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April 18, 2019

Comments

So....whodunnit?

The campaign manager always did it.

p370: “The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

sounds like intent to me.

Amongst all the I-do-not-recalls and I-have-no-recollections from the written responses of President I-have-one-of-the-great-memories-of-all-time, it was encouraging that certain details remained redaction-free:

"... I was scheduled to leave Trump Tower in the early evening for Westchester where I gave remarks after winning California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, and South Dakota Republican primaries held that day."

"In general, the documents include congratulatory letters on my campaign victories..."

"In remarks I delivered the night I won the California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, and South Dakota Republican primaries..."

Of course the PDF version offered up isn't searchable, and I haven't come across anything regarding the inauguration crowd size. But I'm not saying it's not in there somewhere.

Maybe I'm focusing on the wrong stuff.

Searchable Version of the Mueller Report:

Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election: Volume I of II

classic:

3. Cohen Submits False Statements to Congress Minimizing the Trump Tower Moscow Project in Accordance With the Party line.

in which the President's personal counsel tells Cohen that the 'President loves [him]' and is told that if he stays 'on message', the President will 'have his back'.

impeach this piece of shit.

36 times p couldn't recall

He then listed the name, rank, address, SS#, and the mothers' maiden names of every MF who has done him wrong since big Fred's teat popped out of his surly mouth and what he was going to do to them.

Everyone who as much as snickered when Barack Obama called the lout out at the White Correspondents included.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6937113/Michael-Cohen-says-redacted-blanks-Mueller-report.html

I can fill in the blanks too.

It's easy, like doing a word for word impression of my psychopath relative after 65 years of observing him.

What’s Barr’s angle? Even the redacted version contradicts what he said today. Did he think no one would read it?

he's staying on message. the President loves him and has his back.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/04/there-was-a-crooked-man

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/04/a-massive-and-unbelievable-crime-on-a-scale-before-unseen

Marty needs to read the LG&M links and get back to us to continue to press his case that the Clintons are, by far. the most nefariously evil crime family ever.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/donald-mcgahn-robert-mueller-donald-trump-report

The despicable Roy Cohn didn't take notes. Whouda guessed?

Not only that, but after Cohn died, his partner had a pair of expensive diamond cufflinks p had given Cohn for some glorious celebration of their deep relationship appraised and the appraiser squinted at them thru his magnifying monocle, his eyebrow shot up, and he spat out the word: worthless.

100% genuine glass.

Tell me what it is about America that the scum of the Earth is declared cream and rises to the top.

We're an empty suit, the knees and elbows worn, and the cuff hem coming unstitched and sagging.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a27198446/mueller-report-congress-impeachment/

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a27182259/randall-terry-oliver-north-conservative-republicans/

As I've noted before, the problem with elections is that when republicans and conservatives lose, they are still alive and walking the streets.

Marty needs to...

Dems are furious and powerless. Marty's in his happy place.

Dems are furious and powerless.

Dems aren't powerless. They can impeach Trump. No, they can't remove him, but they can show who they are, who he is, and who Republicans are.

That's power.

"In the end, while Mueller will not specifically say that Trump did or did not engage in obstruction, what he has written in this report is most certainly intended to direct us to look at a trend of behavior designed specifically to either bring the investigation to a halt or to stop the people around him from cooperating with investigators.

And it does leave you to wonder what Mueller would conclude had he not decided from the start that he was not going to make a traditional prosecutorial decision about whether Trump had engaged in obstruction if Trump were not the president.

All of which is to say: This report really reads as though Mueller believes that Trump engaged in obstruction."
What’s Really in the Mueller Report: Mueller won't decide on obstruction charges, but a close read reveals he likely thinks there's something there.

Marty needs to...

Marty doesn't need to do anything. Everybody is entitled to their point of view.

That said, everybody gets to live with their point of view. The level of energy needed to continue with the "nothing to see here" mantra is going to become a burden.

Not my problem. Best of luck to Marty.

Not only that, but after Cohn died, his partner had a pair of expensive diamond cufflinks p had given Cohn for some glorious celebration of their deep relationship appraised and the appraiser squinted at them thru his magnifying monocle, his eyebrow shot up, and he spat out the word: worthless.

When I asked my wife to marry me, I went to the diamond center in Boston and bought the best diamond I could afford. My wife loves it, has loved it since the day I got it for her, and will love it every day for the rest of her life. If she lives longer than me, she'll know every day that I got her the best diamond I could get.

People whose lives are built on lies live empty, anxious, insecure lives. Their days are filled with fear that they will be discovered. They mask this fear with stupid, bullying aggression. It's a living hell, and in general they share that living hell with the folks who are, willingly or not, obliged to interact with them.

Roy Cohn's life was a waste. A tragic destructive damaging waste. Trump is still alive, so maybe he can turn the freaking clusterfuck that is his daily existence around. Even just a little bit. I put the odds at slim to none.

Trump is a consequential person at the moment, because against all odds he won a consequential office. We're obliged to put up with him because the only avenues our Constitution provides for being shed of him requires the participation of a number of folks who are basically whores to power, and at the moment the side the bread is buttered on leads them in the direction of getting his back.

In and of himself, he is a person of no consequence. He's a clown. A malicious, narcissistic clown.

In a couple of years - two, or six, or somewhere in between - he'll return to his former life of full time grifter and carnival barker for shitty steaks and condos for international criminals looking for a place to hide their cash.

Shortly thereafter, he'll be dead, because sooner or later we all are. And history will remember him as an embarrassment to his office and as a divisive exponent of repugnant nationalism and bigotry.

On the whole, I'd rather be me than him.

I don't know what state the country will be in when this particular clown show is over and done with. It's kind of up to us. I know that my understanding of what things ought to be like is profoundly different than that of a lot of other people that live here, so it's probably kind of a crap shoot.

