Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Third Way by Which Trump Could be Dumped.

In this blog over the last year I have on more than one occasion mentioned how I thought Trump might be removed from office, at the instigation of what has been called the Deep State.  I first heard the term Deep State used more than a decade ago with reference to those whom wielded the real power in Turkey under the elected government (the one before Erdogan's Islamic party took office).  The Deep State in the present-day USA would be something similar to  President Eisenhower's 'military-industrial complex', but now also including many players from the whole security complex - CIA, FBI, DIA, Homeland Security etc., not to mention the various think-tanks and foundations peopled by neocons from both major parties.  Fellow travellers include some of the editors and columnists of the major media outlets, especially the Washington Post and perhaps not so obviously the New York Times. 

By and large I would say that the Deep State has a strong vested interest in keeping the US involved in conflicts worldwide.  Clearly the Pentagon and the armaments industries do very well out of military conflict, as does the CIA, which is now is almost another independent branch of the military with its own drone program, but with very little oversight and no published rules of engagement. Conflict in Islamic countries and the consequent 'blowback' of terrorism in the West means large budgets for FBI, Homeland Security etc.  

The election of Donald Trump as President seems a serious threat to the Deep State.  In his campaigning (especially in the Primaries) his stance was orthogonal to that of his rivals, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio et al. in that he spoke against  foreign wars and was in favour of a rapprochement with Russia.  Hillary Clinton was gung-ho for more American involvement in Syria and especially for confrontation with the Russia of Vladimir Putin.  Things looked good for the Deep State. They would have their gal in the White House.  And Congress, even if it were controlled by the rival party, would be safely in the hands of warmongers like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and their like.  But Trump upset all of that.  So what to do?  Somehow Trump had to be gotten rid of.

I think much of the pumped-up  hysteria, first about the supposed Russian hacks of the DNC computers, and then this week about the supposed blackmail material that Russia has abut Trump, was instigated by the Deep State.  The Democratic Party, including President Obama, were happy to endorse this view, because it somehow explained their failure in the election, and at the same time discredited the incoming president.   Many in the Republican party also were onboard - after all they viewed Trump's nomination as hostile take-over of their party.  At the same time 
many liberals who are aghast at the thought of a Trump presidency, seemed happy to echo the charges against the malign influence of Russia. 

It is impossible to know the truth behind these allegations.  But I think that the compromising material from the DNC computers came from leaks rather than hacks (see my previous blog post).  This week's revelations, to me, have too much the smell of a fabrication, but I could be wrong.   Patrick Cockburn of The Independent, who was a Moscow correspondent,  has a piece today in which he compares the document recently made public with some of those released to make the case for the Iraq War.
He says on reading it his skepticism soon 'turned to complete disbelief'.   He gives reasons for this. 

Two questions worth asking about the report are "Who paid for it?" and "Cui Bono?", or who benefits.  According to reports former MI6 operative Christopher Steele, was first commissioned, privately,  by a PAC supporting Jeb Bush in the primaries.  When he dropped out, Steele was subsequently supported by Hillary Clinton supporters in the Democratic Party.  The obvious immediate beneficiaries are Trump's opponents, who are many, including the various intelligence agencies, who would certainly have the ability to pull off something like this.   It is an interesting question to ask, why was this report not leaked prior to the November election?  

It is my opinion that all of these revelations about Trump's supposed Russian connections, serve the purpose of softening up the public for Trump's removal, at a later date - perhaps sooner rather than later. And how would that be accomplished?  Before I have mentioned impeachment, and failing that by assassination.  But yesterday I learned of a third possibility - essentially a palace coup.  

Article 4 of the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution reads: Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

In other words if the VP and a majority of cabinet members certify that the President is unable to discharge his duties, then he can be turfed out - a palace coup.  I wonder if Trump knew of this when he was making his cabinet choices?  

