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Impeach Trump

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For a host of reasons, I was pretty skeptical of calls to impeach Trump. For one, it’s highly unlikely to happen—even advocating it seems like a distraction from more productive political activism. For another, I think it  hard to understate the risks of impeachment in an era of intense polarization. Although I think Trump’s call, during the campaign, for Russia to hack Clinton was sufficient collusion to discredit him, I also do not believe that it constitutes an impeachable offense. Indeed, as horrible as Trump is on a personal and political level, impeachment should absolutely not be a tool for enacting a constitutional coup. The Republicans tried this with Bill Clinton, and I think we underestimate, at our peril, the long-term damage done by that effort.

Despite the title of this post, I’m still not fully on the bandwagon. But if this John Dawsey story in Politico is accurate—and that’s a big if—I suspect we’ve crossed if not the Rubicon, then a significant line of some kind.

[Trump] had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.

Moreover:

The news stunned Comey, who saw his dismissal on TV while speaking inside the FBI office in Los Angeles. It startled all but the uppermost ring of White House advisers, who said grumbling about Comey hadn’t dominated their own morning senior staff meetings. Other top officials learned just before it happened and were unaware he was considering firing Comey. “Nobody really knew,” one senior White House official said. “Our phones all buzzed and people said, What?”

By ousting the FBI director investigating his campaign and associates, Trump may have added more fuel to the fire he is furiously trying to contain — and he was quickly criticized by a chorus of Republicans and Democrats. “The timing of this firing was very troubling,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican.

Trump had grown angry with the Russia investigation — particularly Comey admitting in front of the Senate that the FBI was investigating his campaign — and that the FBI director wouldn’t support his claims that President Barack Obama had tapped his phones in Trump Tower [my emphasis].

This, and similar accounts, seem consistent with my prior post. Trump was angry at Comey for disrespecting him, not affirming his fact-free accusations against the Obama Administration, and, more generally, for not carrying Trump’s water on the Russia investigation. There are two sweeping implications. None are, sadly, surprising. But they now take on new urgency.

First, Trump is basically unhinged. In more technical language, he’s unfit to serve. I’m sure many presidents felt similarly about investigations against them—but Trump actually fired the head of the nation’s most important law-enforcement agency for falling to supporting an alternative reality. This is, in the terms laid out by Jacob Levy, the mark of an authoritarian—driven, perhaps, by temperamental deficiencies that raise serious doubts about Trump’s continued status as President of the United States.

Some of our past presidents have suffered from their own deficiencies and impairments, but few have surrounded himself with such a circle of charlatans, incompetents, ideologues, family members, and enablers. The exceptions to this parade of people who have no business near government include a handful of people at the NSC, the Department of Defense, Rick Perry at Energy—who, whatever his flaws, appears to take governance seriously—and a few others. Rosenstein, per Benjamin Wittes, was supposed to be one of the adults. But he has disgraced himself  by crafting a transparently post-hoc rationalization for Comey’s removal.

Second, and more important, if Trump fired Comey for failing to toe the line on FBI investigations—into, one the one hand, collusion between the Trump administration and Russia and, on the other hand, his accusations concerning Obama administration wiretappings—then he has used the power of his office to interfere with law-enforcement activity directly implicating himself. This is a profound abuse of power for personal benefit—one that throws us into a constitutional crisis.

Yes, Trump had every right to fire Comey. Nixon had every right to fire Archibald Cox. Both actions, however, demonstrate the unwillingness of the highest elected official in the United States to make his administration accountable to the rule of law. Even if there is no ‘there there’ to the Russia-Trump investigation, the Trump administration faces a host of other collisions with the rule of law and norms of democratic governance—many involving financial conflicts of interest implicating Trump’s own family. We can no longer pretend to have any confidence that Trump will allow other ongoing or future investigations to unfold in an orderly and proper manner.

This is far from the first, and likely far from the last, defining moment for Republican elected officials. I do not envy them. They tread dangerous and difficult ground. But we rightly judge the integrity of men and women by how they behave in such moments. It is time for genuinely independent and bipartisan investigations into the Trump administration—ones carried out with the clear knowledge that grounds for an impeachment are a plausible outcome.

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  • dnexon

    Another point. Many rank-and-file Republicans are gleeful that Comey’s departure will release the FBI to, in effect, persecute Trump’s political opponents. That is, lock Clinton up. New that Giuliani is a possible replacement for Comey do not encourage. Going after Clinton for “the emails” would bring the United States firmly into hybrid-regime territory. This is not a drill.

    • Mike in DC

      That sounds like a path to an actual civil war in the country.

      • SNF

        Well, the last time we were as polarized as we are now was in the lead up to the Civil War.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          But that polarization was along much clearer sectional lines. There were nine states in which Lincoln received zero votes.

          • Merkwürdigliebe

            Well, he wasn’t even on the ballot…

            • Incontinentia Buttocks

              Of course, there was no (Australian) ballot. So nobody was.

          • Manny Kant

            Nine states, plus South Carolina, which didn’t have a popular vote, but where Lincoln certainly also would not have gotten any votes if he’d won. And Lincoln received <3% of the vote in Kentucky, Maryland, and Virginia.

            • jmauro

              I would like to note though that 3/4th of the residents of those states were barred from voting at all so saying Lincoln got 3% of the total is a bit inaccurate.

    • timb

      I ain’t shooting anybody over HRC, despite my respect, support, and vote for her. Go ahead and indict her. Easiest acquittal ever

      • Shantanu Saha

        You’re making the implicit assumption that Clinton would be the only one they try to railroad. Remember Martin Niemöller before you lay down your weapons.

        • guthrie

          Also that the jury and evidence wouldn’t be carefully handpicked and lovingly curated.

          • Shantanu Saha

            There will be so many kangaroo courts, we’ll think Australia has been depopulated.

            • los

              depopulated

              also depopulated of wallabies, jackelopes, and even cantaloupes.

    • btfjd

      I said at the time that Obama should have issued Clinton a blanket pardon. Not that I think there was a legal need for it, but because I feared that Trump would at some point go after her for personal and political reasons. No doubt Hillary would have announced she didn’t want one, but I’ll bet she’s wishing Obama had done it anyway.

    • Agreed. I think a fair number of Trump supporters think he fired Comey for not prosecuting Clinton, and thus are fully on-board with this action.

      • efgoldman

        I think a fair number of Trump supporters think…

        See, there’s your problem right there.

      • so-in-so

        Yes, they will continue making-up reasons to support him as they have done all along. If they found him in the barn with their underage daughter/son they would have some reason why this was perfectly fine and still better than any Democrat. It’s the non-Trumpanzies we need to worry about. If the press (other than Faux/Breibart/Infowars) worries this half as much as they harped on Benghazi/EMAILS!!!!! it should be enough to cost the GOP something.

      • los

        trump fed fable that to his idiots, via fox/pravda.

        • los

          (… fed that fable to…)

  • I haven’t seen anyone point out that one of the issues under investigation is the allegation that Russia is blackmailing, or has the means to blackmail, the Resident. He is meeting with the Russian foreign minister today, as it happens. This could mean something, no?

  • This will all pan out once Trump selects Rudy Giuliani to head the FBI.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      My hope is that the Grand Jury investigating the Russian connections will now escape from its handlers and ‘go rogue’.

      • I dunno…there’s a lot of kompromat on that ham sandwich.

  • DamnYankees

    This is far from the first, and likely far from the last, defining moment for Republican elected officials.

    I don’t know if this applies to our illustrious author here, but do people not get what the Republican Party is? This is a nationalist, will-to-power party with no lord other than its own victory. They will march the country into hell before they turn on their own party.

    This is party that defines itself, fundamentally, as being against liberals. There is no deeper principle. There other other principles, but they are all fundamentally subservient to their identity as opposing liberals and the culture they represent. There is nothing – nothing – Trump would do that would cause them to hurt him or their party to the benefit of Democrats. They will let an unstable narcissist light our government on fire and do nothing more than shrug. Because subservience to the will of this nutjob in the oval office is their primary fealty – just to justice, not to truth, not to country. To the Republican President, no matter who he is.

    There can be no hope of justice for 18 more months. And even then, the idea that this government would permit itself to lose power to Democrats is getting harder to believe, despite the votes.

    As freaked out as people have been over the past 24 hours, I fear they haven’t been freakout out enough.

    PS: One other thing to note – people need to remember that the fact that a coverup is happening, and you know its happening, doesn’t mean it won’t work. If someone is standing in front of you destroying evidence and you see them doing it, the evidence is still destroyed. Remember the CIA torture tapes, for example.

    The fact that everyone knows Trump is covering up a Russia investigation doesn’t matter as long as he has the power to do it. And he has that power. And no one with the power to stop him wants to stop him. There is no inevitable justice. He *can* get away with it in full view of everyone.

    • Ithaqua

      Totally agree. Nothing will happen because from a Republican point of view the sole criteria is Republicans keeping power. It may be that some day they dump Trump for a new caudillo, but that will be because they think that will help them keep power, not because they’ve had a realization that it’s a defining moment and they need to, well, stop thinking like Republicans have ever since Gingrich showed them the way 25 years or so ago.

    • SNF

      We better hope there isn’t a major terrorist attack before the 2018 elections. If there is, it’s possible Republicans will push to have elections postponed indefinitely.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        And as I always ask when people raise this possibility: “And what, pray tell, is the mechanism for that?”

        • Jay C

          Don’t worry: they’ll think of something….

        • Brownian

          And as I always ask when people raise this possibility: “And what, pray tell, is the mechanism for that?”

          And from Merrick Garland’s seat on the SCOTUS, Neil Gorsuch says “Fuck you, that’s the mechanism.”

    • CP

      Like I said in yesterday’s thread:

      Does anyone believe that every Republican in Congress hasn’t already considered that the worst possible suspicions behind this investigation might be completely true, AND decided that they don’t give a shit and will stand with Trump regardless?

      • NewishLawyer

        I’d believe it. They will believe this until they can’t.

      • NonyNony

        They will stand with Trump as long as he’s popular with their primary voting base.

        It’s how our system is organized. We have a system that is set up to reward politicians who do what their voters want and punish politicians who don’t. So long as Trump is popular with Republican primary voters in their districts/states they will continue to give at least lip service to Trump support.

        Anyone expecting Republicans to do the right thing here are living in the past. A past when their primary voters had a bit more range in their support of criminal activity by a Republican president. The base has now fully bought into the idea that if a Republican does it its not illegal, so there’s no pressure on them to start investigating Trump.

