Who Will Be Forced to Walk the Plank on November 4th?

Who will Trump force to walk the plank after the election?
(h/t Stacey Harvey for the image, [CC Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) ]

Win or lose, Donald Trump will be looking for vengeance once the election is over. Either he will lose, and want to punish those he deems responsible, or he will win and want to punish the folks he’s had to put up with despite their failures to do what he wanted. One way or another, Trump will want to make certain people pay and pay dearly after the voting is over.

It might be to get rid of people who have angered him by not being sufficiently publicly loyal and submissive.

It might be to get rid of people who angered him by not being sufficiently good at making Trump look good before the election.

It might be to get rid of people who angered him by making him look bad, indecisive, or (gasp!) wrong.

It might be to get rid of people who stood up to him in private and made him back down on something, even if that backing down was only done in private.

It might be to get rid of people who stood up to him in public, and he had to simply take it at the time because Trump would have paid a price if he got rid of them when it happened.

Put me down for Trump demanding that the following people be forced to walk the plank:

  • Doctors Tony Fauci at NAIAD, Stephen Hahn at FDA, and Robert Redfield at CDC, along with HHS Secretary Alex Azar for not keeping these disloyal doctors in line;
  • Bill Barr for failing to deliver any indictments and convictions of any Bidens or Clintons, John Durham for dragging his feet on his reports that would have made that happen, Christopher Wray for being the FBI director and generally annoying, whoever approved letting Andrew Weissmann reveal that Manafort was breaking the gag order in his case by communicating with Sean Hannity, and a host of other US Attorneys who didn’t behave according to Trump’s rules;
  • General Mark Milley for publicly apologizing for taking part in the infamous Bible-waving photo op created by driving protesters out of Lafayette Park with chemical agents, various generals and admirals who refused to back Trump’s call to deploy US troops to American cities he didn’t like, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper for not keeping these military folks in line;
  • Dr. Sean Conley, for not being more deceptive with the press around Trump’s COVID-19 status;
  • Mark Meadows for undermining Conley’s initial “he’s doing great” press remarks, as well as for more generally not keeping the WH functioning smoothly (as if that were possible, given his boss);
  • Mike Pompeo for failing to get Ukraine to do Trump’s bidding, as well as for not keeping folks like Fiona Hill in line.

But I must admit this is an incomplete list. Who else do you think might be on Trump’s Naughty List? Add your own thoughts in the comments.

Note: I also left off the list a bunch of folks like Mitch McConnell, Andrew Cuomo, Savannah Guthrie, and Cy Vance that Trump would demand walk the plank, but who remain outside his ability to make that happen. I also didn’t include Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr, or Eric, as he can’t fire his family. Though of course, he could disinherit them . . . for whatever that’s worth.

49 replies
  1. dude says:

    “Though of course, he could disinherit them . . . for whatever that’s worth….”

    When the State of New York finishes with Donnie, there might not be anything left to inherit.

    • P J Evans says:

      I think the kids know that, and are sticking with him because each one hopes to get the majority of what’s left.

  2. Tracy Lynn says:

    Love the graphic, Peterr! You have a pretty all-encompassing list there. My first thought was Meadows for his slip of the tongue as DJT was airlifted to Walter Reed. My 2nd thought was someone out of his reach, Ukraine’s Zelinski, for sidestepping Trmp’s game. Rudy Guiliani also comes to mind for his cartoonish handling of the Hunter Biden laptop affair. (But then, he’s working for free, right?) Michael Cohen might not be out of his reach entirely, although he is out of prison & has an anti-Trump podcast.

  3. SteveL says:

    Does the president understand that, per the 5th amendment, Bill Barr cannot simply issue an indictment to Trump enemies for federal felonies, but must instead persuade a grand jury to vote one out?

    I wouldn’t put it past Barr if he thought he could succeed, but given his apparent failure with respect to Andrew McCabe, where there was at least a clearly defined charge and relatively coherent theory of the case, there’s just no way an indictment of a Clinton or Biden or the like would be forthcoming.

    The notion that Barr could be fired for being insufficiently corrupt boggles the mind.

    • bmaz says:

      An information could be issued with the proper backup, but would still have to be superseded by a formal indictment.

      • Peterr says:

        Even a letter announcing an investigation less than two weeks before election day would have been helpful.

        “Bill, I hate to let you go, but you couldn’t even give me what that hack Jim Comey did in 2016 – a nice little announcement of new developments or a new investigation, just as folks are casting their ballots.”

    • Rugger9 says:

      A rational dictator (i.e. Putin or Erdogan) wouldn’t fire the person keeping the rest of the law at bay or engaged in spiking all of the inconvenient investigations of DJT’s conduct. However, since we are talking about DJT here I could see him doing it.

