Patterns

Sally Yates informed the White House about an investigation into Michael Flynn’s Russia connections and she was fired.  Preet Bharara was investigating a possible Russian money laundering operation via the Trump organization and he was fired.  James Comey was supervising an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence agents to affect the outcome of the presidential election and he was fired. You could say that there is a pattern, and then there are the lies.  Initially the White House said that Trump fired Comey exclusively at the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General, Rosenstein, who at Trump’s request had documented the unfair treatment Hillary Clinton received from Comey.  White House spokespeople and the vice president were sent out to convey that message to the public, but of course nobody but Trump’s base believed it, so the president took corrective action.  He went on national TV to declare that he had decided to fire Comey a long time ago, because he wanted the investigation into the collusion, according to him ‘a hoax,’ to end.

For once, Trump spoke the truth, although there were also plenty of lies in his TV appearance.  He claimed that Comey had requested to have dinner with him at the White House to ask if he could keep his job, and had told him he was not under investigation.  According to people who know Comey well and spoke with him around the time of the dinner meeting none of those things can possibly be true.  They, in return, revealed that Trump inappropriately had asked Comey for his ‘loyalty,’ to which the FBI director responded that he could only pledge his honesty. Trump could have fired Comey for any reason, but not for the reason he gave.  It borders on obstruction of justice, an impeachable offense, and it will energize FBI agents, who are furious about Comey’s dismissal, to double down on the collusion investigation.  And if Trump, as is widely expected, appoints a partisan FBI director who tries to end the investigation, the scandal will be so colossal that Rosenstein will be forced to appoint a Special Counsel and/or Congress to install a Special Committee, which will only be more damaging for Trump.

In the meantime Senator Lindsey Graham is pursuing information about Russian money in the Trump organization.  Trump still refuses to make his tax returns public, but he had his lawyers draw up a bizarre letter stating that there are no financial ties to Russia ‘with a few exceptions.’ The document says that money paid for goods and services (like luxury apartments) cannot be traced, which means that it can very well come from shell companies loaded with rubles.

In the shadow of Comey’s firing the moral destruction of the United States continues.  Trump installed an ‘election integrity group’ to find the three million illegal immigrants who voted for Hillary Clinton.  Betsy DeVos lifted restrictions on for-profit colleges, many of which scam their students out of money, and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions intensified the racist ‘war on drugs.’

There is a rule in decision theory that says ‘if you cannot solve the problem, enlarge it,’ and something similar appears to be Trump’s guiding principle.  Like some farm animals, he runs into the fire and not away from it.  Those animals usually don’t survive, and neither will Trump’s presidency.

Hugo Kijne

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