By Charlie Johnston
Last Thursday I wrote that Rudy Giuliani’s lengthy interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday night was the kickoff of the serious counter-attack by the Trump administration against the serial assaults of the Deep State’s coup attempt – that now the conspirators were going to be shocked to find themselves held to account for their own lies and criminal behavior. I wrote that Giuliani had loaded the interview with a lot of what I call “chump bait,” which can mask to the press and partisans how serious the message is while getting it through clearly to those it is intended for. Ha! Giuliani caught a lot of chumps!
Most of the establishment press – including conservative sites – has been going on about how badly Giuliani bungled things and how Trump had called him up short. It is now five days later. Let us survey what has happened in those five days:
1) On Friday morning, Federal Judge T. S. Ellis III accused the Mueller team of weaponizing prosecution to get a president they don’t like. He flat-out called them liars who think they are all-powerful and unaccountable to anyone. He demanded to see the basis for the case against Paul Manafort. The language he used is not just indicative of a case getting ready to be kicked – but hints at sanctions to come for prosecutorial misconduct.
2) All the leaks about Manafort’s supposed contacts with Russians during the campaign drove part of this Russian collusion scam. Discovery has produced NO such evidence. It was all lies – and each such lying leak is a felony – more governmental misconduct.
3) Another Federal Judge, Dabney Friedrich, on Saturday night denied Mueller’s request to delay the arraignment of the three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens Mueller indicted last February. The judge gave little comment on her ruling – rather tersely letting Mueller know it is time to put up or shut up.
4) On Friday former FBI chief lawyer James Baker left the bureau. Also departing that day was Lisa Page, one of the “lovebird” texting conspirators against Trump who was a legal advisor to James Comey. It is nebulous whether they left freely or were terminated – but they are gone.
5) James Comey has had another lie exposed. Throughout his book tour, he has insisted that he never testified that FBI agents who interviewed Michael Flynn did NOT believe Flynn lied. Newly unredacted testimony from the committee hearing shows that that is precisely what Comey said under oath in closed session.
6) As more and more new material keeps being unredacted, it becomes more and more clear that the FBI and Justice Dept. have not been holding back material to protect “ongoing investigations or national security,” but to hide their own misconduct and lies. Andy McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor who prosecuted the blind sheikh in the first World Trade Center bombing, has written a furious piece on the subject. This is notable because, though McCarthy is one of the finest legal minds of our time, he is something of a boy scout. He is such an honorable patriot, he often defers to authorities because it is just unimaginable to him that people in public life can be so dishonorable and malicious. Many of them have been friends – and have played on his friendship. But McCarthy IS an honorable man – and exhibits a growing fury at his discovery that many of these “friends” are cheap, malicious crooks. (I feel his pain – I had friendly relations with two of the Illinois governors who went to prison.)
7) On Saturday night, the man the media is enjoying portraying as an incompetent bumbler, did another interview on Judge Jeanine Pirro’s show. Watching it, does Giuliani strike you as a man who has been severely chastened – or a man having the time of his life? I know this movie. Shoot, I have played the Giuliani role in much smaller venues. I’ve got to tell you, it’s a lot of fun to have smug ignoramuses yammering on about how dumb you are while everything is collapsing around them – because of an initiative that you launched. Yes, much of the conservative press is saying the same thing. Once, sitting in a newsroom I ran, a bunch of reporters were talking about how dumb a particularly deft move by a local politician was. Irritated, I told them I had been a politician and I had been a journalist – and politics was a LOT harder. I went on that though I knew a lot of dumb politicians, on average, politicians were a lot smarter than journalists – who mainly want to prove how smart they are without studying anything. I then proceeded to explain why the move was quite deft – and not at all dumb. I’m sure they were upset…but I was their boss and I was angry at what shallow analysis they were doing while congratulating themselves on how clever they were. Reporters rarely think strategically or tactically. They just look at how pretty something looks. In another era, reporters spent a very long time enamored by a particularly pretty General – George McClellan at the beginning of the Civil War. McClellan did marvelously pretty-looking drills and marches – but he couldn’t win a battle (and rarely got up the nerve to fight one). Drill is pretty…battles are ugly. But it is battle that wins. I would not hold reporters in such contempt for their initial superficial take if they got smarter as they watched the results. But they just double down as the ground is caving in around them, trying to prove they were right all along. They eventually get to the untenable position of demanding of readers, listeners and viewers, “Who are you going to believe: me or your own eyes?” And they wonder why “Fake News” has such resonance.
I will stick, then, with my original assessment. We’ll see what the next five days bring.
I was a little concerned that my original assessment might be tinged with some wishful thinking. Certainly, the Giuliani interview had all the hallmarks of how I began a serious and sustained political assault – but I might be hopefully projecting where it was not justified. The events that have followed have relieved those fears.
The reality is that May and June are critical. If we can get through these next two months without widespread violent strife breaking out, we have a chance of slowly and organically reclaiming the culture. Yet I don’t much believe it. My two big prophetic interpretive errors slightly seduced me into hoping that we would not have to undergo the full measure of scourging I saw through this Storm. Many of you have told me how ‘on edge’ you are. Over the last few weeks, I have had several unexpected bursts of temper over small, unimportant things…so I reckon I am more on edge, too, than I thought. I am taking some steps to get it back to steadiness. Under the best of circumstances, we have a long, hot summer ahead of us. Under the worst, we have already begun our journey to Mordor. Of late I have, perhaps, over-emphasized the political – both because things have been so unhinged and because, if we can re-establish in ordinary people’s minds the basic values of faith, family and freedom and show a better way before the worst strife, it strengthens us to endure that strife. The next piece I put up will be Part II of the Ballad of the Ordinary Man – The Fellowship of True Believers. But right now, it does cheer me to watch the wheels coming off this Deep State coup attempt. The truth is, it is not Trump they hate – but the very idea that we normal folks would have the nerve to govern ourselves in defiance of their edicts.