        (The flip side to that is that if Trump suddenly becomes unpopular with their primary voters, the knives will come out quick. Likely led by Pence, who I suspect is just biding his time waiting for Trump to do something stupid to the 27%ers so that he can step in and stick the shiv in himself.)

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Good post, DamnYankee. Some people are so stuck in a world of decency and principle they have trouble imagining what shitheads we’re dealing with here.

    • liberal

      As I usually add when these kinds of points are made: Krugman put it best at the beginning of The Great Unravelling when he called the Republican Party a “revolutionary power” a la Kissinger.

    • njorl

      This is a nationalist, will-to-power party with no lord other than its own victory. They will march the country into hell before they turn on their own party.

      There is always Caligula’s advice to Tiberius in I, Claudius, concerning how to get rid of Sejanus:
      “If you can’t find an honest man, find a dog who’ll eat a dog.”

      Ted Cruz comes to mind.
      If he can convince himself that it’s better for the party in the long run (whether that’s true or not), he might want to jump out in front. He hates Trump. He’s attempted to hijack the party on previous occasions. He is arrogant enough to believe he alone knows best and narcissistic enough to know that what’s best is best for him.

      He wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize the multi-trillion dollar tax cut, but once that’s done, he might.

      • artem1s

        Cruz has that whole ‘chosen by God’ zealotry going for him too. I’d play up that angle if I was trying to recruit him to take down Trump. No need for him to know he was chosen to be Judas.

    • timb

      This is correct

    • Linnaeus

      Shorter: the Republican Party is chaotic evil.

      • Dennis Orphen

        And vice versa.

  • Q.E.Dumbass
    • Joseph Slater

      “You would figure out a way to both sides the Holocaust.” Gold.

    • I like how he’s having a whole pissy baby cry party over people criticizing him. “waaah waaah me block you”

  • Steve LaBonne

    It will happen only if enough Republicans decide he has become enough of a political liability that they’d be better off with Pence. As noted above, they have no shred of principle or patriotism so it’s idle to think they’d do it just because it’s the right thing to do.

    • SNF

      The problem is that there’s probably no situation where impeachment would be politically beneficial for Trump. I mean, unless he was polling in the single digits or something.

      Impeaching Trump would alienate Trump’s base, but it would do nothing to win support from people who oppose Trump. If Trump crashes and burns, then Republicans are in for a backlash whether they impeach him or not. The only question becomes whether Trump’s base is still there to help Republicans minimize the losses.

      That’s why Republicans are sticking by Trump, even with Pence there as an alternative.

      • DamnYankees

        Exactly. There is not a single scenario where abandoning Trump is in the best short term political interest of Congressional Republicans.

        • Domino

          Hypothetically:

          If Trump got removed, Pence takes over, they take a drubbing in 2018, only then to have Pence step down and Kasich to run again – could it work?

          I have no idea – it’s not like Trump’s supporters in the base would flock to the guy. Who would take his mantle? Cruz?

          It won’t happen, but it’s a fun though experiment.

          • DamnYankees

            If Trump got removed, Pence takes over, they take a drubbing in 2018, only then to have Pence step down and Kasich to run again – could it work?

            How is that a short term win? Getting drubbed in 2018 is the thing the Congressional GOP is terrified of and why they don’t abandon Trump.

            • Domino

              I honestly don’t see how they don’t take a drubbing in 2018 at this point.

              How the hell can the stop the backlash? What is going to magically happen that the results in the special elections will change?

              • CP

                I’m not saying it’ll necessarily work, but the obvious answer is: vote suppression. On an unprecedented scale and to an unprecedented extent.

                • Steve LaBonne

                  I think- hope- it’s too soon for that to work well enough. There are still too many honest Federal judges.

                • Sev

                  War

                • CP

                  Huh. What is it good for?

                • Dennis Orphen

                  RE: CP’s reply to Domino above:

                  The appropriate Edwin Starr track as far as what most would call my conspiracy theories, but I think is a rose-colored glasses-less rational analysis of the basic opacities of our democracy (WA,OR, CA and possibly other states excepted) would be

                  Don’t Tell Me I’m Crazy (an awsome Pam Sawyer/Leon Ware jam in the early LA Motown style a la Stone Love, etc…)

              • herewegooo

                Are you serious? You cant be serious.

                A “drubbing” would be a five point win, and even then the house is gerrymandered so bad, that is a coin flip. We aint using 06 and 08 maps here.

                Every conservative is coming out in 18 to prevent the libturds from harming dear leader. I hope to god we can pull it off, but i wouldnt put any real money on it.

                • Domino

                  What is it with some on the left who are convinced the Dems are always doomed and going to lose?

                  Have we not seen the results of elections since Trump took office? Are we both not seeing a +20% swing to Democrats in elections? Are we both not aware of what a landslide that would be if it happens in 2018? Republicans, for better and worse, are tied to Trump. That will be an anchor for quite a few house members.

                  But I suppose we can already sulk about it now.

                • herewegooo

                  ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS? Trump is fucking president. We are doomed and we did lose.

                  Funny I was told the exact same thing back in sep and oct when i was sounding the alarm. You people cant be living in the same world as I am. You know, “fucking reality.”

                  You think R’s arent turning out when it comes time? You think these majority R districts are going to actually flip? Its 50/50 at best that we take the house, considering the number of R majority districts after 2010, and thats only because he is massively unpopular. Its 0% we take the senate, and thats an abomination.

                  Show me your election predictions on this site. Ill show you mine and then we’ll talk about who has a better understanding of reality.

                • econoclast

                  The worst part about pessimists is that if a bad thing happens once, they feel entitled to wallow in fear forever. Trump wins the narrowest possible victory after a completely freak October Surprise event, and clearly that means the Democrats can never win another election again.

                • herewegooo

                  He won the coinflip that some of us had predicted it had become.

                  Youre totally misreading the dynamics of elections in this country, still.

                • econoclast

                  This is the pessimist’s version of going to Vegas and after winning one spin of the roulette wheel assuming you can safely double down.

                • herewegooo

                  This isnt “i called 7 of the last 1 recessions.” I didnt fall for any fucking romney unskewing nonsense, or thought mccain had a shot. But it became pretty clear clinton was going to be a coinflip while all yall were mocking that line of thought. And its pretty fucking clear that 2010 gerrymandering is doing a number on us. Tell me, do you have any evidence whatsoever that we can win the house, even when we win the popular vote count for the presidency and the house by a decent margin, since 2010? No? Cause it hasnt fucking happened. And much like the morons that thought people who hated clinton were going to vote for her (fucking lol we are all screwed), thinking that majority R districts are going to flip is the pinnacle of stupidity. They will be out to vote in 2018 (like they were in 2016 2014 2012 2010) and they aint voting for some libturd. Our only chance is to win EVERY district that went for clinton and an R just to be even in the house, and then start praying for upsets. Its gonna be fucking close, even though it should be a blowout.

              • joho9119

                What are the winger stations saying about this? What is Fox, Breitbart, et. al. putting out? It doesn’t matter what the NYT, WaPo, etc. say or whatever happens on Twitter. If the information isn’t reaching the voters, or it is being spun in a positive light and that is all they’re hearing, will a drubbing actually take place?

      • Steve LaBonne

        That’s my take as well. Trump’s idiot supporters are so loyal to him that it’s hard to see a countervailing benefit that would outweigh demotivating them from voting for Republicans. I’ll be surprised if there are even murmurs about impeachment.

        • tsam

          It’s probably worth noting that Trump is well to the left of a whole lot of his most loyal supporters. The foundation of his support base are truly evil people.

          • so-in-so

            You assume t_Rumplethinskin has an identifiable “position” that doesn’t change as the wind blows (or the last person he’s met speaks).

            • tsam

              I guess that’s sort of the point. The haters are very rigid in their beliefs, despite them being psychotic. Trump can be pushed 1/8 of the way back to sanity or whatever.

              • so-in-so

                If he can be pushed into a 1/8 “sane” position and do something that liberals would approve of, his “handlers” will whisper in his ear and boom! Back to the “right” again. Or Congress will not pass it anyway. I mean, if there were a Dem majority in Congress he might work with them to get some “wins”, but that isn’t happening before 2018 at the earliest.

            • Dennis Orphen

              He may say all kinds of things, but his (and the parties actions are always consistent. (See McCain, John as a low-hanging fruit example). The map is not the territory. If I piss in a Gatorade bottle, it’s still piss, it doesn’t magically become Gatorade via some form of trucker substantiation.

      • SNF

        “no situation where impeachment would be politically beneficial for Republicans” not “for Trump”.

        Just realized I typed that wrong, too bad the edit timer ran out. I think I got my point across though.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          “The problem is that there’s probably no situation where impeachment would be politically beneficial for Trump. ”

          What, Trump didn’t arrange a Golden Parachute for himself before taking the gig?

          Sounds unlikely.

          • Cheap Wino

            The job is the Golden Parachute.

            • Keaaukane

              Trump needs a gold parachute to go with his Golden Shower.

            • Brad Nailer

              Ding!

    • liberal

      It will happen only if enough Republicans decide he has become enough of a political liability that they’d be better off with Pence.

      It absolutely won’t happen before then, but once they come to that conclusion, I find it difficult to believe it won’t happen, very quickly.

      • randy khan

        I agree – it’s going to be like a light switch if it happens.

        People forget this, but that’s more or less what happened to Nixon in 1974. He was embattled but unlikely to be removed from office until the smoking gun tape came out, then lost essentially all of the Republicans in Congress within days.

        • Brad Nailer

          Once the media and others start wondering out loud where our era’s principled Senators are–what, have we no Goldwater? No Scott?–we might see some movement. Nobody likes being called a chickenshit, especially when the historians are watching.

          • I’ve noted on this blog before that I once held out a slim hope that McCain would be that person who, because he has probably run his last race and should at this point have his eyes only on his legacy, would stand up against Trump. What I somehow forgot then is that McCain is at his core an opportunistic weasel and doesn’t recognize what “the right thing” is, so, that’s not going to happen.

            • sam

              he’s only “princpled” when his ass is on the line – a la campaign finance reform.

              – he became an advocate for that only when his own greed and corruption looked like it was going to sink his career. Then he suddenly, and incredibly conveniently, saw the light. It was actually quite genius in a way – use the fact that he was one of the MOST corrupt politicians in history as a platform to scold everyone else about their ethics.

            • scott_theotherone

              I have given up hope of understanding why McCain does what he does. He’s rich, he’s famous, he’s old. He’s never going to be president. Why not go down in history as a man who changed things for the better, rather than a kowtowing sycophant?

