The Press Cannot Let Trump Pretend He Gives a Shit about Corruption

I’ve been on an epic road trip with June Bug the Terrorist Foster Dog and my brother (and will be for another week or so); right now I’m sitting in bmaz’s house with JB. So I haven’t followed the story about Trump’s effort to get Ukraine to invent dirt on Joe Biden as closely as I otherwise might have. But one thing is crystal clear: the press is giving Trump way too much room to claim his actions were driven by a concern about corruption, which is how Trump has been trying to justify this rather than deny it.

It’s very important to talk about corruption. If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?…It’s very important that on occasion you speak to somebody about corruption.

Every single report about this should start with a list of things Trump is doing to cover up his own corruption, starting with his numerous lawsuits to try to prevent anyone from reviewing his tax returns and his systematic effort to profit from the presidency.

If Trump claims it’s important to “speak to somebody about corruption,” that conversation should start with full transparency on his own corruption, and there should be no focus on his allegations about Hunter Biden until he has come clean.

131 replies
    • BobCon says:

      As far as I can tell, Pelosi has no clue about how to use an inquiry to make a case. She’ll hold a couple of perfunctory hearings then rush to get a vote in October on a couple of vague charges and wring her hands when nobody cares.

      Devin Nunes is better at this stuff than she is.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I don’t think Ms. Pelosi’s refusal to allow an impeachment inquiry to begin is about ignorance. She is very experienced and knowledgeable. What she doesn’t know, she has all the resources of the House to find out.

        She is very good at messaging and is following an explicit strategy. She is sending the message she wants to send.

        We’re seeing only one outcome of that. But from the outside, it has all the earmarks of her aiming squarely at the feet of all Democrats and hitting her target.

        • Anne says:

          Nancy is playing good cop.

          She’s having some Democrats play bad cop while protecting the ones who for electoral reasons can’t afford to.

          And she’s looking “fair and balanced” to 2nd Amendment voters who haven’t seen anything disgusting in Trump’s conduct. Yet.

          Until the moment arrives when the scriptwriter has the good cop saying “I’m sorry, sir, but given the evidence we really could charge you and win the case. So, … maybe we could talk about making a deal.”

          • bmaz says:

            Pelosi is NOT playing “good cop”,she is playing pathetic, duplicitous, and betraying of Constitutional and moral duties and oath of office cop. Pelosi is straight up pathetic.

            • dude says:

              Pelosi is doing what Democrats do. There is no good thing that Democrats cannot screw up. The tradition continues. It is infuriating.

            • thomaspaine says:

              It is plain to me that Pelosi’s actions are more about math and whip count, then passion or adherence to the rule of law. I don’t think she has 218 votes on the House floor for either a formal Impeachment Inquiry authorization or for passing Articles of Impeachment.

              I wish people would understand that if they persuade THEIR OWN Congressman of the need to do rein in Trump, Pelosi will not stop a majority of her caucus voting affirmatively on both of these matters. I expect that she will attempt a Trump Censure vote on the Ukraine affair to judge the “temperature” of her caucus. Pelosi is not the problem, she is the victim of too many moderates who want to avoid a hard decision.

            • sherry says:

              I could’t disagree more. Pelosi is playing the long game…i believe Ukraine just changed the game and she will do the right thing. She recognizes the majority of Americans ,even Dems, have NOT been in favor of impeachment, that there are a fair number of Dems who just came in to office who represent more conservative districts and she is trying to protect them. She recognizes that losing the only branch of govt we have could have catastrophic consequences to this country. She also recognizes that Ukraine changes those calculations.

              • bmaz says:

                What a crock of horse manure. She has been derelict to her oath of office for most of the year.

                “Playing the long game”. Can you please identify where in the Constitution the clause instructing the House of Representatives to protect and defend the Constitution only when it is convenient for them is contained?

          • Mainmata says:

            There are no Democrats playing bad cop. The penalty for blowing off a Congressional subpoena is Contempt of Congress and prosecution not tsk-tsk letters, which the Trumpers just laugh at. Obviously, the criminal DoJ is not going to prosecute anyone, least of all Trump’s henchmen so Congress will need to order the arrest and financial penalties themselves. Last time this needed to be done was 1935 but the point is that it’s legal and the Dems should be doing this damnit.

            • bmaz says:

              But you can file it in court and then ask for the court to appoint a special prosecutor as the DOJ will not enforce clear law. But it takes guts to do that. And you have to be aggressive. Nadler and House Dems have neither characteristic. And everything would be accelerated if it were being done under a formal inquiry. But you know that because you have been reading here a long time.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The idea that Ms. Pelosi is playing FDR and waiting for Democrats to make her do what she and they already want to do seems far-fetched.

          She is actively fighting her progressive wing because she disagrees with what they want. She refuses to distinguish between an impeachment inquiry and Senate trial. She refuses to acknowledge any purpose to a trial beyond removing the president. Both are evidence of that.

          Ms. Pelosi can mold public opinion better than anyone. She can pressure her rightwing with the same tools she uses to pressure her young turks. Her excuse that Republican opinion prevents her from conducting an inquiry is insincere and insults her own party and the country.

        • NorskieFlamethrower says:

          Pelosi is NOT playin’ 3 dimensional politics, she is desparately tryin’ to protect the very compromised neo-liberal minority in her caucus many of whom are in leadership. We might as well wait for Godot as wait for Pelosi to have any political courage. The Democratic Party is finished if she doesn’t lead the charge.

          • BobCon says:

            I would definitely not put the fate of the Democrats in Pelosi’s hands. What is going to happen is that win or lose, she is going to find herself going down in history like Paul Ryan or Tom Foley, a speaker who wasted away an incredibly powerful position and found the world leaving them behind, with the institution of the House decidely weaker as a result.