Trump is entering the White House with enemies on all sides, not least from within his own party, which has many neocons and warmongers - Deep State players.  Many at the top of the Democratic Party seem to share similar views. Trump has awarded a lot of cabinet positions to members of the Republican Party, or people have strong ties with it.  A quick look through the list suggests the following have all been elected to one office or another as Republicans:  Elaine Chao, Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos, Dan Coates, Nikki Haley, Mike Mulvaney, Rick Perry, Tom Price, Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke.  Can he trust them?  Can he trust Mike Pence, who would gain the biggest prize if Trump were overthrown?  And can he trust Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus?  He was Chair of the Republican National Committee and is known as a deal-maker.  He is said to be close to House Speaker, Paul Ryan, who has no love for Donald Trump.  Could Priebus be the Brutus?  "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown!"  

The notion of Trump being ousted by invocation of the 25th Amendment is explored in some detail by Eric Zeusse here.

Zeusse focusses his arguments around the ongoing campaign to roll back Russia, which claims has been in play  since the fall of the Soviet Union.  

Seeing the precarious position in which Trump finds himself  offers an explanation for how wholeheartedly Trump went back on his primary campaign promises of a more even policy between Israel and Palestinians. With his appointment of the Ambassador to Israel, he seems to have gone all in on backing Netanyahu, the Settlers and the Israeli right wing.  Dismayed, at first I thought that it was more of the usual Trump deception.  

But his vulnerabilities could offer a better explanation. When the crunch comes Trump wants to have Israel and its strong US lobby to have his back.   They say most of the US Congress is in the pocket of Israel.   If there were an attempt by the Republican Party to oust him, would Israel want to give up the most accommodating President it has ever had?  

The whole sad story is depressing.  Trump, for all his faults, has chosen to challenge the consensus in Washington.  He seems in so many ways unsuitable to be President of the United States.  But he did win an election.  And to see him booted out in what would be essentially a constitutional coup, would be very bad for people's faith in their institutions and in democracy.   The US would descend to the level countries like Brazil, who recently ousted their sitting president.  Furthermore the prospect of Mike Pence being president, with Congress backing his Tea-Party views is truly scary. 

If Trump is ousted either though impeachment or the 25th Amendment it could lead to much civil unrest.  Trump's supporters would feel betrayed - 'bigly' as Trump might say.  There would no doubt be street demonstrations - of angry white men, legally carrying assault weapons.  Would the police act against them, seeing as so many in the police publicly supported Trump in the election?  

The future does not look bright for our neighbours to the south.  


  1. Once again, Bill, a fascinating scenario: the Deep State takes down the Donald on the pretext of his general sleeze and stupidity. I have also been thinking along the lines that DT's days in office are numbered - but for perhaps slightly different reasons and with a slightly different takedown strategy.
    You posit the greatest threat Trump poses to things-as-they-are-and-should-be is his potential to reduce global conflict. That is bigly important, as he might say, but I am inclined to think that his threat to global trade and corporate hegemony is the greater threat. He is disdainful of free trade agreements, and he asserts the national sovereignty over capital's movement that free trade agreements compromise. That is just plain old unacceptable to the Deep State and the corporate power behind it. Trump truly does threaten to upset the applecart.
    As to the takedown strategy, my call (audaciously made and with little confidence attached) is that he will be tolerated for a time, during which Trump will deliver on things like tax and spending cuts and the embassy move to Jerusalem. His ability to exit trade agreements can be obstructed by congress for a period of time. When the crunch comes, "emoluments" is a sure fire way to deep six the troll. He can argue all day about the boys being an adequate firewall between him and his empire, but there is no way around the charge of playing footsie with foreign money. When the time comes, watch that charge crystallize and - to mix metaphors - the ax fall.

    1. I agree, Gordon. There are many with a lot to lose if he starts closing down trade agreements. The corporate state has a big intersection with the Deep State. But they have to be a bit careful. If he is taken down, by the Republican Congress presumably, the Republicans could see a massive defection of voters in subsequent elections.

      He is a liar, a bully and a thoroughly unsuitable person, but he is shaking the tree. We'll no doubt see a lot of how power works in Washington.