CBC News / YouTube Donald Trump talks possible impeachment Michael...
CBC News / YouTube

Things are changing. Gradually, perspectives are adjusting. Not long ago I wrote that those of us who oppose the Donald Trump administration should not expect or depend on special counsel Robert Mueller to bring his reign to its ultimate ugly, ignoble, messy end.

Now even Trump himself has begun to realize that he may be impeached if Democrats take the House in November, and there might be several reasons for it beyond the Mueller investigation. Trump still thinks that because the Senate will never conjure the 67 votes required for ultimate removal from office that any impeachment effort will be fruitless and only serve to provide him the ability to play the victim in order to be re-elected in 2020. The real question: Will his fragile-as-an-eggshell ego be able to handle the crushing blow of being impeached?

He has repeated to folks that, if the Democrats impeach him, it would be a victory, politically, because it would be a complete overreach and he could exploit it and run against it in 2020,” said one source who has discussed the midterms with the president.

However, that scenario could drive Trump crazy.

“This president is not interested in being an impeached president,” the source told Axios. “His ego would not tolerate such a thing.”

Then again, his reliance on a Republican-controlled Senate to protect him just might be misplaced, since the second “unthinkable” thing just might be occurring.

Republicans have grown increasingly worried about losing control of the Senate, as President Trump’s approval rating tumbles and Democrats gain steam in key battleground races.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday sounded some of the most doubtful notes of Trump’s presidency that Republicans will keep the upper chamber of Congress, telling reporters, “I hope when the smoke clears, we’ll still have a majority.”

His comments came as Republican strategists and officials fretted over a fresh round of private polling on the Senate races, while public polls registered further erosion in Americans’ approval of Trump. “Shipwreck” was how one leading strategist described the situation, adding an expletive to underscore the severity of the party’s problems.

If both the House and the Senate become controlled by Democrats, that will allow both chambersof Congress to do some serious investigations of the Trump White House. Considering the fact that this administration’s dysfunction and incompetence have already been responsible for almost 3,000 American deaths in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria (a fact which Trump refuses to accept or take responsibility for) is likely to cause him more problems than anything Mueller may find related to Russia and the election.

When almost 3,000 people were killed during the original 9/11 attacks, America demanded answers. We convened a joint congressional commission to analyze the failures that led to that tragic attack and produced a report on it. We also decided to go to war not only against the nation which had harbored the attackers as they put their plans together, but also a second country that had nothing to do with the attack at all.

Blatant forgeries and lies generated by bribery and torture were used to rationalize and justify the invasion of a nation that was not involved, resulting in thousands of U.S. military and countless more foreign civilian casualties. We argued for years over whether that sad event was merely a “mistake” driven by blind confirmation bias, or part of a deliberate agenda of deception to get “payback” on Saddam Hussein for his attempted assassination of George H. W. Bush years earlier.

And yet in the case of Hurricane Maria, Trump can’t even bring himself to admit or understand what actually happened, instead claiming it’s all a “plot” by Democrats.

3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000…”

“This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico,” he wrote. “If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!”

This is a symptom of a much larger problem. Trump is incapable of recognizing reality.

When Ambassador Joe Wilson came forward to counter the Bush narrative over the Yellowcake forgeries, they responded by trying to undermine his credibility and revealing that his wife was a CiA employee. Since she also happened to be an undercover operative, there was a special counsel who ultimately convicted Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, for obstruction after he essentially threw himself on the tracks to protect his boss.

They thought they were right about Saddam and were willing to destroy the career, assets, sources, and methods of the CIA’s anti-WMD efforts in the process.

No one at the time believed that they didn’t consciously realize what they had done. No one believed that Cheney and Bush didn’t have a solid grasp on what was real and what wasn’t. People could barely bring themselves to say that what Bush or Cheney said on a regular basis were outright lies. That was going too far,  and it was too much. It couldn’t be said. Even John Kerry spent his entire campaign merely saying that Bush had “misled” the public.

But with Trump, that isn’t the case. It’s now fairly common to not only say that Trump regularly lies, but further, that he’s deranged because he doesn’t even know that what he’s saying are lies.

During a discussion of Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” Klein said that it’s time to stop beating around the bush when it comes to discussing how dangerous the president’s mental health is to the American republic.