            • NorskieFlamethrower says:

              I will say it again: If she does not call for a formal impeachment process, the Democratic Party, whose leadership is (and has been for 29 years) in line with the Republican Party on everything from healthcare though gun control, will split with the majority of the base and most of the house caucus leaving the party. This has always been a crisis for Democrats.

              • BobCon says:

                What happens if the Democrats nominate someone who has been calling for impeachment for months?

                The party will follow the lead of the nominee and Pelosi will find herself marginalized.

                • NorskieFlamethrower says:

                  Oh dear me, don’t you understand that even if there were to be an election absent even an unsuccessful impeachment, it won’t matter who is nominated all the folks who didn’t vote because they didn’t see an dime’s worth of difference last time won’t vote and most of the newly energized voters who have expanded the base of the party will not vote for a Democrat. Further, I firmly believe that absent an impeachment vote, there is nothing to stop this administration with the acquiescence of the SCOTUS from a declaration of national emergency and killing the election. Wake up, we have been in a constitutional crisis since election night 2018 and it is the Democratic Party that right now has the only tools to stop it.

                  • NorskieFlamethrower says:

                    This is a revolutionary moment for our system. The elected political leadership of both parties with the financial support of the oligarchies of Russia and the US is openly at war with the vast majority of the people. This should not be lost on anyone even football fans.

                  • BeingThere says:

                    A word to those still playing politics, it’s time to put it aside and realize the constitutional crisis. If there’s not an impeachment there won’t be any politics left when the Constitution is thrown out.
                    Watch for state governor elections and the end run with a convention of the states where the Rs make that Constitution change.

                    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

                      Thanx, a lot more concise than I was in tryin’ to get some of these folks to believe their lyin’ eyes.

        • BobCon says:

          She completely misjudged Trump. She assumed that he would contain himself if the Democrats didn’t push him too hard, and there would be no imperative to impeach.

          Trump has predictably read her inaction as an incitement for increasing lawbreaking instead. And Pelosi has failed to realize that events aren’t going to stay still for her. He will get even worse, calculating that the ticking clock will make it harder and harder for her to react.

          Which means that she is going to be backed into a corner completely unprepared and with the clock running out. She has not hired the staff or structured the hearing rules necessary to move quickly. She’ll launch some kind of half hearted series of hearings that create a minimal splash and allow Trump to claim the low level of buzz is equal to exoneration.

          Instead of putting pressure on the GOP with a long series of revelations, she’ll trot out a few weak sounding charges.

          Impeaching Trump will require a long, steady, escalating drum beat. Not impeaching Trump will require him controlling his worst impulses and allowing Pelosi to act like he doesn’t really deserve it.

          She’s going to get neither one, and it is all because she has no idea what to do when the enemy doesn’t follow her script.

          • Americana says:

            You thought Trump would restrain himself if the Democrats didn’t push him too hard? Trump was always going to do what he was going to do so long as it would involve self-aggrandizement for him and so long as he could keep those self-enrichment efforts somewhat hidden from public knowledge so they could be brought along to the point where Trump was able to bring them to fruition without being caught and getting into ethical or legal trouble.

            Pelosi wants a guaranteed result. It’s not going to necessarily be clear before we’re well into the impeachment process what the likelihood will be of success or failure. But the risk is worth it. If nothing else, exposing Trump’s crimes in extensive public detail that cannot be ignored or recast in Trump’s favor by Republicans will be beneficial.

            Trump’s plans for Israel after all his gifts of U.S. policy might have just been effed up by Binyamin Netanyahu not being reelected w/a clear majority so he’s forced into a subordinate position. Netanyahu, of course, had said he would annex the Jordan River Valley and a northern part of the Dead Sea shore, a plan which Benny Gantz is unlikely to endorse. Trump’s plans for Israel are still hanging fire (not for want of trying) but here are articles laying out prior plans which make his present plans suspect:





              • bmaz says:

                Americana relentlessly thinks he/she is in other people’s heads and can, like Kreskin, magically divine what they are thinking. It is ridiculous.

              • Americana says:

                True, I misstated your sentence:

                BobCon says:
                September 23, 2019 at 2:52 pm
                “She completely misjudged Trump. She assumed that he would contain himself if the Democrats didn’t push him too hard, and there would be no imperative to impeach.”


                Why isn’t bmaz criticizing you for being in Pelosi’s head? That’s what I get dinged for constantly.

                For what it’s worth, I don’t believe that was Pelosi’s thinking behind her reluctance to impeach Trump. But we’ll all have our worth as diviners proven (or not) within a year at most.

                • bmaz says:

                  Because BobCon does not make speculation in the truly dopey frames you do. That is why. Few, if any, here do such in anywhere near the way you do.

          • Mooser says:

            I wonder if it occurs to Ms. Pelosi that by not impeaching she gives a lot of credence to both-siderism? That Trump is only doing what the Dems would do if they were in power. That is not a good look or a practical plan.

          • Sonsony says:

            I had resisted vilifying Pelosi for many moons; sat next to her years ago and had a satisfying conversation. But your summary is entirely correct, and I am truly saddened by her inability to see the zeitgeist. I suspect AOC will make an excellent speaker.

            • Vicks says:

              The ONLY thing I can think of as an upside, is that when Pelosi finally gives the nod it will be because Trump “forced her” to.
              She held back the wolves and directed the committees to do everything by the book. They used and exhausted every channel available under our constitution to get the answers they needed and had a legal right to and were blocked by Trump’s helpers every step of the way, blah blah blah
              This whistle blower cover-up implicates not just trump but the vice president and several key staff members and his personal attorney.
              Playing along and waiting to see how the various courts are going to weigh in on this one is not an option when the topic of the cover up is labeled “urgent”
              Time to “Protect This House”

        • P J Evans says:

          You and he are wrong. But she does need to get on board with impeachment, and she should have done it months ago.

