Saturday, October 12, 2019

Hope--And Fear--In This Impeachment Season!

Impeachment is in the air--or so we're being told. I remain skeptical. Let's review the reasons for hope for the republic, and then the reasons for fear.

Hope: Bill Barr's Recent Travels

Bill Barr is a major reason for hope, for a number of reasons. Here's a video in which Tony Shaffer explains that Barr's travels with John Durham to Western European capitals is a sign that their investigation into the Russia Hoax coup attempt is proceeding at a "furious pace." What's also interesting about Barr's trip to Rome and London is that it was done without leaks in the media and, especially, without informing the Department of State or--as far as we can tell--any other of what would ordinarily be considered to be agencies with relevant expertise and concerns. I mean the FBI and CIA, both of which have major presences in both London and Rome that handle Foreign Police and Foreign Intelligence Cooperation. Clearly Barr knows the lay of the land, knows whom he can trust and whom he cannot.

What did Barr and Durham discuss in these foreign climes? Well, we don't know--and that's part of the point. It's pretty clear from that fact that Barr and Durham are surrounded by a very tight lipped and disciplined cadre. They are running quite the efficient operation.

How worrying is all this to the Deep State and ruling elites? Very worrying. Because, while they may have inklings of what Barr is up to behind the scenes, count on it--they don't know nearly as much as they'd like to know. And then, hard on the heels of Barr's return from these very worrying jaunts, we got one of those very rare leaks from Barr's DoJ: Durham's investigation, we were told, was expanding to include the early months of the Trump administration, including the time period during which the Mueller Witchhunt was ramped up by Rod Rosenstein and Andy McCabe. That was a leak that sent a message to the entire political class of Washington, D. C.

And there was another trip by Barr that hasn't received much attention, but could be important--a domestic trip. Barr traveled to New York just this past Wednesday to meet one on one with Rupert Murdoch. What was that about? Again, we don't know--and that's part of the point. Neither Barr nor Murdoch are telling us. Don't you wish Barr was Chief of Staff in the White House? Nevertheless, when you see all the things Barr is doing, when he takes time away from his DoJ office to travel abroad, you know it's hugely important. And, by the same token, that trip to New York simply couldn not have been ordinary business for general chit chat. Barr spent fifteen years litigating in the telecommunications field. He knows the players, he knows their influence, he knows their political connections. What we know--and more on that below--is that the media are an absolutely integral part of the whole coup story.

Hope: The Weakness Of The Impeachment Case

Yes, this is another reason for hope. The Deep State and their surrogates are actually asking us to swallow the notion that when someone claims to be a political rival of the POTUS they somehow become immune to investigation? Please. But, you say, this time is different because, because--well, a foreign leader was involved! That's right. The crime took place abroad--we have Joe Biden on tape vouching for that--so the investigation needs to take place with the cooperation of officials in the foreign country that was involved. That's what the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is about. Corrupt acts by Americans abroad. Everyone in Washington knows this, and that's exactly why the "inquiry" in Nancy's House is being conducted "behind closed doors." Lest the game be given away too early.

Nevertheless, the whole "whistleblower" narrative appears to be dissolving. There could be no clearer indication of that than the desperate attempts to hide the "whistleblower." Who are they hiding him from? The GOP senators and representatives. No--they probably know already. It's you and me--the American public--that they're hiding the "whistleblower from.

Another indication of how weak the entire impeachment narrative was the testimony yesterday of the disgraced former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Mickey Kaus says it all, very briefly--this isn't serious:

Really! Yovanovitch told the House that she was forced out by the president at whose pleasure she serves. How awful! It's just not serious, and everyone who's anyone knows it can't possibly fly, let alone get off the ground.

So why all the desperation? A former CIA station chief explains. It's fear. Fear of imminent indictments:

Fear: We're in a permanent coup

That's Matt Taibbi speaking--from the Left. But he's one of the few on the Left who's willing to call this out for what it is: A Coup by the Deep State, spearheaded by the Intelligence Community. However, before I get to Taibbi's eloquently expressed fears, let me present the counter argument--the institutional forces arrayed against the Deep State coup. Those forces are far from inconsiderable.

First of all, Trump is the POTUS, and while his control of the White House is far from complete, he appears to be extending his control.

Second, the GOP controls the Senate. It's beside the point that some senators are squishes. As an institution the Senate is totally invested in the status quo--how could it be otherwise when each flyover state sends two senators to Washington?

Trump now has a talented and determined Attorney General controlling the DoJ. That's huge.

The judiciary is also increasingly on Trump's side. So much is this the case that the SCOTUS recently took the extraordinary step of plucking a lower court decision and reversing it, sending it back down.

