The Impeachment Watershed, Donald Trump’s New Apprentice Gig by Larry C Johnson

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Donald Trump made his fame in the public arena by playing the tough boss on the Apprentice–he rewarded performance and fired those not measuring up. Yet Trump, until last Thursday, the day after his impeachment acquittal, failed to reprise this role during his first three years in office.

Understandably there has been quite a bit of frustration among the Trump tribe over Trump's apparent foot dragging in firing disloyal political appointees and declassifying documents that would expose the Deep State coup attempt. This frustration among Trump supporters extends to Attorney General Barr, who been accused of being asleep at the wheel despite having full authority to declassify and investigate the wrong doers. However, after watching the debacle surrounding the impeachment of Donald Trump, it should be clear to a reasonably objective observer that Donald Trump's hesitancy to pull the trigger and fire people was his sensible response to legal advisors who recognized how such actions could be used against him during the heat of impeachment. 

Why? Just look at the howls of outrage over the Trump team last Friday, two days after Trump's acquittal, when he ordered Lt. Col. Alex Vindman and his twin brother, out of the White House and back to the Department of Defense. They were not "fired." They still hold their military rank. They were simply reassigned. Vindman, in my view, should have been courtmartialed for insubordination and conduct unbecoming an officer. He did not like Donald Trump's policy towards Ukraine. Too damn bad. He is not President. If he was so perturbed he should have resigned and then spoken out. But like any coward keen on maintaining his earning power, Vindman chose money over principle. 


If Trump had done this prior to the end of the impeachment trial it would have been used a prima facie evidence that he was punishing alleged whistleblowers. And that charge in fact is now being bandied freely about. Think about the absurdity and audacity of these coup plotters–they tried to put Trump into a bureaucratic straight jacket and prevent him from wielding the power freely and routinely exercised by every single one of his predecessors. In the world of the coup plotters Trump has no right to remove or replace any Ambassador, Presidential Appointee or military officer.

That worm has now turned. Yes, the coup plotters will continue to scream and holler. But the President now is back at work like the Donald Trump of the Apprentice. He also removed Ambassador Sundland and the disgraced Ambassador Yovanovitch (who tried to sabotage Trump's policy in the Ukraine) resigned as a Foreign Service officer. Good.

And now rumors are circulating that disgraced FBI agents Strzok and McCabe will be arrested and charged this week. About time. Here again, if the Attorny General had signed off on any such arrests prior to the end of the impeachment proceedings the accusations of cover up and misconduct would have been flying. Now is the time for the accounting. Those who unlawfully and illegally interfered with the election of Donald Trump and his attempt to govern will now begin to face justice.

Let me suggest a likely scenario. Peter Strzok will be the first to flip. Unlike Andy McCabe or Jim Comey, he is not rolling in dough. McCabe and Comey have financial resources he does not.

Another bell weather will be the disposition of the Michael Flynn case. Up to this point the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia was Jessie Liu. She was never known for being a straight shooter. The evidence assembled by Michael Flynn's lawyer, Sidney Powell, and her filing to withdraw the General's criminal plea has set the stage for a major unraveling of the Deep State. If Judge Sullivan decides to hold an evidentiary hearing before rendering a decision on Ms. Powell's filing then we can expect to see Jim Comey and Andy McCabe called as witnesses. At that point the Government prosecutors are likely to withdraw the case because Comey and McCabe will end up admitting to the fabricated foundation of the charges against Flynn.

All of this takes place against the backdrop of the Democrats setting themselves on fire like Buddist monks in Vietnam during the worst days of the Vietnam War. The Iowa debacle exposed the Democrat establishment's continuing effort to derail Bernie Sander's candidacy. Sane Democrats understand that old Bernie will destroy the coalition that made Bill Clinton and Barack Obama's presidencies possible. There is no way the Democrats emerge from the primaries of the next three months more united and energized. The opposite will occur–fracture and emotional fatigue.

And Donald Trump? He now has no doubt about the nature of the threat he confronts from the Deep State and he understands how to fight. I think the man who made The Apprentice a success is likely to bring that magic to his campaign. Not good news for Democrats.

