Day Six: Our First Purge

The big news from the Trump transition this morning is that Mike Rogers — who had joined Trump as an advisor on national security close to the end of the campaign — has been ousted.

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers left President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, days after Trump’s surprise victory and a shakeup at the top of the team’s organizational chart.

Rogers’ abrupt departure came at the request of team officials, said two people familiar with the matter. The Michigan Republican, who’d also worked for the FBI, had been tapped to help guide the new administration on national security issues.

Several people have already referred to this move as a purge of people associated with Christie. Others have even called it Stalinesque. That suggests Trump demoted Christie last week not because he was perceived as tainted by the Bridgegate scandal, but because of some sense of distrust. I’m also interested in the focus — in stories on this — on Rogers’ FBI background — it has been more than 20 years since Rogers worked at FBI, and there have always been lurking questions about the circumstances of his departure. I wonder whether there wasn’t a concern about Rogers’ loyalty.

Meanwhile, Neocon godfather Eliot Cohen — who led a lot of the Never Trump opposition — has officially given up on reaching out to the Trump’s team.

After exchange w Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They’re angry, arrogant, screaming “you LOST!” Will be ugly.

I consider all this a good sign.

Not a good sign that our country will soon be led by someone who can’t even work with the leading lights of his nominal party. But a good sign that Trump is so aggressively retaliating against Republicans.

A woman from Iran did a tweetstorm the other night describing what it’s like to live in a (religious) dictatorship. Read the whole thing. But the key point is that power in dictatorships depends on picking off minorities and those who protect them. The rest of the society remains disciplined out of fear that they will be added to the select group of minorities used to justify power.

Trump will likely (try to) get there, especially with Steve Bannon installed in his White House. Trump has already promised to increase on Obama’s already sky high number of deportations of Latinos. His Contract on to America includes several promises targeted at (Latino and Arab) immigrants.

★ THIRD, cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities.
★ FOURTH, begin removing the more than two millioncriminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancelvisas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.
★ FIFTH, suspend immigration from terror-prone regionswhere vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of peoplecoming into our country will be considered “extreme vetting.”


End Illegal Immigration Act
Fully-funds the construction of a wall on our souther nborder with the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall; establishes a two-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, and a five-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions or two or more prior deportations; also reforms visa rules to enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.

And it includes one that I suspect will be used to target Black Lives Matter and similar opposition groups.

Restoring Community Safety Act

Reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating a task force on violent crime and increasing funding for programs that train and assist local police; increases resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.

So we should expect Trump to move towards targeting African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims. We should be prepared to protect people from these marginalized groups. More importantly, we should try, as much as possible, to prevent them from becoming a minority.

Hillary Clinton won the popular majority on Tuesday. There are plenty more people — such as the African Americans and Latinos that didn’t turn out to vote for Hillary, or Republicans who voted against Trump but not for Hillary — who are also in that majority. A majority of this country does not subscribe to Trump’s divisiveness. So long as we keep that majority together, it will be very hard for Trump’s scapegoating to work.

And rather than turn to his key scapegoats right away, Trump has instead turned against disloyal groups: Lindsey Graham, who opposed Trump because of his attacks on Muslims but who also happens to be closeted; Harry Reid, who has called him out aggressively but is also a Mormon, a faith that very aggressively opposed Trump; now other Republicans, including Neocons, perceived as disloyal. He has, effectively, widened and reinforced the majority that opposes him.

I have less than no time for Mike Rogers. Ditto, Lindsey Graham. But by targeting his own, first, Trump makes it more likely this country can stay together to defend far more vulnerable potential targets.

31 replies
  1. martin says:

    First they came for the disloyal Republicans. Then they came for the minorities. Then they came for the dissidents. Then they came for the journalists. Then they came for the Constitution. Then they came for the guns.

    You just wait. Once Trump starts holding his “rallies” for his base, this country will see the biggest racist group ever seen since the civil war erupt across the face of this nation.

    Make no mistake. Trump WILL form his deportation Gestapo. However, I smell a revolution coming…if not a coup d’etat.

    • Phil Perspective says:

      First they came for the disloyal Republicans. Then they came for the minorities. Then they came for the dissidents. Then they came for the journalists. Then they came for the Constitution. Then they came for the guns.



      If it continues, the only thing that is wrong is your order of his attempted purge.  I wouldn’t be surprised if journalists were second after disloyal GOPers.

  2. bloopie2 says:

    “Third, cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities.”  The Feds have long used their power of the purse to force “liberal” policies on states, cities and schools.  Ain’t revenge sweet?

