If I were a senior executive at Langley (CIA) or in the Hoover Building (FBI), I would not only be wondering how to keep the removal momentum going, but I would also be starting to think about how the endgame has to be structured to keep a “liberated” Trump from doing even worse damage after he is no longer in the White House. Its going to be a problem however and whenever he finally leaves.
If we have seen anything in the last four months, it is that even a Trump with a rational national security staff around him all the time, and a secret service that can keep him away from most people, can do immense damage to our national security interests. (“I never said Israel.”)
Take those, and the rest of the cocoon away, and literally anything can happen. Here are three general possible approaches.
Approach One – Ongoing Cocooning: Make sure that the end game plays out so that Trump remains under cocooned. The only sure ways to do that are to imprison him, or put him in a mental institution. There are likely already grounds for either.
Approach Two – Threatened Cocooning: Create massive incentives to ongoing compliance. I.e. have him so that he understands that approach one is triggered if he crosses certain lines. I do not think that is likely to be reliable.
Approach Three – Information deprivation: Make sure, starting now, that he really does not know anything that can do any harm. For all we know, his briefings may well already be carefully structured with this in mind. Indeed, after this trip, I am not sure it is not professional malpractice to tell him anything that is both true and secret.
The benefits of approach one (ongoing cocooning) accrue to many beyond the intelligence community, so that may well be the one chosen path, if only because it will be easier to build a behind the scenes consensus for the approach.
But following the approach of “stifle and isolate,” maybe it is safer to combine one (cocooning) and three (information deprivation). The advantage of number three is that the public and the base need never learn of it.
These are such unusual times, that you do not have to be a rabid conspiracy theorist to be thinking along these lines. I can imagine that many would see it as their duty.