did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Impeachment Hearings

1

My problem is that I have been battered out of any belief in democracy by this administration - and considering how low my expectations were before, that's saying something.

I don't expect there to be any findings and if there are any findings I don't expect it to make any difference. What's new? Trump and his administration are corrupt Nazis who have actually ruined this country for a couple of generations, absent some kind of general strike to topple the regime. I feel like nothing new will or can emerge and our government is too corrupt to care.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 8:28 AM
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Witnesses this week are expected to confirm the direct personal involvement of Trump in the dealings we already know about. AIUI Trump's approval among Rs did actually take a knock upon the initial whistleblower revelation. I think it's still possible a sufficiently smoking gun will tip the senate to the point of dynamic instability. I don't think it's likely, or even that a successful impeachment will change much, but it would be morally important.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 8:38 AM
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I agree with 1.

I don't see the Senate voting for impeachment regardless. I see (hope) for enough voters to quietly slink away from the Republican Party that they lose in 2020, but the actual elected Republicans are not going to change for any reason but defeat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 8:54 AM
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1: I thought I was pessimistic!

Also, I don't think it's fair to call Trump a Nazi. Totally corrupt, racist with definite fascist tendencies, but not really a Nazi.

And...I haven't watched any of the impeachment hearings -- I experience it through the filter of Twitter.

I did read Ambassador Taylor's statement, and my primary reaction was to wonder what in the world Pompeo was thinking when he chose him for this position. There must have plenty of grifters available as well as regional experts that believe that it makes sense not to contest Russia's hegemony over Ukraine. Instead Pompeo chooses a guy passionately committed to preserving Ukrainian independence and democracy. It made me think that maybe Pompeo is Anonymous.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 8:56 AM
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Trump and a large portion of the Republican Party is willing to destroy anything civil, societal, or government function they can't control so that it primarily benefits their in-group.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 9:01 AM
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4: Taylor was an emergency temporary appointment (actually chargé) after Pompeo fired Yovonavich on Giuliani's wishes/orders. Pompeo didn't have a lickspittle in place because he hadn't had time or wherewithal to get one through the Senate. I don't believe for a second Pompeo is anything other than the craven he appears. He instructs State staff to defy Congressional subpoenas. President and Republicans are raining abuse, threats, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, on State people, and he says nothing.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 9:10 AM
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Trump has openly and covertly white supremacist advisors - like literal white supremacists who actually believe that this should be a white country for white people with people of color as servants if not killed or expelled. They have packed the court and figured out some policy approaches that make it possible to exclude people of color and queer people and to covertly make it virtually impossible for non-white people to emigrate here. They are literally, actually taking the babies of women in detention camps. They are Nazis. They would be gassing people if our political scenario allowed.

They've really figured out how to do attacks on immigration now - before, when it was "we're going to ban Muslims", people hated that. Average Americans mostly do not want to ban Muslims or other immigrants, even if they are not especially pro-immigrant. Now it's all "here is a policy catch-22 which will allow us to jail or deport you no matter what you do and if there's an injunction we'll take it to our pet Supreme Court". It's hard to mobilize masses of people around stuff like that. And what's more, this is the same playbook they're going to use on the rest of us because it's working on immigrants.

Like, I cannot overstate the actual, literal danger we are all in right now. We're at a point where the noose could be tightened very easily, but because we've all been battered by three years of horror and confusion, we're not seeing it.

If - if - we can winkle these fuckers out of office next year, we have a chance. That's if they'll leave, which I think they probably will but there's still an outside chance if something changes dramatically.

Seriously, we're all worn out and professional class people (or pink collar union employees in well-governed states!) haven't been at the sharp end too much yet, but we're really in a "first they came for" situation.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 9:12 AM
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And note Pompeo delegated oversight of the dirty work to Sondland, the lickspittle who was in place.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 9:16 AM
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6: That's what it's like to be a double agent. Pompeo does everything Trump tells him to, but when Trump isn't paying attention he sabotages him. He went out of his way to persuade Taylor to take the job, and he knew that Taylor is both opposed to Trump's Ukraine policy and that he wouldn't tolerate Trump's corruption.

