TAMPA, March 6, 2017 — Only 24 hours after a widely praised address to the Joint Session of Congress, the Trump White House found itself back on the defensive. The liberal media, and Democrats, keep pounding the Russia drum, and by the end of the week Attorney General Jeff Sessions was weakened.
President Trump then again did what far too many Republicans from John McCain to Mitt Romney to Jeff Sessions refused to do. Trump hit back thrice as hard.
In a scorching series of Saturday morning Tweets, Trump gave former President Barack Obama a social media lashing. Many Republicans to this day are terrified of taking on Obama out of fear of being labeled a racist. Trump is a counter-puncher, and he turned the Russia story upside down.
Trump is a counter-puncher, and he turned the Russia story upside down.
Before his Tweets, the media was obsessed with whether Trump conspired with people in Russia he had never met to rig the 2016 election. Democrats were calling for an independent counsel to investigate something, since nobody could specifically state what crime was committed. Despite a lack of evidence, miserable public relations had the White House on their heels.
Trump wanted the job done right, so he had to do it himself. He reframed the narrative. He accused Obama of wiretapping Trump Towers.
Democrats howled that the charge was unsubstantiated, but so are the Russia charges. The liberal media could not very well complain about anonymous unverified sources, since they frequently use them.
The normally loquacious and unflappable Obama hid behind a spokesman and gave a tortured legalese-laden response. Nobody at the White House authorized any wiretapping of Trump’s phones. This does not cover Attorney General Loretta Lynch or other cabinet members.
This does not cover Attorney General Loretta Lynch or other cabinet members.
Trump even took matters a step further, demanding that congress conduct an investigation into his allegation against Obama. House Republicans said they would.
By making these accusations, Trump accomplished several things “big league.”
He seized back the news cycle and dominated it the entire weekend. Media oxygen is precious, and Trump was back on offense. The story of Russian collusion faded for two entire days as cable news obsessed over one United States president attacking another one.
Even those who felt Trump was blowing smoke were scared, since nobody truly knows what information he has but him.
He gave Democrats significant pause about endless investigations. If Trump can be investigated, so can his political opponents. Sessions may be too polite, but Trump will use every power at his disposal to make sure accusations are batted back swiftly and fiercely.
Many Democrats know their own hands are far from clean. The last thing Democrats want is for more investigations into Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and the IRS targeting scandals.
Trump’s unproven allegations are effective because they are plausible.
- Obama’s NSA did wiretap German Chancellor Angela Merkel and many other foreign leaders.
- Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder did spy on members of the media.
- AG Holder subjected Fox News Reporter James Rosen to particularly egregious harassment.
- Obama’s IRS did inappropriately target conservative organizations.
- Obama’s entire presidency was about overreach. Opponents of the White House frequently had their private personal information leaked and publicized.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper categorically denied the allegations, but he also categorically denied similar allegations in 2013 congressional testimony that has been discredited.
FBI Director James Comey is now publicly trying to urge the Justice Department to block Trump from pursuing this. That allows Trump to fire Comey for “cause”. Democrats would be helpless to defend Comey given the Democrats excoriating him only four months ago.
Obama’s main dust-buster Ben Rhodes offered the laughable assertion that Obama was innocent because a president could not order such targeting. Obama or any other president would never have to give an explicit directive. There is no proof Obama ordered Fast and Furious gunrunning or IRS targeting. His ideological soulmate subordinates knew exactly what to do. The idea that Attorney General Loretta Lynch would target Trump is highly possible. Lynch caused a stir when she sat on the Tarmac with Bill Clinton for 30 minutes right before FBI Director Comey dropped his investigation of Hillary Clinton. Courts of law require evidence to be beyond a reasonable doubt. The court of public opinion has a much lower standard. There is plenty of smoke, if not a total dumpster fire. Making matters worse, Benghazi Rhodes also has zero credibility after bragging to the media that he repeatedly lied to the media.
In addition to Obama and other Democrats, Trump also put the liberal media on the defensive. After eight years of deliberately protecting Obama, they are being dragged kicking and screaming into covering this story. Trump did more than
Trump did more than push his chips to the center of the table. He banged the table, broke it in half, and demanded that everyone look at the mess on the floor.
Russia can be ignored because it is confusing. Nobody can explain exactly why or how Vladimir Putin would help Trump win an election. If Putin had dirt on Hillary Clinton, he would wait until after the election and privately blackmail her. It makes far more logical sense for him to have a president he could own than one that even Democrats admit is wildly unpredictable.
Trump’s accusation against Obama cannot be ignored. Either Obama spied on Trump, or he did not. Either crimes were committed, or they were not. Various Obama officials can be subpoenaed and deposed. This normally means nothing, since there was no penalty for defying the law. Obama could protect everyone in mutually beneficial back-scratching that was implicit.
Obama could protect everyone in mutually beneficial back-scratching that was implicit. But they unexpectedly lost the White House, and the protections that came with it.
With Trump in charge, the protection is gone. Everyone from Holder to former IRS head Lois Lerner could actually face real consequences for misdeeds. There is no way Obama will ever be arrested, but seeing some of his subordinates face criminal charges is no longer a bizarre fantasy.
The Obama strategy of endless delays will no longer work. Obama is now a private citizen. Trump has all the power. It is not absolute, but it is significant.
His message to Democrats and some weak-kneed Republicans is a simple one. Cross him at your own peril. If Democrats have nothing to hide, they will press forward. If their own hands are dirty, they are finished. Trump has called their bluff after kicking over the card table in their faces.
Trump will continue to do this on other issues. If Democrats complain about his taxes, he will press investigations into the financial irregularities of Charles Rangel, Maxine Waters, Claire McCaskill and anybody else in congress who ever bounced a check.
Trump is willing to scorch the earth. If GOP congressmen learn from Trump, they can ram a conservative agenda down leftist throats with the same if not more force than Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid did for Democrats in 2009 and 2010.
Democrats have never met a Republican like Trump before. If they keep pushing the Russia angle, they will not be in office very long. They have an election next year. Trump has over three years to face the voters again.
If Obama cabinet members spied on Trump, there will not be a place on this earth for them to hide. Even if they are innocent, Trump will keep pushing the story.
Democrats are going to learn the hard way what Republicans found out in 2009. At their weakest moment, the president still has a lot more power than the legislature. Like Obama, Trump is not afraid to wield it to crush those who get in his way…even if the person in his way is a former president with a penchant for hiding.
Trump and Obama are the stars of Rocky II. Trump is Rocky and Obama is Apollo Creed. After losing the first battle, Rocky publicly calls out Creed to humiliate him into another fight. Trump just called out Obama. Like Apollo, Obama will not be able to resist personally trying to hit back. Obama will be goaded back into the ring, which is already a victory for Trump.
Trump is about winning and control. Right now he has control of the narrative. He has scorched Obama. For now, Trump has won.