“I love treason, but I hate a traitor.”
— Gaius Julius Caesar
“I think people would revolt.”
— Donald Trump during Reuters interview in the Oval Office (12/11/18)
“When you come at the king, you best not miss.”
— Omar Little, drug dealer character on The Wire.
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (12/13/18)
Dear Fellow Readers,
These three quotes reflect where we now stand with Trump-Russia and what must be done. How deep does Trump’s guilt run? How much shit will Trump throw at the fan to fight the consequences? Will the rule of law prevail or will Russpublicans and Democrats conspire to bring a “knife to a gunfight”? We’ll add this final question though it’s beyond today’s scope: Who gets ‘gotten’ and who gets spared to live another political day? A Bush begot a Bush and almost a third, a Clinton almost begot a Clinton, a Trump could beget a Trump…stick a stake in the heart of the Trumps if not Trumpism.
The battles are now about outcome, not about guilt. The above questions are the battles being waged in the media and behind the scenes. We are watching history being made. It may not be pretty but it will set precedent for the rest of our lives and the lives of our children and the future of the nation.
“I love treason, but I hate a traitor.”
The Moral ‘Gumby’ Party: He May Be A Traitor, But He’s Our Traitor.
As previously reported, Trump absurdly tweeted “Totally clears the President. Thank you!” following Friday’s sentencing filing by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York regarding Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty. Of course Trump later offered that he had not read the court documents but that is beside the point.
One reason Trump can dismiss his own guilt is that Russpublican Senators don’t care. It smacks of a “He may be a traitor, but he’s our traitor” attitude: ‘I Don’t Care’: GOP Senators Dismiss Allegations Against Trump.
First up — Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT):
“The Democrats will do anything to hurt this president,” Utah Senator Orrin Hatch told CNN when asked if he was concerned about the allegations. When reporter Manu Raju reminded Hatch that it is not the Democrats, but the Southern District of New York, making the allegations, Hatch said, “I don’t care, all I can say is he’s doing a good job as president.”
Hatch has changed his attitude over the years; it was Hatch who offered this during Clinton’s impeachment:
“This great nation can tolerate a president who makes mistakes,” Hatch said then. “But it cannot tolerate one who makes a mistake and then breaks the law to cover it up. Any other citizen would be prosecuted for these crimes.”
But Hatch wasn’t the only one channeling Gumby to twist lies and high crimes into a ‘nothing-burger’, check out Sens. Grassley (R-IA), Kennedy (R-LA) and Thune (R-SD) remarks as well.
This is not new news. Remember WAY back when now Minority House Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was recorded saying, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: [Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher [R-Calif.] and Trump.”
Social media gives us a long memory and here for the record we find senators Susan Collins (R-ME), John Thune (R-SD) and Cassidy (R-LA), all of whom will be up for re-election in 2020, backing Trump. They will have their comments dangling from their necks on their campaigns.
Maybe the media will stop pulling their punches. As an example, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski managed to call Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “a “butt boy” for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman”.
“I understand that Donald Trump doesn’t care,” Brzezinski said. “He doesn’t care. But why doesn’t Mike Pompeo care right now? Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard when he appeared on Fox & Friends — is that a patriot speaking? Or a wannabe dictator’s butt boy?”
Or consider conservative columnist and author Never-Trumper Max Boot responding to Orin Hatch’s comments by noting, “the GOP commitment to the rule of law is situational. All too many Republicans are going from opposing the Democratic Party to opposing democracy itself, they are becoming the authoritarian party.” If you link to the article Boot’s comments also touch on GOP authoritarian steps in Wisconsin while noting any opposed are seen by Wisconsin Republican Assembly speaker Robin Vos as, “lesser Americans”.
“I think people would revolt.”
Trump Green–lights Violence – His Warning to Congress and the Media
We’re used to Trump’s repetitive denials like, “fake news”, “witch hunt”, so much so that we’ve learned he is more often validating the accusation. Trump’s “nothing to do with Russia” dismissals have morphed past “no deals” to the latest version, “why not?” Here’s how Washington Post correspondent Philip Bump summarizes the pattern:
“But then the Friday morning tweets in which Trump just waves it away. No big deal! Lightly looked at it! Why is everyone out to get me?
“We’ve seen this pattern repeatedly with Trump: An allegation. A denial or coverup. New evidence. Rationalization.”
“Asked about prosecutors’ assertions that a number of people who had worked for him met or had business dealings with Russians before and during his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said: “The stuff you’re talking about is peanut stuff.””
But it is from this same interview with Reuters that we get this full quote:
““It’s hard to impeach somebody who hasn’t done anything wrong and who’s created the greatest economy in the history of our country,” Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview.
“I’m not concerned, no. I think that the people would revolt if that happened,” he said.”
That is not just rationalization; Trump is green-lighting violence. No? Well here’s someone who agrees that Trump is green-lighting violence. Former Milwaukee County sheriff David A. Clarke:
What’s happening in France will look like childs play if the deep state tries to undo the 2016 election by MANUFACTURING a way to remove before 2020. They are underestimating the resolve of Trump’s supporters. Like in France, people will only put up with so much.
Who you gonna believe?
“Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.”
