Trump’s Enablers Are Mistaking an Insurgency for an Off-Ramp

Jake Tapper tweeted that Jared Kushner and Rudy (both of whom have criminal exposure that Trump’s loss might make imminent), along with Jason Miller, are entertaining Trump’s demand that they hold rallies delegitimizing the election results. David Bossie (whom Jared reportedly brought in to play the role of respected elder, like Jim Baker played in the 2000 recount, which by itself is hilarious) and Mark Meadows are pushing Trump to concede.

The AP reports that anonymous senior officials are telling themselves that helping Trump to delegitimize the results is really just a way to give the Narcissist-in-Chief an “off-ramp” to accept the loss that he can’t grasp.

But senior officials, campaign aides and allies told The Associated Press that overwhelming evidence of fraud isn’t really the point.

The strategy to wage a legal fight against the votes tallied for Biden in Pennsylvania and other places is more to provide Trump with an off-ramp for a loss he can’t quite grasp and less about changing the election’s outcome, the officials said. They spoke to AP on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal strategy.

Trump aides and allies also acknowledged privately the legal fights would — at best — forestall the inevitable, and some had deep reservations about the president’s attempts to undermine faith in the vote. But they said Trump and a core group of loyalists were aiming to keep his base of supporters on his side even in defeat.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is one of the few world leaders who has not congratulated President-Elect Biden, because — his spox says — there are still ongoing legal challenges. Thus, it is official policy of Russia to follow the strategy that Russia and its assets had planned in the eventuality of a 2016 loss, to discredit the outcome.

I get that Trump’s closest advisors are calculating the best way for him to remain kingmaker. Ensuring that his frothers remain frothy even after Trump is exposed as a weak man that even Georgia rejected is a one way to do that.

But kidding themselves that this is about getting Trump to come to grips with his loss is a dangerous game. Whatever these rallies would do for Trump’s damaged ego, they will serve to create a potentially violent insurgency, members of which have already tried, on repeated occasion, to engage in political violence in Trump’s name.

No one should treat these excuses for discrediting a clearcut democratic result as serious. They’re just rationalizations to repackage anti-American actions as something else.

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108 replies
    • dude says:

      Was it Timothy Geitner who talked about “foaming the runway”? At least he knew what a crash looked like.

      • Eureka says:

        Those navigation landmarks, tho:

        Dildos to the left of me, ashes to the right

        Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

        [Full credit to the tweeter whose creativity is more memorable than their @ (Saturday was 587 years ago).]

        ETA: earworm fun

    • Melissa Anderson says:

      Every norm they breach, every boundary they cross, they are further emboldened. It’s time for the fucking media to start calling this what it is, a coordinated attempt at a coup, first through the USPS suppression and voter intimidation, now the use of the DOJ. The media should be talking about these CRIMES, not the criminally corrupt, one-term impeached President’s “feelings.”

  1. harpie says:

    [AP: But they said Trump and a core group of loyalists were aiming to keep his base of supporters on his side even in defeat.

    INSURGENCY is the word that came to mind for me as well, when I read this sentence.

      • greengiant says:

        Across the country. Local police forces are slow to arrest discharging of firearms. I am wondering about Wray. Any other group would be infested with agents and snitches. It’s been left to individuals to get into the belly of the beast so far.

        • greengiant says:

          In perspective fewer than say 1 in 10,000 people and a good fraction from out of state attend these rallies. Perhaps the high water mark was the Michigan capital demonstration. Journalists and counter protesters are threatened and in some cases battered. A collection of felons and domestic abusers. Perhaps higher armed turnouts when rural folk are spoofed by internet rumors.

        • jdmckay says:

          I am wondering about Wray.

          After manner in which Esper was fired, wouldn’t be surprised to see Wray similarly ran out very soon. It’s the Donald “loyalty” thingie.

        • Rayne says:

          I would put money on Trump firing Wray by tweet today when Biden has his next public statement — think that’s later today about health care since SCOTUS is hearing case on ACA today.

    • P J Evans says:

      They may try to present it as a shadow government.
      It shouldn’t be. The US doesn’t work that way.

    • Yohei72 says:

      I saw a whinge online (at HuffPo or Daily Kos, I think) from some Democrat lamenting the gloating and cheering. He said, to paraphrase, that he thought we were supposed to be better than that, and that “Trump voters have been gracious” in the wake of his defeat.

      I just about choked on a donut… that I ate an hour later.

      The civility fetishists are really beyond parody at this point.

      • skua says:

        I’m nice and safe here. And any terror atacks by enraged Trumpists or white nationalists won’t put my life at risk.

        Maybe the responsible, but bit boring, thing to do is consider the likely effects on the nation before posting? The trumpists are pretty wound up. Where is the upside in winding them up further?

  2. SteveL says:

    I’m calling my Republican senator today to convey that it’s time to speak up. If Clinton had behaved this way after the 2016 election was called, she would have been (rightly) laughed off the stage, and told to face reality by her own party. Trump should likewise be laughed off the stage. What is he — a four-year-old who has to be let down gently? Every other losing candidate in America is facing up to the reality of an electoral loss.

