The exit of Rachel Brand.
As you know, the third-in-line at the DOJ left her post last night. She did so knowing full well that her exit endangers Rosenstein and thus Mueller -- and thus, the entire country.
Do I overstate the situation? I think not.
Last night on one of the news shows, Benjamin Wittes indicated that Brand was not "axed" to leave, that this unfortunate exit really was purely motivated by an incredibly good offer from the Walmart corporation. But why did Walmart pick this moment to decide that Rachel Brand, and no other lawyer in America, had to have that
position, and damn the price?
Some members of the Walton family (which owns Walmart) made headlines in 2016 by giving large, but not incredibly
large, sums to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Therefore, many news watchers will lapse into the simplistic presumption that the Waltons cannot have been acting at Trump's request when they made Brand an offer she could not refuse.
Walmart is in serious financial trouble these days: See here
. I do not know, off the top of my head, how this administration can aid this massive-but-troubled company, but logic tells us that a company in Walmart's position can only benefit if it curries favor with the president. Trump is the new Putin. Only those oligarchs who bend the knee to the Czar remain oligarchs.
(For that matter, I doubt that those Walton donations to Hillary arose from deep ideological reasons. More likely, they simply thought she was going to win.)
: "Simply put, if the president were to fire Rosenstein tomorrow, Solicitor General Noel Francisco would take over supervision of Mueller and his investigation." In other words, he's the Bork.
You will recall that -- after a decent interval -- Robert Bork was rewarded with the offer of a seat on the Supreme Court. A rare concatenation of events prevented Bork from taking that position, but that fluke is unlikely to be repeated. Besides, we live in the age of kompromat and MeToo: If Francisco won't play ball, it would be an easy matter to pay off a half-dozen women to tell horror stories of the he-touched-my-waist
variety. If not that, then some other skeleton in his closet will pop out and say boo
So there goes Brand, and Rosenstein, and Mueller, and America.
Speaking of weaponized feminism:
Although each story has more than one side, right now I have no problem believing what Rob Porter's wives have said about him. That said, the timing of these revelations has set off my paranoia alarms.
What made those alarms much louder was the subsequent demand for John Kelly's scalp. The attacks from liberals were predictable and comprehensible, but the attacks from conservatives -- yes, there have been some -- are more interesting. Some Alt Right nationalists distrust Kelly because Kelly's instincts have always been to "mainstream" Trump. To the nationalists, anything "mainstream" smacks of the dreaded Globalist Conspiracy. (Example.
) (Boy, I thought my
blog was an eyesore!)
Beyond that, I believe that many Alt Rightists -- motivated their readings of Ayn Rand or Alexander Dugin or both -- genuinely want
America to devolve into chaos. Kelly, for all his faults, is a man of military discipline. He is not an agent of chaos.
I remind you that Kelly fired Bannon
. Roger Stone
offered the outlandish theory that John Kelly has been drugging Donald Trump.
Am I claiming to have secret info about a plot to get Kelly? No, of course not. I'm simply noting that there are always factions, and factions within factions. Kelly has enemies within the Trumpist right. Sometimes people we hate do battle with each other, and those standing on the outside can't easily comprehend what's going on. Even Kelly
may not comprehend who his true enemy is.
The Democratic Memo.
Trump's refusal to release the D memo, even though the FBI seems to have fewer concerns about this document than about the Nunes propaganda sheet, probably means that Adam Schiff will read the thing into the record. I've noticed a step up in "Schiff's a leaker" agit-prop on the right.
This, in turn, may lead to charges against Schiff. Don't laugh: This administration is capable of anything
I've ragged on Bill Palmer in the past and will do so again. A day like yesterday forced Dr. Pangloss into all sorts of surreal rationalizations for his trademarked slap-happy optimism, and the results were darkly hilarious. Want a good laugh?
I’m not saying that Trump won’t fire Rosenstein. Trump is so erratic and so desperate, he might try to fire Barney the Dinosaur for all we know. But I am saying that Trump can’t get away with firing Rosenstein. There’s a difference. Trump didn’t get away with firing FBI Director James Comey, because it directly let to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump made the mistake of firing Comey at a time when he had no political cover for getting away with it, and thus he didn’t get away with it.
Yes he did. And now he's going to fire Rosenstein and then Mueller. Eventually, the Justice Department will bring Trumped-up charges against Mueller, against Steele, against Schiff and against Hillary Clinton. More than that. As Trump solidifies control over the justice system, we may also see charges (or at least a propaganda barrage) brought against any Democrat who stands between Bernie Sanders and the 2020 nomination.