Tag Archive | Russia

And then what happens?

Some folks are pretty freaked out by James Comey’s firing. Me, not so much. Investigations like the one taking place into Trump-Pence campaign – Russia collusion are major operations that require a lot of time and agents.

If you step back and think about how many people and entities are involved in a presidential campaign, it’s pretty daunting. The FBI has to interview not just all those immediate campaign people, and but their family members and friends, as well as donors to the campaign, business partners of the campaign, transition people in the administration, and people in the administration.

And beyond the interviews, the FBI has to then trawl through all of their bank accounts, phone records, travel, etc, etc, etc. It’s a huge job and one which Comey was overseeing, but not doing the day to day work. He was head of the FBI, not a field agent.

At this point, there are multiple investigations going on into various aspects of the same general crime. The end result will, I expect, be indictments meted out to several hundred people, including most of the people who moved from the campaign into the administration, Trump and Pence family members, people they and the campaign did business with, people appointed in the administration, and people at the upper levels of the GOP and at the RNC who worked with or supported the campaign.

A large percentage are likely to end up impeached, convicted, or both. Of those, a good bunch are going to prison. Frankly, if I were part of the Trump-Pence campaign – Russia situation in anyway, I’d be turning state’s evidence just to get out in front of any charges. The same goes for those who are a part of any Trump organization, or Kushner organization.

Believe it or not, criminal activity, leading to convictions and prison, is pretty typical for a GOP Executive Branch.

by party

Ex Cr

These graphics comes from a dailykos.com article published in January. You can check it for more detail. It’s interesting.  This article was just about executive branch criminal activities, not about congresspersons or other government officials getting up to no good. In a case like Trump-Pence campaign – Russia, however, there’s almost certainly going to be a lot of congressional and government official fall out as well.

That is why I think it’s important to ask the important question, And then what happens?

America deserves are responsible, capable govt that represents the people and has the trust of the majority of the people. I think the vast majority Americans can agree that we don’t have that type of government now.

Here is a look at the presidential line of succession as it stands today.

succession

I think there’s no question Pence will go, and Ryan too. But I don’t believe that Orrin Hatch would be accepted as president by the people. No one in the country would want Rex Tillerson, friend of Russia and former Exxon CEO as VP.

Personally, I expect many of the people on the succession list to be indicted and removed from office, but I can’t see anyone left on the list being accepted as president. I suspect that public might accept James Mattis as temporary president, while new elections were held. But being a general, he might want John McCain to VP.

That’s an extraordinary thing to say I know, because no one wants a general in charge, but there is some support for him, as a person who cares about America. And … at some point we, the electorate, have to be honest with ourselves.

Russia interfered with the election, which makes the results invalid. Trump lost the popular vote by a landslide, which confirms his party does not have the support of the majority of the people. When the administration goes down, taking with it all sorts of collateral damage, we have to admit the officials likely to be left, will not have been legitimately elected to the executive office and there is no reason American people should not have a new election.

If this were Britain, Trump would already have been given a vote of No Confidence (when someone is no longer deemed fit to hold that position: perhaps because they are inadequate in some respect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel are detrimental) and general elections would have been called. But our system doesn’t work that.

Our system of 4 year terms is great, I love it. But nothing in our laws really has a good way to deal with what’s going on now. This is an extraordinary situation, which demands an extraordinary remedy. We have to ask, what is the remedy for this situation?

If elections were tampered with, the results have to be thrown out. If a president is removed for collusion with a foreign in order to gain the presidency, by definition that entire administration is invalid, and has to be thrown out. But things get even more profound when you start talking about how this impacts nuts and bolts government.

In impeaching Trump – Pence for collusion with a foreign power, all the Executive orders, memos, proclamations, and signed legislation (like the health care bill) are invalidated as tainted by the foreign power. The tie-breaker votes Pence cast in the senate would be invalidated. All their actions become fruit of the poison tree.