I'm just stating my argument - I don't really know enough to determine if it's plausibly true.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 9:19 AM
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Did he go out of his way for Taylor? Apparently Taylor has been called out retirement three or four times for similar postings. On the face of it that looks routine, not gamed at all. Also IDK when and to what degree Pompeo was aware of the Ukraine extortion plan, since that apparently is being run by Giuliani reporting directly to Trump.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 9:29 AM
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7 is 100% right. Barr is the most dangerous man in the world right now.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-rights-child/us-has-worlds-highest-rate-of-children-in-detention-un-study-idUSKBN1XS1PC


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 9:32 AM
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Barr clearly would be Himmler if asked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 9:42 AM
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You know, politely. Because civility matters.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 9:43 AM
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Barr would be Himmler without being asked. Trump doesn't even know what to ask for.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 9:57 AM
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I was definitely one of those pulling for "televised hearings have a good chance to change the game". I may be wrong, but I don't think we know yet. It seems from polls a whole lot of Americans are paying attention.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 10:04 AM
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Of course that kind of polling question may be more biased than election-intention questions are by "who will pick up the phone and answer".


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 10:05 AM
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12: Everybody who is paying attention knows what Trump has done, so there's really not much suspense in the hearings. And everybody knows that it it really hard for the media to admit that everybody knows what Trump has done, so we'll be getting a lot of two-sided coverage in order to ensure that lies are given equal time with the truth.

So I'm pretty alienated from the news coverage of this. I think Mossy correctly allows for the possibility of "dynamic instability," but Lithwick correctly estimates the odds of Republicans growing a conscience.

(I'll add that Lithwick does this by using a very Maureen Dowd-like device -- comparing impeachment to a romcom -- except Lithwick isn't an idiot and her analogy makes sense.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 10:13 AM
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I'm watching some (not a lot) if the hearings, primarily so I can discuss it with my students.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 10:52 AM
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I know!! I thought I'd care! I thought I'd want to hear it. But now we have hearings and I listen long enough to think "cool; competent performance by Schiff" and I apparently don't have to despair that the Dems are somehow fucking this up and then there's nothing left for me to feel.

After my performance in 2016 (here, mostly), I've forbidden myself from making optimistic predictions any more. But I certainly do hope that if Dems get back in power, they'll be as ruthless and extreme as the Republicans were.

I keep hearing this bullshit about how you can't run a country with pendulum swings between extremes and I think that it is better that reasonable; hard swing right; reasonable; hard swing right, etc.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 10:58 AM
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I may have said this before here, but I suspect viewing Trump as an anomaly is a form of category error - and leads to the dangerous belief that removing him from office will let things get back to "normal" in some easy way. Of course he was an unusual candidate but viewing him as something from outside the system that came in and abused it is, I think, an attractive fiction. Attractive because it supports the idea that the rot isn't too deep, and a basically good system got hoodwinked.

Rather I suspect it is more accurate to view him as an opportunistic (and talented) grifter, the kind that inevitably shows up eventually when the conditions are right. His actions in office now are often consistent with such a person acting on the internal logic of the scam, trying to hold things together with the wheels rattling. The point being I think that this is just a symptom of the larger state of politics; that sometime around Reagan many republicans gave up on the idea that the US political system was an ideal worth pursuing & improving for it's own sake (and their opponents were just wrong about policy) and started aggressively meta-gaming. By letting them get away with it, the entire system becomes complicit; sometimes explicitly so.

Maybe the metagaming was always a major feature and I just don't know enough about earlier history. And the dems are hardly blameless.

