Republicans Grow Increasingly Desperate In Defense Of Trump

The GOP's efforts to defend the President are becoming more desperate and pathetic by the day.

As the impeachment inquiry continues to close in on President Trump, his Republicans defenders are becoming more desperate:

Republicans’ defense of President Trump grew more frantic and disjointed Wednesday, with House members storming a closed-door meeting, delaying the testimony of an impeachment witness as the GOP grappled with a growing abuse-of-power scandal centered on the president.

A group of Trump’s congressional allies escalated their complaints about the impeachment inquiry by barging into a secure facility on Capitol Hill where a Pentagon official was to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.

Their intrusion, which caused the testimony to be delayed for about five hours over security concerns, came a day after the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine testified under oath that the White House had threatened to withhold military aid unless the Ukrainian government announced investigations for Trump’s political benefit.

The testimony undercut Trump’s claims of his “perfect” dealings with Ukraine and appeared to push Republican lawmakers into a more aggressive stance as they sought to defend the president from his greatest legal and political threat yet.

“I led over 30 of my colleagues into the SCIF where Adam Schiff is holding secret impeachment depositions,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Wednesday morning on Twitter, referring to the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. “Still inside — more details to come.”

The lawmakers staged the dramatic protest while making process arguments that sidestepped the substance of the central allegations underpinning the impeachment inquiry. Democrats accused the protesting members of compromising security by taking their phones into the secure area, where cellphones are barred.

Before entering the closed-door hearing, Republican lawmakers held a news conference to decry how Schiff, the California Democrat who runs the Intelligence Committee, was carrying out the panel’s portion of the impeachment inquiry. Several complained about the private nature of the proceedings and claimed that the inquiry was part of a long-running attempt by Democrats to overturn the result of the 2016 presidential election.

But none of the 13 Republicans who spoke defended Trump on the central allegation that he had pushed Ukraine to investigate Democrats while blocking military aid that had been approved for Kyiv.

(…)

As current and former Trump administration officials have testified before the Intelligence Committee, with several backing up the whistle­blower’s allegations, Republicans have struggled to mount a coherent and consistent defense of the president.

Their responses have vacillated from complaints about the whistleblower’s “secondhand” knowledge of Trump’s actions to arguments that Democrats have not held a vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry, which is not required under House rules.
After Taylor’s testimony, some GOP lawmakers argued that even if Trump held up the military aid for political reasons, it was defensible because the Ukrainian government did not initially know that the money had been stalled.

“You can’t have a quid pro quo with no quo,” Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.) said Tuesday in a Fox News interview that Trump amplified on Twitter.
One of Trump’s top congressional allies, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), has repeatedly asked the White House for information as he has sought to defend the president, according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations.

This idiotic and somewhat childish protest by House Republicans is the latest reflection of the fact that their lines of defense against the charges being made against the President with regard to our dealings with Ukraine. When this all started with the whistleblower’s complaint, Republicans and the President concentrated on attacking the whistleblower and the charges made in his (or her) complaint. As it turned out, though, those allegations were backed up by the transcript of the July phone call and by the investigation and subsequent report by the intelligence community’s Inspector General.

With the attacks on the whistleblower having failed, the attack shifted to the claim that there was no direct evidence of a quid pro quo between U.S. aid to Ukraine and cooperation regarding the various investigations that the President wanted Ukraine to undertake. This argument, of course, ignores the fact that the law barring the solicitation of aid for and American political campaign from foreign sources, which can be found at 50 U.S.C. 30121(2). does not require a quid pro quo for there to have been a violation of the law. Even leaving this aside, though, the facts that have been developed and made public have made this defense worthless, most recently in the testimony by Ambassador Bill Taylor earlier this week that provided the most direct evidence yet of the quid pro quo that Republicans were claiming did not exist.

Now, with the facts turning against them, the Republicans are raising what can only be called absurd arguments about the process of the investigation that are clearly designed to be nothing but a smokescreen to stop the public from noticing the fact that the evidence against this President is mounting. Basically, this procedural argument is concentrating on the fact that, so far, the interviews of the main witnesses have been behind closed doors and at least the implication that Republicans are not being allowed to participate in the process. These objections, of course, are without merit.

