James Baker Channels a Road Map He and Comey and Andrew McCabe Might Navigate

Some weeks ago, I used Leon Jaworski’s Road Map to imagine what an equivalent Robert Mueller Road Map, packaging grand jury information to share with the House Judiciary Committee, might look like.

Among other things I showed the close parallel between John Dean’s attempt to craft a cover story and Don McGahn’s attempts to do the same. That section included how Nixon worked Henry Petersen, then Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Division, to try to influence the investigation.

After substantiating what would have been the indictment against Nixon, the Watergate Road Map showed how Nixon had John Dean and others manufacture a false exonerating story. The Road Map cited things like:

  • Nixon’s public claims to have total confidence in John Dean
  • Nixon’s efforts to falsely claim to the Attorney General, Richard Kleindienst, that former AG John Mitchell might be the most culpable person among Nixon’s close aides
  • Nixon’s instructions to his top domestic political advisor, John Ehrlichman, to get involved in John Dean’s attempts to create an exculpatory story
  • Press Secretary Ron Ziegler’s public lies that no one knew about the crime
  • Nixon’s efforts to learn about what prosecutors had obtained from his close aides
  • Nixon’s private comments to his White House Counsel to try to explain away an incriminating comment
  • Nixon’s ongoing conversations with his White House Counsel about what he should say publicly to avoid admitting to the crime
  • Nixon’s multiple conversations with top DOJ official Henry Petersen, including his request that Petersen not investigate some crimes implicating the Plumbers
  • Nixon’s orders to his Chief of Staff, HR Haldeman, to research the evidence implicating himself in a crime

This is an area where there are multiple almost exact parallels with the investigation into Trump, particularly in Don McGahn’s assistance to the President to provide bogus explanations for both the Mike Flynn and Jim Comey firings — the former of which involved Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, the latter of which involved Trump’s top domestic political advisor Stephen Miller. There are also obvious parallels between the Petersen comments and the Comey ones. Finally, Trump has made great efforts to learn via Devin Nunes and other House allies what DOJ has investigated, including specifically regarding the Flynn firing.

One key point about all this: the parallels here are almost uncanny. But so is the larger structural point. These details did not make the draft Nixon indictment. There were just additional proof of his cover-up and abuse of power. The scope of what HJC might investigate regarding presidential abuse is actually broader than what might be charged in an indictment.

The equivalent details in the Mueller investigation — particularly the Comey firing — have gotten the bulk of the press coverage (and at one point formed a plurality of the questions Jay Sekulow imagined Mueller might ask). But the obstruction was never what the case in chief is, the obstruction started when Trump found firing Flynn to be preferable to explaining why he instructed Flynn, on December 29, to tell the Russians not to worry about Obama’s sanctions. In the case of the Russia investigation, there has yet to be an adequate public explanation for Flynn’s firing, and the Trump team’s efforts to do so continue to hint at the real exposure the President faces on conspiracy charges. [my emphasis]

Another section showed how Nixon was commenting on what he had said to Petersen and Attorney General Kleindienst was like Trump’s comments on Jim Comey and other DOJ officials.

That was all written from the outside.

Today, former FBI General Counsel James Baker performs the same task. He doesn’t describe the effort as such. Rather, he just says he finds certain things — particularly those having to do with Henry Petersen — attracted his (and Sarah Grant’s, with whom he wrote this) attention.

One of the aspects of the recently released Watergate “road map” and related documents that attracted our attention is the set of materials pertaining to interactions, direct and indirect, between President Richard M. Nixon and two senior Department of Justice officials.

The whole post starts with a description of how Petersen told Nixon that Haldeman and Ehrlichman were implicated in the break-in and advised him to fire them, only to have the President respond that he would not.

One of the officials later testified: “He said he couldn’t believe it. You know, just these are fine upstanding guys. Just couldn’t be, you know.” He impressed on the president, “We are here to alert you. We think we’ve got something. We could be wrong, but we are telling you it’s time for you to move to protect yourself and the presidency.” And he urged the president to “get rid” of the staffers in question; the president responded, “‘Yeah, and I don’t think I should. I’ve got to think about this and that and a thousand other things.’”

The parallel here, of course, is Mike Flynn, whom Sally Yates recommended Trump fire, but whom Trump kept on for almost two weeks because he had ordered him to engage in the suspect behavior in question.

The post goes on to describe how Nixon got that top DOJ figure to provide information on a DOJ investigation investigating him personally.

