Purgatory: Oops - your Trump presidency discussion thread.

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  • On a personal note, I war my 'I'm With Her' t-shirt for the first time yesterday since the 2016 election. It felt good.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    Stupidgate?
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Well, here's a thing.

    Fancy the Senate having to pass an resolution supporting and upholding the First Amendment when the President swore an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States".

    But maybe it is a good sign? Maybe Congress is waking up to the constitutional thread that the President presents?


  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    edited August 2018
    On the other hand, this is not very encouraging.

    This observation struck home to me.
    "I agree that the 'reasonable doubt' question is not a good one for prosecutors. It suggests some jurors are trying to convince a holdout," wrote Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst.

    I sat in a jury room for many hours on a case where there were three hold-outs and this was an issue. It took a long time to pin down what were their reasons for doubt and for part of the time they argued that they did not have to give their reasons, it was just how they felt.

    (In the end, we did bring in a unanimous verdict of guilty and the faces of the hold-outs when the string of prior convictions was read out were an absolute picture.)
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    Apparently Trump stated, quite openly in an interview, that the reason he revoked Brennan's security clearances was because Brennan was one of those who initiated the special investigation. Not because Brennan represented any national security risk.

    Here's the Washington Post discussing that interview, which was conducted by the Wall Street Journal.
    In an interview with the Wall Street Journal posted late Wednesday, President Trump once again gave away the ballgame when it comes to his efforts to affect the probe and tear down its leaders (both current and former). He confessed that his true motivation for revoking former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance was the “rigged witch hunt” that Brennan once “led.”

    “I call it the rigged witch hunt; [it] is a sham,” Trump told the Journal’s Peter Nicholas and Michael C. Bender. “And these people led it!”

    He added: “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”

    Leaving aside the negative effects of limiting intelligence agencies to only political loyalists, something that would tend to increase incestuous amplification, this seems like an admission of Trump using the power of his office to derail an investigation into his own actions. In other words, classic obstruction of justice.
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    I've never seen anything like this in over 40 years of US political watching. It beats into a cocked hat anything I recall from the Watergate era.

    Nixon did use the IRS to go after his political enemies, which seems similar. He also outright fired his top two Justice Department officials in order to get rid of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, instead of simply revoking their security clearances.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    True about Nixon. The IRS thing was sneaky and the firing of Cox backfired. Jaworsky was quickly in as a replacement.

    What makes it different is Trump's open autocratic brazenness and the connivance of the GOP.
  • I see Trump's military parade has been postponed indefinitely.

    Apparently he's coming to ours instead!
  • Oh please don't let it take 20 years I am almost 80.
  • Simon, I admit I am not aware of Australian slang, but I can tell you that calling someone a dog in the Middle East and Africa and South America is indeed a severe pejorative slander, It is relatively rare in the USA. Trump is constantly calling people names like a third grader. It is childish.
  • Had to make a double post since the edit feature expired before I was ready to compose another comment.

    Regards the revocation of John Brennan's security clearance: there are 15 other people that may have their security clearances revoked. Each one of them has been involved in the Russian investigation. Trump has so much as said he is about to revoke their clearances because of their involvement with that investigation. This smacks of obstruction of justice because these people need to be able to access their notes in the investigation in order to testify in any upcoming trial.

  • While we are all distracted with Brennan, Military Parades, Omarosa et al, is Trump pushing Turkey into the arms of the Russians, potentially gifting Putin the greatest strategic coup since he pinched the Crimean Peninsula?

    Was this one of the things they talked about privately in Helsinki?
  • Martin54Martin54 Deckhand, Styx
    Greater. Greater than at any time in Russo-Turkish history it feels like. Fascinating. Trump couldn't care less. It creates a stable market.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    While we are all distracted with Brennan, Military Parades, Omarosa et al, is Trump pushing Turkey into the arms of the Russians, potentially gifting Putin the greatest strategic coup since he pinched the Crimean Peninsula?

    Was this one of the things they talked about privately in Helsinki?

    I too am concerned about Turkey's turn toward Russia, but I have to also acknowledge the current Turkish regime has its own problems. With other normal administrations, though, the US response would have been more measured. However, Trump is an impulsive bully.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Truth isn't truth, according to Giuliani

    Maybe Rudi needs to have a bit of a break? I appreciate he has a totally weird boss and he can be pretty weird himself, but 'truth isn't truth?'

