Impeachment, anyone?

Well, all I know is what’s in this tweet:


  1. Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I love it when the good guys either get a break or their plan finally just comes together.

  2. Merilee
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    We can only hope…

  3. Sarah
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like high crimes and misdemeanors to me.

  4. Nicholas K.
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    The timing is important. If candidate Trump directed Flynn to contact the Russians, that is Treason. If he directed him after the election but before Jan. 20, then Trump violated the Logan Act. Absolute grounds for impeachment. Trump’s own tweets on December 30 (regarding U.N. action towards Israel) suggest the latter. But they also suggest Trump himself knew — reports are coming in the Kushner was the senior transition team member who gave order to Flynn. If Trump knew, he is guilty.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        It is not unlawful for a member of the transition team to speak to a foreign diplomat. It is a clear violation of federal statute for a private citizen (which Flynn and Trump both then were) to undercut the official foreign policy of the United States.

        That’s the reason they lied about it.

        • nicky
          Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:14 am | Permalink

          Is a president-elect (well, in this case an usurper, but that is beside the point) really a private citizen? I think it could be argued not. If, however, they undermine the ‘still in charge’ administration, they would expose themselves indeed to a charge of treason it appears to me (this is the opinion of a layman, things that appear sensible and natural, but one never knows the quirks of law).

          • nicky
            Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:16 am | Permalink

            Sorry Ken, you just said about the same.

          • pali
            Posted December 2, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

            I’m no expert on relevant law, but my take would be yes, a president-elect is still a private citizen – they have yet to take any oath of office and hold no actual government position until they do so.

  5. Ann German
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Not to throw cold water on this, but the ABC report is bit hyperbolic . . . Flynn agreed to cooperate, but not necessarily regarding pussygrabber. Looks like it was Kushner who directed him.

    • Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      It beggars belief that Trump Sr didn’t know what Trump Jr was doing.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Kushner was at Mar-a-Lago with Trump when he gave the directions to Flynn. You really think J-Kush took it upon himself to direct policy with the Russian government during the transition (in violation of the Logan Act) and then kept it secret for some reason from Donald Trump?

      Not even a graduate of Trump University would buy that risible story.

      • nicky
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:19 am | Permalink

        It is not what is obvious, but what can be proven.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

          This is precisely the type of “rational inference” that federal judges instruct juries they may draw from the evidence while deliberating in criminal trials.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I believe I said Impeachment was in the cards long ago. I don’t see how Pence gets out of this either, so who wants to be president? The strategy should be to get rid of Trump and then indict all the others. Avoid being able to pardon any of these people.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      So who wants to be president? Who gets to be president? If Pence gets embroiled in all this nonsense? – Paul Ryan. Enjoy.

    • nicky
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:23 am | Permalink

      What makes you think Pence will be impeached at the same time? Ben Goren appears to think the same, so clearly I’m missing something?
      Note,I really hope so, since a president Pence appears even worse than a president Trump, but I do not see how. Care to elucidate?

      • Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Pence may well be deeply implicated, too. (And Ryan as well, if he was involved with the Russians during the GOP convention, as some suggest.) In any case, if Pence is installed upon Trump’s ouster, his time will be very short–and compromised–and he will never hold the WH in 2020 without the support of all the millions of enraged Trump supporters.

        • Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          If Trump is persuaded by the GOP leadership to resign (and Mueller’s full case against him may make that likely), and if Pence is likewise implicated, the GOP will want to make that happen before the mid-tern elections. If Pence cannot assume the presidency, and if the Dems manage to take back the House in 2018, then we’re looking at President Pelosi. And blood in the streets.

  7. mfdempsey1946
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Even if the Trump creature is impeached and driven from office…

    …there is still the Pence creature…

    So if a successful impeachment does dispose of Trump, along with his hideous mob of enablers and sycophants, that won’t be a cue for dancing in the streets.

    The national nightmare will, in all likelihood, be far from over and the lingering effects of that nightmare could well be permanent as far as whatever the future history of the US turns out to be.

    • gluonspring
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      I agree the nightmare isn’t over, but Pence is not what worries me (he does, but in normal parameters). Trump showed the GOP a new way to win. If the rest of the GOP doesn’t take a beating for this electorally, smarter, more savvy, demagogues will take the cue. Trump’s biggest saving grace is his utter incompetence. We might not be so lucky next time.

