Day 683 – Trump Keeps Obstructing

Donald Trump must be feeling the pressure like never before.  He went on a Twitter tantrum yesterday, attacking the legal process around his former lawyer Michael Cohen, and praising associate Roger Stone for not snitching on Trump.

Many legal scholars, prosecutors and former federal attorneys are calling the Tweet an illegal act of witness tampering.  In fact, it was made clear during the Watergate era that any president who attempted to influence witnesses in an investigation of that president was obstructing justice, abusing power, and committing a “high crime and misdemeanor” that rose to the level of an impeachable offense.

Here is the Washington Post’s take on the tweets via Deanna Paul:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/03/trumps-latest-tweets-cross-clear-lines-experts-say-obstruction-justice-witness-tampering/

Trump is hoping that his crime, committed on Twitter, will be dismissed because it was done out in the open.  We have to push back on that bullshit narrative hard.  Ignorant cult followers might believe that anything done by a president out in the open must be legal, but any sane and informed person knows that’s just not true.  Crimes happen out in the open all the time, even by presidents when they are profoundly corrupt and desperate.

This latest scandal adds to the mushrooming pile of evidence accumulating in the Mueller probe.  Legal observers are forming a consensus that because the most recent Mueller filings and indictments are unusually detailed, Mueller is essentially presenting his case–his findings–through his filings, thus avoiding the possibility that the illegally appointed AG Whitaker will quash the Mueller findings and never let them see the light of day.  By giving so many details in each court case, Mueller is constantly giving us new pieces to the puzzle that form a clearer picture of where his investigation is going.

An excellent piece in Axios by Garrett M. Graff lays out the strength of the case that Mueller seems to have:

One of the least-noticed elements of the special counsel’s approach is that all along, he has been making his case bit by bit, in public, since his very first court filing. With his major court filings so far, Mueller has already written more than 290 pages of the “Mueller Report.” And there are still lots of loose ends in those documents — breadcrumbs Mueller is apparently leaving for later.

https://www.axios.com/mueller-investigation-report-details-court-filings-2511dd33-1928-4431-a9bb-09488ee216ef.html

Trump is in hot water, and the temperature will continue to rise.  He will almost certainly react in an increasingly extreme and erratic fashion, so stay alert and be ready to resist in any way necessary as the situation unfolds…

Day 682 – The Delusional GOP

Two news stories caught my attention yesterday.

First was an article in the NY Times about the GOP response to their midterm wipeout.  It’s great news for the Democrats going into the next election cycle.  Apparently the GOP does not feel it needs to make any course correction.  This shouldn’t surprise anyone outside the GOP bubble, because a party that denies science, denies facts, watches bogus “news” channels, and supports a con-man president whose entire life is a lie…is a party divorced from reality.  Here’s the article by Jonathan Martin:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/02/us/politics/republicans-midterms-house-losses.html

The longer the GOP remain deluded about their midterm losses, the easier it will be for Democrats to build another blue wave that will wash Trump and a lot of other slime out of Washington in 2020.

The second story concerned the already-covered Trump Tower deal in Moscow where Trump allegedly considered giving Vladimir Putin a $50-million penthouse.  Legal experts are increasingly convinced that if an offer to Putin occurred while Trump was a candidate and was connected to a pledge to remove sanctions on Russia, the effort would qualify as an illegal conspiracy.

Norman Eisen and Barry Berke in USA Today give an excellent overview of the legal issues arising from the ever-growing Trump Russia scandal…

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/12/02/trump-presidency-threatened-50-million-penthouse-gift-putin-column/2169500002/

Many now believe that these allegations prove that Putin and Russia had leverage over Trump the same way the Russians had leverage over Michael Flynn, who was forced out of the Trump administration in disgrace.

The Mueller probe is clearly kicking into a higher gear so expect more disclosures and revelations in the days ahead.

