A man works tirelessly for months, acquiring parts, assembling them, making a machine that grows larger every day and eventually takes the intended form. Eventually it is ready. He rolls the machine to the edge of a cliff, climes into a makeshift chair near the center of it, and with help from his neighbor (who we may assume does not like him too much), pushes off.
And it flies!
For the first time ever, a human being has created a machine that flies! As the machine soars through the air, the man’s hat flies off and his scarf stiffens out behind him, and he can feel the sting of the wind on his face!
But wait, hold on a second. The “flying” machine is not really flying. It only seems like it is flying. What it is actually doing is plummeting. It is, verily, a “falling” machine. And even as the machine dives rapidly towards the ground — perhaps less rapidly than, say, a rock, because it does have some aerodynamic properties, sort of — parts start to fall off and fly in random directions. The sense of flight was real, and astounding, but it only lasted several seconds, then after that, nothing but horror and fear, then the crash.
There are other analogies that work as well. Anything you throw up in the air (while standing on a planet’s surface) appears to act in defiance of gravity. For a while. Then it reaches a certain point, the apogee, and stays there for a moment, hovering as though gravity does not matter. The ultimate defiance of gravity. Then gravity. Gravity will not be defied or denied, and the thing comes back down to earth. You can flail and windmill your arms all you want, the thing you threw up, as it must by every ounce of Newtonian physics and every adage ever uttered, come down.
Peak flying machine. Peak rubber ball. Peak Trump.
There is a time when the edifice of lies can persist. Those who never believed the lies are forced to be careful about what they say. Those responsible for reporting on the lies seek alternative views. Those unsure of the lies remain unsure. Gravity is defied, the machine holds, the thing keeps going.
Then there is a time, later, when the lies have almost all been exposed, and a sufficiently detailed narrative describing the underlying motivations is revealed. There is no going back once that happens. A would-be aircraft on its way to the ground is as good as crashed before it has actually crashed. It is like in those old movies where they guy says “You’ve killed me” right after being shot, then dies. His statement is not really premature. “We’re going down” might as well be “We’ve crashed.” Gravity is not going to take a vacation and let your red rubber ball hover for any more time than the allotted moment.
I am not sure if today is Peak Trump, but I know we are near Peak Trump.
The fiction that the Republican Congress is a check or balance died today, though many knew it was as good as dead for months.
The best shot they’ve got to exonerate trump turns out to be screaming loudly about how the FBI and the Justice Department did their jobs, and did it legally! That, the Nunes Memo, is a self inflicted blow that knocked off an entire win.
The anchoring document for the Russia investigation, only part of the story but a key touchstone to all of it, the Steele Dossier, is now generally accepted as the valid tip of a totally legit ice berg.
Mueller’s team probably just flipped a key witness, and most of the bad guys are either interviewed or scheduled for interview.
The publication of a tell-all book, which has retained credibility has provided an excellent story framework for myriad and confusing reporting over the last year and a half.
There is a lot we don’t know, but it does not matter if Donald Trump sat down with Manefort and Putin and plotted this all out, or if it is more like Trump and the Oligarchs have been doing dirty deals for decades, and then Trump accidentally becomes President so some of the good ol’ boys make a move to placate Russian creditors. Either way, or somewhere in between, it is all illegal, and badly illegal.
By mid December it was true that most Americans knew Trump has done illegal things. Trump’s approval/disapproval numbers flat-lined six months ago in a very bad place. There wasn’t even a SOTU bump that stands out above the background noise. The whole scandal has been in “hanging motionless in the air” mode for several months now, ready to go down.
The Nunes Memo will enrage the law enforcement community and strengthen the resolve of the investigators, and display to the entire country that Trump has no real case to make. The Hicks revelations put the final nail in the collusion coffin. “The emails showing you obstructed justice are not a problem, because no one will see them,” to paraphrase that. Gates may have flipped and could turn his not guilty plea to a guilty plea at any time. The old saw, “You can’t indict a president” has been tossed aside (it was never true) and now we have talk of actually indicting Trump. The majority of Americans are demanding that Trump be interviewed by Mueller under oath. Could the metaphorical train wreck that is the Republican party be any more of a train wreck? (Well, ok, maybe it can be.)
And the people are ready to flood the streets if anyone touches Mueller.
At this point, Trump’s case can not be repaired or reversed. The falling machine can not be made to go up. It is all down from now on. We are so close to Peak Trump that we might as well declare it as February 2nd, 2018.
Looking forward, I suspect that in the very near future, there will be a major manifestation of Mueller’s move against Trump. Perhaps we’ll call that the Valentine’s Day Massacre. You’ve gotta figure an old FBI man like Mueller is going to have a certain sense of timing.