      • nicky
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:29 am | Permalink

        “Trump’s biggest saving grace is his utter incompetence.”
        I’d second that, although he already created enough havoc as is (eg. gutting of the EPA or destruction of the State Department, not to mention his nefarious influence on the respect a POTUS is held world-wide).
        Pence is not incompetent, just a poisonous nut. But a more efficient nut, I fear.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

          Gutting the EPA wasn’t incompetence – it was planned (though not necessarily by Trump’s team, but their puppet-masters). They’re trying to destroy the concept of government regulation, not any particular system of regulation. By getting rid of the people who design regulations they prevent the system from being repaired by a subsequent administration.

          • nicky
            Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            No, I did not mean that the gutting of the EPA was a sign of incompetence, but a sign of the havoc even an incompetent president may cause.

  8. Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Music to my ears. But many hurdles yet to face. Even if testimony emerges against the orange one, is testimony alone sufficient evidence for treason or for impeachment?

  9. gluonspring
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    You guys are hopeless optimists.

    There are two circumstances where Trump is impeached, and only two:

    1. A video comes out of him having sex with a child (his approval with Evangelicals will drop by two points, but everyone else will desert him).

    2. The Democrats retake congress.

    That’s it. Now all of this will be useful stuff to have in hand in the case of 2, but the idea that any GOP congress will impeach a GOP president, much less *this* one with their safe seats, a rabid base, and 24-7 propaganda networks providing cover,well, that strikes me as fanciful.

    • gluonspring
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      *this* one refers to this congress, not this President. If there were a president to be impeached it’d be this one, but this congress isn’t going to do it, not in present day conditions.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        He will be impeached and this congress will do it. This congress will have no choice, end of story.

        • chris moffatt
          Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

          Dream on!

          • Mike
            Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

            Can’t see it myself, they’ve had ample opportunity, but they are terrified of his armed to the teeth lunatic base.!

        • nicky
          Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          I have the impression (just an impression) that the more traditional GOPpers loathe Mr Trump. So I would not be surprised if they would get rid of him by impeachment.
          I do not think that most GOPpers -not just the more traditional ones- holding office (in House or Senate) think they’ve got there by backing Mr Trump. A fall of Mr Trump would not necessarily mean their own fall. My worry is Mr Pence becoming president, worse than Mr Trump, because he is not as incompetent.

    • Historian
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Even if the Democrats take back the House in 2018 and is impeached, it would still take 2/3 of the Senate to remove him. This is not going to happen since the Democrats won’t control 2/3 of the Senate. They might not even have a majority.

      If Trump leaves office before the end of his term, it will be by resignation. There aren’t enough Republicans in Congress to support removing one of their own, no matter what he has done. Orrin Hatch, Republican senator from Utah, said yesterday that Trump was one of the best presidents he has served under. This remark from one of the so-called senior statesmen in the Senate was truly depressing.

      • gluonspring
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Yes. As you know there is no power on earth that can compel congress to even read Muller’s findings, much less act on them, other than their own conscience and voters. The first is a big LOL (or sigh of despair). The second, well.. they might be afraid of losing the house to some motivated purple district voters, which they are already in danger of, but the leadership who can keep any of this from coming to the floor are all in safe seats who only need to worry about being primaried from the right by angry Rs punishing “the establishment” for siding with Democrats in their war against The President of The People. GOP leadership doesn’t want to lose control of the house, sure, but I bet they don’t want to lose their job even more.

        If the thought is that deep red districts will turn on these leaders… another lol.
        The last two years have introduced me to new levels of cynicism that I didn’t know existed before. What I’ve learned from interacting with my own family is that #1 is probably the threshold and that only if the lighting and resolution are good and there is no chance a Democrat might take his place.

        • Posted December 2, 2017 at 5:35 am | Permalink

          Yes, exactly. My own family (half my siblings and one parent) has taught me the same. The real problem is that the Democrats and much of the media are playing into their hands. The media is often not concentrating on the substantive problems of Trump’s policies, but rather is complaining about things like his style of feeding koi in his state visit to Japan. As Jerry has also noticed, much of the “liberal” media really does seem now to be doing exactly what the conservative media used to do with Obama. This only reinforces Trump’s message.