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20 Responses to The Impeachment Watershed, Donald Trump’s New Apprentice Gig by Larry C Johnson

  1. J says:

    Larry,
    Also look how the chickens (Republican Senators) are now crowing fowel because POTUS fired Sondland two days after impeachment farce concluded.

  2. plantman says:

    My sense is that Trump is at least partially cooperating with the deep state now, judging by his shifting foreign policy stance.
    But, whatever. I was relieved to see the sanctimonious Vidman kicked down the White House stairwell. I was also glad that Sundland got his comeuppance.
    Have you noticed how closely Trump’s “payback” resembles the final scenes in Godfather 2 when Fredo and the rest of the scumbag traitors get “whacked”?
    The media seems to think we should feel sorry for these double-dealers, but most of the guys I know, think they got what they had coming to them. I’d have to agree.

  3. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Regarding Jessie Liu, some relevant information about her background is contained in the following:
    “Jessie K Liu Senate Confirmation Hearing This Week – Thursday 10:00am…”, by sundance, 2020-02-09
    His POV:

    [G]iven Ms Liu’s propensity to run cover-up operations,
    her movement into Treasury and FinCin is problematic.

  4. D says:

    When faced with a similar test in California, RINO Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger blinked and gave away the farm to the liberal wing of the Democrats who relentlessly attacked him. You can mark the steep decline of this state from his tenure as Governor, starting in the year 2000.
    My biggest worry about Trump before he was elected in 2016, as a nominal RINO as well, is he would blink too when the Democrats and their public sector unions came gunning for him. Which they certainly did.
    My 2016 worries were misplaced. Trump will go down as a great President – a profile in courage. We have all been witnesses to his trial by fire, and he will not get fired. Amazing.

  5. Thirdeye says:

    “Sane Democrats understand that old Bernie will destroy the coalition that made Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s presidencies possible.”
    IMO that coalition is already dead and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The game of telling working people that they are obligated to remain in a coalition that serves the interests of Wall Street, silicon valley, the foreign policy elite, the managerial class (both government and private sector), and various identity-career hustlers at their own expense is played out. That is the lesson of 2016 that the Democratic establishment is incapable of learning.
    If in the unlikely event Bernie gets the nomination, his embrace of open borders (just like all the other Democrats except Tulsi) will sink him.

  6. D says:

    Thirdeye,
    How many actual votes do government employees generate, in every form possible – local, county, state, federal -, along with their families and friends. They are existentially connected to the Democrat Party and that is who they want to write their paychecks.
    In contrast, how many actual votes do (as you state) ….”the interests of Wall Street, silicon valley, foreign policy elite, managerial class and various identity class hustlers….. generate?
    Therefore, who in fact is the most important voting block the Democrats need to protect. Who gets the cream off our tax dollars.
    Those wanting to break up the deep state and the deep swamp need to understand, collectively they still have the numbers to out vote them all. As long as they continue to participate.

  7. Upstate NY'er says:

    Don’t all these federal prosecutors work for Barr?
    Has he gone on an extended vacation?
    And Trump has got to clean out a lot more swamp creatures.
    Wray (the smirker) is the stereotypical swamp empty suit.
    Fiona Hill – how does a foreign national even get a NSC job?

  8. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Keith Harbaugh,
    Read the link to this Conservative Treehouse post this afternoon, and I have to say that it is a must read. If anyone would understand how the Deep State works when it circles the wagons, either in general, or in the particular instance of this seditious conspiracy against the Constitution and the Republic that we have seen in the matter of the impeachment conspiracy, this article lays it out in superb detail, even down to explanations as to why actions that should have slowed the juggernaut could not be taken, or were watered down in their efficacy when tried.
    I sure do hope that the optimistic view that consequences are coming is correct. Our admittedly flawed governance (humans are involved, after all) is in danger of total collapse in the face of the full frontal assault that it has endured at the hands of these sociopathic, power-mad criminals.

  9. Harry says:

    Totally agree with Thirdeye. Especially the last point. In 15 years things might be different. Demographics are changing.

  10. J says:

    Colonel,
    LTC Alexander Vindman gets reassigned to the War College in Carlisle. No word on his twin the lawyer.

