Oops - your Trump presidency discussion thread.

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  • missed the window looking for Andre the Giant gifs (Unrelated). I meant to say that homelessness is a really hard issue politically because people don't think its fixed or even improving unless homeless people are completely invisible. It will always play well for conservatives.
  • My favourite thing about that LA Times article is to discover the existence of an activist group called Raging Grannies.
  • HedgehogHedgehog Shipmate
    edited September 18
    Trump names a new national security adviser. And, shockers, it is a white man. Again.

    This analysis suggests reasons why that might not be a good thing under the circumstances.
  • I don't know much about him but I'm going to take a wild guess that the man's race is the least of his problems.
  • There's been a slow-motion confrontation brewing between the House Intelligence Committee and Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. It started with a letter [PDF] from committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA28) on September 10. It's not that long but it informs Maguire that he was required to forward a specific whistleblower report from the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) no later than September 2 and had not done so. Schiff demanded the report.

    It was apparently not forthcoming because Schiff sent another letter [PDF]. It's a little longer but makes the point that Maguire doesn't have the authority to overrule the Inspector General in a matter of Congressional oversight and that the justification that "the complaint concerns conduct by someone outside of the Intelligence Community and because the complaint involves confidential and potentially privileged communications" is spurious. Schiff goes on to draw the conclusion:
    The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials. This raises grave concerns that your office, together with the Department of Justice and possibly the White House, are engaged in an unlawful effort to protect the President and conceal from the Committee information related to his possible "serious or flagrant" misconduct, abuse of power, or violation of law.

    The bolding was in the original letter. Schiff closes by saying he expects to receive the report an all relevant materials by September 17 and, absent that, Maguire was required to appear before a public hearing on September 19 (today). Enclosed with the September 13 letter was a subpœna.

    Maguire stated that he is going to do neither, but is available to the committee next week. ICIG Atkinson will appear before the committee in a closed session today.

    Enter the Washington Post with an article saying that Trump's phone calls with a "foreign leader" are what caused the whistleblower to blow the whistle.
    The whistleblower complaint that has triggered a tense showdown between the U.S. intelligence community and Congress involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

    Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

    It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, but his direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed. It raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information and may further strain his relationship with U.S. spy agencies. One former official said the communication was a phone call.

    Naturally these anonymously sourced (caveat lector) details have given rise to all kinds of speculation. Who is the "foreign leader"? What "promise" was made? Was the promised action illegal, or just something that would look really bad if disclosed?
  • You get us the best stuff Croesos.
  • I wrote:
    I sometimes feel afraid around homeless people, particularly overseas when I am out of my comfort zone. I need to start volunteering again. Giving money is good, but volunteering is the bomb.

    This implies I have volunteered in the past around homeless people. That's not true. Mostly, what I do is look for paid employment that puts me in contact with people at the margins. I haven't volunteered for years, and it was church related stuff when I did it. Working with people at the margins, paid or otherwise, is the bomb.

    Sorry, but it was bugging me.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited September 19
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    You get us the best stuff Croesos.

    No problem. As an addendum the Washington Post has put out a timeline of events relevant to this story, including the various foreign leaders Trump is known to have contacted in the weeks leading up to the whistleblowing. The July 31st call to Vladimir Putin seems the most interesting, not just because of past history but because the White House didn't disclose it until after the Russians did and the details provided by each side differ. (In case you don't remember back that far, on July 31 California was suffering severe wildfires, a matter of apparent indifference to Trump, making the whole "Siberian wildfires" explanation sound very strained indeed.)

    Of particular note is the August 8 entry:
    After Trump’s pick of Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.) to replace [ departing Director of National Intelligence Dan ] Coats falls through, Trump announces Joseph Maguire would take on the role in an acting capacity. In doing so, he bypassed Sue Gordon, who had been Coats’s No. 2 at DNI and was a career intelligence official with bipartisan support. Gordon would also resign.

    So something roils the leadership of the intelligence community and four days later someone blows the whistle on something.

    It should also be noted that Adam Schiff has made this claim.
    According to the director of national intelligence (DNI), the reason he's not acting to provide it, even though the statute mandates that he do so, is because he is being instructed not to. This involved a higher authority, someone above the DNI.