It is raining incriminating Trump-Russia news. Trump and the Russpublican collaborators are going to have to get bigger umbrellas.
A case could easily be made that the importance of every event is under-appreciated. As an example: – “the Southern District would not have targeted the president in their Cohen sentencing memo if they did not have him dead-to-rights”. “Individual-1″ is already built into our lexicon, we’ve accepted the label, incorporated his guilt and moved on to the next event – whether we are adding it as further confirmation of guilt or mouthing the latest Trump rationalization.
The entire debate has changed. The framing is now relevance or weightiness of the revelation but in a context of what might happen. We are several football field of moved goal posts past the original denials.
“House Majority Leader (R-Calif.) said Monday it would be a mistake for Democrats to launch investigations once they officially retake the majority in the House, arguing that the country has “other problems.”
“”It looks like what they’re going to focus on is more investigations,” McCarthy said on Fox News. “I think America is too great a nation to have such a small agenda.
“”I think there’s other problems out there that we really should be focused upon,” he continued. “And my belief is, let’s see where we can work together. Let’s move America forward.””
But McCarthy or any other Russpublican can’t stop the rain: Michael Cohen Sentenced To Three Years In Prison For Crimes Committed While Working For Trump.
Former Trump lawyer has now been sentenced to three years in prison, but that’s far from the end of Cohen’s relationship to Trump:
“…as the disgraced former “fixer” apologized but said he felt it was his duty to cover up the “dirty deeds” of his former boss.
“…“I take full responsibility for each act that I pled guilty to, the personal ones to me and those involving the president of the United States of America.””
Cohen goes to jail; meanwhile Trump denies the affairs with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal while arguing the hush payments don’t rise to the level of a federal violation of campaign finance regulations, saying the payments were a “simple private transaction”.
Here’s how Natasha Bertrand captures this for The Atlantic:
“AMI admitted to working “in concert” with Trump’s campaign to pay McDougal $150,000 “in order to ensure” that she did not publicize damaging allegations about Trump before the election, prosecutors said. “AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election,” they added.”
Trump, still denying the affairs, admits the payments but argues (from the Reuters article): “Number one, it wasn’t a campaign contribution. If it were, it’s only civil, and even if it’s only civil, there was no violation based on what we did. OK?”
As with every Trump rationalization, they quickly melt in the rain, run down the gutter and down the sewer grate.
Bloomberg reports that the stain of ruin spreads seeps far beyond Trump: Tabloid Company’s Admission Shows New Peril for Trump’s Circle.
U.S. prosecutors now have a non-prosecution agreement with Trump loyalist and CEO David Pecker of AMI (National Enquirer). The revelations link the payments and the suppression of the stories to the Trump campaign.
“At least one unidentified campaign member joined Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in an August 2015 meeting with David Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer, to discuss suppressing negative news stories during the election, the U.S. said.”
Trump tries to run fast to avoid the raindrops, but then this: Maria Butina Agrees to Cooperate With U.S.
The sub-head is a great summary: Butina has inked an agreement with prosecutors and becomes the first Russian since the 2016 election to confess to a crime connected to efforts to influence American politics.
The Russian national accused of being a spy has a history movies are made of. She first hit the radar in 2016 when she famously was the first person to ask Trump about his relationship to Putin and Russia, supposedly a random choice by Trump following a foreign policy speech in Las Vegas. She is linked to the NRA, a Russian banker, oligarch and accused money launderer Alex Torshin, a GOP operative Paul Erickson who is also facing legal risks, many GOP notables including Donnie Jr. and soon-to-be former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker….
Suffice to say, she will be in the news often going forward.
Butina represented a non-existent Russian group promoting the right to bear arms.
“Accused Russian spy Maria Butina was twice denied a visa to travel to the United States, only succeeding on her third try, which Butina insinuated was possibly linked to her relationship with the National Rifle Association.
““I only got a visa to the United States for annual NRA meetings on the third try. Before that, I missed these congresses for two years because of the opposition of the American government bureaucracy,” said the post, which includes photos of her with NRA leaders and other attendees.”
Butina loved getting pictures taken with Russpublican supporters including, as we come full circle from above, former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, this from a fully paid trip to Moscow for Clarke.
As the Associated Press reports, even the Russians might be piling on: Russian Official Offers To Unveil Correspondence With US.
Who knows what this means but any attempt by Russia to incriminate or even vindicate Trump at this point can not be a good thing:
“Nikolai Murashov, a deputy head of the Russian National Coordinating Center for Computer Incidents, said Tuesday that the first U.S. official request regarding the hacking into the Democratic National Committee came on Oct. 31, 2016. He said his agency provided specific answers in response to the U.S. query and subsequent requests.”
And finally, it’s not only special counsel Mueller and federal prosecutors, the New York attorney general has her own list: Incoming New York Attorney General Plans Wide-ranging Investigations Of Trump & Family.
There is an old question – if it is raining, is it better to walk or to run? The answer – you’ll get equally wet regardless.
Trump is already wet. But if you come at the King, you’d better be ready.
So far so good, but Trump is only getting warmed up. We’ll end with a final thought:
“I do not expect to be impeached.”
— Richard Nixon, February 1974