Coop Scoop: The FBI Raid Leads GOP to Big Lie 2.0 (resend)
As Trump begins to go down, Trumpism is stronger than ever.
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August 11, 2022
By Marc Cooper
The good news: Donald J. Trump, ensnared in the pincer movement between the DOJ and Jan6 Committee, has finally been trapped in a legal morass from which there appears to be little chance of escape.
The bad news: With Trump or without him, Trumpism has now completely transformed the Republican Party into a frankly subversive force that still mortally threatens our democratic institutions. We ignore or downplay this fact strictly at our peril.
We have been thrust into a period of absolute and stark political clarification and that requires us to update and revise our understanding of and the vocabulary we use to describe the political conjuncture.
We can no longer say that Trump is the Teflon Don and that he remains impervious to all attempts at accountability.
We can no longer say that Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice are AWOL when it comes to L’Affaire Trump.
And more importantly, we can no longer say that the future of the republic depends on what happens to Trump. No. The problem is Trumpism. Not Trump. And that means The Republican Party is the problem. Regarding the GOP in any way other than as an active threat is to indulge in a fools errand.
We can probably best date the onset of Trump’s current losing streak to six weeks ago when the Jan 6 Committee hosted former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson as a star witness. For any of those who had previous doubts, Trump was revealed as the impetuous truculent man-baby who, in fact, oversaw every aspect of the multi-pronged attempt to reverse the democratic election of 2020. And he did so knowing he had lost
Then former White House counsel Pat Cipollone came forward to further damage Trump, confirming that he and other officials had repeatedly told Trump in the days before January 6 that he had lost the election and that there was zero evidence of any significant voter fraud.
Cipollone was then requested to repeat that testimony and who knows what else to the federal Grand Jury convened by the DOJ to investigate the assault on the capitol and the attempted coup against an incoming Biden administration. Another terrible day for Trump.
Meanwhile, presidential cronies including Lindsay Graham and Mark Meadows were being subpoenaed by that other grand jury, the one in Atlanta, probing Trump & Co.’s attempt to jimmy the 2020 results in Georgia. And it was clear that Trump himself was the central target of that investigation.
Then came the voters revolt in Kansas. A landslide 18 point defeat of a referendum that would outlaw abortion in this deep red state, thereby clouding all predictions for an inevitable Republican cake walk in November.,
As I write this, Trump has just finished up a four-hour interrogation by the New York Attorney General in a civil probe of his business practices but answering only with the fifth amendment (reportedly more than 400 times even though he is loudly on the record saying anyone who takes the fifth is admitting guilt).
And, earlier this week, came the true bombshell news when a detachment of FBI agents spent four hours serving a federal search warrant on the oligarchic compound of Mar-A-Lago and left carting away a load of seized documents.
True to character, Trump threw an immediate tantrum, firing off a rambling written statement falsely alleging that he was the victim of some extra-legal armed assault by the jack-booted thugs of the FBI. Truth is, there’s been an ongoing tug of war between Trump and the current admin over his retention of White House documents. That issue was supposedly resolved some months ago when several boxes were surrendered by Trump.
But the Wall Street Journal and other outlets now report that Trump was dimed out, turned in, by an inside source who told the FBI he was still hiding some of the missing papers. That’s a delicious factoid that the wiseacres over at the Lincoln Project could not resist. They immediately turned out this video ad to explicitly fuck with Trump’s head.
An instantaneous reaction also spurted out from a Republican Establishment joined at the hip with with its Auxiliary Fighting Forces on the alt-right, in the form of a collective birthing of the Big Lie 2.0.
A giant hissy fit. A melt-down. A massive flip out. Here was the whole fruit bowl of Republican clowns, moon dogs, werewolves, gargoyles, insurrectionists, pols and trolls rolling around on the floor, eyes in the back of their heads, howling and squealing like hogs caught under a gate. The Feds planted evidence! This was personally ordered by Biden, or was it Hillary? The FBI violently smashed into the property, rummaged wildly through everything, and acted like thugs. And so on and so on. The rhetoric was hotter if the golden oldies of the last six years.
In fact, the FBI was in contact with the Secret Service guarding the compound and made arrangements in advance for their plainclothes agents to come at 10 in the morning and execute the warrant that a federal judge signed confirming there was probable cause to search for evidence of a crime.
House Minority Leader and Talking Turd Kevin McCarthy took advantage of the incident to vow revenge via Endless Oversight Hearings against Democrats and specifically against Merrick Garland if and when the GOP takes back the house. In other words, he has promised to use the power of the state to punish political opponents.
