Quote of the week: “Today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with Articles of Impeachment.” – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Thursday

Once again, the Impeachment of Donald Trump dominate the headlines, even eclipsing the First Lady’s spare-no-expense “Spirit of America” Christmas decoration of the White House, commemorated with a Hallmark Moment video of Melania in a flowing cape giving a somber tour of Cross Hall, and showing off both her facial expressions for the soft-lensed cameras.

The Trumps kicked off Week #150 of the Trump Era landing in Florida on Friday to spend an abbreviated long holiday weekend on Mar A Lago following their surprise visit to America troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day. 

The President arrived back in America to an invitation from House Judiciary Chairman Jerome Nadler to take part in his own impeachment hearing on Wednesday by having his own lawyers call and question witnesses, and even to testify himself if he wished, which his lawyers declined, nominally on the flimsy and phony talking point grounds that the impeachment is illegitimate, but in reality because they realize that any participation by Trump would be such a complete disaster that his testimony might even sway the diehard Republicans in the Senate to convict him, something that dozens of smoking guns hasn’t accomplished so far.

Representative Nadler gave Trump until December 6th to state whether or not his team will participate in any future hearings, but the suspicion is that Trump will claim that this offer to afford him the opportunity to fully exercise his rights will unfairly deprive him of the opportunity to claim that the Democrats are denying him the opportunity to fully exercise his rights, putting a severe crimp in the White House legal strategy of obstruction, obfuscation and witness tampering.

On Sunday one of Trump’s lawyers, Pat A. Cipollone, made if official when he said as much, airing a long list of complaints that Trump’s legal team said prevented “any semblance of a fair process,” after being offered full participation. He did not rule out participation in future hearings, though the assumption is that his complaints about the process would apply to every possible hearing held.

Meanwhile, Republican Senators were formulating their own strategy for the inevitable trial in the Senate, which so far has been to yell a lot, call every witness a liar and every piece of evidence fake, and to continue to promote the universally-discredited Russian Intelligence version of events in Ukraine that absolves Russia from its crime by framing Ukraine, and also framing Joe Biden and his son as a bonus.

On Monday, some of their Republican counterparts in the House released their own “report” on the House findings of the previous week’s Impeachment Hearings before the House Intelligence Committee, one with no official standing and carrying no legal weight whatsoever (or any shred of truth or a lick of sense), “exonerating” the President from the crimes that dozens of sworn witnesses and a hundred pieces of hard evidence just finished describing in vivid detail.

There were other interesting details made available on Monday, the investigators’ notes used to compile the Mueller Report, treating us to powerful government officials describing working for Trump as making them feel “angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed,” and others disobeying unlawful orders from Trump on legal and ethical grounds and saying things like “I cannot participate in putting out a false story.” 

Fortunately for Trump, Attorney General William Barr is not one of those powerful officials overburdened with integrity, and he proved it by attacking the report by his own hand-picked people when their investigations into Trump’s accusations that the FBI spied on his campaign and President Obama tapped his phones found that those charges were completely groundless, as ridiculous as the man who made such crazy claims. Not good enough for Barr, who then said he suspected “an intelligence operation” conducted by (of course) unnamed intelligence agencies. 

Meanwhile, the United States Attorney General has uttered not a word about Giuliani the private citizen running a rogue foreign policy operation alongside two smalltime thugs that no investigator could possibly miss, since he and his henchmen left an electronic and paper trail a mile wide and Rudy blabbed about every crime he and the President committed on National TV, as well as the involvement in the scheme of Congressman Devin Nunes, the Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee that is conducting the Impeachment Inquiry, shedding light on Nunes’ clumsy attempts to sabotage the proceedings of his own committee and to disrupt them at every opportunity.

Nor did Barr have much to say about his own Department of Justice charging a familiar figure from the 2016 campaign crimes, convicted pedophile, Republican fundraiser and Trump confidante, George Nader, with funneling more than $3.5 million in illicit campaign donations through his fellow Lebanese-American Ahmad “Andy” Khawaja, a wealthy businessman, to buy access and influence in Washington, first with Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democrats during the 2016 campaign, then with Donald Trump after he won the election, to gain “favor” and “potential financial support” from “an unnamed foreign government,” which turns out to be the United Arab Emirates, with the connection easily made to the UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed himself.

That narrative, however, is a bit complex, and absolutely reeks of the Mueller Report revelations of rampant Russian interference in the 2016 election, with a cast of shadowy political operatives of dubious character like Mr. Nader that keep cropping up 3 years later in the middle of the Ukrainegate fiasco, coupled with the fact that Nader is currently facing a new array of federal child pornography charges, making these new indictments a very uncomfortable subject indeed for Republicans. The fact that Donald Trump Jr. met with Nader in Trump Tower in 2016 doesn’t help them either, or Nader’s close dealings with Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon and Kremlin big shot Kirill Dimitriev, both during and after the campaign. That’s way too many bandages to rip off way too many fresh wounds for the GOP’s comfort level.

