Friday, November 3, 2017

Running Government As His Corporation

Trump once again took to Twitter today to demand investigation and prosecution of his political foes in his usual whine.

Josh Marshall dissects Trump's increasingly broken mentality as CEO of America, Inc. and his repeated calls for the FBI to prosecute Hillary Clinton.

What is most striking to me about these comments is how natural it all seems to him, how frank he is about it. It seems like the most logical thing in the world to him that he should be able to tell the FBI who to ‘go after’ Secretary Clinton. And I think he’s being very genuine about this. It’s both childish and childlike, in addition to being profoundly predatory. 
That’s why he fired James Comey. At the most basic level he sees the US government as his company. It goes without saying that Trump would fire an employee who wasn’t following direction or wasn’t loyal, let alone one who he believed might be working against him. They’re “my generals”, remember

This is precisely true, and very disturbing.  Trump's proto-fascist impulses are based on him being The Boss, and people do what The Boss says or he fires them.  Trump believes being able to do this is a vital part of how he should run the executive branch.  Not even Bush and Cheney went this far. But he won't stop, and Marshall doesn't believe he'll stop either.

Here is my sense of where we are. After James Comey was fired and they brought in reasonably professional lawyers, it’s been made clear to President Trump that he can’t be directly interfering with the investigation or using the DOJ as his personal police force. Kelly is likely a key part of this imperative as well. At the moment at least he’s following this advice. Thus his frustration. But he’s also being pushed by the Roger Stones and Steve Bannon types to go to war with Mueller, perhaps fire him
I was on TV this evening with Sam Nunberg, one of a number of Trumpers who was fired during the campaign but is still a total loyalist and seems to be in league with Bannon or at least in agreement with him. He was saying Trump must fire Ty Cobb, the lawyer who’s managing the Russia probe for the President. Cobb seems to be a bit of a clown himself. But he is a real white collar defense lawyer – not one of Trump’s goon lawyers from New York City. He is sticking to the quaint idea that you shouldn’t try to obstruct justice or otherwise interfere with the investigation. At least his stated aim as of now – and this is backed up by some reporting – is to be as cooperative as possible in the hopes of getting Mueller to complete his investigation and give the President a clean bill of health. 
That may be a good strategy out of the options the President has available to him. But it is certainly not at all in line with President Trump’s core impulses. He has a lot of friends, who he seems to be talking to regularly, telling him to go with those impulses. We shouldn’t be surprised if, feeling endangered and enraged, he gives into those impulses.

Trump's pathology is very predictable.  The only question is when he tries to fire Mueller, and what the GOP in Congress will do about it.

My guess remains "nothing".  And then we will find ourselves in a real constitutional crisis, and perhaps worse.  Who is going to stop Trump?  Nobody stepped up so far.  Why should we believe anyone will in the future?

What would be the bridge too far?  We don't know, because nobody seems to give a damn in the other two branches of government as of yet.

We'll see.

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