Contrary to the claims of the White House, many GOP members of Congress, and the conservative media, an impeachment inquiry is not a criminal proceeding or even a criminal investigation. Additionally, this talk of “due process” is utter nonsense and completely misplaced. If anything the current process is analogous to a Grand Jury proceeding, which is generally closed to the public and to the subject of the investigation. Even that analogy is inexact though since, eventually, we will see public hearings in this matter. In any case, there is no requirement for giving the White House access to the proceedings as some have demanded. This is especially true given the fact that Republican Members of Congress are in the room for these hearings and able to ask their own questions. It also ignores the fact that the custom of taking depositions of witnesses before holding public hearings is long-standing in Congress. It happened during Watergate, during the Iran-Contra investigation, and during the endless hearings that House Republicans held on the Benghazi “investigation.” This entire concentration on the phony issue of “due process” is an effort to distract from the fact that, particularly after the testimony of Bill Taylor, the facts are looking very bad for this President and that, like it or not, impeachment is basically inevitable.

There’s an old lawyer’s adage that when the facts are against you, you argue the law and when the law is against you, you argue the facts. We’re now at the point where both the facts and the law are against the Republicans and against the President. In response, they are simply arguing and seeking to distract pubic attention from what matters with phony arguments about “due process” and personal attacks against the leaders of the investigation. This merely demonstrates that they have nothing left to argue.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Impeachment, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    When I was a kid it was called Kiev, now it’s called Kyiv. Is this one of those Bombay->Mumbai things?

  2. @Teve:

    Kyiv is closer to the Ukrainian name for the city than the Angliczed “Kiev” that was imposed during the time Ukraine was controlled by the Russian Empire and the USSR

    In that regard, it’s helpful to remember that there was no independent nation of Ukraine before 1991.

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  3. Teve says:

    Ryan J. Reilly
    @ryanjreilly
    ·
    10h
    Fox News: “There was never any threat of arrest, but a source said some members asked to be arrested, citing the optics of being marched out of the SCIF in handcuffs in front of throngs of reporters and news cameras.”

  4. grumpy realist says:

    Well, we now know the integrity of most Republican politicians: zilch. Everything is to be sacrificed to clinging on to political power.

    I hope that the people running against them next time around really hit this point hard.

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  5. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Doug, first thanks you for your continued and focused writing on these developments. It is important to document these days, as later people will be trying to understand what the hell happened to America so dramatically and quickly.

    It’s more than just IOKIYAR.

    From what I see, it’s inline with stickling to the GOP greatest hits. Much like the Brooks Brothers Riot, or Mitch McConnel avoiding a Supreme Court appointment vote

    You know: lawlessness.

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  6. CSK says:

    I don’t get it. Most of them can’t stand the malevolent old buffoon. So he gets impeached. So what? They get Pence as a replacement.

    Yes, I know they’re terrified of Cult45. I get that.

  7. KM says:

    A Trump lawyer just argued in court that the POTUS is so far above the law that he can commit murder and there’s nothing you can do about it:

    Judge: If President Trump shot someone on Fifth Avenue, local authorities couldn’t investigate, or do anything about it?

    Trump lawyer: No.

    Judge: Nothing could be done while in office? That is your position?

    Trump lawyer: That is correct.

    These idiots are really going all in because they know this is likely the last time they have this level of power. They’re burning all the bridges, destroying all the norms, doing absolutely everything they can to protect their God Emperor because they know deep in their bones he’s the death of their party. Oh, they’ll limp along for a few decades fleecing their rubes but this isn’t the behavior of a party that thinks they’ll have to deal with consequences. After all, if God Emperor Trump can shoot someone in the streets legally, so can the next Dem Pres. Money and optics – pander to the morons, scream at the TV and rake in that sweet, sweet dough.

    As for Pence as Pres, the wingnut ecosystem won’t support him. Its evolutionary pressure leans towards loud, abrasive, boorish, and proudly ignorant. Pence only really fits because he’s a fundie – his asshattery derives from that, not necessarily the same personality flaws that make Trump so attractive to his groupies. He’s the Diet New Coke of the GOP – drink if you absolutely have no other choice. President Pence may get them some legislation but won’t bring in the votes in elections…. and definitely won’t bring the perpetual outrage that’s so crucial to keeping the wingnut ecosystem thriving.