Another can of worms the GOP doesn’t want opened is the fact that Nader is not only an advisor to Crown Prince bin Zayed, but a close advisor and lobbyist for Erik Prince, brother of Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and owner of the famous mercenary corporation Blackwater. Besides, the Nader/UAE charges are real, the events described verified, and the associations with prominent Republicans potentially embarrassing, rendering it a useless narrative to all of Trump’s horses and all of Trump’s men, who have already found their phony Ukraine story and are sticking to it.

Trump had plans to salvage the week with a triumphant trip to the NATO Summit for the 70th Anniversary of the alliance on Monday night, so after taking a parting shot at our hemispheric neighbors in Latin America by imposing tariffs on metals from Argentine and Brazil (that you and I will pay for in higher consumer good prices), it was back on board Air Force One to wing his way to London and glory, leaving the nation wondering what he would do to humiliate us overseas this time around and which pile fo dirty domestic laundry he would parade before the world. He would not disappoint, and indeed would exceed our expectations.

Trump of course said little about NATO’s mission and purpose (warding off a civilization-ending World War 3, mainly), or the changing global threats facing the alliance, leaving that to the learned men and women who run the other 28 NATO countries, brilliant and well-informed people who put a lot of thought and preparation into this meeting. Nope, Trump wasn’t having any of that brain-busting global strategizing or 20-year “threat-projection” hooey, he has people for that. Trump was there to be Trump, end of list.

And Trump he was, help us all, bitching and moaning about money while shaming our allies like a school cafeteria worker in a Red State threatening to take away a poor kid’s lunch. Of course no international summit would be complete without Trump insulting our closest allies and telling absurd lies. He taunted French President Macron about (!) “sending him some ISIS fighters,” then said (?) “I don’t want France taxing American companies,” with no context at all (such as – what about American companies doing business in France?), then for no reason informed the world he was waiting until after the 2020 election to finalize a trade deal with China (in other words, Beijing has washed its hands of dealing with an unstable Trump and is waiting for America to return to its senses and elect someone who knows how being President works).

He threatened NATO Allies not up to date on their contributions, saying “they will be dealt with,” either via punitive trade policies (more tariffs for the American consumer to pay), or “by other means.” Since generally there is either a state of friendly trade between nations or war, with nothing in between, what else can ”by other means” refer to but open hostilities? Or is he planning on setting up a new government agency called The Department of Insulting Foreigners, kind of like the comedy troupe Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks? Hard to tell with this half-formed human. If one didn’t know better, one might get the distinct impression that the President of The United States was doing his level best to destroy NATO in order to please Russia… ohwait!

Most of his whining, however, was directed towards one country, a nation for which he reserved his most scathing rebukes and nastiest insults. That would be The United States of America and the officials that make up its government, as Trump did a prolonged hatchet job on his own country. He whined about the impeachment hearing scheduled for the next day and how the Democrats got to pick 3 Constitutional scholars while Republicans only got to pick one, how his impeachment is a hoax and a political witch hunt that will result in a president being impeached in some strange future (!!!) “because somebody picked an orange out of a refrigerator and you don’t like it.” Yes, he really said exactly that.

He doubled down on spreading the fiction about Ukrainian election hacking and the imaginary Biden family crime spree, said he wants “my people” to testify at his Senate trial, where Republican will be in charge, and where he implied that his Senate trial will result in (!) other people getting convicted and imprisoned for the crimes he is charged with committing, namely the prominent Democrats he blames the most for catching him committing crimes, something everyone except his most clueless Deplorables knows is not even remotely within the realm of possibility.

To hear Trump tell it, he is the president of a failed and dysfunctional nation populated mostly by deranged haters and losers that is undergoing either a coup d’état or a civil war, and beset by enemies of the people carrying notebooks, microphones and tape recorders.

The news from back home across the pond wasn’t much better for Trump on Tuesday when his Emotional Support Senator Lindsey Graham publicly admitted that the Ukraine story was a crazy hoax and he was “a thousand percent sure” that it was Russia that attacked our 2016 election. When a fair-weather sycophantic douchebag like Graham refuses to go along with Trump’s hoax, then perhaps it is time to create another hoax. Surely his twisted assistant Steven “Kids in Cages” Miller can up with something crazy and evil enough to satisfy Trump and the Republican Inquisitors.