If we can't live up to our own ideals, somebody else will. The arc of history is not dependent on the virtue of the United States. Fortunately.

It's up to us which side of history we end up on. Trump per se is nothing - an epiphenomenon, an effect rather than a cause. What we do with and about him is the more important question.

The arc of history does not depend on or require us. We can choose to be a force for good, or not. If we don't choose well, we'll simply be left behind.

What I expect is that the (D)'s in the House will pursue investigations based on Mueller's findings. I do not, remotely, expect any of that to proceed to impeachment, because I don't think the (R)'s in the Senate have the spine to go against Trump. What I expect, and demand, and require, is that as much of Mueller's findings be placed in the public record as is possible without actually compromising national security and ongoing investigations.

And people will make of all of that whatever they will.

Once upon a time, perhaps, we could make some kind of claim to being the indispensable nation, the 'last great hope' and all of that. I don't think that's true anymore, because we don't actually own any kind of intellectual property on the ideas that were the basis of our founding, and a lot of other folks have discovered them and made good use of them. They precede us, and will continue after us, and will do so with or without us.

We just need to figure out if we still want to be on the bus or not. I think it's a toss up.

Re: impeachment, specifically.

Should the House decide to impeach the POTUS, I do not remotely believe the Senate would ever convict. Ever.

Because (R)'s.

Whether there is value in impeaching him nonetheless is kind of an open question, to me. I can see value in making the (R)'s in the Senate go on record.

Take a stand, for or against. There should be no middle ground about this crap.

They can impeach Trump

which amounts to a sternly-worded letter.

he's a menace in office. scolding him for being bad in office isn't going to help.

which amounts to a sternly-worded letter.

No. It's the best they can do under the Constitution. Will it be effective to remove him? No - I agree that Republicans won't convict.

I know that "democracy" isn't perfect and all, but the fact that a foreign government may well have tipped the balance to produce an illegitimate election result is an "existential threat". Remember when we all talked about how if something was an "existential threat" it might be worth an actual war? Yeah, as I've said, I don't know about that either. One thing I do know is that we (Democrats and anyone else who cares) should go on record trying to assert whatever Constitutional means we have to throw this guy out. Symbolic? Maybe, but why not just do it. I don't really understand what the downside is. People didn't like the fact that Clinton was impeached because he lied about a consensual sex act. That doesn't necessarily translate to people also being mad that a president is impeached for being an agent of a hostile, fascist, white supremacist foreign government. I think people might think that Democrats were showing some actual leadership. Or maybe they'll lose. That's definitely possible anyway (for a number of reasons, including electoral shenanigans).

There's probably some advantage to a well-timed impeachment.

For example, right before a Supreme Court nomination fight.

Dealing with impeachment, regardless of the outcome, will jam up the Senate rather effectively, leaving more time to get the (inevitable) dirt on the nominee.

Should the House decide to impeach the POTUS, I do not remotely believe the Senate would ever convict. Ever.

Because (R)'s.

Say rather, because they aren't bright enough to realize that
a) a President Pence would do a far better (and more reliable) job of advancing their agenda, and
b) a President Pence would have a better chance of winning in 2020.
Both of which are reasons that the Democrats might choose not to spend effort on impeachment.

As for the GOP, determined stupidity is its own reward.

“that a president is impeached for being an agent of a hostile, fascist, white supremacist foreign government.”

“White” isn’t quite the word I’d use, and “ hostile” isn’t right either, but yes, Trump is rather obviously doing everything both Netanyahu and Muhammad bin Salman tell him to do. He vetoed the Congressional attempt to stop our participation in a genocidal war. He recently declared the IRGC a terrorist organization, something his pal Bibi no doubt likes. Now he can launch military strikes at an Iranian military group and basically start a low key war if he chooses and why would he bother with the declaration if he didn’t want to do just that?

So yes, he is basically participating in an unconstitutional war in Yemen and seems poised to start one with Iran. This makes Bibi and Bonesaw happy. He hasn’t been anywhere near so nice to Putin, not on policy matters. Not at all.

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/439167-poland-close-to-establishing-us-military-base-president-joked-would-be-called

wj, I doubt that Pence really has better chances to get elected (no dissent on your first point). The base loves Trump. The very thing that Pence would be far more efficient by not being a narcisstic bullying clown would be a bug. Pence is a boring insider with little distinct profile to the general public. The runner-up to The Donald was the slimy scumbag Ted Cruz, Pence would not have gotten even to the kids' table in the GOP presidential primaries.
I could imagine the GOP leadership waiting for The Donald getting re-elected by hook and crook both and then telling him that they'd be open to impeach him, should he not leave the actual running of the government to e.g. Pence while limiting himself to public antics (barker in chief) and lots of 'executive time' (watching TV), i.e. being just the figure head.
Dropping The Donald could mean electoral suicide in 2020. The base will not vote for any Dem but may stay at home disgusted, if their Hero falls victim to a palace revolt.

Let's impeach Barr - the Attorney General is not supposed to act as a spin doctor for the President.

However, there's no chance that the Senate will convict Trump or any of his henchman. Republican Senators think he should be allowed to commit whatever crimes he wishes, so long as they help the Republican Party.

To me the read goal is the defeat at the federal and state level of the Republican party because it is a neo fascist organization. We have to save representative government from them.

In terms of passing laws and getting someone reasonable on the Supreme Court, it is more important to take the Senate than the Presidency. In terms of protecting the right to vote, it is essential to take state legislatures.

I understand and even agree with the argument that Trump should be impeached because he has committed so many impeachable offenses.

How does that fit in with saving America from Republicans?