For his part, Trump sent out a follow up two-line appeal to his supporters that basically said they raided my house. Send me money. Like the God who appeared in George Carlin’s iconic routine on religion, Trumps’ notes to his worshippers always say: “I love you. And I’m broke.:”
Marjorie Taylor Greene contributed her two cents to the Republican outrage by demanding Congress should “defund the FBI.” And on social media, the street brigades of the Republican Party – the militias, the DVE’s, the Christian Crazies—were at Level Eleven and DefCon One calling openly for armed uprisings and civil war. Ex-con and member of the Trump-Giuliani crew, Bernard Kerik, takes the cake in suggesting that the feds were trying to assassinate Trump.
And as the Trump drama was unraveling, Republican voters in five of the six swing states, chose candidates who deny the validity of the 2020 election, who still want to reverse it, and who –if elected in November—will have the power to overturn future elections.
Some seventy-two hours after the FBI left Mar-A-Lago, I have yet to hear, see or read from a single elected Republican that the FBI was simply, and rather politely in this case, carrying out a clear and constitutional legal process in accord with the 14th Amendment.
The failure to do so now establishes and gels what we might call the Big Lie 2.0. It will now become an article of faith among the Fox News lemmings that Donald Trump was the object of a violent, illegal tossing of his home by rogue FBI agents who planted evidence on him at the behest of Joe Biden.
Merrick Garland may be many things, but he is neither stupid nor naïve. One of the reasons he has been so cautious is because he knew that any substantial move against Trump would be answered with a certain vigorous if not violent response by those who have come to adore him. Just as he knew Trump would do everything in his power to incite and encourage those response.
That is what we are seeing now, at least in initial form. Garland has obviously made the decision that it was worth it to risk the reaction. So far it has been. Garland also knows that when you shoot the king, you must kill the king. The attorney general has crossed the Rubicon and after taking this shot at Trump, he knows very well he must know go all the way. What that way will be, remains unclear for the moment. But it’s undeniable that Trump is now a fast track to nowhere.
Wouldn’t it be just delightful if Trump went down a la Capone? A simple charge of illegally possessing secret documents. No trial. A quiet guilty plea to a charge reduced to misdemeanor. A manageable fine. No probation. But in accord with the statute, the convict is prohibited from holding elected office. Just one scenario…
Some folks are theorizing the FBI raid has rebounded in Trump’s favor and that it has been a costly mistake by the DOJ, a veritable gift to The Grifter. Poppycock. The real mistake would be to not act against this serial political abuser who is still actively threatening the democratic order. And by taking this dramatic shot, the Attorney General has left himself no option except to go all the way.
That said, Trump has reaped some immediate, if perhaps tenuous, benefit. The lightning-paced rallying around Dear Leader that at least temporarily bridged all divisions on the Right, plopping Steve Bannon and the militias along with Kevin McCarthy and arguably Mitt Romney into the same basket of apologists, has cleared the 2024 Republican presidential field of wannabees.
Now that Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, and Ron DeSantis are all defending Trump today as if he were Fred Hampton (who was assassinated by the FBI), they have made it impossible for them to challenge him – unless something dramatic once again roils the political waters. David Plouffe who managed the Obama campaigns, thinks that Trump’s gain will be very short-lived. He even doubts if Trump will be the nominee in 2024. “There is no guarantee that Trump will win the nomination, or that he will even run,” Plouffe says. “The primaries are a year away and a lot can happen in between,” he adds.
So let’s recap: We are heading into the most consequential elections since the Civil War where the fate of democracy is on the table. One party enters the fray with no stated program other than fealty to its authoritarian leader. That leader, already an incompetent, every day waxes more desperate and detached as he –rightfully—suspects the walls are closing in on him.
His political party, now offered ample opportunity to break with him, chooses the opposite route and, in lock-step, falls into total obedience to him.
As the Jan6 committee and the DOJ scurry to uncover the machinations of the Trump Coup Crew, that same cabal prepares to regain power and to redraw the face of the United States to resemble that of – all places—Hungary whose proto-fascist leader was given several standing ovations by thousands of conservatives meeting last week at CPAC.
In these overheated days of mid-August, what are supposed to be the Dog Days of Summer have morphed into highly charged weeks of political suspense that will determine the future of the United States. Right now…it’s a race. Can the authoritarians be stopped in time? If you think there is a clear answer, you are wrong.
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