DeFund The GOP!
Punchbowl News started the day with a discussion of “The Summer of Trump,” “Trumpgust,” “Trumpcation,” “Trumpmania,” “Trumpocalypse.” All those investigations! Giuliani’s about to be charged, Lindsey Graham is being forced to testify, Sydney Powell was stealing “sensitive data from election systems in Georgia as part of a secretive, multistate effort to access voting equipment,” Allen Weisselberg’s copping a plea… Yep, “The FBI’s search of Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago last week— still the biggest story in the country— is just one facet of this apparently eternal Trump-centric news cycle… Trump even says that he had his camp call the Justice Department because the ‘temperature has to be brought down’ regarding threats to law enforcement in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago search. One example: A Pennsylvania man was arrested on Monday after threatening to use the blood of FBI agents to ‘water the trees of liberty.’ Of course, the temperature is this high because Trump and other Republicans launched a wave of unsubstantiated attacks on DOJ and the FBI following the Mar-a-Lago search, including suggestions that federal agents planted evidence. DOJ officials are opposing public release of the affidavit it filed in support of the search warrant, saying doing so would cause ‘irreparable damage’ to the ongoing criminal investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents.”
As the sun was coming up today, the Daily Beast published a piece by Jose Pagliery, Trump’s Big Mouth Sets Up Top-Secret Case Against Him, exposing his current lies about declassification of the top secret documents he stole. “Essentially,” wrote Pagliery, “Trump’s freewheeling style on Twitter forced the administration to take a harder stance on just what it means to declassify a document— forcing the government to emphasize the rigorous, multi-step nature of the bureaucratic process. He can’t now say it merely takes a wave of his hand.”
Any potential federal prosecution of the former president will have to examine whether Trump actually followed through on any alleged order he made to have documents declassified. National security lawyers told The Daily Beast any criminal case would hinge on Trump proving that his deputies received the order— but somehow didn't follow through.
Even [His loyal bulldog Kash] Patel acknowledged this is more involved than waving a magic wand.
“We have to go through a rigorous process to do that procedurally,” he acknowledged on Fox News over the weekend. “But the president is and always [has] been the unilateral classification authority to classify and declassify. If he says something is declassified, that’s it. Then it’s declassified.”
But because declassification is such a bureaucratic process, much of the evidence of what actually went down would already be accessible to the DOJ. Any document marked classified can only be declassified after the respective federal agency has implemented the change— and that may require an agency assessment of whatever potential damage may result by making the information public. Spies could be outed. Secret intelligence-gathering missions could be compromised. Ongoing investigations could be ruined.
“If a president declassifies something in a forest and no one hears it, is it really declassified?” McClanahan asked.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party’s new Defund The FBI messaging, being vigorously pushed by criminal types like Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Traitor Greene and others on the far right fringe, is hurting their overall chances in the midterms. If either Trump or QAnon makes defunding the FBI a new litmus test to prove loyalty, the GOP will lose swing state elections across the country. Andrew Solender and Alayna Greene reported that “Dan Bolduc and Bruce Fenton, leading Republican Senate candidates in New Hampshire, said in a recent debate they believe the Department of Homeland Security and top agencies need to be significantly ‘reduced’ and called for abolishing the FBI.” And that is anything but the only example.
Anthony Sabatini, a leading primary candidate in Florida's 7th District, has long called to defund the FBI and tweeted on the night of the Mar-a-Lago search that Florida should "sever all ties with DOJ immediately" and arrest FBI agents on sight.
Tim Baxter, a candidate in New Hampshire’s 1st District, expressed support for abolishing the FBI in a debate on Saturday. Another candidate, Karoline Leavitt, called to "investigate, litigate and incarcerate them."
J.R. Majewski, the GOP nominee in Ohio's 9th District, says on his website's issues page: "I will fight to abolish all unconstitutional three letter agencies," including the CIA.
Sandy Smith, the GOP nominee in North Carolina’s 1st District, tweeted a poll with "Abolish the FBI" as one of the options.
Asked in a recent radio interview whether Republicans are "actually going to be willing" to defund the FBI, IRS and other agencies, Bo Hines, the Trump-endorsed GOP nominee in North Carolina's 13th District, responded: "Well, I mean we have to."
Republican consultants are freaking out about the GOP abandoning its traditional “law and order” stance to support a criminal ex-president. Top Republican strategist Ken Spain: “This might score political points in the handful of remaining GOP primaries, but it will serve as a textbook case study in how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the general election.” Another top GOP strategist, Alex Conant: “Crime has been a winning issue for Republicans, and they need to be careful not to jeopardize that. Solender and Treene reported that “While it's natural for House Republican candidates to tap into grassroots anger to generate turnout and contributions, Conant warned that Democrats may be able to use that ‘to neutralize what has been a very effective issue for Republicans.’ Republicans have long used the left's ‘defund the police’ slogan to attack Democrats— and Democratic operatives have warned lawmakers to steer clear of anti-law enforcement rhetoric ahead of the midterm elections… Democrats are already using calls to defund the FBI to turn that dynamic on its head… ‘While the other side wants to defund the FBI, we want to fund our kids' future,’ Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Democrats' Senate candidate in Ohio, said last week. The campaign manager for one swing district Democratic campaign told Axios: ‘The way we would consider using it … is just a complete out-of-touchness the Republican Party has allowed into their mainstream.’… Rep Don Bacon (R-NE), who represents a swing district, told Axios: ‘The Republican message should not be defund the FBI, I think [it's a] mistake.’”