Last night a quartet of Washington Post reporters wrote that Trump’s rabid, deranged supporters have targeted the FBI from the second they heard their cult-leader is being investigated for his criminal behavior. Trump is delighted. “The Mar-a-Lago search has thrust Wray into an uncomfortable position, as the bureau he leads finds itself in the political crosshairs. Trump has told advisers that in the nearly two years since leaving office, no issue had better galvanized Republican voters around him than the “raid” of his Florida home. He has taken note of how many Republican politicians issued statements criticizing the FBI, even from some he did not expect. ‘Everyone is on our side,’ Trump told one adviser two days after the search. In another rant several days after the search, he described the FBI in profane terms, calling them ‘fuckers’ who were out ‘to get him,’ according to a person who heard his comments. The former president has grown somewhat paranoid since FBI agents were on his property, positing they might have left behind recording devices, a person who spoke to him said… In recent days, Trump and his team have weighed releasing security-camera footage of FBI agents searching Mar-a-Lago, believing it would further anger his supporters.”
Some others in the Republican Party have grown concerned about the anti-FBI tide, an escalation of long-simmering rhetoric about a perceived “tyrannical” federal government that “true patriots” must curtail. Lawmakers throughout the party have cast the Mar-a-Lago search as the work of a “banana republic,” or a “dictatorship.” Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, likened the federal government to “the Gestapo.”
“The only people who want us to defund the FBI are the Communist Chinese, the human traffickers south of the border and the drug cartels in Colombia,” said Marc Short, a longtime adviser and former chief of staff to former vice president Mike Pence. “There’s a difference between holding political appointees accountable and saying we’re going to defund the FBI and rank and file.”
The threat to FBI personnel came up at a hearing Thursday before a federal judge in Florida to determine how much information about the Mar-a-Lago search could be made public. Jay Bratt, who heads the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control section, argued the government’s position that it was too risky to release additional details: “There is a real concern not just for the safety of these witnesses but to chill other witnesses who may come forward and cooperate in the government’s investigation.”
…On Capitol Hill, Republicans rejected the notion that their fiery condemnations of the FBI’s conduct in searching Trump’s residence contributed to the uptick in threats against federal agents. Asked whether Republican leaders bore any responsibility, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters Friday: “None whatsoever.”
Yesterday, the NY Times’ conservative columnist Ross Douthat was plowing the same fields. He was interested in asking why Mueller’s Russiagate investigation fizzled out so pathetically and how that “sealed Republicans into a permanent suspicion of any investigation into Trumpian malfeasance. He wrote that the investigation “reminded everyone that Trump is a self-interested intriguer surrounded by low-minded hacks. But it also made both the feds and the press look as if they had overreached in search of a Watergate ending. And for the partisan mind, the second part loomed inevitably larger, confirming Trump’s supporters in their belief that whatever sins their man might commit, the deep state was always out to get him.”
Now we’re back to square one. Garland’s choices, wrote Douthat, “turn on facts that the public can see only through a glass darkly.” He hopes, though that Garland has what happened with Mueller when he gavotte go-ahead on the Mar-a-Lago search. “The lesson to be drawn is emphatically not that Trump needs to be given permanent immunity because of a ‘don’t arrest ex-presidents’ rule or out of fears that his supporters will take to the streets or launch lone-wolf attacks on the FBI. The lesson, rather, is that if the agents of the state come after Trump, and especially now when they come as representatives of an administration that might face him in the next election, they can’t afford to miss. Not only in the jury box but also in the court of public opinion, it needs to be clear, crystal clear, what separates any crimes he might be charged with from— for example— the perjury and obstruction of justice that didn’t send Bill Clinton to prison or the breach of intelligence protocols that Hillary Clinton wasn’t charged with. You don’t just need a plausible legal case that tests interesting questions about presidential declassification powers; you need an easy-to-explain slam-dunk.”
So if you have Trump taking design documents for nuclear weapons and shopping them to his pals in Saudi Arabia, congratulations— you got him; lock him up. If you have him taking boxes of notes from foreign leaders because he’s a childish egomaniac who thinks that he’s earned his White House souvenirs, well, then take the documents back, declare victory for the public interest and stop there. And if he took documents about the Russia investigation itself, of the sort that he wanted declassified during his presidency, well, tread carefully, lest you trap us all in an awful time loop where it’s forever 2017.
It seems like aa reasonable presumption that the documents in question are more serious than just some notes to Kim Jong-un but that the potential incrimination falls short of Trump literally selling secrets. But that’s a presumption, not a prediction. I’ve learned to be unsurprised by Trump’s folly and venality but also by his capacity to induce self-defeating blunders among people and institutions I would have considered relatively sensible before his ascent.
Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R) lost to a Trumpist crackpot, David Farnsworth, in a primary bid for an open state Senate seat. Bowers told The Guardian that “The constitution is hanging by a thread. The funny thing is, I always thought it would be the other guys. And it’s my side. That just rips at my heart: that we would be the people who would surrender the constitution in order to win an election. That just blows my mind… They’ve invented a new way. It’s a party that doesn’t have any thought. It’s all emotional, it’s all revenge. It’s all anger. That’s all it is. The veneer of civilization is this thin. It still exists— I haven’t been hanged yet. But holy moly, this is just crazy. The place has lost its mind.”
Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw claims he's somehow "better" than QAnon congresswoman Marjorie Traitor Greene (GA). That's a very, very low bar... and many people would disagree anyway. Listen to Crenshaw just lying his ass off-- whether by design or by derangement; he's every bit as much a fascist enabler as Marjorie Traitor Greene is an actual brain-dead fascist. Damn, I wish a couple of the Republican members had a peg-leg and a hook for a hand!