Trump’s Greenlight: Asking for Foreign Aid and Assistance via Prime Time TV

[NB: Check the byline, thanks! /~Rayne]

The balls on this guy. It’s no wonder Trump walks like he does, having to drag around abnormal fleshbags of unmitigated gall and corruption everywhere he goes.

By now most of our regular readers have seen Trump interviewed by ABC News’ George Stephanopolous. In case you haven’t:

This is still stunning for its in-your-face indifference to campaign finance law:

Asked by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office on Wednesday whether his campaign would accept such information from foreigners — such as China or Russia — or hand it over the FBI, Trump said, “I think maybe you do both.”

“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump continued. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”

“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, ‘oh let’s call the FBI.’ The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.” …

There’s a lot packed into this exchange with Stephanopolous, the most obvious being Trump’s blow off of Title 52 USC 30121 which prohibits candidates and campaigns from receiving anything of value from a foreign national. Specifically:

52 U.S. Code § 30121 – Contributions and donations by foreign nationals

(a) Prohibition It shall be unlawful for—
· ·  (1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—
· · · · (A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;
· · · · (B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or
· · · · (C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or
· · · · (2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

(b) “Foreign national” defined As used in this section, the term “foreign national” means—
· ·  (1) a foreign principal, as such term is defined by section 611(b) of title 22, except that the term “foreign national” shall not include any individual who is a citizen of the United States; or
· ·  (2) an individual who is not a citizen of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 1101(a)(22) of title 8) and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined by section 1101(a)(20) of title 8.

Emphasis mine.

“Directly or indirectly” may include the kinds of contributions the National Rifle Association made to candidates’ campaigns with Russian money, especially after guidance from Maria Butina and/or her boss Aleksandr Torshin, and/or her American handler, Paul Erickson.

“Other thing of value” may include polling data or stolen emails or manipulation of the media since any of these items might otherwise require a candidate’s campaign to buy these items. We don’t yet know exactly what Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik exchanged on August 2 — including 75 pages of “gibberish” polling data and likely high-level analysis and specific post-meeting performance — 2016 but if it was important enough to warrant sustained prevarication, it was something valuable.

Trump can no longer claim stupidity and ignorance after the Special Counsel’s Office investigation into Trump-Russia. His blow-off reveals a deliberate mindset, an intent to violate the law if the opportunity presents itself.

Even merely listening to an offer of aid or assistance directly or indirectly from a foreign national is problematic because the offer itself may be valuable.

“There isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump said, which is what his son, son-in-law, and campaign manager did in June 2016 during the Trump Tower meeting. Their presence merely to listen was a greenlight advising foreign nationals that Trump’s campaign was willing and approved help from outside the U.S. to influence the U.S. elections.

And that’s what Trump did during his interview with Stephanopolous: he greenlighted more foreign aid and assistance to help his campaign.

He did it from behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. He never once slowed Stephanopolous to tell him “I can’t talk about campaign efforts while being interviewed as president in the office of the presidency.”

Was he soliciting for his campaign while on camera? For all the hullabaloo today about Kelly Anne Conway’s egregious and repeated Hatch Act violations, Trump’s likely violation campaigning while on our dime got lost.[1]

Not only did he express a willingness to violate campaign finance law and allow himself to be influenced in the process, not only did he commit a Hatch Act violation, fail to separate his work as president from work for his personal re-election campaign,[1]  but he pissed on Republican candidates known and as-yet unknown who may choose to primary him.

He didn’t differentiate for which opposition he was open to receiving an opposition research pitch from foreign entities. He did not say he was interested in hearing solely about Democratic candidates.

Nor did he entertain listening solely for his presidential race. Opponents aren’t just those running against you in a campaign. One could argue that Trump has the entire U.S. intelligence apparatus at his disposal but he can’t be sure they would provide campaign data or offer to perform dirty tricks on behalf of the POTUS. A foreign entity, especially a hostile one? Sure.

Which is exactly what the Russian Internet Research Agency did in 2016 targeting Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz during the Republican primary.

In spite of the 2016 attacks and Trump’s express willingness to entertain foreign assistance, the Republicans have just plain rolled over for Trump. You think the House Democratic leadership is feckless? Bah. Republicans are utter dupes.

Trump telegraphs the defense he’ll use — and the attack he attends to take — when he calls the material he’s soliciting “oppo research.” The aid Trump’s campaign received in 2016 wasn’t opposition research on Hillary Clinton; it was stolen emails leaked to generate negative sentiment about Clinton. It was micro-targeted negative messaging aimed at vulnerable populations to persuade leaners and suppress tentative voters, and a bunch of unauthorized but welcomed advertisements. It was likely more in the form of attempts on voting infrastructure, whether merely to collect data or to manipulate the system.

When Trump called it “oppo research,” he was establishing what he believed was a parallel — what the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) acquired through its law firm, Perkins Coie, which in turn purchased opposition research from Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS obtained the services of former MI6 officer Christopher Steele to continue a dossier originally started on behalf of Washington Free Beacon in late 2015. Trump and other campaign minions like Carter Page have frequently claimed the opposition research dossier was “dodgy” and illegitimate, and yet Trump feels entitled to opposition research without restrictions, as if Clinton and the DNC had not followed campaign finance laws.

Whatever the quality of its contents, the Steele dossier was a campaign expenditure, a compilation of information ultimately paid for by the campaign and the DNC — wholly legal — and the material was contracted by an American entity from another American entity.

What Trump’s campaign received in 2016 — goods and services were given to the campaign directly and indirectly by foreign entities like the Internet Research Agency — were NOT legal.

Trump will do whatever he can to muddy the distinction between wholly legal campaign expenses and contributions or things of value received from foreign nationals in order to protect his chances at re-election and lay the ground work to attack his last campaign opponent.

There’s one more disturbing nit about Trump’s solicitation. What Trump has done in his greenlighting on camera is solicit foreign assistance. This does not rule out solicitation of foreign direction.

At what point is the Department of Justice’s National Security Division engaged when the president greenlights or solicits foreign assistance and direction?

Should the presidential campaign be under counterintelligence investigation right now and forward?

Not that there aren’t already ample reasons for the Trump 2020 campaign to be scrutinized given the number of Chinese nationals hanging out at Mar-a-Lago, with at least one allegedly bundling donations for Trump’s re-election.

Might make one wonder if Trump’s greenlight on ABC is after the fact — and not after the fact about the 2016 election.


[1] Edited to reflect the Hatch Act does not apply to the president — however, this is problematic as Trump has shown repeatedly, including in this interview. At what point is he talking about accepting ‘foreign assistance and direction’ from foreign nationals or other nation-states for the purposes of his personal re-election campaign and accepting the same for U.S. interests? His personal interests are not one-for-one the same as the nation’s interests, unless of course he’d like to deed over all his businesses.

I’d also like to point out the phrase ‘foreign assistance and direction’ is the distinction the DOJ uses to differentiate non-domestic from domestic terrorism. That the president was entertaining the idea of using ‘foreign assistance and direction’ to aid his campaign whether spelled out in those specific terms or not surely worries U.S. intelligence community members who recognize the inherent risks.

The Hatch Act should be revisited with Trump and the office of the presidency in mind not only because of his greenlighting foreign pitches of assistance to his campaign. Throughout the last two years Trump has spoken at rallies which have occurred in tandem with special and mid-term elections in order to sway locals to vote for the GOP candidate. His arrival and support at each of these venues comes at the expense of public funds — local, state, federal  — and not the GOP or Trump’s campaign committee. He has also stiffed at least ten cities for additional expenses related to his attendance at rallies, a form of additional tax the citizens didn’t approve in advance. But they’re forced to produce additional security because he’s the president even though he’s there to campaign.

The job of the presidency must be separated from campaigning, and no campaigning should happen without the campaign absorbing the expense. Add this to the Hatch Act: the president should NOT be immune.

283 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    It’s been pointed out elseweb that he’s offering to sell the presidency to the highest foreign bidder. Which is at the *least* both illegal and treacherous. What are they going to demand in return? We can’t be allowed to know that, because we’d be massed around the WH and every Tr*mp property with signs, bullhorn, pitchforks, and torches. (I have a pitchfork. Bought it years before Tr*mp was president. Technically it’s a manure fork (five heavy tines), but it’s close enough for this.)

    • JamesJoyce says:

      Donald Trump is corporate and fascist. This is the most fitting tag 🏷 .

      Akin to most fascists we have discerned, Trump is an undiscerned fascist by his supporters and will initiate conflict to become a wartime president to continue his lust for blind obedience.

      He will not go to

      This will require another fraud in a Persian gulf or Gulf of Oman, like a Gulf of Tonkin Incident or a Gleiwitz Incident.

      Simply google it?

      Yes, folks your witnessing it in real time and in living color. TV was black and white for the most part in 1964.

      They are working very hard to justify Bombing Iran…

      Only an amoeba would believe anything from his mouth for amoebas speak the same language…

      • Rayne says:

        I think you have oversimplified the situation. It’s more complex. If Trump wanted war on Iran we’d already be in it. There are multiple factions pulling in different directions, neoconservative warhawk John Bolton being the biggest proponent of war against Iran with Trump less than eager to be pulled along.

        I wouldn’t put it past Bolton to try and sell the idea of wagging-the-dog to Trump to keep him out of hot water. But Bolton isn’t worried about running for re-election and facing already flagging polling numbers. Activists should be hanging Bolton’s sabre-rattling around Trump’s neck.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        Nope! He’s a kleptocrat–head of the US division of a Transnational Crime Syndicate–and his enablers will rue the day they signed on to Trump’s grifty train.

        • Kai-Lee A. Klymchuk says:

          Not being impertinent here, but need to ask, will they? When will they, and how will they? I’d like to hear from anyone who shares this view.

    • Americana says:

      We know for sure some of what Russia is demanding. After Helsinki, it became clear just how much Putin would try to use Trump aside from sanctions relief. As FBI Director Christopher Wray said at the Aspen Security Forum he can’t see the U.S. having a use for Russian assistance in either cyber security or in other investigations.

      Watch at the 12:00+ MARK:

      (also watch @ 17:41+/18:22+ MARK for a funny.)

      The key fact is if we discover Roger Stone left the Trump campaign in order to facilitate his Russian-connected operations as a cut-out? I see it as very likely the Stone firing was simply a charade to mislead the public and American intelligence agencies as to what Stone’s intentions were — to continue to be serving as a cut-out liaison w/Russia and WikiLeaks for the Trump campaign? After all, both Trump and Stone chose to make it a public spectacle possibly thinking that would give it more of a veneer of reality. But the fact Stone remained in contact with and was offering strategic insights and providing liaison assistance to Trump’s campaign w/WikiLeaks post-firing belies the claims for the purpose of the firing.

      The communications w/Russia break down into two forms: Trump’s personal communications w/Russians known to the Trump family and the more indirect, covert communications Stone had w/the GRU which took place anonymously.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Should the presidential campaign be under counterintelligence investigation right now and forward?

    I’d say a great big, Yes, to that. If it could be shown a sitting president accepted any electoral assistance from a foreign government, that would implicate the Emoluments clause too.

    • bmaz says:

      Um, yes! This is not even a question. It is more obvious that it was the last Presidential election.

    • dude says:

      At the risk of noting the obvious, if a foreign adversary wants to meddle, it won’t just meddle to help a single candidate. True chaos will come from multiple meddlers offering dirt to multiple candidates–so maybe 5 x 21 presidential nominees could be offered dirt and disinformation—and God knows how it factors out over Senate and House races. May God help the FBI then.

      • Rayne says:

        No, it’s not obvious. If a foreign entity had a very specific goal and a limited budget they might focus on a single candidate and it doesn’t have to be the presidency. If the Senate is close to split then a single candidate can make all the difference.

        116th Congress (2019-2021)
        Majority Party: Republican (53 seats)
        Minority Party: Democrat (45 seats)
        Other Parties: 2 Independents (both caucus with the Democrats)
        Total Seats: 100

        Two Republicans are retiring — Corker (TN) and Roberts (KS) — their seats are now open. Susan Collins’ seat is the one on the bubble; her support in Maine has tanked, she’s not drawing in donations, and she has opposition. Everything a Democratic OR Republican president might seek to do could be bound up in this one senate race. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to find she’s already a target.

        • harpie says:

          As Earl says below:

          Susan Collins doesn’t think you have to treat foreign assistance from friendly Canada with, say, help from unfriendly Russia, China, or North Korea. She knows the law prohibits accepting any of it, which means she’s bullshitting as much here as she did during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings – and further dimming the light of her re-election prospects.

          So why might she be singling out her state’s neighbor, Canada? For some reason, your

          I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to find she’s already a target.

          made me think of all the investigations into supposed corruption in the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One …in which Rusatom acquired a Canadian company that owned a US uranium mine.

