Tuesday, May 9, 2017
The Coup Begins
Let me state this as bluntly as I can. If you think for a moment that Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because of the way he handled the Clinton email server investigation last year, I would strongly advise you to stay out of Vegas for the foreseeable future; you'll lose your shirt and the kids tuition to boot.
The firing of Sally Yates should've sounded the alarm. We now know that just days before she was removed from her post as acting Attorney General she warned the Administration that Michael Flynn was compromised; Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (which just happens to include Trump Tower), was unceremoniously fired; and now the man who was in charge of the agency that was conducting a criminal investigation into the Trump campaign has been terminated. These aren't mere coincidences, there's a disturbing pattern here.
These are the actions not of a president of a free and open society, but of a strong man of a petty dictatorship. Do not believe for a second the lame excuse from the White House that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's letter condemning Comey's conduct during the Clinton investigation - which, to be fair, is inexcusable - was the reason for this move. If that were the case, why not fire Comey on January 20? Why wait over three months to make a decision any reasonable person could've made on day one.
No, this came directly from the top, and the timing was so brazenly arrogant that it demands a special, independent prosecutor to thoroughly investigate the matter. Nothing short of that will suffice. We haven't had a Constitutional crisis like this since Richard Nixon fired Archibald Cox in 1973. It is clear the Department of Justice has been compromised and now, with Comey out of the way, the FBI's active investigation is in serious jeopardy.
Not all Democracies die by the sword; some die from a fountain pen. We are in treacherous waters as a Republic. We have a president who is openly contemptuous of the rule of law, berates judges who challenge his executive orders, calls the media fake news, pulls alternative facts out of his ass, heaps praise upon despots, appoints his family to ostensibly run his administration, and is taking steps to eliminate any threats to his authority from within the federal government. If that isn't a textbook definition of a coup I don't know what is.
It remains to be seen whether Republicans will finally show some spine and stand up to Trump before it's too late. Frankly, I wouldn't hold my breath. Both the Senate and House intelligence committees are woefully understaffed, meaning if Trump succeeds in getting the FBI to drop its investigation, Congress may never be able to get at the truth.
The courts may be the last vestige of hope for this nation if the legislative branch fails in its duty. But even they may not be able to thwart Trump entirely, especially since the Supreme Court has the final word and it is now fully manned with five conservatives and four liberals on the bench. In other words, we could be fucked.
I know progressives are concerned about the fate of Obamacare, women's reproductive rights, the environment, etc, and rightly so. But all of that must take second fiddle to what is happening right in front of our very eyes. I was only 13 years old when Nixon resigned in disgrace. Back then the system worked, and the Constitution, despite being severely tested, withstood the assault. I am not so optimistic that we will come out of it this time.
Some rabbit holes are too deep to climb out of.