A House Without Honor

We’ve officially run out of hope there was anyone in the White House with some semblance of honor. None we can trust in discussing the smallest of matters, let alone the big ones. The nation knew what it was getting in Donald Trump, serial cheater with an extensive background of sexual assault and financial bad faith. Liar extraordinaire.

Let Them Eat Cake

There was some hope that those around him would do better, perhaps appeal to his better self should it exist. We were told he’d assembled an excellent National Security team. Men of honor who would put country first ahead of politics. Flynn, Tillerson, Pompeo, and Mattis. Gen. Mike Flynn lasted 24 days before resigning after reports of undisclosed meetings with Russians and being an undeclared foreign agent for Turkey. Tillerson has presided over the gutting of the State Department and the world sees him as castrated, unable to speak for the President without being overridden by a tweet. Pompeo recently proclaimed the Intelligence Agencies concluded Russia had no impact on the Presidential election when they said no such thing. Mattis initially fought the good fight but soon crumbled. becoming just another sycophant. Pence sold his soul long ago and Sessions is on a one=man tear to bring back mass incarceration and further legalize voter suppression. Carson is a joke!

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The professional liars that speak for the President; Spicer and Scaramucci are long gone, soulless Sanders misinforms us now with guest appearances on television by Kellyanne. Bannon left but exerts more power on the President and his Party than ever before. Someone has to coordinate with the Neo-Nazis, skinheads, and white supremacists.

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They told us Ivanka would be a good influence, promoting women’s issues, child care and protecting dreamers. Having influence on none of those things, she’s settled for her new business deals with China. Her free time is spent on her hidden e-mail account on a private server and talking with her new criminal attorney.

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Ivanka Trump

Jared was that bright young man that was our next, best hope. It seems he’s had even more Russian contacts than Flynn and almost as many conflicts of interest as his father-in-law. He hired some of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country, beating the run on criminal lawyers by pretty much the rest of the Administration as they ready themselves for Special Counsel Mueller’s questions. We won’t mention Manafort who didn’t even make it through the campaign before millions in Ukranian cash payments from pro-Putin oligarchs tripped him up. The FBI assures him he’ll be indicted.

Manafort under the bus

It seemed the only honorable person left in the White House was Gen. Kelly. That was before he stood behind the White House podium and lied about a speech by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. Of course, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stands by the lie which makes it doubly false. He was “stunned” that the Congresswoman, “listened in” to a call from the President to the widow of a fallen Green Beret. This while Kelly and “several others” according to Sanders were listening in when the President made the call.

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There is nobody left we can hope to believe about anything. I’m waiting patiently until we get to the stage where we have public testimony in the Russia hearings. Lie then!

 

 

What Did Mike Pence Know and When Did He Know It?

Mike Pence has had his name come up a few times during the ongoing Russia investigations. Fortunately, his boss could be counted on to provide a distraction a day so that Pence has never come under any concentrated focus. Since the election, people have more or less forgotten that he was almost as big a liar as Trump. The Vice-Presidential Debate was a clinic on how to tell any lie in the moment, even though it can and will be fact checked within hours.

Within hours of the first version released about how James Comey was fired as the Director of the FBI. Pence went to Capitol Hill and gave statement after statement about how Trump reached the decision after receiving a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Now that those statements have been rendered false when Donald Trump revealed in an interview his intention all along to fire Comey and that the memo came at his request. It would be easy to say that Pence himself was misled and he was just repeating what Trump told him. To do that however, you’d have to forget that Pence was in the room along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions while Trump implemented his plan.

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Photo: spokesman.com

That meeting was troubling in and of itself because it included Sessions who had allegedly recused himself from all matters involving the Russian connections to the Trump campaign. Trump has acknowledged it was Russia on his mind when deciding to fire Comey. In a related matter, the Justice Department is currently not responding to questions about whether Sessions is involved in the investigation of Paul Manafort who was the Trump Campaign chair. Back to Pence.

