Tuesday, January 30, 2018


We'll get to read the Nunes memo soon:
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee ... voted Monday evening to release a contentious secret memorandum said to accuse the department and the F.B.I. of misusing their authority to obtain a secret surveillance order on a former Trump campaign associate.

... Mr. Trump now has five days to review the document and decide whether to try to block it from going public. The White House has repeatedly indicated that it wants the memo out....
I don't think Trump will okay the release of the memo today -- he won't want it to steal the spotlight from his State of the Union address. We all know what's going to expect: Trump will deliver a speech full of insincere bipartisanship and mainstream commentators will praise the address as mature and presidential. By tomorrow morning, or maybe the morning after that, Trump will be back in angry-crank-on-the-sofa mode, angrily banging out angry tweets based on his TV viewing.

That's the pattern every time Trump delivers a measured Teleprompter speech, though it's clear that this isn't effective for him -- he engenders some goodwill among skeptics, then immediately fritters it away. But I think he enjoys it. It must be a double dopamine rush for him: He's still on the high from being praised on CNN and Morning Joe and then, before that high wears off, he gets an extra jolt from rallying his base. It's like an ego speedball.

Usually Trump spoils the kumbaya mood with a gut-level attack on an enemy chosen on impulse (or based on whatever Fox happens to program). But this year he's scheduling the 180 -- he's going to approve the release of the Nunes memo right after the State of the Union. I don't know whether this was worked out in advance by his team and congressional Republicans, but it suggests that people other than Trump think these apparent wild mood swings on Trump's part are politrically effective. Aides and congressional allies seem to believe that the uptick in Trump's approval will inspire the public to say, Yes, our popular, admirable president thinks the release of this memo is a good thing, therefore it must be a truthful memo, and the accusations in it must be very damning.

I don't think that's how public opinion works in the Trump era -- he's still a very unpopular president -- but hey, we'll see.

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