If I had to guess I don't think the impeachment hearings will functionally change anything, just amplify what is there a bit more.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 11:28 AM
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If they are scaring Trump into panic attacks that require a trip to the hospital, that by itself justifies the effort.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 11:39 AM
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I agree with Frowner and Mossy that Trump is a literal Nazi. It's the only area besides greed and wanting power where he's held a consistent position at all.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 11:40 AM
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Lithwick in 17 is very good.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 11:44 AM
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17 is good although I never thought of it so much as "Republicans will grow a spine" as "Republicans' spinelessness will tip them the other direction".


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 11:50 AM
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21: I would never say it isn't worth doing - just that as per 17, it probably wont' fundamentally shift anything.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 11:56 AM
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This is very minor as things go but why do I keep reading intimations that the Zelensky call transcript released in September was tampered with, on the basis of Burisma being mentioned on the call but that being left out of the summary? Burisma is the link to Hunter Biden, so it would have been damning if it alone was mentioned on the call, but Hunter Biden was mentioned directly, and that was in the summary. Seems like an inconsequential abridgment; the coverup was in trying to bury the call itself.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 12:10 PM
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And the call was just a piece of the scheme.

I suppose the point, at this point, given who the Republican senators are, is to make their much expected acquittal of Trump look really bad. On the question whether that can stick, I think the hearings are moving the ball in the right direction. It won't matter for most of them, but maybe we can get turnout wound up for 20, which is the whole game.

I don't have a TV and do have a day job, but I'm out of town, and have seen bits of the thing over lunch. That is, sfaik, all the public tvs at the military base where I am are tuned to it. That's not nothing.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 12:48 PM
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agree with 27.2


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 1:09 PM
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26: Summary:

In discussing the July 25 call, Vindman explained that, per normal process, he drafted the talking points for Trump prior to the congratulatory call, and those talking points went through a staffing process before getting sent by Bolton to the president. Vindman did not include the 2016 election, the Bidens or Burisma in his talking points.
[...]
The next proposed edit was to Zelensky's response to Trump's above statement. Zelensky said he was going to appoint a new prosecutor general and, again with Vindman's proposed edit in brackets, "He or she will look into the situation, specifically to [Burisma] that you mentioned." In the final TELCOM, instead of "Burisma" it reads "the company." Vindman later added that this was particularly significant because, in a general discussion about corruption, Zelensky would "not necessarily know anything" about Burisma. So the fact that mentioned Burisma suggested that Zelensky had been "prepped" to speak about it during the call.
Vindman later said that he didn't think neglecting his edits was an intentional or "malicious" choice.
So it confirms on the one hand that the Burisma thing did not originate with the technocrats, and was not part of American (as opposed to Trump's personal) policy; and on the other cross-confirms contact between Zelensky's office and the extra-mural diplomatic effort directed by Giuliani. I agree it doesn't seem particularly important in itself, but it does deepen the overall pattern of facts.
Pedantry: the White House DID NOT RELEASE A TRANSCRIPT. It literally has "this is not a transcript" printed on every page. AFAIK we know by now the actual substance of the call, but the full transcript might be, like the Nixon tapes, an extra-smoky gun.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 3:39 PM
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For the record, I don't think Trump is a literal Nazi. I think literal Nazis are actual NSDAP members, and using "Nazi" as an epithet (rather than as a benchmark) stopped being useful long ago. I also think the ideal world Trump would like to see isn't remotely as bad as the one the NSDAP wanted. I'm okay calling Trump a literal (small-f) fascist because that's clearly the kind of ruler he wants to be.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 3:51 PM
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Oops, I tried to say "summary" instead of "transcript" every time in 26 but one got through.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 4:01 PM
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(Not an attack on Minivet, or anyone in particular.) 31 is why I'm such an asshole about terminology. Sloppiness is contagious.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 4:07 PM
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Like, my first draft of 32 read "I'm such a Nazi about terminology". Given the history, "Nazi" should be a tremendously powerful epithet, but it's been inflated to a joke construction.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 4:17 PM
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30: Comity.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 5:17 PM
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I agree that he's not a member of the NSDAP but I agree w Frowner that Stephen Miller would have actual gas chambers if he could, and I'm okay tarring his boss with the same brush.