    The list of people in the U.S. government "above the DNI" is very short.
  • Do you realize all the departmental chiefs of homeland security are all acting heads, as is the acting Secretary of Homeland Security?
  • If only the president were an acting president...
  • So it looks like Trump was talking to the other Vlad...

    It seems like Ukraine's president isn't playing along though. He does seem to be somewhat decent so far, especially compared to the recent crop of Ukrainian leaders.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited September 20
    So it looks like Trump was talking to the other Vlad...

    Maybe. All we know is that is that the whistleblower complaint "centers on Ukraine" in the words of the Washington Post, a phrase that covers a lot of ambiguity. That could mean that the alleged promise was made to Ukrainian President Zelensky or it could be that Trump's alleged promise was to Putin about something to do with Ukraine. Trump is known to have spoken by phone to both in the relevant time frame so I'd say either is plausible.
  • "Trump pushed Ukraine's president at least eight times in one phone call to work with Rudy Giuliani, who was advocating for a probe of Joe Biden's son, sources say" according to those pinko commies at the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal. Link is to their Twitter feed because the WSJ website is behind a paywall.
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    And this week, Australian Prime Minster Morrison is trying to outdo the brown-nosing of a dopey American President, exhibited by his predecessor of 20 years ago - John Howard, who called himself the Deputy Sheriff to George W Bush. Howard consequently committed troops to Bush's futile war against Iraq, and - lo and behold- our troops are still there.
  • He let Trump use him as a prop at the opening of a Pratt factory somewhere. Of course, it was a campaign event. Morrison should be garrotted for letting Trump make him seem partisan.
  • Why does your press take sh*t from trumpy when he says abusively "you're fake news" and today talked about electrocuting Joe Biden? Normal people do not talk like this. Why does he get any oxygen when he talks like this. Someone needs to talk to them about basic behaviourism. Do not feed the troll, do not reinforce negative behaviour.

    What they should report is things like "the press/media asked the president about <topic>. He did not answer the question and called the group cowards and said that we report only fake news. So we have no answers from him today."

    Subsequently they could report that trumpy did not answer questions, rather he called the media names again.
  • People would think the media were hiding something. And they would be. I hate all the crap T says/does--but at least we have *some* knowledge of it.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited September 24
    This article from Lenore Taylor consists of her observations about Trump and the Press Gallery (sorry Press Corps. We call it a Gallery after the place they sit overlooking the floor of the House) during her recent visit to the USA with our PM's entourage. She is a great journo, one of our best.
  • Yeah, I read her article. I was a little surprised that she was surprised, FWIW.
  • The thing about "fake news" is that the epithet was really first popularized by the mainstream press who were promoting themselves as gatekeepers of truth. At first they were applying it, rightly, to genuinely fake news sites purveying false, clickbait articles, but the brush got broader and it often was applied to sources that, whatever one might say about them, were not deliberately propagating misinformation. It also didn't help things that these mainstream media outlets were often caught distributing- wittingly, or not- misinformation themselves. There has yet to be any real reckoning for mass exercises of groupthink like the run-up to the Iraq war. It was only a matter of time before the "fake news" label got turned on anyone and anything.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    The media has ALWAYS distributed what could be labeled "misinformation." That's inherent in the nature of the beast. Back in 1920, when a fire breaks out in the business district of East Overshoe, South Somestate, rival papers (anybody remember those?) get wind of the event. Each sends a reporter to "get the facts." Each reporter is under pressure to get "facts," put them into narrative form, and get them back to the newsroom (thence to press) ahead of the other reporter. Each paper is competing to be first out with the story, because that paper will sell more copies, and selling more copies means economic survival.

    The reporter's dilemma: speed versus accuracy and completeness. More facts, checked facts, or first facts? When covering real-time events, there's commotion, confusion, compromised communication, and so on.

    The reporters probably talk to some of the same people -- the fire chief, a firefighter or two, etc. -- and to some different people -- bystanders, workers/bosses from the affected business, etc. in an effort to get the bigger, flashier, more-salable story. Later, it turns out that some of the information they collected -- due to speed of collection, confusion at the scene, misunderstanding/misidentification of roles of interview subjects, etc. -- is flat-out wrong.

