Last week was another where you couldn’t tell the players in Trump’s orbit without a scorecard. Today I’d like to focus on three of the plethora of firings. Let’s explore.
The first has faded from most memories and all discussions. On Monday Trump’s “body man” John McEntee was unceremoniously escorted from the White House sans his coat on what passes for a cold day in Washington. Apparently McEntee has such a severe gambling habit as to make him a security liability.
No need to feel sorry for Mr. McEntee. Well before the clock struck midnight he was hired into a senior position with the 2020 Trump campaign. Mafia Dons always prize loyalty above all other qualities. How did someone with McEntee’s baggage get into Trump’s orbit in the first place? I offer Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Rob Porter as exhibits A, B, C, and D.
The next exit was that of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. I want to dig just a bit deeper into that episode and look at the termination of Steven Goldstein. There was some confusion as to the circumstances surrounding Tillerson’s firing. Goldstein, the number four ranking official at State, issued a statement outlining what hindsight is revealing to be the true circumstances that reinforced the fact that Tillerson was both fired by and learned about his firing via tweet. As his reward for both defending his Department and telling the truth Trump promptly ordered the firing of Goldstein. Telling the truth is a transgression punishable by termination under Don Trump.
Shortly before 10pm Friday night Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the termination of Andrew McCabe. McCabe was using his accumulated leave to get to his birthday on Sunday at which point he was eligible for full retirement from the FBI. (The federal government’s retirement system is based on points earned for years of service and age.) The influence of Trump, while somewhat veiled, is very apparent.
McCabe had been under internal FBI investigation for his conversations with reporters (specifically from the Wall Street Journal) in reference to the handling of investigations of Hillary Clinton. The allegation apparently is that McCabe was too forthcoming with information to the reporters and not forthcoming enough with investigators during a subsequent probe. McCabe claims his motivation in his interaction with the Wall Street Journal was to clarify his earlier statements and protect the FBI’s reputation.
McCabe and his family have been frequent and consistent targets of harassment from President Trump. For months Sessions has been on Trump’s chopping block. It doesn’t take Dick Tracy to figure out that Sessions was under pressure to fire McCabe. Internal FBI investigations, particularly of high level personnel, are notorious for their lack of speed; McCabe’s apparently was expedited. You connect those dots.
Here is an interesting aspect: Sessions supposedly has recused himself of any matters dealing with the 2016 presidential campaign. In consideration of that how can he rule in this matter? It seems under the Trump organized criminal enterprise recusal along with blind trust has a creative and unorthodox definition. Perhaps we should ask the “recused” Devin Nunes to define it; maybe he understands?
This is another Wizard of Oz moment under Trump where we are asked to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Until he tweets that is. McCabe, like James Comey and Rex Tillerson will probably end up fine when this is all said and done. Trump, having achieved the Presidency will almost undoubtedly avoid incarceration. Pawns like Manafort, Flynn, Nunes and Sessions probably have a visit to Club Fed in their future. The road is long but the truth has a way of winning eventually.
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