Monday, August 20, 2018

Literary Corner: Epic

Study the Late Joseph McCarthy
by Donald J. Trump

The Failing New York Times wrote
a story that made it seem
like the White House Councel had TURNED
on the President, when in fact
it is just the opposite - &
the two Fake reporters knew this.
This is why the Fake News Media
has become the Enemy of
the People. So bad for America!
Some members of the media are
very Angry at the Fake
Story in the New York Times.
They actually called to complain
and apologize - a big step forward.
From the day I announced, the Times has been
Fake News, and with their disgusting
new Board Member, it will only
get worse! Study the late
Joseph McCarthy, because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt!
Study for Mast (for Ingmar Bergman), 1988, by Robert Motherwell. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
The Failing New York Times wrote a story
That's Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, of course, "White House Counsel Has Cooperated Extensively With Mueller’s Obstruction Inquiry," bringing us word of the 30 hours of interviews Counsel Don F. McGahn has had with the investigation since last November or so, detailing particularly, Schmidt and Haberman believe, his observations on the president's obstuction of justice since the Inauguration:

Among them were Mr. Trump’s comments and actions during the firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and Mr. Trump’obsession with putting a loyalist in charge of the inquiry, including his repeated urging of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to claim oversight of it. Mr. McGahn was also centrally involved in Mr. Trump’s attempts to fire the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, which investigators might not have discovered without him.
Although it seems likely that McGahn, who was hired to advise the Trump campaign on campaign finance law right at the outset (he's a former FEC commissioner himself, from the Bush era, when he's said to have been a key figure in bringing the Citizens United decision to life and stopping the FEC from enforcing anything), so he might well have some valuable information on the conspiracy phase as well.

Trump certainly seems to have been powerfully affected by the story, greeting it with a tweet when the story came out last night (or when he saw a report on TV), and then a remarkable series of six tweets over a two-hour period this morning, which I think may be a bit of a record for Trump productivity, starting with this:
And I was going to use the last three of those as a Literary Corner contribution, when it occurred to me that they might work as a kind of armature instead.
that made it seem like the White House Councel had TURNED on the President,
When he spells "Counsel" wrong so consistently instead of a different way each time, you're bound to suspect that somebody else must be writing the things, but I think these are likely to be authentic.

John Dean was, of course, the White House counsel who led the coverup of the Nixon administration's connection to the Watergate burglary and related matters until he began realizing in the spring of 1973 that he was getting set up to serve as the scapegoat for Nixon's crimes and started working in secret with the Senate Watergate committee even as he stayed on at the White House unitl Nixon fired him, finally going public as the committee's star witness toward the end of June. McGahn seems to have gone through a similar process: when special counsel Mueller asked to speak with him he wanted the president to get him out of testifying, but the president's then personal lawyers, John Dowd and Ty Cobb, said they had no objection, declining to raise the question of "executive privilege" (which I think wouldn't have worked, in fact, thanks to the Nixonian precedents). So he began to think they were preparing to blame him as the chief obstructor and decided to cooperate more fully than they might have expected, while continuing to do his White House work.

In assuring himself that McGahn is not a "John Dean type 'RAT'", I don't know whether Trump realizes he's letting on that McGahn has, like Dean, a true story to tell.
when in fact it is just the opposite -
The opposite of what? Does he mean that in reality the president has TURNED on the White House Counsel? Again, it looks like that's what McGahn thought, and from all we know of Trump, it would seem likely. But why is Trump telling us that?

Or is he saying, "Not to worry, Don's been lying to the investigation, as you all know I would want him to do." I honestly wouldn't rule that out. It's like the instructions he's always sending Sessions on Twitter advising him to illegally disrecuse himself so he can put a halt to the investigation
& the two Fake reporters knew this.
It's not clear what Schmidt and Haberman know and don't know—see Emptywheel for a relatively scornful view. They certainly don't have a very clear grasp of an important legal point, the fact that as White House counsel McGahn is not Trump's lawyer and not covered by attorney-client privilege at all (again, before Watergate they could have tried arguing he's covered by executive privilege, but I don't think that washes any more in a case like this).

