This just in: The noose is tightening around Donald Trump's neck!
That news flash would have been appropriate on virtually any day over the past year as the breathtaking extent of the president's corruption has become known. And that was before the impeachable abuse-of-power cum bribery lollapalooza known as the Ukraine scandal reared its ugly head.
I daresay the noose will continue to tighten, but even with impeachment and a Senate trial looming, there will be no immediate consequence as one conspiracy theory after another is floated by his Republican congressional sycophancy in defense of the Chosen One and lapped up like it was mother's milk in the Fox News echo chamber, the White House stonewall remains substantially unbreached, and Trump's rampage against democracy and decency continues pretty much unchecked.
It is worth noting two important dates in the context of Trump's snarling unrepentedness.
On July 24, Robert Mueller delivered a muted but still powerful condemnation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election with the Trump campaign's willing help, as well as Trump's multiple efforts to obstruct the special counsel's investigation, in an appearance before three congressional committees. On July 25, an obviously unchastened Trump rang up Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to tell him he would have to interfere in the 2020 election by announcing a corruption investigation into Joe Biden and son and play along in acknowledging that it was Ukraine and not Russia who hacked all those Democratic emails in 2016 if he wanted nearly $400 million in desperately needed military aid to fight Russian aggression, let alone a coveted White House visit.
This just in! The noose is tightening around Donald Trump's neck!
Do you feel my frustration? Of course you do when you awaken each day to new revelations that further confirm Trump as the most corrupt president in history, but he dances away -- okay, lumbers away is a better description -- from Democratic congressional subpoenas, court defeats over his tax and accounting records and investigative reporting blockbusters, and continues to lie and cover up, tweet profanities, attack enemies with a special venom reserved for women who cross him, wreak havoc anew, and bellow "absolute immunity!" at every turn.
So Trump the malignant narcissist, for whom the concept of compromise is not a venerable American political tradition but a goblet of curare, keeps having terrible no good very bad weeks. The two weeks in November when Gordon Sondland and Fiona Hill, among others, eviscerated his lame-ass Ukraine scandal defenses are perfect examples, but the upshot was that he got a modest bump in the polls.
This just in! The noose is tightening around Donald Trump's neck.
There seems to be no limit to the ways Trump spins his defense. It's called creative lying.
As ludicrous as the assertion is, he now claims that personal lawyer-fixer Rudy Giuliani was acting independently in Ukraine and was not the go-to guy in the Zelensky extortion scheme.
"So you didn’t direct him to go to Ukraine to do anything or put any heat on them?" the ever obsequious Bill O'Reilly asked.
"No, I didn’t direct him," Trump replied to the Fox News commentator. "But he’s a warrior. Rudy’s a warrior. Rudy went. He possibly saw something.”
Sondland, of course, testified to what was widely understood. Giuliani was the president's proxy and everything had to go through him, while Giuliani publicly and unhesitatedly presented himself as acting on the president's behalf. And Trump told Zelensky in his July 25 call, "I will ask him [Giuliani] to call you along with the attorney general. Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy."
If this particular lie has a familiar ring, it is because Trump used a similar argument in trying to distance himself from Giuliani's predecessor, the now imprisoned Michael Cohen. When it became obvious that Cohen was Trump's bagman in several illicit ventures, he asserted that Cohen was freelancing and wiped his hands of him.
This just in! The noose is tightening around Donald Trump's neck.
Trump keeps winning despite losing, which begs the question of what can be done to get him the hell out of Washington without waiting for his likely defeat in the November 2020 election?
The short answer is to keep doing what we're doing, only more so. As deeply unsatisfying as that answer may seem, keeping on keeping on has merit.
The fast-track march toward drafting articles of impeachment later this month is crucial even if we anticipate an unsatisfactory outcome after a Senate trial.
In the meantime, Trump has been informed by Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, that he has a Friday deadline to inform him whether he intends to mount a defense during the committee’s consideration of impeachment articles, including presenting evidence and calling witnesses. Trump has not replied, but his lawyers have expressed deep skepticism about participating in a process the president has vilified as a "hoax."
The 2020 election may hinge on turnout, so registering to vote and organizing others to do so is hugely important, especially in states where Republican incumbents may be vulnerable. That includes Mitch McConnell.
Finally, we have to keep the faith. That means that we cannot postpone the president's reckoning. We have to keep questioning. We have to keep confronting. And most importantly, we have to keep caring.
Thanks, Shaun. But unless the Dems can field a candidate that won't put people to sleep, I can see Trump still bloviating away in the Oval Office for another four years...
Wise advice as to what we can do to fortify ourselves. On balance I am now optimistic America will vote Trump out of office, but who knows what dirty tactics he and his enablers might try? But if the impeachment trial hammers home the view that Trump is profoundly unfit, in oh so many ways, for the presidency, I think that will put a ceiling on his vote-getting ability well below 45 percent, thus dooming his re-election bid. I just wish the economy would begin its inevitable business-cycle-dictated contraction sooner rather than later -- starting by, say, next March -- thus puncturing Trump's last life-preserver.
Like you, I wish to advocate for ongoing activism, but with no single Dem galvanizing interest, that may be a tall order and it worries me.
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