Robert Mueller ended his two-year stint as special counsel with a bang disguised as a whimper: In a 10-minute statement announcing his resignation and the closure of the special counsel’s office, the former FBI director sent a very clear message to anyone listening: I didn’t charge Donald Trump with obstruction because I couldn’t.
“The Special Counsel’s Office is part of the Department of Justice and, by regulation, it was bound by that Department policy,” said Mueller, referencing an Office of Legal Counsel ruling that a siting president cannot be indicted. “Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”
And just in case you missed what Mueller was driving at with that quote, he was even more explicit later in his remarks. “The [OLC] opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” Mueller added.
So, to summarize:
Mueller says the special counsel’s hands were tied by the OLC opinion when it came to charging Trump with obstructing the Russia probe.
Mueller notes that “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”
Oh, whatever could he mean????
To date, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has held off the increasing number of voices within the House Democratic caucus calling for impeachment, insisting that Trump wants to be impeached because it will turn him into a victim and allow him to make the election about alleged Democratic overreach rather than about health care, immigration and so on.
It’s a sound political stance — one reinforced by CNN polling that shows that almost 6 in 10 Americans don’t want to see Trump impeached and more than 4 in 10 who think Democrats have already done too much investigating of the President.
THE POINT — NOW ON YOUTUBE!
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But polling doesn’t stand in for principle or political pressure. And Pelosi is going to be strongly pushed on both of those fronts now that Mueller said what he said. The question is whether — and how — she can withstand this increased pressure.
In a statement soon after what may be Mueller’s final appearance on the national stage, Pelosi stood her ground, emphasizing that it’s just a fraction of the total number of House Democrats calling for impeachment. “I think it’s like 35 of them out of 238, maybe it’s 38 of them out of 238 who have said they wanted to be outspoken on impeachment,” she said.
“Nothing is off the table,” Pelosi added. But “we are investigating and we are litigating and we are going to, as we go down the path, make a decision based on the strongest possible case to get the best results for the American people.”
The Point: Pelosi is holding strong — for now. But how long can she keep it up in the wake of the Mueller statement?
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Donald Trump is a small, petty man. He is a liar and a crook. And his legal problems are mounting. Each one of these statements has been true since January 20, 2017, when Trump became the President of the United States. But the remarkable events of the past week have highlighted and confirmed the essence of this President, and the terms on which he continues to hold office.
On Monday morning, someone in the White House ordered that the U.S. flag atop the building—which had been flying at half-staff to honor the memory of Senator John McCain, who died on Saturday—be raised to its normal position. Who was responsible for this action? President Trump, of course.
Over the weekend, Trump declined to issue a personal statement praising McCain, instead confining himself to a tweet in which he offered condolences to McCain’s family. You might argue that, in doing so, the President was avoiding hypocrisy—the enmity between the two men was long-standing and bitter. After the Helsinki summit, earlier this year, McCain called Trump’s joint press conference with Vladimir Putin “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American President in memory.” If, after all this acrimony, Trump had said something positive about McCain, it would have rung hollow.
But messing with the flag that flies above the White House was different. The flag represents the United States and the office of the Presidency, not Trump personally. After the death of a prominent U.S. politician, such as a former President or prominent senator, it is standard practice for the sitting President to issue a proclamation ordering the flag to be lowered to half-staff until the burial, which, in this case, will be next Sunday. Whatever one thinks of McCain’s political views, his record—five and a half years in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp, thirty-one years in the Senate, and two Presidential bids—surely merited such an honor. As Mark Knoller, of CBS News, noted on Monday morning, Trump failed to order the proclamation. Evidently, there is no limit to his smallness.
The outcry was immediate and broad-based, and, in this instance, Trump backed down. On Monday afternoon, the White House press office released a statement in his name, which said, “Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.”
Who persuaded Trump to change course? Was there a rebellion in the West Wing? The initial reports about the reversal didn’t say. But it was clear that the last thing the White House needs right now is another public-relations disaster. Although McCain’s death knocked the saga of Michael Cohen’s guilty plea off the front pages, at least temporarily, the past week was a disaster for the White House, and a reminder that Trump’s pettiness is only exceeded by his deceitfulness. Is there anybody in the entire country who now believes anything he says about the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal that Cohen helped orchestrate?