There appears to be a coordinated effort to keep Pence above the fray, despite his constant wallowing in the dirt. Everybody keeps repeating the hard to reconcile version that Mike Flynn lied to Pence which was the reason he got fired. Pence was the Chairman of the Trump Transition Team. He was responsible for the vetting of Cabinet nominees and Presidential appointments like Flynn. It was to Pence that Elijah Cummings wrote on November 18, 2016 questioning him about published reports of Flynn’s troubling involvement with Turkey. It was Pence that apparently didn’t get the required new clearance for Flynn to become National Security Advisor. It is Pence who hopes to still be standing as collusion and corruption takes down all around him.

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Photo: chicagotribune.com

If there was only Russian interference into the Presidential Election without participation of the Trump Campaign. Trump could still be removed based on Obstruction of Justice or simply diminished mental capacity as he seems to be unraveling before our eyes. In that case, rules of succession would lead us to Pence. If the Campaign was complicit; I submit the result cannot stand and the only remedy is a new election.

This Republican Congress has time after time put their Party above the needs of the Country and looked away from all of Trump’s misdeeds. It might even be their preference to end up with a President Pence which would enhance the chances of implementing their agenda. Given the opportunity, this Congress would prefer a transition to Pence no matter what Trump may ultimately be guilty of. They will continue the troubling pattern of holding Pence up as the untainted one when in truth he’s covered with slime. It is important for us to not let Pence slide while those around him are drowning in quicksand. It all starts with the question. What did Pence know and when did he know it.

Featured Photo: publicseminar.com

Et Tu Pence?

As it was in the time of Caesar, the conspiracy will have started in the Senate. Then as now, they justifiably feared the people objecting to their action and rising against them. The Roman Senators decided that they needed Marcus Junius Brutus (Brutus) to give them legitimacy. Republican Senators will need Mike Pence.

Caesar never suspected Brutus, he thought him a good friend. Of all that would come with their knives, it was Brutus who surprised him most. Trump knows his enemies in the Senate include Ted Cruz based on insults about his father and wife. He knows McCain and Graham are subject to turn on a whim. He never trusted Pence in the manner Caesar trusted Brutus. He has tried to insulate himself with family, yet still, the knives will come.

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Each time Trump sees Pence, he sees smooth where he is ragged, articulate compared to his stumbling. Pence uses multi-syllable words Trump doesn’t understand. It was only a matter of time before his side-eye turned toward Pence, his likely successor should the worst come to pass. Trump couldn’t help but notice the forces aligning to portray Pence as innocent, not involved in the Russia scandal… sane. All the while Trump’s detractors they snipe at him in whispers, in the media, in tweets.

Trump is running but he can’t hide. He throws up diversions as tactics. Expanding a war with Afghanistan, taking a foreign trip to escape, threatening to defund HBCUs.

The day they come for Trump. The usual suspects will be there. Trump will nod as he sees his prophecies fulfilled, he knew they were coming. He smiles as he was “proven right.” And then he sees Pence. He wondered who it would be that like “The Godfather,” would come to him with the Barzini meeting. He that would be the traitor. When Pence approached, in the only Latin words he knew, he said, “Et tu?”

Featured Photo: twitter.com

Accomplices After the Fact (#TeamRussia)

Accomplices After the Fact:

Someone who assists another 1) who has committed a felony, 2) after the person has committed the felony, 3) with knowledge that the person committed the felony, and 4) with the intent to help the person avoid arrest or punishment. An accessory after the fact may be held liable for, inter alia, obstruction of justice.

See how many you can add to this list? Even if they knew nothing before the election. They’ve gone to great lengths to protect the Russian patsy that won the race for President. With their help.

Paul Ryan

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Mitch McConnell

Devin Nunes

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Jared Kushner

Ivanka Trump

Marco Rubio

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Sean Hannity

Bill O’Reilly

Jason Chaffetz

Mike Pence

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Of course many of them were not only accomplices after the fact but before. We will see! #TeamRussia

Once Trump Has To Go… The Case For a New Election

We’ve learned that the Trump Campaign and possibly the President himself is being investigated by the FBI for possible collusion with Russia to win the 2016 Election. It’s time to consider what to do in the event it’s proven to be the case. There are provisions in the Constitution to deal with an elected official found guilty of a crime. They can be removed through the Impeachment process. They might resign. Never have we seen a situation where the results of a Federal Election may have been tainted, unduly influenced by a foreign rival. If it’s found to be true. What do we do next?

