Quote of the Week: “I don’t think the Founders suspected that we could have a rogue president and rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.” ~ Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi
Quote #2 of the Week: “We’ll have an economy based on wind. I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody. I know it’s very expensive. They’re made in China and Germany mostly, very few made here, almost none. But they’re manufactured tremendous, if you’re into this, tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint, fumes are spewing into the air. Right? Spewing. Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything, right? So they make these things and then they put them up.” ~ The President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, displaying his unparalleled expertise in renewable energy sources.
Week #154 of The Trump Era was surprisingly quiet, the closest thing we have had in 3 years to having a normal president, one who is quiet when there is nothing to say, a person with no need to be the center of attention every minute of every day, and minus the uncontrollable compulsion to lash out viciously at his own government and his fellow Americans.
What circumstances conspired to quiet the Mouth That Roared? It could be the year-end holidays, traditionally the slowest political news cycle in Washington as Congress takes a vacation and the president lays low and sends out Christmas greetings and holiday platitudes to his nation, in this President’s case, from the friendly confines of his “Winter White House” in Florida. Or it could be the fact that he was just impeached and is facing an uncertain future in his upcoming Senate trial, which Senate Majority Leader McConnell had rigged in his favor, but McConnell’s plans for a flash acquittal are in limbo over the Holiday Recess because Speaker Pelosi is taking her time delivering the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate until a fair trial is guaranteed.
It seems that some stubborn legislators want the Senate to hold a real trial, with witnesses, evidence and cross-examinations and the like. Even though Trump has previously demanded a public trial that would prove him innocent and earn big TV ratings, that would mean putting the same people on the witness stand that the Democrats want to question, men like Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, Michael Duffy and Robert Blair.
Those first two names, Giuliani and Bolton, are unpredictable powder kegs whose testimony is almost guaranteed to be anything but helpful to Trump’s case, and the other three would be hard pressed to refute the admissible evidence already in possession of investigators without perjuring themselves. These are the very reasons why Trump forbade these same people to testify before the House Impeachment Hearings, and McConnell knows it. Just that day, Bolton made headlines by saying that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, was jiving a gullible and inexperienced Trump and never for one moment considered giving up his nuclear arsenal. The only thing the Majority Leader fears more than their testimony is if Trump himself decided to testify, the one thing that would possibly force his own defense lawyers to resign and the Senate to reluctantly convict and remove him from office.
Speaking of the (still-ongoing) Ukrainian intrigue, Week #154 kicked off on Friday with Trump rejecting a bid to force his administration to quickly release $250 million of further military assistance for Ukraine early next year, threatening to veto must-pass spending legislation if Congress did not remove the directive giving him the same powers of extortion over Ukraine for which he was just impeached, and for good measure, to cut Medicare funds to Puerto Rico just weeks after trying to withhold $10 billion in FEMA funds to rebuild that stricken American Island, 2 years after Hurricane Maria destroyed so much of its infrastructure.
On that gleeful note, President Scrooge and the First Family dashed off to Mar A Lago for the Holidays. Trump did manage to find time on Friday to mock the publication “Christianity Today,” an obscure Evangelical monthly that recently made global headlines for calling for Trump’s removal from office, by calling it “a Far-Left” publication, saying he would “no longer be reading CT,” which in Trumpspeak was not technically a lie, saying he would not read something he never heard of, never mind bothered to read.
To make up for the temporary holiday lull in insane Trump outbursts, his personal lawyer and (Not So) Secret Agent Rudy Giuliani picked up the slack and went crazy for the cameras again, giving us this gem: “The Democrats want to put Barr in prison and they want to execute me. The Mafia, the FARC, and the word you can’t say, Islamic extremist terrorists, have all taken out contracts of one kind or another to kill me. And my answer is good luck. I just get angrier and I go after you more.” No mention if KAOS is involved in these nefarious plots.
On Saturday, Kim Jong Un confirmed John Bolton’s analysis that he had no plans to abandon North Korea’s nuclear missile program, and mocked Trump by promising America “a Christmas present,” presumably another long-range missile test. Trump’s response was addressing a Student Holiday Rally in Palm Beach that afternoon, where he demonized over half of all Americans for these young impressionable minds, and reminded them that Democrats are all Grinches trying to steal their Christmas.
On Sunday we were treated to the accidental revelation of the Republicans’ election strategy for 2020 when one of Trump’s top reelection advisers was caught on tape telling influential Republicans in Wisconsin that “the party has traditionally relied on voter suppression” to compete in battleground states, in the wake of the news that hundreds of thousands of registered voters are being systematically eliminated from voter rolls in Red States. This was not exactly a huge secret, only something better left unmentioned in the opinion of the Republican officials actually in charge of voter suppression.