              I know, that’s not how he thinks it’s going to play out. But it do be.

              • tsam

                I think he would view being a decent person as being a kowtowing sycophant. If liberals express approval, he’d feel like he fucked up.

              • efgoldman

                I have given up hope of understanding why McCain does what he does.

                RWNJ Republiklown asshole. All the explanation necessary. Sort of the older, crotchitier version of the last integritudinous man in DC, Comey.

              • Taylor

                He did come out in the election in defense of the Central Park Five, when Trump was still saying they should have been executed. I don’t think any other Republican did that.

      • petesh

        New Quinnipiac poll out, taken May 4–9 (i.e. before the Comey announcement).
        https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2456
        Trump be tanking, and the base is wobbling:

        Negative 29 – 63 percent among independent voters, down from a negative 38 – 56 percent April 19;
        A split among white voters with no college degree, as 47 percent approve and 46 percent disapprove, compared to a 57 – 38 percent approval April 19;
        White men go from a 53 – 41 percent approval April 19 to a split today with 48 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving.

        But here’s the lovely part. They asked:

        What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump? (Numbers are not percentages. Figures show the number of times each response was given. This table reports only words that were mentioned at least five times.)
        idiot 39
        incompetent 31
        liar 30
        leader 25
        unqualified 25
        president 22
        strong 21
        businessman 18
        ignorant 16
        egotistical 15
        asshole 13
        stupid 13
        arrogant 12
        trying 12
        bully 11
        business 11
        narcissist 11
        successful 11
        disgusting 10
        great 10

        I cut at 10. I don’t see how many individuals responded, but this is definitely good for a chuckle.

      • efgoldman

        It absolutely won’t happen before then, but once they come to that conclusion, I find it difficult to believe it won’t happen, very quickly.

        Most people here realize, although a lot of the voters don’t, that impeachment is not a judicial process but a political one.
        Depending on whether Ossoff wins in June, it’s possible (but not probable) that enough of the house RWNJs, out of fear, will join Dems and vote impeachment.
        I don’t see any scenario where they get 2/3 to remove in the senate. Ditto with the 25th amendment.
        However, federal (and state?) grand juries are investigating; indictments will start to come out sooner rather than later. In a really big investigation like this, they come in layers; as each layer looks for a deal, they implicate the next layer. Eventually President Littlescrotum will be so isolated, nobody but his security goons and Mal-a-Loco staff will talk to him. Even for a pure narcissist the pressure will get to be unbearable. It will be time, as George Aiken said, to declare victory and leave.

        • Normally, you’d expect that to end in the Nixon way: Trump resigns in return for a quiet agreement to pardon him to minimize damage to the party. But Trump knows HE would never keep a promise like that, and it’s doubtful Pence would either. Once he’s out, best course for the GOP is to pretend he was never a REAL Republican and blanket the country with campaign ads featuring the Clintons at Trump’s wedding. So I think it’s the scorched earth and fuhrerbunker scenario…

    • tsam

      Why would they consider getting rid of the dummy who’ll sign everything they give him without a single critical thought?

      Take it from a purely existential thought process: Republicans get their psychotic budgets and tax policy, royally shaft the poor, then ride off into the sunset and let another Democrat eat constant shit trying to put the fucking pieces back together. If they can stay out of jail doing it, they live out their lives doing sex tourism and killing giant animals in Africa, without any threat to their billions stashed in overseas accounts.

      We’re still making a huge mistake in thinking that Republicans even recognize the concept of sustainability or governance. They’re there to get rich. They figured out how to do it, this is their once in a century opportunity and they’re going to ride it all the way.

      • herewegooo

        Bingo. They arent wasting a single legislative minute on impeachment even if there was video of trump raping every single white child in america.

      • Rob in CT

        We’re still making a huge mistake in thinking that Republicans even recognize the concept of sustainability or governance. They’re there to get rich. They figured out how to do it, this is their once in a century opportunity and they’re going to ride it all the way.

        Sorta. I think the way it works in their heads is the liberals perverted the very concept of government with our commie nonsense about redistribution of wealth and civil rights protections and so forth, so fuck it let’s burn it all down – (liberal) government is illegitimate. And get rich while doing so, of course.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Yes. I really do think our modern era of rage against GUBBERMINT (shake fist) and TAXES (shake fist) began when liberals hacked the system to make it apply to all sorts of people.

          • mongolia

            aka the civil rights and the subsequent southern strategy.

            this is something that needs to be hammered into everyone who finds modern conservatism ugly. the literal start of this is the fact that we had the great society reforms, civil rights legislation, etc., and republicans used these to win elections based on white grievance. when people who are “uncomfortable” or whatever nonsense about being a dem or want to keep their “independence,” they need to understand that what they’re doing in reality is that they don’t understand the danger that modern conservatism represents, and are insufficiently invested in its destruction

      • artem1s

        true, but these guys need the FBI and IC too. They want that access to power. If Trump fires everyone who isn’t 100% loyal to him and him alone, that is not going to make sitting Senators and Reps feel safe or powerful. I think there is a limited amount of leeway they will give him on trashing their quaint institutions and the agencies that protect them.

        • The optimistic scenario: If the IC really turns on Trump, the level of ratfucking can ratchet way up. Impeachment becomes much more attractive to the GOP if the alternative is war with the IC.

  • DamnYankees

    One other thing here is that the more Trump guts the independence of the intelligence services and puts his people in charge, the less likely people will speak out. Because you’re now handing piles of classified information to thugs and criminals – does anyone think that if a Trump stooge is appointed to head the FBI, that person won’t leverage that position in the shadows to blackmail and threaten political opponents?

    This is such a profoundly dangerous thing. It’s hard to wrap your head around.

    • so-in-so

      It is, but also this is where his failure to staff anything but the topmost post or two in each organization may come back to hurt him.

      I doubt that CIA or NSA rank and file are happy about the Russia connection at all.

      • Gizmo

        I recall an early story about the CIA response to Trump – “If he messes with us, he’ll die in prison”. I’m sure they have plenty of compromising material on him.

        • so-in-so

          They will probably investigate from the “foreign” side (maybe break protocol and investigate internally if the FBI drops the ball, because why not at this point). I’m not sure how they proceed if OJ and Congress are intransigent though, except maybe offering Congress a choice of having all their dirty laundry hung out or to act.

          Still, pretty close to a coup.

        • scott_theotherone

          I’m sure they do too, but I would have expected at least a trickle or two by now. And I really expected to wake up to something today. (cue jokes)

        • N__B

          Then they need to be patriots and leak it all.

          • tsam

            No shit–the house is on fire, motherfuckers. What the fuck are you waiting for?

            • so-in-so

              IC doesn’t work that way. Got to tie up lose ends, or the information may not be available (for a variety of reasons).

              Of course, they COULD just make their piece with playing second fiddle to FSB or whatever TLA is in charge of this in Russia. We are betting on “NOT”.

              • tsam

                I’m doing a lot of wishful thinking here.

    • efgoldman

      does anyone think that if a Trump stooge is appointed to head the FBI, that person won’t leverage that position in the shadows to blackmail and threaten political opponents?

      They can’t threaten or silence foreign intelligence agencies, who’ve got all the same information and apparently were the sources of some of the major leaks.
      Whatever happens will be at least partially public. If Mango Malignancy or a satrap tries to shut it down, the document dump will dwarf the Pentagon Papers.

  • NewishLawyer

    Josh Marshall thinks this goes beyond Trump’s Razor and is evidence that Trump is deeply compromised by Russia:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/into-the-abyss-trump-fires-comey

    There is only one reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from the decision to fire Comey: that there is grave wrongdoing at the center of the Russia scandal and that it implicates the President. As I write this, I have a difficult time believing that last sentence myself. But sometimes you have to step back from your assumptions and simply look at what the available evidence is telling you. It’s speaking clearly: the only reasonable explanation is that the President has something immense to hide and needs someone in charge of the FBI who he believes is loyal. Like Jeff Sessions. Like Rod Rosenstein.

    This is a very dark and perilous moment.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      I think it’s that Trump finally found out that the Russians compromised Comey, and Trump couldn’t tolerate that kind of shenanigans in his administration.

    • tsam

      That’s still based on highly circumstantial pieces of unconnected information.

      This comes from someone who is absolutely convinced that those fucks were neck deep in the Russian election sabotage and are getting rich off of it.

      In a time like say 1972/73, there would at least be enough people in Congress that wanted to protect the nation instead of destroy it via Trumpism and oligarchical tax policy.

      We’re in big trouble, but it’s not over yet.

    • NonyNony

      It’s speaking clearly: the only reasonable explanation is that the President has something immense to hide and needs someone in charge of the FBI who he believes is loyal. Like Jeff Sessions. Like Rod Rosenstein.

      Marshall keeps looking for reasonable explanations.

      There’s an unreasonable explanation that fits quite well – Trump is mad that Comey isn’t his guy 100% and just wants one of his yes-men in charge of the FBI. Someone who will take his ideas about Obama tapping his phones and Clinton being a criminal who needs to be locked up seriously.

      Likely Jeff Sessions wants this as well. If they can get a Sheriff Joe Arpaio type into the slot as head of the FBI both Sessions and Trump would likely be much happier.

      • tsam

        That armed resistance line walks ever closer…

      • witlesschum

        This seems much more likely to me than Marshall’s idea. I continue doubt there’s any smoking gun with Trump personally and the Russians because I think the Russians election scheming didn’t need him to know anything and why would they bring an unstable airhead into their conspiracy? People close to Trump, probably.

        • herewegooo

          You abandon trumps razor at your own peril.

          The guys a fucking child. This move isnt even mildly surprising.

        • NonyNony

          I continue doubt there’s any smoking gun with Trump personally and the Russians because I think the Russians election scheming didn’t need him to know anything and why would they bring an unstable airhead into their conspiracy? People close to Trump, probably.

          Exactly. Bringing Trump in on it just makes it more likely that he says something. Or that the US catches on and figures out how to nip it in the bud.

          I don’t even necessarily think that the folks around him were in on any kind of Russian assistance to get him elected. Because I don’t think that the Russians were trying to get him elected – I think they were trying to damage Hillary Clinton and make sure she was in a weaker position than Obama had been. Anything to keep our country destabilized is good for Putin and his attempts to push back democratic governments in his sphere of influence.

          In a way I think both the Russians and Comey had similar endgames in mind – make sure that a presumptive President Clinton was so weak domestically that she’d be too busy taking care of attacks to be effective politically.

