By Dan Peak
The Daily Call (9/4/17)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Trump-Russia; there are a range of opinions and possible outcomes. Last edition I showed the Slate Trump Impeach-O-Meter and it shows ‘chances’ increasing from 60-62%. The Gallup daily Job Approval poll showing Trump favorability/un-favorability is running at all time lows (34-35% favorability) and consistent highs (holding at 60% un-favorability). Polls in general for Trump are trending slowly and consistently against him.
For perspective or reinforcement look no further than The Washington Post.
This stands as a pretty good summary of the Trump-Russia headlines over the last few days.
“Just so there’s no confusion: Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer emailed Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman? Seeking help from the Kremlin on a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow? During the presidential campaign?
“”Yes, this really happened. While most attention was rightly focused on the devastating flood in Houston, there was quite a bit of news on the Russia front — all of it, from President Trump’s perspective, quite bad.
The revelations begin with a Trump business associate named . A Russian émigré who bragged about his Kremlin connections, Sater was a principal figure in development of the Trump Soho hotel and condominium project in lower Manhattan. Sater wrote a series of emails to Trump’s lawyer, , touting the Moscow Trump Tower project as a way to help Trump win the presidency.”
All the more ‘impressive’ given Trump’s pre-inauguration declarations, right?
Ruth Marcus, at The Washington Post notes:
“We have become inured to Trumpian self-dealing, from doubling membership fees at Mar-a-Lago to profiting off his government-owned D.C. hotel. This one goes beyond pure greed. It edges into serious questions about whether Trump’s positions on Putin and Russia have been and remain tainted by considerations not of what is best for the nation but what benefits Trump’s bottom line.”
Not exactly a sledgehammer denouncement but Ms. Marcus does offer a view that Trump’s flaws are consistent failures of character. So expect nothing better across any front – or affront – with or from Trump.
Many people are saying Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a signal that he will save himself and others around him by use of pardons.
“But it turns out that there is a flaw in Trump’s strategy. The presidential pardon only applies to federal crimes. As reported last night, it is possible for state governments to press charges in some of the alleged crimes committed by Trump’s cronies. “You would have to find that one of those [election] crimes occurred in New York,” Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor, told NBC. Of course, some of the alleged crimes almost certainly did take place in New York. And sure enough, reports, Mueller is teaming up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “One of the people familiar with progress on the case said both Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including potential money laundering,” he notes.”
“Trump can pardon anybody facing charges from Mueller, but not from Schneiderman. It is probably significant that Mueller is letting this fact be known to Trump’s inner circle. Trump’s biggest source of leverage over Mueller just disappeared.”
Are we safe to assume Trump goes away one way or another? If Special Counsel Mueller doesn’t ‘get him’, can we assume his brand is so tainted he’s unelectable?
Sadly – No!
While many are counting on Robert Mueller and his band of investigators to clean up the flaming Trump mess, filmmaker Michael Moore warns that Trump’s On Track For Reelection, Moore warns we can’t rely that “Mueller is here to save you”. His advice, as it was before the election – “Get to work!”
I believe both are true – Trump is increasingly likely to face federal charges but is also likely to win reelection in 2020 if he is the candidate for the GOP.
There are other scenarios. Roger Stone, longtime Trump friend, adviser and election dirty trickster, predicts violence if Trump is impeached.
Think what you may about Roger Stone, but do you really feel confident dismissing his opinions?
“President Donald Trump’s former campaign advisor and longtime friend, Roger Stone, said on Wednesday that the country would break out in violence reminiscent of the Civil War if the president were to be impeached.
“Try to impeach him, just try it,” Stone continued. “You will have a spasm of violence in this country, and insurrection, like you’ve never seen.”
The cameraman asked him if he truly believed that and Stone replied, “No question.”
“Both sides are heavily armed, my friend, yes, absolutely,” he predicted. “This is not 1974, the people will not stand for impeachment.”
“A politician who votes for it [impeachment] would be endangering their own life,” Stone said. He then echoed the president and said that there “will be violence on both sides.”
View anything Trump says or does through a lens of steeling his base and readying their response to any serious threats he may face. Trump 2020 campaign events? Or are these an opportunity to continue to feed raw meat to the true believers – build the wall, fake news, media is the enemy of the people, yada-yada. Violence on both sides. Arpaio pardoned – another “good man”. Responses to Charlottesville are efforts to rewrite history. Threats to close down the government if “his” wall is not funded. You know the drill – but pause each time he attacks your beliefs and consider his audience and intent.
