Trump Reacts to the Impeachment Threat

Among other tidbits that have come out this morning is that the White House is talking to Corey Lewandowski about leading Trump’s impeachment defense team. I personally think they’d do better with a border collie. At least it seems to have occurred to them that Rudy Giiuliani probably isn’t the guy they need right now.

I continue to be amused at the depth of stupid coming out of the White House. As I wrote yesterday, Trump seems to have sincerely believed the notes on the phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky would exonerate him, but they most certainly didn’t. Then the White House tried to bluff and say the actual whistleblower complaint was not that big a deal, but then everybody got to read it. See also 5 key takeaways and allegations from the Trump whistleblower complaint and What we learned from Joseph Maguire’s testimony about the whistleblower complaint.

Now Trump wants to know who the whistleblower is, callling that person a “spy.”

“I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information because that’s close to a spy,” the president said. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”

Actually, Donald, you might want to be grateful that it’s really, really difficult to get a treason conviction under U.S. law.

The New York Times is reporting that the whistleblower is a CIA officer detailed to the White House. He or she appears to have witnessed at least some of was going on firsthand. Also,

The whistle-blower, who lodged his concerns with the inspector general for the intelligence community, has identified at least a half-dozen government officials — including several who work for the White House — who he believes can substantiate his claims. The inspector general has interviewed some of them and found the whistle-blower’s claims credible.

So chances are what the complaint says happened is what happened.

Trump’s other reaction, beyond a lot of self-pitying tweets, is that he was going to “end legislative work.” Not that he was doing any. Steve Benen wrote,

… as Roll Call reported, as the impeachment push against Donald Trump gets underway, his White House has “threatened to shut down work on major legislation.” …

…This followed a tweet from the president, who said Democrats in Congress “are so focused on hurting the Republican Party and the President that they are unable to get anything done.” He specifically complained about the lack of legislation on issues such as “gun safety” and the “lowering of prescription drug prices.”

The Democratic-led House has already passed bills on gun safety and lowering prescription drug prices. Both measures were sent to the Republican-led Senate, which has ignored these and other major legislative priorities. Indeed, the White House’s claim that Dems have focused “all their energy on partisan political attacks” is belied by a rather impressive list of legislative priorities the party has already passed.

But Team Trump’s confusion about recent events on Capitol Hill notwithstanding, the idea that the president is going to bring “legislative progress” to a halt is a difficult threat to take seriously.

One reason for that is that, as we all know, the House keeps passing bills that go to the Senate and die. And the only priority bill the House hasn’t passed is NAFTA 2.0, which is more Trump’s pet project that Congress’s.

Further, Trump has threatened to stop cooperating with the legislative process before. He made the same threat in January and again in May. Nobody cares any more.

Trump can’t defend himself because, as I argued yesterday, he doesn’t understand what he did wrong. He doesn’t understand why it’s a scandal for a president to ask a foreign head of state to investigate a political opponent. He doesn’t understand the concept of “honest,” as in “not lying or cheating.” He doesn’t know the Constitution from an artichoke. And he’s getting his advice from the likes of Corey Lewandowski and Sean Hannity.

Let the games begin.

22 thoughts on “Trump Reacts to the Impeachment Threat

  1. The GOP went after Bill Clinton for a BJ and Clinton's popularity went up. The trick of interpreting history is recognizing salient facts. The problem was NOT that the Senate failed to get a conviction. Bill didn't get a whizzer from a Russian spy – it was the illicit exchange of bodily fluids with a bimbo not the exchange of state secrets. 

    We're still not going to get a conviction in the Senate. Trump is going to be roasted in public with evidence that he can't suppress if US v Nixon still applies to an impeachment investigation. The facts will out and they DO affect citizens. I think we're gonna see the most cosmic individual meltdown in the history of the planet.

    This will look like Nixon on the way to the sanitarium.  

    Trump indicated today at the very least a wish that he could threaten with serious injury or prison the 'spy' who talked about his phone call. Trump didn't dispute the call – he wanted at the person who divulged Trump's misconduct. (Oh, yeah – they're lining up to work in the West Wing now that Trump is erecting mass gallows in the Rose Garden.)

    • Doug…I'm all for picturesque speech, but to refer to Monica Lewinsky as being a bimbo is a little over the top. She suffered tremendously in disproportion for the very human mistake she made. I'm not trying to moralize on you, but when you listen to what she went through and the price she paid for her mistake it's cruel to refer to her with any less dignity she's entitled to as a human being.

      https://www.ted.com/talks/monica_lewinsky_the_price_of_shame?language=en

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      • Swami – I don't know Monica Lewinsky but I read she promised she was going to score with Bill as soon as she got the appointment as a WH intern. Saving the dress with a stain as a trophy isn't exactly classy.  I blame Bill way more than I do Monica – he knew better but he let his richard do the thinking. 

        People change. I've read some of Lewinsky's stuff (writing as an adult) and she's very good. The English language doesn't have the fine discrimination in verbs to indicate by tense that Lewinsky was a floozy then, but she's grown from the experience. 

