No Justice, No Freedom

If there will ever be justice for the violations of the Trump Administration, part of that will include William Barr spending the rest of his sorry ass life in a deep, dark hole. I’d call for a firing squad if I weren’t a Buddhist. So the deep, dark hole will have to do.

It was on the advice of Barr’s Justice Department that the Director of National Intelligence refused to pass on a properly filed whistleblower complaint to the intelligence committees in Congress, as required by law. It’s because of Barr’s Justice Department that Corey Lewandowski could get away with being openly contemptuous of the House Judiciary Committee, sneeringly refusing to answer questions and generally behaving like a bratty eight-year-old. He should have been charged with contempt, but he knew William Barr would never prosucute him. Ditto for all the people who have refused to answer subpoenas.

The whistleblower and Lewandowski episodes are related, according to Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare:

What links the Lewandowski testimony to the new whistleblower issue? They both involve allegations of outrageous presidential behavior. And they both feature aggressive efforts by the administration to impede congressional inquiry into those allegations by using claims of executive branch confidentiality. If Congress is to engage the current moment remotely effectively, it needs to think about them together.

In one case—that of Lewandowski—the Mueller report spells out with exquisite precision what the allegations consist of. In the other case, that of the whistleblower, we don’t know precisely what the allegation is, though the contours of the complaint are beginning to take shape. We know that the inspector general of the intelligence community regarded the whistleblower as credible and the matter as raising an issue of “urgent concern.” And thanks to the Washington Post, we know some other stuff as well: that the whistleblower is an intelligence community employee who was working in the White House, that the matter concerns the conduct of President Trump, that it involves a promise of some kind to a foreign leader, and that it involves specifically a call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.

There is much speculation that the whistleblower is former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who was either fired on resigned on July 28; or else it was former deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon, who resigned on August 8. That was the same day Trump announced that Joseph Maguire, the current director who sat on the whistleblower report, would be the new DNI.

At this point, the story is that in the July 25 phone call, Trump pressured Zelensky to dig up dirt on Joe Biden that Trump could use in his re-election campaign. Trump was sitting on $250 million in military aid to Ukraine that was allocated by Congress, and it’s presumed release of the funds was to be payment for the dirt. Threat of a bipartisan censure inspired Trump to finally release the funds ten days ago.

The particular dirt appears to relate to the time Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden spent on the board of a Ukranian energy company, which I wrote about a few months ago. Unless there is more to the story I don’t know, there doesn’t appear to be a real scandal there, but it’s the sort of thing that could easily be spun to look scandalous. And it appears Trump wanted Ukraine to help him with the spinning in exchange for the $250 million.

The next matter for consideration is, how badly did Trump screw up here? Tom Nichols:

The president of the United States reportedly sought the help of a foreign government against an American citizen who might challenge him for his office. This is the single most important revelation in a scoop by The Wall Street Journal, and if it is true, then President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office immediately….

…As the Ukrainian Interior Ministry official Anton Gerashchenko told the Daily Beast when asked about the president’s apparent requests, “Clearly, Trump is now looking for kompromat to discredit his opponent Biden, to take revenge for his friend Paul Manafort, who is serving seven years in prison.”


If this in itself is not impeachable, then the concept has no meaning. Trump’s grubby commandeering of the presidency’s fearsome and nearly uncheckable powers in foreign policy for his own ends is a gross abuse of power and an affront both to our constitutional order and to the integrity of our elections.

The story may even be worse than we know. If Trump tried to use military aid to Ukraine as leverage, as reporters are now investigating, then he held Ukrainian and American security hostage to his political vendettas. It means nothing to say that no such deal was reached; the important point is that Trump abused his position in the Oval Office.

Yes, lots of threats to the constitutional order, in the actions of Donald Trump, aided and abetted by William Barr. Our constitutional order has been helpless to function in the face of people, including Mitch McConnell, who simply refuse to follow it. Donald Trump is immune from everything because he is president. He doesn’t have to answer to anybody because he is president. He can order people who never even worked for the government to not respond to subpoenas, call it “executive privilege,” and Barr will back him up. Because he is president. He can openly accept money from Saudis and divert the military to spend money at his bleeping Scottish golf resort because he is the bleeping president. And nobody can touch him, because Mitch McConnell controls the Senate and Bill Barr controls the Justice Department. They should all spend the rest of their miserables lives in a deep, dark hole.

Next: Suspending the Bill of Rights (except for the 2nd Amendment, of course). Why not? If you can ignore any of the Constitution at will, why not just ignore the whole thing?

And Nancy Pelosi still refuses to consider impeachment.

At Slate, Tom Scocca suggests that somebody should do something.