In addition, on two occasions President Nixon asked Petersen for written summaries of aspects of the Justice Department’s investigation, including information regarding Haldeman and Ehrlichman: “[H]e asked for a full exposition. Having got into it this far, he felt he needed all the information, and I said I would undertake to . . . try to do that.” The president asked Petersen “to be kept informed of these things” but did not expect Petersen to divulge grand jury material. Petersen said that he ultimately determined that he could not provide any additional information at that time because it would have involved disclosing grand jury material; the president accepted that conclusion. In the following two weeks, however, Petersen did provide the president with “very general” information about the investigation, and the president on one occasion asked him, “‘Well, what else is new?’”

According to the president’s logs, between March 13, 1973, and April 30, 1973, President Nixon had seven meetings and initiated 19 phone calls with Petersen. These calls included four on April 15, 1973, after Kleindienst and Petersen met with the president to recommend that he fire Haldeman and Ehrlichman, including one call from 11:45 p.m. to 11:53 p.m. It is difficult to recount concisely the details of all of these communications to the extent that they are reflected in the information that we reviewed. Suffice it to say that these communications and other information in the attachments to the road map indicate that the Justice Department provided the White House with certain information about the course of the investigation on an ongoing basis.

The president, in short, was using a senior Justice Department official to gather intelligence about an ongoing criminal investigation in which he was personally implicated.

The post also explains how Nixon tried to influence Petersen to speed up the investigation and by offering promotions.

On at least one occasion, President Nixon commented to Petersen on the pace of the investigation. Petersen testified: “Well, there was some discussion about the need for, you know—‘Hurry up and get this over with.’ ‘Yes. We’ll make haste as reasonably as we can.’”

President Nixon also discussed Petersen’s future role with him, as they concurrently discussed a live investigative matter. Petersen testified: “there were statements, during the course of the President’s conversations with me, ‘Now, you’ll have to serve as White House counsel,’ or, ‘You’re the adviser to the President now,’ which I, frankly, thought was a little heavy handed.”

It lays out how Nixon asked the top DOJ official whether he, personally, was under investigation.

Similarly, the Watergate Task Force report referenced above states that on April 27, 1973, “the President asked Petersen if he had any information implicating the President himself. Petersen said he did not.” The president, in other words, was asking the head of the Criminal Division whether he was personally under investigation.

And then it shows how HJC included such abuses in its articles of impeachment.

How was all of this presidential contact with the Justice Department understood in the context of Watergate? Pretty harshly. For example, Article II, paragraph 5, of the House Judiciary Committee’s July 27, 1974, Articles of Impeachment states in part that President Nixon:

In disregard of the rule of law, . . . knowingly misused the executive power by interfering with agencies of the executive branch, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Division, and the Office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, of the Department of Justice, and the Central Intelligence Agency, in violation of his duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

President Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974, and was pardoned by President Gerald Ford on Sept. 8, 1974.

As I noted in the post where I drew these parallels, we’re not in 1974 anymore, and there are a lot of reasons to doubt Trump will be impeached for acting in a similar manner as Nixon did.

But James Baker definitely seems to think the parallels are there.

68 replies
      • Noncommenter says:

        LOL. Never commented here before, but seriously, why this person still posts is something I don’t understand. Person, you need help. Please for the love of cthulhu.

        I am of paranoid inclinations myself and so spare people of my own magical thinking and deep thoughts. Especially about politics, where I do NOT HAVE AUTHORITY. It is a hobby/interest. That is different from what people who know about this stuff do. Please, this is what therapists are for. People have told you you are writing psychotic things and need help. Lay off the blergs, go outside, do something else. You post nothing useful and these people are not welcoming to you, insulting you at every opportunity because they can’t stand you and can’t figure out why you still post. All your posts are intrapersonal. You and I are not norns spinning the fates of men — we are paranoiacs. Go somewhere where you can contribute meaningfully or find a place to develop your skills. I know you are intelligent and intuitive. Plenty of disciplines value that. Political people are just not that crowd. And you lacking the ability to judge where you are not welcome is stunning. I can’t even believe I am finally writing this. Dude(tte), you have wasted so much time here. Even casual readers like me hate seeing your posts. You are smart and deserve better than a life of posting little paranoid nothings, intrapersonal ideas, on blogs where you are undeniably unwelcome! Please!!! This is what poetry and arts are for. You are muddying discourse. I am still shocked I am writing this because I never comment on blogs (I rarely have specific advice/suggestions except on ACA and individual taxes as I DO THAT FOR A LIVING — I can cite my career as some kind of authority). But your persistence in contributing to commentary here…with the equivalent of empty paranoid words… it just leaves me dumbfounded. Please, god, you have reached that point. You need help, whoever you are. You need more help. And help with social cues. Please, from a stranger who knows you deserve it!!!

