When the history of this period is written, the smears against honest and decent law enforcement officials by political shills will warrant detailed treatment.
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) December 22, 2017
Yascha Mounk, at NYRDaily, “If Trump Fires Mueller…”:
A year ago, during those foreboding months in which Donald Trump had already been elected but had not yet taken office, I tried to speak to as many moderate Republicans as I could find: “Put your red lines in writing now,” I pleaded with them. “When authoritarian populists take over, they have a way of shifting the goalposts. This will make it easier for you to keep yourself honest.”
In retrospect, I recognize that my appeal was hopelessly naïve—not only because so many moderate Republicans have spectacularly failed the moral tests with which Trump has presented them, but also because so many of the red lines in whose crossing they became complicit would have been difficult to foresee a year ago. Even with the best will, they would hardly have had the imagination to write: “If a member of Trump’s family receives an offer of collusion from the Russian government, and responds, ‘I love it,’ I will acknowledge that he was probably intending to collude with the Russian government.” Or: “If Trump says that there are ‘some very fine people’ at a neo-Nazi rally, I will not pretend that this is a normal thing to do.” Or: “No, I will not continue to support Donald Trump after he endorses a pedophile theocrat for the United States Senate.”…
These realities make it all the more infuriating that we are now hurtling toward yet another constitutional crisis, and that supposedly moderate Republicans are once again refusing to do anything about it. For the better part of a month, Fox News and other conservative media outlets have been smearing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, all but calling him an enemy of the American people. Over the past week, a series of senior Republicans have joined in the chorus of delegitimation, with a host of voices—from Mike Conaway, who leads the investigation of Trump’s campaign on the House Intelligence Committee, to John Cornyn, who heads the Senate equivalent—insinuating that it is time to wrap up the special counsel’s investigation….
Like more than a hundred thousand other Americans, I recently took a pledge to take to the streets the moment Mueller is fired (if he is). Perhaps our protests will make a difference. Perhaps they will even manage to shame those supposedly moderate Republicans who have, again and again, proven to be astoundingly unwilling to live up to their professed principles. For now, the other branches of government still retain the power to check the president: Congress could, for example, revive the independent counsel statute, allowing Mueller to be reinstated without fear of further interference from the executive. This would go a long way toward containing the damage Trump is trying to wreak…
… [O]ur resolution for 2018 should be to defend our institutions in a more proactive manner. When Trump and his supporters start to signal what outrage they might commit next, we need to immediately bring maximum pressure to bear on the most persuadable members of the president’s coalition. Doing so will be difficult and exhausting for the resistance. But a great prize beckons: If we manage to defend the basic rules and norms of the American republic over the next twelve months, and Democrats win back control of the House or the Senate (or both) in the midterm elections, the hour of greatest danger will have passed…
Bonus op-ed, from Mr. Mounk, “The Real Coup Plot Is Trump’s”:
… Now, as Mr. Trump and his allies seem on the verge of staging a coup against independent institutions and the rule of law — maligning the special counsel Robert Mueller and threatening a purge at the F.B.I. — the president’s supporters are appropriating yet another word for themselves. Mr. Mueller’s investigation aims to “destroy” the Trump presidency “for partisan political purposes and to disenfranchise millions of American voters,” the Fox News host Jesse Watters claimed on Saturday. “We have a coup on our hands in America.”
This marks a new era in American politics. The Republican Party is no longer just obfuscating the truth or defending the president when he is accused of wrongdoing. Rather, Mr. Trump, Fox News and Republicans in Congress seem to be actively using falsehoods to prepare an assault on the institutions that allow American democracy to function…
The rapid degeneration of the public sphere in Turkey, India and Hungary can teach us two important lessons: First, up can become down and legitimate investigations can turn into supposed coups only if a few politicians and journalists are shameless enough to repeat blatant lies over and over again. Second, and more important, these lies can justify a power grab by the executive only if many more politicians and journalists are willing to stand by instead of calling those outrageous calumnies what they are.
This is why the pundits and politicians who have helped to delegitimize Mr. Mueller and his investigation over the past weeks are making themselves active accomplices in a deliberate assault on our democracy. But it is also why those who have failed to condemn these attacks — like Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader — are equally to blame…
Thank you, AL.
This is why those of us on this side are hardening. We are seething with anger not only at the Russian Assets, but those who support them. There is no middle ground. And WHEN we take back the House, the first measure of business will be Articles of Impeachment. There is no middle ground. The TRAITORS must be removed. And, any elected Democrat who purses their lips to say otherwise, gotta go.
