‘All the president’s nerds’: A plausible plot

‘All the president’s nerds’: A plausible plot
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In 1962, Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey published the Cold War thriller, “Seven Days in May.” Later made into a movie, it tells of a right-wing plot by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to overthrow a liberal president for what now might be called “colluding” with the Russians. The coup attempt fails, though not before the United States is pushed to the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, a scenario that seemed entirely plausible at the time.

Suppose a similar plot were hatched today. Not by the Pentagon but by left-wing forces wanting to depose a conservative president for, say, “colluding” with the Russians. And suppose those forces included officials at the highest levels of the FBI and Justice Department, the CIA and State Department, with help from journalists and lecturing late-night TV comedians.

It’s not hard to imagine, since it’s been going on for almost two years.


At the center of everything are coup-plotters direct from central casting — if you were remaking “Seven Days in May” as “Revenge of the Nerds.” (Cue James ComeyJames Brien ComeyInspector general testifies on FBI failures: Five takeaways Horowitz offers troubling picture of FBI's Trump campaign probe GOP senator to FBI: 'Someone's got to be fired' MORE, Peter Strzok, Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Judge rules former WH counsel McGahn must testify under subpoena MORE and Company.)

The 2016 election was supposed to make Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump's intervention on military justice system was lawful and proper The mullahs seek to control uncontrolled chaos Poll: Majority of Democrats thinks Obama was better president than Washington MORE’s leftward legacy Washington’s permanent way of doing business; staying in town following his second term was how Obama planned to have a direct hand in the process. Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE’s victory changed that, and more. Along with losing the White House, Democrats working in the previous administration lost their cover for any crimes they may have committed to make sure Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats seek leverage for trial Davis: Trump vs. Clinton impeachments – the major differences Sharice Davids to vote for Trump impeachment articles: 'The facts are uncontested' MORE would be the next president.

The Clinton campaign, with a commanding lead in every poll, hired the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which then subcontracted retired British spy Christopher Steele to work on the infamous anti-Trump dossier. An admitted Trump hater, Steele claimed the information he collected came from contacts inside Russia. (Doesn’t that make the dossier a product of Russian collusion?) Or was Steele, as some suspect, only lending his name to material supplied by Sidney Blumenthal, for years the Clintons’ go-to purveyor of dark PR?

In a recent New Yorker profile, Steele comes off sounding less like a crack secret agent than a deep-state dweeb. One associate noted his nervous reaction to the dossier uproar; another called him “a little naïve about the public square.”

The presidential fix was in for Hillary Clinton ever since Obama appointed her secretary of state, a position she used to turn the State Department into a pay-to-play cash cow. The FBI gave her a pass on everything, from setting up a private server (thereby endangering national security) to destroying evidence. No questions asked; after all, Hillary was scheduled to be the next president.

But as we learn from internal FBI emails, there were discussions, even at an early stage, about needing an “insurance policy” in case Trump pulled off the unthinkable. Which is where the dossier came in.

Once he had shopped the bogus document to a half-dozen friendly pundits, Steele had a chorus of unsuspecting wonks singing its praises. When the FBI applied for a series of FISA court warrants to spy on Trump, it was one of Steele’s planted stories that helped close the deal.

In “Seven Days in May,” the military’s principal tool for taking over the government is a force called Emergency Communications Control (ECOMCON), designed to seize operation of the nation’s media. Today, with most news outlets already active participants in the effort to oust the president, ECOMCON might be redundant.

Trump’s upset win put all the president’s nerds on high alert, presenting Democrats with two immediate problems: 1) explaining Clinton’s election loss without bringing up the real reason —  Hillary Clinton; 2) hiding possible criminal activity aimed at beating Trump by launching a coordinated effort to remove him from office.

John Podesta and Robby Mook, Clinton’s failed campaign bosses, decided to blame the defeat on Russian interference, as described in the Steele dossier they paid for. At the same time, the lame-duck Obama administration set in motion a plan to use FBI surveillance data and a nonstop media offensive to destroy Trump’s presidency. The “poison pill” chosen for the job was the same suspect dossier repurposed to justify the appointment of special prosecutor Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE.

After nearly a year of trying, Team Mueller’s investigation has yet to uncover any evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians. But that hardly matters. If the futile effort can be drawn out for eight more months, taunting Trump with leaks and subpoenas, congressional Democrats think they can take back the House and begin impeachment proceedings.

In the movie version of “Seven Days in May,” the attempted coup falls apart when President Jordan Lyman, played by Fredric March, confronts General James Mattoon Scott, played by Burt Lancaster, with proof that he and the joint chiefs have been plotting his overthrow:

President Lyman: “You say I duped the people, general ... You accuse me of having lost their faith … shut my ears to the national voice.”

General Scott: “I do.”

President Lyman: “Well, where the hell have you heard that voice? How did that voice seep into a locked room of conspirators? That’s not where you hear the voice of the people. Not in this republic. You ask for a mandate, general, from a ballot box. You don’t steal it at midnight when the country has its back turned.”

The country may not have its back turned, but it has been misled. Russia had nothing to do with Trump’s election, although that doesn’t mean something very Russian wasn’t going on.

Never before in a U.S. presidential race has the White House used government intelligence agencies to spy on a political opponent, or used those same agencies to subvert the peaceful transfer of power. The Kremlin is all about this sort of treachery and revenge. Under Barack Obama, so was Washington.

Democrats must have thought they would be running the country for years to come. Understandable, given the circumstances. With Obama and Clinton both claiming to be on the right side of history, what could go wrong?

Two words:  Trump won.

Bill Thomas is the author of “Club Fed: Power, Money Sex and Violence on Capitol Hill” and other books. He is co-author of “Red Tape: Adventure Capitalism in the New Russia.”