          • Taylor

            make sure that a presumptive President Clinton was so weak domestically that she’d be too busy taking care of attacks to be effective politically.

            I have always felt that this was the game plan for everyone:
            1. Comey
            2. The Russians
            3. The GOP Congress
            4. Our Godforesaken media

            He was not supposed to be elected. Comey screwed the pooch.

            • so-in-so

              Comey and the New York Times (who could have said “meh” and run Trump’s latest offenses alongside the “EMAILS!!!!” stories if not in place of them).

        • efgoldman

          I continue doubt there’s any smoking gun with Trump personally and the Russians

          May or may not be true that he knew, or participated in, any of the election hacking and Wikileaks crap; money laundering and other illegal financial transactions, like illegal campaign contributions, are a different thing.

      • Sherrif David A. Clarke has said he would accept the job and will make convicting Hillary his first priority.

        • Is there a requirement that the head of the FBI be a US citizen? Because Trump’s BFF Rodrigo Duterte could make shooting Hillary his first priority!

    • timb

      Love John, but that’s nuts. Trump is too stupid to have colluded. Manafort did, Stone did, Carter Page did. Flynn did. Trump is just the moron who didn’t know his closest advisors were on the take.

      THAT’s why he hates this investigation. It makes him look stupid

      • “It ain’t the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I’m smart! Not like everybody says… like dumb… I’m smart and I want respect!”

        Donald “Fredo” Trump

        • Domino

          Completely OT:

          Someone recently pointed out to me that Arrested Development can easily be read as The Godfather, only as a comedy instead of drama.

          • njorl

            OMG
            Now I have to re-watch it. And I have to re-watch the Godfather.

      • petesh

        No, he’s smart. He told us so himself.

        Trump thinks he’s playing everyone, but he also thinks that everyone operates on his own level of purely self-seeking mendacity … and that may be true in high-end real estate but not everywhere.

      • Trump is also too stupid for Marshall’s argument to make sense. He can see lese majeste in something way smaller than exposure of a real crime having to do with Russian ties.

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    “The Republicans tried this with Bill Clinton, and I think we underestimate, at our peril, the long-term damage done by that effort.”

    Yeah, those GOPers were locked out of power in the White House and Congress for GENERATIONS, weren’t they? Why, they might finally get back into power in 2040, after the last of those alive in 1998 finally die off.

    Oh wait, that’s Earth-2. Never mind.

    • gmack

      I take Nexon’s point to be that the Republican efforts to impeach Clinton did long term damage not to their electoral prospects but to our system of governance. Specifically, I think the argument is that it poisoned the relations between the parties and accelerated the movement toward partisan polarization, which in turn, has led to the current uselessness of the legislative branch and to the rot of corruption that so obviously dominates our current government.

      • Rob in CT

        Gingrich. No hell hot enough…

      • dnexon

        Yes. Exactly. The GOP not paying a price for it beyond the 1998 midterms is evidence of the damage.

    • econoclast

      I think it hurt them in the short run (in 1998), and Americans care so little about politics that nothing can hurt a political party in the long run.

      I knew a guy who I think is the median American voter. He was convinced in 1994 that the Clintons had Vince Foster killed. By the time 1996 rolled around, he ended up voting for Clinton because he was a pretty good President. I would hold murder against a candidate for longer than two years, but I am not the median American voter.

  • nemdam

    Good article, but I have to say I can’t believe anyone still thinks it’s possible there’s no “there, there” to the Russia scandal. This seems even more naive than believing there’s nothing to Watergate after Nixon fired Archibald Cox. The only question is how much of it we will ever find out.

    These are dark times.

    • herewegooo

      I truly dont.

      The guy is a fucking child. This was entirely predictable. This is how *my* two year old acts.

      I cant believe anyone thinks trump is smart enough to collude with the russians to win an election. In what world do you live?

      • rea

        This is how *my* two year old acts.

        Wow, what a precocious child! None of my kids tried to fire the FBI director until they were at least 6.

        • herewegooo

          Did they throw tantrums when they didnt get their way?

          MAKE THE BAD MAN STOP TALKING BAD ABOUT MEEEEEEEE

      • nemdam

        He wasn’t the ring leader obviously. But did he conspire with Manafort, Flynn, Stone, and Page? Did he openly talk with them about it? Of course he did. He can be both a petulant child and a co-conspirator. These aren’t mutually exclusive.

        • Dennis Orphen

          The Russians understand the concept of ‘need to know’ and ‘loose cannons’. Think of that when you think of how they handle Trumplestiltsken (livin’ and jivin’ and diggin’ the skin he’s in).

        • herewegooo

          You are still giving him waaaaay too much credit. He didnt think he needed the russians. He thinks hes amazing. He is a fucking child through and through.

    • Joseph Slater

      Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, at least one (Trump-defending) commenter has cited *The Intercept* for the proposition that there isn’t sufficient evidence that Russia was behind the DNC hacks. It’s almost too perfect.

    • Kerans

      Totally agree. Russian payments to Trump advisors + Russian investment in Trump businesses + concealed meetings with Russians + Russian hacking + changes to platform regarding Russia = There. And that’s nowhere near an exhaustive list.

    • rm

      I am certain that Trump’s world-wide real estate licensing business functions to launder money for Russian oligarchs and organized crime. That’s the scandal I am sure about, though we may or may not see it brought to light. Ever since banks stopped lending to him around 2000 or so, he’s been the Russian launderer.

      I don’t know if Trump himself was in on the fake-news propaganda spamming the Russians and Wikileaks did, since Trump could read all that crap and believe it sincerely. No need to coordinate with a gullible child who repeats everything he’s told.

      Giuliani, Stone, and the rest of the klavern were obviously in on it. Giuliani couldn’t stop bragging about it.

  • Joe_JP

    Rick Perry at Energy—who, whatever his flaws, appears to take governance seriousl

    I’m not being punked? smh.

    The “unhinged” part raises Twenty-Fifth Amendment implications.

    • SNF

      Rick Perry takes governance very seriously, for a Republican.

      An incredibly heavy curve applies here.

      • Gregor Sansa

        ∃x:x∈cabinet∧evil(x) + lazy(x) < stupid(x) + brave(x)

        • econoclast

          This is a worse abuse of Unicode than emojis.

          • Gregor Sansa
          • Gregor Sansa

            (० ्०)

        • Taylor

          I think you mean something like:

          |{∃x:x∈cabinet∧evil(x) ∧ lazy(x)}| < |{∃x:x∈cabinet∧stupid(x) ∧ brave(x)}|

          Otherwise I have no idea what + and < are doing.

          • Perhaps the entire algebraic expression is the second argument of the conjunction of which the first argument is “x∈cabinet”; with clarifying parentheses, Gregor’s existential proposition becomes ∃x:x∈cabinet∧(evil(x) + lazy(x) < stupid(x) + brave(x)).

            The formation of the algebraic expression presupposes that evil, lazy, stupid, and brave all (meaningfully) take values in one and the same unidimensional additive scale, which requires some argument. Even accepting that, I see no reason to believe that the proposition is true of the actual Trump cabinet.

            • tsam

              TEMPT US NOT WITH THIS SORCERY, YE PIT OF VIPERS

    • Hob

      A relative of a friend of mine is a federal employee who works in nuclear antiproliferation. That’s part of DOE, but my brain is a sieve so I keep thinking it’s in the State Department… so, after one of the recent “Tillerson is the worst boss ever and the State Department is completely fucked” stories, I passed on my condolences and well wishes to said relative. The response was more or less: “Well actually we’re in DOE, and Perry so far seems like someone we can kind of, sort of, generally work with, and he hasn’t tried to destroy everything yet. So you may as well save your sympathy for those poor bastards at State.” So– a pretty low bar for sure, but still a relief.

      • tsam

        Perry reminds me of GWB. I think that interpersonal contact with GWB would be pleasant. He strikes me as a genuinely nice guy. He just has a really big problem with judgement and competence and lots and lots of other stuff. He also didn’t actively sabotage federal bureaus. Rick Perry seems kind of the same–like the rationale is “Is this working? Yes? Then let’s not mess with it.” until he has a political reason to mess with it. Trump’s goons just seem to want to break shit without any method or strategy. That’s Bannen’s influence.

        • rm

          W actively sabotaged the DOJ by politicizing DA positions. He put some unqualified cronies in important positions.

          But yes, nothing compares to the complete evil wrecking crew that’s hijacked our ship of state now.

  • tsam

    Trump isn’t going anywhere. Let’s just accept that reality and avoid the disappointment later.

    In fact there almost zero chance of impeachment articles being passed, let alone drafted in the House.

    Remember that Ryan and the rest of his apes are getting what they want out of this guy. While the media is gasping and frantically trying to explain the motives of guy who is as simple as your average Alabama dirt farmer, they’re burning down a century of progress in making our nation a place where poverty doesn’t necessarily mean you die. They’re perfectly content with what’s going on here. Their voters are so fucking craven and stupid that they’ll eat any shit they’re fed, and their vote suppression tactics are working.

    They wanted Trump. Their overtures about how uncouth he is during the election were pure theater. Trump is the right wing radio shock jock as president. He and the Republican party are perfect for each other.

    • DamnYankees

      They wanted Trump. Their overtures about how uncouth he is during the election were pure theater. Trump is the right wing radio shock jock as president. He and the Republican party are perfect for each other.

      I don’t think this is true. They didn’t want Trump. Not at the beginning. But they’ve completely normalized him. They have grown accustomed to him. They have Trumpized themselves.

      If people were ever curious how authoritarian nutjobs gain power, we’re getting a front row seat to it right now. This is what happens when you let these people get a foot in the door. By becoming a candidate, then a nominee and then the President, Trump has captured the entire institution of the Republican Party. People who would not normally buy into insane shit become highly, highly incentivized to do so. Because your base is the same group of people, and you can’t afford to alienate them. Because you have your own agenda you want to move forward, and you can’t do it if you aren’t copectic with the leader. Because its just much more psychologically simply to go with the flow.

      And over time, you buy into it. You can’t maintain a mental fiction for years on end. You may have started off reluctantly, but over time you come to think this is what you really *do believe. And then you just believe it. And while it starts off on small stuff, little compromises to get through your day, eventually you find yourself surrounded on all sides. You’re a boiling frog and you never knew it.

      A little over a year ago, basically zero elected Republican officials would support Trump. None. And now they are all lined up. And they aren’t lying about it. These people genuinely support him. He turned an entire party.

      It’s really scary.