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 5:30 PM
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At this point I sort of wonder if some Republicans might figure out that removing trump would probably help them in the long term because it would maintain the fantasy Lithwick describes for many more decades. Of course there's a chance the fantasy will continue abetted by the usual press coverage but having one "we did the right thing in the end" moment will probably last them another 50 years, like it has with Nixon.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 6:39 PM
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Yeah, I think actual Nazis went away in 1945. There have been people who style themselves as Nazis since then, but its not actually the same. Like the people in the Holy Roman Empire were not actually Romans.

I don't really mind it as an epithet, though I can see why some folks would.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 6:42 PM
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> because it would maintain the fantasy Lithwick describes for many more decades.

I'm not convinced the system is stable enough to get more decades out of.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 6:52 PM
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Well, I'll just go fuck myself then.


Posted by: Opinionated Hapsburg | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 7:28 PM
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Prick or chin?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 9:06 PM
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Today I found out the name of the US ambassador to the UK is "Woody Johnson."


Posted by: Beavis | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 10:38 PM
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||

ابن بطوطة؟
|>


Posted by: MC | Link to this comment | 11-19-19 10:52 PM
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||
Up what part of whose anatomy the remains of this handbag should be stuffed is a difficult question, but it it is the only one the courts should be asked to decide.
|>


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 1:30 AM
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The next proposed edit was to Zelensky's response to Trump's above statement. Zelensky said he was going to appoint a new prosecutor general and, again with Vindman's proposed edit in brackets, "He or she will look into the situation, specifically to [Burisma] that you mentioned." In the final TELCOM, instead of "Burisma" it reads "the company." Vindman later added that this was particularly significant because, in a general discussion about corruption, Zelensky would "not necessarily know anything" about Burisma. So the fact that mentioned Burisma suggested that Zelensky had been "prepped" to speak about it during the call.

I'm a little confused by this. The preceding commentary suggests that this implies Vindman was proposing to add/change Burisma from the "very accurate" TELCON, which did not mention it. But the final sentence seems to (though it's hard to tell because the syntax is garbled) suggest that Vindman thought Burisma was explicitly mentioned on the call.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 3:55 AM
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Vindman listened in on the call and made his own notes. Agreed it's all less than pellucid.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 4:27 AM
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Actually I don't think that link says he made his own notes, but he was on the call.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 4:29 AM
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42 there's a new translation out, and I was at a conference on Islamic Art here that included a paper on him but I'll have to add more later


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 4:42 AM
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36 The only way Trump gets removed by impeachment is if Mitt Romney rallies two dozen Republicans to Save the Republic. Each and every one of them will be heroes for the rest of the century. I don't think there is any way out of that.

Got into an irl discussion with a smart person last night, who argued that as Trump becomes more and more concerned that he's going to lose the election, a health-related resignation becomes more and more likely. To maximize his post-presidential grievance career, istm that he'd want to be acquitted first, be able to point out that this isn't the end of it (because it won't be) and then step down for his health.

The smart person then destroyed his credibility talking about state charges: I'm no expert on NY prosecution culture, but if the guy steps down because the stress is literally killing him, I think the pressure on NY to hold back will be immense.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 6:23 AM
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Trump left them for Florida, basically waving his middle finger at the state. Maybe they don't care?

I do wonder about his health. I assume he went in to Walter Reed for either chest pain or a fall. I don't suppose we'll find out which for a long time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 6:29 AM
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Since the rhetorical style is increasingly Stalinist, it would be fun to imagine him going the same way, but with Pence as Khrushchev and Barr as Beria and whichever general thinks he can pull it off as Zhukov.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 6:37 AM
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It fits because Pence had also thrown Ukrainian people under the bus for his boss.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 6:40 AM
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Haha, I knew Woody Johnson was the owner of the New York Jets, didn't know about being the newest NFL team owner to be an ambassador.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 7:35 AM
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48.1. Save the Republic ... and subsequently be torn to shreds by Trump supporters.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 7:49 AM
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Might the shredding be configured such that it turns the Senate blue for a good while?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 7:57 AM
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I'm no expert on NY prosecution culture, but if the guy steps down because the stress is literally killing him, I think the pressure on NY to hold back will be immense.

