Treason is a serious accusation. Donald Trump throws it around like a Frisbee, accusing Barack Obama of treason for no good and defensible reason. And we all know that when Trump accuses someone of something, it’s almost certainly because he’s guilty of it himself. It’s called projection. Usually, I respond to his kind of projection by posting the relevant “I know you are, but what am I?” clip from Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure, but I’m not going to do that tonight. This isn’t the time for that. You can do one of two things to earn a conviction for treason, according to the Constitution. One is to “levy war” against the United States. The other is to give “aid and comfort” to an enemy of the United States while they are making war against us. Trump has broken the second protocol. The short version of Trump’s actual treason against the United States: Starting in 2019, a Russian intelligence unit offered, and paid out, bounties to members of Afghan militias who killed American soldiers. US intelligence agencies have known of this since at least March 2020. Trump was specifically briefed on the actions, and has chosen to do nothing in response. Nothing. According to the New York Times: Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the [anonymous White House] officials said. The Times went on to write: Any involvement with the Taliban that resulted in the deaths of American troops would also be a huge escalation of Russia’s so-called hybrid war against the United States, a strategy of destabilizing adversaries through a combination of such tactics as cyberattacks, the spread of fake news and covert and deniable military operations. Yet Trump did nothing whatsoever to respond to the Russian offensive against US soldiers. Nothing. He has not revealed it to the American public (did he think we would never learn about it?). And, less than three weeks ago, Trump threatened to upend the G7 economic summit unless Russia, and particularly Vladimir Putin, was invited. Not only has he kept quiet about it, and done nothing to retaliate against Putin and Russia, he continues to promote Russian interests — Putin’s interests — above our own. The actual New York Times article is here, but if you can’t get through the paywall, you can read a shortened version of the story here. You can read what appears to be a well-summarized version here. According to Times reporter Michael Schwirtz, the same Russian intelligence unit is responsible for the attempted poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Britain, and an attempted coup against the lawful government of Montenegro. This the same group, Unit 29155 of Russia’s military intelligence agency, implicated in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Britain and a coup attempt in Montenegro. It has never been publicly accused of involvement in attacks on Western soldiers — Michael Schwirtz (@mschwirtz) June 26, 2020 The response, as you can imagine, has been fierce. Politico reporter Eric Geller wants to know why Trump isn’t stopping Russia from actively working to have US soldiers killed. Good question. Why isn't Trump trying […]
US Representative Justin Amash (I-MI) is considering a run as a third-party independent. You’d be forgiven by asking, “Who?” You’d also be forgiven for adding, “Why should I care?” Well, the answer to the second question is, “Maybe you shouldn’t, but…” Amash is a former Tea Party darling who entered Congress as part of the sewage tsunami that overran Congress in 2010. He’s more libertarian than most of the right-wing bottom feeders, and in his own way, he has some integrity about him. Position-wise, he’s hard to pin down. He’s 100% against abortion in any form, but is also against the death penalty in federal prisons. Then, in February 2020, he was one of the four Congressional members to vote against a landmark anti-lynching bill. He opposes the EPA, doesn’t believe the government should take any actions to mitigate climate change, and even voted against providing funding for water provisioning to Flint, Michigan. There’s more, but you get the idea. He encapsulates the ideal of the far-right libertarian, actually better than libertarian darling Rand Paul (R-Thug), who is just a white supremacist who has Atlas Shrugged downloaded to his Kindle app. At any rate, we don’t want him in government at all, even if he does have a sense of integrity that most of his (former) GOP colleagues totally lack. His ideology and policy stances are 175.2 degrees away from ours (that figure is a rough estimate, of course). But he did win some fans when, in mid-2019, he began telling anyone who would listen that he believed Trump had committed impeachable acts. No one in the GOP was surprised: Amash was always a Never Trumper, and has been targeted as one of Trump’s innumerable “enemies” since at least 2017. Amash supported the conclusions of the Mueller Report, and left the Republican Party shortly thereafter. He was the only non-Democrat in the House to vote for impeachment. At least five Republicans are running to unseat Amash, so it’s no surprise that he may want to do something to either revitalize his House campaign or step away from Congress altogether. On April 13, he tweeted that he was considering a run for the White House because “Americans who believe in limited government deserve another option.” Americans who believe in limited government deserve another option. https://t.co/c7P2vOTyOe — Justin Amash (@justinamash) April 13, 2020 Well, Americans deserve better than Trump, that’s certain. But they also deserve better than Amash. Regardless. It’s pointless to analyze Amash’s potential for good or bad as president, because he won’t win. He may not choose to run. Certainly the Never Trumpers at The Bulwark (the conservative site headed by William Kristol and Charlie Sykes, among others) don’t want him to. They are very clear on their reasoning: they love everything about Amash and would wet themselves in glee if by some electoral miracle he could gain the White House, but since that won’t happen, his “run could help reelect Donald Trump.” Yup. Authors Sarah Longwell and Tim Miller are very clear: This isn’t an easy call. On one hand, we want to be for him — to have the joy and satisfaction of getting behind the constitutional superhero of our dreams. But on the other hand, there is a downside risk to his running and the price of a second Trump term […]