In the words of Glenn Kessler, the head of the Washington Post’s fact-checking team, “Trump and his allies have been deliberately dishonest at every turn in their statements regarding payments to Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.” No surprise there, of course. This is a man who used to pose as his own press agent to plant fake stories about himself; who has claimed—on the basis of no evidence whatsoever—to have seen Muslims in New Jersey celebrating after the 9/11 attacks; and who has routinely exaggerated his wealth by a factor of ten or more.
For habitual liars, telling untruths is “partly practice and partly habit,” William Hazlitt once wrote. “It requires an effort in them to speak truth.” Trump seldom makes the exertion. From the start of Trump’s Presidency to the beginning of this month, Kessler’s team had “documented 4,229 false or misleading claims from the president—an average of nearly 7.6 a day.”
Most of these falsehoods Trump has got away with, but he may not get away with his denials and dodges regarding the Daniels and McDougal payments. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York—having secured the coöperation of Cohen and the reported coöperation of David Pecker, who is the head of the company that owns the National Enquirer, and Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization—already seems to have strong evidence that Trump was part of a conspiracy to evade campaign-finance laws. Last week, Cohen told a federal court that, in helping arrange the payoffs to Daniels and McDougal, he acted “at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” According to the Wall Street Journal, Pecker “told federal prosecutors that Mr. Trump had knowledge of Mr. Cohen’s payments to women.”
Some of Trump’s defenders are complaining that the Feds, having failed to nail the President on the charge of conspiring with Russia to influence the 2016 election, are now “trying to Al Capone the President”—that is, get him on a technicality. Others in the Trump camp are falling back on the legal argument that a sitting President can’t be indicted, or that Hillary Clinton’s campaign also violated campaign laws. But, apart from Trump himself, virtually nobody seems to be claiming that he didn’t direct the payoffs.
It would be an irony, of course, if it were the Stormy Daniels story, rather than the Russia probe, that brought Trump to book. It wouldn’t be entirely surprising, though. Sometime, somewhere, Trump’s crooked past was going to catch up with him.
Here’s a quick reminder of the rap sheet. Turning a blind eye to money laundering at his New Jersey casinos. Operating a bogus university that bilked middle-income seniors out of their retirement savings. Stiffing his suppliers as a matter of course. Selling condos to Russians and other rich foreigners who may well have been looking to launder hot money. Entering franchising deals with Eastern European oligarchs and other shady characters. For decades, Trump has run roughshod over laws and regulations.
To protect himself from whistle-blowers, financial cops, and plaintiffs, Trump relied on nondisclosure agreements, lax enforcement, and his reputation for uncompromising litigiousness. But since May, 2017, when he fired James Comey and opened the door to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, things have been slowly unraveling for the President. (Indeed, Mueller’s team tipped off the Southern District about Cohen’s alleged misdeeds.) Last week, the unwinding process seemed to speed up.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean Trump is finished. Whatever happens on the investigative front, it is hard to believe that his own Justice Department will approve an indictment of him while he remains in office. And, as long as the vast majority of G.O.P. voters continue to support him, the Party’s leaders on Capitol Hill, whose continued support he needs, are very unlikely to turn on him.
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which was taken after the news about Cohen’s plea and the conviction of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, shows that Trump’s approval rating has barely budged. So does the weekly Gallup poll, which was updated on Monday. In both surveys, Trump’s rating is in the low forties, where it has been for months. “We’ve had this enormous series of events, and these numbers don’t change very much,” Bill McInturff, one of the pollsters who carried out the NBC/Wall Street Journalpoll, told the Journal. And so we go on.
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WASHINGTON — When it comes to Michael Cohen’s claim that he was directed by an unnamed candidate in 2016 — Donald Trump — to make payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to influence the 2016 election, there’s something important to remember.
Prosecutors say they have audio recordings, text messages and phone records about Cohen’s payments — and the intent behind them.
