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.

Ivanka Trump
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