It is the TREASON that makes this different.
It is the TREASON that I can’t get past.
And, the GOP should never be allowed to utter the word Patriotism.
Aren’t we sposed to whine and bitch when an article from the Times is posted?
@rikyrah: Or fiscal conservatism.
@rikyrah: Damn. You speak my heart. I am so sick, so weary, of this shit and I can’t afford to be.
Everyone always imagines they would have sided with the French Resistance, not the Vichy, till the moment comes and you’re all like, “Resistance is a fuck-ton of work that earns you hatred, might possibly endanger your life, and seems impossible until you consider the alternatives.”
I’ve grown comfortable describing this fight as a struggle against rising fascism.
No need to worry about Godwinizing, its just straight up fascism, plain and simple that we fight.
We’ve grown so accustomed to fascism being all about concentration camps, we forget that it existed in a dozen countries, none of which had or needed a Holocaust.
The blood and soil nationalism, the toxic tribalism, the hysterical conflation of the Great Leader with the state, with everything revolving around loyalty to him…its all there, right out of some WWII training video.
Hopefully 2018 will bring an enema and an indictment for Trump, the lowest crudest human being to occupy the White House.
I’ve been among those who think that Trump will fire Mueller. He’s clearly hot to do so, and the Republican leadership,as well as their official propaganda organ, Fox News, is clearly behind him.
Signing the tax bill into law has given Trump a stiffy, and his Twitter rages have intensified. When he was an ordinary citizen, he could never let a grievance go, and being president inflates his ego even more. He has been sniping at Mueller and the FBI, and he is jonesing for some winning release.
The sad thing is that Republicans and Trump supporters have a deeply held belief in a version of American Exceptionalism that says that leaders and citizens can indulgence their worst instincts, be racist and anti woman, and everything will still be all right.
I guess that Trump has people warning him to calm down. I don’t know if his rage can be contained.
But if he does fire Mueller, look for the GOP leadership to dutifully fall in line behind him, and a few limp hand wringing editorials wondering what it all means, but never definitively answering their own question.
If this post didn’t get you angry enough, read this thread from Propane Jane.
some righteous shit, right here.
@jk: Um, ew.
@Brachiator: How does he fire him? Describe the process please.
@Omnes Omnibus: wait until the pee tape breaks…that’s gonna be some real ew.
Villago Delenda Est
This is why the GOP must, MUST go the way of the NSDAP and the CPSU
They are a party of racists, parasites, traitors.
Wipe them out. All of them.
I talked to my Baby Sister tonight, she and my good BIL, the ex offensive lineman, are going to an open house thrown by their new neighbors. The neighbor is a former state chairman of the Republican party and a national committeeman. She is dreading it. I’m hoping he pisses my BIL off and Larry tosses him out a picture window. I’d pay to see it. Should be a tough crowd for the guy, my sister’s neighborhood is upscale, younger and Democratic.
@Omnes Omnibus: It’s easier said than done, isn’t it? And I have to believe that Mueller has some back ups in place for just that scenario. I think the greater horror is that at some point Mueller indicts Trump and all the rest with a solid case and…nothing happens. nobody cares. The GOP cult will just cover their ears and shout “fake news.” Our side needs to vote and get out the vote and not worry about what happens to Mueller. He can take care of himself and he will do his job. We need to do ours. Vote them out of every office possible from dog catcher on up.
Good stuff. Ryan says he doesn’t know if the tax cuts will grow the economy enough. But it’s pretty clear who will benefit. Here’s a little something from Bloomberg News.
oh yeah, these people would be hurting without tax cuts.
An interesting little nugget about Russian oligarchs
Which is why I suspect Mueller is uncovering state-level crimes that New York can use in case the Federal level Republicans punt.
@jk: So, somebody else remembers the old joke that ends with the line “… and then they buried him in a shoe box.”
Which, hand to goddess, I totally assume Trump’s “heirs” will eventually do. Unless he dies in prison, and is interred in an unmarked plot.
On the other hand, if Melania is still the executor, maybe she’ll put up a velvet rope, and a stand to sell fluids to those who want to treat Lord Smallgloves’ remains the way he (metaphorically) treated the rest of us.
@Brachiator: I saw that. It’s like the movie Blade. The rich now are like the turned vampires who just want to suck humanity dry. The old pure born vampires, the rich of old, realized that you have to leave something on the table to keep the scam going forever. Both groups are soulless vampires, but chaotic evil versus lawful evil, I guess.