    He's just summed up the ethos of the Trump Presidency in a three word slogan. It will come back to haunt him.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    May it be so.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    While we are all distracted with Brennan, Military Parades, Omarosa et al, is Trump pushing Turkey into the arms of the Russians, potentially gifting Putin the greatest strategic coup since he pinched the Crimean Peninsula?

    Was this one of the things they talked about privately in Helsinki?

    I too am concerned about Turkey's turn toward Russia, but I have to also acknowledge the current Turkish regime has its own problems. With other normal administrations, though, the US response would have been more measured. However, Trump is an impulsive bully.

    The US response to what?
  • Barnabas62 wrote: »
    Truth isn't truth, according to Giuliani

    Maybe Rudi needs to have a bit of a break? I appreciate he has a totally weird boss and he can be pretty weird himself, but 'truth isn't truth?'

    He's just summed up the ethos of the Trump Presidency in a three word slogan. It will come back to haunt him.
    It will be the title of the Trump chapter in high school history texts 100 years from now.
  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Barnabas62 wrote: »

    This is probably a bit of a tangent, and may well prove to be unpopular, but I think that despite Trump and his entourage's proven mendaciousness I might actually have some sympathy with this view, especially in the context of a judicial investigation, which was the context here.

    The immediate context is the assertion that "truth is truth", which Guiliani set to counter. The fact is that such a statement is over-simplistic, especially in a judicial contexct. There are many sorts of truth. Judicial truth is one; forensic truth is another. But these two don't cover the whole truth by a very long way.

    With hindsight, I think while she can clearly lie her face off without missing a beat, even Kellyanne Conway's notorious "alternative facts" statement was spun way beyond its intended meaning.

    I think this kind of journalism - in this instance, the journalist himself positively invites the comment to "become a bad meme" - isn't doing any good. It actually gives credence to the Trump mantra that the media are set against him.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    Trump is going to meet a whole host of unintended consequences to these revokings and firings sooner or later.

    He can’t treat the US as his own fiefdom forever, that’s for sure.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    If he'd said that there are often different perceptions of truth, different tests for what is true, or that truth may be about facts or meaning, that would have been fine.

    But 'truth isn't truth' falls into the same category as O'Brien's statements to Winston Smith in '1984'. It's doublethink. In 1984, the truth was what the Party said it was. Evidence got altered, inconvenient facts got altered in the record.

    I'm sure I quoted Seymour Hersch earlier in this thread re the Nixon administration. "The abiding truth about this administration is that it lies". Sure, it was an assertion. But lying and covering up the lying brought Nixon down in the end.

    There are objective tests for the truth of assertions and claims. Using these tests, Trump makes Nixon look like Christopher Robin.

  • I think what you describe corresponds to things like Kellyanne Conway's notorious allusion to the non-existent Bowling Green Massacre, or Trump's spontaneous Orwellian comments about not believing what you see.

    I'm less convinced it corresponds to a spontaneous retort to a journalist, which is what Guiliani's statement was here. It was a dumb thing to say, but I think Giuliani fell into a trap laid for him by the journalist which was then seized on and milked for all its worth. Journalists are good at doing that kind of thing - both parts of it. It doesn't help.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I think that's charitable. Giuliani has been in public life for a long time and ought to have some defences about opening his mouth and putting his foot in it, in conversation with the media. Maybe he just made a silly mistake? Or maybe he revealed the ugliness of the thinking of this administration and of the boss he was seeking to defend? Time will tell.

  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    Truth isn't truth, according to Giuliani

    Maybe Rudi needs to have a bit of a break? I appreciate he has a totally weird boss and he can be pretty weird himself, but 'truth isn't truth?'

    He's just summed up the ethos of the Trump Presidency in a three word slogan. It will come back to haunt him.
    It will be the title of the Trump chapter in high school history texts 100 years from now.

    That depends on the rather optimistic assumption that there will be high schools 100 years from now. Or texts. Or history.
  • True.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I note that the Club of Rome celebrates the 50th anniversary of its formation. I'm old enough to remember the impact of "The Limits to Growth". Although the effectiveness of the predictive model has been criticised, justifiably, their continuing work (and that of others studying long term pressures) is a good reminder not to take the future for granted.

