Jun 12 2017

Schrödinger’s Tapes

We live in a quantum state, hardly a democratic one. It’s not utterly impossible that an apple shall suddenly lift off the ground and fly back to its place on the branch, it’s just highly unlikely in this universe and though space is big, really really big, and time is long, really really long, it’s never been observed- which would of course shift the quantum probability to certainty that apples do fall up given that the observer is now entangled in the event like a cat in a roll of toilet paper (for the flat Space/Time fundamentalists) or a ball of yarn (for the string theory inclined).

I’ve never heard of an 82 year old kitty either.

The instability around the Sessions testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee tomorrow has collapsed into a publicly observable singularity. That he will stonewall or lie is virtualy a given. We shall see.

Also the non-existence of the Tapes is a near fact given the testimony of Trump’s biographer that his bluster about secret recordings in the past was just that- an empty bag of wind.

Greg Sargent has a summary of the next developments we can expect.

Trump is likely to get much, much worse. Here are a few big things to watch for.
by Greg Sargent, Washington Post
June 12 at 10:19 AM

Are Republicans prepared for the possibility that President Trump’s abuses of power could continue their slide to depths of madness or autocracy that make the current moment look relatively tame by comparison? This isn’t meant as a rhetorical question. It is genuinely unclear — from the public statements of Republicans and the reporting on their private deliberations — whether they envision a point at which Trump’s conduct could grow unhinged enough, or threaten serious enough damage to our democracy, to warrant meaningful acknowledgment, never mind action.

Politico’s Playbook this morning tries to sum up the thinking among Republicans. The gist: Republicans are increasingly worried they will lose the House amid a “toxic political environment that appears to be worsening.” They cite the possibility that they won’t secure any serious legislative wins, as well as “serious concerns” about “more revelations” coming on Trump. In the background, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation “remains the wild card.”

For sure, but how much worse could this get?

The tapes Trump hinted at turn out not to exist. On ABC’s “This Week,” Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump’s legal team, said Trump will make a decision very soon on whether to release the tapes he may have made of his conversations with then-FBI Director James B. Comey. After the news broke that Trump may have demanded a “loyalty” pledge from Comey, the president tweeted that Comey had better hope he doesn’t have tapes of their conversations. Trump has since hinted he still might release them, and congressional investigators have demanded them.

This state of play is utter lunacy in its current form — the White House has still not said whether these tapes exist, even as Trump hints they might still be coming, and we are so numb to Trump’s daily crazy at this point that we now oddly treat this as somewhat unremarkable. Maybe they do exist. But what happens if the White House, in response to those congressional demands, ultimately confirms that they don’t? Experts think the White House will have to come clean in some way. At that point, it would be confirmed that Trump invented the existence of these tapes to chill Comey from offering a full public accounting of the events leading up to his firing — which itself was a massive abuse of power, given that Trump allowed it was because of the FBI’s Russia probe — in the full knowledge that Comey was going to serve as a witness before long. What will Republicans say about that?

Also on ABC’s “This Week,” Sekulow refused to rule out the possibility that Trump might end up trying to order Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to fire Mueller. It is possible that Trump is cognizant enough of the history here (Richard Nixon tried pretty much the same thing) to avoid the drastic step of trying to get Mueller axed mainly because he’s closing in on wrongdoing.

But Trump is not inclined to let institutional constraints limit his options, and he and his team have already shown themselves to be less than shrewd at gaming out the consequences of trampling on them. The circumstances of Trump’s firing of Comey are a case in point. The White House thought it could get away with floating the idea that Rosenstein had provided the rationale (his memo fingered Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe). But that story fell apart, raising the possibility that Rosenstein had provided Trump cover for the real rationale, which Trump subsequently admitted on national television was Comey’s handling of the Russia probe. This basically required Rosenstein to appoint the special counsel.

So can we really count on Trump refraining from trying to get Mueller removed? Nope. Somewhat unlike in Nixon’s time, Republicans may well still stand by Trump even if this happens. If so, they’d be in a considerably darker place than they are even now.

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