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A Reply on Barr

TPM Reader HR disagrees with TB. But I think TB is saying something similar. From HR

I disagree with your reader. I read Barr’s remarks as a signal to Trump that the tweets are getting in the way of Barr doing Trump’s bidding. Kind of like McConnell ignoring Trump’s maximalist tweets during the impeachment trial. Let me do my job and I’ll get you the result you want, trust me. It’s not defiance, it’s a plea to let Trump’s professional henchmen do their job. But it’s a bonus that it can be read wishfully as a plea for independence.

I think TB is saying just the same thing. Barr just wants Trump to allow him to do his dirty work efficiently and in the background. The tweets are making the corrupt enterprise harder to pull off. TB’s point, if I understand it, is that Trump is too dominance motivated to understand, too impulsive not to need to hit back.

Could Barr Have a Problem?

I’m pretty skeptical it will come to this. But I think TPM Reader TB makes a good point that is worth keeping an eye on.

I can’t avoid the conclusion that Barr will now inevitably be fired because (as you have pointed out) Trump sees everything through the lens of a domination ritual, and Barr attempted to be the dom on TV just now by saying it’s impossible for him to do his job with Trump’s constant tweeting. The commentary about how Barr just wants Trump to shut up so he can keep doing corrupt things for Trump with a veneer of legality or acceptability is irrelevant, is too complex a thought for Trump, and is not a game that Trump has the patience to play. Trump must win every domination ritual, and the only way to reestablish dominance in this situation is to fire Barr. My guess is it will happen after a period of weeks.

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Where Things Stand: Warnings From The Outside

In the past 24 hours, two ex officials — both ousted by the mercurial Trump — have spoken out against the administration for actions that prompted his impeachment– former White House chief of staff John Kelly and the ex-ambassador and impeachment witness Marie Yavonovitch.

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Just Following Orders

There’s far too much water under the bridge for me to consider John Kelly a good guy. But even deeply compromised individuals have their limits. The point he makes here about the Alex Vindman situation is right on point and cuts to the core of our national crisis. As Kelly reminds us officers are trained from the beginning and throughout their career not to follow illegal orders and to report them when they occur through their chain of command. “We teach them, ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss.’”

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State Of The Race

Bernie out front. Biden muddling through. Bloomberg in the wings. On the latest episode of the podcast, we dig into the current state of the primary campaign. Listen to it here.

From Factional Candidate to Nominee

The Democratic primary race looks more upended and chaotic than at any point so far. I don’t think the exact reasons for that have gotten sufficient attention.

The standard primary campaign model is that one candidate notches early wins. That creates momentum, earned media, money all of which then compound the strength from those early victories. This all allows the winning candidate to build on their margins in state after state. As that happens, also-rans see their money dry up and chances dwindle. They drop out adding to the process. Soon enough you’ve got your nominee.

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