    • Yohei72 says:

      And the Trumpsters will still view him as the epitome of toughness and a certain idea of “manliness.”

      The twisted notion of “strength” that Trump and his followers hold is one of the more fascinating things to me about their psychology.

      That most of them claim loudly to be followers of Jesus just adds to the weirdness.

  3. Hika says:

    https:// [break] time. [break] com/5256940/reconstruction-failure-excerpt/
    “Reconstruction was overthrown, subverted, and betrayed ”
    America really can’t afford to have a generation of armed loons parroting “Trump will rise again.”

  4. Hugo says:

    Jared and co have multiple reasons to convince themselves that insurgency is a way out, but I wonder if at least some of this has to do with the stress of having to manage Trump over the next 70 odd days, and beyond. I mean if Trump is out holding rallies, he isn’t interrupting them every five minutes or inflicting his pain on them, when they need to concentrate on their own strategy of having linked themselves inextricably to his presidency.

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah, managing the malignant narcissist’s narcissistic supply while they’re trying to scrape together a financial parachute is too much for Jared et al. The rallies not only maintain the supply but bolster the other grift — haranguing supporters for cash for legal aid for the election they haven’t conceded.

      Hello, wire fraud.

      • Manwen says:

        I am never sufficiently confident in discerning the Trump motive, but whether it be the fragile ego or sheer vindictiveness, but he always sees the financial angle. Donations go up. Campaign debt gets retired. His ego gets fed by crowds. His name remains in the public eye providing free publicity for Trump Org. And, he remains relevant in his own mind and a great resource for infotainment. What Marcia writes is dead-on, those who encourage this have multiple motivations of their own from the financial to the personal (“get this SOB on the road and out of my life!”) Whatever humiliation a normal person might feel at this moment, Trump converts into cash raising opportunities and ego doctoring adoration events. That is what he lives for and the price we will pay for this Presidency for generations as Trump wannabes dominate the Republican party’s foreseeable future. He is never going away in our lifetime. Damn.

        • PeterS says:

          Perhaps this the way to predict what he will do next, i.e. whatever will make the most money. Trump TV or whatever.

    • Terry Salad says:

      “… the stress of having to manage Trump over the next 70 odd days, and beyond..”

      Gee, a hard job to be sure. But these people are working in the White House! Didn’t they sign up for hard jobs? Too much for ya?

      As many Trumpers were fond of saying: “F*ck Your Feelings!”

  5. Peterr says:

    I think we’re looking at the opening credits for The Lost Cause, Episode 2.

    When will they start putting up statues of Trump, Pompeo, Bannon, and Miller?

  6. madwand says:

    In Georgia the fight is still ongoing to unseat two corrupt senators who profited off covid. An interesting take on this on Morning Joe was that if Trump decides to request a recount it will in actuality work against the two senators. The reasoning being that voters will believe Trump is trying to reverse the results in Georgia. This might lead to Georgia Dem voters coming out in force to vote for Ossoff and Warnock. I’m thinking Biden needs to leave Stacy Abrams in Georgia for the present rather than appoint her to his cabinet which might distract her from the needed campaigning in Georgia.

    • Pete T says:

      The question I have is whether Stacy Abrams – after the GA Senate runoffs – is better as DNC Chairwoman instead of in the Biden Cabinet.

      As a side note somewhat off topic is how Biden can best utilize Kamala Harris. A lot of work needs to be done in DOJ and maybe she can head up the people needed to make that happen.

      • madwand says:

        It might also be advantageous for Kamala to show up in Georgia from time to time also in the next eight weeks. Perhaps even Biden himself might make it down here. If we don’t win this election and turn both these bozos out then it’s four more years of obstructionist Mitch.

        • heddalee says:

          Two more years. Plus, the 2022 elections features far more Senate seats held now by Republicans, set for a vote, than seats currently held by Dems. Lot of work to do, but it’s possible that the back end of a Biden term could see more accomplishments than the first half.

      • BobCon says:

        I don’t know what ambitions Abrams has, but in the US right now governor of a big state is generally more personally rewarding and has a bigger impact than DNC chair, cabinet secretary, or senator.

        I would not be surprised if all she wants is another swing at Kemp.

        • Ruthie says:

          I read/heard an interview with her after she lost to Kemp.

          She was pretty up front about her ultimate ambition to run for president, and tied her lack of interest in running for the senate to feeling her skills and/or temperament align better with an executive role. I don’t remember whether she was asked about running for governor again.

  7. BobCon says:

    There is a huge danger for anyone who sees Trumpists through the lens of 2009 and the Tea Party, where a fairly small number of people who saw themselves as outsiders were quickly coopted.

    This includes establishment Republicans, who are mistaken if they think Trump or his inner circle have any interest in taking an L for the good of the party.