My mother is a nice old lady with emphasis on nice. I woke up Christmas morning and sleepily walked into her very upset telling dad about a friend whose family was divided and refusing to speak to a Trump voter. Mom, being a Trump voter doesn’t automatically mean she is racist. Me, who doesn’t know anyone in the story, yeah I don’t see how it can mean anything else. Mom, you don’t know her. She was a teacher in minority schools for years and has done many kind things. Me, Trump=racist. Dad, I can’t think of any other reason for voting for Trump.
Treason is something I could accept in the past when it was one or two spies…that can be comprehended. Burr and his wounded pride….yeah OK? But this is so widespread and kind of out in the open and it’s a lot of people who pose as so patriotic and touchy about foreigners….how can xenophobia go with fawning over foreigner autocrats who don’t even say nice things about America? Clearly they were never actually loyal, they just wore patriotism when they thought it looked good on them. In other words America was something that flattered them, their servant, not something they served. I really don’t get it so I am studying it trying to. It may relate to why they never see invading another country as innately problematic and could say things like Iraq would welcome us with flowers. The actually don’t understand everyone else feels country loyalty. They wear the shirt but don’t feel it. I am still confused tho.
@rikyrah: Perhaps next November will be miraculous and we’ll get the two-thirds in the Senate to kick the whole lot out of office.
You’re a smart guy. If you know the answer, or think that Trump can’t fire Mueller, please enlighten us all.
There’s a detailed article about this at FactCheck.org. Of course, it could be fake news.
So, what you got? We’re all curious.
@Brachiator: The FactCheck article is pretty good. Trump can’t just tweet “you’re fired.” Mueller has civil service protections; it doesn’t me he can’t be fired, but firing him is a complicated thing.
@Brachiator: Poor form. You should show your work when asked.
@Brachiator: Here’s the silver lining – Trump never fires anyone. Ever. He may want to fire Mueller, but he technically can’t, so either the first person he tells to fire Mueller does it, or it doesn’t get done, because Trump won’t fire the people who tell him “no”, either. He’ll bitch about it, but he won’t do a thing about it.
Trump is the enema that America did not need.
The English language is inadequate to describe the level of disgust and contempt I have for this monstrous, clueless, lying sack of shit
Trump has redefined stupidity and dishonesty. Think of the stupidest and most dishonest politicians in American history. None of them come close to matching Trump level stupidity or dishonesty.
Trump is such a fucking degenerate that Hell will need to add a whole new wing to house every Republican member of Congress and every pundit who served as an enabler for this goat fucking bastard with the rat’s nest on top of his head.
@Gvg: This week I refused to fix a Trumpist neighbor’s router (a 2-3 hour job from past experience) and was told I was against free speech. The world is a better place with him off the internet.
mai naem mobile
Most of the GOP in Congress won’t do amything with whatever Mueller finds because I think most of them are compromised in some way or another. If they aren’t compromised they’re dependent for their reelection monies/infrastructure on the RNC or other compromised people. They’re fvcked.
To the contrary. I presume this is a friendly place for discussion, not an inquisition or an examination. Otherwise, there would be some mighty short threads here. ;)
Also, I provided what I think is a good link on the issue. That seemed to be the courteous response.
@jk: Re: stupidity, I’ve worked for over 30 years now, and I’ve never dealt with someone as clearly stupid as Trump is. Being in HR I’ve had dealings with clerical staff to executives. Not one has ever been anywhere near as stupid as Trump is.
@Brachiator: No, you didn’t provide a link, you named a website, and the article you were presumably referring to (though you could have meant a different one, since you didn’t provide a link) didn’t particularly support your assertion.
The summary send to be that experts mostly think it would be pretty difficult for Trump to fire Mueller, if he can do it at all, and he definitely can’t just do it directly. What that tells me is that since Trump doesn’t do anything that requires actual effort or planning, and he’s most likely to want to fire Mueller on a rage-filled whim, he probably won’t manage it.
And therein lies the problem with this: there are no moderate Republicans. I do not understand why this belief persists, but I guess a group of journalists need to lie to themselves to say they do. The GOP consists of extreme conservatives and radical reactionaries, with the latter dominating the party. End of story.
mike in dc
Well, of the 4 options, discrediting, undermining and smearing the investigation is already under way. Pardoning is not yet on the table because there’s no clear indication that anyone has implicated Trump(yet). Now, Trump could remove Rosenstein or Sessions and then have the new guy undermine the investigation, or Congress could cut the funding for it. Beyond that, Trump has to tell Rosenstein to fire Mueller, then Rosenstein will likely refuse, seeing no good cause. Then you get to Rachel Brand, who might do it, but Mueller can appeal, and the investigation would continue to run for at least 30 days. Even if he were fired, the investigation would continue, with Brand or whomever appointing a new Special Counsel(who might or might not replace the prosecution team working on the investigation). So either the acting AG would have to order the investigation closed(while active prosecutions were underway!), or appoint a new Special counsel who would tank it.