As someone working in one of the relevant NYS offices, although not directly on any Trump cases, I could be wrong but I don't see us backing off because the stress might kill him. Maybe, but the idea of being merciful to Trump because he was sick wouldn't have occurred to me.


Posted by: Golda Meir | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 8:10 AM
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Each and every one of them will be heroes for the rest of the century. I don't think there is any way out of that.

Why are we so confident about the judgment of history? Maybe the Dems pushing for impeachment and removal will be remembered like the Radical Republicans were for most of the 20th century.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 8:16 AM
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Maybe, but the idea of being merciful to Trump because he was sick wouldn't have occurred to me.

Also the odds would be good that he's pretending to be sick in a Vincent Gigante-esque scheme.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 8:21 AM
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And also announcing in public that he was faking.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 8:25 AM
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I think Vinny the Chin was genuinely demented, at least by the end. But maybe I'm misremembering.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 8:29 AM
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48: There is zero chance that Trump will use his health as a pretext for stepping down. This is a guy who just had an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed and isn't willing to admit it. This is the president of perfect phone calls and ample hand size.

If he really gets cornered, you could see him doing a plea bargain with Pence in the style of Nixon/Ford, but the reason for stepping down would be Deep State perfidy, not anything related to Trump's actions or personal characteristics. He isn't even capable of saying that persecution damaged his health -- that would be admitting weakness.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 8:41 AM
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59: Not even close.


Posted by: Opinionated Hapsburg | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 8:43 AM
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Isn't sentencing a more appropriate stage to consider ill health?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 8:50 AM
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60 I hear that. But that's the problem. He can't step down at all, unless Romney actually gets 20 Republicans to Save the Republic. He "won" the Mueller Report and he's going to "win" impeachment, unless we get into a Romney saves the Republic scenario. He can't stand the idea of losing the election; that is surely worse than having his oldest daughter on TV pleading for him to save himself, and all the great things he (and the rest of the family) has done, by stepping aside, getting the pardon, and leaving to the next Republican president the jump of getting vengeance.

His alternative, if it starts to look like he's in real danger in states he needs to carry, is preventing the election. You can absolutely bet he's thought of it, and talked with some folks about whether his emergency powers allow him to do something about that.

Is it too early for the Dem campaigns to be very deeply vetting every single senior aide -- I mean hiring accountants to look at 10 years of returns, doing what otherwise amounts to a full background check of the type needed for TS clearance -- but Trump and his allies are going to be looking to jail some people next summer, and the sooner candidates make sure to shed their low-hanging fruit, the better.

If he wasn't too wound up with resentments, he'd have Karl Rove on board, and they'd be looking at how big a war he needs starting next summer to turn it all around. Venezuela is a great target, because of socialism.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:04 AM
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I'm hearing (both on Twitter and independently from my brother who's been listening to hearings) that the majority questioning of Sondland was explosive in its unambiguous damning.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:13 AM
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In particular implicating Pence.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:13 AM
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I, for one, welcome our new President Pelosi.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:16 AM
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66: I was just about to comment that "#President Pelosi" was trending on Twitter.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:18 AM
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I was looking for live hearings on YouTube to scroll back through and found this nice concept from Crooked Media where it shows the footage splitscreened with a contemporaneous Slack channel where their contributors react.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:20 AM
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67: There are lots of people on Twitter that appear to seriously believe that Trump and Pence will be impeached, and I was thinking how ridiculous they are, and then I saw a tweet from a MAGA pointing out that "President Pelosi" was trending and claiming that this show the liberals were calling for the assassination(!) of Trump and Pence. All I can say is "oy".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:26 AM
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63 last: Do you really think that would work (and do you really think they think it'd work)? AFAICT Iraq knocked the shine off adventurism for pretty much everyone except John Bolton. I mean, you've had founding Axis of Evil members actually testing ICBMs and blowing up oil refineries, and from America, silence.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:31 AM
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70: Were you not watching as Bolton set up all the dominoes for a military strike on Iran?

