Donald Trump stands accused of “treason” after his outrageous summit with Vladimir Putin. Those startling charges are no longer coming from the political fringes, but from mainstream politicians, officials, and the press. Despite the gravity of the situation, craven Republican leaders still refuse to act. Is the only option to hope for the best in the November congressional elections, while leaving a treasonous leader in charge of the world’s most powerful nation?
There is another path, a harrowing one, but one that might ultimately be the only way out for America. I describe it in my novel “Deep Strike” –the tale of a corrupt, dysfunctional American president, Walter Stokes, elected with the help of Russian hacking. The book was published a year ago, but it could never be more relevant.
The following excerpts come towards the end, after American president Stokes and Russian President Kozlov have a financial falling out. Their feud erupts into a Twitter storm, with Stokes now threatening “Klepto Kozlov” with all-out war:
--“KleptoKozlov don’t forget who is world’s strongest military power. Don’t screw with us . USA.USA!@realStokes”
In Corridor Nine of the E Ring of the Pentagon, in the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army colonel Arnold Lawson, tasked with monitoring social media, forwarded the latest flurry of presidential tweets to Admiral Len Coop, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
“Shit,” said Coop. He shot off a message to the other four Chiefs: “Looks like what we were concerned about is actually happening. Meet in The Tank in five minutes.”
In a frenzied daze, Stokes hit a key to begin another Tweet. Nothing happened. He pounded the key again. Still nothing. A notice came up: “Your Twitter account is no longer active. Contact Twitter.com/admin.”
“BREAKING NEWS” alert, suddenly appeared on CNN. It was CNN Pentagon correspondent Jim Dreyfuss. “Wolf, I’ve just been informed that all commanders of U.S. nuclear forces have been instructed by Admiral Len Coop, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to execute no orders from the president—unless those orders are first confirmed by the chairman himself. We are…”
The reporter paused for a moment to listen to a message in his earpiece. “Excuse me Wolf, but things are breaking real fast here. “The Chairman has also just ordered all U.S. military units on full alert. No troop movements to occur without specific authorization of the Chairman. General officers known to be sympathetic to Stokes are being relieved of their commands. Chairman Coop has also apparently been in touch with his Russian counterparts to ensure that calm is maintained on both sides. That’s all at this point, Wolf, But obviously this is a very fast moving situation.”
[Former CIA agent, Steve Penn, who is the hero of our story, then puts in a call to Dave Gurd, a Republican senator, who for months had been trying to get his colleagues to move against President Stokes.]
“Jesus,” said Steve, “It sounds like a military coup.”
“At least a partial one,” said Gurd. “I just spoke with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He put in a conference call to me and the other leadership. Gave us an ultimatum. Either we act and get rid of Stokes, and at least preserve the façade of civilian government---or the military will do it themselves.”
“So what’s stopping you?” said Steve.
“Most of the leadership is ready to act,” said Gurd. “But a few have been holding out. The White House is threatening to release some pretty strong stuff the Russians hacked from the Republican National Committee prior to the elections.”
“Blackmail--this late in the game?”
The Senator paused. “But it’s not going to work—not any longer. In any case, no turning back. Gotta go. I’m meeting with the leadership in a couple of minutes.”
[Meanwhile Steve hears that in Moscow, there are also reports of military on the move]
“The reports are still very sketchy, but it looks like Kozlov is out. Also some kind of military coup.”
“What happened to Kozlov?” said Steve.
“No one knows. There’s talk of shooting in parts of Moscow. Everything still very vague.”
A small number of Russian commanders---no one knew how many— had refused to go along with the army leaders. There was still said to be fighting in some areas of Moscow and elsewhere in Russia. There was also a rumor that President Kozlov was dead.
[Meanwhile, in the U.S. the crisis mounts.]
“It looks as if the civilian politicians have chosen the route of Impeachment,” said an exhausted Jane Barrett, the BBC’s Washington Correspondent. “The house is planning to have a trial in the morning. If the majority votes to impeach President Stokes, then he will immediately be put on trial in the Senate. If two thirds of the senators find him guilty, he’s out.”
‘What’s he going to be charged with?” said James Steele, the BBC Anchorman.
“No one knows yet,” Jane Barrett raised her eyebrows and shrugged. “According to the U.S. Constitution, a president can only be impeached for “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors” but that can mean just about anything,” she said.
“But bottom line,” said the BBC correspondent, “The American military leaders have laid it on the line. They’ve also warned the civilian leaders they want the entire procedure to be carried out in just one day.”
“Doesn’t sound very realistic,” said the anchorman,
“Maybe not, but the word from the Joint Chiefs is it’s not just the unemployed coal miners in Pennsylvania who are fed up with what has been going on in Washington.”
“Do you have any further information on President Stokes?” asked Steele. “Will he actually try to defend himself against impeachment?”
“No one seems to know at this point,” said Barrett. “In fact, one rumor making the rounds is that the president has suffered a severe mental breakdown.”
Steele gave a tight smile. “That would be interesting news to those who claimed all along that Stokes was borderline psychotic.”
[As this is going on, CIA agent Steve Penn is targeted by a car bomb attack carried out by an operative of a secret intelligence unit established by Stokes at the beginning of his mandate. Penn survives, and the crisis reaches its climax in Washington.]
“CNN was broadcasting from the U.S. Congress, where the House was just beginning to debate impeachment proceedings. White House Correspondent Ira Rosen was reporting to anchorman Wolf Blitzer. “Wolf, we’ve just heard that President Stokes is refusing to defend himself before congress. He says the charges are all lies and fake news. He says he wants to take his case directly to the nation. So far, however, the president has been blocked from direct access to any media, including Facebook and Twitter. The word we have from the Pentagon is that restriction is going to continue, at least until Impeachment has been voted by the Senate—probably by this evening.”
“Thanks Ira,” said Blitzer, “This is probably the most perilous moment in U.S. political history---probably since the Civil War. In the end, everything is going to depend on whoever is elected to take Stokes’ place. That is, assuming it is possible to organize new elections. According to latest polls, the number of Americans supporting President Stokes has plummeted to only 21%. But that still represents tens of millions of people--a lot of them dead set against this congressional action. Don’t forget there are also tens of millions of guns in this country. There have already been violent protests in a number of American cities, and unrest is growing. It’s not at all clear what we’re heading into.”
On the 17th of July, 2018, it certainly isn’t.
"Deep Strike" is available on Amazon and Kindle.