Bolton and Mattis Are Not White Horses

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S1: Each of you in the House Republican Conference is on the front lines defending American freedom American security American prosperity and the American way of life. You’re the ones you’re doing the defense. Hundreds of millions of our fellow citizens are counting on us and so help us God. We will never ever let them down.

S2: For months we’ve been saying we’re doing three things. We are legislating. We’re investigating as six committees have been doing for months.

S3: We are litigating. The president needs a secretary of state. Who is the chief diplomat who is out executing on behalf of the. Country.

S4: Hello and welcome to Trump cast. I’m Virginia Heffernan. So I just got back from San Jose California and I’m going to have to Thomas Friedman out a little bit and tell you about my taxi driver. His name was John curly and he told me he moved to Santa Clara from Connecticut to go to UCSC a few years ago when Trump was on The Apprentice. John told me he drove Trump around and occasionally had Keith Schiller Trump’s old bodyguard in the car too. All right now talk about unverified random rumor but John reports that he was asked to stock the car with 10 packs of antiseptic wipes. Three containers of white Tic Tacs and three containers of yes green Tic Tacs. John was then struck when he heard the Access Hollywood tape about how Trump Tic Tacs it up before sexually assaulting women. He said no Tic Tacs were used on that trip. The other thing John reported that happened when he drove Trump around is that Trump brought a huge souvenir from his apprentice appearance home with him. One of those giant 2D life sized cardboard likenesses of himself. That’s right. Trump brought one of those big things in the car with him. So John had to look in the rearview mirror and see to Trump’s on the whole ride to the airport OK so John is smart and sane and it does of course despises Trump. But the thing he said last most surprised me. TRUMP John said is such a persuasive guy he could talk anyone into doing anything if I get carted off to happy farms like Francis farmer one day singing the theme to The Apprentice mighty mighty mighty mighty you will all know it’s because I was never able to learn what is remotely seductive about a hideous sub literate non mammal who lugs around a cardboard replica of self and gasses up with Tic Tacs before he lurches at people and grabs their crotches. That just doesn’t say charm to me that says cross street to avoid and if forced to encounter laugh and face but somehow even after the tic tac thing and the gross wipes and life size image of himself shrewd insightful John was able to find Donald Trump persuasive. The great mystery of life persists. Hate him or hate him and you should definitely hate him. People find Trump bewitching Today my guest is Molly McCue calling in from Taiwan where she is addressing the Oslo Freedom Forum. Molly as you all may know is one of my best friends and her familiarity with Kremlin tactics as a political analyst who worked in Ukraine for a long time has made her uniquely well positioned to recognize how certain beloved American poses including she says the pose of honor are powerless against someone like Putin or Trump. I’m going to talk to Molly about why more men who should know better Mattis Bolton McMaster the big warrior do its stripes and medals are also unable to stand up to Trump to testify to his unfitness and help get him out. They too can’t evidently stand up to the indomitable irresistible g force electromagnetic powers of persuasion of the man who can’t climb stairs but need six packs of tic tacs OCD wipes and a cardboard image of himself just to feel emotionally whole. Joining me on the line is Molly McCue. Molly thank you so much for coming back on Trump cast. Thanks for having me. Especially because you’re in Taiwan. What are you doing in Taiwan where it’s much later than it is here.

S5: Twelve hours time difference but I’m not sure which day one way or the other. I could never figure out that Dateline. All I know is on the way home you get back like before you left and it’s like oh weird. It’s just like being on the plane in the twilight zone and you land and there’s dinosaurs at the time. No I mean since they won for their Taiwan version of the Oslo Freedom Forum that’s hosted by the Human Rights Foundation and they do these fantastic conferences all over the world that have the most interesting and eclectic mix of people I’m always the most boring person at their events what I thought it might feel like. But it’s activists and artists and technology people and all of these incredibly cool people that are fighting to change the systems that they live in an incredibly interesting and innovative ways. Is there a theme for this. There’s never really a theme but right now since we’re in Taiwan there’s obviously a ton of attention on Hong Kong and some of the protest leaders from Hong Kong are here. And I’m really looking forward to talking to them tomorrow because what they’re doing is so innovative and so incredibly brave and it is such a fantastic example of sort of a leaderless protest movement quote unquote. But that is so effectively organized and they’ve done so well with symbolism and you know their protests routinely get somewhere between 20 and 50 percent of actual Hong Kong was in the street protesting which is absolutely incredible.