    Trump will pass into history; the underlying pressures on maintaining civilisations will not.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Crœsos wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    Truth isn't truth, according to Giuliani

    Maybe Rudi needs to have a bit of a break? I appreciate he has a totally weird boss and he can be pretty weird himself, but 'truth isn't truth?'

    He's just summed up the ethos of the Trump Presidency in a three word slogan. It will come back to haunt him.
    It will be the title of the Trump chapter in high school history texts 100 years from now.

    That depends on the rather optimistic assumption that there will be high schools 100 years from now. Or texts. Or history.

    I am now officially an old fart, having lived through assassinations, riots, Kent State, Viet Nam (too many friends from high school not so lucky), the Philadelphia firebombing, and on and on. Back in my 20s, most of my friends and I (living in NYC at the time, with soaring crime rates and crumbling infrastructure, with landlords in the Bronx literally burning down whole apartment blocks, etc.) were pretty thoroughly persuaded we were living in End Times. Those of us still around are somewhat surprised we're still here.

    I feel like that again, now. I think there is all kinds of potential for the Lunatic-in-Chief to get his little orange mitts on "the football" and hurl it, possibly even somewhere on the US, as he gets cornered. I dearly hope I'm wrong, or at least that somebody on the WH staff stands firmly and reliably between 44.2 and the launch codes.

    100 years? High school curricula may run to flint-knapping.



  • Barnabas62 wrote: »

    Putin told him to say that didn't he? Note to both of them: George Orwell got there first.

  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Running scared?

    This latest twitter storm is extreme even for President Trump. I know he has no proper understanding of normal constitutional boundaries, but this latest series of twitter outbursts amount to a massive over-reaction. Mueller is "disgraced and discredited" how exactly? And he is employing "thugs" in the investigation?

    I think he's running scared now, possibly as a result of McGahn's thirty hours of testimony. Expect a move to claim that those 30 hours of interviews are covered by Executive Privilege.

  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    Running scared?

    This latest twitter storm is extreme even for President Trump. I know he has no proper understanding of normal constitutional boundaries, but this latest series of twitter outbursts amount to a massive over-reaction. Mueller is "disgraced and discredited" how exactly? And he is employing "thugs" in the investigation?

    I think he's running scared now, possibly as a result of McGahn's thirty hours of testimony. Expect a move to claim that those 30 hours of interviews are covered by Executive Privilege.

    Can you claim executive privilege after the fact? Surely exec-priv exists for the purpose of preventing disclosure to investigators.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    edited August 2018
    It doesn't have to make legal or constitutional sense. Not with this guy. Carl Bernstein just claimed to have talked to folks in the White House who believe he has become unhinged over the Mueller investigation.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    That's my understanding Ohher, but you never know your luck in a big city.
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Barnabas62 wrote: »

    This is probably a bit of a tangent, and may well prove to be unpopular, but I think that despite Trump and his entourage's proven mendaciousness I might actually have some sympathy with this view, especially in the context of a judicial investigation, which was the context here.

    The immediate context is the assertion that "truth is truth", which Guiliani set to counter. The fact is that such a statement is over-simplistic, especially in a judicial contexct. There are many sorts of truth. Judicial truth is one; forensic truth is another. But these two don't cover the whole truth by a very long way.

    With hindsight, I think while she can clearly lie her face off without missing a beat, even Kellyanne Conway's notorious "alternative facts" statement was spun way beyond its intended meaning.

    I think this kind of journalism - in this instance, the journalist himself positively invites the comment to "become a bad meme" - isn't doing any good. It actually gives credence to the Trump mantra that the media are set against him.