    • Yette says:

      Whatever your thoughts on Pelosi’s end game, one thing is for sure, a portion of voters in 2018 helped sweep Democrats into The House based on a disgust with what Trump is doing to the country. That portion of the vote may not be very energized next time around, particularly if the Ds select the current front runner. My guess, Nancy Pelosi will be 100% all in on impeachment the day after the next presidential election. At that point, her grip on power could be fading and the arguement on her approach to impeachment will be settled.

      • Ruthie says:

        I just read Ryan Grim’s newsletter email in which he mentions a WaPo op-ed written by several newly-elected Dems who had previously been among the most recalcitrant on the question of impeachment – calling for impeachment. Obviously I’m catching up on comments – this could have been mentioned below hours ago.

        Grim suggests that when the House begins its next session Tuesday at 6:30, reporters will be laying in wait for Dem reps in particular to see if the dam starts to break. I certainly hope so. Pelosi can’t hold this back single handedly. She may find herself following rather than leading her caucus.

  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    The tax returns case and the Ukraine shit are two sides of the same coin. Individual-1’s business is secrets and lies. He makes deals (and commits crimes) to protect his own secrets and tell lies about himself; he makes deals (and commits crimes) to discover other people’s dirt and to fabricate lies about them. One of his stock threats to his political enemies is “I have something on you.”

  2. klynn says:

    Hope your road trip is filled with comfort, care and memories.

    Re Trump and his corruption trumpeting…

    We should crowdsource a list with links to documentation (NYTs Beutler has started a great list as you tweeted)

    Once the list is complete, crowdsource a full page ad in WaPo and run the list.

    Call it the “Come Clean” campaign.

  3. P J Evans says:

    Anything he accuses others of doing is something he’s doing himself, no matter what those others are (or more like are not) doing.
    I don’t know what Nancy’s waiting for, but she’s already six months late on getting things moving.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Tapper pointed out to Secretary Mnuchin that everything that could be said about Biden’s son could also be said (and more) about Ivanka, Don Jr and Eric. Of course Mnuchin said that was a completely different set of circumstances as if that helped his case.

      Today we have Giuliani confirming his mission wasn’t all that noble.

      If this continues in spite of the NYT’s attempts to normalize this behavior Pelosi’s hand will be forced by events. Maybe that is the idea, so Pelosi could claim she had no choice and everyone (outside of the Deplorables) can see why she had no choice.

  4. Jonf says:

    The democrats also need to respond in kind all the time. When Trump or Rudy says something is not a crime, someone should get on the air right away. Trump tweets about fake news someone tell he is the fake. We cannot allow him to control all the media. If we do, the narrative will shift to him.

    And when will the Dems declare an impeachment inquiry?

  5. orionATL says:

    emptywheel –

    this is precisely right, an acute, crucial criticism. the media, electronic media very importantly, simply do not strongly and persistently present information that opposes trump’s conduct, or one of trump’s feints at rationalization, i.e., “common on! what’s wrong with this?”. nor do they strongly and persistently report over time opposing critical information on any one particular trump misconduct. thus the issue drops and trump behavior becomes “acceptable”.

    what i have observed is that the media are in the lazy habit of publishing information about a public figure’s misconduct and then waiting around expecting that individual to behave contritely, even on occasion to resign. donald trump is not into contrition, only into psuedo public confessions which, perversely, serve to make his misconduct appear reasonable or acceptable, e.g., of serious tax avoidance: ” yes. that makes me smart.”).

    we have seen this recently with the blackface, brownface game, in which virginia and canadian politicians fail to cavein to public pressure, exposing the media’s fundamental impotence when all t
    itbis willing to do is embarrass-and-move-on.

  6. Frank Probst says:

    The WaPo is showing some signs of actual journalism here. They have a long way to go, but here, after every bullshit Republican claim, they state that either there’s no evidence that the claim is true, or they say that the claim has already been investigated and no wrongdoing was found. They also point out that the Republicans are providing no additional evidence that anything they’re saying is true. And after Trump asks if anyone believes that Joe Biden and Hunter Biden didn’t talk about the Ukraine, they point out that Trump claims (still) that he never discussed the Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr. Baby steps, I suppose.

    (Rayne, you may need to delete part of the web address here. I tried to do it myself, but I got a 404 not found message, so I obviously haven’t learned how to do this yet. Apologies for my boneheadedness.)

  7. vicks says:

    Dems and the media are not just allowing, but assisting Trump and his helpers to reframe the argument.
    IMHO rather than a long list that assumes the reader is familiar with each incidence, I think a single page created for visual impact of Trump’s conduct, described in words the average American understands sorted and then listed under their appropriate category; obstruction of justice, abuse of power, campaign violations, emoluments, threats to our national security, slander etc. would have more of an impact.
    Now i’m getting greedy but maybe a key that refers to more information on the incident and
    an explanation of each type of
    crime and the harm it can cause.
    I would also generously describe the activities that are not crimes and why they still should be of concern

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump has hidden his business practices his entire life. He hides everything: his wealth; his finances; how much he cheats his partners and suppliers, his customers and his wives, and most of all, the government. It is fundamental to the fantasy world he invents to make himself feel safe and successful.

    Taxes are for chumps. Honesty is a vulnerability you beat your spouse or the other guy over the head with. No doubt, his taxes would reveal serial fraud and abuse. The same is probably true of all his conduct, whether as property developer or president.

    That is not a controversial description, it is something Trump brags about. He epitomizes the need for Maya Angelou’s caution: “When somebody shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

    As EW says, journalism that does not provide that context is not journalism. Reporting that gives Trump a good faith benefit of the doubt is not reporting.

