• Wayfarer
    8k
    William Barr an accomplice in Trump’s smearing of his own Department.

    Let’s go back to July 8, 2017. On that day, according to Mueller’s report, Trump’s communications director, Hope Hicks, showed the president a draft statement that his son, Donald Trump Jr., planned to issue about the now-infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower [with Russian agents]. The draft statement said that Trump Jr. had accepted the meeting “with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign.” Trump has repeatedly claimed that this moment in July 2017 was the first time he heard of the meeting and the emails leading up to it, which offered “documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

    What did the president do with this surprising information? First, he altered his son’s statement to omit the part about being offered information helpful to the campaign. Second, he sent a back-channel message to Sessions to shut down the investigation. Third, he publicly dismissed the investigation as meritless. “This Russia story is a hoax made up by the Democrats,” Trump told Reuters on July 12, 2017. “There’s no coordination, this was a hoax, this was made up by the Democrats.” That night, speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump ridiculed the Russia story five times as a “witch hunt.”

    When Trump made these comments disparaging the investigation as a fraudulent and baseless fishing expedition, he wasn’t just wrong. He was lying.

    And he’s been lying ever since. The Mueller Report showed he was lying, but as soon as it came out, what was the first thing he did? He lied about it.
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    Incidentally none of this has anything to do with politics or policy, whether immigration or any other kind. It is not about Democrats v. Republicans. It’s about the degradation and corruption of the office.
  • Relativist
    737
    And he’s been lying ever since. The Mueller Report showed he was lying, but as soon as it came out, what was the first thing he did? He lied about it.Wayfarer
    But he wasn't under oath, so that's OK....that seems to be the way Trumpists view it. Even if no crime is ever charged, and no impeachment ever proceeds, Mueller unequivocally shows what a liar Trump is, and that he's engendered a culture of duplicity throughout his administration.
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    The problem being, he’s the President.

    I have to believe this will come to an end before Nov 2020. Basically I think it ought to be clear to everyone that Trump’s occupancy of the office is no longer tenable. You can’t have a functioning democracy where the main role of the head of the Justice Department is covering up the President’s felonies.
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    So now Trump is really pushing his ‘alternative narrative’ - that the Mueller enquiry was a Democratic Party/'Deep State' conspiracy, fueled by jealousy over his win, and that this was the real conspiracy in all of this. He has empowered William Barr to 'expose all of the facts' about this alleged conspiracy, and tweeted that 'those involved' should get 'long jail terms'.

    The obvious problem with this counter-narrative is that it's bullshit.

    There's a compelling piece of evidence about this fact. It concerns the meeting between ex-Australian Foreign Minister, and Australian Consul to Great Britain, Alexander Downer, and George Papadopoulos, one of the many shadowy bit-players in the Trump campaign. They had drinks one night in 2016 in London.

    It wasn't until towards the end of the meeting that the pair had a brief exchange that would set off one of the biggest sagas in presidential history.

    It was about Mr Trump's prospects in the looming election.

    "I asked him whether he thought Donald Trump would be able to defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election," said Mr Downer.

    "He said he was confident he could."

    "He said one of the reasons was that the Russians might release some information which could be damaging to Hillary Clinton."

    Mr Downer and Erika Thompson decided after the meeting this was concerning enough that they should send a cable back to Canberra about the exchange.

    The cable outlined that Mr Papadopoulos claimed to be aware of a Russian attempt to discredit Mrs Clinton.

    Mr Papadopoulos denies all of this.

    "I have absolutely no memory of ever talking to him about that," he said.

    That cable was eventually passed on to US intelligence, providing part of the impetus for an investigation of Donald Trump's campaign and its ties to Russia.

    Mr Papadopoulos might dispute telling Mr Downer about the emails, but he does remember being told about the Clinton emails about two weeks before the meeting.

    He also admitted he told Greece's Foreign Minister about the damaging emails about two weeks later.

    He maintains that does not mean he told the Australian diplomat too.

    "There's nothing illegal about spreading rumours, okay?" he said.

    "So there's no reason for me to be hiding it if I really did tell him [Downer] that. 1"

    So - who to believe? My money's on Downer, who has generally declined comment further on it since. Instead, he did what he was obliged to do, which is report the matter. If Donnie Jnr had done that when he was approached by the Russians about 'dirt on Hillary', then none of this would be happening.

    How anyone can condone/excuse/rationalise what Donald J. Trump is doing in this matter, beggars belief.
  • Wallows
    8.7k
    Well, at least the President isn't entirely exonerated and Mueller didn't really engage in doublespeak. Though, at least his public appearance is reassuring that Trump isn't entirely corrupt.