      • NonyNony

        A little over a year ago, basically zero elected Republican officials would support Trump. None. And now they are all lined up. And they aren’t lying about it. These people genuinely support him. He turned an entire party.

        I think you misunderstand the dynamic.

        These guys weren’t anti-Trump out of principle. They were anti-Trump because they thought he was going to lose the election. They thought he was a loser and that his loser-stink was going to infect them and hurt them downballot.

        What they discovered was that he wasn’t a loser, he was a winner. And that if they try to distance themselves from him they’re likely to be the ones with loser-stink all over them.

        It’s not that he’s turned the party – the party has been about one thing and one thing only since at least Gingrich if not before. And that thing is winning power and doing as much to turn the clock back as possible while you have it. Since Trump won they’ve just assimilated the fact that “a guy like Trump” can win elections and help them keep power and turn the clock back.

        That’s all it is. he hasn’t changed anything fundamental about them, just their view on how stupid and venal their own voters and the general US voting public are. They basically over-estimated the public and have now adjusted expectations accordingly.

        • DamnYankees

          These guys weren’t anti-Trump out of principle.

          I don’t think this is true. I think in the summer of 2015 almost all of them were anti-Trump out of principle.

          As I noted above, it wasn’t a foundational principle. It was one easily overridden by other principles. But I’d bet money that he was the last choice of most Congressional Republicans among the GOP field, other than maybe Fiorina because of obvious reasons.

          • twbb

            Right, they thought he was unstable (which he is) and incompetent (which he is) and had too long a history of espousing liberal ideas (and he did, in fact, espouse them for a long time).

            • CP

              I think the basic problem was that they didn’t control him, knew he’d follow his own lights, and basically, he wasn’t one of their “made men.”

        • Just_Dropping_By

          What they discovered was that he wasn’t a loser, he was a winner. And that if they try to distance themselves from him they’re likely to be the ones with loser-stink all over them.

          Except that’s false — no “Never Trumper” lost in 2016 and in the handful of instances where pro-Trump challengers competed in primaries against “Never Trumpers” or incumbents who were clearly unenthusiastic about Trump, they were defeated (see, e.g., Paul Ryan’s primary contest).

      • tsam

        I don’t think this is true. They didn’t want Trump. Not at the beginning. But they’ve completely normalized him. They have grown accustomed to him. They have Trumpized themselves.

        They were a little afraid of him, but they, like the Russians, know a useful idiot when they see one.

        A little over a year ago, basically zero elected Republican officials would support Trump. None. And now they are all lined up. And they aren’t lying about it. These people genuinely support him. He turned an entire party.

        I think you’re letting them off the hook. They already saw the ACA disappearing, huge tax cuts for their mega-donors, a chance to beat the shit out of some Mexicans and brag about it on TV, basically do everything they’ve been jacking off to in the lonely hours for the last 40 years.

      • econoclast

        I think this is true. We’re seeing the same process the old German right underwent with respect to Hitler. They were against Hitler, and then they thought he was better than the alternative, and then eventually most of them became Nazified.

      • Nick056

        They didn’t like Trump because at heart they viewed him like all the elites have typically viewed him: an uncouth buffoon. They were and remain constitutionally incapable of reading him as an ethno-nationalist impulsive cipher and strongman, although those are his instincts, his core.

        I think ultimately this is the story Albion’s Seed foretold. Trump is the Borderer hero and the cavaliers are with him too. He’s also a completely corrupt nut.

    • timb

      Finally. And, can we add that someone needs to put a pin in the “Trump asked Russia to hack Hillary’s emails.” I’ve that video so many times and it is so clear the man is making a snarky joke. It was trolling.

      • Hob

        How is that supposed to make anything better? He was “making a snarky joke” about a real thing that no one with any integrity would make light of in that way. The subjects people choose to engage in “trolling” on say something about them.

        The point isn’t that he was giving direct instructions to Russia in that moment– that wouldn’t make any sense, since they had already been doing this thing, and if he was indeed colluding with them then they had other channels for doing so besides his public statements. It’s that 1. it was a horribly inappropriate thing for him to say, reflecting a real contempt for ethics in general; 2. that same contempt is consistent with the possibility that he really is in cahoots with Putin; and 3. Trump is so arrogant in every way, and so incapable of acknowledging any standard that might imply error on his part, that it’s not hard to believe he would say “oh yeah, I’m all in favor of [criminal thing that benefits me]” as a snarky joke even if he is really involved in that thing and afraid of being found out.

        • so-in-so

          Right, like GWB’s “Bring it” comment during Iraq. Not that the Iraqi opposition really cared, but it isn’t a good look for a guy on a different continent, with people standing ready to take a bullet for him/fall on the grenade, to make a challenge that will fall on others.

  • Gregor Sansa

    As of right now, I have basically zero confidence that this crisis has any resolution through standard institutional means. That’s not a huge change quantitatively from the 5% confidence I had yesterday, but it’s an important qualitative change.

    Although of course it’s possible that the Trump crisis could simply continue indefinitely, I think it’s worth looking for resolution.

    And that leaves civil disobedience. About 3 million Americans participated in the Women’s March. That’s not all too far from the 2-3% that it would take to actually overthrow a regime. I’m not talking about guns or about a constitutional convention, just about enough people getting in the way of enough traffic that the situation becomes intolerable for enough elites that Republicans have no choice but to impeach.

    For instance. I think that 10 committed people, ready to put their bodies on the line, and ready to make plans to do the unexpected, can create serious snarls in DC traffic that last at least half an hour. Imagine a new band of 10 striking every half hour, all day, every day. That’s only a tiny fraction of the most committed activists.

    We’re not there yet. But I don’t see another way out of this that seems likely. 2018, here we come.

    • DamnYankees

      And that leaves civil disobedience. About 3 million Americans participated in the Women’s March. That’s not all too far from the 2-3% that it would take to actually overthrow a regime. I’m not talking about guns or about a constitutional convention, just about enough people getting in the way of enough traffic that the situation becomes intolerable for enough elites that Republicans have no choice but to impeach.

      At some point people are going to have to take seriously the idea that Trump is most popular among the military, the law enforcement community and amateur gun enthusiasts.

      An “uprising” would be awful and I have no confidence it would end in anything but an entrenchment of authoritarianism.

      • Gregor Sansa

        I’m not talking about anything remotely military. I’m talking about an American Tahrir Square.

        Yes, the other side can escalate. Bad things could happen. I hope that doesn’t happen; I hope they realize that in the long run that would not go well for them.

        This would not go smoothly; that’s kinda the point. But I think that a nonviolent movement can succeed with no more casualties than the Civil Rights movement had at worst, and hopefully with much fewer.

        • Gregor Sansa

          Didn’t get an edit window on the comment above for some reason, so:

          When I say that escalating wouldn’t go well for the other side, I don’t mean that they don’t have a monopoly on violent force. I mean that violent force from armed state agents and assorted loonies doesn’t beat committed nonviolent resistance from over 3% of the population. Hopefully they realize that and don’t double down in any ugly ways, though we should give them the chance to play it out without doubling down.

          We haven’t reached that 3% threshold yet, but I think we will.

          • The Great God Pan

            Hopefully they realize that and don’t double down in any ugly ways,

            Let’s go to the tape:

            What were your other impressions of the Soviet Union?

            Trump: …What you will see there soon is a revolution; the signs are all there with the demonstrations and picketing. Russia is out of control and the leadership knows it. That’s my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand.

            You mean firm hand as in China?

            When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength…

            Why is Gorbachev not firm enough?

            I predict he will be overthrown, because he has shown extraordinary weakness. Suddenly, for the first time ever, there are coal-miner strikes and brush fires everywhere- which will all ultimately lead to a violent revolution. ….But his giving an inch is going to end up costing him and all his friends what they most cherish-their jobs.

            No more casualties than the Civil Rights movement? When he sees the gravy train about to derail?

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          I’m not talking about anything remotely military. I’m talking about an American Tahrir Square.

          There won’t be an American Tahrir Square. Any such attempt will end up as an American Tienanmen instead.

      • twbb

        “At some point people are going to have to take seriously the idea that Trump is most popular among the military, the law enforcement community and amateur gun enthusiasts.”

        That was the rationale as to why the South would win the Civil War, why Japan would win the war in the Pacific, and why the Prussian-led German army of soldiers who Hitler had put on a country-wide physical fitness regime years before would win the war in Europe. Hell, Sparta didn’t do so hot against the artisans and philosophers in Athens. History tells us you don’t win just because you control people who seem more eager to fight.

        • liberal

          Yeah. I think history shows that you win if you are better organized. If you’re organized, you can always get the guns when you find you need them.

          Between countries, of course, another factor is economic power.

          • so-in-so

            I think history shows that you win if you are better organized.

            Given our left/liberal status, this isn’t encouraging…

        • Lurker

          Sorry to remind you, but Sparta won. Socrates was not convicted only because he was an irritating old guy. He was killed at least as much for the fact that all his pupils had, after the Spartan victory, become members of Sparta-minded oligarchy, which Athens was slowly getting rid of at the time of his trial.

          Heck! Alkibiades, that demagogue and traitor, was so good a buddy with Socrates that Plato used the fact that Socrates was able to wrestle with Alkibiades without having sex with him as a mark of Socrates’s great virtue.

          • Rob in CT

            Well Sparta lost in the first go-round, then won big, but the whole time they were hollowing out. Not long after their big win they were in clear decline.

            That said, yeah, I think people should be careful about hand-waving away the gun nuts because while they may be ridiculous on many levels, they have lots of weapons and many would just love to shoot them some libruls (and/or other undesirables).

            The Confederacy gained a real advantage because it had better troops initially, coupled with (sometimes) better leadership. The Union caught up, but it took time and many reversals.

            The political parallels exist, for sure, but the differences are significant enough that I think “oh, we’d just kick their asses again” is wishful thinking.

          • twbb

            Sparta lost to Athenian troops at Pylos and Spacteria, and of course to the Thebans and Boetius eventually (even though they had greater numbers). And it was quite possibly the most militarized society in history.

            My point was that you can’t necessarily predict the outcome of a civil war based on how militaristic the individuals on one side are. To use another example, the Cossacks didn’t do so great against the factory workers during the October Revolution.

            We have this idea fed to us by movies and TV of these mythical “warriors” who are unstoppable machines, but a bullet to the head from a scared conscript can kill you just as fast as from a SEAL sniper.

            • Dennis Orphen

              fraggle rock

              • twbb

                I don’t remember the Spartans going up against the Fraggle Rock inhabitants.

