Are You Listening, Democrats?

This morning I happened upon Greg Sargent’s column in The Washington Post in which he writes about what we can expect from Trump in the coming nine months after he is almost certainly acquitted of his crimes tomorrow afternoon.  But more importantly, he makes some suggestions for the democratic-led House in the coming months that I think are very prudent.  At the very least, Congress must continue pulling back the layers to expose the corruption, and keep We the People informed so that we do not go blindly to the polls in November.  Let’s hope Nancy Pelosi and others in the House read Mr. Sargent’s column!


The Plum Line

Opinion

Trump is about to get a lot more dangerous. Here’s what’s coming.

Image without a caption
Greg Sargent
Opinion writer
Feb. 4, 2020 at 9:38 a.m. EST

When President Trump is acquitted by the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, he’ll surely take from it the message that he can continue abusing his powers however he sees fit to corrupt the 2020 election. He now knows he’ll face zero consequences.

But House Democrats can try to do something about this. They can redouble their oversight and investigative efforts, post-impeachment, geared toward the specific aim of illuminating — and preventing — future efforts by Trump to wield the machinery of government to influence the election’s outcome.

Some ultra-savvy pundits will scoff: Didn’t Democrats just get through impeachment? And some Democrats will be tempted to slink away in defeat, muttering that impeachment wasn’t “worth” the “trouble.”

But this is precisely the wrong message to take from what just happened. The impeachment and trial produced a remarkable new fact record documenting extraordinary misconduct and likely criminality on Trump’s part. This has stripped away any illusions about what Trump is capable of inflicting on our political system — demonstrating why continued efforts to protect the country are even more imperative.

“We have to use all the oversight powers we have to try to check efforts by Trump and the White House to steal the election,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Judiciary and Oversight committees, told me.

“Just because we’ve impeached the president does not mean his schemes have stopped,” Raskin added. “He continues to be a one-man crime wave.”

Subpoena Bolton

For starters: One of the House committees should immediately invite former national security adviser John Bolton to testify, and if he refuses, subpoena him.

Bolton’s forthcoming book will report that Trump privately linked nearly $400 million in frozen military aid to Ukraine directly to his demand for sham investigations validating lies about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election that absolve Russia of that crime and smearing potential 2020 foe Joe Biden.

Bolton’s book will also report that as early as last May, Trump instructed Bolton to press the Ukrainian president to work with personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani on the scheme to extort those announcements from Ukraine.

Learning more about both these episodes — which Senate Republicans refused to do — will further illuminate the scope, reach and inner workings of this whole scheme. Bolton can almost certainly detail other episodes implicated with it.

This matters because this scheme is still in operation today. Republicans have been running ads in Iowa that echo the fabricated narrative of Biden corruption in Ukraine. Giuliani has been meeting with former Ukrainian officials to further validate that narrative.

And Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, is still pursuing a “review” of the origins of the Russia investigation that appear designed to discredit that investigation — and its conclusion that Russia sabotaged the 2016 election to help Trump — just as Trump wants.

What this all means is that post-acquittal, Trump will simply keep up his smearing of Biden with disinformation, including with “evidence” fabricated by Giuliani with the help of foreign officials, as well as his ongoing whitewashing of Russia’s 2016 attack on our political system.

A maximal picture of Trump’s willingness to corrupt the government in service of this whole effort will better equip the American people to evaluate the disinformation and lies we’ll continue seeing on all these fronts. Testimony from Bolton about Trump’s orchestration of this scheme will focus public attention on it as it continues.

Call Lev Parnas

That’s also why House Democrats should seek testimony from Lev Parnas, the former Giuliani associate who turned on Trump after getting indicted on campaign finance charges in connection with efforts to push out Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine who stood in the way of the extortion plot.

Parnas’s lawyer has indicated he is prepared to testify in detail about the whole scheme, including the role played in it by Trump and Giuliani, and other players such as Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

To repeat, this scheme is ongoing as we speak. Trump’s propaganda network will continue to bombard voters with disinformation about fake Biden corruption and invented Ukrainian 2016 electoral sabotage. House Democrats need to keep the focus on this disinformation’s corrupt origins.

“Parnas can speak to the shady characters Rudy is talking to,” Sam Berger, an expert on democracy reform at the Center for American Progress, told me. “Congress needs to figure out everything it can about Trump’s ongoing efforts to cheat in the upcoming election.”

Get to the bottom of Barr’s activities

As part of the case against Parnas, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have opened a criminal investigation into whether Giuliani broke U.S. laws by working with foreign officials to oust Yovanovitch, something that could further implicate Trump.

Has Barr allowed this case to proceed undisturbed? We have no idea.

Trump has threatened retribution against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the lead impeachment manager. And Gabriel Sherman reports that Trump has privately told people he wants to see Bolton criminally prosecuted. Fox News’s Sean Hannity has preposterously claimed Biden broke laws in Ukraine.