S6: I haven’t heard anything about how the organization works. I mean is it none really non-hierarchical and what and tell me about the symbolism too.

S5: Well it’s not necessarily non-hierarchical it’s just that it isn’t a charismatic protest group right. So there’s not the one guy at the top who like drums up the dudes and gets everybody out in the streets. There’s sort of a collective that we’re different groups that come together but it’s all people who have day jobs who do other things and they’ve really done a really good job of putting together this group. Some artists some technology people some other things but they have purposefully tried to leave it as a non led movement for a whole variety of reasons. And it’s just the way that they’ve managed to put it together is just so incredibly cool and sophisticated. There was this great example this week of some of the things that they’re doing part of the group because there are all these great young artists are musicians and so they wrote a sort of new national anthem for Hong Kong. And it’s on YouTube you can find it. I think there was an article written on it in Reuters or something yesterday as well but it’s in Chinese obviously but it’s sort of this very aspirational forward looking song and it sounds very anti me. But you know this is the Hong Kong we want. This is the world we want to be and we want to be part of this. They did this very cool video of musicians playing the thing showing a lot of the footage that they’ve done from the protests like the incredible drone footage that just shows like every street in Hong Kong is sort of full of umbrellas but it’s so well done and within like two days of doing this video all these videos are coming up on YouTube which I’m sure there’s some algorithm somewhere that the Chinese are trying to like shred of people will be in shopping malls there’s a ton of malls in Hong Kong and all of a sudden everybody will just stop and someone will start singing the song and then everybody’s singing the song and it’s like the spontaneous sort of self protest movement. What is so it’s the aspirational aspect of that is so critical where it’s not even people who don’t go to the streets for the protests because they know how dangerous it is to sort of evade the surveillance state technology when you’re doing these types of protests are willing to stop in a shopping mall and sing the song because they really do feel like the last 20 years have created parallel systems in Hong Kong. You have this international city sitting on top of an increasingly China oxide system of oppression of locals and it’s just fascinating see what’s going on. And I think that the just sort of the baseline of that of how the protest groups have sort of developed techniques and tactics to defeat surveillance state technology is fascinating to watch. I’m sure every special operations group in the world is sort of trying to analyze what they’re doing is it’s it’s that innovative and I think just the just the use of the umbrellas which are partially a defeat surveillance tactic and partially sort of a symbol of the original protest movement a few years ago. But it’s just that it ends up being a very powerful visual of what this is about. And I just think it’s an incredibly cool movement. Basically nobody has said anything about it. I think our President’s lame answer when asked about it it was like Well I really hope it works out especially for China and clearly doesn’t know what’s going on or what Hong Kong was to begin with. But it just it’s one of those moments where I’m just looking at what’s happening and you sort of look around and it’s just. Whereas everybody like where is the support for a piece of a perfect case study peaceful protest movement that has been so successful and has such a point to make and they have five very clear demands and none of them are irrational or unreasonable. Yeah and you see that this is all just building toward a moment when trying to feels like enough pressure is off of them that they can just crush it and they’re not there yet. But you can feel it coming and that would be tragic because if there’s ever been a movement that has worked for this it’s these guys what does the movement want from the international community. Part of their challenge is that if you’re comparing it to the Maidan for example I think Ukrainians very early on understood the importance of international support and immediately got a couple of pretty Ukrainian girls who speak really good English and put them on YouTube. But it was like oh my god the Maidan is something we all want to be a part of because there’s pretty girls. And it’s really it was a cheap tactic but it worked really well. Right yeah. And because there was like suddenly very interested in Ukraine and I think this is the youth movement here made that Maidan means like maiden right here Yeah it was both and then in most places and sort of like a freedom square type type situation.