@Brachiator: OO was more magnanimous than me, but you really should have provided the link.
I think this WaPo link from December 19 is better though:
Sorry for my tone.
@Redshift: From your lips to the FSM’s bolognese ears, Redshift. My fear is that somebody like Kelly (maybe in concert with other co-conspirators) will arrange all the steps, place bowls of ice cream (like bread crumbs) between each pair of them, and let him work it out for himself (so to speak). But one way or the other, we should be getting plenty of warning, and yeah, like Mr. Mounk, it’ll be time to take to the streets.
I continue to be heartened by the knowledge that our allies overseas have all this intel thru the various sharing agreements, and if Mueller goes down, then America becomes a threat to their well-being, and they’ll release *all* the dirt. And at that point, all bets are off.
The thing that really gets me, is that people like Yertle didn’t game this out — didn’t realize that getting in bed with Vladi would eventually pit us against *all* our allies. I mean …. that’s pretty fatal stupidity.
I assume Trump could do his own version of the Saturday night massacre—fire Rosenstein if he refuses to fire Mueller, and then work his way down the line until he finds his own Bork. (His own Bork but dumber, ’cause the Trump administration has a theme).
I have no proof it will happen, but the smearing of Mueller on Fox News is clearly an attempt to pave the way.
@Patricia Kayden: It would take a literal miracle. Only 8 of the Senate seats up for a vote next year are GOP-held, so a 57-43 Dem majority is the absolute max. And that would require wins in places like MS and WY.
Of course he does. Probably so do half the investigators; not sure how much they trust each other, though overall the leak-free nature of the investigation (so far) suggests that there are zero active moles of significance.
I could easily imagine a covert suggestion that one or more hundred gigabyte or terabyte document dumps would be leaked to a half dozen press outlet crypto-secure drops. ( e.g. https://securedrop.org/directory ). It’s a different era; e.g. Panama Papers and Paradise Papers (and yes years-ago wikileaks).
And that’s just an obvious approach and clearly not optimal; I’m sure there are much better contingency plans in place and ready. E.g. Chip Daniels at #17 mentions State Level prosecutions; wouldn’t want to risk those with an indiscriminate document dump.
([paranoia on]There may be temptations to engineer some sort of national emergency (and fascist takeover?); don’t see them as competent enough to pull it off though, especially since that possibility been on the left-of-the-Republicans’ radar for a while.[paranoia off])
I’m sick to death of the praise heaped upon Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, and John McCain by various members of the MSM. In my mind, there’s very little that separates these assholes from every other fucking asshole Republican member of Congress. Everyone one of these scumbags deserves to rot in Hell for enabling Trump including the aforementioned 5 assholes.
@rikyrah: Yes. Obama’s big mistake wasn’t to even try to prosecute any of the huge number of financial criminals at least to teach a lesson. The only convictions were at the state level and they were few. Now, the country faces an existential crisis as a democracy. The GOP created the Trumpenstein creature and it must be killed now.
Democratic candidates, especially in swing districts (hard red districts should always be competed but are most likely losers) need to emphasize that Trump has not even tried to implement his MAGA promises but has gone conventional conservatism (love the rich, hate on the working classes).
@jk: Right? If youh vote for racist,sexist, reactionary crap and try to protect your party above country 99% of the time… You don’t get to be a “great statesman” because you once did a not-awful thing.
Good people desperately want to believe that Trump voters aren’t racist. The best I can do is to think that some of them just decided that they didn’t care about how racist his appeals were because they were more interested in other things. That still appalls me.
J R in WV
Annie Laurie quotes Yascha Mounk:
We have come a very long way in a very sick direction over the past year. Just reading this again quoted from the original post turns my stomach. I know it’s far easier to say “Fire Mueller” than it is to actually do it. But there are so many slips between where we are today and where we need to be expelling the fascists from the seat of government….
@randy khan: Left out the misogyny and the fraud. These fuckers wouldn’t have left Littledick in a room alone with their daughters, wife, or their wallet. And they’re OK leaving our beloved country alone in a room with him.
Surprisingly, MS is less of a stretch than most. It’s “only” R+9, making it the 4th most difficult flip of the 8 seats up. It might be reachable in a really big wave.