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  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    Republicans by and large will go down the toilet with Trump because they know what they’ve done is a difference in kind, not just degree. It’s the difference between an average German soldier surrendering to US troops after the camps started to be liberated, and an SS officer doing same. On the one hand there’s a POW camp, and on the other hand let’s take a walk into these woods. . .

    They know they’ve done more than fight for their side. They know they’ve done evil and they know they won’t be forgiven. That’s how you end up dying in the bunker instead of running west waving your undershirt on a stick and living to sell Mercedes in Florida.

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  9. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Yes

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I kinda wonder what is going to happen to the Capitol police who gave entry to unauthorized people to a secure room. Seems at the very least a reassignment is called for, maybe as bathroom monitors?

    Of course I have no idea of what exactly transpired. Maybe Schiff told them not to make a confrontation out of it, maybe their commander was unsure of just how far his authority extended.

    sigh….

    Seems strange when an entire political party is engaged in felonious behavior and no one is held to account. Almost like a banana republic.

  11. Nightcrawler says:

    @KM:

    They are treating Trump like a God Emperor; that’s a very good way of putting it.

    There are liberals who fear a President Pence. I’m a Nothing, and I don’t. Pence would be a severely wounded POTUS heading up a severely wounded GOP. I don’t think he’d get much accomplished, and as you pointed out, I don’t think he’d bring out the vote, either for himself in 2020 or for other GOP candidates.

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  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    They know they’ve done more than fight for their side. They know they’ve done evil and they know they won’t be forgiven.

    I don’t know, man. Who knowingly makes an idiot of themselves in front of the nation for Trump?
    Maybe it’s that Republicans by-and-large don’t understand what they are doing. Maybe they have been, quite literally, brain-washed by decades of watching Fox News, and they are incapable of seeing the truth anymore.
    You’re the one who calls it a cult…maybe it’s no longer a metaphor?
    The lies, the threats of violence, the cruelty, the demand of blind loyalty, and the manipulation of
    followers who willingly choose to suspend belief in empirical reality…it all fits the very definition of a cult.
    What if we are looking at half the nation living, not in Jonestown Guyana, but in a similar mental state? A sort of decentralized People’s Temple. The PTL Club…but sold as Fair and Balanced News to the unsuspecting rubes?
    No…I’m not sure many of these people actually understands what is happening. Maybe a few; McConnell certainly does, Ailes did. But most of them? Why would Graham willingly submit like this? No blackmail is worth it.
    So perhaps the key to stopping Trump is to somehow de-program the cult members and return them to normal society? If we don’t they will continue to be a danger to themselves and society as a whole.

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  13. Kathy says:

    Argue the facts. If you can’t argue the facts, argue the law. If you can’t even argue the law, bang on the table and scream like a maniac while you throw your feces all over the room.

  14. mattbernius says:

    It also ignores the fact that the custom of taking depositions of witnesses before holding public hearings is long-standing in Congress. It happened during Watergate, during the Iran-Contra investigation, and during the endless hearings that House Republicans held on the Benghazi “investigation.”

    To that point, Conservative darling and then-Benghazi Committee chairman Trey Gowdy had this to say on Meet The Press in Oct. 2015 of about private committee witness interviews:

    CHUCK TODD:
    Let me ask you this, you said this the other night on FOX with Greta Van Susteren. You said, “Part of what I saw yesterday, Greta, wasn’t all that constructive. And for the American people to just tune into a nine-hour food fight, I would err on the side of a private one before I would do that.”

    It was in response to a question about future witnesses that you would bring on, whether it would be on TV or not. It sounds like you may regret how you went about questioning Secretary Clinton, that maybe you should’ve done some of it off camera and only some of it on camera. What do over do you want?

    TREY GOWDY:
    Well, Chuck it was a voluntary interview. I didn’t send the subpoena to Secretary Clinton. It was a voluntary interview, and she wanted it to be in public. I wrote a letter several months ago giving her an option. And she chose public. And that’s well within her right.

