Just Two Thoughts …

It occurs to me that those of us writing political blogs covering U.S. politics and the regime of Donald Trump spend more time correcting misconceptions that he creates than we spend being proactive and creative.  But so be it … we cannot let the fool on the hill get by with lies that go unchecked and with tarnishing the reputations of good people.

Image result for don mcgahnThe latest, of course, is Don McGahn, former White House counsel.  According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, McGahn testified under oath that Trump had given him a directive to order Rod Rosenstein, then-Deputy Attorney General, to fire Robert Mueller based on a ‘conflict of interest’ that did not, in fact, exist.  McGahn refused, and ultimately left Trump’s employ rather than break the law.

Naturally, Trump denied that he had told McGahn to fire Mueller …

“As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself.”

Ah yes, he could have, but that would have opened a can of worms and made him look even guiltier than he already did at that point.  Now really, folks, who are you going to believe … Trump who has told more than 10,000 documented lies since his inauguration, or McGahn who had the integrity to refuse an order and resign rather than break the law?

Then last month, the day after the redacted copy of the Mueller report was released to Congress and the public, Trump contacted McGahn and asked him to publicly declare that he doesn’t believe Trump obstructed justice.  McGahn refused Trump’s request.  Now if that doesn’t speak loud and clear that Trump is, to this day, obstructing justice, then I don’t know what it takes.  Are you listening, Mitchell McConnell??? 

Trump, needless to say, is in a state of rage …

“I was NOT going to fire Bob Mueller, and did not fire Bob Mueller. In fact, he was allowed to finish his Report with unprecedented help from the Trump Administration. Actually, lawyer Don McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!”

Image result for quotes about lies thomas jeffersonUnprecedented help from the administration?  I think not.  And if he wasn’t a fan of McGahn, why did he hire him in the first place?  More lies.  With apparently nothing better to do, Trump tweeted some 70 times on Saturday. Since he is so fond of giving everyone nicknames, I think his new moniker ought to be Tweety Twump.

McGahn is still, as of this writing, scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on May 21st, though Trump has ordered him not to.  I think that since McGahn is a private citizen, and since he has already testified before the Mueller team, that even Trump’s “executive privilege” cannot stop McGahn if he chooses to testify.  I hope that he will, I like and respect McGahn, however if he doesn’t, I hope that the committee will issue a warrant for his arrest for contempt of Congress.  Somewhere, somehow, Congress must find the chink in the armour and be allowed to do its job.


july-2The United States celebrates Independence Day on the 4th of July each year.  The celebration commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject and subordinate to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states.  Of course, it would take a war to make the declaration reality, but this is the date that is remembered for its significance.  In recent decades, the holiday is, for many, not much more than an excuse to picnic or grill out, drink lots of beer, and watch fireworks after dark.  Nonetheless, there is symbolic meaning to the day.

One of the most prominent events takes place in Washington, D.C., which includes fireworks on the mall.  Correction … it did.  Until King Donald Trump decided to take over the celebration and make it all about himself, rather than the people who fought for this nation’s independence back while his own ancestors were still living in Germany.

Trump has decided to move the fireworks display from its usual spot on the Mall to be closer to the Potomac River (who said it was up to him???), but that isn’t even the worst of it.  He has decided to hold a bloomin’ campaign rally from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial!  What an irony!  The man who was known as ‘Honest Abe’ … being defaced and devalued by the most dishonest president in the history of the United States.  The man who fought to free the slaves and end bigotry being smeared by the one who is “Making America Racist Again”!

This is supposed to be the people’s celebration, not Donald Trump’s.  That’s okay, though, for just as I said last year, in my heart, there is nothing to celebrate this July 4th.  Frankly, in this, the year 2019, I wish we were still a subject of the Crown.  Queen Elizabeth is a much kinder, more intelligent leader than the one we have.

Time For ‘Toons!

