By Robert A. Vella
The bombshell news that broke yesterday, which revealed the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of President Trump as acting on behalf of Russia after he had fired Director James Comey, has triggered a firestorm of opinions, questions, and speculation about Trump’s mindset and motivations. Regarding his mindset, our fellow blogger (and all around nice chap) John Zande hit the nail right on the head with this comment:
“The thing with Trump is, yes, he did all this, he colluded, he committed crimes, he cheated, but he’s incapable of understanding that what he’s done is wrong. Cheating is just his MO. It’s what he does. It’s what’s he’s always done. In his head is narrative that justifies it all.”
In other words, anything that Trump does or says cannot be wrong in his megalomaniacal mind simply because he himself had did it or had said it. Can someone so mentally warped be entrusted with the presidency? Obviously, the answer is no.
However, Trump’s specific motives on any given issue can be and usually are much more complex. From: Analysis: Why the FBI might’ve thought Trump could be working for Russia
We already know that these few days comprised a central event in Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice, but the idea that it also warranted a counterintelligence inquiry is notable. It’s one thing to deliberately hamper the investigation; it’s another to suspect Trump might have done so on behalf of Russia. And were this to ever lead to any concrete conclusions, that the Holt interview will apparently have been an extraordinary misstep by Trump, who has often seemed to blurt out unhelpful statements about his true motivations.
The other obvious one here is the Steele dossier. The dossier included a high-profile allegation that Russia had kompromat — or compromising material — on Trump thanks to supposedly salacious evidence it had about Trump’s pursuits in a Moscow hotel room. This allegation has never been proven and Putin has denied it (as if he would confirm it), but Comey has suggested it’s not out of the question, and some lawmakers have even gone so far as to raise the idea that Trump is compromised.
There are, of course, simpler explanations to all of this than the idea that Trump was working for Russia. Perhaps he truly admires Putin’s leadership style — which very much fits with his expressed admiration and work with other authoritarian leaders. It has been clear that Trump wanted to do business in Russia, so he seemed to be positively predisposed toward the country. And his efforts to hamper the Russia investigation needn’t be about any secret pro-Russia agenda; it’s also quite logical to think Trump simply views the whole thing as casting a pall over his election and raising concerns about the legitimacy of his presidency. Even if Trump unjustly attempted to obstruct the investigation, that doesn’t mean he was necessarily doing it for Russia. In fact, Russia would seem to have less to gain from such obstruction than Trump himself would.
Another apparent motive is Trump’s determination to survive politically. He is in the White House, he wields great power, and he is intent on staying there because it provides him and his family the best protection from criminal and civil liability. And, with an expanding coalition of Democrats, Independents, and even Republicans arrayed against him, Trump’s political survivability primarily depends on the loyal support of his followers. That political base, which comprises a clear majority of Republican voters, has a distinct right-wing extremist ideology. From my recent post: What’s driving Trump’s megalomania to shutdown the government over a border wall
Although the history of government shutdowns is very long in America, the current dynamics where Republicans attempt to use it as a weapon to force Democrats to acquiesce to their ideological demands is very recent (see: Shutdowns Are ‘All Games of Chicken.’ Here’s How They’ve Evolved.). This ploy emerged in the 1990s under Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who led a political movement which was antithetical to democratic governance. Let’s be clear, these ideologues are hostile to the very idea that a democratically elected government is empowered to enact the will of the people. That means they oppose federal regulations such as environmental protections and labor laws, social programs to ease poverty and improve public health, involvement in the education of children, taxation, and a whole host of other roles which are philosophically progressive. By 2016, this movement had also openly embraced xenophobic racism and it rallied behind the aggressive banner of Donald Trump.
While Trump is beholden to his base, he is no ideologue. Trump’s only ideology is himself. He is essentially a mob boss figure who only serves his own interests – whatever that might be at any given time. This is why it’s so difficult to assess his motives since they can change swiftly from issue to issue or from moment to moment.
new poll on Government Shutdown
The GOP-controlled U.S. Senate got some bad news this week concerning their procedural efforts to protect President Trump’s hostage taking of the federal government to get funding for his border wall demand. Now, a solid majority of Republican voters have joined an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Independents on wanting to immediately reopen the government while contested budget issues are negotiated. See: Most Americans Call Shutdown ‘Embarrassing’ As It’s Set To Become Longest In History
Sandy Hook court ruling
Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must grant the families of seven victims killed in the school massacre full access to his web site’s marketing and financial documents.
The Friday morning ruling by Connecticut State Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis was quickly hailed by the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Jones, who has asserted in the past that the execution of 26 students and faculty members was a scam.
“From the beginning, we have alleged that Alex Jones and his financial network trafficked in lies and hate in order to profit from the grief of the Sandy Hook families,” said attorney Chris Mattei, representing the seven plaintiff families who sued Jones.
Trump attacks on Healthcare
The Trump administration is quietly devising a plan bypassing Congress to give block grants to states for Medicaid, achieving a longstanding conservative dream of reining in spending on the health care safety net for the poor.
Three administration sources say the Trump administration is drawing up guidelines on what could be a major overhaul of Medicaid in some states. Instead of the traditional open-ended entitlement, states would get spending limits, along with more flexibility to run the low-income health program that serves nearly 75 million Americans, from poor children, to disabled people, to impoverished seniors in nursing homes.
Capping spending could mean fewer low-income people getting covered, or state-designated cutbacks in health benefits — although proponents of block grants argue that states would be able to spend the money smarter with fewer federal strings attached.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A “substantial number” of women would lose birth control coverage under new rules by the Trump administration that allow more employers to opt out of providing the benefit, a U.S. judge said at a hearing on Friday.
Judge Haywood Gilliam appeared inclined to grant a request by California and other states that he block the rules while the states’ lawsuit moves forward. He said he would rule before Monday, when the rules are set to take effect.
The changes would allow more employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt out of providing no-cost contraceptive coverage to women by claiming religious objections. Some private employers could also object on moral grounds.