I don't know. Would impeachment fire up the same part of our population to throw all the bastards out everywhere? Or would it be death at the next election and we would not gain the Senate and would lose House seats? Would failure to impeach demoralize the anti-Republican voters by making the dems look gutless?

IF we don't take the Senate and if any Republican gets the next presidency then kiss America good by and get ready for the unmitigated effects of global warming. So the stakes are high.

I kind of think the House should impeach to show that DEms will stand up for the rule of law and the Rethugs won't. That will put the new Dem congress[people who won red seats in a bind, but it is the power position for running for office in 2020.

But I don't really know , maybe it is better to not impeach and tell the voters to get rid of them all at the ballot box. That doesn't feel right to me though.

I think impeachment changes little. It will be viewed as completely partisan by everyone, if the Senate doesnt vote for removal.

If the Senate votes for removal there will be two impacts. The Dems will win the Senate as the GOP convulses and fractures, Trumps support will not go to Pence, and we would most likely suffer through a generation of Democratic dominance.

So I find it unlikely the GOP Senators will risk that.

Of course the Dems ought to win the Senate and everything else, because today's Republican party is a loathsome thing, deeply damaging to the USA. And because even with a unified Republican Party (albeit unified behind their disgusting president), many more people vote D than R.

As a matter of tactics, I think the House should not impeach Trump - that just hands his case to his collaborators in the undemocratic Senate. Instead it should spend the next year or so examining and extending Mueller's findings, so that the electorate can vote on the basis of the truth about Trump.

But do impeach Barr. Because it would be justified, enjoyable, and give plenty of opportunity for highlighting what Mueller actually wrote.

I doubt that Pence really has better chances to get elected (no dissent on your first point). The base loves Trump. The very thing that Pence would be far more efficient by not being a narcisstic bullying clown would be a bug. Pence is a boring insider with little distinct profile to the general public.

Hartmut, my thinking was this. There wouldn't actually be a loss from the Trump fans, because they would turn out in droves to (as they would see it) punish those who had brought down their hero. But there also would be fewer votes lost because of voters being repulsed by Trump as a (nominal) human being. So, not more votes for Pence, but more votes against the Democratic candidate.

Hm, in the unlikely case that Barr gets removed (btw, can POTUS veto that?), who would be chosen as successor? It has by definition to be an even greater scumbag/scofflaw/insert epithet of choice than the predecessor but also have a 'reputable' (in the eye of GOP) pedigree. Could John Yoo be persuaded?

OF course the Rs in the Senate will not vote to convict. They have already made it clear that they are amoral unpatriotic hyperpartisan hacks who will protect Trump as long as he is a useful idiot for the kleptocracy.

But a Senate trial is also a time to rehash Trump's nefarious behavior and put the Senate Rs on record as defending that behavior--thus making it clear that the whole party is morally bankrupt.

At least that's one way it could play out.

a Senate trial is also a time to rehash Trump's nefarious behavior and put the Senate Rs on record as defending that behavior--thus making it clear that the whole party is morally bankrupt.

Except that those who are persuadeable already know. And the Trump fans won't be persuaded no matter what the evidence. So who, exactly, is your target audience?

So who, exactly, is your target audience?

History?

The argument here seems to be that it won't change any minds. So what?

Is it too idealistic to argue that the House has a duty to the country to begin an inquiry? At some point all the political calculations of this and that - which are pretty much guesswork anyway - become less important.

What may be the most damning part of the report is that Mueller started from the position that, per long-standing Justice Department policy, the President could not be indicted while in office. From there, he wasn't charged. BUT, there were multiple cases (10, I think) where Mueller lays pretty clearly that Trump took actions where were clearly obstruction, and for which there was sufficient evidence that a conviction could be obtained.

What that says is that, once Trump is out of office, he could be charged. (Unless he gets reelected and the statute of limitations runs out.)

"A decent respect to the opinions of mankind" was young Tom Jefferson's and old Ben Franklin's stated reason for publishing the indictment of King George III known as the Declaration of Independence. The indictment was tried, though not in court.

Not all of mankind agreed with bringing the indictment. Tom, Ben, and that crowd, did not have "bipartisan" support. His Majesty had adoring fans even in the colonies; surely there was also a contingent of "swing voters" who might have rallied to His side because Tom and Ben "overreached".

Still, Tom and Ben and their "party" DID bring the indictment. The trial might easily have come out differently, of course. Nobody can know what the world would look like now if it had -- but it's a decent bet that King Donald, Princess Ivanka, and Prime Minister Jarred would still be unindicted Putin collaborators.

--TP

Remember?

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2019/04/remember-right-before-election-when.html

No, a Republican operative would have shot her dead before Lindsay Graham could gavel the Senate impeachment trial into action only weeks after inauguration.

Unless she died first of the Ebola-related symptoms she was hiding during the campaign and that conservatives right here were touting that she was covering up as the sniffles and post-menopausal manhands.

there were Russian connections. Trump obstructed the investigation.

the Rule Of Law party doesn't care because they know they can't violate their highest principle : always oppose Democrats.

History?

The argument here seems to be that it won't change any minds. So what?

Is it too idealistic to argue that the House has a duty to the country to begin an inquiry?

My thought is that the House does not have unlimited bandwidth. Sometimes, you have to set priorities, based on what you can accomplish. Notwithstanding that other things are also important, but just because you cannot do all of the things that, in a more perfect world, you believe should be done.

As for history, it will draw conclusions from the Report, with or without the exercise of an impeachment proceeding.

Mexico should seek the extradition of every member of this "militia" group, and when they are delivered hogtied, after being dragged over the razor wire festooning the border fence, Mexico should execute them or hand then over to the drug cartels for disemboweling.