          • Anvil Leucippus says:

            Just as a fun point of information: before the majority stake in the company was sold outside of Canada, the family that owned it was notorious for claiming Canada had a shortage of uranium (when there was not) to drive up the profits during the big push for nuclear power in the province of Ontario, a few decades back. Gross corruption and natural resources go hand in hand!

          • Rayne says:

            Yup. Laundered through an allied country. Any of the Five Eyes nations including Canada. Thinking of Randy Painter’s concerns about mining in Minnesota, the corporate owners of which have changed hands and countries so many times it’s hard to keep straight which country might ultimately be the influencer if the company in state makes a campaign contribution.

            Like Glencore.

        • Americana says:

          I agree w/your thinking of attacking a single state Rep/Sen. in order to shift the balance of power in House or Senate. But I disagree w/your premise any state actor would worry about the budget. Considering how little the Russians spent overall for the entire presidential campaign disinformation/disruption effort, no state actor is going to worry about these social media expenditures because they’re sooooo cheap. The Russians even managed to fake Americans into participating in fake protests. What was the expense? A few thousand placards, that’s all.

        • JessP says:

          Hi. Bob Corker retired already. Marcia Blackburn won his seat against former governor Phil Bredeson.

  3. BobCon says:

    I’m very curious how this plays out in a post-Trump world (assuming we get there).

    Does the intelligence community assist in an investigation of how interference by Russia (and other sources) was abetted by Trump allies and appointees? You would think they would see how McCabe et al in the FBI were treated, and how Barr is signalling he will go after the CIA for its assessments, and conclude they need to support a housecleaning.

    In the other hand, there may always be a reflexive closing of ranks like in the aftermath of the GW Bush years to protect insiders, no matter how rotten. I don’t have a good sense of how it would go, or who might successfully negotiate a pact with a Democratic leadership team.

    • Americana says:

      FBI Director Wray seems to have his head screwed on. Wray hasn’t yet bowed to Trump’s pressuring of him as seems clear from Wray’s congressional testimony where he blatantly disagreed w/AG Barr about Barr’s use of the word “spying”. That took some guts considering how quickly Trump tries to get rid of individuals who challenge him like that.

      Trump is pretending not to recognize having over 1,000+ former DOJ alumni prosecutors writing a letter backing the conclusions of the Mueller report is a big deal in the legal world (haven’t checked that total no. for over two weeks). But Barr knows exactly what that rebellion from former DOJ prosecutors means and he’s well aware his flagrant distortion of the Mueller report is going to soon become law school and government studies fodder.

      I think a similar closing of ranks seen among the former DOJ prosecutors is going to happen throughout all the decent, loyal employees of these intelligence agencies. Certainly, the incoming administration will have to select stellar individuals to head them in order to repair the damage done by Trump’s attempts to undermine the legitimacy of what they do.

      • systemspm says:

        Anyone who accepted a job in the trump administration doesn’t have their head screwed on right

  4. tim says:

    from the reading of the Hatch act it specifically mentions that it does not apply to the president as a federal employee. Not that that is any indication of Trump’s knowledge of it or even its’ existence, no less how and to whom it applies

      • clairence says:

        I don’t know what tim’s point was, but I was going to say the same thing, simply to point out that Rayne damages the veracity of this excellent analysis by including the phrase “…not only did he commit a Hatch Act violation…”
        Simply removing that sentence fragment strengthens the argument and the sentence and removes an easy foil for dissenters.

        • Rayne says:

          I will edit that sentence but I think there’s a point to be made that the Hatch Act *should* apply to the president because it’s clearly necessary to separate campaigning from the work of the presidency.

          • Americana says:

            I’m wondering how much in the way of additional laws and amendments Congress may have to pass to correct the exploitation of quasi-loopholes by Trump? (We’ve never had other presidents try to exploit any loopholes in these laws but Trump has presented new challenges.) Leaving some of these laws as is seems dangerous now that Trump has breached some of them so brazenly and, so far, seemingly without legal repercussions.

            • bmaz says:

              Dear Emptywheel readers and commenters:

              I would like to say, again, “Americana” is a disinformation troll. This “commenter” has been here less than a month, starting on May 19. The commenter has posted at least 115 comments in that time.

              This jackass is trolling this blog. Please understand what is going on here.

              • Americana says:

                Cripes, how you can misconstrue posts like that is beyond me. It’s clear Trump feels he can abuse the Constitution and he’ll find lawyers like Barr who, for whatever reason, are willing to back him up. However, Trump will also face lawyers like McGahn who, for all the right reasons, leave Trump’s employ.

                I’m not a disinformation artist in the least just because I believe congressional members like Nunes will face repercussions for their unethical actions whether the blowback comes from the Office of Congressional Ethics or some other means.

                I was the first person on this BB to my knowledge that posted about Trump’s outrageous comment in the ABC interview w/Stephanopoulos about being willing to accept campaign assistance from “Norway”. (Norway was mentioned by Trump because Trump didn’t have the guts to say “Russia.”)

            • Rayne says:

              Spend some time thinking about that. You don’t need a reply from anyone here.

              “This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution? What is its substance and material?” — Marcus Aurelius

              • Americana says:

                This is one of those bottomless conversations that should be had in person. What I’m concerned about is the immediate aftermath of Trump and whether Republicans will return to Eisenhower ethics or will they continue to do what they’re doing. Will these events serve to strengthen our/their grasp of the Constitution and the bounds of service for members of Congress?

          • Mongoose says:

            Condoning a violation of the Hatch Act, as Trump did yesterday, is, at the least, an impeachable offense.

      • Stephen says:

        His point is simply that the President and Vice President are exempt from the provisions of the Hatch Act, presumably because they are elected officials and it is legitimate for them to engage in political activities. I may be wrong about this, but I think it’s under 5 U.S.C. § 7322(1). Otherwise everything in Rayne’s piece seems solid, if anything understated given the degree of arrant criminality on display.

        • THW says:

          And, in fact, the first sentence of the Wikipedia entry linked to “likely violation” specifically excludes the application of the Hatch Act to the President and the Vice-President. My understanding is that the Hatch Act is designed to prevent political campaigning by federal employees using their federal position and federal resources, which protects both the public (from paying tax dollars for campaign employees) and federal workers (from pressure to act on behalf of candidates they may not support). Trump’s solicitation is nonetheless illegal, as the FEC chair has made clear, because he’s soliciting something of value from foreign entities, and all of us presume, even for most legal campaign contributions, that there is some expectation of value in return, even if for many of us that value is only a decent government.

          • Mooser says:

            “that there is some expectation of value in return, even if for many of us that value is only a decent government.”

            No, when Republicans contribute, they hope their contributions will go towards weakening the government and removing “decency” from the equation. They hope to make race, religious, and gender discrimination legal again. That, they think, (that may be too strong a word for it) will give us back our ‘freedumb’, and MAGA. So the more illegal and more foreign the contribution, the better.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There are dozens of people on the White House staff who know all about it, including forty odd lawyers in the White House Counsel’s office. Kellyann is a lawyer. She knows all about it, too. The illegal conduct is intentional, open, and notorious. It’s also grade schoolish crap.

      If a president wants to know something, all he need do is snap his fingers. That’s what WH staff are for. It’s also how Trump is used to getting information. Any ignorance on his part is intentional – and probably genetic.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        Sarah Kendzior:
        Yeah, I mean that’s just frustrating phenomenon. That’s how Trump has operated throughout his life as a quote unquote “businessman”, and also as a politician, and we’ve known this from the start. Right after his inauguration he lied about the size of the crowd in a way that was just a lie that flaunts power. We could see photos. We knew that this was a lie, we knew that he was lying. He knew that we knew that he was lying, and he didn’t care because the point was to show that his perception of reality is so powerful it trumps actual reality. So the problem I think at this point is that, you know, we know this play, we know this move. The media still struggles with how to cover this.

        We saw this with The New York Times when the Barr memo came out and we got this giant headline saying that Mueller exonerates Trump, which is just not what happened. It was reminiscent of their other headline about FBI sees no link between Trump and Russia. People look at headlines and a lot of the headlines just reinforce the lies that Trump tells without debunking them. And I think George Lakoff who studies linguistics had good advice about this, that you debunk the lie straight on, you tell the truth first, then refer to the fact that they lied, then explain why did they lie? What was the political motive? What was the agenda behind the lie? Then you can address it without falling prey to repeating it because repetition is what Trump is very good at. He repeats the same phrases over and over again, so they just kind of rattle around in peoples’ heads subconsciously or not, and I think that that power has been really underestimated by Democrats. I think that they, even years later, don’t seem to understand how to fight it and I think that’s generally true with the media, and I also think quite a bit of the media is on Trump’s side, and that’s an unfortunate thing because that’s not the side of truth.

        [If this is an excerpt or quote, please use either quotation marks or blockquote tags. Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • Democritus says:

          Sarah is great. I don’t agree with her on every policy of course, but I’ve learned a lot about authoritarian systems from her. I think she has a PhD. Checked her CV and yep lots of older scholarly journals on post communism info flows etc.

          MA in Central European PhD in Anthropology

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          Apologies, Rayne! It was late last night and I meant to put in a better citation. It was actually a quote from an interview of Sarah Kendzior–of the Gaslit Nation–earlier this spring on the “Who,What,Why” blog. She hits the nail on the head and has been doing so for quite some time.
          Stephanopoulus just gave Trump another huge platform to spin one of his disinformation campaigns. Are they that desperate for eyeballs?

        • Savage Librarian says:

          This is exactly how propaganda works. Cyber mercenaries are well aware of this. But memes have been around since time began. So, come on, Dems, wise up. Get your memes in gear. What’s a voter gotta do to get you on your game!!??!!

        • William Bennett says:

          The point of authoritarian lies is not to convince or persuade. The point is to enhance power by demonstrating power. By lying openly he shows himself to be untouchable, and by enforcing conformity with patent lies he demonstrates that his power to reward and punish is absolute, and that people will abandon their personal integrity to avoid punishment and earn rewards. The fact that everyone knows they are lies is essential to how it works. A feature, not a bug.

          • Savage Librarian says:

            Good thing not *all* people will abandon their personal integrity to avoid punishment or gain rewards. Plenty of the good people are on this EW site. And, of course, throughout the country. So, let the the inquiry *begin* so other people can be rustled up to get on the right path!

          • Buford says:

            thanks for that bit of insight….that just scared the bejusus out of me…I hadn’t thought of it quite like that…but it all makes sense, to a degree…

  5. FiestyBlueBird says:

    Steal your face right off your head.

    The man is not mentally well, which is not necessarily unusual for a career criminal. Someone should convince Mr. “I have a good brain” that he should donate his brain to science when he passes. Smithsonian Magazine some number of months past had an interesting article about brain studies of violent repeat criminals. Stark differences from the norm. Though he is not violent, I suspect there could be found similar departures from the norm there.

    I agree with bmaz that impeachment hearings are necessary. It’s about educating the public on so many aspects of his criminal nature.

    The good news is there are many versions of The Dead’s “He’s Gone” available online. Find your favorite one. Bands nationwide should learn it and be ready to play it when the time is right. Hour-long refrains with black women gospel singers would be most welcome. Make it a new celebratory national anthem.

    All faithful readers of emptywheel need to stay healthy and well long enough to see the day.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Yes, I like that idea!

      I once had colleagues who detested their boss. So, every time the boss went out of town, they would put a picture of a bluebird-of-happiness on their office doors. It acted as a stress reliever and as an “all clear” signal to others. If only we could think of something similar to do when DT leaves the country…

      • P J Evans says:

        I never had a boss I hated – I guess I was lucky. But one of them we had to get out of the office so we could put up birthday decorations, and she came back a few minutes early and caught us at it (we were decorating with flamingos). So the next Christmas, she got all of us flamingo Beanie Babies….

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Many years ago, my neighbor left her car in the driveway when she went on vacation for two weeks. But she didn’t leave the car keys with family or friends. Her car alarm went off.

          It was one of those alarms that repeated in a pattern of multiple recurring sounds. Sort of like an SOS but with 8 pattern signals of sound. It was maddening and would not stop. The police said they couldn’t access the car to stop it. So, it went on for a couple of days, until the battery wore out.

          But after it stopped, a Mockingbird began mimicking the pattern. He did it until he was gone from here. And, even now, many years later, there are Mockingbirds who carry on bits and pieces of the pattern.

          • P J Evans says:

            A friend had a mockingbird in her neighborhood that did a really good imitation of a common yellowthroat. (It’s a small bird usually found in the shrubs around water, and it goes “weeky weeky” or “witchy witchy”. Yellow with a black bandit mask; you hear it more than you see it.) She didn’t live in an area where they’d be normal.

