Who is John Dean and why are Trump and FOX attacking him so hard?

Americans are famously, and tragically, uncurious about history and placing anything that happens today into any kind of historical context.   My own beloved Sekhnet tells me frequently that she always hated history class in school.  We attribute that to bad teachers giving her crap history books to read.   Anytime she sees a great documentary about the past, she finds it fascinating.  The past is fascinating.

John Dean testified the other day, and was slammed as a perjurer by Republicans intent on shutting him up about whatever he had to say about the parallels between Nixon’s downfall and what is coming for the even more openly corrupt and disdainful Trump.    One angry Judiciary Committee member hammered Dean at length about his perjury as an intro to his main point: who can believe a convicted liar like you, Dean?   How dare you come here and lie again, trying to bring down the greatest American president in history?!!!  

History, again.   Whatever this Trump thing is, it’s not a great president.

At the start of the Watergate investigation that led to Nixon’s resignation, John Dean committed perjury to obstruct justice, to defend Nixon, a man he knew to be guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, a man he’d advised to come clean.  He lied to protect his boss, he was a loyal soldier.   Then the feds flipped him.   

In Trumpworld rather than a penitent truth-teller, John Dean became a rat.   John Dean, the fucking rat, brought down the Nixon presidency by telling the truth, after lying to protect him.   How can America trust a goddamned rat like that?

Here’s a short article that will give you the bones of what fucking rat John Dean did and how it ended in a corrupt president being forced to resign in disgrace.  You wouldn’t want somebody like Don McGahn getting any ideas from an article like this!

Braying, strutting and attacking sometimes impresses the weak

I just watched a Republican Congressman named Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) angrily hector John Dean, who was in Congress yesterday to testify about the mechanics and progression of the 1973 Nixon impeachment.   He upbraided Dean without pause and spent some time emphasizing that Dean was a convicted perjurer.   Dean had lied under oath to obstruct justice in order to protect his boss and himself, before he signed an immunity deal to testify truthfully against Nixon.  The short intro to John Dean is that perjured himself while obstructing justice to defend Nixon before becoming a “rat” for the feds, not a very rosy thing for Trump supporters to consider at this moment. 

Jordan had good reason to avoid the details of what Dean had lied about — he harped on Dean’s perjury to undermine anything Dean might have to say.  How could anyone trust a man who had already been convicted of perjury?   Why should anyone listen to a known, convicted liar.   The real scandal, Jordan thundered finally, is that the Judiciary Committee is not investigating why the Russia election meddling investigation was started in the first place.   (This is a Republican talking point, say what you want about ’em, they stay on message).   

Think about that for a second.   Jordan angrily interrupted Jerald Nadler when he spoke after Jordan’s time was up.  Nadler was chiding Jordan, and admonishing the rest of the Republicans, that he would not tolerate anyone casting aspersions of the witness.  Jordan behaved like bullies always behave, angrily interrupted Nadler to insist that he’d cast no aspersions on the goddamned liar and then yelled  “you’re wrong!” when Nadler again said that he’d cast aspersions on John Dean.   If you want to feel a little sick to your stomach (or be inspired, if you wear a red MAGA hat)  watch the exchange for yourself.

To answer Jordan’s central point: the investigation began because there was a strong appearance that Russia coordinated with members of the Trump campaign and actively meddled in the 2016 election to try to get Trump elected.  Mueller provided ample evidence of these things in his report (what he could not prove were all the elements of criminal conspiracy). 

In a democracy, a foreign adversary’s ability to influence an electoral outcome, particularly in a presidential election, is seen as bad, something to make sure doesn’t happen again.   That is why it has to be investigated when there are multiple signs it may have happened.   When an FBI director is fired, legally, because he won’t close down an investigation that could compromise or undermine the president’s legitimacy (a corrupt purpose for the  firing), it is entirely reasonable to begin an independent  investigation. 

Mueller, a lifelong Republican, ultimately protected the president with obscure legalistic language that did many double negative contortions not to not provide conclusions that were not unharmful to POTUS, even as he found massive Russian interference, many involvements with the campaign and indicted a bunch of Russians for their role in it.  He took a last public opportunity to warn again of the danger of more Russian interference in the 2020 election.  The Mueller report describes something like 140 documented instances of coordination between the Russians and people in Trump’s campaign.  But that means nothing to the team that controls the Senate and the veto.