On Monday, Mitch McConnell said he “may allow witnesses” in the Senate trial, bowing to pressure from Democrats and even some Republican Senators, while Senator Schumer demanded that recently-released emails and documents from the White House be entered into evidence, as they were previously beyond the reach of Federal investigators thanks to Administration stonewalling.
And speaking of stonewalling, the Justice Department argued to a federal appeals court in Washington on Monday that the courts should stay out of the fight between the House and the administration over former White House Counsel Don McGahn’s testimony, an ongoing battle left over from the Mueller investigation, saying the issue is moot now that Congress has voted to impeach, but the court’s decision could change the scope of the upcoming Senate Trial if the court finds for the House.
We also learned Monday of another obscure Trump Administration scandal over an Alaska mining company that secretly collaborated with the governor of Alaska to lobby the Trump administration to push a mining project that Environmental Protection Agency scientists have warned could devastate the world’s most valuable wild salmon habitat, a fishery upon which both humans and hundreds of species of wildlife rely on for their survival.
Then Giuliani celebrated the Eve of the birth of the Jewish baby Jesus by attacking the Republicans’ favorite Straw Man Villain, George Soros, a Jew and a billionaire philanthropist who supports liberal causes, and who is also a Holocaust survivor. “Don’t tell me I’m anti-Semitic if I oppose him! Soros is hardly a Jew. I’m more of a Jew than Soros is. I probably know more about, he doesn’t go to church, he doesn’t go to religion, synagogue. He doesn’t belong to a synagogue, he doesn’t support Israel, he’s an enemy of Israel.”
Somehow a man who struggles to find the word “synagogue” does not come off as being a Judaic scholar, any more than a man declaring the worthlessness of another human being elevates his own relative worth.
Tuesday was Christmas Eve, finding Trump sending the traditional Presidential video greetings to our troops stationed overseas, where he called for unity and tolerance, followed by the traditional Holiday Bashing of the Speaker of The House and The Official Demonizing of Half Our Nation as “haters and losers.”
Trump, reversing his earlier position that he wanted a full and open trial, attacked Nancy Pelosi’s delaying tactics and his Impeachment itself, claiming that he was denied due process, legal representation and the testimony of corroborating witnesses in the House Impeachment Hearings, when in fact he was offered every opportunity to have himself and his own team of lawyers participate, to call and question witnesses, and to present any evidence they may have that was exculpatory of the President, but the President was the one who prevented these key witnesses from testifying, and who refused to obey subpoenas for documents and transcripts, or to participate in any way, shape or form.
Now he is arguing that since his witnesses (!) did not show up and he did not choose to have representation, then the House proceedings were illegal, sort of like claiming that the speeding ticket you were appealing is not valid since you did not bother to show up for your scheduled hearing because the cop who gave you the ticket would be there just to make you look bad.
Then for some reason Trump signed an Executive Order that “limits criminal liability for bird deaths,” saying that “ordinary citizens could be charged with a crime,” a bizarre thought that either leaves us guessing which of our neighbors is busy slaying birds in their spare time, or wondering which wealthy corporate polluters will now be off the hook for wildlife genocide.
Wednesday was Christmas Day, and the U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, Daniel Foote, received the gift of being fired from his job when he was recalled to Washington because he (!) stood up for Human Rights. It seems Ambassador Foote didn’t get the memo that championing Human Rights is just so Pre-Trump America. Towards cementing his hold on this brave new Divided & Conquered America, Trump picked Christmas to announce the launching of his campaign’s new website, called (seriously) “snowflakevictory.com,” designed to help his beloved poorly educated (!!) win arguments with liberals on social media (No word yet if any dictionary or textbook links are included).
And no Trump Christmas would be complete without a Presidential call for “understanding and respect,” followed by an attack on “Crazy Nancy” and a classic “Pot-Kettle-Black” moment when he advised California Governor Gavin Newsom in a Tweet to (!) “step away from the hair gel and get to work!!!”
On Thursday Trump had no scheduled events other than his main Presidential Activities, golf and Twitter, and we learned in the news that Russia, Syria, and Iran are killing, or on their way to killing, thousands of innocent civilians in the Idlib Province of Syria, to which the President’s Twitter reply was “Don’t do it!” before adding that “Turkey is working hard to stop this carnage.” Assuming, of course, that Turkey can pause long enough from their earnest slaughtering of our Kurdish allies in Syria to help non-Kurdish civilians from a similar fate.
And so we enter Week #155 of the Trump Era, the Impeachment Articles and the details of his Senate Trial still in up in the air, Giuliani’s mouth on the loose and an isolated and embattled president lashing out from the Political Limbo in which Speaker Pelosi has placed him. At this point, the only one who can really endanger his Presidency is Trump himself, and no one is quite sure if he can control himself enough to do that. Happy New Year.