Then, we, as patriotic Americans, should hunt down their entire extended families and kick their asses across the Canadian border with advisories that if they try to re-enter the Land of the Free, they will die.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/04/on-the-road-to-fascism

Democrats need to start hearings towards impeachment. It's their duty. Let the political chips fall where they may. If we don't use the Constitutional tools we have, we're complicit.

"BUT, there were multiple cases (10, I think) where Mueller lays pretty clearly that Trump took actions where were clearly obstruction, and for which there was sufficient evidence that a conviction could be obtained."

It doesn't come within a dozen realities of saying this. It specifically says that it is not possible to determine if these actions constitute obstruction.

I waited for the Mueller report, move on to governing please? I prefer any discussion of current Trump policies being cruel and inhumane to some discussion of 440 pages of stuff WE ALREADY KNEW. In constant reading I havent seen one fact that hadn't been leaked and discussed to death.

move on to governing please?

What does that mean to you, exactly?

Marty,

There is no governing going on. Not with McConnell running the Senate.

Well yeah we already knew, but that doesn't mean wew should now drop it down the memory hole. Itg is really stunning to me how unpatriotic about forty percent of the population is.

a Senate trial is also a time to rehash Trump's nefarious behavior and put the Senate Rs on record as defending that behavior--thus making it clear that the whole party is morally bankrupt.
Except that those who are persuadeable already know. And the Trump fans won't be persuaded no matter what the evidence. So who, exactly, is your target audience?

I'm not sure that there is a wide spread realism of just how bad the Republican party is. Even ono the political left there seem to be people who think that all we have to do is get rid of Trump. And many of the never Trumper Republicans think the rest of the party is fine. And I bet it would take about five seconds after Trump's departure for the MEM to start their bothsidesdoit somesaytheearthisroundothersdisagree coverage and treat the rest of the party like they were normal politicians not authoritarians who are an existential threat to our government and our institutions. There's still a belief that there are moderate Rs in congress (WHo? Romney and Collins? Republicans in Congress range from the cowardly to the neofascist. None are moderates )

So I find it unlikely the GOP Senators will risk that.

What you're saying here is that, regardless of the merits, the (R)'s would not vote to remove Trump, because in doing so they would lose their grip on power.

Nuff said, it seems to me.

move on to governing please?

Moving on won't happen until there is a resolution to the facts presented in Mueller's report. Barr's memo was no such resolution.

440 pages of stuff WE ALREADY KNEW

Marty can always be counted on to support Dear Leader, even with idiotic arguments.

Idiotic because false: "we" did NOT know that He, Trump reacted to word of Mueller's appointment with "I'm fucked". Maybe Marty did, though.

Idiotic because irrelevant: SO WHAT if "we" already knew? Marty seems to imply that if "we" did not impeach, convict, and jail He, Trump the minute we "knew" the "stuff" it's too late now. Mighty short statute of limitations there, Marty.

And idiotic because Marty keeps pretending to himself (not just to us) that he is no fan of the racist, misogynist grifter in the White House.

The one person on Earth who is guaranteed to know what crimes He, Trump is guilty of is He, Trump his own self. Not Marty, not even Mueller. A totally innocent man might possibly say "I'm fucked, my presidency is over" on learning he will be investigated by somebody whose balls he doesn't own. Maybe. I bet Marty thinks so, anyhow.

I don't.

--TP

It doesn't come within a dozen realities of saying this. It specifically says that it is not possible to determine if these actions constitute obstruction.

That is not what it says.
It is very clear that on the evidence it is impossible to exonerate Trump - and specifically says so - but refuses to make any further determination on the sole grounds that a sitting President cannot be indicted.

Leaving aside whether that is true, and it’s a matter of constitutional debate unsettled by any SC decision, it is very clear indeed from the report that Mueller believes there is sufficient evidence to bring Trump to trial for obstruction.

As for Trump’s evidence, it is simply pathetic. “I do not recall” repeated at least thirty times.
As Shep Smith noted on Fox...“[I] was surprised that [Trump] had forgotten so many things, though, because I remember specifically him telling us that he has one of the best memories ever.”

And Marty is afraid the country might “suffer” a Democratic administration.
Pfffffft.

On the impeach or not question, it’s worth noting that even Republican senators who are “sickened” by Trump’s behaviour detailed in the report, clearly would not vote to remove him:
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/439765-romney-sickened-by-trumps-behavior-in-mueller-report

Marty is right that we knew before the redacted report was published that the Trump campaign, with Trump's knowledge and approval, had welcomed and sometimes sought interference in the election from a hostile foreign government, and that since elected he has abused his execute powers to seek to stymie investigation of this wrongdoing.

We just need him to explain this seemingly novel constitutional doctrine that high crimes and misdemeanours don't matter if we know about them. And of course, if they're committed by a Republican.

The finding of "no collusion" amounts to a finding that neither Trump nor members of his campaign conspired with the Russian government to commit crimes in the context of Russian interference with the 2016 election. They did not participate with the Russians in the actual hacking of the DNC servers.

Russian interference in the 2016 election is not in question. Criminal actions in the course of that interference are not in question. Numerous contacts between principals in Trump's campaign and Russian nationals, including people associated with the Russian government, is not in question.

The sharing of (R) polling data with Konstantin Klimnick, a Russian national with ties to Russian intelligence, is not in question. Members of Trump's campaign, including his son, son in law, and campaign manager, with individuals promising "dirt on Hilary" and holding themselves out as representatives of the Russian government is not in question. Cooperation between members of Trump's campaign and Julian Assange regarding the release of material obtained via criminal activity by the Russian government and its affiliates is not in question.

Trump's numerous attempts to have his staff take actions that actually would constitute obstruction of justice are not in question. His people saved his ass by not doing as he requested.