Jim Jordan ended his session with one giant, already asked and answered rhetorical question for John Dean (barked out to impress the audience of one all Republicans seem to be playing to):  why isn’t the judiciary committee investigating the origins of the partisan Mueller witch hunt?  (which, paradoxically, according to the unintendedly ironic lawyerly arguments of Bill Barr, basically exonerated the president).  Barr’s DOJ, by the way, is supposedly investigating the origins of this traitorous Deep State conspiracy against Trump.

Let’s take a step back.   Why do people fight counter-factually, irrationally like that?  To win.   Winning is the only point of being in it, this type believes, if you’re not in it to win, you’re a loser.   There is no more important value than winning, and if you believe there are other factors to consider, other values, it just proves you’re a loser.  People who compromise are weak, they’re suckers, ultimately losers.   We play hardball and we win, we won,  you lost, fuck off and die, loser!   Nice game, asshole.

This attitude is childish and destructive in the way an angry child’s tantrum can turn deadly if the enraged kid has easy access to a deadly weapon.  Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe how you play the game and your sportsmanship (as it was called in the old sexist days) is more important than being willing to do anything, including cheating, to win.   

I’m not saying Trump cheated to win, but I’m not saying he didn’t not cheat.  If I had confidence that he didn’t not cheat, I would so state.   We simply have no ironclad, bullet-proof, beyond a reasonable doubt proof either way, outside of the reasonable doubt provided by his abrasive, defensive personality and the lies he tells daily, the thousands he has told since becoming president.  To which, to be fair, Republicans have a good answer:

“NOTHING ILLEGAL ABOUT THAT!!!  NO LAW AGAINST A PRESIDENT CONSTANTLY LYING, NO LAW, YOU FUCKING COMMIE FUCK!   PROVE ITS A CRIME TO LIE WHEN YOU’RE NOT UNDER OATH, AND YOU HAVE EVIDENCE, SMOKING GUN EVIDENCE, AND PROOF THAT HE TOOK AN ACTUAL LEGALLY BINDING OATH BEFORE ANY OF HIS SO-CALLED LIES!!!!  YOU GOT NOTHING!!!   WE WIN!”

And let me also say, there is nothing untoward, unethical or illegal about having a team of quants create algorithms to pinpoint exactly how many districts in swing states must be won in order to win the all-important Electoral College vote.  It’s a smart thing to do, in a system like ours, designed to be overseen by those who know the importance of compromise with slaveholders.   

The Trump team engineered the Electoral College victory brilliantly, on behalf of Mr. Trump and billionaire math genius Robert Mercer, a former Lyin’ Ted Cruz supporter, who likely organized, funded and oversaw the effort.  The 78,000 votes needed in those four states were targeted brilliantly and achieved the aim of winning the needed Electoral College votes.   Game over, Trump president, whatever the homosexuals and transexuals in California and New York may think about the “popular vote” they rigged by showing up, along with those millions of dead Mexican “voters”.  Nothing illegal or unethical about Trump’s  win, nothing whatsoever.   

Sometimes it is helpful to see political and historical disputes in the context of personal clashes we experience.  I recently found myself in an alarming situation with an old friend who is suddenly enraged at me, implacably so.    The only real cause I could find, after trying to figure out where this stream of angry attacks was really coming from, is that this fellow has low self-esteem which is, apparently, enflamed by my smug sense of maturity.   That’s the same kind of thing that plagues Donald Trump every time he erupts into his rages.   

Because an “inferiority complex” always makes the sufferer feel at an unfair disadvantage in the world, for whatever reason, they attack.   It makes them feel strong, proactive, vital and masculine to punch, kick and scream at those they feel belittle them.   I recall days before I started questioning my own frequent anger when the adrenalized, righteous fury I felt was a kind of drug.   A very addictive drug.  It’s exhilarating to feel righteous and aggressively fighting your abuser.  Not a good long-term strategy for living a calmer, better life with others, but certainly an appealing option in the short-term.

