Trump turns against advisers and talks to electoral fraud advocates

When President Trump offered John Bolton as a national security adviser, he praised the former diplomat’s harsh approach to foreign policy.

Trump recently called Bolton “one of the dumbest people in Washington” – this after the former aide rejected a proposal that the president called for martial law to contest the election.

To say Trump’s inner circle is getting smaller is an understatement. There is a long list of assistants and advisers who were once confidants and have now been disowned. It ranges from the Generals – John Kelly and Jim Mattis – to cops like Steve Bannon to the Attorney General, first Jeff Sessions and now Bill Barr.

Quite frankly, some of those now mocked by the president attacked him first, either because they were disillusioned (Anthony Scaramucci), were charged with criminal charges (Michael Cohen), or decided to make a quick buck (Omarosa and Trump’s niece, Mary) . Others were obscure assistants inundated with media attention after turning on him (Olivia Troye, “Anonymous” author Miles Taylor). And Bolton, who left when his relationship with Trump became untenable, got into a legal battle over his all-telling book.

This is not uncommon in Washington. Politicians hire friends and fixers who are thrown overboard when they become a risk. Close allies turn into enemies when the wind shifts.


But Trump has reached a whole new level as more Republicans have acknowledged Joe Biden’s victory after last week’s Electoral College vote. New reports say those leaving his election campaign are on the run.

Axios, citing several unnamed officials, reports that Trump “takes bitterly against virtually every person around him, complaining about anyone who refuses to indulge in conspiracy theories or hopeless bids to reverse the election.”

The president “lashes out” at those around him, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and counsel Pat Cippolone, Axios said. They are among those who are reluctant to suggest that he declare martial law or try to seize the Dominion voting machines:

“Trump is fed up with Cipollone, his counsel. Some supporters of Cipollone fear Trump is about to remove him and replace him with a fringe loyalist.”

And then there’s the vice president: “Trump thinks Pence isn’t fighting hard enough for him – the same complaint he uses against pretty much everyone who works for him and has remained loyal to him.” If Pence presides over Congress and accepts the official results on Jan. 6, which is his constitutional duty, Trump would consider that “ the ultimate treason. ”

The leaks themselves are very significant. Although the president has been undermined by anonymous aides since taking office, the alarm tone they whisper to reporters shows that this isn’t just the usual internal sniper.

Focusing more on who’s in, The Washington Post dismissively describes them as “ a ragtag group of conspiracy theorists, media-hungry lawyers, and other political misfits in a desperate bid to stay in power after his election loss …

“Trump’s unofficial election advisory board now includes a pardon criminal, supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory, a White House trade adviser and a former lover of a Russian agent.” That is an eye-catching sentence.

The pardoned criminal is Mike Flynn, who believes the military is intervening to repeat elections in the battlefield states won by Biden. QAnon’s supporter is congressman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, who plans to challenge the routine acceptance by Congress of the Electoral College results on Jan. 6. The trade advisor is Peter Navarro. Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, who promotes conspiracy theories on his blog, had a romantic relationship with Maria Butina, the Russian college student who pleaded guilty to plotting to act as a Russian agent.

And here comes the blind quote:

“He’s reaching for straw,” said a senior official. If you come in and tell him he’s lost and it’s over, he doesn’t want to hear from you. He is looking for people to tell him what he wants to hear. ”

One person whose stock is rising is Sidney Powell, whose conspiratorial views have been rejected by other advisers, including Rudy Giuliani. Powell, who was pushed out of the campaign’s legal team, was back at the Whtie House on Monday, along with Giuliani and Greene. Powell was part of that marathon meeting slash shouting match with Flynn and others on Friday, where martial law and the seizure of voting machines were discussed.

They fill a void left by other stalwarts, such as Jared Kushner, who was working on other projects, in his case in the Middle East, and Kellyanne Conway, who resigned before the election.

What fascinates me is how quickly some on the right are attacking Trump employees they previously worshiped. Some conservative pundits hailed Barr as a courageous truth-teller until the attorney general said his department had not found widespread electoral fraud. Trump himself has criticized McConnell, his Hill ally, and the Supreme Court, of which he nominated a third, when they broke with him over the election.


It must be difficult for any president defeated in the polls to yield the attributes of power. But when that president refuses to give in, he is strongly drawn to those who keep telling him he is right.