As Mueller closes in, Trump and his toadies don tinfoil hats

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A wild animal is most dangerous when it’s cornered. We’re seeing that now.

Putin chump Donald Trump, aided by obsequious fright-wing Republicans and amplified by servile TV talking heads, is feeling the heat from Robert Mueller. With each indication that the Russia probe is inching ever closer to his throne, he’s lashing out ever more crazily – conjuring paranoid notions of secret conspirators plotting his downfall. It’s perversely predictable that the ’16 candidate of “law and order” is now desperately impugning the integrity of American law enforcement.

Remember when he and his Republican toadies were depicting themselves as victims of a “Deep State” conspiracy? That is so last week. The new term of art is “Secret Society.”

Don your tinfoil hats, folks! No need to read another Dan Brown novel, because apparently we’ve got a real cabal. For proof, check out the Fox News alert (“Secret Society to Resist Trump”), the Sean Hannity tweet (“Anti-Trump SECRET SOCIETY’ at DOJ”), the Rush Limbaugh bloviation (“not surprised that there’s a secret society”), and some of the remarks on Capitol Hill, although they seem a bit wobbly. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson hinted this week that an “informant” has outed the “secret society,” but he later walked back his statement. Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe said “there may have been a secret society” but added “I’m not saying that actually happened.”

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They’re doubling down on the crazy precisely because Mueller is turning up the high heat.

The special counsel has reportedly talked to Jeff Sessions and James Comey, and now he wants Trump under oath. He may be zeroing in on an obstruction of justice charge. He’s also probing Trump’s finances, including possible money-laundering entanglements with Russian figures, and Rick Gates, an ex-Trump staffer recently indicted on money-laundering charges, is now reportedly signaling that he might be willing to cooperate. This ain’t Atlantic City, where Trump could stiff contractors and get away with it. This is the big leagues.

And this is a very dangerous phase we are entering. To save himself, Trump is clearly willing to slime the credibility of our law enforcement agencies; to help him, most Republicans are clearly willing to re-brand themselves as the party of paranoia. And Putin is surely pleased, because this way he’s infecting our democracy without firing a shot.

I refuse to explain in detail the genesis of the “secret society” meme. If you want detail, go to the tinfoil media. If you want the gist, here you go: The phrase surfaced – without context – in a text exchange between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. They were lovers, which is their business. They swapped tens of thousands of texts in ’16 and ’17, and at times they dumped on Trump. (They also, at various times, dumped on Democrats, including Obama attorney general Eric Holder). Strzok was briefly on Mueller’s investigation team, but was scrapped at an early stage when the texts were exposed. There’s no evidence that anything Strzok and Page said, or did, has had any bearing on the weight of Mueller’s far-flung probe.

But Sean Hannity thinks these texts are “like Watergate, but far worse…It reeks of conspiracy.” And his client, Trump, has been very excited about the texts – especially because, as it turns out, an unknown number of texts, exchanged between December ’16 and May ’17, are missing. That’s perfect grist for Trump, who can thus insinuate that their absence is itself proof of secret-society plotting. And right on cue, during his semi-coherent riff with reporters yesterday, he said: “I do worry, when I look at all of the things that you people don’t report about with what’s happening. If you take a look at, you know, the five months worth of missing texts. That’s a lot of missing texts, and as I said (Tuesday), that’s prime time. So, you do sort of look at that and say, ‘What’s going on?'”

Well, let’s give Trump a little help. According to news that broke yesterday afternoon, the texts were erased in a widespread technical screwup at the Department of Justice: “Thousands of FBI cellphones were affected by the technical glitch that the DOJ says prevented five months’ worth of text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page from being stored or uploaded into the bureau’s archive system, (according to) federal law enforcement officials…The glitch affected ‘nearly’ 10 percent of the FBI’s 35,000 employees.”

So much for the grand conspiracy plot. Care to guess who broke that story? A reporter on the website of Fox News.

As for Trump, he said yesterday that he’d “love” to take questions from Mueller. He’d “love to do it as soon as possible,” under oath. But that remark has the value of a three-dollar bill, and, sure enough, his lawyers scrambled last night to hose down the whole idea, insisting that Trump had spoken hurriedly and that no arrangements have been made. Their qualms are understandable, because they know darn well that Trump is a font of lies and thus risks exposure for perjury.

All the more reason to protect Trump by pumping up the propaganda. Hence this broadside, posted yesterday: “From ‘secret societies’ to flawed FBI probes, the Russiagate narrative is imploding. The anti-Russia narrative is collapsing under the growing weight of evidence pointing to a concerted internal effort on the part of the U.S. establishment to sabotage the Trump presidency.”

Oh wait! That was posted by the Russians, on their RT network website.

Which prompts me to wonder: With Mueller’s sleuths closing in, are the Russians writing for the Republicans – or is it the other way around?

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