The Beginning of the End

Posted on January 25th, 2019 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

The Beginning of the End

Disclaimer: the article below represents the noodlings of a dumbass who is talking about things way over his head, but which he nonetheless finds interesting as a mental exercise.

And, with the arrest of Roger Stone, so begins the long, ugly, inevitable fall of (what I think history will regard as) the most corrupt administration is US history. Stone is, first and foremost, a survivor, starting his dirty-trickster shtick during the Nixon/Watergate crisis, and continuing to stir the pot right up until the current dumpster-fire of an administration.

Stone wasn’t just indicted, he was arrested – they showed up at his door in Florida in the pre-dawn hours and physically arrested him, while simultaneously raiding his New York offices. The charges are typical for this phase of the Mueller investigation, focusing on ancillary charges while leaving the big, meaty charges for later on.

The reason Stone is the key to the collapse of this administration is that the last thing he’ll do is take the hit and go to prison for a useful idiot like Trump. Stone is very smart and skilled at manipulating events to his advantage, and he’s one of the few people I think could go toe-to-toe with Mueller. The fact that Mueller had Stone physically taken into custody is a clear indication of how strong Mueller thinks his case is, that he’s willing to humiliate Stone that way rather than ask him to surrender.

So now the question is, what does Stone do? I think he’s too smart to simply rollover completely and begin spilling 100% of the beans. My take is that he’ll fight a strategic retreat, throwing ever-larger fish under the bus to save himself, while leaving unstated that the President and the GOP better save his ass before he starts flipping on the whales instead of the minnows and tuna.

But he won’t be saved – Mueller wouldn’t have flexed on Stone if he wasn’t sure he had an airtight case, so my take is that things could potentially progress this way:

  • Stone will eventually get to the point where it’s obvious he’s going to start giving evidence on Trump’s family and/or senior GOP members.
  • Trump will FLIP OUT and do some/all of the following:
    • Rage tweet (duh).
    • Attempt to fire Mueller and/or anybody in the reporting chain who WON’T file Mueller.
    • Attempt to fire the heads of federal law enforcement and intelligence services.
    • Declare a state of emergency to ‘build the wall’ as a distraction.
    • Begin filing bullshit lawsuits against those he feels are a danger to him.
  • The GOP will see that the end is near, and while they won’t turn on Trump they will begin to not blindly support him 100%, and will begin laying the groundwork for their “Gee, Trump sure had us fooled, too!” shoulder-shrug defense.
  • Trump will flip out even more when he sees weakening GOP support, become even more deranged, and may:
    • Begin pardoning everybody involved, including Stone.
    • Attempt to start a war (sorry, Venezuela/Iran).
    • Declare that public law enforcement and intelligence services are ‘corrupt’ and ‘against him’ and attempt to curtail their authority and/or disband them.
    • Try to create his own personal intelligence/protection service of loyalists (hi, Erik Prince!).
  • The checks and balances we all learned about in school (but have seen very little of lately) will kick in to stop Trump’s most egregious impulses.
  • Trump will realize the end is near and will begin plotting his endgame, possibly including:
    • Relocate to Trump Tower or Mar-a-Lago for ‘security’ reasons, then hunker down hissing and spitting like a cornered, rabid cat until the 25th Amendment kicks in.
    • Create (or exaggerate) an imaginary business deal that is just too yuge for him to pass up, but would be a conflict of interest, so he chooses to resign to pursue the deal.
    • Create (or exaggerate) an imaginary health issue.
    • Negotiate a Nixonian resignation-plus-pardon deal.

There are, of course, a multitude of other timelines that could unfold, and the above is just a swag, at best. However, I do think that the arrest of Stone does represent the beginning of the end. The only bigger fish are either Trump family members or senior GOP elected officials. With regards to Trump and the GOP, only one can survive, and when the fur starts flying between them it’s going to get U-G-L-Y.

The good news, for me, is that somehow, some way, I have retained optimism for the future of the United States. I’ve tried to figure out if it was denial on my part, particularly as things have gone from bad to worse, from weird to absurd, and from annoying to dangerous, but while I acknowledge the existential threat currently faced by the US, I also see the foundational construct of this nation is intact. I also think that we, as a nation, will learn from the recent past.

Pendulums oscillate, that’s the nature of things, and I’ll be happy to see things swing back the other way for (what I hope is quite) a while.

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