“We have a national crisis right now, and it is very serious, and we have to focus on that,” he said.

Klein went on to praise the anonymous Trump administration official who wrote the infamous New York Times editorial denouncing his own boss.

“It is yet another source that says that we are dealing with a very fundamentally deranged person who is leading our country right now,” Klein said. “And thank God there are people, sane people who are surrounding him, who might limit the damage, because the legal recourses here move very, very slowly.”

Trump is in a much different place than Bush was, and according to his own former employees, he’s been there for a long time—only now, he’s getting much worse.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/0OekrIpkX4U

“He may be much worse than he was when I worked for him,” former Trump Organization executive Barbara Res told MSNBC’s Ari Melber. “We were able to control him and we had a good crew.”

Melber asked Res if Trump is “less controllable today” than he was when she knew him and she said he likely is.

In a column published earlier in the day by the New York Daily News, Res revealed a number of jarring historical anecdotes about Trump, including his demand that architects remove braille writing from the elevators in Trump Tower.

In those days, the former executive wrote, there were still people who were willing to stand up to him publicly — unlike the anonymous staffers who spoke to veteran journalist Bob Woodward for his new book or the senior official who penned an op-ed for the New York Times last week.

Res correctly points out that Trump gets away with what he does because other Republicans are terrified of him. More accurately, they are terrified of his rabid base, who are frankly just as deluded as he is and totally buy in to his “victim” mentality when it comes to the Democrats or the media.

While a plurality – 46% — agree “most news outlets try their best to produce honest reporting”, there are very stark splits by the partisan identification of the respondent with most Democrats (68%) generally believing in the good intent of journalists, but comparatively few Republicans (29%). And when we ask questions with specific partisan cues, the political split is very wide. For instance, 80% of Republicans but only 23% of Democrats agree that “most news outlets have a liberal bias,” and 79% of Republicans but only 11% of Democrats agree, “the mainstream media treats President Trump unfairly”. Returning to President Trump’s views on the press, almost a third of the American people (29%) agree with the idea that “the news media is the enemy of the American people,” including a plurality of Republicans (48%).

A final statistic is somewhat reassuring, only 13% of Americans agree that “President Trump should close down mainstream news outlets, like CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times.” Here less than a quarter of Republicans (23%) agree along with fewer than one in ten Democrats (8%).

We can see this in effect when Trump supporters like Matt Schapp can’t even agree that Trump was flat-out wrong when he claimed that the U.S. GDP is now higher than the unemployment rate for the “First Time in 100 Years.”

https://www.youtube.com/embed/UPchfIxHiiE

“You have people telling Bob Woodward that the president is almost getting us into World War III,” the host said.

“Who are those people?” the Trump supporter asked, interrupting her. Later, he added that “this is the problem.”

Tur went on to note that Trump “is lying on a daily basis” and Schlapp interrupted her again.

“I don’t think that’s right,” the conservative said.

“It is true,” the host responded, and Schlapp interrupted again, saying “no it’s not.”

Tur cited the Washington Post‘s tally of Trump’s lies but Schlapp would still not let her finish her sentence.

Later, the pair got into the truth of the president’s latest lie — that the GDP is at the highest it’s been in 100 years.

This issue is one that has even been debunked by Fox News.

And yet Schlapp continued to argue that any mistake made by the media was equal to any minor mistake made by Trump on any issue—except that the media admit and correct their honest mistakes, but Trump doesn’t. He refuses to. Instead, he doubles-down and compounds the error.

Another problem is that when you confront Trump with a truth he doesn’t want to admit or accept he throws a tantrum over it, even when it’s a fairly simple fact that can be easily confirmed and verified.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/sNGCpwBPW6Y

“I think the key in examining Trump is actually what will he do when people present him with facts?” he said. “For instance, it sounds a little esoteric, but the World Trade Organization, which the United States is a member of — very important, allows us to file complaints of unfair trade practices — and there’s a meeting in the Oval Office and the president says, ‘Well, the World Trade Organization is the worst organization ever. We lose all of our cases.’”

Trump’s advisers presented him with data that showed the U.S., in fact, won 85.7 percent of the cases it brought before the organization, and he simply rejected their data.

