Investigative reporter Matt Taibbi (yes, the one from Rolling Stone) works for me. At least that’s what the email I got after subscribing to his substack newsletter said. And the latest two entries in his online space paint a picture of a very large man at the bumbling, blunt, and poisonous tip of the Crossfire series of FBI investigations that became Russiagate. I encourage you to read them, titled “Our Man in Cambridge” by Taibbi, and “The Spies Who Hijacked America” by the subject of the former piece, a PhD candidate and Republican political career staffer named Steven P. Schrage.
You can also find Schrage being interviewed Sunday by Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo here.
I won’t go into the details, rather I’ll leave that to you, Dear Reader, to find for yourself. But the gist of the story is that the genesis of the FBI’s probe into then-candidate, to-be President-elect, and then President Donald Trump is a combination of wishcasting, happenstance, opportunity, and desire to ensure Trump didn’t succeed in governing.
A cadre of spy-runners, intelligence people who regularly pay for less-than-credible information, put together something to discredit Gen. Michael Flynn, and that turned into a farce, and when Trump stunningly won, it morphed into something much more serious.
In a narrative that is somehow more comic than The Honorary Consul, Scoop or any of the other literary spy spoofs, Russiagate began as a few aging bull artists from Cambridge who cross-burnished other’s dicey reports to sell the World’s Finest Law Enforcement Institution, the FBI, on a shaggy dog story of supreme dumbness and improbability.
So, if Schrage (whose name has bounced around the Internet and WSJ editorial pages for some time) has a story that rivals Deep Throat in the Watergate case, what does that mean? Except this time, the indictment is against a very real, if not coherent, “Deep State.”
I say not coherent, because there is no proof, and I don’t believe there is, in actuality, a conspiracy to somehow destroy Donald Trump’s presidency, led by people who sit and plot ways to do it. Not any more than any other Republican president has a political opposition, at least. There are entire organizations devoted to destroying the presidency of any Republican in the White House, is what I mean here. Donald Trump is no different than George W. Bush, his father George H.W. Bush, or Ronald Reagan, in this regard.
However, the salient different between Trump and the last three Republican presidents is the sheer volume of targets of opportunity Trump presented to those who oppose him, and the actual malice held by those people was palpable. Trump’s method of fighting off allegations is so different from those other Republicans.
He admits to most of the things he is accused of, but claims them as prizes: Sexual immorality, cheating and bullying at business, ripping people off with Trump-named ersatz products and services in multi-level marketing scams, and using the media–even posing as “John Barron”–as a weapon against those who criticize him. The National Enquirer frequently worked as a very effective lever for Donald Trump, who has been friendly with American Media CEO David Pecker for years.
How do you fight against this kind of dirty and money-lubricated power? The spy scene has plenty of weapons, because it too is dirty and money-lubricated, when it’s not lubricated with alcohol. At least Trump doesn’t drink heavily.
Steven Schrage was a spectator to this grand stage play in the spy vs. spy clubhouse, that worked its way into the FBI, the FISA courts, and finally, into Bob Mueller’s investigation. By Schrage’s account, all of it was mostly contrived, partially taken seriously, and definitely covered up with a serious purpose by those who didn’t want it tied to themselves.
Hence, you find last-minute memos for the record hastily composed just before departing the White House for the last time by Susan Rice. And Susan Rice is reportedly on the very-short list to be Joe Biden’s running mate. If that’s true, and all the polls turn out correct, Rice may end up Vice President to the Vice President under Barack Obama, who Rice tried to protect against accusations that Obama was behind the entire charade of investigating Trump’s Russia connections.
“President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book’. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.”
This was pursued by Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham in 2018, but not much came of it. It was all, after all, “by the book.”
Here’s where I’m going with all this.
Trump was America’s cry to our political class, and its leaders to “do better.” In 2016, we were faced with the choice of the capo di tutti i capi of Democrat political hacks, Hillary Clinton, a.k.a. Herself, and Donald J. Trump, of whom we know much. Trump, by every relevant measure, was and is unfit for the office. But Clinton was far worse than unfit. She felt entitled to it, by fiat, and had prepared her entire life to wield power like the Roman Lupa goddess, the she-wolf. Clinton would have made Washington a modern version of ancient Rome: complete with Lictors, Consuls and Fasces (which adorn the House Chamber in Congress).
Now, we are again given a devil’s choice of Trump, who after completing four years in office with no new major wars, and absent the coronavirus, a good economic scorecard, could be argued to be a bit more qualified to hold the office he holds than he was in 2016, and Joe Biden, a minor political hack in the Democratic Party, best known before being Obama’s VP for the Borking of Robert Bork.
American voters are sick of dark, dank, conspiratorial politics. It has led us to dark, dank conspiracy theories flying around the Internet like flies that won’t die no matter how many fly swatters are used, and multiply with eggs laid in piles of feces that never get cleaned up no matter how many shovels we deploy.
But the piles of feces and the fly eggs are too much, and the parties have become nothing but stages upon which self-aggrandizing demagogues, remora and con artists perform to summon cash hordes to themselves and their favored friends (and relatives).
How does anyone expect American voters to react to such a choice? We can have Trump again, who–let me be clear–is not competent at the job of POTUS by any useful standard (as has been discussed ad nauseum), or we can have Joe Biden, who is probably not competent for the job either, but for other reasons. Biden is a political hack, of the same mold as political hacks like Susan Rice: Molded in the die tooled by people like Hillary Clinton.
All other candidates have been crushed, ejected, subsumed, or launched into the sun by the Leviathan of politics as entertainment and/or corruption (take your pick of wording).
Donald Trump once again is the cry of the voters for America’s political class to “do better.” Steven Schrage sat through American administrations in the GOP since Ronald Reagan, and fled to England to escape the soul-crushing suffocation of the swamp. He landed in the heart of the very infestation of out-of-touch drinkers who form the spy club that brought Carter Page and Russiagate into our national focus.
If his story is true (and I believe him, why would he lie right now?) then American politics has reached a nadir not seen since Watergate. We need to do better. Voters know this. If Schrage’s story is true, and gets legs (the mainstream, activist, anti-Trump media will try to kill it), the voters will undoubtedly speak again, and we will do this all over again with four more years of Trump.
I think it’s true, and I think we need to do better. I think four more years of Trump ought to send the right message to Washington. Better start draining that swamp, but for real this time.
One week from today, September 29, President Donald Trump will square off against former Vice-President Joe Biden in front of the entire nation as they debate the best path forward for our nation.&nbs …