Thursday Reads: Trump Unleashed

Good Morning!!

I had almost no sleep last night, and I’m not thinking that clearly. Trump has been “acquitted” by the GOP Senate, and he is now free to threaten his political opponents and sic his cult followers on them, bribe people for votes, and threaten foreign countries into helping his reelection campaign. He is also suffering from obvious dementia and yet he’s in charge the U.S. military and the nuclear codes. We are in big trouble as a country.

Here’s the latest:

Trump spoke at the the “national prayer breakfast” this morning, and he sounded like a lunatic. He began by holding up newspaper headlines about his “acquittal.” His speech was slow and halting as he issued thinly veiled threats to Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney.

The audience stood clapped in unison at the beginning like Kim Jong Un’s audiences. It was frightening.

Luppe B. Luppen at Yahoo News: Treasury Department sent information on Hunter Biden to expanding GOP Senate inquiry.

The U.S. Treasury Department has complied with Republican Senators’ requests for highly sensitive and closely-held financial records about Hunter Biden and his associates and turned over “‘evidence’ of questionable origin” to them, according to a leading Democrat on one of the committees conducting the investigation.

For months, while the impeachment controversy raged, powerful committee chairmen in the Republican-controlled Senate have been quietly but openly pursuing an inquiry into Hunter Biden’s business affairs and Ukrainian officials’ alleged interventions in the 2016 election, the same matters President Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani unsuccessfully tried to coerce Ukraine’s government to investigate.

Unlike Trump and Giuliani, however, Sens. Charles Grassley, the chairman of the Finance Committee, Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee have focused their efforts in Washington, seeking to extract politically useful information from agencies of the US government. They’ve issued letters requesting records from cabinet departments and agencies, including the Department of State, the Treasury, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the National Archives, and the Secret Service.

Grassley and Johnson have sought to obtain some of the most sensitive and closely held documents in all of federal law enforcement–highly confidential suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by financial institutions with FinCEN, an agency of the Treasury that helps to police money laundering.

The senators’ requests to the Treasury have borne fruit, according to the ranking Democratic Senator on the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Wyden, who contrasted the cooperation given to the Republican Senators with the pervasive White House-directed stonewall House Democrats encountered when they subpoenaed documents and witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.

Brian Barrett at Wired: Trump’s Ukraine Server Delusion Is Spreading.

Where does this malignant conspiracy theory come from in the first place? Maybe Paul ManafortProbably 4chan. Regardless, it has since stuck in the president’s brain like a Ceti eel placed by a wrathful Khan, burrowing deeper until it consumes whatever remains of rational thought. The story, as Trump recently posited on a marathon call-in to Fox and Friends, goes something like this:

“A lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine,” Trump said. “It’s very interesting. They have the server, right? From the DNC, Democratic National Committee. The FBI went in, and they told them, ‘Get out of here, we’re not giving it to you.’ They gave the server to CrowdStrike, or whatever it’s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian, and I still want to see that server. You know, the FBI has never gotten that server. That’s a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?”

The conspiracy appears to have metastasized.

A light edit for coherence: Trump believes—and by all indications this is true belief, not posturing—that after the Democratic National Committee was hacked in 2016, the DNC gave a physical server to Ukrainian cybersecurity company CrowdStrike and refused to let the FBI see the evidence. Trump further argues that the server in question now physically resides in Ukraine. Inside that server, Trump suggests, one would find evidence, gleaming like a Pulp Fiction briefcase, that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the DNC in 2016….

Almost every aspect of this is demonstrably wrong. CrowdStrike is not a Ukrainian company. Its cofounder and chief technology officer, Dmitri Alperovitch, was born in Russia and has lived in the US since his teenage years. The company is based in Sunnyvale, California, and went public this summer. As is standard in this sort of incident response, CrowdStrike never took physical possession of any DNC server. Its analysts instead captured an “image” of the hard drives and memories of affected machines, exact replicas that it could examine for signs of malfeasance. It handed all of that forensic evidence over to the FBI, which Department of Justice deputy assistant attorney general Adam Hickey confirmed just last month. And if the logical contortions required to view CrowdStrike as somehow partisan in all of this aren’t already enough, know that the company counts the Republican National Congressional Committee among its clients.

So: Not Ukrainian. No physical server. Not only was the FBI directly involved, but the DOJ indicted the Russian hackers responsible and laid out in exquisite detail how they did it—and how CrowdStrike fought them off. You can read the indictment for yourself here. Start on page 10; CrowdStrike is Company 1.

But it doesn’t matter what the truth is anymore. Trump’s idiotic propaganda is working.

Trump is going to give another “speech” at the White House soon, so he can gloat about his “great victory” over the Democrats and threaten retaliation against anyone who dares to cross him.

The Washington Post: Trump impeachment live updates: President lashes out at Democrats as ‘corrupt people’ at National Prayer Breakfast, in his first public remarks after acquittal.

President Trump used his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday to lash out at House Democrats responsible for his impeachment and to praise Senate Republicans who voted to acquit him.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was on the dais during Trump’s remarks at the annual bipartisan, multifaith event, chastised the president at a later news conference, calling his remarks “just so inappropriate.” She said he was “without class” for having criticized Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), the only Republican to vote for conviction.

Pelosi’s comments came shortly before Trump was scheduled to deliver more formal remarks from the White House about his acquittal on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in a historic Senate trial.

Watch more of Pelosi’s press conference on C-Span’s Twitter feed.

From The Washington Post: ‘I feel very liberated,’ Pelosi says.

At her weekly news conference, Pelosi defended her decision to rip up Trump’s State of the Union address and told reporters she feels “liberated” in the wake of the speech.

