On Monday, Donald Trump’s team admitted to the Wall Street Journal that they expected Jack Smith would soon indict Trump. On Tuesday, Trump’s team admitted to CNN that Mark Meadows had cut off communication and that he might have flipped on Trump. The people around Trump sure are trying to lower expectations. And for good reason: Trump is about to get hit with a devastating federal criminal indictment that’ll make his Manhattan indictment look like child’s play.
There’s a part near the end when something is falling apart and there’s no hope of saving it, and everyone involved becomes tempted to try to make sure that they’re not the one who takes the brunt of the blame. We’re seeing that now with the narratives that Trump’s people are putting out there. The catch here is that they’re all essentially performing for an audience of one.
When Trump’s people told the WSJ that they expect Jack Smith will soon indict Trump, they tried spinning it as a good thing because Trump will be able to fundraise off it. This is, obviously, nonsense. No one is sitting around hoping to be indicted under the Espionage Act so they can send out a fundraising email over it. But since Trump’s attorneys can’t stop this indictment from happening, they’re trying to use the media to convince Trump that it’s not so bad that he’s being indicted. And Trump, whose recent public appearances suggest he’s quite far gone, might be empty headed enough at this point to accept that ridiculous argument.
When Trump’s people told CNN that they fear Mark Meadows has flipped on Trump, it’s not difficult to figure out what they were trying to do. If Trump rejects the idea that getting indicted for espionage is a good thing, he’s going to be looking for someone to blame. Meadows has already cut off contact with Trump anyway, so Trump’s other advisers have the perfect opportunity to convince Trump that he’s only getting indicted because Meadows has supposedly flipped on him. Who cares if it ends up being true or not; that won’t come out until later anyway. If Trump’s people can get him to direct his rage at Meadows for awhile, it’ll mean Trump won’t immediately blame them for his downfall.
At this late date, that’s really all this is: damage control. Donald Trump is being criminally indicted under the Espionage Act. He’s not magically bouncing back from that one. It’s all over for him. His own people know it. And they’re now planting things in the media to try to convince Trump to blame anyone but them for it. We’ll see more of this kind of damage control in the coming days, as Trump’s indictment draws even closer. And none of it will do anything to actually help Trump – because it’s not designed to. He’s way past the point in his downfall where anyone can help him now.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report