Keep resisting…

Day 681 – Avoiding Catastrophe

President Trump joined the “Group of 20” leaders in Buenos Aires this weekend.  All 19 other leaders, including Vladimir Putin of Russia, backed a statement on the issue of climate change except Trump, who refuses to accept the science that the rest of the world considers settled.  Jon Fritze gives a good summary in USA today:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/12/01/g-20-leaders-agree-trade-not-quite-climate/2174443002/

Trump’s latest rejection of man-made climate change comes on the heels of a devastating climate change report issued by our own government under the control of the Trump administration–which is bizarre and contradictory to say the least.  Meanwhile the UN is gathering for it’s annual climate conference this week in Poland.  Adding to the Trump administration report is a grim article in the guardian by Robin McKie highlighting the regions most at risk now from rapidly rising temperatures and sea levels.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/02/world-verge-climate-catastophe

With the stakes so high and the risks so great, it almost seems worthwhile to erect a climate denier Hall Of Shame so history will never forget the people who, through disinformation or willful inaction, allowed our carbon footprint to go so dramatically and lethally astray.  When massive ecological dislocations inevitably occur, like crop failures and famine, the climate deniers should have to stand at the back of the food line.  When the ocean swallows half of Florida, the climate deniers should be relocated last.  We need some sort of pre-arranged penalty or consequence hanging over their heads today so they won’t be surprised when we hold them accountable tomorrow.

Our nation faces many challenges, and the next president will have a massive mess to clean up after the Trump disaster, but climate has to be at the top of the priority list.  If we don’t move quickly and meaningfully toward lowering carbon and methane levels, nothing else will matter.  It may already be too late.

Keep resisting.  Future generations will thank us…

Day 680 – Can’t Stop What’s Coming…

George Herbert Walker Bush passed away last night at the age of 94.  The 41st president died eight months after the death of his beloved wife Barbara Bush.  The New York Times printed an obituary late in the evening written by Adam Nagourney:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/us/politics/george-hw-bush-dies.html

Bush forged a complicated legacy.  Compared to Donald Trump, Bush was a paragon of rectitude and stability.  In retirement he seemed a kind-hearted and jovial figure, grandfatherly and dignified.  But he was also a former CIA director in an era of dirty spy tricks, and as Vice President to Ronald Reagan he was likely an operative in the Iran Contra arms-for-hostages scandal that became such an ugly and un-American chapter in our history.

Of course, Iran Contra pales in comparison to the Trump-Russia scandal that is ever-unfolding.  Trump’s shady Moscow ties are coming to the surface thanks for former lawyer Michael Cohen, who appears to be asserting that Trump was so eager to do a Trump tower deal in Moscow that he was ready to give Vladimir Putin a $50-million penthouse as a bribe to get the deal done. Cable news was abuzz yesterday about the ways that Trump may have been compromised by former KGB agent Putin, not to mention the ways that Trump and his associates lied about their Moscow entanglements while conducting their presidential campaign.

Here’s an excellent short summary of the Michael Cohen revelations by Alex Ward in Vox:

https://www.vox.com/world/2018/11/30/18119670/michael-cohen-trump-tower-moscow-explained

The Cohen disclosures were so compelling that even collusion skeptics like conservative John Podhoretz are now saying that it looks like Trump and Co. colluded and won’t be judged well by history.  It’s also worth noting that there is much we don’t know about what Mueller has on Trump.  The Moscow stuff could be the tip of a much larger ice berg.  Anyone who has observed Trump over the decades knows that his friends were mostly mobsters and con men, and that he was a playboy real-estate heir who dabbled (and failed) at business while lying compulsively to puff himself up and impress others.  That there isn’t a wide swath of corruption and criminality in Trump’s wake would surprise all but his most naive and deluded followers.

Let’s keep working to make Trump a one-term blunder…

Day 678 – High Anxiety White House

Nancy Pelosi has been nominated to be the next speaker of the House.  She received more votes from her caucus than Paul Ryan received from his years ago.