Are you still feeling comfortable? That may not be a good idea. Consider Charles Blow writing for The New York Times: Trump Raises an Army
Here’s the kind of example I am suggesting:
“Consider what this man is saying: He used the horror and anxious anticipation of a monster storm menacing millions of Americans — particularly in Houston whose population is 44 percent Hispanic — in a political calculation to get more ratings and more eyeballs on the fact that he was using the power of the presidency to forgive, and thereby condone, .”
Blow makes a good case for the possibility of Trump’s efforts to build his army.
“How do you raise an army?
“You do that by dividing America into tribes and, as “president,” aligning yourself with the most extreme tribe, all the while promoting militarization among people who support you.
“You do it by worshiping military figures and talking in militaristic terms.
“You reverse Barack Obama’s executive order on gun control. As put it: “Obama’s order made it mandatory for the Social Security Administration to release information about mentally ill recipients of Social Security benefits. This information would then be included in background checks, essentially prohibiting people with mental illnesses to buy guns.”
“You do this by rescinding Obama-era limits on the militarization of police departments; a move that, according to , allows these departments “access to military surplus equipment typically used in warfare, including grenade launchers, armored vehicles and bayonets.”
“You do this by defending armed white nationalists and Nazis in Charlottesville.”
Blow goes on to note the perceived license to violence Trump’s the Arpiao pardon grants law enforcement … and others. Depending how things go with the crumbling trajectory of the Trump regime and likelihood that the republicans in congress will abandon him the moment they have gained all they can hope to gain yoked to Trump he may well call upon an army of true believers to come to the rescue.
Could Trump Succeed With Such A Plan? Oh, Yeah…
I watch Fox News at times to see how the same story can be presented for two different audiences and opinions. When the stories broke about Trump lawyer Michael Cohen reaching out to Putin to help advance Trump Tower Moscow I saw this in a context of “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA”. But Fox presented this story as confirmation of NO collusion – after all, Cohen never got a response to his email. And the context Fox offered was a softer version, no hard lines like “NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA”, but softer quotes about Trump’s inability to do a ‘deal’ in Russia. Nothing about pursuing Trump Tower Moscow while campaigning for the presidency, simply a shrug and an assurance that ‘they’ see no story here.
So should we care? Maybe we should shrug and move on as well? Maybe nothing happened after all…
Can you really draw that conclusion? You’re saying nothing happened and even if it did, it can’t happen again? Maybe our elections were ‘influenced? I mean there is gerrymandering and voter ID and voter roll purges – we’ll fix those problems and we’re okay, right?
No! I’ve commented on this before – if the vote in a small number of key voting districts is affected, you can turn an entire presidential election on it’s head. I mentioned Durham, NC before; it’s still in the news: Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny
Trump won’t even admit to Russian attempts to interfere with our election and yet:
“The calls started flooding in from hundreds of irate North Carolina voters just after 7 a.m. on Election Day last November.
“Dozens were told they were ineligible to vote and were turned away at the polls, even when they displayed current registration cards. Others were sent from one polling place to another, only to be rejected. Scores of voters were incorrectly told they had cast ballots days earlier. In one precinct, voting halted for two hours.
“Susan Greenhalgh, a troubleshooter at a nonpartisan election monitoring group, was alarmed. Most of the complaints came from Durham, a blue-leaning county in a swing state. The problems involved — tablets and laptops, loaded with check-in software, that have increasingly replaced the thick binders of paper used to verify voters’ identities and registration status. She knew that the company that provided Durham’s software, VR Systems, had been penetrated by Russian hackers months before.”
For a the full version of the article: Software Glitch or Russian Hackers? Election Problems Draw Little Scrutiny.
The Russian Alfa Bank has been referenced a number of times for hosting a server in direct communication with Trump Tower and Spectrum Health (DeVos company; Betsy DeVos is Sec. Education; multi-millionaire mercenary Eric DeVos is former founder of Blackwater and current ‘savior’ of war in Afghanistan if we ‘hire’ him).
I have commented with incredulity over Brian Benczkowski’s nomination to serve as head of the Department of Justice’s criminal division, he is now appearing before the Senate Judiciary committee in advance of their vote on his nomination.
Somehow it’s not possible to find a candidate to head the DoJ criminal division that wouldn’t have to recuse himself if Alfa Bank became the focus of criminal activity?
If, after reading through all this, you are still feeling comfortable I apologize for failing to properly paint a more accurate picture – we SHOULD all be worried.