    I can just tell you that of the 50-some odd interviews we have done thus far, the vast majority of them have been private. And you don’t see the bickering among the members of Congress and private interviews. You don’t see any of that. So the venue that is most constructive–

    CHUCK TODD:
    Do you think TV camera adds to the grandstanding on both sides of the aisle?

    TREY GOWDY:
    What do you think, Chuck? I mean, you’ve been following Congress for a long time. I can just tell you in the private interviews, there is never any of what you saw Thursday. It is one hour on the Republican side, one hour on the Democrat side. Which is why you’re going to see the next two-dozen interviews done privately, because it is, I mean, look at the other investigations that are being done right now. The Lois Lerner investigation that was just announced, was that public or private? How about Comey’s investigation? Is that public or private? The private ones always produce better results.

    Sauce: https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-october-25-2015-n451121

    Boy, only a few short years ago, Republicans loved and saw value in private interviews.

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  15. DrDaveT says:

    @Nightcrawler:

    There are liberals who fear a President Pence.

    Pence was vastly more dangerous when the GOP controlled the House. Now, he’s still dangerous (and will appoint patriarchal theocrat SCOTUS justices if given the chance), but not nearly as much as when there was a chance of him pushing a legislative agenda.

  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Nightcrawler:
    @DrDaveT:

    There are liberals who fear a President Pence.

    Pence couldn’t get re-elected in his home state.
    By the time everyone recovered from the impeachment, the election would be upon us.
    Pence wouldn’t have time to do much more damage than what has already been done.

  17. KM says:

    @DrDaveT :
    Going back to my ecosystem analogy, Pence is low-level predator that relies solely on camouflage for hunting. In the right environment like a thick jungle, he’d have your throat torn out in a second. In a great open flatland like a prairie? Vastly less effective, dangerous only when you are stupid enough to let him get the drop on you. He won’t go extinct but he certainly won’t thrive. Something to keep an eye on for safety but not a true threat.

    Trump and his ilk are the invasive species that just kills off all the native flora and fauna except for the truly hardy, nasty stuff. They’ve even managed to turn their native environment FOX News into a deeper cesspit because it’s not enough to support them. Kudzu on crack – strangle the life out of everything while sucking up all the resources for insane, destructive overgrowth. Perhaps a better metaphor is Asian carp, harmful to everything around it even when you’re getting rid of it. Go look at a video of them jumping in the boat and take out the fishermen with their wild flailing and tell me that’s doesn’t resemble Graham or Gaetz right now. Something to be dealt with immediately – a threat you ignore at your own peril.

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  18. wr says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: “Pence couldn’t get re-elected in his home state.”

    Pence is also up to his eyeballs in the Ukraine disaster. Even if he were left in office as a caretaker, he would be on a very short leash, and the Democrats would not hesitate to pull it if he ever started to wander away…

  19. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Seen on Twitter:

    Trump is pressuring domestic politicians to do really dumb things for him to fight back against charges that he pressured foreign politicians to do really dumb things for him.

  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Brainwashing is a choice, and they know they’ve made that choice.

    I never believe people believe what they say they believe. Their professed beliefs are just a public face, a mask. The proof is as much in what they don’t do as in what they do. Watch what they avoid and skirt around. Evasive moves are consciousness of guilt. There’s a structural difference between the inadvertent untruth and the calculated lie.

    Every time some troll like @Guarneri comes here to emit a limp fart rather than attempt actual engagement, it’s an admission of guilt and intellectual impotence. They know they have no defense to offer, they know they have no arguments to make, they know they got nothin’. To express loyalty to Trump knowing that you have literally no defense of him, yes, that is cult behavior – it’s practically the definition – but that does not mitigate their guilt. If they are brainwashed it was done with their complicity. No one put a gun to their heads.

  21. Blue Galangal says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    You’re the one who calls it a cult…maybe it’s no longer a metaphor?
    The lies, the threats of violence, the cruelty, the demand of blind loyalty, and the manipulation of
    followers who willingly choose to suspend belief in empirical reality…it all fits the very definition of a cult.

    FWIW, I have long thought of it as a literal descriptor rather than a metaphor. My conviction that it is a literal cult grows daily, even hourly, as norm after norm is smashed and Republicans roll over faster than Westley rolled down that hill, their “As you wish…” floating on the wind.