  1. Alan says:

    If supported by the evidence, it is the duty of the House to impeach, and the duty of the Senate to try. While the Senate may fail to convict for political reasons, this solemn constitutional process would nonetheless shed important light on the facts that the American people are entitled to know.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        The fundamental constitutional argument on impeachment is that Article II Section 4 exists for a reason, and while certain Article II powers have become vestigial — such as the power of the electoral college to decide that a shitty presidential candidate with foreign influence might not deserve to be elevated — we have seen the House in recent history impeach a president over a consensual blowjob, so why the fuck not?

        Use it or lose it. More presidents should have been impeached and removed to keep the power well-lubricated. If this one can’t be impeached and removed then maybe the constitution is unfit for purpose.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Interesting that lawyer Nixon and lawyer Dean did not address that as White House Counsel, Dean had no personal client relationship with Nixon that would generate attorney-client privilege.  Dean represented the presidency, not Nixon personally.  A similar observation regarding Nixon using non-lawyer Haldeman for legal research into his potential criminal exposure.  Perhaps Nixon hoped or assumed that their conversations would be covered by executive rather than legal privilege.

    Donald Trump is no lawyer and no Nixon.  What faux pas is he committing that will eventually expose him?

    • emptywheel says:

      Besides hiring inappropriate and at times totally incompetent counsel? And letting Jared hang Flynn out to dry?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Is that all you’ve got?  :-)

      Apart from those, there needs to be an institution willing to ask questions and demand answers, and respond to those answers.  I hope that the Dems taking over in the House is a good start.  One lesson they should have learned from Obama is that ignoring the past out of political inconvenience is not a way to avoid its repetition in the future: it’s a way to ensure it.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Regarding that viral picture of one horse’s ass patting another, it’s the perfect image for this White House’s Christmas.  Interesting that the Don found more sympathy from his stablemate than joy in anticipation of the beauty of the tree his friend was hauling to his front door.

  3. Taxidermist says:

    I am really hoping that ew or commenters discuss the obstruction done by Nixon and his VP that Maddow is covering on the new podcast. The fact there are tapes that have been around but hidden since before I was born is disheartening. Also it makes me wonder about how silent things have been with Pence because you don’t lie with dogs and all.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    Pence was in on the Russians’ election fraud as were all GOP leaders.  Plus he headed the transition team and would be expected to know about Flynn’s overtures.  It’s not just the palace but the Augean Stables in terms of the stench of corruption.

    Kaiser Quisling has outlived his usefulness in the Oval Office, so if Nadler, et al decide to impeach the GOP Senate might just convict in the hopes that a couple of years of Parscale’s targeted messaging would clear the way for a President Pence re-election.  However, it also means that any thorough investigation of Soviet Russian activities would also implicate Pence which would then infer that the time to dig should be minimized.  KQ has to stay long enough but not too long, and be removed without GOP fingerprints that would enrage the base.

    KQ’s welching on his Mueller sit-down is nothing new, but I agree that the questions presumably given under penalty of perjury would paint him into a legal corner because he doesn’t know what the others have said.  That’s the other task for Whitaker along with stopping the probe: find out what Mueller has on KQ.  However, telling the truth would avoid the so-called “perjury trap” but would expose the palace and its minions to other charges.

    I see Ivanka used non-secure private emails for government business, claiming she “didn’t know” it was wrong even after the campaign spent all of that time raking HRC over the coals for that very reason for months. However, nothing will affect her because none of them have any shame at all.

    To Earl’s point, KQ (or in his preferred language “квислинг”) considers all of them to be his personal attorneys, recall how JeffBo would tap dance around executive privilege claims without asserting it formally.  Good luck doing that to Rep Schiff, heh heh.  So, while no formal A-C privilege would exist, the palace would assert privilege exists anyhow just to see how far they can push it.

  5. Rugger9 says:

    It was an old Rovian trick to see what the other side had before revealing the defense plans.  In KQ’s case, he’s said the responses were ready last week IIRC, so why doesn’t Mueller have them now since the lawyers presumably vetted them?  It’s because Whitaker hasn’t found out what Mueller has yet and so the palace would potentially admit something they didn’t need to do or claim something contradicted (with supporting evidence) by others, e.g. perjury.

    • Bobestes says:

      This. If I’ve learned anything about Trumpworld so far, it’s that 99% of their moves are incredibly tactical and short-term in nature, which the chattering class describes as Machiavellian strategic genius.