    Phew!
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    How Is “partially corrupt” even possible? The Trump campaign connived with Russian operatives for electoral advantage, and Trump then sought to cover it up.
  • Schzophr
    78
    Trump is guilty but I think he should be pardoned for a small crime!
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    So, Mueller says plainly that the only reason he didn’t charge Trump with obstruction is that he couldn’t, under a convention that doesn’t allow indictment of a sitting President. But he as good as said he would have, if he could have; he said he couldn’t declare that Trump didn’t commit an indictable offense. He says it’s all there in his report - and the lame duck Republican congress won’t even read it. But I think it’s essential that the Democrats bring impeachment proceedings, even if Congress refuses to ratify them in the end; they can’t refuse to proceed, because to do so tacitly endorses Trump’s criminality.
  • Baden
    8.2k


    They shouldn't impeach until it becomes politically impossible not to. Otherwise they risk feeding the witch-hunt narrative which Trump will milk for all it's worth. Having some Dems clamouring for impeachment while the leadership appears to resist is about the right strategy for now. When the dam breaks, you want the water to drown your target not buoy him.
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    I had thought that, but I've changed my mind. As Trump said long ago, he could shoot someone dead on Fifth Ave, and his supporters would applaud. Evidence of Trump's unfitness, ineptitude, and mendacity pile up all around him, but Fox and Friends continue to provide cover. It can't go on like this. I think the facts of the case are such as to demand impeachment. If the GOP won't go along, well it's on their heads. The facts are in the public domain.
  • Baden
    8.2k


    More stuff will come out. It's not getting any better for him. Although it's probably not getting all that worse either considering what we already know. In any case, the Dem leadership will be thinking strategy not morality. Expect it to drag on a while.
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    But it's indisputable that Trump is lying about the Mueller report. The whole report was about whether Trump lied, and when it came out, he lied about it, saying it had totally exonerated him, when it had not. It's a straight-out lie. So it's got to the point where the whole country, the whole world, now says 'oh well, Trump lies, we all know that, let's move on.' But that can't be allowed to happen. The fact that the man elected to the Presidency is a congenital liar has to matter. Just allowing him to carry on exonerates that behaviour, degrades the office and the public discourse. As I said yesterday, whatever doesn't kill his presidency makes it stronger, by lowering the standards further, by lowering the bar of what can be considered acceptable. The American political system has to act against this cancer, even if the odds favour him. Justice and decency demands it.
  • Baden
    8.2k


    Trump's lies are a satirical mirror to the nature of politics itself. He's showing us what we already are and we're relieved to find nothing new. That's why we don't, on the whole, care. There's a cathartic moment to be found there, but not a renaissance of what never was. If you don't like strawberry cancer, you just go back to vanilla.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.6k
    I wouldn't underestimate catharsis, but could we in the nascent throes of something completely different?

    Since before Trump was elected I've been hoping for his impeachment because of what it would symbolize (not just for America, but for the democratic world at large, and beyond). As a spanner in the works, Trump seems to have ground American political progress to a halt (or reversed it in terms of policy), but he is also causing us to take a harder look at the works themselves. How and why did the spanner get in there? What has it broken. what needs fixing, and what needs to be redesigned completely?

    If Trump gets impeached, wealthy elites in America and around the world will understand not only that the people do still have power, but also that democracy itself yields more effective leadership than a rigged or authoritarian craps shoot; it's us they ought placate. Average people will come away with more faith in the ability of democratic systems to represent their interests, and they'll be invigorated to see that they can still participate in what is not yet a dead system.

    I'm probably more optimistic than most... Since the world is now facing a series of impending crises that threaten to end contemporary prosperity entirely, I think sound and energized politics and political participation which can facilitate sweeping reforms is our only option. The concentration of wealth and the effect we're having on the environment cannot continue as it has done (a pattern established well before Trump), where we either embrace somewhat radical change, or face decline. Either way we're about to enter a new era of civilization, but we're not at all prepared.

    Pelosi dragging her feet about impeachment disturbs me to no end, as if for expediency she wants to keep him in office to use as a shoehorn for a democratic candidate in 2020. I see it as a necessary catalyst to trigger reform.
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    If you don't like strawberry cancer, you just go back to vanilla.Baden

    Maybe it’s already metastasised.

    One thing Mueller said today: ‘the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.‘ Basically he’s saying - begging - for Congress to pick up the ball. Justin Amash is so far the only one listening. Where the hell is Romney??
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    On reflection - Mueller held the press conference to say one thing. And that was, that his report did not exonerate Trump. He was setting the record straight after Barr’s incorrect assertion that this is what the report had done, on his last day in office.
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    It seems to me that Trump doesn’t understand what the Mueller report is about, or what’s in it. The kind of invective he is tweeting indicates no real comprehension of the details. As far as he’s concerned, it’s just bad people who hate him. So his response was basically that Mueller is a bad guy who is acting because of some petty peeve about not getting a posting. It shows no comprehension of Mueller’s character or work.

    And there’s an article in Vox, about Justin Amash, the sole Republican who supports impeachment proceedings. It says one of his Town Hall audience members said she had no idea there were adverse findings. about Trump in the report, because, according to Trump and Fox News, it completely cleared him of any wrong-doing - and that’s all she heard. And I’m sure that’s how it’s seen by many Trump supporters.