S7: Oh I see OK. These were the demonstrators in 2013.

S5: Yes the huge demonstrations in Ukraine that resulted from Yanukovich then President Yanukovich backing away from signing a deal with the EU that would have drawn Ukraine closer to the west. Sort of betraying his overt alliances to Russia even further. And the huge civil uprising that happened afterward that was organized again by a very well organized group of civil movements civil suit was sort of a combination of civil society of more radical groups of other things but just sort of everybody moved into the main square and stayed there until Yanukovich was gone for our purposes a Trump cast.

S6: This is a moment of high collaboration between Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Viktor Yanukovich. So these things have reverberations we you know you have Maidan versus the oligarch Yanukovich Kremlin aligned oligarch plus Trump aligned. Paul Manafort Republican operative and now in Hong Kong Trump has not I guess he’s sort of thrown in with tea but he just doesn’t know what’s going on.

S5: I don’t think he knows what’s going on one way or the other. And I think in his head when the word China flashes it’s like oh there’s a big bag of money that I won. That’s what’s so interesting. I don’t know if you remember because it seems like 5000 years ago now but like the first call with an international anything that Trump did after he was elected someone somehow from his campaign managed to get a call with like Taiwan as like one of the first call. That’s right.

S7: That’s right. There was something really like everything there was something mysterious about why that was not mysterious but shady about why that was the first call. Yeah.

S5: And clearly it was one of the goons around him was like trying to get money from Hong Kong and set up this call or whatever who knows. But everybody is sort of like oh well that would actually be kind of cool if he decided like maybe he did it on purpose. Maybe he will stand up to China like maybe there is cause behind this madness which obviously turned out to be completely false. But I think Taiwan also had that moment of sort of hope of hey maybe it will actually work. We did not think this guy is the greatest guy. But like maybe this guy will actually do stuff for us. And that is I think dissolved but this bizarre non China policy circus that the White House sits over is not great for these small nations that are trying to remain independent of China.

S7: I want to get to I will just admit to listeners that you and I basically talk all the time. Absolutely.

S6: And I hugely appreciate your perspective on things and I often feel like you kind of set my thinking straight and one of the things you remind me and our other friend Karen Schwartz about a lot is this no white horses idea that one by one we’ve sort of pinned our hopes not on protesters. I mean during the Trump administration but on these kind of alpha male figures that swagger in everyone from I have to say Robert Mueller. Karen doesn’t like it when we say a word against him. But Robert Mueller knows who John Bolton and so on and I’ve never ever seen you get excited about any one of these guys. Mattis and so yeah I want you to talk about no white horses. I’m going to call your attention and this is somewhat more relevant to your experience in Taiwan. Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post tweeted it remains a mystery why McMaster Bolton quotes Mattis Kelly and Rex Tillerson. Don’t come before the Congress to explain to the American people that the president is unfit. If they think that will disturb allies they’re mistaken our allies already know our allies basically already are disturbed as you well know.

S4: But why do these guys like Mattis sneaking out the door to promote his book or Bolton now who knows where he’s going to do next. Why do they not just tell us what they know. I mean they’ve been at least two witnesses. They must have their eye on their legacy. Why are they not going before Congress as Jennifer says.

