Back in 2018, Trump had one of his most dramatic bromance breakups yet.
If you recall, it was back when excerpts of Michael Wolff’s new book “Fire and Fury” were trickling out. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was quoted in the book calling the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donnie Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer “treasonous.” Trump dumped him immediately and in brutal fashion.
I strongly recommend you read Josh Kovesnky’s account of why the US government’s vaunted intelligence capabilities were caught utterly flatfooted by the events of January 6th despite that fact that one needed no greater intelligence asset than a Twitter account or at most one on Parler to know what could be coming.
A key cause of the failure is that no one wanted to raise an alarm about a security threat from the President’s own supporters. Indeed, no one really wanted to be caught investigating it.
This is both a shocking abdication of responsibility and entirely unsurprising given what’s happened to basically anyone in the federal security bureaucracy who’s gotten crosswise with the President. But we can’t understand this development without understanding or simply remembering that this is our fourth or fifth round of this cycle: the institutional Republican party rushing forward to claim that any effort to combat far right terrorism or organized political violence amounts to a crackdown on conservatives or bias against the GOP.
Trump was formally impeached for the second time yesterday afternoon.
But the process began in real time while the Capitol was being mobbed by his supporters last week.
I find it noteworthy that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has – from a purely cynical point of view – navigated the politics of the last few weeks with more deftness than either Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley.
After the Raffensperger call was released but before the Georgia defeats and the Capitol insurrection Cotton announced that he would not be part of challenging the electoral college results. Now he is, unsurprisingly, saying he won’t convict Trump in a new impeachment trial. But note that he isn’t defending Trump on the merits. He is saying that it is constitutionally inappropriate to hold an impeachment trial of a President after he leaves office. There’s some plausible logic to that. But it’s mainly just a canny dodge. He’s not defending Trump in any bright line way (no figure prints on the horrors of the last weeks) but also avoiding any vote or position that would make him toxic to Trump-supporting Republicans.
TPM Reader DW is watching the impeachment debate: “While we’re treated to this feast of false equivalency from Republicans, it’s worth remembering that the only officers killed during BLM protests last summer were shot by a right-wing extremist engaging in a false flag attack.”
The spectre of violence is already chilling democracy in a handful of ways.
As you can see, the tempo of events is moving rapidly now. Donald Trump not finishing his term of office now seems like a real possibility, as astonishing as that may seem. A number of developments are coming together, like converging waves that build on each other.
There are two things I think we should be thinking about as developments which led to this quickening.
TPM Reader SC: “This is a Republican Benghazi, except that not only does the Republican Party get to be the cavalry that didn’t show up they get to be the terrorists, too. Very efficient.”
President Trump used his first public appearance in front of reporters since a mob of his supporters breached the Capitol last week, resulting in the deaths of five people, to test out whether his old defenses still carried any water.
There is a simple chain of events that even news outlets doing the best work are still tiptoeing around. After President Trump gave his speech to the insurrectionists on Wednesday he returned to the White House and excitedly watched the storming of the Capitol on TV. As members of Congress were besieged and then retreated to a secure undisclosed location, Trump received numerous pleas from members of Congress to send reinforcements or call on his supporters to disperse. He refused because he liked what he was seeing.