The personality profile of someone who feels like a “loser” usually includes collecting grievances, assembling an airtight prosecutorial case against anyone  who, for whatever reason (or sometimes no reason that survives any scrutiny) makes them feel worse about themself, and going on the attack, armed with this list of unforgivable offenses.      A person who feels shame and humiliation is often ripe for manipulation by people who play to their sense of injustice.

Unscrupulous demagogues find fertile ground in the shame and humiliation of their audience.  These beaten people need something to galvanize their resistance to unbearably painful emotions about themselves.    Hitler was famous for his insistence that Germany had been humiliated, “stabbed in the back”, by ruthless, cunning  Jews who orchestrated the undefeated German army’s capitulation at the end of what was then called The Great War.   Yelling to crowds of unemployed, hopeless, angry, desperate, impoverished, shame-filled Germans he gave them a potent, intoxicating sense that he would make Germany great again, avenge this Jewish betrayal once and for all, that the enemies of Germany would be hanging from lamp posts, etc. 

It wouldn’t be like me not to add that Mr. Hitler won approximately the same percentage of electoral support, less than 40% of the German voting public, at the Nazi party’s electoral peak,  as Mr. Trump won and keeps, using a similar strategy of manfully exploiting the psychological vulnerabilities of his audience.   

You feel hopeless and betrayed, and ashamed, because your job is gone.  It’s nothing personal, on one level, there are millions in the same boat as you, but still, it hurts a lot.   Global corporations have no allegiance to country, they make things wherever workers can be hired most inexpensively, or automate away your job, to increase their profit margin.   This is good business for investor returns and the corporate bottom line, bad for workers who have to try to find several shit jobs to replace the lost decently paying ones that are never coming back to America, no matter how great Trump makes America again.   

It makes you angry, as it should [1], that nobody is watching out for you, that people with obscene wealth are taking your job and shitting on your life because they can.  No reason on earth not to be angry about that.  Who did that to me, goddamn it?!!  I would like to punch them in their fucking smug faces!

Enter Trump, with every reason you could want for your anger.  He fingers the real culprits to the appreciative roar of the crowd at his perpetual campaign rallies.

Fucking Mexicans, Muslims, Democrats, you see, they’re all in on it, they’re in it with the so-called transexuals and the homosexuals that Jesus Christ Himself abhors.  And turncoat Republicans like Mueller who is a disgrace and a traitor, no matter that he totally exonerated me.  And freedom-hating scientists who claim all the burning fossil fuel and massive deforestation and the meat industry are increasing carbon in the atmosphere, fuck those lying communist hacks too.   Oh, yes, and the blacks and hispanics are out of control, completely out of control, American cities are war zones, total disasters, in addition to being Sodom and Gomorrah.   Mobs of traitors and enemies of the people are trying to organize to illegally overthrow the greatest winner our country has ever had as president.   A man with, by the way, by far, the largest penis of any American president, a whopping male member the size of all previous presidential penises combined.  Prove any of that’s not true, you disloyal treasonous, traitor fucks!

I know you are, but what am I?

 

[1   The only good use for anger is as motivation.  Like a sharp pain that sends you to a doctor who diagnoses the problem your body is trying to tell you about with the pain.   Anger is a huge subject, of course, and among the most important to consider, but fuck trying to go into that any further in this footnote, yo. 

Ancestors erased from memory

 

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The only thing I know about these family members (at least I think they’re family members, I found these four photos dated 1927 to 1938 in a shoebox of black and white photos after my father died) is that every one of them who was alive in November 1942 was definitely dead by the end of November 1942.    I am awaiting translations of the inscriptions on the back of each, written in various Yiddish handwritings, as undecipherable as cuneiform to me.  The translations will hopefully give a clue or two about who each person was.

All dead in a massive international pogrom, victims of one of the countless mass killings in those crazy days when Nazis occupied virtually all of Europe.   Incidents of mass murder sadly consistent through the ages, continuing as we speak.  Yesterday there was a similar massacre in Mali, over a hundred slaughtered.

