On the EDge: Trump administration at critical tipping point

Composite stock images, St. George News

OPINION — Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

And, right now, there is a thick, dark plume gathering over the White House.

I wanted to wean myself from Donald Trump, to separate from the fray and step away from discussions about him or the billionaire boy’s club he has installed as a cabinet unless they crossed a line of reason.

That line of reason was obliterated Saturday when Trump tweeted: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

It was the first of a rapid-fire assault on Obama and his administration.

“Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” he tweeted shortly thereafter.

But that wasn’t the last of it.

“I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”

He then finished up with: “How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” before going on to attack his TV replacement, Arnold Schwarzenegger who, tired of the criticism from his predecessor, quit his job as a reality show host.

So, I guess we’re all drawn back into the fire on the heels of the most serious charges ever leveled against a former president.

The argument is being put forward that Trump’s latest rants were those of a delusional man, incapable of discerning fact from fiction.

While I agree that our 45th president has delusions of grandeur, this isn’t one of them.

He is, in my mind, trying to deflect and discredit the events tumbling down around him – from the embarrassment of cabinet members being caught in lies to the Senate to growing suspicions that not only did his campaign staff have conversations with the Russians illegally and ahead of the election, but there is growing evidence he has had an exceptionally long relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russian money men.

This is clearly a Trumpian ploy.

Before he entered the campaign Trump had a reputation for creating diversionary flare-ups to mute the force of controversy, criticism or charges against him when he ran a couple of failed Atlantic City casinos. It would create an air of confusion and blunt any negativity surrounding him or his methods. Now, as president, the stage is grand and his attempts at dropping the curtain are going to be futile. As a businessman, his antics were viewed as amusing at the least to annoying at their most egregious. As president, they are disturbing.

If you are going to make accusations of the nature he threw at Obama, you had better have the goods to back them up.

So far, all we’ve got is that the Breitbart News folks ran with a conspiracy theory espoused by a conservative radio talk show host.

Of course, Trump has a history of falling for – even creating – incredulous conspiracy theories ranging from his claims that Obama was not born in the United States; that the father of Sen. Ted Cruz was somehow involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy; that Muslims were cheering on the rooftops the morning of Sept.11, 2001, as the Twin Towers burned; the news is fake; the election was rigged; that voter fraud accounted for him losing the popular vote; that those who take to the streets to protest his administration are professionals hired to make him look bad.

He never had a lick of evidence to prove any of those far-fetched conspiracy theories and he has no documentation of any kind to support his latest accusations about wiretaps at Trump Tower.

In fact, representatives from the nation’s intelligence community made the round of Sunday talk shows vehemently denying that Obama had ordered eavesdropping on Trump or any of his minions.

Even FBI Director James Comey, who handed the White House to Trump when he made his misguided statement about Hillary Clinton days before the election, was said to be “incredulous” about Trump’s latest Twitter rant.

By now, even the most casual observer knows that the law prevents the president from unilaterally issuing a wiretap on a U.S. citizen. The restrictions came into place after Richard Nixon sought wiretaps against those on his enemy list – from unfriendly news reporters to John Lennon.

If the FBI decides it needs to obtain a wiretap, investigators and the Department of Justice representatives must petition a federal judge, present their case and offer probable cause.

The president?

He is not in this chain of command.

However, as president, Trump could declassify and go public with any report or request made regarding such a request. Why hasn’t he done so?

And that is what makes this accusation so preposterous, so alarming.

Where does that leave us?

With three options.

Congress can do nothing and simply watch the nation implode.

It can begin implementation of the 25th Amendment, triggered when it becomes apparent that the president is impaired and incapable of carrying out his duties. Trump’s unhinged manner certainly suggests he has a disconnect between fantasy and reality.

Or, Congress can work its way up the food chain, picking off the lower-level members of the cabinet for their transgressions and watching them disappear, one-by-one, from the administration, on up to Vice President Mike Pence, who also has pre-election ties to Russia.