    • We’re still not going to get a conviction in the Senate.

      ya never know. Those Senators have to go home and face constitutents. I’ve read that Faux Noise is stumbling, they don’t know how to spin this. “Norman, cordinate!”

      The R’s didn’t flip on Nixon until the very end.

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      • Well, when you hear Nelly Orr's name come up in today's hearing you gotta know the GOP's programming of their members is pretty thorough.They have a bunch of bitter enders among their ranks, but hopefully no enough to save the bag of shit.

        The House  democrats should set up a weekly press briefing to replace the now discontinued White House press briefing to keep the press informed of all areas of impeachment inquiry. Everything they are looking at or could be looking at regardless of whether or not they seriously intend to include certain matters into formal impeachment articles. Throw a whole gauntlet of issues of wrongdoing out there just so the public gets a full understanding of the extent of Trump's criminality.

         I would suspect with a good saturation campaign geared for maximum exposure of Trump stonewalling it will eventually lead to Trump being  thoroughly vilified. Maybe even sprinkle the press room with some Jimmy Jeff  type characters( will we get to see the rape rooms?) just to spice up the atmosphere and engage Trump on his own terms of theater.

         If they don't take it to him full bore he might manage to slip away. They also need to hit Lewandowski with a contempt citation even if they think Barr won't act on it. The dynamic has changed now that Trump has destroyed any pretense that Barr isn't a Trump lackey.

  2. Floozy or fool?  That is the question.

    I don't know anybody but I know my dad was a republican all the way until he read the Nixon tapes.  He was a stickler about profanity, and that was his last straw.

      We're all nuts in our own way, that's what makes America great. 

     

  3. Trump wants to attack.  He is an old dog without new tricks.  Moreover his failing and tired body and brain cannot even perform the old tired tricks with much crowd appeal any more.  Sure he retains a fan base, but he is fading and failing.  If he could only see things with some level of objectivity he could have adjusted, but objectivity is not easily viewed from gilded and distorted surroundings.  It is way too easy, in a position of power, to surround yourself with deceptive lackeys that imitate and placate at least in appearance.  So the people you need to have a chance at objective reality have been purged by past attacks.  Now it is too late to adjust and redemption would require flexibility and a new trick or two at least.  On The Apprentice he had a production team to provide objectivity and to edit and correct.  Now he flies blind aided only by reality benders and sycophants. 

    Internationally populism is getting a bad reputation.  Wounds are picked open, salt is poured in to gain votes.  Empty promises and no solutions with a roller coaster ride of distraction and illusion only play to a limited audience for so long.  There is only so many masochists that thrive on the constant misery and despair.  The international political landscape is littered with populist failures.  You would think that with a label like populist it would be hard to lose popularity.  Times and tastes change though, and politicians seldom can.  The Trump's show is one lame rerun after another.  It is like a recurring Rocky Horror Picture Show at a drive inn theater. It does not belong there and you just don't want to see it one more time ever again.  

    Let's visit the truth for as long as we can stand it.  Someone  had to send an intelligence agent, (an agent with some intelligence?) or one just freelancing on the government payroll  into the White House to find out what was really going on in our foreign policy.  He filed a report to the proper channels and the acting chief of national intelligence panicked when he read it.  Why not. It came to him stamped credible and urgent from a member of his senior staff.  So, like a good temporary administrator in chief, he played "hot potato" with the report.  If he would have been in the loop, he would have known about this diplomatic abortion the White House was conducting with an international extortion scheme, taxpayer money,  government appropriations, and plans of a political hit job.  But he got caught with his pants down and not a clue this was going on.  It is not a good thing for the director of national intelligence not to know what is happening in even his own government.  That is about all the truth I can stand at the moment.  Someone else take if from there please.  It gets much longer and uglier.

  4. It should always be kept in mind that 50% of the American public is below average by definition. A worrisome bit of spin from the forces of Trumpness is that if the economy suffers a setback, it will be because impeachment has upset the markets, and by implication the country. It might give The Don some cover he wouldn't otherwise have had. It also plays into doubts a majority have about things like making private health insurance illegal.

     

    • So true, and 50% remain above average no matter what  reverse evolution does to the population.  The trend line does appear to be one toward idiocracy.  That's what you get when you have a number scale without a zero and based on a normal distribution.  You just have no way to know where the group as a whole is headed.  Right now we are all playing follow the biggest idiot, so that may skew the perception some. 

       

      • You've hit the larger point exactly. We're in completely unknown territory now, and will soon see how an American society saturated with corporate and propaganda newz reacts to real events.

  5. That Trump would have Lewandowski, a non-lawyer and thug, leading his impeachment defense team is telling.  First, the best lawyers who might provide an adequate defense under the circumstances don't want anything to do with him. 