          Furthermore, some Trump voters have legitimate gripes against the Democrats and excessive government regulations. Small business owners do face tremendous bureaucratic hurdles in some jurisdictions. Until Democrats learn to recognize the few nuggets of real problems facing Trump voters, elections will be very close.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Republican senators have no love lost on Donald Trump as “one of their own.” (None of the sitting members of the US Senate endorsed him during the GOP presidential primary.) They know how bad he is, and how bad he is for the nation. Left to their druthers, most Republican senators would rather be rid of him.

        But the Republican Party has been welcoming the far-right fringe into its base for years now. They’ve cleaved these serpents to their bosom, and now they’re afraid to antagonize them by pushing Trump away. But if information continues to surface showing the depth of Trump’s ties to Russia and the depravity of his efforts to impede justice — such that Trump’s support among registered Republicans drops to under 50%, and GOP incumbents no longer need fear being “primaried” from their right — you may well see GOP senators peal away from Trump (the way Republican senators pealed away from Nixon after release of the Watergate tapes).

        • Historian
          Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

          Your analysis is based on the probability that the support of Republican voters for Trump will drop below 50%, thus reducing the fear of Republicans in Congress of being “primaried.” So far, there is little indication that this will happen. Even if this should happen, I think McConnell and Ryan will have little taste for initiating impeachment and conviction proceedings. They may feel it better not to rip the Republican Party asunder, but will rather choose to ride out Trump’s first term and hope that Trump doesn’t run again or is defeated during the campaign for nomination. Better still for Republicans in Congress is the hope that he resigns. I will admit, however, that with Trump as president almost anything can happen. Even the most seasoned pundits are just speculating.

          By the way, the Republicans of the Nixon era cannot be compared to the amoral current crop.

    • Posted December 2, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      I totally agree with you. This congress will not impeach Trump because it would be suicide for them at the mid-terms. Trump still has his base and, judging by his approval rating, it’s in the mid high 30’s percent. They probably all voted for GOP congress-people and they would probably all turn against the people that “stabbed in the back” their president.

  10. Hempenstein
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I hope they keep Flynn under armed guard. And well away from anyone carrying an umbrella.

    • nicky
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 5:31 am | Permalink

      The Russian ‘umbrella’. Wonder how seriously it (Flynn’s assassination) would impede the inquest.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        It was Bulgarian. The umbrella.

        • Hempenstein
          Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          They musta gotten the idea/technology from the Russians, tho. Glad to see that some haven’t forgotten Georgi Markov (whose story really warrants a WEIT post sometime).

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

            It’s suggested that the KGB were involved at various levels or times. But since the toxin has been known since at least WW1, then there has been ample time for various people to develop techniques to use it. the lethal dose is only a couple of milligrammes subcutaneous.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    The story that Flynn was acting on his own in discussing Russian sanctions with Kislyak, and that he was fired for lying to VP Pence about it, never made a lick of sense — anymore than did the bizarre story that Trump fired James Comey for being mean to Hillary. Trump and his White House minions have been lying about all this from the git-go, and it’s all starting to unravel.

    Of course, these were only lies regarding foreign policy and US national security. Not like the good old days when a fella could get impeached for fibbin’ about a blowy.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      When those Washington attorneys start billing those hours no one but the really rich can stand up to that. It is often a lot cheaper to tell the truth and take the easy way out. I think they have so much on Flynn you could fill a truck with the paperwork. He finally saw the light.

    • mirandaga
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Agreed on Trump. Re Clinton, however, you seem to be forgetting that he “fibbed” under oath (it’s called perjury) and not about a blowy from Monica but in connection with a sexual harassment lawsuit from Paula Jones. No need to whitewash Slick Willy to make Trump look any worse than he does–were that even possible.

    • Craw
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Clinton was disbarred for perjury, and that was also the grounds for his impeachment. It wasn’t about Lewinsky, it was about Paula Jones.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    The next one in Mueller’s sights is almost certainly Jared Kushner. What will Trump do? Try to head this off by pardoning his son-in-law? Make a move to fire Mueller?