The expressions on these faces seem to ask “how many American school children are taught about the two day Tulsa, Oklahoma pogrom of 1921?”

A “racial” massacre perpetrated by enraged racists, like so many others over the years, approved by local law enforcement.   Like all others done by our countrymen it has been erased from collective memory (such as it is here) because, well, it does tend to make America look like the same kind of barbaric shithole that Belarus was for Jews back in those dark hopeless days.   Like every other place where mass killing is winked at by the authorities, for a time.

 

 

Public Service Announcement

To make it as easy as possible to understand the necessity for holding our unaccountable rogue president accountable, in the only constitutional way remaining, I provide three links.   

The first is a two minute clip that shows how radically public opinion can change as more information is provided live on TV.   It goes on to a short, compelling presentation of the importance, in a democracy, of nobody being above the law.   It’s cued up for you here.

Few Americans are going to read a 448 page report to decide if Trump deserves to be impeached or not.   Here is the summary Bob Mueller prepared for Bill Barr to release, a day or two before Barr wrote his own “summary” that spun the findings “no collusion, no obstruction, basically exoneration.”  Scroll down to Volume Two on obstruction, the cover-up.  A ten or fifteen minute read that will reward your time by fleshing out the evidence and giving you hope about justice ultimately prevailing.    It also contains some fascinating details and is a very easy read.  

The third item to consider is Mueller’s remarkable one page letter to Barr, his boss.  It was written in response to Barr’s deliberate public distortions of Mueller’s findings and politely but firmly says “what the fuck?  You are fucking lying, dude!”

Here is a copy of the letter on FOX News.   Ooops.  Nothing to see here, but spin (you can actually read it, but you have to figure out how).

Here is a direct link to Mueller’s March 27 letter to Barr, written as soon as Barr started publicly distorting the substance and findings of the Mueller report. 

A concerned citizen doing what he can to keep fellow citizens informed by facts, rather than enflamed by inflammatory talking points repeated over and over and over.

Pathetic Porcine Puppet

The president clearly has nothing to hide.  That’s why he is suing Deutsche Bank to prevent them from turning over his subpoenaed financial records, having his Secretary of the Treasury refuse to provide other subpoenaed records and preventing everybody who ever worked for him (excluding the close associates who have been convicted of crimes and are serving prison time) from cooperating with Congressional investigations.  A clear sign that the man is a victim of vicious, inhuman partisans who only want to bring him down for no reason at all!

Enter the shameful new Attorney General, the man Laurence Tribe accurately called a “pathetic porcine puppet of a puerile president”.   Barr speaks clearly, even under oath: yes, the president is right to think that spies were illegally gathering information against him as he ran for president.  Yes, Mueller basically exonerated him, although his DOJ is “investigating” whether Mueller and his team conducted an illegal investigation of the president.  

Then, always on message,  he said this on CBS, immediately after Mueller reiterated that everything Congress needs to protect our democracy is written in his unread report:

“Sometimes people can convince themselves that what they’re doing is in the higher interest, the better good.  They don’t realize that what they’re doing is really antithetical to the democratic system that we have.”

Dig it, you smug and true-believing disgrace.

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Make it Plain, make it clear

There is a great debate about whether the Mueller witch hunt turned up enough evidence of presidential wrongdoing, in spite of the many repetitions of NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION, complete and total EXONERATION, to require hearings in Congress about Trump’s obstructive acts to determine whether he needs to be removed from office.   The big bone of contention, among many Democrats, is that such hearings could strengthen the perpetually campaigning president when the Republican-controlled Senate refuses to remove him from office, no matter how strong the evidence against him is.

Much of this debate is based on sound bytes.  Mueller has provided none, though his detractors and interpreters have provided a ton of them.   Mueller comports himself like a public servant who lives in a country of literate, law-abiding, thoughtful patriots like himself.   He writes and speaks in a measured, disciplined way.  He does not tweet.  He hopes not to speak publicly again on the matter he has investigated for almost two years and written out over 448 precisely worded pages.

