The Calm

Benjy Sarlin’s article for NBC yesterday discussed the unexpected calm following President Trump’s explosive announcement that former President Barack Obama had personally ordered an illegal wiretap of his offices in Trump Tower a la “Nixon/Watergate,” going so far as to call President Obama a “bad (or sick) guy.” Unfortunately, Mr. Sarlin’s conclusion completely missed the mark. The reason for the calm was not, as Mr. Sarlin suggests, a result of our becoming accustomed to the pomposity, wild self-serving exaggerations, and outright lies that are Donald Trump. The reason for the calm was, and remains, utter shock. Mr. Trump’s claim was so audacious, any sane individual would think it would have to be backed up by some kind of credible evidence.  Considering Trump now has access to the world’s best intelligence services, if his accusations are true, evidence should be easy to come by — although seemingly Mr. Trump is asserting the FBI was complicit in Obama’s alleged crimes. No one in his or her right mind would ever so publicly accuse a former President of the United States and the Federal Bureau of Investigation of a crime that could easily lead to an unprecedented political scandal without something to back it up. The calm Mr. Sarlin discussed is simply America waiting for our elected officials and news outlets to determine whether his accusations are credible or if the man has gone certifiably bat-shit crazy. Perhaps most likely, Trump et al. believe that offense is their best defense. Are his claims just a distracting counter-punch to the allegations of his colluding with the Russians to unfairly and illegally influence the outcome of our elections? Or were they to turn the spotlight away from the blatant perjury by Jeff Sessions, his newly installed Attorney General, and the fact that criminal indictments have been brought against individuals for doing far less? If it turns out that Trump’s charges are baseless and amount to nothing more than political deflection, I pray Americans will do all in their power to remove this man from office as soon as possible. This sort of behavior cannot stand. Likewise, we should remove any politicians that are enabling or sheltering him, politicians that have sided with power, privilege, and party before principle and the preservation of our democracy. It’s one thing for Republicans to pragmatically support Trump to achieve their goals; it’s another thing to support a man who is undeniably damaging this great nation of ours. If Trump’s outrageous claims were made without a shred of credible evidence, his actions, at a minimum, should provide definitive justification that America is in immediate need of a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump Administration’s ties to Russia. With both his National Security Advisor and his Attorney General caught red-handed lying under oath about Russia, the situation continues to look bleaker and bleaker for Trump. As the saying goes, Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and there is now so much smoke billowing out of White House windows, you’d think it was a Cal dorm in the ‘60s.