“You have been great with respect to Christian communities. You have really put a block up and we appreciate that very much. [He’s] respected all over Europe. Probably like me, [he’s] a little bit controversial but that’s OK. He’s a tough man but he’s done the right thing on immigration.”
— Trump to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and assembled press at the White House (5/13/19)
‘Ukraine if you’re listening.’
— Rudi Giuliani’s message to Ukraine with his announced and cancelled trip.
By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (5/16/19)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Trump met autocratic Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the White House on Monday; something I did not know was planned when I drew parallels between their authoritarian styles in the last edition. Unlike the leaders of Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France – our traditional trading partners and strategic allies — Orban was feted as a world leader. Trump’s partners are now Hungary (55th largest economy), Philippines (38th largest economy), Russia (11th) and North Korea (115th) (compared to 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th for the first countries mentioned). Trump gave Orban credit for his support for NATO though Hungary pays less proportionally than the UK, Germany or France. Because of Hungary’s political movement to the right and attacks on a free press, immigrants and other actions has meant Orban is the first Hungarian head of state to visit the White House in 15 years.
Meanwhile, as mentioned, Trump lawyer Giuliani did cancel his trip to Ukraine to seek cooperation in investigating issues he presumes have bearing on Trump reelection regarding Clinton and former vice president Joe Biden. Consider that Giuliani’s message is clear – the equivalent of the “I think you will be rewarded mightily” Trump comment following the “Russia, if you’re listening…”
We’re still fighting the same Trump fake news. I get it, coordination in full public view did not warrant a conspiracy charge worthy of successful prosecution. Lesson learned – if you didn’t pay a price the first time around, you’re free to follow form. Trump won’t even admit to Russian influence in the election while Trump Sec. State Mike Pompeo, visiting Moscow, cautioned Putin about future meddling but then ‘pivoted’ to discuss a chummy “fresh start” in relations.
So the Trump campaign feels free to encourage the new administration in Ukraine to curry favor through investigating Trump opponents (facts be damned and any damning info will be fully utilized). Trump and Pompeo pivot to ‘new beginnings’ with Russia following a finger-wagging by Pompeo (straight face or not). And it’s not just that Trump refuses any cooperation with House oversight, he is emboldened by a unique interpretation of the Constitution.
Unitary Executive Theory – Bush and Cheney would be VERY proud
Check Wikipedia and you’ll see that the term unitary executive was discussed as early as the Constitutional Convention in 1787. The movie ‘Vice’ (fictitiously) credits former vice president Dick Cheney, Legal Counsel John Yoo (of Bush era torture legal positions) and former SCOTUS Judge Scalia as pushing beyond theory and modeling the executive branch of our government as representing all executive power superseding — soaring above and beyond — any separation of power by branch.
But in fact, the challenge we now face is a president and enablers who see no authority for Congressional investigation: Mueller Left a Gap. Barr Just Filled It.
Written by that same John Yoo… Trump’s lawyer and Attorney General Barr has interviewed for his job by way of an unsolicited memo and has acted consistently following his confirmation.
“…Barr sent an unsolicited memorandum to the Justice Department arguing that Mueller’s obstruction investigation was “fatally misconceived.” He argued that a president could not commit obstruction by exercising his constitutional powers, such as his sole authority to remove the FBI director, or even by terminating a criminal prosecution. To allow Mueller to proceed, Barr argued, “would have grave consequences far beyond the immediate confines of this case and would do lasting damage to the Presidency and to the administration of law within the Executive branch.” Barr repeated that view today: “The president does not have to sit there constitutionally and allow it to run its course,” he told senators. “The president could terminate the proceeding, and it would not be a corrupt intent, because he was being falsely accused.””
In fact MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has been angling for a few weeks to ‘prove’ that Barr caused Mueller to conclude his investigation and issue his report given this interpretation. While the timing fits, Mueller did issue his report within weeks of Barr taking office, Maddow has not fully made the case as yet.
While Yoo takes exception with Barr’s stance, this is exactly the legal process we’ll all be following to force Trump’s hands on subpoenas. (last edition reference the “More than 20 separate Democratic investigations”. The Washington Post offers a more current consideration of the legal challenges here: “Congress wants to force Trump’s hand on subpoenas. It won’t be easy.”
But it isn’t that Barr is averse to investigations. Not by a long shot: Barr’s Pick To Investigate The Mueller Probe’s Origins Has A History Of Penetrating The FBI.
Barr has asked FBI investigative ‘expert’ John Durham to investigate “FBI wrongdoing…when it comes to surveillance of members of the 2016 Trump campaign”. Hitting right at the heart of Russpublican conspiracy theories I can almost picture Durham starting off by looking for the Comet Pizza basement where the Clintons supposedly practiced their pedophilia ring (there is no basement, there was no ‘ring’).
Some of Blue persuasion opine that Barr is ‘going through the motions’, but the last time anyone gave Barr the benefit of the doubt we were met with false claims of ‘exoneration’ (not the only time Barr’s delivery defied any better expectations).
Trump FBI Director Christopher Wray already pooh-pooed spying when he testified and drew Trump’s ire with, “that’s not the term I would use”. Trump in turn fumed that this was “ridiculous”.
With Trump’s FBI back in the hot seat, Trump has made it clear the ‘result’ he wants and the only open question is whether Barr will deliver for Trump… again.
But meanwhile… we are slowly learning more about Russian intrusion in voting systems: Russians Hacked Voter Systems In 2 Florida Counties. But Which Ones?
There is a familiar slow creep to the news about Russian intrusion of voting systems. Enough to make me wonder why the far-left anti-Trump-Russia media aren’t weighing in now to offer their objectivity to the question of what really happened over the 2016 election. Much like “no Russians”, we’ve moved from “no penetration of voting systems” to “one”, now to “two”. More?
“The mystery surrounding a Russian intrusion into during the 2016 election deepened on Tuesday when Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the F.B.I. had revealed to him which counties in the state had been targeted — then required the governor to keep the information secret.”
Why the emphasis on secrecy? Where is the outcry from the far-left media disbelievers?
One final acknowledgement, Trump’s wag-the-dog is heating up. Can you spot the contradiction with Pompeo’s denial?
“We fundamentally do not seek war with Iran,” Mr Pompeo said. In response to a question regarding news reports that the US had drawn up plans for a 120,000 troop deployment, he said the US had “made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion”.
“Could we win a war with Iran?” asked Hoover.
“Yes,” said Cotton.
“That didn’t take you a second,” she said.
“Two strikes: the first strike and a last strike,” Cotton said.
Cakewalk. Sound familiar?
There is not the time or space to celebrate the well-deserved investigations of the NRA.
Or celebrate the investigation of the corrupt Trump Presidential Coalition led by Trump Campaign Deputy David Bossie. A short summary – acting as a PAC, few dollars actually went to candidates or campaigns, many dollars went in Bossie’s pockets and those of others.
We’ll end with – Trump is already on the 2020 ticket and be ready to make sure we can beat him at the polls.