    Secondly, Trump praised Lewandowski for his pugnacious, "testimony" before the House, which is probably what led to him having that clown lead the team.  But wingnut media like Fox and others Trump listens to for "news" won't play the last 30 minutes of the session when Lewandowski was grilled by staff attorney Barry Berke and forced to admit to his lies, among other key points.

    This is what democrats need to remember: Lewandowski and all these guys are great on TV, but put 'em under oath and watch the fool come out in them.

     

  6. One thing we can be absolutely positively sure of is that Trump WILL be impeached. Pelosi has 228 votes at this point to guarantee that articles of impeachment will be approved in the House.  Pelosi is saying she doesn't want to go hog wild with making Trump answer for every illegal act and wrong doing he has committed. She wants to keep it simple and focused so there is no confusion to cloud the issue. I agree with her on that point because offers the Senate Repugs very little wiggle room to shield Trump. Any cover they provide Trump will be at the expense of their own political security. Sorta like the old toast...Here's to you, and here's to me. I hope we never disagree, but if we do, to hell with you..So here's to me!

     As much as I like to see the bag of shit have to answer for every offence he's committed I'll be more than satisfied in knowing that Trump's legacy will be forever marred in disgrace.

    Pelosi has also said that she prays for Trump. She's praying that God will illuminate him. I know that they say that all things are possible for those who love the lord, but seems like a really tall order. Can God make a rock so big that even he can't move it?

     Who knows? Maybe for Trump's second inaugural ball instead of playing My Way for the first dance they'll be playing this… 

    • I don't want there to be a Trump second inaugural ball, although it could well happen. Trump would need to truly hit bottom – strip away all his "wealth", everything he holds dear – before any illumination could occur, and I'm sure he'd rather die first. He will certainly fight this like a cornered rat.

      Pelosi should instead be praying for those Senate Republicans, who privately would like to stand up to Trump but who fear their base. They need to find a way to finesse this.  We don't need all the Republicans to turn against Trump, only about 20 of them.

  7. I understand Pelosi wants to get and hold the attention of persuadable voters on a scandal they can understand. I do believe there's potentially more in Trump's taxes than anywhere else. If the inquiry gives access to Trump taxes, based on the precedent of Nixon's tax scandal, they should get them and consider the value of what's there. 

    There's the issue of timing. It doesn't matter who's ahead in November 2019 in the  polls. It matters who is ahead in the poll that matters in Nov 2020. If the impeachment fails in the Senate (likely), Trump will immediatly start to spin it and if he has a year to do so with nothing else substantial from the Democrats… I'm worried. 

    If Pelos thinks the strategy is to pull ahead now with the opportunity, OK. But what's the strategy for staying ahead? 

    • It will take a long time to get Trump's taxes, he and his flunkies will try to run out the clock in the courts. This could well extend past the 2020 election. It's also likely that understanding his finances will take a team of experts, which will provide many openings for the right to dispute and confuse.

      By contrast, Ukraine-gate (I hate sticking -gate on the end of every scandal, but it's a convenient shorthand) is very clear, and won't take long to get to the bottom of it, and get the impeachment process rolling. Pelosi's strategy is therefore simple:  force the Senate to vote, yes or no.

      • Re taxes: Read US v Nixon. We have an impeachment inquiry. There was a bunch of pussyfooting about what to call the investigations up until this week. US v Nixon just came into play and though Trump will oppose, it shouldn't take long for the Supreme Court to decide the precedent holds.

        If they don't ask while the impeachment hearing is underway, Trump can contest the demand lots of ways.

        • Yeah, They need to start playing hardball. I'm hearing that the investigating committees can charge recalcitrant witnesses with obstruction of an impeachment investigation. They need to subpoena all the actors who are claiming executive privilege to withhold testimony when it clearly doesn't apply and then charge them if they continue in their obstruction.

          Lewandowsky made a clear case of what the committees are up against. And they need to crush that element. Barr is their only protection and he should be effectively out of the picture because Trump incriminated him in his Ukraine shakedown attempt.

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  8. Why not this?  Since Pence is probably in this up to his neck too, give the Senate the option to convict both.  The legislative branch is then in charge, and Pelosi is President until the election.  Then we can all get a good nights sleep for a change.  If the senate opts to delay, they keep the ace in the hole and enough power to keep the executive branch in check until the election.  It is a win, win strategy.  Works for me.  

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    • I suspect that the Democrats would rather run against Trump's Flunky Pence next year than put Pelosi — who is radioactive on the Right — in the White House and possibly run against an untarnished Republican — Romney? Kasich? Weld? — Next year. 

  9. If Trump was removed by the Senate (unlikely) and his popularity in the GOP held (likely) – they would still run Trump in 2020. There's nothing that says impeachment is permanent.  Democrats are running against Trump in 2020 unless Trump's approval rating in the GOP drops below 50%.

    • “There’s nothing that says impeachment is permanent.” That hadn’t occurred to me, but you’re right. There’s no precedent for what a president removed from office might do. In theory an impeached-and-removed Trump could run again in 2020, and the Republicans, in theory, could nominate him.

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