Trump hasn’t been in office a month, and already it would be fair to characterize his administration as “embattled.”
What’s going on?
Presidents usually enter office with some political capital to spend. This often entails public support for the President’s agenda, and a new President can generally get a few things on his wish list through Congress before his political capital is exhausted. Obama, for instance, burned much of his capital getting a stimulus bill passed, and especially getting the Affordable Care Act through Congress.
It’s looking more and more like Trump won’t get anything like that. The political establishment seems to be waking up to the fact that a man who was far from being a normal candidate is also far from being a normal President. Trump is evidently irritated that he has to answer to anyone, that he cannot behave in an autocratic fashion.
The latest chapter in Trump’s political war looks to involve the expansive US intelligence community–part of the “deep state” which surrounds the official, elected government.
Intelligence officials are apparently keeping sensitive information away from Trump, for fear it will be leaked by a clumsy, disorganized administration.
Why is it important?
It’s one thing if the President doesn’t have the support of the public. Trump’s approval rating is terrible, but that’s not too important as long as he has a pliable Congress to go along with his agenda. The President also commands a vast array of executive agencies–that’s what all the various Cabinet secretary positions are for.
But it looks like Republicans may start paying the price for supporting Trump. They could even lose the House in 2018. More than that, it’s almost unheard for the executive agencies which answer to the President to essentially go rogue and refuse to cooperate with him. There are now over 50 unofficial, “alternative” Twitter accounts supposedly run by government officials who refuse to abide by Trump’s orders that they not communicate with the public. This is an astonishing level of rebellion against a new President.
Typically, it takes years of a President being mired in scandals for this sort of intragovernmental resistance to spring up. Here, it has materialized virtually overnight. We are in uncharted territory here.
What can I do?
For now, the best thing to do is wait and see what happens. If the intelligence community is intent on bringing Trump down, I say we should let them. It’s quite possible they have dirt on him that has yet to see the light of day. A dossier compiled by a British intelligence agent has had some elements corroborated by US intelligence officials. This is likely just the beginning. If the bulk of the American intelligence apparatus turns against the President, there’s no telling what kind of outcome there will be, apart from a President exiting office in disgrace–and possibly handcuffs.
And of course, if you do have any incriminating information on Trump or his officials, put it out there!
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