Crooks & Accessories
Trump is the most brazen criminal in U.S. history. Why is Marco Rubio still defending him?
On Friday’s episode of The Five 8, LB suggested that Donald John Trump making off with all those top secret documents, whisking them down to his spy-infested golf club, and almost certainly handing them out to god knows who in exchange for god knows what, constitutes the greatest act of espionage—the most damaging breach of national security—in the history of the United States. She’s right. Trump is a traitor of the highest order: worse than Snowden, worse than Aldrich Ames or Robert Hanssen, worse than Benedict Arnold—worse, potentially, than the Rosenbergs.
Reasonable people can debate whether Trump’s betrayal surpasses Julius Rosenberg’s. What is not open to debate is that the FPOTUS was in possession of classified documents—fucking thousands of them—that he had no legal right to possess. And some of those documents are so sensitive they are supposed to be stored not just in a SCIF, but in a safe, inside a SCIF. And some are not in their folders. And some are missing. And the Saudis were at Bedminster at their blood-money golf tour a few short weeks before the FBI came knocking.
What information might those documents contain? The names of our informants inside hostile foreign governments, for one. If revealed, those governments would immediately arrest and in many cases execute those individuals, depriving the U.S. of vital intelligence, and making it that much harder to recruit new agents. Who wants to play ball with a government that can’t be trusted to keep its mouth shut? This is not the author catastrophizing: the CIA was concerned recently about losing so many of its informants. Moscow window-cancer’d a slew of our moles during the Trump years. And that’s a problem. To paraphrase Col. Jessup, these are people we want on that wall, we need on that wall. Their termination makes all of us, MAGA included, markedly less safe.
Nuclear secrets, for another. Not just how to make the bombs—you know, the Rosenberg stuff—but how to use nuclear technology to power submarines and electric stations and so on. (Recall that Mike Flynn, on the eve of Trump’s inauguration, was hatching a plan to sell nuclear tech to the Saudis.) “Nuclear secrets” also includes the assessments of the nuclear capabilities of our enemies and, perhaps worse, our allies. Already there is ample evidence to suggest this sort of intelligence was in the documents Trump stole.
What else? Damaging information on politicians, foreign and domestic. Remember, Trump boasted that he knew the dirt on Emmanuel Macron’s sex life. Unless he and the French president rode an Access Hollywood bus together with Billy Bush, how would he know that? Hint: one of the stolen documents contained information related to Macron.
The idea of a reckless, amoral criminal like Trump stealing that level of classified intelligence and possibly selling it to the highest bidder should make you sick to your stomach.
But it gets worse. The FPOTUS had all these documents at Mar-a-Lago, a notoriously difficult facility to secure. Between the escape tunnels underneath the compound and the foreign nationals on staff being paid peanuts, Trump’s golf club is an enemy intelligence officer’s nirvana. I mean, some rando paid the membership dues and waltzed right into the place, claiming to be a Rothschild. She, um, is not a Rothschild. Oops!
While much of the footage showed hours of club employees walking through the busy corridor, some of it raised concerns for investigators, according to people familiar with the matter. It revealed people moving boxes in and out, and in some cases, appearing to change the containers some documents were held in. The footage also showed other parts of the property.
Some of the classified material was in Trump’s “45” office, in the desk drawers—and, from what we can infer from Trump and the former First Lady going on and on about Melania’s intimates, we can’t dismiss the possibility that at least one piece of paper was secreted away in her underwear drawer.
Imagine if Trump walked into the Federal Reserve and left with $100 million in bricks of hundred-dollar bills. And then he brought that wad to Palm Beach. And then when the feds came to retrieve it, he said it was his. And then he had his lawyer tell the FBI that it was all returned, only he kept some of it. We agree that that would be illegal, right?
Well, this is orders of magnitude worse. A hundred mil is just money. The Fed could simply demonetize the serial numbers of what he boosted and print more—like Russia did when Stalin and friends robbed a bank in Tiflis in 1907. Now imagine that by stealing that $100 million, he was simultaneously jeopardizing the safety of every man, woman, non-binary individual and child not just in the U.S., but in allied countries as well. That’s what that audacious motherfucker did.
None of this is in doubt. Trump already admitted he took the documents. He’s relying on Kash Patel’s “I classified them in secret, therefore I’m free to take them” defense. That’s, like, not a thing. Stealing is stealing. Crime is crime.
And yet, even now, Republicans are still bending over backwards to defend Trump—to explain away his despicable crimes. Then again, bending over backwards is easy when you don’t have a spine. Marco Rubio, the GOP Senator from Florida, went on television earlier this month and actually said this: “This is, really, at its core, a storage argument that they’re making. . . . I don’t think a fight over storage of documents is worthy of what they’ve done, which is [a] full-scale raid and then these constant leaks.” Describing Trump’s large-scale espionage operation as an issue of storage is like claiming 9/11 was really about air traffic control, or that dietary restrictions were to blame for Jeffrey Dahmer’s murder-and-cannibalism spree.
All joking aside: that Rubio, of all people, is downplaying the severity of Trump’s breathtaking security breach is particularly dastardly. Marco Rubio is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He’s privy to more secret shit than almost anyone alive. He fucking knows better. Heck, he knew better on the campaign trail in 2015-16, when he said that it would be “dangerous” to trust “the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual” like Trump.
