Bryan Zepp Jamieson
May 31st, 2023
The denouement of Trump’s defense in the documents scandal came from a New Yorker story by Susan Glasser that, by itself, was utterly horrifying. The story details how Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley opposed Trump, both openly and behind the scenes, to stymie Trump’s impulse to launch a full-scale military invasion of Iran.
Milley presumably realized that this would be the greatest military blunder in American history. Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and Korea would all pale next to it. Those were all small, comparatively weak nations and time after time the US sank into a quagmire they eventually lost. Iran is neither small nor weak, and an attack there would almost certainly draw in the Russians. It probably would be the start of World War III. Milley went so far, according to the story, to surreptitiously tell the military to ignore any “illegal orders” that might come from the President.
The story utterly infuriated Trump (OK, for once I can at least understand why he would be pissed). But his endless need to self-justify and his thin skin led him to what perhaps was the most damning error he has made, post-presidency.
Per CNN, “President Donald Trump acknowledges he held onto a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran, multiple sources told CNN, undercutting his argument that he declassified everything.”
The story goes that two writers for Mark Meadows “autobiography” met with Trump at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. That autobiography contains an account where Trump “recalls a four-page report typed up by (Trump’s former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) Mark Milley himself. It contained the general’s own plan to attack Iran, deploying massive numbers of troops, something he urged President Trump to do more than once during his presidency.” It’s anyone’s guess if Milley was contradicting himself, or this is just one of the obligatory scenarios the military delight in creating (“What happens if Lower Slobbovia invades Delaware? Or vice-versa?”) but Trump seized on it as proof Milley was lying.
Trump rattled some papers at the interviewers, and said that these were classified documents that showed the truth of the Meadows claims, and he would like to show them to the interviewers, but the documents were classified, so he couldn’t.
How do we know this?
Oh, lord, there are tapes, part XI. The interviewees, with Trump’s knowledge and consent, were recording the meeting. Trump either forgot, or was so irate he simply lost his temper, or both.
And Jack Smith has that tape. Lawdy, lawdy.
I can envision dozens of felony counts awaiting Trump just on the documents case. But for the first time, I think the DoJ has a prima facie case to persecute Trump for espionage. Combined with the probable indictments for the January 6th case (insurrection) and the Georgia vote count (election tampering) Trump’s most likely future will include dying in prison. This one tape demonstrates that Trump was lying about declassifying the documents, or that he COULD declassify them, or that he didn’t know he had them, or that he ever misused them in any way. This tape is more damning than all the Nixon tapes combined, including the infamous missing “14 ½ minutes.”
It came at the same time that Trump revealed just how far his contempt for the Constitution went by vowing to rescind the 14th amendment through executive order. Even Slappy Thomas would have trouble justifying that one. Trump is irked that the constitution specifies that anyone born in the territories of the US are American citizens, including babies who don’t speak English. (That would be most of them, I would hazard.)
He also threw his weight behind preventing the impeachment of Ken Paxton in Texas who was, of course, promptly impeached. It shows how weak his grasp on the party has become, even as the marching morons continue to chant his praises.
Trump legally, is a dead man walking. He won’t be a candidate in 2024 because he will be in prison. He may still claim to be a candidate, but his campaign will be as quixotically ridiculous as the one run by Lyndon LaRouche back about 30 years ago. The Republicans who, under Trump, let the lunatic fringe take over their party are in such disarray that they will have severe trouble coming up with any candidate at all. They may no longer even be a single discrete party at that point.
The voting on the debt ceiling limit is taking place as I write this, and its passage is extremely likely. For a small number of concessions, Biden got the Republicans to throw away the only real weapon they still possessed, eliminating the debt ceiling until after the 2024 election. Yes, Biden is smarter than the GOP—combined. I was of the strong opinion that Biden shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists, but the implications of this agreement please even me. Biden lost a couple of minor skirmishes, but won the war. The same Republicans who had been howling that Biden was so senile and/or incompetent he couldn’t find his trousers just learned they lost their own pants in a poker match against him.
I’m starting to feel hope that America is going to survive Trump, and MAGA, and Qanon.
In any event, the next few weeks should be entertaining as all hell.