Khashoggi→Bezos→bin Salman→Trump?

The plot is a bit complicated, but here goes. Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist writing critical stories about the Saudi government. The Washington Post published his stories. Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. Following so far?

The Saudi government hacked Jeff Bezos’ phone to blackmail him into killing Khashoggi’s stories (Bezos refused). So instead the Saudis hacked Jamal Khashoggi. Into little pieces. That killed him and his stories.

But then word got out that the Saudis murdered Khashoggi and everyone pointed to the head of the government, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He said he wasn’t involved, but it was just revealed that his personal What’s App account was indeed involved.

Most US politicians dismissed bin Salman’s denials outright. One major exception was Donald Trump. Trump just refused to push him on it. People figured Trump was trying not to piss off the Saudis, a major source of oil for the US and a major source of financing for Trump, Inc.

But maybe there was something else involved. Maybe the Saudis were providing Trump with information from Bezos’ phone. If they were, it will probably come out sooner rather than later and you can be sure the Washington Post will print the story.

Drain The Swamp II

When he was running for president in 2016 Donald Trump enjoyed using the phrase “drain the swamp.” He would yell it out it at rallies and the crowd would echo it back to him even louder.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Democrats’ strategy is to use the impeachment to demonstrate how much more swampy things have become since Trump took over. Their strategy is to smear swam ooze all over the the Republican senators.

The Democrats are trying to show that these senators are slimy by refusing to allow witnesses and evidence in his Senate trial. Complicit in his cover up, they are Trumps’ swamp creatures.

For the Democrats, it really doesn’t matter if trial is quick and acquits Trump. They just want their candidates on the campaign trail this summer to be able to point at the incumbent Republican senators and yell, “drain the swamp.”

Who Was That Contractor, Anyway?

On Friday, December 27, 2019 rockets hit an Iraqi airbase and killed a US civilian. The chain of events that this set off continues to escalate almost daily.

  • Two days later the US retaliated by launching airstrikes in Iraq that killed 25 members of a Iran-backed militia.
  • Two more days later thousands of Iraqis protested the airstrikes by storming the US embassy in Baghdad.
  •  Another three days passed and the US retaliated further by killing one of Iran’s top generals when he arrived in Iraq, along with several others.

The Iranians have threatened their own retaliation, but then they scored an own goal by mistakenly shooting down a civilian airliner, so that won’t happen for a while, if ever.

All of this because one US civilian was killed. The news reports called him a ‘contractor’ but did not disclose what this person’s job was or who they worked for. Was the person a mercenary doing dirty work for the US military? Was the company they worked for a big contributor to Trump or the Republicans? Was Rudy Giuliani involved somehow?

This information will come out eventually. When it does, it will likely be very interesting.

Trump’s Lucky Iran Break

How lucky can you get? An Iranian backed militia kills a US citizen in Iraq. Donald Trump slaps them. The other side hits back.  The US gets serious and kills a top Iranian general. Everybody is waiting see what the Iranians do to retaliate. But before they can do anything, they shoot themselves in the foot.

Well, not exactly the foot. The Iranians shoot down a Ukrainian airliner with a bunch of their own citizens on board. Iranians that were angry at Trump for killing their general are now angry at their generals for killing Iranians. The generals can’t blame this on Trump – instead, they pretty much have to admit being criminally inept.

What a cruel own-goal for the Iranians. What a lucky break for Trump. He should go buy a lottery ticket. Oh, wait, nevermind, he’s a billionaire – he doesn’t need the money.

The Coverup Strategy

In political scandals, the actual deed never gets anyone in real trouble. It’s the coverup that matters. Donald Trump knows this, which is why he admits to everything. “Yes, I did try to pressure the Ukrainian president. So what? It was the right thing to do.”

Whether or not you agree that it was the right thing to do, a coverup is not part of the narrative. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are trying to change that. Their strategy is to insist that the White House is trying to hide something by not allowing any witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial.

So far, Trump and Mitch McConnell seem to be in full control. But if the conversation changes from whether Trump did anything wrong to whether Trump was trying to cover something up they could find themselves behind an eight ball.

Update: January 12, 2020: Pelosi works on changing the narrative on ABC News’ “This Week” today: “Dismissing is a coverup. Dismissing is a coverup.”

The Dem’s Little Blue Book

The whole impeachment drama is starting to shape up less as an investigation of what Donald Trump might have done wrong and more of a constitutional battle. Trump’s position seems to be that a sitting president is immune from criminal prosecution, and Congress cannot investigate him for impeachment if its motive is ‘political’.

There is support for the first point. Many constitutional experts feel that presidents can only be criminally indited after they leave office. The reason? The Constitution provides a special way way to take a president down: impeachment.

Ttump is wrong on his second point. The Constitution does not give the president a pass if he feels that the impeachment is politically motivated. In fact, it almost always is. The president has to turn over the information that Congress requests. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld that principle back in the Nixon Watergate days.

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are wasting an opportunity, They should print up little copies of the Constitution in booklet form. Blue covers with an American flag. Hand them out at every rally, debate and voter registration event.

Claim the Constitution as their issue.

Before the Republicans do.

Carter Wastes An Opportunity

Jimmy Cater just advised Donald Trump to “tell the truth . . .for a change.” Why in the world would Trump do that? Being loose with the truth has worked just fine for him so far. He convinced investors to back dubious real estate projects that made him very wealthy. He built his political chops by embracing fringe conspiracy theories and outright lies.

Lying is a wining strategy for Trump. He would be crazy to change.

Carter wasted an opportunity. Instead of saying his advice for Trump was to tell the truth, he should have answered in a more truthful manner. “I would advise him to stop lying, but we know that is never going to happen, so I will just pass on this one.”