photo of Trump and then political advisor Steve Bannon in the White House executive conference room

Trump Takes GOP Hostage And Bannon Does His G. Gordon Liddy Act

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Trump Takes GOP Hostage And Bannon Does His G. Gordon Liddy Act

 

The first legal salvo against Trumpworld with regard to the attempted insurrection on January 6th, was the House of Representatives voting last week to formally declare Trump operative Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress.

The vote requested and authorized the Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland to begin criminal misdemeanor proceedings against Bannon for failing to comply with a duly issued subpeona order requesting documentation and a personal appearance before the January 6th Committee.

Bannon, as you have seen, is in full resistance mode. He’s attempting to put over a successful impression of G. Gordon Liddy.  Attempting is the key word. Liddy carried his defiance to an absurd extent and served prison time for refusing to cooperate.

Whether Bannon, who already was awarded a pardon from Trump and obviously won’t be eligible for another, will be willing to sit in an 8′ by 10′ for Trump, remains to be seen.

Part of his reluctance likely has to do with his sense that even showing up and invoking the 5th Amendment, would strongly foster the impression with all but Trump’s most fanatic following, that he is stonewalling because his testimony under oath could have the effect of framing him as a conspirator in the events of January 6th, when the U.S. Capitol came under siege.

Were it the case that Bannon is as innocent as the face of a newborn with regard to his activities on the day in question, it stands to reason, he would voluntarily respond to the order to appear before the committee and tell his story. When that doesn’t happen, it leads naturally to speculation about what Bannon himself is hiding and what he is concealing on behalf of Donald Trump.

This is particularly true in light of what has been revealed in the recent book from veteran Washington sleuths, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, titled, “Peril”

 

photo of stacks of recent book, "Peril" from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, detailing the final days of Donald Trump's presidency.

 

In the book, Woodward and Costa reveal a conversation between former president Trump and Bannon, centering on how to foment a rebellion against the results of the election and the certification by Congress. The authors quoted Bannon as telling Trump that day (the 6th),

“People are going to go, ‘What the fuck is going on here? We’re going to bury Biden on January 6th, fucking bury him. We’re going to kill it in the crib, kill the Biden presidency in the crib.”

Does Bannon deny having said this? Actually, no. He virtually confirms it. On his streamed video podcast, “War Room”, Bannon, last month commented in response to the revelations from “Peril” that:          

“Yeah, because his legitimacy. Forty-two percent of the American people — 4-2 — think that Biden did not win the presidency legitimately. It killed itself. … Just let this go with what this illegitimate regime is doing. It killed itself. We told you from the very beginning. Just expose it. Just expose it. Never back down. Never give up. This thing will implode.”

And Bannon is on record publicly, including on the day before the attempted insurrection at the Capitol, coaching Trump supporters to stage a violent reaction to the process of certification of the national election, telling listeners that “all hell was going to break loose” the following day in Washington, D.C., and subsequently recommending his Facebook followers to “TAKE ACTION. THEY ARE TRYING TO STEAL THE ELECTION.”

Trump and Bannon are at the top of the pyramid of the actors that incited the mayhem on the 6th and Trump himself seems to be the foremost advocate of the stonewall and stall strategy of invoking non-existent executive “privileges” to hide the leading role he played.

The reasoning behind dragging everything out interminably in court filings at every level possible, appears to be that at some point Trump will have effectively “run out the clock” and the presumed incoming GOP led Congress, will derail any and all investigations still pending.

Not only could Trump be conceivably shooting himself in the foot, following such a course, he could also be, intentionally or not, handing Democrats a gift that keeps on giving, all throughout the campaigns leading up to the mid-terms next year.

 

Trump’s gambit – hold the GOP hostage from now until the mid-terms

As things stand at present, Trump could simply take ownership of the horrific debacle that ensued in January this year, argue that Congress and his critics are falsely concluding that he instigated the event and that whatever is discovered is a distortion of a politically oriented agenda of his critics, the Biden administration and the Democratic party and then just change the subject and move on.

It would be a slight gamble, but it could effectively take the steam out of the January 6th Commission investigation and direct voters’ attention to other topics. Instead, Trump prolonging this controversy into next November, where the cumulative effect of all the material that will be uncovered between now and then, will possibly result in voters considering the election as a referendum on Trump himself and the party he is holding hostage.

That, in turn could send independents and moderate Republicans in swing districts, running toward the perceived adults in the room – Democrats, and in turn scuttle the Republican party’s already much too optimistic predictions of a victorious outcome.

“If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24,”

Related to this, is the clear emergence of Trump signaling that he will persist with his theme of having been deprived of a second term by a widespread conspiracy of election fraud.

The risk inherent in that plan of action is of a similar magnitude. Trump is unambiguously previewing a narrative he will pursue next year, saying last week that, “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020,” Mr. Trump said in a statement last week, “Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24.  It’s the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”

No matter what Trump means by “solving the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020”, the part of the message that is clear, is that he expects, as a prerequisite for his endorsement, that the GOP candidate in every House campaign and Senate race, must continue to beat the drum on the Big Lie.  If they don’t, Trump’s base will sit it out.