      A very obscure history lesson from the late Western Roman Empire applies, where Flavius Aetius (“Last of the Romans”) was murdered by his Emperor Valentinian III out of jealousy and so the “left hand cut off the right”. The empire collapsed shortly afterward.

      If DJT gets rid of AG Barr, no one else would do the desired Roy Cohn duties especially for a very lame duck POTUS with the GOP’s politicos trying to pretend that they never knew DJT. Let’s also remember the state issues and a few private civil suits which will also be able to proceed.

      The rest of the list, however, is toast starting with Wray and Fauci.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Oh, dear. Unlawful “Acting” DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said voters should be patient to await results tonight. I’m not sure how that squares with DJT’s declaration of victory, and I’m sure DJT will not be happy about the discouraging word.

      • Rugger9 says:

        I see Mick Mulvaney decided to push for a peaceful transition of power. That will not be welcome on DJT’s Olympus so add Mick to the list.

  4. subtropolis says:

    If he loses Florida he’ll fire Gov. DeSantis. It’s true! He said so at one of his rallies.

    He won’t fire Melania’s body double, though. She’s not as quick to fend off his kissy face moves and he appreciates that.

  5. joel fisher says:

    Doesn’t Barr know too much to be dispensed with? Especially if he loses. Come to think of it, if he wins (could happen) he’ll be far more aggressive in dispensing Trump justice than if he loses. Losing means he’s got pardons to issue and stories to get straight. Either way it promises to be an entertaining couple of months.

    • bmaz says:

      I have been saying this for a very long time, but I still think most people do not understand that a bunch of blanket pardons really does NOT help Trump. And Trump is the only person Trump cares about.

      • Peterr says:

        I agree that a bunch of pardons really does not help Trump. But I don’t think that will stop Trump from issuing them.

        It’s something he can do with a swipe of his pen, and no one else can do that.

        It’s something he can do that will piss off the Libs, and that’s something he enjoys doing whenever possible.

        It’s something he can do to poke a stick in Mueller’s eye, undoing all the witch hunting Mueller and all those Angry Dems did, and that’s surely something he’d love to do.

        Would it come back to bite him? Sure. But when has that ever stopped Trump from doing whatever the hell he wants to do?

        • bmaz says:

          There are FAR better lawyers than Rudy advising Trump. No one in their right mind would argue such is a good path. Or that it might not, in and of itself, be criminal.

      • joel fisher says:

        Pardons put the crook out on a no 5th Amendment plank, but people will be clamoring for them anyway. The family seems like they might want some protection from a bunch of embarrassing questions. Broidy and Bannon will want pardons; Manafort and Flynn—if he ever gets sentenced— commutations. Trump is transactional and will grant pardons based on what’s in it for Trump: money or forgetfulness.

        • Joel McCoy says:

          Now you know why Judge Emmit Sullivan has been dancing Mike Flynn around for four years, he will be sentenced after 21 January 2021. He is truly the Man you don’t wish to trifle with.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Actually, it’s been Flynn and his attorney Powell that has been delaying things more than Judge Sullivan, but the note about not trifling with Judge Sullivan is appropriate. Louis DeJoy is about to find that out.

  6. Lawnboy says:

    He’ll want to fire the fella(s) that kept the new “Mar-a-Gitmo”open and running. I think it might have a mini-put… available for good behaviour !

      • gulageten says:

        Ah was that a requirement for the brainstorm? Well either way, he is more fireable than some who are.

        • Rugger9 says:

          It might be worth its own post, the list of the hangers-on who will marked for the Tarpeian Rock. I’d say the Flynn intervention might become moot (but maybe not), but Roger, Ghislaine, Igor and Lev, Corey, Jason, and Paul might all have some issues to attend to from friends. Add to that Bolton, Mooch and Michael Cohen for being mean after being cashiered.

          Back OT, how about Kellyanne, Mercedes and Kayleigh for not being effective enough in their lying?

          Hope Hicks, because DJT can.

      • BobCon says:

        IF Trump is out, I think there will be a lot of attempts to settle scores with people outside of government service too — demands that contracts get cancelled, dirt gets published, loans get called.

        It will be interesting to see who complies if Trump is out. Probably lots of threats and lip service, and less compliance.

        But I wouldn’t be surprised to see some ugliness as four years worth of bad blood starts to rise.

  7. Dan_S says:

    Have you guys seen this, from NYMag/Intelligencer?

    “According to two sources familiar with the [Durham] probe, there has been no evidence found, after 18 months of investigation, to support Barr’s claims that Trump was targeted by politically biased Obama officials to prevent his election. (The probe remains ongoing.) In fact, the sources said, the Durham investigation has so far uncovered no evidence of any wrongdoing by Biden or Barack Obama, or that they were even involved with the Russia investigation. There ‘was no evidence … not even remotely … indicating Obama or Biden did anything wrong,’ as one person put it.”


