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PJ Media encourages you to read our updated PRIVACY POLICY and COOKIE POLICY.

No clear winner, but one clear loser

It's good policy not to cheer the construction of a gallows until you know who's going to hang on it. A gallows is definitely going up:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel to oversee the previously confirmed FBI investigation of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters.

CBS reports:

[That] includes any links between Trump campaign associates and Russia, as well as "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation."

But it's not quite clear who will eventually stand in the trapdoor:

Q. Could a special counsel investigate things beyond simply the Russia connection?

A. Mueller has a broad mandate to determine the course of an investigation, but not an unlimited one. If he decides that something outside the scope of the letter appointing him needs investigating, he would have to ask for permission to expand his probe.

There's already a struggle over who gets to be "it." David Goldman (Spengler) notes that political circles are rife with rumor:

A ranking Republican statesman this week told an off-the-record gathering that a “coup” attempt was in progress against President Donald Trump, with collusion between the largely Democratic media and Trump’s numerous enemies in the Republican Party. The object of the coup, the Republican leader added, was not impeachment, but the recruitment of a critical mass of Republican senators and congressmen to the claim that Trump was "unfit" for office and to force his resignation.

Washington is now in the situation elections were specifically designed to prevent.

With legitimacy of Trump's presidency being openly contested by the "Resistance," there's an implicit pretender to the throne: the status quo ante, the way things used to be. As long as Trump was still a candidate, he enjoyed freedom of action. Now, sitting in the White House, he is completely vulnerable to insider attacks from individuals with authorized system access. Spengler believes this green-on-blue strategy has successfully pushed Trump onto the defensive:

Trump won by calling attention to the errors of his opponents and by dominating the news cycle. He played continuous offense. At the White House, by contrast, Trump has appeared cautious in stating his foreign policy goals, and defensive in responding to attacks on his performance and propriety. The policy issues that stood out clear during the campaign and helped Trump outflank the Republican Establishment have become fuzzy, especially after the firing of Gen. Flynn.

With the policy issues out of focus, Trump has lost control of the news cycle, and risks letting the news cycle control him. His opponents won’t succeed in dislodging him. But they have succeeded in distracting Trump from his policy agenda.