The proof on these [campaign-finance] counts at trial would establish that these payments were made in order to ensure that each recipient of the payments did not publicize their stories of alleged affairs with the candidate. This evidence would include:
Records obtained from an April 9, 2018 series of search warrants on Mr. Cohen’s premises, including hard copy documents, seized electronic devices, and audio records made by Mr. Cohen.
We would also offer text messages, messages sent over encrypted applications, phone records, and emails.
So, lordy, there are tapes. And emails. And phone records. Of course, we already know of one tape — of Cohen apparently talking about one of the payments to Trump — which CNN reported on last month.
In his interview with Fox News, Trump was asked about Cohen’s payments to Daniels and McDougal.
FOX NEWS: Did you direct him to make these payments?
TRUMP: He made the deal. He made the deals. By the way, he pled to two counts which aren’t a crime which nobody understands. I watched a number of shows, sometimes you get some pretty good information by watching shows, those two counts aren’t even a crime. They weren’t campaign finance.
FOX NEWS: Did you know about the payments?
TRUMP: Later on I knew. Later on. But you have to understand, Ainsley, what he did – and they weren’t taken out of campaign finance. That’s a big thing. That’s a much bigger thing. Did they come out of the campaign. They didn’t come out of the campaign. They came from me.
Let’s repeat those last two sentences: “They didn’t come out of the campaign. They came from me.” That is PRECISELY the allegation of illegal activity here — funds intended for a campaign are SUPPOSED to come from the campaign, not from another source.
THE OTHER IMPORTANT ANGLE IN THE TRUMP-COHEN STORY: THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER
Meanwhile, the Washington Post writes about the other angle here. “According to the documents, [David] Pecker assured Cohen that he would help deal with rumors related to Trump’s relationships with women by essentially turning his tabloid operation into a research arm of the Trump campaign, identifying potentially damaging stories and, when necessary, buying the silence of the women who wanted to tell them.”
“The charging documents allege that Pecker and his company, American Media Inc., owner of the National Enquirer, were more deeply and deliberately involved in the effort to help the Trump campaign than was previously known. AMI also played a key role in the effort to silence adult-film star Stormy Daniels, prosecutors allege. Pecker and AMI did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday. Nor did Cohen or his attorney.”
TRUMP’S STRANGE SOUTH AFRICA TWEET
Late last night, President Trump fired off this tweet: “I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. ‘South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.’ @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews.”
The government of South Africa responded, “South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past. #landexpropriation @realDonaldTrump @PresidencyZA.”
“Land reform is a highly divisive issue in South Africa, where white residents, who make up 8 percent of the population, own 72 percent of land, according to official figures,” the New York Times writes. “While there have been some land grabs by private groups — not sanctioned by the government — some right-wing groups have been pushing the false narrative that there have been numerous seizures of white-owned farms and killings of white farmers. In fact, research by one farmers’ organization, published in July, found that the number of killings of farmers was at a 20-year low.”
JUROR WHO SUPPORTS TRUMP TELLS FOX NEWS THAT MANAFORT WAS GUILTY
“Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team was one holdout juror away from winning a conviction against Paul Manafort on all 18 counts of bank and tax fraud, juror Paula Duncan told Fox News in an exclusive interview Wednesday,” Fox reports. “‘It was one person who kept the verdict from being guilty on all 18 counts,’ Duncan, 52, said.”
“‘Finding Mr. Manafort guilty was hard for me. I wanted him to be innocent, I really wanted him to be innocent, but he wasn’t,’ Duncan said. ‘That’s the part of a juror, you have to have due diligence and deliberate and look at the evidence and come up with an informed and intelligent decision, which I did.’”
And: “‘Every day when I drove, I had my Make America Great Again hat in the backseat,’ said Duncan, who said she plans to vote for Trump again in 2020. ‘Just as a reminder.’”
