Tag Archives: Trump

Getcher programs here! Can’t tell the players without yer program!

Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide by Cass Sunstein, Harvard University Press.

As Benjamin Franklin famously put it, Americans have a republic, if we can keep it. Preserving the Constitution and the democratic system it supports is the public’s responsibility. One route the Constitution provides for discharging that duty?a route rarely traveled?is impeachment.

Cass R. Sunstein provides a succinct citizen’s guide to an essential tool of self-government. He illuminates the constitutional design behind impeachment and emphasizes the people’s role in holding presidents accountable. Despite intense interest in the subject, impeachment is widely misunderstood. Sunstein identifies and corrects a number of misconceptions. For example, he shows that the Constitution, not the House of Representatives, establishes grounds for impeachment, and that the president can be impeached for abuses of power that do not violate the law. Even neglect of duty counts among the “high crimes and misdemeanors” delineated in the republic’s foundational document. Sunstein describes how impeachment helps make sense of our constitutional order, particularly the framers’ controversial decision to install an empowered executive in a nation deeply fearful of kings.

With an eye toward the past and the future, Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide considers a host of actual and imaginable arguments for a president’s removal, explaining why some cases are easy and others hard, why some arguments for impeachment have been judicious and others not. In direct and approachable terms, it dispels the fog surrounding impeachment so that Americans of all political convictions may use their ultimate civic authority wisely.

Just sayin’

Under Trump, Putin Gets To Slowly Invade Georgia

Every now and then, Russian operatives go out in some field in Georgia, sometimes at night, tear down a fence and put up a new one, making Russia bigger and Georgia smaller. You may remember a related incident that happened during the McCain-Obama election, of which much was made.

From WaPo:

This constantly changing boundary has already divided communities and swallowed up homes in Georgia, a country of 3.7 million that hopes to one day join NATO.

Many consider it nothing short of a silent, creeping occupation on the fringes of Europe supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“What should I do? If the Russians come closer I will not be able to do anything,” Vasya, 51, said with a shrug and a waft of a freshly lit cigarette. He wants only his first name used for fear of reprisals by nearby border guards.

The Russians have been trying to Russianize Ossetians living in the nearly island like enclave in Georgia for decades, and eventually issued many Russian passports.

It is the standard Russian move. Make up a situation in which there are people in some territory that say “Hey, we’re Russians. Where’s Russia! Come help us, Russia!” Then, the tanks roll in. In this case, until Putin put Trump in the US White House, the US helped Georgia resist this move in South Ossetia. No more. Trump is screwing over an important ally in the region.

In Georgia, there is a saying. You use it when you are disagreeing with someone. “We can discuss this in the morning. But during the night, I will sneak into your house and cut your throat,” or words to that effect. Well, now it’s Trump cutting the throat of Georgia.

“We can do nothing to protect ourselves … we cannot start war on them,” said Temuri Khuroshvili, 59, a retired police officer whose cinder-block house is in one of the 52 villages on the boundary. His home is surrounded by annexed territory on three sides.

“What can you do against Russia? They do whatever they can,” he said as he sat in the roadside shade while rusty tractors groaning under bales of hay rattled through the dusty lane. “The Russians don’t care at all.”

This is not the kind of mess that an actual US President, when we get one, is going to be able to clean up easily.

There is one country in this world moving away from more efficient transportation

And that is the United States, and that is because of Donald Trump. From WaPo:

The Trump administration on Thursday announced plans to freeze fuel-efficiency requirements for the nation’s cars and trucks through 2026 — a massive regulatory rollback likely to spur a legal battle with California and other states, as well as create potential upheaval in the nation’s automotive market.

The proposal represents an abrupt reversal of the findings that the government reached under President Barack Obama, when regulators argued that requiring more-fuel-efficient vehicles would improve public health, combat climate change and save consumers money without compromising safety.

Trump’s plan also undercuts California’s long-standing ability to set its own tailpipe restrictions, most recently in an effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

What is the rational for this? There is only one. Hippie punching. He is showing his base that he has yet another way to make the liberals cry.