‘Tis time for a few ‘toons to lighten things up, don’t you think?  I sometimes wonder, once Trump is gone and hopefully out of our lives forever, will half of the political cartoonists be in line at the unemployment office?  For today, though, they have plenty of fodder for the grist mill.

Starting, of course, with Attorney General William Barr …

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Mueller's letter to BarrBarr-2barr-3

This week, Trump hit the 10,000 mark on the lies he has told since taking office.  Now, we all know he’s told more lies than that, but those are just the ones that are confirmed by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker.

trump-liestrump-lies-2trump-lies-3

Also this week, Trump announced that he plans to change the rules for asylum seekers.  He plans to charge them money that they don’t have, and limit their rights to work to earn money — in other words, he is essentially halting any migrants from seeking asylum in this country.  It is, in my book, an illegal move, but when has legality ever been a problem for him?

migrant-1migrant-2

Robert Mueller’s investigation confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt, that which we already knew — that Russia did interfere with our 2016 election for the purpose of getting Trump elected, knowing he could be played like a puppet.

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I’m retired now, but back when I worked, this was always how I felt among my coworkers …

me-at-work

I’ve made the point numerous times in the past few weeks that Trump is trashing the rule of law in this country.  He and William Barr, among others, seem to feel that the laws of the land do not apply to them.

rule-of-lawrule-of-law-2Question of impeachmentrule-of-law-4

And finally … just a few bits ‘n pieces I found …

trump-assholetrump-kimtrump-nraunfit-to-vote

The Mueller Report-Final thoughts and takeaways

Last week, I re-blogged a piece by Jeff of On The Fence Voters fame, of his initial thoughts as he began reading the Mueller report. Today, he has finished reading the 448-page report and has written an excellent summation which I am sharing with you. I think his thoughts are on the money, and I share his hopes that the ongoing investigations will bring further results. Thank you, Jeff, for your excellent work and for permission to share it.

On The Fence Voters

So I’ve finally been able to read the entire Mueller Report. I actually read Volume II, which dealt with allegations surrounding Trump and obstruction of justice, first—then read the rest of Volume I, which dealt with Russian hacking and the Trump Campaign’s involvement. You can read my first assessment from a post I wrote last week. Here are some final thoughts and major takeaways, now that I’ve read the entire report.

Paul Manafort

I’ve always felt that Manafort was the critical piece in Mueller’s attempt to see what links the Trump Campaign had, if any, to the Russians. He served as campaign chairman for Trump for only about four months, but during his tenure, many of the significant instances of Russian interference was taking place.

For one, he was at the infamous Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016, along with Don Jr. and Jared Kushner. They thought they were…

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The Mueller Report–First impressions

Jeff, over at On The Fence Voters, has been wading through the 448-page report issued by Robert Mueller regarding the Russian interference into our 2016 elections, as well as the involvement of Trump, his family, and his campaign. I, too, have been wading through the report, but I took yesterday off from it, for it was taking a toll on me both emotionally and physically. Not to mention that I had cleaning, shopping, cooking, baking, and Easter-egg dyeing that had to be done yesterday. Anyway … Jeff has shared a few of his thoughts and observations about the report, and they are well worth sharing with you. I will have my own thoughts at some point in the future, but truly, what Jeff has said here mirrors my own thoughts. Thank you, Jeff, for this excellent summation and for your generous permission to share!

On The Fence Voters

I’ve tried my best in the last 24 hours or so to read as much of the Mueller Report as I possibly could. While I haven’t completed this endeavor, I nonetheless have consumed quite a bit. Here are just a few of my thought thus far.

Robert Mueller has produced a report one might expect from a man who has spent a good portion of his life in law enforcement. It’s a thorough, fact-based account on what transpired between the Trump campaign and their alleged involvement with the Russians in the 2016 election, and an equally comprehensive look at the actions of President Trump after the appointment of Mueller as Special Counsel in May of 2017.

In no uncertain terms, Mueller lays out the facts of what the Russians did to try to sow discord in our democracy and help elect Donald Trump to the presidency. Their actions were systematic…

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Game Over? I Think NOT, Donnie Boy!

