Trump's 'Witch Hunt' Tweets Expose What's Really Making Him Afraid

Donald Trump’s use of the term “witch hunt” and his use of Twitter to attack the Russia investigation and the members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has increased sharply in the last few months. It’s still increasing. Much of this increase would seem to be coordinated with Republican efforts to end the investigation. Trump’s tweets increased around the time that Devin Nunes and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee bypassed Democratic input to release their own special “no collusion” report. As Trump’s tweets were soaring in May, Nunes and others were working to force the release of more DOJ documents, calling for the release of the inspector general report, and threatening both FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with contempt of Congress charges. 

However, there does seem to be another set of connections; one that goes between Robert Mueller’s actions and Trump’s reactions. Trump’s used the term “witch hunt” about once a week during the first few months following Mueller’s appointment. But as Paul Manafort was raided, then indicted, Trump’s use of the term, or mention of the investigation, dropped sharply. Further indictments, and the guilty plea from former national security advisor Michael Flynn, barely moved the dial. But there was one event that does seem to coincide with a sharp increase in Trump’s concern. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"633147","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"349","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"550"}}]]

(Image by Mark Sumner)

With the raid on Michael Cohen, Trump’s attacks on the investigation moved into a whole new gear. And as new information about Cohen and Essential Consultants LLC, the company he created to both accept cash from companies wanting to buy influence with the Trump White House and to pay off Trump’s liaisons, Trump’s attacks only increased. It almost seems that, with the capture of documents in Cohen’s files, Trump is increasingly desperate to end the Mueller investigation.

Republicans in the House are still cranking along on their effort to hold Rod Rosenstein in contempt, but that process was slowed down because Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte bungled the paperwork. However, there’s not much sign that Trump, or any of his supporters in the House, will get much of a boost even if Rosenstein is chided and someone searches out an empty cloakroom for the ludicrous task of locking up the deputy AG for protecting US intelligence sources.

Every attempt by Republicans to create a scandal around FBI activities—from Nunes’s “unmasking” in July 2017, to “memogate” in February, to the inspector general report earlier this month—has fizzled. Trump’s own attempt to create FBI backlash by pushing release of classified documents failed so badly that not even Republican congressmen brought in to review the documents could find a way to claim they’d found a problem. 

Trump added to his June tally on Monday morning, tweeting again about the “witch hunt” in the midst of a long series that also included such vital national business as critiquing the paint job on a Virginia restaurant. But that tweet may reflect a new feature of Trump’s attacks on the Mueller investigation—their use as a distraction. In this case, Trump would apparently prefer to talk about anything rather than deal with the results of his zero-tolerance policy on the border, and the resulting separation of families.

The evidence that Trump is now willing to throw himself under the bus to distract from the bus he’s driving over children, was enhanced by a second tweet.

Mukasey did in fact note that there was surveillance of Trump Tower … though that surveillance was apparently unrelated to the election and instead connected to money laundering operations at Trump Tower. But even more strangely, Mukasey made that statement in an interview more than a year ago … which makes this seem like a very strange thing to be dragging up now.

Unless the best way that Trump can think of to distract people from his current disaster is to point at his other big problem—one that was increasingly causing Trump to loose his $#%@ before it was supplanted by something even worse.

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