Two news stories dominated the weekend, both revolving around our incompetent and corrupt president.
Late in the evening on Friday it was announced that Trump had commuted the 40-month prison sentence of his friend, former adviser and possible co-conspirator Roger Stone. Stone was a felon convicted of lying to authorities, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering, and his conviction will stand–he just won’t serve any jail time. Political observers of all stripes reacted with outrage, many calling it one of the most–if not THE most–corrupt actions by any American president.
Presidents in the past have pardoned the crimes or commuted the sentences of people they’ve known or managed, but no president has ever interfered with a case in which they were also implicated. Not even Nixon had the gall to commute or pardon members of the Watergate break-in or cover-up. Trump was part of the Stone case, and may have lied about his involvement in it to the Mueller investigators. So Trump’s commutation could, itself, be an act of obstruction of justice.
Republican Mitt Romney called the Stone commutation “historic, unprecedented corruption.” Speaker Pelosi called the Stone commutation “an act of staggering corruption.” Adam Schiff tweeted, “Anyone who cares about the rule of law is nauseated by this commutation.” Republican George Conway tweeted, “I’m not sure there ever has been a more openly, brazenly corrupt act committed by a president of the United States.” Even AG Bill Barr distanced himself from the move, reportedly stating that he advised Trump against the move. Even the ultra-conservative National Review magazine blasted Trump, calling it “an indefensible commutation.”
Will there be any consequences? Of course not. The Trumpublicans in Congress have transformed into a gelatinous mass of spineless protoplasm, unburdened by any principles, scruples or ethics other than their lust for power. Even Speaker Pelosi dodged questions about consequences, saying she wants the election to decide Trump’s fate. But Pelosi should have come right out and said, “This is an unacceptable abuse of power. Trump deserves to be impeached and removed for this unAmerican and unjust disgrace. But because we are 115 days from the election, we will wait until afterwards to decide our course of action.” Alas, the “never-Trump” Republicans seem to be more vociferous in their condemnation than Democratic leaders.
The second big story this weekend was, of course, the raging pandemic. Saturday witnessed the largest single-day rise in new cases in the United States since the pandemic began, with over 60,000 reported. And on Sunday, Florida reported 15,300 new cases, eclipsing the prior one-day record set by New York City back in April.
Trump and Pence spent the weekend trying to blame the massive rise in cases to a rise in testing, but the facts and data prove them liars. Testing didn’t create the perception of a rise in cases, an actual massive surge in cases was picked up by testing. An excellent piece by ProPublica provided simple graphs that illustrate the relationship between testing and positive cases in different states:
It was also reported over the weekend that the states with the largest increases in new cases were also the states that were the first and fastest to re-open their economies after Trump lost patience and began urging “back to normal.”
Every day, with every new death, an ever-widening circle of people are tragically traumatized by and bound to Trump’s catastrophic failure to adequately respond to the pandemic. The numbers prove it, so Trump wants to dismiss the numbers and attack the people who generate the numbers. The White House has reportedly been looking for ways to smear and diminish Doctor Fauci, who hasn’t briefed Trump in two months, but has done some interviews where his observations and recommendations clashed with Trump and several Red State governors. Fauci’s popularity remains high, as polling consistently shows him with two-to-three times the approval rating of Trump. So naturally, Trump is trying to sabotage Fauci. But many political pollsters and analysts predict that Trump will only damage his image further by attacking Fauci.
Fauci is set to answer pre-submitted questions this morning with the Dean of Stanford U School of Medicine at 10:30, which you can find at this link:
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”
Wishing you a decent start to the week.