with the chief representatives of America's No. 1 geopolitical foe (sorry, Mitt) were stunning. Our shock came not so much from Trump's jocular demeanor — he wasn't the first president to share a few jokes with the bear — as it did from his seemingly genuine conviction that he had relieved the investigative pressure on himself, rather than having ratcheted it up exponentially. That Trump could have believed that sacking an FBI director looking into his lawlessness would not essentially confirm suspicions of such and therefore broaden the scope of inquires was, I thought, the very limit of really dumb, presidential incompetence.

Or so I thought. Until last Wednesday. That was when our boneheaded president said this to reporters: "Here's what we'll say, and everybody says: No collusion. There's no collusion. Now they're saying, 'Oh, well, Did he fight back? Did he fight back?' You fight back, 'Oh, it's obstruction.'"

Yes, "they" will say that. Because you know who else "fought back" in your peculiar style and were thereupon convicted of obstruction of justice? Nixon's three Johns — John Dean, John Ehrlichman, John Mitchell — as well as H.R. Haldeman, Jeb Magruder and Chuck Colson. Another John who really knew how to fight back was John Gotti, also convicted of obstruction.

The Washington Post reports that "Trump, appearing frustrated and at times angry, has complained to confidants and aides in recent weeks that he does not understand why he cannot simply give orders to 'my guys' at what he sometimes calls the 'Trump Justice Department.'"

One wonders how many times this has been explained to him by White House counsel and other stupefied advisers. In an interview with the Post, Sally Yates, the acting attorney general who was fired by Trump for doing her job — same as Comey — succinctly explained what only Trump has failed to grasp in his 71 thick-headed years of existence: "It is a firm tradition at the Department of Justice that the White House just has absolutely no involvement in criminal investigations or prosecutions, period." She added that Trump's shenanigans — "the near daily attacks on the FBI; we've never seen anything anywhere close to this before" — are "beyond unusual" and "really dangerous."

Those attacks — most noticeably, Trump's firing of Comey — are also obstruction of justice, when corrupt intent is integral. Which Trump, in the Oval Office, so happily bellowed to Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak. I suspect the latter two gentlemen were laughing because even they understood that the president of the United States just confessed to obstruction. But Trump, dimwit that he is, believed they were laughing at his cleverness. My God, how stupid criminals can be.