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What the Conservatives are saying - the T faithful, the Quiet Bulwarks, and Rogues - Amash, Conway

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#1

I like checking out the various points-of-view. We are all entrenched in our own bias, however thoughtful, but it might be useful to check what the ‘other’ camps are saying.

Thanks @Turingtest for opening up some windows on those sources (and not the INFOWARS/Fox News kind) but the Bulwark “very polite and calm” area for conservative journalists to write about issues (Bill Kristol - nyt).

We’ve seen that George Conway III has ignited a tweet storm to combat what seems to most of an unhinged, spurious, deceitful, petty and insane president. Now Rep Amash is giving up some Republican beachhead, but coming out for more impeachment investigations. I hardily agree with these guys as they have their “come to Jesus” moment so-to-speak.

We may never see the R’s give up any ground, and the Dems/Independents are facing a mighty fight for their implacable stances…they hold the ultimate power for impeachment, but they could make a majority of Americans mad enough that they lose their seats (wishful thinking.) But so much is at stake here…the future of our Democracy…it would be great if we could rise out of this quagmire T has ditched us in.

I looked on The Bulwark tonight and yes, they agree that T should be afraid of how Mueller presented his facts today…and it was not ‘case closed.’ (you know T’s tweet - no need to bother repeating it here)

  1. Mueller made clear that, contra William Barr’s early assertions, his office relied heavily on Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.

The very first summary we got of the Mueller report was back in March, when attorney general William Barr sent a letter to Congress offering a brief synopsis of the report’s central findings. In that report, Barr made three assertions: First, that Mueller had not uncovered sufficient evidence to charge the Trump campaign with complicity in Russian efforts to meddling in the 2016 election; second, that Mueller had declined to offer a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” about whether the president had criminally obstructed the investigation; third, that he, Barr, had then made that decision for Mueller and concluded that the evidence did not establish that the president had committed obstruction.

In explaining that decision, Barr made this crucial claim: “Our determination was made without regard to, and is not based on, the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting president.”

At a press conference on the day of the report’s release, he added the following: “Although the deputy attorney general and I disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law, we did not rely solely on that in making our decision. Instead, we accepted the special counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis and evaluated the evidence as presented by the special counsel in reaching our conclusion.”

The subsequent release of the report cast Barr’s gloss into serious doubt, doubt that Mueller’s statement confirmed as justified. Simply put, it cannot possibly be true both that Barr “accepted the special counsel’s legal framework for purposes of our analysis” and that his determination not to charge Trump with obstruction was made “without regard to … the constitutional considerations that surround the indictment and prosecution of a sitting president.” In his statement, Mueller took great pains to explain that his office had relied heavily on the constitutional considerations in question.

In the days following the April release of the redacted Mueller report, the attorney general was frequently accused of behaving as a Trump partisan, in part for the reasons listed above. Some Democrats, like House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, insisted for weeks that Barr could not be trusted with those redactions, and have used every procedural tool to extract the complete text of the report from the Department of Justice, subpoenaing the full report and eventually voting in committee to hold Barr in contempt. A New York Times editorial last month put the case thus:

The Trump administration—based on its pattern of dishonest conduct in office—simply cannot be trusted to be straight with the nation about what parts of the report need to remain concealed from public view… Nor can the public depend on the word of Mr. Trump’s handpicked attorney general, who has a long history of trying to muffle Republican scandals and whose view of executive branch authority is alarmingly broad.

These worries were seemingly amplified when it was later reported that Mueller had been frustrated with Barr’s handling of the report’s rollout.

But while Mueller contradicted some of Barr’s narratives in his Wednesday statement, he also took pains to say those particular concerns had been overblown. “At one point in time I requested that certain portions of the report be released; the attorney general preferred to make the entire report public all at once,” he said. “We appreciate that the attorney general made the report largely public, and I certainly do not question the attorney general’s good faith in that decision.”

  1. Mueller punctured a ubiquitous Trumpworld talking point about his report: That the very idea that Trump could have obstructed justice was laughable, since he had not committed the underlying crime of conspiracy.

This is one we’ve heard constantly from Trump and his allies: That all along the investigation was just a partisan witch hunt, a fishing expedition, so how could you blame the president for taking deliberate steps to bring it to an end? In his own aforementioned press conference, Barr made this argument fairly explicitly:

In assessing the president’s actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context… As he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion. And as the special counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.

But in his remarks Wednesday, Mueller reminded the country that there was underlying criminal activity that he had been appointed to investigate: The Russian government’s deliberate efforts to subvert American democracy by meddling in the election. Such efforts “needed to be investigated and understood,” Mueller said, “and that is among the reasons why the Department of Justice established our office.”

Crucially, Mueller argued that the obstruction investigation was specifically necessary because of how important the investigation into Russian meddling had been. “The matters we investigated were of paramount importance. It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation, or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.”

The work the special counsel was doing, in other words, was important to the health of the nation. The fact that Trump didn’t like it did not outweigh this fact.


#2

Here’s Rep Justin Amash banging his own drum…he does not like what he sees. Is he going to continue to be squashed or is going to get some traction?

Then there is the Trump realpolitik: Nearly the entire incentive structure of Republican politics now pushes elected officials towards acquiescence. If you want to be relevant or have influence . . . or matter at all in conservative politics these days, you have to go along.

Once the bargain has been struck, there is no going back. After a while what was grudging becomes habit and morphs into a culture. So, Republicans have gone from biting their tongues to full-throated MAGA cheerleading. But Amash:

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Rep. Justin Amash is a lonely man in Congress, the sole Republican to back Donald Trump’s removal from office. But back home on Tuesday night, the Michigan lawmaker got the red-carpet treatment in his first face-to-face encounter with voters since his call for impeachment.

During a packed town hall in Grand Rapids, attendees in the mostly-friendly audience gave Amash several standing ovations and heaps of praise for his solo rebellion against Trump.

“I don’t agree with many of your stances, but I applaud your courage and your morality that seems to be lacking in [Washington]. So thank you,” said one woman in the crowd, drawing cheers from the audience.

Does this matter? He’s just a lone voice. But maybe it does, because it creates a counter-narrative: there is political life after independence.

Meanwhile, Amash is drawing attention for making a stronger case for impeachment than the Democrats. If you haven’t read yesterday’s tweet storm, it’s well worth your time.

And just gets better. Read the whole thing.


#3

#4

High crimes and misdemeanors can make for strange bedfellows… .


#5

And snarky… .


#6

T reveals that he’s very aware Russia helped him…and it has not gone unnoticed…even from the Right and the media.:boom:


#7

Made duplicate…!!!


#8

William Cohen, former Secretary of Defense and R Senator tries to encourage other R’s to take on the Impeachment process.

Impeachment is an extraordinary political remedy under the Constitution. The democratic process by which we elect a president is defined by passion and partisanship, but any effort to remove that leader is likely to be unsuccessful if it is similarly motivated. As an English lord chancellor once wrote, “The power of impeachment ought to be, like Goliath’s sword, kept in the temple, and not used but on great occasions.”
All who are elected or appointed to high office are fiduciaries of the public trust. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo once described the standard of a fiduciary’s conduct to be “something stricter than the morals of the marketplace. Not honesty alone, but the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive.”

With the exception thus far of Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Republicans have taken the position that Mueller’s redacted report has resolved all issues of alleged presidential collusion with the Russians and obstruction of justice. Case closed.


#9

"

There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere," Boehner, a Republican himself, said.


#10

#11

Citing this piece from Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare which was linked on The Bulwark…asking Dems not to violate norms by wanting to indict the sitting President or prosecute him. It is an interesting point since many of us want to throw the book at him…but how to do that.

Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi have suggested he needs to be in jail and prosecuted…(which I agree with…)

But which is the best way to get him out…

Get him impeached - but only achieving that halfway, since the Senate will never vote for it.

Get the Impeachment investigation going so Dems have more muscle to get docs that they need and can subpoena with more ease and can expose more wrong doing?

Or just plain make look like such a fool - embarrass him, expose his weaknesses and hopefully make it impossible for him to win another term.

She refrained from chanting, “Lock Him Up!”—for which I suppose we should be grateful.

Harris is not the only prominent Democrat to have dipped her toes in these dangerous waters. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reportedly said recently that she didn’t want to see Trump impeached, she wanted to see him jailed. We can expect others to weigh in over the coming weeks as well.