            • Savage Librarian says:

              So, I’m wondering if this is a good analogy for my little story:
              Trump is the damn car alarm that got stuck.
              The mockingbird is the GOP.

              • Democritus says:

                Ha, all I know is I don’t deal with loud noises well and I would have gone insane and likely tried to pay a tow truck driver to slim Jim to the door poop the hood and disconnect the batteries.

                Well, no, in reality I would have left and gotten a hotel room. But I talk a good game!

                  • P J Evans says:

                    As a friend say about boom cars (the ones that go down streets with their windows down and the sound system turned up to 11) – a 9mm mercury-filled hollow point to the engine block will fix it. (My response: the engine block is innocent.)

          • Americana says:

            If you’re able to record any mockingbirds making car beep noises, we birdwatchers on the Audubon Society web site would love to hear that! The Cornell Lab of Ornithology might also enjoy a recording.

    • Blaine Brownlow says:

      Fiesty(sic)BlueBird. I was a forensic counselor for many court-referred domestic violence clients for over 20 years. I’m writing to comment on your statement “Though he is not violent…”.That statement is both unsubstantiated and dangerous, as it paints a far more benign picture of this creature than most of us agree to be accurate. We have all seen and heard some of his verbal and emotional violence, and have heard numerous reports of his physical and sexual violence to his own family and many others.
      There is only one person in the world about whom one could truly make that statement–oneself. About everyone else, we just don’t know.
      About the truest related statement one could make is, “To the best of my knowledge, he has never been convicted of a crime of violence.”

      • FiestyBlueBird says:

        Point taken. And to Mongoose as well. By proxy is most certainly correct. And to holdingsteady as well. I’ve seen some of the interview of the woman who said he assaulted her when she was 13. We really don’t know all where his mental instability has taken him in the past, or may take him in the future. I think in the back of my mind when I wrote that was that he has asked a question that is the same question both Rachel Maddow and Barrack Obama have asked: Why are we still in Afghanistan? Why don’t we just get out?……..But you guys are right on your points of pushback.

        I’m just ready to hear some bands play “He’s Gone.”

    • Mongoose says:

      Trump is capable of violence by proxy, which he may soon demonstrate in response to whatever he imagines Iran is up to.

    • holdingsteady says:

      FeistyBlueBird – I like your comment, but for the part that says ‘Though he is not violent…’
      I believe he has assaulted many women.

      • SharkeyWoman says:

        We know he has assaulted women as we heard him admit to doing so.

        ‘Grab ’em by the pussy.”

        In my book, this is violence.

  6. Zwik says:

    First time poster. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and insights.

    Is there any way that the 2020 election WON’T be tainted by claims of impropriety, tampering, and fraud? The long-term harm to belief in fair US elections is already significant. But if Trump loses, he may try to declare the election invalid and his worst followers may initiate a chaotic response. If he wins (!), will it be seen as a legitimate win? Without acknowledgement and action by Congress and the administration, what can be done to safeguard the

    • bmaz says:

      At this point no. Either way it goes, that seems likely right now. Can it change? Please, let us hope.

      And hi there, and welcome to Emptywheel. Please comment often.

    • dimmsdale says:

      I could always be wrong (and this is just speculative) but I’ll bet that’s part of the R’s election strategy: make sure there are so many bot footprints in election servers at ALL levels of US electoral activity, that Republicans, when they lose, can raise holy hell for months on end about tainted elections–drag the most crucial elections into court, hope for reversals, and pick America’s pocket in other ways while our attention is diverted. Why else the wholesale purchase of hackable election software all over the country? Why else the utter indifference of R’s to strengthening election infrastructure? Hope I’m wrong, but….

      • BobCon says:

        It’s also possible that the Russians will decide to cash in their winnings and turn on the GOP in 2020 and create a new round of chaos for their own reasons independent of what the GOP wants.

        The GOP establishment is being very shortsighted in assuming weak election infrastructure helps them — but the pro-Trump trolls went after Cruz in the primaries before they turned on Clinton, and they may mess with GOP candidates again.

        It’s also possible that different countries will take different sides. It’s entirely possible Russia will screw up voter registration rolls in Ohio cities while the Chinese decide to attack GOP suburbs in Florida. Qatar might decide ten million bucks for hackers next year is a worthwhile gamble.

        • Democritus says:

          Well in that hypothetical I bet Qatar would be working to get Jared the fuck out of there. Unless they have a problem with letting go of sunk costs 😉

          I’m thinking about how the countries who have want Trump gone before he destroys our worlds shared laws and mores, are all for the most part bought into and bound by those same mores that would keep them from say hacking in to election systems to protect them, instead of cause chaos or actually tilting the election to one side. (Note that hacking term is likely the wrong one, I’m not a techie, but I hope the basic idea is understandable?)

          Ohhhhh also anyone have thoughts on 8chans servers being swept up? Ohhhhhhh I hope they start actually fighting the extremist right. They are responsible for most of our terrorism, although I also group the mass shootings that are misogynistic in there too. Like Elliott or the Yoga parlor one.

  7. Ckymonstaz says:

    OT – (but still in the ballpark of election integrity)

    I would love to see EW tackle the recent announcements about Microsoft’s election guard software and it potentially being adopted by some states for the 2020 general election.

    If this lil diddy on mintpress is to be believed it’s seems the military industrial complex wants to get into the controlling elections business or up their game since they’ve likely always been…

  8. Zinsky says:

    PJ Evans touched on it in the first comment but let me put a finer point on it: The reason you don’t want a U.S. president or any politician taking information from a foreign agent or foreign government is because IT WILL HAVE STRINGS ATTACHED! Dumbass Trump doesn’t get it but there would inevitably be a quid pro quo! Something for something. That is why it is a bad idea. Not just because there is a law. Jesus, why is this so hard to get across to people??

    • Ruthie says:

      You don’t believe a benevolent world leader like V. Putin would help another such individual simply from the goodness of his heart? How cynical! /s

      I practically vomited in my own mouth writing that.

    • Kai-Lee A. Klymchuk says:

      Dumbass gets it, all right. He’s just so sociopathic that speaking about it would be an obvious redundancy, and while he’s certainly loquacious, why waste the time. Plus, he sees the world in terms of “those with game” and “those without game”. Hard to explain who he is and what he does to the withouts. Donnie the deal-maker is how he sees himself. Five minutes don’t go by in a single day where he isn’t plotting some machination and manipulation. He usually wins, or gets what he wants, but as the snake oil salesman, tries to present it as a win-win. He is very & uniquely beholden to his international masters, however, historically (they got him his new job), now (they’re doing their best to milk those quid pro quos now) and into the future (he needs them to win him that 2nd term and in any eventuality, supplement any income he might lose via court appropriations), so is a little more “generous” with their kickbacks. How could one of limited self-awareness and verbal skill describe the very thing he lives and breathes for? The rest of us can easily infer it from his record. That’s the thing about single-mindedness.

  9. MattyG says:

    My own feeling is that when the full scope of the campaign analytics DT passed on to Moscow is revealed all talk of “obstruction” will sound a quaint refrain. We don’t know the half of it – and I doubt Manafort/Gates met Derapaska just to debate FiveThirtyEight blog posts. The GRU needed detailed granular information to be as effective as it appears it was – not “polling data”. Voter rolls were probably hacked in key precincts and data carefully mined and analyzed by the likes of CA and others. Hopefully this isn’t all under deep cover in foggy bottom and will get out somehow – by trickle, by leak, or by forceful Congressional investigation.

    An almost humorous “what-if” scenario has jangled around in my brain for the last year and a half: Moscow offered help – you know – with no strings and maybe a few benis – they just wanted to help. All they needed was a little data assitance and they might be able engineer a popular vote victory but guarantee and electoral loss… perfect for the both of them! Win win comrad Trump! The skyline of Moscow will be studded with Trump Towers! And all the while the plan from the start was to dial in an election upset and have their completely emasculated candidate seated in the WH… Helsinki has to be proof…

    • Vicks says:

      I have always been highly suspicious of the true purpose of Trump’s “election commission” and incredibly disappointed in the states that turned over the data that they were supposed to protect.
      I know that much of it is public information but I just picture these lovely sortable spreadsheets data now in the hands of who exactly

  10. fpo says:

    Speaking of election shenanigans – and In need of some comic relief after this week of insanity – had a LOL moment recalling this under-reported bit of news about the favorite kid getting her Chinese patents for, among other things, nursing homes, sausage casings and, why of course – voting machines. Be afraid, China. Be very afraid!

    The patents were applied for in ’16; the business went dark last year but she retains copyrights, IP and continues to seek trademarks. If all goes well, they’ll never see the light of day either.

    [ ]

    One bit of good news this week, tho…Sanders is going. Maybe she’ll take Conway with her when she goes. What a crew…

    • Americana says:

      The “underreported news” doesn’t just apply to Ivanka.

      Trump Sr. had 38 Trump trademarks hanging fire along w/20+ Ivanka trademarks awaiting Chinese approval. Trump threatened to no longer adhere to the long-standing U.S. One China policy (this policy sees Taiwan as a renegade province of China that eventually will revert to being part of mainland China at some unknown date in the future). Within a few days, China approved ALL TRUMP/IVANKA TRUMP TRADEMARKS and Trump immediately publicly reversed his position on the One China policy.

      This is not the only such instance where Trump seemingly used American foreign policy as his means of extracting bribes from foreign governments. This particular instance is a far more egregious flouting of the Emoluments clause than are some of the other instances folks cite.

  11. di says:

    But what does this say about our system that seems to complicitly allow him and the Senate that backs him up, to consistently let him/the administration get away with openly committed acts of unethical conduct?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump’s conduct is illegal and unethical. But he’s not alone.

      It is McConnell and his Senate majority that keep Trump in office and virtually immune from criticism. He’s playing a long game that depends on Rovian control of the federal judiciary. McConnell and Faux Noise/Rupert Murdoch. Trump expects Russia and others to help reelect him. What price have and will they demand for it?

      Ms. Pelosi seems to feel Americans would reject her party if it is perceived as too critical or confrontational. The times, however, demand new behavior. If her party wins more congressional seats in 2020, it may be in spite of her.

      • Ruthie says:

        Ridding the world of Trump is critically important, by whatever legal* means necessary. But as you say, that’s not enough – he has enablers in the House and Senate. Unless he and his band of goons are utterly repudiated (which starts with impeachment but must also explicitly implicate nearly the entire conservative political infrastructure), I worry that Republican intransigence will increase even in the face of Democratic gains in Congress and the White House. If Dem leadership can’t/won’t make an argument before the election that Trump is corrupt and the Republicans are complicit, how can they possibly imagine anything will change after it?

        * Sadly, it is now necessary to add that qualifier.

        • Democritus says:

          I worry Pelosi may be wasting the last gasps of our freedoms. Before the report was released I said it was good to wait, but if not now, when?

          The inquiry itself should at least get the basic information out to the American people.

          Who says that the election theft isn’t worse in 2020 and this was our last chance to uncover and openly speak about what was done.

    • Rayne says:

      It says what you think it says. Note that one political party consistently undermines the integrity of our system of government through abuses of power and public corruption, effecting suppression of voters’ and human rights to the benefit of their party’s owner class and their overseas patrons. With such a consistent lawless ethos it’s not a political party though they will label any who attack their collective effort as partisan.

      This organized crime syndicate isn’t a political party — they just hide within one like a space bug in an Edgar suit.

      • klynn says:

        It has been amazing to watch the national elections since 2000 in Ohio and FL. It is as though they were swing state “tests” and then they figured out to tweak county data in smaller swing states (MI 2016) selectively to avoid looking like something was going on. Interesting to find SmarTech has a location in a certain country.

        • klynn says:

          Certain country…
          Like the same town as I posted on your 4th installment in your series that was the home of a terrible restaurant & guest house. Kind of surprising. Have an oblast looking! Tula amazing!

          • Eureka says:

            “Worst hotel ever, horrible experience!”

            LOL, it’s pretty easy to substitute and ear-worm-along that special place you refer to for the state in “Hotel California”

            • klynn says:

              Eureka! You are a hoot! That’s definitely stuck in my head! Too funny!

              Think about that company with a location there. Makes sense of so many past election issues.

              • Eureka says:

                Ha- I’d love to be able to attribute that to “Livin’ it up,” but given the election-related issues, the macabre-lite “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave…” part is what did it.