    They also run a risk if they think Trumpism is something that can be put on and shed like a windbreaker — they’re assuming there is no more dirt or crime that hasn’t already been uncovered and debated, and that chaos is a unifier.

    Democrats need to think strategically about how to press an agenda without getting blindsided by eruptions. While it’s true they can’t get stuck relitigating past four years, they would be naive to pretend it will simply burn itself off.

    There will be a lot of GOP infighting over loyalty tests and pragmatism and ambition. The Dems will have opportunities if they can adjust and adapt, but it will require working even harder ti shape the narrative.

    • Mitch Neher says:

      It could be just running the crazy colors up the flagpole again to see how many nut jobs are still saluting. Or . . .Trump could be trying to provoke a violent reaction from somebody, anybody.

      As long as nobody takes the bait, we should be alright. Unless . . . The Boogaloo Bois run a false flag attack on The Proud Boys or the Q-Anon Cray-Crays or something.

      Thank heavens there’s no actual Antifa.

      • BobCon says:

        I think the establishment GOP wants to believe the nuts can either be coopted, ignored, or accomodated.

        But they have no way stop the people who want to wave the bloody shirt. And while the Tea Party quickly rolled over for a piece of the grift, there is a lack of evidence, for now at least, that a similar accomodation is going to be so easy.

        It might happen again, but I think the establishment is on a weaker footing and the nuts are even crazier.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Wildfires and forest fires are much on my mind, so a metaphor comes to mind —

          The GOP, in its blindness, seems to have persuaded itself that it can do a ‘controlled burn’ to retain power and limit Trump.

          Unfortunately, their actions of the past 20 years, accelerating over the past 4, have altered conditions to a degree that they don’t seem to fully grasp. The political situation is like a forest of dry timber: in the past, a ‘controlled burn’ was possible, but present conditions are so dry and brittle that a ‘controlled burn’ is no longer possible. They are going to unwittingly initiate a ‘fire tornado’ that they will not be able to stop.

          The GOP is, metaphorically ‘playing with fire’, but the intensity of the fire, its scale, and its destructive force are so far beyond their experience that they severely underestimate the risks of their strategy.

          EW wrote:

          “Thus, it is official policy of Russia to follow the strategy that Russia and its assets had planned in the eventuality of a 2016 loss, to discredit the outcome.”

          I agree.
          Aren’t some of these GOP senators the same people who ended up in Moscow on the 4th of July, right about the time that Jeffrey Epstein was arrested, and Trump talked about airports during the Revolutionary War?

          Do they not see that their claims to ‘ease Trump out of office’ play straight into Putin’s hands?

      • vicks says:

        I think he is fucking with his opposition to stay relevant to his fans,
        Trump is also transactional and I can’t imaging him leaving the White House without a parting gift.
        I think he is deliberately building uncertainty and fear among Americans worried about what he and these crazies are capable of, and may end up using that fear as leverage should he need it to get what he wants.
        Need I say, that all it would take is a few good men and women to come to the aid of their country to shut this thing down?

  8. Motivated Seller says:

    Insisting on “legal challenges” allows Trump to avoid being branded as a loser. Trump knows he is a loser, so like the con man he is, he is desperately trying to refocus everyone’s attention. Anyone who starts the conversation with anything but, “he is a loser,” is providing space for the insurgency to grow.

    Giving people the benefit of the doubt and being “nice,” while they work out their feelings usually works. Sadly, this is exactly how Trump takes advantage of ordinary people. (It doesn’t help that Americans are conditioned to take spittle-flecked red-faced arguments of a white man at face value.) So being “nice” does not stop the conflict, it simply allows Trump to press his case. Eventually people get exhausted and most will eventually give in–even if they just want to be done with the conflict. Then he uses their tacit acceptance as proof that he was right all along.

    Off-ramps are for wimps and suckers. The Trump brand calls for nothing less than victory.

    • Spencer Dawkins says:

      Giving people the benefit of the doubt and being “nice,” while they work out their feelings usually works, but unfortunately, Trump has no actual feelings.

      The seven deadly sins don’t count.

  9. Stephen Calhoun says:

    Certainly in the various sewers of the extremist right there is lots of chest thumping and bragging about how ‘armed up’ is everybody. I shudder to think what is unfolding on Parler.