And all of this leaves aside his acceptance of things of value from foreign governments in clear and unambiguous violation of the Constitution, his blatant use of his office to enrich himself and his family, his obvious and blatant conflicts of interest in negotiating real estate development projects with the Russian government while running for office.

It leaves aside his payments to his porn star girlfriends to keep them quiet, in violation of campaign finance law.

It leaves aside his farcically belligerent deportment, and his promise to respond to the investigation by using the DOJ to pursue his political opponents.

It leaves aside his decades-long career of fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering as a business model. It leaves aside his business associations with Russian mafiosi.

It leaves aside his utter and obvious personal vulgarity, narcissism, and general lack of the most basic forms and expressions of common human decency.

I'm sure I've left some stuff out.

But yes, there is no evidence that he or members of his staff participated with the Russians in hacking into the DNC servers.

If you make the bar low enough, even worms can crawl over.

Trump's numerous attempts to have his staff take actions that actually would constitute obstruction of justice are not in question. His people saved his ass by not doing as he requested.

in one case his people did exactly what he asked: Cohen lied to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project.

also, Jr lied about the Trump Tower meeting, at Sr's command.

Trump obstructed. Mueller makes that clear.

The finding of "no collusion" amounts to a finding that neither Trump nor members of his campaign conspired with the Russian government to commit crimes in the context of Russian interference with the 2016 election

I don’t think that’s quite accurate.

The finding is that there is no evidence to support bringing any such charge - but it’s perfectly conceivable the inability to find such evidence is a result of the obstruction, for which there is strong prima facile evidence.

Noted, on both cleek's and Nigel's points.

I've more or less reached the "fnck this noise" point regarding Trump. He is an utterly crap POTUS, he needs to go. There are clear grounds for impeachment - by which I mean ample, shaken down and flowing over - and if the House wants to go for it, I say do it. The Senate would clearly vote against, because the (R)'s have lost any sense of country before party, so if the House opts to not impeach, also fine with me.

But there should really be no question about the existence of truly ample grounds for impeachment.

Surely somewhere in this great land of ours, there is a conservative who will work to advance all of the goals of the folks who claim to support Trump "on the issues", but who is not such a colossal offensive divisive clusterfnck of a human being.

Go forth, find that person, and persuade them to run for office. At that point we might be able to actually have reasonable conversations about issues. We might be able to get back to the plain, pragmatic business of governance.

Trump is a fucking offense. He intends to be an offense, his supporters love him because he is an offense, he won the (R) nomination because of his unparalleled offensiveness, and he has made his unflagging instinct for offensiveness the hallmark of his administration.

The reason folks focus on the bullshit is because Trump rains bullshit on the American people every single day. People focus on it because it's landing on their heads every minute. We'd all love to talk about something else, but Trump says or does something profoundly stupid and harmful several times a day, every day.

He is a toxic, malicious, belligerent jerk. And he lives for attention, so if the subject of public discourse veers from his antics for ten minutes, he is sure to drop another load of toxic crap on our heads to make sure he has our full attention.

I'm fucking sick of this guy, I'm sick of talking about him, hearing about him, seeing him on the TV, hearing him on the radio, and reading about him in the news. Our Constitution provides only the most narrow of ways to remove a sitting POTUS, and the (R)'s in Congress refuse to stand and deliver for the good of the nation, so we are stuck with him.

But I am well and truly sick and disgusted with the man and with what he is making of our country.

Want to get back to governing? Get that creep out of office. The levers for doing so are at this point in the hands of conservatives and their representatives, so it's on those of you who call yourselves conservatives to get it done.

So get it fucking done.

When you get it done, we can talk about issues, and policies, and governance.

A thousand times, WRS.

What hairshirt said.

What Janie said. Uh, oh! Infinite loop...

meanwhile, some crew of freelance vigilante @ssholes has rounded up something 300 people trying to enter the US.

some would call that 'kidnapping'.

but let's argue about whether Trump is guilty of obstruction, or almost-obstruction, or attempted-but-foiled-obstruction, or obstruction-but-Mueller-isn't-going-to-indict-because-of-OLC-policy-but-he-doesn't-mind-if-someone-else-does obstruction.

Trump tried his damnedest to interfere in an investigation into his personal cesspool. Full stop.

Now let's talk about how to keep self-appointed Guardians Of The Nation from running amock and kidnapping people by the hundreds.

So, I sing karaoke, and I'm not too shabby at it, but there is always one person, usually a woman, who advances to the mic and blows the roof off the joint; they hit every note across an incredible range, every phrase of the song is perfectly expressed, and with stage presence, and I want to stand and announce to the assembled that ... OK, that'll be it for the night, let's shut it down, retreat to our respective corners until such time as we can reclaim the courage to follow THAT performance.

But under my breath, I say "WRS".

9:28 is a little early in the day for a virtuoso, shoot the lights out drum solo, so I'm going to put my piccolo back in its case for the weekend.

Which reminds of a time decades ago when my softball team decided to hit a bar and there was a one-man band performer, and as these things go after numerous rounds, some of us, not I, became a little irritable after one Jim Croce song after another on the keyboard/synthesizer and began "requesting" from the back of the room, "In A Gadda Da Vida", and after a bit much time, an hour, of stoically putting up with our idiotic bad form, the guy performing punched a couple of buttons on his synthesizer, and without casting so much as a glance our way, we gotta da note perfect "In A Gadda Da Vita" sure nuff, including a very extended drum solo.

The room went silent and the rest of the patrons shot us "shut yer trap" looks and I suddenly found the hem on my dumb softball jersey extraordinary fascinating.

Obviously, what russell, and therefore Janie and hsh, said.