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Photo: twitter.com

Some things will be true in an environment where Republicans control the Senate, the House of Representatives, and theoretically the Supreme Court if the appointment of Neil Gorsuch has been confirmed and he’s been seated by the time of Trump’s ouster. They would likely oppose any attempt to change the outcome of the election although they might be relieved to replace the man at the top if we followed the Presidential Line of Succession. Replacing Trump might even make implementing their agenda easier. The case I would make that everything that happened as a result of the election. Almost  everyone in the line of succession would be, “Fruit of the poisonous tree.”

Except for the Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan), and the President pro tempore of the Senate (Orrin Hatch). Every other person in the line of succession is a direct result of a tainted election. None including Vice-President Pence should be able to benefit from a result influenced and very possibly changed by Russian interference and possible collusion. If there were no collusion the case for a new election is not as strong. If the collusion is proven to be true. No other result is acceptable! Fruit of the poisonous tree.

In a criminal court (which this is not). Evidence derived by means determined to be illegal may not be used. The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Rule goes further to say that any evidence gathered because of the initial evidence that couldn’t be shown would be gathered by other means must be excluded. Without the tainted election of a Trump there would be no Pence, Tillerson, Mnuchin, Mattis, Sessions, et.al. to take over. They would all be fruit of the poisonous tree no matter what the Party in power might prefer. The question must also be raised, what to do about Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee. So what to do next?

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Photo: twitter.com

If this were an election for House of Representatives or for the US Senate. The election could be voided by either of those bodies and a new election could be held. In 1974, John Durkin was seated in the US Senate after a New Hampshire result was voided by the Senate and a new election ordered. Several Elections in the House of Representatives have been voided for various reasons. There is no existing mechanism to overturn the results of the Electoral College for President once certified which they have been. This is a situation not contemplated by the Founders. They did imagine a President swayed by foreign gifts which arguably Trump is also guilty of. They said nothing about an election result changed by an enemy power. Given that the next in line in the line of succession is at best fruit of the poisoned tree and at worst a willing participant. The solution must be something not previously contemplated. We need a new election!

The current political realities are that Donald Trump has a base that has loyalty to him personally and not necessarily the Republican Party. Depending on the level of proof and assuming there will be no confession from Trump who never apologizes lest he appear weak. The Republican’s cannot assume the new President whether it be Pence (if not also implicated) or Ryan will have strong support. There will be those who clamor for the appointment of the “rightful winner Hillary Clinton.” I don’t see who could legally make that decision. Neither branch of Congress has the power outside their own body. The Supreme Court has no law to interpret here and should defer to Congress. I see no mechanism where anyone can be appointed to the Presidency. The results of the last election must be voided and a new one held.

This would be a vote Republicans would likely resist until almost the very end. They will not be willing and it will take immense pressure from the public to make it happen. The people will literally have to rise up and make any other choice unacceptable. What is totally unacceptable is to have our President chosen for us by Russia, especially given any quid pro quo like the weakening of NATO, lessening of sanctions, or turning a blind eye when Russia takes over Ukraine and others. All of which seem to be happening already. Our State Department is being reduced in power and people in a manner that can only be explained because of… Russia. The people must require a new election, or recall and change out those who don’t agree.

It will be an ugly process. The ugliness shouldn’t be a deterrent because every other path will be equally nasty without the benefit of being fair. Republicans will begin with the advantage. They’ll call for following the Line of Succession and swearing in Mike Pence. There must be a strong and forceful effort. Not from just the minority Democratic Party but the American People. Unwilling to have Russia determine our President or even his  successor.

Many of the Republicans in Congress are lawyers. Some former judges or prosecutors. They will be familiar with the concept of fruit of the poisonous tree. They must not be allowed to benefit from it. A new election held as quickly as possible is the only way!

Featured Photo: twitter.com

When Trump Is Ousted… What’s Next?

With new evidence being reported every day. It’s becoming more and more a possibility that collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia will be proven; and Donald Trump was involved. In the same manner that Republicans have demanded the repeal of Obamacare for years and had no plan when given the chance. It’s possible that those who have wished to see Trump impeached or otherwise evicted. Have no plan for what to do should they get their wish. If Trump is ousted… what next?