  12. Voxxy says:

    I’m kind of worried that with all Trump’s shouting and pointing towards the Democrats as the “guilty, colluding, spying, vote rigging etc” party, (you know, all the stuff the gop is actually dabbling in) thatwhen 2020 results roll around, he’ll make full use of his “the election is rigged against me!” lines he is currently throwing around as preview now. I worry the plan may be more to “prove trump right” so he can point and claim how he called it way back in 2016 and ever since. I worry they’ll try to mess with Dems votes and make it suspicious enough that it appears they actually were “colluding” with foreign/russian help. If Dems win the WH, he can try the narrative “they cheated, they colluded, they rigged and they stole” while pointing to false or planted “proof” of saidclaims. If anyone has hacked voting machines, they may just make the Dems win by some unbelievable but nuanced and obvious but subtle margins that get officials to look closer at the results and find theperfectly planted discrepancies.
    Sorry accidentally deleted some chunk and not sure if it reads right, my apologies. Voxxy

  13. drouse says:

    I think that Trump just admitted that he knew about and welcomed Russian interference in a bass ackward way. He’s trying to be sly, but it’s silly to think that he only speaking of future events. He has to get his brag in. It’s who he is.

  14. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    Watching clips of the Stephanopoulos interview on Colbert…

    Absolutely infuriating… that f’in orange arsehole…

    Question for anyone who feels like answering…

    What are the odds that Trump said what he said to Stephanopoulos, about taking info from a foreign country, because THAT’S exactly what he intends to do, period?

    Is he already intending to take that help, and the idiotic speech he made was just an attempt to soften everyone up so they’re kind of used to the idea when he does?

    There’s damned little I wouldn’t expect that braying orange jackass to try at this point…

          • Savage Librarian says:

            I’ve heard tell that an optimist invented the airplane, but a pessimist invented the parachute. So, while I’d love to see somebody land that plane, we better all be suited up with our parachutes.

      • Democritus says:

        And everyone keeps ignoring the meddling by our ME “allies”.

        Did you see how many Dems just voted to continue Arm Sales to Saudi Arabia? While also transferring nuclear tech?

        So much for DDTC. No wonder Pompeo is at State now.

        • Rayne says:

          That’s why we all of us need to call our members of Congress. Not just the GOP ones. All of them. Sometimes the margin by which their decisions are made is quite narrow — like a handful of phonecalls. What if no one called *against* those arm sales but the pro-sales meddlers did?

          • Democritus says:

            Very good point. I am planning on bugging my family I know in one of those states to call and write.

            Democrats who voted for arms sales

            Jones (D-AL)
            Manchin (D-WV)
            Shaheen (D-NH)
            Sinema (D-AZ)
            Tester (D-MT)
            Warner (D-VA)

            King (I-ME)

            I wonder how long ago the Saudis bought those guys?

            Sinema and Warner surprised me

            Also is it ok to come in and post a bunch like I do? I try not to reply to like every comment so I don’t hijack threads but when I see my name as almost every recent comment I cringe and worry I’m doing that.

            • Rayne says:

              Jones is the most at-risk Democrat in the Senate. I can understand why he did it.
              Manchin needs to be replaced but we’re stuck with him. West Virginians need to do something about their Senate pipeline.
              I don’t know what excuses the others had, and I know the least about King and voting situation in Maine; I can only wonder if these votes relied on the House Dems to kill the bill.

            • P J Evans says:

              Sinema isn’t a surprise – she’s a conservative D, like Jones. I’m surprised at the list not including Costa and Cuellar.

  15. oslojim says:

    At the risk of sounding like a one topic poster here, I just have to wonder what reality the non-impeachment argument is based on? If this is his position as an incumbent with, presumably, the GOP establishment this time firmly behind him, what sort of campaign “innovations” can the country expect? If he/they lose then they will de-legitamise the results if they can. If he/they win then the results are likely to look illegitimate. Doesn’t that insure a constitutional crisis pretty much either way in 2020?

  16. Tom says:

    The President’s comments during the ABC News interview and his open admission of his willingness to ‘collude’ with foreign governments should tell Bill Barr everything he needs to know about the origins of the Russia investigation. There’s no need to go searching for chimerical agents of the Deep State as an explanation when the President confesses his willingness to sell out the country on national TV. And the Democrats’ methodical investigative approach looks all the more ludicrous and ineffective. Cut to the chase and start the impeachment process!

    • Hops says:

      I’m for impeachment (wearing my new Impeach 45 T-shirt around my largely Republican neighborhood), but I’m not sure about formally starting “now”, People are not paying attention to news during the Summer, and there’s the big August Recess coming up that would break momentum. Maybe better to let the court cases play out and pick up in September.

      I’m guessing that Pelosi wants a badly damaged Trump at the head of the GOP ticket that lowers their turnout and raises Dems, such that they take the Senate too. They have been passing legislation that has no chance in the Senate, but I suppose they will have it ready to go when they take over the White House and Senate. We need to undo the Trump years, and quickly.

      • Tom says:

        I see your points in favour of delaying impeachment and how summer factors in to the equation, but I also recall that the Watergate hearings took place over the summer of ’74. I’m also afraid that by waiting until September, whatever sense of urgency about the need to confront the President’s corrupt administration will have dissipated even further, and that the public will assume that the House Dems vs. the WH stand-off over documents, subpoenas, witnesses, etc. is just part of the ‘new normal’ political landscape in Washington. I also heard Heidi Przybyla say the other day that some Democrats are beginning to feel demoralized over Speaker Pelosi’s continuing refusal to begin formal impeachment hearings. As for wanting the 2020 Democratic candidate to be in a position to campaign against an incumbent Trump crushed under the weight of various crime & corruption scandals, I see the advantage there as well. But if I were the GOP next year, I’d be asking, “If Trump is such a bad President, why did you wait so long to begin impeachment? Were you, the Dems, really thinking of the good of the country, or merely your own political advantage?”

        • Democritus says:

          I also think Summer is the best time for hearings. Let’s pol active teenagers watch and disseminate info among young adults. People take more time off work etc.

          If the inquiry drags on because of the courts let that hurt Trump. Who is already whining about investigations anyway.

          It also would make foreign opposition have to at least plan for the possibility he *might* get impeached and maybe start pulling some punches.

          • J R in WV says:

            This coming fall of 2019 and winter of 2019-20 should be the normal committees holding further hearings into the matters they are now beginning to investigate, with help from the courts, who (one hopes!) will attempt to compel the production of documents and testimony.

            Next summer of 2020 is when the impeachment hearings should take place. The House votes on actual Impeachment should happen too late for the McConnell Senate to vote before the election. Perhaps the weekend prior to the end of voting?

            That’s what I suspect Speaker Pelosi’s timetable may be.

            I also think she is using FDR’s famous adage:
            “I agree with what you want to do — now go out and make me do it!”

        • Anne says:

          Nancy Pelosi is waiting for the real dirt, stuff that even McTurtle would be ashamed to cover up. (Well, OK, “shame” is a stretch….) Obstruction of justice, ho hum, campaign finance violations, yawn, they all do it, get me another beer while I change the channel. Chinese copyrights? Boring. Hatch Act? Puleeeeze, the game is on.

          Like, where did the money come from for that golf course in Scotland?

          What she’s waiting for is overwhelming evidence that the crime family is OWNED by Russian oligarchs and (duh) they’ve been cheating on their taxes all these years. “They all do it” won’t defend them and even the worst of the 40% will be pissed off while Faux News runs out of excuses. Maybe NRA members will be offended that the $$ went Putin —> NRA —> Trump campaign.

          I want the Russian influence dirt to take out the entire campaign team, including Pence.

          • P J Evans says:

            She won’t get that stuff by everyone in the house sitting there waiting for a miracle to occur. That’s what hearings are for.

    • Mooser says:

      “admission of his willingness to ‘collude’ with foreign governments”

      There it is! That’s the word I’ve been trying to think of. The word which describes Trump’s interactions with foreign entities. Describes it very well, if not legally. “Collude” Why didn’t I think of that?

  17. harpie says:

    The Federal Election Commission Chair responds to Trump’s ABC interview:
    [FEC Chair, ethics/election lawyer […]]
    4:11 PM – 13 Jun 2019

    I would not have thought that I needed to say this. [screenshot]
    Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.1
    This is not a novel concept. Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation. Our Founding Fathers sounded the alarm about “foreign Interference, Intrigue, and Influence.” They knew that when foreign governments seek to influence American politics, it is always to advance their own interests, not America’s.
    Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation. Any political campaign that receives an offer of a prohibited donation from a foreign source should report that offer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
    1. 52 U.S.C. 30121(a)(2)

      • Eureka says:

        Blackburn is an OG in the game. I remember just after the Stone indictment harpie and I each posted oldies-but-goodies (from July 2016 and April 2014, respectively, latter about anti-Clinton interview to be aired on RT):

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Thanks for the memory assist, Eureka. Hard keeping track of all the weasels. I’m looking forward to the Dem debates coming up soon. It will be interesting to see if they try to keep from attacking each other.

        • harpie says:

          Yes, thanks Eureka! My memory isn’t what it used to be…and that was not that great! :-) Some days I feel like Drew Barrymore in Fifty First Dates.

          • Eureka says:

            SL & harpie: by the graces of nothing under my own control, they were the first things I thought of when I heard Blackburn had quashed unanimous consent. Unhappy accident, lol.

            As to the debates, I wonder who will ask Bernie why his “Senior Advisor” son Levi is tweeting/amplifying an RT article trashing HRC, on June 5th of Twenty-Nineteen:

            JEN KIRKMAN: “Umm @SenSanders your son (who also has in his bio that he’s your “Senior Advisor”) is retweeting Russia Today stories about Hillary. In light of the Mueller report and 2018 indictments against Russian interference this is – at best – a bad look for your campaign! #usefulidiots (quotes tweet below)”

            Levi Sanders: “(article link) What a class act.” (Followed by article graphic/card, in addition to link. Just to be clear.)

              • Savage Librarian says:

                I’m guessing that pollsters might have a methodology problem, both in terms of what they ask and how they ask it; and in how they approach who they ask and who is willing to be responsive. So, I’m looking to see if there will be some surprises. Let’s hope so.

              • P J Evans says:

                Sanders was well down my list of “people to vote for”, and he’s dropped another couple of notches with this sh*t. While I’d prefer Warren in the Senate, she seems to be well-qualified for the Oval Office.

                • Eureka says:

                  My main concern is for a qualified, trust-worthy, progressive dem. Bernie(‘s campaign/ affiliates) can fuck all the way off with these ratio-worthy “antics.” (The best I can do at mincing here is appending the technically- conditional- but- behaviorally- not “with these…antics.”)

                  • Democritus says:

                    Not to mention Bernie’s strategist Weavers ties to Manafort. Apparently Bernie has been long used Weaver, who ran a business with Paul Manafort and worked with him in the Ukraine.

                    I have no interest in Bernie, and I also think Biden is a mirage of safety for people who think we can go back to the old days. Biden’s remark that the GOP really would work with if he got elected reinforced that thought.

                    Not to mention the trolls would have so much fun causing divisions using Biden’s record.

              • J R in WV says:

                The Texas Tribune has a great article on Senator Warren, with a photo taken before she changed her hair color.

                Looking at that photo, one can see why her family history story of having Native American relatives in the way back long ago might have hung on. You can also see why she eloped because her first husband’s family opposed their relationship, as “anti-Indian” prejudice was and is big in Oklahoma.

                Also, she indicated her Native American heritage in order to be available to students who might benefit from having a professor who sympathized with the student’s issues with prejudice, not to obtain an advantage for herself. And yes, I know that in modern election mud-slinging, if you are explaining something like this, you are losing ground already. But the best cure for a vile lie is truth, and more truth!

                Hoping the hand coded HTML works out!

                • P J Evans says:

                  Facial bone structure, too.
                  I know at least one person from OK who likes to claim some Native American ancestry that I couldn’t find when I went through their family tree and pulled all the records I could find. There are some cousins on my father’s side that actually have some (documented, partly black), and they’ve been identifying as “white” since they left OK, about 1915.

                • Eureka says:

                  JR & PJ- She really didn’t do anything different than most other people do when exploring their heritages. But/and/also, given the history and how the Cherokee Nation defines heritage claims *as a membership issue* (which she wasn’t trying to do, I don’t think, but which Cherokee from their POV rightly felt injured) and that *membership* is defined strictly by descent from those on the Dawes Rolls between 1899-1906, therein lies one source of confusion or talking-past that sadly gets lost in the lack of larger cultural conversation that you note.

                  In January, Cherokee Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr., wrote a great editorial; I wish it were received for the points he makes rather than as some political sally to be checked-off and forgotten:

                  Elizabeth Warren can be a friend, but she isn’t a Cherokee citizen

                  More misunderstanding, I think, comes from the fact that different Nations define citizenship or greet heritage claims in different ways, and both have been further complicated in recent decades with the rise of casinos, but also things like rights under NAGPRA (and of course natural resources others want for extraction). (There was a great piece in LA Times, I think, maybe ca 2013-ish, detailing some of the within-tribe heritage issues stemming from casino proceeds-rights alone in at least one case.)