The republicans are, once again, dancing in the streets and pouring champagne over each other’s heads.  Party hearty, republican friends, but guess what?  The game isn’t over, but has just begun.  The redacted report that we were given is only part of the story, but even that part is proof that Trump & Co are guilty of having conspired with Russian agents to rig the election in 2016 and put Trump in office.  What more there is, will eventually be discovered.  But … republicans?  Let me ask you a question.  Why, if Trump had nothing to hide and was guilty of naught, did he make this statement when apprised of the hiring of Special Counsel Robert Mueller …

“Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.”

And then he proceeded to berate the bearer of the news, then-Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Why, guys?  Doesn’t that sound like the voice of a guilty man?  Sure does to me.

Now on to the present.  Yesterday morning, as I noted in my snarky snippets yesterday, Attorney General William Barr felt it prudent to give us his version of the Mueller report.  Unnecessary and unwanted, but here are a few of the proven lies he told in that event:

  • … We now know that the Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign – or the knowing assistance of any other Americans for that matter.
  • … The Special Counsel’s report did not find that any person associated with the Trump campaign illegally participated in the dissemination of the materials.
  • … The White House fully cooperated with the Special Counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims. (This one damn near caused me to choke to death!)

Even Fox News’ own Chris Wallace criticized Barr, saying …

“The attorney general seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, the counselor for the president, rather than the attorney general, talking about his motives, his emotions.”

Let us consider, for a moment, that even if Mueller’s investigation did not turn up indictable criminal activity on the part of Trump, it damn sure did turn up improper behaviour, especially toward the investigation itself.  According to the Associated Press …

Donald Trump tried to seize control of the Russia probe and force Mueller’s removal to stop him from investigating potential obstruction of justice by the president. Trump was largely thwarted by those around him.

Mueller laid out multiple episodes in which Trump directed others to influence or curtail the Russia investigation after the special counsel’s appointment in May 2017. Those efforts “were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” Mueller wrote.

I ask you … is this the ‘man’ you want to lead this nation?  Seriously?

Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, has appropriately determined that the committee needs to hear directly from Mr. Mueller, and as such sent him this letter …Nadler-letter-Mueller

This should make for some real interesting conversations in the White House.

Of course, the republicans are reading into the report what they wish to see … or more likely, are simply accepting Barr’s version, for that is what they want to believe.  Take the blinders off now, people … time to wake up from that little nappie.

“The report is one-sided, it has an incredible standard of proof. It’s that ‘we couldn’t be convinced that he didn’t obstruct justice,’. Can you prove that he did? That answer is, no they can’t. That is like a cheap shot, but if they can’t prove it, why don’t they just regurgitate all the garbage that they have? It’s all one-sided, a lot of it not true, a lot of it exaggerated. Even if it’s all true, which it isn’t, he didn’t commit a crime. He didn’t do anything wrong.” – Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is preparing a rebuttal to the Mueller report

I liked what Jim Wright had to say, and I fully concur at this point …

Impeach Trump.

There is more than enough reason to begin impeachment proceedings. We impeached both Nixon and Clinton for far less than is in the Mueller Report.

So, impeach Trump.

Impeach him in the House. Take up the investigation, one he CANNOT stop or obstruct or redact, one his pet Attorney General and his cronies cannot impede, one that Trump himself has NO control over whatsoever, and impeach him if that’s where the evidence leads.

THEN if the Senate refuses to convict, if Mitch McConnell refuses to take up the impeachment, refuses his duty and the Senate stands by him, hang it around their dirty cowardly necks like a fucking albatross.

Make them own it in 2020. Make them own it forever.

Surely, if they can read, even the republicans in Congress must now agree that Donald Trump has committed, if not indictable crimes, certainly impeachable offenses.  He does not operate in the best interest of this nation.  He is a president in name only.  Game over, Mr. Trump?  Far from it.