S5: I wish I had a better answer for that. I do think there’s this. Everybody has their own especially in the Washington stratas. They have their own sort of code of conduct that they operate under. And I think for the military guys for Mattis for Kelley It’s a little bit different. And I think we as civilians sort of dismiss it too much. But when you’re a career military officer you have spent most of your life operating under a code of conduct where you do not or in theory at least you do not involve yourself in politics and you certainly don’t speak against the commander in chief. Do you hear a lot of people making fun of this or sort of saying well Mattis was a civilian at the end like he was serving as a civilian. Why doesn’t he speak out and there’s an aspect to this code of conduct that you never get away from where for the rest of your life you’re sort of subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And I think for them it’s a very different thought process about how they make those declarations. I know that the criticism for badasses. You know he’s promoting his book and on a book tour. So what are you promoting if you have nothing to say but I think those guys kind of deserve to be in a different category from Mueller. I feel like he thinks he did his job dropped the report and made it very clear that other people needed to do things with it and they haven’t. But I think this sort of logic of the before Trump broke everything system of here here’s my job. I did my job everybody else needs to do their job. This no longer works. It certainly doesn’t work in the United States. There’s plenty places in the world where that also doesn’t work. But nobody gets to stay in their little box and said I did what I was supposed to do. It’s somebody else’s job to finish this. We are now in a situation where institutions are breaking down where confidence in government is eroding. And anybody who thinks that they can follow some code of conduct for themselves and feel good about it after everything else burns down when they could have done something else is mistaken and they probably just don’t understand that yet because most of them are used to living in countries where things work and there’s another election and then things get better. And who knows. But we’re not in that situation anymore. We’re really close to being in a state of international crisis at this point. Yeah. And I just don’t think everybody is aware of this because they don’t work in states where you watch governments be captured. Watch institutions fail. Watch how this process works. But where in the middle of this process and you see bits of it people like Bolton’s sort of getting thrown into the chipper are like the high level versions of things that we see but the institutional erosion is very serious scientists fleeing from government agencies because they no longer have a purpose being there since facts don’t matter anymore. The number of career civil servants that have left jobs that require a lifetime of training and expertise to do them well these aren’t just people who push paper around like that expertise really matters. And I don’t I have I mean Elizabeth Warren I think put out a plan that was sort of a recruitment plan to get people back to the State Department. But we need something that detailed for like every government agency. How do you get back the people that have left and are now getting paid more in the private sector. How do you get scientists to come back into the government to do jobs that are less glamorous than the academic exam could get. And you know how do we do this. And nobody has a plan for restoring the functioning of our government. And I don’t think anybody really understands how deep the function of the Trump administration has cut into those agencies under the incredibly incompetent cabinet secretaries.

S8: He has maybe because you know September 11th the 18th anniversary yesterday I was thinking about all the talk among Republicans especially on the far right about being Flight 93 Republicans right.

S6: They were like going to if Obama represented such a grave danger to the United States. The national character of whatever it is white man or whatever it they felt was so imperiled under Obama that they were meant to just go completely off script and start throwing things at the hijackers whatever that meant. And Trump you know Trump seems to be a pretty chaotic candidate there’s a kind of anarchist Hail Mary to having him at the top of the ticket. But when that happens if they go full flight 93. That sounds good. And when it’s you know just one or two people. But as you say they’re institutions around who are not used to everybody going off protocol especially these older guys Marines who as you say expect to be able to stay in their lane and more than that see heroism as staying in their lane. Here’s the thing that always and I think I’ve said this on our thread I pretty much never fail to get into my mind the words of Steve Bannon what he said about Mueller never send a Marine to do a hit man’s job so that you know we as civilians look at Mueller or people that did tours in Vietnam and people who were decorated and say these people are so tough they’re so heroic they’ll definitely be able to stand up to Trump. But we’re missing that this isn’t by any means necessary a Trump takedown. This is just executing on a very very specific and narrow set of mandates and protocols.

