By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (7/11/19)
Dear Fellow Readers,
It is easy to get overwhelmed in the daily rain of Trump shit-show news. To demonstrate, the bill for the D.C. government to ‘host’ Trump’s 4th of July celebration of self is $1.7 million. The money needed to pay for this comes from a now bankrupted fund “used to protect the nation’s capital from terrorist threats and provide security at events such as rallies and state funerals”. In fact the fund is running a projected “$6 million deficit” while the mayor “also noted that the account was never reimbursed for $7.3 million for Trump’s 2107 inauguration.
Everything Trump Touches Dies, Unless You’re Above the Law
I have often quoted author and former GOP strategist Rick Wilson’s “everything Trump touches dies”, but the same can’t be said for Trump himself. If democracy survives, future law students will study the bending or breaking of US constitutional law by this administration. A few weeks ago we were dismayed with a SCOTUS ruling that has US courts stepping aside on sorting out abuses of voter rights through deliberately enacting biased and manipulated voting districts, or gerrymandering. Now we have another headscratcher – “A federal appeals court Wednesday sided with President Trump, dismissing a lawsuit claiming the president is illegally profiting from foreign and state government visitors at his luxury hotel in downtown Washington” (an emoluments lawsuit).
Trump’s crimes aren’t hidden; in this instance white-collar crime in the glaring light of day right out in front of the cameras. The “three-judge panel” ruled “the attorneys general lacked legal standing”. The attorneys general for Maryland and D.C. are considering an appeal they believe will eventually reach the Supreme Court.
These days can an appeal to the SCOTUS be considered a source of comfort?
SCOTUS ruled against Trump’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census which, if enacted, would have punished Blue states by skewing population counts away from states with an unusual number of illegal immigrants fearful of identifying themselves. But Trump and his henchman attorney general William Barr have announced they disagree with the SCOTUS ruling and continue to seek new routes to jam the question into the census, including issuing an executive order.
You want to bury an emoluments ruling – refuse to turn over the documents. Sound familiar?
Don’t Investigate the Crime, Investigate the Investigators
Trump finally has the personal attorney general he’s wanted after his great disappointment with former AG Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III for “not having his back”. Remember, the context for Trump’s statement was following being advised by Sessions that a special counsel had been named, to which Trump responded, “I’m fucked”. (The Mueller Report)
Trumpsters are predictable: If facts don’t fit, invent new facts. If that fails, accuse the accusers – with whatever force necessary. In the case of Trump-Russia Trumpsters were eventually smart enough to stop smearing their own Department of Justice and FBI and narrow the targeting to ruin the standing, careers and lives of individuals like former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI lawyer James Baker, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page as a few examples.
But as much as they tried, former MI6 Moscow desk manager and dossier author Christopher Steele has remained beyond their reach. Til now.
In June a three-investigator Department of Justice inspector general team spent two days interviewing Steele, face-to-face. The person thrust in the middle of this “feud” is inspector general Michael Horowitz and he’s been at this for two years.
Horowitz has already cleared Strzok and Page finding “no evidence that the pair acted with bias in the Clinton investigation”. But Steele is the big fish, the one the Trumpsters have elevated to a status of the person responsible for causing what they claim was an illegal investigation of Trump and his Russian influence to benefit the election in his favor. If Trumpsters can disprove Steele, they have free rein to attack Mueller for conducting an illegal investigation – so the theory goes and facts be damned.
The actual timeline of events doesn’t line up with Trumpster alternative facts since the investigation was already underway before Steele reached out to the FBI, but Trumpsters are never put off by little details like … reality.
I won’t go deeper into a very good article since we’ll have the Inspector General report at some point, but here’s a noteworthy exchange at the end of this article (the warrant application refers to a FISA application to survail former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page prior to Steele contacting the FBI):
“During a congressional deposition last fall, Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio and a Trump ally, asked Mr. Baker why he took the unusual step of personally reviewing the original warrant application.
““I anticipated being — sitting here in rooms like this down the road, I seriously did, and I knew that it was — I knew that it was sensitive,” Mr. Baker replied, according to . “I knew that it would be controversial.””
There is No Bar Too Low for Trumpsters To Slither Beneath
“Everything Trump Touches Dies” doesn’t go far enough, it now sounds so trite and sterile. Trump’s team of die-hard defenders, enablers and cover-up specialists extends far beyond his limp noodle Congressional sycophants like Rep. Jim ‘Gym’ Jordan (R-OH) or his personal attorney general Barr, but is made more effective with official state media outlet Fox News and actors like host Sean Hannity. Consider this:
Fox News was willing to abuse the Rich family’s struggle to come to terms with the violent death of their son, former DNC staffer Seth Rich. Seth Rich and his family be damned, if they could be used to benefit Trump by attacking the attackers:
“In the summer of 2016, Russian intelligence agents secretly planted a fake report claiming that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was gunned down by a squad of assassins working for Hillary Clinton, giving rise to a notorious conspiracy theory that captivated conservative activists and was later promoted from inside President Trump’s White House, a Yahoo News investigation has found.
“Russia’s foreign intelligence service, known as the SVR, first circulated a phony “bulletin” — disguised to read as a real intelligence report —about the alleged murder of the former DNC staffer on July 13, 2016, according to the U.S. federal prosecutor who was in charge of the Rich case. That was just three days after Rich, 27, was killed in what police believed was a botched robbery while walking home to his group house in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C., about 30 blocks north of the Capitol.”
One level of disdain is delivered by former assistant US attorney and prosecutor Deborah Sines, “To waste your time investigating BS is just horrible”. But more painfully, Seth Rich’s mother, Mary, offered, “You’re used, you’re lied to, you’re a pawn in your own son’s death, I wish they had the chance to experience the hell we have gone through. Because this is worse than losing my son the first time. This is like losing him all over again.”
Sines called Fox coverage “complete fabrication”. Coverage included Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow telling Hannity, “it sure doesn’t look like a robbery. There’s on thing this thing undercuts in this whole Russia argument, is the subterfuge”. Even worse, former Trump senior advisor Steve Bannon texted CBS News, “Huge story … he was a Bernie guy … it was a contract kill, obviously.”
Sadly conspiracy theories never die. In this case, special award to Russian Intelligence. But the assist goes here…
Washington Post journalist Philip Bump offers a great review of the various voices and social media outlets that fanned the conspiracy flames. Mueller gave credit to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for using Rich (“blaming”) “to obscure the source of materials that WikiLeaks was releasing”.
Hannity, Bannon, Assange, conspiracy connoisseur and hustler-bar-none Alex Jones.
But I guarantee each of us can remember the voices of people we know embracing this story. Only they can answer why.
Let’s agree to not be that voice.