  9. Fran of the North says:

    The MSM’s primary challenge is that they credulously report on and repeat anything that POTUS says with very little analysis or level-stetting.

    The fact that any outlet is even mentioning that Trump is considering the release of the transcript, without immediately referencing how the release of the tax returns went is journalistic malpractice.

    • Vicks says:

      The entire argument around whether or not he will release the transcripts proves my point that Trump has groomed his opposition the same way he has groomed his followers.
      Who the hell said that the whistleblower was even blowing his/her whistle about a single phone conversation where Trump pressed investigating Biden 8 times?
      Have we not established that these are rat-fuckers?
      If people want to make sure this whistle blower complaint NEVER get to congress, all they have to do is keep fighting over the bone the Trump team threw to them.
      They have Trump right where they want him, they need to put down the g.d red herring and go after a crime so simple every American can understand it and so outrageous that it should be next to impossible to defend.

  10. Savage Librarian says:

    Hmm. I wonder where the Trumps and Pences are stashing their Ark. Looks like the torrential rain of public exposure has begun. Do you think the GOP and WH have enough tiny fingers to plug all the holes that keep popping up in their “damn?” From where I sit, it sure doesn’t look like it. So, will it be 40 days and 40 nights before we know the outcome? Or is this a flash flood of the pressure washing come-clean nature?

  11. Rugger9 says:

    The worse this gets for the Administration the more likely that another distraction will be created, including the big one of war, targeting Iran.

    We have the Ukraine story distracting from the financial scandals (note that a judge ordered a video deposition in New York last week) which are also not going away.

  12. dwfreeman says:

    As the latest Trump-Ukraine corruption case moves forward, the whistleblower aspect of it really becomes yet another legal tug-of-war in which Trump outlasts impeachment threats and fumbled challenges by House Democrats as they seek to somehow make any dent in WH and Justice Department wall of obstruction.

    Yes, the Democrats are completely on the right side of this case, and this seems like a last-straw abuse of power violation but one Trump will again survive by somehow managing to moralize and normalize criminal behavior through his typical office grief cycle of response.

    You know, moving from whitewashed denial, to limited hangout to complete admission of illicit conduct with the unspoken implicit acknowledgement of support from his cronies and administration backers, in which the price of loyalty is certain silence. This silence is already pricetagged on the clearance shelves of political conservancy by House Pelosi as an impenetrable concession.

    Watch out, Nancy claims the Democrats might do something really provocative and “escalate” their political response. Really? Whoooh!!! What the Fuck, does that even mean?

    You know Adam Schiff talks a great game, and sounds like the best general the Democrats got in their ongoing listless rock fight, but nothing he nor other Democratic committee leaders have done in seeking to lay waste to Trump’s presidency has done anything to halt his criminal behavior in office. While he does almost nothing but act like some country club president who decides who gets club membership in our country while following an ingrained GOP agenda of the one percent against the world, while his base pretends in entertaining delight especially at his hideous rallies that his tired banter and routine is somehow vigorously emotionally transforming for them regardless of its mindless devastation, just as the rest of the nation cringes in contemptuous frustration.

    We can’t indict, Democrats can’t compel witnesses or documents against him, they can’t hold meaningful hearings, they can’t enforce subpoenas, they can’t or won’t impeach, and they can’t make lawsuits or the courts act soon enough which only emboldens Trump and a complicit GOP in running out the clock. It’s like watching Army v. Michigan.

    I mean Trump and Giuliani have admitted collusion in seeking to coerce Ukraine’s top leadership in pursuing a corruption case against Hunter Biden to somehow discredit his father, Joe Biden, and implicate him in wrongdoing while vice president in 2016. The GOP has a limited corruption agenda when it comes to investigating the Democrats, they go after Obama administration officials on their golden oldie playlist, Hillary private server emails and Hunter Biden getting paid $50k a month sitting on a board of some oil firm. (I know this just sounds bad for the son of the front-running Democrat in 2020 US election).

    But just like Democrats can’t lay a glove on Trump, the Republicans haven’t made one of their phony, Fox-imbibed corruption charges against the Democrats in any form stick since Obama left office. In fact, the point is maybe Nancy’s calculus is correct, if you go all in and swing-and-miss against Trump, why not just wait for voters to issue their own verdict on Trump.

    But that’s like playing into the opposition gameplan and acting like winning in OT is a political given even while Rome burns daily all around you. Pelosi better call a Hail Mary and show some political backbone, or she won’t be leading anything in 2020 worth keeping in her party.

  13. Frank Probst says:

    Right now, it looks like many of the talking heads on TV are saying that this is different from all of the other things that were different before this. There are some eyebrow-raisers, though. Bill Weld (former governor of Massachusetts and current GOP Presidential candidate) bluntly called this “treason” this morning. (It isn’t, but I’ll let @bmaz handle the explanation of why Weld is wrong here.) I’m also hearing a lot of “If this isn’t impeachable, then nothing is.” (That’s hyperbole, too, but I’m fine if everybody wants to believe it.)

    My sense right now is that many of the Dems are still pretty skittish about impeachment but are waiting to see how this plays out this week. Thursday’s hearing with Maguire is looking like a theoretical “deadline” for the Dems to decide what to do. My guess there is that that’ll end in an impasse, and the Dems will hold Maguire in contempt-of-Congress and/or subpoena the IC IG’s report, both of which will be ignored by the current DOJ and then tied up in court for years.

    The big thing that can move us toward impeachment right now are Trump and Giuliani themselves. Neither of them can seem to make it through more than a few perfunctory comments before saying something that’s even more incriminating than everything else they’ve said already. Both of them are going to want to preen about Trump’s meeting with the Ukrainian President on Wednesday, and this whole kerfuffle will obviously come up and pre and post-meeting interviews.

