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“Some Republicans are going to jail”



We’re now familiar with Donald J. Trump’s modus operandi. When he’s negotiating a big deal, he’s histrionic: engages in hyperbole (“the greatest,” “you’ll love it”), demands what he wants (a passing vote on Trumpcare), and threatens those against him (primarying his Republican opponents).

Then, when these tactics don’t work, he retreats into sullen darkness, as he did following the collapse of Trumpcare. Living alone in the White House (with Melania and Barron in New York), or wandering the great halls of Mar-a-Lago, Trump—who is said to require only a few hours of sleep a night–turns to Twitter for solace. In his paranoia and resentment—so Nixonesque—he blasts his perceived enemies, his rage fairly drooling through his tweets.

There’s another part to his M.O.: the distractions. It’s not clear how he used this old device as a real estate tycoon, but in politics, he understands that the media has the attention span of a doorknob. With Twitter, he can instantly deflect the glare of publicity away from anything he wants to, and towards anything he invents. Thus, when RussiaGate heats up, he invents SusanRiceGate, and is confident that every media outlet, even his hated MSNBC and CNN, will take the bait and run with it. That the actual issue is totally bogus is irrelevant. Susan Rice, as former CIA Acting Director John McLaughlin has courageously reminded us, merely did her job; indeed, it would have been irresponsible of her to not look more deeply into the information she was given.

But that doesn’t stop Trump and his surrogates from running with the shiny object, flashing it every chance they get in order to halt, albeit temporarily, the mounting revelations of collusion between the Trump camp and Vladimir Putin. The most recent classic example of attention-distraction is Rand Paul, who had been creating a nice little niche for himself as an anti-Trump conservative, i.e. a principled tea partier instead of a mouth frother. Instead, with his absurd insistence Rice should be subpoenaed, Paul shows himself to be little more than another Trump troll and hack Republican.

Proof? Google “Rand Paul, Susan Rice,” and here, in order, are the first hits:

  1. An article from Breitbart (cited above)
  2. A video from Fox “News”
  3. Paul’s own Twitter feed
  4. An article from InfoWars, Alex Jones’s lie-fest
  5. An article from Town Hall, one of the most right wing outlets
  6. An article from the Daily Caller, another right wing propaganda sheet where Ann Coulter has a column

How and why does it happen that this particular non-story is obsessively chewed on by the most extreme rightist circles in American politics? Because the RussiaGate coverup is in full mode. We haven’t yet reached Nixon’s “modified limited hangout,” the partial admission-non-admission he was forced into as evidence of his Watergate crimes mounted. That is coming, perhaps by mid-summer. But not yet. Trump and his allies remain stubbornly committed to their “it’s fake news” claims, abetted by the shiny object distractions. My own feeling, although it may be more of a hope than a rational expectation, is that this country still has enough moral fiber left to get to the bottom of RussiaGate, and then to do whatever has to be done to bring justice to the perps. In this, I took comfort in Tuesday’s statement, by the Texas Democratic congressman, Joaquin Castro, that “some people [will] end up in jail” as a result of the various investigations.

Castro knows his stuff; he’s a member of the House Intelligence Committee and presumably has seen everything, including the Susan Rice-related documents. For Castro to have said what he did, at this point of the game, and with such confidence, is telling. Without revealing confidential information, what he’s essentially done is announce to America that the real facts (as opposed to the made-up ones Trump invents) are so damaging to this President and to his associates, so troubling to American security, that Republicans in high places should be getting ready to move to the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas.

This is far different from an hysterical Michael Flynn screaming “Lock her up!” at the Republican National Convention. In that case, the now-disgraced Flynn was simply displaying his offended-white-male-tea party plumage and pandering to a mob as crazy as he is. Joaquin Castro is not pandering to anyone. In his calm, sober manner, he’s letting us know he’s seen the evidence, and not to worry: the case against Trump will be made. Godspeed, Rep. Castro.

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