And so the new year begins as the old one ended, with an administration on the ropes, and its supporters fighting desperately to ward off the inevitable.
The revelation over the weekend that it was the Australians that prompted the FBI to launch their investigation into the Trump campaign brings the probe ever closer to Trump himself. It’s not a smoking gun, but the walls are closing in. What would constitute a smoking gun? Short of an admission, it would likely be direct evidence that there was a deal between the campaign and the Russian government: the Russians reveal the hacked Democratic emails, in exchange for which a Trump administration, if elected, would drop sanctions.
Mueller will probe on. Nothing will stop him. If Trump fires him—which he may well—the investigation will continue under someone else’s leadership. I’m not the least concerned that Trump can stop it. Even if the vile Republican Congress won’t stand up to his obstruction of justice, the American people will.
Nor will anything stop Trump’s ardent Republican henchmen. It is necessary for them to protect him, not only to protect their agenda (demolishing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and further lowering taxes on the rich), but for psychological reasons: “In for a dime, in for a dollar” goes the old saying. Republicans have so much psychological energy invested in their president that, if they lose him, it will be like losing a piece of their minds. Mama grizzlies defend their cubs to the death. So it will be with Republicans.
It’s amusing to see them rachet up the lies and rationalizations, as the evidence against their president piles up, and his poll numbers plummet. I’m not even referring to Breitbart, whose pathology is shockingly transparent. The Wall Street Journal’s op-ed pages continue to fascinate me, for they are composed by presumably bright people who surely know better than the drivel they write. From this weekend’s edition alone, here’s the estimable Peggy Noonan, ranting about “lies…at the heart” of the television series, “The Crown,” and the new movie, “The Post.” When did Noonan, a political columnist, turn into a movie reviewer? When she decided to add to the distractions her Republican colleagues churn out to divert attention away from the biggest liar of all, her president.
Here too is the aging frat boy, Holman W. Jenkins Jr., screaming about “Trump-Russia Hysteria,” as though the revelations—the ones we already know about—are nothing more than “fictional citations.” Really? One might point out to him that there’s nothing “fictional” about four indictments and an investigation that’s charging right into the Oval Office, but there’s no evidence that Holman W. Jenkins Jr. cares about anything anymore, except circling the wagons alongside Peggy Noonan.
We can expect more of the same from the Journal today, tomorrow and the next day. The greater the risks Muller poses to Trump, the more vituperative and less coherent his defenders become. The day that evidence for the Trump-Russia deal I referenced becomes overwhelming, I have no doubt the Wall Street Journal will editorialize along these lines:
“Mr. Mueller may claim that the emails purporting to show that Mr. Kushner promised the Russians that Mr. Trump would ‘address the sanctions as you wish’ prove direct collusion between his father-in-law and Mr. Putin. But we all can agree that Mr. Mueller’s credibility has been severely undermined, if not entirely destroyed, by his evident pro-Democrat partisanship. Besides, how do we know that the emails were not crafted by the F.B.I. itself, or rogue, pro-Democrat elements within it? There surely is enough evidence that the Special Counsel is willing and able to twist facts, and perhaps even invent them, in his mad, irrational and possibly criminal pursuit of a President against whom he nurses a personal grudge.”
And so on and so forth. Out from the Republican pipe will spout this sewage, directly into the brains of the 32% of Americans who will celebrate Trump despite the most compelling evidence of his crimes. It will be ugly. It will make us disconsolate and angry. It will be further embarrassment for America in the world’s eyes. That is what 2018 promises to bring, but there is a silver lining around this dark cloud: this year also should bring about the demise of Trump and the downfall of his klepto family. Then we’ll set to work on Pence, and have an election in November that will let us, at long last, put an end to our national nightmare.
I wish you a happy, healthy 2018! Be proud that you are a member of The Resistance.