    The Ukrainian President himself will probably only make generic comments about the meeting, but it’s worth noting that he’s a political newcomer, with a previous career as a comedian and television actor who starred in a show about a teacher who went off on an anticorruption rant and wound up becoming the President. (You just can’t make this shit up.) He might slip up, though, especially if he gets stuck taking questions in some sort of joint press conference with Trump. My guess is that the Ukraine won’t let a press conference like that happen. The Ukrainian President will probably meet with Trump and then run like hell. He’s in a lose-lose situation. If he continues to cave to Trump’s pressure, then he’ll be seen as a hypocrite who’s just as corrupt as everyone else has been. If he refuses to play ball, on the other hand, he’s not going to get the money he needs to defend the Ukraine from Russia. He’s only a few months into his term, and his stuck in this shit show with no good moves.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Even if Ukraine’s president wanted to disclose the transcripts of his talks with Trump, Pence, and Giuliani, his primary duty is to protect Ukraine. The US is a pit bull when it doesn’t get what it wants, Trump has over a year left in office, and the Russians are occasionally shooting things on his border.

      • Mainmata says:

        Quite aside from Trump’s vicious motivation of decapitating a Biden presidential candidacy, I’m pretty sure Putin had an earlier conversation with Trump about holding up US military assistance to Ukraine in order to make it easier for Russia to prevail in eastern Ukraine. So Trump’s “concern” over Ukrainian corruption, given his entire career of massive corruption was probably just a two-fer: smacking Biden and weakening Ukraine.

  14. Frank Probst says:

    BTW, could somebody PLEASE ask Giuliani who was paying his expenses while he was running around the Ukraine trying to invent dirt on the Bidens? Who paid for the flight? Who paid for the housing, which was presumably in hotels? Who paid for his meals? Did he pay for it all himself, or did Trump pick up the tab, or is there some third party who’s funding all of this?

    • D. F. Baum says:

      Excellent point.. follow the money. Along the same lines, Media please ask why, If Giuliani is working at Trump’s behest as personal lawyer, why is he checking into matters of State? If there was any basis for corruption with Bidens re: Ukraine, isn’t that something that would be looked into on a government level? Is it too simplistic to equate personal lawyer with personal interest?

    • timbo says:

      That’s an excellent point. In all things, the best thing to do is just ask RG. He’s so good at spilling, it’s amazing that he’s still around. But, of course, if spilling doesn’t matter, if the law doesn’t matter any more then it’s all moot…

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Another thing the MSM should stop doing is reflexively calling Trump the Commander-in-Chief.

    The Constitution makes the president ex-officio the political head of the US military. That reflects the framer’s choice that civilians be in charge of the military, an arrangement reinforced by the expectation that military personnel, when in uniform, behave in an apolitical fashion.

    The president is not the C-in-C of the government, let alone is he C-in-C of the American people.

    The press seems to forget that. It uses the title as a synonym for his other authority, to reinforce his status and power, to excuse its deference to him, and to cover for its practice of giving him a good faith benefit of the doubt, even when he has repeatedly demonstrated he does not deserve it. Time to stop. Time to use the phrase correctly, when reporting on military, not political, matters.

    • Tom says:

      And be prepared to ask tough questions and follow up with more when your guest tries to dodge giving an answer. Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” sometimes comes across more as Betty Crocker than a journalist.

  16. viget says:

    Did something Very Bad happen today? Because I’m not liking Asha Rangappa’s latest tweet “democracy was fun” with a picture of a sad Kermit looking out on a rainy day.

    Not saying things aren’t looking grim, but there’s still gotta be a chance we get out of this mess?

    Plus if it’s as bad as all that, then damn the torpedoes, we might as well lay it all on the table now and start impeachment. What else is there to lose?

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      Without impeachment there is nothing of value left and nobody worth voting for in 2020. I live in a red state so contacting my representative is useless – he won’t even make a token answer any more. So I did what I could by e-mailing the Speaker and the DNC with the same message: impeach or I am boycotting the 2020 elections.

      • Tom says:

        Respectfully disagreeing, Venerable Tulsa Dude, I think the best message to send in 2020 is to get out and vote, and to start planning now how to do it. I’ve heard a lot about the GOP voter suppression schemes across the country so anyone who is lacking in any required ID should get it now and be prepared to present it at the polling stations if asked. Ditto to finding out where to go to vote, if that information is available now, and arranging transportation if needed. Canvass your family, friends, and neighbourhood to ensure everyone who wants to dump Trump has a ride and can cast their ballot. If necessary, chip in to rent a passenger van–preferably blue–for the day and set up a shuttle service to get folks to and from home and the polling station. Know who to call if you start facing obstacles simply trying to vote. No doubt there are other steps to take but the most important one is to VOTE!

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Dearest Dude,

        Please reconsider you boycott. Too many people did that in the last Presidential election and look what we got. Pinch your nose and vote.

        • OldTulsaDude says:

          Dear Molly,

          Instead of admonishing me for taking a principled stand, why don’t you ask Nancy Pelosi why she won’t perform her constitutional duty? Better yet, why don’t you do the same and tell her what I told her?

          • timbo says:

            So you’re saying that there are no parties that are on the ballot in your state that are worth voting for? Or are you saying that you’re not willing to vote unless you will win? It’s very confusing what you are saying and implying here.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            Living, as I do In the Bay Area, ALL California elected officials have felt the cannon fire. It is an ongoing conversation that includes my delicately buckled shoe applied to the seats of power.

          • Sonsony says:

            OTD, we are pushing on any string we can. My 3 congressional representatives here in Wyoming are complete weasels, so I am supporting Amy McGrath (and others) to retake all 3 branches of the federal gov’t. Would love to see a Dem senator from OK, too!