That means Congress has the goods on Trump and that he will then be forced to resign or face impeachment.

In that case, the deal would be struck to have him appoint a suitable replacement for Pence – perhaps Ohio Gov. John Kasich or Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. – who would then, upon taking office, pardon him and allow him to slink back into his Trump Tower penthouse.

The Trump administration is clearly at a critical tipping point.

Whether it can stabilize itself, at this point, is anybody’s guess.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

No bad days!

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • tcrider March 7, 2017 at 7:49 am

    excellent article Ed,
    At one time the radical right called themselves the teaparty,
    it made sense what they represented and stood for, now
    it is at the point where I call them the Deliverance party ,
    based on the inbred hicks from the movie the deliverance,
    what has our country come too?

    The Dungle Trump,
    never my pile.

    • Craig March 7, 2017 at 11:14 am

      Rudeness is not an adequate substitute for discussion?

  • Not_So_Much March 7, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Eddy, you really should watch the Mark Levin show on CRTV (you can get one week free). If you can’t bring yourself to do that, then look to the New York Times front page article that was one of eight ‘main stream’ sources that Levin simply put together without any embellishments.

  • Craig March 7, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Bad headline.

    Every time the New Democratic Party has attacks assertions by President Trump, a few weeks/months later it turns out he was correct.

    It’s just we hear nothing from liberals apologizing for their attacks on the President. Will you use as much space if he is correct.

    You will not be able to shout him down and not look at this.

    Have you written that you need to re-think liberal attacks on the President for his warnings of violence in Sweden? I’ve not seen any reports congratulating the President being so on top of what is actually happening.

    • tcrider March 7, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Craig, how about changing your statement to read Independents apologizing, you are
      categorizing everyone that does not agree with the dungle trump or you, as a liberal, did you
      even consider that there are other groups of people that are not liberals that might not
      like the dungle trump, heck I agree with the conservative view that the country was definately
      going in the wrong direction, but give me a break, the dungle is the bottom of the barrel.

      the dungle trump,
      never my pile.

  • comments March 7, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Obongo’s NSA probably was wiretapping the donald. Didn’t Obongo get caught wiretapping ol’ Merkel?

  • comments March 7, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Let’s be realistic, Obongo wanted to go sniffing everyone’s dirty laundry, LOL.

  • eddantes56 March 7, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    “there is growing evidence he has had an exceptionally long relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russian money men.”

    Please site the source (s)

    You demonstrate that you are part of the “fake news”. The Progs, Cultural Marxists, Looney Leftists, et al are very concerned because they can’t control Trump like the could control Bush Sr. and Bush Jr.

    Not_So_Much had a great suggestion Ed; check out Marl Levin’s reasoned deconstruction of the MSM’s “fake news” about Obama admin wire-tapping and how recent comments by former Obama lackeys shuts down the “Trump and his campaign collaborated with Russians” fake news.

    I’m really enjoying this….the worm is turning isn’t it?

  • dodgers March 7, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Ed needs to do more research. Even many of the main stream media reference the surveillance and wire tapping (NYT) of Donald Trump. He has merely asked congress to investigate. The orders likely didn’t come from Obama, but from AG Loretta Lynch. Then there is the subject of leaking classified intelligence, which is a felony. Let’s hope there is a thorough investigation that identifies the initiators of the surveillance and wire taps as well as those who purposely leaked classified intelligence. I’ve yet to hear the NYT backtrack on their stories about the wire tapping of Trump. Let’s get to the truth. As for meeting with Russians, I’d like to see a list published showing all in government who’ve had such meetings. It would be a long list.

  • commonsense March 7, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Dems just can’t get over the deep ballot box hurt. They spent much more money, rigged the election, had every celebrity push Hillary and still lost. Dang! So much anger and so little substance.
    Here’s something to think about: If not Trump, Pence. If not Pence, Ryan. If not Ryan, Hatch. That’s the order of power. You won’t like any of them so quit bitching.

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