The Old Order strikes back

Appearing separately on Sunday television talk shows, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and committee chairman Devin Nunes indicated that they are hardly in tandem as their hearings on Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign get underway.

Chairman Nunes, asked by Fox News moderator Chris Wallace if he thinks elements in the intelligence community are leaking information to undercut the Trump presidency, replied, "It's pretty clear that that's happening."

Rep. Schiff on Meet the Press told moderator Chuck Todd that he was "surprised" that former CIA director James Clapper had said there was "'no evidence'" of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  Schiff then claimed there is circumstantial evidence of collusion."  He added – ominously – "There was direct evidence, I think, of deception."  Schiff then indicated his belief that subpoenas would have to be issued to force witnesses to appear before the committee.  To Todd's question, "Devin Nunes agrees with you on this?" Schiff replied, "Well, he's going to have to.  Otherwise, we really can't do our job."

Todd did not then ask, "What do you see as your job?"  If Schiff were honest, he would have replied to this unasked question, "Why taking a long step towards ending the terrible disastrous Trump presidency, of course."

A most curious op-ed from one Louise Mensch appeared in the New York Times March 18, with a long series of detailed questions she thinks the House Intelligence Committee should ask of its witnesses in the Russia investigation.  Scanning the list of detailed questions reminds one of chapters 21-23 in John Le Carré's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, which delineate the measures – detailed measures, employed by British intelligence, to frame a top East German security official to protect its double agent in the East German Abteilung.  The instruction suggested by the novel is that the devil, indeed, can be found in the details. 

Consider, please, this hypothetical: a presidential candidate is convinced of her certain election as president but wants to make sure her opponent will be discredited, along with his supporters, in the eyes of, for her, "mainstream" America.  Consider the August 3, 2016 New York Times story by Amy Chozick that quoted a tweet by former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, asserting: "'It is not enough to simply beat Trump. ... He must be destroyed thoroughly. His kind must not rise again.'"

Consider, now, that the task of discrediting the opponent was given to campaign aides who seized on the Le Carré novel for guidance.  No thought was given to possible disclosure of the plan to discredit the opponent because it was taken for granted that the reins of government would remain in the hands of...let's call it the Old Order.

Lo and behold, the New Order somehow wins the presidential election – and now what is the Old Order going to do to kick over the traces of its conspiracy to discredit the leader of the New Order?  What better than a plot to undermine him?

Of course, all this is mere speculation.  Still, House Intelligence Committee chairman Nunes would be very wise, indeed, to study chapters 21-23 in the Le Carré novel.  And to beware of ranking members bearing a gift of bipartisanship.

Appearing separately on Sunday television talk shows, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and committee chairman Devin Nunes indicated that they are hardly in tandem as their hearings on Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign get underway.

Chairman Nunes, asked by Fox News moderator Chris Wallace if he thinks elements in the intelligence community are leaking information to undercut the Trump presidency, replied, "It's pretty clear that that's happening."

Rep. Schiff on Meet the Press told moderator Chuck Todd that he was "surprised" that former CIA director James Clapper had said there was "'no evidence'" of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  Schiff then claimed there is circumstantial evidence of collusion."  He added – ominously – "There was direct evidence, I think, of deception."  Schiff then indicated his belief that subpoenas would have to be issued to force witnesses to appear before the committee.  To Todd's question, "Devin Nunes agrees with you on this?" Schiff replied, "Well, he's going to have to.  Otherwise, we really can't do our job."

Todd did not then ask, "What do you see as your job?"  If Schiff were honest, he would have replied to this unasked question, "Why taking a long step towards ending the terrible disastrous Trump presidency, of course."

A most curious op-ed from one Louise Mensch appeared in the New York Times March 18, with a long series of detailed questions she thinks the House Intelligence Committee should ask of its witnesses in the Russia investigation.  Scanning the list of detailed questions reminds one of chapters 21-23 in John Le Carré's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, which delineate the measures – detailed measures, employed by British intelligence, to frame a top East German security official to protect its double agent in the East German Abteilung.  The instruction suggested by the novel is that the devil, indeed, can be found in the details. 

Consider, please, this hypothetical: a presidential candidate is convinced of her certain election as president but wants to make sure her opponent will be discredited, along with his supporters, in the eyes of, for her, "mainstream" America.  Consider the August 3, 2016 New York Times story by Amy Chozick that quoted a tweet by former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, asserting: "'It is not enough to simply beat Trump. ... He must be destroyed thoroughly. His kind must not rise again.'"

Consider, now, that the task of discrediting the opponent was given to campaign aides who seized on the Le Carré novel for guidance.  No thought was given to possible disclosure of the plan to discredit the opponent because it was taken for granted that the reins of government would remain in the hands of...let's call it the Old Order.

Lo and behold, the New Order somehow wins the presidential election – and now what is the Old Order going to do to kick over the traces of its conspiracy to discredit the leader of the New Order?  What better than a plot to undermine him?

Of course, all this is mere speculation.  Still, House Intelligence Committee chairman Nunes would be very wise, indeed, to study chapters 21-23 in the Le Carré novel.  And to beware of ranking members bearing a gift of bipartisanship.