It’s Time For … Snarky Snippets!

You could probably have predicted my angst would be running high today and I would pop up with a new batch of Snarky Snippets, yes?  You guys know me so well!  I have been pounding my keyboard so hard that I no longer have an ‘I’, ‘O’, ‘L’, or ‘N’ … the keys work, but the lettering has been worn off.  Good thing, I guess, that I took that typing class back in high school so I know where the letters are even without lettering to guide me!


Aw shucks, Mr. Barr … we can read as good as you … maybe even better!

I don’t know about you folks, but I learned basic reading skills at an early age.  Since then, those skills have been enhanced and honed, and I am now quite capable of reading many things.  There are things I choose not to read, for they either bore me or are offensive, but my literacy skills are at least on a par with most people’s.  Why, I have even read the U.S. Constitution, something that has not, as I understand it, been done by the ‘man’ who swore under oath to uphold said document.

Along comes Mr. William Barr, the alleged Attorney General of the United States, who determines that We the People are not capable of reading a 400-page document, the Robert Mueller report, and that we haven’t the intelligence to understand it, even if we could make out the words.  So … Mr. Barr decided that he would just save us the trouble of having to struggle with all that reading, and he would call a press conference and ‘splain it all to us!  Why, isn’t that nice of him?

Barr-puppetAnd, guess what else!  Mr. Barr delayed the release of the document in order to have numerous meetings with Trump’s lawyers.  Why, you ask?  Well, remember back when Robert Mueller first presented the report to Mr. Barr, and Barr wrote his own 4-page little summary, whereby he informed us that Trump, Ivanka, Kushner and all the rest were innocent of any and all wrongdoing, and that Mueller’s report cleared their names?  Turns out that Barr felt Trump’s lawyers ought to write their own little report to ‘splain just how, even though Trump & his cronies were in frequent communication with Putin and other Russians, there was no wrongdoing, for we might mistakenly decide on our own that there is some guilt there.  William Barr — Trump’s puppet on a string.

I will not be watching Mr. Barr tell fairy tales at 9:30 a.m., nor do I have any immediate interest in the rebuttal document by Giuliani and Co., though I will no doubt read that later just to see how the spin doctors played their hand.  I will, however, be reading the document prepared by Mr. Robert Mueller, whom I trust emphatically.  And I will draw my own conclusions based on the modicum of intelligence that I possess.  The next act in this play needs to be for Robert Mueller to testify before Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, where not everybody is drinking Kool-Aid.


Two thumbs up 👍 👍 for New York City!

Some good news from New York City.  While Donald Trump and his cronies trash regulations to protect our environment and do everything they can think of to hasten the demise of the human race, New York is taking a big, positive step.  The New York city council is expected to pass legislation today that will set emission caps for buildings and impose strict fines for those buildings that are found not in compliance.  Their stated goal is to achieve a 40% overall reduction in emissions by the year 2030.  It’s not enough, but it’s a start, and a damn sight better than our federal government is doing!NYC skylineAccording to the New York Times

Buildings are among the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions because they use lots of energy for heating, cooling and lighting, and they tend to be inefficient, leaking heat in the winter and cool air in the summer through old windows or inadequate insulation. An inventory of greenhouse gas emissions published in 2017 found that buildings accounted for 67 percent of the city’s emissions.

I admit a bit of demonic glee picturing Trump trying to figure a way around the law.  That is, until I remember that he is ‘above the law’ and will likely be the largest violator.  I hope the city goes after him with the big guns!