                  ETA: NAGPRA:
                  Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

  18. Areader2019 says:

    So if a candidate makes a public statement that he believes there is nothing wrong with accepting campaign assistance from a foreign government, and he would do it and not report it, is that sufficient to get a FISA warrant?

    I mean, there were hundreds of contacts between his campaign organization and foreign representatives in the previous election. We have established a pattern.

      • Areader2019 says:

        I’m agreeing with you.

        If Trump makes a public statement “The FBI director is wrong”, then he is certainly admitting that he intends to operate in a manner inconsistent with the FBI directors’s legal advice.

        They would be wrong to NOT open an investigation.

  19. Robert Martin says:

    What is wondrous about Trump is his feral instinct for the weaknesses of both his opponents and his own Republican allies, which, combined with his contempt for anyone not him, enables him to defy political gravity.

    • bmaz says:

      It is kind of amazing, in a bizarre way, isn’t it? Trump shits on everybody and everything he touches, and, yet, he sits in our White House. As Yakov Smirnoff used to say as a catchline, “What a country!”.

      • hester says:

        So when my brother was canvassing in NJ for someone, he met a woman who knew Trump’s mother. Even as a young child Trump was out of control and nothing was done…. like he tossed his sister down the stairs kind of thing. Then when he was a crook and a cheat in NY (must have been known by the powers that be), he wasn’t ever really reined in. He’s always crapped all over everyone and everything and nothing has happened to him. Pays 20 cents on every dollar he owes.

        I blame mostly his enablers, McConnell, Barr, who know better and use him for their own nefarious reasons…. Mitch for the courts and also imho he is also taking $$$$ from Russia, and Barr who perhaps is auditioning for SCOTUS. But Trump has always been like this. That 40% of voters either don’t care or like it is what frightens me. The GOP seems to be in his thrall, Justin Amash excepted. In a sane country he wouldn’t have been elected in the first place and he’d be sweating Impeachment right now.

        • Tom says:

          Funny you should say that. The other day I heard Nicolle Wallace use the term “poo-poo platter”; at least, that’s what it sounded like to me. I thought she was being scatological but when I googled the phrase I found that it referred to a Chinese appetizer dish called a “pupu platter”, which I had never heard of. But then a further search revealed that the Urban Dictionary defines a poo-poo platter as the mess you discover when someone does a number two but forgets to flush the toilet. So it’s true what they say about education being a lifelong journey.

      • PSWebster says:

        This is what strikes me too: he is not stupid. He has the creativity of a criminal or an artist as the saying goes they are the best. His capability to influence those in reach and even farther off is striking. How he has the GOP canting on about all his shite…protecting him…is a matter to behold. A sociopath of the first order. Dangerous.

        • Tom says:

          The President reminds me of the people they used to classify as “idiot savants”: highly skilled in one minor area such as mental arithmetic–or in Trump’s case, formulating derogatory nicknames for his political opponents–but otherwise having great difficulty in coping with everyday life.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump routinely accuses others of doing what he does, then shames them for allegedly doing it. (It’s also a Republican specialty.) In his now infamous ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos, he accused Don McGahn of telling lies to Bob Mueller “to make himself look good.” []

    Trump has done it for so long, there’s a wiki page devoted to it. Paging John Barron, paging John Miller, paging Mr. David Dennison. []

    • OmAli says:

      What does it say about Trump that he would use an alias, John Barron, to call in to radio programs and boast about Trump’s sexual prowess. Then name his son, Barron.

  21. Democritus says:

    Trump also solicited the hacking of Hillary’s emails, and it was NOT a joke. Katy Turr, bless her brain, asked Trump at that very same news conference he asked Russia to find Hillary’s emails if he was joking and he said no.

  22. Aeneas says:

    This article needs to be corrected.

    At several points, the article incorrectly argues President violated the Hatch Act. As I understand it, the Hatch Act does not apply to the president or vice-president. This is also clearly stated in the intro to the Wikipedia article cited as a source for the statement: “The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials, from engaging in some forms of political activity.”

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve had several similar comments in thread here if you took the time to read them to make sure nobody else had already pointed out this nit.

      When I get to it I will make a change to this article.

      Do you have any other constructive feedback to offer otherwise?

      • Aeneas says:

        Pointing out a blatant misstatement of law that forms the basis of major argument in an opinion article is not a “nit,” and dismissing it as such detracts from the weight of your otherwise well-reasoned article. In this particular case, it also makes the author sound fatally hypocritical. Your entire article is about how the Trump Administration is ignoring the requirements of the Hatch Act. So, how can you possibly expect someone to take your opinion seriously if you (1) ignore the actual requirements of the law yourself, and (2) downplay and blow-off your readers’ sincere and well-meaning attempts to point out that fact to you.

        The fact that you have taken the time to read all the comments and respond to several of them, yet you still have not taken the time to correct a mistake in the article that several people have already noted, including specific statutory references to demonstrate the error is beyond me. I think it falls well-below the standard of professionalism I have come to expect from this site. Your criticism of my accurate critique of your article makes it sound like you would prefer your readers to be an echo chamber that does not think critically or question anything said on this site.

        • Rayne says:

          You don’t know much about this site at all. We’re all volunteers here, not paid. I’ve had that article open for a couple hours for the purpose of editing but I’ve got other priorities interrupting me.

          I monitor comments because trolls and bots harass the site nonstop — flags go off when there’s a potential issue which means I need to weed through comments at the same time.

          Fuck off with your professionalism bullshit. When I get paid for writing content I’ll escalate writing and editing and ignore your/other comments along with my other personal priorities. You don’t like it here? You know where the exit button is, Mr. Two-Approved-Comments-To-Date.

          • Democritus says:

            I know I at least appreciate all the work and activism you do here Rayne. I’m sure more the people who’ve been here longer appreciate it even more.

            I’m pretty sure you don’t need to hear this, but just in case don’t let the trolls and whiners get to you, that is what they want to do.

            Sorry for any typos I missed bad day with the old bucket of bolts I was assigned at birth.

              • Democritus says:

                We can’t give up. I do not wish to be a good German.

                I saw Clint Watts the other day on MSNBC and he said Russia launched a brilliant attack in a way. They went in created a mess, but left it so instead of fighting them we just continue to fight each other- with the division aiding Russia even more.

                I don’t think we are who won the Cold War, at least if it just recently over. It didn’t end back in the day, it morphed and they used our weaknesses against us. Our greed and racism.

                Hopefully we can grow fast enough to survive. Ok with that lovely happy thought, I need a break before my entire back locks up. Which is part of why I respect you so much for moderating here- you don’t.

            • Rayne says:

              Yeah. It did. You want the Washington Post or The New York Times? This ain’t either.

              But you’re going to end up reading work from this site when they get done “borrowing” it.

              Now beat it.

          • Rayne says:

            Go find something else to do for a while. Seriously. Get some fresh air, exchange your ions. If you’re going to start criticizing how this site is run you’re going to find yourself in moderation because we simply don’t have time for it.

          • bmaz says:

            Let me answer that “Americana”.

            Oh, wait, I already have informed you. Your disinformation campaign here is done.

        • bmaz says:

          Hi there “Aeneas”. How you doing? So, there was never any reason that former administrations went across the street or to their homes to conduct such activity?

          This is the wrong place to come to lawsplain, especially with bullshit.

          Again, EW readers and commenters, we are getting a lot of this crap lately. We cannot catch all of it. But you have no idea what we cover every day.

          • Democritus says:

            Hey bmaz, I was just thinking I bet because you can be a bit …gruff, not as many people remind you to keep your head up, say thanks, and to keep fighting the good fight.

            So please do. I can’t speak for others but your story about Mary really gave me a lot of comfort as I was struggling with feeling a tad useless to society and fighting for what’s right since my body decided to stop working normally.

            So anyway, Don’t let the shitheads get you down, let their shittiness instead reinforce your motivate you to keep fighting like a self propelled warrior for ethics, a bit of justice and decency among humanity and god I really fucking hope this doesn’t sound condescending. I’ll take a chance and hit post instead of deleting before posting.

            This site, all you guys here, are helping to dig through the bs and shine a light.

  23. Democritus says:

    One last thing, did you guys here see this? Just gutted me. She said they have been in touch with Nadler @ Justice and Cable News so hopefully something will be done.

    Starts with

    “I have just gotten off the phone with a friend who is a legal volunteer in Border Patrol facilities.

    Don’t look away.”


    It is like all the worse abuses of our largely racist CJ system wrapped into federal camps where we imprison the economic and gang-violence refugees.

    Meanwhile what does the GOP think will happen when the worst effects of climate change kick in? Are we strengthening ties with countries projected to be hit to help them develop plans so we don’t see so many floods of climate refugees in the coming decades. No, instead we are cutting OFF aid, because Trump wants these camps.

    He is a monster we need to impeach before we lose not only the rule of law entirely, but our humanity as well.

    • Mooser says:

      I can’t get over this. How easily those places are staffed. Do the staff not understand that they have individual liability for the criminal acts?
      Every child abuser, sadist and administrative bully headed for the border, where Trump had work for them.

      • Democritus says:

        We need read the word and help remind people about orgs like RAICES.

        These are concentration camps. We are blocking UN inspectors. Kids are dying, and who knows if there are a bunch we just haven’t heard of yet. One of the more recent deaths announced wasn’t announced until, I think it was 9 months later. It was at least half a year, I’m pretty sure.

        They cut off foreign aid to the country’s, one of which just had a big volcanic eruption a year or so ago, and Honduras is under a drought.

        From UN in erratic weather patterns and the need for food relief in Central America:

        “25 April 2019, Panama City – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) today warned that prolonged droughts and heavy rain have destroyed more than half of the maize and bean crops of the subsistence farmers along the Central American Dry Corridor, leaving them without food reserves and affecting their food security.

        Central American governments estimated that 2.2 million people have suffered crop losses, mainly due to the drought. Emergency food security assessments carried out in the Dry Corridor by WFP, FAO and the governments during the last quarter of 2018 validated these findings and confirmed that 1.4 million people out of the 2.2 million urgently need food assistance.

        For 2019, FAO and WFP are requesting US$72 million from the international community to provide food assistance to more than 700,000 people in the Dry Corridor.”

        But the US stopped relief because those people lives are political stunts to Trump and the GOP.

        We need to impeach, his people need to stop feeling so free to break the law and I worry about what is next for the camps.

        It is like there are so many bad things we can’t focus on just one, which I’m sure is by design. This shouldn’t be lost in the wash though. They should release these people and start gearing back up Obama’s pilot program with ankle bracelets that had a 90 some odd success rate. Trump is causing the crisis by not quickly processing and releasing them. Not to mention restarting federal aid to try to stabilize their home countries so there are not such migratory floods.

        Though I read the other day, and I don’t remember where so brain of salt, that 30% of current people crossing are Venezuelan.

        Damn that’s lots of typing.

  24. harpie says:

    The Hatch Act does not apply to the President and the VP, but in allowing/condoning Conway to repeatedly violate the Hatch Act without repercussion, the President did NOT “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”.

    • Jenny says:

      Remember this administration refused to do the ethics training for WH staff.

      Conway’s arrogant and entitled comments:
      “Last month, Conway went after former Vice President Joe Biden’s Democratic presidential campaign and mocked the Hatch Act after a reporter told her that her comments could violate the law.

      “Blah, blah, blah,” she said after a reporter recounted the OSC’s past findings.

      “If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work,” Conway added. “Let me know when the jail sentence starts.”

      And this woman is lawyer. A complicit lawyer, an unethical lawyer, an alternative facts lawyer, a “microwaves that turn into cameras” lawyer.

      What is she teaching her children?

      • Rayne says:

        bmaz will probably smack me for this but I wonder if Conway is licensed to practice law and if that isn’t a point on which the public could work. Any lawyer who is so egregiously disrespectful of the law shouldn’t be allowed to practice.

        • Stephen Joy says:

          She was admitted to the DC bar (under her maiden name, Fitzpatrick) in 1995, but is listed as “administratively withdrawn” due to non-payment of dues. For what it may be worth. I don’t know where else she may be licensed to practice, though she recently claimed to have passed the bar in four states. Worth noting that this would not be the first time somebody went after her law license over her behavior; there was a case in early 2017, though I don’t think it got any traction.

          • P J Evans says:

            I understand that bar association dues can be pretty high, especially if you’re not actively practicing (and a lot of people with JDs are not).

