Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Mnuchin, Barr fall on the sword to save Trump

As I had indicated earlier, the only way Donald Trump could evade accountability for his actions was to shutdown Congress and its powers of oversight. As there was no constitutional framework to do this, he would have to do this in illegal ways - essentially conduct a coup.

I had sensed that Barr and Mnuchin would be first to defy Congress. Both men had given off really defiant vibes in their testimony before congressional committees, but there was still some doubt in many quarters whether they would relent and submit to the power Congress. That doubt stands resolved.

It is clear the Barr lied to Congress and does not want to be held accountable for it. He was hired with the sole aim of protecting Trump and he is doing the job he was paid to do. Barr is totally reliant on Trump to protect him and Trump is reliant on Barr.

Mnuchin for his part knows that Trump cannot protect him, he relies on Barr to keep the handcuffs at bay.

So one can think of this as a game of chess, where Mnuchin - a lower power is reliant on Barr - a higher power to protect him, but Barr and Trump are covering each other.

To get to Trump, one has to go through Mnuchin and Barr - but as seen in the above sequence - Barr is a critical piece. Without Barr to protect Mnuchin, the exposure at the Treasury end rises abruptly. Mnuchin like so many people in this government may have money to fight of minor legal challenges, but if Barr can't cover him, his legal expenses explode - and he is smart enough (like Gary Cohn) to know when to bail out.

I think Speaker Pelosi is correct that going after Trump will enable him to sell his "persecution card" to his followers and get them to turn out in record numbers to vote for him again in 2020. While this may not bring him back to power, the gerrymandering will allow the GOP to ride to power in 2020 in both the Senate and Congress. Quite naturally the objective of the Democratic party is to end the power that gerrymandering brings to the GOP's political causes. As legal challenges to the gerrymandering system are out of the question given Trump's adjustments to the Supreme Court and lower courts - the only way to prevent the GOP from coming back to power is to undermine their appeal to "the base".

While the numbers of "the base" may be small, but their sense of embarrassment (at having elected Trump in the first place) is quite great. As with most human beings, Trump supporters do not want to take responsibility for Trump, and are looking for ways of dumping this shit at someone else's door. Quite naturally they will buy into any narrative that spares them further humiliation and they will be more than happy to vote against a Democratic candidate.

So in sum - Democratic Party political priorities remain to contain Trump's "persecution card" while continually exposing his crimes and effectively holding him accountable. As every charge of incompetence injures his ego, he will continue to make more and more mistakes and eventually turn on his base. Right now - he is struggling to pull in enough revenue to keep his legal costs tended, this will rise as his exposure to own stupidity increases.

What can I say...

"The fear of impeachment is much more deadly than impeachment itself."

- Maverick's First Law of American Politics.


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