It makes sense … it makes perfect sense!Bernie-Sanders-FoxWhen I first heard that Bernie Sanders, not only a democrat, but a democratic socialist candidate, was appearing on Fox ‘News’, it was one of those wtf moments.  But then I pondered on it, did a bit of reading, and suddenly the 💡 came on over my head.  It’s positively brilliant, for a few reasons:

  • Most Trump-supporters are Fox viewers, and vice versa. Therefore, they really have no idea what the democrats stand for, because all they have to judge by is what they are told by the likes of Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Tucker Carlson, and of course Trump himself.  This gives them an opportunity to see that democrats are not, in fact, the big bad wolf, but people whose goals are humanitarian.  Now, I don’t look for them all to jump up and go change their party affiliation after seeing Bernie or another democratic candidate on their favourite news network, but it might open their minds a bit, might actually cause them to start thinking about some of the issues, realizing that there is more to it than they have been told.

  • It gives the democrats an edge they would not otherwise have … it shows they are not pandering only to their own supporters, but are reaching out to everyone. That’s important, folks, if you remember my post from last night where I posited that Trump is not our president because he speaks to and for only those who praise him.  The democrats, by appearing on Fox, are showing that they are for the entire nation, not just their own corner.

  • It is irritating the heck out of Trump! Could this be the end of the romance between Trump & Fox?

Other democratic candidates are slated to appear on Fox as well, including Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Julián Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker.  Sanders’ appearance at a Fox Town Hall garnered the biggest television audience of any 2020 Democratic candidate — more than 2.5 million people.  This is a great way for the candidates to begin ‘reaching across the aisle’, and who knows … maybe a few Trump supporters may decide to sit on the other side of the aisle.


Well, I’m about out of snark for tonight, so I’ll return you to whatever you were doing.  great-day

Be Prepared …

I have long thought, and likely said it here once or twice, that Trump is a loose cannon, his behaviours seeming to become increasingly strange and uncontrolled when he senses he is threatened.  His tweets, never exactly intellectual, become erratic when a new indictment is handed down by Robert Mueller’s team, or when he is called out on one of his many daily lies, or when his boot-lickers don’t behave quite as he wants them to.  This is one of the reasons that, while I would love to see him thrown off his royal perch, evicted from the Oval Office, I cannot support a move toward impeachment at this time, for I suspect he would become even more deranged and call for his base to take to the streets with their AR-15s in hand.  Now, I am a nobody and have no basis for my opinion other than observation, but I’ve run across somebody who shares my opinion, somebody who is certainly qualified to make this statement.  That somebody is Robert Reich, whose words I have shared here before, and today I do so again.

From The Guardian, 16 March 2019 …

Trump is cornered, with violence on his mind. We must be on red alert

Robert Reich

What does a megalomaniacal president of the United States do when he’s cornered? We’ll soon find out.

House Democrats are beginning a series of investigations and hearings about Donald Trump. Senate Republicans have begun to desert him. Twelve defected on the wall. Seven refused to back Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

Almost all have gone on record that they want Robert Mueller’s report made public. That report, not incidentally, appears imminent.

Trump cannot abide losing. His ego can’t contain humiliation. He is incapable of shame.

So what does a cornered Trump do? For starters, he raises the specter of violence against his political opponents.

In an interview with Breitbart News published on Wednesday, Trump noted: “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough – until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

In case you missed it, “they” are Trump’s political opponents, including House Democrats and the mainstream media. And the “certain point” could be impeachment but is more likely to be reached if the House investigations reveal crimes Trump committed both before and after he became president.

“I actually think that the people on the right are tougher,” Trump warned in the same interview. “But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress … with all this investigations – that’s all they want to do is – you know, they do things that are nasty.”

Here we have it, in a nutshell. In Trump’s mind, congressional investigations that could cause him shame and humiliation, and quite possibly result in a prison sentence, will be countered by forces loyal to him: the police, the military, and vigilante groups like Bikers for Trump.

To put it another way, the work of a democratically elected Congress will be met by Trump loyalists who, he asserts, are “tougher” because they have brute force on their side.

It is impossible to know what bizarre scenario is playing out in Trump’s head. But another hint came on Friday, when, in the wake of the horrific shootings at two mosques in New Zealand, Trump told reporters he didn’t believe white nationalism was on the rise.

“I don’t really,” he said. “I think it’s a small group of people.”

