Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Wednesday, March 08, 2017

They're calling it "DeepStateGate"

by digby

I wrote about the GOP history of ginned up scandals for Salon today. It's the one thing they do well:

You have to feel a little bit sorry for Sean Spicer. Being the spokesman for an unbalanced man with a bad temper and an early morning Twitter habit is a tough job. During Tuesday’s press briefing, MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson asked Spicer a perfectly logical question: Why would the president want Congress to investigate a crime when he already has the evidence?

After all, as Kellyanne Conway on Monday morning, “He’s the president of the United States. He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not.” So why wouldn’t he give it to the Congress so they don’t have to spend time and resources trying to dig it up? Spicer merely mumbled something incoherentabout it being a separation of powers issue, which doesn’t make any sense.

But what could he say? It has been widely reported that Trump’s “information” came from talk show host Mark Levin’s rant on Breitbart, not from any classified briefings. The president needed to relieve himself of his pent-up anger last Saturday morning, so he blasted Obama on Twitter and it’s taken on a life of its own.

Trump is no master strategist but he does have a strong feral survival instinct and a bottomless reservoir of personal good fortune. That combination often leads him to inadvertently luck into a strategy that will help him out of a mess he’s made for himself. His temper tantrum last weekend may very well end up being one of those times. After all, the Republicans may have no idea how to write coherent legislation or deal with angry constituents, but they do know how to do one thing very, very well: gin up a phony scandal. The president just handed them the excuse to pursue a bogus investigation of a Democratic president, and that has to be a great relief to a caucus that is clearly in over its head trying to actually govern.

You can already see the scandal machine being warmed up. The old Clinton nemesis Judicial Watch got on the case immediately with a lawsuit against the CIA, Department of Justice and Treasury for their failures to provide information about the calls between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador. Their press release included this comment:

President Trump is on to something. The Obama-connected wiretapping and illegal leaks of classified material concerning President Trump and General Flynn are a scandal.

FBI director James Comey has let it be known that no such “Obama-connected” wiretapping occurred. But facts have never stopped Judicial Watch from using FOIA and the courts as a partisan bludgeon. Back in the 1990s the group was relentless in its pursuit of Bill and Hillary Clinton, playing a substantial role in the harassment campaign that dogged the administration for eight years.

Regarding Trump’s overwhelming conflicts of interest and potential for corruption, however, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton had this to say:

As we said in our recent New York Times op-ed, it would be unfair to insist that Mr. Trump destroy his business to become president. This ethics plan follows many of Judicial Watch’s recommendations and reasonably addresses pressing concerns about separating Mr. Trump’s private business from the public’s business.

Some ethical watchdog.

But the serious players in this game are members of Congress. We’ve just been through the inanity of the eight Benghazi committee investigations and months and months of garment-rending over Hillary Clinton’s email server, so everyone is familiar with their propensity to make a federal case out of absolutely nothing. But they’ve been even crazier in the past. “Filegate,” “Travelgate,” “Troopergate” and, of course, Whitewater and the Monica Lewinsky affair were just some of the scandals Congress investigated in the 1990s.

Congressional Republicans even spent years torturing the family of former deputy White House counsel Vince Foster after his tragic suicide. Rep. Dan Burton delivered a notorious speech on the House floor in August of 1994 in which he said he had conducted forensic tests in his backyard proving that Foster couldn’t have fired the gun himself:

We, at my house, with a homicide detective, tried to re-create a head, and fired a .384-inch barrel into that, to see if the sound could be heard from a hundred yards away.

The head he “re-created” was widely reported to have been a watermelon, although some have said it was a pumpkin or a cantaloupe.

And here you thought the Republicans had only gone completely crazy in the last couple of years.

So far the current Congress has been treading rather lightly on the Trump allegations of Obama’s criminal wiretapping. Most likely the FBI and the intelligence community’s obvious pushback against the notion that they are involved has made Republicans cautious. But that hasn’t stopped some from taking it to the next level anyway. Commentator Hugh Hewitt threw out a thinly-veiled threat in his Washington Post op-ed on Tuesday, suggesting that calls for a special prosecutor to investigate Russian interference in the presidential election must also include more harassment of Hillary Clinton over her email server. (He offers no reason why, but the history I just described shows that there’s no need to show any connection between various witch conservative hunts.) No doubt the Trump voters would be thrilled to bring back “Lock her up!”

Congressman Steve King of Iowa may have found the hook that will allow Congress to allay the intelligence community and the FBI’s concerns over their reputation being sullied by intimations that they conspired with Obama to spy on Trump in his golden tower. King told the Sioux City Journal that such denials don’t “necessarily prove that there wasn’t a rogue intel operation going on that wasn’t encumbered by, or just decided not to be encumbered by, the legalities.”

There’s no evidence of that, of course. But it’s a pretty good bet that’s what Trump wants people to think happened, and one can certainly see how such a suspicion could be parlayed into a full-blown investigation. If Congress and the Justice Department don’t do what the White House clearly wants them to do, which is to drop the Russian investigation altogether, it’s likely we’ll be hearing about Obama’s alleged illegal wiretap operation for a while.

If that doesn’t work, Trump will instinctively find another way to project his problems on to his political enemies. He’s tried turning the press into the “enemy of the people,” and that really hasn’t worked. Now he’s gone after Obama. Let’s just hope he doesn’t wake up one morning in a snit and decide to start a real war to make himself feel better.