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The Shearing of Hair Trompf (21)

January 24, 2018

I’m beginning a new page of the shearing today because it appears that the congressional and WH Republicans are running much scareder (and scarier) than just a short time ago. A hint of desperation, as well as exasperation. Possibly a prelude to panic, and the dangerously irrational acts that can result. My impression is that reporters and commentarians believe that the Mueller investigation is suddenly much closer to T and his people. R reaction implies that they think so too. There appears to be a general suspicion that M has solid evidence re. both collusion and obstruction. (The next thing would be money laundering and maybe other crimes—I wonder if M is holding T Jr. and Jared hostage on that score.)

The R response, one that dates back to Sen. Joe McCarthy (early ‘50s, R-WI, I remember him on b&w TV) is to wave a sheet of paper in the air and whip up an all-encompassing paranoia toward their opponents. Here’s clips of Sen. Johnson (R-WI) & Lou Dobbs, yesterday, claiming Deep State conspiracy, FBI Secret Society, “actively trying to bring down the T presidency” (i.e. enemies within, fifth column, Judas/Lucifer archetype, etc.—here’s a WaPoguide to conspiracy theories”).

Paul Waldman put it well in his column this morning:

It is absolutely no surprise that Republicans, including members of Congress, have found their way to lunatic conspiracy theories on the Russia question. That’s because it’s what they always do. They insisted that Barack Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim enacting a carefully laid plan to destroy the United States. They convinced themselves that Bill Clinton ran a drug-running operation out of an Arkansas airport and had dozens of his political adversaries murdered. They decided that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were running a child sex ring out of a D.C. pizza restaurant. The president they revere has gushed praise on conspiracy radio host Alex Jones, who has said that 9/11 was an inside job and the massacre at Sandy Hook was staged with child actors.

Not all Republicans tumble down these rabbit holes, but there will always be substantial numbers of the Republican electorate, Republican media figures and Republican elected officials who do. Whether they actually believe this stuff isn’t really the point. To repeat, the purpose is to convince the public that anything that comes out of the Mueller investigation can be discounted and disbelieved, no matter how incriminating it seems.

Jennifer Rubin also sees the M list reaching into T’s inner circle (of hell, as it seems to me), focusing on Sessions.

Mark Sumner in Dkos comments on the people interviewed, getting closer and closer to T (who today says he will sit for an M interview, under oath, unlike Hillary, in case you have forgotten her). In S’s opinion, “the coffin nail labeled ‘obstruction’ seems to already be firmly in place.”

This thing does seem to be heating up. It seems as though congressional and RNC Rs have mostly decided that, faced with a likely wave of D victories in November, T is all they’ve got. Their big donors like what he has done for them, and will pour money into R candidates. So they are circling the wagons.

But I’m worried about one particular piece of the paranoia gambit: the mention of a Deep State coup. We know well that when Rs characterize their opponents (negatively, of course), they do it to hide that characteristic in themselves.

1-25 Jared doesn’t want to talk to the Senate judiciary committee.  Meanwhile it seems TJr’s lies to the committee are potentially explosive. / NYT reports that T wanted to fire M, last June, claiming that he could justly do so because of M conflicts of interest. When senior WH counsel, McGann, said he would resign rather than ask the DOJ to dismiss M, T did not follow through. (The article is a good review of highlights since June.)

[Pages (1) and (20) of this episode.]

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