Regarding the first issue, I am open to the possibility that there were actually two Temple cleansings during Jesus' ministry. The differences between John's account and the Synoptics at least allow for the possibility that there were two cleansings. Furthermore, several scholars note that John 1-5 contains traditions that are unique to the FG, suggesting that the Evangelist is narrating a period of Jesus' ministry that is unrecorded in the Synoptics. I know that this is the minority position. Regardless, the Evangelist seems to portray a Jesus that is motivated by different factors (note the absence of an appeal to Isa 56:7). This could also allow for the possibility that there two cleansings.
Regarding the second issue (and more important in my opinion), I am open to Jesus expressing opposition to the priestly class (the corruption of the Temple authorities is well documented by C. Evans and R. Bauckham). I am ALSO open to Jesus' act being understood as symbolic of the temple's destruction and replacement (by him). This latter point is based on the presence of a possible allusion to Zech 14:21 in John 2:16b, Jesus' response in 2:19, and the larger 'replacement' theme in the FG.
In my view, the distinction between Jesus' act as a "cleansing/purification" (eg. Evans) or a "symbol of the Temple's destruction" (Sanders) is an unwarranted disjunction.
Any thoughts . . .