The two most important things that happened in American politics last week are things that didn’t happen. The title of today’s article comes from an old basketball offense. I think we learned a lot about President Trump’s future strategy last week. Let’s explore and I will weave it all together.
The two big things were Ted Olson refusing to join Donald Trump’s defense team and the government not shutting down. Regardless of what you may think of him Ted Olson is an extremely talented lawyer who has successfully argued cases before the Supreme Court. (That last fact is key as I will expand on in a moment.) More than one guilty defendant has gone free due to the talent of his legal representation.
I had the opportunity to coach under the late Archie O’Bryan. He devised a delay game offense which we called Bona. (I’m certain after St. Bonaventure University.) Without getting too far into the weeds; it was a 1-4 high delay game in the days before the three point field goal and the shot clock. The fact that we had two 6’5” kids on the team that could handle the ball fairly well helped make it work for us.
The government not shutting down despite a late tweeted veto threat from Trump who ended up signing the enabling legislation anyway just illustrating that among other things he is a coward and again overestimated his talent and importance.
Now let’s begin to weave things together. The first thing to do is boil things down to their simplest form. When evaluating the Trump administration just think of an organized criminal enterprise. Trump is able to skim money every day; the longer he stays in power the more money he accumulates; dictating the utilization of a delay game offense. In basketball (before the shot clock) by late in the game a good team has often scored enough points to win. The opponent is no longer the opposing team; it is the game clock. All it needs to do is remain in the lead and run out the clock.
Thursday John Dowd resigned from Trump’s Russiagate legal defense team. Dowd was supposedly the lead attorney. I could be wrong, but one look at Dowd’s face seemed to reveal his fatal flaw. The most famous video recording of Dowd shows him giving a reporter the one figure salute; hardly the caliber of lawyer that should be leading the legal defense team of a seriously endangered American President.
Dowd’s departure (and incredibly he was the star of the team) was forecast earlier in the week when the husband-wife team of Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing joined the Trump Russiagate defense team. The couple is nothing more than conspiracy theorists that frequently appear on Fox News. (I guess Alex Jones doesn’t have a law degree.) As of this writing there are rumors that Mark Kasowitz may be rejoining the team. None of the above listed are fit to fetch coffee for Olson.
Had Trump tried to evade sitting for an interview with Robert Mueller’s team he would need someone capable of winning a case before the Supreme Court. None of these jokers are remotely capable.
Trump will either have to sit for Mueller or fire him. I’m betting on the latter. If Trump fires Mueller it will cause a delay which is all Trump is playing for. (Don’t expect Congressional Republicans to stand up to Trump over Mueller’s firing.) Trump knows (sans one possibility I will cover below) that he is going to lose; he just wants to delay the inevitable as long as possible because that is how he maximizes his personal profit.
Here is the wild card. It is terrifying and last week’s events may have set it up. In a word: war. War is the ultimate diversion and game changer. With National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster’s exit and replacement with John Bolton war with Iran and/or North Korea just got a lot more likely. McMaster leaves on April 9th leaving Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis as the only “adults” in Trump’s orbit. The rumors of Kelly’s exit are abundant so it would not be surprising to see him out before McMaster. (If Kelly is replaced would someone like Anthony Scaramucci or Corey Lewandowsky really be a surprise?) That would leave Mattis as the lone military man of consequence in Trump’s orbit. He would either become a marked or ignored man. People like Bolton and Cadet Bone Spurs Trump think war is some sort of video game.
If you think it would be insane to take a chance of blowing up the world in order to skim a few more dollars for a few more weeks; I agree with you but remember we are dealing with Donald Trump.
I don’t want to leave you terrified so I’ll point out a few interesting coincidences. “Stormy Sunday” is today which also happens to be Palm Sunday. Next week Sunday is Easter Sunday for non-orthodox Christians; it also happens to be April Fools’ Day. You supply the punchlines. The stars are aligning strangely of late.
Note: This article was written Friday afternoon for Sunday morning’s publishing.
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