    • Trip says:

      It’s a public relations nightmare. That’s how they see it. Not via a prism of the brutal, senseless murder of a journalist (Khashoggi’s criticisms were not even biting). Let me count some of the reasons why: Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, et al. That said, I don’t know if Pompeo gave MbS a script. But clearly his presence, so soon after the event, was an indicator that he didn’t want the arms deals to disintegrate on an insignificant murder and the deaths of Yemenis. To be clear, though, both parties have forgiven human rights abuses in the name of arms money. Trump’s administration is just more blatant about the priorities, without any degree of compassion.

      • JD12 says:

        That’s the thing, I don’t think a President Clinton would’ve canceled any of those arms sales. Trump’s reading the quiet parts out loud. Most presidents would make a show of freezing the sales for a few months, only to resume them after a few months. But a President Clinton wouldn’t have said things that imply sovereign nations can do whatever they want as long as it’s “not in our country.”

        What does make Pompeo’s advising them believable is that they really do need help managing PR in the West. They just don’t understand what we care about and why.

        And while Pompeo was definitely lying in his presser today, he actually looked uncomfortable. He knows what he’s doing is wrong. But the Trump administration is rationalizing it all by saying Iran is worse and that we need the Saudis on our side versus Iran.

      • JD12 says:

        They also reported that MBS entertained the idea of wagging the dog in Gaza. This one just says it was discussed, so that’s easily believable.


        And Israel may have been planning on the next round in Gaza anyway. The recent battle did look like they were caught scouting potential targets.


        Are you familiar with MEE’s record? The detailed reports seem to indicate they have good sources in Riyadh. They’re just reluctant to go on the record, which is understandable of course.

  6. Erica says:

    Impeachment in the Senate will be damn near impossible if Pence is also impeached because that would leave Nancy Pelosi as President and the Republicans will not have that. Mueller should not release his report until the Dems take control of the House. And hopefully Whitaker can only access Muellers Investigation information, if he has to login to something to do it. That way, it will be tracked. But there is no doubt that Whitaker is the new Nunes and was NOT appointed to stop the investigation but to provide information about it. The news is reporting from the wrong angle!

    I’m curious to know, if Trump is indicted, can he be pardoned without a conviction? Someone please explain, again, how the pardon works and why didn’t Congress hold hearings and supena Nixon after he was pardon? He would have had to tell the truth!!!

    Could Trump, if pardoned, create a liability for his children if they are indicted? He would have to tell the truth right about everything because his 5th amendment rights go out the window

  7. Erica says:

    Trump has a very serious pardon problem in regards to himself. He will surely have to throw someone under the bus and even his children. If he lies, then he would need another pardon to stay out of jail!!

    • Trip says:

      If the kids were smart, they’d turn now. There would be no hesitation throwing them under the bus to save his own skin, IMO. The fact that Trump pretended not to know about Junior’s meeting at the tower says it all. That’s already a degree of separation he manufactured.

  8. Erica says:

    Thanks for all your hard work! I made a small donation and encourage everyone to do the same. I will subscribe if you can shield a little more light on the information you provide to the FBI!!! Yep its a bribe, lol! I’ve been wreaking my brain trying to figure it out based on your articles! Donate PPL!

    • Taxidermist says:

      I just saw yesterday that EW accepts donations. I was reading on a tablet and it shows donation options at the bottom of the thread- that doesn’t show up while reading on my phone.
      I second Erica’s Q about shared personal info., but also wonder is the P.O. Box address still good to send a check?

  9. Horse says:

    There is no great mystery. Of course Whitaker is there to slowly, quietly shut Mueller down. And of course it will happen.

    But Trump sees Mueller as an annoyance, not an existential threat. It’s very simple. What does it matter if his crimes are uncovered? Everyone already knows. He’s admitted to much of it anyway in public. As long as he’s in office, no one can touch him. The more they do, the more he will rile up his base and normalize his crimes. The House can whine and impeach him all they want. Trump is conviction-proof in the Senate. He has rigged SCOTUS. He has Russian hoods on the ground to encourage favorable election results. He has a good chance of facing a weak, coastal, possibly minority candidate in 2020 and thus will have no problem winning Florida, Ohio, Iowa, possibly Wisconsin, etc. Trump has all the good cards.

    And if he still somehow manages to lose the 2020 election, he’ll just go full dictator.

  10. Taxidermist says:

    @Rugger9: Pence was in on the Russians’ election fraud as were all GOP leaders.

    Wouldn’t that mean that Pence would have to go before djt, so he couldn’t just take the oval and pick a vp?