As usual, the facts are otherwise. The number of hate groups in the US increased 7% last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Hate crime reports increased 17%, according to the FBI.

Recall that 11 people were murdered at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue on 27 October, at the hands of a white supremacist. A few days earlier, a white supremacist murdered two black people at a grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky.

It is hardly the first time Trump has played down white nationalism, or signaled his support for those who might use violence on his behalf.

At a Las Vegas rally during the 2016 campaign he said he’d like to punch a protester in the face; at another event encouraged his supporters to “knock the crap” out of any protester making trouble.

“I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees,” he said.

But as Trump becomes ever more entrapped in the web of his own misdeeds, his threats are becoming more ominous.

At a rally for Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley in September, Trump said his opponents “were lucky that we’re peaceful”. He continued: “Law enforcement, military, construction workers, Bikers for Trump … They travel all over the country … They’ve been great.” But, he warned, “these are tough people … they’re peaceful people, and antifa and all, they’d better hope they stay that way.”

In February, the White House Correspondents’ Association called on Trump to make it “absolutely clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable”. To date, he has not.

Meanwhile, Steve Bannon, another of Trump’s bottom feeders, predicted that “2019 is going to be the most vitriolic year in American politics since the civil war”.

Throughout his campaign and presidency, Trump has given cover to some of the most vile bigots in America. As he grows more desperate, he is giving them encouragement.

It is our job – and the job of all senators and representatives in Congress, regardless of party, and of military leaders – to condemn hatred and violence in all its forms, even when the president of the United States makes excuses for it.

And it is up to all of us to reaffirm our commitment to democracy, even when the president of the United States threatens to unleash the military and vigilantes against it.

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.

It Finally Happened. President’s Buddy Roger Stone Has Been Arrested By FBI On 1/25/19

Yet another thread in the tangled web of Trump/Russia connections that served to put an unqualified person in the White House, has been exposed. Roger Stone has … well, just read Gronda’s ‘good news’ post. Trump’s web of lies is unraveling. Thank you, Gronda, for starting the weekend out with some good news!

Gronda Morin

Related image PAUL MANAFORT/ ROGER STONE

On January 25, 2019, I was watching the MSNBC TV show, “Morning Joe,” when it was announced that the FBI under the auspices of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller III, heading its Trump-Russia Probe, arrested the republican President Donald Trump’s old friend, Roger Stone on the morning of the 25th of January 2019 based on being charged on 7 counts. The charges include one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering.

As per NYT:  Read the indictment.

Roger Stone had worked in President Trump’s campaign for a short time in an official capacity until August 2015 but then they parted ways. There are different accounts as to why Roger Stone left the campaign but it is important to note that President Trump, his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Roger Stone have had a relationship, going…

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Fools Rush In …

“I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” – George Bernard Shaw

Stepping away for a minute from Trump’s abandonment of our Allies in Syria and Afghanistan, James Mattis’ resignation, Trump’s wall and related government shutdown, let’s take a look at some other things that happened last week.

On Thursday, it was reported that acting attorney General Matthew Whitaker had been told by Justice Department officials that he would not need to recuse himself from oversight of Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election — despite having been an outspoken critic of the Mueller and the investigation.  Imagine the surprise of the Department of Justice ethics officials who had, in fact, told Mr. Whitaker that yes, he should definitely recuse himself!

Whitaker

Matthew Whitaker, acting Attorney General

As the story unfolded, it turns out that Whitaker had some of his own personal advisors at the Justice Department say that it wasn’t necessary for him to recuse himself, and at the same time, they falsely claimed that it was unheard of for an Attorney General to recuse himself based on a conflict of interest.

Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, William Barr, has also been a highly outspoken critic of Robert Mueller and the Russian investigation.  He will likely be questioned during confirmation hearings about his intent toward the investigation and whether he will recuse himself.  It would seem that Trump will pull out all the stops to throw a wrench into the search for truth.  The investigation has already racked up over 100 criminal charges against dozens of people, including guilty pleas from Trump’s former national security adviser, former campaign chair, former attorney, and multiple former advisers since it started in May 2017.  Can anybody honestly believe that Trump, his family, and most of his senior campaign staff were not involved in helping Russia rig the 2016 election?  No.  But Trump is pulling out all the stops to try to halt the investigation before Robert Mueller issues his final report.

Beyond the concern that Trump will direct his Attorney General to terminate the Russian investigation is the concern that Mueller’s report, once issued, will never make it to Congress, let alone to We The People.  By law, the Special Counsel’s report and conclusions must be presented to the Attorney General. But … the Attorney General then decides what portion of the report, if any, will be issued to Congress and ultimately the public.  Would Whitaker or Barr choose to suppress the report?  Hmmm … take a wild guess.  Watergate is beginning to look like a Sunday picnic in the park.


I know better than to judge a book by its cover or a person by their looks, but that said, Steven Mnuchin has always looked a little … seedy, sleazy, not-too-honest … to me.  Turns out he’s just plain not-too-bright, I suspect. MnuchinThroughout the past two years, a number of safety nets have been cut loose and sent to the dumpster, some rolling back the post-financial-crisis regulations that had been put in place to prevent another financial crisis similar to the one in 2007-2008.  As a result, our money, our investments, are a bit less secure now as the potential for a recession grows more likely.

So, Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, is apparently getting a bit nervous now that the regulations have been rolled back.  On Friday, he apparently called six of the largest banks to make sure they had plenty of money!  Yes, you heard me right.  What a way to run a government, eh?  Financial analysts, bankers and economists were all left scratching their heads on this one.

The best guess is that, in light of the stock markets tumbling last week, and then Trump threatening to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, Mnuchin was doing damage control, attempting to stroke the ruffled feathers of investors and assure the public that … nothing to see here, folks – business as usual.  Well guess what … it isn’t working, as we can see by the continued slide today.  Analysts said it was almost certain to have the opposite effect and throw up some red flags.marketsTrump blames Powell for the stock market plunge, whereas in reality, it is more attributable to his own erratic moves over the past few weeks, tariffs, and the chaos that reigns in Washington at the moment.  In other words, Trump, who has taken credit for a decent economy that he largely inherited, now also owns the economy that is on the brink of recession.

But back to Mnuchin.  He called the CEOs of Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo to “confirm that they have ample liquidity available”, according to Treasury officials.  He then issued a statement:

“We continue to see strong economic growth in the U.S. economy with robust activity from consumers and business. With the government shutdown, Treasury will have critical employees to maintain its core operations at Fiscal Services, IRS, and other critical functions within the department.”

One financial analyst, Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, said …

“Panic feeds panic, and this looks like panic in the administration. Suggesting you might know something that no one else is worried about creates more unease.”

Folks … let’s call a spade a spade.  This administration has rapidly devolved into complete chaos with a “leader” who is either the biggest fool on earth, else in the throes of severe mental illness.  Between the government shutdown, the threat of pulling our troops out of Syria and Afghanistan, the resignation of General Mattis, the border wall dispute, the issue of our treatment of immigrants, Trump’s horrid choices for Attorney General, his threats and bullying … there is no sanity in our federal government and we are not all fools.  I wouldn’t invest in the market right now under almost any circumstances.  Mnuchin can issue as many statements, tweet as many tweets as he likes, but he is not calming the fears of the public.  The fears are very real and nothing he can say will allay them.  Steve Mnuchin is, perhaps, as much a fool as his boss.

What Happens If …

There are a number of opinion writers I greatly respect, and Charles M. Blow is in the top ten.  Mr. Blow writes for the New York Times and his work is most always level-headed and thoughtful.  Amid the many calls for impeachment to remove Trump from office, cooler heads must sometimes prevail.  In Blow’s column from December 2nd he explains why removing Trump from office is not a likely scenario, but would be the beginning of a new nightmare.