What is reported so far includes a witness indicating Trump himself was involved in changing RNC Platform language in favor of Russia in exchange for the release of leaked data intended to help Trump win the election. There are records of real estate transactions where Trump got millions from Russian buyers far above what the market seemed to indicate was reasonable. There are conversations about Congressional investigations subpoenaing his Tax Returns which could reveal Russian ties? I think it more likely it would reveal fraud and possibly like Al Capone. Trump could be convicted of tax evasion instead of the many other crimes he’s likely guilty of. So if and when Trump is ousted. What’s the next step?

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I think it very much depends on the manner in which Trump leaves. The three known legal options are Impeachment, invoking the 25th Amendment, and resignation. There also doesn’t seem to be any mechanism for contesting the results of a Presidential election once the Electoral College has voted and the results certified.

If Trump is Impeached. The Impeachment would apply to the President alone. Vice-President Pence would assume the office and the remainder of the Administration would stay intact. Pence could replace any of staff or Cabinet who all serve, “at the will of the President.” Or they could remain.

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If the 25th Amendment is utilized because Trump is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” It would mean that Pence and a majority of existing Cabinet members had usurped control. This leaves Pence still in charge.

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If Trump resigned, the long standing plan for succession would give us Mike Pence again as the President. A case could be made that those who opposed Trump and his policies, might find a President Pence to ultimately be a scarier thing. Whereas Trump lacks discipline, Pence would bring a laser-like focus o his duties and would soon fill the legislature with Bills intent on enforcing his moral authority. As Governor of Indiana, he had no problem coming up with discriminatory laws later found Unconstitutional.

I’m not sure there is a clear way for Trump to be deposed that doesn’t escort Mike Pence into the Oval Office. Republicans, perhaps sensing the coming storm, have gone to great lengths to distance Pence from Trump’s Russian connections. We were all told that Gen. Mike Flynn “lied to” Pence, leading to Flynn’s resignation. Isn’t it just as likely that Pence knew? Any thought that Mike Pence never would have lied had he known the truth can be dismissed by watching any of his campaign interviews or the Vice-Presidential Debate.

The case will have to be made that the collusion with Russia was a conspiracy involving most of the top members of the Campaign and now Executive Branch. Surely Bannon knew? Flynn, Sessions, and a couple other former staff members can be linked to Russia. Tillerson has sat idly by while the State Department has been systematically dismantled. All the career staffers with any sense of institutional memory have been let go. If the case for a conspiracy can be proven. Perhaps the case can be made to the Supreme Court to vacate the election results? While the House of Representatives or the Senate can vacate election results in their own respective bodies. Neither can do anything about a Presidential election.

It’s almost certain that Republicans will use every mechanism available to them to see Mike Pence installed as President. It will take a public uproar never before seen to get them to relent. They’ll gladly sacrifice Trump for Pence which only brings them closer to their goals. The one almost certainty is that Trump himself will sing to the high heavens if it would keep him out of prison. He really wouldn’t do very well there.

 

The Fall Of Trump

Mike Pence thought he was nearing the end of his day. He’d spent the day on the Hill trying to lobby for a Bill that would all but destroy Planned Parenthood. He’d spent all morning in the Rayburn and Longworth buildings meeting with House members and most of the afternoon in the Hart Senate Office building meeting with Senators. He got a call from Mitch McConnell who asked if he could stop in for a few minutes before leaving. Pence looked at his watch, sighed and walked back down the hall to Mitch’s office.

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Photo: newsmax.com

He was ushered back to the inner office and was surprised to see a collection of leading Representatives and Senators, some of whom he’d met with earlier in the day. Mitch McConnell said, “We need to talk to you Mike. It’s time!”

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Photo: nytimes.com

Pence was certain he knew what Mitch meant but for clarity’s sake he said, “Time for what?”

“It’s the Russia thing” said McConnell, “we can’t control it any longer. The Post has the whole story and it’s running in the morning. They have everything, Manafort, Flynn, a couple others. They’re all gonna say Trump order them to work with the Russians. He’s done!”

“So what’s next… impeachment?”

Paul Ryan stepped forward, “Hell no, it would take a year and there’s no telling what he could do in that amount of time. Clinton was embarrassed but he rolled the dice and won. Nixon knew he couldn’t win and quit. Goddamn Trump will cling to the Presidency until the last hour and might start a war with Russia or China as a distraction.”