Two OLC memos lay out an opinion that a sitting president can’t be indicted while in office.   Mueller cites the regulation that requires his office to follow this opinion.   Since he cannot indict the president, he considered it unfair to accuse him, even secretly, in a sealed indictment, of doing the illegal things he appears to have done.   The regulations he was bound to comply with put Mueller in a bind.  The bind was that he uncovered a lot of evidence of serious presidential wrongdoing.

Enter Bill Barr, who needs no introduction at this point.  A master of evasion who auditioned for the job of protecting the president from the Mueller report with a 19 page legal opinion that showed the boss his formidable legal chops.   In that memo Barr laid out exactly how he would defend the president, no matter what the Special Counsel’s investigation unearthed.   Once appointed, Barr was as good as his word.  

According to Barr, Mueller left the charging decision up to the Attorney General, and his decision was that the report pretty much exonerates the president, since it did not prove that he was part of a criminal conspiracy with Russia and it did not prove that Trump, in spite of his many overt and some covert obstructive acts, (acts Barr explained away as motivated by the understandable anger and frustration of an unfairly accused, innocent man)  did anything to obstruct the investigation into Russian interference on behalf of the Trump campaign.  In short: no collusion, no obstruction.

Mueller immediately wrote a letter to Barr, a most unusual move for a DOJ subordinate, pointing out to Barr that he had sewn confusion in the minds of Americans by misrepresenting the substance and findings of his report.    Mueller asked Barr to immediately release Mueller’s redacted summary, which includes his conclusion that nothing in his report exonerates Trump. [1]

Here is the heart of that short letter.  It does not make for a sound byte, though I have inserted a few line breaks, for emphasis (and to make it read like a series of tweets, many Americans’ preferred format):

…Accordingly, the enclosed documents are in a form that can be released to the public consistent with legal requirements and Department policies.

I am requesting that you provide these materials to Congress and authorize their public release at this time.

The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.

We communicated that concern to the Department on the morning of March 25.  

There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation.

This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations. See Department of Justice, Press Release (May 17, 2017).

Barr did what Mueller asked, but he waited a few weeks before releasing anything from Mueller.  He did this to allow time for his misleading interpretation to solidify as the controlling narrative of Mueller’s findings.  Not undermining public confidence in DOJ investigations was not Barr’s main concern, protecting the president, his client and master, from impeachment was.

Enter more than 1,000 former federal prosecutors, Democrats and Republicans, who sign a public letter citing findings from Mueller’s report and making a strong case that but for the fact that Trump is the sitting president, and OLC memos hold him immune from prosecution while in office, there was enough evidence in the report to indict anyone not protected by a special DOJ opinion.   Read their letter.  Hard to argue that they’re wrong, or rabid partisans, or that anyone else would not be slapped with multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice based on the weight of the evidence Mueller sets out.  

Hard to argue, also, that they wrote something that can be reduced to a tweet:

Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.

The Mueller report describes several acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge: conduct that obstructed or attempted to obstruct the truth-finding process, as to which the evidence of corrupt intent and connection to pending proceedings is overwhelming. These include:

and they go on to list a bunch of damning examples.  

But it’s not a tweet!

Mueller resigns earlier this week, his work done.  He gives a nine minute farewell speech during which he emphasizes that his report shows active Russian interference in the 2016 election, on behalf of the president, and that Americans need to do something about this vulnerability in our electoral system.   He also encourages all Americans to read his report, which, he points out, speaks for itself.

Barr got right to work, speaking before and after Mueller’s brief remarks (the follow up was done during a deliberately misleading chat with a CBS interviewer) making sure the confusing and misleading counter narrative he originally spun about the substance and findings of the report was fresh in everyone’s mind.  

You can read exactly what Mueller said in his farewell remarks here. 

Or you can just read this tweet from former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, which contains two statements from Mueller’s speech:

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Yes, Joe, the thing speaks for itself.

Now Democrats need to stop cowering in front of polls and hypotheticals about how much Trump would love an impeachment narrative for 2020, and start dragging witnesses in to testify about what they told Mueller.  Let America watch as these sworn witnesses tell the public what they told Mueller’s investigators, on must-see live television.  This is crucial, since virtually no Americans who need to be convinced are going to read Mueller’s book.   It will also be instructive to watch the angry president’s increasingly unhinged reactions to the sworn testimony as it comes out.  