Some racketeers among the GOP Congressional election apparatus, are looking past the obvious negatives of Trump for next year and proclaiming Trump’s expected dominating presence as a prime factor in the elections nationally.

One of them, a top consultant for House Republicans and incidentally, whose scorecard of success getting GOP candidates elected in 2018 was dismal, is Corry Bliss. Bliss – an ironic name for a member of the GOP Pom-Pom squad, paints a blissful picture of how magic Trump’s personal involvement in next year’s contests will prove to be. “He’s the leader of the party. The more energized and engaged he is, the better we’ll do.”

Other members of that party are not nearly as optimistic. Former House member Barbara Comstock (R-VA) whose seat could not be saved by either Trump or Mr. Bliss, is among them. Comstock points out:

“Here is where Trump is so destructive. He doesn’t want other people to win without groveling to him. That’s the threat. It’s not about winning. It’s all about him. And that’s what’s so stupid about Republicans even trying to deal with him, because you never know when he’ll drive the car off the cliff.”

No doubt some of Trump’s retinue of barnacles will see in Ms. Comstock’s analysis, some bitterness about her loss and categorize her as a moderate and a weak candidate who failed to demonstrate the feverish and overwrought dedication to Trump, without which any politician is classified as a ‘traitor’.

Even Marjorie is spooked

 

Billboard calling for Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to resign, placed in Rep. Greene's 14th Congressional District by Republican opposition advocacy group - the Republican Accountability Project
Billboard calling for Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to resign, placed in Rep. Greene’s 14th Congressional District by Republican opposition advocacy group – the Republican Accountability Project

But it is not just the Never Trump element that sees a train wreck coming. While on the one hand, the notorious Freshman Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), has championed redundant and useless audits of the election results in several battleground states, including her own – she is also discovering that Trump and her party’s persistent undermining of last November’s outcome, could produce an unanticipated negative effect.

A survey of GOP voters in Greene’s 14th district was conducted recently in which 10 percent disclosed that they lack confidence in election security in the Peach State.

That part is not surprising, but attached to that is a corollary that could spell disaster for Republicans next year. 4 percent said that not only did they doubt election integrity, but planned to boycott the voting booth in future elections. Another 6 percent expressed doubt that their votes would actually be counted.

A poll in Georgia last December, leading up to the special election for two Senate seats there, revealed that of the respondents who said they weren’t going to vote, close to 1 in 5 (18 percent) said it was because they felt “the voting process is rigged” or that they were “intentionally boycotting the runoff” due to fraud they (wrongly) perceived to have occurred in the presidential election.

Vox noted that:

The SurveyUSA poll interviewed a total of 717 registered voters, 118 of whom said they are not likely to vote in the runoff. Of these likely non-voters, 13 percent said they planned not to vote because “the voting process is rigged.” Another 5 percent said they are “intentionally boycotting the runoff.”

“Relitigating 2020 is a recipe for disaster in 2022.”

– Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson

If what is now unfolding in the last 72 hours plays out, which is that a handful of Republican members of Congress, including Greene, may be named publically as having participated in coordinating the attack on Capitol Hill, Ms. Greene may need every one of the voters Trump is playing mind roulette with.

“You go to these elections that are coming up in ’22 and ’24 — we’re not going to have a country left,” Trump said in an interview with Newsmax. “The [2020 presidential] election was rigged, and we’re not going to have a country left in three years, I’ll tell you that.”

Scott Reed, a seasoned GOP strategist, sees bright Red warning lights flashing with Trump’s hostage tactics with the Republican base. “Republicans should have learned this lesson after the Georgia debacle,” Reed says, adding that Trump’s conditioning of base turnout on whether the party sufficiently pushes the stolen election narrative, “should warrant a sanction from the Republican National Committee. It will impact the 2022 midterms severely.” 

But of course, the RNC is not going to engage in a war with Trump, no matter how potentially damaging he could be to their fortunes in next year’s election.

La Var Webb, a longtime GOP political operative in Utah, told the Deseret News that:

“Trump is making life difficult for Republican candidates across the country. Even people (like me) who voted for him and liked a lot of his policies think his brazen assertions that the 2020 election was stolen from him are absurd. By refusing to get over his loss, and demanding that GOP candidates agree with him, he’s damaging GOP chances in many races.”

Webb acknowledges the “can’t live with him, can’t live without him” dynamic of Trump’s post presidential conduct, noting, “Trump has a magnetic hold on a diminishing, but still significant, base of the party. Republicans need him to energize the base, but they can’t win with him out front because he is so poisonous to moderates and independents.”

We’ll give Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, the last word. Hutchinson told Meet The Press on Sunday that,   “Relitigating 2020 is a recipe for disaster in 2022.”  No one believes Trump is going to hit the reset button on his sore loser grievance crusade. Trump is a malignant narcissist and malignant narcissists can’t walk away from anything with a Scarlet “L” on their badly fitting apparel. 

The situation as it pertains to next year’s midterm elections is still very fluid and we will be discussing the various components of January 6th that could affect the outcome – which are a cornucopia of potential trouble for the GOP, but for now, the talk about Republicans replicating the customary patterns of the past – in which the opposition party to the president, wins control of Congress, look to be a bit of premature ejaculation.

Trump could well turn out to be the political equivalent of male impotency for the GOP.


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