    Is that "fake news?" I'd say "no," so long as the media provides corrections when they get things wrong.
  • The media will always make mistakes, as we all do on this mortal coil. I would only call it "fake news" if there is a deliberate attempt to deceive.
  • It has been announced, or leaked, that Nancy Pelosi is going to announce the formation of a committee of inquiry into impeachment later today
  • NicoleMR wrote: »
    It has been announced, or leaked, that Nancy Pelosi is going to announce the formation of a committee of inquiry into impeachment later today
    When I read that this morning I shouted (gleefully) so loud I was afraid my neighbor would think something was wrong! (My back door was open for my dog.)

    Where's the spinning smiley when we need it?



  • NicoleMR wrote: »
    It has been announced, or leaked, that Nancy Pelosi is going to announce the formation of a committee of inquiry into impeachment later today

    Also of note:
    Adam Schiff
    @RepAdamSchiff
    We have been informed by the whistleblower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting DNI as to how to do so.

    We‘re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week.

    For those who can't place the name, Adam Schiff chairs the House Intelligence Committee. In addition to examining the possibility that Donald Trump is using his office for personal electoral advantage I hope some time is spent on the fact that the DNI and the White House seem to have deliberately and effectively destroyed the intelligence whistleblower system.
  • What "system"? John Kiriakou might have something to say about that.
  • Ohher wrote: »
    The media has ALWAYS distributed what could be labeled "misinformation." That's inherent in the nature of the beast. Back in 1920, when a fire breaks out in the business district of East Overshoe, South Somestate, rival papers (anybody remember those?) get wind of the event. Each sends a reporter to "get the facts." Each reporter is under pressure to get "facts," put them into narrative form, and get them back to the newsroom (thence to press) ahead of the other reporter. Each paper is competing to be first out with the story, because that paper will sell more copies, and selling more copies means economic survival.

    The reporter's dilemma: speed versus accuracy and completeness. More facts, checked facts, or first facts? When covering real-time events, there's commotion, confusion, compromised communication, and so on.

    The reporters probably talk to some of the same people -- the fire chief, a firefighter or two, etc. -- and to some different people -- bystanders, workers/bosses from the affected business, etc. in an effort to get the bigger, flashier, more-salable story. Later, it turns out that some of the information they collected -- due to speed of collection, confusion at the scene, misunderstanding/misidentification of roles of interview subjects, etc. -- is flat-out wrong.

    Is that "fake news?" I'd say "no," so long as the media provides corrections when they get things wrong.

    I can identify with this. At my one son's graduation he was one of the student speakers. There was also another student speaker. Two papers covered the event. The reporter of one of the papers focused on the other student speakers, the other paper's reporter focused on my son. I read both of the reports. It seemed they were covering two separate events.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited September 24
    What "system"? John Kiriakou might have something to say about that.

    The system outlined in the somewhat misnamed Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act. Note that it's supposed to be a way for intelligence officials to report misconduct to Congress, not reporters, and despite the name does not actually provide much in the way of actual protection for whistleblowers.

    Even so, it is a law that's on the books and which was (allegedly) deliberately disobeyed by the DNI at the (again alleged) direction of the White House. This type of interference could be considered obstruction of justice.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited September 24
    As an historical note, blocking a Congressional investigation by concealing evidence was the basis for Article 3 of the Articles of Impeachment drafted against Richard Nixon.
  • Outwardly, anyway, it seems Nancy is doing this because she's being pushed by other Democrats in the House. (They've been very unhappy that she wasn't plunging ahead with this.)

    Thinking about this, this morning, some possibilities occurred to me:

    --She doesn't want to look like she's angling for the Oval Office herself. Speaker of the House is right after the VP to take over if anything happens to the president. (At least until there can be a new election.) And many people don't like Pence, either. Would he stay and serve as prez, or go home? (Possibly with a sigh of relief.)

    --She doesn't want to be president, should the above occasion arise. But she'd probably feel torn about missing the opportunity to finally have a woman president.

    --She doesn't want the move to impeach to look like a coup.

    --She doesn't want the move to impeach to be a coup.

    --She doesn't want Congressional Republicans to stage a coup to get rid of Congressional Democrats.

    --She realizes that Congressional Republicans will turn this around on the next Democratic president.

    --She doesn't want the country to just lose it, and turn on itself. Many people would be dancing in the streets, if T was out of office. Other people (not just T himself ;) ) think he's God's Gift, or at least their best chance to get whatever it is they want.

