Early List of the Usual Suspects – MSNBC

The cruel captain was enraged at his disloyal crew, and he couldn’t control his anger any longer.

All right! Who did it? Who did it? You are going to stand sweating at those battle stations until someone confesses! It’s an insult to the honor of this ship!

No, this wasn’t a snippet from one of Donald Trump’s recent rages at his West Wing crew as he learned of the anonymous New York Times Op-Ed piece penned by another of his trusted and appointed crew.

But it could have been.

Who did it? Who did it?

There is no doubt that working for this captain in the besieged battle station called the White House is tough work, and all hands are expected to be on deck as Captain Donald continues to hunt for the disloyal member(s) of the crew.

How ironic that the memory we have of the rust-bucket USS Reluctant and its raging bathrobe-adorned captain, as memorialized in the classic film Mister Roberts, appears to be a caricature of the president, who has been known to tweet in his bathrobe.

James Cagney, Mister Roberts (1955)

The skipper of the Reluctant, played by James Cagney, was obsessed with finding out who threw his prized palm tree overboard. In a way, we are also reminded of another US Navy skipper, Captain Queeg, who was obsessed with finding out about some missing strawberries and proceeded to conduct his own investigation.

No matter. When it comes to competently navigate the ship of state, Donald Trump is no James Cagney. Or Humphrey Bogart.

But skilled navigation through troubled waters is crucial in these perilous times. California burns, our electoral systems remain vulnerable to even more Russian hacking with less than 60 days before the midterms, and an opioid crisis engulfs the country. Moreover, relations with key allies are strained, and a trade war continues to grow.

Yet these situations are mere nuisances to a captain skilled in areas other than navigation, like deflection and changing the subject. Instead, Captain Trump is off on his own which hunt, as he tries to determine which member of his inner circle authored the piece that painted a picture of a crew in quiet revolt, whispering about mutiny in the form of the 25th Amendment.

The captain has his solution to this supposed mutiny. Round up the usual suspects.

We are now seeing the country immersed in speculation about who wrote the now-famous Op-Ed, which if anything is a cry to the country for help, made because a complicit Congress has done nothing but enable – even encourage – the raging, mad captain.  But if our own Dear Leader seems to be on better terms with dictators like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un rather than Theresa May, Justin Trudeau, Angela Merkel, and Emmanuel Macron, then an anonymous Op-Ed takes on a different form.

But there is another tweet on the subject that is the perfect exhibit for the presence of an authoritarian mind. We offer apologies to another, ever polite captain, Louis Renault, who in another era also issued orders for rounding up the usual suspects.

Ever ready to play the role of a sycophant, Mitch McConnell’s Bluegrass colleague suggested an ideal way to deal with the usual suspects:

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, an ally of Mr. Trump’s, recommended that the president force members of his administration to take polygraph examinations, and there was at least briefly some discussion of that among advisers to the president. Another option mentioned by people close to Mr. Trump was asking senior officials to sign sworn affidavits that could be used in court if necessary. One outside adviser said the White House had a list of about 12 suspects.

Yes, at nearly the speed of light, we are down to 12 usual suspects. We’ll await a new photo of Donald’s Dirty Dozen to replace the original one shown at the beginning of this story.

In the meantime, as his own firestorm spreads on the banks of that swamp adjoining the Potomac, Captain Trump sits in his bathrobe, feverishly tweeting in the early morning hours, raging about a traitorous crew.

If only the guilty party could somehow send the captain of that rust-bucket a miniature palm tree to provide him some shade from the glaring sunlight of investigations. Better yet, perhaps some chilled strawberries might help him relieve his parched throat and jangled nerves as the turrets from the USS Mueller rotate to engage a foundering but still dangerous ship commanded by someone in a bathrobe.

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