I think the interesting question is not whether Trump could find someone to fire Mueller (of course he would, eventually), but whether it would stick, since Mueller’s in a different position than Cox was in 1973. I don’t know if it would or wouldn’t, mind you, just that Mueller has some protection that Cox did not.
If trump fires Mueller I’m getting in my car, picking up a few people, and driving to DC.
At this point it’s not enough for the trump pence cabal to all go down, I want the entire GOP to go down. Did anyone ever imagine that Teoubkicans would be teaming up with Russia to malign the FBI?
@mainmata: Um, StopFraud.gov for 2016 says you’re using much too broad a brush – and that’s just for 2016.
Yes, more should have been done (but the laws were too lax (by design) in too many cases). But it’s wrong to say that there were no federal prosecutions.
@J R in WV: 312 days til November 6, 2018. Given the daily, even hourly, flow of shit that is a very long time.
@Omnes Omnibus: He can’t directly. He can direct Rosenstein, the deputy AG to do so and he will refuse and then Trump will have to decide to fire him and then demand that the Soliciter General do so and if he refuses, he keeps going down until he finds someone who will do this. If he does this at all (and I doubt it; he hates to fire people directly), if it happens on a Saturday, it will be a direct replay of the Nixon Saturday Night Massacre. (Except that Eliot Richardson was the AG, so there were three steps, not two in Trump’s instance.) I still don’t think it will happen and that they will simply try to discredit the whole investigation as “deep state coup” and “fake news”.
I really, really, really wish people would stop using the phrase “If Trump fires Mueller”. It conveys to most people that Trump does in fact have the right to fire Mueller so that if and when he does get rid of Mueller it’ll seem to most people that “well perhaps it was something he shouldn’t have done but he had the right to do it”. That’s not the case at all. Trump unequivocally does not have the right or the ability to fire Mueller. He can engage in a scheme where he can try to circumvent the law and get someone in there to do the firing for him, but he himself does not legally have the right to fire Muller. I wish people would stop saying that.
Moreover, it seems realistically speaking, next to Impossible that he could actually get rid of Mueller. First you would have to fire Rosenstein or Sessions and then simply go down the line of succession in the Justice Department trying to find someone to do the firing for him. I don’t think there’s anyone in that line of succession that would be willing to do it. Therefore, his next move would have to be to get a hand-picked puppet through the Judiciary Committee and confirmed by the Senate and do this all the while millions of people are protesting in the streets. It seems highly likely he would get a puppet through or if he or she was confirmed there would be so many strings attached to his confirmation that it would make it all but impossible for this new person to fire Mueller.
In addition, even if Trump got that far, getting rid of Sessions, getting a hand-picked puppet through confirmation process, this new person still, even then, cannot go ahead and just fire Mueller. This is a crucial component of the entire scheme that we’re talking about that trump would have to successfully implement and people consistently leave it out. As John Dean put it : “Unlike the summary firing of Archibald Cox by Nixon, to remove Mueller or any of his staff would require an investigation and proceeding by the Department of Justice, and would be subject to appeal in federal court. Indeed, these regulations were written to make it difficult to remove a special counsel, and I seriously doubt Trump can succeed. These regulations would have to be nullified by Trump, but I have little doubt Mueller could and would litigate that action, and prevail in federal court because a president cannot remove due process to accomplish his goal of removing the special counsel. Nor with a special counsel as experienced and careful as Mueller, can he exercise any control over the investigation.
So, it seems exceedingly unlikely Trump would be able to actually get rid of Mueller. But the main point is can people please stop talking about this notion of Trump firing Mueller. The question is willTtrump attempt to break the law in an effort to get rid of Mueller? Will trump try to circumvent the law to get rid of Mueller? Not” will Trump fire Muller”? Trump does not have the legal right to fire Mueller. Stop conveying that message to the public. Please!
Unfortunately if Trump finds a way to fire Mueller, there may be a bit of a kerfuffle for a few days and then the MSM and Congress will move on. Thankfully the AGs in several blue states may go forward with prosecuting Trump and his minions for state-related crimes.
@lowtechcyclist: Thanks for the reality check. So impeachment in the Senate is pretty much off the table then since I don’t see any Republicans doing anything against their President.
Agreed and thank you. We’ve beat the firing to death, you’ve raised a better point.
@Patricia Kayden: Technically, conviction in the Senate. The House can impeach, but if the Senate doesn’t convict, it’s a waste of time and effort and makes it look like Trump didn’t do anything wrong.
