Okay. I am going to come clean. I am starting to enjoy following Trump’s Truth Social posts. It was always an obligation because one could easily get a feel for his mood, often exuberant (irrationally) about someone else’s failures, angry at even the smallest slight, but mostly, it’s a weather vane regarding his fear that accountability is coming from one direction or another. (Right now, I’m wondering what is going on in Georgia. It seems as though everyone is afraid to be the “first” to charge him.)
Donald Trump knows what the entire country knows. If Mike Pence faces a choice between loyalty to Trump along with Pence’s own political aspirations versus “doing the right thing that he’s sworn to do,” well – we would still be under “Supreme Leader Trump” after a successful coup if Pence didn’t take his duty so seriously. Thus it is that Trump, like all of us, knows that Pence is about to cap his former boss in front of the grand jury.
This is a fantastic opportunity for Pence, who – for some reason, believes he is a candidate for the nomination. He will fight the subpoena just enough to look loyal, knowing all along that he will lose and must testify. Then he will go in and promptly bury Trump.
It was just yesterday that former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner said that prosecutors save the most critical witnesses for last. They want all details known and wrapped up before talking to the primary witness. He characterized it as “entering the chase scene” in the movie that is prosecuting Trump. (Which is partly infuriating given it’s only 2023 for god’s sake.)
Trump’s only genius, his feral survival instincts, must be informing him that he’s in a car in that chase, a slow one. Why else would he wake up and start screaming at his own special prosecutor and telling him what to investigate:
Trump not happy about Jack Smith issuing a subpoena to Mike Pence. pic.twitter.com/0XBRLVA5ud
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) February 11, 2023
Strange. Nowhere in there does he say, “So why wouldn’t I orchestrate a violent takeover of the Capitol and threaten the life of the Vice-President in order to remain in office?” It is almost hilarious “feeling” Trump’s cognitive dissonance. He feels so wronged and persecuted and wholly capable of seeing himself as a saint, indeed the savior of civilization, as he noted yesterday.
But getting back to Mike Pence, he is very probably the linchpin in this locomotive train of cars, as Ursula Faw opined here yesterday.
Trump knows this. He’s undoubtedly terrified of Pence talking to Smith. So what is he going to do about it? Because executive privilege has not flown in the past and it won’t fly now. NBC News December 10, 2021:
… A FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT RULED AGAINST THE REPUBLICAN,
REMINDING HIM, “PRESIDENTS ARE NOT KINGS.” LATE YESTERDAY, AS NBC NEWS REPORTED, A UNANIMOUS FEDERAL APPEALS COURT CAME TO THE SAME CONCLUSION.
A THREE-JUDGE PANEL OF THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA RULED THAT ALTHOUGH TRUMP RETAINED SOME AUTHORITY TO CLAIM EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE, IT WAS NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO OVERCOME PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S DECISION THAT CONGRESS HAS A LEGITIMATE NEED FOR THE MATERIAL.
THE RULING WAS UNSPARING IN ITS REJECTION OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT’S ARGUMENTS. “PRESIDENT TRUMP BEARS THE BURDEN OF AT LEAST SHOWING SOME WEIGHTY INTEREST IN CONTINUED CONFIDENTIALITY THAT COULD BE CAPABLE OF TIPPING THE SCALES BACK IN HIS FAVOR…. HE HAS NOT DONE SO,” THE THREE-JUDGE PANEL WROTE. HE HAS NOT IDENTIFIED ANY SPECIFIC COUNTERVAILING NEED FOR CONFIDENTIALITY TIED TO THE DOCUMENTS AT ISSUE, BEYOND THEIR BEING PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS. NEITHER HAS HE PRESENTED ARGUMENTS THAT GRAPPLE WITH THE SUBSTANCE OF PRESIDENT BIDEN’S AND CONGRESS’S WEIGHTY JUDGMENTS. NOR HAS HE MADE EVEN A PRELIMINARY SHOWING THAT THE CONTENT OF ANY PARTICULAR DOCUMENT LACKS RELEVANCE TO THE COMMITTEE’S INVESTIGATION.
“HE OFFERS INSTEAD ONLY A GRAB-BAG OF OBJECTIONS THAT SIMPLY ASSERT WITHOUT ELABORATION HIS SUPERIOR ASSESSMENT OF EXECUTIVE BRANCH INTERESTS, INSISTS THAT CONGRESS AND THE COMMITTEE HAVE NO LEGITIMATE LEGISLATIVE INTEREST IN AN ATTACK ON THE CAPITOL, AND IMPUGNS THE MOTIVES OF PRESIDENT BIDEN AND THE HOUSE. THAT FALLS FAR SHORT OF MEETING HIS BURDEN AND MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THIS COURT TO FIND ANY LIKELIHOOD OF SUCCESS.”
You can take this basic reasoning and apply it to testimony about what happened on January 6. Trump may argue the same old tired “grab bag of objections” but he basically doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on. He’s just blustering with smoke and mirrors, because that’s what he does.
Very simply, if Trump can’t re-argue executive privilege and get a different result, he has no way to stop Pence. That means that Trump is at Pence’s mercy and Trump can’t stand being at anybody’s mercy, let alone a “pussy” (Trump’s word) like Pence.