By Harley Schlanger
August 3 - From the beginning of Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, there was no doubt he would face fierce opposition from the Democratic Party, whose nominee Hillary Clinton raised questions about her opponent's mental stability. For example, at a campaign rally on June 2, 2016, in San Diego, she taunted him for expressing a willingness to cooperate with Russian President Putin: "I'll leave it to the psychiatrists to explain his affection for tyrants," she quipped.
This attack, before the formal opening of the FBI's "Get Trump" task force at the end of that month, presaged the narrative of "Russian meddling" and "Trump collusion", which has dominated the opposition to Trump since his election shocked Clinton's supporters, who arrogantly assumed that she would win. In the two months between his election victory and his inauguration, the word "impeachment" was increasingly heard, as stunned Democrats in the U.S. and Hillary backers overseas -- for example, in the U.K., where the Russiagate story had been launched by imperial geopoliticians in the intelligence community -- schemed for ways to overturn the result of the election.
Though his opponents offered many reasons for wanting to remove Trump, the most significant has continued to be his expressed desire to work with Russia's President Putin to resolve outstanding issues between the two nations. While Clinton demonstrated a reckless disregard for the dangers implicit in her anti-Russian rhetoric during the campaign -- as in her demand that the U.S. impose a "no-fly zone" in Syria, risking U.S.-Russian military confrontation there -- the anti-Trump/anti-Putin rants have become even more intense since the historic Helsinki summit last month. Typical was the unhinged response of President Obama's CIA Director John Brennan, who tweeted that Trump's comments at the post-summit press conference with Putin were "nothing short of treasonous." He challenged "Republican Patriots" to respond against Trump.
However, given the Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress, and the overwhelming support for Trump among voters who identify as Republicans, there appeared to be little chance that Democrats could successfully remove Trump through impeachment proceedings. Though there has been a vocal anti-Trump grouping among Republicans, especially among the neo-conservative Bush networks which coalesced around a "Never-Trump" operation early in the campaign, the President's support from the Republican base and blue-collar Democrats demonstrated there would be a price to be paid by any Republican official who would join with Democrats in a move to impeach him.
While this did not deter hard-core Republican Senate Russophobes, such as John McCain and his sidekick Lindsey Graham in their anti-Trump/anti-Russia polemics, Democratic anti-Trumpers became obsessively focused on taking back the U.S. House in the November 2018 mid-term elections as the best hope for bringing forward a successful impeachment campaign.
IT'S NOT JUST RUSSIAGATE
The work of a handful of diligent Republican Congressmen, such as Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan, has produced voluminous evidence that the Russiagate story was concocted to prevent Trump from following through with his campaign pledges to end the policies of the Bush-Obama era. Their investigations have confirmed the reports produced by the LaRouche organization, which show that the real meddling in the election was by British intelligence officials, through their collusion with Obama intelligence officials, and the Clinton campaign, which paid for the fully discredited dirty dossier against Trump compiled by "ex-MI6" operative Christopher Steele. That dossier was used by the FBI to get FISA warrants to spy on Trump campaign officials, and provide "talking points" to media opposition to his presidency.
Despite this evidence, which highlights the corruption of the FBI and Justice Department networks engaged in the campaign against Trump, many of the Republicans who produced the evidence undercut their work by insisting that there was Russian meddling, only it was on behalf of Hillary Clinton! This explains why almost all Republicans joined with the Democrats in August 2017 to pass harsh anti-Russian sanctions, to "punish" Russia. This line continues to be pushed by Republicans today. On July 31, at a National Cyber Summit sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, Vice President Mike Pence asserted that "Russia meddled in our 2016 elections," in an effort to "sow discord and division," calling this "an affront to our democracy" and vowing that "it will not be allowed."
Sen. Graham is spearheading new sanctions legislation, insisting, without offering any evidence, that the current sanctions regime "has failed to deter Russia from meddling" in the coming mid-term elections. He demanded "crushing sanctions" until "Putin stops meddling", adding that this should continue until Putin ends cyber attacks, "removes Russia from Ukraine, and ceases efforts to create chaos in Syria"!