    How might the Trumpist soldiers constitute a viable battle of order, and, what is their “ask”—were they to show up at your front door? It seems the fantasy of the rural right invading the urban left remains highly charged. However, all the pre-election day bluster did not unfold in violence.

    see this primer: https://acleddata.com/2020/10/21/standing-by-militias-election/

  10. sand says:

    Just for fun, any insight on the (widely stated to be) Russian bots that are all over twitter stating that they are leaving America after X years and moving to Hawaii, Alaska, England, Nigeria, etc.? Is this what passes for psyops? I don’t get it. Are they joking that Americans are too stupid to know the 50 states? And what’s with the other random countries and high numbers of years? Is a bot really going to move to Alaska after 90 years of citizenship? I heard it gets cold up there. Its 90+-year-old algorithms might freeze up. Personally, I would have had my Russian bots threatening to move to Turkey, Israel, Sweden, and Florida. Any other recommendations for where these bots should live?

    https://twitter [break] .com/AlexTurnbull90/status/1325778366092480513
    https://twitter [break] .com/fel1nov2/status/1325781886615113729

  11. Norskeflamthrower says:

    Continuing the “rallies” can serve to buoy the Dumpster’s spirits but it most certainly does strengthen the idea of a mass of potential insurgents. Remember that in an evenly divided majoritarian situation or in a plurality situation in which the good folks can not achieve a majority coalition, it is not how many the insurgents have but what those desperate and frantic folks are willing to do in pursuit of what they see is their salvation. Now let’s look at the fascist militias and localized groups of thugs which are armed to the teeth and loosely coordinated by cut outs for entities with very deep pockets. Let’s also remember that in 1932-33 the Nazis never got more’n 35% of the vote but had the luxury of facing a government with no military and local governments bankrupted. Our military command today has stated they will keep troops in the barracks and most of the urban police departments and police unions are manned by at least 50% fascist supporters. Many of the county sheriffs particularly in rural counties are full blown Nazis. So to say that there is no danger of an insurgency here in the land of the free and the home of the brave is simply denying reality. I live in Wisconsin so I know whereof I speak, in this state anyway. Buckle up.

    • vvv says:

      I don’t doubt what you say as possible, or that it may just be estimation, but do you have any cites that can be used toward that 50% figure? They would come in handy elseweb (I’m in IL) …

      • Norskeflamthrower says:

        No cites but my estimate is based on the strength of police unions in large cities and personal experience living in many counties in my native Minnesota and western Wisconsin. The difficulty of small cities like mine here in Wisconsin (10,000 population) to recruit competent and trained or trainable officers is a real problem and only serves to solidify the hold local power players (we call ’em “founding fathers”) have. Counties are an even bigger problem because they have more money to spend on deputies and a larger span of control.

  12. Blueride27 says:

    They’re herding the base into a different pen. 90% of Trump’s supporters are in full cognitive dissonance mode and the rush is on to separate the flock into a louder echo chamber until a new center mast can be found. His base will ignore this story because it doesn’t “fit”
    I think they’re telling us what we want to hear. Until a new narrative can be found.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Something for those GOP-enablers who are telling Democrats to be nice to Donald Trump and the GOP – in a spirit of friendship and solidarity. And for Carli Pierson of the Guardian, who wants Joe Biden to pardon Trump for the reason Gerald Ford gave – and lied about – for why he pardoned Nixon.

    The “lost cause” advocates for the Confederate South are still at it, more than 150 years later, despite endless acts of federal largesse and forgiveness, including ratifying Jim Crow. So, thanks very much, folks, for the lesson in christian forgiveness. But blind forgiveness would only encourage more right wing demagogues and atrocities.

    Republicans need to experience the natural and logical consequences for their Trumpism. It will still be kinder than the consequences they happily impose by backing Trump’s reckless Covid policies – needless sickness and death – and those they impose on women, people of color, and the poor for the heinous act of being women, people of color, or poor.

    • Norskeflamthrower says:

      The narrow path to emptying the fascist ballast from the ship of state runs through two senate seats in Georgia and Joe Biden’s immediate implementation of expansion of the Supreme Court. First 50 senate seats then the first 100 days of the new congress. To edit what I said above: buckle down Winsocki.

    • vvv says:

      Re that, “spirit of friendship and solidarity” stuff, it is my hope that Biden sees the need for a sort of 3-strike analysis there.

      And that McConnell’s position today in supporting the failed pres is strike one.

  14. tinao says:

    Let them squirrel around for a place to land. Seriously folks, for people who pay attention to law, know their shit is fading. There truly is a lot to maintain and get done, but THEY WILL NOT RUN THE TABLES. WE DO. So with no further ado, here’s what i wrote

    Looking forward and looking back
    first ask yourself
    who is this country.
    Ladies we’ve done good in claiming power.
    The work of love stands before us.
    Facts and truth matter.
    Let’s get a working FCC done
    Even cable must show their evidence
    before positing/posing as news.
    Evidence based baby!
    You see, just like trump
    super money buys empty evidence.
    Thank God and Goddess we’re all smarter!

    • harpie says:

      https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1325859406349799424
      12:54 PM · Nov 9, 2020

      I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately..

      …Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Miller was apparently a Green Beret and served thirty years in the Army, retiring only in 2014. His appointment as acting SecDef is in de facto defiance of the convention that its top leadership be civilians.

        We will see more objectionable appointments – mostly orchestrated by Goebbels stand-in, Stephen Miller – and dismissals as the Toddler-in-Chief acts out his rage.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        And per Steve Vladeck, in appointing Miller, Trump ignored the Deputy SecDef, David Norquist, who is statutorily next in line.

