Reminder from "Jeopardy": Some people aren't paying attention to Russiagate

Watching this, I’m torn between two reactions.

Reaction one is perfectly expressed by Logan Dobson: “if you needed another reminder of how thick the DC bubble is, three *JEOPARDY CONTESTANTS*, competing in America’s foremost trivia contest, couldn’t come up with Michael Flynn’s name.” Indeed. These people are on television vying for cash prizes because they’ve demonstrated an unusual mastery of arcane facts, yet one of the showcase convictions in Bob Mueller’s Russiagate investigation is too arcane even for them. Any one of the three could probably rattle off the Latin names of every type of tomato but ask them about the probe that’s supposedly going to lead to Trump’s impeachment and they’re deer in the headlights. This is the proof that POTUS is politically untouchable. And CNN is worried about it!

Reaction two: These people are imbeciles. You could forgive them if they had completely blanked or if they had said “McMaster” or “Bolton” but, asked to name a Trump NSA, the best they could do was John Kelly and … Seb Gorka. National security advisor isn’t an obscure post to anyone with a passing interest in how the federal government operates. Whatever their proficiency with tomatoes, each has a glaring hole in their knowledge of top government officials that even casual blog readers don’t. Whiffing on the Flynn question was probably just a freak thing, a matter of pure chance that the show would pit three people with the same blind spot in their knowledge base against each other and then cough up a question targeting that precise blind spot. It says nothing about public interest in Russiagate!

Maybe it’s both? The finer and even not-so-fine points of Russiagate are lost on much of the public *and* the comparative dimwittedness of modern “Jeopardy” champions vis-a-vis champions of years past is yet another sign of American decline.

While we’re on the subject, an interesting new development for the public to ignore:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is tapping additional Justice Department resources for help with new legal battles as his year-old investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 election continues to expand.

As Mueller pursues his probe, he’s making more use of career prosecutors from the offices of U.S. attorneys and from Justice Department headquarters, as well as FBI agents — a sign that he may be laying the groundwork to hand off parts of his investigation eventually, several current and former U.S. officials said.

Bloomberg’s read on that is that it’s a basic resource problem. The Manafort trial is coming up, the investigation has gradually expanded over time, but the politics of Russiagate are such that it’s unthinkable that Mueller would be given a bigger budget and allowed to hire new staff. There are too many balls in the air to comfortably juggle now; he’s got to flip some to the DOJ. Reading it, though, I thought back to the reports last year that he had begun quietly coordinating with the New York attorney general just in case Trump either shut down the federal Russiagate probe or started handing out federal pardons to the principals. Maybe he’s following a similar strategy as he gets closer to issuing his verdict on obstruction of justice. If he accuses Trump of a crime, POTUS might fire him and hope/expect that that would paralyze the investigation. But he can’t fire the entire Justice Department. The more career prosecutors are involved in the probe, the better equipped the DOJ will be to pick up where Mueller left off if he ends up getting canned. Mueller may be getting his ducks in a row, just in case.

David Strom 7:01 PM on September 24, 2022