FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2022
It may look something like this: Unless you read the paper on-line—more on that below—the New York Times offered a lengthy report yesterday about Donald J. Trump's road to January 6.
In print editions, the lengthy report was promoted on page A1 through the use of seven photos. Inside the paper, it consumed the entirety of four pages (A12 - A15), appearing beneath this headline:
Inside Trump's Battle to Stay in Office
How crazy were Donald J. Trump and his inner circle? You're asking an awkward but fairly obvious question!
What follows isn't exactly new. But according to the report in the Times, he and they were often as crazy as this:
FEUER ET AL. (6/9/22): It was Dec. 17, 2020, three days after electors in state capitols across the country cast their votes in the Electoral College to formally confirm that Mr. Biden had been elected the 46th president of the United States. Under ordinary circumstances, that would have been accepted as the end of the election.
But appearing on Newsmax, the conservative news channel, [Michael] Flynn, the onetime national security adviser, had other ideas.
Mr. Trump, he said, “could immediately on his order seize every single” voting machine in the country.
“He could also order, within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states,” said Mr. Flynn, whose pardon for lying to F.B.I. agents investigating his ties to Russia had been issued less than a month earlier.
“It’s not unprecedented,” he said, adding that while he was not advocating the use of martial law, it had been used dozens of times in American history.
A day later, Mr. Flynn was in the Oval Office, pressing his case directly to the president—an extraordinary episode that underscores how Mr. Trump was willing to at least consider steps associated with autocracies.
Throughout Mr. Trump’s presidency, informal advisers and allies used their television appearances to try to bring his attention to outlandish claims and influence how he used his power. Often, a group of aides inside the White House worked to keep him from pursuing those ideas.
But as Mr. Trump listened less and less to his staff, he proved receptive to the ideas put forth by Mr. Flynn. On the evening of Dec. 18, 2020, Mr. Flynn, [Sidney] Powell and others joined Mr. Trump in the Oval Office, armed with draft executive orders that they wanted him to sign—based in part on the baseless conspiracy theories about voting machine fraud promoted by Mr. Waldron.
What ensued was among the most heated clashes of Mr. Trump’s presidency, one in which he weighed the viability of employing his commander-in-chief powers to baldly political ends: his own survival in office. For hours, first in the Oval Office and later in the White House residence, Mr. Trump openly entertained ideas from the fringes of politics, even as appalled White House aides maneuvered furiously to try to head off a decision to act on them.
The report continues from there. According to the Times, Flynn and Powell were so remarkably crazy this day that the reliably crazy Rudy Giuliani was forced to come in to argue against their position.
As noted, the Times report continues (at great length) from there. Yesterday, people who read the Times online may have missed the lengthy report.
Inexplicably, the gigantic report was somehow omitted from the New York Times' "Today's Paper" site. Every report in yesterday's paper was listed—except for the longest and most consequential report. If you read yesterday's Times by scrolling through the "Today's Paper" site, you wouldn't have known that the report had appeared in the paper at all.
As of today, this giant report is still absent from the listings for yesterday's New York Times. With that point noted, let's return to the question of what "insanity" may look like.
Within the limited intellectual realm of our own failing tribe, our tribunes have enjoyed describing Trump as a liar.
The possibility that Trump is some version of insane has almost wholly been set the side. It's easier, and more fun, to tell the simpler, less complex story, when you remember to link to your report on the story at all.
Flynn, Powell and Giuliani were constant sources of crazy ideas. At some point, a fairly obvious question arises:
To what extent can Donald J. Trump separate reality from what is insane?
At this site, we aren't qualified to discuss such questions. Especially on cable news, but elsewhere within the upper-end press, it's been easier not to wonder or ask about such matters at all.