  3. bloopie2 says:

    But purges can go two ways:  “Trump’s name to be removed from New York buildings to appeal to renters.  Owner of Upper West Side ‘Trump Place’ buildings, developed by the businessman, aims for ‘more neutral building identity”.  Perhaps we should all just refer to him as “Don” for a while, until his brand disappears?

  4. rugger9 says:

    This apparently had to do with the replacement of Christie by Mike Pence to head the transition team.  Christie will be up to his pointy head in Bridgegate now that his aides were convicted on all counts, so his departure was not a surprise, and Mike Pence needed something to do.  What was not expected is Pence wants standard boilerplate transition paperwork changed to suit his interests:

    There is no information about what Pence wants changed or why. This means the process stops until Pence signs, and Pence has his own email problem too, where a lawyer in Indiana wants to know why taxpayer money was being used to finance a private law firm when the IN AG didn’t want to pursue a lost cause:

    I fully expect Judicial Watch to be all over this…..crickets….

    • Phil Perspective says:

      I fully expect Judicial Watch to be all over this…..crickets….



      Don’t fret.  I expect a sometimes commenter here(Hi, Jason!!) to be all over this.

  5. wayoutwest says:

    If you get beyond the fear projection in this post, that has no basis in fact or record, there is some strange logic to try to decode.

    Trump is moving quickly to remove criminal aliens and about half of the 2 million he cites are in the country legally.  Is this not a positive plan, good for the country? Are we required to incorporate these criminals into the Latino identity that supposedly needs our protection?  Trump also described the majority of the illegal immigrant population as Good People deserving different treatment once the criminals are removed.  Obama’s deportations on the other hand have targeted the Good People along with the criminals in about even numbers.

    Is it wrong or unwise for a country at war, that has already seen mass murder executed by immigrants, to restrict immigration from the areas affected by the war?  The majority of the immigrants may not be a problem but our background check system has already  failed and allowed  mass murderer to occur.  The people blocked from coming to the US may be inconvenienced and disappointed but they have no rights that are violated because they are foreigners not protected by our Constitution. Muslims from other parts of the world won’t be restricted but everyone seeking entry will face heightened security.

    Another strange notion in this post is that there is something wrong with Trump not submitting to the wisdom of the ‘leading lights’ in the republican party that he just defeated and humiliated along with the Red Queen. From the beginning of his campaign his goal was to destroy the power of the republican elite and his supporters along with millions of abstaining democrats have made that a reality. They have already come to heel and blocked Obama’s planned lame duck-walk of the TPP, it seems they understand the new reality.

    I’m not sure about the math used to project that the about 30% of eligible voters that  voted for Clinton is some kind of meaningful majority or that the identity machinations they represent are headed anywhere but into the dustbin of history.



    • GKJames says:

      Sure he can deport people. As long as he proceeds in accordance with due process under the law. The question, though, is how is that different from what’s been occurring for years? Contrary to the impression he has created, Trump isn’t some genius inventor of immigration enforcement. And any American who speaks of “background checks” and “extreme vetting” for non-Americans clearly has zero knowledge, let alone experience, regarding how difficult it is to enter this country. Finally, the most common problem is that of people entering lawfully and then overstaying. Nothing has ever stopped those intrepid Republicans, saviors of western white civilization, from solving that problem by proposing legislation that sets up, staffs, and funds a tracking system to ensure that people leave when they’re supposed to. Wonder why that is?

    • jerryy says:

      Pray tell what happens when this continuation of President Obama’s actual in place policy to remove immigrants that have been convicted of felonies and what not supposedly gets them all?

      I ask because right now if you look at the US’ population as a whole, about 1 in three Americans have a police record … what is he going to do about them?

      And that is supposing that line about the two million is accurate, because outside of the Brietbart types of folks, no one seems to be able to verify that estimate.

  6. Peterr says:

    When Chris Christie was the US Attorney for NJ, he put Charles Kushner — the father of Trump’s son in law Jared — in prison for 2 years for tax evasion, witness tampering, and making illegal campaign contributions. Somehow, I think maybe Jared has never been too happy with Trump cozying up to Christie, but went along with it as Trump said “Look, he’s helpful in the campaign with outreach to a certain group of people I need.” Now that the campaign is done, so is Chris Christie’s usefulness to Trump.

    It’s not personal, Chris. It’s strictly business.

  7. lefty665 says:

    What does Pence mean at the top of the transition team? He is a very conventional, very establishment, right wing nut job.

    How does Trump overthrow insider D.C. politics with one of their own staffing his administration?


  8. bloopie2 says:

    Trump himself is a criminal. He committed adultery with one of his several previous wives, and that was (and still is) is a crime in the state of New York.