  22. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson:
    STOP IT!!!
    You’re an embarrassment to the State of VT.

  23. Scott says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson:

    “( 1 ) Do you have any interest in serving as a volunteer to help…?”
    Yes, I am helping ya’ll right here.
    I am giving you advice right here.
    The advice I give the RNC right here is priceless.

    Please, Please, RNC. Take up Cris’ volunteer offer.

  24. PJ says:

    seeking to distract pubic attention

    This isn’t the Clinton impeachment!

    😉

  25. gVOR08 says:

    Per a couple of tweets repeated at Balloon Juice (along with a must-see video of Simone Biles throwing out the first pitch yesterday) 48 Republicans had access to that deposition, roughly a quarter of the caucus. This includes 12 of the protesters. 27 of the protesters voted for the rule keeping them out. One, Steve Pigmuck King, was banned from all committee meetings as too racist even for Republicans.

    It ain’t just Trump, or fear of Trump. How much money do you expect Gaetz has raised already off this stunt?

  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Brainwashing is a choice

    Huh?
    Winston didn’t willingly choose to be “re-educated”…he was forced to choose.
    I don’t think the fools who are brain-washed by Fox willingly choose to be…the are slowly and unwittingly “re-educated”.

  27. Scott F. says:

    @CSK:

    Yes, I know they’re terrified of Cult45.

    It’s really not any more complicated than that fear.

    For decades, the Republicans have been riding this tiger of racial resentment and perceived disrespect from the “elites” as the means to hold power for their donor paymasters. For most of that time, they convinced the base to keep their worst instincts on the down-low, but Trump has encouraged them to let their freak flags fly high. Let out from under their rocks, they can go to the big rallies or bask in the glow of Fox on TV convinced that they are not only not alone, but the majority (at least of the “people who matter”). The GOP is afraid of what their people will do if they are told to go back into the shadows – these folks are armed to the teeth don’t you know?

  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    You’re too easy on people. I don’t cut other people any more slack than I cut myself, and that’s close to none. We have freedom. We have choices. With that freedom comes responsibility. Everything I’ve said or done in my life is 100% my responsibility. If I relied on bad data, that’s my fault. If I trusted the wrong people, that’s my fault. If I responded to threats or bribes, that was my choice and the consequences are my fault.

    Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, no one else’s culpa, it’s all mea. Discover error, admit error, and correct error, there’s no other way that I know of to be an authentic human being.

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson: cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo….

    Was it meth or the decades of pot that fried your brains?

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  30. charon says:

    About Giuliani’s two guys who were arrested before their flight to Vienna: Hannity was going to be in Vienna for the meeting with Firtash’s guys. Apparently was to be a plan B.

    via Balloon Juice:

    The Trumpsters persisted with Plan B, even as the Ukraine scandal was exploding around them after the whistleblower complaint. They lined up Hannity for a big reveal with the disgraced prosecutor in Vienna, where, not coincidentally, Russia-aligned Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash is currently stranded while he fights US extradition on bribery charges.

    Think of it — the only thing that stopped this brazen crew from carrying out Plan B of their illegal media smear campaign to rig 2020 was the cops pinching Giuliani’s goons! And yesterday those goons pleaded not guilty in federal court to funneling foreign money to Trump PACs and individual Republicans, and their lawyers raised executive privilege claims since the goons were working for Giuliani, who was working for Trump. Analysis: amazeballs!

    https://www.balloon-juice.com/2019/10/24/the-big-reveal/#more-270370

    And, from CNN via TPM via BJ:

    The [CNN] article is about the seemingly limitless sleaze of Rudy Giuliani’s associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, the guys picked up at Dulles airport two weeks ago and pled not guilty today in federal court in Manhattan. Whatever else they were doing for Trump and Giuliani, basically everywhere they went with Rudy they were trying to shake down, consult for, borrow money or rip off every high roller they came into contact with.

    But down in literally the last paragraph is something I’d never heard before and I don’t think has been reported elsewhere. Parnas and Fruman (with Giuliani to arrive via a separate flight, apparently) were on their way to Vienna to handle logistics for a blockbuster interview Viktor Shokin (the notorious fired prosecutor) was going to do on Hannity!