        Part of this is putting in place those deemed most loyal, regardless of legal “niceties.” I think part of these serial Fuck Yous, though, is Stephen Miller distracting from less obvious staffing and legal changes that are in the works.

        On Friday, for example, Trump fired the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Lisa Gordon-Hagerty. I realize that Trump and Miller are pettier than Dick Cheney – who fired a lowly Park Service employee – but WTF would you do that during a politically charged transition?

        One reason, I suppose, is that if you have to spend time worrying about securing nukes, it will take longer to get at more bread and butter issues, such as Covid, health care, jobs, and education. Success at the latter would be more immediately and publicly embarrassing to Trump.

        • madwand says:

          General Barry McCaffrey on MSNBC this am believes congress ought to be in there demanding why Esper was fired at this time. He believes continuity is essential to the security of the country and that the new appointment introduces an element of instability which foreign actors (China,Russia) might take advantage of. It also goes to the consideration that Trump should be watched closely as he inevitably fires more people which will only serve to destabilize further.

    • harpie says:

      Senator Chris Murphy [D-Ct]

      1] https://twitter.com/ChrisMurphyCT/status/1325860591211311105
      12:59 PM · Nov 9, 2020

      Like I said yesterday. Trump is creating a dangerously unstable national security environment during this transition period. Adversaries are watching.

      2] [Yesterday] https://twitter.com/ChrisMurphyCT/status/1325628894955909123
      9:38 PM · Nov 8, 2020

      1/ The disarray of the lame duck Trump White House, especially in the national security space, could be staggering. And our adversaries may try to take advantage.

      A short THREAD on what could go wrong in the next 60 days, and how Congress can help fill the void. [THREAD]

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Clearly, I don’t understand KY.
        I can’t fathom how McConnell was re-elected.

        As strange and peculiar as Trump is, none of the past 4 years would every have been possible without McConnell.

        Chuck Schumer needs to be a damn sight more effective against McConnell.
        The Dems need to figure out who can deal with McConnell, b/c Schumer seems to come a cropper time after time, and at this point the stakes are too high.

        • graham firchlis says:

          What exactly is it you believe Schumer could do to be more “effective”? In the modern Senate he has no power outside his caucus. McConnell and the Republicans have all the power and thus all the responsibility, and must be the focus for all the blame.

          Seems to me the solution lay as you first suggest, with the people of Kentucky. Voting him out would have been an effective solution, but it didn’t happen. Why? What can be done to flip the electoral balance?

          Kentucky and states like it are where to prospect for change. Elect Democratic House and Senate majorities in 2022, and then bang on Schumer if he isn’t “effective.”

        • graham firchlis says:

          Pelosi isn’t going anywhere, nor should she. Just re-elected with an 80% majority to what? her 18th term, she is overwhelmingly supported by her caucus. Barring some unforseen event, expect her to stay on through the next Congress as well.

          Her district is completely within the City of San Francisco, covering 4/5 of the area. SF is the most progressive city in the country. Attacking Pelosi as anti-progressive is complete nonsense, an insult to the intelligence of her constituents who know her best.

        • bmaz says:

          Pelosi is a horrid leader at this point. She demoralizes half her caucus, and is not willing to do jack shit for substantive oversight. She is seriously pathetic and fossilized, and should be retired. And that tub of worthless garbage Steny Hoyer should be retired with her.

    • Marinela says:

      Had to read the comment twice. I see what you mean.

      Still, so wrong…
      What is wrong with these people?

      Not that it makes a difference, if they impeach Biden, Kamala becomes the President.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Lord Kilclooney, an elderly member of the UK’s House of Lords, from Northern Ireland, wondered who would become vice president if Joe Biden met his maker and “the Indian,” that is, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, became president. Like Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham, and Nigel Farage, he enjoys saying the quiet parts out loud.

    Baron Kilclooney performs a service by demonstrating three things: Ireland was right to declare its independence, even if it took armed rebellion. The peerage has long outlived any good it was doing for anyone but itself. The ghost of inflammatory racist Enoch Powell is alive and well.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/09/uk-peer-sparks-outrage-after-calling-kamala-harris-the-indian

    • Rayne says:

      Kilclooney’s not doing UK any favors with his racist bullshit. UK isn’t doing itself any favors either — Parliament just passed today an immigration bill ending free movement on December 31.

      And yet they’re complaining about Rolls Royce wanting to move to Singapore, taking jobs with them? They can’t see at all how their racism and racist isolationist policies are utter fail in a global economy.

