Democrats are worried about another GOP surprise document dump that could hurt their chances in November, and it looks like that grand plan has already started.
Democratic operatives are growing anxious that Republicans working to undermine the FBI’s Russia probe are teeing up a series of document dumps meant to gin up GOP voters ahead of the midterm elections.
After weeks of hand-wringing, President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the declassification of a slew of documents related to the FBI’s long-running investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential connections to Russia. The move came on the heels of top House Republicans revealing that they may also release documents related to their probes into Trump-Russia ties, as well as anti-Trump bias at the FBI and Justice Department.
The White House and GOP leaders have cited “transparency” as their motive, and Trump has suggested the documents will show anti-Trump bias in the FBI led the bureau to supercharge its 2016 Russia probe based on flimsy evidence.
But Democrats see a more sinister plan: to taint special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe, while simultaneously motivating Trump’s political base on the precipice of an election in which Democrats are favored to make gains. To Democrats, the situation has eerie similarities to 2016, when WikiLeaks’ slow-drip daily release of internal Clinton campaign emails hobbled Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and offered regular fodder for Republicans.
“Oh, God,” said Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for Clinton’s campaign. “Trump could be setting the stage for the same kind of manufactured October surprise designed to help boost his standing and undermine Mueller.”
Sure, that's possible. But the Trumpies exactly don't have a good post-election track record on competence, as Steve M points out.
It's been reported that Trump hasn't read the material he just ordered released, and we know that Devin Nunes didn't read the FISA application for surveillance of Carter Page before seeking its release. But I'm not sure it matters -- even if they read the documents, they're incapable of imagining how a person who doesn't live in the right-wing bubble will react to them. They just know that the FBI and the Mueller investigation are evil, and everyone they know is equally certain of this, so the only possible reason everyone doesn't know this is that some people just don't have all the facts. All information leads to one conclusion because no other conclusion is possible! So release more information and everyone will agree!
They've tried this before. It hasn't exactly worked. Yastreblansky also calls BS.
When that Red Wave doesn't arrive in November, they'll go back to talking about millions of illegal voters, or dead ones, and insist that they "really" won. When Mueller's report comes out, their belief in the conspiracy against our emperor won't be shaken at all—it'll be reinforced ("It's even worse than I thought!"). I'm really hopeful, though, that these paranoids will become more and more marginal as time goes on and retreat into the cells, like the John Birch Society, where they used to hide before the Reagan election brought them into polite society.
It's one thing to fake out Trump voters, who believe all sorts of factually incorrect garbage because it's a cult. But Dems really shouldn't fall for it.
Not to say there isn't legitimate espionage going on here by Trump's Russian friends.
But I doubt Trump is going to be able to keep the news cycle on what he wants. The October document dump he should be worried about are the ones coming from his former employees talking to Robert Mueller.