Adam L Silverman
@magurakurin: There is no pee tape. I keep explaining this, but I’m going to do it one more time. The golden shower/water baby allegations in the Steele dossier are almost certainly Russian disinformation. The RUMINT (rumor intel) around nat-sec twitter is that many of our allies and partners, as well as peer competitors and opponents, have electronic intelligence (ELINT) of the President doing things that are worse than what is alleged in the Steele dossier. However, some of those are most certainly fabrications. And, as a result, it is difficult for those that have such intercepts to release them barring the most extreme situation/a matter of survival for those that have them because of all the fabrications that have also been planted.
Adam L Silverman
@Miss Bianca: Wait until you have to take up arms and hide out.
Doesn’t happen often.
@EM: Thank You. It is infuriating when blogs/commenters who deem themselves liberal or D follow the R framing for everything.
And the fucking defeatist game theorizing is the worst blogospheric navel gazing ever.
@EM: My point from earlier.
It just needs to be someone who has been confirmed by the Senate, which includes every U.S. Attorney. While I’d like to think that anyone in any job at Justice would have enough integrity to refuse an illegal order, I also am realistic enough to know that it won’t take long to find a hack who’d be willing to do the job. (And one lesson from 1973 is that the “right” way to do it is to pre-screen so you only have to fire Rosenstein and then make a willing stooge the acting Deputy A.G.) Remember that Bork essentially did it because he didn’t want to give up his gig as S.G. (I mean, he made noises about being concerned that the Justice Department would have been entirely hollowed out, but that was his real reason.)
On the broader point, I agree that Trump isn’t really able to fire Mueller, and may not even be able to direct someone else to do it.
@Adam L Silverman:
The pee tape was just BS to take the media off the scent of the serious financial andnother entanglements in the memos.
@Adam L Silverman:
I like to think that the pee tape story may not be real, but that the description is based on something that is real.
Okay, actually, I’d really rather it’s not based on something real, but I don’t have a hard time believing that it is. (Mind you, if you’re into that, and it’s among consenting adults, and you clean up afterwards, I don’t actually care much about it myself. It’s just the idea of what it would do to certain of the President’s supporters’ heads that interests me.)
I feelz ya, but that sort of thing is hopeless. I’ve been trying for decades to get people to please, PLEASE, for fuck’s SAKE, stop using the phrase “pro-life,” which drives me mad with rage. Gotten nowhere.
Hell, I can’t even convince the folks around here to stop piping up with that “IOKIYAR” idiocy, which besides being morally offensive is so obviously threadbare from overuse that anyone with an ounce of self respect should be embarrassed to utter it.
Even in a Madden tourney the Seattle kid has a Cobain t shirt. I love Nirvana, but the networks have got to learn that Sub Pop has real live honest to god rappers these days.
But that’s just it. Trump is not politically wise and might even be getting angrier because he cannot summarily fire Mueller himself.
Trump is an angry man-child who despises being challenged or defied in any way. And he is ignorant of process, and has sometimes found that something he thought was a directive turned out to be an empty gesture.
And the question posed by the articles posted by AL is what happens when moderate Republicans (if there are any left) and others simply buckle and comply as Trump continues to delegitimize the government.
Is there a turning point, or do things just go on as usual?
Adam L Silverman
@MomSense: @randy khan: I have no doubt that Russia’s intelligence services have a tape. I also have no doubt it isn’t actually the President. Putin cut his teeth at the national level doing this to eliminate the prosecutor looking into charges of corruption against Yeltsin’s. It didn’t matter that it was clearly a fraud when broadcast, it destroyed the guy’s career and ended the investigation.
@Mike J: What can you do to a router that takes 2-3 hours to fix?
We’ve had some help from folks like Susan Collins. Her tax vote has contributed to the hardening, and I think her capitulation to expedience has served as a cold, dark warning that it will get worse. It also has badly dented her ‘moderate’ cred, so that it becomes a bit easier for our side to accurately say ‘there are no moderate (elected) Republicans left’. We cannot expect the center to hold via anyone on the right.
You are a smart guy….
@Jay S: He has this dumb ass topology I won’t try to begin to describe.
@Adam L Silverman: Does this RUMINT involve Jeffrey Epstein? (For those who haven’t heard of him, be glad you haven’t.)
@Patricia Kayden: We’ll see. A lot of Republicans, including Senators, are guilty of taking Russian money and various other actions included in conspiring with a hostile enemy state. It’s certainly possible that some of them can be encouraged to step down or retire early. More sexual harassment scandals may become public. The balance of the Senate may have more possibility of changing that we imagine right now.
