“It is almost a maxim of the Trump era that the bounds of the unthinkable continuously shrink.”
– Jonathan Chait for New York magazine, 12/11/17
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call 912/14/17)
Dear Fellow Readers,
In his victory speech after winning the Alabama senate seat previously held by attorney general Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III, Doug Jones quoted Dr. Martin Luther King:
“The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
We may not know the ‘how’ or the ‘when’, but it’s clear that history will remember Trump for what he is, and history will not be kind to him.
Keith Olbermann’s final video – Trump Is Finished – in his The Resistance commentaries, was carried in this column a few weeks ago but the message is even more relevant following the Alabama senate election results. Olbermann says:
“There are seven routes in front of Trump; each inevitably ends in his impeachment or resignation…. Mueller really will get him on Russia. It will be ugly, and it will tear this country nearly apart, but it will be necessary.”
Trump-Russia, according to Olbermann is No. 1 of the “seven freight trains rushing at him”.
The No. 7 freight train rushing at Trump:
“His sexual conduct. Has not one snowball, but a decades worth of them have come down that hill wiping out all the sleaze bags and emboldening and empowering the victims, it seems impossible to believe that some claimant somewhere does not have tangible evidence against Trump. And that they won’t say, to hell with it, and break one of those non-disclosure agreements, and Trump will suddenly be envying Harvey Weinstein.”
Olbermann’s predictions cite the recent election results in Virginia and Oklahoma as bell-weathers and flashing signals to GOP candidates. Now we can add Alabama to that clarion call: Stand with Trump and face the consequences. Olbermann fills in the gaps:
“Richard Nixon was not forced out of office by Democrats; not really even by Watergate. Democrats controlled the Senate and the House every day Richard Nixon was president. They could have impeached him at any point. He resigned when the leading Republicans went into the White House and told him that not only would he be impeached and convicted, but he would take all of them down with him, and they were not going to let him do that.”
Trump-Russia and Trump’s sexual harassment of women – the No. 1 and No. 7 freight trains rushing at him. Just before we jump ahead, did you know that Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore represented BOTH issues as well?
If you enjoy “WTF?” moments, here’s one for you: Seth Meyers: Roy Moore Is ‘As Unfit For Office’ As ‘Colicky Man-Baby’ Trump.
The entire video is great, but you HAVE to see the interview with Roy Moore starting at the 7:30 mark. Warning, a spoiler, did you expect Moore to be a Putin supporter and offer this news in fluent Russian? Listen to the live crowd reaction. If this were a book or a movie it would be edited out as too over-the-top to be believable. But in Trumpland it’s just another day…
Back on track, here’s Trump’s freight train No. 7: Trump: Democrats Are Reviving Sexual Harassment Accusations Because Russia Probe Faltering.
On December 12, 2017, Trump tweeted out this declaration:
“Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia – so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!”
If I consider the lessons in George Lakoff’s book ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant’ on political messaging, as drummed into me by Commoner Call editor Mark Taylor, here we have the beauty of Trump dismissing freight train No. 1, Trump-Russia, by claiming he’s under attack by freight train No. 7, sexual harassment.
Even better, or worse, after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called on Trump to resign over sexual misconduct allegations, Trump responded with this:
“Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!”
Trump’s tweet was properly condemned by many as grotesquely sexist, with Gillibrand labeling it a “sexist smear”.
Yes, Trump, we are paying attention and thank you for damning yourself with your own debate.
But if there’s a race to the bottom between Trump and Moore, the nod goes to Roy Moore, his paean to Putin in perfect Russian was left unmatched by Trump. Let’s say Round 1 to Moore in the Trump-Moore head-to-head clash and come back to this in just a bit. Meanwhile, Dan Rather explains how Trump’s attacks on Gillibrand fit into our current political process.
Rather nailed Trump’s excretion for exactly what it told the world: Trump Lashing Out At Kirsten Gillibrand Reveals He Is ‘caged animal’ Gripped By Fear.
On the monring of the Alabama special election Rather said:
“Have you ever seen a caged animal pacing and baring its fangs?” Rather asked in a . “It is an unsettling sight as any movement or meeting of the eyes can induce a blood-curdling roar and you are left to wonder if those bars are strong enough to protect you from the wrath of nature.”
“This image has been in my mind of late as I watch what seems to be the encircling forces ensnaring President Trump,” Rather explained.
“As is his nature, Mr. Trump is lashing out – most recently at Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who called on him to resign. The President’s tweet said the Senator ‘would do anything for’ campaign donations. This is disgusting and sexist rhetoric,” Rather explained. “It is so far below the standards of human decency that no civil person should condone it, let alone normalize it.”
If Trump is operating out of fear and his instinct is to attack, do we even have the imagination to anticipate what he might do next, given what he’s done to date?
Trump is a long way from being finished, there is more to come, much more.
As Jonathan Chait noted above, there is no “unthinkable” for Trump.
The Mueller Investigation Is In Mortal Danger
It’s possible the Doug Jones victory in Alabama may have quelled the GOP anti-Mueller rebellion, reminding GOP candidates there may actually be consequences for actions like the current proposed tax plan or firing special counsel Robert Mueller. But as Tuesday post in New York Magazine noted, there is certainly a creative, destructive and complicit process of invention for the GOP and their protection of Trump: The Mueller Investigation Is In Mortal Danger.
