Tag Archives: 2016 election

Yes, Sen. Cornyn, we need a law

I believe I will disagree with John Cornyn, the senior Republican U.S. senator from Texas.

He said the nation doesn’t need a law that requires political candidates to report foreign interference in our elections to the FBI. Cornyn said it should be understood that politicians should report foreign interference to authorities. Cornyn said he would do so if such an attack occurred in an election in which he would be involved. Good for him. I’m glad he would do the right thing.

However, we have a president of the United States who now admits to flouting normal procedure at every turn. Donald Trump told ABC News that if a foreign country — such as “Norway,” as Trump said — had information a political opponent, he would “look at it.”

The Senate sought to enact legislation that would have required candidates to report such interference to authorities, but it was blocked by freshman Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

Cornyn doesn’t see a problem with Blackburn blocking the bill. According to the Texas Tribune: “The simple answer is call the FBI and let them investigate it,” Cornyn said. “We don’t need to pass a law to do that.”

In a perfect political world, by all means you don’t need such a law. However, this old world of ours is far from perfect, as the election of Donald Trump has demonstrated with remarkable clarity. Trump has denied any Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now he says he would allow it in future elections and he “might” notify the FBI.

Cornyn says we don’t need a law to prevent such a thing?

I believe we do need a law, Sen. Cornyn.

Why the praise for this lawyer?

Emmet Flood is leaving the White House later this month.

Donald Trump is praising the lawyer he brought aboard to help with his battle against former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral process.

The president called Flood a “great friend” who did a great job.

Trump tweeted “no collusion, no obstruction.”

Whoa! Hold on a second, Mr. POTUS.

Mueller has said there was “no collusion.” I get that. We all get it, OK? He did not clear the president of obstruction. How many times do we have to say it? Mueller did not exonerate the president. He said so in his 448-page report. He repeated it in that extraordinary nine-minute spiel this week.

Still, the president keeps harping on a known falsehood.

Here’s the deal, though: The more Donald Trump says it the more it sinks into the thick skulls of those who continue to believe the lies this guy gets away with telling.

Weird.

Trump stands as proof that ‘anyone’ can become POTUS

A young U.S. senator from Illinois stood before the 2004 Democratic National Convention and said, “Only in this country is my story even possible.”

His name was Barack Obama, a self-proclaimed “skinny kid with a funny name.” He was an African-American man born in Hawaii to a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya. There he was, delivering the keynote speech to Democrats who would nominate Sen. John Kerry to run against President Bush.

Four years later, that senator would run for president himself. Millions of Americans voted proudly for him. I was one of those Americans. Sen. Obama became President Obama and demonstrated that, indeed, “anyone could be elected president.”

Obama set the standard for political improbability. Eight years after that, though, another man smashed that standard to smithereens.

Donald John Trump Sr. had never sought public office. He had never devoted a minute of his adult life in service to the public. His entire life had been built with one goal: to enrich himself.

He was a huckster supreme. He sold us a bill of goods. He talked about his brilliant business acumen. Trump told us he would do for the country what he did for himself. He would make America great again. All by himself, too!

Well, this charlatan managed to capture enough Electoral College votes to defeat a profoundly more qualified candidate, former U.S. senator/secretary of state/first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Now he wants a second term as POTUS. I must ask this question: Is this clown going to fool us yet again?

Trump has managed to denigrate damn near every institution he has touched. He has hurled insults. Trump has tossed out innuendo after innuendo.

Trump has failed time and time again to demonstrate a shred of humanity. He lacks the basic elements of empathy. He cannot tell the truth at any level.

Donald Trump has proven without a doubt that in this country, “Anyone can be elected president.”

If this individual manages to win re-election in 2020, then we all must live with the truism we hear from time to time:

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Trump wasn’t kidding, apparently, about strength of his support

Many of us rolled our eyes in disbelief when Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump said he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue” and not lose any votes.

Sure, some Americans applauded. They laughed. They cheered. Others of us were, um, appalled.

Then the candidate got elected. Now the boast doesn’t seem quite so farfetched, given the strength of the president’s firewall in Congress against the amazing array of examples of his utter lack of character, his lack of decency, his disregard for the law, his ignorance of the U.S. Constitution.

Trump’s political base remains wedded to him at some level approaching 40 percent. They give him a pass as he tells Congress to stick where the sun doesn’t shine in search of answers to serious questions about whether the president obstructed justice. They stand and cheer this clown as he hurls juvenile insults at his foes.

