Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Unfit Presidency, Part 2 - Criminality, Contradictions, and Corrupt Conspirators

the period of a president’s office.

I use the term “presidency” in this larger sense encompassing this particular President (Trump) but also the historical events and persons during that period. Much of the story of the Trump presidency is less about the man and more about those who support him and do his bidding. Collectively they define The Unfit Presidency.

High crimes

The HuffPost Politics reports: “Ellen Weintraub, chair of the Federal Election Commission, was moved once again to remind political candidates that asking for help from foreign governments is illegal, minutes after President Donald Trump publicly did just that.” (Oct. 4, 2019, email)

More details are reported in FEC Chair, Again: Soliciting Foreign Election Help Is Illegal: President Trump publicly called on Ukraine and China to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Thursday morning, the president urged the governments of Ukraine and China to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

"Is this thing on?” Weintraub wrote as she retweeted a message she first posted in June, this time adding a microphone emoji.

“Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office. It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election,” the chair’s original message read.

"This is not a novel concept,” the original post continued. “Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation. Our Founding Fathers … knew that when foreign governments seek to influence American politics, it is always to advance their own interests, not America’s.”

Weintraub was prompted to post that reminder in June after Trump told ABC News that he would consider accepting information on a political rival from a foreign national and dismissed the idea that such an act would constitute foreign interference in a U.S. election. The Mueller report, released earlier in the year, outlined Russian interference in the 2016 election along with 10 instances in which Trump may have sought to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation.

Now, the president has apparently become bolder than ever.

Despite White House officials’ alleged efforts to cover up a July conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ― in which the U.S. leader asked his Ukrainian counterpart to dig up dirt on Biden ― Trump solicited help from another foreign country before news cameras on Thursday.

He did so even as the House is conducting an impeachment inquiry centered on Trump’s conversation with Zelensky, which came to light in a whistleblower complaint.

“China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump said.

The president is thought to view Biden as his chief rival in the 2020 election.

Contradictions and the Cult of Personality

Jonah Goldberg (Daily Star) explains how Trump’s defenders have adopted a doctrine of infallibility.

… where Trump’s cult of personality comes in. For several years there’s been a kind of competition on the right to come up with a coherent intellectual or ideological framework to support Trump’s presidency. Every single one that comes out of the clouds of theory to get close to the reality on the ground has crashed. He’s a nationalist who puts America first but says we’ll await Saudi Arabia’s say-so on a military strike against Iran. He says he wants free trade but also thinks tariffs are good.

Just this week, the same people who insisted that Trump would never collude with a foreign nation for his political interest are now defending collusion with a foreign nation for his political interest. The people who turn crimson with rage when you point out Trump’s decades of corrupt business practices now insist his only interest in the Bidens is his concern about corruption. They say it’s outrageous that Biden’s son sat on the board of a Ukrainian company when Biden was vice president, but they also say it’s fine to have a daughter and son-in-law duo running vast swaths of foreign and domestic policy while also making a fortune from their business interests around the world. Enemies are sinful or decadent when they lie or cheat on their wives, but who are you to judge Comrade Trump?

There’s no halfway defensible ideological, intellectual or moral standard that Trump doesn’t violate, often routinely. A cult of personality that replies “Trump’s right” or “his enemies are worse” before the question is even asked is the only place to hide.

A doctrine of infallibility is the only defense of this deeply fallible man.

Corrupt Conspirators

We have arrived at that moment in our history which our Founding Fathers most feared writes the AZ Blue Meanie at Blog for Arizona.

I have said before and I cannot emphasize enough that the Party of Trump is a criminal enterprise led by a third-rate mafia “Don” Trump. They are all accomplices, co-conspirators and accessories to his criminality and corruption. There is not a patriot among them. They put fealty to their “Dear Leader” above all else, including loyalty to their country and our national security, and their oaths of office to defend the Constitution.

[Making everyone dirty] is Trump’s insurance policy against impeachment. He has an authoritarian political party that puts party loyalty and GOP tribalism above all else: loyalty to country, their oaths of office to defend the Constitution, and openness to conspiring with foreign adversaries to remain in power. The Party of Trump is not going to vote to impeach and remove the Trump administration for its openly admitted crimes and make House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acting president.

The Blue Meanie cites Michel Sozan ( “President Trump’s solicitation of the Ukrainian president to interfere in the U.S. political process for Trump’s benefit violates the Constitution and federal law—not to mention the public trust. If they were here to see Trump’s deeply corrupt actions, the founders undoubtedly would vote to impeach him and remove him from office.”

But the Founding Fathers did not foresee for the rise of political parties, and the possibility of the complete and total corruption of one the nation’s major political parties in support of its titular leader, the president. The entire constitutional system of checks and balances designed by the Founding Fathers breaks down and fails to protect the citizenry when one of the nation’s major political parties is so thoroughly corrupted that it openly disregards the Constitution and the nations laws, and abdicates its constitutional responsibilities, all in order to defend a president of their party they know to be corrupt and openly engaging in criminal behavior, with foreign adversaries no less.

Any Republican who continues to support Donald Trump at this point is a coconspirator at worst, and an accessory who is aiding and abetting the Trump administration’s crimes at best. They are all equally culpable at law. They are condoning and normalizing criminality in the pursuit of maintaining power. They are turning the United States into a criminally corrupt kleptocracy just as surely as Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

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