Over the past few days we’ve all learned that Donald Trump’s Department of Justice seized the personal data of everyone from multiple Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, to Trump’s own White House Counsel Don McGahn. These targets are far apart enough that at this point it’s fair to presume that Trump and his DOJ were also targeting a whole lot of other people in between.
It’s also clear that Trump and his DOJ were looking for something they could use against the officials being targeted. We now know that the likes of Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell surely have no skeletons in their closet, or else Trump’s DOJ would have found them. But what if Trump had found something? He could have leaked it to the press to force that official to resign. Or he could have used it as blackmail material. This raises all kinds of questions.
Remember when Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul, two of the most vocally ant-Trump Republican Senators, suddenly became two of Trump’s biggest cheerleaders? Remember when Justice Anthony Kennedy abruptly retired at the perfect time to give Trump and his Republican Party a boost heading into the 2018 midterms? Remember when the esteemed Robert Mueller spent a year aggressively pursuing Trump’s top henchmen with criminal charges, only to suddenly start pulling his punches, and then ultimately give up and go home the minute Bill Barr so much as sneezed at him?
This all seemed highly suspicious at the time. It made us all at least wonder if something was going on behind the scenes. But now, after the fact, we’re learning that Trump was snooping on the personal data of multiple public officials who were potentially in his way, hoping to find something he could use against them.
So how many other public officials were being spied on by Donald Trump and his DOJ? Was any dirt found on any of them? Was that dirt used to blackmail those officials into leaving Trump alone, or becoming Trump allies?
One thing is for sure. Now that the dam has broken, this stuff will keep coming out. Maybe not quite all of it, but enough of it. This is going to get ugly. It’s one thing to find out that the President of the United States was using the Department of Justice to illegally spy on his political adversaries. It’ll be another if it turns out that the President was blackmailing U.S. political officials with the stuff that he found on them.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report