Then came word that a judge ruled that Deutsche Bank must turn over records of Trump’s financial dealings with that ethics-challenged bank that is facing criminal charges of money laundering and fraud in connection to their business with Trump to Congress, adding to the Supreme Court’s upcoming Trumpcentric caseload as the President’s lawyers immediately appealed the decision. 

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held its initial Impeachment Hearing for the purpose of formulating specific Articles of Impeachment, with four Constitutional experts testifying on the Constitutionality of the impeachment proceedings and offering opinions on whether Trump’s crimes rose to the level of Impeachable Offense. No one debated whether or not he committed the crimes since even Trump admitted his guilt openly and proudly, only if the crimes were serious enough to warrant removal from office.

Three of the four Constitutional scholars agreed Trump’s crimes were serious felonies worthy of conviction and removal from office, while the one handpicked by the Republicans demurred, saying Trump may have committed the crimes, sure, but they were not serious enough to punish because (!) he got caught in the act before he was able to pull them off. Leave it to Republicans to find the legal equivalent of a hack scientist hired by oil companies to deny that oil companies are contributing to Climate Change.

While Trump was busy in London trashing allies, praising Vladimir Putin and furthering the process of not knowing who Rudy Giuliani is as he continued to throw Rudy under the bus a little at a time in slow motion, Giuliani happed to be in Ukraine at that moment, making (WTF?) a documentary film about the Ukraine fantasy, which promises to be the “This is Spinal Tap” of spoof political documentaries, minus the brilliance and the hilarity (Giuliani doesn’t do laughter, except at the expense of the suffering and the vulnerable). No word yet whether or not Rudy will go with exploding drummers and amps that go to 11.

Then some cell phone footage from a NATO cocktail reception of world leaders mocking Trump over drinks went viral, and the only guy who didn’t know that Trump was the world’s laughingstock, himself, went crazy at being the mockee instead of the mocker, and promptly walked out of the NATO Summit and flew home in a huff, singling out Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “two-faced… but a nice guy,” the very definition of two-faced behavior. The engines were still cold on Air Force One when Trump tuned in to the Impeachment Hearing he swore he would never watch, as his subsequent comments made clear.

Wacky Wednesday finally came to a close with Attorney General Barr threatening American communities that do not accord “the proper respect” to police officers with (!!) losing the protection of our nation’s police forces, a cruel, racist and completely illegal concept that fits right in with Trump’s selective governance approach. What the “proper respect” towards law enforcement might consist of was not elaborated, nor was it implied that law enfacement must respect the communities they police.

On Thursday we learned that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left behind in London to clean up the diplomatic mess created by Trump’s hissy fit and abrupt departure, attended an unscheduled meeting at a London hotel with wealthy American donors to Republican candidates where he (not so) privately floated the idea of a Senate run in his native Kansas in 2020, obviously convinced he will not last very long in the Trump Administration after being implicated repeatedly in Trump and Giuliani’s smear campaign against the American ambassador to Ukraine, the criminal frame-up of the Bidens, and of Ukraine itself.

Of course it would not occur to a Republican to withdraw from politics after having demonstrated a complete unfitness for public office, their prevailing “wisdom” being that a change of venue and job title will make Pompeo “clean again.” Okaythen!

Then the House Judiciary Committee said it would hold its next hearing Monday morning, to allow its lawyers and those for the Intelligence Committee to formally present the evidence they have collected, while yet another respected former government official, former CIA Director Leon Panetta, compared President Donald Trump’s White House to the Mafia, with no one being quite certain if this was a nasty insult to the Trump Administration, or to the Mafia.

Finally, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi brought Week #150 to a merciful end as she announced a Christmas present from Congress to the American people when she ordered the House of Representatives to draw up formal Articles of Impeachment and to hold a vote to impeach the President of the United States before Christmas, which would mean that a Senate trial to convict and remove him from office would greet us with the New Year. 

While the likelihood remains that the Republican-dominated Senate will ignore the President’s crimes and fail to convict him, the hard evidence and damning testimony that a Senate trial will reveal to the world will be one more monumental ordeal for America and the democracy we all claim to hold dear. No one ever said that history wasn’t messy, and the humiliating disgrace that is The Trump Era will be on display on all its frightening reality, and lines will be drawn for the 2020 election.

Think of all the things we swore we would never get used to, or to ever “normalize” 3 years ago when Trump got elected. Hah! It’s gotten far worse than even out worst pessimists predicted, but our hides have grown thick as a rhinoceros as a simple survival mechanism so that we somehow are able to endure life in this nonstop maelstrom, shrugging off the worst behavior ever exhibited by an American President. It’s like living in an abusive household, you never know what explosion is going to happen from one moment to the next, or who will get badly hurt. That’s no way for anyone to live, but we do our best to function normally amid this decidedly abnormal chaos.

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