Translation of the week: “If the president is crazy enough to believe he is above the law, then he is above the law.” ~ Alan Dershowitz.
Week # 159 of The Trump Era was most notable for insuring that there will be a Week #160 for President Trump, dominated by the Senate trial to remove him from office following his impeachment in the House of Representatives, a serious proceeding turned into a farce by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who laid down the law to the Republican Majority in the Senate before it even began, forbidding the calling of witnesses or the admission of any evidence at all into the trial.
The week dawned on Friday morning with a very triggered and incoherent President Trump (okay, a whole lot more than his usual angry rambling incoherence if a reference is needed) sending out 54 manic Tweets before noon, which comprised his entire workday as he settled down with the rest of the nation to watch Representative Adam Schiff and his fellow House Impeachment Managers’ final arguments in the case against him, before the President’s Counsel began their summations on Saturday.
Trump threatened California again, this time with the loss of Federal funds over their State’s passing a law requiring health care providers to include abortion services in their health insurance plans, earning points with his dwindling Republevangelical base, that brand of Christians who have had the courage to break with the teachings of that liberal punk Jesus. He also reversed his statement of the previous week that he would cut Social Security, saying he “would never touch” the nation’s retirement system (translation: I won’t touch it, I will blow it to smithereens!).
The Managers had laid out a meticulously-documented case against Trump, detailing his months-long campaign to extort a war-torn Ukraine by attempting to force their newly elected President into investigating his most feared political rival on phony criminal charges he knew were completely false in order to cheat in the 2020 election, and his blanket obstruction of Congress in their investigations of his crimes.
Trump’s main reaction to his crimes being laid out so publicly and clearly was not to refute the charges, an impossibility with a series of crimes committed so openly and publicly admitted to by himself and his closest aides repeatedly, but instead to howl that his side was scheduled to begin their summation on Saturday, which he declared was “a Bad TV day.” Even this deadly serious proceeding determining whether or not he remains in office was trivialized by President Neilsen Ratings as an extension of his Reality TV Show of a Presidency.
Speaking of the complete unreality of Reality TV, it was reported on Friday that 34 US troops suffered brain injuries as a result of the Iranian rocket attack on 2 American military bases in Iraq, something Trump dismissed as “some of them had headaches.” These retaliatory attacks were in response to Trump’s killing of Iranian General Qassim Suleiman, which was in turn Trump’s response to needing a big enough headline to distract the public’s attention from his impeachment.
And if his headline addiction nearly caused World War 3 on top of 34 serious brain injuries to American soldiers? A small price to pay for being the center of attention once again, and something he could easily blame on the Democrats who forced him to do something stupid in response to their prosecution of his crimes.
And speaking of his crimes, the ubiquitous Lev Parnas released a tape on Friday of Trump repeatedly calling for the firing of U.S Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich at a party in Mar A Lago, where Parnas and his partner in crime Igor Fruman enjoyed unfettered access to the President. Trump is clearly heard channeling his inner mob boss by saying “Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out! Okay? Do it!”
Saturday began the President’s Counsel summation, his Dream Team of ambulance chasers, party hacks and dubious “scholars,” basically saying Trump did it, but so what? Their defense of Trump getting impeached for trying to pin Russia’s crimes on Ukraine was… wait for it… trying to pin Russia’s crimes on Ukraine! That’s pretty much like the defense attorneys for person accused of attempted murder standing up in court and announcing their plans to finish murdering the victim. Mercifully, the Saturday session was a short one, allowing everyone’s brain synapses to readjust to reality until Monday.
Trump did manage to inflict more damage on Americans (of the Non-White variety) when it was announced on Saturday that he was rolling back former President Obama’s efforts to combat racial segregation by making it easier for banks to deny loans to black and Hispanic people, and easier for cities to confine poor families to ghettos. This is the same charge to which Trump and his father pled no-contest in the 1970s, Discriminatory Housing Practices (a Federal crime), and were forced to pay millions in fines to the government. Now it’s not a crime anymore, making America safe for predatory racist landlords once again. Tired of all the winning yet?