S5: This is not a time. It’s not a time for honorable men. And I think that’s the problem now. The illusion that lifts from your eyes when you spend too much time working against the Kremlin is the idea that the rules based systems can stand up to thugs and hit on like Putin and it sucks but it’s the it’s the fundamental challenge to everyone in the region who has tried to work against the Kremlin. How do you work against somebody who doesn’t care about your rules. It’s the challenge we have as the United States trying to push back systemically against what Russia is doing around the world. And guess what. No one has the answer because Putin has paid zero cost for what he’s done. Yeah. And I think people like Bannon really watch that and embrace it and understand it. You know if you can be outside the rules you can pretty much do whatever you want. Because people are still stuck in the rules like trying to figure out what to do to respond to you. And it will fail. And he knows that because he reads all of this crazy anarchists you know Black Swan stuff. Yeah. And and understands the power and some of how this works. And I just think there have been many honorable men that have tried and many dishonorable men too but many honorable men that have believed that they could honorable in their own way even people like Bolton who you may not like and you may not agree with. Like he came from a place where it sort of made sense to him what the place was thrown themselves against the rocks of Trump just come off shredded to bits. Wow. And without really accomplishing much in terms of protecting the American people in any way from the destruction of this presidency.

S7: So I wanted to talk about all the failures. I’m also going to propose that there’s been one very minor success and he’s gotten in a lot of trouble for it. And that’s James Comey. Now everybody hates James Comey everybody does hate Jim Comey. He’s certainly a prig in many ways. But it is crazy. I mean once the ISG report came out that he that they thought he had violated protocol in a number of ways and Rod Rosenstein piled on to say Comey was wrong in this in this instance. And you know essentially I mean missing the forest for the trees downplays the catastrophic background against which Comey was making fairly minor and useful and dignified moral decisions namely to show his notes about this obstruction of justice meeting he had with Trump to a journalist. And OK maybe that’s not done under ordinary circumstances. We are so far away from ordinary circumstances that that actually seems like just a minor assertion of conscience. Yes. And that’s the kind of thing we’d actually like to see way more of just inventive thinking. Interesting thinking not in lockstep that recognizes that we are off the script that Madison Mueller don’t have anything in their history that suggests how they should respond in this situation. I think that’s right.

S5: And I think that would kill me there was even the one extra step which wasn’t that he showed his notes to journalists who showed us notes to a friend who could then discuss them with the jury. Yes that’s right. That’s right. He had to stay within his own code of ethics but and legal rules obviously. But that’s a good point. But you’re right. I just think there is this lack of imaginative thinking about the environment that we’re in. The rules don’t matter anymore. And I think from early 2015 but certainly mid 2015. Looking back everything we’ve learned since the election understanding what the Obama administration knew what they did what they didn’t do. You know every day I think the thing that no one in the United States has yet wrap their heads around really other than a few of us who are completely cynical about everything but is that every institution every institution that is meant to protect the American people in some way totally failed. Yet in 2016 completely failed whether it be the intelligence community the FBI the White House elements of defense that are supposed to look at this the state department the legislators senators and congressmen the media who all have the frequent steal dossier and didn’t do anything with it because it was more interesting to talk about what Trump was tweeting that morning and frankly sort of nice to them sometimes. So why say something mean like that every institution that is supposed to exist governmental or nongovernmental to sort of you know provide transparency or protect the American public fail. Yeah and completely failed and no one has owned that. And every time you’ve seen one of these Obama goons online talking about all the great things they did against Russia. How Trump is so terrible I just want to strangle them because the reason we are where we are is eight years of Obama getting Russia wrong and the open battlefield that they left for Putin to walk into. And I think the Russians knew so successfully how to play what was happening within the administration to push them to the point of indecision and inaction the way they had done before on other issues. And that’s where we got to where they looked at all the intelligence and they said oh gosh we’ll call Putin and tell him to knock it off. Are you kidding me. Great. That’s fantastic. Yeah but we’re still there. We’re still in this moment. Every institution is failing to respond to the threats to the American public. Well there’s a few that are actually trying to do some quiet things now. But that’s not the same thing as providing a public response. And I just don’t think we’ve overcome this yet.

S6: Are there any other among the individuals that we might have expected to do better and you know there’s a lot to be said for the some of the Mueller Report is just magisterial and he got so many indictments and we can’t say that that investigation was a wash. Whatever the legislature decides to do with it but figures like McMaster who you know first he seemed to knuckle under to Trump and making the big presentation around the Comey firing. But his I thought and I imagine you agree that his sort of parting words at the think he was at a meeting of Baltic leaders right and he described the Russian attack in sort of no uncertain terms and made it clear that he thought Trump’s response.

