We now have before us, a well-established pattern:  Trump makes a questionable if not completely false assertion, and conservatives in and out of government salivate at the chance to justify his utterance and rush to do so. This has happened so often that this space has referred to it as the Republicans’ “protection” racket.

If this now-recurring theme has started to numb you, hang on. Steel yourself because you can be dead certain that nothing is going to change so long as our liar-in-chief knows that there’s a large swath of people who are determined to have his back, no matter how outrageous and dishonest his utterances become.

The latest example of the foregoing has to do with the still-evolving allegation that when president, Obama had president-elect Trump “wire-tapped”, a term that was quickly re-defined to mean any form of surveillance (1). The early history of this matter was set forth in “Conservatives’ ‘Protection’ Racket”, published at this site in late March. It need not be recited again here. (2)

What has happened most recently is that it was discovered that Susan Rice, Obama’s advisor on national security, had inspected some surveillance audio-tapes and come upon redacted references to members of 45’s transition team i.e. the names of these US citizens had been blackened out to protect their identity since they were not the targets of the surveillance. Because of the contexts in which these redacted names appeared, Rice believed determining their identities was justified. Therefore, she went through appropriate legal channels to get that done. Once the names were in her possession, she held them close and never made them public. Simply put, the redacted (“masked”) names were not made public (leaked).

As matters of fact, all of Rice’s behavior cited in the immediately foregoing paragraph were fully justified given her job and authority as Obama’s advisor on national security. On its face, this all seems so straightforward. But not for conservatives who saw in Rice’s actions, a way to spin it so as to make Trump’s “Obama ‘tapped’ me” falsehood more credible. In that context, senator Rand Paul (R-KY) went so far as to refer to the uncovering of what Rice did as a “smoking gun”. Damn her and damn Obama, all evidence to the contrary.

While all this is working itself out, the counter-intelligence probing of the FBI, and investigative work of the Senate Intelligence Committee continue apace though these efforts are not currently generating headlines as this blog is being typed. Into this lull, conservatives have pushed the faux scandal involving Susan Rice. Notice that by following this course, not only is 45 protected; the general public is distracted away from the aforementioned investigations and what their findings might portend for Trump and/or members of his team.

If the past is prologue to the future, there is no reason to believe that this protect/distract pattern will abate any time soon. It will continue until such time as 45 leaves office, by whatever means. Hopefully, that will be much sooner rather than later.


  1. This assertion by Trump was put to lie in sworn testimony by FBI Director James Comey, and Director of National Intelligence, Mike Rogers.
  2. Interested readers can re-visit that blog by using the search window that appears along the left-hand margin of this publication.