This also spills over onto those congressional members who aided and abetted. They get impeached for such a crime, and all their votes in the house or senate would be voided. The same for actions taken by any government appointees of Trump, who themselves would be invalidated as they were appointed by a person involved with a foreign power and could not be considered legitimate.

In fact, Neil Gorsuch could possibly find himself having to step down from the bench, depending on how many senate members who voted for him subsequently get caught up in this and crash and burn as a result.

As for vacated seats in congress, governor generally appoint fill the spots vacated till elections are called. Some states have special elections. But what happens to the presidency? We’d have to hold a new election for president. And this is something the Supreme Court will probably be asked to weigh in on.

We have had short presidential terms before. Garfield was shot and died 199 days in. Harrison died 31 days in of pneumonia. But neither of those men were impeached. So, new territory here.

Just to review US law about impeachment, At the federal level, Article II of the United States Constitution states in Section 4 that “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeaching, while the United States Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments. The removal of impeached officials is automatic upon conviction in the Senate. In Nixon v. United States (1993), the Supreme Court determined that the federal judiciary cannot review such proceedings.

If you followed that closely you’ll understand that while anyone in the House can bring impeachment proceedings, it’s a Republican house. Once the proceeding drags through committee in the House, the trial to convict will then take place in the Republican Senate. While that may make it seem like impossible odds of conviction, you’d be wrong.

At this point, many in the GOP just want to save themselves and whatever power they have. Sacrificing an irrational, treasonous, corrupt administration to retain one’s seat in congress is a good deal. Also, in another strange twist of fate, the charges against the Trump-Pence campaign may be just that, against the campaign.

As I understand it, if the charges include stuff a president has done in office and before during the campaign, it’s an impeachment. If it’s only for stuff done prior to taking office, then it’s a regular trial for all involved. There’s not House or Senate GOP cover for Trump-Pence if the campaign is the problem. They just put them in handcuffs and walk them out of the White House.

 

The other question that comes into play here is that of presidential pardons. They’ve been used in the past to cover up crimes. The George H. W. Bush Administration only had a single criminal indictment, but it’s notable for two reasons. It was the only time that a U.S. treasurer has ever gone to prison. But President Bush 41 himself escaped potentially ruinous scandal by granting clemency to six people indicted in the Reagan Administration’s Iran-Contra scandal, thereby avoiding trials that could have exposed Bush’s involvement.

I don’t think anyone would want a new GOP president, as supposed by the line of succession, to pardon anyone in the Trump-Pence campaign – Russia scandal. There would no doubt be huge protests and electoral backlash. At this point, electoral backlash is guaranteed it’s just a matter of how bad. Elections in 2018 will leave any GOP president a lame duck. But giving long prison terms without the possibility of parole to the Trump-Pence campaign seems the best way for remaining GOP members from super Red districts to save face and try to avoid losing their jobs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fore! POTUS plays, Syria gets bombed

 

 

Image result for mar a lago interior

Just bomb the Syrian air base and talk to Jared.  I can’t bother thinking about politics right now, I’m going golfing with the President of China

Most people, normal people, when they come up against a problem, try to work out what the problem is first, then they try to come up with a range of solutions, and finally, they act. Our current POTUS apparently sees a horrible picture and sends bombs. No thought involved at all. Or maybe it’s just hard to think rationally in super tacky surroundings such as Mar-a-Lago.

I confess to being less than surprised by the POTUS choosing to bomb the Syrian’s govt air base. He’s not a deal maker, as he tells himself. He’s never tried to deal with Syria. He’s gutted the State Dept, so it’s not like Tillerson is allowed to do it. I guess our POTUS had to bomb the Syrian army because Jared wasn’t around to fix things or if he was, he was just about to go on vacation, and being the big infant our POTUS is, he felt he had to do something, now.

Frankly, it was important to first find out if there was a chemical attack and if so what chemicals were used and who used them on them whom. I’m not denying the images, I just can’t verify them. Neither can you. Nor can anyone. I’m not denying the report by the Turkish hospital that said “it’s chemical weapons involved,” but them saying that doesn’t give a POTUS the information they need.