But guess what. The liberals will not cry. But they will fight.

How To End A Presidency

To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment

The history and future of our democracy’s ultimate sanction, presidential impeachment, and a guide to how it should be used now

To End a Presidency addresses one of today’s most urgent questions: when and whether to impeach a president. Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz provide an authoritative guide to impeachment’s past and a bold argument about its proper role today. In an era of expansive presidential power and intense partisanship, we must rethink impeachment for the twenty-first century.

Of impeachments, one Constitutional Convention delegate declared, “A good magistrate will not fear them. A bad one will be kept in fear of them.” To End a Presidency is an essential book for all Americans seeking to understand how this crucial but fearsome power should be exercised.

Just sayin’

Trump’s attack on the media as a microcosm of how it works in the White House

According to reporting by the Washington Post and others, Donald Trump has supported roughly the same policy regarding the press for perhaps his entire presidency. Since Trump has always hated the press, especially the New York Times, I’d argue that there has not been a change in his policy as far back as the first hints of his involvement with Russia, in the mid 1980s, or before.

Trump has on numerous occasions told his staff to ban specific reporters because he did not like the questions they asked. He told his followers to physically attack reporters during he campaign. He has wanted the press to bow down to him, and he’s wanted to harm the press in a variety of ways, all along.

However, it was only just a couple of days ago that a White House reporter was actually banned from an event, and it was only earlier today that Trump carried out his most extensive and violent Twitter attack on members of the press.

It may be that his rhetoric is set on high right now because the pressure is on. His closest long term confident, whom he abused in recent months, has turned on him and told what appears to be the truth about activities that have a good chance of landing Trump in prison at some point later on. The trial of his campaign manager is going to start in less than two days. And so on.

But the real difference between several months ago and now is the degree to which Trump’s staff is willing, now, to carry out his nefarious wishes, as opposed to then, when the refused to do so, or talked him out of it. This may be partly facilitated by the addition of Bill Shine to the communications staff.

Shine comes from Fox News. While at fox, he produced Hannity’s show. Also, Shine is the fifth person in his position, and I’m pretty sure that is a high rate of turnover for White House Communications Director. Since the beginning of the position (Her Klein was the first, serving in 1969 for Richard Nixon) the average say for a White House Communications Director (or staffer of similar though slightly varying name) is about 1.75 years. The position has changed hands six times since Trump has been president.

Trump is like a pressure cooker. His staff is like those little doohickeys that rattle around on the top of the pressure cooker.

By the way, even Fox News complained about the banning of a White House Press Corps reporter from an event.

Anyway, I’m sure everything else is like this. Trump is constantly being held back by those around him. I assume there are two reasons they do so.

1) They are not as bad as him and want to slow him down so he does less damage.

2) They are at least as bad as he is, but they are not, like Trump, quite as dumb as a brick, and they know that taking blatant action as he would want will cause too much trouble, and interfere with their evil agenda.

The question is, what is the ratio of Type 1 to Type 2 White House Staff?

The unraveling of Michael Cohen is happening as we speak, watch, listen.

The unraveling of Michael Cohen is happening as we speak, watch, listen. And, this could be a big part of the undoing of Donald Trump.

The release of the tape with Trump and Cohen discussing a payoff to a woman Trump apparently attempted to have sex with (I eagerly await not hearing about the details on that one) seems to have hit a cord with Trump. Separating children from their parents, screwing over American workers and farmers, embarrassing the nation at international meetings, didn’t Phase Trump much. But the Cohen tape seemed to lead to Trump avoiding the press and hunkering down.

Then, we hear that Cohen claims that Trump knew in advance of the key 2016 Trump Tower meeting. That puts Trump right in the middle of the collaboration, collusion, conspiracy, or whatever you want to call it, to involve foreign resources in his election campaign. A guy can go to jail for that.

From CNN:

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, sources with knowledge tell CNN. Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller, the sources said.

Cohen’s claim would contradict repeated denials by Trump, Donald Trump Jr., their lawyers and other administration officials who have said that the President knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting until he was approached about it by The New York Times in July 2017.