It has been pointed out that Mitt Romney did not fear Trump’s wrath for his vote to convict for the reasons that he’s more popular in his state than Trump is and he’s not coming up for reelection for another few years. The same could be said about Lisa Murkowski as well. However, she didn’t vote to convict. Perhaps this explains why. Thank you to @USDOT & @SecElaineChao for allocating a $20M Port Infrastructure Development Program grant to the Port of Alaska to help offset the 1st phase costs of the Port’s desperately-needed modernization program, enabling safe, cost-effective, & reliable Port operations. — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) February 12, 2020 There are a lot of stories in the news lately about the Trump campaign buying votes. Maybe this is one more of them. Food for thought, in any event. McConnell knows how to keep his caucus in line. He’s found dark money for Susan Collins and it looks like he’s got his wife Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on board to show Murkowski who butters her bread.
Life has a Valentine’s Day message for Donald Trump and that is “go screw” when it comes to his personal vendettas. Just this week the Army declared it was not going to do any “investigation” into punishment of Alexander Vindman, Andrew McCabe skated, and now, Trump will be furious to learn, his arch nemesis Mitt Romney is home free as well. The Utah legislature has announced that it will not consider any bills to recall or censure Romney for voting to convict Trump during the senate impeachment trial. Washington Examiner: Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson met with his Republican caucus on Tuesday to determine a plan of action for bills to censure or possibly recall Romney, after which he announced they would not seek to punish Romney, according to Deseret News. “Many people disagree with the conclusion Sen. Romney came to, and I think what we can kind of conclude from this conversation is we’re going to agree to disagree,” Wilson said. “We understand the thoughtful process Sen. Romney went through. Many people disagree with it, and we think it’s probably time to move on.” But Utah is going to pacify the Child in Chief, don’t want him nuking Monument Valley or anything — and certainly not the Mittens Butte. (That’s in Arizona, anyway.) Instead, Utah state legislators will move to pass a resolution supporting the president and thanking Trump “for all the great things he’s done for the state of Utah.” So Romney’s “half a vote” as Trump characterized it, continues to stand, and so does Romney, more popular than ever.
Welcome to the transition of the United States from the rule of law to Trumplaw, which is on it’s way to being the new law of the land, thanks to a complicit and comatose GOP and a corrupt Attorney General who isn’t bothering any more to even give the appearance of an independent Justice Department, or to pretend that he is a real attorney general and not just Donald Trump’s lackey and hatchet man. The key attributes of Trumplaw which have been established recently are: 1. If you testify truthfully under oath about Trump’s crimes, that is a firing offense and ratchets you and your family members to the top of the Enemies List, look out; and 2. Line-prosecutors following the guidelines and standards set by law will be ignored, and those law enforcement officers attempting to enforce same will be targeted by the president* and added to the Enemies List. I daresay that more basic tenets of Trumplaw will be further elaborated upon and codified in the days ahead. History will record that the post-acquittal period was when Trump decided he was omniscient and Barr decided to drop all pretense that the DOJ had a function other than to do Trump’s dirty work. But here’s the rub, and this is key: this isn’t about Roger Stone at all. This is about Trump sticking it to America. Daily Beast: Donald Trump’s public intervention in Roger Stone’s sentencing has little to do with Roger Stone’s fate, and everything to do with Trump’s effort to render every governmental authority except for his own a sham. That includes the authority, and fairness, of the justice system. The contempt is the point. There is every reason to expect that Trump will pardon Stone before he sets foot in prison, even if the dirty trickster receives a low sentence for his very serious crimes, which entailed obstructing inquiries into Trump’s own misconduct. Trump hardly appears interested in favorably influencing the judge who is about to sentence Stone. On the contrary, Trump has personally attacked her. In fact, it is a near certainty that Trump will pardon Stone before he sets foot in prison, even if he receives a low sentence for his very serious crimes, which entailed obstructing inquiries into Trump’s own misconduct. Trump all but declared as much today when asked about the prospect of clemency for Stone, responding: “I don’t want to say that yet.” But by inducing his attorney general, Bill Barr, to humiliate himself and the Department of Justice through the public repudiation of the DOJ’s own sentencing recommendation less than 24 hours after it was filed, Trump has demonstrated that the justice system is, finally, being molded to his will and whims. This is all that it’s about. And Bill Barr has played in totally to Trump’s whims in this regard. He has destroyed the credibility of the Justice Department in the past 24 hours, allowing Trump to not only show that he is above the law, he is the law. It is impossible to overstate the damage that was done Tuesday when Trump sent out his tweet complaining that Stone’s sentencing was “horrible” and “unfair” and Barr toadied right along in step and intervened. In doing so, he caused the four prosecutors who tried the case to walk away in protest and the effect […]