  31. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: It’s normal to project ourselves onto others. The wealthy feel no sympathy for the poor because they could be rich if they chose to be. They ignore that they themselves are at the right tail of the distribution of some combination of intelligence, ambition, charm, looks, luck, inheritance, sociopathy, etc. And generally left tail of melanin. It really is not fair to fault some kid of average everything born in south Chicago for not rising to head Goldman Sachs.

    “The man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” Some of us have the intelligence and curiosity and education (formal or not) and desire to make the effort to get past that. Many don’t. Yes, they should do better. And I’d be richer had I switched from mechanical engineering to software years ago.

    I don’t see our problem as rising levels of ignorance. If anything, I think ignorance is declining. What I see is a growing recognition by Republicans that the only way to sell what they’ve got is by targeting the most ignorant and gullible. And they’ve worked hard at perfecting their skills. Our situation didn’t just happen, there are villains in the story. And it ain’t just Trump.

  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @gVOR08:
    I am well aware of factors both genetic and environmental that make me an outlier in terms of reprogramming and adaptation – it’s easier when you never really attached to a specific paradigm begin with. And I’m not blind to the nuance in people’s lives – I could play the game of pointing to this or that incident in my life to excuse subsequent behavior, I make the choice not to.

    It’s not that I think individual responsibility is absolute or unshaded, and I’m not at all denying the responsibility of those who prey upon weak minds. It’s rather that there is no practical alternative to individual responsibility – the other choices are group responsibility which is the underpinning of racism, or no responsibility at all, which is moral collapse and the end of civilization.

    In some future sci-fi world maybe we’ll have a method of assigning a number value to responsibility. If a loaf of bread is stolen a rich kid with everything may be more responsible, a poor kid with nothing less so.

  33. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist: please don’t be pot please don’t be pot please don’t be pot please don’t be pot please don’t be pot

  34. Teve says:

    I don’t see our problem as rising levels of ignorance. If anything, I think ignorance is declining. What I see is a growing recognition by Republicans that the only way to sell what they’ve got is by targeting the most ignorant and gullible.

    I am always on guard for Golden Agism. Violent crime across the board has gone down for 25 years. But I almost went into the Home Security bidness because here in Florida every medicare recipient will talk your ear off about how people ain’t no good anymore, and it ain’t like it was back in their day when people had morals and values blah blah blah. But the GOP scam preys on the most clueless and frightened. The same people I know who gave money to Heritage USA in the 80’s are now diehard Trumpers.

  35. gVOR08 says:

    @charon: I’m beginning to worry that Parnas, Furman, and Giuliani will turn into a swamp of confusion with them running so many hustles the connections to Firtash and Trump will get lost in the fog.

  36. Steve V says:

    @Scott F.: We live in a world where a MLB umpire got worked up enough to tweet

    I will be buying an AR-15 tomorrow, because if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!!

    It’s jaw-dropping.

  37. mattbernius says:

    @Steve V:

    We live in a world where a MLB umpire got worked up enough to tweet

    I have been seeing this going around today. I am not sure how I’m supposed to react… or rather why I’m expected to work up the effort to get upset over this. I mean, my god, an MLB umpire makes an extremely bad call?!

    (Pun intended)

    Or is this something like, people involved with sports shouldn’t have public takes? I mean given percentages, I don’t expect any profession to be somehow immune to have deeply stupid people in it.

    I’m shocked that a lawyer for the President is suggesting that he could commit murder and be immune from prosecution while he’s in office. That’s worth getting upset about.

    This is a big nothingburger

  38. gVOR08 says:

    @Steve V: I trust you accurately quoted “CIVAL”. The guy’s a moran.

  39. Steve V says:

    @mattbernius: The problem is that it’s insane, and there are probably millions of other tweets just like this written by other people that don’t attract public attention.

  40. gVOR08 says:

    @mattbernius: I suspect it’s more a delaying tactic than serious. Presumably the judge will make the obvious ruling and Trumps lawyers will run up billable hours all the way to the Supreme Court. And we can’t rule out the Supremes doing something stupid.