Surely somewhere in this great land of ours, there is a conservative who will work to advance all of the goals of the folks who claim to support Trump "on the issues", but who is not such a colossal offensive divisive clusterfnck of a human being.

There are conservatives like this apart from wj, David Frum for one, but it looks like none who are prepared to put their heads above the parapet to actually fight for office, and from what I can see none who is given much airtime/bandwidth either. Presumably, this is because the writing on the wall is clearly legible: the 40% of the population who love and support Trump in all his technicolour offensiveness have effectively bought into the characterisation of such NeverTrumpers, who openly call him out for much of the same stuff we do, as elite so-called experts whose so-called expertise is so unnecessary that Ivanka Trump is a credible suggestion to head the World Bank. The credulousness and ignorance of the public (and believe me I claim no great superiority for the public in the UK) is what is driving this car straight to hell, and the fuel is provided courtesy of Fox, the Mercers, the Kochs, Putin etc etc, in gas stations provided by Facebook, Google and Twitter.

"running amock and kidnapping"

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a27210884/united-constitutional-patriots-new-mexico-detained-immigrants/

Armed moderate and liberal American patriot militias should set up encampments (like the one pictured at the bottom of the linked article), across the street from the White House to monitor the lawbreakers inside the White House and detain them should they try to leave the joint and re-unite with their families for dinner each evening.

We can provide Russian translators to facilitate the detainment of the traitors and supporting miscreants.

We would provide "bullshit" translators as well but no one has been trained in this brand of bullshit outside of the conservative movement and the latter are deaf to all sense:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2019/04/19/friday-night-respite-open-thread/

the "How did Hitler happen?" question gets easier and easier to answer every day.

Surely somewhere in this great land of ours, there is a conservative who will work to advance all of the goals of the folks who claim to support Trump "on the issues", but who is not such a colossal offensive divisive clusterfnck of a human being.

Go forth, find that person, and persuade them to run for office.

The good news is, there are and they are. For example,
http://time.com/5571336/william-weld-gop-nomination-2020/

The bad news is, the chances to them actually taking the nomination away from him, absent some screw up of epic proportions even for Trump, are close to nil. But at least the primary vote will give us a read on how much of the GOP is beyond redemption.

Also, what cleek said.

As for history, it will draw conclusions from the Report, with or without the exercise of an impeachment proceeding.

I was referring to history's judgment about the Democrats, not Trump.

wj: "BUT, there were multiple cases (10, I think) where Mueller lays pretty clearly that Trump took actions where were clearly obstruction, and for which there was sufficient evidence that a conviction could be obtained."

Marty: It doesn't come within a dozen realities of saying this. It specifically says that it is not possible to determine if these actions constitute obstruction.

You might find this instructive:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/04/19/muellers-biggest-bombshell-trump-told-white-house-counsel-lie/
Money quote (although you should read the whole thing):

President Trump ordered the top White House lawyer to lie to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. That is one difficult-to-escape conclusion of Mueller’s 448-page report, released to the public in redacted form Thursday. Telling another person to lie to investigators is obstruction of justice.
Not a whole lot of wiggle room there.

Drum quotes a nifty NYT chart showing all the time Team Trump talked to Russians.

https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/04/team-trump-sure-did-talk-to-a-lot-of-russians/

A difficult to escape conclusion, not s fact. Even if I agree it's not a fact.

GOP 2020: Our guy is technically not a criminal!

look at yourselves.

"not a fact"

Not an established fact.

Because liars lie about facts so they can't be established.

Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jiNaEg5CsM

A difficult to escape conclusion, not s fact.

What is it in the WaPo piece that you are saying is not factual?

Here are McGahn's comments on the issue.

I guess he could be lying about it.

Bottom line, there is a clear prima facile sacs for a charge of obstruction against Trump. I know you’re in the tank for him, Marty, but to deny that is simply foolish.
Whether or not he is guilty would have to be established in a trial.

That he is a disgrace to the office is not something I’m going to debate with you.

the "How did Hitler happen?" question gets easier and easier to answer every day.

It actually doesn't. Hitler's rise was the result of very different circumstances and conditions.
Hitler tried the Trump way (running for president) but failed. In the end he got installed as chancellor as last choice by a palace cabal grossly miscalculating his true goals (believing him to be corrupt or easily corruptible). He became president by coup when his predecessor died of old age and then murdered and sidelined those that handed him the chancellory.
The he went to work with high efficiency and not just to line his own pockets*.
If there is a parallel, it's the media empire of Hugenberg greasing the wheels in the run-up but if the US today were like Germany then The Donald would have taken over Murdoch's empire instead of getting led by the nose by it.
For the Donald power and status are mere trophies, for Hitler they were tools to achieve his political vision.
Neither Mitch the Turtle nor The Newt have true counterparts in the events that led to Hitler.

*admittedly he freed himself from paying income tax but he left most of the personal corruption to his entourage.

As usual, Hartmut, you shed more light than heat.

Nicked from a Cheryl Rofer post and BJ

"As French Ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud, said

'[Trump] once criticized the French president [Emmanuel Macron], and people called me from Paris to say, “What should we do?” My answer was clear: “Nothing.” Do nothing because he will always outbid you. Because he can’t accept appearing to lose. You have restraint on your side, and he has no restraint on his side, so you lose. It is escalation dominance.'"

That's about right.

We must lose all restraint as well, you see.

But for the same reason that moderates and liberals seem to never form armed militias to take things into their own hands, because it is not in our small "c" constitutions to do so, we maintain restraint.

"escalation dominance"

I can always give one less fuck than p can.

We need an army of the always escalating fuckless to destroy the fuckers.

I'll bring the heat ;)

It says something that the Hitler trope isn't quite adequate.