      • Brad Nailer

        I don’t think the gun community’s got it in them. Most of them shoot animals because the animals can’t shoot back. And a lot of them are just wankers and wannabees.

        • efgoldman

          And a lot of them are just wankers and wannabees.

          Most are keyboard kommandos. And the ones who would really murder people are likely going to do so anyway, as "lone wolves" (never as terrorists).

          • tsam

            And most of the ones who do act kill their wives or a room full of innocent bystanders, and then themselves. Women have a million times more to fear from these fucks than anyone else.

            ETA: the women in their lives, I should say.

  • tsam
    • What do you rename “lèse majesté” when everyone can see that His Majesty has no pants?

      …Not that that will ever be the case. We’re all in Kansas anymore, Toto!

      • tsam

        Yeah–I was thinking to myself the other day how laughable it is that anyone still believes we live in a free nation where the people elect their government. It was a pretty good run, and we made it through some major crises that might have ended a lot of other nations, but we have no right to say we’re a legitimate republic anymore.

        The good news is that there’s still time to turn it around. (I think. I hope)

      • wjts

        Lascif majesté?

      • It’s still called lese majeste, Lee. That’s the whole point.

      • Colin Day

        Sans-culottes?

        • los

          needs translation:

          baggy diapers

    • Rob in CT

      Authoritarians.

      A Republic, if you can keep it…

      • DamnYankees

        That’s the somewhat…not comforting, but at least notable thing about all this. If we’re going to throw away our democracy, we’re at least doing it with eyes wide open. Nothing is being hidden here. America is knowingly and willingly throwing away its core civic virtues, which are to many people its whole reason for existence.

        This isn’t a coup. It’s America just willingly giving up on the concept of democracy and consent of the government. Revolution by way of nihilism.

        • tsam

          Your point stands, though it bears acknowledging that humans are basically fucking batshit crazy, ignorant and stupid, and this surrender of our founding ideals is a product of right wing media fearmongering, lying and building a narrative around wounded national and racial pride. It also deftly built internal enemies: Gun grabbers, Sharia Law, immigrants (most specifically Mexicans), abortionists, liberal communists–imagine being someone stupid enough to believe all this stuff and how fucking terrifying it must be. If I didn’t hate them so fucking much, I’d pity them.

          To the extent that they made a mob of monsters and unleashed them, this has some of the markings of a coup.

    • Joe_JP

      I would laugh but …

  • rm

    TOE the line.

    We must cling to something.

    • dnexon

      $&!*$T!*&

      Thanks. Fixed.

    • Brad Nailer

      Thanks. I had to look that up because “tow the line” had certain Erie Canal-type implications.

  • Wapiti

    Rodstein(sic), per Benjamin Wittes, was supposed to be one of the adults. But he has disgraced himself by crafting a transparently post-hoc rationalization for Comey’s removal.

    At this point I certainly don’t trust Rosenstein.

    If he was well and truly outraged by Comey’s handling/distortion of Clinton’s emails, and is the guy who has oversight over the FBI, he didn’t have to request Trump fire him. Rosenstein could have gone to Comey, explained that Comey’s actions were out of line, and that Comey no longer had his trust. For the good of the country it was time for Comey to resign. And if Comey wouldn’t resign on his own, then Rosenstein would go up the chain and have him fired.

    Current reporting is that the decision came the other way. Rosenstein may be the new Bork.

    • twbb

      ” he didn’t have to request Trump fire him”

      I thought the request went the other way.

    • dnexon

      !#T*&# #$

      Fixed in a sec.

    • Interesting twitter thread about Rosenstein by Eric Columbus a former DAJ employee
      https://twitter.com/EricColumbus/status/862150396990693376

      • los

        Former insider’s perspective on Rosenstein.

        The best “tweet storm” I’ve seen and read.

  • MacK

    Just to be annoyingly pedantic

    But the cliché is “toe the line” and refers to disciplined groups, typically sailors, presenting themselves in a rank with their toes literally on a line in the planking.

    • BiloSagdiyev
    • Keaaukane

      Orwell used “Tow the line” as an example of a dead metaphor, where the writer is being lazy and cannot visualize what he is trying to say. Sorry, dnexon.

      • MacK

        The one that really annoys me is “the exception that proves the rule” which did not make sense to me at a 10 year old’s math and made less sense as time went by – because and exception disproved that something was a ‘rule.’

        Of course the issue is that when the cliché first came into use it “prove” meant test (as in Aberdeen Proving Grounds, or proof for alcohol or proofs for sample/test printings) and the expression was part of ‘look for an exception to test the rule’s validity.

        There was of course a different latin legal principle that the statement of an exception to a legal rule implicitly conceded the rule’s existence (exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis), but that is not the same thing.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        I always wondered if people who wrote it “tow the line” were imagining a person towing a barge from a canal tow path… but now that I think about it, my knowledge of such civil engineering history is probably… not their knowledge. OK, make that tugging on some other kind of rope in a dutiful way. Danged if I know.

        • eclare

          I always have to check which one is right, because this meaning of “tow the line” makes as much sense to me as “toe the line” does.

          • Colin Day

            One can tow something by means of a line, but the line is not the object being towed.

      • See, I know it’s “toe the line”, but “tow the line” to me brings up a very clear visualization of dutifully tugging a rope to carry some heavy object. It’s possible “tow” didn’t have the same meaning in Orwell’s idiomatic English than in mine, of course.

        • Hob

          Sure, but how does that relate to the way the metaphor is actually used? I mean maybe on the broadest possible level, where “being scrupulously adherent to rules or dogma” is something that probably requires effort and therefore it’s like carrying something heavy, but that’s true of so many things in life that you’d lose the intended connotation.

          To me, if I didn’t know the derivation of “toe the line” and has to guess, I would’ve gone with one of the other common meanings of “line”: 1. a thing people say, like “the party line” or “a pickup line”, or 2. a line that someone drew on the ground, that you’re not supposed to cross over. Those both have more of an obvious connection to the idea at hand, and #2 leads you naturally to why it’s “toe”.

      • Gizmo

        This one is a pet peeve of mine. I see ‘Tow’ all the time, presumably used by writers who don’t know where the phrase comes from. ‘Tow’ even sorta makes sense.

        The age of spell-checkers appears to have infested the world with homophones. Apparently ‘Tow’ the line is what the linguists call an ‘eggcorn’. Who knew?

        Wikipedia etymology

        • Hob

          I don’t think spell-check is to blame; people have been fucking up these expressions for a lot longer than that. I think the difference these days is that we’re all reading a lot more writing by random people who aren’t much more literate than average and don’t have editors.

  • The 7th Marx Brother

    There will be no impeachment. A party-line vote will confirm Trump’s pick to head the FBI. Information about Russia ties, blatant conflicts of interest, and more will continue to emerge. Nothing will be done about it. Democrats will get mildly spun up for the 2018 mid-terms, but turn out will be low and the House will remain Republican.

    This is the new normal, at least until 2020 and probably after. On Emoluments Clause violations alone, impeachment ought to be well underway. But ~98% of Trump voters would vote for him again tomorrow and the GOP is going to remain four square behind an executive who can help them deliver tax cuts and gut governmental functions that potentially limit profiteering at the expense of public health or other such nonsense.

    If I sound fatalistic, it’s only because I have no hope.

    • herewegooo

      Ugh im so tired of people being realistic. Can we at least pretend?

      • Dennis Orphen

        My pretending days are over

        I’m gonna leave the acting to the stars in Hollywood.

    • cleek

      this is my view of it all, as well.

      nothing is going to change.

      • Gator90

        The only way things change between now and 2020, other than via Democratic takeover of Congress, is if some important Republicans put country ahead of party. And the latter scenario is about as likely as Professor Loomis doing ketchup shots after drowning his steak in Southern Comfort.

        • cleek

          i was surprised to hear my two R Senators saying skeptical things about this. but i’m sure that’s only because they haven’t yet learned the official GOP talking points.

          • Dennis Orphen

            They can say whatever they want without consequence. They will do nothing with consequence.

        • Little Chak

          *well-done steak

      • Dennis Orphen

        Free your mind and your ass will follow.

    • tsam

      If I sound fatalistic, it’s only because I have no hope.

      What about Hillary’s emails, though?

      You sound fatalistic because people keep proving you right.

      • twbb

        “You sound fatalistic because people keep proving you right.”

        Oh come on, after being mocked, sometimes in scatological terms, by LGM commenters when I said Trump had a chance of winning, I was then told after the election by LGM commenters that Trump would institute an authoritarian dictatorship and we’d all be shortly thrown in camps. I’m getting whiplash here.

        I don’t know why so many people are concerned that Trump is suddenly going to become a ruthlessly efficient and crafty overlord, but based on 70+ years of incompetence, narcissism, and stupidity, I don’t think it’s very credible.

        His sole legislative victory is getting a bill repealing ACA IN ONE HOUSE. He’s been outmaneuvered or stymied in almost all the truly scary stuff, with the possible exception of Sessions as AG, and even Sessions was forced to recuse himself over the Russian investigations.

        • I’m not as pessimistic about the camps as some here, but he doesn’t have to be competent. He only has to threaten people with consequences if they don’t do what he wants. He has to have a small number of competent people on his staff who can hire people who can actually carry that out. And he has to hire enough incompetent people like himself that the other people are too busy fixing their messes to raise questions or objections.

          Part of this is ensuring that, although some people with principles may work for you, they are never the boss.

    • Scott Mc

      Where’s Humanoid.panda to cheer us up?

    • econoclast

      The Republicans are going to get stomped in 2018. The Senate is probably out of reach, but gerrymandering is going to backfire in the House. The slow leak of bad news is going to discourage Republicans and fire up Democrats. It will be 2010 in reverse.

    • rlc

      I told my better half that it would take something extremely unusual for the situation to not fatally devolve along well worn historical authoritarian paths.

      Something extremely unusual would include the usual suspects who don’t vote, turning out to vote for Ossoff.

      If he doesn’t win, we’re done as a democracy.

      I really enjoyed the ’90s. Things were looking up. Messy yes, but definitely looking better and better. An aberration, it turns out.

      • Rob in CT

        Wait. You think Ossof winning or losing in GA-6 is the point of no return?

        • rlc

          I think that if the voter + non-voter composition in GA-6 isn’t dramatically changed from historical trends by the last 6 months of data, we’re permanently fucked.

          Is that unclear?

          • Rob in CT

            Hmm. Ok, I see your point.

            If this shit doesn’t get the apathetic off their asses and/or doesn’t shame Republican voters into staying home, nothing will.

            • rlc

              Exactly so.