Until the inevitable impeachment hearings begin, I refer those lazy patriots to Joe Scarborough’s tweet (above).  And God bless these United States…

 

[1]   Mueller wrote Barr on March 27, 2019

Dear Attorney General Barr:

I previously sent you a letter dated March 25, 2019, that enclosed the introduction and executive summary for each volume of the Special Counsel’s report marked with redactions to remove any information that potentially could be protected by Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e); that concerned declination decisions; or that related to a charged case. We also had marked an additional two sentences for review and have now confirmed that these sentences can be released publicly.

Accordingly, the enclosed documents are in a form that can be released to the public consistent with legal requirements and Department policies. I am requesting that you provide these materials to Congress and authorize their public release at this time.

As we stated in our meeting of March 5 and reiterated to the Department early in the afternoon of March 24, the introductions and executive summaries of our two-volume report accurately summarize this Office’s work and conclusions. The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions. We communicated that concern to the Department on the morning of March 25.  There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations. See Department of Justice, Press Release (May 17, 2017).

While we understand that the Department is reviewing the full report to determine what is appropriate for public release — a process that our Office is working with you to complete — that process need not delay release of the enclosed materials. Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation. It would also accord with the standard for public release of notifications to Congress cited in your letter. See 28 C.F.R. 609(c) (“the Attorney General may determine the public release” of congressional notifications “would be in the public interest”).

Sincerely yours,

Arguing with True Believers

Arguing with a true believer is pointless, bringing a legal case against one, for good cause, not as much.   The belief of a true believer insulates the person from so-called facts or any counter narrative that contradicts the belief system.   Believers know the truth and you, no matter how much so-called evidence you think you have produced, are sadly mistaken.  Wrong.  SAD!   On your way to hell.  

That kind of dismissive, belief-based superiority does not generally work as well in a court of law where the decisions of judges, even if they deeply agree with the true believer, are bound by law, evidence and the specter of appeal.  Judges hate to be overturned on appeal.

The world is (among many other things) chaotic, confusing, contentious, often violent.    A belief system that puts this mad world in order, even if the system is internally inconsistent, is a comfort to many people.   These systems rest on bedrock articles of faith and come in many forms.  Some creeds encourage peace, others preach violence, always defended as a form of completely justified self-defense.   These belief systems are sold to people by skilled salesmen, by loved ones of unshakable faith, by charismatic leaders, sometimes by total con artist hucksters.  

The virtue of these systems, to those who believe in them,  is the certainty  they deliver about what is right and good and what is wrong and evil and the powerful sense of belonging in the good group that membership confers.  The articles of faith are easy to understand, simplify this complex world and give followers an uncomplicated road map to follow to belong to the group that stands against evil.   Wear the right hat, agree with the right slogans, join the right chant and you’re in.   It couldn’t be simpler.   The powerful sense of human belonging alone is enough to make people defend the faith, to the death, if necessary.

Imagine the terror of living in a country where a hoard of dangerous and unaccountable illegals swarm across porous boarders, are given free rein to rape, kill, smuggle banned, deadly drugs, decapitate, torture, contemptuously speak their secret languages while defying all laws of the country they have invaded.   Just the fact that they are rapists is enough reason to hate them, but there’s more.   We harness this legitimate fear and righteous hatred into a movement to stop these goddamned raping hoards and bring peace and justice to our shores.

When a true believer is imbued with faith, all of the arguments in the world cannot dent that belief.   I’m thinking, of course, of people hearing what they want to hear every time a charismatic demagogue opens his mouth.   Those who love and follow the demagogue hear the larger truth, even in the demagogue’s many demonstrably false lies.  He may be lying about many of the small details, even all of them, fine, but he’s completely right and honest about the big picture!    Those who hate the demagogue hear only a self-serving liar, rattling on, ignoring reality, warping the world to his image and stinking up the discourse, as demagogues often do.