69: I looked at trending topics and didn't see that hashtag. #Impeachment In5Words was #23.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:36 AM
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Dominoes which didn't fall. And AFAIK there was no meaningful domestic pressure to set them falling.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:38 AM
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63: Trump, in Trump's mind, can't lose the election. It's impossible. The only conceivable non-victory outcome is that he could be cheated out of his landslide victory. Therefore, there is no reason to prepare for defeat.

70: There is no "Iraq Syndrome" in the sense that there was a Vietnam Syndrome. I do think, though, that it is possible that Trump is uniquely ill-positioned to exploit American bloodlust. GW Bush was likeable, in his way, and could bring "sensible moderates" like Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton (and their counterparts in the voting public) around. Trump is widely hated, not just disliked, and grotesque foreign adventurism could serve to radicalize moderates against him..


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:49 AM
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71.2: Are you accusing me of.....? Well, actually, I don't know why I added the hash tag. "President Pelosi" was on the list of "Worldwide Trends" but it's already been replaced by "#ThisisBTS" and others.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:50 AM
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I just learned from a book on the FBI, I guess I missed this in the shuffle at the time, that Robert Mueller as head of the FBI in 2003 helped with the rush to war by testifying that Iraq was at the "top of my list" of terrorist sponsors and repeating administration lies about WMDs. What a lickspittle.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:54 AM
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74: Not accusing you of anything, just that trending topics are based on a huge black box and if one person sees it and another doesn't it may be on the ephemeral side.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:55 AM
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I do wonder what would happen if terrorists blow up something big. My intuition is that Trump wouldn't get anything resembling the free ride that GW Bush got.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:55 AM
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I doubt it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 10:06 AM
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76: Hope you could tell I was totally kidding. And yes, trending topics on Twitter are extremely ephemeral.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 10:06 AM
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77: He might have in 2017.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 10:17 AM
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64. Sounds like that to me. Also implicates Pompeo more than before, I think.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 10:42 AM
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Trump is (one of his good features) massively afraid of confrontation. US enemies know this. Iran has been dropping warheads in Riyadh for some time now with no response from the US; they would never have dared when Clinton or either Bush were around. Trump barely mentions it. He is an abject coward and so very unlikely to start a war with anyone. See his record so far and compare it with, say, first term Clinton or first term Obama.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 12:41 PM
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His alternative, if it starts to look like he's in real danger in states he needs to carry, is preventing the election. You can absolutely bet he's thought of it, and talked with some folks about whether his emergency powers allow him to do something about that.

Call me complacent and stuff, but I'm really not worried about the election being prevented. It's not just a norm, it's a norm, an institution, a pageant, and a Constitutional requirement. Smarter people with firmer grips on the reins of power would have problems preventing an election from being held.

I'd worry a lot more about it being stolen. The Supreme Court is even more full of crypto-fascists now than it was in 2000, Republicans have cemented themselves pretty firmly to Trump's ass, and there are plenty of ways to make it harder for the "wrong" people to vote. Smart people weren't too complacent on the eve of the 2016 election. (Nate Silver was giving Clinton 66 percent odds or so, which sounds likes like a huge number if you misinterpret it as the percentage of the vote, but as a percent chance of victory, 1 out of 3 chances happen 10 times a month.) If 2020's margins don't look a lot better, it should be a lot more stressful than that was.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 12:44 PM
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82: I think that's right. In addition to general cowardice, I suspect his xenophobia leads him to not want to dirty himself with any kind of involvement with foreigners.*

As a rule, psychoanalyzing presidents is a mug's game, but Trump is about a quarter-inch deep and not that hard to read. See Trump's Razor.