Paul Rosenzweig is fond of saying that you don’t protect norms by violating norms. And with the president so flagrantly and consistently abusing basic expectations regarding the non-politicization of law enforcement, it is tempting to be tolerant when Democrats—or Republicans, for that matter—return the favor in some small measure. But declaring someone guilty of crimes, as Pelosi reportedly did, and saying that as president you would supervise that person’s prosecution, as Harris did, is poisonous stuff in a democracy that cares about apolitical law enforcement. It’s poisonous to a society that believes in a presumption of innocence. It’s poisonous to a society that believes in limiting the relationship between political actors—including the president—and the deployment of the coercive powers of the state against individuals. A presidential candidate’s promising a law enforcement outcome against an individual should be unacceptable—even to those who fervently wish to see Trump in the defendant’s chair in federal court.


#12

Conservative radio host Michael Savage of “Savage Nation” radio show was once a favorite of T’s but now he is an outlier. Savage is interviewed about the way T has been handling his job and how he hasn’t fulfilled his campaign promises - ie wall, immigrants etc.

Some interesting comments from those Conservative Media people who have broken with T - Ann Coulter who unto herself is a large bag of ugly words, but the fall out from some circles is happening…

Note: Brett Baier was condemned this am…by T T condemns Fox and Baier re: Polls 6.18.19

In January 2011, four and a half years before Donald Trump glided down the escalator at Trump Tower and began a campaign for the White House that few conservatives were taking seriously, Michael Savage invited him on the radio and declared that he had found a president. It was their first interview.

Mr. Savage isn’t as well known or as widely listened to as heavyweight conservative talk show hosts like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. But his early backing of Mr. Trump helped the candidate build a bridge to the millions of people in his “Savage Nation” audience who identify with the host’s nationalist beliefs, a worldview he sums up in his unofficial motto: “Borders, language, culture.”

Now Mr. Savage is an outlier once again, dismayed more each day as the budget deficit continues to swell, thousands of new migrants are apprehended at the border, and the wall Mr. Trump promised to erect and make Mexico pay for remains unbuilt.

Read my lips: no new immigrants,” Mr. Savage said one recent day, taking a swipe at what he says is just one of the president’s major unfulfilled promises.

Still, in the world of conservative media, where questioning the president’s greatness can be an apostasy that tanks ratings and ends careers, Mr. Savage is taking a major risk. His views aren’t widely shared among conservatives, though they do represent a small crack in the foundation of Trump loyalists who are not buying the president’s “Promises made, promises kept” motto.

Mr. Savage, 77, was surprised there wasn’t more second-guessing that day. “I don’t think they care very much about issues,” he said of his listeners, with a hint of disappointment. “They’ll vote for him no matter what because he’s not ‘them.’ I think it’s come down to ‘them’ or ‘us.’”

Mr. Trump once said his political base was so rock solid that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters.” He may have had a point. While public polling has consistently shown that the majority of Americans disapprove of how he handles his job, the percentage of Americans who think he is doing a good job has been relatively stable — though still a minority.

Mr. Savage, a former member at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, embodies the contradictions of much of the president’s base. He insists “I’m no Benedict Arnold,” and will still vote for Mr. Trump in 2020 despite his misgivings because there is no Democratic candidate he could imagine supporting.

But he has no plans to pull his punches when it comes to the president. Mr. Savage believes his words have already cost him access to Mr. Trump, whom he has not spoken to since the White House Hanukkah party in December.

They keep pushing me away because they don’t like what in their mind is not 100 percent sycophantic behavior,” he said.

His bridges to the Trump White House are not as scorched as those of Ann Coulter, who has accused the president of lying about his pursuit of funding for the border wall and attacked him as “a shallow, narcissistic con man.” But Ms. Coulter said she believed there were far more people like her and Mr. Savage who are dismayed. They are just less willing to speak up.

A lot of wingers are desperately hanging on to Trump as flotsam in a tsunami,” Ms. Coulter said in an interview. “So loads of Trumpsters are beside themselves — but almost none of them will say so publicly. I think the issue is: How many voters, who voted for Obama, or didn’t vote, and then came out to vote for Trump, are done with him?”


#13

From tonight’s rally in Florida…“The T faithful”