It’s not about delay. It’s about obstruction and destruction.
"Please excuse me while I have a mini-rant.
Occasionally mainstream and social media commentators settle on a theory that projects the speakers’ own reasoning onto Trump and his supporters. For example, at one time, the going theory was that Lindsay Graham was kissing Trump’s ring because Trump was blackmailing him. It was common for people to ask, “What does Trump have on him?”
At the time, I insisted he was not being blackmailed: Lindsay Graham was kissing Trump’s ring because Trump is a reactionary and Graham is a reactionary, and Graham likes what Trump stands for.
People argued: “But remember how Lindsay Graham was initially opposed to Trump, then he went golfing with Trump and changed his mind?” What could have caused him to change his mind, people wondered, other than blackmail?
The whole blackmail theory gave Graham too much credit. People assumed that without the blackmail Graham would have done the right thing and denounced Trump. The blackmail theorists were projecting their own values onto Trump.
What happened was simpler: Initially, Lindsay Graham thought Trump would lose. He didn’t think the country would elect an avowed white supremacist. The Republicans were accustomed to using dog whistles and Trump was coming right out with racist remarks. When Trump persuaded Graham that he could win, Graham fell in line. Once Trump assumed office, Graham became a devoted follower because that’s what people with authoritarian personalities do. They worship their leaders.
The latest theory is that the goal of Trump’s shenanigans with these criminal probes is to delay. To take a few recent examples, a well-known ethics lawyer who I highly respect, said, “Trump has had remarkable success with delay and evasion tactics.” Another of my faves, a legal commentator, said, “Judges can see through Trump’s delay game.”
Here is the Oxford Dictionary‘s definition of delay:
To make something late or slow. The train was delayed. To postpone or defer.
Here is the definition of obstruction:
A block; to be in the way or get in the way of, to prevent or hinder.
The goal of delay is to postpone the train. The goal of obstruction is to derail the train. I maintain that Trump is not trying to delay. He is trying to derail.
Example: Trump’s Special Master lawsuit
Trump repeatedly refused to turn over government records he had taken from the White House even after a criminal probe began. After the government searched his premises and seized the government documents, he filed his lawsuit demanding a special master to force the government to give the documents back to him.
He argued that he had the right to possess those documents. He argued that they were his personal property. He argued that at any time, he could declassify top secret documents and convert them to his own personal property, therefore, the government had no right to search his premises and seize the documents.
Had he succeeded, the government would have had to return the documents to Trump and would not have been able to charge him with a crime.
He lost. Within a few weeks, court allowed the DOJ to continue its investigation into the classified documents, and within two months, the appellate court bounced the entire case out of court.
The chorus on social media: “His delay tactic worked! He managed a delay!”
My theory: He thought he would win. He thought he had the right to take and keep the documents, and that the government had no authority to seize the documents or prosecute him for taking them. He thought he could torpedo the entire investigation.
Me: “His attempt to obstruct the investigation failed.”
But Teri! Why does it matter whether we say ‘delay’ or ‘obstruct’?"
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