It was always a given that, once Donald Trump and his remaining allies realized they were on the verge of going down, they’d fire off whatever desperate evil schemes they’d been saving up for the end. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve been prepared for Trump’s Battle of the Bulge. Now that Robert Mueller is just a few steps away from nailing Trump on obstruction, here come those final desperate antics. What’s stunning is that, based on what we’ve seen so far this week, Trump and his goons have surprisingly little up their sleeves.
Trump spent the better part of a year steering rogue Congressman Devin Nunes toward running his own sham of a Trump-Russia investigation whose phony conclusions would exonerate Trump and incriminate those investigating Trump. The end result was a memo from Nunes which documented supposed abuses against Trump by the FBI. But that memo is such a disaster, Trump’s own legal minds are trying to keep it from being released, for fear it’ll harm Trump.
The key accusation in the memo did leak today, and it’s about how Trump’s own DOJ extended a FISA warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2017. That’s not remotely controversial. Page has admitted to associating with Russian spies. Of course there were grounds to surveil him. He had no affiliation with the Trump administration in 2017 anyway, so this presumably wasn’t even aimed at Trump. The Nunes memo turns out to be nothing at all. That’s not the only blank that Trump and his people are suddenly firing.
Trump has spent months of his time trying to force the ouster of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Why? McCabe’s wife is a prominent Democrat, so in Trump’s mind, that means McCabe was out to get him. In reality, McCabe never had anything to do with the Trump-Russia investigation. McCabe did announce today that he’s retiring, but he was already looking to retire. Trump didn’t even really force him out. Even if he had, McCabe was the wrong target. Trump wasted so much of his limited remaining political capital on ousting McCabe, even as Republicans like Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, and Christopher Wray are the ones in charge of the Trump-Russia probe. They all still have their jobs.
Perhaps Donald Trump and his allies have additional last minute grenades up their sleeves. But the things they’re firing off right now are not only duds, they’re harming Trump’s cause. The Nunes memo only serves to make Trump look more guilty in the court of public opinion. The McCabe ouster only serves to add yet another charge of attempted obstruction of justice against Trump in the court of law. Stay vigilant. This may not be the last of the barrage. But these ploys we’re seeing this week are shockingly pathetic, even by Trump’s usual inept standards. Is this all that Trump and his goons have left?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report