Now that one of Donald Trump’s top advisers has decided to cut a devastating plea deal against him in the Russia scandal, and now that the Republican Congress is about to no longer need Trump with the tax bill saga nearing an end, Trump is on the verge of finding himself vulnerable on an unprecedented level. Now we’re seeing what his response is going to be. He’s going even more berserk on Twitter than ever, and behind the scenes, he’s going to oust everyone around him in paranoid fashion.
Trump has long wanted to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, not because Tillerson has spent all year demonstrating that he has no idea what he’s doing in the job, but simply because Tillerson was caught calling Trump a “f—ing moron” behind his back. Now that Trump’s close associate Michael Flynn is selling him out with the plea deal, Trump seems to be looking to close ranks as tightly as possible. So according to a New York Times report (link), Trump is about to fire Tillerson. This will set off a cascading chain reaction of events.
Trump plans to nominate current CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his new Secretary of State. He’s a former member of Congress, so it’s likely the Republican Senate will confirm him. However, the Democrats on the committee will be given a chance to question Pompeo’s motivations for routinely covering for Trump in the Russia scandal, and they’ll get to do it on live television. Can they scandalize Pompeo enough to cost him both jobs? Trump also plans to name Senator Tom Cotton as the new CIA Director, creating yet another Senate vacancy for the Republicans (though the Republican Governor of Arkansas will likely fill it by appointment).
Given how impulsive and unstable Donald Trump is, it’s still not 100% certain that he’ll actually fire Rex Tillerson (Vladimir Putin is close friends with Tillerson and could intervene). However, we are seeing how Trump plans to move forward in light of Michael Flynn’s plea deal. He’s going to oust anyone he even slightly distrusts, and he’s going to try to replace them with people he thinks are personally loyal to him, whether they’re suitable for the job or not. This kind of behavior usually marks the last days of a failing regime. Look for even more ousters going forward.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report