    This would not be a happy combination

    Lots of people in this country have guns. (Duh.) Scared people (on either side or none) who don't have guns might buy them. And there are private militias--most, AIUI, to do with some kind of hate or supremacist philosophy.

    --There's so much (metaphorical) tinder and kindling in this country, waiting be sparked...and we're not talking about a camp fire...


    Yikes.

  • Yikes! the last time I posted on this thread I was describing myself as a pro-life Catholic! And I was totally in the bag for the Trumpster. (Sorry, I was mesmerized by conservatism!)

    FWIW I'm still a Catholic, kinda/sorta (see my other posts!), but I'm now pro-choice and rooting for Liz Warren. Though at this point, I'm OK with *anyone* other than Trump -- and it's heartening to see I'm not alone in that!
  • For those like @SirPalomides who are curious about the exact provisions of the ICWPA the folks at Just Security have an explainer, with specific references to the dust-up between Chairman Schiff and acting DNI Maguire.
    Golden Key wrote: »
    --She doesn't want the move to impeach to look like a coup.

    --She doesn't want the move to impeach to be a coup.

    Elected representatives using Constitutionally designated powers put into their hands by the electorate sounds like the exact opposite of a coup.

    Someone suggested that what Pelosi was worried about was Democrats in swing districts facing tough re-elections. One metric for this is that there are forty Democratic first-year House members from districts that were previously held by Republicans. The seven freshman Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry in the Washington Post this morning brought the total to nineteen out of forty in favor of impeachment. My guess is that at least a couple more are on board now, and this is what has flipped Pelosi on the question.
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    --There's so much (metaphorical) tinder and kindling in this country, waiting be sparked...and we're not talking about a camp fire...

    Right-wing militias can definitely do a lot of harm. A full-blown civil war? I don't see that happening. Remember how those guys occupied the national park in Oregon for about a month, and then surrendered when they ran out of snacks? Imagine an army of those guys trying not only to cohere as an organization but figure out where they're going to get water, food, etc.

  • Except, AFAIK, those guys at Malheur weren't actually a real, organized militia. (Though I just now read that there were some militia members there.) ISTM that the Bundy family themselves felt they'd finally had enough. (Not defending their actions.)

    Some resources:

    --Here's a segment from the PBS Newshour from 2017, with both transcript and audio:

    "Why armed militia groups are surging across the nation" (PBS).

    --Possibly NSFW: I plugged "militias US" and "patriot movement" into search engine DuckDuckGo.com. Scroll past the dictionary definitions, and you'll find sites both by and about them. Their own sites might be NSFW, 'cause topics, violence, beliefs, and plans. DDG gives more privacy than other search engines; but, AIUI, employers can still see what site you're on.

    --"Militia organizations in the United States" (Wikipedia).

    In the "Active militia groups" section, Wikipedia references the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, extremists, militias, etc.
    The Southern Poverty Law Center identified 334 militia groups at their peak in 2011. It identified 276 in 2015, up from 202 in 2014.

    --The Southern Poverty Law Center's site is here. Try searching their site on "militias" and "patriot movement".

  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited September 25
    The pushback against lawlessness has to come sometime, and how better than through a Constitutional process? At a bare minimum it will have everybody glued to the news and brushing up their rusty civics knowledge--which is a thousand times better than the current wittering-in -a-vacuum most idiots are doing, plus meme warfare.
  • Several months ago I saw a meme that suggested we could get rid of the national debt by making Trump's impeachment pay-per-view.
    :wink:
  • Fake president
    Yikes! the last time I posted on this thread I was describing myself as a pro-life Catholic! And I was totally in the bag for the Trumpster. (Sorry, I was mesmerized by conservatism!)

    FWIW I'm still a Catholic, kinda/sorta (see my other posts!), but I'm now pro-choice and rooting for Liz Warren. Though at this point, I'm OK with *anyone* other than Trump -- and it's heartening to see I'm not alone in that!

    What changed your views and position? if you don't mind the question.
  • I always thought Pelosi was worried about the likely acquital from the Senate after his impeachment. Surely Trump could use such a determination to argue to the electorate that he is a virtual cleanskin.
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    Except, AFAIK, those guys at Malheur weren't actually a real, organized militia. (Though I just now read that there were some militia members there.) ISTM that the Bundy family themselves felt they'd finally had enough. (Not defending their actions.)

