Trump Is Descending Into Full-Scale Paranoia

Brian Cahn/ZUMA

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One of the classic maneuvers in the intelligence business is to paralyze your enemy by making them think that moles are everywhere. Here in the US, for example, James Jesus Angleton became convinced during the Cold War that the Soviet Union had massively infiltrated the CIA and became so paranoid that he did considerable damage to the CIA with his endless hunts for Soviet spies that didn’t exist.

But it doesn’t just happen in intelligence agencies. It can happen anywhere:

President Trump has instructed his White House to identify and force out officials across his administration who are not seen as sufficiently loyal….Johnny McEntee, Trump’s former personal aide who now leads the effort as director of presidential personnel, has begun combing through various agencies with a mandate from the president to oust or sideline political appointees who have not proved their loyalty, according to several administration officials and others familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

….McEntee spent part of this week asking officials in various Cabinet agencies to provide names of political appointees working in government who are not fully supportive of Trump’s presidency, according to administration officials.

….Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior adviser in the White House, has played a central in the push, concentrating more power in the West Wing and working to combat leaks, officials said.

Fabulous. I hope Trump becomes so paranoid that he fires every semi-competent official working for him, thus becoming even less able to execute any of his nutball plans. It’s true that there’s danger in having a bunch of inept toadies running the executive branch, but in this case it’s probably a blessing overall.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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