It seems pretty obvious that the story is the result of McGahn's decision to leak it to them, whoever may be doing the actual leaking, and there's not a lot of reason to think what he's telling them is the "whole truth", and as always in the case of these leak stories, I wish somebody would try to ask why—what is the leak supposed to buy him? Does he just want to get fired, like Dean, so he can focus on his public testimony? Is he trying to build up public sympathy as a tool for avoiding prison time and disbarment?
This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People.
I've suggested elsewhere, I think Trump believes he made up the phrase "Enemy of the People" and it's really good. As good as "Mexico is going to pay for it." He has no idea why it triggers some people, though of course he enjoys that a lot.
So bad for America!
After the US loss to Belgium in the 2014 World Cup. Getty Images, via SBNation.
Some members of the media are very Angry at the Fake Story in the New York Times.
This is my favorite line in the whole sequence, especially the capitalization of "Angry", which makes it look like Winnie-the-Pooh. But who's he talking about? My thought is he's watching Fox, and it's some second-string rage freak, Stuart Varney or the like, but I don't know. I have a look at a clip of Jeannine interviewing Rudy, and neither of them looks particularly angry. Rudy's theory is that the whole story is a clever fabrication on Mueller's part, foisted on the unwitting Schmidt and Haberman by special counsel Mueller, who has realized that he "has no case" and therefore has, I don't know, disguised himself as one of McGahn's family retainers and snookered the Times reporters into writing this piece. I don't think he completely explained what Mueller was going to achieve with this stratagem but I didn't really listen to the whole clip.
They actually called to complain and apologize - a big step forward.
And the reason I didn't listen to the whole clip was this. They were Angry, so they stepped forward to complain and apologize. Apologize for complaining? Whoever it was, I figured it wasn't Giuliani. Indeed, the most persuasive theories were that he was making it up as he went along, as he often does, except in this instance he changed his mind about what he wanted to imagine in mid-sentence; he started off imagining the Angry people in the media who must have leapt in to defend him against the assault, and then abruptly shifted to the regretful management of The Times, which would surely be calling him to express their regret soon—any minute—he might as well mention it now.
From the day I announced, the Times has been Fake News,
Not that he's going to be easy, because he hasn't forgotten how cruel and abusive The Times has been to him since mid-2015. Though some say the paper had an outsize influence in getting him elected, as Duncan Watts and David Rothschild wrote in December 2017 at Columbia Journalism Review,
 deemphasizing the Clinton strong areas of, you know, policy, to the point where they almost disappeared amid the horserace coverage, and relentlessly working to equalize the Clinton email "scandals" with the financial frauds and sexual misdeeds of Donald, in a tempo that increased monstrously in the last couple of weeks before the election:

In light of the stark policy choices facing voters in the 2016 election, it seems incredible that only five out of 150 front-page articles that The New York Times ran over the last, most critical months of the election, attempted to compare the candidate’s policies, while only 10 described the policies of either candidate in any detail.
In this context, 10 is an interesting figure because it is also the number of front-page stories the Times ran on the Hillary Clinton email scandal in just six days, from October 29 (the day after FBI Director James Comey announced his decision to reopen his investigation of possible wrongdoing by Clinton) through November 3, just five days before the election. When compared with the Times’s overall coverage of the campaign, the intensity of focus on this one issue is extraordinary. To reiterate, in just six days, The New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election (and that does not include the three additional articles on October 18, and November 6 and 7, or the two articles on the emails taken from John Podesta). This intense focus on the email scandal cannot be written off as inconsequential: The Comey incident and its subsequent impact on Clinton’s approval rating among undecided voters could very well have tipped the election.
Not to mention Haberman and Schmidt being ready to risk their journalistic reputations to give him stenographic coverage whenever he asks for it, thought they can get pretty frisky when they're on their own.
and with their disgusting new Board Member, it will only get worse!
Poor Sarah Jeong, not forgotten; she is totally going to make the editorial page over in her own, dark and inscrutable but anti-Trump image.
Study the late Joseph McCarthy,
See Kevin Kruse on this.

because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby!

I can give you Roy Cohn looking like a vey well-behaved baby, the future mentor to Donald Trump, Roger Stone, and Paul Manafort, with Senator McCarthy at the Army-McCarthy hearings in in 1954, via Wikipedia.

Rigged Witch Hunt
Latest news in today's Times, by Haberman and Schmidt, is that Trump's lawyers don't know what McGahn has been tellling Mueller over the past nine months:
Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck, gave the president’s lawyers a short overview of the interview but few details, and he did not inform them of what Mr. McGahn said in subsequent interactions with the investigators, according to a person close to Mr. Trump. Mr. McGahn and Mr. Burck feared that Mr. Trump was setting up Mr. McGahn to take the blame for any possible wrongdoing, so they embraced the opening to cooperate fully with Mr. Mueller in an effort to demonstrate that Mr. McGahn had done nothing wrong.
On Sunday, Mr. Trump’s lead lawyer dealing with the special counsel, Rudolph W. Giuliani, appeared to acknowledge that he had only a partial understanding of what Mr. McGahn had revealed. Mr. Giuliani said his knowledge was secondhand, given to him by a former Trump lawyer, John Dowd, who was one of the primary forces behind the initial strategy of full cooperation....
Mr. Trump was rattled by the Times report, according to people familiar with his thinking. The president, who is said to be obsessed with the role that John W. Dean, the White House counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, played as an informant during Watergate, was jolted by the notion that he did not know what Mr. McGahn had shared.
Heh. Paranoia settling in.

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