But Taibbi is afraid--and for good reason. The power of the press and the intelligence agencies is not to be sneezed at, even though Trump has eluded their strategems at every step of this saga. I can't possibly do total justice to Taibbi's article--read it all. Here he sets the stage, where he thinks we are with the current Impeachment Theater gripping Washington:

We are speeding toward a situation when someone in one of these camps refuses to obey a major decree, arrest order, or court decision, at which point Americans will get to experience the joys of their political futures being decided by phone calls to generals and police chiefs. 
My discomfort in the last few years, first with Russiagate and now with Ukrainegate and impeachment, stems from the belief that the people pushing hardest for Trump’s early removal are more dangerous than Trump. Many Americans don’t see this because they’re not used to waking up in a country where you’re not sure who the president will be by nightfall. They don’t understand that this predicament is worse than having a bad president.   
The Trump presidency is the first to reveal a full-blown schism between the intelligence community and the White House. Senior figures in the CIA, NSA, FBI and other agencies made an open break from their would-be boss before Trump’s inauguration, commencing a public war of leaks that has not stopped.

Taibbi traces the beginning of the war or rolling coup to Comey's visit to Trump Tower, which he rightly views as unprecedented. After all, an attempt to blackmail a president? What if ...

Imagine if a similar situation had taken place in January of 2009, involving president-elect Barack Obama. Picture a meeting between Obama and the heads of the CIA, NSA, and FBI, along with the DIA, in which the newly-elected president is presented with a report compiled by, say, Judicial Watch, accusing him of links to al-Qaeda. Imagine further that they tell Obama they are presenting him with this information to make him aware of a blackmail threat, and to reassure him they won’t give news agencies a “hook” to publish the news. 
Now imagine if that news came out on Fox days later. Imagine further that within a year, one of the four officials became a paid Fox contributor. Democrats would lose their minds in this set of circumstances.
The leak of the January, 2017 “meeting” between the four chiefs and Trump – which without question damaged both the presidency and America’s standing abroad – was an unprecedented act of insubordination.
It was also a bold new foray into domestic politics by intelligence agencies that in recent decades began asserting all sorts of frightening new authority. They were kidnapping foreigners, assassinating by drone, conducting paramilitary operations without congressional notice, building an international archipelago of secret prisons, and engaging in mass warrantless surveillance of Americans.

Taibbi then goes on to present a laundry list of incidents in which the Intelligence Community "used commercial news platforms to argue that Trump had committed treason, needed to be removed from office, and preferably also indicted as soon as possible." It's worth reviewing that list in its entirety, because--unlike the hypothetical examples Taibbi refers to, citing Judicial Watch and Fox News--each of these real examples is a complete fabrication. It's fake news in one form or another. These are all examples of disinformation operations run by commercial news platforms in collaboration with the Intelligence Community against the American public. Taibbi knows this, and so do the media entities and the Intelligence community. It's really quite staggering--and the list is far from exhaustive:

February 14, 2017: “four current and former officials” tell the New York Times the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts” with Russian intelligence.
March 1, 2017: “Justice Department officials” tell the Washington Post Attorney General Jeff Sessions “spoke twice with Russia’s ambassador” and did not disclose the contacts ahead of his confirmation hearing.  
March 18, 2017: “people familiar with the matter” tell the Wall Street Journal that former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn failed to disclose a “contact” with a Russian at Cambridge University, an episode that “came to the notice of U.S. intelligence.”  
April 8, 2017, 2017: “law enforcement and other U.S. officials” tell the Washington Post the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge had ruled there was “probable cause” to believe former Trump aide Carter Page was an “agent of a foreign power.”

April 13, 2017: a “source close to UK intelligence” tells Luke Harding at The Guardian that the British analog to the NSA, the GCHQ, passed knowledge of “suspicious interactions” between “figures connected to Trump and “known or suspected Russian agents” to Americans as part of a “routine exchange of information.”  
December 17, 2017: “four current and former American and foreign officials” tell the New York Times that during the 2016 campaign, an Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer told “American counterparts” that former Trump aide George Papadopoulos revealed “Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.  
April 13, 2018: “two sources familiar with the matter” tell McClatchy that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has evidence Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was in Prague in 2016, “confirming part of [Steele] dossier.”  
November 27, 2018: a “well-placed source” tells Harding at The Guardian that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.  
January 19, 2019: “former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation” tell the New York Times the FBI opened an inquiry into the “explosive implications” of whether or not Donald Trump was working on behalf of the Russians.

That was then. What do we see now?

These mechanisms have been transplanted now onto the Ukrainegate drama. It’s the same people beating the public drums, with the messaging run out of the same congressional committees, through the same Nadlers, Schiffs, and Swalwells. The same news outlets are on full alert.
The sidelined “intel chiefs” are once again playing central roles in making the public case.
[Nothing Trump has done is] in the same ballpark as CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times engaging in de facto coverage partnerships with the FBI and CIA to push highly politicized, phony narratives like Russiagate.

