As of this writing, Donald Trump’s chances of being re-elected are pretty good. Nobody, including Michael Cohen, has disclosed anything new about him. Everyone knows that he’s ethically bankrupt, a liar, a serial philanderer and runs his business right on the edge of legality. None of that bothers his supporters.
A big part of the election result will depend on the economy and Trump is doing everything he can to goose it. There may be hell to pay down the road, but he will be out of office by then. Caring about the long term isn’t his style (except when it comes to his family).
Given a decent economy and Trump’s supporters’ ambivalence about his character flaws, it is hard to see how a Democrat can defeat him. Even if Robert Mueller finds that Trump colluded with the Russians, his supporters won’t care. They like Trump because he fights to win – of course he would take help from the Russians. Besides, the Russians weren’t the enemy, Hillary was.
It will take something much more egregious to shake Trump’s supporters confidence and make them stay home on election day. Something like Trump knowingly laundering drug or human trafficking money for the Russian mafia. Or him cavorting with underage girls with his friend Jeffery Epstein. Or pardoning Epstein.
Those are all longshots, as are the chances of a Democrat being elected president.
What if Attorney General Bob Barr decides not to release all of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report? The Democrats in Congress could try to subpoena it, but that will take forever in court challenges.
Instead, they should channel their inner Donald Trump.
When Trump was a candidate and Hillary Clinton’s emails went missing, Trump asked for help in finding them: “I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
So if the Mueller report can’t be found in the public domain, maybe the Democrats should ask if anyone can help locate it. The WikiLeaks and the Russians probably won’t assist, but others might.
Who should do the asking? Why Hillary Clinton, of course!
Donald Trump wants $5 billion for his wall along the Mexican border. The Democrats have balked on giving it to him.
They should re-consider. Give him the $5 billion, but attach some conditions.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Dreamers become legal
- Obamacare gets properly supported
- Robert Mueller can’t be fired
- Trump has to publish his tax returns
To pay for the wall, the Democrats should close some of the new “tax reform” loopholes for the wealthy, particularly wealthy real estate investors.
Why not give it a try?
For a long time he was known as “the Donald” but lately he is looking more like “the Don”. Donald Trump has been channeling his inner Mafia chief, making it crystal clear that he will protect anyone who lies for him.
He did not say so explicitly, but he telegraphed pardons for Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and any other person who helps Trump fend off legal challenges. Perjury, obstruction of justice and other crimes committed will all be forgiven if these people help cripple investigations by Robert Mueller or Congress.
As for snitches, i.e., people like Michael Cohen who insist on telling the truth, they are ‘weak’ and should serve a ‘full and complete sentence’ in prison for their sins. The main sin of course being not falling on their swords for Trump.
The funny thing about pardons is that they only work for people convicted in federal courts. If Mueller shares evidence with state attorneys general and they use it to convict Manafort or Stone, Trump won’t be able to pardon them. That will make someone very upset, but you can bet it won’t be Trump.
Now that the election is over, Donald Trump is cleaning house (again). His first move was to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump was upset that Sessions didn’t do enough to protect him personally. He wanted an attorney general that would shield him from any investigations of his misdeeds.
Sessions wouldn’t do this, even after Trump repeatedly insulted him in public and on Twitter. In retrospect, it shouldn’t be surprising that an accused racist would have a thick skin.
There are several candidates to replace Sessions, but Rudi Giuliani should be on Trump’s shortlist. He has the political chops, he’s a former prosecutor and most importantly, he’s a Trump lap dog.
Sure, it would look bad if the lawyer defending Trump in Robert Mueller’s investigation became Mueller’s supervisor. But hey, the election’s over and who cares what people say. Trump certainly doesn’t – he has a thicker skin than Sessions.
Here’s a scenario. Donald Trump stonewalls on talking to special counsel Robert Mueller. He decides he has nothing to gain by answering his questions. Mueller cannot subpoena the President, so we are done.
Or are we?
Assuming the Dems take power in the House (not a safe assumption at all), a number of House committees will start investigating Trump for this and that. He will stonewall all of them. And there the matter will end.
Or will it?
Suppose the House votes to impeach Trump, knowing that they have no hope of winning a conviction in the Senate. But the reason for impeaching him is not to kick him out of office. It is to force a trial in the Senate where the President will have to testify under oath. In other words, the House tells Mueller, “Give us your questions – we’ll get the answers for you”.
Mitch McConnell will do everything he can to delay a trial. Brett Kavanaugh will likely help him. But you have to admin it would be a pretty sneaky way for the Dems to get Mueller the information he needs to build his case(s).