  16. tinao says:

    I don’t give a flying fuck where these criminals land, they are a bunch of squirrels thinking they are so smart they can’t lose. Clearly this election shows they are wrong. Let them learn what the law is.
    Here’s what i wrote
    Looking forward and back,
    first ask yourself who is this country.
    Ladies we’ve done good in claiming our power.
    The work of love stands before us.
    Facts and truth matter.
    Let’s get a working FCC done.
    Even cable must show their evidence
    before positing/posing as news.
    Evidence based baby!
    You see, just like trump
    super money buys empty evidence.
    Thank God and Goddess
    We’re all smarter than that.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Apart from destroying functioning gubmint, Trump – Miller will want to reward stalwarts. Steve Mnuchin’s IRS, for example, appears to have done the latter by erasing a million dollar lien against Roger Stone for unpaid federal income taxes.

    Liens generally exceed potential tax liability – apart from security, they are imposed to get your attention. But not many audits yield results that beneficial to the average tax filer. More details might help dispel the aroma of corruption, or confirm it.

    https://twitter.com/robertsnellnews/status/1325849090723340290

    • tinao says:

      Let them learn what the law is Earl. Really, I feel its time to let them know their abuse is done. Even the supremees are on record at this point.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Like everyone else on team Trump, McConnell is trying to manage Trump’s rage, as well as protect his flimsy majority. McConnell’s statement avoids most of what he should be saying, including a recognition that many of Trump’s purported legal claims have no basis in fact and are not made in good faith.

      McConnell’s statement also ignores Trump’s political responsibilities as president, which include ensuring a smooth transition to the next administration. Trump venting his anger on whatever list of names Stephen Miller presents him does not do that. Nor does refusing to allow administration officials to participate in that transition – including the GSA bureaucrat who won’t start cooperating until the White House says it’s OK. It’s not likely to do that for some time, if ever.

      Fortunately, Biden should have the resources to launch his transition notwithstanding the expected bad faith lack of cooperation from this administration.

      • A Better Mitch says:

        Your last sentence is definitely reassuring, but could you elaborate a bit? I thought it would be a big pain in the ass for Biden admin to contend with Emily Murphy’s transition obstruction. They were already expecting it and doing what they can to mitigate?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The Guardian’s description of Emily Murphy’s refusal to sign the authorization letter that the GSA normally uses to authorize transition assistance is not correct. It does not prohibit Biden’s team from formally beginning its work.

          What it does not authorize is using government funds to work on the transition and official government cooperation with Biden’s team. That’s why I focused on Biden’s own financial resources and his staff who have prior government experience.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It is a big pain, but Biden should have the experienced staff and financial resources to start the transition work and to get around much of the early non-cooperation. Democratic House committee staffers, for example, should be authorized to cooperate with and provide him important information the executive branch might withhold.

        But, yes, the problem grows the longer Trump refuses approval to work with Biden. There are also likely to be an unusual number of stay behinds. Biden will probably need a government-wide policy to deal with those.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          It is astonishing to watch the GOP and Trump reveal the incredible extent of their desperation and denial.

          But if I knew that indictments were waiting on Jan 21st, as well as Deutsche calling in hundreds of millions, creating a chaotic shitstorm might seem like my best option. After all, what do these people have to lose?

          But we knew this a month ago.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Lenders like Deutsche Bank normally have clauses in their loan agreements that do two things:

          1) Require periodic updates from a borrower about his income and expenses, to monitor the borrower’s liquidity and his ability to repay his debts as and when they come due.

          2) Declare that they are reasonably insecure about the borrower’s ability to repay his debts and declare him in “anticipatory breach” of his loan agreement. That would allow them to immediately call the loans.

          For someone like Trump, that would ordinarily result in bankruptcy, as he buys time to refinance by substituting one lender for another.

          Given how toxic Trump now is, his ability to find another lender for $400 million or more in debt is questionable. Given how leveraged his properties are, and how their market values are compromised owing to the recession, liquidation rather than reorganization would loom.

          Once Trump is out of office, DB should review whether it needs to do that, before Trump’s income and asset values plummet further.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ironically, the most damning thing the transition from Trump to Biden is likely to reveal is the mountains of work in every agency that have been ignored by this administration since January 2017.

    Joe Biden would do well to have his people document that in detail. Lord knows how much shit is out there – some of it criminal, or sufficient to blacklist people from future federal government employment. Biden needs to be able to show how much of that started on Trump’s reckless and incompetent watch.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The NO Transition stance by Trump is both on brand and becoming dangerous – in the short term. Trump firing Esper removes a bar to violent irresponsible action by the president. Among others he just fired is the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Bill Barr’s secret meeting with Mitch McConnell is not likely to have been about the transition. It’s more likely to be about how to prevent or corrupt it. For Trump, that’s a pattern and a threat.

    The stakes for Trump could not be higher. He faces prosecution and endless civil litigation starting on January 20th. His brand is toxic, his revenues will plummet, his assets will become unsellable, his lenders will not rollover his hundreds of millions in loans, much of it personally backed by Donald Trump.

    Trump is a psychopath and he has nothing left to lose by continuing to fight by using any means possible.

  20. skua says:

    Here is my optimistic interpret of Trump’s (claimed) legal challenges to the election results:

    He wants to show that the judiciary are corrupt Democrat supporters, just another part of the Deep State Swamp and that, combined with (mysteriously omnipotent) Democrat agents rigging the election, is why he lost.