    So there’s two worlds now - one in which Trump is indeed the greatest president in history, and the world that NY Times readers live in. And if you were trying to interfere with the US political system, you couldn’t hope for a much better outcome.
  • Fooloso4
    959
    It seems to me that Trump doesn’t understand what the Mueller report is about, or what’s in it.Wayfarer

    Although it is extremely unlikely that Trump read the report, what we are seeing is not a reflection of his ignorance of its content, but the lies he is feeding his followers. He knows full well that they have not read it either and rely on what Trump and his propaganda machine, a.k.a. Fox News. is telling them. In addition, since only one Republican in Congress has come out against him, it seems to them that the "case is closed".

    One might hope that additional information might persuade them, but first they must be persuaded that legitimate news sources such as the New York Times is not fake news.

    A downturn in the economy might turn some against him. This may happen as a result of his tariffs. Those in the agricultural and manufacturing sector have already been hurt. When they become uncertain of their future and are unwilling to make capital investments and be forced to trim payrolls then they will begin to question whether Trump has made America great again. Their animosity might then be directed against the rich and come to believe that Trump has not drained the swamp but filled it with his ultra-wealthy cronies. If politicians sense the tide is turning then they will turn with it against Trump and no longer hide his lies.
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    I very much agree, but the complicating fact with Trump is not simply that he lies but that he’s got no conception of the truth. Facts only exist to be manipulated or concealed or disposed of. So, where a Nixon would have thought, well, I’m done for, there’s no use trying to avoid it, Trump has no such compunction - because the facts don’t matter, or really there are no facts, as such. There is only ‘what I say is the case’ facts be damned. The appalling thing is how many people have become enrolled in this fantasy. That is where the real threat is.
  • Fooloso4
    959


    I think he relishes the fight. His mentor, after all, was Roy Cohn. Right and wrong don't matter. It's win or lose.
  • ssu
    1.5k
    As Trump said long ago, he could shoot someone dead on Fifth Ave, and his supporters would applaud. Evidence of Trump's unfitness, ineptitude, and mendacity pile up all around him, but Fox and Friends continue to provide cover. It can't go on like this. I think the facts of the case are such as to demand impeachment. If the GOP won't go along, well it's on their heads. The facts are in the public domain.Wayfarer
    Never underestimate the tribalism, the vitriol and utter hatred of the other side in American politics. The GOP won't go along. Above all, those people who hated Hillary so much simply won't go along either. Both sides can live very comfortably in their own echo chambers.

    I've lost faith in Americans having any objectivity in these issues.
  • Baden
    8.2k
    Average people will come away with more faith in the ability of democratic systems to represent their interests, and they'll be invigorated to see that they can still participate in what is not yet a dead system.VagabondSpectre

    Excuse the delayed (and brief) reply. Anyhow, I'm less optimistic. I guess about a third will take the view you outlined, about a third will consider it a witch-hunt, and about a third will shrug their shoulders. Hyper-polarisation in effect.

    Pelosi dragging her feet about impeachment disturbs me to no end, as if for expediency she wants to keep him in office to use as a shoehorn for a democratic candidate in 2020. I see it as a necessary catalyst to trigger reform.VagabondSpectre

    And here she demonstrates why strategic interests will continue to dominate over all else and justifies some of the paranoia of the opposition.
  • ernestm
    629
    have to believe this will come to an end before Nov 2020. Basically I think it ought to be clear to everyone that Trump’s occupancy of the office is no longer tenable.Wayfarer

    Im sorry this is a rare occasion I have to disagree. Currently Trump is deliberately repressing the stock market in the hope that removal of some of the strictures will cause a boom to coincide with his election, its an old trick.

    It may not work. but if the Democrats are doing too well, he will just drop a bunch of the 'tactical nuclear devices' he is manufacturing, by converting old nuclear bombs into nuclear bunker busters, on N Korea. that will start a war again and he will win as a wartime president instead.

    One may believe that the corruption he has caused is irreversible, but unless he is successful in declaring a permanent state of military dictatorship, which seems unlikely, the general disgust is likely to cause a reversal in USA policies again in 2024, especially when the winds start dropping nuclear radiation from his bombs on the USA, if he does use them.
  • ssu
    1.5k
    Excuse the delayed (and brief) reply. Anyhow, I'm less optimisitc. I guess about a third will take the view you outlined, about a third will consider it a witch-hunt, and about a third will shrug their shoulders. Hyper-polarisation in effect.Baden
    It's sad, but this can be a likely outcome. Hyper-polarization, apt word to describe the situation.

    It's only the historians later that will rip to Trump to pieces. But who reads history, anyway?
  • Wayfarer
    8k
    Time Magazine has a story on the 11 myths about the Mueller Report. 'Myths' is a euphemism: what they actually are, are ‘lies", and furthermore, lies principally concocted by Trump and his tame A G to discredit the findings of the investigation. Time has chosen to publish them, because it seems perilously obvious that "most Americans" are now prepared to accept these lies as fact. Like, 'move right along, nothing to see here'. And depressingly, the electorate seems to be swallowing it.
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