Looks Like a Watershed to Me

So much has happened these past three days that every time I try to blog about it, the situation changes before I finish. It’s been an interesting week. What might happen next?

Here is as good a one-paragraph summation as I can find, courtesy of Josh Marshall:

We are seeing what started as a whistleblower complaint about pressure on Ukraine expand into something much larger. President Trump was trying to coerce Ukraine to intervene in the 2020 election or lose critically needed military aide in its slow motion battle with Russia. Now we see that Attorney General Bill Barr has been making the rounds of the world pressuring allied governments to embrace conspiracy theories about bad actors in the US government plotting against President Trump. They are also pursuing theories that Russia was framed for the 2016 interference campaign.

See also ‘A presidency of one’: Key federal agencies increasingly compelled to benefit Trump:

As the impeachment drama has unfolded over the past week, a series of disclosures has illuminated President Trump’s command over key federal agencies, revealing how he has compelled them to pursue his personal and political goals, investigate his enemies and lend legitimacy to his theories about the 2016 election.

The Justice Department has prioritized a probe that the president hopes will discredit a finding by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help him win. As part of that effort, Attorney General William P. Barr has met overseas with foreign intelligence officials to enlist their aid in “investigating the investigators,” as the right’s rallying cry goes, and dig into the president’s suspicions.

The State Department, meanwhile, has been investigating the email records of as many as 130 current and former department officials who sent messages to the private email account of Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and Trump’s 2016 opponent. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defied Congress on Tuesday by attempting to block the depositions of five department employees called to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

Going back to Josh Marshall’s post — if you dig deep enough, what comes out of all this isn’t just an attempt to get retribution for Trump. It’s also an attempt to exonerate Russia.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is saying he and Trump have never been close. Make of that what you will.

The presentation of the State Department Inspector General to key congressional committee members and staffers turned out to be a bunch of unclassified and long-debunked conspiracy theories sorted into Trump hotel folders, according to Sen. Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This appeears to have been part of a project of the Secretary of State. I’m not sure why this was supposed to be a big bleeping deal, but maybe we’ll find out. Sen.Menendez said,

“These documents provide further evidence of a concerted, external effort to conduct a disinformation campaign against a career U.S ambassador, who has been the subject of baseless attacks, including by the President himself.

“We also need to understand Secretary Pompeo’s role, given that it appears that he discussed these documents with at least one of his top aides and that the documents were distributed at the highest levels of the State Department.

“As I called for earlier today, Secretary Pompeo must recuse himself from any decision making related to the Trump-Ukraine scandal.

“We cannot afford to be distracted by false information. We must ensure the American people have a full accounting of how President Trump and Secretary Pompeo leveraged the tools of foreign policy for political gain.”

Trump is losing it. Today he had an epic meltdown in a joint press conference with the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö. Clips of this national embarrassment are going viral around the globe, including this bit:

“What can you learn, what can you learn from Finland?” the Finnish reporter asks Trump.

“Well, you got rid of Pelosi, and you got rid of shifty Schiff,” Trump responds.

Like that makes sense. At one point Trump also patted President Niinistö’s knee, which clearly displeased President Niinistö. The governor of California tweeted,

What else have we learned today? Trump talked to Boris Johnson for help discrediting the Mueller Report. A new book says Trump wanted border guards to just shoot migrants and had to be told that wasn’t allowed. He also wanted to install a moat full of snakes and alligators.

In other administration news, the Secretary of Agriculture, in Wisconsin speaking to dairy farmers, must have endeared himself to the farmers:

President Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary said Tuesday during a stop in Wisconsin that he doesn’t know if the family dairy farm can survive as the industry moves toward a factory farm model.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters following an appearance at the World Dairy Expo in Madison that it’s getting harder for farmers to get by on milking smaller herds.

“In America, the big get bigger and the small go out,” Perdue said. “I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.”

You hear that, family farmers? Too bad for you. Big agribusiness will replace you. That’s just how it is.