NBC/MARIST POLL: O’ROURKE TRAILS CRUZ IN TEXAS BY JUST 4 POINTS
“As Texas Democrats attempt to win a major statewide contest for the first time in almost three decades, a new NBC News/Marist poll finds Democrat Beto O’Rourke trailing Republican Sen. Ted Cruz by just 4 percentage points,” one of us writes. “O’Rourke, a congressman from El Paso who has ignited Democratic hopes with his impressive fundraising, has 45 percent support among registered voters compared with Cruz’s 49 percent. Six percent of voters remain undecided.”
And this is key when looking at the competitive congressional races in TX-7 (Houston area), TX-23 (Austin-San Antonio area) and TX-32 (Dallas area): “Cruz has majority support by about a 2-1 margin in both the more rural eastern and western parts of the state. But O’Rourke is holding steady with Cruz in Dallas/Fort Worth (both at 48 percent) and besting him in Houston (51 percent to 42 percent).”
Also, “O’Rourke’s relative strength against Cruz … is in contrast to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s whopping 19 point lead over Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez.”
By the way, there’s one more state poll we’ll be releasing later today…
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Finally, Rep. Devin Nunes has given Americans a reason to reelect Republicans.
They want to have an impeachment!
No, not that impeachment.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee told donors that “most” Republicans are on board with impeaching Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, according to a recording broadcast this week by MSNBC. They just don’t have time “right before the election.” Hence the need to retain a GOP majority.
Rosenstein must have done something truly and utterly horrible, because these guys don’t impeach just anybody. In fact, they impeach nobody. Until now they hadn’t given a moment’s thought to impeaching a single member of the Trump administration:
Not Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who, Forbes reports, has been accused by former associates of siphoning or outright stealing roughly $120 million.
Not former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, who, while in office, got a bargain condo rental from a lobbyist’s wife, used his job to find work for his wife and had taxpayers procure for him everything from a soundproof phone booth to moisturizing lotion.
Not the former national security adviser who admitted to lying to the FBI,not the former White House staff secretary accused of domestic violence, not the presidential son-in-law who had White House meetings with his family’s lenders, not the housing secretary accused of potentially helping his son’s business, not the many Cabinet secretaries who traveled for pleasure at taxpayer expense, not the former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director who bought tobacco stock while in office.
And certainly not the president, whose most recent emolument bath was poured by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince: Bookings by his highness’s entourage spurred a spike in the quarterly revenue at the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan.
What Rosenstein has done must be worse than all that, and worse than the behaviors of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Rick Gates that inspire no curiosity among House Republican investigators.
So what grave act of corruption has finally stirred them? Well, according to impeachment articles filed last month , Rosenstein “repeatedly failed to produce documents” that House Republicans demanded as part of their ongoing effort to discredit the Russia probe and revive investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Now that is pure evil. But it gets worse! Some of the documents Rosenstein provided “were heavily and unnecessarily redacted.”
This is nigh unto treason.
Among the allegations in the impeachment articles: “The Department of Justice, under the supervision of Mr. Rosenstein, unnecessarily redacted the price of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s $70,000 conference table.”
Has there ever been a higher crime committed?
The House Republicans are ideally positioned to sit in judgment of Rosenstein because of their own unimpeachable conduct. So above reproach are they that one of their first votes after swearing in was an attempt to kill the House ethics office.
But I quibble with Nunes (Calif.) on the timing of Rosenstein’s impeachment. It must be immediate, even if it postpones confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, for one reason: House Republicans are running out of prospective impeachment managers.
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), an obvious candidate, resigned over his use of public funds to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit.
Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), another ideal choice, resigned after word got out of a sexual-harassment settlement with a staffer the married congressman called his “soul mate.”
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) also can’t be of use. He resigned over allegations that he urged his mistress to seek an abortion.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) likewise won’t be available. He quit when a former aide alleged that he offered her $5 million to have his child as a surrogate.
But if Nunes acts soon against Rosenstein, he still has talented prospects to name as impeachment managers. May I suggest:
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who remains tentatively available to sit in judgment of Rosenstein, after his arrest this week on charges of insider trading. Five other House Republicans who invested in the same company but haven’t been charged are also available.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), assuming he has free time after battling allegations by seven former Ohio State wrestlers that he turned a blind eye to sexual misconduct when serving as a coach.
