Posted by: David Offutt | May 25, 2017

Donald Trump as the Manchurian Candidate/President

(Photo from Kurt Eichenwald/


As we’ve come to expect, President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey seemed to have been orchestrated by the Keystone Cops. Vice President Mike Pence and White House spokesman Sean Spicer did their bit trying to gaslight us with claims that Comey was fired for his deplorable handling of the Clinton emails at election time.  Trump’s Orwellian “Justice” department was used for cover:  Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the once-respected Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein showed their loyalty to The Donald by recommending the firing because of the Clinton matter.


Eventually, Mr. Trump fessed up, admitting that he had long planned to fire Comey because of his FBI probe into the possible collaboration between the Trump campaign and Putin’s Russia to affect the outcome of our 2016 presidential election.  Our president is known to be a pathological liar, but, in this case, we can probably believe him. Mr. Comey reportedly refused to swear fealty to Lord Trump, was asked by Trump to drop the Michael Flynn investigation, and recently asked for more resources to investigate the Trump campaign and “this Russia thing.”


(Photo from


The Donald is known for “Your fired” and not for his loyalty to sycophants.  The president was probably very appreciative of Comey’s incompetent, irresponsible, and malicious announcement about Hillary’s emails just days before the election.  Those negative descriptions of that specific act are adjectives that I routinely have attributed to congressional Republicans ever since Newt Gingrich brought them to power in January 1995. This act was more an aberration from a man who has otherwise been a fine public servant.  I suspect his kiss off from Trump came when Mr. Comey testified before a congressional committee saying that he felt “nauseous” that his actions probably made Trump the President of the United States. Comey was toast from that moment on.


Mr. Rosenstein has since redeemed himself by appointing former FBI director Robert Mueller as a special independent counsel to investigate whether there was any collaboration between Trump’s campaign and the Russian intervention.  This is going to get into Trump’s too-long suppressed tax records and his possible obstruction of justice – among other things.


Eleven years ago (Oct. 6, 2006), I contributed a column to this newspaper about how Bush/Cheney and  the G.O.P used 9/11 and the fear of terrorism to gain popular support for autocratic powers, and I compared them to the classic 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate. The movie was about a senator who pretended to be a super American patriot and fanatic anti-communist so as to be elected president and assume autocratic powers “that will make martial law seem like anarchy. “ The senator was, of course, a Russian agent being groomed by the Kremlin to replace the constitutional American republic with a dictatorship.


Needless to say, I was not suggesting that Bush/Cheney and their majority congressional Republicans were working for the Russians or for any other foreign power. I was merely pointing out that their lies used to justify the invasion of Iraq, their illegal wiretapping at home, their official sanction of torture, et al. were contrary to what the U.S. was supposed to stand for.


Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has gone out of his way to invite a direct comparison. His infatuation with the power of Vladimir Putin and his contempt for President Barack Obama were hallmarks of his campaign. His aides and advisors have had questionable contacts with the Russians: family members, Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone. He fired Comey and the next day he met with the Russian foreign minister, the Russian ambassador, and a Tass photographer in the Oval Office with no American news media present – and divulged classified information to them. The Republican House majority leader Kevin McCarthy even said in June 2016 that he believed that Putin was paying Trump. All of this may be only coincidental, but if it’s not, we need to know.


Our three previous Nixonian presidents all came to power under devious circumstances. (1) In 1968, Richard Nixon’s campaign sabotaged the Paris Peace Talks by persuading South Vietnam to oppose the settlement that was imminent. Nixon didn’t want Lyndon Johnson to end the war before the election. LBJ knew what Nixon had done, was furious, but did nothing about it.


(2) In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s campaign is alleged to have made a deal with Iran not to release the American hostages in Tehran until after the election.  Iranian agents didn’t admit to the deal until after Reagan began shipping supplies to Iran after his inauguration. Congressional hearings were held, but former President Jimmy Carter encouraged them to not pursue the issue because of the possible further demoralization of the American people so soon after Watergate.


(3) In 2000, based on exit polls, Al Gore was projected the winner of the Florida popular and electoral votes. But then weird things occurred throwing the vote count into question. George W. Bush’s brother (Jeb Bush) was governor of the state and Florida’s secretary of state, who was in charge of the state election precincts, was W. Bush’s state campaign manager. The five Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices ended the vote count and gave the election to Bush. Knowing how bad this case and their ruling looked, they insisted that the decision in Gore v. Bush never be used as a precedent in any future ruling.


Frank Sinatra as the U.S. Army officer assigned to find out what the Russians have brainwashed ex-Army officer Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) to do. (Photo: AP/Richard Shiro)


If none of this had happened, the American people may have been spared the Watergate scandals and four more years of the Vietnam War, the Iran-Contra affair and anti-government austerity, and the never-ending Iraq War and the Great Recession. We don’t know what fate awaits us under Trump, but so far nothing looks good. To re-phrase Bette Davis in All about Eve – Fasten your seat belts everybody, we’re in for a bumpy ride.


We don’t know who or what to blame for the Trump tragedy. James Comey and the Russian intervention by hacking and releasing emails are the most obvious but not the only culprits. It may also have been Hillary Clinton’s lack of charisma on the campaign trail, Bernie Sander’s surprisingly popular challenge to Hillary, the voters who decided to stay home, the voters who decided to punish the Democrats for not creating a sufficient infrastructure jobs-creating program, the Democrats for taking their traditional supporters for granted, the Republican Party that nominated him, the Electoral College that embarrassed the Founding Fathers, and/or the news media that found Trump to be entertaining and profitable for selling ads. But it may well have been because of a coordinated effort between Trump’s and Putin’s people. Regardless, each of us could say to all of these suspects the same thing Oliver Hardy used to tell Stan Laurel: “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

Slapstick comedians Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel were popular from the late 1920s into the mid-1940s. They were known as “Laurel and Hardy.”

