The Fight for Washington

Those who thought things would cool off after the elections, should think again. The Trump administration has not yet won the battle for legitimacy. Maybe it never will. Thomas Lifson argues the "CIA broke the law to take out its critic General Flynn". Bill Kristol doesn't care about the legalities. He sees the resignation of Mike Flynn as a power struggle between two evil Washington factions, only one of who can win. "Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics," Kristol tweeted. "But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state."

No middle ground?Not even the constitution? Can things be so bad? The language of the pundits is full of warlike metaphors. Rush Limbaugh  called what happened "the Political Assassination of Michael Flynn". Jennifer Rubin  sees it as a softening up of the beaches on the Road to Tokyo. Flynn was only a whistle stop en route to the final destination. "If Flynn's gone in less than a year how long will Trump last?," she asks.

The overall tone is so bellicose even long-time Trump critics worry things have gone too far. John Podhoretz says "what happened with Flynn also represents a frightening portent" because "no joke, people — if they can do it to Mike Flynn, they can do it to you."  Suddenly no one is safe.

Leftists have become fond of saying that Trump shouldn’t be 'normalized.' That concern should now go both ways. Every American should be equally concerned at the potential 'normalization' of the tactics used by unnamed government officials to do Flynn in. ...

This is the ultimate Pandora’s box. It makes a public mockery of the presumption of innocence that is the hallmark of our legal system. Such a thing is only acceptable, even morally, if you believe that the Trump White House represents such an unprecedented threat to everything that a higher law must govern your actions.

But dangerous or not, the game is afoot. A fight is on between what Kristol called the "deep state" and "the Trump state". It marks an escalation between the incoming Trump crew and the coalition consisting of establishment Republicans, Democrats, media and intelligence bureaucrats. It's a poorly lit scene, like the Alien vs Predator or Godzilla vs Muto movies which it resembles, and it's hard to see where the borders of the action begin and end. It could be big, it could be little, but all you care about is staying away from the trampling feet and slashing blades.

Michael Walsh suggests the whole federal bureaucracy has been booby-trapped by an outgoing administration that never conceded the election but only went underground. "This story, from the Jan. 12, 2017 edition of the New York Times, was little-remarked upon at the time, but suddenly has taken on far greater significance in light of current events:"