The two pronged attack by Republicans: Happening now, and look for more of it

Just as we are moving slowly past Trump’s attempts to order eleven of his enemies (who are mostly public servants with excellent records) to be rounded up and handed over Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, we now see the House Freedom Caucus, aka Teabagging Asses, calling for the impeachment of Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation of the Trump-Russian scandal.

From the Washington Post:

Conservative lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a resolution calling for the impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, in a move that marks a dramatic escalation in the battle over the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The effort, spearheaded by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), also sets up a showdown with House Republican leaders, who have distanced themselves from calls to remove Rosenstein from office. But Meadows and Jordan stopped short of forcing an immediate vote on the measure, sparing Republican lawmakers for now from a potential dilemma.

This only gets worse. It gets worse about every three and a half days.

Is this how Trump gets taken down? Emoluments

Seems pretty clear to me that Trump is guilty of violating the US Constitution’s Emoluments clause. Ideally, the Congress would do its job and investigate, and likely impeach. But since the Congress is controlled by Republicans, and they are bunch of crooks, that is not going to happen.

But, there is more than one way to skin a Trump. There are law suits making their way through courts, going after Trump in a number of different ways, including over emoluments. Just today, a federal judge allowed an emolument related law suit to continue, according to the Washington Post.

The ruling, from U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte in Greenbelt, Md., will allow the plaintiffs — the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia — to proceed with their case, which says Trump has violated little-used anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution known as the emoluments clauses.

This ruling appeared to mark the first time a federal judge had interpreted those Constitutional provisions and applied their restrictions to a sitting president.

If the ruling stands, it could bring unprecedented scrutiny onto Trump’s businesses — which have sought to keep their transactions with foreign states private, even as their owner sits in the Oval Office.

Here is a Georgetown Law professor talking about Trump and emoluments.

This is what dictators do

According to the Washington Post:

President Trump plans to revoke the security clearances of … former CIA director John Brennan; former FBI director James B. Comey; former CIA director Michael V. Hayden; former national security adviser Susan E. Rice; former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.; and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.

“The president is exploring these mechanisms to remove security clearances because they’ve politicized and, in some cases, actually monetized their public service and their security clearances in making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia,” Sanders told reporters at a regular press briefing.

She added: “The fact that people with security clearances are making these baseless charges provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”

The move came shortly after Trump met with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said earlier Monday that he planned to ask the president to revoke Brennan’s clearance. The former Obama administration CIA director last week used the word “treasonous” to describe Trump’s performance at his summit with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin in Helsinki, saying it showed he was “wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

Lordy, there are tapes.

It is a bit complicated. This is a tape of Trump and his lawyer Cohen talking about paying off a mistress. The conversation and payout may have been a jailing offense if it turns out to be a violation of campaign finance law. Also the tape clearly indicates that Trump lied in earlier statements about this situation.

There is an added twist, as pointed out by Rachel Maddow. It looks like these tapes were deemed as privileged information by the court’s special master, but Trump’s lawers waved that privilege. This appears to matter with respect do teals Cohen may or may not be making with prosecutors.

This is how that works. Cohen has the tapes. The special master looking at the evidence in the Cohen case determine that this is privileged (client-attorney) and cant’ be handed over to prosecutors. Cohen is now in the situation where he has an ace up his sleeve. He could pass the tape on to the prosecutors in return for something. But, since the tape has been released (or at least a transcript of it), he can no longer do that. Trump has outsmarted Cohen. Try not to think about that too hard.

Anyway, watch Maddow’s reporting and analysis including comments by Emily Jane Fox: Continue reading Lordy, there are tapes.

A key moment in the Russia-Trump scandal happens Wednesday…

… when the trial of his campaign manager, Paul Manefort, starts.

Jury selection starts Tuesday

There are zero signs of a plea deal emerging.

But, sometimes that happens right near the end of jury selection when the defense sees what they are up against.

(There will be a delay motion heard on Monday, but there is no good reason to believe it will be ruled in favor of.)