          • Archie says:

            I’m all in favor of impeachment and have been for some time. I, too, am often frustrated with the cautious, glacier pace of the Democrats’ congressional response to this corrupt president and his feckless goons. But I also find it really frustrating to listen to people threaten to opt out of the political process unless they get their way and on their timeline.

            Here’s the thing: for many middle-class, white, straight, Americans, nothing much will change in their day-to-day existence, regardless of who is president or which party controls congress. But for those of us who are queer, trans and/or people of color; for those of us with disabilities who rely on what skimpy benefits our government supplies; for those of us who aren’t Christian or who find ourselves on the margins for any number of other reasons, it matters a great deal. We don’t have the luxury to take our ball and go home in a fit of pique.

            I’m queer and trans and Jewish. I need you to help. I need you to not give up. I need you to participate. I need you to vote. The lessor of two evils is actually less evil.

            • P J Evans says:

              Those of us who get benefits from Social Security and Medicare also prefer the Dems. They’re not trying (well, most of them aren’t) to kill us off.

            • Rayne says:

              Thank you, Archie. Being a multi-racial woman with Latinx and AAPI family members as well as LGBTQ+ friends and family, this last 34 months have been horrifying. I worry every day a family member will be detained by ICE for no reason other than they are brown. I can’t imagine how awful it must be for Americans who are poor and/or disabled/ill as well.

              We need every person who is white and straight to use their privilege and demand the democracy for all of us because we are part of their lives even when they’re busy and forget we are.

              For anyone who ever wondered how they’d have responded under the Nazis regime in the 1930s, now’s your chance. It’s go time.

    • orionATL says:

      thanks for the memories, rugger9 :)

      ukraine’s suddenly stopping cooperation with the special council in 2018 seems a VERY important matter that links directly to trump’s attempt to hide his collusion with Russia in 2016 from the american people.

      together they provide a sensible rationalization to link together the trump campaign’s cooperation with russia in 2016 and the trump administration’s attempted bribery/intimidation of ukraine’s leaders ahead of the 2020 election into a single impeachment charge focusing on trump’s repeated use of foreign leaders to influence an american presidential election.

      what is the “biden smear” you mention? i’m not sure i have heard of that before.

        • orionATL says:


          i understand now. and i understand why trump would be interested. a story like this with just the tiniest hint of verisimiitude would be perfect fodder for a trump propaganda campaign in an election.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        This whole story that Giuliani and Trump are peddling–to distract from Trump’s most recent criminal behavior (using the Office of the POTUS to trash his perceived political enemies) with Ukraine–is complete BS. Rudy floated the Fake News in May and was completely shot down. Like a vampire, Ghouliani (apologies bmaz) has raised the putrid story again and is stinking up the airwaves with it.
        From the Intercept 9-22-2019: In fact, as a detailed review of the evidence conducted by The Intercept in May showed, Biden’s intervention in Ukrainian affairs that year, when he successfully pressed Ukraine’s then-president to dismiss a chief prosecutor who had failed to pursue corruption investigations, was no secret and was widely praised by Ukrainian anti-corruption activists and international donors to the country.

        The reason there is footage of Biden boasting about this intervention on stage at a public event in 2018 is that he knew he had nothing to hide.

        Put simply, there is no evidence to support the conspiracy theory that Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani want Ukraine to validate by opening an investigation. Still, it has become an article of faith among Trump supporters that Biden got the chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, dismissed to derail a corruption investigation of a Ukrainian firm his son was paid to advise.

        But journalists at leading American news organizations — including CNN, the New York Times, Politico, ABC News, and MSNBC — have helped weaponize this disinformation by repeating the baseless smear over and over, without promptly and accurately conveying that Trump and Giuliani are lying about what the former vice president did in Ukraine. So lies and misinformation have been broadcast nationwide, reaching millions of people who will never read subsequent fact checks debunking them.

  17. ItTollsForYou says:

    I called my ostensible “representatives” today to encourage them to publicly support an impeachment inquiry. (Graham, Scott, and Joe Wilson are my guys…….yeah). I don’t call my reps very often, so I’m not sure if they typically hang up on you so quickly after you finish your message?

  18. drouse says:

    There is always the Supremes as a hail Mary move. The Administration has made jumping the queue kind of a go to move and the court has agreed in a couple of instances. Well, goose, gander ect. I would say open formal proceedings and petition the court to rule on the extents of his privilege/immunity. Seeing as how Roberts seems to keep one eye on his place in the history books, he might provide the fifth vote needed. He would do well to remember the last line from Pilates Dream where it goes “And then I heard them mentioning my name and leaving me the blame”.

  19. Rita says:

    Giuliani and Trump have rather skillfully, even if obviously, muddied the whistleblower complaint in two major ways: (1) Turned the news media’s attention to Joe and Hunter Biden and (2) Shifted attention from getting the whole whistleblower complaint to just the telephone call transcript.

    Democrats seem in disarray about how to proceed. Here is what I suggested to my Congressman: The Democratic Leaders ask the Republican Leaders to join in requesting the whistleblower complaint be handed over in its entirety. If they fail to get that cooperation, they hold a press conference noting that Republicans would not join and then make immediate demand for the complaint. Upon failure to get the complaint go the inherent contempt route and/or impeachment. And, if the House Democrats do not have adequate legal staff, ask all of the tv lawyers to aid the Democrats pro bono.

    I am tired of the games.

  20. OldTulsaDude says:

    Ms Pelosi and every other representative need to be reminded that they were elected to do a specific job for two years: represent a single district. Period.

    They were not elected to protect the Democratic majority in the House, to make nice with Donald Trump, or to worry about their own re-election.