            • Stephen says:

              Checked it out. DC Bar dues are currently $317 per annum if you are actively practicing, $194 if you are not. Not exactly going to break the bank. But non-payment and the resulting administrative suspension do not reflect badly on a person – just means they’re not interested in maintaining that particular license. (ABA membership maxes out at $450, but only $150 for government lawyers or those with non-profits.)

              • P J Evans says:

                One of my nieces passed the bar in CA, but couldn’t get a good job for various reasons, the least of them being female, so after a few years she stopped paying dues (if you’re not acting as a lawyer, why pay?) She teaches ASL and does legal interpreting, though it doesn’t pay nearly as well.

      • harpie says:

        Now, that’s ridiculous! …nothing to do with foreign money, etc…only paid election advertising on the WH twitter account.
        Don’t mind me…my brain is mush…

        • Eureka says:

          Besides all the other reasons it’s gross, it _does_ look like they telescoped this version out _specifically_ to show more advertising (gotta get NRA visibility out there!).

          • harpie says:

            Seemed that way to me, too.
            And, to top off the grossness, today on FOX:
            10:02 AM – 14 Jun 2019
            [quote] Asked by Fox & Friends about his comments to ABC about how “you don’t call the FBI” if a foreign govt offers dirt on a political opponent, Trump now claims
            “I don’t think anybody would present me with anything bad because they know how much I love this country.” [VIDEO]
            [end quote]

        • harpie says:

          That was maybe not such a mush-brain question after all…
          I’m really getting two things confused here! and I’m going to go self medicate!

  25. Terrapin says:

    It is quite obvious that Trump thinks he can’t win in 2020 without the foreign help he got in 2016. And the stakes are higher now that being POTUS is the only thing keeping him from being indicted. And it is clear other leading Republicans have come to the same conclusion about getting Trump re-elected. Which is why Mitch McConnell slaps down every effort in the Senate to bolster election security. Clearly, the GOP likes foreign help if it helps them stay in power. But what every Republican must be wincing about is the way Trump is so open about it. McConnell knows this needs to be done of the down low because for one thing it’s a federal crime, not to mention most people don’t like the idea of foreigners messing with our democracy. But POTUS is insecure and wants some reassurance from his buddy Vladimir that he’ll get him re-elected even if Russian hackers have to readjust the vote totals in all fifty states.

    • fpo says:

      So-called ‘foreign help’ may come in the form of a convenient and looming Middle East confrontation with Iran. Trump would love to have his ‘the whole world will hear you’ moment, galvanizing support from the base and drawing in confused undecideds/independents who’ve grown weary of hesitation and ineptitude on the part of Dem leadership re an impeachment inquiry. Congress won’t quibble and, who knows, they may even be out of town on recess when a decision is made.

      Having declared “Well, Iran did do it, and you know they did it because you saw the boat,” referencing a newly released CentCom video that does NOT constitute irrefutable proof that Iran was responsible for the bombing, it is certain that Bolton and Pompeo are of the ‘ready, fire aim’ sentiment when it comes to Iran – and would provide all the cover Trump needs. Pompeo has already assigned blame to Iran for a car bombing in Afghanistan last month for which other group(s) claimed responsibility. And the sad reality is that “loyal” Trump supporters, ever fearful of the career-ending Tweet storm, have accepted lying as the price you pay for job security – ethics and morals be damned.

      [ ]

      Also see:
      “Japanese ship owner contradicts U.S. account of how tanker was attacked”

      [ ]

      • Terrapin says:

        Oh definitely. My fear is that Trump, egged on by Bolton, Pompeo, MBS, and Netanyahu, might be thinking a war could be a good way to force everyone to “rally round the leader.” The one good thing here is, the Japanese, who are heavily dependent on Iranian oil, seem to be a counter-influence to the chickenhawks, but my fear is that Trump might decide a war with Iran is the perfect great distraction to end impeachment talk forever and help him win re-election.

        • J R in WV says:

          I would say that fomenting a war, in my opinion completely outside the AUMF passed post 9/11, under false pretenses, would be moved up to the First Article of the Articles of Impeachment, replacing the conspiracy with the Russians, which would drop to number Two.

          In my book, Trump’s ask in public for Russian help and the responding help within less than 24 hours, that proves the case for conspiracy with a hostile foreign power — we aren’t talking about a court of law here, we’re talking about the Impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors.

          Then there’s the violations of human rights we are required to respect under international law and signed and approved treaty, in concentrations camps full of would be asylum seekers; the slush fund his inauguration turned into; the emoluments from foreign powers AND local big wigs.

          And now we get to the multiple obstruction of justice charges for Trump and all his minions.

          It has taken me forever to type this, after coming in from chainsawing brush around the shop, spraying stumps and butts with brush killer, and pushing the whole pile over the hill with the tractor. Tired, shaky hands, need for hydration!

          Anyway, apologies for typos, I quit, gonna post now. Thanks to bmaz, Raney and emptywheel, and almost all the commentors!


          OH, Hell, I forgot failure to provide evidence required by congress, failure to uphold the law, I guess there’s nearly an endless list of malfeasance and misfeasance…

    • Eureka says:

      #WhereAreAllTheCamps? #CampsInOurBackyards:

      Court ruling: VisionQuest can proceed with plans to house 60 undocumented immigrant children in North Philly

      A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge has ruled that VisionQuest, an Arizona-based youth-services provider, can proceed with its controversial plan to house 60 undocumented immigrant children at a shelter in North Philadelphia.

      VisionQuest’s previous North Philadelphia shelter closed in 2017 after staff members were found to have punched and choked children. Now, the agency will be paid up to $5.3 million by the federal government to house a rotating population of Spanish-speaking boys, ages 12 to 17, at the same site.

      Most of the children fled gang violence and crushing poverty in Central America, and have no parent or legal guardian in this country.

      VisionQuest president Mark Contento said that he was “obviously very pleased” by the ruling, and added, “Our objectives are to do right by everybody.”

      The only person to testify during the hearing was Contento. He said the agency was ready to offer clean, safe, and comfortable housing to immigrant children who otherwise might be held near the border, sleeping on the ground in federal centers or local gyms.*

      VisionQuest, which operates in six states, runs a similar program for about 60 unaccompanied minors in Arizona, he said. The company would suffer financially if the Philadelphia center failed to open, and the 60 employees it has hired would be laid off, he testified.

      (emphasis added. *Or with family, friends, in a community.)

      • P J Evans says:

        How do they know those kids have no family in this country? Given that the government is lying about gang affiliation, about separating kids from parents, and about the conditions under which they’re imprisoning immigrants, I wouldn’t trust them or their associates on this.

        • Eureka says:

          It seems the point is they don’t care if the kids (very likely, at least some fraction) have people here in the US.

          Advocates (the City and immigrant groups) are still fighting this place opening; meanwhile, I meant to add from March when this company was training employees (and this doesn’t even account for the kids’ variable language backgrounds, but at least Spanish (variants) is (are) likely a partial tongue for them):

          At VisionQuest youth agency in Philly, board chairman demands: ‘Stop speaking Spanish’

          Toward the end of a rigorous day of training for new VisionQuest employees in North Philadelphia, Carmen Pagan recalled, the board chairman of the youth services agency, Bob Burton, interrupted a conversation between two of her Latino co-workers.
          “Stop speaking Spanish,” he told them.

          Pagan, hired as a bilingual case manager, said Burton had made similar comments all week. This time, she walked out.
          “I felt like I was at Geno’s — ‘Please speak English,’ ” Pagan said, referencing the South Philadelphia cheesesteak store’s infamous “This is America” counter sign.

          Pagan [said], “Bob Burton directly stated to numerous employees in my presence, ‘Speak English!’ … I already feel bad for the children.”

      • Eureka says:

        Hannity today deploys a well-worn tactic. What will make one pause are the replies of fellow Americans (and “bots and boughts” posing as same) at this tweet:

        Sean Hannity: “**REPORT: “US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has quarantined 5,200 adult immigrants after they were exposed to mumps or chicken pox. The agency has recorded cases of the viral infections in nearly 40 migrant detention centers.”**(link to “”)”

        Which reminds me:
        PBS usually re-runs the Ellis Island documentary on or around the fourth of July: it’s worth looking for then. Included are historical segments on those segregated to the “infirmary” section, and interviews with later-life adults who were/are still harmed in their cores for having been separated from their parents as children.

      • Democritus says:

        Thanks Eureka!

        Those kids in cages demonstrations would be helpful to highlight the locations. I’d love to see if they could do something like put the cages up in Center city with a signage saying the three closest detention centers are x,y,z. Adjust the number for places with more or less.

        Maybe have a big wave of demonstrations for the Fourth, or even Columbus Day (these people who are in good part the poorer more indigenous people of the continent fleeing many of the CA countries)

        RAICES is doing great work backed by ACLU. Does anyone here know any other good orgs to support for this issue I should be mentioning?

      • Eureka says:

        Two items:

        1- As they say, “check your local listings.” Philly-area folks, mark your calendars for Tuesday, June 25th, for two protests of Trump immigration practices/the camps. Earlier in the day at Toomey’s Phila. office; later in the day at Rep. Fitzpatrick’s Newtown (Bucks) office:

        “@TuesdaysToomey will be joining @IndivisibleTeam and other groups on June 25th in protest of these policies. Please join us at @SenToomey’s office at 2nd and Chestnut (Philly) at 12:20 or at @RepBrianFitz’s office at 1717 Langhorne Newtown Rd (Newtown) at 5:00pm. …”

        2- I added some new links on this topic last night (e.g. new Esquire article) to the comment thread from the 12th on an older page, and forgot to cross link to here:

    • Democritus says:

      This is what annoys me about Corporate media, MSNBC etc. I have also barely heard anything about this March, though I saw Orlando is having theirs in a couple days so maybe if this weekends March get some coverage after they are over that one will at least be attended.

      Same think with the protests in front of the White House, they rarely make MSM. Even the funny people in cow suits I saw on twitter.

      The liberal resistance etc, could really use some organization at least somewhat like the Right does for messaging.

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Four legs good, two legs bad. Maybe. Trump now says he would report to the FBI “bad” electoral assistance offered to him by a foreign government. Which means he’d use what he considers good intel from the same source. Federal law prohibits using either.

    Trump’s Senate is helping him out. McConnell dismisses Trump’s presser by blaming the Democrats for wanting to keep open the 2016 election. He wants us to look forward, not back. Susan Collins doesn’t think you have to treat foreign assistance from friendly Canada with, say, help from unfriendly Russia, China, or North Korea. She knows the law prohibits accepting any of it, which means she’s bullshitting as much here as she did during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings – and further dimming the light of her re-election prospects.

    Republican Rep. Tom Cole, on the other hand, believes Trump when he says today that he would report some foreign assistance. That means Cole did not believe Trump yesterday. Sounds a lot like they’re all lying to protect a lying liar.

    • Lulymay says:

      Susan Collins must have a pile of splinters in her butt after riding that old fence all these years. A message to Susan Collins: Please! do not think Canada would support the word of a BS-ing tyrant like Trump while our current Prime Minister of Canada is in place. Now…. if you want talk about Scheer-Nonsense who is running this fall, then all bets are off.

  27. Badger Robert says:

    Good thread.
    But Trumpism will continue until the hairdressers, truck drivers and farmers have had enough. When he gets upside down Texas through Montana, he’s down. The foreign money will dry up and the Not Me will become the slogan for the 2020 races.

    • P J Evans says:

      So far that isn’t happening. Some people – maybe 3 to 5% of his followers – might change their minds. But it’s not happening yet.

  28. Badger Robert says:

    Others may have a better memory than I have: but once RFK was out of the picture, Nixon slashed away at Humphrey. They dirty tricked Ed Muskie in 1972 and they swamped George McGovern. Unless there is a charismatic Democrat, or two, man or woman, young, attractive, with extreme intestinal fortitude, Trumpist regime continues. They are worried about Biden one bit.

    • fpo says:

      Alternatively, the Democrats could field a lying, foul-mouthed, semi-literate narcissist with no governing experience who cheats on their spouses, cheats at sports, cheats on their taxes, looks like a walking heart attack…and who likes America just the way it is – or so they say.

      A minority female or male is preferable, and candidates with prior federal convictions and/or foreign entanglements will receive special consideration. An individual with previous affiliation with the Republican party who meet these criteria will go straight to the main debate prior to the November election. That should give us a fighting chance, no?

  29. harpie says:

    This is such bullshit:
    1:54 PM – 14 Jun 2019

    This is a pretty aggressive argument from DOJ, basically saying that Congress is lying about its purpose for wanting the president’s tax returns and that as a result, the IRS need not provide them even though the statute doesn’t require Congress to have *any* reason. / Here: [link]
    DOJ’s view of the law tracks pretty closely with what President Trump’s private lawyers have argued in court: That Congress can’t gather information unless it has a “legitimate legislative purpose,” and just investigating wrongdoing doesn’t count.