    So he’ll have a more completely enraged, fearful and enbubbled base.

    Such a base would stay activated for longer. Zealotry comes to mind.

    • skua says:

      This has Trump as continuing to lead in the on-going war against the anti-American forces of the Deep State, and the election loss, in the eyes of believers, becomes just one engagement with the Deep State, perhaps even one designed to draw out the into the open the complicity of the judiciary in the Deep State.

  21. Dr. Pablito says:

    Point and laugh, point and laugh. Laugh and laugh at these stupid fucking losers getting trolled by Gritty. Then let’s get shit done.

  22. Hapa says:

    I say there’s a puddle of orange liquid at the bottom of McConnell’s shoes right now.
    He’d probably ask himself, “How can we drug this abomination for the next two months?”

  23. Eureka says:

    And then there are the enablers fueling the insurgency. From last night:

    Philadelphia elections officials get death threats amid Trump election attacks
    https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/philadelphia-elections-officials-death-threats-20201109.html

    Jonathan Lai 🙊 賴柏羽:

    “Philadelphia elections officials have been receiving death threats, harassment, and abuse, and it hasn’t stopped. [link]”
    https://twitter.com/Elaijuh/status/1325954427480584192

    “At a Trump campaign press conference last week, former FL Attorney General Pam Bondi named Seth Bluestein, chief deputy commissioner under @Commish_Schmidt. Soon, the threats and anti-Semitic messages and calls started coming in. [link; screenshot text below; recall also the skivvies-clad “Soros!”-screamer at Rudy’s landscaping event]

    “On Thursday, two Virginia men loaded up a Hummer with several guns, ammo and a silencer and drove to Philly to “straighten things out” at the city’s vote counting facility. [link to qanon/terror hummer story]”

    • Eureka says:

      Dog-whistling: both that and how Bondi said Bluestein’s name; he believes part of their intent was to scare him away and slow vote counting:

      Schmidt called it “despicable” both that people would target Bluestein with hateful messages and calls, and that Bondi would name him in the first place: “I would think someone like that would know better than to incite stuff like this,” he said.

      The whole thing is by design, Bluestein said, because it fits with larger attempts to slow or stop Philadelphia’s counting of mail ballots. When Bondi briefly paused and slowed down before saying Bluestein’s last name, he believed it was an intentional signal.

      “The fact that my name is easily identifiable as being of Jewish origin, and I think the way she pronounced my name and the way she emphasized my last name, it’s intentional … the emphasis they’re putting on my last name is on purpose,” he said. “It’s a dog whistle. It is the dog whistle to get people who follow those dog whistles to try to intimidate and threaten individuals who are responsible for accurately and legitimately counting votes.”

      The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

      “What if I had decided to leave and gone home? And rather than having me here, helping to properly count legitimate votes from eligible voters, I just left because of the threats?” Bluestein said. “That would have had a negative impact on the city’s ability to get the votes counted and posted, and I believe that’s part of what their intent is.”

  24. Eureka says:

    Missed this in the hubub; two brave women census-takers went on record about being pressured in mid-late September to falsify info in the rush to meet the early deadline:

    Census takers say they were told to enter false information
    https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-massachusetts-census-2020-98d187302fbcec5e422fa43522d51dfe
    https://twitter.com/AP/status/1325475176868425728

    [Maria] Arce, outside Boston, said a census manager called her at the end of September to tell her a supervisor would be sending her some cases. […]

    But when her supervisor called, the supervisor said she would be working from her home. The supervisor then walked her through steps that would allow her to override the software on her mobile device so she could close cases remotely, away from the addresses in Framingham, Massachusetts, that she had been given.

    Arce said she did not feel right about what she was doing and objected, but she was told the cases had to be closed.

    Then she was instructed to go to the neighborhood, which appeared to be heavily Hispanic based on its stores and restaurants, and she closed cases from her car by entering into her mobile device that she was unable to reach residents of households, even though she had not tried knocking on their doors.

    The supervisor did not respond to a voicemail message left Friday.

    In Indiana, [Pam] Roberts said she was instructed to fill out information about households even if she had not talked to any of the residents. Her supervisor wanted her “to fill it out and make up names and put it down as a refusal,” Roberts said. “I did this from outside the house.”

    Her supervisor did not respond to an email inquiry on Friday.

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Now that his woeful campaign is over, Donald Trump’s RNC – which he controls as if it were a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Trump Organization – is laying off people. Lots of them.