They have shrugged as he called the late John McCain a “war hero only because he was captured” by the enemy during the Vietnam War; they laughed as he mocked a New York Times reporter’s physical disability; they didn’t care that he acknowledged groping women; the base didn’t flinch while he denigrated U.S. intelligence analysts’ view that Russians interfered in our 2016 election; they didn’t mind when he attached moral equivalence between Klansmen and Nazis to those who protested against them.

I could go on. You get my drift.

What was seen and heard as a preposterous assertion on the campaign trail no longer can be dismissed. Donald Trump rode that solid base of support to a victory no one saw coming. He is relying on that base now as he campaigns for re-election.

He has endorsed a hideous Twitter message that slanders House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, suggesting she is a drunk.

The base doesn’t care!

One of the many Democrats running for president this time, Pete Buttigieg, recently lamented how Republicans used to care about “character.” They no longer care about that.

They stand foursquare behind a president who lacks character at every level one can imagine.

Utterly amazing.

Isn’t an attack on our electoral system … an attack on U.S.?

I would have thought that a documented, proven attack by a foreign hostile power on our electoral system would produce an all-out, full-throttle, frontal assault on future attacks.

I must have been mistaken.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is going to prevent any consideration of election security measures by the Senate. McConnell, a Republican lawmaker, has taken aim at Democratic senators’ election security measures, calling them some sort of “Democrat protection” notion.

If we take the long view, we need to grasp what happened in 2016 and again in 2018. Russian government agents hacked into our electoral system. They interfered in our presidential election three years ago. They sought to help Donald Trump get elected president. Our nation’s top intelligence analysts have said the same thing: The Russians did it!

Why aren’t members of the House and Senate debating some measure to prevent this kind of electoral sabotage in the future?

I shudder to think that McConnell is running interference for the president who recently has referred to the 2016 attack as a “Russian hoax.”

What else am I going to conclude?

‘Chaos president’? Trump sees it as a compliment … maybe?

Jeb Bush told us during the 2016 Republican Party primary campaign for president that Donald Trump would govern under an aura of chaos.

Yep. He was right. Trump vanquished the GOP field bigly, then went on to eke out a victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The White House has become a place where sensibilities go to die. The president fights with the media, with Democrats, with Republicans who oppose him, with his national security team, the national intelligence network, our nation’s historic allies in North America and Europe.

I’m at the point of this individual’s term in office that I am considering tossing aside the word “chaos” to describe him and the manner he seeks to govern the nation. Why? I am beginning to believe that Trump sees the terms “chaos” or “chaotic” as endearments.

He likes governing this way. Is it possible that he sees chaos, confusion, controversy as his ticket to re-election?

That question is not as dumb/idiotic/moronic as you might think. You see, this president vowed to be an unconventional head of state when he won that Electoral College victory in 2016. Of all the promises he has made, this is one that he has kept in mega-spades.

He has fired no fewer than a half-dozen Cabinet officials; sure, some of ’em “resigned,” but we all know they were shoved out the door.

He changes his mind at the sound of the last person to whisper in his ear. He governs with his Twitter account. He makes pronouncements that serve as policy and doesn’t tell the “best people” he purportedly hired to surround him and give him the “best advice.”

Oh, but wait! This is the same guy who said during the campaign that he knows “more about ISIS than the generals.” Trump declared the Islamic State was “defeated” in Syria, only to watch as ISIS launched another terrorist attack.

I thought Jeb Bush’s prediction of a “chaos presidency” was correct. I also thought that it would frighten enough voters away to deny this clown the election as president of the United States.

Silly me. I was wrong. Jeb Bush was right, but it doesn’t matter to this guy that so many Americans are worried about the chaos he has brought to the White House.

Why should it bother him? It’s the way this nitwit rolls.

Barr on the hunt for clue to ‘witch hunt’?

Here we go again. U.S. Attorney General William Barr — reportedly/allegedly/supposedly acting on his volition — has hired a federal prosecutor to determine whether an illegal “spy” operation triggered the Robert Mueller probe into alleged collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russians who attacked our electoral system.

Do you believe with all your heart and soul that the AG acted on his own? Or that he will keep his mitts off the probe being conducted by the U.S. attorney from Connecticut? Or that this investigation will put the “witch hunt” diatribe from the president to rest?

Barr has given John Durham the task of determining whether illegal “spying” occurred during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign. Other senior officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, have said they have seen no evidence of any such monkey business. That’s not good enough for Barr, who happens to be Wray’s boss. He wants Durham to scour the evidence and make an independent determination.

This assignment bothers me for two reasons.

One is that Donald Trump is involved. Given that I don’t trust him as far as I can toss his 239-pound body, I consider the president to be wholly non-credible on anything, on any issue. I don’t believe a word that flies out of his mouth. He yammers about the Mueller probe being a “witch hunt,” although the AG himself has said he doesn’t believe that to be the case.