I also think Paul Ryan is floating retirement trial balloons not because of Randy Bryce (tho that’s a good reason!), but because Ryan know’s he’ll go right along with the putsch of Mueller and be forever soiled for his cowardice.
Adam L Silverman
@B.B.A.: It refers to things akin to what Epstein was accused of. As well as other things.
mike in dc
The shoe that hasn’t dropped yet, likely the key component to changing the opinions that are yet susceptible to being changed, is actual proof of collaboration. So Mueller charging someone, anyone, with conspiracy with the Russians will be a turning point of the investigation. Because any charging documents will have at least a partial narrative explaining the who and what and when and why of it.
It’s pretty clear that Trump is brain damaged and has little or no conception of what is going on in his White House let alone the rest of the government. The incompetent Teabagger Congress is going to do what the various (incompatible) factions wants, regardless of Trump’s sorrows. He’s appointed his minions and he’s letting them do what they want as long as they show up at his cabinet meetings and praise him to the heavens.
Short of Trump having a heart attack or other medical emergency, he’s going to be president until January 2019 at the very least. At that point, we could imagine various legal things and pressures to resign, but it seems clear that the only way he can be removed from office is via impeachment and conviction in the Senate. And after that, DeVos and all the other monsters would still be in office until the next Democratic administration takes over…
We have to vote them out. It’s the only way to be sure (though we can continue to hope that Mueller’s team is able to root out all the cancer – we can’t count on it).
@Brachiator: Clever. And, given that, you know why that was an asshole question.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Adam L Silverman: So you are saying Putin has a fake tape of Trump doing water sports with hookers Putin is hanging over Trump?
A lot of names have been caught up in Epstein rumors which is probably why the Dems didn’t do more with trump’s association and comments about Epstein.
@Adam L Silverman:
Have you watched the documentary Icarus?
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Another Scott: I disagree somewhat. The Dems take control of the House, which seems likely, they can can do their own committee investigations and be very public about it. Nixon never went to impeachment because he got cooked in House, right?
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: After the infamous tape was found and released, Nixon was told by his party that he would be impeached. So he quit. Which Republican member of the leadership is going to tell Donnie that?
Yes, flipping the House is an important step in getting back on a sensible path.
But Donnie is so brain damaged that he screams that anything he doesn’t like is “fake news”. He would no doubt tell himself the same thing if a Democratic House told him they had the votes for Impeachment. Presumably there will be other indictments of the Trumpists before the House flips, but it’s hard to see any guilty pleas or convictions before then (the courts move slowly). Is Pence going to be caught, too?
Would the Senate convict him (understanding that the Democrats would not have 60 votes)? There would have to be a tremendous sea-change of attitudes of GOP Senators for that to happen. Or the Senate would have to figure the risk of enraging their “base” is worth it to throw Donnie overboard and install Pence. Are they willing to risk that, or will they continue to “hang together” and hope they can “fake news” it all away??
It’s really hard to use history and apply it to the current situation. :-(
@frosty: That’s not quite right. It can air a LOT of dirt. And can put a LOT of pressure on the Senators to vote to convict, and create a LOT of shit for those that don’t.
Right? 2/3 to convict? Even more difficult to reach.
@Another Scott: That’s because we are through the looking glass and off the map.
There is no map. There is no precedent. There’s nothing to go on. This is all new territory.
mike in dc
Let me shorten the impeachment/removal requirements to one: Approval below 30%, minimum, with Approval among Republican voters below 60%, minimum. That’s what you’d need to persuade Republican senators to risk cutting their own throats politically by voting to remove Trump.
@mike in dc: It’s not low approval nationwide. It’s low approval in the home states of at least 18 senators, So at least 9 Republican states. I wonder which ones?
Could totally have done without that image. Besides, if Trump ever has an enema nobody will recognize him; he’ll lose fifty percent of his weight.
This is why I find it very plausible that the entire Republican Party apparatus is in deep with the Russians. There’s no better way to protect a conspiracy than to make sure that the conspirators control as many levers of power as possible to try and quash any investigations.
I would bet cash money that Gorsuch has Russian connections and has taken Russian money. Cash. Bet. If I’m feeling really conspiracy-minded, I’ll say the same about Alito, Roberts, and Thomas.
On a good day, I think the Mueller investigation– and independent investigations by state AG’s and foreign governments– will keep churning along until January 2019, after which time there will be indictments and Articles of Impeachment.
