The FBI had to wiretap mafia bosses like John Gotti and Vincent “The Chin” Gigante to catch them breaking the law. All they had to do to catch Donald Trump on Wednesday night was turn on ABC News. Trump proceeded to commit multiple felonies out in the open on national television when he told George Stephanopoulos he would be happy to accept dirt on his opponent from foreign governments in his 2020 re-election campaign.
“Somebody comes up and says, ‘hey, I have information on your opponent,’ do you call the FBI?” Trump asked rhetorically. “It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do.” He paused for a moment. “Oh, give me a break — life doesn’t work that way.”
He looked like he’d been gobbling Adderall. His pupils were pinned, and he kept doing that thing with his hands, holding them in front of himself and moving them apart and then together impatiently, talking to Stephanopoulos like he was a school child just learning about politics rather than the seasoned operative he is (Stephanopoulos was one of the architects of the Bill Clinton campaign when he won the presidency in 1992 and has covered political campaigns as a reporter and news anchor in the decades since then).
But perhaps Trump was right. Maybe Stephanopoulos needs a good talking to from the Capo di tutti i capi on Pennsylvania Avenue. Doesn’t George get it that politics in the age of Trump is a criminal enterprise, that politicians are no different from gangsters? They don’t go to the FBI and turn each other in. They don’t report crimes. They commit them, and they keep their mouths shut. My buddy’s having sex with underage girls? Call the FBI? Are you kidding?
Trump acted like a bank robber who walked up to a cop standing in front of the bank and said, “hey, man, I’m going in there in a minute, and I’m going to rob that bank, and what are you going to do about it?” We got our answer from Republicans the next day. Nothing. Zip. He’s going to rob that bank? We’re cool with that. By the way, we’ll be happy to pick up any bills he drops on the way out.
Stephanopoulos looked like Lester Holt the day Trump told him on TV that he fired Comey because of “the Russia thing.” He knew he was onto a big story, so he pressed him. “You want that kind of interference in our elections? he asked, fishing. Trump allowed that he might call the FBI “if I thought there was something wrong,” but he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with accepting campaign help from the Russians or anybody else. He has admitted he didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking Russian help when he begged them during the 2016 campaign, “Russia, if you’re listening,” and urged them to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. That’s what he does. That’s who he is.
The only thing that’s new is that Trump has dropped any pretense he’s going to follow the law. He doesn’t care what the law is. When Stephanopoulos reminded him that Christopher Wray, the Director of the FBI, had testified to Congress that any campaign receiving a solicitation from a foreign government should report that fact to the FBI, Trump told him, “The FBI director is wrong.”
Trump just warned the chief law enforcement officer of the land that if he does his job, he’ll be fired. This should come as no big news to Wray, however. He watched it happen to former FBI director James Comey. He watched it happen to former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe. Trump treats law enforcement officials like subcontractors on one of his buildings. Stiff the stupid fucker, and if he comes back at you, fire him. And if he doesn’t like that, sue him.
Trump just put up a banner outside the White House telling autocrats around the world that he’s open for business. You want a few F-22’s over there in Poland or the Czech Republic? Bring me some crap on Biden, or Bernie, or Warren! You want to get that oil flowing out of the ground up there above the Arctic Circle, Putin my pal? Get those damn hackers clacking those keyboards! Hey, MBS! You want some more smart bombs to drop on goat herders over there in Yemen? How about putting some bucks in my buildings!
Are the Democrats up for this kind of open-field thievery and in-your-face treachery? Is anybody? One of the anchors on MSNBC asked Frank Figliuzzi, the former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, what FBI Director Wray should do now that Trump has pointed to the corner and told him to go sit down and keep his mouth shut. Get this: Figliuzzi said Wray should write a memo telling the most important law enforcement agency in the land to keep their heads down and do their jobs.
Trump could have the White House painted high gloss black and order the Treasury Department to deliver pallets of hundred dollar bills to the front door, and the Democrats would accuse him of a cover-up and order another hearing.
Pelosi had a chance on Thursday at her weekly press conference to tell the world that Trump is an out and out felon, and we’re going to impeach him starting today. Instead, she called Mitch McConnell the Grim Reaper and put up a poster showing a cemetery filled with the headstones of the bills he hasn’t passed.
The next time Trump has Stephanopoulos over to the Oval Office for a lecture on the Way the World Works, he’s going to call off the election, turn to the camera and say, now what are you going to do?
Impeach him? Is it even a question anymore? If not now, when?