  11. Bill H says:

    D
    Re. Trump vs. “Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger blinked and gave away the farm to the liberal wing of the Democrats,” Trump’s SWMBO is not a member of the Kennedy clan.

  12. confusedponderer says:

    J,
    re LTC Alexander Vindman gets reassigned to the War College in Carlisle. No word on his twin the lawyer.
    Back in the time here an adminstration used to call something similar “Sippenhaft”. Nasty people. They had a problem with one person, they also locked up his wife, brothers, sisters, parents and children and while at it and if available, probably also chess, skat, golf and tennis partners, the cook, nanny, butler, gardener and driver. Call it a shotgun approach.
    What’s Trump doing with this is retaliation against bystanders for things that that one Vindman dared to do – being a witness against Trump.
    Trump’s problem with Vimdman is disobedience and lack of demanded utter loyalty. But then, employees in the whitehouse don’t work there to make Trump happy. Retaliation against the brother is saying, in Trump’s not so subtle way, “I can and will get you, or someone nearby“.
    Mulvaney demonstrated that “pro Trump, whatever he did” loyalty when talking about the nasty Ukraine call to journalists. He told them that they should get over that call – the US wouldn’t just do that with the Ukies but with everybody all the time. All with that goofy Trump Whitehouse smile.
    That’s just as good (sarcasm alert) as Dershowitz’s comment on the impeachment – that Trump is entitled free to call other nations to help him in his election camapign against a domestic opponent – when it is in the best interest of the country. Naturally, it (=the best interest of the country) to him is the (re-)election and the decision about that is with Trump.
    It is rather clear to me that the D’s are far less than clean in their political battle against Trump. But then: If an arsonist calls an extortionist, petty, vain, chronic liar an extortionist, petty, vain, chronic liar that may just be true – irrespective of who and what the accuser is or what his motive is.
    The problem of course is that the prepetually witch hunted and totally unfairly criticised victim Trump overscreams that, with recent absurdities like calling Romney “a secret agent of the Democrats” in the GOP, and, natutrally, a jealous loser (in contrast to the prepetually bigger ever MAGA, MEGA, GAGA winner – Trump himself).
    Yesterday Trump freaked out and screamed on the phone with Boris Johnson because Johnson didn’t prohibit Huawai (not completely, but to do business in G5 tech in the UK). More complete obedience demanded and denied? Potential threats – one of the five eyes may be blinded, a kick in the balls over britains US nuclear missiles etc pp ?
    Once, iirc during that Brett Kavanaugh thing, Trump said that “he doesn’t drink because that would bring out the worst in him”. Oh dear. Anyway, assuming generously that that is correct I think that he is already quite a handful sober.

  13. turcopolier says:

    CP
    The NSC staff was deliberately “salted” with anti-Trump stay-behinds. These are not permanent employees of the NSC. Like Vindman they are people detailed there for a few years at most. They should have been removed long ago. Try to keep your TDS under control.

  14. J says:

    Looks like POTUS Trump is going with the Bush number for his NSC –70.
    IMHO Trump should have waste canned the NSC, and set up a Smoke-Signals group instead. He would be better served. When the White House gets too thick with group think, they can open a window for a breeze. Oh well.
    How do you think that Vindman will be received at the War College when he does arrive there?

  15. confusedponderer says:

    Pat,
    I see your point.
    I also see the problem arising from creatures like Giuliani saying that reality is not the same thing as reality. I see in that a denial of things that people like Giuliani or Trump don’t like. That may be a rented view, because of ideology or idiocy. I don’t care. What I care about are the results for bystanders.
    That Trump doesn’t know any other language like rent, demanding rent for US troops stationed offshore, threat generally, penal taxery, at times absurd self congratulation and that temporarily stopping threats (they are so handy to keep in the hand – and they can be revived with a tweet) – that is … “a lamentable lack of courtesy”.
    Trump gets off with that because of US power, arms and wealth that existed since well before he was born. It certainly has nothing at all to do with stability, stables or geniality. If he was just the king or emperor of a tiny place like Monaco he’d be laughed at.
    Trump just, in the time of the corona virus epidemy (hopefully not pandemy), cut the EPA funding (they also do desease research stuff) by iirc 26+%. Likely because everything is going splendid thanks to his stable geniousness, and of course because the money is needed to build that wall.
    Well, Corona is said to be worse than SARS, which had a 10% death rate. The USA are a large place with in 2019 some 328 million people living there. But then, reality is not reality …
    Me having a problem with that lack of rationality is not TDS.

