“I knew things that nobody else knew.” That’s that Donald Trump said back in April of 2018, while bragging about how he’d convinced Rand Paul to flip from a “no” vote to a “yes” vote on a troubled nominee. It almost felt as if Trump were bragging that he’d used some kind of blackmail material to convert the notoriously anti-Trump Rand Paul into a Trump yes-man.
Of course at the time, this felt too over the top to be realistic. Even the infinitely scuzzy Donald Trump wasn’t collecting blackmail material on his political rivals, was he? For all the corrupt things Trump had done, it’s not like he was stealing classified information and hoarding it in his home… oh wait a minute.
So it’s interesting, to say the least, how Rand Paul has responded to the events of this past week. By now we expect him to take anti-government and pro-Trump positions. But after it was revealed that the DOJ was investigating Donald Trump for violations of the Espionage Act, Rand Paul immediately called for the repeal of the Espionage Act. That’s right, Rand Paul wants to basically decriminalize espionage, just to get Trump off the hook. That’s over the top even for him.
It really makes you wonder. Why is Rand Paul so worried about what this DOJ espionage probe into Donald Trump is going to turn up? Already, the unsealed search warrant reveals that Trump had stolen classified information about French President Emmanuel Macron, raising all kinds of questions about what he might have been using it for, given that he endorsed Macron’s far right opponent.
Did Trump have classified dirt on Rand Paul at Mar-a-Lago as well? Is that what Trump’s “I knew things that nobody else knew” line was about? Is that how Trump got Rand Paul to go from being rabidly anti-Trump to rabidly pro-Trump almost overnight? What about Lindsey Graham’s similar 180 degree turn? Or are Paul and Graham just that truly flaky and unstable?
Given that Trump is under criminal investigation for stealing classified information about at least one political rival, we have to at least be asking these questions. We expect the answers will come out in the end one way or the other.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report