Given Barr’s role in helping Trump whitewash Russia’s attack on our democracy, one cannot rule out at least the possibility of Barr somehow using the Justice Department against one or more Trump foes in some form, perhaps to lend validity to Trump’s narratives.

What exactly is Barr doing with his “review” of the Russia probe? Has Trump ever tried to instruct him to prosecute one or more of these enemies? Democrats should try to grill Barr on these matters.

“Every other attorney general has appeared before the Judiciary Committee,” Raskin told me. “I would expect this attorney general to appear as well.”

Administration officials will resist any and all efforts at such oversight. But Democrats must try and, if necessary, go to court. Protecting the country demands no less.

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20 thoughts on “Are You Listening, Democrats?

  1. We knew the Mueller report was going nowhere fast because there were no witnesses to provide testimony. We knew in advance how the impeachment would end though none of us knew how successful the Republicans would be at quashing he use of witnesses or documentary proof.We knew it would be at the 2020 elections Trump could be made to pay. And now he has to be made to pay heavily. The Democrats have the numbers to crush Trump provided they can be motivated and Trump hasn’t found a way to illegally remove many from the voting lists. Remember that the Supreme Court could just rubber stamp changes like that. Once Trump is beaten then he must be charged with criminal matters relating to the Mueller report and to charges sadly not used in the impeachment. Barr, Giuliani and others should be pursued as criminals at this time and if all all possible Chief Justice Roberts should be impeached for failure to do his job at Trump’s impeachment since he could have demanded proofs and witnesses. There must be payment and safeguards put in place for the future.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 1 person

    • True that we knew … knew the Mueller report wouldn’t remove him from office, though in a more ethical government, it would/should have. And we did know the impeachment would fail to remove him from office, though again, it very well might have, almost certainly would have, if our elected officials remembered their duty. And now, we are left, as you say, with only the one option, one that is going to require people to get up and do their jobs by voting. One that is going to require the Democratic Party to pull together, to address the needs of the people, to prove they can meet those needs, to prove they have what the Oaf in the Oval doesn’t have: integrity, conscience, honesty. While I would love to see this whole crooked crew including Barr, McConnell, and more tried and convicted … right now I’ll settle for voting the whole lot out of Washington. As for Roberts … sigh … my best guess is that he’s here to stay. Best hope is to have a democratic president in place before any more justices retire, so that Trump doesn’t get to nominate the next one.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Since Biden seems to be slipping a bit in popularity, you can bet tRumpsky will find something/someone else to latch onto. I would love for it to be Bloomberg because he’ll come back at him full-blast.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I suspect that Trump’s denigration of Biden and his completely unfounded claims that Biden did something wrong in the Ukraine has something to do with Biden’s rankings falling. But, Biden himself has played a role, too. I dislike the idea of Bloomberg being the nominee, largely because of his wealth, but hey … if he can beat Trump, then bring him on!!!

      Like

  3. To Jill and your readers,

    I really wonder how much worse things may become in 2020 and the coming years. The resulting post-truth world and win-at-all-costs mentality have been highly problematic, egregious and insidious.

    I recently came across some of the writings of Donald Monaco, who is a political analyst in Brooklyn, New York, writing from an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist perspective. His recent book is entitled “The Politics of Terrorism”. Extracted as follows, I have found the last few paragraphs of his article published at
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/impeachment-imperial-presidency/5702279 to be very sobering indeed.

    In assessing policy in the Middle East, it is important to note that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is an offshoot of Al Qaeda that is presently being used as a justification for U.S. troop deployment in Iraq and Syria. Ostensibly the troops are deployed to fight ISIS, but in reality they are there to secure the region’s oil resources and protect the apartheid state of Israel. As such, Trump’s regional policy directly conflicts with that of the Russian, Iranian, Syrian and Iraqi governments that actually fight ISIS. Trump’s order to assassinate Iranian General Suleimani, who coordinated the fight against ISIS puts a lie to U.S. claims that it is fighting a ‘war on terror’ against the Islamic State.

    Although Trump has indicated that he is against wars of regime change in this region, his policies are likely to provoke the very wars he claims to oppose, especially if he follows the advice of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, yet another neoconservative warmonger.

    Trump’s missile strikes in Syria and the illegal military occupation of Syrian oil fields; Trump’s green light for the Turkish invasion of Syria; Trump’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear agreement (JAPOC); Trump’s imposition of economic sanctions on Iran; Trump’s extrajudicial assassination of General Suleimani; Trump’s massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia; Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Israel’s annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights; Trump’s support for the dictatorship in Egypt; and Trump’s drone war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia, constitute genuine war crimes and crimes against humanity for which he should be removed from office. But Trump is not being impeached for any of these crimes because they are crimes committed in furtherance of empire.

    Furthermore, Trump has committed these crimes with the full support of Congress, the largely symbolic and non-binding War Powers Act Resolution of 2020 notwithstanding.