Meanwhile, the outlines of the conspiracy case against the Trump campaign are becoming clearer.  The central players appear to be Paul Manafort, Jerome Corsi, and Roger Stone.  And of course, Donald Trump.   It’s not a coincidence that Trump has refused to rule out a pardon for Paul Manafort, which is itself a possible legal liability.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/28/us/politics/trump-pardon-paul-manafort.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

It’s also not a coincidence that Trump is becoming more agitated, writing disparaging tweets about the Mueller probe and forwarding a grotesque meme showing Obama, Comey, Mueller, the Clintons and others behind bars with a caption about prosecuting them for treason.

Trump’s method is as Orwellian as it is clear: accuse others of the things he himself is guilty of.  For example, Trump is crooked.  Trump is low IQ.  Trump is lazy.  Trump is a liar.  Trump colluded.  Trump seems treasonous.  Trump should be locked up.

The Senate this week tried for a second time to bring legislation to protect the Mueller probe but was again thwarted by Senate leadership.  Such legislation would be valuable but it’s easy to see that Mueller is planning several steps ahead while Trump is only reacting to today’s news cycle.  For example Manafort is screwed because even if he gets a tainted pardon from Trump he will still be charged by state courts on charges that no president can pardon.

Stay tuned to the Mueller news this week.  Things are heating up.

Keep resisting…

 

Day 677 – Manafort Mess

The big news of the day concerned Paul Manafort, whose legal team had apparently been secretly sharing with Trump Manafort’s discussions with the Mueller investigation.  It’s an egregious breach of ethics and protocol, and could reinforce an obstruction of justice case against Trump.  It’s also apparently the thing that destroyed Manafort’s cooperation agreement with the special counsel. Manafort may have been seeking a pardon from Trump.

The story was unearthed by a trio of reporters with the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/us/politics/manafort-lawyer-trump-cooperation.html

There are many other pieces in flux surrounding the Manafort situation.  The apparent sealed indictment against Wikileaks’ Julian Assange.  The rejection of a plea deal by conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi.  The submission by Trump of written answers to questions from the Mueller probe.

Some observers have speculated that the termination of Manafort’s plea deal was a blow to Mueller, but many are now saying that it likely happened because Mueller has a ton of evidence and doesn’t need Manafort’s testimony to make his case.  Let’s hope this is true.

Trump is a grifter, and he surrounds himself with con men, mobsters and sleazeballs so it’s not shocking that Manafort turned out to be dishonest and deceitful. The Manafort scandal is a rolling, deepening national disgrace that demands our attention and activism.

Keep resisting…

Day 676 – Trump Sinks

Things you should know today

1) Trump repeatedly promised on the campaign trail that his economic policies would create SO MANY jobs, yet auto maker GM announced massive layoffs yesterday despite profit windfalls from the GOP tax cuts.  In addition, Trump constantly mentioned that the steel industry would be building four to six new steel mills thanks to him, yet NONE of them have materialized nor have any such plans been announced.

2) Refugees from the notorious Honduran Caravan, mostly women and children, arrived on our border with Mexico and were met with tear gas, causing widespread outrage on social media.  Trump claimed that the kids had been “grabbed” by bad adults who were not their parents to be used for easy access to our country–an accusation without a shred of evidence.

3) The plea deal between Paul Manafort and the Mueller probe was tossed out by Mueller because Manafort had violated its terms by repeatedly lying and obfuscating.  Now Manafort will will stand in front of a judge for sentencing, which could send him to jail for the rest of his life.  Many are speculating that Manafort is expecting a pardon from Trump, which would be a huge risk, while others believe Manafort just can’t stop being a liar.

IF Trump ever does pardon Manafort, we will need to raise holy hell and demand that our laws be enforced and respected–something the Republicans were crowing about for decades before scofflaw Trump became president.

Trump seems increasingly desperate and manic, lying with greater audacity and frequency as the Mueller probe closes in.  Meanwhile his poll numbers are sinking, with 38% approving and 60% disapproving.  Expect more Mueller developments this week.

The United States can’t get rid of Trump soon enough.   Keep resisting…