Republican defense of Trump impeachment: the Crime was Not Completed

The first day of impeachment hearings on Wednesday weren’t exactly riveting television, but there were certainly some interesting moments. One of those was watching New York Representative (and GOP rising star) Elise Stefanik sum up the impeachment hearings this way:

For the millions of Americans viewing today, the two most important facts are the following:

No. 1, Ukraine received the aid.

No. 2, there was, in fact, no investigation into Biden.

Ahem. So their argument is that there is no problem because the crime was not completed?

The first difficulty with this argument is that the crime would have been completed but for the intervention of the whistleblower, the one that the Republicans are so desperate to unmask.

Turns out that Ukraine received the embargoed military aid a day or two after the whistleblower did his thing.

Also, if you try to kill someone and don’t succeed, it’s not like you get off scott free. Instead of it being murder, it becomes attempted murder.

I thought everyone knew that.

In any case, just about the only moment of merriment all day was provided by Vermont representative Peter Welsh, who said this in response to Republican Representative Jim Jordan’s demand that the whistleblower — the one who “started it all” — be required to testify before the committee:

I’d say to my colleague, I’d be glad to have the person who started it all come in and testify. President Trump is welcome to take a seat right there.

Let’s see what kind of merriment today’s hearings might produce. LOL!

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Democrats are panicking more than they should about whether they can win in 2020

There was an interesting article in the Boston Globe today entitled Doubts about 2020 field send Democratic party elites, donors scrambling to find a savior.

The Democrats are panicking, yes they are.

  • Michael Bloomberg? Lots of money but no charisma at all.
  • Deval Patrick? Loads of charisma but a mediocre manager (and I’m not sure America is ready for another black President so soon). 1

Yes, it’s not the world’s strongest field.

  • Biden is not Obama.
  • Warren is probably too far left.
  • Sanders is a protest vote.
  • Buttigieg is very young, inexperienced, and also very gay.

Still, as Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania points out, in head-to-head national polls, the top Democratic candidates in the running beat Trump.

I’d like to see a Biden-Warren ticket, with Biden maybe offering to be a one-term President. Just a thought.

I posted something on Facebook about this today, and it generated a lot of debate.

In any case, don’t freak out yet, my fellow progressives. It’s still all about the electoral college, and I don’t see Trump winning all five of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida a 2nd time, which he would have to do to be re-elected. Suburban women may still save us all.

There is no savior out there. We have the candidates that we have. Some of the candidates that could have caught fire — Corey Booker, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand — did not catch fire. But it is, one must concede, a narrower race than it should be.

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While waiting for the public phase of the Impeachment Inquiry, let’s not completely forget the Mueller Report

While we’re waiting for the public (i.e. televised) portion of the impeachment inquiry to begin, let’s not completely forget the Mueller report.

The Mueller report was a disappointment to liberals, progressives never-Trumpers and sane people all over the nation, and frankly, many parts of the Earth as a whole, as Mueller and his team refused to state out loud that Trump and his merry band of Pranksters had committed obstruction of justice.

That is not, lest we forget, because they did not find evidence of obstruction of justice. It is rather because — as a special project of the Justice Department which is (after all) a part of the Trump administration — the Mueller team adhered to an advisory opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel within the Justice Department that a sitting President could not be indicted.

And, if he can’t be indicted, then there’s no point in finding that he committed crimes, because he can’t be prosecuted.

And if he can’t be prosecuted then he also can’t defend himself in a court of law, so to accuse him of obstructing justice under those circumstances would be “unfair.”

And then, the Mueller team proceeded to enumerate the ways in which Trump (or members of his administration) obstructed justice. Let us count the ways:

  1. The Trump administration lied about their contacts with the Russians during the campaign, even though those contacts clearly existed and were known to one and all.
  2. Incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn discussed sanctions on Russia with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period, and then lied about this to the media, the FBI, the Vice President and other members of his own administration.
  3. The President asked leaders of the intelligence community in general (and then-FBI Director James Comey in particular) to make public statements that he had “no connection” to the investigation into Russian interference in the election.
  4. The President fired James Comey because he refused to make public statements to the effect that the President was not under investigation with respect to Russian interference in the elections.
  5. The President made specific efforts to have the special counsel (Robert Mueller) removed from the investigation of Russian interference.
  6. The President made specific efforts to curtail the Special Counsel investigation.
  7. The President made specific efforts to prevent disclosure of emails about the June 9, 2016 meeting between Russians and senior campaign officials.
  8. The President made specific efforts to have the Attorney General take over the Special Counsel investigation.
  9. The President ordered White House Counsel Don McGahn to deny that the President tried to fire the special counsel.
  10. The President ordered his personal fixer, Michael Cohen to submit false statements to Congress minimizing the Trump Tower Moscow Project.

So, that is ten ways in which the Special Counsel found that Trump obstructed justice. After repeating ad nauseum that the President could not be indicted because of the Office of Legal Counsel advisory opinion, Mueller practically challenged the Congress to impeach the President.

Which they have now done.

But not because of the Mueller enumeration of the ways in which Trump and his team tried to obstruct justice into the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

No, what finally pushed Democrats (and Speaker Nancy Pelosi) over the edge are the allegations that Trump and his administration pressured the President of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter as a specific quid pro quo for the release of military aid which the Congress had appropriated for Ukraine.

But let’s not completely forget about the Mueller report allegations while we enjoy the public phase of the current impeachment inquiry.

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Michael Bloomberg wants to Run for President, joining the Billionaire’s Club.

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former Mayor of New York, wants to run for President, joining the billionaire’s club that is either already running (Tom Steyer)1 or that was considering running (Howard Schultz).2

Seriously, enough with these Billionaires who think that they’re qualified to be President. At least Blomberg was the two-term Mayor of New York, so that he has actual government experience.

But, if he gets in, he would be he second Mayor of New York to get into the race, and I think he would find (as Bill DeBlasio did) that what plays well in New York doesn’t necessarily play well in Preoria.

As billionaires comes and go, Bloomberg, Schultz and Steyer are pretty good guys. They are a whole lot better than Sheldon Adelson, Robert Mercer and the Koch brothers.

However, what all three of these guys (Bloomberg, Schultz and Steyer) lack, is charisma. Not a one of them has much charisma. And without charisma, it’s hard to be elected President of the United States.

Bloomberg has also been a political vagabond. He started as a Democrat, switched to Republican to run as Mayor of New York, and then switched to being an Independent. This would now be his third switch, if he were to run again as a Democrat.

In addition, Bloomberg is 77 years old, putting him in the same age bracket with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Bloomberg seems to think that Joe Biden will fade, and maybe he will. But Biden still has by far the best numbers against Trump, and is a very credible, experienced guy. With lots of appeal to middle America.

I wouldn’t count him out yet.

At least Bloomberg isn’t proposing to run as a 3rd Party candidate, with the potential of splitting the anti-Trump vote.


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Today is the 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Today is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which happened on November 9, 1989. Count me among those who never thought that would happen. I always wanted to see East Berlin while the wall was still up, so that I could see modern communism — at least the East German version of it — while it still existed.

I never made it there while the wall was still up. No one (myself included) thought that it would happen so quickly, and it really was an accident of history. Making a long story short, or at least as short as possible:

  • In October 1989, longtime East German leader Erich Honecker1 stepped down in favor of Egon Krenz.
  • On November 1, 1989, Krenz opened the border with Czechoslovakia, in response to pressure from the East German populace.
  • On November 7, 1989, new travel regulations were proposed by the Politburo.
  • At a press conference by Günter Schabowski, the party boss in East Berlin (and the spokesman for the Politburo), Schabowski — who had not been properly informed of the regulations — answered questions in a manner that implied that East Germans would be able to travel to West Germany relatively unimpeded.
  • The press conference was highlighted by West Berlin television stations (all of which could be received by East German televisions), causing massive numbers of East Germans to gather at the wall.
  • The East German border guards at the six Berlin checkpoints became overwhelmed, and opened the checkpoints, causing thousands of people to slip through.
  • Many of the East Germans were greeted by their West German counterparts with flowers and champagne.
  • People began to climb the wall and started to dismantle it with sledge hammers, with no resistance from the border guards.

