Donald Trump channels George Foreman: Taste my power

Sunday morning, James Clapper said it as clearly as can be said.  In his report as director of National Intelligence, there was no evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.  In any rational world, this would end the fevered innuendo and salivation.  It will not, and that was the plan all along.

Never play cards with a gambler.  Gamblers are about not just winning, but figuring a way to make you lose.  President Trump has all the cards, and he has started to show his hand.  He already knows, as does Clapper, what prior CIA and FBI inquiries have revealed or not.  He retains access every day to any new information.  He sees your hand even before you play it.

Talk about being hoist on your own petard.  Trump, rather than resisting calls for investigation, will now join in the call.  He will insist that his claims be scrutinized.  He will want this to be made public as soon as possible and may even insist that customary "secrecy" be set aside for the FISA warrants and results.

He knows what Clapper knows, and he knows what will be found.  The Obama White House spokespeople parsed their words.  Clapper did as well, fully aware that the second FISA warrant request was granted.  What we do not know, as yet, is who its "targets" were.  Trump does know.

The infamous "other shoe" will now drop.  The Justice Department filed for the second FISA request knowing that the prior FBI criminal investigation had not revealed wrongdoing.  The second filing had to be on the basis of concern for national security, and we now know, from Clapper, that this did not yield any evidence, either.  This is the perfect political math for the president.  Wait until the other guy bluffs, and then keep him from folding his cards.  There is nothing as embarrassing as a really empty hand.

Knowing that both the criminal and national security investigations came up empty will raise the central question as to motive and timing.  This was all done to a political opponent in the critical months prior to an election.  Finding nothing, within this sensitive time frame, will make it look essentially politically motivated.  What will also come to light, as the principals in the Justice Department feel the pressure, is when and whether the White House was aware of this process.  And if not to them, whom else was Loretta Lynn talking to?  Want to venture a guess on that one?

Trump overplays to tempt others to believe how easily dismissable he is.  He baited the Democrats knowing how reactive they are and how their disdain blinds them to any more strategic sense of the game Trump is playing.  George Foreman was also a master of his game.  He would let the opponent hit him for a while and then hit back but not, by calculation, with full force.  He would say, "I want them to just taste my power," waiting for a later time when he would be hit again.  The other boxer, sure the return blow, would still be tolerable.  No wonder President Trump and George get along.