There are dozens of outstanding questions about Donald Trump’s bizarre decision to abscond with boxes of unauthorized and classified documents when he left the White House and we don’t have any idea why he refused to return many of them when the National Archives and the FBI asked for them back. We do know that the FBI issued a subpoena to Trump, which he defied. Finally, a search warrant was needed to retrieve the documents.
It is possible that the former president was just looking to collect classified material for a souvenir. to show offto his friends or sell as memorabiliaBlackmail possible foreign leaders.(Apparently, presidents receive highly classified intelligence on allies as well as adversaries. Most alarming reports suggested that the documents contained nuclear secrets. This seemed unlikely until now. this piece by Josh Kovensky at Talking Points Memo reminded me that Trump has a “special interest” in nuclear weapons, believing himself to be an expert because his uncle taught at MIT. Now it doesn’t seem so outlandish. Trump was bragging in his final year that the U.S. had developed some secret new nuclear program at his direction which he couldn’t reveal. Who knows? He might have actually stolen something very dangerous.
It remains to see if the law will catch up with Trump this time. It’s coming down on him from several directions but according to news reports Trump is thrilled about the whole thing because it’s raising lots of money and it has his supporters up in arms and fired up to fight for him. Trump is happy to be at the forefront for political news, which is always good news. According to NBC News, it’s all made him rethink his need to announce his presidential campaign before the midterm elections. He’s still inclined to wait.
Trumpworld is celebrating the fact that his potential rivals have stopped trying to challenge him. They were forced to accept Trump activating the MAGA Cult, proving that Trump still holds the GOP in his stranglehold. Everybody, from Mike Pence (ex-vice president) to North Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Virginia Gov. Glenn YounkinAfter the documents were seized, the FBI was denounced in a shrill statement.
Trump’s top rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who in another political world would have immediately jumped on the news to call Trump damaged goods, would not. went to bat for him calling the FBI search “another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the regime’s political opponents.” (If anyone knows about weaponizing agencies against enemies, it’s Ron DeSantis.) Polls showed After the FBI search, Trump won by 10 points over DeSantis among GOP primary voters.
The Dear Leader is under so much pressure that Alex Jones, a well-known podcaster, quickly backed off his ill-timed endorsement for DeSantis over Trump.
Getting some blow-back after he announced Thurs that he was backing Desantis over Trump now, Alex Jones issues an “emergency message” to Trump, saying he was simply trying to persuade him to change his position on the vaccines with some tough love. pic.twitter.com/eDjiUgNc1I
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) August 21, 2022
It’s easy to see why Trump is feeling relieved. His followers seemed to be becoming restive over the summer, and his potential enemies were beginning to make moves. The Mar-a-Lago “raid” changed that dynamic.
Others, however, aren’t so sure this is the big winner Trump thinks it is. Trump’s friend is worried told NBC:
“He may get closer to the prize but in reality, he’s slipping…It seems like the net is surrounding him more and more, and his ability to dance around these things is going to get more challenging,” this ally said. “It’s a double-edged sword.”
This net does not only address legal issues. Trump believes that it’s always better when he’s in the news, no matter what the reason, but he never seems to understand that while he may thrill his following, he also motivates the opposition. A new poll released this past weekend shows that the GOP is facing some unexpected headwinds going into the fall election — largely because of the January 6 hearings:
— digby (@digby56) August 22, 2022
It’s certainly possible that the numbers include some Republicans who see the Big Lie about the 2020 election as a “threat to democracy” but the changes in enthusiasm argue that this is primarily attributable to Democrats:
According to the survey, 68% of Republicans express a high level of interest in the upcoming election — registering either a “9” or “10” on a 10-point scale — versus 66% for Democrats.
The 2-point GOP advantage is down from 17 and 8 points respectively in March and May.
The pollsters consider that to be the result of the Supreme Court’s decision to overrule the landmark Roe v. Wade decision In June. But since abortion shows up as the top issue for only 8% of respondents, it’s clear that it’s not the only reason for the surge in interest. “Threats to democracy” coming in as the most important issue is the big change. Democracy is on the ballot and that’s not good news for Donald Trump.
Just as important, with all the “fundamentals” about the economy, President Biden’s approval rating etc., Trump’s constant attention-grabbing, his legal troubles, his rallies, his endorsements, the drumbeat of Trump, Trump, Trump, has turned the midterm election from a standard referendum on the president to a choice between the undisputed leader of the Republican Party and the leader of the Democratic Party. And while it’s true that Biden’s popularity numbers are low, Trump’s are even worse:
New @nbcnews poll finds little positive movement in voters’ opinions on economy, Biden job approve, RD/WT plus generic ballot is R+2. Trump is more popular than Biden (-19 to -8).
— Amy Walter (@amyewalter) August 21, 2022
As I’ve said before, Trump is the gift that keeps on giving — for Democrats. If he’d kept a low profile, cooperated with the FBI and shut his mouth, this election might have been the cakewalk they all expected it to be. The hearings were a disaster. Dobbs and Trump endorsing a crop of fascist weirdos, it looks like it’s going to be a real race. If Democrats want to save their majority, they should send Trump a Diet Coke with a very nice thank you card.