    • Rugger9 says:

      In a perfect world, yes, and that is what happened to Spiro back in the day though his crimes weren’t linked to Tricky Dick.  However, Kaiser Quisling would nominate someone to be Veep and who would that be?  Why not Sarah?

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nice thread from David Dayen about defense industry lobbyist John Kyl temporarily sitting in for John McCain in the Senate, and the likelihood that loser Martha McSally will replace Kyl for the rest of that interim gig.  I guess losers can be choosers, if Arzona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey plays along.

    One entry in that thread reminds me that former congresscritters retain floor rights, access to the dining rooms and gym, and so on.  For the convenience of current congresscritters, no doubt, not for that of disgruntled former employees.

    Can you imagine a parallel in the private sector?  What CEO would allow those she’s fired or replaced, including the former CEO, continued access to corporate offices, executive wash rooms, restaurants, meeting rooms, and gyms, to network with their old pals while representing new ones: suppliers, customers, creditors, and competitors of their old firm?

    The arrangement is rife with potential corruption, self-dealing, and loss of private information and trade secrets.  That access also costs the government money.  An obvious reform would be to terminate access to government facilities for those no on the public payroll.  Requiring congresscritters to meet and network elsewhere would also require better documentation and disclosure of who they’re meeting with, when, and at what and whose cost.

  12. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Re:Horse @8:41
    That is the best description of the situation at this moment and as I have been saying for some time now it’s not just where the military comes down but how effective a compromised federal security apparatus (FBI ATF etc) can be in supporting arguably compromised local and state police forces across the country in the street fighting with well organized and armed thugs that have been organized and armed for a long time. This is a big country that has been ruled by a very small group for a very long time, I’m not optimistic. we are not the only folks who have discovered the “road map” of past coup attempts. Namaste folks

  13. Trip says:

    So this morning Trey Gowdy, I’m sure, is revving up the outrage machine and is lobbying for a lengthy investigation into Princess Trump’s private email use, right? Right!?

  14. Horse says:


    This is my true belief. I wish I could be convinced to be more hopeful.

    Leon Jaworski had a Democratic Senate and an established media elite which spoke with authority. Bob Mueller has a nihilistic Senate and a fragmented, niche-driven postmodern media. Any similarities in “road map” are incidental and shaped by process.

    This is not Watergate. Nixon tried to beat the system, got caught, and made defensive moves. Trump and his handlers, foreign and otherwise, are consciously trying to overtake the system. They do not see prosecutors, only adversaries for control of the state. They are constantly on offense. Mueller does not face the small task of prosecuting a president, but rather the larger task of defending the state. Trump, not Mueller, carries the ball and charts the map.

    The real road map is Putin and Chechnya ca. 15 years ago. And the agency that matters is not Justice but Defense.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      I agree but if by “defense” you mean the military through it’s command structure I’m not certain that matters anymore. It’s boots on the ground all the way to the local level and when the chaos breaks all the systems of local security, the high command will have to rely on state and local police mechanisms and to be successful they will need to have the cooperation of those already compromised units. This is a big country and the game is already fixed like pro football: ownership, officials, media and  enough of the players who like the money.

      • Jockobadger says:

        Norskie and Horse – I’ve read your posts above and I’m hoping to get a clearer picture of what you seem to be describing, and seem to be fearful of, e.g. the coming  “…street fighting with well organized and armed thugs that have been organized and armed for a long time.”

        Are you suggesting that trump’s base will rise up in response to attacks on him and his administration by Mueller and/or other leftist adversaries?  I hope I’ve misunderstood your posts completely, but I ask because I grew up in an area of Idaho that is truly trump country.  I continue to visit my folks and a few friends that remain there (where my Dad is a lonely progressive and well-known crank.)  Anyway, my observations of the trump army there and throughout the PNW suggest that there will probably not be much in the way of well-organized resistance.  While most of these folks are gun-owners and many are keyboard warriors, most of them are older and hopelessly out of shape, not to mention none too bright.  I don’t know, but I suspect that this is likely reflective of most of the “resistance.”  Of course there are a few  “well-regulated” militia types around but there’re simply not that many of them – and again, they’re typically not real sharp.  Plus most of them are down guarding the border against the approaching hordes.

        I just wanted to respectfully throw in my $.02 here.  I hope your fears are as unfounded as I believe them to be.  Besides, I have many very progressive friends here in the Puget Sound area and many are just as well-armed, though primarily because we were raised around guns and it’s fun to shoot at a range.  Wow, just writing this gives me the willies.  I hope I’ve misunderstood you completely.  I look forward to your comments.

