An extraordinary acceleration

The Post sums up the state of play:

McCabe’s firing — coupled with the comments from Trump and his personal attorney, John Dowd on Saturday — marked an extraordinary acceleration of the battle between the president and the special counsel, whose probe Trump has long dismissed as a politically motivated witch hunt.

Or to put it another way, an extraordinary acceleration of the battle between Trump and the rule of law.

[Trump’s personal lawyer John] Dowd said in a Saturday morning statement, “I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier.”

Dowd’s defiance was a dramatic shift for a legal team that had long pledged to cooperate fully with Mueller. The White House has responded to requests for documents, and senior officials have sat for hours of interviews with the special counsel’s investigators.

They’re testing, testing, to see what they can get away with.

Trump has been known to direct surrogates to make bold claims publicly as a way of market-testing ideas. Dowd declined to say whether he consulted with the president before issuing his statement. “I never discuss my communications with my client,” he said.

White House officials denied that this is all coordinated.

Still, officials acknowledged that Trump shares his lawyer’s sentiment that the Mueller investigation should come to a swift conclusion.

“We were all promised collusion or nullification of his election or impeachment,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. “We were promised something that never came to be.”

Well that’s Trump-level stupid. It’s a process, it’s ongoing, there have been indictments. There is no “never” here, because it was never a ten days and it’s over thing; an investigation takes as long as it takes.

In a Sunday morning tweet, Trump accused Comey of lying in testimony to Congress as he was questioned by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa): “Wow, watch Comey lie under oath to Senator G when asked “have you ever been an anonymous source…or known someone else to be an anonymous source…?” He said strongly “never, no.”

Trump in the past has masqueraded as a fake publicist by the name of John Miller or John Barron to leak flattering or boastful details about himself to tabloid reporters.


In another tweet, Trump repeated his now-familiar attacks on McCabe and Comey. Some Trump allies said they worry he is playing with fire by taunting the FBI.

“This is open, all-out war. And guess what? The FBI’s going to win,” said one ally, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. “You can’t fight the FBI. They’re going to torch him.”

Let’s hope so.

Trump’s lawyers have long spoken privately about what they view as political bias inside the FBI and in the early stages of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to two top White House advisers.

Since late summer, Dowd and attorney Jay Sekulow have warned the president about what they saw as mounting evidence of pro-Clinton bias among senior FBI officials.

If that’s true, and to the extent that it’s true, I wonder how much of it is “political” bias and how much of it is competence bias or law bias or both. Clinton’s a lawyer and competent; Trump is neither.

Dowd and White House lawyer Ty Cobb have publicly asserted that they are working collaboratively and cooperatively with Mueller’s investigators, voluntarily providing dozens of witnesses and hundreds of thousands of pages of records. Dowd told The Post in January that Trump was providing the special counsel “the most transparent response in history by a president.”

But behind the scenes, Dowd has told colleagues that the probe was poisoned. He has blamed it on an anti-Trump faction of law enforcement officials he derisively calls “the Comey crowd,” which includes McCabe, who was Comey’s deputy when the FBI began investigating Russia’s intrusions and possible links to the Trump campaign.

But there are so many reasons to be anti-Trump, most of them not political. Comey and McCabe know how to think and reason; Trump pisses on the very idea that thought and reasoning are necessary. If they do prefer Clinton to Trump it could be for that kind of reason – she’s an adult, she can talk coherently, she’s well informed. You could sum it up as “professionalism” if you liked. Trump is like a toddler inflated with a bicycle pump. You can’t have a coherent conversation with Trump, because he doesn’t know how – all he knows how to do is grab the mic and babble chaotically until someone takes it away from him. Maybe Comey and McCabe are simply allergic to Trump on a professional level (and also of course know that that level of stupidity is dangerous for the country).

Democrats on Saturday quickly rushed to protect the Mueller probe, as former national security officials defended McCabe’s character and raised questions about the manner in which he was fired.

Sen. Mark R. Warner (Va.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted: “Every member of Congress, Republican and Democrat, needs to speak up in defense of the Special Counsel. Now.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned of “severe consequences from both Democrats and Republicans” should Trump try to curtail or interfere with Mueller’s investigation.

I hope he’s right about the Republicans part.

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