“He says, ‘No, that’s not true,’ and the people are saying, ‘Look, call the U.S. trade representative, your guy, and he will confirm this,’” Woodward said.

Woodward said the president simply refused.

“‘I don’t want to hear it,’” Trump said, according to Woodward. “‘I don’t want to call him, I don’t want to deal with it.’”

This right here—this is the real root of the key issue with Trump.

When he’s challenged, he deflects. He conflates and redirects blame onto his perceived enemies.  Democrats did it. Foreigners did it. Muslims did it. Mexicans did it.

He. Can’t. Learn.

And what’s worse than that is neither can his base, just like Schlapp. They’re in a permanent state of self-delusion almost as impenetrable as Trump himself. They know who he is, they know what he is, but they just don’t care, and that is his ultimate protection. As long as his base remains significantly with him, he is safe and free to act out as he pleases while they make excuses or simply ignore it.

This a point made abundantly clear by some of the reviews of the new Tom Arnold show The Hunt for the Trump Tapes.

In its own way, The Hunt for the Trump Tapes underlines a certain brand of the anti-Trump resistance, a brand that believes Trump is a once-in-a-lifetime aberration, a nightmare that can be stopped if the right piece of information can be found to wake everybody up — and not, instead, a manifestation of a certain American id that has always and will always be there.

These arguments seem, to me, to ignore that the right piece of information has been found over and over and over again, and yet those who support Trump continue to support him because he has no shame.

Maybe this makes Arnold the ideal person to bring down Trump, then, because someone with a similar lack of shame might be just the person to fly into the maelstrom, Captain Ahab style. (This ignores, of course, that Captain Ahab dies, and he drags nearly everybody else on his ship to the bottom of the ocean too, while Moby Dick presumably escapes.) Maybe if Arnold turns the end of a presidency into just as big of a sideshow as its birth was, everything will revert to normal.

I’m not holding my breath, though.

In the first episode Arnold, meets a shady pair in a seedy motel room to get hold of audio copies of the 33 hours of Trump on Howard Stern’s radio show (although there are complete transcripts online) during which Trump lusts after his own daughter Ivanka, and admits to barging into the Miss Teen Universe pageant dressing room in order to observe the contestants while undressed. This has been confirmed by some of the contestants.

In the second episode he fails to get copies of the video outtakes from The Apprentice, which are being protected by the same type of million-dollar nondisclosure agreement that Trump used to hide his affairs with Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels. He does manage to get seven former crew members to write anonymous testimonials (which considering the threat of the NDA is an actual feat) which document Trump’s repeatedly racist, homophobic, and misogynistic comments during the tapings. Arnold has the staff at the restaurant where he planned to meet the former crew members read their testimonials of Trump’s horrible and boorish behavior, which is fully confirmed by Penn Jillette, who appeared on The Apprentice twice as a contestant.

He’s used the n-word multiple times.

He’s looked at female members of the crew who he found overweight and said “Would you fuck that? I wouldn’t fuck that?”

The samples provided by former Apprentice crew are all bad, but even they pale next to the time that Trump allegedly asked one of his golf pals, “Have you ever fucked a n*gger?” Even if one of those restaurant staff members had read that quote out loud, would we even be shocked? Would it even be a surprise?

Probably not.

Not after Trump’s claim that not only were there were “good people on both sides” during the alt-right demonstration in Charlottesville last year, but his belligerent insistence that the “left” was just as guilty of violence and “coming charging” at the others. Not after he confessed to multiple cases of sexual assault on tape. Not after his ridiculous traitorous performance in Helsinki standing next to Vladimir Putin. Not after his stomach-churning claim that the upgrade of the death toll in Puerto Rico was simply “made up by Democrats to make him look bad.” Not after it was reported this week that Trump told Spain to build a wall across the Sahara Desert to help keep out Muslim migrants.

President Trump recommended building a wall across the Sahara to solve Europe’s migrant crisis, Spain’s foreign minister says.

Spain has no sovereignty over the Sahara, but it does possess two small enclaves on the north African coast, Ceuta and Melilla, separated from Morocco by controversial wire fences.

That is weapons grade-nuclear stupid. Someone who is this dumb and clueless should not be in charge of a burned down Dairy Queen, let alone the most powerful nation and military in the world.