Do you recall the movie “Trial at Nuremberg?” There’s a tremendous scene where the Burt Lancaster character, a German judge who now sees the error of his ways confesses to the Spencer Tracy character, an American world court judge, what happened. “You have to believe me. I didn’t know it would get as far as it did,” says Lancaster. Tracy replies, “It got that far, Your Honor, the first time you sentenced a man guilty that you knew to be innocent.” Lancaster registers shock as the truth sinks in. This is a great moment in cinema. Today Donald Trump suggested that the military take action to discipline Lt. Col. Alexander Vndman. Trump says the military should look at disciplinary action against Lt. Col. Vindman, who gave testimony in impeachment hearings about the president pic.twitter.com/yX1ysfOMQ5 — Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) February 11, 2020 Vindman didn’t do anything except tell the truth and put country and honor first, which, as an officer, he should be doing. But apparently Mad King Donald thinks that Vindman should be disciplined by the Army for some offense — probably treason. And why? Because the GOP has enabled this farce to continue, just like the bought-off judges in Nazi Germany enabled the atrocities that took place on their watch. When the GOP enabled Trump to get on the ticket in the first place, as their candidate, they took an irrevocable step towards the dark side of government, towards fascism and away from democracy. They all knew what he was, as well as the Democrats. We’ve all seen many clips of Ted Cruz calling Trump a liar, or Lindsey Graham calling him a “race-baiting homophobic bigot.” But they all decided to roll over for Trump, when it was suggested to them that Trump as useful idiot could do the party a lot of good. So they muzzled their true feelings and entered the Cult of Trump, sworn to do his bidding, above honor, and above country. Last week they ratified that position by acquitting Trump — a man that they knew to be guilty. They acquitted him because they felt it was in their interest to do so. Now, Trump believes that he is invincible and omniscient and he’s got a God complex. If he didn’t have one before, he’s got one now. So of course he wants to go after Vindman — some more — and of course he has already gone after Sondland. And he will go after many more people. He’s got an enemies list and he will tick through them one by one. Because he’s nuts. This is what the GOP hath wrought. I hope that they are happy with this monster of their creation. This is Three A.M. in America. Even in war time our plight has never been so dark as it is right now with this madman at the helm, empowered by the most corrupt and venal group of politicians ever to be assembled, the current iteration of the GOP. They created this monster and he knows that they won’t stop him. So he’ll go as far as he can, as unhindered as he is unhinged, a creature without morality, discernment or remorse. Wait and see.
This is one of those mornings, where if your head doesn’t explode from reading Donald Trump’s latest fantasy spin on what actually took place during the impeachment inquiry and senate trial, probably you’ll be good to go for the rest of the year. In defiance of all logic and mountains of documentation proving otherwise, here is what Trump said to his disciples in New Hampshire last night about impeachment votes. Trump: "Other than Romney, we got 52 to nothing. 52 to nothing. That's something." He was acquitted 52-48 on the article where Romney voted against him — 52-48, not 52 to nothing. — Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 11, 2020 This is Trumpian math. You simply total up the votes you got in your favor, and eliminate the votes which were against you — those votes against you equal “nothing.” This is terrific. Sports fans, your team need never lose again. Just follow this formula. If your team gets six points and the other team gets twenty, no problem, the score is six to nothing and you win — always. Ain’t it grand? Life is just one landslide victory after another with this equation. It went on all night like this. If you want to follow Daniel Dale’s live fact checking thread, it’s all here. I especially liked this sequence. Trump tells his Steve Scalise story: "He took a bullet. He got SHOT. And he got up. He was gonna DIE that night. I tell the story all the time. His wife, she was crying so much." He explains how he told Scalise, "I know many wives that don't get too upset." — Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 11, 2020 I’ve always thought that the Scalise story, which Trump has in fact told a lot, is one that he should bury, because if anything he has ever said shows how jaded and transactional a life he leads, it’s variations on this theme that “many wives” meaning “my wife” wouldn’t care if I got shot — and I know it. That really is something best left unsaid.
