We should probably brace ourselves for an extended Trump shutdown because there’s ultimately no reason for the president to end his ongoing temper tantrum. He straight up needs this. Even though his poll numbers are crashing, the longer the shutdown continues, the less time we’re discussing the other catastrophes circulating around the White House.
There’s continued news about Trump Tower Moscow, with Buzzfeed dumping a series of documents showing how much planning had gone into the project, along with the details of Michael Cohen’s footwork to line it up.
There’s the so-hilarious-it-hurts-my-stomach meltdown of Rudy Giuliani, which happens to be my personal favorite story of the month. His accidental blurting of the truth is becoming legendary, with the word “befuddled” barely sufficing as a means to describe Rudy’s bizarrely worsening dementia. His remarks to The New Yorker are especially weird. This quote in particular cracks me the hell up: “I am afraid it will be on my gravestone. ‘Rudy Giuliani: He lied for Trump.’ Somehow, I don’t think that will be it. But, if it is, so what do I care? I’ll be dead.”
RUDY: Because I have been through all the tapes, I have been through all the texts, I have been through all the e-mails, and I knew none existed. And then, basically, when the special counsel said that, just in case there are any others I might not know about, they probably went through others and found the same thing.
THE NEW YORKER: Wait, what tapes have you gone through?
RUDY: I shouldn’t have said tapes.
I’ve never seen an old man shoveling so vigorously.
There’s also news on Wednesday that the number of Americans with health insurance dropped throughout the first two years of Trump’s presidency. According to Gallup, around seven million adults have dropped out of the system. No shocker there, of course, given how Trump and his enablers in Congress have systematically undermined the Affordable Care Act, including and especially the untimely death of the individual mandate, a cornerstone of the law that made sure everyone had skin the game.
There’s distressing word this week that Robert Mueller’s grand jury will run out of money by this Friday. Likewise, the shutdown is impacting the FBI’s ability to do its thing. Per Reuters:
FBI agents have lost irreplaceable sources. Joint Terrorism Task Force officers can’t get into the bureau’s computer systems. Federal investigations are being stymied by a lack of resources. The partial government shutdown, now in its 33rd day, has become a serious national-security threat, the FBI Agents Association said on Tuesday.
Make no mistake: this is fantastic news if you’re the president and you’re being investigated for a variety of crimes, several of which involve not just you but your children. Crippling the ability of the FBI and the D.C. federal grand jury is a huge bonus for Trump.
Any one of these stories would’ve led every newscast and appeared above-the-fold on every newspaper front page were it not for the shutdown.
Like most shutdowns, this one began as just another temporary glitch. But the longer it lasts, the more treacherous it gets. Not only is it superseding other chunks of bad news for the Trumps, it’s also sending a thrill up the stumpy legs of Vladimir Putin who’s absolutely getting his money’s worth with Trump’s constant disruption of American democracy, culminating in the indefinite closure of the U.S. federal government.
For Putin, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. His compromised stooge in the White House has closed the government until whenever, and among the myriad upsides for Putin is news that various government agencies haven’t been able to update the security certificates for the corresponding websites, leaving the sites vulnerable to — yep — hackers.
If a browser alert indicates a government site may be unsafe and the visitor overrides the warning, they may be directed instead to a page set up by hackers, placing them at serious risk, Kaminsky explained.
And just as the 2020 presidential election season is warming up in the garage.
Knowing the landscape, there’s absolutely zero reasons for Trump to back down. It’s keeping all of the aforementioned bad news out of the headlines while sabotaging the investigations into his crimes.
Plus, there’s bonus points from small government conservatives like Grover Norquist whose stated goal for decades has been to drown the government in the bathtub. At some point soon, we should expect to hear Trump and Fox News downplaying the impact of the government being closed. Indeed, one anonymous Trump official is quoted as saying he’d be okay if most federal employees don’t return to work.
Federal employees are starting to feel the strain of the shutdown. I am one of them. But for the sake of our nation, I hope it lasts a very long time, till the government is changed and can never return to its previous form.
The lapse in appropriations is more than a battle over a wall. It is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.
Furthermore, I can totally envision Trump appearing at a rally, arms outstretched as he tells his disciples: “Anyone here miss the government being open? Everything’s just fine, isn’t it. Police are still patrolling the streets, MS13 is still being rounded up — don’t worry about it. Believe me.” It goes without saying, the Red Hats are totally fine with it.
And should Trump ever decide to capitulate on the wall, he knows that his most racist supporters will surely look around for an alternative candidate in 2020. Given how his base is literally the only thing standing between him and the first impeachment conviction in American presidential history, he needs every screeching cultist he can muster. Without happy Red Hats, the Republican Party will definitely cut bait with Trump — at least enough Republicans to make a difference in Congress.
Unless the Democrats and/or the Senate Republicans decide to stick it to Trump with a funding bill that passes with a veto-proof majority, or unless the House Democrats cave, this shutdown could extend through the winter and perhaps even beyond, with commensurate disasters dropping every day. I’m not feeling very positive about the trajectory of this thing. Not with an irrational maniac on one end of Pennsylvania Avenue and Mitch McConnell with his Russian cash and his slippery obnoxiousness on the other end.
If Putin’s goal was to blackmail Trump into disrupting the functioning of the entire U.S. government — well then, mission accomplished.