Most of his documented and confirmed comments and actions are hardly making a dent in his popularity, which remains insanely high among Republicans at 88 percent, according to Gallup. But something else appears to be happening: there are now fewer people who self-identify as Republican, and more who consider themselves Independent. The GOP is shrinking.

As the following graph of Gallup polls indicates, both political parties find themselves less popular now than they did in 2004 with a substantial rise in those who identify as independents. For the Democrats, party identification peaked in Obama’s first term and then dropped in his second term. For Republicans, party identification took a sharp drop at the end of George W. Bush’s second term and never really recovered. The trend seems to have taken another drop after Trump’s election.

Party Affiliation from 2004 to present.
Chart of Party Affiliation

How can we explain what looks to be a long-term decline for the Republican brand? Age, for one thing. From the beginning of the Trump administration the oldest Americans, those aged 50 and over, have consistently given Trump his highest approval ratings while young people aged 18–29 have consistently given him his lowest approval ratings.

[…]

A political party that can’t attract young people, especially in a generation that is as big as the Millennial generation—America’s largest demographic group—is not a party with a very bright future.

So although Trump has made the Republican Party his, by focusing on his base, come November it may not be as much of an advantage

Trump has the older Fox-addicted GOP demographic sewn up, but he’s hemorrhaging numbers everywhere else. His tendency to be repulsive really is repelling more and more GOP voters who may support his policies, but are no longer hard, fast ,and loyal members of the party.

This is where an opening may be slowly forming.

Again, two weeks ago former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal campaign finance violations and admitted in court, under oath, that he committed this crime at the specific direction of his candidate, Donald J. Trump.

The alt-reich wing, in their tragically clueless manner, seem to have completely missed and not noticed this, as we can see here when Michael Avenatti stuns Tucker Carlson with this fact while he continues to try and smear Avenatti as a “creepy porn lawyer.”

Cohen’s statements in court, which were made in coordination with the prosecutors are a strong indicationt that a sealed indictment against Trump for his participation in criminal campaign finance violations may already exist and is just waiting for when he finally leaves office. That train may already be parked in the station awaiing deparure.

In the past week, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has signed a full cooperation deal with Mueller, where he will apparently share any and all information and/or documents that he possesses which could be incriminating for Trump.  As I’ve previous witten Fox News remains clueless about just how dangerous Manafort’s cooperation just might be to Donald Trump.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Bav6PZexUd8?enablejsapi=1

We might get ready for wishful thinking from the left, on ‘Ooo! He’s gonna flip! He’s gonna flip!’” Coulter said. “But all of this, I guess you could be excited if you think Donald Trump who some of the liberals consider an incompetent buffoon had this vast international conspiracy to steal a presidential election from the most qualified person ever to run for president.”

She then said that journalists and investigators have been looking for two years and still don’t have any evidence Trump did anything wrong.

“Then what is it exactly that Paul Manafort is going to flip on?” Coulter asked. “I think they’re getting over excited about nothing. Also consider Manafort didn’t have that much to do with the campaign. He didn’t come into it until Trump had been running for a year. It’s kind of crazy enough to think that Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz colluded with the foreign power, but Trump, it was Donald Trump and him for one year. He was there for a month or two. What on Earth do they imagine he is going to have on Trump.” [emphasis added]

What they might find out from Manafort could include if there were any plans made to cover up the violation of campaign finance laws and the Logan Act made before Donald Jr. had the Veselnitskaya meeting; why he agreed to work on the campaign for free when he owed Russian billionaire/gangster Oleg Deripaska $18 million; why he tried to “get whole” with Deripaska by giving him a “private briefing” on the Trump campaign; why he had the RNC platform changed when it came to arms for Ukraine (and then lied about it); why he secretly met with a former member of Russian military intelligence, Konstantin Kilimnick, during the campaign to talk about how to please and appease Deripaska; and why there was Russian intel chatter on the Trump campaign asking them for help, which specifically mentioned Manafort’s name.

(CNN excerpt:) In the summer of 2016, US intelligence agencies noticed a spate of curious contacts between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian intelligence, according to current and former US officials briefed on the investigation… CNN has learned that investigators became more suspicious when they turned up intercepted communications that U.S. intelligence officials agencies collected among suspected Russian operatives discussing their efforts to work with Manafort, who served as campaign chairman for three months, to coordinate information that could damage Hillary Clinton’s election prospects, the US officials say. The suspected operatives relayed what they claimed were conversations with Manafort, encouraging help from the Russians.

