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Jacob Heilbrunn Politics US Politics World

A storm’s a coming for Trump over the ‘dirty ops’ allegations

May 6, 2018

5:37 PM

6 May 2018

5:37 PM

So aides to Donald Trump, the Observer reports, retained an Israeli intelligence organization to launch a ‘dirty ops’ campaign against two former national security officials in the Obama administration, Colin Kahl and Ben Rhodes. Both happen to have been involved in the negotiations about the Iran deal and the idea seems to have been to find information that could be used to smear their reputations. On Twitter today, Kahl freely confessed to many sins, including selling off his valuable X-Men comic book collection as a lad to help finance a trip to debate camp. It remains to be seen whether Rhodes, too, will fess up to any such grave transgressions dating back to his childhood.

One question for the Trump camp will be which aides came up with the bright idea of trying to locate dirt about these two officials. Might it be any of the figures originally involved in the famous June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting, where Trump’s associates sought dirt about Hillary Clinton from their Russian interlocutors? Another will be why they even felt it necessary to attempt to besmirch their reputations, other than a congenital urge to malevolent behavior inspired by their Don.

At this point, however, pointing to a fresh scandal about the Trump administration is almost like bringing coals to Newcastle. Almost every day Trump’s new lawyer Rudy Guiliani begrimes himself and it. Speaking last night on Fox News with the hanging Judge Jeanine—a possible future candidate for the Supreme Court—Giuliani explained, ‘I’m not an expert on the facts.’ Apparently not. Today on ABC News Giuliani suggested that Trump could take plead the 5th amendment, a move that Trump before he became president declared was proof positive of guilt. When asked if Trump had paid off other women, Guiliani replied, ‘I have no knowledge of that, but I would think if it was necessary, yes.’

The only question remaining is how much more damage Trump allows Guiliani to create. Giuliani, who called Jared Kushner ‘disposable’ last week, may soon discover that the term applies to him as well. But perhaps Trump has been distracted for the nonce from Giuliani’s one-man wrecking show by the appearance of Stormy Daniels on Saturday Night Live, where she warned him, ‘A storm’s a coming’, baby.’ Indeed it is. Even Trump’s most loyal janissary, Kellyanne Conway, refused to stand by the old boy on CNN with Jake Tapper on Sunday morning. Queried about Trump’s contradictory responses to the $130,000 in payments to Daniels to keep mum about their sexual tryst, she responded, ‘You’ve got to look at his tweets, because he responds to that. And that’s, honestly Jake, that’s the best I can do given my limited visibility in the legal matters.’


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