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Feb 23 2020

Rant of the Week: Rachel Maddow – The Dark Days Are Here

Since the Republican held Senate refused to remove Trump from office, Republican senators, like Maine’s Susan Collins, insisted he had learned a lesson. Yes, the narcissistic psychotic “learned his lesson” alright just not the one that Republicans thought he would. Trump has no gone a rampage of pardoning and firings. On Friday, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow pointed out that it is no longer accurate to frame Donald Trump’s corruption as imminent or potential as he is openly abusing his power to make it clear that the power of the U.S. government will be used to punish people who oppose him and help people who demonstrate fealty.Trump unleashed purges of anyone deemed less than 100% loyal: β€œThe dark days are not coming, the dark days are here.”

From Steve Benen at Maddow Blog: WH personnel chief reportedly on the lookout for Trump critics

If you thought Team Trump was purging perceived enemies from government posts before, it’s apparently poised to get considerably worse.

In Donald Trump’s first year as president his personal assistant was a young man named John McEntee. At the White House, it’s a job known as “body man.” (If you watched The West Wing television show, McEntee was, in effect, Charlie. Or, for Veep fans, he was Gary.)

The young man’s career was cut short in 2018, however, when then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly fired McEntee — by some accounts because he was facing a federal investigation over unspecified “serious financial crimes.” The Wall Street Journal reported soon after on McEntee’s alleged gambling issues, complicated by the apparent fact that he couldn’t pass a background check.

He was hired by Trump’s re-election campaign less than a day later.

Two years later, those events are behind McEntee, who has now returned to the White House — as the new director of the Office of Presidential Personnel. It’s a rather important position for the 29-year-old Republican, who’ll be responsible for hiring and vetting those seeking jobs in the White House.

Axios reports today that McEntee is already hard at work, though his priorities in his new gig may not be altogether appropriate.

Johnny McEntee called in White House liaisons from cabinet agencies for an introductory meeting Thursday, in which he askedthem to identify political appointees across the U.S. government who are believed to be anti-Trump, three sources familiar with the meeting tell Axios.

So the controversial former body man is now the White House personnel chief on the hunt for Never-Trumpers? And he’s seeking assistance from cabinet agency officials, who’ll apparently be expected to play a role in a McCarthyite scheme?

and this: As Russia targets US elections (again), Trump does everything wrong

Told that a foreign adversary was once again targeting U.S. elections, Trump was furious – not with Russia, but with the truth getting out.
Donald Trump announced on Wednesday night that Ambassador Richard Grenell would, at least temporarily, oversee the U.S. intelligence community. It was among the most ridiculous of the president’s personnel decisions: Grenell, best known for his work as an internet troll, has never served a day in the intelligence community in any capacity. The idea of him serving as the acting director of national intelligence is bizarre

Yesterday, however, brought the controversy into sharper focus. While it matters that Trump elevated an unqualified loyalist to an important post, what matters far more are the events that precipitated the decision. The New York Times reported overnight:

Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.

The timeline of events is astonishing. On Feb. 12 — Wednesday of last week — U.S. intelligence professionals alerted lawmakers to the fact that Russia is targeting the 2020 elections, once again hoping to keep Trump in power. A day later, the president lashed out at Joseph Maguire, who was serving as the acting director of national intelligence, complaining about Congress being briefed on information that’s politically inconvenient to his re-election campaign.

Told that a foreign adversary was once again targeting U.S. elections, Trump was furious — not with Russia, but with the truth getting out. His instinct to put his interests above ours is unshakable.

Or put another way, the American president wasn’t not bothered with Russian efforts to keep him in power; Trump’s bothered that officials might learn the facts about Russian efforts to keep him in power.