    The infamous DOJ opinion seems to depend not on legal arguments, but on some pretense of consideration of real world consequences. Unfortunately I think the same can be said of the counterargument that democracy cannot exist if anyone is above the law. AFAIK the Constitution is silent on the issue, which allows the “strict constructionists” to find anything they want without fear of contradiction.

  41. gVOR08 says:

    @mattbernius:

    This is a big nothingburger

    Except possibly for the umpire, who may find there’s boilerplate in his contract about the image of MLB.

  42. reid says:

    @Teve: That sounds very much like my 84-year old mother. “Everyone’s on drugs.” “The country’s going to pot.” I occasionally push back slightly, but it’s easier to just let her ramble on.

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM: Graham or Gaetz as an Asian carp. That’s an image that won’t leave my brain any time soon.

  44. al Ameda says:

    @gVOR08:

    Except possibly for the umpire, who may find there’s boilerplate in his contract about the image of MLB.

    At this point Steve Drake probably sees that language as #FakeBoilerplate.
    America has an ‘angry white guy’ problem, and we’ve exported it to the U.K. and many points elsewhere.

  45. CSK says:

    @Scott F.: @mattbernius:

    I never know whether to take these threats seriously. Cult45 is always making them; they seem to relish the notion of “Cival” War, Part Deux. I don’t think most Trumpkins are in any shape for combat.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @reid:

    “The country’s going to pot.”

    My response to that is always, “Good, it’s not near as bad for one as alcohol.”

  47. reid says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I hear ya, except the last time we talked she was going on about how pot legalization is leading to everyone going to harder drugs. But yeah, I would’ve giggled to myself if I’d thought to say it. (Having said all of this, she’s not a complete loony right-winger, though it may sound that way. Just loony-curious at this point.)

  48. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Everything I’ve said or done in my life is 100% my responsibility.

    I get your point and agree…yes, people who get conned allow themselves to be conned.
    That doesn’t negate my point that Republicans are an actual cult, that cult members rarely understand what is happening, and that the struggle…for the good of the nation…is to somehow de-program them and welcome them back to normal society.

  49. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    In some future sci-fi world maybe we’ll have a method of assigning a number value to responsibility. If a loaf of bread is stolen a rich kid with everything may be more responsible, a poor kid with nothing less so.

    You’re sort of dancing around the differences between responsibility vs. guilt, reasons vs. excuses, and two different definitions of responsible (being the cause of something, and having to deal with the consequences of something). But I don’t think you’re being all that clear about it.

    Carry on.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I don’t take the threat of Civil War serious at all. I do take serious the threat of random nutjobs with an AR-15, a dozen expanded mags, and a bump stock flipping out tho.

  51. mattbernius says:

    @Steve V:

    The problem is that it’s insane, and there are probably millions of other tweets just like this written by other people that don’t attract public attention.

    Again, MEH for the moment.

    I mean, shit? have you read comments on websites? People of all stripes say hyperbolic crap on the interwebs every-day.

    I’m not minimizing that. I’m just suggesting that relative to a lot of other stuff, I don’t think its particularly concerning (or at least any more concerning than anything else on MAGA twitter — or really any fringe twitter).

    @gVOR08:

    I suspect it’s more a delaying tactic than serious.

    Oh, without a doubt its lawyers lawyering. That still doesn’t make it good or right. And frankly, I’m concerned about that type of legal thinking getting enshrined when the Supreme Court ultimately opts to hear this case.

  52. Scott F. says:

    @Steve V: Because he “fights back” against what they see as oppression of their deeply held beliefs, the Trumpkins love Trump at a irrational magnitude that’s hard to understand for people guided by reason. That “Trump’s the good guy up against the enemy in war for the culture” is an article of faith with these people – no amount of evidence will persuade them otherwise – and, in a war, the enemy has it coming.

    The silver lining, I hope, is that sunlight is a mighty disinfectant and the vocal deplorables (be it MLB umpire, or loudmouths at the country club, or a Congressman from Florida) will be properly ostracized for their commitment to Trumpism.

    It’s a minority view and there was some shielding from scrutiny when they were hidden under the rocks. The general public just has to make it unpleasant enough in the public square that they’ll be incentivized to crawl back where they came from. A stinging repudiation of Trump by Congress would be a start to that. Criminal penalties after he leaves office would be better yet.