    We, the people, cannot impeach Trump. Our representatives must do it for us.

  21. CD54 says:

    Trump’s corruption is, frankly, the sideshow. The huge, unprecedented corruption right now is Senate Republicans and the way that the national media ignores it or conflates it with simple politics. Republican Senate corruption is historical in modern U.S. history and pre-dates Trump.

    Trump and the Senate are displaying classic mob psychology (little “m”) — someone in the group acts outside of normative values and waits for any group backlash. After none, someone else feels impervious to consequences and goes to an even further extreme and the group watches for any sign of group disapproval. Escalate until stopped.

    Think of these days as the white Republicans version of the Watts/Detroit/L.A. Riots. Only the burned-out neighborhood in this case is the whole United States.

    • timbo says:

      It’s also about the corruption of the DP itself. Or at the very least, lack of political acumen in the DP beyond letting the money continue to roll in from a rarer and rarer part of the populace. If it weren’t for the primaries right now, who would be giving much money to any DP candidate at this point? If they can’t even charge impeachment in such a situation then what are they good for besides rubber stamping the status quo as the GOP creates it under Trump?

      • Ruthie says:

        Yes, this!

        I emailed Pelosi yesterday, although she’s not my rep, saying I wouldn’t give a dime to the DP if she doesn’t come out publicly for impeachment. Instead, I’ll give to Stacy Abrams’ FairFight 2020 and/or FairCount and my local rep, since I do live in a swing district. He, sometime over the summer recess, did come out for impeachment.

      • orionATL says:

        timbo –

        you and the test of the pack of baying hounds upstream seem devoid of good political judgment.

        the democratic party is going quite well now thank you. the leadership is competent and sensible and unwilling to be stampeded into an agincourt. further, due to schiff’s quick action in the press (questioned at the time by some of those baying hounds) the democrats now have a bridge from trump’s 2016 use of foreigners to aid his campaign to his current use of foreigners to aid his 2020 campaign.

        if you can’t contribute positively to the party’s effort, why don’t you sit down, stop with the pissing and moaning, and just watch for a couple of months.

      • bmaz says:

        Timbo is exactly right. It has been a complete dereliction of duty and oath of office. Until a formal inquiry exists, it will continue to so be. There does seem to be a rush of Democratic ostriches suddenly taking their cowardly heads out of the sand in the last 24 hours, so we shall see.

        • orionATL says:

          you are wrong, bmaz. wrong again. wrong as you were in 2016, but with less disastrous results so far. there will be an impeachment effort. it is building nicely. what is not nice, not necessary, and is destructive is your months long devaluation and diminution of speaker pelosi.

          you really feel at ease stomping on female leaders, don’t you bmaz! oh, no. not you. not dear old progressive bmaz. well, in fact, yes. the evidence is your speech itself andvits harshness.

          good judgment and timing is important is in politics. it is too easy to blunder into a morass. pelosi has good judgment and timing. you could have it too if you weren’t so enthralled with baying about clinton’s or pelosi’s deficiencies.

          too bad you get more evident pleasure out of knocking those two rather than trump.

          i guess my position now is just to observe you hounds baying after pelosi. it is a free country after all. you can state your opinion. and then remind you of your conduct later ifbit seems appropriate.

          • bmaz says:

            I am not wrong, and have been right from the start. The Constitution and rule of law have been on fire while cowardly ostriches have buried there heads in the sand while putting their own political fortunes above the interests of the country. It is some of the most abject political cowardice in memory. And they can all go straight to hell. And you can flat out fuck off and rot as to accusing me of misogyny as a basis. Seriously, piss off.

        • orionATL says:

          bmaz –

          ” … There does seem to be a rush of Democratic ostriches suddenly taking their cowardly heads out of the sand in the last 24 hours, so we shall see.”

          this is a complete perversion and distortion of reality on your part, bmaz. and all to make your prior criticism of democratic leadership and conduct seem accurate when in fact it was hasty, prejudicial, and intemperate.

          those who are changing are not ostriches, blah, blah.. they are politicians who now have evidence of a second, current, misconduct by trump even more egregious than the first that occurred 3 years ago.

          for some congresscritters there was reason previously to be cautious. now thanks to trump’s extraordinarily arrogant and foolhardy behavior there is a whole lot less reason to be cautious about what constituents think.

          this second time around for trump is critical in making clear to voters how the man behaves as our president. it builds a bridge between the not-so-well-understood past as reported by the special counsel’s and the present.

          this second act misconduct is going to be the motivational basis for any impeachment effort, not the first. together they are two points that define a crooked line 🤣🤣


          • bmaz says:

            “this is a complete perversion and distortion of reality on your part, bmaz. and all to make your prior criticism of democratic leadership and conduct seem accurate when in fact it was hasty, prejudicial, and intemperate.”

            Seriously, go to hell. And, again, take your misogyny allegations and shove them where the sun never shines.

  22. Tom says:

    For Trump to start talking about corruption should be the equivalent of pinning a great big “Kick me!” sign on his back. Every time he tries to drag Biden father and son through the mud by mentioning their non-existent corruption, the press should not lose a moment in availing themselves of the opportunity to ask the President to, pray sir, please expound to us on the subject of corruption and give us the benefit of your tremendous knowledge and experience of this field of human endeavor, based upon your own reported decades of lying, cheating, bank fraud, tax fraud, adultery, hush-money payments, threats, intimidation, kickbacks, pay-offs, stonewalling, and so on, all of which and more are continuing to the present day.

  23. I am sam says:

    Why are people not talking about Pence’s little conference at the Ukraine? Of course he was carrying his a** hole buddy’s message and threat with him.

    • Rayne says:

      This is why a timeline is valuable — we can see Pence’s likely role now that we know where his visit in Poland with Duda and Zelensky fits in the possible quid pro quo.

