Putin and Trump. Photo: Flickr.
As the Trump government shutdown continues over the idiotic idea of building a wall along the Mexican border, The New York Times has broken news that the FBI opened an investigation into “whether Trump was secretly working for Russia,” not long after his firing of former F.B.I. Director James Comey.
The possibility Trump is a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been with us ever since Trump said—on July 27, 2016—regarding the much-hyped Hilary Clinton e-mails “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” Why Trump would’ve made such a strange statement—asking one of America’s prime international adversaries to spy on an American politician—was very puzzling at that time. Since then, pieces to the puzzle have been falling into place.
Friday, The New York Times reported the FBI had opened an investigation into whether Donald Trump had a covert campaign to help Russia—after his firing of Comey. The Times story said, “In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. Director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.”
The story says, “agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him…because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude.” But the firing of Comey, in May 2017, “in which Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry.” Trump genuflecting behavior—shockingly on display at Helsinki—is in stark contrast to the bombastic war-mongering posture he takes toward other American enemies: such as Iran.
Trump’s peacemaking overtures with Russia raise a serious question: do the Russians have compromising information on him? He couldn’t even pretend he was his own man. Moreover, does Trump create controversy to deflect from his Russian connection? Trump’s government shutdown is now the longest shutdown on record—as it moves toward a month.
He told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, on Dec 11 “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. … I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.” Of course, Trump, and the party-before-country GOP, are now blaming Democrats for the shutdown—though Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress, and the White House, for nearly two years, and advance no legislation regarding immigration, or a wall. It should be understood that: this shutdown has a connection to Trump’s fear of the Russia investigation—and of impeachment.
Originally we’d been focused on –correctly– Trump’s fear of right-wing media personalities like Laura Ingram, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. They were either attacking him, and, or, telling their audiences, about the absence of any movement on building a wall. This has terrified Trump for one basic reason: without the support of right-wing media—and their millions of listeners and viewers—Trump’s approval rate would sink faster than the Titanic.
Without the sycophantic support of these conservative crackers Trump would be in real jeopardy of impeachment for the actions he’s taken. Now the Times Russia story adds another dimension. The devious Trump doesn’t mind us thinking his behavior about the world is only because of his fear of the right-wing media; he knows we may not appreciate it but at least we uderstand why.
That’s another Trump way of keeping attention away from his even bigger fear; his Russia connection story and the firing of James Comey. The man’s crazy like a Fox. A genius in the art of deception learned while fleecing investors in the shady Casino world.
Let’s remember, Trump told NBC reporter Lester Holt this regarding Comey’s firing “when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said ‘you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.” Logically though, if the “Russia thing with Trump,” was just “a made-up story,” why did Trump feel the need to fire Comey? Surely, “where there is smoke there is fire.” Trump’s actions project guilt.
Trump’s trump-card that keeps him, so far untouchable, are those rabid racist right-wingers who listen to Fox News. This is why Trump must appease the likes of Ingram, Limbaugh, and his buddy Sean Hannity. In fact, without them Trump would’ve likely been impeached already, and would probably now have the dubious distinction to have been the first president convicted in an impeachment trial.
When Trump was campaigning for president, many Republicans who now grovel to lick his boots had very disparaging things to say about him. Back in July 2015, when Trump said Senator John McCain was “not a war hero” because he was captured, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a friend of John McCain, objected. Graham complained Trump was “bringing his [McCain’s] name down” and said Trump “shouldn’t be commander in chief.”
He also called Trump “a jackass.” Yet, Senator Graham, once respected as a moderate voice of Republican reason, went from an ardent critic to just another Trump GOP lackey. Graham’s flipflopping is indicative of what the Republican Party has become more clearly in the age of Trump: an immoral win-at-all-cost party. In March 2016, Mitt Romney, now a senator from Utah, said “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing members of the American public for suckers.”
Romney also said, “dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark” and he denounced Trump’s “bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics.” But, in Nov. 2016, after Trump was elected president, Romney had dinner with Trump—ostensibly, because he was supposedly under consideration as a candidate for secretary of state.
Trump likely was playing Romney and never seriously considered him for that post. Romney’s lack of integrity, in seeking a job from a man he called “a fraud,” was on full display. In June 2016, then House Speaker Paul Ryan criticized Trump’s attack on Mexican-American Judge Gonzalo Curiel as “the textbook definition of a racist comment,” after Trump said Judge Curiel couldn’t fairly adjudicated a lawsuit against Trump University because “He’s a Mexican.”
But once Trump won the White House Ryan did a total turnaround basking in Trump’s win—which was underpinned by his bigoted use of Birtherism and hatred for Mexicans and Muslims. Once Trump the “jackass,” “phony,” “fraud,” who used “textbook” racism was elected president, he was lionized by the leadership of the Republican Party. The reason these Republicans have changed their tune, and now defend Trump, is because the Republican base loves him—for all the wrong reasons, including primarily, his open call to make America White again.
As long as their base backs Trump, Republicans will defend him. They all fear being primaried by the most bigoted Republican voters. However, this reality can only continue as long as Trump has the support of right-wing media entities like Fox News, and their mouthpieces like Ingram, Hannity etc. Absent their assistance, Trump would lose his fanatical psychological grip on the base, and Republican politicians would all of a sudden revert back to denouncing him.
The FBI investigations, the Robert Muller investigations, and the hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, and Karen McDougal, would all then be taken seriously by Republicans in Congress. Impeachment would then follow, with the help of Republicans, who would magically find their lost integrity. This is the main reason Trump will do anything to appease the right-wing media—and their audiences.
Trump has been able to survive all the scandals and investigations because of this power base. They are why he said he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” without losing “any voters.”
Which leads us right back to the current shutdown which is nothing more than a grandstanding performance, by Trump, to keep Republican voters happy—and the right-wing press propagandists satisfied. Consequently, the shutdown will continue, until Trump declares some emergency where he will take the sort of unilateral action Republicans always claimed President Barack Obama took illegally.