    Some resources:

    --Here's a segment from the PBS Newshour from 2017, with both transcript and audio:

    "Why armed militia groups are surging across the nation" (PBS).

    --Possibly NSFW: I plugged "militias US" and "patriot movement" into search engine DuckDuckGo.com. Scroll past the dictionary definitions, and you'll find sites both by and about them. Their own sites might be NSFW, 'cause topics, violence, beliefs, and plans. DDG gives more privacy than other search engines; but, AIUI, employers can still see what site you're on.

    --"Militia organizations in the United States" (Wikipedia).

    In the "Active militia groups" section, Wikipedia references the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, extremists, militias, etc.
    The Southern Poverty Law Center identified 334 militia groups at their peak in 2011. It identified 276 in 2015, up from 202 in 2014.

    --The Southern Poverty Law Center's site is here. Try searching their site on "militias" and "patriot movement".

    Well, I'm not sure what "real militia" would be in this case, but let's assume these 334 groups are not entirely made up of posturing incompetents and buffoons. Let's assume some of them have decent understanding of strategy, tactics, logistics, etc. Let's also assume that enough of their leaders have compatible goals and can deflate their egos enough to form a united movement with a reasonable command structure and a semblance of discipline. How are they going to keep supplied with ammunition and, more importantly, water? Who will be willing to risk death, imprisonment, or serious privation to shelter, supply, and feed them? The people who suffer first and most from an insurgency are typically the insurgency's support base. If the people aren't willing to suffer that, and the militia aren't ruthless enough to inflict it, then a bunch of guys with guns is going nowhere. Their own families will turn them in.

    And this is all assuming the US government handles them with kid gloves like it did the clowns at Malheur. Counterinsurgency with the gloves off is hell on earth. It takes some very, very tough people in very rough neighborhoods to handle that- the Vietnamese a few decades back, or the Yemenis now, for instance. There is no significant corner of the American population that can even conceive of the horror. Once the AC and Wifi are gone militant rhetoric becomes distinctly less romantic.

    Don't get me wrong, these militia guys can do plenty of harm- terrorism, extortion, gun battles with the cops, etc. But a sustained insurgency is not happening in this country any time soon.

  • The White House has released the memorandum of the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. Including this bit:

    Zelenskyy: I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.

    Trump: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike ... I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation .. I think you are surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it if that's possible.

    (Emphases added by me)

    The slime is thick!!
  • The transcript of the Trump-Zelensky phone call available here.

    Trump does not specifically mention military aid in a quid pro quo sense but his inquiry about Crowdstrike, the Bidens, etc. begins as an immediate response to Zelensky mentioning military aid. Zelensky talks about buying Javelins. Trump then says, "I would like you to do us a favor though..." He underscores the point by saying "it's very important that you do it." It seems pretty clear that there is an implication here that the aid is contingent on this favor. But, like with a lot of diplomatic exchanges, you do have to read a bit between the lines, and Republicans will get a lot of mileage from that, at least with the gullible.

    Also, Zelensky really comes across as a gigantic ass-kisser. Not that I really blame him- flattering Trump might be the difference between getting continued aid or being lumped together with those "very bad people." So he might just be smart in this case.

    Crowdstrike is a rather interesting and shady entity in itself but that's maybe for another time.
  • Important to note that the memo doesn't include everything that was said.

    To put it another way, this is apparently the best gloss the White House can put on this conversation. More was said behind the ellipses, of which there are many.

    A NY Times opinion piece (not linking because of paywall) suggests that the Ukrainians must also have a record of the call, and the House Committee needs to get hold of it.
  • And it should also be noted that this is still not the whistleblower complaint that (at least last I checked) has still not been produced, in violation of the law.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited September 25
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    I always thought Pelosi was worried about the likely acquital from the Senate after his impeachment. Surely Trump could use such a determination to argue to the electorate that he is a virtual cleanskin.

    The problem with this analysis is that Trump will make that claim no matter what. Impeached but not convicted by the Senate? "See, I was innocent the whole time. PRESIDENTIAL HARRASSMENT!" House doesn't impeach? "See, if I were guilty of something wouldn't Nasty Nancy and her witch hunters have impeached me?" Even if Trump were actually removed from office by the Senate (unlikely, but possible) he'd still say the whole thing was "rigged".
    The transcript of the Trump-Zelensky phone call available here.