        • NorskieFlamethrower says:

          “Besides, I have many very progressive friends here in the Puget Sound area and many are just as well-armed…”

          Thanks you just made my point: chaos and conflict right down to the street level. As a veteran who has seen the effects of high powered weapons and ordinance on people in a “civil” conflict I hope I am wrong. But if you think that war between the fascists and the rest of us “progressives” is winnable for anyone other than the oligarchy you are smokin’ some shit that should be outlawed.

          • Jockobadger says:

            Well, I’m not smoking anything, and I sure hope you are wrong about all of this.  It’s true that lately I’ve been seeing a whole lot of things that I never imagined I’d see in this country….Thank you for your service.

            • NorskieFlamethrower says:

              I certainly hope I am wrong in what is going to happen…no, what has already begun to happen. But the point I was trying to make is that the only folks better armed and organized than the fascist militias are local police (in some cases) and National Guard and hoping that the United States military will come to the rescue or that civilian armed progressives will is delusional and dangerous. We have been fighting this war for over 158 years and we have seen the enemy and he is us. Namaste

              • Jockobadger says:

                My point was that this nation is awash in weapons, but is the will to use them by the trumpistas in an organized way against the police and, maybe, the military, even remotely likely?  I cannot imagine myself “taking up arms” unless my life was being directly threatened in my own home, much less in an organized way with a bunch of my neighbors….but that seems to be what you’re describing.  You mention “what has already begun to happen” above.  Is this civil disturbance outside of an event like Charlottesville?  I don’t think you mean a guy like Paddock in LV? He was clearly just a nut. I’m genuinely interested/concerned and would like to be informed.

                I don’t mean to drag this out and will leave it alone now,  but thanks.

        • NorskieFlamethrower says:

          And for the record, “Trump’s base” has already risen and is not only empowered but emboldened. What we have seen so far is just a tip of the iceberg. The FBI report on the domestic terrorist threat from right wing groups has been buried deeper than oil rigs in the Gulf and the NRA has been armin’ ’em for years. For years wingnuts have been saying that there are more of ’em in local, state, and federal office than we can imagine and now we know it’s true. You must wake up and figure out who the enemy is here and what it is.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I agree with the suggestion by Ocasio-Cortez: Repurpose “Columbus Day” into an election day holiday.  As she says, the Big C never set foot in the USofA’s territory.  He did not “discover” America, and his long parade of disease, destruction, and genocide would not normally earn him a national holiday outside of Pol Pot’s Cambodia.

    So let’s use the holiday, instead, to encourage people to vote and to give them time to do it, to show them we value their voting as much as we do whomever they vote for.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      Perfect!! Now if we can just get to the next “Election Holiday”…sigh, the plan is not to have one I’m afraid.

  16. Thomas Paine says:

    Taking a longer view of this whole sordid affair, it has become clear that electing the wrong person as POTUS has serious and potentially existential risks to the Republic and the Constitution.  Trump is as clear a signal as God ever created that the “Unitary Executive” theorem is unfounded and a clear and present danger to our Constitution and freedoms.  We as a nation need to take the hint.  The Congress needs to re-assert its place as the first-among-equals branch of government and it needs to legislatively prune back HARD, the powers of the Executive – especially when it comes to War Powers, but also, treaties, tariffs, regulatory authority and very strict limits on what Executive Orders can legally address, as well as the power of the Congress, with simple majorities in both houses to VETO EO’s.

    Future Presidents need to be more “Caretakers” and not “Unitary Powers” and more accountable to the Congress.   Many US cities operate under City Managers who report to the City Board of Alderman.  I think the Congress needs to redefine the POTUS as a “City Manager” for the Nation.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      I respectfully disagree. The answer is to demilitarize our civil society,depoliticize the judiciary, reinforce separation of powers and enact universal voter registration and voting. The cure for a sick and weakened democracy is more democracy and the moment that we discard the structure we have now for peaceful transfer of power we have lost everything. We may have already.

        • Jockobadger says:

          I think so too.  Those are all terrific goals.  Now how to we get there from here?  Especially the demilitarization.  I know they did something like that in Australia, but not sure how good the overall compliance was/is.

          • NorskieFlamethrower says:

            We can’t reach any of those goals without universal voter registration and participation and that’s why this next two years and grass roots education and mobilization is so critical. And there is nowhere to hide, we must all participate in every way we can and we must not look for “compromise” because if there is anything we learned in the 20th century it’s that there is no compromising with fascists or fascism.