What Happens If …

The possibilities ahead in the Russia investigation suggest we are not reaching the end of a nightmare, but rather entering one.

Charles BlowBy Charles M. Blow

I no longer think that anyone in America, including Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters, can afford to put off the consideration of the central question of this administration: What if Donald Trump or those closest to him were compromised by the Russians or colluded with them?

There have always been those of us on the left who viewed his presidency as compromised, asterisk-worthy if not wholly illegitimate, because of the Russian interference.

A crime had been committed by Russia and Trump cheered the crime and used the loot thereof to advance his candidacy. That is clear.

The Russians made repeated attempts to contact people in Trump’s orbit and in some cases were able to meet with members of the team, as evidenced by the Trump Tower meeting. That is clear.

Members of Trump’s team were extremely interested in and eager to accept any assistance that the Russians could provide. That is clear.

And since assuming office, Trump has openly attempted to obstruct justice and damage or impede the investigation into what the Russians did and whether anyone in his orbit was part of the crime. That too is clear.

But for the people who support and defend Trump, this has already been absorbed andabsolved. They may not like it, but they are willing to overlook it. Indeed, they are so attached to Trump that his fortunes and his fate have become synonymous with theirs. There is a spiritual linkage, a baleful bond, between the man and his minions.

But what happens if the evidence that the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, uncovers reveals a direct link between Trump and the Russians? How do Trump’s boosters respond?

Last week, when Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timeline and the extent of Mr. Trump’s involvement in negotiations for a Trump Tower in Moscow, the political earth shifted.

If Trump was lying to or misleading the American people about his efforts to do business in Russia while running for president and the Russians knew — and presumably had evidence — that he wasn’t being completely honest and forthcoming, then he was compromised.

While it is by no means clear that the Russians ever used any information that they may have had to blackmail or otherwise pressure Trump, Cohen’s plea makes clear that they had the material to do just that.

This brings ever more clarity to Trump’s curious inclination to go soft on Russia condemnation, to take Russian President Vladimir Putin’s word over that of his own intelligence agencies, and to drag his feet in acknowledging that Russia attacked our election in 2016 and may continue to do so in the future.

How would Americans who support Trump now respond to evidence that Team Trump put their own personal and financial interests over the national interest? Would they break from their blind support and turn away from him and turn on him? How could they justify wearing the blinders for so long and countenancing so much? What language would they use to correct their complicity?

There is a precedent in the Nixon investigation. When the evidence of wrongdoing was clear and incontrovertible, people began to peel away, tails tucked and full of shame.

But that was a different time, one in which media wasn’t so fractured and partisan, before the advent of social media and our current dissociable mentalities.

Nixon had no propaganda arm. Trump has one. It’s called Fox News. There is little daylight between the network’s programming and the White House’s priorities. If Trump goes down, so too does Fox, in some measure. So the network has a vested interest in defending Trump until the bitter end, and that narrative-crafting could impede an otherwise natural and normal disaffection with Trump.

Furthermore, Trump does not strike me as a man amenable to contrition or one interested in the health and stability of the nation.

I expect Trump to admit nothing, even if faced with proof positive of his own misconduct. There is nothing in the record to convince me otherwise. He will call the truth a lie and vice versa.

I also don’t think that Trump would ever voluntarily leave office as Nixon did, even if he felt impeachment was imminent. I’m not even sure that he would willingly leave if he were impeached and the Senate moved to convict, a scenario that is hard to imagine at this point.

I don’t think any of this gets better, even as the evidence becomes clearer. I don’t believe that Trump’s supporters would reverse course in the same way that Nixon’s did. I don’t believe that the facts Mueller presents will be considered unassailable. I don’t believe Trump will go down without bringing the country down with him.

In short, I don’t believe we are reaching the end of a nightmare, but rather we are entering one. This will not get easier, but harder.

The country is about to enter the crucible. This test of our republic is without a true comparison. And we do not have a clear picture of how the test will resolve. But, I believe damage is certain.