It’s Called Consciousness of Guilt: Trump Really Wanted to Shutdown the Flynn Investigation
Doug Blackmon’s very visceral piece on Facebook about Trump is arresting. He refers to Trump as ‘the suicide vest of the GOP.’
However, I want to take issue with this:
“Before Yates congressional testimony on May 8 and the president’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey on the following day, “Russia-gate,” as it’s being called by some, was a slowly accreting body of injury to the president’s political viability. It was very serious, no doubt. It undermined confidence in his leadership among Republican House members as they eye falling approval ratings before the 2018 midterm elections, and reflected the president’s staggeringly poor judgment in the selection of top aides, his astonishingly bad political instincts other than in the rawest theater of the campaign trail, and his establishment of a White House staff that can only be described as fully dysfunctional.”
“However, it remained a political blunder—a terrible one, but one that a series of wiser decisions by President Trump could conceivably have overcome: a new chief of staff, mass firings at the White House, a new willingness to listen to the judgments of others and to cut loose bad choices from his team.
–Just as important, (Democrats and committed Trump haters won’t like to read this), as recently as two weeks ago, there was no serious basis in publicly available information to believe that the Trump-Russia scandal extended beyond a series of ugly but limited contacts between parties friendly to, or under the control of, the Kremlin.”
“Trump’s effort to use the director of national intelligence and the NSA director to refute Comey’s statement and to say there was no evidence of collusion echoes President Richard Nixon’s “unsuccessful efforts to use the CIA to shut down the FBI’s investigation of the Watergate break-in on national security grounds,” said Jeffrey H. Smith, a former general counsel at the CIA. Smith called Trump’s actions “an appalling abuse of power.”
-The conclusion by all major U.S. counter-intelligence agencies that Russian espionage operators, under the specific direction of top Kremlin leadership, actively meddled in the 2016 election in an attempt to help Mr. Trump was aggravating to the president, but nothing pointed to his having any direct involvement. Mr. Trump’s public invitation during the campaign that the Russians do more hacking to locate material damaging to his Democratic opponent could be written off as unwitting bluster.”
–The past coziness between Russian interests and former campaign manager Paul Manafort was ugly, but was likely legal and had no direct connection to Mr. Trump. The future president’s seizure of an inconsequential Moscow dilettante named Carter Page as a “senior advisor” was a sophomoric aggrandizement to make himself appear to have substantive advice on Russia, but it carried no suggestion of criminality. The false statements of Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing that he had had no contact with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, was a bumbling omission. But it came from an Alabama senator already assumed to be bumbling by everyone in Washington—except President Trump. In any case, it was in no way illegal, and touched the president in no direct fashion.”
“No more. This scandal has metastasized more quickly and destructively than I could possibly have forecast.”
First of all, the assessment of the intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with the election was more than just ‘aggravating to the President’ it called into question his very legitimacy. In fact, the MSM meme-why can’t Trump just admit Russia was involved? reflects a certain blinkered thinking.
Why? Because accepting this calls into question his legitimacy. That Blackmon took so long to figure this out is telling. He also worked very hard to believe that every thing we knew was just bad judgement by Trump in choices of advisers, etc, rather than the possiblity that these are an awful of ‘mistakes’ and maybe it’s a pattern not just an endless series of unrelated coincidences. Carter Page was not just a ‘dilettante’ he was actually a recruited Russian agent and he was Trump’s foreign policy adviser for four months.
Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager for four months, Michael Flynn was perhaps the third highest ranking official in the Trump Administration for 28 days-and received and had assess to all manner of the most sensitive classified information.
The sanctioned Russian oligarch Sechin Igor had offered Page a 19% stake in Rosnet in exchange for changing the GOP platform on Russia’s attack on Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.
As for asking Russia to hack Hillary’s emails it could be written off if you didn’t have this larger context. And honestly, what he did there was a major crime itself. Note that this was basically Trump’s last press conference of the election and that this was one of the events which led to the opening of the investigation into Trump Russia.
Blackmon seems to think that his willingness all along to believe the most charitable reading of Trump was right and that we Democrats and Trump haters were wrong. If so, then how did we get here?
If we were wrong to presume that with this much smoke there quite possibly is fire how do you explain Trump’s energy expended in obstructing this investigation?
Isn’t it possible that Blackmon and other MSM pundits who always looked for the most charitable explanations of Herr Trump’s actions were wrong?
Blackmon talks about public evidence as if that is the only evidence that matters and as if he doesn’t understand how investigations work. You begin an investigation to get at evidence not currently pubic.
Now Blackmon rightly says that what Trump has done is clear obstruction of justice. But he still thinks that maybe Trump fired Comey, let Flynn keep handling classified info after his compromised poistion with the Russians and the FBI investigation out of simple bad judgement.
Here is another theory: maybe Trump fired Comey not just out bad judgment but consciousness of guilt in the underlying charges-collusion with Russia. I mean if there were nothing there as Blackmon seemed very willing to believe just a couple of weeks ago, then Trump’s behavior makes no sense.
To be sure, Trump’s judgment here was terrible as he wrongly thought that just firing Comey would end this and its’ done the opposite. But it’s logical to assume Trump had very good reason to want to shutdown this investigation.
The coverup not the crime makes no sense when you think about it. Why coverup if you’re not guilty of something pretty serious?
In particular it’s clear Trump really wanted to shutdown the Flynn investigation. Why-as Blackmon assumed this wasn’t any big problem for him just two weeks ago?
WaPo: “Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?” https://t.co/Tztf7h3CRs
— Scott Detrow (@scottdetrow) May 23, 2017
It’s called consciousness of guilt.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 23, 2017
And Flynn is a real problem for Trump.
— The Hill (@thehill) May 23, 2017
Like Flynn’s lawyer says ‘He definitely has a story to tell.’
Bottomline: isn’t it least highly plausible that Trump went to all this trouble because something was really there in Russia collusion?
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.