Others who could judge Rosenstein: Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), who pleaded guilty to assault after body-slamming a reporter; Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who is retiring after a naked photograph of him leaked online; and Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.), who is under investigation by the FBIover the alleged use of campaign funds for his children’s tuition, shopping trips and airfare for a pet rabbit.
Nunes himself is battling allegations that he got favorable terms on a winery investment and used political contributions to pay for basketball tickets and Las Vegas trips.
Let’s hope these trifles don’t distract him from the nation’s urgent business: impeaching Rosenstein for the high crime of redacting the price of a conference table. Read more from Dana Milbank’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.
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AGAIN TODAY TRUMP IS TELLING ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS TO FIRE SPECIAL COUNCIL ROBERT MUELLER AND TO SHUT DOWN THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION: RIGHT NOW!
The U.S. Congress can not Impeach a sitting President, only the U.S. Senate can do that. Back when Bill Clinton was President the Republican led Congress voted to Impeach Bill Clinton because an adult female intern gave him oral sex in the Oval Office. What Mr. Clinton did was morally wrong but so is being a liar, a tax fraud, or colluding with a know enemy to commit treason. All are sins, all are wrong, just like making up evidence so that you can go bomb people is a sin, morally and physically. When the Republican led Congress voted to Impeach Mr. Clinton the whole act was nothing but symbolic, the vote had no teeth. Via the U.S. Constitution only the U.S. Senate can Impeach a sitting President and to do so it will require 67 of the 100 Senators to vote for the impeachment, in the Clinton case the Senate didn’t even hold a vote on the issue. There is another set of rules as far as Impeaching the Attorney General is concerned though. To do this, a simple majority of the Congress has to vote to Impeach and then the Senate would have to get 67 of their 100 to vote to Impeach.
One of the many things that Mr. Trump has proven over and over again is that he is a total habitual liar, folks this is not a quality trait for anyone to have, especially the Leader of any group or organization. If you can not believe anything that is coming out of a persons mouth, what good are they as a person or as a Leader? If you remember, right after Jeff Sessions was approved by the Senate to be Mr. Trumps Attorney General he was caught lying at least twice to the Senate about his Russian contacts during the Presidential campaign of 2016. This is why Mr. Sessions recused himself from anything to do with any investigation into any Russian collusion during the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Mr. Sessions turned over this investigation to his number two-man Rob Rosenthal who then appointed the former Republican FBI Director Bob Mueller to head this investigation. As you most likely know, this whole set of events infuriated Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump has tried to get Mr. Sessions to fire Mr. Rosenthal several times but Mr. Sessions has refused to do so. Now Mr. Trump is demanding that Mr. Sessions fire the Special Council, Mr. Mueller. One of the many realities of the real world that Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to understand is that Mr. Sessions can not legally fire the Special Council or shut down the Russia investigation because Mr. Sessions in his recusing himself made it to where he can not legally do what the President is demanding that he do.
As a 62-year-old citizen of the United States I have learned very plainly that the politicians on both sides of the ‘political isle’ both Republicans and Democrats, as a whole do not give a damn about this country or the people who live within its borders. The only reason that the Republicans in the Congress and the Senate are backing Mr. Trump is because the President says he is a Republican. If Mr. Trump was a Democrat these same Republicans like my disgusting home state Senator Mitch McConnell would have been trying to get him Impeached ever since he took Office on January 20th of 2017. I am not by any means going to give the Democrats a free pass here in this article today either, to do so would be total hypocrisy. If the Congress and the Senate were controlled by the Democrats at this time and Hillary Clinton were the President and she had done all these exact same treasonous sins that Mr. Trump has done (she has many of her own personal sins which she should be in prison for, just some different ones than Mr. Trump has) the Democratic leadership would be shielding her from Impeachment just like the Republicans are doing right now with Mr. Trump. To hell with the Country, to hell with the people, the only things that matter are ‘the Party’, personal power and bigger bank accounts. If you don’t think so my friend, you are being naive at best.