    I expect Trump will fire his own legal team (which has been advising him to play nice with the special counsel’s office, telling him the investigation would soon end in Trump’s exoneration). I wouldn’t put it past Trump to start a new war to distract public attention from the noose tightening around his neck.

    We might get a clue soon. Trump’s famous for his early Saturday am tweet storms.

  13. Jay
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    It’s Mueller Time!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      That one’s pretty effin’ good!

      • nicky
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:52 am | Permalink

        Pretty good, but I’d have liked it even Moore with Mr Pence in shackles.

  14. Christopher
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Yes, please! And make it a double, would ya? No way Pence didn’t know about this. I shudder to think how this whole fiasco will affect our shambling democracy though…

  15. Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Reality check. I don’t expect a Republican Congress to impeach Trump with a Congressional election just eleven months away. Impeachments are messy and take time, and Trump will do his best to take down any impeaching Republicans with him. Ain’t going to happen.

  16. jhs
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    I give Trump credit for not incriminating himself on twitter… yet.

  17. ladyatheist
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Pence is a scary replacement but at least he understands the concept of governing.

  18. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I find it really strange that many of the comments here are skeptical that this congress can or even would consider impeaching this guy. I guess you all think that rule of law and following the evidence just does not exist and even if it does it won’t apply here. I believe you will find that is not true and when the council lays it out for the congress – the Collusion, the Obstruction and other felonies done by this president they will take action. Most of these republicans owe nothing to this person and they will turn on him in a heart beat. Hell, many of them turned on the American people for money to do this tax thing. There is no loyalty in this body to prevent them from impeachment of this person.

    • Craw
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you. If there is good evidence of an impeachable crime this congress would do it. Half the GOP hate Trump. The GOP was ready to remove Nixon don’t forget.

      But so far folks … got no evidence of nuthin’. Bupkis. Speculation is all.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, if you don’t count obstruction of justice and aiding & abetting the dissemination of electronic data stolen by a foreign government — and, very likely, massive amounts of money laundering, as well as a bottomless appetite for lying to and deceiving the American people.

        • BJ
          Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          So far, there is nothing to link Trump directly to assisting Russia with the dissemination of the emails, and there is no direct evidence of obstruction being the reason for firing Comey. The Comey firing would probably be the easier of the two in terms of uncovering evidence, but Craw is right when he says there’s still nothing conclusive enough to spur impeachment.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

            Trump’s importuning Comey to drop the Flynn investigation was in and of itself an attempt corruptly “to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice,” particularly given what was disclosed today about Michael Flynn. Add to that the firing of Comey (done, by Trump’s own televised admission, to derail the Russia investigation), and Trump’s myriad lies and other efforts to derail the investigation, and you’ve got a prosecutable case of obstruction of justice.

            But never fear, this is as good as it gets for Trump and his cronies, and it’s never going to get this good again.

          • Martin X
            Posted December 2, 2017 at 12:37 am | Permalink

            ” there is no direct evidence of obstruction being the reason for firing Comey.”

            Except for his own admission.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

            What you and Craw don’t seem to get, BJ, is how simple it is to prove a violation of the “omnibus clause” of the federal obstruction of justice statute, 18 USC section 1503. Per the standard instructions judges use to charge juries in federal criminal cases (an example of which you can find at p. 288 in this packet.), there are only two essential elements that need be proved:

            First, that the defendant “tried to influence … the administration of justice”;

            Second, that the defendant did so corruptly.

            That’s it. It is not necessary to prove that the defendant actually succeeded in influencing the administration of justice; the effort alone is enough. It is also unnecessary that the defendant’s sole motive be a corrupt intent to influence the administration of justice; a mixed motive will suffice.

            Here, the entire raison d’être for Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Comey (and his subsequent firing of Comey) was to influence the FBI’s investigation of Flynn. (And as long as this was the intent, it matters not that Trump’s request to Comey was couched in the precatory language “I hope you can see your way clear”).