Just after the attack happened, US investigators were sent material from the scene to find out what was used, by whom. It takes a bit of time to do the that of scientific analysis, the kind needed before you can make a political decision. This isn’t another Saturday night party that got out of hand and your cousin’s boyfriend stabbed someone while drunk and so you and your boyfriend go to his house and shoot his mother and brother. This is international politics, which have international impacts.

And by the way, the AP is reporting that two different Opposition observer groups (The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Homs Media Center) have said that while planes took off from the Shayrat air base the POTUS bombed, none of those planes attacked the town where the chemical attack is said to have taken place. So it may be that there was no chemical attack, by the Syrian Govt, and hence, no reason to bomb Syria’s airbase. It could well be the Russians committed the chemical attack, just to get the POTUS to attack Syrian and destroy US-Syrian relations. Mission accomplished.

If analysis said the Syrian Govt used chemical weapons on the Syrian Opposition, then yes, there’s a Syrian problem. At that point, a POTUS has to decide to how to deal with it. Usually you start with diplomatic pressure. In the POTUS’s case, how about asking his buddy-buddies in Russia to lean on the Syrian president. Or making one of those famous “deals.” Or sending your Sec of State, Rex the napper.

How about maybe asking nations in the region, that have interests there to protect, to build a coalition with the US to support the removal of the Syrian president, either through sanctions or arms. Or asking the UN to form a coalition and send UN Peace keepers? Or accusing Pres Assad as a war criminal before the World Court? Or maybe, just maybe, the POTUS can ask Congress to authorize military action, either on behalf of the country, as part of a regional coalition or a UN coalition?

The thing you surely don’t want to do as POTUS is wing off half-cocked and bomb a Syrian govt air base. The other thing you surely don’t want to do, as a POTUS who ran on “American First”, is endanger US troops by your own reckless actions. US soldiers, which you sent there, who are in Syria with the cooperation of the Syrian govt, to weed out ISIS, not to get involved in Syria’s civil war.

Launching an unprovoked attack on a military base in a country where your soldiers are able to operate as guests to help you take down terrorists, and killing that nation’s soldiers is just astronomically stupid. The US just Pearl Harbored Syria. The US has declared war on the Syrian Govt, while our soldiers are there as guests. The only people that helped was ISIS.

The POTUS has now given the Syrian govt a reason to tell its soldiers to kill US soldiers, as well as Opposition forces and ISIS. Basically they’re all the enemy now. Way to think it through and put America First. Bet the GOP base is just thrilled with that. But then, that’s what Republicans do. They don’t think, they just start wars because it’s good for them the their arms manufacturing buddies.

I’m horrified by Syria’s civil war. I’m horrified by the use of chemical weapons. But I’m just as horrified that the POTUS is acting like a dictator himself, sitting at Mar-a-lago, surrounded by millionaires, stuffing his face with caviar, and choosing war as his first resort instead of his last resort.

Proportional response is only justified when you’ve been attacked. And by the way, Russia says on 23 of the 59 Tomahawks reached that air base, other news sources have already shown that the runway is still intact. So, apparently the only things the POTUS did was put a target on the backs of US soldiers, harm the Syrian Opposition, and help ISIS expand. Brilliant.

 

 

 

Benedict Arnold at least served his country before betraying it

As a registered Independent who didn’t vote for any Republicans this election, I would rather have Mike Pence as president. Just want to go on record as saying that. Pence has government experience. He’s apparently more than a bit gullible, I think of him as Trump’s mushroom — constantly in the dark about everything, but I can live with that. On the other hand, I draw the line at having an actual traitor (or traitors) in any office.

Seriously.

It’s obvious Trump has never had even a basic level of knowledge about the Constitution, how to run a government, or how to do things legally.  I get that. He’s lived in a world where he was just the brand and everyone else did the real work but reported to the brander in chief.

Think about it. He doesn’t have a daughter, she’s a brand. There are no actual people in the family. His sons are just parts of his brand. He doesn’t have a wife, she’s a brand. She just filed a suit in the UK stating she plans to use her term as First Lady to build her brand and make millions of dollars.