And that was it, the accident of history.

After reunification, the East and West Germans were jokingly known as Jammer Ossies (complaining East Germans) and Besser Wessies (West Germans who always thought they know better), and much interesting sociology has been learned by the complicated integration of these two cultures, which were on parallel development for forty-five years.

It makes one wonder when North Korea and South Korea will be reunited. It will happen eventually, but no one knows when.

It’s still complicated in Germany, and most of the neo-Nazi activity there has been generated in the old Eastern region — where the populace never had to come fully to terms with the legacy of the holocaust — but it’s still better than having two countries.


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Tuesday was good for the Democrats, but maybe not as good as the Headlines Suggest

If you just checked the headlines on Wednesday morning, you might walk away thinking the Democrats had a massive night.

It was, let’s remember, an interim election with a few Governor’s seats available, and a bit of a bellweather relative to what one might expect for next November (362 days and counting down, my friends).

However, if you look behind the headlines, the results were more mixed:

  • In Virginia, the Democrats capturing both the House of Delegates and the Senate, albeit by narrow margins, is uniformly good news.1
  • In Kenntucky, Attorney General Andy Beshear has defeated incumbent Governor Matt Bevin by 5100 votes (49.2% to 48.8% at latest counting) which is also good news. Although Bevin has called for a recount, the odds are not good that he succeeds.
  • On the other hand, in Mississippi, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves defeated Attorney General Jim Hood in an open race with no incumbents. Not a surprise, but still reassuring for Republicans.

On balance, this is certainly better news for the Democrats than the Republicans, but it mostly reinforces how divided the electorate currently is. And President Trumpelthinskin, despite his outrageous and completely transparent behavior over the last three years, still enjoys remarkable support given what his behavior has actually been like.

I don’t think we’ll ever see another person in my life time who is this badly behaved and still enjoys so much support. Not completely sure what it says about the United States of America, but I don’t think it’s good.


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Our Hypocrisy is not like Theirs, Part 19

You may not have noticed it right away, but two different investigations contrast the difference between Democrats and Republicans right now.

Hillary’s Emails

First, early last week is twas reported that an internal State Department investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server concluded that there was “no systemic or deliberate mishandling of classified information” by Hillary or employees of the State Department.

Say what? They’re still investigating Hillary’s emails?

First of all, let’s remember that Hillary’s email server was the big takeaway from the ten (count them, ten!) investigations into Benghazi1, and then there were a subsequent seven investigations into Hillary’s email server:

The investigations into Hillary’s email server included:

  • State Department Inspector General Reports;
  • FBI Investigation and re-opening of investigation;
  • Department of Justice Inspector General’s report;
  • House Oversight Committee hearings;
  • House Select Committee on Benghazi hearings;
  • Senate probe of Loretta Lynch alleged interference into investigation; and now,
  • Internal State Department multi-year report.

But Donald Trump thinks that HE is the victim of a witch hunt!2 And Trump’s supporters, quite naturally, agree with him.

The Russia Investigation

As the same time, it’s been reported that the Department of Justice — which has been investigating how the Russia probe originated — has turned that investigation into a criminal investigation.

Now Trump still believes (falseley) that the FBI’s Russia investigation was triggered by the Steele Dossier. In any case, the Steele Dossier was not compiled for the Democrats, it was initially compiled at the behest of the Washington Free Beacon and used by the Bush campaign.

Yes, the Democrats used it once they knew it existed, but they weren’t the ones who first compiled it.

Trump, of course, is still out to prove that the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt” while the evidence of him pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son is right out in the open.

Geesh!

If this were fiction, it would be bad fiction! The comparison between the hunting of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s clueless self-immolation could not be more stark. And yet, there are still Trumpelthinskin supporters who think that it’s their Donald who is the victim of the witch hunt.

The Clear Difference

There’s been a meme going around that essentially says,

  • Democrats want to know who broke the law,
  • Republicans want to know who ratted them out.

That’s where are in 2019. That’s the state of the parties, summarized in two sentences.

But the Republicans will live to regret this, because no one will be able to take them seriously when a Democrat is in the White House again and they want to investigate his, or her administration.