Susan Collins hilariously opined that Donald Trump learned from his acquittal — and actually she’s right. What he “learned” is that he can get away with anything and nobody is going to stop him — certainly not the corrupt GOP who put him where he is and who keep him there, despite the fact that to do so is selling democracy down the drain. So it’s pins and needles time in Washington, D.C. right now, wondering who Trump is going to lash out against next. And make no mistake, Trump is after both revenge and making an example of his victims, so others won’t cross him in the future. Shortly after being acquitted by the Senate and getting a lifelong get out of jail free car from the GOP, the President fired two men who did nothing other than their jobs. He's punishing them for not lying or turning a blind eye to wrongdoing. — Sam Vinograd (@sam_vinograd) February 7, 2020 That will impact recruitment and retention, and it may also impact reporting Presidential abuse going forward. — Sam Vinograd (@sam_vinograd) February 7, 2020 Globally, other democracies have good reason to fear that the President is stacking his policy team with political surrogates rather than policy experts. That likely won't engender as close working relationships — Sam Vinograd (@sam_vinograd) February 7, 2020 Alexander Vindman is a profile in courage. The GOP senators, with the sole exception of Mitt Romney, are profiles in cowardice. That’s the real tragedy of this. It stands to reason that one day a nut could get elected president, but for 52 senators to go along with his insanity is the real problem. It’s the death of checks and balances. The framers assumed that we were decent moral people, and with respect to this iteration of the GOP they unfortunately assumed wrong.
Whlle impeachment has dominated the news for the past six months, Robert O’Brien, the third National Security Adviser that Donald Trump has had in three years, has been busy gutting the National Security Council. He’s already eliminated 60 to 70 career professional positions, along with Alexander Vindman’s, obviously. This has all been done with the goal of Trumpifying the council and that doesn’t bode well for either the next president or for America’s place in foreign affairs, to say the very least. New York Times: More than simply ridding the staff of resistance to the president, Mr. O’Brien’s has locked Trumpism into the government’s bureaucratic hub. His restructuring prioritizes geographic policy (like, ironically, Ukraine policy) while cutting or combining teams in functional and transnational issues such as international economics, nonproliferation and global health. The council is now tailor made for a president who sees foreign policy in transactional, bilateral terms, as either decisions to make alone or deals to be cut with another head of state. But a Trumpian National Security Council is a terrible fit for today’s world. The coronavirus emerging from China is just the latest proof of how rarely global events cooperate with presidential preference, and how often they spread across continents and policy disciplines. Mr. Trump may not believe the whole world is interconnected or that it requires whole-of-government policymaking, but that does not make it so. Nor does it mean he can combat a potential pandemic armed only with talking points for a phone call with China’s president. Challenges like coronavirus demand the sort of dot connecting that had once been the métier of the National Security Council, and is now lost in Washington. At great risk to the country, Mr. Trump and Mr. O’Brien are finally winning the war at the council. But it’s the next president’s loss, and thus all of ours. Whoever replaces Mr. Trump will inherit a weaker and less worldly National Security Council, and learn the hard way it’s far easier to deconstruct a staff than rebuild one. As a result, even after Mr. Trump leaves the White House, Trumpism will continue to corrupt American foreign policy. The National Security Council grew in size and influence after 9/11. But Trump saw the Council as the agents of globalist policies — the irony there being that if anybody is a globalist, it’s Donald Trump. In any event, the Council had a large staff working on trade deals and alliances and Trump saw fit to curtail this immediately, so that he could reign supreme over foreign policy and forget about American foreign policy of the past, just like any other dictator. Mr. Trump certainly tried to conquer the staff, naming a loyalist retired lieutenant general, Michael Flynn, as his first national security adviser and his nationalist adviser Steve Bannon to a high-level committee within it. The message was, as a Trump hire told one member of the staff, “The president doesn’t care about the things you care about, and the sooner that you know about it, the better.” Domestic policy is difficult enough for a leader to deal with, but a nation’s foreign policy is crucial to that country’s standing in the world and ability to interact productively with other countries. Trump’s concept of isolationism is ludicrous in the 21st Century. We are a […]
It must be awful for Trump to have to fire every one who told the truth about his extortion plan with Ukraine. Emboldened by his victory and determined to strike back, Mr. Trump fired Gordon...