            Also, the “Statement of the Case” Flynn swore to in court during his guilty plea establishes that Trump had a corrupt motive for influencing the the Flynn investigation — to prevent the investigation from spreading to himself and/or others in his administration. Moreover, Trump attested to that corrupt motive himself, after Comey’s firing, when he told the Russian ambassador and foreign minister in the Oval (and Lester Holt before a national tv audience) that he fired Comey to end the Russia investigation. (As if this were not enough, Trump’s corrupt motive can also be inferred circumstantially — both by his exclusion of others from his Oval Office importuning of Comey, and by Trump’s elaborate effort to create a pretextual justification for Comey’s firing via the memos from AG Sessions and Assistant AG Rosenstein.)

            This constitutes a prosecutable obstruction-of-justice case. And obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense. (Indeed, obstruction was among the articles of impeachment brought against both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.)

            In all likelihood, additional evidence regarding obstruction of justice (as well as other offenses) will be revealed during the the Mueller investigation continues. But let us not obfuscate that there are adequate grounds for the impeachment of Donald Trump now extant. Much thinner obstruction-of-justice cases are prosecuted in federal courts across our nation every day.

            • BJ
              Posted December 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

              Of all the evidence of the reasoning you just gave me, how much of it can be proven? My entire point was that it needs to be linked to Trump himself. Flynn saying that Trump told the Russian ambassador something is not conclusive; like eyewitness testimony, it might get a case over the hump, but it might not.

              Even in when he spoke with Holt, he made it sound like he was frustrated by what he saw as a plan by Democrats to prolong an investigation that was BS. He never said he was trying to obstruct justice by firing Comey. Hell, he didn’t even say it was necessarily the main reason for the firing, but just that he was thinking about the Russia investigation at the time.

              Like I said, it all stinks to high heaven, and I’m sure more will come out that will bring all of this together in a fashion where there can be no question what he was doing. But, as of now, he has wiggle room left, and that’s the point Craw and I have been making.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

                My point, BJ, is merely that there is now a prima facie case that could be made that Trump has engaged in an obstruction of justice — that a prosecutor could present substantial competent evidence (which I spell out chapter & verse in my response to Craw below) from which a trier-of-fact could find both of the essential elements of an obstruction offense (not that every jot and tittle that one might like to have nailed down has been).

                I don’t see that this is even subject to reasonable dispute. The first element of an obstruction — that the defendant “tried to influence the administration of justice” — is all but self-evident as to Trump’s request that Comey abandon the Flynn investigation, since it was expressly directed to influencing Comey’s investigation.

                As to the second element — that the attempt to influence was made “with corrupt intent” — it got a big boost from Trump’s tweet today saying that he fired Flynn, in part, because Flynn had “lied to the FBI.” This belies an notion that Trump tried to quash the Flynn investigation because he believed Flynn to be innocent. Trump was instead endeavoring to shut down the criminal investigation of a man he knew to be guilty — a “corrupt intent” per se. (Flynn’s own expected testimony, per his “Statement of the Case” introduced in court yesterday, raises the further inference that Trump had an additional corrupt motive for derailing the Flynn investigation: to prevent it from uncovering Trump’s own wrongdoing.)

                This is not to say I favor impeachment proceedings being instituted immediately. I don’t. Impeachment should await the completion of Mueller’s investigation, when all Trump’s nefarious doings have been laid bare for the world to see.

              • BJ
                Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

                It sounds like we’re in agreement. There’s enough evidence to make everything very likely, but we shouldn’t start celebrating the idea that impeachment proceedings are possible yet.

    • gluonspring
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Republicans representatives aren’t protecting Trump now out of loyalty or comity or even usefulness to getting their agenda signed into law. They are protecting him now because they are afraid of the MAGA hats who might primary them if they don’t. I’m sure if you took a poll the representatives would all prefer President Pence, but the MAGA hats back home wouldn’t.

      I guess you all think that rule of law and following the evidence just does not exist and even if it does it won’t apply here.

      In point of fact it doesn’t apply to impeachment. Impeachment is fundamentally a political action, not a justice system action.

      Now Mueller’s work is part of that rule of law you are talking about, and that will grind on and people will be indicted and they will eventually go to trial and maybe even to jail. That is both real and relentless. Mueller can indict the entire WH, but there is nothing on earth that can compel congress to even have a discussion about whether any of that merits impeachment, much less actually do it. Paul Ryan, all by himself, can keep impeachment from ever even coming up as a part of House business.