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This is why you don’t want a “Businessman” to be President of the United States

President Trumpelthinskin was ‘honestly surprised’ by degree of criticism of his G-7 summit decision, according to Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

This is why you don’t want a “businessman” to be President of the United States. Being President is NOT like being the Chief Executive Officer of a business. They are two completely different things.

Just to review: last Thursday Mick Mulvaney, the Acting Chief of Staff for President Trump, announced that next year’s G7 Summit would be held at the Trump National Doral Miami Golf Resort, which is owned, naturally enough, by President Trumpelthinskin.

That decision generated a lot of controversy since — aside from the fact that it’s owned by the President — the resort has also been known to be struggling financially, since the Trump brand is no longer the pull that it used to be.

Imagine that!

This was the same press conference at which Mick Mulvaney told the assembled media to “get over it” with respect to the fact that there actually had been a quid pro quo for military aid to Ukraine on the one hand and an investigation of Joe Biden and his son Hunter on the other.

The fact that the backlash was a surprise to Donald Trump reinforces the degree to which President Trumpelthinskin does not understand the difference between running a business and running a government. Making deals of the kind that Trump proposed to Ukraine, self-dealing around your own assets, those are things that business people do on a regular basis. This is true.

But it’s not how government works.

There is such a thing as a public trust, and while that’s certainly been abused by other Presidents and other politicians, there is at least an understanding that the public trust exists and that one should protect it. Or appear to be protecting it.

But not for President Trumpelthinskin.

Mulvaney has, of course, tried to walk back the “get over it” comment.

No one believes him. No one should.

Trump is now — in a rare instance of backing down — walking back his own decision about the National Doral Miami resort.

But the damage has already been done.

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What to make of the Trump fantasy video showing him killing Journalists?

It was reported by various news media outlets that a violent parody video of President Trump shooting and killing members of the media and political opponents was aired over the weekend at President Trumpelthinskin’s Doral Golf Resort, with Don Jr. in attendance.

Apparently the video had been available on YouTube for more than a year, but the recent reports of its showing increased the number of hits dramatically.

President Trumpelthinskin — without having seen it — allegedly disavowed it. Yeah, just like he had previously “disavowed” white nationalism.

I’ve previously written that Trump’s is the “FU Presidency,” but it’s become more and more apparent that his supporters just hate us — the so-called “liberal elite” of their terrific imaginations — without any diminution.

As has been pointed out so many times before, if Obama supporters had doctored a video like this, they would have hung us all in collective effegy. I mean:

  • This was at a Trump property
  • Don Jr. was in attendance

Hey Melania, how’s that anti-bullying campaign coming?

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Hunter Biden and Rudy Giuliani both prove the power of their names to make money

If you want to see an example of why citizens on both sides of the aisle are cynical about politicians, then look no further than Hunter Biden and Rudy Giuliani, both of whom proved how the power of their names help them to make money.

Hunter Biden is, of course, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, on whom President Trumpelthinskin was so eager to dig up dirt. The reason that Trumpelthinskin tried to pressure Ukraine is that Hunter Biden sat on the Board of Directors for Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian holding company for a group of energy exploration and production companies that needed some help.1

Hunter Biden made $50,000 per month for sitting on the Board, or about $600,000 per year. Nice work if you can get it.

In an interview with ABC News (supra), Hunter Biden admits that he wouldn’t have been asked to sit on that Board if he hadn’t already sat on other Boards — including the Board of Amtrak2 — if his last name wasn’t Biden.

No shit.

Rudy Giuliani was paid almost the same amount as Hunter Biden — $500,000 for the year — for providing “legal and other consulting services”3 to a company founded by Lev Parnas, one of the two Ukrainian businessmen who have now been arrested in connection with their efforts to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden in Ukraine.4

Is it any wonder that hardworking Americans are cynical about the work of connected politicians and their families.

Hunter Biden now concedes that it probably didn’t look good to be accepting this work, or the work he did for CEFC China Energy.5

Again, no shit Sherlock.

It’s not a good smelling scenario, but it’s not illegal, and it pales in comparison to the crimes that President Trumpelthinskin commits just about every day of the week.


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