“I feel very liberated,” Pelosi said. “I feel that I have extended every possible courtesy. I’ve shown every level of respect. I say to my members all the time, there is no such thing as an eternal animosity.”

She described her decision to tear up the speech as “a dignified act” and took aim at Trump on a personal level, noting that the president “looked to me like he was a little sedated” during the speech.

And she questioned Trump’s decision to grant the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh.

“When he started talking about someone with cancer, we thought he was going to talk about John Lewis, a hero in our country,” Pelosi said, referring to the Georgia congressman and civil rights icon, who revealed in December that he has been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.

Pelosi also criticized Trump’s choice of venue for granting the medal to Limbaugh. “Do it in your own office! We don’t come in your office and do congressional business,” she said.

Of Trump’s National Prayer Breakfast remarks, Pelosi added that the president is “talking about things that he knows little about — faith and prayer.”

“I don’t know if the president understands about prayer or people who do pray. … I pray hard for him because he’s so off the track of our Constitution, our values, our country,” she said.

Concluding her news conference, she added: “He has shredded the truth in his speech. He’s shredding the Constitution in his conduct. I shredded his ‘state of his mind’ address.”

Trump is speaking now. I feel sick. I know this isn’t much of a post, but it’s all I can muster today. I’m grateful for this blog and for all you Sky Dancers. I don’t know how I would manage without you.

 


28 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Trump Unleashed”

  1. bostonboomer says:

  2. bostonboomer says:

    • dakinikat says:

      News stations have to quit putting this $hit on air. It’s really like watching an insane asylum. It’s painful to think any of these people are walking the street let alone naming judges and considering laws.

      • Enheduanna says:

        I think maybe covering the freak fest – both Dump and Dump, Jr. – is a good thing. A lot of their evangelical base take high offense to the profanity. Jr’s tweet about Romney’s “mommy jeans” was spewed out without regard to whether children might view it, etc.

        Conway is right (above) – let them fly their freak flags. As revolting as it is, maybe it’s a good thing to expose the bad behaviour.

        • quixote says:

          I’m guessing the fundies would prefer if their Defender Of the Patriarchy Extraordinaire were, say, more like St. Ronnie. But it’s all good so long as he’s squashing women and libs and black people and brown people and disabled people and LED light bulbs.

  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. bostonboomer says:

    I wonder how Mrs. Scalise feels about this.

  5. dakinikat says:

    Loved this tweet you found!

  6. dakinikat says:

    Professor of the Classics kinda tells a good tale here …

    • dakinikat says:

      Tacitus (c. A.D. 55 – c. A.D. 120) was himself a Roman senator; his writing shows a particular interest in the conduct of senators.

      Prior to Tacitus’ time, Rome had been a republic (509-27 B.C.). In that system magistrates were elected and alternated annually. Those who had served in elected office entered the senate in perpetuity. This body was, in essence, a collective of hundreds of members of the political class, who deliberated and voted on domestic and foreign policy.

      During the period Tacitus writes about (A.D. 14-96), the Roman state remained a republic in name, with its institutions more or less intact. Yet one individual, the emperor – known as the princeps – held what were essentially emergency powers over domestic and foreign affairs. So the “republic” of this period was functionally an autocracy. This meant that government institutions other than the emperor had little power.

      So in the period Tacitus describes, senators still formally convened, gave impassioned speeches and debated issues of the day. But most often resolutions would go nowhere without the “encouragement of the emperor,” as the historian puts it in one passage. The situation frequently left senators tongue-tied or, worse, “stooping to the most abject supplication.”

      Their subservience could be seen in, for example, senatorial decrees to celebrate military victories that had not occurred; or, after the emperor Nero snuffed out a plot against him, in the senatorial motion to erect a Temple to the Divine Nero.

      Senatorial fealty to the emperor was perhaps most apparent in the proliferation of prosecutions of other Romans for perceived acts of treason against the emperor. From a successful prosecution a senator could win the favor of the emperor, along with untold riches. Tacitus considered this rash of self-serving prosecutions to be “the gravest of destructive forces” under the empire.

  7. bostonboomer says:

  8. NW Luna says:

    BB, thx for doing the post. I know you’re feeling the fury and hopelessness that I and millions others feel at Trump’s acquittal and now at his emboldened autocracy. This site helps keep me going.

  9. NW Luna says:

    DNC chair calls for recanvass in Iowa

    “Enough is enough,” he wrote on Twitter. “In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”

    A recanvass is a hand audit of math worksheets and reporting forms completed at each of the more than 1,750 precincts across the state. It differs from a full recount, which would involve a hand count of each of the “presidential preference cards” completed by caucus-goers, to ensure that caucus-by-caucus support was tallied and transmitted correctly on the worksheets and reporting forms.

    • NW Luna says:

      Uh-oh. The Berniebros will think this means it was rigged. Or else that the recanvass will rig it.

    • quixote says:

      Thanks for saying what it means. I saw that and all I could think is, “Recanvass? What the hell is a recanvass?”

      Would it take that much more time to just do a recount? If they stop short of that, won’t there just be screaming meemies shouting that they missed a bit?

      Joan Walsh said it: the only person really affected by this is Warren. She’s the one who came out miles ahead of “frontrunner” Biden. Buttigieg is a flash in the white pan of Iowa. Who cares what he does. And being neck and neck with Bernie-the-Republicans’-favorite is a real So What?

      I just can’t believe Bernie will get anywhere. Dem voters aren’t as dumb as the Dump voters.

      (RIGHT??)

  10. dakinikat says:

    Climate change is a hoax you know …