Palace politics? Or an unhappy accident?
Listen To This Story
Matt Taibbi used to be in much greater favor with Democratic Party supporters than he is right now. And he was in great favor for more than a few reasons. The section reprinted below, taken from his podcast America This Week, is an example of one of those reasons.
Do you wonder why the news about the Biden classified files is coming out at all? Why isn’t it buried along with all the other news that’s buried as well? This problem didn’t have to occur; it was kept secret for months by everyone who knew about it. Until, that is, a “source familiar with the matter” leaked the information to CNN.
Why did that happen? What made that source go public?
Side Note: Covid Is Far from Toothless
As an example of completely buried news, consider this article from the respected science publication Nature: “Transcriptional reprogramming from innate immune functions to a pro-thrombotic signature by monocytes in COVID-19.” (See also here, from PubMed in 2021.)
I know that’s doctorese, but here’s how a doctor translated the title for us: “Our cell’s genes are rewired in MILD COVID.” And not in a good way; thrombosis means blood clots, usually in blood vessels.
This should be a major health alert — COVID-19’s not over. Yet not one word about this from the only media that counts, the public-opinion creators at CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
What’s the Story Behind the Story?
But back to Taibbi. Here’s his theory — and he admits it’s just a theory — about why Joe Biden is bedeviled lately by near-continuous news of his own classified files snafu. The following is taken from the published transcript (subscriber only) of Taibbi’s January 13 podcast. The podcast format is a conversation between Matt and the writer Walter Kirn. (Emphasis mine.)
Matt: We should move on because there’s another ridiculously interesting story that broke this week. The leaking of the story that Joe Biden’s got classified documents in his Corvette, which is in a locked garage. There are so many angles to the story that are unlikely but also probably pretty transparent that it almost boggles the mind that this story is out there. What’s your interpretation?
Walter: Well, I want you to count the ways in which it seems unlikely first, because I’ll add to the list.
Matt: So, okay. We just went through a nearly identical story, which you and I mistakenly thought was going to be the biggest story in the world for a long time, which was the raid on Mar-a-Lago in the home of Donald Trump, because he was keeping classified records at his house. And we were told everything, from these were nuclear secrets that were going to be sold to the Russians or whatever to God knows what else, sources and methods, they brought out every conceivable law enforcement cliche to describe the nefarious intent in that story. But now we have a basically identical story about classified records that Joe Biden has apparently stored incorrectly for six years. And the interesting part isn’t even the story, it’s where does it come from?
And the first time I saw it was in a CNN story, which quoted the familiar source familiar with the matter, who explained that the US attorney in Chicago, John Lausch, has been briefing Merrick Garland. So you can read into that what you want, but it sure looks like the Democratic Party is pulling a Frank Pentangeli on Joe Biden, and essentially saying, dude, the clock is run out on your presidency. You’re out. Somebody else is going to run. And you might want to do the honorable thing. And if you don’t, this is going to get worse. That was my read on this. And who this came from seems pretty clear to me. But obviously we can’t really talk about that too much because it’s not reported. So I don’t know.
Note: “If you don’t, this is going to get worse,” and “who this came from seems pretty clear to me.”
That podcast went out on January 13, and things have indeed gotten worse for Biden. He’s had two more turns in the news cycle barrel, two more revelations of even more documents found.
Biden has completely lost his advantage against Trump on this issue, should they both be nominated in 2024. Are party leaders who count, the donors and the major players in the ecosystem, actually encouraging him to bow out gracefully? Or is this just more speculation?
I leave that as an exercise for the reader. My mind’s not yet made up.
Who’s the New Boss? Same as the Old Boss?
As to the hint Taibbi dropped above — “And who this came from seems pretty clear to me” — he hints even more directly at who is responsible later in the same episode:
Matt: But what’s that all about? It can only be a couple of things.
Walter: There’s a boss above Joe Biden, apparently, because they seem always to do the bidding of some boss. There must be a new one.
Matt: Right. And I wonder who a boss above Joe Biden who lives in the Chicago area might be, I mean if we’re being speculative about the whole thing.
Walter: Isn’t that interesting that Chicago should be the seat of American justice suddenly? The place where crusading prosecutors come from?
Matt: Right. And who are informing Merrick Garland about the affairs of Joe Biden and about documents that are in a Corvette in a garage, and at the University of Pennsylvania. That seems a little odd to me, but whatever. It seems to me, that this is a scene from a mafia movie. They’re telling the president that if we want to make something of this, we can and you should do the right thing. You should step aside and let somebody else carry the ball in 2024. Why do they need to do that? I’m not sure.
Walter: I mean could they not have sent this message privately, Matt? I mean, why would they damage their brand and their party in general by sending this message publicly?
Matt: My guess is that his inner circle is not going along with the plan. There have been a number of stories that have felt like shots fired across the bow. These speculative tales in The Washington Post. Like, who’s going to be the better replacement for Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, or Kamala Harris, these quote-unquote reader stories. If you know how Washington works, it’s somebody from some office who calls you and says, “Hey there’s this thing that a whole bunch of us are talking about, and we’d love it if you wrote a piece” and you’re given the number of maybe one or two people who might go on the record, and you create a story out of it.
And there were a bunch of them about who might be a better choice than Joe Biden in 2024. My only guess is that the Biden camp wasn’t responsive to that, and this is happening. I guess it could all be on the up and up, and they just discovered that these documents have been mishandled for six years. And that had to be relayed to Merrick Garland who suddenly had to go public with it. I mean, I suppose that’s in the realm of possibility.
Let’s see, who in Chicago might be in a stronger party position than Joe Biden, perhaps the strongest party position of them all? The same person who put him where he is?
If so, I wouldn’t put it past that unnamed soul to undo what he masterfully once did, and with the same deft hidden hand.
Krystal and Saagar’s discussion in the issue is below. Enjoy.
Published with the permission of Thomas Neuburger. A version of this piece originally appeared in his newsletter, God’s Spies.