    At the risk of sounding hyperbolic:
    the DOJ is being weaponized against We The People.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Seems a straightforward dodge. Neither Trump’s private nor government lawyers would concede that a Democratic House or Senate could have a legitimate legislative purpose. Investigating der Leader is inherently illegitimate.

    • bmaz says:

      Ahem. Remember how I have been saying for months there is a quantum difference between common “legislative purpose” foundation (okay, here, even a fucking on point statutory basis) and a “Constitutional underpinning” that an impeachment inquiry would supply?

      This is why.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Agree that the strongest rationale would be an impeachment inquiry. But in this instance, Ways and Means would seem to have more than abundant purpose to seek this information.

        Barr’s DoJ will reliably deny that the House has any legitimate rationale until the Supremes decide against him. That would likely take until after the November 2020 election. (At the rate Pelosi is going, it would be never.)

        If that were to happen and Trump were to lose the election, it would not be owing to an impeachment or an inquiry, let alone a trial in the Senate. (McConnell would act on that as quickly as he did Garland’s nomination.) That would save the GOP and Trump from no end of trouble – and cause no end of grief for America.

        A big chunk of that grief will be on Nancy Pelosi. She could avoid it by allowing an inquiry to begin and backing it to the hilt.

        • Areader2019 says:

          Ok…so here is a question.

          Technically, what does “open an impeachment inquiry” mean? What has to happen? Does Pelosi need to say “inquiry inquiry inquiry” in public? Is there some form to file?

          I mean, humor aside, why did they not do that in January?

          There is a bill out there to impeach, HR 13 – 02/04/2019 Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. So can’t that subcommittee say ‘we are looking into it’ and that would constitute an inquiry?

        • bmaz says:

          Earl, this is why I have relentlessly noted that it is not just the strength of argument, but the speed at which it may move. A straight Constitutional foundation is almost impossible to rebut and will move far faster than legislative purpose argument.

          • Democritus says:

            This is by far the strongest argument for impeachment then. Timing is crucial, and while I thought that MIGHT be the case I wasn’t confident enough to say it.

            Thanks, that will be my argument henceforth.

            (For the record I am not trying to be fancy, I’m a weirdo who actually does say words like henceforth and ergo on the regular in non legal settings)

  30. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Unsurprisingly, Bill Barr’s OLC fully supported the Treasury’s decision not to provide Donald Trump’s tax returns to House Ways and Means Committee chair Richard Neal. OLC released its opinion in a Friday at Five news dump. It matches virtually verbatim the argument Mnuchin used in denying Neal’s request.

    OLC concluded that Ways and Means – probably the most powerful and important committee in the House – had no “legitimate legislative purpose” for the information. The wag that thinks the average prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich also thinks that Ways and Means could sneeze and come up with a legitimate legislative purpose for an information request. It’s jurisdiction is that broad.

    OLC head, Trump appointee Steve Engel, disagrees. He concluded, without evidence, that Neal’s purpose was simply to make the material public. That’s not much of an argument and not likely to survive normal judicial review. OLC and Barr must be very confident that the Supremes will back them up.


    • harpie says:

      Maybe “normal judicial review” is a thing of the past?
      A few minutes ago Marcy retweeted this thread from Marty Lederman:
      4:14 AM – 15 Jun 2019

      1/ The real shocker in the OLC opinion on the tax-return subpoena–the serious threat to Congress’s crucial oversight role–is not OLC’s conclusion that W&M’s stated justification (“we need to investigate how the IRS audits presidents”) is pretextual, …
      2/ … but instead the opinion’s assertion that what it (rightly) identifies as the *real* (or at least the principal) reasons for the subpoena *are illegitimate.* The key is footnote 19 […]
      10/ The real scandal is Footnote 19–i.e., what Trump & OLC think Congress is constitutionally forbidden from investigating.

      I guess I’ll be spending most of the day trying to comprehend what’s going on with OLC and this opinion.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        In other words, according to Bill Barr’s DoJ and Steve Engel’s OLC, no request for information from Congress is legitimate unless we say it is.

        In the matter of Republican President Donald Trump, no request for information from a Democratic Party-controlled House would ever be legitimate.

        The position is crude advocacy for the extreme ideology known as the Unitary Executive theory of presidential authority. Its constitutional underpinnings are minute. Nonetheless, Bill Barr has advocated it for decades, as has Dick Cheney.

        There are as many reasons for Congress to request information as there are members of Congress asking for it, sometimes more. Here, OLC focuses on one it deems illegitimate. It discards the others, which Marty Lederman helpfully spells out, and which undoubtedly are legitimate. Moreover, public disclosure of important information by Congress can itself be a legislative purpose. It undoubtedly is here.

  31. Eureka says:

    Two completely unrelated fun diversions:

    1- this was from last week but is great if you missed it. Spoiler alert, you will still cringe at the landing even though you know they wouldn’t have posted it if anything bad happened:

    NBC News: “WATCH: 97-year-old US paratrooper veteran Tom Rice, who served with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, recreates his D-Day jump in Normandy 75 years later. (embedded video)”

    2- I got at least a 14– sort of lost count– though most of them I consumed as a Yankee (tho I was officially welcomed down south with the mysteriously-named ‘chicken fried steak’ (and yes, I rudely Yank-ily quizzed our hostess about the name)):

    It’s a Southern Thing: “‘Fess up your score (see list in image) ”

    • P J Evans says:

      Peach cobbler, cornbread, and deviled eggs are pretty much *not* just southern. (I don’t think chicken-fried steak is, either.) They may be more common in the South, but they were part of my childhood in the Bay Area. (As for cornbread mix, “Martha White” isn’t sweetened as much as “Jiffy”. It’s a southern brand, which may make a difference.)

      • Democritus says:

        I would not recommend going to Texas and telling that chicken fried steak isn’t a southern thing. Or insult their brisket😉😊

        And Southern cornbread is NOT sweet. Best with some cheese and jalapeños or Hatch green chili in it😊

        I’m almost afraid to click through because then I’m going to want all the unhealthy of my childhood.

        • P J Evans says:

          I ate enough DQ “Dudes” to miss them. (Not a thing in CA, but DQs aren’t easy to find, either.)

  32. CD54 says:

    Investigative project for lurker journalists:

    Status of NY State charges for Trump/Trump Org.?
    Sympathetic sources? Possibly changes everything.

    [P.S. Could be scooped by Governor’s office.]

  33. DAT says:

    I fear that everyone, including here, is ordering their current strategy to win the last war (with Trump), not the coming one. The part of the ABC interview most bothering to me is him proclaiming, as he has done before, “Everybody does it!” When something bad for him finally happens he’ll cry he’s the victim, sob “It’s rigged! fake news!” and refuse to leave. As any gangster, he’s not going until the “bust out” is complete. This is the richest position he’s ever found himself in (also with the best protection from the Law.) and he’ll not leave it voluntarily, Constitution be damned. He is even now fomenting war to prevent that.
    I think the emails between New York FBI office and R. Giuliani need to be subpoenaed. We need to be gageing the number of his supporters who are ready to put American Citizens in his concentration camps. Anecdotally, we know this has happened. He is a criminal, his election is illegitimate, and everything he has done is therefore illegitimate too.
    One related point, on Pelosi and Impeachment. There is an apocryphal story, that after passage of a progressive law, while it’s backers where congratulating each other, The President turned to them and said, “You’ve got your legislation, now make me inforce it.” I imagine she’s having a similar conversation in her head. I personally believe the situation is too dire to allow that ripening of the moment.

    • Peacerme says:

      Could not agree more. His behavior at the border makes clear that he has no conscience. He’s telling us who he is. He does not care that their babies are dying and being saddled with life long attachment disorders. (Because he has one himself and he believes he’s fine!!)

      He’s hurting innocent people for no valid reason. (Just his ego) We are in grave danger! He will do things that none of us would ever consider. And as the law moves in he will escalate. It’s helpful that he’s not very smart, maybe. However, seeing through him is not helping us to stop his power. He’s using every game he can from the fascist dictator handbook and the bottom line is that with enough fear you can effectively control large countries full of people. It worked. It’s working. And if our elections are not trust worthy (and I don’t believe they are). We could wake up and find ourselves walled in to this country. If Republicans weren’t so far down the rabbit hole I’d be less worried but they may like the idea of a forever senate majority. The water is nearly to boil. I truly fear that if we wait for elections to save us we are in grave trouble.

      We need to loudly protest his illegal and immoral behavior. He is a dangerous man. Harming babies is what he is doing and it violates completely the doctrine of the pro life movement. And they are violating their highest values to support him.

      Putin has tested the American value system here and he has found that we will tolerate this level of control. Like a rapist in bar tests for vulnerability by violating the space of his potential victims to see if they tolerate small invasions of boundaries. (Found by a study watching rapists work a bar, to help police learn how to protect people). Putin is likely the one directing trump in the most heinous of activities around the border. We have not mobilized against it. We are tolerating it. And it’s on us.

      It’s possible I am over reacting but the fact stands. Innocent children are being further harmed by our government. Fact. In a direct and purposeful way. This is the difference between manslaughter and precontemplated murder.

    • Democritus says:

      Totally agree, especially about NY FBI and the ghouliani.

      Your last point demonstrates how much us paying attention are all aware of how much he is violating his oath of office.

  34. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Arguing for an impeachment inquiry “is” today’s battle. It’s the key that opens the door to many of Trump’s vulnerabilities. The information it develops and makes public would inform the electorate about the president it chose – with a lot of Russian help. It would inform needed reform legislation and be a powerful argument for why this president should lose his office at the first opportunity.

    Ms. Pelosi seems determined to avoid building and disclosing that record and using it to establish this president’s illegitimacy. A curiously passive position for her party and her job as Speaker. Trump is already working tirelessly to divide and conquer voters in order to hold office by any means necessary, through a party tenuously gripping to a shrinking minority of voters. Directly and judiciously opposing Trump and all his works is constitutionally, politically, and culturally necessary.

    The apocryphal quote you have in mind is from Andrew Jackson, responding to the Supreme Court’s decision in Worcester v. Georgia. The legal issue was whether Georgia had authority to regulate white intrusions onto tribal lands. The court said, No. Regulation of tribal relations was a matter for the federal, not state, governments. The subtext involved serial encroachments on Indian rights and land in order to profit from them. Jackson was a land speculator and vehemently opposed to Indian rights. He was a principal author of Indian removal, pursued through violent and cruel means. The quote captures Jackson’s disdain for legal restraints on making a buck, which would explain Trump’s affinity for him

    • Democritus says:

      Nice history lesson, well said, and I very much agree. The fight is to get us to impeachment.

      Andrew Jackson was surely the closest we came Trump 1.0; I can see Trump launching the trail of tears. Especially if he thought he could speculate on the land.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Nancy Pelosi is procrastinating. Delaying the inevitable makes it worse. If she is reluctant to “divide us further” now, by documenting Trump’s wrongs in the context of an impeachment inquiry, she will be equally reluctant to permit it at scale during the election.

      If it happens, it will be piecemeal, through individual and local electoral fights. That will blunt the overall message. It will immunize Trump from consequences for his crimes. It will immunize his supporters from the consequences of their support. That is the antithesis of accountability.

      Her game plan seems likely to keep Trump in office, not speed his removal. Rather than make Trump wear an albatross round his neck because of his wrongs, she’s determined to wear it herself.

  35. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Bandy X. Lee, Yale psychiatrist, and others assess the capacity of Donald J. Trump to serve as president, based on the public record documented in Bob Mueller’s report: “Mental Health Analysis of the Special Counsel’s Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.”

    The money quote:

    Given the clear and pervasive, cumulative patterns we have summarized from the Special Counsel’s report of the President’s impaired capacity to make responsible decisions free of impulsivity, recklessness, suspiciousness that leads him to believe that he needs to defend himself against betrayal or persecution, absorption in self-interest that precludes attention to the national interest, inability to weigh consequences before taking action, detachment from reality, creation of chaos and danger, and cognitive and memory difficulties, there is compelling medical evidence that he lacks the capacity to serve as president.


  36. Tom says:

    If President Trump is so unguarded and unthinking when speaking with someone he considers ‘an enemy of the people’, such as George Stephanopoulos, imagine what he’s like when he’s having secret discussions with someone he considers a colleague, such as Vladimir Putin.

