Poor Joseph Maguire. The acting head of the intelligence agencies sure was in an awful predicament as he testified before the House Intelligence Committee. The former Navy SEAL was thrashing about to avoid becoming entangled in the net of the Democratic inquiry, swimming in murkier waters than he had ever encountered before. Indeed, at one point he confessed that he never would have accepted his post had he been aware of the whistleblower report that sounded an alarm about what Adam Schiff deemed the ‘nefarious’ activities about President Trump and his top aides.
How different from Corey Lewandowski, who appears to be headed to the White House to help lead the defense of Trump! It appears that Trump may be reassembling much of the old gang that helped him win in 2016, including David Bossie. Absent will be eminence grise Steve Bannon who originally poured rocket fuel into the America First campaign that propelled the Trump campaign. Unless, of course, there is a last-minute reconciliation between sorcerer and apprentice.
If Lewandowski’s star is rising, Rudy Giuliani’s may be falling. Giuliani announced on Thursday that he has records of the State Department contacting him and that he’ll vindicate his name. The whistleblower complaint indicates that instead of State seeking to deploy Giuliani, his actions had Trump’s envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, working to prevent serious damage. Trump will dispense with Giuliani’s services in a heartbeat if he determines that he can transform him into the new Michael Cohen. How long before Trump issues a tweet noting that ‘Giuliani had a lot of clients and I didn’t really know him that well’?
Giuliani, who has relied on the allegations of the former top Ukrainian prosecutor Yuri Lutsenkov, took another hit when Lutsenkov told the Washington Post today that Hunter Biden ‘did not violate anything’. Much as you would expect. What Biden fils did in pocketing $50,000 a month looks sleazy, but it’s chump change to the malversations of Paul Manafort. In fact, veteran investigative reporter Murray Waas has a lengthy new expose in the New York Review of Books explaining that origin of the whole Ukraine brouhaha has its origins in a scheme by Trump and Co. to clear Manafort.
The pity of it from Trump’s viewpoint is that none of this was really necessary. He could have confected his Ukraine allegations without relying upon Giuliani or anyone else. CrowdStrike, CrowdShmike. It was all irrelevant. Why bother with trying to nail any of it down?
Now he’s creating a new hugger-mugger in assailing the whistleblower whom Maguire defended. Trump is having none of it. Today, in between referring to the press as ‘scum’ and Joe Biden as ‘dumb as a rock’, he told the staff at the US Mission to the United Nations with his habitual false bravado that he wants, in essence, to execute what he views as a contemporary Benedict Arnold.
According to Trump, ‘You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.’ Maybe so, but Trump isn’t.