Internal Trump resistance: 'We see ourselves as rebels'

Earlier today Allahpundit wrote about a report from Axios in which an unnamed senior official said, “I hope he [Trump] knows — maybe he does? — that there are dozens and dozens of us.” Thursday evening the Daily Beast published another piece quoting administration sources who say they are celebrating now that the secret is out:

At the Department of Justice—which has been eyed suspiciously by the White House for nearly two years as a source of insubordination—the atmosphere was tense Thursday morning. Two officials inside the department said they’ve been passively resisting the president since he took office in 2017. “We see ourselves as rebels,” one official said laughing, adding that the op-ed marked a perfect time to celebrate.

“We even went around fist-bumping each other,” another official said.

But a third, who feels similarly about Trump, sounded darker notes about where Trump’s ire over public embarrassment could lead.

“It could motivate Trump to pursue the Erdogan-style purge of the bureaucracy that he hasn’t pursued yet,” said a Justice Department trial attorney. “Some of the Trump-appointed U.S. attorneys are serious people committed to law enforcement. What if Trump were to replace them with loyalist hacks from the campaign, like Boris Epshteyn? We’d like to think that the Senate wouldn’t allow it, but we can’t be sure.”

So that’s at least three more members of the administration who consider themselves part of the resistance. Actually, it’s probably not that surprising these folks exist at DOJ given the attacks the White House has leveled against various people at DOJ (though some of those targets, like Andrew McCabe, clearly deserved it).

What’s not clear from this piece is the same thing that’s not clear from the NY Times op-ed: How senior are these officials? Isn’t anyone who works at DOJ technically an official? Maybe these are junior holdovers from the Obama years, i.e. the kind of deep state resistance we saw hints of 18 months ago.

Over at our sister-site Townhall, Phelim McAleer pointed out today that the NY Times has a history of exaggerating the status of anonymous sources to promote their favored narratives:

In a lengthy anti-fracking article they claimed that senior industry experts and insiders believed the industry to be little more than a “Ponzi scheme” … “set up for failure”…

According to the New York Times, one “energy analyst” wrote, “Am I just totally crazy, or does it seem like everyone and their mothers are endorsing shale gas without getting a really good understanding of the economics at the business level?”

Another “federal analyst” said in an industry email, “It seems that science is pointing in one direction and industry PR is pointing in another.”

Well unfortunately for the New York Times, the emails were from the Energy Information Agency – a government organization – so this meant Senate investigators were able to find the original emails and work out the identity of all these different senior experts. It turns out the federal analyst, the energy analyst and the officer turned out to be the same person who was actually an intern when he wrote the first email and in an entry level position when he wrote the other comments. Yes, that’s right, the “Paper of Record” misrepresented an intern/junior employee as a senior official to push an agenda.

I’m beginning to wonder if this isn’t the game the NY Times is playing here. Making a relatively unknown administration official’s comments anonymous makes them more powerful than they would otherwise be. As one former senior Trump administration official told the Daily Beast, “Everybody in this city is a senior official to something if it gets them on television, or published, or a job somewhere else.”