Politics

Trump has trouble dealing with the reality of the Mueller investigation

Julian Zelizer/CNN:

Will the Republican Party turn on Trump?

The theory is that partisanship will save this President. After all, Republicans will still control the Senate in 2019 with an even larger majority, so the likelihood of their support in any impeachment proceedings is slim. Republicans have stood by silently as the President ignores norms, threatens institutions, and conducts his erratic term in office. When it comes to taking a stand, congressional Republicans have done nothing to demonstrate that they privilege governance over partisanship.

But do the past two years suggest President Trump is immune to the fallout that could result from the emoluments case or a damning Mueller report?

In short, the answer is no. The same intense partisanship within the Republican Party that has protected President Trump until this point could just as easily turn against him. That is the essence of intense partisanship. Decisions are not about loyalty to an individual or principle but about power. When a person stands in the way of power, then they become disposable.

There are still people who think the GOP will never drop their support. For them, see above, and this as well.

There are still people who think Mueller doesn’t have the goods and there’s no collusion. For them, see the next three pieces. And then ask yourself why others don’t see it.

twitter-content=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Senate Republicans in 6 months: oh well, these impeachment things happen. Unfortunate. Our hands are tied, what could we possibly have done to prevent it? <a href="https://t.co/KaemumgdAU">https://t.co/KaemumgdAU</a></p>— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) <a href="https://twitter.com/DemFromCT/status/1072096961694715904?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 10, 2018</a></blockquote> ”>

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Senate Republicans in 6 months: oh well, these impeachment things happen. Unfortunate. Our hands are tied, what could we possibly have done to prevent it? https://t.co/KaemumgdAU

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) December 10, 2018

Mind you, listing the facts is important (it’s what SDNY and Robert Mueller are doing):

Max Bergmann, Sam Berger/Daily Beast:

Mueller Is Telling Us: He’s Got Trump on Collusion

The special counsel is connecting the dots and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the president.

For nearly two years, since the U.S. intelligence community released its report on the Russian campaign to assist Donald Trump in the 2016 election, the American people have been seeking an answer as to whether the Trump campaign colluded with its Russian counterpart. In the endless speculation about the direction of the investigation, a common view was that maybe the investigation would never implicate President Trump or find any collusion.

But a flurry of recent activity this past week all points in the same direction: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will likely implicate the president, his campaign, and his close associates in aiding and abetting a Russian conspiracy against the United States to undermine the 2016 election.

David Rothkopf:

So we know this, Russian government representatives reached out to the Trump campaign in 2015 and undertook multiple initiatives and had multiple points and series of contacts with Team Trump for the next couple years.

It’s not just the Trump Tower meeting. It’s not just the interactions with Wikileaks. It’s not just the Russian ties to Cambridge Analytica. It’s not just Konstantin Kiliminik, a Russian agent working hand in hand with campaign chair Paul Manafort.

It’s not just the ties between Flynn and the Russians. it’s not just the links between the Russians and Eric Prince through the meeting in the Seychelles and beyond that. It’s not just the ties of Wilbur Ross. It’s not just the Trump Organization dealings with Russia.

It’s not just Jared Kushner’s dealings with Russia. It’s not just Kushner and Flynn’s dealing with Kislyak during the campaign. It’s not just the candidate Trump asking for Russian help. It’s not just the GRU hacking for which indictments have already taken place.

Axios:

What we now know about Trump and Russia

Even before Robert Mueller reports his findings in the Russia probe, what we already now know is highly damning and highly detailed.

Be smart: The scary thing for Trump — Mueller knows a helluva lot more than we now know:

  • We now know several Russian officials reached out to a half dozen Republicans very close to Trump and his campaign, including his eldest son, his closest adviser, his lawyer, and his campaign manager. We now know they took the meetings, often enthusiastically, during and after the campaign.
  • We now know Russia offered in those chats campaign assistance — “synergy,” they called it. We know now of no one around Trump who alerted the FBI of this effort to subvert our elections.
  • We now know that 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted for hacking the DNC and systematically releasing material for the purpose of hurting the Clinton campaign via WikiLeaks.
  • We know that Trump associates Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi attempted — successfully, in some instances — to get in touch with WikiLeaks and that they are under investigation for whether they had advance knowledge about the email dumps.
  • We now know Donald Trump, Jr. and others took a meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. We now know Don, Jr., when approached with the promise of dirt, wrote: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
  • [more]

We knew all of this. It’s just that folks dismissed it because it’s ‘too absurd” or because it would disrupt business as usual. But that’s over. 

Politico:

Takeaways from a frenetic week of Mueller filings

A long-awaited series of court filings from Robert Mueller and other prosecutors this week seemed to rattle the White House, laying out a series of public hints that the special counsel’s team is closing in on President Donald Trump and his inner circle.

The documents offer a series of tantalizing but incomplete glimpses of Mueller’s probe, including new indications of how prosecutors believe Trump’s top aides and intermediaries for the Russian government engaged in a kind of courtship as the 2016 campaign unfolded….

