U.S.: ‘Russiagate’ continues

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Friday, February 2, several hours after U.S. President D. Trump had authorised the declassification of the memorandum drafted by the staff members of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, a memorandum on the FBI’s attitude in the ‘Russiagate’ scandal, he wrote on Twitter: “Trump the orator outlines the greatness of America to Democrats’ disgust.” Trump’s tweet was a reference to an article published by The Washington Post on the same day, which he recommended to his Twitter followers. The article noted that: “President Trump brushed aside protests from the FBI yesterday to allow the release of a classified memo that accuses the bureau of engaging in ‘surveillance abuses’ against his campaign. The four-page document which was drafted by Republican congressional aides, alleges that senior FBI and justice department officials misled a special court in 2016 to obtain a warrant to spy on Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump campaign.”

Hence, it was a first major surprise, namely that ‘fake news,’ the label D. Trump used until now on Twitter when referring to the anti-presidential press, seemed to have become history and at least an armistice seemed to have intervened in the fierce domestic political fighting that has constantly escalated in the last year. And this presidential change seemed possible against the optimistic backdrop of significant hikes registered on the stock market, of the numerous jobs created in the American economy and particularly of the substantial drop in taxes, the measure that is allegedly at the root of a spectacular and unexpected economic evolution. Looking at the readers’ comments on the Washington Post article that Trump recommended to his followers, I noticed not so much a withdrawal/resignation before defeat on the part of his opponents but rather a drop in their combativeness and, to the same extent, moderate enthusiasm on the part of the President’s own fans.

For instance, a reader noted that the recently resigned Christopher Wray, “Trumps own appointed FBI head, was utterly opposed to it. He can’t be tainted by any allegations of past misdoings at the FBI because he was not there at the time.” He resigned after he opposed the declassification of Senator Nunes’s memorandum, probably based on technical issues and working methodologies pertaining to this secret service (or maybe more than that). A day later, probably under the impact of the press reactions, but also because of the first drop that occurred on the stock market at the same time with the publishing of this secret document, Donald Trump was once again tweeted: “This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. There was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!” Hence, in complete contrast to the previous tweet.

And, proof of the fact that this Russiagate dossier preoccupies him to the highest degree, the following day, Sunday – February 4, he returned with two other tweets, which reiterated assessments carefully picked up from a favourable article published by The Wall Street Journal: “The four page memo released Friday reports the disturbing fact about how the FBI and FISA appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath….The FBI failed to inform the FISA court that the Clinton campaign had funded the dossier….the FBI became….” and the second tweet: “…a tool of anti-Trump political actors. This is unacceptable in a democracy and ought to alarm anyone who wants the FBI to be a nonpartisan enforcer of the law…. The FBI wasn’t straight with Congress, as it hid most of these facts from investigators.” Hence, the White House continues to be extremely preoccupied with this issue and weighs very carefully the media force ratio between its camp and the opposing camp.

The dynamic of domestic U.S. politics is extremely complicated, especially after D. Trump entered the White House, even if solely due to the fact – constantly mentioned by the President – that he is carrying out an action to restore the U.S.’s systemic role of global leadership (in terms of economy, military, prestige, international relevance etc.) compromised by the previous administrations. MAGA continues to be his slogan, mobilizing his own camp. Against the backdrop of the optimistic results registered by the American economy and finances, of Trump’s performance at Davos and – why not? – of the traditional State of the Union speech (end of January 2018), it was considered that the declassification of the aforementioned document might lead to a cessation of the sterile confrontation between the two camps of the political establishment, between the Democrat camp – follower of neoliberal principles and political correctness – and the Republican camp, in the process of undertaking a neo-Ronald Reagan orientation strengthened at electoral level by the electrifying ‘MAGA’ formula.

Just two days after the opening of this new stage in ‘Russiagate,’ what draws the attention is the dynamism and consistency of the Democrat camp’s reply to the declassification of this document and to its content. First, we are talking about the fact that the biased use of the dossier’s data was challenged – which also prompted the resignation of Wray, appointed in office by Trump himself, but also the opposition of those of good faith, also strengthened by the fact that, at the same time, a Democrat request for a clarifying memorandum (in the opinion of their own camp, of course) on the dossier to be made public was rejected. As early as January 29, Congressman Adam Schiff (Dem – Ca) had warned: “President who excoriated Clinton after FBI found her handling of classified info extremely careless release of, now urges classified info that DOJ has called ‘extraordinarily reckless.’ He’s consistent — consistently self-serving.” On Sunday, February 4, as revealed by Trump’s tweets, the American media was already running with the hypothesis that the President was the one indirectly involved in the whole “Nunes memorandum” story.

As a reader of the numerous Anglo-Saxon press articles published on this recent event noted: “This memo is written by Nunes and his staff, he is a fanatical Trump supporter and was part of his transition team. He has blocked the equivalent Democratic memo from being published, offering the other point of view.” And another one pointed out that: “On the memo, Trump’s own lawyer in White House says it is just a ‘judgment of its congressional authors’ – in other words a one man’s opinion on events.” Hence, it appears that the whole story about this memorandum was the work of Trump’s staunch supporters and, based on how the public opinion’s perception is developing, it will be detrimental to the White House’s image. ‘Russiagate,’ as even the American President admits, will continue its evolution. To the detriment of the stability and performance – domestic and international – of the U.S. administration.