“John Dowd, a lawyer for Trump, recently floated the wildly expansive defense that a “president cannot obstruct justice, because he is the chief law-enforcement officer.” Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett called the investigation “illegitimate and corrupt” and declared that “the FBI has become America’s secret police.” Graham (Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)) is now calling for a special counsel to investigate “Clinton email scandal, Uranium One, role of Fusion GPS, and FBI and DOJ bias during 2016 campaign” — i.e., every anti-Mueller conspiracy theory. And perhaps as ominously, Trump’s allies have been surfacing fallback defenses. Yes, “some conspiratorial quid pro quo between somebody in the Trump campaign and somebody representing Vladimir Putin” is “possible,” allowed columnist Holman Jenkins, but “we would be stupid not to understand that other countries have a stake in the outcome of our elections and, by omission or commission, try to advance their interests. This is reality.” The notion of a criminal conspiracy by a hostile nation to intervene in the election in return for pliant foreign policy has gone from unthinkable to blasé, an offense only to naïve bourgeois morality.”
“Yes, “some conspiratorial quid pro quo between somebody in the Trump campaign and somebody representing Vladimir Putin” is “possible,” allowed columnist Holman Jenkins, but “we would be stupid not to understand that other countries have a stake in the outcome of our elections and, by omission or commission, try to advance their interests. This is reality.””
Moore was a Trumpian candidate and there are many more attempting to ride those grimy coat tails. Let’s hope they achieve the same result as Moore.
Moore was no Donald Trump. If Moore carried Round 1 with fluent Russian, Trump delivered the knock-out blow in Round 2 after being credited with the 2017 ‘Lie of the Year’.
“The fact-checking news site PolitiFact has called President Donald Trump’s claim that Russian interference in the 2016 election is a hoax as the 2017 “Lie of the Year.””
Moore was a worthy candidate but after decades of getting in shape, he was no match – a marshmallow lightweight in ‘unthinkable’ – compared to the 2017 liar of the year.
Once again, there is a lot of Trump-Russia news that’s crowded out of the headlines. White House press secretary Hope Hicks spent two days with Mueller’s team . She’s been in the middle of much communication and coordinationand may well have a lot to say about what’s transpired. Two days is a lot of opportunity.
There was also the Russia court appearance by Konstantin Kozlovsky:
“Kozlovsky said during a hearing on August 15 that he “performed various tasks under the supervision of FSB officers,” including a DNC hack and cyberattacks on “very serious military enterprises of the United States and other organizations.””
This is one example, but there has been a lot of ‘unusual’ news out of Russia lately. It’s easy to understand Kozlovsky’s testimony, here’s a news item that requires advanced tea leaf reading skills.
The Financial Times reported (behind a pay wall) that Rosneft Chief Igor Sechin Refused To Appear At Corruption Trial. Rosneft is Russia’s leading oil and gas company, Igor Sechin is viewed as one of Putin’s most conservative long-time counselors.
“Igor Sechin is the chief executive of Rosneft. He was appointed by Putin and serves at the discretion of Putin, so this is unprecedented:
“Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, has refused to appear in court before the end of the year to testify in the corruption trial against former economy minister Alexei Ulyukaev, raising the stakes in a case that is being closely watched for signs of power struggles in Russia’s ruling elite.”
There it is again, power struggles in Russia. There are rumblings that the oligarchs are upset with what they see as Putin’s overreach with Russian involvement in the U.S. election and Ukraine annexation. They see the resultant U.S. sanctions as an attack on their personal wealth (the latest round passed overwhelmingly by Congress in August still not enacted by Trump). Is this Putin pushing back to maintain order and control?
““This is unheard of, and the court couldn’t possibly have taken this path without approval from the very top, ie. Putin,” said Nikolai Petrov, a political analyst. “Putin may be signalling that Sechin is going too far in his power grabs.” Russia’s political elite are wrestling to position themselves for the transition expected to begin in March after Mr Putin is re-elected for a final presidential term.”
The last piece of Trump-Russia news, involves the Russian Alfa Bank, which was connected directly by computer servers in Trump Tower and a DeVos business, of the same family as Trump secretary of education Betsy DeVos.
Reuters reported Tuesday: Dutch Oubsidiary of Russia’s Alfa Bank Raided In Money Laundering Investigation.
“The Dutch subsidiary of Russia’s Alfa Bank, owned by billionaire Mikhail Fridman, was searched last week as part of an investigation into possible money laundering, the Dutch financial crimes prosecutor said on Tuesday.”
So many Russians, so many criminals. There is no indication of a direct connection to Trump-Russia, but these ‘coincidences’ are reminders of the depth of choices made by the Trump business organization and Trump campaign. But like Trump’s secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross and his ownership of a Cypriot bank with a history of laundering Russian money it should prepare us for ‘no surprises’, yet what was your reaction when you heard Roy Moore speak in fluent Russian?
Whataboutism put forward by Trump and Trumpists is now elevated to the snide boilerplate of “So what, it’s not illegal”.
How fast will the forces of good bend the arc of justice in our favor?
Two powerful forces bear down on Trump – freight train No. 1 is Trump-Russia, freight train No. 7 is the allegations of Trump’s sexual misconduct. We can hope that Trump continues his public debate of the merit of both, keeping both issues in the headlines, as he does best.
Meanwhile, be prepared for the unthinkable.
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )