Week 16, Deja Vu, all over again…
In 1942, a Duke University Law School graduate and civil servant accepted a commission in the U.S. Navy. Pearl Harbor was mere months in the past, the U.S. was at war on four continents, and the Lieutenant didn’t even try to come up with a case of draft deferment bone spurs. He not only served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific for the duration of WWII, he retired as a Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1966.
The navy veteran served in both the House and the Senate in the 50’s, serving on Wisconsin senator Joe McCarthy’s anti American activities committee, seeking fellow travelers of Alger Hiss. He eventually went on to serve as Ike’s VP from 56–60, losing the presidential election to JFK because he looked like a sweating, untrustworthy shyster at the dawn of political television. If you look at youtube videos of the McCarthy Hearings, you’ll see Richard Nixon at his right hand. Look at a little closer…Bobby Kennedy is sitting there with him. A noted womanizer, McCarthy’s favorite wingman was a sailor from Martha’s Vineyard named JFK. There are a lot of tainted heroes in our past.
Following the McCarthy trials that had targeted a host of Hollywood celebrities, Californians had their fill of Mr. Nixon, refusing to grant him the governor’s office that he so coveted. With a final, “you won’t have Richard Nixon to kick around any more”, Nixon disappeared from the state political stage, only to re-appear in 1968 as the Viet Nam war spiraled out of control. LBJ had had enough of the weight of war, leaving public life for a private commode in Texas. Nixon had a plan to end the war, and pledged to re-install “law and order” that had been lost during the anti war protests. American voters took the bait and Nixon was off to the races.
As a president, Nixon went into office with a few good intentions. The interminable war in Viet Nam was finally brought to an end by Nixon’s decision to force Ho Chi Min to the negotiating table in Paris by unleashing a relentless bombing campaign that threatened to wipe Hanoi off of the face of the planet. The EPA exists because of Nixon. Desegregation of southern schools? Nixon. Title IX? Nixon. Open relations with China? Nixon. SALT 1 and the ABM Treaty that de-escalated the nuclear arms race with Russia? That was Nixon too. No matter what was to happen later, Richard Nixon wasn’t a president that lacked for good ideas or the ability to work with congress to get his agenda passed.
Eight years later, in 1974, Richard Nixon would resign in disgrace, fleeing impeachment charges that included obstruction of justice and gross abuse of power resulting from his firing of the independent prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was investigating the break in and bugging of the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate condominiums. Like Clinton’s Oval Office blow job, the burglary was a minor league affair writ large by lying and obstruction. Nixon didn’t even gain a pet dog from the Watergate affair. While America and the world watched, an admirable record of legislative and foreign policy achievements were wiped away in one final pathetic Victory sign as he boarded Marine 1 for the last time.
I haven’t given Tricky Dick much thought until this week when an orange tinted man played Celebrity Apprentice with the Director of the FBI with a perfunctory “You’re FIRED”. This is week 16 of the reign of madness that is Donald Trump.
- There are good lawyers and there are bad lawyers. The Kushner and Trump family attorneys are not the former, or they wouldn’t have allowed the Kushners to show up at a Chinese investor conference offering to exchange EB-5 visas for $150M in brib….investments. Identifying President Kushner and DJT as key decision-makers regarding the awarding of HB-5 visas might have violated another law that the Trump clan cares not a whit about. Jared’s sister, manager of the 20–10 vision “blind trust” declared that the family wasn’t involved…in spite of powerpoint slides extolling the Kushner 1 development. While Jared Kushner wasn’t present, he has led the Kushner-Trump EB-5 visa program, previously earning $50M in Chinese investments in exchange for ‘golden visas’ that funded a Trump branded condominium tower.
- There is a very good reason that LGen Michael Flynn was fired from his position as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. It was not only his loose association with facts, the man is just not that bright. He was advised by the Pentagon to not accept payment from RT or any other foreign power. He blew that advice off and accepted money for a speaking engagement and for providing material support to President Erdogan of Turkey. Flynn couldn’t keep his facts straight in Afghanistan, or as head of DIA, and his loyalties are apparently as cheaply bought as a cucumber in a crowd of spinsters.
- After a weekend of twitter restraint, Cheetoman unleashed hell on FBI director James Comey on Tuesday evening, terminating his employment via CNN and a hand carried letter to the FBI HQ. Comey just happened to be on a recruiting trip to Los Angeles, which none of the clueless fucking staff in the WH seemed to know. Thinking that the TV monitors displaying his dismissal was a pretty cool prank, he quickly learned that he’d have to take Greyhound back to his home in D.C. This could only have been orchestrated by Omarosa…it’s that classless.
- If James Comey had taken a hint from one of his FBI predecessors, we would all be watching pixelated videos of hot Russian hookers pissing all over DJTrump in a high end Moscow hotel room. Hoover, faced with the knowledge that Trump was a perv, would have stopped at nothing to obtain the evidence, and he would have used it to maintain his advantage. Our nation’s most accomplished and feared blackmailer, J. Edgar would have hit <send> about 40ms after watching his firing on CNN. Comey was so polite about his firing he was damn near British. Sean Spicer, lacking any information or credibility, spoke to the press about Comey’s firing from the dark confines of a WH privet hedge.
- When half of the country thinks that you’re in bed with a bald, bare chested, billionaire Russian bride named Vladimir, it might not be the best idea to accede to his request to host his representatives, along with their media entourage at a meeting in the Oval Office. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and U.N. ambassaspy Sergey Kislyak met with Trump in the Oval Office, accompanied/witnessed only by representatives of the Russian state news agency TASS. All U.S. media outlets were prohibited from attending. Spokesman Sean Spicer seems to have gone deeper into hiding in the WH foilage, as he hasn’t been seen since the Comey dismissal; leaving Rosie O’Donnell doppleganger Sarah Huckabee Sanders to make up bullshit to feed to the press and American people. You can’t even sweep for the bugs the Russians left in the Oval Office. Nice move Donald.
- “I was going to fire him no matter what”, is what DJT told Lester Holt in an NBC interview. Stating that the highly acclaimed FBI director was doing a “bad job, a very bad job”, he had decided to fire him because of the FBI’s focus on the Russia investigation rather than WH leaks. Trump also referred to Comey as a showboat and grandstander for his testimony last week…Some might call this obstruction of justice. In one self aggrandizing Apprentice interview, Trump showed himself to be a complete and utter rookie at PR.
- Testifying in congress, acting FBI director Andrew McCabe blew Sarah Huckabee Sanders Comey explanations out of the water, stating that while the WH might think the Russia investigation is a “low priority”, the FBI considers it to be “very significant”. Very bigly significant. Comey was well respected by his peers, so expect the Russia investigation to take on more importance as the slurs against their former director continue to be tweeted. BTW, McCabe is suspected to be a Clinton operative by the Trump WH because his wife accepted money from a Clinton ally during her run for the VA senators seat. At any moment the DOJ is going to be asked to chisel out a justification for his firing.
- Speaking of bad lawyers, AG Jeff Sessions apparently forgot the definition of “recusal”, as he willfully violated the terms of his abstinence from ALL matters pertaining to the investigation of Russian involvement in the U.S. election. Sessions is risking disbarment on ethics violations by issuing a recommendation that removed the director of the FBI who was leading the investigation into possible collusion by the Trump campaign with Russian operatives. Sessions also risks impeachment and potential indictment on charges of obstruction of justice if he knowingly removed Comey from his position in order to slow down or otherwise thwart the FBI’s Russian investigation. Write your senators, and let’s get this ball rolling.
- In spite of the fact that there is absolutely zero evidence of widespread voter fraud, Trump waved his magic pen and issued a proclamation that initiates a VP Pence led Commission of Election Integrity. The Presidential Commission on Election Integrity will be supported by Kansan Kris Kobach, who had investigated voter fraud in Kansas, and found none. This of course resulted in Kansas invoking a voter ID law. If you’re new here, voter ID laws impact poor Americans, the young, and the elderly the most (essentially everyone without a drivers license or passport), and prevent them from casting what would be assumed to be Democratic votes at the ballot box. If you can’t win, cheat. Kobach has been sued by the ACLU 4X and maintains a perfect 0–4 record.
- Can you spell coercion? On Friday, days after terminating FBI Director James Comey, Trump took to twitter to threaten the former Fed, warning him that Comey “better hope that there are no tape recordings of our meetings before he starts leaking to the press”. Now, given Mr. Trump’s close and continuous relationship with the Moscow Assassin, one can only wonder what Donald Trump meant when he took to twitter. Comey testifies in the senate on Tuesday, and you can bet that the first question that will be asked will be for Comey’s recollections of any and all discussions that he has had with Trump. Trump can also expect a subpoena of those recordings, and the last time I checked, he won’t have Rose Mary Woods to hide behind. If Trump wants to know who let the FBI dogs out, he need only look in a mirror. And if I were Comey, I’d scan everything I ate with a Geiger counter.
- Speaking, once again, about shitty lawyers, the same Trump lawyers that constructed his not so blind trust wrote a letter stating that they had reviewed the past 10 years of Trump tax returns and hadn’t seen any financial ties with Russia, except for a small matter of a $95M home sale in FL, $12M from Miss Universe, and god only knows how much from condo rentals, rounds of golf, $200K club memberships, and EB-5 visas, etc. This is the same law firm that was awarded “Russia Law Firm of the Year” in 2016. No, this isn’t from the Onion.
- Someone should tell Trump’s two animal killing brats that if the Trump family doesn’t have financial ties with Russia, they should quit bragging about having having extensive financial ties with Russia. It’s just a suggestion because “have” and “don’t have” are exclusionary statements.
- Apparently, the American people cannot expect the WH press office to keep up with the exceedingly busy and nimble congenital liar inhabiting the Oval Office. Trump is threatening to discontinue daily press conferences in favor of written responses to media questions because his press office can’t keep up with his black hole of a brain and We the People have become so obsessed with accuracy.
- Get a patent for a Chinese escort service and then take credit for an Obama era decision by China to permit U.S. farmers to sell beef to China for the first time in 13 years. In July, American beef shipments will resume for the first time since the Chinese wigged out about getting hoof and mouth disease from American cattle. Faced with declining NAFTA sales to Mexico because Trump as pissed off virtually everyone south of his proposed fence, cattlemen are overjoyed with the prospect of feeding 1.3B meat eating Chinese, who could probably buy beef cheaper for the price of an EB-5. Someone clue me in, if you’re shipping $2.6B worth of beef, do you ship walking cattle or frozen cattle? Inquiring minds and all that.
- At least 13 Republicans and nearly all congressional democrats have requested the appointment of a special prosecutor to pick up the investigation of Russian influence in U.S. elections. Turtle McConnell, naturally looking out for the best interests of his country, has rejected these demands, preferring to keep the investigations under the control of House and Senate republicans, where the investigation can be controlled and Trump protected. OTOH, lame duck Utah rep Jason Chaffetz has begun growing some chest hair and has asked the DOJ inspector general to look into the Comey firing in order to determine if it constitutes obstruction.
- On Friday, following the twitter threats to Comey, Sean Spicer, came out of hiding and declined to answer questions regarding the potential recording of conversations held in the Oval Office. IOW, Ivanka must have politely told her father to stfu unless he wanted to fight a senate subpoena. Of course there are recordings. There are always recordings. It’s the goddamn Oval Office, EVERYTHING is recorded…unless Trump’s Russian financiers are in the room…then it’s recorded by the Russians.
As I look back on week 16, I couldn’t help but see both parallels and differences between two very flawed presidents. At the end, Richard Nixon was isolated and defeated by his own ego and hubris. At the beginning of his term, Trump has isolated himself to a mere handful of familial advisors.
Trump’s campaign is suspected of collusion with a foreign government that interfered with our election for Trump’s benefit. Trump is also guilty of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution by receiving foreign payments at his various properties. Of all of the charges against Nixon, they never included collusion with a foreign government, or violations of the emoluments clause.
We are a mere 111 days into the Trump term and already he’s racing Nixon into the septic tank. It took Nixon 6 years and a half witted political burglary and cover-up to get chased from D.C. Achieving NOTHING legislatively, Trump’s only accomplishments have come through Executive Order. His polling numbers reflect the popular vote that he so decries as “fixed and fraudulent”, but it is exactly that popular vote result that is rejecting and resisting his white nationalist Bannon agenda. Nixon’s achievements, cited earlier, speak for themselves.
I began this week looking to compare two presidential train wrecks, but as I’ve thought about it, I don’t think doing so is being fair to Richard Nixon. Your opinion may differ. That’s your week 16 in 16.