On a bad day, well… more of the same shit we’ve lived through for the last almost 40 years now since Saint Ronnie: atrocities, impotent rage, protests that have no effect, normalization of the atrocities, rinse and repeat.
@Chet Murthy: Yup. Thanks.
@Another Scott: 67 votes needed to convict.
@scott alloway: Urk. ciel(100 * 2/3) == 67, not 66, Chet. Too late at night. Sorry.
mike in dc
@scott alloway: Correct. Should be noted that, if Trump is not removed but fails to win re-election, he could still be indicted in 2021 for crimes committed in 2016(and 2017).
Seen the billboard for the guy running against Nunes?
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: Nixon didn’t get impeached because Goldwater convinced him he’d be convicted in the Senate if the whole process went through. I don’t think we’ve got the Senate votes for that to work this time.
It’s not like a filibuster. The Senate needs 2/3 or 67, not 60.
@Mathguy: This. Yes.
That 100% of Republicans are ‘good Germans’ should alarm everyone and surprise noone at this point.
@mai naem mobile: Which is why I think Mueller will go after some Congresspeople before he goes after the shitgibbon’s inner circle.
@Calouste: Damn, that’d be *some* use of Putinfluffer’s key personality trait (“no loyalty whatsoever”), eh? The R(apist)s in Congress could wail all they wanted, and I can’t really see Cdr. Smallhands lifting a pinky to save ’em.
Oh, if it were so, it’d be glorious.
J R in WV
Think about a U S Senate which has had several members indicted for conspiring with the Russians to elect a Russian mole as president, and has expelled those members who are in jail undergoing trials. Perhaps there have been snap elections to replace those senators. Or not, just a short senate with – say – 93 senators, missing 7 former Republicans now indicted and in jail.
Now think about impeachment, with 53 Democratic senators and 40 Republicans left, fearing their own indictments. Or 56 senators and 36 Rs. How close is that? How scared are the remaining Rs????
@magurakurin: that Thread was wonderful.
@EM: no people need to stay paranoid about Trump firing Mueller. You are being too confident in procedures working the way you think they should. We have already seen proof that such confidence doesn’t always work. Comey did get fired. The GOP stalled Obama picking a Sc Justice for a year and got away with it. Taxes didn’t get shown before a primary or election going back to Romney. Trump did get to appoint a replacement to the Consumer Protection Bureau even tho it was explained he couldn’t before hand. Fitzmas didn’t happen. Torture wasn’t punished. The electoral college stole an election again. Too many unqualified appointments are still getting through.
I know it has been made harder for a President to fire a Special Prosecuter investigating him, but I can’t relax in worrying about it because IMO it really is likely to put Trump and company in jail and so they have serious incentive to find a way. I lot of what I thought were legal protections actually depend on people being willing to prosecute. Trump should not have been allowed to take office without fully divesting for instance. Things can be against the law but happen anyway in other words.
I understand that it is annoying to hear repetitive whines that seem uninformed but I have to point out that the laws have already been publicly broken and so far it hasn’t stopped things.
@magurakurin: @rikyrah: whew! I just read that whole thread and as the saying goes…I need a cigarette.
I think I also need to bookmark it and pick out the most righteous, juicy quotes about the white privilege embedded in “bothsiderism” and purity voting to hurl like thunderbolts at my white lefty friends when they start in on that shit.
EM, thank you thank you for this. And here are some links:
The order appointing Mueller:
28 CFR 600.7, referred to in Rosenstein’s order:
Take a look at subsection d. Also Rod Rosenstein has already said publicly that he sees no cause to fire Mueller.
This isn’t “The Apprentice.” Trump can’t just shout “you’re fired” and have Mueller disappear. He’d have to do some work and take some heat. He hates both of those things.
Besides, if you want to pursue the Watergate analogy, firing Cox didn’t actually help Nixon. All the staff attorneys and investigators stayed in place, and Leon Jaworski was appointed to replace Cox. (Some of those lawyers and investigators, in the days before Cox was fired, had taken some of their notes and other documents home to preserve them. What do you bet that a lot of lawyers in the special prosecutors’ group have thumb drives full of goodies?
Nickel version: yes, we should be alert and concerned that Trump might fire Mueller. Yes, there is a way for Trump to fire Mueller, but it would be difficult and would take time and work. No, we should not spend every single second agonizing about it.
No One You Know
@EM: Thank you.
We shouldn’t be normalizing the use of words that convey what illegal activity as probable, as if law itself were now negotiable to the point of being broken. There is still law.
We ignore it at our own peril; the criminals are ignoring it already.
That said, does it make sense to retitle the post?