Monday, March 6, 2017

"The Deep State’s Attempted 'Decapitation' of Donald Trump"

"The Deep State’s Attempted 'Decapitation' of Donald Trump"
By David Stockman

"I’ve said since day one that Donald Trump’s historic mission is to be the Great Disruptor. I admit that I believe much of what Trump advocates is wrongheaded. But I salute him as a true outsider and rallying force for the Main Street political insurrection we witnessed on Election Night. That insurrection must succeed if Trump is to succeed in his historic mission. That’s because the existing regime of Bubble Finance on Wall Street and government growth threatens incalculable harm to your liberty and your finances. That’s especially the case now that the debt crisis is about to come to a head.

The Deep State and the permanent governing class of the Imperial City are going for a full political “decapitation” of Donald Trump. The ongoing campaign to delegitimize Trump’s presidency is just the beginning of what Trump faces from the Deep State and the mainstream media. As someone who spent 40 years in Washington and on Wall Street, I know exactly what Trump is up against- and the people that are out to get him. And now with the March 15 debt deadline looming the stakes could not be higher for the country. The coming debt ceiling crisis will paralyze the political machinery.

If you needed any evidence that we are in the midst of a Gong Show like no other just think about this weekend's craziness. The Donald tweeted that Trump Tower had been bugged during the campaign by the Obama administration. Of course, spokesmen for the 44th president adamantly and indignantly denied it. But apparently Washington operatives like former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes took a crash course from Bill Clinton on the art of explaining what the meaning of "is" is. Thus, Rhodes harrumphed that: "No president can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you."

Then again, Subsection 1804 of Title 50 of the U.S. Code shows exactly where the "is" is regarding the approval process for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant, which is the method by which Trump Tower was allegedly tapped: "Each application [by a federal officer] shall require the approval of the Attorney General based upon his finding that it satisfies the criteria [of Subsection 1804]..."

That undoubtedly explains why Obama Attorney General (AG) Loretta Lynch has said nothing and another Obama spokesman, former speechwriter Jon Favreau, has actually warned that the denial does not extend beyond the White House walls: "I'd be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the White House ordered it."

Still, you would think that even if the cat got Lynch's tongue, the current AG might have instant access to the truth of the matter. But Jeff Sessions couldn't enlighten the world either, because he recused himself Thursday afternoon, owing to the fact that he had a meeting with the Russian ambassador in his Senate office last summer. Needless to say, the job of an ambassador is to meet and greet any and all officials of note in the foreign capital in which he serves, and that might especially pertain to a senator who was on the Armed Services Committee.

But Sessions has recused himself following a "leak" from the Intelligence Community (IC) about that meeting. And as to how these anonymous IC sources knew about the meeting in the first place, Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Fox News Saturday night that he knew exactly how. According to Lewandowski, Sen. Sessions- a paid-up adult Boy Scout who still has his uniform and badges- was wiretapped in his own office! True, there is no hard evidence for that either. But then how else would the IC spooks know who a United States senator had invited to his own Capitol Hill office?

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper went on NBC this weekend to do his best imitation of the answer he gave under oath in March 2013 about whether the phone calls of U.S. citizen were being monitored. His answer at the time was "No, sir." Yesterday's response to NBC's inquiry about whether there were taps at Trump Tower was not dissimilar: "Not to my knowledge." Stated differently, the man should be in jail for lying under oath to the U.S. Senate and the voters, as Edward Snowden's revelations three months later proved beyond a shadow of a doubt. Instead, he was on television presumably lying to the American public yet again.

To find a possibly honest Attorney General who can actually speak publicly on the matter you have to reach all the way back to Mike Mukasey, George W. Bush's last AG nine year ago. Although aligned with the Never Trumpers, Mukasey left little to the imagination during his appearance on ABC: “I think he’s right in that there was surveillance and that it was conducted at the behest of the attorney general- at the Justice Department.” As one of the architects of the Imperial City's multi-billion, out-of-control domestic spying operation, the man should know. Even Mukasey couldn't bring himself to deny that Donald Trump is in the gun-sights of the Deep State.

The Wall Street Journal's editorial page today sums it up as good as any: "Democrats are trying to capitalize on anonymous leaks based on U.S. intelligence collection to destroy the Trump Presidency." And that gets us to the raging robo-machines of Wall Street. They are betting that the stimulus baton is going to be handed off to fiscal policy; and that the U.S. economy and corporate profits will leap out of their multi-year stupor owing to massive tax cuts, infrastructure and defense spending and sweeping deregulation. As one dim-witted asset manager said on Bloomberg this morning- the weekend wildness to the contrary notwithstanding- he is bullish because the Trump people are going for "growth."