“So what, the 25th? It’s never been done” said Pence. “Walk me through it.”

Ted Cruz spoke up, “It’s up to you Mike. You have to declare that Trump is ‘unable to discharge the duties of the office.’ That should be easy enough to demonstrate. You inform Paul here and Orrin Hatch in the Senate. We get half the Cabinet to agree with you and he’s done. If he tries to fight that. Congress decides who ends up as President.”

Pence said, “What about Schumer and Pelosi?”

McConnell said, “Oh they’ll raise hell! We have to make the issue Trump’s mental health. If it’s about collaboration with Russia they’ll demand a new election and God knows which side the public lands on. Some of Trump’s base will stick with him no matter what. We can ram you through any votes in Congress. We’ve done all we can to keep your name clear in all of this. We’ll make you the hero that saved the Republic.”

“Like Brutus, eh?”

Ryan said, “What was he thinking anyway, dealing with Russia?”

Cruz said, “We knew he was a man with no morals or conscience. Maybe the question is, What were we thinking?

Pence said, “yeah… what were we thinking.”

Featured Photo: storify.com

Last Man Standing?

As the Trump Administration begins its freefall. Republicans are working towards how to rise from the ashes and position themselves in the best possible way for the future. The “Russian Connection” that without a doubt reaches all the way to the President and has tentacles throughout his staff is becoming more clear. The attacks will come daily from the media, from Democrats and ultimately the Republicans in Congress who can finally equate National Security with doing their job.

There has never been any love in Congress for Trump, the brash outsider who has at one time or another belittled them all. They’ve kept silent or offered grudging support as he offered up an unqualified batch of billionaires to fill his Cabinet. The Trump support had little to do with love or respect for the man. They fear the Trump supporters who would turn on them at the first sign of dissent. Ferreting out the Russian links to the Administration will be the means to the end whereby they can get rid of Trump while offending the smallest portion of his base.

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Mike Flynn is gone as head of the NSA. Not because he lied to Mike Pence or the President but because it was about to go public the Justice Department revealed to the White House that Flynn was susceptible to Russian blackmail. The important detail there is that Trump and others knew for a month and did nothing. Why?

It is impossible to conclude Trump didn’t know about Flynn’s phone calls in real time. It’s most likely that he was directing the content, undermining the current President and the sanctions he placed on Russia which Flynn said Trump would undo. It is impossible to believe that nobody bothered to get to the bottom of how the language got changed in the Republican Platform at their convention in favor of Russia. Now suddenly, they name Paul Manafort the ousted former Campaign Chairman as the culprit.

Investigations are already underway. The FBI, CIA and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. It is the last which may do much of the damage because it will be more public. The same Committee where Republicans a month ago tried to refuse to investigate the Trump/Russia ties will now see Republicans take the lead as they try to recover the self-esteem Trump had previously crushed.

At the White House, self-preservation will be in full effect. This is a new Administration with no real loyalty to each other and questionable loyalty towards Trump. Most are there because their role increased their personal income or influence. It’s hard to be a true believer when the man you work for has few if any core beliefs. Who will be willing to throw themselves on their sword to save Trump? Probably nobody. The question, who would tell everything they know to save themselves would likely generate a line. When faced with prosecution or perjury charges, the truth will be told. Except from Trump who is incapable of telling it.

The elephant in the room is that if and when it’s revealed that the Trump campaign and Russia conspired to help him win the election and that Trump knew. What do we do then? While the Impeachment/resignation of Trump would be clear. How could any of his appointments go unquestioned? Bannon, Sessions, Conway… all those who were there early and often will be suspect. Everybody brought on by Flynn. Tillerson with his Russian ties. There will be a feeling that if the election was truly influenced by Russia that the result cannot stand. As opposed to simply handing over the reins to the next in line, Mike Pence.

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Great lengths are being taken to pass along the narrative that Mike Pence was lied to. He wasn’t part of the plan and was the leading force behind ousting Mike Flynn. When Pence went out on national TV supporting Flynn, he was only repeating the lies told to him so that’s okay. It’s not like Pence has ever lied to us before. During the campaign he would blatantly lie about things Trump had said saying, “He never said that!” He lied about Trump saying more countries should get nukes. He lied and said that Trump “never attacked anybody.” He lied about the Carrier Corporation jobs staying in Indiana scam where he as Governor of Indiana  granted them millions in tax offsets while Carrier  merely shifted jobs from another location. Why would we believe anything Pence says about anything?