Evidently by law the President can fire the Special Council, Mr. Mueller himself, just as he can fire Jeff Sessions and or Mr. Rosenthal and he can assign some flunky into those positions. This ‘flunky’ could then fire Mr. Mueller and shut down every thing that the DOJ (Department Of Justice) is investigating concerning the crimes that Mr. Trump and his family are so obviously guilty of. Then all the world will see if Mitch McConnell will grow a set of balls and insist that a vote for Impeachment take place, at once. My guess is no, he won’t. The reason that I believe this is because of seeing how these bought and paid for pieces of trash have operated over the past 50 or so odd years. I have absolutely no faith in either ‘Party’ to ever simply be honest with the American people and to do their damn jobs that the people have been paying them to do. To me, if the events do play out like I believe they will with Mr. Trump and several members of his family being charged with major crimes against the sovereignty and security of the people of Our Nation, then it is time for the people to remove all the trash in the Senate and the Congress who are betraying us. Simply put, the people must then Impeach them ourselves, or we don’t deserve a free Country to live in!
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This article to you today is simply my attempt to get you to think about some very serious issues with our (the U.S.) government that does effect every person in this country as well as in many other Nations. I’m writing this article in the form of ‘what if’s’. What if President Trump really isn’t the legitimate President and that ends up being proven beyond any reasonable doubt? Pretty much everyone on earth except Donald Trump knows and understands that the Russian government with orders from their President attacked the voting computers of 21 states during the 2016 U.S. elections. It is only logical that being if in deed Mr. Putin wanted Mr. Trump to win that election he would only target states that were expected to be somewhat close. If the Russian hackers had been ignorant they would have targeted states like New York and California where Hillary was going to win by huge amounts. If they had done that then everyone would have known that the machines had been compromised. Swinging a states numbers that were very close, say 52% to 48% for Hillary to a 52-48 for Trump would be believable. If this is what did happen and it can be proven, now what folks?
If Mr. Mueller and his team can prove that Mr. Trump along with members of his family and staff colluded with the Russian government to steal the election, is this treason? Personally I believe that it is, also personally I then believe that everything that Mr. Trump and the Congress has signed into law since January 20th of 2017 would have to be removed. Without a doubt this would really be a mess like this Nation has never had happen to us. For those of you who do not know me, do not get me wrong, I personally can’t stand the lying witch Hillary either and no, I did not vote for her, nor did I vote for Mr. Trump, I voted for Gary Johnson. There are some things that I believed about Hillary and Donald before the election in November of 2016 and nothing has changed my beliefs on these two since then. First, I believed that both people are total egomaniacs and both are totally habitual liars who will do anything for money or to win. Now the difference that I see in the two is that in my opinion Hillary is totally evil but she is also very smart, on the other hand Donald is very evil but he is about as ignorant of a person that I have ever come across. So, for President, should I have voted for a smart evil person or a dumb ass evil person? Which one would be the least evil for the American people? I thought Hillary would win and I do believe that she did, so I voted for a person that I knew very well was not going to garner more than a couple of percentage points.
Okay, I have made my point that I believe that Donald Trump, members of his immediate family and members of his personal staff are guilty of treason against the American people. Now I wont you to consider another issue please and this is the Republican Congress and the Republican Senate. Unless a person is clueless to reality it is very obvious that the majority of the Republicans in the Congress and the Senate can not stand Donald Trump as a person, yet they have in almost all issues sided with Mr. Trump on programs that Mr. Trump has wanted to make into law. The reason is simple folks, the Republicans realize that with a Republican in the White House they are able to get some of their own personal agenda passed into law, things like the new tax law and getting more Republicans onto the Supreme Court. This sickening display of cowardliness and treason by the Republican leaders like Senator McConnell is enough to make an Independent puke at the sight of their face and unfortunately he is my home state Senator so I see his face often. In the past I have voted for Republicans and Democrats at about a 50/50 clip but because of the disgusting display of Republicans kissing the ass of this dangerous un-genius stupid ass I will never ever vote for another Republican for any office at any level of government. Here is another slap of reality though, I totally believe that if Hillary was the current President the Democrats in the Congress and the Senate would be doing the exact same dirty tricks for her. Neither one of these ‘Parties’ gives a damn about the United States or of our people, they only care about their selves.