  16. Keith Harbaugh says:

    sundance suggests
    ( “The DC Cover-up That’s As Big As Spygate…”, 2020-02-11 )
    two specific questions that should be asked at Ms. Liu’s confirmation hearing.
    Sundance’s predictions of the consequences of honest answers to those questions seem so significant that I am quoting them in this comment:

    Ms. Jessie Liu is scheduled for her confirmation hearing on Thursday at 10:00am. Ms. Liu will be under oath. If any Senator on that committee is brave enough, they would ask:
    Did the DOJ or FBI have evidence that SSCI Security Director James Wolfe leaked the Carter Page FISA application to the media?
    We know the honest answer is yes.
    The next follow up:
    Why was James Wolfe not prosecuted for that leak of classified information?
    And then things would get really interesting… Consider the ramifications.
    An honest answer would prove the media lied for 18 months about the content of the FISA application. They’ve had it since March 2017. That’s how the New York Times knew to FOIA it. That’s why the New York Times filed the FOIA, to use it more openly.
    An honest answer would prove the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) was a participating entity in the coup effort.
    An honest answer would explain why the SSCI would only approve of nominees who would not expose their activity. Remember, the CIA, FBI, DOJ, ODNI, DNI, etc. all require confirmation from the SSCI (including Chair and Vice-Chair); and the answer would highlight SSCI members were engaged in a seditious conspiracy against the office of the presidency.
    An honest answer would explain how Vice-Chairman Mark Warner’s text messages surfaced. Mark Warner entered the dragnet of the FBI investigation of James Wolfe…. and he was questioned by the FBI about his text messages. THAT is why Warner got out in front of them.
    An honest answer would also explain why former DOJ-NSD lawyer Michael Atkinson was recommended to become Intelligence Community Inspector General…. And why the SSCI approved. An honest answer would explain why ICIG Atkinson participated in the second soft-coup effort via the “whistle-blower.”
    An honest answer would explain the unique nature of all the interests in/around Adam Schiff, Mark Warner, the House intel committee, the SSCI, the DOJ-NSD… Almost everything reconciles within the sunlight of an honest answer.
    An honest answer would highlight several members of the 2016 U.S intel community oversight known as the “gang of eight” were participating in a covert effort against candidate Trump; and how some of the current Go8 members have legal exposure.
    The ramifications are far reaching:
    Who was Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and DC Attorney Jessie Liu protecting?
    What institutional interests did Rod Rosenstein and Jessie Liu consider too stunning, too damaging, too overwhelming, to confront in their decision to allow such a weak plea contrast against such severe criminal conduct?
    It is even possible for the United States Dept. of Justice to conduct a trial where members of the Gang of Eight were implicated in the activity?
    How could the institutions of the United States government survive the publicity of members within the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence conspiring with foreign and domestic actors to eliminate the President of the United States?
    How could the highest and most widely recognized U.S. media institutions (NYT, WaPo, CNN and more) survive exposure within that same trial. The media caught participating in a government effort (receiving leaked classified information) intended to eliminate the presidency of Donald John Trump?

    Sundance ends his column by predicting that the questions won’t be asked.
    That the senators are unwilling to ask such questions.

  17. turcopolier says:

    j
    Coldly correct behavior.

  18. Walrus says:

    Roger Stones DOJ prosecutors have both just resigned, effective immediately. I think this is just the beginning of what needs to be a monumental purge.

  19. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Above I drew attention to questions that Jessie Liu might have faced at her scheduled Senate confirmation hearing.
    Possibly because of the difficulty she would have faced in answering those questions,
    Trump withdrew his nomination of her late on Tuesday,
    and on Wednesday she resigned from her position in the Treasury Dept.:
    “Jessie Liu Resigns Treasury Dept. Following Nomination Withdrawal…”, 2020-02-13 (Thursday)

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