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We will be given a theory that Pence will be the solution as opposed to being a continuation of the problem. The narrative is already building. The Republican Congress has always preferred Pence because he’s someone they feel they could more easily do business with. There are many including the LGBT community that have long feared a Pence Administration more than Trump. Let’s hope their fears aren’t realized.

The Shadiest Administration Ever

In less than three weeks the Trump Administration has proven itself to be the shadiest of all time. Shadier than Nixon’s, Clinton’s, Andrew Johnson’s… Trump beats them all.

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Photo: alamy.com

What Trump has that the others didn’t is a Congress and a Party base eager to look the other way until some unknown line is crossed when they can ignore it no more. Starting with Trump; he of the unreleased taxes, failure to divest himself of his businesses and clearly making decisions in the best interests of the family fortune. He is more interested in his brand than the nation. His wife was selling her jewelry on Inauguration Day. He is hosting foreign dignitaries at his hotel a few blocks from the White House. He just doubled membership fees from $100,000 to $200,000 at Mar-a-lago which he calls the winter White House. He is blatantly selling access to himself. Those who care aren’t in power. Those in power don’t care!

He has his sons running the family business yet attending meetings with foreign leaders with access provided by Daddy. His son-in-law has been made a top advisor. His daughter Ivanka allegedly stepped away from her business yet has sat in meetings with foreign leaders whose state owned banks she’s negotiating financing from. A White House spokesperson speaking in front of the Presidential Seal made an appeal to support Ivanka’s business. Donald Trump tweeted his contempt for Nordstrom’s that dropped Ivanka’s clothing line due to declining sales.

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Photo: thedailybeast.com

His Cabinet is being approved by a Republican Senate that has ignored situations where the Secretary is totally unqualified (DeVos and Carson), has a history of putting their profits ahead of the nation’s interest (Tillerson and Mnuchin), insider trading (Price) or racist (Sessions). Whatever their transgressions, the Senate just looked away and cast their “aye” vote.

For all the sins of those that had to be approved by the Senate. Trump’s political appointees are even worse. Bannon the White Supremacist. Kellyanne Conway, she of “Alternate Facts,” Sean Spicer the designated liar. Mike Flynn who we learn was discussing sanctions with the Russians even before taking office. There are those who say that wasn’t necessarily a problem. There is a problem with the fact that he lied about it, Pence lied about it, Spicer lied about it and of course Trump. Reince Priebus when RNC Chairman led the RNC effort to suppress black and minority votes.

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There is not a single one that hasn’t stood in front of the cameras and lied to the public. They don’t even tell good lies, most are easily disproved. There’s a theory that they have so many lies being told at the same time that no individual lie gets any real attention.

Then there’s Russia. We know the former campaign manager Manafort had to resign because of the millions in cash he’d received from Ukraine. Flynn and Tillerson have close Russian ties. One of Trump’s sons bragged about the level of business the company did with Russia. Donald now denies it but we never did see those taxes did we?

We saw the video of Trump talking about his ability to “grab them by the pussy” when discussing women. The rumors about a tape with Trump paying Russian prostitutes to urinate on a bed may or may not ever be proven true. Still, we know that there are unreleased video’s of Trump debasing and/or assaulting women on the set of Celebrity Apprentice. Lawsuits are moving forward from some of the women who came forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault. His own words validate their claims. An ex-wife (who is not the only woman) accused Trump of rape.

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Photo: yelp.com

Trump would be happy to know his Administration is record setting. Were it not for a Sessions in charge of law enforcement and a partisan Congress unwilling to investigate there would be more investigations underway than already are. Flynn and others are under FBI investigation for their relationship to Russia. Manafort is being investigated related to Russia. Kellyanne Conway is in theory being investigated for her comments urging people to buy Ivanka Trump’s products. Other investigations related to Russian hacking and influencing our recent election may yet snag some of the administration, possibly Trump himself. The smoke is billowing. Soon will come the fire. The shadiest Administration ever.

Featured Photo: aim.org