Now, what should ‘We The People’ do about it when Mr. Mueller and his team prove that these people have committed treason against us? Should we insist that those in Office be impeached as once? Should we insist that all of those folks be put into a maximum security prison for the rest of their lives and have all of their assets stripped from them and sold to the highest bidder with the proceeds put toward the National Debt? Should people in the Congress and the Senate like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell suffer the same fate as those in the Executive Branch? Should they all be made an example of like being shot by a firing squad, or better yet, hung from the Statue Of Liberty for defiling Our Constitution and of ‘We The People’ of OUR NATION? What do you think should be done to these people if they are proven to be the Criminals that they all appear to be?
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Donald Trump’s visit to the United Nations has resurrected the question of whether we’d be better off with Mike Pence.
We haven’t mulled that one for a while. Lately, Trump’s stupendous instability has actually been looking like a plus. There he was, telling Democrats that he didn’t want to cut taxes on the rich. Trying to find a way to save the Dreamers, having apparently forgotten that he was the one who put them all in jeopardy of deportation.
If Pence were president we wouldn’t be able to live in hopes of the next flip-flop. The Republican Congress would be marching through its agenda behind a committed conservative who, you may remember, forced so many Planned Parenthood clinics to close when he was governor of Indiana that it triggered an H.I.V. epidemic. Better insane than sorry.
Then came the U.N. speech, and the reminder that the one big plus on Pence’s scorecard is that he seems less likely to get the planet blown up.
You’ve heard about the big moment, when the president threatened to “totally destroy North Korea,” adding, “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”
Trump, who has a history of giving opponents insulting nicknames, loves calling Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator, “Rocket Man.” Nikki Haley, our U.N. ambassador, argued that the president’s speech was a diplomatic win because “every other international community” has now started calling Kim “Rocket Man,” too.
Does this sound like a triumph to you, people? It’s perfectly possible Kim takes it for a compliment since he does like rockets. And I’ll bet he likes Elton John songs, too.
But about the “totally destroy North Korea” part: I believe I am not alone in feeling that the best plan for dealing with a deranged dictator holding nuclear weapons is not threatening to blow him up.
We tell ourselves that the president is surrounded by men who are too stable to let him plunge us into a war that will annihilate the planet. But Trump’s U.N. speech was a read-from-the-teleprompter performance, not a case of his just blurting out something awful. People in the White House read it and talked about it in advance.
It would have been so easy to avoid the crisis with a rewrite. “As the president said yesterday, the United States has great strength and patience, but all options are on the table,” Pence told the Security Council later. No, that’s not what the president said. But it is how you expect the head of the most powerful country in the world to deliver a message without scaring the pants off the public.
Maybe that’s what this country needs — a president who can make diplomacy boring again. We’re back to the dream of impeachment, or the sudden news that Trump is retiring to spend more quality time with his defense attorneys.
The most positive interpretation of the U.N. performance is that it was just a show for the base back home and had nothing whatsoever to do with anything in the real world. That seems possible, since the bulk of it was just sort of … undiplomatic. Urging his audience to do something about North Korea, Trump said: “That’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.” Truly, when you’re addressing an international organization of which your country is a founding member, it’s a little weird to refer to it as “they.”
The president also kept saying he was always going to “put America first,” which is of course true. But at a U.N. venue, it was a little like going to the first meeting of the PTA and repeatedly pointing out that you only care about your own kid.
While Trump spent a lot of time denigrating the U.N. during his campaign, the White House clearly put a big premium on his debut. The whole Trump team was making the rounds. Poor Melania gave a speech about protecting children from cyberbullying while the audience silently contemplated the fact that her husband recently retweeted a meme of him slamming Hillary Clinton in the back with a golf ball.
