A former Trump transition team official writes a 4-page memo of 50–60 pages of classified information that he has not read.
That document has no legal weight; it is simply one man’s opinion. Trump, without reading it, decides the memo must come out, despite unprecedented objections from the FBI and Department of Justice, both of which are run by Trump appointees.
Trump was motivated by two things. The first is Sean “The Real President” Hannity, who had been running a #ReleaseTheMemo campaign for weeks — even though, at least in theory, he had no idea what was in the then-still-classified document.
The second motivation was Trump’s belief the memo would, as he’s told friends and aides, “undermine” Mueller’s investigation.
When the memo was finally released, it proved to be — and only God knows where this phrase came from — a nothingburger. In fact, the memo confirms that Carter Page had been attracting attention since 2013 when he claimed in writing to be “an advisor to the Kremlin.” It also confirms the start of the collusion/obstruction investigation dates back to a drunk George Papadopolous bragging to the Aussie ambassador to the UK that the Kremlin had email dirt on Hillary.
That’s more of a bomb that blows up in the bomb-maker’s face than it is a nothing burger.
But here’s the thing: as far as Trump is concerned, it was a huge success — and not just because he always claims he got exactly what he wanted even when he’s obviously failed miserably.
Trump is the president of 35% of America. He’s made it clear he has nothing but contempt for the 2/3rds of the country who don’t “love Trump.” In math that I’ve written about before, 35% of America is about 75% of the GOP, which is enough to ensure that Republican Congressmen will swear their fealty to him for fear of being primaried. As long as he can keep their voters onside, and the courts allow gerrymandered districts to remain, Trump won’t be impeached — even if he makes good on that boast about shooting somebody in the middle of 5th Avenue.
His base watches State TV (formerly Fox News). There they see the fugitive from justice Sebastian Gorka saying the Nunes memo is “100 times bigger” than what caused the American Revolution. They see Hannity, Dobbs and Pirro saying “sabateurs” in the FBI should be in jail. They hear Trump’s tweets about a “very, very big story” and the destruction of “the sacred investigative process”.
And then the chorus calls for a “purge” of the FBI (coming soon: the State Department!).
Is it working? In a Rasmussen poll Trump’s approval rating is up to 49%, and in more believable studies he’s hit 40% for the first time.
That’s right: a weeks-long campaign of distortion and outright falsehoods, sprinkled with inflammatory language, and the man gets *more *popular.
This makes it easier for Trump to do what he’s wanted to do since last summer: fire Mueller. Or, if legal niceties and resigning White House counsels prevent that from happening, he can discredit the man’s findings — not so much that you and I will believe, but enough that once State TV cranks up the propaganda machine the base will fall in line.
That’s why rational, reasoned arguments are a complete waste of time. Ditto facts. Truth. Evidence. As long as the Outrage Machine stays well-stoked, Trump wins.🔷
(This piece was first published on Medium.)