The natural public reaction — on all sides — to the recent anonymous New York Times op-ed is: Holy Lord, this is yet another story, true or otherwise, of White House chaos. While this op-ed can be viewed as a story unto itself, it is more properly viewed as but a chapter in a carefully crafted book, intended to be thrown fatally at a duly elected President.
Before we explore the relationship of all the many anti-Trump initiatives being simultaneously pursued, let’s examine the identity of the anonymous Times author. The op-ed praises all Trump’s policies, which are domestic and military. On the other hand, the op-ed sounds the alarm at the supposedly dangerous agenda being “thwarted” to wit, Trump’s embrace of Putin-like dictators and his dissing of our loyal allies.
Therefore, there is now, he says with obvious erudition, a “two-track” policy — one of the President, and one of the “resistance” of toughness toward Putin, showing that adults are the table, saving our citizens from disasters untold. So sad, he says, that Trump cannot reach across the aisle like John McCain.
Who, we should ask, has been for the last two years the steady adult at the Republic-saving anti-Russian helm? None other than Russian Ambassador Jon Huntsman! Whose politics of moderation reflect those of John McCain? Jon Huntsman! Who communicates with sensitive, elegant erudition, unlike our President? Jon Huntsman!
The op-ed hints ominously at the possibly premature end of this supposedly dangerous presidency: “So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until – one way or another – it’s over.”
Who, pray tell, is on deck, ready to save the day with a combination of anti-Russian toughness, diplomatic experience, moderation and erudition? How about Jon Huntsman for president?
One final question: Who wrote the op-ed? I don’t think we need wait, as in the case of Deep Throat, for thirty years to find out. The op-ed tells us, in so many words, who is its author.
Now, for the timing. On the heels of the politically charged, elitist bullying that passed as a week of mourning for a truly great hero, John McCain, the public is awaiting the latest Roman à clef from Bob Woodward. Is the op-ed, consistent with the above, merely serendipity? Not in modern presidential politics, as Nixon so effectively showed in 1972 when anonymous hit pieces caused challenger Edmund Muskie to implode and outed Democratic VP candidate Thomas Eagleton as a past electroshock patient. Anonymous dirty tricks work.
Woodward is — in my view, admirably so — meticulous in his quotes. But we know as well from his multiple George W. Bush books and his John Belushi effort that he is not above shaping his evidence toward the chosen theme, as would a litigating lawyer. The anonymous op-ed was likely orchestrated to buttress Woodward’s account, while Woodward’s account in turn clearly supports the aims of the op-ed author.
During Watergate, Woodward’s Washington Post arranged to give the Los Angeles Times a key story, to keep the Post from being subpoenaed, and in this present case, publication by the New York Times of this op-ed keeps Woodward’s fingerprints off of an article he likely encouraged.
The ceaseless negative coverage of Trump, some fair but much unfair, has driven strife-averse suburban females away from a President who, to be sure, had a female issue notwithstanding the media pounding he takes. But the never-ending barrage exploits his female weakness with a vengeance.
With a resultant “blue wave” likely to sweep Democrats into the House, the question that will arise is impeachment, whether ultimately approved or merely discussed ad nauseum. This issue will revolve around the Mueller Report, to be published around the time the new Congress convenes.
That report, happily for Mueller, is as far as he can go to pursue the president since Special Counsel cannot by DOJ rules indict the president. This saves Mueller the ignominy of losing a jury trial or having a Court toss out weak obstruction charges while allowing him the latitude to write a scathing report to be adopted by an anti-Trump Congress.
That said, we hasten to add that Mueller, a gritty Vietnam War Purple Heart Marine, should be respected for diligently pursuing the zealous advocacy that he was assigned.
But by the same token, we should heap calumny on the deceitful John Brennan, the Godfather of the dishonest Russian collusion investigation, which he intended to fraudulently affect the 2016 election. While we may now focus on Bruce Ohr’s underhanded shuttling of information between Christopher Steele and the FBI during and after the election, please recall that Nellie Ohr (ex-CIA) and Steele (ex-GCHQ) were both likely hired at the behest of Brennan desperate for a FISA warrant.
Even though Brennan tried to influence the 2016 election with his none-to-subtle briefing of smearmaster Senator Harry Reid, he had no arrows in his quiver to do so effectively, since his investigation had produced extremely thin gruel. But as Trump’s presidency began, Brennan had, along with James Comey, put in place the machinery for contriving a knowingly false “Russian collusion” investigation designed now to delegitimize a newly-elected president.
Comey and Clapper cooperated in January 2017 in the CNN leak of Comey’s briefing of Trump, followed by BuzzFeed’s publishing of the Steele Dossier, which Brennan hoped, together with the continuing FISA warrant, would criminalize Trump in public opinion.
In the ensuing hysteria of first a jejune Logan Act inquiry and then the phony Russian collusion dragnet, it is only natural that frightened targets, going too far to claim innocence for non-criminal acts, lied and obstructed, or, in the case of Trump, arguably did so.
So now we have a number of waves moving to shore, all combining by pre-arrangement into a tsunami which may swamp Trump: the Russiagate investigation, the Mueller Report, Woodward’s book, the convictions of Trump associates, and, lastly, the anonymous op-ed.
All of these are overblown, Trumpers would argue, with none of them showing true endangerment of a country experiencing unprecedented prosperity, improved trade deals, and even, perhaps excessively optimistically, a potentially denuclearized North Korea. But all of the anti-Trump thrusts play, not on these issues, but on magnifying the impulsive temperament of a bull-in-a-china-shop executive.
So when the anonymous (Huntsman) op-ed writer adds to the temperament storm, it is not by accident. The op-ed will help enlarge both Woodward’s bank account and prestige, synergize the Mueller Report, give Brennan his lucrative CNN talking points, embolden impeachment-mongering back-benchers, and enhance the prospects of overturning the judgment of the 2016 electorate. And with the support of the Post and the Times, will give momentum to a moderate, principled, experienced challenger to Trump, like, for example, Jon Huntsman.
A word to the wise: If one shoots at the king, one must kill him.
Everything that is now occurring has a distinctively elitist, liberal-media, swamp-establishment odor. Millions of forgotten, struggling Americans, given hope by this unorthodox, willful President, will recognize the smell and will hunt down the varmints responsible. The reflexively loyal, core Trump voters will not readily embrace a candidate they view as a traitor.
So, citizens, hold on to your hats. Jon Huntsman, fasten your seatbelt. Media, prepare your nonstop hyperbole. We are all in for a ride.
John D. O’Connor is the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005. O’Connor is the co-author of “A G-Man’s Life: The FBI, Being ‘Deep Throat,’ and the Struggle for Honor in Washington” and is a producer of “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House” (2017), written and directed by Peter Landesman.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.