    I think that the danger is also the amplification of the comment, which I suspect is the strategy of these evil bastards. I think they want their people to actually believe that Trump's version of truth is the right one, not one that he has to put to Mueller and convince Mueller to adopt. This naturally inverts the usual situation where the politician and public must accept as the starting point for argument the fact-findings made by the independent investigator. Mueller is not independent, according to Trump, even as a twice-appointed Republican appointee. He is biased against Trump and when Trump is found to have acted improperly or unlawfully, Trump's facts will say different. This nightmare scenario Trump is visiting upon his country for nobody's good but his own.
  • As to Trump and Erdogan parting ways (one would have thought them natural partners, at least temperamentally), Putin must be well pleased. I can't call to mind a time when Turkey and Russia have been closer. A NATO member pursuing a rapprochement with Russia? That would create an ideological, strategic, and spatial hole in NATO. What does NATO do with Turkey? What might be the legal grounds for expulsion? This feels a bit like the diplomatic revolution engineered by von Kaunitz, which, ultimately, didn't end well for anyone. Except Prussia. And we saw what came of that.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    My bias is probably showing. I find it incredible that so many people find him credible. His behaviour is just preposterous.
  • Maybe Rudi needs to have a bit of a break? I appreciate he has a totally weird boss and he can be pretty weird himself, but 'truth isn't truth?'

    He's just summed up the ethos of the Trump Presidency in a three word slogan. It will come back to haunt him.[/quote]

    It is right up there with Nixon's "I am not a Crook" me thinks. Although I do agree that it fits with the strategy of trying to convince Trump followers that Trump 'truth' is the only kind. I genuinely do not think there has ever been such a level of dishonesty in a democratic government. The comparisons with the Nazi party apparatus and Soviet Russia are compelling, in my view.

    From the outside, it's staggering but I can see that it makes strategic sense. In the short term, Trump does not face criminal procedures as such but a potential impeachment by the House and trial in the Senate. Both of which are in theory legal processes defined by the constitution but in reality are deeply political. I think I’ve recommended this before, but for anyone interested, this is a brilliant little book on Impeachment:* Sunstein: Impeachment, A Citizen's Guide. Moreover the Maxine Walters observation that “Impeachment is about whatever the Congress says it is.” Is both true and not true at the same time.**

    The evidence thus-far is that the GOP is not prepared to stand-up to the Trump base and thus stand up to Trump. So whilst DJT clearly cannot fool all of the people all of the time, there is a clear group of some of the people that he might be able to fool. And that might be enough to keep him in power.

    AFZ

    *This confirmed that the Impeachment of Clinton (and Johnson for that matter) was unconstitutional but it is a political process.
    **It is true that grounds for impeachment are constitutionally defined and my understanding of having read about this, is that it’s not actually particularly difficult to discern. As a non-American I have never quite got the almost-worship of the constitution that one sometimes sees (especially in light of the issues with the 2nd Amendment) but having read about impeachment, I have huge respect for the wisdom of the framers. They knew the need to create such a power but to make it safe from abuse. They knew that they could not foresee the future but had to future-proof the constitution as much as possible. I wonder if they knew how political parties would come to dominate, would they have written it slightly differently…

    It is also true that it is a vote of a political body and this often comes down to a matter of political allegience. As you no doubt know, Nixon was never impeached but the voting records of the various commitees involved in investigating Watergate are very revealing. Whilst it clearly was a matter of legal fact-finding, there was a lot of political game-playing (on both sides) as well. Ultimately however good constitutional checks and balances are, at some point, it comes down to men and women of integrity doing the right thing.

  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    @alienfromzog said -
    Ultimately however good constitutional checks and balances are, at some point, it comes down to men and women of integrity doing the right thing.

    Are there any left?
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Certainly none have come forward.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    My bias is probably showing. I find it incredible that so many people find him credible. His behaviour is just preposterous.

    You know, this expresses my feelings exactly (when I'm not merely feeling sick to my stomach, that is). It may be true of many others, and this in itself is a serious problem: it's so much harder to resist effectively when one keeps getting semi-paralyzed by shock (after shock after shock . . . ).
  • Ohher wrote: »
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    My bias is probably showing. I find it incredible that so many people find him credible. His behaviour is just preposterous.

    You know, this expresses my feelings exactly (when I'm not merely feeling sick to my stomach, that is). It may be true of many others, and this in itself is a serious problem: it's so much harder to resist effectively when one keeps getting semi-paralyzed by shock (after shock after shock . . . ).

    Don't despair. Have a listen to the Slow Burn Podcast on Slate about Watergate. The parallels are really striking. Mueller appears to be an honourable man doing amazing work. I've been watching DJT's twitter feed a lot the past couple of weeks (although I refuse, on principle to become a 'follower'). He's clearly very, very worried about the investigation. I do honestly believe that there is going to be so much coming out that even a Republican congress would probably impeach.