We’re also in a deep manufacturing recession, a headline says. The Dow Jones has lost more than 800 points this month, and it’s only the 2nd.

So much winning.

13 thoughts on “Looks Like a Watershed to Me

  1. From the Maha post above a quote from Bob Menendez:

    “These documents provide further evidence of a concerted, external effort to conduct a disinformation campaign against a career U.S ambassador, who has been the subject of baseless attacks, including by the President himself.

    “We also need to understand Secretary Pompeo’s role, given that it appears that he discussed these documents with at least one of his top aides and that the documents were distributed at the highest levels of the State Department.

    Hold that quote from today up against the enlightening quote from Foreignpolicy.com below:

    According to an account of the phone call released Wednesday by the White House, Trump and Zelensky discussed Yovanovitch in their July call. “The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just wanted to let you know that,” Trump told Zelensky. Trump added, referring to Yovanovitch: “Well, she’s going to go through some things. I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General [William] Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it.”


    So the IG provided possible documentation (if you believe Menendez) to a concerted scheme to drag a career diplomat through the mud because (my opinion) she wouldn't validate the acting president's conspiracy theories to discredit Russian interference in 2020, (possibly) rehabilitate Trump's former campaign manager in prison and last perpetuate a Clinton conspiracy myth about Ukraine. Oh, and yes, put the hit on Biden.

    It's still about Trump serving Putin.

    • “Well, she’s going to go through some things.

      Wow, if that's not mob-speak I don't know what is.

  2. In the above comment, the 2nd paragraph is a continuation of the Menendez quote and should be in italics.

    As this unfolds, we're seeing indications of a plan bigger than what happened in one phone call. Remember Alternative Facts? Here it is again, squared and raised to the 15th power, not just in Trump's phone call but in Rudy's globe-trotting and recruiting, in Pompeo's participation and the hit on professionals in the State Department who wouldn't twist reality. And it's there in Barr's blocking the Whistleblower Report and in Barr's "investigation" of the Clinton emails and anyone who may have communicated with HRC while she was in the Obama Administration.

    The IG meeting today MAY provide an outline of the rewriting of history. If the new reality was specifically defined in advance and all the bit players were granted unlimited authority to reward building the new reality and penalize anyone with dedication to objective truth, we may have stumbled onto a huge crime.

    We're not dealing with grand spin. The POTUS has declared the right to proclaim what's real.. and what isn't.

    I'm not going for the record of consecutive comments held by… let's not mention GULAG's accomplishment. Maha has put together some new thoughts and I wanted to elaborate. I'm in WTF mode and trolling for new information to make sense of the nonsense. 

  3. May be a grand crime. 

    I think the discrediting of Mueller is also not just ego stroking but a legitimate strategy. Trump doesn't want to be prosecuted for that big box of evidence of possible conspiracy and proven obstruction. To try to discredit the original basis of the investigation,  nullifies the findings that could be used against him if he is impeached or loses the 2020 election.

  4. What I think is the reason Putin seems like he's behind all of this, is because he is.

    The Post-Crimean Invasion sanctions are killing Putin, his Kleptocratic cronies, and the (always) poor people of Russia.

    There wasn't much of anything Obama could do after post-Soviet Eoropean country invaded another country since WWII, but strict sanctions.  War?  Out of the question.

    But those sanctions were tough!

    If I was Putin, and I had a willing egotistical stooge I could run for president, I would try!

    And if he won, and could get rid of those sanctions, I'd promise him and his grifting losers 10's or 100'S of BILLIONS – AND a couple of hotels in major Russian cities!


    Putin got lucky on the first try!

    tRUMP surrounds himself with grifters and crooks – and some politicians who imagine picking-up his crown when he goes!

    And that's why so many people have lost all sense of right and wrong.

    TRUMP gets them ALL involved, and now they have to win this argument together, and cut the sanctions… Or the consequences are going to be so horrible, that you…  Well, you can't even imagine…

    That's my current theory.