If p WAS identifiably Hitlerian, something would be done, because we'd know what we were looking at.

p is unprecedented in American politics and history, which is why we've exhausted all comparisons short of Hitler.

Like the comedian said, he's a horse loose in a hospital. A rabid, spit-the-bit, kick you in the teeth, eyes-rolling, foaming at the mouth too crazy for the rodeo bucker with a stun prong up his fundament 24 hours a day for whom there will never be a horse whisperer.

But, come to think of it, you'd deal the same way with a horse loose in a hospital that you would with a Hitler loose in a Dusegupka.

escalation dominance

The way all of that looks to me is Macron has restraint on his side, Trump does not, so Macron wins.

Because he is less vulnerable to being goaded. He is able to think and not just react, and he can consider aspects of an issue other than how a given outcome is going to make him look.

Trump's options in any situation are always going to be limited. Macron, less so.

Advantage Macron.

Team of liars.
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/19/sarah-huckabee-sanders-mueller-report-1283210

And not, you don’t have to go batshit crazy to beat them. You just have to vote them out if office.

You just have to vote them out if office.

Yes, but they don't believe in democracy, they believe in winning and holding power by whatever means.

The US electoral system, with overrepresentation of small states, gives them a head start.

Then they gerrymander the districts. They pass laws to make it hard for poor people to vote. They appoint judges to let them do it. They appoint an Attorney General to protect them.

That's so far. Who knows what comes next.

The time to vote them out is now, before it's too late. There is no excuse any more for anyone who cares about democracy, whatever their general political leanings, to do anything else.

That's so far.

You forgot about the fact that they accept cyber warfare assistance from hostile foreign governments. That's kind of a biggie, considering that foreign governments continue to buy them as we speak.

The time to vote them out is now, before it's too late.

I agree, assuming that it's not already too late. The time to vote them out was 2016. But maybe, just maybe, we can start the long process of repairing our country in 2020. Even if we win, it's going to be a very long and difficult haul.

It actually doesn't.

it does.

the context was JDT's post about a group of armed citizens who have so thoroughly absorbed into Trump's/Fox's anti-brown-people hysteria that they are kidnapping brown people.

this is not normal behavior. these people have left reality and set up camp in the world of fantasy that Trump/Fox created: a world created entirely to scare people and keep them voting in the correct way.

in other words: this shows the power of propaganda and the weakness of societal norms.

It actually doesn't.

it does.

the context was JDT's post about a group of armed citizens who have so thoroughly absorbed into Trump's/Fox's anti-brown-people hysteria that they are kidnapping brown people.

this is not normal behavior. these people have left reality and set up camp in the world of fantasy that Trump/Fox created: a world created entirely to scare people and keep them voting in the correct way.

in other words: this shows the power of propaganda and the weakness of societal norms.

why doesn't Mueller reach a judgement about obstruction?


“We considered whether to evaluate the conduct we investigated under the Justice Manual standards governing prosecution and declination decisions, but we determined not to apply an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the President committed crimes.

Total *pinch the sky* Exoneration *jazz hands*.

What pro bono said, Over and over and over. The Republican party--not just Trump--is literally and deliberately as a matter of chosen policy an existential threat to representative government, They are purposefully destroying America for the benefit of a minority--the kleptocrats All the hatemongering is in service to that goal Trump is just a useful idiot.

Yup, what Pro Bono said @ 07.59, every word of it.

Today's bit of baseless speculation from yours truly....

We know that on multiple occasions in the past, Republican administrations gave aid and comfort to our enemies. Nixon did it in 1968, arranging to keep the Vietnam War going; Reagan did it in 1980, to prolong the Iranian hostage crisis, and then with various twists and turns throughout the '80s.

How many of the setbacks American and allied forces have encountered in Afghanistan, Iraq, and environments have been arranged (or just endorsed and supported) by Republican administrations when in power and by Republican officials when not in power, to keep us stirred up and willing for more?

I don’t disagree for a moment about the danger to democracy, and that there are large parts of the Republican party displaying an active contempt for it, but right now the remedy has to be at the ballot box, or you’ve already given up.

Nothing is different. This is a shared human foible:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27/why-facts-dont-change-our-minds

Until the transmission modes, the vectors, for this "human" disease change, and/or the true believers of one carefully crafted set of "facts" take over the "radio station" and the transmission lines, the FOX news-crawl, if you like.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/22/whats-new-about-conspiracy-theories

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_facts

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Karl_Rove

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/sarah-palin/8560030/Sarah-Palin-supporters-attempt-to-change-history-to-help-her-White-House-bid.html

It's worldwide (see Bolsanaro in Brazil, etc):

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/10/poland-polarization/568324/

Applebaum, let's remember, is of a conservative cast of mind. She wrote "Red Famine", among other works (which I'm reading at the moment), about Stalin's imposing alternative facts on the Ukraine in the 1920s and thereafter.

This is unwittingly revealing about these minds:

https://patch.com/texas/downtownaustin/austin-shock-jock-concedes-sandy-hook-killings-werent-hoax

He says "a psychosis" made him spread these filthy alternative facts.

Ms. Sanders, who believes divine election placed p in the White House, not a crooked election, lies on the run, as the occasion arises ... these things aren't scripted in advance.

The plan, and yes the conservative movement is an elaborately crafted plan, not a hoax.

Psychosis, as personified by p, transmitted from mind to mind via the new "media" has become the vector for implementing the conservative movement's program.

"Let's act psychotic" was the plan in the service of blunting ANY policy that would stymie the possession of military grade weaponry in everyone's hands.

"Hey, we ARE psychotic, what did you expect?" is the plea when called on it. "Whaddaya gonna do about it now, we have all of the guns?"

Christ, all that's missing is a conspiratorial cackle.