After seeing the events of the past few days, in the light of the events of the days before those, in relation to the events that took place in the weeks, months, and years before that, I am strongly considering writing something that would address the question of whether Nancy Pelosi is bad at her job. If I did, I would argue that the House of Representatives, under Pelosi’s leadership, has come to function as a necessary complement to the corruption and incompetence of President Donald Trump—that a lawless presidency can only achieve its fullest, ripest degree of lawlessness with the aid of a feckless opposition party, which the Democrats are eager to provide.

My editor thinks that I should write this article. I understand that in a week when one of the president’s most dedicated flunkies went before Congress to openly sneer at the idea that he should answer questions, making a show of obstructing what was supposed to be an investigation into obstruction of justice—a week now ending with reports, confirmed by the president’s jabbering ghoul of a lawyer on television, that the president tried to force a foreign country to act against the Democrats’ leading presidential candidate—there is good reason to feel that something needs to be written. It is certainly the sort of situation that someone could write about: the opposition party sitting on its hands and issuing vague statements of dismay while the entire constitutional order is revealed to be no match for the willingness of a president and his enablers to break the law.

Yes, it is certainly that sort of situation. We should be doing something.


22 thoughts on “No Justice, No Freedom

  1. Maha, you are writing what I have been thinking . The Democrats have been in office for almost a year now and nothing has been accomplished.  The mango Mussolini has gone from bad to worse. Rule of law is evaporating. Disinformation and propaganda rule public discourse.

    Jabbering ghoul is back. Remember last year when trump got scared of Mueller. And Giuliani was sent out to hammer nonsense daily , deny, admit,then claim it didn't matter. That went on for7 to 8 months. Once Sessions was out and Barr coming in , study's smoke and mirrors show was not needed. Barr drowned the report,no one read it, and trump felt unleashed. So rinse repeat. Pelosi wrings her hands and talks about need for facts AGAIN. We don't need zero witnesses zero testimony and zero documents. We need a functioning government. It is not a game a movie or a tv show. Not about winning a prize or sticking it to an opponent. And no 40 percent it is not about political correctness versus fuck your feelings.

    We are about to lose our political system in favor of corruption and authoritarianism and propaganda.

    White men wrote the constitution. All the rest of us counted on it living up to it's principles. Who will stand for it now?

    Pelosi is 3rd in line. It is time for her to lead . she may be able to count votes but is she able rally the support needed for the task ahead? The house is on fire. There is no more time to dither.

  2. It's funny how the human mind works. Sometimes we retreat into fantasy to assuage our fears. I find that I've been engaging in fantasy, a plausible fantasy, but none the less a fantasy. I'm fantasizing that Pelosi and Nadler are working a good cop/ bad cop routine concerning the impeachment of Trump where they drag out the conflict between them until just up to the beginning of the presidential campaign.

    Then Pelosi reluctantly concedes, against her better political judgment to draw up articles of impeachment knowing that the Senate repugs will band together to cover Trump's criminal behavior regardless of the damage they will do to the foundation of our democracy. I imagine that Pelosi articulates in the strongest terms possible exactly what is at stake and what the lasting damage will be for future generations if those Senators given the responsibility to safeguard our democracy fail to act in accordance with what is true and proper.

      And that the American people will be their judge if they put their allegiance to party and big money donors over those of the established  values of the American people. There will be a price to be paid by those whose adherence to naked power prevails over sacred principles.    

    I don't know if my fantasy will ever come to be, but it sure is nice to think that the big bag of shit could get run out of office in disgrace…and get prosecuted to boot. Oh, I wish! I can almost taste it.

  3. Lewandowski didn't get over..He showed the American public exactly what an asshole he really is.. He tried copying Trump's obnoxious style, but without laying the ground work for an image to support it. He came off as a complete asshole. Especially when you saw the look on his face when he got caught flatfooted in  his lie.. A jerk who lacks substance. Or a clever retort.

     a mini bag of shit!

  4. In theory, congress has the inherent contempt power to jail or fine individuals who obstruct the actions of congress, so the house can technically bypass Barr. Of course, if they actually used that power no doubt it would get appealed all the way up to Trump's stacked supreme court, even though the legal questions on the topic were apparently settled almost a century ago.

    The house of Representatives also has the power of the purse, which they also seem reluctant to use- probably because they don't want to get blamed for shutting down the government, which is probably the inevitable end result of any significant disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over how the budget gets spent.  Still, it has traditionally been one of the carrots/sticks used to enforce congressional power against the executive.

    However, the obvious conclusion one comes to is that Democratic leadership doesn't want to do anything about the current situation because they think it will help them win in 2020.  And while there probably is some merit to that argument, what it misses is that this isn't a static situation- the lawbreaking is going to get worse and worse, up to and including whatever election fraud that it takes for Trump to stay in office and keep his immunity from prosecution.  Not that impeachment of Trump, Barr, or any of the other abusers of our democracy would be a guarantee against further crimes. But, like the smart guy said- continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.