          • Trip says:

            The first step is recognizing how much policy is dictated by the war machinery lobby. Look at today. Pompeo prostrating himself before the world, looking weak and desperate to maintain a relationship with MbS so arms dealers can make money (among other motives). All of the extra military stuff was given to local police depts (as overstock) and now it’s being justified as measures against terrorism. Even in little tiny towns where people are more likely to be struck by lighting or killed by a neighbor’s gun.

            We need to get the lobbyists out and dark money.

            **Norskie’s answer is a better first step.**

            • Jockobadger says:

              Trump’s outrageous statement today suggests to me that there is a lot more going on here than just Pompeo prostrating himself for the arms dealers – though that’s certainly part of it.  I think that trump, his family, and his associates are all beholden to the Saudis in the shadiest ways imaginable.   I don’t believe he was just getting funding from Deutsche or from the russkies.  He’s in full cya mode and probably furious with MbS but can’t say it out loud.  Jesus.

      • Thomas Paine says:

        I don’t disagree with anything you state.  I do think, however, that too much power has migrated to the Executive, and Congress needs to take it back.  War Powers is a classic example.  Every military fishing expedition that the POTUS has embarked on since WWII has been, at best, a mixed success, and in some cases a unmitigated disaster (Vietnam, Iraq, for instance).  The Congress should have never let either one happen.  In our system it is way to easy for the Congress to shirk its responsibilities and let the CinC make the call.  That has to stop – every military deployment or police action should require an affirmative vote for it on the floor of the Congress.

        The “national security” excuse for tariffs is another one.  Congress should not allow the POTUS to run roughshod over trade deals like NAFTA without Congress’s EXPLICIT permission.  It is just too easy to for the POTUS to get away with this crap without any accountability to anyone.  I want these actions vested in the Congress so that I can vote on their desirability every two years.

  17. Trip says:

    Rage Against The Machine – Killing In the Name

    Some of those that work forces, are the same that burn crosses…

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        There it is Trip!! I would give you a link to Benjamin Btritten’s “War Requiem” but I couldn’t do it even if I had one. Maybe you can find a performance, get a glass of good Scotch, a bowl of your favorite smokable herb and strap it up. History teaching by example is what it’s all about.

  18. Jockobadger says:

    This is great stuff.  Thank you all.  I’m  sure happy I found emptywheel.  I can send a check, but Venmo’s faster.  Thanks again.

  19. Thomas says:

    I’m pleased to read that many people here, much more astute than I am, have begun to game things out.
    The mystery case from which Katsas is recused: I think there is good reason to believe that the mystery case is a Grand Jury subpoena for Trump.
    The Miller case, which has been joined amicus curaie by the Russians! LOL.
    The many sealed indictments.
    Taking all these things together, my read is that
    1) the conspiracy case in chief is almost finished
    2) the DC appellate court is not going to go for the absurd challenge to Mueller’s appointment and overturn several lower courts
    3) the Miller case will be appealed to the Supreme Court, and the Court will not hear it, letting the DC Apellate ruling stand
    4) the mystery case is a subpoena for Trump to appear before the Grand Jury, the DC apellate will allow it, it will be appealed to the Supreme Court, who will unseal it, hear it and unanimously order Trump to appear
    4) All of this stuff will be resolved before Christmas, but no indictments yet.
    5) The Democrats take control of the House
    6) Trump appears before Grand Jury
    7) Indictments for the case in chief, including an indictment of Pence, and Trump is named as an unindicted co-conspirator, and obstruction investigation continues
    8) Democrats put policy first, begin planning oversight priorities, and call for Pence to resign. No impeachment hearings yet, but the idea of impeaching Pence is considered.
    9) Whitaker appears before oversight, and must resign or be impeached. Trump fires Whitaker and Rosenstein.
    Francisco becomes acting AG.
    10) Cases against conspirators flesh out the story for the public.
    Media explains the whole story, at last
    We are into February 2019 now
    11) Pence resigns. Wants to make a deal.
    12) The reality begins to move the needle on public opinion. Trump loses half of Republican Party. Impeachment seems inevitable, but Democrats continue to focus on policy and oversight.
    13) We are into March. Oversight begins to drive more Trump Admin officials from office. More of them are prosecuted
    14) Congress must fill the vacancy in the Vice Presidency.
    MY OPINION: Mitt Romney.
    Other vacancies must also be filled. Bipartisan recommendations are made, and Trump nominates who ever Congress tells him to nominate.
    15) Romney has been quietly lining up votes to remove Trump from office. And he gets close. 61 votes to remove.
    16) Oversight begins to gather a staggering list of particulars for impeachment of Trump. Still no impeachment proceedings. Prosecutions move forward for case in chief conspirators
    17) During this whole time, Trump is combative, outrageous, abuses his authority, demands prosecutions of his enemies and tries to prop up his plummeting approval by signing whatever the Democrats want.
    18) ACA fixed, middle class tax cuts, wealthy pay more, infrastructure bill includes big alternative energy boost, climate change legislation reverses the age of Pruitt, Trump is forced back to Paris Accords, Iran Deal, DACA fix, bipartisan immigration bill is brought back and passed, defense priorities back to conventional instead of nuclear, Modest defense cut, INF renewed, consumer protection bureau strengthened, election security and cyber defense bill passed
    19) We are into July now. Still no impeachment proceedings. Multiple legal issues for Trump (emoluments, sexual harassment, Trump organization racketeering and tax evasion) Oversight continues.
    20) Mueller finally finishes obstruction case. Numerous indictments show Trump is primarily responsible and is named an unindicted co-conspirator. NOW impeachment hearings commence.
    21) The case against Trump is laid out over several months October 2019 before it is voted out of Judiciary Committee.
    22) Republican Senators pressure Trump to resign because if he doesn’t he will take down the whole party in the 2020 election. Trump refuses to resign. NOW they have enough votes to remove him
    23) House impeaches Trump. Senate trial in Nov 2019. He is convicted and removed from office. Romney becomes president.