This wasn’t the first time that Manafort had worked to damage Hillary Clinton’s reputation. He’d also attempted to plant anti-Hillary stories in the Wall Street Journal and other U.S. media websites starting as early as 2011.

Paul Manafort signed off on the project to place articles in the Wall Street Journal and smear then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton through briefings to websites such as Breitbart News, reported The Guardian.

Manafort’s associates also proposed doctoring Wikipedia entries to undermine a key opponent of Ukraine’s then-president Viktor Yanukovych, setting up a fake think tank in Vienna to spread pro-Yanukovych views and a social media blitz aimed at targeted audiences in the U.S. and Europe.

The Guardian obtained materials detailing these efforts from 2011 to 2013, when Manafort was paid millions of dollars to lobby on behalf of Yanukovych’s pro-Kremlin government.

So it just might be possible that Manafort knows a little bit of something about the anti-Hillary stories pushed by the Russian troll farm through Twitter and Facebook during the 2016 election, for which others have already been indicted by Mueller.

All of that could be very bad and mean possibly several more sealed indictments involving charges of misprision of felony, Logan Act violations, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

That’s not something even the most hardcore GOPer will be able to ignore, and their attempts to smear the entire Mueller investigation by claiming that it was started by Christopher Steele (who was hired by Hillary Clinton and the DNC) is a great big dry hole because that’s simply not true.  Former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos’ attempts to collude with Russia were why the investigation was started. They may manage to release unredacted copies of Carter Page’s FISA warrant application, but what they think is buried deep inside the FISA warrant (the lack of a mention that two Russian intelligence operatives thought Carter Page was an “idiot”) doesn’t mean that they weren’t still Russian intelligence operatives who were ultimately indicted and charged for trying to recruit Carter Page as an asset three years before the election. They’re more likely to disprove exactly what they’re trying to prove because these guys, as we’ve seen with Rep. Devin Nunes, just don’t know how to shoot straight. 

Case in point: Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow here tries to argue that there is no obstruction of justice charge because somewhere in the Lester Holt transcript Trump admitted that firing Comey would probably extend the Russia probe rather than end it, and claims that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was wrong to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because Mueller hadn’t yet been assigned as special counsel.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=6wL_oEg6wDE%3Fstart%3D443

 

Cuomo: Hasn’t anyone explained to [Trump] that Sessions had no choice but to recuse himself?

[…]

Sekulow: The recusal took place before before this was an inquiry like this.  The regulation has nothing to do with what actually transpired.

While it’s true that Mueller had not been assigned as special counsel, it’s also false to claim that there wasn’t an “inquiry” because the investigation into the Trump campaign had begun the previous year in 2016 and was still ongoing when Sessions recused himself. There was already a grand jury in place. Since he was personally involved in the campaign that was being investigated, he had absolutely no choice but to recuse himself, regardless of when Mueller became involved.

Cuomo: Then Trump claims that “If I had known I would have picked someone else.”

Sekulow: Of course.

The existence of the initial Trump investigation was not publicly announced by Comey until more than 10 days after Sessions recused himself on March 4, 2017.  Sessions wouldn’t have even been able to learn about it until his confirmation had been completed just one month prior, so there really was no point where Sessions could have told Trump he was going to recuse himself from an investigation he didn’t even know about (and Comey had repeatedly refused to divulge up to that point) before he was confirmed.

Sekulow’s argument here is bogus, just like his argument that Trump didn’t obstruct justice.

“There is actually a transcript of the entire Lester Holt interview,” the attorney said. “And as you know, because you do TV and know that when there are interviews, there are edits and there is a longer transcript. And I will just tell you without disclosing any detail, that when you review the entire transcript, it is very clear as to what happened and I’m not going to give you information on how we provided it, but in our professional discussions with the office of special counsel, we have addressed that on multiple occasions appropriately.”

Ultimately Sekolow, after beating around the bush, claims that there is a full transcript where Trump claims he thought firing Comey would make the Russia investigation go on longer, so therefore that couldn’t have been his reasoning for firing Comey.