          • Price won GA-6 by 23 points last November. If Ossoff loses by 4 points that’s still indicative of a major swing. I don’t think win/loss is the dividing line.

    • Wamba

      Unfortunately, that sounds about right.

    • JMV Pyro

      If I sound fatalistic, it’s only because I have no hope.

      Fine, give up. Believe everything is fucked and there’s no hope for anyone and we should all just commit ritual suicide.

      In the mean time I at least am going to try and fucking do something about this. It’s a better use of my time then a nihilistic pity party.

      • The 7th Marx Brother

        Funny, but I don’t recall writing that I planned to give up. One can both expect to lose and fight against that end. (See, e.g., any number of poems and legends about those who battled impossible odds… and lost.)

        Your response doesn’t offer any reason to revise my prediction, btw.

        • Little Chak

          “I have no hope for the future but I have not given up”

          • The 7th Marx Brother

            So my only choices are suicide or self-delusion? No one ever went down fighting even though they expected to lose.

            Interesting world view. I don’t share it.

            • Hob

              People who actually plan to keep fighting tend not to go around telling everyone “There’s no hope, nothing we do will matter.” Instead they usually say at least a little bit about how they plan to keep fighting even though things look really bad. You didn’t say anything at all about fighting until after people called you on the nihilism. We can’t read your mind.

              • The 7th Marx Brother

                One last try (see–people who think a task is futile can still keep at it…):

                I posted my opinion about how the latest Trump kerfuffle will play out. I’m sorry if my views about the situation bother you. It bothers –me– that I don’t see a scenario in which Trump leaves office early. But it’s what I think.

                If we were astrophysicists and my modeling indicated that the earth would imminently crash into the sun, would your response be to criticize me as too pessimistic because that would mean the end of all life on earth? Sorry if my predictions bum you out. But that fact isn’t an argument that they are incorrect. If you want to explain to me how THIS time protests or op-eds or whatever will persuade the ~48% of voters who support Trump, then I’m all ears. Tell me why you think I’m analyzing the situation incorrectly; don’t just tell me that you think I’m a Cassandra. (Because Cassandra was right, after all.)

                • Hob

                  7th, I know what you’re saying now; no “one last try” was necessary. It was just that in your first comment in this thread, you did say that you had no hope, and you did not say that it was still important to keep fighting. Several people took you to mean that you were in fact giving up… which is a thing people do do, and say, and tell other people to do, so they were not really out of line in originally thinking that’s what you might have meant. That’s all.

                  Honestly, it still does kind of sound to me like you are giving up and telling other people to give up… it’s a bit weird to me that you chose that earth/sun analogy, since that’s not a “fight and expect to lose” scenario, it’s a “there’s literally no possible outcome other than doom, no matter what anyone on Earth does; astrophysicists can’t do anything about celestial disasters, ever” scenario. But whatever, I get that everyone has their own ways of talking about this stuff and if that philosophical distinction is important to you, fine. It’s just if you write a comment that sounds exactly like a common type of nihilistic troll and doesn’t include any of this other nuance, don’t be so surprised when people read it way.

          • lizzie

            Hey, no less than friend of the blog Galadriel said “together through the ages of the world we have fought the long defeat.”

            • rm

              I’ve always thought that line described the teaching profession perfectly.

    • los

      I disagree with some of this scenario.

      The 7th Marx Brother says:

      There will be no impeachment

      Republicans will “impeach”, but Trump as GOP’s now senile/discombobulated figurehead.
      Republicans will escape Trump and Trump klan’s clumsiest gaffes, and the klan’s “amateur hour” type foreign grifting. The quieter, smoother “establishment” grifts will increase, of course.

      Overall, we will see North Carolina Republican machinations take over DC.

    • los

      The 7th Marx Brother says:

      but turn out will be low


      Assuming core Banana Republican misbehavior festers.
      The disenfranchisement and crude election wrecking will be more so.
      Expect local party HQ vandalism, etc, with falseflags, except that none of the attacks on Democratic HQ attacks will be falseflags.
      Expect that Republicans will have earlier rebuffed international election observer offers, despite overwhelming public demand.

      Expect local “true the vote” thugs to overtly intimidate visually-incorrect voters, and sometime fire shots at those voters.
      Expect huge turnout. (So I disagree here)
      Expect four hour lines to become midnight-iphone-campout to past-closing lines with turnaways.
      Turnout will be reported by milquetoast media as, “record-breaking in the United State’s modern history of election reporting. Nobody alive has ever seen this (video)”

      Expect one or few groups of voters to do their own exit poll estimates and to discover gross “discrepancies” in the official “counts”.
      Expect redstates to increasingly pack and corrupt state courts, neutering legal challenges to grossly fraudulent elections.
      Expect anonymous “leaks” about fraud details by eye-witness elections employees.

      Expect ALEC-like cross-infestation of election-related crimes among redstates and red local districts, cities. For examples…
      Multiple redstates will regularly re-gerrymander every few years, or before every election season.
      Voters will be removed from rolls for ever more specious “reasons”. The only discernible factor will be that none of the removed will have been registered as Republican (though there will be occasional purging errors).

  • herewegooo

    —one that throws us into a constitutional crisis.

    Talk about 100+ days late and a few million dollars short…

    The contitution ended on jan 20, 2017. What good is a piece of paper if no one can/will enforce it? Our country is a joke.

    • econoclast

      Jesus Christ. Screw your courage to the sticking place. Read some epic poetry. Watch the scene in LotR where Gandalf says “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Stare at April Daniels’ tweet and until you can say with her “Not this time, motherfucker.”

      I have friend who’s grandmother literally refused to die until she could vote against Trump (she died a week after the election). If she can face down death in our time of need, you can find a way to stave off panic.

      • artem1s

        Amen

      • herewegooo

        Reality is a bitch. I have too much to do to waste time playing make believe.

        • Hob

          Judging by your presence here, you have infinite time to waste.

        • MyNameIsZweig

          Right, like polluting these threads with your repetitive blather.

  • MacK

    Trump is not going to be impeached.

    For him to be impeached would require a majority of the House, which given the utter absence of principle that House Republicans have displayed, will not happen before November 2018. His trial in the senate would require 2/3 of Senators to vote to convict – which even if the Democrats take the Senate would require 10-15 Republican Senators to vote to convict – which, given their spinelessness, is extremely unlikely.

    Moreover, if the Democrats take back the House and Senate in 2018, Trump would be largely neutered. He could nominate no judges, initiate no legislation, and would be spectacularly unpopular. Why impeach him – so that Pence could take his place?

    Now is it useful to make the Congressional Republicans look like schmucks for not exercising any real oversight, it’s great. The meme though should be if the Republicans had any decency they’d impeach this ass.

    • Rob in CT

      Moreover, if the Democrats take back the House and Senate in 2018, Trump would be largely neutered. He could nominate no judges, initiate no legislation, and would be spectacularly unpopular. Why impeach him – so that Pence could take his place?

      You impeach him, in part, to investigate him and those around him. You bring the sleaze out into the light of day and you tar all Republicans with it.

      The process itself is, IMO, the beneficial bit.

      • rm

        This is a good point, and also, Trump himself doesn’t have to be the only one brought to justice. I don’t know exactly which positions are open to impeachment, but some are, and criminal prosecution can always happen.

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          I don’t know exactly which positions are open to impeachment

          In this case the answer actually *is* “All of them, Katie”. (Technically, anyone in the executive or judicial branches. Legislators can be expelled by their own house but don’t go through impeachment.)

    • gmack

      If we’re going to play counterfactuals, we’d need to take into account that issuing impeachment articles would mean that the House leadership (Paul Fucking Ryan!) would have decided that it was time to get rid of Trump and had enough support from the rank and file to do so. This, in turn, would mean that they concluded that getting rid of Trump was worth the massive political hit that impeachment would cause the Republican party and conservatism in general. If we ever got to that stage (and frankly, I feel like it’s almost as likely as I am to flap my arms and fly to the moon), then presumably the same calculations would apply in the Senate. In other words, the conditions that would lead the House to issue impeachment articles would also make it plausible to imagine the Senate voting to convict.

    • Joe_JP

      Yes, saying “impeach!” is more messaging and influencing the conversation. It pressures at least a few Republican senators etc. to support some minimal amount of investigation. And, Rob’s comment is sound as well, if Dems controlled the House.

      But, Trump will not really be “neutered” even if the Democrats controlled both houses, especially if the control in the Senate was in the hands of a couple very conservative Democrats. The office still has a sizable amount of power that doesn’t need congressional approval.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        The office still has a sizable amount of power that doesn’t need congressional approval.

        Only to the extent Congress keeps writing the checks. Congress can absolutely gut the powers of the President through the budget process, but is too populated by craven cowards to ever do so.

    • JB2

      Don’t overthink it: is this country a constitutional democracy or a banana republic joke? Impeachment won’t solve everything, but it’s the only way to confront the most serious threat we face.

    • NYD3030

      Try as hard as I might, I cannot look at that Senate map in 2018 and see 51 Democratic senators. The most likely scenario I can see to 51 involves winning NV, AZ, MT, ND, MO, WV, TN…

    • artem1s

      Impeach does not mean remove. they could hold hearings and impeach him and still vote to keep him in office. It it gets that far, I’m betting the GOP might try this and point to Clenis as precedent. But getting away with this would depend on what info comes to light during the hearings. Dems and Clinton withstood the storm because the reasons for impeachment and censure were laughable. The more the GOP panics and tries to cover up or block investigations, the more they are signalling the reasons are not laughable but very very serious.

  • JB2

    Trump (and Trumpism) is an existential threat to American Democracy; right here, right now, in a very real way. Impeaching him is way more important than health care, climate change, immigration or any other single cause you can name.

    Granted, we need a Democratic House, so that’s step 1. But on January 1, 2019, impeachment should be the first order of business, even if the votes in the Senate aren’t there. Emoluments clause, self-enrichment, calling the press the enemy of the people, Jared & Ivanka, lying about “Obama wiretaps”, Russia – whatever. Take your pick. We can’t let this shit slide. That would be as bad as letting it happen in the first place.

    • Rob in CT

      This, this, this.

    • herewegooo

      Sure but maybe we should win the election first. Maybe run on something other than HE CRAZY? I feel like we tried that one.

      • NYD3030

        You gotta keep in mind though, it wasn’t the 2016 Democratic party that failed – it was the American people who failed the Democratic party.

        • herewegooo

          Sorry, but i am not of that belief.