Helga Zepp LaRouche, the chairman of the Schiller Institute, has pointed out that this hysteria is not just about Russia, but represents opposition to Trump's efforts to break with the whole post-cold war order shaped by the neocons. Fearful of the emergence of a new multilateral order, explicit in the global momentum in support of China's Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI), the neocons are desperate to keep Trump from joining this New Paradigm, to defend their unilateral order based on British imperial geopolitics and City of London financial control, enforced by U.S. military muscle. Trump's desire to collaborate with China, Russia and others, as seen in the Singapore summit with North Korea's Kim, and in Helsinki, represents an existential threat to Trans-Atlantic unilateralism.
However, as the battle between Trump and a leading force in Republican "conservative" networks, the Koch brothers, Charles and David and their Americans for Prosperity funding operation, has again become public, it is evident that the opposition among Republicans to Trump goes beyond his foreign policy.
NEOCONS AND NEO-LIBS UNITE AGAINST TRUMP
The Trump-Koch brothers feud predates the 2016 election. In 2015, the Kochs invited Republican hopefuls to a conference, to help donors decide who to fund in 2016. Trump opponents Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were invited, but Trump was not. In response, he tweeted "good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?"
In all, the Koch brothers spent close to $900 million in the 2016 campaign, including significant outlays to Trump opponents in the Republican presidential race, and to Republican Congressional candidates. They refused to back Trump during the campaign. At a donor conference on January 30, 2017, just after Trump's inauguration, Charles Koch echoed the rallying cry of Clinton Democrats when he said, "We have a tremendous danger because we can go the authoritarian route" under Trump.
The Koch brothers are at the center of Republican Congressional opposition to the economic agenda that Trump campaigned for, which explains in part why his pledge to restore Glass Steagall -- which he insisted be included in the Republican Party Platform -- and fund a revitalization of American infrastructure, have not happened. The brothers liberally fund neo-liberal opponents of the American economic system. They are rabid supporters of the free trade agenda, typified by NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump has opposed; they favor outsourcing of industry, rather than a policy to revive American manufacturing; they oppose government funding for infrastructure, favoring instead Public-Private Partnerships; they oppose Trump on immigration, as they favor bringing in immigrants to perform cheap labor; they are committed to privatizing Social Security, to bring retirement funds into private investment swindles typified by those favored by their well-funded think tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute (they have contributed more than $100 million to such neo-liberal think tanks); and they support all efforts to impose austerity on government spending, to reduce "big government."
During the 2016 campaign, Trump blistered large Republican donors, such as the Kochs, calling them "highly sophisticated killers" whose donations give them control over legislators. He denounced Super Pacs, such as Americans for Prosperity, as "corrupt." His comments at his victory party after the election generated deep alarm from the donor class, when he promised to "rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools and hospitals."
Koch puppets in Congress include House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose "Team Ryan" received $500,000 from the Kochs, and free traders such as anti-Trump Republican Senators Jeff Flake, Patrick Toomey and Bob Corker, who work with Democrats such as Charles Schumer to undermine Trump. Among their favorites are Republican Senator Ben Sasse, a frequent Trump critic who is threatening to run against him in 2020, and neocon Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who often counters Trump's statements on foreign policy matters, and convinced the Kochs to support fellow South Carolinian Lindsey Graham. Another favored politician is Mike Pence, who received $200,000 from them for his 2012 campaign for Governor of Indiana.
When Charles Koch announced last week that he would be willing to back Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans to stop Trump, pledging to spend between $300 and $400 million to elect a neo-liberal Congress, the battle line for 2018 was drawn. If the Democrats could take back the majority of the House in 2018, and persuade some Republicans to join them, impeachment of Trump becomes a possibility. In response to Koch's announcement, the President tweeted on July 31 that the Koch brothers are a "total joke in real Republican circles," adding "I never sought their support because I don't need their money or their bad ideas."
For Trump to succeed in his efforts to reshape both strategic and financial policy, he must be more aggressive in countering the "bad ideas" of the Koch brothers and their ilk. Openly campaigning for Lyndon LaRouche's Four Laws would provide him with the American System agenda which he has spoken about favorably. Given that his election victory in 2016 was driven by his opposition to the war policy of Clinton and the neocons, and his support for restoring the American system, to revive American manufacture and provide well-paid jobs to underemployed and underpaid American employees, this strategy would not just defeat his opponents, but bring the United States into full cooperation with the New Paradigm. This would send the Koch brothers to the proverbial "dust-bin of history."