The president was much more affable in smaller venues, but he still sounded … wrong. He tried to be super-nice at a luncheon with African leaders, assuring them, “I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich.” At a gathering for the secretary general, he offered a toast to “the potential, the great, great potential, of the United Nations.” He kept talking about “potential,” like a relative attempting to say something positive about a teenager who had just gotten kicked out of junior high.
The big takeaway, however, was that the president of the United States had threatened to destroy a country with 25 million people.
Maybe we would be better off with Pence in the White House. Even though he won’t drink in mixed company unless his wife is present, or dine alone with a woman he’s not married to.
Really, there are some choices we just shouldn’t be required to make.
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As the vote was taken, anti-government demonstrations on São Paulo’s Avenida Paulista and outside the Congress held aloft a giant inflatable rubber duck, emblazoned with the message “I’m not going to pay the duck”—meaning paying for something when you shouldn’t have to.
The duck, which has appeared at every pro-impeachment rally, has come to symbolize not only the movement against Rousseff’s ruling Workers’ Party but also wider discontent with government policies. In response, one particularly telling pro-government cartoon depicted the opposition as a “Trojan duck,” hiding years of uncertainty and a painful austerity agenda behind its innocent appearance.
However, the color and noise at both pro-and anti-government protests masks a lack of consideration for the longer-term political implications of Rousseff’s impeachment, a process dominated by short-term, personal political leverage and political gain.
After the government’s failed last-minute attempt to block the process in the Supreme Court, the Brazilian Congress’s Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, voted in favor of impeachment on April 17 after days of heated debates.
The extent to which the vote will resolve the political crisis is highly questionable, while it also reveals the fundamental divisions and deep-seated problems of Brazil’s fragile democracy.
The country has become further divided, as symbolized by the “wall of impeachment” erected in front of the Congress to separate pro and anti-government protesters. Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets ahead of the vote, but this is not a straightforward story of a virtuous political class attempting to remove an unpopular president, given the public outcry.
Although Rousseff’s approval rating increased from 10 percent to 13 percent in early April (and from 29 percent to 37 percent if we include neutral opinions), these much-cited figures hide a high level of public dissatisfaction with Brazilian politicians and politics. Almost a quarter of Brazilian demonstrators cited “politicians in general” as the object of their protests, whether they were in favor of the government or not.
It has become clear that Brazilians are rejecting not only Rousseff but most other potential presidents too. And that makes for a deeply uncertain political future.
That much was on display as the impeachment vote started: Anti-impeachment deputies unveiled a “Fora Cunha” (Out With Cunha) banner, and others explained their support for a “no” vote by pointing to Cunha, arguing that the impeachment vote was being presided over by another corrupt figure.
All the while, the separate corruption investigations into the state oil company Petrobras have been rumbling along, and while they have yet to touch Rousseff herself, they have already engulfed a slew of senior figures.
The impeachment debate has revealed just how many politicians are implicated in that particular scandal, and more besides: No fewer than 35 out of the 38 congressional deputies who voted in favor of starting the impeachment process in the first place are under investigation for corruption.
Conversely, the Brazilian preference for democracy has been growing steadily, from 35 percent in 2003 to 54 percent in 2015, which is similar to the Latin American average. These figures suggest that the typical Brazilian supports democracy but is highly skeptical about the democratic credentials of the country’s politicians.
That there is a strong base of support for Lula, who’s clearly positioning himself for another presidential run, might be surprising in light of the corruption scandals, particularly to those waving inflatable Lula dolls in a prison outfit at public demonstrations.
But even if he could win an election, Lula’s chances of getting Brazilian politics under control are very slim indeed. While the decisive vote in the lower house to impeach Rousseff smacks of consensus and discipline, the country’s political culture is becoming ever more fractured and turbulent.
Brazil is teetering on the precipice of constitutional chaos, and all the while the public is in full revolt against politicians’ ingrained corruption and venality. But even the protest movements themselves are fractured and contradictory, and no clear answers to their calls for political reform are forthcoming.
Whatever the immediate future holds for all the lead characters, Brazilian politics will be messy and unpredictable for a long time yet.