Most days of the Trump catastrophe bring more news than can be relayed or analyzed here–and yesterday was a prime example. Here are the top three things you need to know:
1) Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney basically admitted in a news conference that in pushing Ukraine to help with Trump’s personal political interests, Trump and his “three amigos” group of associates conditioned US military aid on that help. A reporter pointed out that Mulvaney was admitting there was a Ukrainian quid pro quo, and Mulvaney replied:
“Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy.”
This admission produced a fiery reaction from the media and Republicans, who were surprised that Mulvaney was confirming something Trump had been vehemently denying. Trump’s own legal team was horrified and distanced themselves from the comment. Later in the day, Mulvaney himself tried to walk the comment back but his reversal seemed insincere and ass-covering. Reports from a steady stream of closed-door testimony in the House by members of the Trump team support the allegation that Trump’s minions were indeed dangling US aid and an Oval Office meeting in exchange for Biden dirt. It’s developing into a clear and stunning story of abuse of power, exactly what our founders were trying to protect us against.
2) Mulvaney also announced that the next G7 summit will be held at Trump’s Doral resort in Florida, claiming it’s the ideal location (Florida in June, hurricane season) and that Trump won’t profit from it. Both of the claims were lies, and once again the response to this announcements was swift and severe. Even Republicans were screaming that this was an abuse of power and a violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. The authors of the Constitution were very clear that no president should use the office for profit, nor should the president receive any money from foreign actors or governments.
3) Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo met with Turkey’s Erdogan yesterday and with much fanfare announced a “cease fire” between Turkey and the Kurds. But the agreement they “negotiated” did little to change the disaster unfolding in Northern Syria. According to Turkey, their army will wait for 120 hours (five days) to allow the Kurds to leave their homeland before Turkey’s mercenaries resume ethnic cleansing and genocide. Turkey treated the outcome as a huge win, and the move allows Turkey to characterize Kurds who don’t flee as the bad guys while doing nothing to provide a path forward for the betrayed Kurds. In grotesque and ridiculous fashion, Trump later said this to reporters in Texas;
“It was a great day for the United States, it’s a great day for Turkey, it’s a great day for the Kurds. It’s a great day for civilization.”
Trump is now just brazenly lying in front of cameras and the world, trying to alter reality to suit his delusions and cover his horrible judgement and corruption.
Trump might be so worried about impeachment and removal that he’s trying to shower as many gifts as he can on dictators like Erdogan and Putin. Trump may be scheming that the only way to remain wealthy after leaving office will be to have done favors for oligarchs that they later repay by allowing Trump Towers in Moscow or Riyadh or Istanbul. His properties in the USA are suffering, including the Doral, which saw a profit drop of 62% from ’16 to ’17, and after Trump is out of office it’s easy to imagine everybody staying away from them. How many Iowa farmers will vacation at Doral? How many city-dwellers will ever want to live in a Trump-named condo? How many foreign dignitaries will stay at a Trump property when he no longer has any power?
Trump is corrupt to the core and he’s no longer trying to hide it. He’s sticking to the dark principle that anything done out in the open won’t be perceived as a crime, no matter how blatant or egregious. And some of his supporters have said as much in interviews: “Trump wouldn’t do something wrong for everyone to see. Therefore, whatever he acknowledges in public must be okay.”
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office,” if he isn’t removed sooner.
The progressive community honors and mourns the passing of Rep Elijah Cummings of Maryland. Rep Cummings was a courageous and passionate patriot whose tenure in Congress was an inspiration to many. He was a person of great character and integrity and will be missed.