    • lefty665 says:

      So did Bill, plus he got blow jobs in the Oval Office. Want to deport him too, or is it just Repubs who should be deported for their “crimes”.

  9. Badbisco says:

    Empty wheel,

    Thank you for the countless articles and insight into complex topics.

    As a big fan of yours, this piece was pretty disappointing. Your language suggests that you’ve fully accepted the unsupported narrative that like a Scooby Doo villain, Trump will take off the tangerine mask and reveal himself as Hitler.

    An interesting piece could rationally analyze his recent choices as discarding the people that are embroiled in scandal, that jailed his son in law’s father, and that were his harshest critics during the campaign.

    Instead you’ve framed your piece using language that suggests genocide, homophobia, and religious discrimination.

    Trump will be our president because half our country has lives that are so terrible that they were willing to vote for him, despite no one liking him.

    Can we see if Trump actually turns into Hitler before framing him that way in an article about his fairly logical decisions setting up his administration?

    • Nick says:

      Even if we’re rounding, half of the country did not vote for Trump. He got about 60 million votes, in a country of about 320 million, putting Trump voters at less than 20% of the country.

  10. pdaly says:

    “Emmie Mears” on Facebook posted a colorized vector map of the USA with polling data by county that she obtained from Politico. Except for a red band running vertically down the center of the country, most of the country appears purple. Somewhat reassuring compared to the maps of “red” and “blue” states.

    Emmie Mears:
    “There is not a state in this country that isn’t purple.

    I’ve spent the last two days going county by county through this week’s election data. I’ve looked every county in this country in the face ” [snip]

  11. bloopie2 says:

    to Lefty 665, 5:15 pm (reply button not working). No, I don[t want to deport either Don or Bill. Minor crimes and personal sexual adventures should not be used for that. All I’m saying is that if Don will take any crime as reason for deportation, he’d better watch out.

    • lefty665 says:

      Thanks, didn’t understand where you were headed. Expect you’re right, once you open a door it can be hard to control who gets pushed through it.

  12. martin says:

    quote”From the beginning of his campaign his goal was to destroy the power of the republican elite AND HIS SUPPORTERS… along with millions of abstaining democrats have made that a reality. “unquote

    Oh..really? So Trumps goal was to destroy the power of HIS SUPPORTERS? Whudda thunk.

    Son..sit down, think about what you just posted, take two aspirin and go to bed.

  13. wayoutwest says:

    Reply to Jerryy,

    I’m glad you tried to bring a little humor to the discussion, people need to lighten up. In case I mistook your intent and you are that dense, Amerikan citizens no matter their criminal record cannot be deported, I think that would be called banishment.

  14. martin says:

    Well I’ll be damned…
    From emptywheel’s twitter feed

    “emptywheel ‏@emptywheel 10h10 hours ago

    emptywheel Retweeted Ron Wyden

    “I’m moving to OR.
    Do I need a passport if I’m from MI? I’ll bring beer!”

    Hahahahahaha. Beer IS your passport. But you have to reprise your Michigan roots. Btw, move to Coos Bay. Great little town. AND, it’s the home of Seven Devils Brewing Company. Great beer, food, music and ambiance.

  15. bloopie2 says:


    “I’m moving to Oregon—I’ll bring the beer!”  Jesus.  You don‘t say that kind of stuff in public, do you?  Hopefully only in the echo chamber of this blog and Twitter and (I assume) emails with your friends?  I mean, sheesh—that statement is Elitism At Its Best: “I have a secure job and I can move to an area of my choice so I only have to associate with Good people, not with these Schmucks around me.”  Gawd.  Tell me: How many Michiganers are solvent enough to be able to say that?  And remember, those “other” people have ears–how many of them were so turned off by hearing that kind of talk, that they did not vote for the asshole Democrats?  (Even if it’s just a show of support for Ron Wyden, it still comes off as tone deaf.)  Can you imagine how you would be pilloried in the right wing media if they picked up on that statement?  And trashed when they spread it all over Facebook?  Lesson for the day:  The age of speaking freely is over; let’s not give others any extra ammunition.

    Just sayin’.  Have a nice day!

  16. bloopie2 says:

    An example of how media can mislead and be complicit.  Headline on Politico, picked up and repeated by Google News.  “Trump shoots down reports that his transition is in disarray.”  More accurate to say:  “Trump shoots at reports that his transition is in disarray”.  By saying that he shot them down, the news says that he was successful in changing the facts/narrative.  That is not what happened.  He simply responded, with his version, but without disproving the original allegation.  So be careful, dammit.

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