          If your kid doesnt like vegetables – NO MATTER HOW FUCKING GREAT FOR THIS COUNTRY VEGETABLES ARE – you are setting yourself up for disappointment if you think your kid is going to eat them simply because you think there is no rational alternative.

          • Scott Mc

            You know, people keep saying that (Atrios is a big example), but the Rethugs won by demonizing Obama and saying shit like they’ll gut government. The latter isn’t real popular but the former was. Why can’t it work for us the other way?

            • herewegooo

              Because we just tried that? That doesnt get us enough votes. That works for them and their moron voters. We are supposed to be the “government works” party.

              • witlesschum

                Except 2008 was the Dems doing that to George W. Bush and succeeding smashingly. You really can’t take advantage of formless dislike of “politics” and “Washington” when you’re the party trying to stay in power.

        • Gator90

          That is actually sort of true, though I would prefer to say that a plurality of general election voters failed the nation and the world.

          • Rob in CT

            I like “disgraced themselves and the Republic” myself. And it’s majority – Trump voters + Johnson voters + Stein voters + write-in voters.

            Also, too: people who looked at this election and went “eeewww” or “meh” and didn’t bother (as opposed to being prevented from voting).

          • It’s not even a plurality. Clinton won a plurality over the whole country. A plurality of voters in specific states that have been given disproportionate influence over our political process by an antiquarian, antidemocratic system created to privilege the influence of slaveholders went for the wrong candidate.

    • Crusty

      I second this motion.

  • NYD3030

    I think Trump’s particular incompetence is making the Republicans less effective in pursuing their agenda, so maybe that’s kind of good? However he seems at times to be an existential threat to human civilization, which Mike Pence – as abhorrent as he may be – is not. So I just don’t know how to feel.

    Edit: When I say an existential threat to human civilization, what I mean is that for the first time in my life I tried to determine whether or not my city was a likely nuclear target, and how severe the fallout would be given the prevailing winds from the missile ranges out west. If you’re an older reader here maybe that sort of thinking is old hat, but as a 34 year old it was pretty damn terrifying.

    • herewegooo

      Pretty much this.

      “If he doesnt kill us all this just may work!”

    • DamnYankees

      I think Trump’s particular incompetence is making the Republicans less effective in pursuing their agenda, so maybe that’s kind of good?

      There is a much more fundamental agenda he is destroying. If the price of blocking the AHCA or whatever is that we light our government on fire and essentially abandon the idea of the rule of law and democracy, thats not worth it.

  • Dennis Orphen

    I’m leaving for work soon. I will be riding my bicycle there. I live in a valley. Work is uphill, towards the mountains. When I came home last night I coasted most of the way, in a high gear, the smallest sprocket on the rear hub. The derailleur is controlled by a cable that attaches to a lever on the handlebars. If that cable is cut then I’m stuck in that gear for the ride back uphill this morning regardless of what position I put the shift lever in. The linkage is broken, and if someone stands to benifit at my expense from me being late for work and/or exhausted when I arrive, I cannot discount the possibility that the cable was cut on purpose and my enemy is hoping I confuse the map (the shift lever) for the territory (the actual position of the derailleur).

    • N__B

      Check to see if the cat has a pair of shears.

      • Dennis Orphen

        I’ve already found something like $4000 worth of cat toys hidden under the sofa.

        • rm

          They are investing your salary wisely.

  • sleepyirv

    It’s simply incorrect that we need to know what charges today. I believe even a perfunctory investigation would turn up something criminal to impeach Trump over, which is why Congressional Republicans are so scared of an independent investigation/Senate Select Committee.

    We don’t need to hang our hat on “lack of confidence” or “he’s obviously incompetent” when concrete charges are probably right around the corner, if you excuse a mix metaphor. The current difficulty is to get a Republican-controlled Congress to turn the corner. And that’s where our energy should be going: get a serious investigation. The impeachment will come from there.

  • randy khan

    By now, Trump has easily done half a dozen things that could justify impeachment and conviction. (Hey, you can’t forget about that part – it doesn’t mean anything if you impeach and don’t convict.) But I’m not going to jump on any impeachment wagon now, as it won’t do any good.

    One impact of the Clinton impeachment is that it’s understood as very much a political act now, and so advocating impeachment marks you as a strident partisan. There’s no real benefit to that if you’re trying to persuade people about other things.

  • Keaaukane

    The Republicans could not rouse themselves to impeach Reagan over the Iran-Contra scandal, where there was clear cut and admitted wrong doing, in direct defiance to the authority of Congress. The Trump/Russia scandal is far more murky than Iran/Contra. If they make sure that there is no effective investigation, or a special prosecutor, it will stay murky.

  • HerewardtheGoo and ND3030 executing a pas de deux—how refreshing!

    • JMV Pyro

      How many user names has that here we go guy gone through at this point?

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        At least seven (including two one-offs); his original nym was ProgressiveLiberal.

        • JMV Pyro

          Well, that’s dedication if nothing else.

          • herewegooo

            I openly admit i am a hammer.

            The beatings will continue until morale improves.

            • Origami Isopod

              I openly admit i am a hammer.

              You certainly share some commonalities with a sack of them.

        • herewegooo

          Oh god way more than that. At least 11 in the last 3 months.

  • Alworth

    We approach the Rubicon, but I think a different one. Firing Comey is an unambiguous case of corruption. It’s the kind of mundane corruptution common in countries with less healthy democracies; I lived in India for a couple years and this has a familiar aroma. In a healthy democracy, other parts of government would act as a check to this kind of thing. (It doesn’t actually matter what Trump’s reason for firing Comey is; because he was actively investigating Trump, the appearance is the thing that undermines democratic function. It tells us Trump will fire anybody not willing to act as a sycophant.)

    The real rubicon, and the constitutional crisis, arrives when the Republicans fail to act as that check. That’s the moment the structure of our democracy is compromised and we lurch toward one of those states where whoever has power writes the rules.

    I do have hope that people, voters, will act as the final check once Republicans fail. But that is a dicey prospect and far from a best-case scenario.

    • herewegooo

      Lol. Youre talking about the past like its the present. Its all over.

      • Dennis Orphen

        Every ending is a new beginning. Make it ours.

    • Scott Mc

      um, so Rubicon crossed then, right? Republicans ain’t stepping up to stop this dumpster fire.

      • Alworth

        That would be my guess. The blowback is a lot more intense than they expected. (Or I; cynic that I am, I figured this would be almost immediately normalized.)

        So we’ll see.

    • CP

      It doesn’t actually matter what Trump’s reason for firing Comey is; because he was actively investigating Trump, the appearance is the thing that undermines democratic function. It tells us Trump will fire anybody not willing to act as a sycophant

      This is also why Obama didn’t fire Comey, incidentally. There was no possible way to do that without avoiding the appearance that he was covering for his buddy Hillary.

      • Alworth

        “This is also why Obama didn’t fire Comey, incidentally. There was no possible way to do that without avoiding the appearance that he was covering for his buddy Hillary.”

        100%

        • Rob in CT

          Of course, and I’m still amazed anyone here thought otherwise. Yet multiple people thought O should’ve fired Comey the day after the letter.

          • randy khan

            Firing him after the letter would have been much too late.

            While I didn’t support it at the time (probably didn’t even think of it at the time), in retrospect the right time to fire Comey would have been after the July 5 press conference.

  • Gregor Sansa

    I said two things upthread:

    First, institutions will not resolve this by themselves.

    Second, we can make them do so by putting our bodies on the line.

    I’m not ready to go first, but I’m ready to join others who are ready to do this. It would only take a few thousand people ready to spend a week in jail to create some serious (but nonviolent) havoc in DC. If those people are out there, I’d be willing to travel down and join them.

    And if an independent special prosecutor is appointed, then I’m willing to hand the buck back to the institutions for the time being.

    • petesh

      The independent special prosecutor will still need pressure from both sides.

  • drpuck

    Trump won because of a combination of, in swing states:

    (enough) working class, h.s. grads, in economic precarity, who voted for Obama in 2008/2012
    white voters afraid the foreign browns will start showing up at the local CVS
    white voters who believe the Dems buy votes with welfare in urban areas
    GOP voters undeterred by the argument that Trump is a lunatic/unfit, and so moved to vote as they always do, against hippies and Pelosi
    +
    lower black turnout in WI/MI/PA – some due to vote suppression

    Trump knew his promises needed to be supported by window dressing and symbolic gesture–while he governed as your normal plutocrat-favoring, supply-side embracing, GOP nihilist.

    That said, I think some unknown portion of his supporters would shift allegiance if the drip, drip, drip, combines ripping away their healthcare and treasonous pre-election collusion.

    Bonus: the Russians might have sucked Trump campaign higher ups into collusion just for the sake of having leverage, later.

    Hidden variable: wagging the dog somewhere

    • twbb

      Who was that guy who said that if the same demographics turned out in the same percentages in 2020 that they did in 2016, and vote the same way, the Democrat wins?

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        Ruy Teixeira. His predictions re: demographics are solid but they don’t factor for Republican chicanery. It also seems possible that as the Latino population is growing, a decent percentage is drifting to the Republicans -28% support for Trump shocked everyone I think; we’ll see if it holds…Bless him, Teixeira is sticking to his guns.

        • NonyNony

          Keep in mind that this is the same percentage of Hispanic voters that Romney got, and McCain got slightly more than that in 2008 (31% it looks like). The shocking part is that Trump didn’t depress that with his racism.

          But I think the lesson should be that there are enough Ted Cruz-es and Marco Rubio-s in the US to hit 27% support for the GOP for the forseeable future. Maybe not more than that, but at least crazification territory.

          • herewegooo

            Latinos/hispanics aren’t a race. They are “white.” More and more of them will act/vote like nonhispanic whites. Look at miami where i live. No one says “hes hispanic/latino” – theyre just white. Think italians or irish back in ye olden days. Now theyre just white.

            Demographics aren’t going to move as much in our favor as some seem to believe.

            • twbb

              True. I think there is a certain strain of northeastern liberal academic/intellectual type who can willfully ignore the level of racism in the Hispanic community. As a liberal academic/intellectual type northeasterner, I never got a full picture of it until I moved to Miami.

  • JMV Pyro

    Trump’s unlikely to get impeached barring some combination of the Republicans losing power in Congress and a mass protest movement constantly putting pressure on the government. The Republican Party is far too concerned with entrenching itself as the permanent ruling party of the United States to care about preserving the country’s institutions.

    Unfortunate, but that’s where we are. I’d be ecstatic if the various toadies in Congress grew spines, but I’m sure as hell not going to count on it.

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