      Whether it happens or not depends entirely on Ryan’s conscience and his political calculus and that’s it.

      And although Mueller’s indictments and the prison they threaten are real, what is also real is pardon power. And once they are pardoned, that’s that, unless there are state charges against them too. And Trump can fire Mueller. Or rather, he can direct people in the DOJ to, and if they refuse he can fire them, and so on until he finds a willing hand (oh, hey, look, it’s almost Saturday night!).

      And then it’s just a matter of wills what happens next. If MAGA voters stick behind Trump, and they will, then people like Ryan have to figure out who they fear more, their conscience, MAGA voters in the primary, or general voters in the general election. Those are the forces in play: conscience, MAGA primary voters, and regular voters.

      It’s not obvious at all what will happen.

  19. somer
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    He’s a dangerous guy. Lets hope he doesnt do something crazy to make a splash when he’s impeached – which has never been successful before. Meanwhile Tillerson strips all the body out of the State department.

  20. BJ
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Important to note that this tweet has now been deleted, and Brian Ross has issued a correction stating that Trump was already President-elect when he asked Flynn to talk to the Russians. These are significant clarifications.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 1, 2017 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      There’s another word for a president-elect: “private citizen.” A president-elect has no more authority to interfere with existing US foreign policy than any other private citizen. That’s the whole point of this nation’s “one president at a time” policy. That’s a policy that’s been heeded by every other modern American president (at least ostensibly — Nixon and Reagan both violated it in secret).

      But even that misses the point; Trump and his cohorts are unlikely to prosecuted for their Logan Act violations. The key point here is that Trump’s conspiring with Flynn to deal surreptitiously with the Russian government before he took office provides Trump with the corrupt motive required to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense (when Trump endeavors to influence Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, among other things).

      In other words, it establishes that Trump was seeking to benefit his own corrupt self-interest in derailing the investigation — not out of some purported humanitarian concerns over Michael Flynn’s well-being.

      • Craw
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

        Again, assumes facts not in evidence. You don’t know what was said or why. Big assumptions.

        You don’t know anything about relevant circumstances.
        You don’t know if there was authorization for Flynns meetings for example.

        You don’t even know if the Logan act is constitutional. There are at least two color able objections I can think of.

        And since he was a private citizen that would not have been a crime done in office, and many might not consider it them an impeachable act. (Democrats did not deem even perjury while in office sufficient.)

        And again, you know nothing and are speculating. If you have proof present it. Proof btw does not start with “surely” or “it must be”.

        As for Ross, here’s another interpretation of the known facts. During the campaign Trump asked his national security guy to come up with a new approach to Russia. After he won he asked that guy to start finding out in more detail if it works. And that assumes it was Trump telling him as well. That might not convince you. But you cannot disprove it (anymore than anyone can prove it).

        Wait and see.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 2, 2017 at 12:35 am | Permalink

          On December 29, 2016, the day on which the Obama administration imposed severe sanctions on Russia for interfering with the 2016 election, Michael Flynn had five telephone conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergy Kislyak. Those conversations were recorded by US intelligence. In those conversations, Flynn urged Russia not to retaliate with sanctions of their own, because it would make it more difficult for the Trump administration to roll back the sanctions after taking office.

          According to the “Statement of the Case” entered in federal district court today, signed under oath by Michael Flynn, Flynn had these discussed these Kislyak conversations with the top officials of the Trump transition, who were then staying with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort for the holidays. In negotiating with Kislyak, Flynn was acting at Trump’s direction (all that as-yet remains unclear is whether these directions were communicated directly from Trump, or through one of his top advisors).

          When questioned by the FBI about these conversations, Flynn lied. In addition, the top Trump advisors and Donald Trump himself repeatedly lied about Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak — first denying that any such contacts had occurred, then admitting that the calls had occurred but denying that sanctions had been discussed.

          Shortly after Trump took office in January 2017, acting Attorney General Sally Yates twice went to the White House to inform them that Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak had been recorded, that those conversations had concerned Russian sanctions, that Flynn was under investigation for lying to the FBI, and that the statements being made on national television by VP Pence denying that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak were false. Two weeks later, The Washington Post published an article disclosing this information publicly. The next day Flynn was fired.