S4: Well that Trump was somewhat complicit then Goodbye McMaster. That’s all we got. Yeah.

S5: Then I don’t know maybe he’s working on a book also. I think he’s back probably back in some nice cushy salary gig somewhere which is where he came from in the first place having retired from the military previously would you have expected something else from him is he.

S7: Is he in the same category. I mean he’s a slightly younger than some of these guys. I mean why couldn’t he. As as national security adviser I just you know I feel like I’m a broken record. I don’t know why. No you’re not you’re not. You know I just I still I’m constantly amazed that Omarosa seems to have done a better job of standing up to these people than Madison McMaster. But anyway where’s McMaster. Seriously her book is amazing.

S5: But where where any of these people. Yeah I agree with you. I it’s the constant. Why do you choose silence in this environment. And there’s a lot of answers to that. It’s extremely costly to say anything. Both personally financially reputation Lee whatever when you’re in this kind of environment and even if you have supporters and obviously there’ll be people who cheer you on there is an incredibly corrosive cost to standing against people like this. And it is relentless and terrible and it is not very fun. And a lot of people just don’t want to do it. OK. If that’s how you decide to do it to some extent even Tillerson has finally like years after said more than some of the others about how ridiculous it was to work for this administration and how Trump is not probably the most fit president that has ever occupied the chair but the silence is really deafening. And as Jennifer Rubin said where are all these people and why don’t they sit together and talk about this in a way that makes it really hard for people to push back. And I think if you work in Washington and or work with the US government in any way you’ll see these little examples of how frayed everything is around the edges and on foreign policy in particular the huge swaths of things where there just isn’t anybody in charge. So that means either nothing is happening or things just drift on as they were. So maybe that seems fine to me. Well or you know one young inexperienced opportunist in a weird sort of slightly relevant job can just sort of take over that policy portfolio and do weird opportunistic things which has always worked so well in the past. But it’s just the chaos at every level. The most frequent question we get from people when we’re overseas other than what the fight is going on in Washington these days. Yes. Is who the hell do we talk to when we go. And I was having a conversation about that with some of our Taiwanese friends today who you know the example that I that I reference back to because it was sort of my first big working we’re trying to work with the administration thing. When I was Washington was the first thing that I worked out. We ran this big Arab democracy project sort of after the Iraq war when these opinions had started coming out that you know these Arabs are never going to be ready for democracy what do they know about civil society blah blah blah. So we started bringing in all of these really smart Arabs who had been working in their own countries on sort of civil society movements and promoting democracy building some context for democracy to happen with their countries and they would come and talk at conferences but we would bring them around to everybody in the administration that they needed to talk to so that they had exposure to these ideas. And that list was huge. And the Bush administration because you had not only the NSC staff who worked on these issues but the presidential speechwriters who were real people who engaged in policy who wanted this context for themselves. And then Cheney had his own parallel NSC essentially so you had to meet with the vice presidential people and those speechwriters and then you had to go to the Pentagon and meet with the policy people and the Pentagon speechwriters who were again smart policy people and the relevant State Department people because you kind of had to check that box and then you would go to the Hill and meet the dozens of people who cared about these issues and who were engaged in the idea of promoting freedom in the world. But if you look at that list now for anybody going to D.C. you’re damn lucky if there’s one day left at the State Department meeting a desk somewhere that you can kind of go check the box with or like maybe somebody you kinda know at the Pentagon or somebody sort of assigned to overseeing your thing. But it’s just the lack of people to talk to unless you’re lucky enough to still have someone who’s an advocate for your issue if it’s arms control or whatever within the administration. But just there’s nobody to pick up and call if you have even if they need it even if it’s administration where they totally disagree with you on whatever your issues are. There is nobody for people to engage and it’s just like What the hell do we do. And nobody has an answer to that.

