I originally wrote this post yesterday; since then, much has changed.
It turns out that Newsweek's story is not about Trump's alleged breakdown. That report turned out to be -- as I hoped -- no more than a rumor. The actual story
is about Trump's financial conflicts of interest. It seems that Rachel Maddow read advance excerpts of this story on her show last night; too bad I didn't get a chance to catch it.
I'm going to let my original post stand, because the warning about what I've called the "McAlpine gambit" still seems like sound general advice. Besides, I had promised you folks an update on that wild (and no doubt false) story about the rape allegation against Donald Trump.
* * *
Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald
is working on big new story about Donald Trump. The story is not online now, but it may be by the time you read these words.
As I write, an unverified rumor holds that Eichenwald will reveal that Trump suffered a breakdown circa 1990 and did a stint in a mental institution.
If that is
the story -- well, I just hope that Eichenwald has his ducks in a row, because my initial reaction is skeptical.
Do you recall the strange story of Michigan state legislator Todd Courser? Last year, he was caught having an extramarital affair. In order to cover up this minor pecadillo, he used an odd tactic: He deliberately spread false rumors that he had been caught having sex with a male prostitute.
Why would Courser do such a thing? He was following the course of action outlined in a book by Margaret Thatcher's good friend, Lord McAlpine:
First, create a situation where you are wrongly accused. Then, at a convenient moment, arrange for the false accusation to be shown to be false beyond all doubt. Those who have made accusations against both the company and its management become discredited. Further accusations will then be treated with great suspicion.
We have good evidence that Team Trump is following the McAlpine recipe. Many of you will recall the story of "Katie Johnson," the woman who is supposedly suing Trump for committing an act of rape committed when she was underaged. You can read the details here
In my earlier pieces, I argue that "Katie Johnson" is probably a fictional character invented by Roger Stone, Trump's skeevy friend and gray eminence. The name is just one of many giveaways: Until recently, President Obama had an attractive secretary named Katie Johnson who just happens to be the same age as the allegedly real woman who brought that lawsuit. I suspect that the choice of the name "Katie Johnson" was one of Roger's little jokes.
A man of great wit, Roger is.
In order to "sell" the rape allegation, we now have a (probably staged) tiff between Roger Stone and his mondo bizarro writing partner, a hypersexualized Texas cryptid named Robert Morrow. (Morrow's motto: "I love titties." His entire life seems to be modeled after Terry Jones' character in the Dirty Vicar sketch
.) Morrow -- who wears a jester's cap in most recent photos -- says that he believes Katie Johnson to be a real woman who was really raped by Donald Trump, whom Morrow calls a "child rapist." In response, Stone calls Morrow a "Quisling."
No sale, fellas. I don't buy any of it.
I think that this whole "friends falling out" scenario is a gimmick invented by a couple of weisenheimers who got pissed off because everyone in the media saw through their silly "McAlpine Gambit."
Right now, the big question is: Will Kurt Eichenwald's Big Reveal turn out to be yet another McAlpine Gambit? I know that many right-wingers have targeted Eichenwald for particularly venomous displays of hatred -- just as, years ago, they targeted Dan Rather.
Remember what happened to Dan...?