  53. CSK says:

    @Scott F.: These people were thwarted of Sarah Palin, as they see it. Trump is a male Palin on steroids.

  54. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: As do I.

    I keep wondering how, exactly, Civil War II would play out. Given that there’s no state, country, city, or town that’s completely red or completely blue, where would the Trumpkins start shooting? Would they form posses? Militias? Wage guerilla warfare? What?

  55. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @CSK: It’ll be stuff like Proud Boys vs Antifa actually fighting (yes, I’m well aware of the actual differences in levels of respective violence, assault, and murder between left and right wing groups going back decades), where who is identified as the “domestic terrorist” depends on who controls the administration. In the end, that sort of thing *always* leads the public to strict law & order types with authoritarian/fascist bents. Even as it’s the right-wing troublemakers who primarily break the law to start with.

  56. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: it would play out the way armed insurrections almost always play out (American Revolution being an almost singular exception): they would quickly devolve into gangs who extort and run drugs, and would ah e to be eliminated by the government lest we devolve into chaos.

  57. grumpy realist says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: I forget what researcher it was who went around asking members of the anarchist left and members of the radical right what exactly they wanted….and basically decided that in both cases both sets just wanted to fight. The issues didn’t really make a difference; both sides were just looking for an excuse to start whaling away on someone else.

  58. wr says:

    @gVOR08: “Presumably the judge will make the obvious ruling and Trumps lawyers will run up billable hours all the way to the Supreme Court.”

    And then Trump will stiff them.

  59. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @CSK:

    where would the Trumpkins start shooting?

    One only need look to what they have already done, or have been caught planning to do; attack gathering places like churches and synogogues, send pipe bombs to journalists and politicians, bomb left-leaning organizations and media outlets, assassinate some Democratic politicians.
    Again…this is not conjecture…they have already done these things, or have been caught planning to do them.

  60. CSK says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: @MarkedMan: @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Thanks. God, that was depressing.
    They never specify just how they plan to carry out this insurrection.

  61. JohnMcC says:
  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: That’s exactly what I was thinking. What’s the point of running up billable hours when your client is Trump? Fewer hours==lower total loss on nonpayment.

  63. gVOR08 says:

    @al Ameda:

    America has an ‘angry white guy’ problem, and we’ve exported it to the U.K. and many points elsewhere.

    I don’t see it as exactly an angry white guy problem. As I noted above, @gVOR08: My opinion is that our would be oligarchs, like real oligarchs elsewhere, have found that what they have to sell cannot be sold honestly. All they can do is sell it to the most ignorant and gullible. They’ve found that selling racism, misogyny, and xenophobia to angry white guys works well. And it forms a vicious cycle, making them angrier and more gullible. Wealthy conservatives elsewhere see what’s worked here and they copy it. Brexit was sold on xenophobia, from what I read less on fear of Pakistanis or Syrians than on East Europeans. They could hardly sell it honestly as a tax dodge for the wealthy. Seems like the campaign involved some of the same people that sold Trump here. And some of the same Russian oligarchs.

    As I said above. This stuff didn’t just happen. There are villains, Republicans and their equivalents elsewhere.

  64. DrDaveT says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    You know: lawlessness.

    For more than a century, the fundamental raison d’etre of the Republican Party has been to represent the interests of power against the less powerful (and against the government). The powerful always consider themselves above the law; this is an eternal truth. “Law and order” is something they cultivate in the powerless, because well-behaved underclasses are much less of a threat to power.

    Frankly, I suspect the thing about Trump that scares Republicans the most is that he’s threatening to unleash the anger of the unpowerful, which will in the end be indiscriminate in its targets.

  65. gVOR08 says:

    DOJ has opened a criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation. We’re going to have to face the fact that William Barr, Attorney General of the United States, is a fruit cake.

  66. John says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson: This is actually some GREAT satire. Good job, Ms. Ericson, very subtle, you had me in stitches.

  67. DrDaveT says:

    @gVOR08:

    We’re going to have to face the fact that William Barr, Attorney General of the United States, is a co-conspirator of the President and willing tool of Russia.

    FTFY