However, even as a removed as he is from reality, Trump the candidate must have known undermining the US government’s attempt to curb Russian aggression through sanctions in order solely to benefit himself and become president was treason. Having Gen. Flynn on his campaign staff, as his national security adviser, communicating directly with the Russian diplomats about removing sanctions, was undermining the US govt, and hence, treason.

The most likely scenario, one that I’m sure is on tape at the DOJ, FBI, or CIA somewhere and will come to light shortly, is that Trump promised the Russians relief from sanctions during the campaign, via Flynn, in return for the Russians helping him win the election. I know the focus has been “did Russians hack voting machines” (they didn’t). But that’s not what I mean when I say helping him.

Everyone seems to agree that the Russians hacking the DNC to obtain documents that might be damaging to Clinton, and then releasing them, did something to sway some voters minds. The real issue however, that is very much overlooked, is Russian data mining, normally used in phishing and other scams, that was used to target voters open to suggestion.

Russians are adept at feeding just the right kind of persuasive fake news to people on the voter mailing/email lists, as well as posting such news on various sites where persuadable people who vote, but tend not to do basic fact checking, hang out. That’s targeted marketing, which drives people (misinformed about the facts) to vote the way they’ve been led to. It’s that kind of hack the vote and helping I’m talking about.

I’m not surprised by Trump’s act of treason, for a couple of reasons. American traitors tend to be greed-driven egotists that feel undervalued. That’s Trump’s brand all over. This is not a man that gives a rat’s tail about America or its people. He only cares about himself. Period.

Consider this, Louisiana gets ripped apart by tornadoes and declares a state of emergency last week. What does Trump tweet about? How unfair Nordstroms is being to Ivanka. What does Ms Conway do? She acts as a shill for Ivanka’s brand from the White House press room on live tv (in clear violation of ethics, yet  fails to get dismissed for that).

Or take Oroville, California. It is facing the most massive dam collapse in the history of the country. Does our president tweet that there will be federal support? That this will be part of the much ballyhooed infrastructure bill? Nope. He instead rants about “so-called” justices being unfair and how he has 17th century monarchical absolute power as president. And then talks about sending his son-in-law, a real estate guy, to broker peace between Israel and Palestine.

Sadly, this new administration does nothing but lie, lie, lie and try to trot out distractions when they get caught. No one can believe anything they say. Sean Spicer might as well be a puppet with Trumps hand up his backside. MS Conway lives in the world of alternate facts. Try to do diplomacy when no other country believes you or takes you seriously.

China has already brought Trump to heel. Mexico will likely do the same. That’s not because Mexico or China are great at diplomacy, it’s because Trump is completely irrational. He imagines himself to be PT Barnum and the world his circus. Unfortunately, in reality, the POTUS is a clown and the elephants are just going to sit on him and then the lions are going to eat what’s left of America.

If you’ve got any doubts about this, just look at this morning’s news. The whole of the GOP, including Paul Ryan, came out to talk about Obamacare, to try to get the news cycle away from the fact the Flynn affair should be investigated and that would probably lead to Trump being impeached as a traitor. Of course, that’s only if Jeff Session had any integrity at all.

And what’s really incredible is how today they announce that another former, disgraced, general is to be considered for Flynn’s spot. For those of you that forgot the David Petraeus scandal, it was a an extramarital affair between retired four-star general David Petraeus, then Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Paula Broadwell, his biographer. It became public, thanks to the media, and led to the discovery that this former general and current director of the CIA was giving his mistress/biographer classified information.

In other words, Petraeus betrayed his country for an easy lay and this the person Trump is considering for the National Security position Flynn just left. Seriously. This is how completely insane this administration is. I do not understand at all why the majority party Republicans don’t stand up for the USA and end Trump’s administration? Are they all involved in some scandal? Are they being bribed? Or blackmailed?

To me, all this only proves once and for all, the Republican party is not something one should vote for ever again.