  5. If Biden was worth 250 million, we have to wonder how much Trump will pay to get rid of Warren or Sanders. There will be enough countries in the world saying "pick me, pick me" for him to have no problem coming up with enough bogus scandals to take out the whole Democratic field, all paid for with taxpayer dollars. Once he has us down to Marianne Williamson as our candidate, he'll start in on our top senators and representatives until finally we have the Democratic Party he wants us to have.

  6. The realities of impeachment haven't changed much. There are now a majority of House Democrats who favor it, but most from swing states and some prominent Democrats like Elijah Cummings still oppose. Also, there are so many reasons to impeach there's no consensus on specific charges.

    It's possible Joe Biden will still be the biggest loser in the Ukraine scandal even if Hunter isn't guilty of anything. Another old white man who's big on nepotism isn't a good look. Neither is Joe wagging his finger in the faces of reporters while sounding cranky.


  7. The last hope I'm clinging to, is that Nancy Pelosi is playing 11th Dimensional Chess and that, at the same time, she, herself, is playing "hard to get," in order to better position the impeachment hearings just in time for for the 2020 election.

    Yeah, I know.

    The chance of that going on is between slim and none, and Slim left the US for another country that's still a representative democracy.

    The present situation  leads me to believe that America is well on its way to morphing into a Fascist Authoritarian regime – and a Theocratic and apartheid one at that!

    Nancy, IMPEACH THE ORANGE MFER!!!  NOW!!!!!!!!!!

    If you don't, you'll be helping to depress the Democratic and Independent voters in 2020!

    Who wants to vote for a party of chickenshits, who won't stand up to the most lawless president in our history?

  8. Hahaha hahaha hahaha you fucking democrats make me laugh. Listen to the shit you spit out , you sound deranged . 

    So just fucking get over being ignorant and learn something for yourself instead of listening to every other deranged fool .


  9. I underestimate Trump on a daily basis. The ploy to draw Biden's son into a scandal is brilliant. Hunter Biden took a job with a Ukranian energy company for huge bucks which Hunter was in no way qualified for. It wasn't illegal and there's no evidence the Obama administration was influenced by the attempted bribe.

    The "scandal" is greed, pure and simple, by an adult who is family to a major candidate and Joe Biden will defend the "legal" activities of his son. Thereby validating what the Trump family is doing in self-dealing by using their political power to enrich themselves.

    Those of us who despise what Trump stands for have an almost irresistible compulsion to defend Hunter in order to attack Trump. By defending the corrupt (in appearance) graft, we play right into Trump's hands by creating excuses from the highest levels of Democratic candidates for actions the Trump kids are certain to be accused of (possibly charged for) in the future.

    The solution is for the public and candidates to NOT defend Hunter. Call Hunter out for the lack of integrity and the corrupt appearance created by pure greed – not turning down "free money" that will cost his father the presidency. And it SHOULD cost Joe Biden the presidency if Joe won't call out his son for the wrong (however legal) evil of giving in to the temptation of easy money.

    Either way, wrong is wrong, regardless of who does it and we need to stand for principles, not party. Get big money out of politics. What Hunter did SHOULD be illegal. There are only two candidates for president who see that and are capable of discussing laws to make Hunter's activities illegal in the future. (Joe's not one of them.)

    • I'd be real happy if Joe said, " What Hunter did isn't illegal. It should be!" Until Joe says that, or it's equivalent rejection of the appearance of pay-to-play, I will hang the Hunter scandal around Joe's neck in social media. 

      Liz or Bernie are the options to Joe and either one of them can see what's wrong with this picture.

        • Not to intentionally disparage a democrat contender for the presidency.

           But Biden looks weathered and doesn't have an air of sharpness about him. I have doubts that he can go the distance.

          I'm still hoping that Corey Booker can pick his numbers. There is a quality about him and the values he upholds that I see as important for the betterment of America.

          A Warren/Booker ticket would be just the ticket.

  10. What's with these Trump supporters?  I know they're angry, but this is ridiculous.

    One of Florida's finest? 

    Not for nothing, but have you ever gotten a whiff of a camel on a hot summers day? That's about the last place I'd be parking my face. Reminds me of the time I went to the Long Island game farm and saw my first yak..Made me realize the gravity of the expression..You smell like a yak!

  11. So what is the problem here? He raised his right hand and solemnly swore that he would EXECUTE the office of President. He wanted to EXECUTE the Central Park Five also. Why impeach him for doing what he swore he would do? 

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