That transcript isn’t hidden in some secret place somewhere—it’s right here. This happens to be the website that gets interviewed by Tom Arnold in the first episode of his show, and holds transcripts of every public statement Trump has ever made. After he says that he was going to fire Comey regardless of the recommendation from Rosenstein, and he talks about how he thought the Russia investigation was a hoax, Trump goes on to say this:

Holt: But were you a fan of him taking up that investigation?

Trump: I think that … about the Hillary Clinton investigation?

Holt: No, about the Russia investigation and possible links between …

Trump: No, I don’t care … look, look, let me tell you. As far as I’m concerned I want that thing to absolutely be done properly. When I did this now, I said I probably, maybe, will confuse people. Maybe I’ll expand that, y’know. I’ll lengthen the time because… it should be over with, it should … in my opinion. It should have been over with a long time ago. [This was last May 11th] because all it is, is an excuse. But I said to myself I might even lengthen out the investigation, but I have to do the right thing for the American people, he’s the wrong man for that position.

This all misses the point. Trump basically said he didn’t fire Comey because of Rosenstein’s recommendation, and he had other reasons. We all get that. He says that when he made the decision—based on those other reasons—he also thought about the Russia investigation being a hoax, and later said that firing Comey might be confusing and would extend that “hoax investigation” even further.

Sekulow’s argument ignores the fact that Rosenstein’s memo wasn’t Trump’s first attempt at coming up with an excuse to fire Comey: it was the second try, after Stephen Miller had drafted a previous memo justifying Comey’s firing.

The multi-page letter blasted Comey over his investigation of Trump’s Democratic presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. And, according to a person with direct knowledge of the contents of the letter, it conveyed Trump’s displeasure that Comey would not say publicly what he had told the president three times privately: that the FBI’s probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was not focused on him.

Trump ended up shelving that letter in favor of a far shorter one, but the draft has taken on new significance in the probe by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining it as he determines whether Trump’s firing of Comey was part of an effort to obstruct justice, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.

The draft, which was first reported by the New York Times, establishes Trump’s thinking prior to the firing and contradicts initial statements from White House officials about why he dismissed his FBI director.

This letter was determined to be “problematic” by White House counsel Don McGahn, and that’s why it was shelved.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly obtained a letter detailing President Donald Trump‘s reasons for abruptly firing former FBI Director James Comey, which sparked a probe into whether the president obstructed justice.

The letter, drafted by Trump and top aide Stephen Miller and intended to be sent to Comey, has been blocked by White House Counsel Donald McGahn because he found some of its contents “problematic,” the New York Times reported.

Rosenstein was brought in after this “problematic” dry run by Miller. His memo criticized Comey’s actions during the Clinton investigation, but he didn’t call for Comey to be fired and he felt “used” after his opinion was used to justify exactly that.

WASHINGTON — In the days after the F.B.I. director James B. Comey was fired last year, the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, repeatedly expressed anger about how the White House used him to rationalize the firing, saying the experience damaged his reputation, according to four people familiar with his outbursts.

In public, Mr. Rosenstein has shown no hint that he had second thoughts about his role — writing a memo about Mr. Comey’s performance that the White House used to justify firing him. “I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it,” Mr. Rosenstein said to Congress last year.

But in meetings with law enforcement officials in the chaotic days immediately after Mr. Comey’s dismissal, and in subsequent conversations with colleagues and friends, Mr. Rosenstein appeared conflicted, according to the four people.

Trump used Rosenstein as a patsy and a cover for the real reasons behind his improper action.He knows it, and we all know it. It’s most likely that Trump’s firing of Comey was really because he wouldn’t publicly announce that Trump wasn’t personally under investigation, and also because he didn’t “find a way to let Flynn go” the way that Trump had asked him. Special counsel Robert Mueller was assigned immediately after Comey revealed his notes indicating that Trump had tried to pressure him into dropping the case against Flynn. That right there was the obstruction, because it was an attempt to derail a legitimate criminal investigation. Firing Comey after the fact for not letting Flynn go and not making a public announcement about a classified investigation was simply retaliation, not obstruction. The point here is why did McGahn find the original memo “problematic,” and what was the original, real rationale for Comey’s firing? Might that reason have been illegal, which is why McGahn spiked it in the first place?