S6: OK. This thing where honor and even protocols like the ones you just described tilts into cowardice or at least into sort of paralysis. You know that’s that’s what a constitutional crisis looks like. And that’s the first. I mean I still can’t remember. Are we we’re still in a couple of national emergencies and a constitutional crisis right. Like that’s the overarching ideas that we are in some form of paralysis with bar and everyone else defying subpoenas just willy nilly and nobody seeming to enforce them with all the evidence in the world that the president committed an area where it should be indicted for four for high crimes and yet nobody acting on that that feels like a crisis.

S7: But the paralysis that you’re describing just even on issues that are not top of mind for anyone who is you know it’s like I reached the limits of my thinking. I don’t know. I don’t know what an imaginative act would look like. I mean you know it’s when you start and I think we’ve we’ve talked about this in our in our foxhole you know you start to think maybe we do need Marianne Williamson just someone who just saying something that sounds completely different from everyone else. Are there any other evidence does not Marianne Williamson that Marianne Williamson tell everyone needs all sides.

S6: I back down from my interest in Yang also I promise I’m not for him either. I mean it is it is it is heartening. I just want my thousand dollars a month. OK. Can you blame me. It is heartening to think that Elizabeth Warren has is thinking about how to rebuild and how to attract talent because recruitment is going to be very difficult in a State Department going forward. I mean the level of demoralization there is so high.

S5: It’s it’s the thing that the government always does the worst. I mean government recruiting is ridiculous for anybody who’s ever sought a government job as a nonpolitical appointed or drafted person after an election. You know it’s ridiculous. You know you send in things through this ridiculous system of things like 10 months later they’ll send you a letter like hey we’re still considering your application.

S4: And what sane person can wait for that kind of hiring that they have now Now do your background check with a crayon or whatever. Yes. Right.

S5: Well and that’s the thing for a lot of people even very talented people who are recruited especially younger people coming out of school who were recruited into the various agency is where you need security clearances the weight on the clearances for non priority hires is ridiculous. And those people will wait for you know a year twelve months or twelve months 16 months for further clearances to come through a lot of the time and sometimes they can work before then sometimes not. But I mean what normal human can just be like Hey Mom and Dad I have a job but not yet I’m going to come home and live with you for a while. I mean it’s just it’s it’s nonsense. Yeah. So I think in general the government doesn’t do this well and having to do it far more than they’ve probably ever had to do it I just don’t think anybody is focused on this like no one is focused on on the fact that after this presidency so much will need to be rebuilt and replaced and equally defied within the administration. It’ll take a decade to unravel what they’ve done to data just just like all the statistics that they’ve deleted and destroyed and purposely purposefully polluted like we don’t even have data anymore. Let’s just not collect the data because if we collect it then we have to know things and it’s better not to see it. And there’s been like a few little examples. Yeah exactly. There’s been a few little examples of these things that become stories for a minute but you see it’s sort of the tip of the iceberg of things that we know must be much much worse. And just not looking and just not doing things is the most effective way to just like gut most of these agencies because then they have no purpose to exist anyway. So yeah. You know why. Why fund them. We can just take that money and go build a wall somewhere or something.

S8: Yes I want to ask you before I let you go. About lessons from Russia. Because