    It was Congress, in a vote that included 188 Democrats, that approved Trump’s $738 billion military budget in 2020.

    It was the Senate that ratified Trump’s $500 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia in 2017. The majority of those billions are used by the Saudi’s to buy weapons from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Boeing so as to wage war in Yemen. It should be noted that members of the House and Senate own an estimated $5.3 million worth of stock in the defense industry raising a visible conflict of interest. Consequently, it is no surprise that the Senate confirmed former lobbyist for the defense contractor Raytheon, Mark Esper as Trump’s Secretary of Defense in 2019 without a hitch.

    Additionally, the den of Congressional thieves continues funding for the war in Afghanistan at a cost of $45 billion per year, approved a $38 billion military aid package over 10 years for Israel in 2018 and overwhelmingly extended key provisions of the Patriot Act in 2019, with significant support coming from the Democratic party of lesser evilists, thus illustrating their support for the rampant militarism underlying American state criminality.

    Unrestrained militarism is a crime against peace. Aggressive preparation for war leads to actual war. America’s Imperial President and its venal Congress are guilty of waging war on humanity, a monstrous reality that is hidden behind the charade of impeachment.

    The battle over Trump’s impeachment is a power struggle that will decide who will lead the American empire. It is not a fight involving the abuse of power as much as it is a fight involving the exercise of power. The outcome of that fight will determine which faction of the American political establishment will employ Imperial state power to advance a vicious global empire that relentlessly elevates the rights of property over the rights of people to the detriment of all humanity.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good exposé, definitive proof showing both parties are complicit in perpetual wars, empire building imperialism, false flags, regime change wars, assassination of foreign leaders, inhumane sanctions, currency & commodities manipulation, supporter of dictators and terrorists, funding al-queda, Isis, sanctioned torture all over the world (proven in Guantanamo), trafficking of drugs, women and children, international slavery, pedophilia among gov’t & wealthy elites… and this is just the tip of the iceberg! US is quite the evil empire, has been for a very long time, only now is it all coming to light. No wonder the US gov’t want to silence Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The recent publication of the Afghan files provides yet more solid proofs or indications of imperialism, jingoism, supremacism, American exceptionalism, gunboat diplomacy, war-mongering and the like.

        Given how entrenched and invested the USA has been in many of its problematic domestic and foreign policies that have affected countless millions of folks both within and without the USA, even if the far left such as those leaning towards democratic socialism were to ascend to the White House at the next election, one wonders how much fundamental change is indeed going to be feasible and sustainable, not to mention that the political arena has been undergoing such wild swings from Bush to Obama to Trump.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Jill, I read a while ago, Trump usually commits his worse offenses after a perceived or real success. He was committing the Ukraine mess after he wrongly felt the Mueller report vindicated him. He will do more corrupt things as per his wont. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Makes sense — he feels emboldened, powerful. Keith … he truly is a madman just as much as Hitler was. I fear what today’s acquittal by the spineless senators will lead to. I am not being melodramatic when I say that if he fears losing in November, I believe he will find a way to ‘postpone’ the election.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jill, I have posted a shorter version of the Pandora’s Box post on several willing to listen Senators’ websites. I am hoping for some form of admonishment. If there is none, then the box is opened. Keith

        Liked by 3 people

          • Jill, I saw watched the roll call votes. I sent the following note to Mitt Romney. Keith

            Dear Senator Romney, you are to be commended for your political courage, which is in very short supply. I was highly disappointed you were the lone Republican, as I am certain many felt similarly, but did not have your courage of conviction. That saddens me about my former party. I fear we have opened fully Pandora’s Box.

            Liked by 2 people

  5. I’d still like to know what happened to the Mueller Report. I’ve heard all kinds of Repuglycans, including Trump, saying it exonerated him. It did no such thing, but no one is challenging him on it. Is there no chance of getting an unredacted copy? And even if not, there is still enough in the redacted copy to make him look mighty bad. Yet it is like past history, 15 minutes of fame and then forgotten.
    There is so much more the Demotedcrats can be doing, but they seem to have no interest. If they aren’t pursuing these things, why should the people care about them? It makes no sense to me!

    Liked by 3 people

    • No, the Mueller report definitely did not exonerate him. It listed multiple instances of obstruction, but stopped short of charging him with anything, only because Bill Barr said a sitting president cannot be charged. Which, both you and I know is a crock of shit. The investigation to expound on the instances listed in the Mueller report died because every single bloomin’ witness they subpoenaed was too scared of Trump to show up! Now, in my book, that’s a crime and they should have rounded up the lot of them and tossed them in jail. But, it seems that we ain’t playing by my book, so it just rather lies dead in the water. Trump has been proven to be a crook, a thief, a slimeball, and have operated in his own best interest rather than the nation’s multiple times … but, the democrats are overridden and the republicans are a bunch of scared wusses. It makes no sense to any of us with half a brain, but … those of us with brains are “the enemy of the people”, don’t you know? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

      Liked by 2 people

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