At the least, Donald Trump finally seems to understand that he’s knee deep in a battle for his presidency and his freedom. It’s taken him long enough. He seemed to think the Trump-Russia investigation was a joke that would never get near him. Now his top people are being arrested, his family members are next, and he’s belatedly figured out that he’s going down if he doesn’t find a way to fight back. The trouble for him: he still doesn’t understand who his enemies are.
Trump has spent the week viciously attacking FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, in an attempt to force him out of the bureau. Why has Trump targeted McCabe? Because months ago he heard a ridiculous fake story on Fox News about how McCabe was supposedly a Hillary Clinton plant. Trump is so bent on ousting McCabe, he’s had his Republican allies in Congress targeting McCabe as well. They’ve been willing to go along with it because they’ve wanted to keep him happy as their tax scam bill progressed. But even they know McCabe isn’t Trump’s real enemy.
Let’s say Trump manages to oust Andrew McCabe tomorrow. You know what will change about the Trump-Russia investigation? Nothing. McCabe has no authority over the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation; that’s in the hands of Robert Mueller. McCabe has no authority over Mueller; that’s in the hands of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Trump has no understanding of the battle he’s even fighting, because he’s too married to the paranoid fantasy in his head that Hillary Clinton is somehow using McCabe to take him down.
This is far from the first time in which Donald Trump has misunderstood who was who in this battle. He kept FBI Director James Comey on board for months, even as Comey was quietly investigating his Russia crimes, because he mistakenly thought Comey was playing for his team. He handpicked Rosenstein and blew it. He handpicked Dana Boente, who was working against him the entire time. For someone obsessed with personal loyalty, Trump sure has a hard time reading people. He has no idea what’s even happening to him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report