The other reason is that Barr also has been acting and sounding more like the president’s personal lawyer than the nation’s chief law enforcer. He filed that four-page “summary” of Mueller’s findings, only to be criticized by Mueller for failing to provide the full context of what Mueller and his team concluded.

So now he has turned John Durham loose to look for determine what others have concluded already, that the Obama administration didn’t “spy” on Trump’s campaign.

Let’s wait for what the prosecutor learns.¬† I fear another tempest may be brewing.

Mueller holds the key to Trump impeachment

It’s not yet clear whether the former special counsel, Robert Mueller, will talk openly and publicly to Congress about that investigation he conducted into The Russia Thing.

I surely want him to take an oath to tell the truth and then answer questions from House and Senate committees about how he arrived at his findings. He determined that Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign did not conspire to collude with Russians who attacked our electoral system. To borrow a quote from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: Case closed.

The other question involves obstruction of justice.

Here’s where I believe Mueller’s testimony could be the Mother of Game Changers as it regards Donald Trump.

Someone on a pertinent committee is going to ask Mueller — a top-notch lawyer and a former FBI director — this question: Did the president of the United States break the law by obstructing justice in the investigation into the Russian interference?

Mueller has said he could not file a formal complaint against the president of the United States, following Department of Justice guidelines. He did not “clear” Trump of any crime. Mueller merely said he couldn’t indict Trump because he is the president.

But the question is out there: Did the POTUS break the law?

There well could be a game of rhetorical gymnastics as Mueller tries to dodge the question. It might take an equally nimble senator or House member to flush the answer out of Mueller.

However, he if says “yes, the president broke the law,” then I believe we well might have grounds to impeach POTUS.

However, and this remains a huge caveat: Would such an admission by Robert Mueller actually shake Senate Republicans loose from Trump’s political vise grip to put the president in jeopardy if an indictment finds its way to the Senate, where the president would stand trial?

My hope would be that it would. My fear is that GOP cowardice would remain too strong to toss aside.

Sen. Burr becomes latest GOP ‘villain’

Richard Burr has become the latest villain du jour among his fellow Republican Party politicians.

How did the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman attract this label? All he did was subpoena Donald J. Trump Jr. to testify before his committee to talk about matters involving that nasty ol’ Russia matter involving Don Jr.’s father, the president of the United States.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared the Russia story is “closed.” He wants to move on. He wants the Senate to stop talking about it. He has declared that Donald Sr. has been cleared of collusion with Russians who attacked our election in 2016 as well as with obstruction of justice allegations that, well, are still out there.

Other GOP pols have declared their disgust, anger, outrage at Burr’s decision to summon Don Jr. to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Let me remind everyone of this fact: Sen. Burr is not running for re-election in 2022.

Burr was re-elected to a third Senate term in 2016, but that’s it. He’s now no longer looking for votes, nor is he tied to blind fealty of the Trump “base” of supporters that gets all riled at any mention by politicians who want to find out the whole truth about the way Trump campaigned for the presidency.

Yes, indeed. Lame-duck status does have this liberating effect on politicians.

Just keep saying it, Mr. POTUS; it’s still a lie

Donald Trump must believe in the theory that if you say something often enough — regardless of its fallacy — that people will eventually believe it to be true.

I refer to “no collusion, no obstruction,” the mantra of the moment for the president of the United States.

I am running out of ways to say this, but I’ll try it yet again.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month-long investigation into alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russians who hacked into our electoral system came up empty. Mueller didn’t find sufficient evidence of conspiracy to collude with the Russians. That particular case is closed.

I do get that. Honestly. I really do.

The obstruction matter is wide open. Mueller has said so. He said in his 448-page report, which Attorney General William Barr has let the world see, declares that Mueller’s team could not conclude that Trump and his campaign team did not obstruct justice; if they could have done so, they would have, Mueller said.

So, the obstruction issue remains an open — and quite inviting target — for Congress to pursue.

I’ve got some social media contacts who keep yapping at me because I won’t acknowledge that Mueller found no evidence of “obstruction.” One of those contacts actually is a friend of mine . . . who happens to be a Trumpkin. Hey, I still love my good buddy.

I regret, though, that he has bought into the Trump mantra of “no obstruction.”

To my dear friend and to others who happen to read these musings from me, I just need to reiterate for the umpteenth time: The case for obstruction of justice is far from being settled. Those 500 or so former federal prosecutors — who worked for Democratic and Republican administrations — all signed that letter that declared that had Trump not been president, he would have been indicted for obstruction of justice.

Let’s allow this matter to run its course.