S7: you told us lots of people who knew their way around around the Kremlin told us including Bill Browder that Trump would be completely a new creature that we would not be able to deal with in ordinary ways and one way that Browder put it. And I think this is very interesting is when someone works on a micro and macro weighs in bribes and blackmail. So the micro way I’m sure you’re familiar with this. I’ve just been it’s been a crash course in it over the last three years. But the way that that Michael Cohen describes it you know that. And I think John De Domenico our Trump impressionist says this that Trump’s first words to you are often. Isn’t it a great day. Isn’t it beautiful you look right. You’re amazing you’re a 10 you’re fantastic you know you’re great. See you’re like kind of pumped up on this bribe thing and then he’s starting to blackmail you at the same time starting to you know get the get the better of you. Browder says that when you leave Putin’s office you’re essentially he’s already got 12 things on you. You know he’s already sent a I think tank said you know he he did a piece on one of the oligarchs and who instantly sent him you know something like fifty thousand dollars worth of caviar you know right after you’re just simply liking these gigantic crazy gifts and how you stay clean from that apparently virtually no one’s been able to do that you know even if Matisse didn’t succumb to cartoonish bribes and blackmail like that he left thinking on some level that you know he was culpable of X Y Z and that could come to light if he was too critical of the president or something something you know in some ways he was beholden to the president. And then also that he wanted to continue to enjoy. That’s the bribe part being in the depths of the sitting president is that roughly how you think Putin works that grown men become willing to forfeit everything for him for some psychological reason that we still don’t totally understand. Yeah.

S5: I mean the Putin system is this slightly different. And then there’s the part where you die if you step out of line. But in terms of the the understanding of the rewards of participating in the system it is a very similar mindset. And I think that there’s often the comparisons of oligarchs to certainly the Russian system of oligarchy to a mafia state. And I just don’t think it’s the right comparison in terms of how power actually works because in sort of crime family like situations there is sort of a grassroots element to it right. You need your foot soldiers who actually do things and like the collection of money the breaking of bones whatever it is. And that’s sort of all feeds up and everybody takes a cut and then the guy who sits at the top sort of controls the family but everything he has comes from the people beneath him. Yeah. And that is the opposite in Russia. Everything you have comes from from Putin. His approval of you having the job from the railway stamp that you have been assigned that you collect royalties off of it. You do not get anything if Putin doesn’t think that you got to have that thing. And I just I think that there’s Trump is not that powerful certainly and certainly not that sophisticated in how he operates. I think a lot of these things that he does in terms of how he controls people are extremely instinctual which is sort of fascinating to watch just that I don’t think he consciously does a lot of this stuff that’s just always how he has operated with people and may not understand the mechanics of it. But it works for him and his like bizarre dysfunctional brain slightly not right way. Yeah like total inability to have empathy for anything around him. Yeah I play the fascinating part for me in the United States is watching people decide to quote in the German context working toward Hitler like the people who understand if you provide things for Trump you there are benefits of being in the system even if you haven’t been ordered or tasked or asked to do a thing and there are so many people that are still halfway in that system even if they’re partially out of the system or not really connected to Trump world. Kind of understand there’s benefits and rewards for deciding to participate in the system that he’s built. And if you can get into it it’s a pretty good gig. And even if you don’t want to be in it all the way not saying anything about it is still a pretty good gig. And I just think that everybody needs to drop the illusion that that’s OK. That in any aspect profiteering from having been associated with Trump world or a Trump called Whisper or like resort of N but not really ending try to explain it’s kind of ok when it’s not going work at all. Yeah like all of this is is betraying ideals that you should have and it’s not going to be a good historical moment for you when you’re looking back on this in the future.

S7: Molly I know that you are not stick. You don’t think that we’re gonna that Trump is suddenly going to change course and I think you’re right. Is there anything you can leave us with any hint of optimism. Any possibility that we’ll have a new president in 2020 and rebuild or or that we might have some uprising like in Hong Kong.

S5: I certainly hope that there’s a new president coming. But I think we all need to look to our own means of creative protest outside of the rules that we’re used to operating in. And really question what our own honor is.

S7: Thank you so much for being here Molly. Have fun in Taiwan.

S9: Excellent. Thanks for having me. My guest has been Molly McCue a political analyst information warfare expert and all around Galaxy brain. That’s it for today’s show. What do you think. Write some thoughtful meditative things to us on the Internet. I’m at page eight. The show is that real Trump cast our show today was produced by Melissa Kaplan with help from the great Joan Thomas. I’m Virginia Heffernan. Thanks for listening to Trump. Cast.