The Halifax Forum, occurring just after President Donald Trump unleashed yet another petulant tirade against Germany and France that culminated in the unseemly taunt that Parisians were speaking German until the U.S. intervened in World Wars I and II, had a funereal feel this year. Allies are grieving the loss of an America they believed in, as it sinks in that they cannot rely on us any longer. …
…Itâ€™s not just that allies donâ€™t believe the reassuring voices in the administration; they are tired of tuning in to the malicious circus of American politics and policies. Theyâ€™re exhausted with our solipsism and drama, and disappointed with our indifference to anyone elseâ€™s problems and politics. They are resigning themselves to a world without American inspiration or partnership, to a post-American international order.
The Americans present at the conference pointed to policy successes, like the establishment ofÂ natoâ€™s 30-30-30 rapid-deployment forces, U.S. troops deploying to Poland, reconstituting the Second Fleet to patrol the Atlantic, and integral U.S. participation inÂ natoâ€™s biggest military exercise since the end of the Cold War. But allies are getting tired of hearing it. Not only were those successes overshadowed by Trumpâ€™s offensive behavior, the incandescence of his public rage called into question whether the United States would come to the defense of its allies in a crisis.
The decibel level of mean-spiritedness coming from the highest levels of American government is deafening our friends to our better selves. Allies believe they are witnessing something they never expected to behold, and which endangers both their security and our own: the United States putting an end to the American order. Word came through during the Forum thatÂ natoÂ will not be holding a 70th-anniversary celebration, because the president of the United States cannot be trusted not to bring the temple down upon all our heads. That was the dirge played in Halifax.
The world might be relieved if a “normal” person is elected in 2020, but after this debacle the U.S. will no longer occupy a unique leadership position. Our political system elected Donald Trump and has allowed him to remain in office for two years. Even if he is removed from office next year, the damage is done.
At least, now that The Creature has turned in his “answers” to Bob Mueller, and Democrats are about to take over the House, maybe finally the abomination that is the Trump Administration will finally break apart.Â Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general, teaches constitutional law at UC San Diego and UCLA and writes for the Los Angeles Times:
The actual charges are likely to be one of three criminal conspiracies: violating federal election laws, violating computer laws, or soliciting or receiving something of value from a foreign government. Charges, in other words, that not even the most ardent Trump die-hard could trivialize. They bring with them the possibility that Mueller might opt to name President Trump himself as an unindicted co-conspirator.
In case you missed this:
Look first for an indictment against radio commentator Jerome Corsi, who told the world last week that after several months of his cooperating with the probe, Mueller has informed him that he will be charged with â€œsome form of lyingâ€ to the Mueller team.
Corsi, often identified in news reports as an associate of Roger Stone, is supposed to be in plea negotiations now.
Back to Harry Litman — I believe Rachel Maddow and others have pointed this out.
Another augury of blockbuster developments: Mueller last week filed a statement in the District of Columbia court that is overseeing the case of Manafort, who awaits sentencing on his tax and fraud conviction. Mueller requested a 10-day delay in submitting a status report on the ground that the later report would â€œbe of greater assistanceâ€ to the courtâ€™s work determining what sentence Manafort deserves. Muellerâ€™s request strongly suggests that weâ€™ll soon see important additional information bearing on the value of Manafortâ€™s cooperation, up to and including a potential role as a key witness in a soon-to-be-unveiled criminal case.
The whole point of the enormous pressure Mueller brought to bear against Manafort was to shake loose information about persons above him in the food chain. Those are very few, arguably only Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner or Trump himself (who we know believes that Manafort could incriminate him).
Finally, Muellerâ€™s team is scheduled to file a long-delayed court memorandum Dec. 4, laying out its view of the value of the cooperation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty more than a year ago to lying about his contacts with a Russian official.
Litman believes that Mueller and his team have months of investigating yet ahead of them. However, “it is increasingly likely that the full contours of his inquiry will be sketched out and known to the public by yearâ€™s end.”
So, there’s a chance it won’t be much longer before the pressure of Mueller’s “inquiry” and House investigations will finally dismantle what’s left of Trump. But the old world order isn’t going to be restored.