Donald Trump’s new deflectolie (a neologism that denotes a lie for the purpose of deflection, a favorite tactic of “conservatives” in our current environment) is that the FBI engaged in an attempted “coup” when they began an investigation into contacts between Russian agents and the Trump campaign.
The director of the FBI at the time, James Comey, first confirmed in March 2017 that his agency was conducting an investigation, under the rubric of “counterintelligence,” not as a criminal investigation, into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.
This is an important point. Trump’s deflectolie depends heavily on half-truths and sloppy use of terms and concepts. The investigation began because of Russian activity. At the time, Trump was bruiting his ridiculous claim that the Obama administration had “wiretapped” his office. Members of the House Intelligence Committee, including the usually stupid Devin Nunes, stated flatly that they had no evidence of any approval of surveillance of Trump’s office by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court.
A convenient distraction for the “coup” conspiracy theory crowd was the series of texts between FBI employees Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, which Page explained in testimony to Congress in 2018, as Republicans conducted an investigation into the matter. She stated that the FBI is always interested in Russians contacting U.S. citizens, but the question would become vastly more important if Trump became president and might have someone on his staff who was, wittingly or not, cooperating with the Russians.
A central component of Trump’s idiotic “wiretapping” claim and of the equally idiotic “coup” deflectolie was the decision of Obama’s National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, to unmask the identities of several Trump campaign/administration persons in late 2016 and early 2017, the transition period between the outgoing Obama administration and the incoming Trump administration. Rice explained that her decision resulted from the unexpected visit by the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates to New York in December 2016. The prince violated the customs of diplomacy by not notifying the Obama administration that he was coming, and met in New York with various people on the Trump transition team.
Rice’s decision to umask the identities of the U.S. citizens involved was an entirely unexceptionable exercise of her job responsibilities, which Trump does not understand. That their identities were masked disproves the whole “wiretapping” claim — why, if they were trying to get information about Trump and his staff, would they have masked those persons’ identities to begin with? Obvious, gross illogic of the sort that “conservatives” just love. Makes for such a juicy conspiracy theory. Just need a pizza parlor!
Why anyone listens on this topic to a man whose first national security adviser lasted less than a month in the job and later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russians and his work for the government of Turkey is anyone’s guess. As with everything he says, Trump’s claims about the alleged “coup” are a mishmash of self serving lies and staggering ignorance of every subject he should know about as president of the United States. The “coup” conspiracy theory speaks only to Trump’s vast incompetence to the job he currently holds.
This is not the first time Trump has followed his ignorance of all things law and legal down the rat hole of insanity. In February 2019, he uttered a tweet arguing that using the 25th amendment to relieve him of the powers and duties of the presidency would be an “unconstitutional power grab,” which is a more polite way of saying “coup,” and which also amounts to the absurd claim that invoking a constitutional amendment could violate the Constitution. This is the level of illogic we are dealing with.
Now we have loyal Republican toady Liz Cheney, always a credible voice, on national television repeating the “coup” nonsense, as well as Trump’s really outrageous claim that the alleged coup plotters may have committed treason. If only they existed!
This all hideous nonsense of the first order. Trump, Cheney, and anyone else who repeats this stupidity deserves not a scintilla of credence in any of their claims on any topic. They have entirely allowed their mindless loyalty to the Republican Party at all cost, including under the noxious leadership (!) of Trump, to override whatever limited reasoning capacity they may have had.