    No, it's not. As Hedgehog points out just prior to you, what's been made available is a memo prepared by the White House summarizing the call which explicitly states that it's not a transcript in the sense most people understand the term. I know it's been six months, but has everyone forgotten the Barr Letter [PDF] "summarizing" the M______ Report? Summaries prepared by the administration* are almost certainly skewed and omit key facts, which is pretty alarming when you consider that this memo essentially says "yeah, I did it". The House Intelligence Committee needs to receive the full and unredacted whistleblower complaint. (The Senate Intelligence Committee needs to receive it too, as specified in the ICWPA, though they're making less fuss about it.)
  • Important to note that the memo doesn't include everything that was said.

    Noted. My bad.
    the Ukrainians must also have a record of the call, and the House Committee needs to get hold of it.

    Then they'll need to make a pretty compelling case as to why releasing it is worth calling down the wrath of Trump.
  • Croesos wrote:
    The problem with this analysis is that Trump will make that claim no matter what. Impeached but not convicted by the Senate? "See, I was innocent the whole time. PRESIDENTIAL HARRASSMENT!" House doesn't impeach? "See, if I were guilty of something wouldn't Nasty Nancy and her witch hunters have impeached me?" Even if Trump were actually removed from office by the Senate (unlikely, but possible) he'd still say the whole thing was "rigged".

    Oh for sure. This bloke called 'unfair' when he won the bloody election. I'm worried about base turnout, and in particular him getting that extra 5 or 6% that he needs to get over the line for a second term. I'm worried about the extra money he'll generate from his supporters. I just reckon having the 'all clear' from the Senate will cause people who only pay marginal attention to politics to believe that he in fact did nothing wrong.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited September 25
    It's of note that in addition to finding the whistleblower's accusations both "credible" and "urgent" the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) also made a criminal referral to the Justice Department informing them of potential campaign finance violations. The DoJ declined to investigate on the grounds that they weren't sure ratfucking qualified as a "thing of value" worth more than $25,000. (I think they recycled that one from the M______ Report.) What's notable is that Barr did not feel the need to recuse himself from this case despite the fact that he's prominently mentioned (and implicated as a potential co-conspirator) in the just released not-a-transcript that, as far as we can tell, served as at least partial justification for the referral. I'd be interested to know if Barr ran this by the DoJ ethics office. If not, why not? If so, what did they say?
  • On the emoluments clause front, some people have taken special note of Zelensky mentioning his stay at Trump Tower.
  • Trump does not specifically mention military aid in a quid pro quo sense but his inquiry about Crowdstrike, the Bidens, etc. begins as an immediate response to Zelensky mentioning military aid. Zelensky talks about buying Javelins. Trump then says, "I would like you to do us a favor though..." He underscores the point by saying "it's very important that you do it." It seems pretty clear that there is an implication here that the aid is contingent on this favor.

    A counter-argument from someone who claims to be a lawyer:
    The WP has an “analysis” piece in which the lead takeaway from the phone account is that there is no explicit quid pro.

    Oh my fucking God. Zelensky says that they’re ready to purchase javelins from the US. Trump immediately responds by saying, “I would like you to do us a favor though . . . .” This IS AN EXPLICIT QUID PRO QUO. Has the author ever talked to a prosecutor or read a judicial opinion about what an explicit quid pro quo is? Does the author really believe that an explicit quid pro quo exists only when there is a notarized document signed by both parties that says, “Party A agrees to give Party B Y but only if Party Z does Z in return?”

    Furthermore, in a trial and in a judicial opinion, the context in which the statement was made would be highly relevant in evaluating whether it was an explicit quid pro. The context was that, as both Zelensky and Trump knew, military aid that Ukraine was to have received had been held up.

    And furthermore to the furthermore, the author shows no awareness that the crime of bribery can be shown by an “implicit” quid pro quo. An unstated understanding that both parties have that it is this for that. The author seems to believe, quite wrongly, that if there no explicit quid pro quo (which there emphatically is), then there can be no bribery. It will just be a matter of subjective political back forth about whether and to what extent it is relevant.

    To quote a line from All the President's Men, "forget the myths the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand." Click the link for the perfect illustration of this.
  • Re "the perfect illustration":

    And the "$64,000 question" is...

    Was it an accident?

    Or did someone decide to help the impeachment process along?
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