Unsatisfied with his attack on minorities, on Sunday Trump issued a direct threat to a member of the House of Representatives when he Tweeted about Adam Schiff: “he has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!” To be fair to Trump, there is presidential precedent to this thuggish threat, such as when Trump threatened that Marie Yovanovitch would soon be “going through some things” and… and… well there are no other American Presidents who have publicly threatened members of their own government, but still, the precedent is there.
And speaking of thuggish threats, the leaked manuscript of Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s book confirmed the impeachment charges, revealing that Trump had directly informed Bolton of his crimes and ordered him to go along with them, ratcheting up the pressure on the Senate to call him as a witness, along with Trump’s current Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Trump’s previous Chief of Staff, the permanently exasperated General John Kelly, publicly stated he that believed Bolton’s account over Trump’s overwrought denials.
Then a tragedy occurred on Sunday when basketball and cultural superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter and 7 other people died in a fiery helicopter crash in California, prompting a spontaneous outpouring of love and grief. Bad enough another fallen national figure robbed Trump of his headlines again, but Bryant’s untimely death at just 41 clearly illustrated to Trump the kind of heartfelt mourning that he will never receive when he finally waddles off this mortal coil.
Monday brought us more of the Trump Trial in the Senate, where his Dream Team began their meticulous point-by-point refutation of the criminal charges against the President of The United States. Just kidding, that is not at all what they did, but instead tried to frame the Biden family for Trump’s crimes, and to infer that the accomplished intelligence and diplomatic professionals who testified at the House Impeachment Hearings were “the real criminals,” to the point where the US Army was forced to take extraordinary measure to protect the life of decorated combat officer and White House Ukraine policy expert Lt. Colonel Vindman and his family after their aspersions on his character drew numerous death threats.
On Tuesday, the Defense rested. Their ever-evolving defense of President Trump underwent a daily metamorphosis that went something like this: “He’s innocent” to “no, scratch that, he did it, but it’s perfectly legal” to “okay, okay, it’s not legal, but he didn’t know that!” to “alright, he knew it was illegal, but the Biden family did it!” to “he was fighting Ukrainian corruption!” to “the hell with the fighting corruption angle, that’s just nuts, we’ll just claim it was Ukraine and not Russia that interfered in the 2016 election!” to “Trump thinks he IS America, so he figured his crimes helped America and he can’t be impeached for being crazy and having an ego the size of Jupiter!” to “let’s just impeach Obama instead, as a warning to Trump!” to finally “fuck you, we know McConnell has the votes to block a fair trial so we’ll just fill our airtime by accusing everyone else of Trump’s crimes, so there!”
The fact that Trump’s lawyers lied their asses off to the US Senate and to the American people was confirmed by Republican Senator Joni Ernst when she let the cat out of the bag by boasting that the Republican strategy to smear former Vice President Joe Biden was working, and that the next presidential election will be just as corrupted by foreign influence as the last one, pretty much explaining why Trump’s Dream Team did not bother to refute any of the charges against him, instead assigning the blame elsewhere, in spite of the mountains of evidence that it was Trump alone who directed the scheme to frame the Biden family for nonexistent crimes, and the nation of Ukraine for Russia’s crimes.
It was that day that we heard another interesting leak from Bolton’s book, how he was very worried about Trump granting personal favors to the autocratic leaders of Turkey and China in exchange for personal favors for himself and his family, a concern that Bolton made the mistake of sharing with Attorney General William Barr, the man who turned the United States Department of Justice into Trump’s personal vendetta machine.
It was on Monday that Trump actually did something Presidential when he followed almost every American President’s lead since 1948 by presenting his own Mideast Peace Plan, every last one of them an ego-driven exercise in futility doomed to failure before the ink was dry. Trump’s bid for Great Statesman status was written by First Son-In-Law and Poster Boy for Nonentities Jared Kushner, which fittingly enough is based on bribery and informed by gross ignorance of history, the region and the political issues.