  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On the issue of whether Republicans will follow Trump down the path of trying to sue his way into a second term, my response is simple. Has the whole party failed to follow him anywhere else? If Trump loses, the GOP is staring at being out of office and out of power for a generation. Of course, it will follow him down whatever twisted path he goes.

    • Peterr says:

      Alternatively, will Trump be so anxious for revenge that he’ll look to follow the example of Grover Cleveland (with a dash of Douglas MacArthur/Arnold Schwartzenegger)?

      “I’ll be back! It’ll be the greatest comeback in political history, like no one has ever seen!!!”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Only as a way to raise money and keep himself in the limelight – and to take a cut – and keep his mind off his legal troubles. Actually, I suspect the Trump Org. will be in bankruptcy before 2024. One reason is that Trump always he assumes he can refinance. But I suspect this time, DB and Vlad are more likely to let him twist in the wind.

        • Rugger9 says:

          I would concur about TrumpOrg’s coming demise and why, because DJT will not be able to offer anything of value after he leaves the WH.

        • MattyG says:

          OTOH he does know a lot of stuff about a lot of people that people who were never president would never know. The blackmail business might be enticing hunting grounds…

        • Ken Muldrew says:

          What does the President’s Daily Briefing fetch on the open market these days?

          He is entitled to it, is he not?

        • TXphysicist says:

          Finally, the golden messenger for anarcho-capitalism:

          “Selling secrets? They’re my.. y’know, it’s just excessive regulation. Deregulate national intelligence, no one’s gonna do a thing. Not a thing! Too strong. Hillary, on the other, you remember, folks.”

  9. Jenny says:

    Thank you Peterr. First line is spot on, “Win or lose, Donald Trump will be looking for vengeance once the election is over.”

    As abuser in chief, he will punish all or more because bullies enjoy making others feel less than in order to puff himself up.

  10. Franktoo says:

    The frothy right is reporting that Gina Haspel (and Chris Wray and Mark Esper) will be discarded after the election.

  11. Max404 says:

    He will *need* to do outrageous things in order to keep himself front and center in the news; his narcissism requires it.

    I believe, however, that once it is clear that he has lost, he will be dropped like a rock by Republican power brokers as they search for a replacement. Perceiving this, he will probably become even more outrageous as he spirals into madness.

    I actually believe that he has already been dropped. How else can you explain him squandering his last precious day of the campaign complaining about Anthony Fauci rather than doing something “useful”? I believe his handlers have already walked away and just didn’t bother telling him it was a bad idea.

    • Marinela says:

      Don’t believe remaining republicans are going to drop Trump.
      Just seen a clip with Marco Rubio talking about the Biden/Harris bus incident in Texas.
      He was glorifying it, saying in Florida they are doing the same thing.

      If Biden wins, after the new administration starts governing, Trump will yack on the side line, fanning absurd theories, with GOP allowing it so they can continue to obstruct. Trump is the feature to the republican party now. He will insert himself in all stories, media will be played, Trump will be payed, GOP will continue the path of obstruction.

      Biden will be forced to govern in the middle with no “bipartisan” support, GOP will not allow for anything to get done, preparing to campaign for 2024 as soon as Biden is inaugurated.

      I hope I am wrong about all this.

      • Max404 says:

        Hopefully the Dems win the Senate. Then dump the filibuster (an old tool of the Southern Democrats in a previous version of the Senate) and get with the program.

        After a hopefully resounding trouncing I think Trump will fade into insignificance and mainly be trying to stay out of jail, debtors prison, and the US.

        The real problem will come when a smarter, younger, and more competant authoritarian figure comes along and tries to take over. That is not Rubio. He is just a doofus.

  12. Roberta says:

    I could imagine ‘arrests’ and show trials for Obama, Hillary and Biden. He will find more servile lackeys for his second term Cabinet.

  13. LaMissy says:

    Maybe I’m an incurable optimist, but Trump centering his needs above everyone else’s makes me ponder whether he might not simply walk off stage to somewhere lacking an extradition treaty with the US. Someplace with a strongman where he can enjoy the attention he feels he deserves, without risking the SDNY.

    Alberto Fujimori tried that by fleeing to Japan from Peru and he was welcomed as an elderly statesman like a prodigal son. The gameplan was foiled when he let himself feel secure enough to return in order to run for president again. He was detained in Chile while in transit and is currently jailed.

    Fujimori’s daughter Keiko meanwhile had placed herself in the Senate and twice ran for president herself. Ivanka 2024?

    • mospeck says:

      imo you are spot on, but probably too young to rem this
      ht tps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4qFxTTi8q0
      IANAL but expect that trump has no other recourse but to flee to his no extradition sugar daddy in moscow. Otherwise, he’s looking at jail in NY for bank fraud, insurance fraud and tax fraud. This being a major reason why he is so extremely dangerous for the next 70 days. The man is a cornered rat (like in the old jimmy cagney movies)

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