A simple article of faith, a good motto, will always beat a set of complicated and nuanced facts, no matter how damning they may be.   If you are predisposed to believe something you will always find as much evidence as you need, it doesn’t take much.   The man you believe is unfairly persecuting your leader droned on for a long time, saying a lot of subtle things that supposedly contradicted and compromised the leader and his defenders, but then– in a moment that revealed his true despicable nature — he smirked, freeze that frame, he fucking smirked! Look at this fucking face!  Case closed!   The piece of shit showed his true biased partisan colors!   HAT SLOGAN BEATS COMPLICATED 448 page legalistic, biased so-called INVESTIGATOR REPORT!!!

Clearly I am thinking about the raging debate over the findings of the Mueller Report, in the wake of Mueller’s careful public remarks yesterday. Remarks that shed no light (unlike Mueller’s March 27 letter to Barr) on the argument over Attorney General Barr’s misleading and false statements that led his client, the president, to crow NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION, complete and total EXONERATION.   Trump’s remarks, in the absence of the report  or the summary Mueller prepared for immediate release (held by Barr for weeks), were fair enough.  They comported exactly with how Barr summarized Mueller’s findings in a letter he strongly argued was not intended as a summary, no matter what he may have written in it about summarizing the report.  

Mueller’s findings, like his remarks yesterday were legalistic, nuanced, by the book, bound by DOJ 1973 and 2000 directives against indicting, or even, in Mueller’s fairness analysis, accusing, a sitting president of a federal crime.  The 1973 DOJ policy against indicting a sitting president was reiterated in the DOJ Manual in 2000 after Ken Starr’s partisan investigation into Whitewater which led to perjury charges against a president confronted, in an unrelated case, with provable allegations that he had received blow jobs in the White House.   Starr pulled no punches:  Clinton committed perjury, impeach him.  

Mueller pulled his punches: we don’t exonerate him, and I present a great deal of evidence of crimes the president likely was directly involved in, and preserve a treasure trove of evidence riddled with holes due to perjury and obstruction, but I can’t say, without a full trial on the facts, that the president is guilty and, therefore, I cannot make a finding beyond that the massive evidence collected, and the pattern of obstruction of my investigation, does not allow me to exonerate him.   The report, he said, speaks for itself.

I was checking out a couple of FOX news videos today, in the wake of Mueller’s short, punctilious press conference yesterday.  One was entitled “Trump Reacts to Mueller’s Russia probe with angry tirade“.   It took me a moment to realize that FOX was applauding the president, a completely innocent man, for his anger.   Innocent people have the right to angry tirades!!!   Nothing wrong with an angry tirade, if you are justifiably enraged.  Ask Supreme Court Justice for life Boof Kavanaugh.  They work, yo!

NO COLLUSION.   Mueller found that the 140 contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials were part of Russia’s documented interference with the 2016 election.  Because of the lies Mueller’s team was told, deleted emails and texts, refusals of principals to be interviewed, he was unable to establish the legal elements of a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.  He warned America again of the serious and coordinated Russian interference in the 2016 election, interference copiously documented in his report and a series of indictments, interference the Trump administration blocked investigation into and has done nothing to protect America against in 2020.

NO OBSTRUCTION.   Mueller dedicated a second volume of his report to an investigation and documentation of the president’s many attempts to impede the investigation, public statements that directly contradicted each other about firing various people involved with the investigation, ordering subordinates to make false records documenting lies to protect the president from evidence that could compromise him, threatening, bullying and intimidating potential witnesses, hectoring his attorney general to “unrecuse” and shut down the probes, submitting answers Mueller called “inadequate” to written questions and refusing to answer follow-up interrogatories.   The summary of this volume lays out ten very damning instances that smell very much like a vigorous and ongoing attempt to obstruct the investigation.   In response the president has another great slogan to fit on a hat:  No Do-Overs!

As for obstruction allegations, Trump doubles down, he’s consistent in this.  No subpoenas will be obeyed!   No documents will be released.  Let the courts rule against me, I have 5-4 on the Supreme Court now!   In his angry tirade today he claimed that the report written by his enemy, a vengeful man who had an undisclosed business deal with Trump that went bad and who was already angry because Trump denied him the FBI director job he coveted, a man with a conflict of interest who employed a team of angry Democrats, COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY EXONERATED him.