None of those [WH bravado] responses, however, addressed Mueller’s accounting of how Manafort lied about his contacts with the Trump administration, the special counsel’s note in another filing that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was still assisting the investigation, or the fact that prosecutors’ memos regarding Cohen mentioned Trump — described as “Individual 1” — no fewer than 30 times.

The deluge of often-vague references to the president and the people around him suggests a couple of possibilities: either Mueller and his federal prosecutor counterparts are growing more provocative in hopes of shaking something loose in the president’s orbit, or they are sitting on explosive charges that could put Trump himself at risk.

Here are eight takeaways from a frenetic week of Mueller filings:

twitter-content=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">You may remember that this omission led the Office of Government Ethics to refer President Trump to the Department of Justice based on a criminal complaint filed by <a href="https://twitter.com/CREWcrew?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CREWcrew</a>. <a href="https://t.co/YPi62TCNYh">https://t.co/YPi62TCNYh</a></p>— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) <a href="https://twitter.com/waltshaub/status/1071750716514074624?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 9, 2018</a></blockquote>”>

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You may remember that this omission led the Office of Government Ethics to refer President Trump to the Department of Justice based on a criminal complaint filed by @CREWcrew. https://t.co/YPi62TCNYh

— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) December 9, 2018

That means Trump willfully hid the payment, not just that he didn’t realize it was a crime. He knew it would hurt his campaign right after the Access Hollywood tape. He committed two felonies.

John B Judis/WaPo Magazine:

The evening of Tuesday, Nov. 6, brought the latest visual manifestation of our highly divided country: the 2018 midterm elections map. The map was similar to previous election maps — blue on the coasts and, across the rest of the country, wide swaths of red interrupted by blue dots. The major change was in the size of those blue dots: Increasingly, they seemed to be composed of both large cities and the suburbs that surround them. But why?…

Yet in that map — and in those expanding blue dots — was a clue to another lens, one that often gets short shrift in explaining the fracturing of our country. That lens is economics — specifically, jobs. Red and blue America aren’t separated just by their cultural politics; they are separated by sharp differences in how their economies have developed over the past half-century. And those economic differences can, in turn, explain many of the cultural differences that so bedevil our political system…

By contrast, Republicans remained strong in places like the newly created congressional district in southwestern Pennsylvania — made up of small towns that had been manufacturing centers but had lost jobs during the Great Recession. Indeed, according to a post-election analysis by Priscilla Alvarez, Frankie Dintino and Caitlyn Hampton in the Atlantic, Republicans won 68 percent of the vote in manufacturing towns, which are primarily in the Midwest and South.

In southern Minnesota, meanwhile, Republicans flipped a seat that is a microcosm of the electoral divide. The district is split between Rochester — a midsize city of 115,000 that contains the Mayo Clinic and votes Democratic — and former manufacturing and farm towns to the west that have attracted migrant farmworkers, have very few college graduates and have become dependably Republican. In the 2018 election, the Republican candidate, relying on his margin outside Rochester, narrowly upset the Democrat.

Note the key word “just”. Cultural politics is enormous, but there is an economic piece to it that can be easier addressed by Democrats than cultural issues.

Jamele Hill/Atlantic:

Sometimes I Wish the Obamas Wouldn’t ‘Go High’

They were gracious to the Trumps. They had to be.

Mudbound is a tender and compelling story of black pain that’s set in the Mississippi Delta during World War II. The overarching theme—which is what enraged me—was sadly familiar: White people belittling, dehumanizing, and violently attacking black folks with impunity. Meanwhile, the black people have no choice but to act benevolently toward whites for fear of more punishment. It states in the white-supremacy handbook that those brutalized by racism must be virtuous in the face of indignity—because it would be inhumane to be impolite to racists.

I felt Mudbound-level anger—and for the same reason—when I watched the awkward exchange between the Trumps and the Obamas at the state funeral for former President George H. W. Bush. The couples were seated next to each other. Former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, both politely nodded at the first couple and graciously shook their hands. In that moment, I wished it wasn’t Michelle Obama who had coined the phrase When they go low, we go high.

I sometimes wonder if the people who often cite that quote have a full understanding of the emotional toll it takes on people of color to have to constantly absolve the racism directed at them.

twitter-content=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">WOW–The guy who orchestrated the GOP power grab in Wisconsin suggested Madison & Milwaukee (& their black residents) are not legitimate parts of the state. “If you took Madison & Milwaukee out of the state election formula, we would have a clear majority” <a href="https://t.co/KgFYaSM58j">https://t.co/KgFYaSM58j</a></p>— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) <a href="https://twitter.com/greenhousenyt/status/1071431003875487745?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 8, 2018</a></blockquote> ”>

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WOW–The guy who orchestrated the GOP power grab in Wisconsin suggested Madison & Milwaukee (& their black residents) are not legitimate parts of the state. “If you took Madison & Milwaukee out of the state election formula, we would have a clear majority” https://t.co/KgFYaSM58j

— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) December 8, 2018




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