Yes, and if dogs could whistle, the world would be a chorus. 

What's actually happening, of course, is that the Deep State and its minions in the permanent governing class of the Imperial City are going for decapitation of the nation's 45th president. Accordingly, the odds that any elements of the vaunted Trump Stimulus will see the light of day are somewhere between slim and none.

The reasons are blindingly evident. The checks-and-balances ridden machinery of the nation's government was designed by the founders to not work even under normal circumstances- based on a well warranted fear of majoritarian excesses. Indeed, the only time that the machinery can really move with alacrity is when a President is riding extremely high in the saddle and can coax and catalyze Capitol Hill into action. That's what FDR did during his famous 100 Days in the dark spring of 1933. And it was also how LBJ rammed the Great Society into law during 1965 after his 1964 landslide victory. Even Ronald Reagan managed to wiggle his giant tax cut through a recalcitrant Congress by a hair owing to a momentary but massive outpouring of goodwill after being nearly fatally shot.

By contrast, when a President is on the ropes, the dead hand of James Madison rules the Washington roost. I was on hand as a bit player when Nixon became the "pitiful helpless giant" he rallied against during his better days in office. Yet that's exactly what he became after he fired John Dean and accepted the resignation of his closest aides on April 30, 1973. As it happened, Tricky Dick survived in office another 15 months, but the wheels of government stopped dead in the water.

I expect no less during the next 15 months- to pick an arbitrary period- because if the Trump Stimulus is not enacted by then, it never will be in the run-up to the 2018 elections. It’ll be a while before all this is straightened out. In the meantime, another fiscal crisis looms as the debt ceiling expires on March 15. And the Imperial City will be too distracted by roiling scandals to meet the challenge.

Nor am I predicting that a GOP Congress will impeach the Donald or even try. What I do predict, however, is that Washington will succumb to partisan acrimony of an unprecedented scope and intensity, and that the gang of ideological factions known as the Republican Party will soon splinter into factions while attempting to grapple with the Trump agenda. This prospect means, in turn, that there is no path to a Congressional majority to raise the debt ceiling when it freezes into law at about $20 trillion on March 15.

As it happened, I was challenged on CNBC last week on this matter by a bullish trader who recalled that the debt ceiling showdowns in 2011 and 2013 quickly passed. The implication was that Wall Street's hired servants on Capitol Hill dare not contemplate any action that might inconvenience the gamblers and high rollers who dominate the joint.

But those crises were overcome only because Speaker John Boehner was willing on every occasion to sell-out the GOP’s minority of fiscal hawks via a "bipartisan" deal with Nancy Pelosi and Obama. So there is a reason why the words "good riddance" immediately comes to mind when I hear the former Speaker's name. But here's the thing. Boehner is gone and the Democrats are going in for the kill on Trump because they absolutely do not accept the shocking result of November 8. That's what this entire anti-Russian witch-hunt is all about- a thinly veiled cover story for re-litigating the election of a sitting president.

And that means, in turn, a running constitutional crisis, not a midnight stick save when Uncle Sam runs out of cash a few months down the road. And if anyone believes that the GOP will patch up its differences and fall into ranks to vote a $24 trillion debt ceiling through in order to accommodate the Trump tax cuts, a huge defense increase, border walls and thousands of more armed guards, they need look no further than the Obamacare "repeal and replace" campaign.

It's already DOA. In recent days both the Freedom Caucus and the Republican Study group have discovered what I have been saying since Ryan's plan leaked two weeks ago. The current Speaker is on the very edge of doing a Boehner Special. That is, selling out the fiscal conservatives with a phony repeal and replace plan that amounts to little more than Obamacare Lite. They have figured out that Ryan would leave the $5.5 trillion ten-year cost of Medicaid- along with the Obama expansion- largely intact. And it would simply shuffle one new entitlement- the Obama exchange subsidies for families up to 4X the poverty line- with another age-based "refundable" tax credit, which is just a euphemism for an entitlement.

Hard upon the coming "repeal and replace" fiasco will come the debt ceiling crisis. Yet the boys and girls on Wall Street are so used to getting their stimulus snack from Janet Yellen when they want it, they cannot see the obvious denial coming down the fiscal pike. When the robo-machines finally figure out the Gong Show raging in Washington means no jam today, they may come to an altogether different conclusion."

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