          On February 14, 2017, Trump held a meeting for the heads of the intelligence agencies in the Oval Office. At the end of the meeting, Trump excused all the other participants and met alone with FBI head James Comey. In that meeting (held two weeks after a private dinner in which Trump had asked Comey to pledge personal loyalty to him) Trump told Comey that he hoped Comey would see his way clear to dropping the FBI investigation of Mike Flynn.

          In the weeks after this meeting, Trump called Comey several times personally (in derogation of established Justice Department protocol) to inquire about the status of the Flynn investigation. On May 9, 2017, after Comey had not dropped the Flynn investigation, Trump fired Comey. At the time, Trump produced plainly pretextual documents and statements claiming that Comey had been fired because he had been unfair to Hillary Clinton the previous year during the FBI investigation into emails sent on her private server.

          On the day after Comey’s firing, Trump met in the Oval Office with Ambassador Kislyak and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. (This meeting was not on Trump’s regular daily schedule, and US media was excluded from it, although Russian media was allowed into the Oval to record it.) During this meeting, according to Russian media records, Trump told Kislyak and Lavrov that he fired Comey to take the heat of the Russian investigation off himself. Trump later confirmed in a televised interview that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.

          In addition, there were myriad other highly suspicious contacts and circumstances involving the Trump campaign and agents of the Russian government — including the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and six Russians called for the express purpose of giving the campaign damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government; the change to the GOP platform benefiting Russian in the Ukraine; contacts between Donald Trump, Jr., and Wikileaks; Jared Kushner’s meetings with Russian spy and money-launderer Sergey Gorkov; Kushner’s efforts to set up private communication with Vladimir Putin through Russian intelligence services; and many other meetings between Trump campaign/transition officials and at least 18 other Russians associated with the Putin government.

          These are not “assumptions” on my part. These are documented facts provable in a court of law or in a senate impeachment proceeding.

      • Craw
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        Ken, I don’t want to be insulting, but do you get that if Flynn met with the Russians after the election the meeting cannot have been to collude during the election? Hence there is nothing here to support the collusion charge. But if Ross’s report had been been accurate there would have been.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 2, 2017 at 1:08 am | Permalink

          I don’t mean to be insulting either, Craw, but you do understand that concept of quid pro quo, don’t you? There was (in addition to obstruction of justice and other crimes) collusion between the Putin government and the Trump campaign/transition/administration both before and after the 2016 campaign — before for the purpose of getting Donald Trump elected, after to determine how Trump would lift the crippling US sanctions on Russia, and how otherwise to divvy up the spoils of election tampering.

  21. Matthew North
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    The Embarrassment in Chief is gonna GO DOWN from this investigation.

    We all entered a dark tunnel last November 8th, my friends. Robert Mueller and his top notch investigators are the light at the end of that tunnel.

  22. Posted December 2, 2017 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    There are billions of billions of dollars to redistribute to the “correct” pockets, and yet we’re led to believe there is just incompetence at play?

    Trump is incompetent, but that doesn’t mean that others around him can’t use this distraction machine and signature dispenser, who doesn’t read what he signs, to their advantage — as long as useful.

    My bet is that if Trump is impeached, the heist was already successful. As a plus, it causes another nice distraction in a situation where the architects of the tax reform clearly want to prevent that their changes are inspected. Maybe now that Trump signed everything, he’s indeed no longer useful.

    Next, they’ll need a Kennedy type or charismatic woman, to refurbish the American brand, to continue this play on a global stage.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Next, they’ll need a Kennedy type or charismatic woman, to refurbish the American brand, to continue this play on a global stage.

      Diogenes would be proud.

  23. Posted December 4, 2017 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Actually, no thanks. If Trump gets ditched, who’s next? Pence or even Ryan?
    You’ve (that’s a collective “you” there) are responsible for one of the worst administrations ever in the history, you elected a moron, liar, madman, narcissist, nepotism as president, and you did so knowingly. So you bloody well keep him in office until the next election – because you deserve him.

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