And so Taibbi sums up his fears:

I don’t believe most Americans have thought through what a successful campaign to oust Donald Trump would look like. Most casual news consumers can only think of it in terms of Mike Pence becoming president. The real problem would be the precedent of a de facto intelligence community veto over elections, using the lunatic spookworld brand of politics that has dominated the last three years of anti-Trump agitation.

I think by "most Americans" he actually means "most liberals." The normal people have thought this through and are in agreement with Taibbi. In fact, normal people have probably thought this through a step further than Taibbi is willing to go. Normal people watch the news and understand that most liberals have actually thought this through and are on board with trashing our constitutional order in favor of their lunatic agenda. That, of course, is very scary, but the signs are out there for all to see.


  1. I agree with 96% of what Matt Taibbi says in his piece. I also realized that we are nearing a precipice that if we cross, we will fall into a constitutional crisis that we’re unlikely to survive as a country.

    Trump haters know for sure that Trump supporters have been played. Trump haters have no idea how their hate has been weaponized by some powerful players who are not out of moves yet.

    Trump supporters, for the most part, have had a bad feeling about the direction of the country for a couple of decades. I would guess that for more than half, Trump was not their first choice. I would further imagine that more than four out of five have cringed at some, decision, statement, tweet, or rally escapade. Yet that does not diminish his support.

    As I find myself saying to acquaintances who loathe the President, He makes all the right people mad, present company excluded, of course.”

  2. There is so much sobering material to reflect on here in this excellent post before commenting...that I will reflect and not comment.

    Except to note the counter-intuitive thought that we perhaps owe Meuller a back-handed thank you.

    Given the wholesale dishonesty and corruption of the Intelligence Community and their Democratic and MSM mouthpieces, as Mark and Taibbi outline, it is extraordinary that Meuller did not find prosecutable or impeachable collusion by Trump. Imagine the pressure Mueller was under to destroy the man. Imagine what he was hearing from Andrew Weissman and his associates. Imagine how Trump's legion of enemies would have disregarded any errors of judgment or fact in the Meuller report had he decided to spin it against Trump. The outcry to impeach would have been overwhelming. And yet, somehow Meuller failed to charge. Even in volume 2 (obstruction) Meuller failed to charge, knowing as he must have, as Taibbi points out, that Barr would decline to charge.

    Under these circumstances Mueller's performance before Congress becomes almost understandable. What was left to say? He had spent two years and many millions of dollars to find collusion and he followed the facts and found no collusion.

    In many ways it must have pained him, but perhaps he is an underappreciated hero in this sordid tale. Who else arrayed against Trump has...told...the...truth?

    1. Great point re Mueller's failure.

    2. The first comment posted on Taibbi's article ( has concluded multiple felonies committed by Trump, as uncovered by the Mueller prob.

      The commenter's grammar and spelling, etc., are all intact, so not completely deranged--proving there are still multitudes who won't let facts get in the way of a good story.

      Mueller came up empty--but that doesn't stop the raving masses. Orange Man Bad because reasons...

    3. Not only the first comment, but almost all of them conclude that Trump is evil and deserves punishment, never mind that the Deep State may be doing bad things.

      There are only a few thoughtful comments, and who are able to use reason. And even those have also been indoctrinated.

      And yet, although they all speak of Trump's many crimes and corruption, almost no one has any specific fact about any specific crime, and the one or two who do, speak of things which have long been dis-proven.

    4. The total dumbing down of political discourse since Watergate.

  3. Thanks for showing the way to this important piece. (And it really is important, IMO)

    Two aspects I like a lot are the willingness 1) to call a coup just that: a coup, and 2) to frame the debate in terms of, look not just at whatever you think Donald Trump may have done but at what the other side has done, also. His message to the anti-Trumpers is, it seems to me, if the evidence shows the other side’s ways are far more anti-democratic than Trump’s, why aren’t THEY the ones you should be more afraid of giving more power?

    This is dangerous stuff from the heretic Taibbi, and there's just no way I wouldn't use both the man and his words if I were in the employ of the Donald Trump PR or legal team. Any decent PR guy should know how to keep Taibbi onside by involving him subtly and otherwise helping protect his lefty street cred.

    1. Americans like to pretend that that type of thing doesn't happen here. I guess it didn't use to.

    2. That type of thing won’t happen here until it does, and then it’s done!

    3. One and done? Not inevitably, but incredibly difficult to recover.

  4. Thanks for pointing me to Tony Shaffer and Brad Johnson. Two great interviews.

  5. And in the know, not necessarily with inside information. But good insight because they know how the game can be played.

    It's like having a colorman in sports broadcasting.