This ain’t the first time Rubio has lied egregiously to cover for Trump’s crimes. Here he is after the release of Volume 5 of that Committee’s Report on Russian Interference in the 2016 Election:
In that mendacious clip, Rubio tries to do to Volume 5 what Bill Barr did to the Mueller Report.
Rubio has another connection to the stolen documents story. Guess who tapped Aileen Cannon—whose C.V. was so sparse she had to list her co-authorship of a study on flamenco dancing, because there was nothing else to say—to vie for the lifetime judgeship that was given to her after Trump lost the election? Liddle’ Marco. Cannon, of course, is the halfwit judge who ground the DOJ’s investigation into Trump’s obvious crime spree to a halt because she’s too rock-dumb to understand the law. (It’s ironic that Trump’s case is being bolstered by a Cuban immigrant born in Colombia—exactly the sort of person his hateful presidential campaign began by demonizing.)
What happened, one might wonder, to the brash Marco Rubio we saw on the stage of the Republican primary, responding to the diminutive nickname with intimations about Trump’s puny dick size? Why did Rubio, like Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham, do a 180 on Trump? Why is he still defending him—after Helsinki, after the pandemic non-response, after the insurrection, and after Mar-a-Lago?
I can think of three reasons, which I will take in order:
1/ He is so dumb he believes it.
While Rubio is not some great scholar or wise statesman, neither is he stupid. There was a time, not long ago, that this son of Cuban immigrants—Cuban immigrants who came here during the reign of Fulgencio Batista, not Fidel Castro, and thus were not “fleeing socialism,” as Rubio would like us to believe—crafted a policy to reform our immigration system that was, at the very least, well considered. He’s not Louie Gohmert. He knows what Trump is.
2/ He thinks it will help him politically.
It is true that Marco Rubio is in a tight race against a tough opponent: Democrat Val Demings, a House representative who was the very successful chief of the Orlando Police Department. It is true that Rubio is well aware of what his GOP voting base wants to hear from him. It is also true that most of the Florida GOP voting base is comprised of MAGA zombies. That might explain the recent “storage issue” comments—he doesn’t want to piss off the Trumper crazies from The Villages, whose votes he desperately needs. However, it does not explain why he felt the need to cockblock Volume 5 two full years ago, well before the current election cycle. Rubio doing that only helped Trump in the 2020 election—and the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as he was at the time, should have known not to risk national security by doing such a thing.
3/ He is compromised and has no choice.
Many pundits considered Rubio the front-runner to emerge from the 2016 Republican primary. He comported himself with swagger, especially with regards to Trump—until he didn’t. As LB pointed out in a thread from 2017, this calling off of the proverbial dogs happened around the time a story broke in the National Enquirer—the sleazy tabloid published by Trump’s buddy David Pecker. In the “HANKY PANKY” category, the headline ran:
Shady Lady Who Could Ruin Marco Rubio!
Former GOP gal at center of prez hopeful’s cheating scandal.
The story begins:
The mystery lady is smack in the middle of a sleazy sex scandal involving the GOP candidate, and in a bombshell world exclusive, The National ENQUIRER has traced her identity, and tracked her down. . . . The ENQUIRER has chosen to withhold her name.
As we reported, a new book revealed Marco — a married dad of four — once authorized a $40,000 probe into whether his rivals had dug up evidence he was hiding a “zipper problem!”
The scandal focused on this woman, a shapely former GOP political operative who is younger than Marco’s wife of 17 years, Jeanette. The woman’s name first surfaced in records for a Republican Party American Express card that Marco, 44, used when he was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. Those records showed he used the card to pay her expenses!
After all this lurid build-up, the Enquirer admits that the rumor has no legs:
In an exclusive statement to The ENQUIRER, the woman said: “The allegations that I had an inappropriate relationship of any kind with Marco Rubio are absolutely false.”
So why run the story at all? It’s not like Enquirer readers were clamoring for Marco Rubio dirt. Was it just to upset Jeanette Rubio, who, unlike many politicians’ spouses, is camera shy and not actively involved in campaigning? Was it to throw Rubio off his game? Because it seems to have worked, as LB pointed out:
Or was the Enquirer story a warning—a veiled threat, a horse head in his bed, that unless Rubio backed the fuck up, he’d get smacked the fuck up? Maybe the next story would include names and faces, photos and eyewitness accounts? Maybe the next story would not be about a “shapely” woman younger than his wife (who is a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, by the way), but a different sort of individual? Or maybe the next story wouldn’t be about infidelity at all, but something involving finances—unlike most of his Senate colleagues, Marco Rubio had a negative net worth in 2018 and is bad with money—and would run in a more prestigious publication than David Pecker’s dirty rag? Was the purpose of the Enquirer story, one wonders, to scare the bejesus out of him so that he fell into line?
To be clear: I’m not saying Rubio did anything untoward. The guy may very well be enabling Trump’s treachery to boost his chances in November. Or he may just be a dope. But Marco Rubio has for the last six years been defending the worst traitor in the history of this country, he’s uniquely positioned to know better, and it’s fair to ask why.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio speaking with supporters at the Americans for Peace, Prosperity & Security Forum at the Pandora Building at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester, New Hampshire, January 2016.