Naturally, Trump claimed such an unsavory plan as his very own, stating “My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides,” which is likely what Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu was fervently hoping as he stood by Trump’s side, since this was also the day the Israeli Justice Department indicted Netanyahu for fraud, bribery and corruption. No word yet if Trump is considering a hold on foreign aid to Israel until they clean up such flagrant corruption.
And speaking of pompous wannabe Statesmen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pulled a Trump by viciously attacking a PBS reporter for asking him a question she had informed him beforehand she would be asking, then lying about it repeatedly. Then Pompeo announced that he was kicking a different PBS correspondent out of the reporter pool covering his upcoming trip to (!) Ukraine, a trip that is somewhat akin to sending Machine Gun Kelly to engage in delicate peace negotiations.
McConnell sent a shiver up Trump’s spine on Monday too, when he said he might not have the votes to block witnesses and evidence at his Senate trial, which prompted the normally silent Jared Kushner to state both the obvious, “witnesses would be unfortunate,” and the absurd “but they would be good for Trump.” Sure they would, in the way that a broken leg is good for a racehorse.
Wednesday featured more insane rantings and accusations from the Counsel for the President in the Senate during the Question & Answer period, most notably the once-respected law professor Dershowitz issuing his bizarre claim that it is okay for a president to get dirt on rivals from overseas if said president is delusional enough to believe that the country’s future is safe only in his hands, a supposition flying in the face of the law, the United States Constitution, and of reality itself.
The President’s legal team also repeated the insane claim that since Trump successfully obstructed Congress during the House Impeachment Hearings (hence the 2nd Article of Impeachment, Obstruction of Congress), that he (!) needs to be allowed to obstruct the Senate too, by denying witness testimony and document evidence (fair is fair!). They further claimed that Trump’s obstruction was (!!) the House Committee’s fault for making him do it, and they should have just let Trump tie them up in court for years.
Trump signed his NAFTA reboot trade deal that day, something that went almost unnoticed by the media, so he took out his rage on John Bolton by threatening his publisher with being prohibited from releasing his book, “because National Security.” To which Bolton replied with what is the almost universal-held opinion that “Trump is mentally unstable,” to which the entire world replied “Well, no shit, Detective Eagle Eye!”
On Thursday the President’s Counsel wrapped up the Q & A period of the trial by revisiting their lessons in Drunk History, trying to tie the frame of mind of our Founders to the existing body of law in other nations in 1776, upon which they formulated their Constitutional thought, in particular that “Britain abandoned Impeachment as ineffective.”
They kept keep hammering this point in spite of the fact that the British did no such thing, and in their Parliamentary System, a Prime Minister can be removed after mere weeks in office if he or she receives a Vote of No Confidence. Conversely, a British PM can serve for decades, with no term limits. Ours is not a Parliamentary System like theirs, but one with hard 4-year terms of office. Hence the impeachment tool.
Nor is ours an Era of Mind-Reading, where attorneys can divine the intentions and thought processes of people who are dead for centuries, so we are left only with the words they committed to our founding document as a guide to their thinking, thus dictating our own lawful behavior within the Constitution.
Then they grasped at a final straw, stating there can be no impeachment during an election year, something that is mentioned in the Constitution as often as Mitch McConnell’s blocking of Merick Garland ’s appointment to the Supreme Court because Obama was in his final year in office. Zero mentions.
In all likelihood, the masterful case put on by the House Impeachment Managers proving Trump’s guilt will be wasted by McConnell’s Big Fix, with only 2 Republicans committed to voting to include witnesses and evidence. Week #160 will likely begin on Friday with furious debate about the inclusion of witnesses and documents, followed by the summary dismissal of the charges by McConnell’s obedient minions, and the nation will never see a fair trial of Donald John Trump.