    I wonder how much of that is owing to his family and friends having swanned off with so much campaign cash. The resulting problems would partly explain his so-called litigation strategy, which involves redirecting 50-60% of its fundraising toward 2020 campaign debt and potential 2024 campaign expenses. All of those entail sizeable subsidies for Trump’s personal habits. But who audits that? After all, one of Trump’s defining characteristics is that he uses all available resources as if they were his personal property.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/10/politics/rnc-layoffs-trump-biden/index.html

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s Pentagon is filled with more hacks than Donald Rumsfeld managed to hire. Steve Vladeck points out one of the most senior: the current Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, rather, the acting, um, no, the person otherwise performing the duties of such an official. Trump nominated Anthony Tata for that job in June 2020, but yanked his Senate nomination – because even Mitch McConnell balked at it – and just installed him anyway.

    Tata’s career is noteworthy for its banality, his hard right views, and his willingness to commit crimes to get his way. A graduate of West Point, he rose to brigadier, but usually as an understudy, both with the 82nd Airborne and 10th Mountain Division. He did command the 101st Airborne, no mean feat.

    But Tata seems to have gone downhill both during and after his service. Midway during his Army service, which ended at the start of the Obama administration, he admitted to having committed adultery with at least three women, and had a child with one of them. He also admitted to having filed with the divorce court a forged official document, fraudulently claiming that he was current in his child support obligations.

    Those are serious violations of the UCMJ. They would normally result in punishment, including loss of security clearance, loss of rank, or dismissal. His wife filed a formal complaint, but the BushCheney administration’s Army chose to look the other way, and several years later gave him his one star.

    After leaving the service, Tata worked in local and state government in North Carolina, but somehow found a gig as an inflammatory commentator on Faux Noise. No surprise, then, that a few years later, Trump catapulted him in June of 2020 to a senior DoD position for which he is manifestly unqualified. It’s as if Trump is trying to decapitate the Pentagon. Now who does that help?

    https://twitter.com/steve_vladeck/status/1326210285527592963
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Tata

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The hits just keep on coming. Trump-Miller has moved Republican hack and seriously flawed WH counsel, Trent Benishek, to the GSA. Benishek will be the GSA’s top lawyer and ethics official, which means he will be protecting GSA Administrator Emily Murphy from both legal and ethical complaints. The GSA is critical to an effective transition from one administration to the next – or to stonewalling that process.

    Trump-Miller must think that Murphy needs a little back-up. Murphy, though, has chops, more than Benishek. She graduated from Smith and UVA law school, and has been a GOP acolyte since college. She has nearly twenty years service with the USG. She was staff counsel to several House committees, including Armed Services, and worked at other agencies before Trump appointed her to head the GSA administrator in 2017.

    Trump knew that he was appointing the person who would decide on the legality of his lease for his landmark hotel in DC’s Old Post Office, a few blocks from the White House. Murphy came through for him. Benishek, on the other hand, left law school in 2010, and was still an associate at Gibson Dunn when he was tapped to join the WH Counsel’s office.

    https://twitter.com/alexnazaryan/status/1326233149949538305
    https://news.yahoo.com/white-house-attorney-dispatched-to-agency-blocking-biden-transition-173301811.html

  28. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Three things to know about Trump’s supposed post-election litigation fundraising:

    1) Virtually none of the money will be spent on litigation. That means Trump is not serious about his post-election law suits. That was already clear from the weakness of his claims and the sloppiness of the Team D lawyers he hired to make them.
    2) Most of the money will go to a new Trump Leadership PAC.
    3) The prohibition on the personal use of campaign funds does not apply to Leadership PACs.

    “The underlying behavior of the sales pitch…makes this entire scheme by Trump and the RNC despicable.”

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-fundraising-election-2020

  29. skua says:

    During WWII the Japanese army attacked Malaysia. And soon after that conquered it all and then took control of Indonesia. When historians investigated after the war they discovered that the Japanese army had expected to be stopped from successfully invading Malaysia – and the rest of the spectacular advance was opportunistic. A similar approach is taken by US marines “When in doubt, attack”.

    There is a bias towards thinking that Trump has a single definable goal to which his actions are directed. The reality may be that Trump is a highly spontaneous leader who will attack and expand in directions to his liking until he is stopped by circumstances beyond his control.
    Trump wants power and safety from prosecution, and is twisting the system. Republican Senators would, if prioritising having a stable government, now be approaching Pelosi and promising support for impeachment.
    Otherwise we get to see the system tested without the major “check and balance” of impeachment operating.
    Ever driven in a car without brakes? It can be done. But with Trump as the driver?

  30. Worried says:

    Unfortunately, starting to feel more like my Emptywheel moniker.

    Watching local Sacramento news (non-Fox) tonight, the news lead said about Kamala Harris: “if she wins the vice presidency……..”.

    But, Trump and Co. started claiming the 2020 election would be fraudulent months ago, almost like those people who used to walk the streets carrying signs saying The End is Near.

    As with The End is Near, no specifics or any allegations that can be tested for accuracy or truth. Not sure if there are even any lawsuits. Just trying to provoke public anxieties and fears.

    Now, Republican politicians are jumping on the Coup bandwagon, supporting a move to try to overturn, by any means, the results of the 2020 election process.

    It is a scary moment and I am Worried.

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