If you love somebody, as millions appear to love eternally fighting Trump, you can forgive that person an extended temper tantrum when they are unfairly attacked by unscrupulous, powerful enemies.   If you watch that same tirade without the love for the angry person, the facts will sometimes speak for themselves.

Our experiment in democracy may already be over, crushed by a skillful forty year campaign by ultra-wealthy extreme right wing zealots with roots deep in the rabid ideology of the John Birch Society.  It could be that enough people, softened by a lifetime of ads that have made them loyal consumers, prefer a muscular chant to something as squishy and complicated as flagrant violations of campaign finance law, flouting the rules against using the office of president to enrich yourself, abstractions like dead children of illegals at the borders, mass killing of the neighbors of possible terrorists, seizing and imprisonment of the illegal fake children of alien rapists.    MAGA means a return to the good old days, when you could honestly call a homosexual a fag without everybody jumping on you, when colored people knew their goddamn place, when the life of every six day-old embryo, every three month-old fetus, was the most sacred and precious of all of God’s creations.    You see, we were once a country of decency and God-fearing Christian values, my friends, and it is only right to return to that golden time when dissent was seen as treason and everybody knew their goddamned place.

I may just be an optimist, but I see signs that our legal system is still not completely corrupt, our democracy not quite completely dead.   An attorney general who, as spin-doctor spokesman and chief legal advisor to a president, deliberately misleads and confuses the public then lies under oath?   Congress’s constitutional duty is to impeach him.   The Senate won’t oust him?   It matters not, put the corrupt, demonically evasive protector of presidential unaccountability on trial for America to see.  Let Barr refuse a subpoena to testify in his own impeachment hearing, that’s OK too.   If the Supreme Court rules 5-4 on Barr’s right to tell Congress to suck it, democracy is already over.  Still, we have to follow the law if we are a nation of laws — it is the only roadmap away from tyranny.  Congress is the only body, under our constitution, who can hold a sitting president, or his hand-picked appointees, accountable for high crimes and misdemeanors [1].   Let the impeachment hearings begin.

If the impeachment investigation in the House, or the trial in the Senate, is stonewalled by Trump’s blanket refusal to cooperate, do you really think the Supreme Court will side with him 5-4 that he doesn’t need to allow subordinates to testify in an impeachment hearing because all charges against him are part of a vicious, partisan witch hunt against a completely innocent man who never, NEVER got a blow job while president!!!?  If so, we’re already finished as an even nominal democracy.   That argument would probably fly with Boof, but it’s hard to see the others, even the most craven, signing on to that decision.  Call me naive, but I still believe in the integrity of our (yes, deeply flawed) legal system and the constitutional system of checks and balances.  I also believe the Supreme Court justices, at least most of them, rule with an eye toward their place in history.  

I see evidence that plenty of government officials still believe in the rule of law too.   There are at least a thousand former federal prosecutors of integrity who signed a letter analyzing Mueller’s report and agreeing that it makes out a criminal obstruction case that would be pursued, but for the fact that the perpetrator is currently the president of the United States.   There are also federal prosecutors of integrity who are presently serving.  

If not, we’re already finished, and you are right to despair, but I am thinking otherwise.  Hope is better than resignation, until they nail the box shut.

It is upon us all to struggle against the idea that, living under a sociopathic scofflaw demagogue who is a useful donkey for manipulative billionaires and powerful bigots to ride, our fate as a nation is already sealed.

 

 

[1] At one point during Trump’s angry remarks outside the White House, he pointed out the legal requirement, for impeachment, of “high crimes AND misdemeanors”.   He pointed out the AND to the assembled reporters, a teachable moment.  You see, even if the Report did accuse me of high crimes, which, of course, my sworn enemies completely exonerated me, but you also, constitutionally, need misdemeanors.  It says AND, plainly, and not OR, it’s written right in the constitution.  You don’t have to be a legal scholar or even have a reading level higher than second grade to see A-N-D and not O-R.   He rested his case, witch hunt.    Many followers posted thumbs up icons after this irrefutable remark.  If you love the person, it doesn’t take much to make you click “like”.   MAGA.  MAGA!!!!