    Now note, I didn't say Putin would protect them in any situation.  And I sure didn't guarantee that he'd pay them – even if they succeeded!

    tRUMP'S a bush-league crooked and grifting leader.  

    Putin, is not just big-league, he's in the Crooked/Grifting Leader Hall of Fame!  Arguably, its Baba Ruth/Henry Aaron!

    tRUMP's a piker!  And as expendable as a meth-addicted Moscow sex-worker.


  5. I look at Pelosi and Schiff as two white coated workers at the sanitarium, chasing Trump around with a butterfly net. They know how dangerous he is, and how frightening things are. And they must capture him.

    I read that the strategy has changed. Rather than going to court to sue people for this or that reason, which would take months to play out, Schiff instead is simply saying that failure to comply with Congress' demands will only add to the obstruction of justice impeachment articles. This is just brilliant and is what has Trump so outraged. He can't sue other people to death the way he did in New York. It's checkmate.

  6. The white whale Doug, and the whack job captain Ahab.  That is the metaphor Tom Bossert (one of the former Trump x-staff as homeland security adviser) called it on Sunday Morning on George Stephanopoulos.  The conspiracy theory that involves the Ukraine, the Hillary E-mails and a server which they are supposed to have.  Tom Bossert said Trump would not give it up.  Trump obsesses about it and it popped up in the phone call record of deal I like to call tit-for-rat-a-tat-tat. I call it that because the base is conditioned to hate and trigger on quid pro quo.  Anyway, Tom Bossert reported he tried to tell Trump that was a discredited bogus theory and to give it up.  Well he said his words fell on a deaf brain (my translation).  He could not get the captain to quit chasing that damn white whale.  Now we find out that Rudy, Mike P, and Wimp P. Barr are down the rabbit hole with him on this con-theory-outdated.  They and probably others are on a mission from the lord of the lies to get the Hillary server that Ukraine has in the debunked theory.  

    It is so weird.  It is like Jade Helm all over again.  Imagine a president so obsessed with the con-theory that the moon landing never happened and 50 years later had government officials out looking for the Hollywood set props they filmed the fake news with.  Not only that but he was using government staff at high levels and tax dollars to get this non-existent gear, no one could keep their job if they did not play along.   It is the litmus test of uber-loyalty and key to the populist paradise promised  by the mad hatter in the rabbit hole metaphor.  We do need to do a number of impossible things before breakfast you know.  Help me Nancy, your my only hope.  It is truly the scariest part of the year.  


  7. It's more and more disturbing to be represented by Trump even in theory. He's seldom shown any hint of humanity but now, trapped by his own ignorance, stupidity, neediness, greed and delusion, he's painfully pathetic. The frequency and amplitude of threatening, lying, insulting, conspiracy theorizing, and generally bizarre behavior drags down everything.

    After Nixon left office Gerald Ford said:

    “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”

    “Our Constitution works. Our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.”

    Similar words can't be spoken again too soon.


    • I've read analyses of Nixon's ordeal – and it's clear that we were extremely lucky that the process worked, and he left. A lot of things had to line up, and they did. We may not be so lucky this time, even though Trump makes Nixon look like a patriot. As someone I was reading this morning put it, "Nixon, in his own twisted way, loved America. Trump doesn't".

      • Nixon, in his own twisted way, loved America.

        Historical revisionism. Nixon was another amoral, self-aggrandizing fool who believed he was America but represented only the lunatic fringe. From constant lying to expanding the war into Cambodia to the junta uniforms he had White House personnel wear to spreading hatred for hippies and war protestors – in countless ways large and small, he was a human train wreck on the level of Trump.

  8. In Why Lefties Should Watch Fox News, “The network’s internal strife offers the truest picture of how impeachment might play on the right.”

    …”Lately, however, I’ve found myself gorging like a bear in salmon season on the worst, most brain-corroding corner of cable, the network I’ve called a “forked-tongue colossus” for its two-decades-long project of dismantling our collective hold on the truth. I refer, of course, to Fox News….


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