Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bannon's comments: What if Trump hadn't fired Comey?

So, Steve Bannon now says that firing Comey was the worst blunder in modern political history.  Let's put this in social science terms.  What is Trump's position now, and what would it be had he not fired Comey?  This is what we call the "counterfactual."  As in, counter to fact.  (Also known as "bullshit").

Right now, Trump is personally under investigation by Robert Mueller.  A part of that investigation is the Comey firing.  There are two interpretations of the Comey firing, given the Holt interview and what we know.  First, Trump was trying to shut down any FBI investigation into anything Russia-related.  That would be clear, indisputable obstruction of justice.  Impeachable, and a federal crime.  Given Comey's description of his meetings with Trump, this is the most plausible interpretation of the firing.  Of course, I'd really like to see the original firing letter, which Mueller now has...

The second interpretation has to do with the content of the official Comey firing letter, once we read between the lines.  Trump referenced Comey's statements to Trump, in private, that Trump was not, at the time of the statements, personally under investigation.  Trump repeatedly tried to pressure Comey into making public statements that Trump was not personally under investigation.  Comey refused because a) the FBI doesn't make statements about who isn't under investigation, and b) if he did, it would then become his obligation to make a new statement if Trump were to come under investigation personally (as he now is, according to leaks).  Does that count as obstruction?  That's more questionable.

Here's the thing, though.  That second interpretation is the most favorable interpretation of the Comey firing for Trump, and it is based on the premise that all Trump wanted was a public statement that he wasn't personally under investigation.  However, the firing of Comey led directly to Mueller's appointment, which led directly to Mueller investigating Trump personally, which meant that what Trump wanted Comey to say was longer true.

What if Trump had left Comey alone?  Would Trump have come under investigation personally?  We don't know.

So, Trump firing Comey was either straight-up obstruction of justice, or led directly to the negation of the thing he was trying to get a public confirmation of.

On the other hand, what if Trump hadn't fired Comey?  Well... that's a much harder question.  Given what we now know of Comey's opinion of Trump (that he's a fuckin' liar, that Comey needed to keep notes any time there was a meeting, and that he didn't want to be left alone with the creep), he didn't look like he was backing off.  He had Flynn in his sights, and may not have stopped at that fuckin' foreign agent.  Yes, he is formally registered now as a foreign agent, so I'm not casting aspersions here.  He is a fucking foreign agent.  Legally.  Comey could have kept going and found out about all of the other shit with Kushner, Don Jr. and all of the other Russia-compromised members of Trump's inner circle.  He could have started digging into Trump's personal finances, which is what really terrifies Trump.

All of that is speculation, though.  We are comparing speculation about what Comey might have done with what Mueller has done and is doing, traceable to the Comey firing.  Mueller was put in place as a direct consequence of the Comey firing.

Of course, the bigger question is what the consequences of this will be, and I've already put my cards on the table for this.  Nothin'.  There will be no consequences.  Trump's approval rating, by Gallup's assessment, is below 40%, and it won't go higher because Trump is the platonic ideal of "douchebag," but it also won't go lower because his party won't abandon him.  Yes, every once in a while, someone will peel off and criticize him, but we've seen what happens whenever Trump gets Trump-y.

Remember when pussy-grabbing was supposed to be the end of him?  The entire party criticized him.  For a couple of days, and then they fell back in line.  And that has played out, over and over again.  Charlottesville.  Remember how that was a turning point, supposedly?  Trump defended white supremacists.  I put my cards on the table for that, too.  I said it wouldn't be any different from pussy-grabbing, or any of Trump's other despicableness.  Well, it has been a month, and Trump's daily tracking over at Gallup hasn't budged.  Yeah, Corker criticized Trump, and now Corker is talking about retiring.

At some point, Mueller will put out a report.  It won't matter what is in it.  There could be a video of Trump agreeing to hand the nuclear codes to Putin.  It wouldn't matter.  The Republican Party will defend Trump.  Why?  The party has an electoral bomb strapped to it, and it has a dead-man trigger wired to Trump.  Trump goes down, and the party goes down.  They will give him, at worst, a couple of days of mild criticism, and then defend him no matter what he does because otherwise, they face 1974.

The lesson the GOP learned from Watergate is this:  defend the president, no matter what.  As I have said, Trump complained that his party isn't defending him strongly enough, which is bullshit.  They are shielding him from any consequences, and they will continue to do so.  They can't get any significant legislation passed, and they can't get his approval ratings up, but Trump will not suffer any real consequences from firing Comey.  His party won't let him.

So, really, was it that bad a mistake?  I mentioned yesterday that if you are born rich, it is really hard to fail.  Trump was born really, really rich, and he continues to be surrounded by people who won't let him fail, no matter how stupidly he behaves.  Must be nice...


  1. "He is a fucking foreign agent. Legally"

    You have no evidence that Flynn is having sex.

    1. He has a kid. (The kid is just as much of a batshit crazy conspiracy theorist as the old man, having been kicked off the Trump transition team for indulging in "pizza-gate" conspiracy-theorizing). Does the use of the present-progressive tense indicate that he is, now, currently fucking, or that he is simply one who fucks? We have direct evidence that he is one who fucks. I call that enough for present-progressive, in this context.

    2. Whereas I would submit that his dickhole kid should have acted as a truly cold shower, and he would never go near a woman again for fear of making another monster like that.

    3. Let's just stick with the past tense.

      "He's is a fucked foreign agent." That works both literally and figuratively.

    4. A) Flynn Jr. is just like his old man.
      B) Flynn Sr. is a narcissist.
      C) Flynn Sr. is possibly a sociopath.
      So, Flynn Sr. would be happy to procreate more both because he wouldn't think he is doing anything wrong, and wouldn't care if he did.

    5. Also, Flynn isn't figuratively fucked. He'll get Arpaio'ed before he ever gets literally fucked in a federal penitentiary. (Prison rape joke! Zing!) I still reject the idea that the Arpaio pardon was an intentional signal about that, but no way does Flynn ever do any time.

    6. If "Arpaio'ed" doesn't get you to the somewhat homophonic "are pie-holed," then that's on you.

    7. That's a stretch. First, "are" would be plural, and we are only discussing Flynn. Second, while "cornhole" is an acceptable verb, convertible to an adjective in that manner (or possibly remaining a verb-- the grammar here is ambiguous), I have never heard "piehole" used in that manner. Third, to be "Arpaio-ed" is to be pardoned, and therefore avoid what you are referencing, so... no. That's just a stretch.

      Let's step back and appreciate a grammatical debate on getting "pie-holed"...