By David Offutt



  1. David, Senator McCarthy would agree with you!

    The FBI was created by presidential fiat. It has no constitutional or congressional charter. The director is a fire-at-will employee — just ask Bill Clinton, who fired Reagan’s FBI director!
    The FBI Has No Legal Charter

    David, do you believe that police should be unaccountable to civilian authority? Wouldn’t that be a “police state”?

    David, who should decide when to conduct an investigation? Suppose the El Dorado police department could decide to open an investigation on you, just because it didn’t like your letters to the editor. Further suppose the investigation could be unlimited in scope as Rosenstein has allowed the NeoMcCarthy investigation to be — they can investigate ANYTHING about you or your “associates.” Is that what you want, David?

    Normally there has to be “probable cause” in order to open an investigation, and even then, normally the scope of the investigation is limited. Normally the civilian authorities — the El Dorado prosecutor, or the DOJ — have the final say in whether or not to conduct an investigation. That is the way it should be, unless you prefer to live in a police state where the police have unchecked power to smear anyone they don’t like.

    No probable cause has been established to justify a Russia-gate investigation — in fact, the FBI did not even both to examine the DNC’s computers. All the claims about Russian hackers have been debunked. Wikileaks has stated the DNC leaker was an in insider and hinted that said insider was Seth Rich, who was subsequently murdered under suspicious circumstances. UK ambassador Craig Murray is on record as having personally collected the leaked DNC emails from the insider.

    David, why didn’t Comey launch an investigation into the murder of Seth Rich?
    Why aren’t you writing letters to the editor demanding an investigation into the murder of Seth Rich?

    Trump may indeed be a lousy president and a lousy human being. Be that as it may, there is no dispute that Trump has the legal right to fire the FBI director. There is no dispute that the DOJ has the legal right to supervise the activities of the FBI including whether or not to conduct a particular investigation. David, why don’t you criticize Trump for real issues instead of ginned up McCarthyesque smears?

  2. “His aides and advisors have had questionable contacts with the Russians.”

    David, Joseph McCarthy would agree with you!

    Why is any contact with Russians “questionable,” but Hillary’s contact with apartheid Israel or with Sunni dictators not “questionable”?

    No one would think it questionable to contact Canada, would they? So what makes Russia different? Show me where Russia hurt you?

  3. “he divulged classified information to them.”

    Yet you present no evidence to back up that claim. It reminds me of how a certain senator from Wisconsin used to smear innocent people without actually having any evidence.

    Since the laptop bomb threat had already been reported in the American press a month earlier, please explain how it was it a big classified secret?

    David, if the Russians had classified information on a terrorist threat in El Dorado, wouldn’t you want them to share it with us? Sure you would! And in fact, we share classified information with other countries all the time.

    What makes Russia different? Show me where Russia hurt you?

  4. “His infatuation with the power of Vladimir Putin”

    What out-of-the-ordinary power would that be?

    Under the Russian constitution, Putin’s power is considerably less than an American president’s power.

  5. “In June 2016 that he believed that Putin was paying Trump.”

    David, how many people believed that Trump had a prayer of winning the election in June 2016? Two or three people in the whole world? Yet you insinuate that Putin was foolish enough to pay Trump to ….. do what exactly?

    Let’s say for the sake of argument that Trump really is Putin’s puppet. What then would Putin have Trump do? What does Russia want?

    Russia wants to be treated as an equal. Russia wants the U.S. to follow the rule of law and work through the United Nations rather than going rogue as Hillary & Obama did in Libya. Russia wants the U.S. to stop supporting right wing coups as the U.S. did in Ukraine. Russia wants the U.S. to stop supporting Sunni jihadists as Hillary and Obama did in Syria. Russia wants the U.S. to respect its sphere of influence in Eastern Europe as FDR agreed to do at Yalta.

    Which one of those things do you oppose? Show me where Russia hurt you?

  6. “it may well have been because of a coordinated effort between Trump’s and Putin’s people”

    Actually, we do know why Trump won — because the DNC rigged its primary to ensure that Hillary would beat Bernie even though polls were saying that only Bernie could beat Trump.

    David, why didn’t Comey investigate the rigged DNC primary?

    Democrats invented Russia-gate so they wouldn’t have to do any soul searching over their defeat, so they wouldn’t have to admit that the Democratic party has lost its way. It seems to be working on you, because your essays have not done any soul searching and have not admitted that the Democratic party has lost its way.

    I am an independent so I have no personal stake in either party. Neither party represents me. Like Howard Zinn, I focus on issues no matter who is in the White House. Yes, Trump is looking to be a disastrous president, but I say that based on real issues, not based on cold war Russo-phobia. As bad as Trump is, there is little reason to believe Hillary would have been any better. Ask yourself, which war would Hillary not be fighting today? Well, Hillary never met a war she didn’t like.

  7. Thanks for update on your trip pics are pretty sounds like good trip the article on trump good and informative sorry to hear about your shoulder and hip at least u can still frogkick hope day is good

    Sent from my iPad


  8. Good article thanks hope rest of vacation is good

    Sent from my iPad


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