If they had wanted to sabotage him, they certainly could have done it
Josh Marshall explodes the vacuous right-wing counter-narrative that says the "Deep State" has staged a coup against Trump. It's obvious, of course, but nobody says it. An excerpt:
Everybody involved on the US side faced a completely unprecedented and almost unthinkable set of facts – an active effort from a hostile foreign power to interfere in a US presidential election and compelling evidence that pointed to the campaign receiving the help being involved. From that starting point, US officials had basically two jobs.
The first was to find out as soon as possible what was happening both for counter-intelligence and law enforcement purposes – to disrupt whatever was happening and, if necessary, hold perpetrators accountable. The second and intrinsically related requirement was to make certain they themselves did not prejudice or damage the integrity of the election – especially not before they were clear on what was happening of whether members of the Trump campaign were complicit in the effort.
This second part of the equation is overwhelmingly important and plays almost no part in the public debate today. It’s important both for understanding the difficult circumstances investigators were working under but also for exploding all the claims that the investigators were somehow trying to set Trump up or use their legitimate law enforcement powers for illegitimate or political ends.
To put the matter simply, investigators needed to find out what was happening and whether there was American complicity without letting the existence of the probe become public and thus unfairly, illegitimately damaging the Trump campaign and the election itself.
And they did!!! Nobody knew that the Russians had decided Trump was their man. The counter-intelligence investigation into what was going on was kept entirely under wraps, even the fact of Russian involvement, any revelation of which Mitch McConnell famously told Obama would result in his dishonestly calling it a partisan assault.
There’s always a risk that the existence of an investigation will damage someone who is never charged with a crime. Indeed, this is a relatively common occurrence. But an election campaign is a unique case first because it goes to the heart of the integrity fo the government itself but equally because many more people than those being investigated have something at stake. If an investigation damages a campaign, it’s not just the candidate or her associates who are harmed. It’s everyone in the country who was invested in their victory. Democrats are legitimately still furious that James Comey sent that letter at the end of October 2016 and that Clinton’s campaign was damaged over a comparatively trivial investigation while an investigation of this gravity was kept secret. But still neither is supposed to happen. It goes without saying that news in the fall of 2016 that the FBI was investigating a Trump campaign conspiracy with Russia would have had devastating impact on Trump’s campaign.
Mounting an investigation and maintaining total secrecy about it was a hugely difficult undertaking at which the investigators succeeded. That exasperates Democrats. But it was the investigators’ duty and they fulfilled it. The fact that the key players kept the existence of the probe and the substantial evidence it already had secret really totally explodes any idea that it was a “set up” or “sting” or “political hit” as most Republicans now claim. Clearly the time to use the investigation to political effect was in August or September or October of 2016. The fact that they didn’t speaks for itself. Waiting until after the election to damage Trump politically – if that was the goal – is not only laughable on its face but ignores the obvious point that post-election Trump’s appointees would rapidly take over the national security and law enforcement apparatus.
The biggest reason these conspiracy theories are bogus is just the lack of any evidence to sustain them. But if that’s not enough for some people, the pre-election secrecy really settles the matter. Obvious, yes. But the people with executive power, the ability to launch investigations, are now dedicated to claim the contrary is the truth.
In reality, the so-called "Deep State" put their thumbs on the scale for Trump, not against him with Comey's inane decision to re-open the Clinton email case. The Republicans have ginned up a counter-narrative in which the FBI and the rest of the Intelligence Community were helping Clinton and sabotaging Trump.
It's enough to make you want to start drinking at 10 o'clock in the morning.
A friend of mine reminded me of this the other day and I think it's more true than ever:
The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [...] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore ... when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'
There is tremendous power in not being tethered to reality --- as we are seeing in living color in the Trump era.