People like Nunes and Sekulow don’t do their due diligence, and they don’t do the reading. They just assume, make accusations, and then try to keep talking fast so you don’t notice their claims are full of merde.

Trump may manage to use tricks and distractions like this to keep his base with him and to keep playing the “victim” card but again, that base is shrinking . He’s not going to keep everyone, and that might mean some serious electoral disaster for him in November.

Though Democrats have a much better chance to win the House than the Senate, Schumer didn’t rule out a Democratic takeover of his chamber. On top of the strong position of many of his incumbents, he pointed to potential pickups in a handful of states.

“When you look race by race, we have a very good chance,” Schumer said. “We are much, much closer than people would ever think.”

Considering his temperament when Democrats take the House, Trump won’t be able to deal with it.  He won’t be able to adapt and adjust, so he’ll lash out and he’ll make mistakes. Mistakes like asking the DOJ and DNI to release the unredacted names of confidential FBI intelligence sources in Russia and elsewhere, the kind of mistake that has already caused all the CIA’s contacts in Russia to “go dark,” leaving us blind to what new dirty gumbo the Kremlin is cooking up. Then he’ll double down on those mistakes with even more desperate mistakes.

Although DOJ rules say that a president can not currently be subject to an indictment, Kenneth Starr, who pursued President Clinton for years, now says that Michael Cohen’s guilty plea for campaign finance violations (where he stated that he had done what he did at the direction of Trump) is a direct threat to his remaining in office.

“No one is above the law,” Starr told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday. “And so in my judgment the president can in fact be indicted,” he adds, as Mediaite reports.

Of course, nothing is ever easy – or definitive.

Starr warns, “we do not have an authoritative resolution on the issue.” And he says it “cannot happen, as I see it, under Justice Department policy that’s enforceable on Bob Mueller,” the special counsel investigating President Trump and Russia’s attack on the U.S. election.

Things can change.

Indeed things can change, simply by the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel issuing a new ruling based on a request by Mueller for an updated decision based on multiple pending indictments against Trump.

Ultimately, Tom Arnold may be right: despite how Trump seems to be about as impervious to harm as Captain America’s vibranium shield, he’s not indestructible. He’s not totally invulnerable: he just seems like it. But there are limits to how far he can go. There have to be, or our Republic is a sham.

More bombshells like Cohen’s guilty plea for his payment to Stormy Daniels are going to come out because shady fuckery like that was Trump’s stock in trade for 35 years. And that will surely happen if Congress does some serious investigations with Democrats in control. More things are going to come out about Manafort and how much Trump knew about what he was doing with Deripaska, Kilimnick, and Russian intelligence. More things are going to come out about the Trump Foundation and the Trump inaugural acting as slush funds for his whims, and about dozens of funky real estate deals which were little more than money laundering for the Russian mob. We don’t yet know how much malfeasance by Trump and his family will be discovered. There’s practically no way that Trump will be able to hide from it all, and all of that gets much worse if Democrats also take the Senate. Many have long argued that the probability of 67 senators voting to remove Trump is practically nil. But as Bob Woodward had shown, there are Republicans who already think they need to act drastically to save the nation from Trump’s mad, impulsive behavior.

Ultimately, the total weight of all that scandal may leave him with two choices: resign, or be removed by the Senate.

If Democrats take the House and Senate it’s only a matter of time before he leaves them no choice but to act—and even if they don’t, Trump will not have a smooth landing once he leaves office, no matter how that ultimately happens.

Maybe that’s wishful thinking on my part, maybe that’s a pipe dream, and maybe I’m just another member of Captain Tom Ahab’s desperate crew, tilting madly at the great orange whale.

Then again … maybe not.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Knew all along that trump does not Lie because he actually believes that he is telling the “exact truth” as he images “truth” to be in his Sick Mind & Diseased Brain. The “UNTHINKABLE” was electing that MADMAN as president in the first place but even the Worst Mistakes can Be Undone! So Maybe impeachment isn’t so Unthinkable! After all, the basic principle of medicine as every doctor knows is Save the patient (America) by getting Rid of the Disease (trump).

  2. there are Republicans who already think they need to act drastically to save the nation from Trump’s mad, impulsive behavior.

    save the nation from trump? or save themselves? I’ll go with the latter.

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