*I mean, except marrying them.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 1:01 PM
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Crimes https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/28078881/how-nba-executive-jeff-david-stole-13-million-sacramento-kings
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Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 1:05 PM
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I agree that he's a coward, and unpopular. He'd need a whole lot more than he's got to get a war going. Bolton's dominoes also were on the wrong schedule. GHWB showed (and I suppose there's the British analogue from the end of WWII) that you don't get rewarded for victory safely won, so you don't want the war to be over too soon. Maximum benefit political benefit is probably what Rove set up in 2002 -- imminent defense of civilization, with only cowards and leftists opposed, and second best is what Rove set up for 2004: deep in it, not the right time to switch out. Iran would be a quagmire quickly. I have no idea whether we could make regime change actually stick in Venezuela.

It's not a play that Trump is very well set up to execute, I agree. So, he's got a dwindling set of options. Electoral defeat is bad bad bad. Weakly resigning is bad bad bad. Electoral victory is going to depend on factors he can't really control. I think he can win, but his attempts at intervening, and making races about him, in both 2018 and 2019 have come up short. His people have to understand that they're exposed.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 1:54 PM
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The link in 85 is fascinating.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 4:34 PM
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https://www.lawfareblog.com/gordon-sondland-accuses-president-bribery


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 11-20-19 9:55 PM
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82: One caveat is that he has been increasing airstrikes in Somalia. (Unrelatedly: oof, "whom his enemies are" right there in 20-point font or whatever; a stray "whom" always brings to mind "To the individual whom stole the hotpockets!")


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 11-21-19 2:26 PM
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Looks like White House and Senate are agreeing on a "full" two-week Senate trial once articles are passed. I'm sure at the moment they think that's better for them, they'll fill up the time with conspiracy theories, but it still leaves room for the dynamic to change.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-21-19 3:07 PM
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Haven't read all of the above.

It seems to me that there is at least a 5% chance that Trump will not be the candidate next year. This should provide an incentive for all sorts of Republicans to be positioning themselves. Is this happening? Why not?


Posted by: Robert | Link to this comment | 11-21-19 7:26 PM
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Isn't that Romney's game?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-21-19 7:33 PM
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Bibi indicted.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-21-19 10:50 PM
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if Mitt Romney rallies two dozen Republicans to Save the Republic

I've been thinking it could be the Supreme Court (and specifically Roberts) that tries to save the Republic. The Court has taken several controversial issues (LGBTQ protections, the Dreamers, Second Amendment, Abortion). But they've also taken the cases involving the attempted forced disclosure of Trump's financial records.

I could see the Roberts Court generally affirming the use of Executive Power to do mean things to vulnerable people, while simultaneously opening the door on potentially embarrassing enough financial information that Trump has to go. And then you've cleanly separated the robust Executive powers from the idiot.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-22-19 7:42 AM
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I'm okay with that except skeptical of the part where the financial information is sufficiently embarrassing that he "has" to go, in the eyes of the senate that would have to vote to convict. Unless you mean he loses the election.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-19 9:19 AM
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This should provide an incentive for all sorts of Republicans to be positioning themselves. Is this happening?

I think their positioning mostly takes the form of dialing their spittle-licking up to 11. See the recent NYT article on Nikki Haley.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-22-19 9:24 AM
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Interesting analysis of dynamics in Senate trial. Although Senate leadership runs it and will keeping it brief, the prosecution team is designated by the House, and their power includes subpoena. If they want to subpoena bigger higher-ups like Mulvaney, Pompeo, or Bolton, and Republicans object, John Roberts would rule on the matter. The full voting Senate could overturn Roberts's ruling, but his imprimatur could turn some of them.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-22-19 9:37 AM
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