I’ve remarked before at how the new Trump administration has called to mind so many quotes from the Dark Knight trilogy of films. What popped into my noggin this morning was a line of dialog spoken by The Joker:
As you know, madness is like gravity…all it takes is a little push.
It’s not madness that’s tipping, though, it’s political scandal. Once corroborative evidence comes to light it’s all downhill.
Sometimes it’s one issue that blows up, and then blows away, or an issue followed by a cover-up, which itself becomes the bigger scandal. Every now and then, though, a scandal is revealed as a tangled web of lies, leading to a cover-up that pales compared to the original scandal it points back to, forcing even the most loyal apologist to demand answers. What we have now with Mr. Trump appears to be the latter.
Think back to the Benghazi affair. What was a multi-year investigation/witch hunt into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s responsibility for the over-run and sacking of an American diplomatic outpost and a CIA annex in Libya, and the deaths of four men including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, blew away after Clinton lost the presidential election of 2016. Funny, that.
Consider the Watergate affair, which began as a third-rate burglary. If President Nixon wasn’t involved in the break-in, he was involved in the hiring of the White House Plumbers who carried it out, and his Oval Office taping system caught him okaying the use of the CIA to wave off an FBI investigation.
As has become cliche, it wasn’t the crime that did Nixon in, it was the cover-up.
The rathole beneath Mr. Trump is growing into a scandal of historic depth. The FBI is actively investigating connections between him and Russia, the Senate Intelligence Committee took up a probe into the same in January and, just yesterday, the House Intelligence Committee did the same.
Mr. Trump’s second campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was forced to step down after his Russian connections were revealed, and more recently Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was fired when he lied about similar Russian contacts.
Last night it was a reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied to Congress during his confirmation hearing, claiming he’d never spoken to representatives of the Russian government. He did speak with the Russian ambassador to the US, three times, while he was acting as lead foreign policy advisor to candidate Trump.
You live long enough and patterns begin to emerge. People don’t change much after age twenty, and powerful people always want more power the way wealthy people always want more money. So it’s not all that difficult to recognize the pattern emerging around Mr. Trump: a man of privilege to whom truth is a stranger, elected to high office, has surrounded himself with like-minded people. As Trump is fond of saying, he loves to negotiate deals. Stories about Russian state actors keep turning up. An image of deal-making with the wrong people is taking shape.
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