We never really know what goes on behind closed doors in Washington, D.C. We can get hints of this from sources like the MSM and social media, but we can be sure that some of the most important conversations are very private and that seldom changes. In addition, when private conversations are leaked, it is always important to look at who is leaking the information and why. We can also apply the speed test, since the time of things sometimes tells us a lot.

I was once scheduled to speak at a conference, following Admiral Buzz Zumwalt. As a result, we spent about an hour in the green room with no one else around. He was appointed Chief of Naval Operations by Richard Nixon in May of 1970. He later ran for the U.S. Senate, as a Democrat, from Virginia, where he was defeated by Harry F. Byrd, Jr.

He told me several personal stories, about politicians in both parties, and the Vietnam War that I found beyond fascinating. In some cases, it became obvious that some things that seemed obvious to me were very different than what actually happened, at least according to his version of events..

Another incident, somewhat embarrassing for me, happened in Hamilton, Bermuda. The insurance company I managed had its headquarters in Bermuda, so I was invited to a private social event at the home of the president of one of the largest banks in Bermuda. He had invited another guest, an English gentleman, who had obviously been drinking, a lot. This man proceeded to tell me he had been the head of British Intelligence during World War II. He talked about inventing explosive coal that his operatives would drop into railroad tender cars, from bridges. When that “lump of coal” reached the engine, it would explode. He even talked about personally catching Joe Kennedy, JFK’s dad, sending British military secrets to Germany in the U.S. diplomatic pouch. Joe Kennedy had been Ambassador to the Court of St James at the time. This guy claimed he had flown personally to Washington, D.C., and confronted FDR with the evidence. FDR then recalled Joe Kennedy from his post in Great Britain. I mentioned what this guy said, to another guest and asked if this was possibly true. He said: “Bill sometimes talks too much when he has been drinking.” I stupidly assumed this meant he was making things up. Actually, he was talking too much, but he was also telling the truth.

I didn’t realize my error until on a business trip to New York City in February of 1989. I picked up a New York Times. There was an article in there about the death of Sir William Stephenson, former head of the British Intelligence along with a picture of the man I had met in Bermuda.

William Stephenson, British Spy Known as Intrepid, Is Dead at 93 – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

They even made a movie about him called “A Man Called Intrepid”.

I was absolutely shocked to learn that everything he told me was true. I was just too stupid, at the time, to even consider the possibility that he was the genuine article. I still consider this as a missed opportunity.

While we seldom get a chance to learn about truly private conversations, we can often observe the results of those events. One important clue is how quickly things can change. It is well documented that  FDR recalled Joe Kennedy as Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Most people just didn’t know why, and FDR certainly wasn’t willing to explain this to anyone. At the time Joe Kennedy was planning on running for President. After his “meeting” with FDR, he announced that FDR was probably the best President in U.S. history.

There have now been two special counsels appointed by Merrick Garland, one investigating Trump and one investigating Biden. This has never happened before. The special counsel investigating Trump could be expected to release his report either during the primary elections or shortly after Trump won the nomination. It wouldn’t be released sooner than that, because the “ongoing” investigation rule is great at preventing anyone else from getting any information.

But the timing of the special counsel report on Biden is more interesting. The events resulting in this appointment have been known for months, but Garland only acted after learning that McCarthy would be the Speaker of the House and after intense pressure from the Freedom Caucus, agreed to investigate improper politicization of the DOJ and other government agencies.  That is unlikely to be a coincidence. It may also be a sign that the Democratic establishment is so done with Joe Biden. It seems very unlikely that, after this, he will be able to win the nomination for re-election and I wouldn’t be surprised if he “decides” it is time to hang up his robes and run out the clock on this his one, and only, term. If he conveniently decides to leave gracefully, the special counsel report will probably be released in November or December 2024, after it no longer matters. But, if he foolishly tries to fight the current and run for re-election, this may move much faster.

The point being that the speed at which either of these investigations moves will provide a strong hint regarding what is going on behind closed doors. At a minimum, this will be interesting to watch.