      And yeah, Pence is NOT out of the woods. He, Rick Perry, John Bolton, Steve Mnuchin all appear complicit. We also need to hear from former ambassador Yovanovitch, Dan Coats, and Sue Gordon about what they know and/or may have been instructed wrt Ukraine.

      I’d really like to know about the Javelin missiles after the changes to the RNC’s 2016 party platform.

      • Mainmata says:

        I can see roles for the others but I don’t get Rick “Oops” Perry’s involvement. Ukraine is not a nuclear power yand the USAID energy related assistance has been about energy efficiency and renewables which neither Perry nor Trump care at all about.

  24. Marinela says:

    Marcy, I’m very sorry for the loss of your mother. Please stay strong.

    Thank you for taking time for yourself, but also to help us with your posts.
    Your current post is extremely to the point.

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This is what hanging together is like. It’s not a substitute for institutions promoting similar behavior, but it’s why the need for institutions exists: to keep right behavior from being relegated to chance and personal whim (and to punish wrongful, predatory behavior):

    Passengers on one of the final Thomas Cook flights collected two carrier bags of cash for the cabin crew, after learning when they landed that staff would not be getting paid.

    • Rayne says:

      Do you know the House rules about supplanting and replacing a House Speaker? What about the Senate rules for the Ranking Member?

      You get on learning about this first.

      • Mainmata says:

        Exactly. Regardless of what one may think of Schumer (and I think he is way too Establishment) he has no influence at all over Moscow Mitch who rules the Senate with an iron hand. As for Pelosi, she sent away her challengers less than a year ago. She’s a vote counter not a ranter.

        • timbo says:

          She didn’t “send them away”. She made promises and now it is for the DP caucus and us to wonder if she’s keeping any of them… and/or exactly what and to whom those promises were made.

          • P J Evans says:

            If you’re going to make assertions like that, you need to provide citations to back them up. otherwise, you’re just spreading rumors that benefit only the GOP-T.

  26. Wm. Boyce says:

    Forgive me if others have already said this:
    I don’t think Ms. Pelosi and many of the Democrats are able to wrap their minds around the executive branch being taken over by a criminal gang headed by an unhinged lunatic.
    Congress gave the executive branch way too much power over decades, and now the psycho chickens have come home to roost.
    Maybe this latest outrage will be different, but I have my doubts.

  27. OldTulsaDude says:

    A criminal enterprise has taken over the government of the United States and our only response has been to send in Inspector Clouseau?

    • Tom says:

      “Criminal enterprise” — Precisely! In the furor over the Whistleblower report and the phone call with Zelensky, we can’t forget that the reason Trump is so desperate to hang on to the Presidency is to avoid prosecution for all the other crimes he’s committed and is still trying to cover up with the help of accomplices Barr, Giuliani, Mnuchin, the GOP, et al.

  28. timbo says:

    I am gratified that Schiff even heard about this complaint in the first place. That means that what ever is happening here has more legs than the Trump folks can contain, at least in the political climate in this country that existed up until this point in time. That, in itself, means that those who do believe in rule by rational legal restraint still have some allies somewhere in the power structure in Washington. Let’s rejoice in that and celebrate with impeachment hearings… or boot out those who will not bring them about.

  29. Eureka says:

    Case(s) in point: ~’Where’s my favorite dictator’:

    Tom Namako: “Wow — NYT publisher says the Trump administration was prepared to sit back and allow one of its journalists to be arrested in Egypt. So the paper turned to the reporter’s native Ireland for help, and it was those diplomats who got him out — not the US. [NYT link & screenshot]”

    ETA: how many of these low-key, informal ‘whistle-blowing’ type acts are holding out country together rn

    • BobCon says:

      This is an ugly look for Trump, of course, but the Times looks really bad too.

      The Times never disclosed this incident from 2017 until now. I cannot see any justification for sitting on the news any longer than it takes to safeguard employees who needed safeguarding.

      What is more, when Sulzberger had an off the record meeting with Trump in July 2018, which the publisher said he attended to push back on Trump’s “anti-press rhetoric,” Trump broke the agreement to keep the meeting confidential and attacked Sulzberger. And yet, the Times still did not mention this incident.

      When the Saudis murdered Washington Post Jamal Khashoggi later in 2018 with the apparent consent of Trump, the Times still kept the incident secret.

      What is more, when the NY Times DC Bureau covers Trump’s foreign policy apparatus, Mike Pompeo, Kushner and the State Department, there is no hint in their coverage that these people have a complete disregard for US journalists. The Times DC bureau takes an Olympian perspective with the unspoken perspective that their statements are valid and trustworthy.

      The message, quite frankly, is that if you are a reporter in a Times foreign bureau, neither Sulzberger nor the Times DC bureau really has your back when Trump and Pompeo and the rest want you gone. It’s a rotten institution, going all the way up to Sulzberger.

      • Eureka says:

        Yes, I thought it was a particularly tragic example highlighting Trump-Times mutualism, very meta as to our current problems and Marcy’s post. The context always makes it worse.

        They’ll sacrifice journalists and journalism to be “the paper of record.”

  30. foggycoast says:

    pelosi may be paying close attention to timing. if a formal impeachment investigation wraps up prior to the election, senate republicans will block a trial and trump will declare exoneration yet again. the investigation needs to sway undecideds to vote trump out. that is it’s real value. they need to be short, explosive and peak right before the election. could be pelosi’s instinct to do just that by waiting for the right moment.

    • Eureka says:

      Oh I read about that in Judd Legum’s thread– FB only got a clue after a lot of pressure from him, and had initially refused to act. I wonder the how much their action might have been spurred by the fear of more bad Ukraine-related stories linked to Trump.

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