    I think that throughout this process, many knuckleheads who believe they are the spearpoint of the white nationalist revolution will cause trouble. People will get killed, including many knuckleheads. The DOJ will get serious about dealing with knuckleheads, and the Republican Party will finally reject them.
    The rest of the coach potato army will continue to powerlessly rant and rave in corners of the internet.

    That’s my rough roadmap

  20. James says:

    That is quite a forecast, Thomas.  I would like to see that play out.  I think you are much more optimistic than the general consensus of those here, and I really am impressed with what I have read here.  I think that the real brains in this country are on the liberal side, because our whole concept of liberal freedom is based on wise thought and fair play.  It is just that the GOP has been strategizing the takeover of the political system for at least the last 30 years, I suspect in a sort of Star Chamber think tank we know nothing about its sponsors, or who it’s principles are, and without an acceptance of the fact that it exists and a directed assault on their overall strategy to block and reverse every move they have managed over time to pass to undermine our political system, we cannot hope to stop their ultimate takeover.  I fear we are hopelessly outmaneuvered and as usual outspent because we know who the real power behind the GOP is.  It is just that there seems to be too many ready to follow along because they think that they are getting something that is destined to get them nothing but the curtailing of their rights as citizens of this country.  I am less optimistic, but, I really hope you are more right than I am.

  21. Thomas says:

    My forecast is outrageously optimistic, especially my dreams for legislation. But I think that all of the legislation I mention are “in the universe” of things that could possibly pass, and even with bipartisan support.

    My ideas about Romney are also wildly optimistic, but I think it is within the realm of possibility that a former Republican candidate for president will create a new center of gravity in the Senate, and undermine McConnell, and provide political cover for Senators to stand up to Trump.

    My opinion on Romney as the new VP and eventually the new president largely hinges on whether or not Pence is part of the conspiracy. If my forecast is correct, then Romney is certainly a plausible consensus replacement.

    While I can’t possibly see exactly what might happen in perfect sequence, I think my forecast of “policy and oversight first, impeachment wait and see” is a reasonable guess at how the Democrats will proceed. I do not think impeachment of Trump will go anywhere until Mueller finishes.

    IF we reach the impeachment phase and IF the case is very damning and exhaustively documented (as we expect), then the prospect of Republican Senators defying all facts, all reason and acquitting Trump for the sake of party loyalty, even if it threatens their political survival, is, in my opinion, laughably unrealistic, no matter how strongly Trump, Guiliani or a core 20% of the people believe it.

    Lots of wingnuts out there keep talking about the white nationalist revolution if anything like what I forecast happens.

    Most of them are unorganized loudmouths who would never even put their real names on such threats. Many of them are Russian bots.

    Despite the fact that the white nationalist revolution is about as likely as the Manson family’s prophecy of “helter skelter,” there will no doubt be a lot more crackpot violence during the period I describe if anything like it occurs.
    Finally, if we reach this time next year and we are not even in the impeachment phase, then it might not happen at all, just because of the timing.
    In that case, the Democrats might calculate that they should just campaign against Trump. I hope not. THAT would be a mistake.

Comments are closed.