So yes, advantage to the non-psychotic Macron to round this out (I'm not talking about policy and issues, I'm talking methods) in a world where what comes next remains predictable.

Yeah, but, "Who knows what comes next?"

That's the advantage p has. And that he has used his entire life. No one can predict what comes next, except that 'next" will be something the non-psychotic cannot envision.

Neville Chamberlain's downfall was, IMHO, that he was constitutionally incapable of thinking like a psychotic, of placing his mind inside the mind of a psychotic.

Hitler, unswervingly in possession of the nutszoid clearmindedness of the psychotic, read Chamberlain like a FOX news crawl.

But, p is not Hitler, or Stalin.

Would that he were, so we could look it up in a book or an old news reel, like checking the symptoms of a disease in the Merck Manual.

He's something else, yet to be fully revealed.

He and his crazy people are like those "Ebola" victims early on in the spread of the disease that came stumbling out of remote African settlements hemorrhaging their precious bodily fluids.

Someone call a doctor.

Diagnosis: "I've never seen this particular presentation of symptoms before, so I've no idea what comes next."

Meanwhile, run for your lives.

You too, Macron.

This is a very interesting article which gives one example of how Democrats can successfully approach the debate on immigration without compromising their principles:
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/21/democrats-foreign-policy-tom-malinowski-1283785

And he talks a fair amount of sense on foreign policy, too.

the remedy has to be at the ballot box, or you’ve already given up.

I plan to cast my ballot for whatever Democrat wins the nomination, and (as I do every election, including local), I'll work on the campaign. I'm hoping for miracles, and I won't give up on the strength of our Democracy. But I have little confidence in Democrats' ability to overcome the autocrats who have managed to gain a firm foothold. As Marty has demonstrated, power is their agenda, and hate is their enabler.

"As Marty has demonstrated, power is their agenda, and hate is their enabler"

So now I'm getting tired of this. I vote for the GOP, even though I couldnt for Trump ever, because I put my country ahead of even my disgust for him. Power isnt the goal, saving the country from Democratic Socialism is.

This whole party before country bs is tiresome. If I didnt care about the country I would be all for impeachment tomorrow. I suspect there are a significant number of Senators that feel the same way.

The same is true of the whole voting third party "ensuring" Trump won. Me voting third party, in my mind, was taking the risk that Hillary might win because I couldnt possibly vote for Trump. It was the best I could do, because I love my country.

I have, to the best of my recollection, not spent any time questioning your motives.

See the autocrats are you. Either agree with me or you're evil and hateful.

Two words, not happy birthday. Dont fucking throw my name around if you dont know what your talking about.

Marty: If I didnt care about the country I would be all for impeachment tomorrow.

Pelosi and the Democrats should hold Congressional hearings on the topic:

Is Trump WORTH impeaching?

I'd like to see both the MAGA crowd and Marty's dangerous Democratic Socialists weigh in on that particular question.

--TP

I vote for the GOP, even though I couldnt for Trump ever, because I put my country ahead of even my disgust for him...

And yet, whatever your motives, the representatives you vote for are utterly determined to keep him in power, and the party is being remade in his image.

See the autocrats are you. Either agree with me or you're evil and hateful.

go buy a mirror

Power isn't the goal, saving the country from Democratic Socialism is.

Marty, I'll assume out of respect that you mean something by that. But what? I looked up "Democratic Socialism" in a well-known online encyclopaedia, and read:

"Democratic socialism is a political philosophy that advocates political democracy alongside social ownership of the means of production"

Are you saying that the Democratic Party generally, and Hillary Clinton in particular, advocate social ownership of the means of production. If so, why do you think that? If not, what on earth do you mean?

And yet, whatever your motives, the representatives you vote for are utterly determined to keep him in power, and the party is being remade in his image.

sure, because Democrats!

cleek, Hitler did not tolerate free-lancing militias and personally kicked guys out of his personal militia and the party for out-of-uniform and/or unauthorized actions (even if they were in furtherance of his goals). And that was before he came to power. After that he dissolved all independent RW militias (in particular the Freikorps). And all 'spontaneous outbreaks of the people's wrath' thereafter were carefully organized.
The Donald does not control the thugs even while trying to take credit for their actions.
As Lenin correctly said (if the quote is genuine): When Germans storm a railway station, they will buy platform tickets before.
In the US the inclination for mob action* is significantly higher than it was in Germany back then (at least that is my impression).
The Donald did not himself create a mass movement, he managed to become the focal point of an existing one. The Nazis (and the German communists**) started more or less from scratch. And unlike TP/GOP they deliberately shunned going together with the Old Right (the Harzburger Front went nowhere). The GOP managed what the German Old Right tried but failed. The TP did not lead to a real power shift, it's still Mitch the Turtle (and the donors) calling the shots. Mitch may find The Donald a pain to work with but he still is the one really in control. If he wishes, The Donald is toast (no need yet).

*un- or semi-organized
**under the name of independent social democrats (USPD) during WW1 before switching to Spartakists and then KPD afterwards.

granted. but again, i was (obliquely, i admit) referring to the power of propaganda and the ultimate weakness of societal norms. as in: how can 'normal' people do horrible things? well, they buy into enough myths and lies and then they find themselves kidnapping people, or worse.

Power isn't the goal, saving the country from Democratic Socialism is.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is the pure embodiment of Democratic Socialism. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

You're kidding, right?

Hartmut: The GOP managed what the German Old Right tried but failed.

Yes. An economic elite reactionary old guard has harnessed (so far) an ethno-nationalist populist movement built on racism and grievance.

I find a lot of truth in this statement, but a kinder gentler fascism is not all that great either.

Also, vigilantism is as American as apple pie.

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