  37. harpie says:

    New information on the Census Citizenship Question from Mark Stern at Slate:
    Top Trump Census Official Communicated With GOP Operative About Citizenship Question JUNE 15, 20191:18 AM

    […] On Friday night [6/14/19], however, voting rights advocates released new evidence connecting Hofeller directly to the Census Bureau. The evidence comes from Hofeller’s hard drives, which his daughter gave to a voting rights group after his death. It reveals that Christa Jones, current chief of staff to the bureau’s director, personally communicated with Hofeller, emailing him about the citizenship question in 2015—months before he authored the study explaining how the question would benefit white voters and disadvantage non-white ones. Jones played a key role in the creation of the citizenship question, so these emails seem to disprove the administration’s claims that Hofeller had nothing to do with the manipulation of the census. […]

    • harpie says:

      This is the next paragraph in the article:

      […] Jones and Hofeller’s relationship goes back to at least 2010. That year, Jones—then a civil servant at the Census Bureau—sent Hofeller an email from her private Hotmail account about a Sean Hannity segment. The Fox News host had condemned the bureau for airing an ad during the Super Bowl encouraging everyone to participate in the 2010 census. Jones emailed a transcript of the segment to Hofeller, writing: “They could really hurt the census. What do you think?” The two then discussed whether the ad was a waste of money. It is unclear why Jones, who again was then a civil servant in the Census Bureau, was communicating with Hofeller about bureau affairs from her private account. […]

        • harpie says:

          This is from the Hannity transcript:

          HANNITY: […] But TV spots and billboards aren’t the only weapon the Census Bureau is using to get its message out. Your children are also part of the game plan.
          They are spending $13 billion on a public information effort which includes a program to integrate census-related material in schools. Now according to the chief of the program, quote, “Any child is a good spokesperson.”
          Well, my next guest thinks that all this could be a way to spread propaganda in our school system. She is the author of the number one New York Times bestseller, “Culture of Corruption.” Michelle Malkin is back. […]
          MALKIN: […] Well, look, the kind of people who are in charge of this are writing curriculum material. The program is called Census in Schools. And if you look at the Web site where much of this is already posted, you’ll see they want to teach about the census, not just the plain history of it. Not just the fact that it’s a constitutional mandate.
          But they put it in the cultural context. And you’re talking about people who are trained in Alinsky-ite methods who see themselves as social justice activists.
          And that’s exactly how they see these kids.
          And remember that the census has to be seen in a completely politically context. The Democrat Party has long seen the census as a way to ensure a permanent ruling majority. They are the ones that want to count illegal aliens. […]

          When Christa Jones wrote to Hofeller saying:
          “They could really hurt the census. What do you think?”
          …what did “they” refer to?
          The ads, or Hannity/Malkin?

          • Democritus says:

            Jesus, They see absolutely everything through a partisan lease. The idea of informing school children as a way of informing adults is not anything new.

            The reason the right hates this concept is the RW peddles hate, and not all kids are already indoctrinated and god forbid one of those non haters teach THEIR child not to hate based on race, sex, etc. I became anti racist REALLY young, like elementary school I would argue with my teachers and good god no wonder I have issues with authority. They were not generally amused, at least not in the South.

          • P J Evans says:

            Hannity doesn’t know much about the census, if he thinks it’s only supposed to count citizens. It’s required by the Constitution he doesn’t seem to have read to count everyone (“persons”). If they’d meant only citizens, they’d have written it that way. (It counted all the free persons, slaves as 3/5 of a person, and all the Indians who were taxed. Article I, section 2.)

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Not everyone is as willfully ignorant as Donald Trump.

              Hannity and his peers, for example, admit to knowing what is useful to them. They ignore what is not. That is not the same as his not knowing something in the first place.

        • harpie says:

          Is it just me, or does it seem weird that the transcript would be updated 5 years after it is first published?
          There are a couple of mentions of 2015 in today’s Slate article.

    • bmaz says:

      I have no recollection of any of my comments being deleted, and see no evidence that one was. Am familiar with Bandy Lee et. al’s work though. I have mixed emotions on it….think they are likely right in most regards, but also not totally comfortable with professional doing that kind of analysis on somebody they do not know as a patient.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Regarding Lee’s work, she distinguishes diagnosis from a functional assessment of fitness for a specific purpose. That is, the mental capacity to perform discrete tasks.

        Diagnosis requires direct patient examination and assessment for the purposes of determining a treatment regimen for that patient. Assessments of mental capacity are functional. They rely on examination of an individual’s observed behavior and assess it relative to the traits regarded as necessary to perform specific tasks or responsibilities. Its purpose is to assess fitness for duty or task, not patient treatment.

        In the matter of Trump, Lee and her colleagues assessed the well-documented behavior in the Mueller report.

        • bmaz says:

          Heh, “It is a functional, not a diagnostic, assessment”. Right. Un huh. Sure still looks like diagnosis and analysis at a distance to me. But as I said above, it is hard not to see what they are reporting and how they are analyzing it.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Business and the military use functional analysis all the time to fit person to project without ever seeing the individual. But, yea, when Trump’s behavior is presented the way Lee and her co-authors have – through the lens of the Mueller report – it’s hard not to see Trump’s unfitness for any purpose.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Lee explains the distinction more fully in her report (cited above):

        Mental capacity refers to the mental soundness that is necessary to fulfill a task and is a fundamental and necessary component of fitness for duty. It is a functional, not a diagnostic, assessment, focused less on the President’s personal mental health than on his capacity to fulfill the duties of his office as observed by co-workers and close associates. The information in the Special Counsel’s report, deriving from multiple sources under sworn testimony, yields an assessment with uncommonly high confidence.

        We found evidence in the report of:

        1. Compromises in comprehension, or inability to take in critical information and advice;
        2. Faulty information processing, in the form of mendacity, rigidity, self-occupied notions of “fairness,” and poor memory;
        3. Interferences to sound decision making, including loss of impulse control, recklessness, and inability to consider consequences; and
        4. Proneness to placing himself and others in danger, including encouraging, recommending, or inciting violence on the part of his followers.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Pretty sure that would not compensate for everything else he would be doing were he still in charge of the FBI.

      • Willis Warren says:

        yeah, he was a massive dick, but he also genuinely suspected that MLK jr was taking money from the Russians. And, they’re still running the same playbook of fanning the race flames. They hated him so much they made up stories about him being a drag queen. Weird stuff.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Hoover famously believed lots of ordinary people were on the Russian payroll, or that it was useful to him to formally to suspect them of being on it. Doesn’t make his suspicions any more legitimate than Trump’s frustrations with the Mueller investigation. He was also a famed racist, a perspective that tainted the FBI for decades.

    • P J Evans says:

      You really ought to find out just what he really did. He’d be right in with Tr*mp on treatment of minorities, LGBTQs, and women.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        We know quite a bit about what Hoover did. But you’re right, there’s a lot we’ll never know, owing to Tolson having destroyed so many files.

  38. Robin Harper says:

    First of all, I’d like to thank the folks at emptywheel, I’ve learned so much reading here, and reading the comments. I feel much better informed, something that I believe is critical in these trying times.

    I have a question for the experts here: Will Pelosi finally realize that impeachment is the very move that needs to be made, and now; or will she continue to insist on ‘investigations’, do nothing, and allow any advantage the Democrat party might have had slip away?

    I’m so frustrated by the inaction of the Dems, and what I perceive as Pelosi’s total lack of real leadership (she’s playing ‘politics as usual’ while we’re in the Twilight Zone!) It seems to me that the longer the Dems do nothing, the weaker they will appear, which can only hurt election chances in 2020. After what Trump said in that interview, how can Pelosi sit back and do nothing? Just start the proceedings to prove that the Democrats will no longer allow this president to get by with his illegal activities. The proceedings will expose more of his actions to the public than any of the investigations going on in committees right now. (Well, that’s my opinion, anyway!)

    • dude says:

      I am an occasional commenter here and not a legal eagle, but my two cents is this: Pelosi has now said she is waiting for consensus to build in the Democratic House–the majority of the 235 have to want to impeach before she is will forward. Pelosi is old school. She is a bean-counter, not particularly principled. I don’t think she cares that much about what the Senate will do (despite having early on used this excuse). This approach has some advantages for her. If something finally does outrage her, or obviously outrages the country to include Trump’s base (say, Trump orders shooting immigrants instead of rounding them up), Pelosi can find Jesus, proclaim she has principles, claim she can be patient with process no longer, and move on impeachment. She will be out of office before anyone goes back to criticize her pre-impeachment performance. They will be too consumed with actual impeachment operations to care for about a year. And I think she and Biden are a team–maybe not formally, but they rely on the the same playbook. And while I am pontificating, I say part of the playbook is to separate themselves from anything that might suggest “socialist tendencies”–which means (to me) that they prefer ambiguous principles to clearly-stated ones at every turn.

    • alfredlordbleep says:

      1 Impeachment but no conviction
      2 House democrats pass their best policy but to McConnell death
      2a ballot security etc

      Both fates are locked to current Senate control.
      So 1 and 2 should/can/will result in mutually re-enforcing publicity.


      • bmaz says:

        Hi there. Why the hell are you talking about “impeachment” in the frame of opening an inquiry is tantamount to voting out articles and a Senate trial that fails to get a “conviction”?

        You have made five comments here, including today. Are you here trolling, or did you just parachute in without having read anything for months?

        Opening an inquiry does not have squat to do with “no conviction”, it is about investigative powers. And I am getting really sick of parachute people that drop in to pitch baloney to the contrary. You sure you want to play here?

          • Robin Harper says:

            I believe bmaz’s comment was directed at me, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t remember commenting here before. I do comment on other forums, so, it’s very possible. I thought I was asking a legitimate question, of persons I believe have more experience regarding politics than I do. Apparently my question wasn’t welcome, even offensive.

            I won’t be asking any more questions, nor making any other comments. Apparently not everyone is welcome to do so here.

            • bmaz says:

              Robin Harper, no, I was not talking to you. If I had been, I would have said so.

              I responded to “Alfredlordbleep” who was below “Dude”. How you could take that as a response to you, who I actually agreed with, is beyond me. I was actually the person that made sure your comment was posted.

              I hope you do continue to not only read here, but comment as well.

          • P J Evans says:

            I think he was talking to alfredlordbleep – if he’d meant you, it would be a level higher in the nesting.

            • Robin Harper says:

              Thanks, PJ, I realize that now, and to be honest, I’m embarrassed for making that mistake!

  39. Sharksbreath says:

    I know there is no bottom to Trump and the Republican party.

    Unfortunately I know there is no bottom for the bitchassness that resides in the Democratic party.

    • bmaz says:

      So, what does “bitchassness” mean? And what is “your” solution? Otherwise you are just blowing shit. Welcome to Emptywheel. Try to do better than “bitchassness” if you deign to return.

  40. e.a.f. says:

    help from a foreign entity? Wonder if shooting and killing the opposition will be enough for Trump? It does seem the next step given his record to date. (some may think the statement extreme, but have a look at trump’s record and how dictators come to office)

    We’ve read the Mueller report, in parts, he’s asked on t.v. for assistance. It makes one wonder where will he stop. He gives the impression all of this is O.K., its research. I’ve never heard the leader of a western democratic country say the things Trump did during the interview. I wasn’t surprised because it was Trump and at one level I know there is nothing too corrupt for that man to do to hang onto his presidency, but still you do think he’d be smart enough not to say it on t.v.

    While hundreds of thousands of people march in Hong Kong for democracy, the U.S.A. has an idiot who would like to turn the U.S.A. into a Russian or Chinese style government.

    there is the question, where are all those law biding Republicans? Where will the voters be in 2020? Dictators some times come to office/power because the citizens give them the power.

    Trump’s statement regarding “assistance” from foreign entities reminded me of Duterte when he became Pres. and “suggested” how to rid the country of drug dealers. We know how that turned out. Where does the line get drawn? where does assistance turn into corruption, murder, theft, etc.

    Wonder how Trump would feel if some one decided to “assist” the Democrats and bring every thing out on the table they know about him? He seems to think this only works one way. Mitch McConnell must have more than one “secret” in his closet. it might be of assistance to the Democrats if information were produced to knock him out of the race. How would trump feel about that. My impression is that he is so tied up with himself, he doesn’t even think others might do this to him and his Republican supporters.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Undoubtedly, Trump would tell the DoJ to throw the full weight of the law against Democrats, were they to be ably abetted by, say, Canadian, German, Japanese, and French intelligence services in their 2020 election efforts.

      In addition to election law crimes, he would probably invent a reason to charge the Dems with espionage and criticism of der Leader, which carries the same penalty as inadvertently parenting a four-year old shoplifter while being pregnant.

      But it’s not news that hypocrisy is a defining characteristic of both Trump and the GOP. His abuse of the legal process against political opponents is another reason to inquire into the case for impeachment of Donald Trump.

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