A few days ago Donald Trump took to Twitter to defend his son, Don Jr. regarding a meeting with a Russian operative before the 2016 election. In doing so he contradicted his earlier tweets about the same meeting.
Maybe this is special counsel Robert Mueller’s real strategy. Get real close to Trump without actually touching him and wait for him to flinch. Mueller’s got Trump’s campaign manager, his personal lawyer, maybe his son (and son-in-law) and Trump gets nervous and tweets out something that basically says, “What I said earlier was a lie. Here’s the real story.”
It must be really agonizing for Trump to watch Mueller’s activities slowly play out, kind of a Chinese water torture. Tweeting may make Trump feel good, but I’m guessing Mueller feels even better.
Donald Trump has known all along that his best defense against Robert Mueller’s investigation did not have much to do with the law. Yes, Mueller could uncover illegal behavior by Trump and Trump’s attorneys would use the legal system to fight any charges that might result.
However, it wouldn’t matter because early on, Trump understood three things:
- He knew that he broke the law in his campaign and business dealings
- If Mueller uncovered this (likely) he would build an airtight case against Trump before bringing any charges
- Therefore, he was not likely to win in a court of law. His case could only be won in the court of public opinion.
As time went on, the first two points became more and more obvious to Trump’s lawyers and they started to quit or got fired. Trump doubled down on the third point, and hired Rudy Giuliani as his lawyer.
People say that Giuliani is a poor choice because it has been a long time since he was a prosecutor and instead he has spent the last three decades as a lobbyist and politician.
That’s what makes him the perfect choice. He knows how to work the press. He knows how to shape public opinion. The one-two punch of Trump and Giuliani are doing a terrific job of turning the public against Mueller. They figure that if they can turn it far enough, whatever Mueller uncovers won’t matter.
It will be interesting to see if that is really the case or the courts end up with the last word.
Every couple of weeks speculation surfaces that Vladimir Putin has the goods on Donald Trump and is somehow blackmailing him. The same speculators go on to wonder what it is that Putin has.
It is not women. Trump may well have slept with women in Russia while married, but no one really cares. His supporters accept that he is a philanderer. After all, here is a guy who boasted about the size of his penis in a presidential debate. Of course he is going to use it any chance he gets.
Steve Bannon was right. What Putin has over Trump is money laundering. Specifically, Russian money. It will probably come out that either Trump’s business or his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s business depended on laundered Russia money, breaking all sorts of laws.
Unfortunately for Putin, using this blackmail evidence carries some costs. He can’t just say that Trump was money laundering. He has to do it indirectly, which will probably mean sacrificing one of his oligarch allies and charging them with Russian crimes that would then highlight the money trail and expose Trump’s laundering.
In addition Putin’s leverage may decline over time. Special counsel Robert Mueller will likely put it all together on his own and charge Trump’s and/or Kushner’s organizations with money laundering. Of course, Putin retains some leverage in that he could still be able to supply some details that make Mueller’s case airtight.
Any way you look at it, in all probability Trump’s son or his son-in-law is going to need a presidential pardon.
Jeff Sessions is finally redeeming himself. It only took a year of prodding and insults from boss Donald Trump to get Jeff Sessions mobilized.
First he headed all the way out to California to pick a fight over immigration with the “sanctuary state”. Any fight with California is ridiculously easy to start and such red meat for Trump supporters that it boggles the mind that Sessions waited so long to start one.
Once he finally did, the results were worth it. He put the focus on California which was a perfect set up for Trump’s trip out there the following week. They protesters were all charged up and Trump got exactly the press and messaging he was looking for. Great teamwork.
But Sessions was not done. Friday he fired the FBI’s Andrew McCabe for Trump. If one follows the rule that the the more Trump tweets about a subject the more threatened he feels, then Trump is feeling extremely threatened by Robert Mueller’s investigation. He may not be able to get rid of Mueller, but discrediting every one of Mueller’s witness could be good enough, and Sessions just gave him a big hand in doing so.
One had to wonder what is going through Sessions’ mind. On the one had, he probably figures that if he does not become a more forceful Trump supporter he will be on the way out, like Rex Tillerson. On the other hand, as Attorney General he is the key point person in the Administration on defending the Constitution and representing the law enforcement community, which is probably why he took the job in the first place.
Sessions was able to avoid tough decisions at first by recusing himself and keeping a low profile. Understandably, it pissed Trump the loyalty addict off that Sessions wasn’t going out whole hog for him. Sessions had to make a choice – help Trump discredit the FBI and possibly end run the Constitution or be fired. He made his choice and Trump added another pawn to his collection.