    The odds at the moment very much favour the Democrats taking the House - making impeachment more likely. A Senate trial is more of a hurdle (2/3rds majority needed) and I don't think Trump would resign as Nixon did. Nixon is clearly a man of great honour and integrity by comparison. However if enough is laid out in public - which I think is inevitable in the end - even a Republican Senate could end up convicting.

    AFZ
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    And a mistrial on the other ten charges, meaning Manafort can be re-tried on those if the prosecution is so inclined.

    Also, Michael Cohen just plead guilty to eight charges, two of which where the president* is an unindicted co-conspirator.

    Once again the Trump administration* has ruined Happy Hour for the Washington press corps.

    Tonight’s Trump rally in West Virginia should be interesting!
  • I wonder if he'll mention the illegal immigrant in custody for the murder of the missing Iowa girl?
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    edited August 2018
    romanlion

    I should think so. Looks safer than switching from fake news to flawed judicial systems.

    The unindicted co-conspirator will find a way of muddying the waters. But I don't think it will do him much good.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    While we are all distracted with Brennan, Military Parades, Omarosa et al, is Trump pushing Turkey into the arms of the Russians, potentially gifting Putin the greatest strategic coup since he pinched the Crimean Peninsula?

    Was this one of the things they talked about privately in Helsinki?

    I too am concerned about Turkey's turn toward Russia, but I have to also acknowledge the current Turkish regime has its own problems. With other normal administrations, though, the US response would have been more measured. However, Trump is an impulsive bully.

    The US response to what?

    The whole Turkish affair. It seems that Trump doesn't care that Turkey is, in effect, the Southeastern flank of NATO and an essential check to Russia's increased involvement in the Middle East. We have relied on Turkey to protect the rebels in Northern Syria. They have allowed us to use their airbases to create no-fly zones over Syria and Iraq when it was under Saddam We need those bases to cover the Persian Gulf.

    We have had disagreements with Turkey before, but we kept them in NATO. Trump does not know what he is doing.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    My copy of Unhinged just arrived. I'll take it to jury duty with me (my first day to report is September 11, wouldn't you know) and flash it conspicuously.
  • It's just occured to me that traditionally fugitives from justice in the US make a run to the Mexican border. If Donald Trump were to try this, I think Mexico really would consider paying for a wall....

    AFZ
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I may be too influenced by the Watergate parallels (I am a self-confessed Watergate nut), but it did occur to me that Sarah Sanders might be heading up towards her own "Ron Ziegler moment".

    'This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative'.

    I don't much fancy her chances when faced with the representatives of the "Fake News media".
  • Barnabas62 wrote: »
    I may be too influenced by the Watergate parallels (I am a self-confessed Watergate nut), but it did occur to me that Sarah Sanders might be heading up towards her own "Ron Ziegler moment".

    'This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative'.

    I don't much fancy her chances when faced with the representatives of the "Fake News media".

    Have you listened to the Slate Slow Burn Podcast? That combined with All the President's Men is the sum total of my Watergate knowledge - but the more I learn, the more I see parallels...

    AFZ
  • Is Cohen trying to bring Trump down? AIUI his plea deal did not include any requirement to co-operate with the investigation of Trump, but Cohen is now apparently willing to co-operate anyway. Hoping to avoid jail, bitterness against T, or wanting to do the right thing? (no, forget that last one...)

    Not sure this is entirely a good thing, as it plays into T's persecution narrative.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Well, I don't think Cohen's motivations are nearly as much of an issue as any evidence he may have, on top of the evidence already revealed by the search. The recording of the conversation with Trump doesn't provide conclusive proof that Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator, but it's pretty persuasive that they were agreeing about the need to cover up the stories.

    What else have the Feds got from the search and seize? And does Cohen have anything else up his sleeve? He has to have at the very least a good faith basis for his assertion under oath that he acted under Trump's direction. And Giuliani has gone some way towards confirming that, albeit claiming it doesn't matter.

    Not yet the "smoking gun", nor is it yet clear what the information will do to polls and the mid-terms.

This discussion has been closed.