Trump and His Party Doing Permanent Damage to America

The President who promised to "Make America Great Again" has made her a laughingstock. And worse.

Continued revelations about President Trump’s urging Georgia officials to overturn the results of their election have drawn outrage and consternation from former members of his party.

As to Trump himself, I’m perhaps less excited than David Frum (“Trump Crosses a Bright-Red Line“):

In a bombshell conversation with Georgia’s secretary of state yesterday, President Donald Trump made monkeys of every Republican official and every conservative talking head who professed to believe Trump’s allegations of voter fraud. The president himself made clear that he had only one end in view: overturning the 2020 election.

You knew this already, of course. Anyone connected to reality knew it. Even most of Trump’s political allies probably knew it. But important incentives induced people in the pro-Trump camp to pretend otherwise. And now, as so often happens, Trump has yanked away the protective deception to reveal the truth.

And now again, Trump presents the country with a crisis and a conundrum.

What Trump did on that call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, first reported by The Washington Post this afternoon, might well have been a crime. More than that cannot be said until and unless a jury is heard from. But Trump has reason to worry about new juries today, alongside all the other juries he was worrying about yesterday.

That’s all true, of course. But I think Trump is mentally unstable at this point, legitimately thinking that the election has somehow been stolen from him. More bizarrely, even if Georgia somehow “found” enough votes for a Trump win and overturned their thrice-certified results and submitted a new slate of Electors—all of which are precluded by law even if they legitimately found them—Biden would still have more than enough votes to win.

Trump would just be a raving lunatic tilting at windmills were it not for his enablers in Congress and elsewhere in the GOP.

Tom Nichols (“Worse Than Treason“) more closely captures my ire:

“We are what we pretend to be,” Kurt Vonnegut wrote in the opening of his 1962 novel, Mother Night, “and so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” Republicans in Congress are pretending to be seditionists—and so they have become, in fact, seditionists.

Forget all the whispered denials and the off-the-record expressions of concern in private; ignore the knowing smirks on camera from GOP officials who are desperately trying to indicate that they’re in on the joke. Brush aside the caviling of the anti-anti-Trump writers who would rather talk about that time in 2017 when some Democrats objected to the Electoral College vote (and were gaveled down by Joe Biden himself).

This is sedition, plain and simple. No amount of playacting and rationalizing can change the fact that the majority of the Republican Party and its apologists are advocating for the overthrow of an American election and the continued rule of a sociopathic autocrat.

This is not some handful of firebrands making a stand for the television cameras. In 2005, one Democrat in the House and one in the Senate filed an objection to counting Ohio’s electoral votes, while insisting that they were not contesting the outcome of the presidential election itself. In 2017, a handful of Democratic members of the House objected to the electoral count. Because they lacked support in the Senate, then-Vice President Biden ruled the representatives out of order and declared, “It is over.” In both cases, the Democratic candidate had already conceded.

Today, the “sedition caucus” includes at least 140 members of the House—that is, some two-thirds of the House GOP membership—and at least 10 members of the Senate. Their challenge comes after weeks of insistence that the 2020 election was rigged, plagued by fraud, and even subverted by foreign powers. The president and his minions have filed, and lost, scores of lawsuits that ranged from minor disputes over process to childlike, error-filled briefs full of bizarre assertions.

Instead of threatening to gavel these objections into irrelevance, as Biden did four years ago, Vice President Mike Pence “welcomes” these challenges. Pence’s career is finished, but he could have stood for the Constitution he claims to love and which he swore to defend. However, cowardice is contagious, and no mask was thick enough to protect Pence from the pathogen of fear.

Perhaps the sedition caucus didn’t mean to go this far. Its members began by arguing that we all just needed to humor President Trump, to give him time to process the loss, and to treat the president of the United States as a toddler who was going home empty-handed. He wouldn’t be a dead-ender, they assured us, because that would be too humiliating. The Republican Party would never immolate itself for a proven loser.

But for Trump, there is no such thing as too much humiliation. The only shame in Trump world lies in admitting defeat. And so Trump doubled down, as anyone who had watched him for more than 10 minutes knew he would. And then he tripled, quadrupled, quintupled down. And just as they have done for the past four years, elected Republicans tried to convince themselves that if they supported this outrage, it would be the last time they would be required to surrender their dignity; that this betrayal of the Constitution would be the last treachery demanded of them. That if they complied one more time, they would be allowed to go back to their privileged lives far from the districts they claim to represent—places few of them really want to live after tasting life in the Emerald City.

It is possible that the sedition caucus knew that all these challenges would fail. It is possible that they know their last insult to American democracy, on Wednesday, will go nowhere, as well. This is irrelevant: Engaging in sedition for insincere reasons does not make it less hideous. Arguing that you betrayed the Constitution only as theater is no defense.

I honestly don’t know which is worse:

  1. That, if they had a majority in both Houses, Republicans might actually pull off this coup or;
  2. That they’re doing this much damage to the Republic knowing damn well that they don’t have the votes to pull it off or;
  3. That they’re likely to be rewarded for this, at least in the short term, by their voters back home.

One would like to think that all of this lunacy has pretty much doomed the two Republicans seeking to keep their seats in Georgia’s run-off tomorrow. Not only should the Republican brand be seriously damaged among swing voters but the two candidates have jumped on this bandwagon and proven they have no honor. Alas, I’m not sure one or both won’t be sent back to Washington.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. PJ says:

    He should be impeached, again.

    I really like to find out if Susan Collins has learned her lessons.

    21
  2. mattbernius says:

    Again the utter silence from any OTB readers who typically vote Republican on this issue is both telling and deafening.

    It’s also a reminder that a not-insignificant portion of that party only cares about “democracy,” “law and order,” or “the Constitution” when it favors them–and when it doesn’t, then they are prepared to burn down everything in the name of saving this land. “A Man For All Seasons” reminds us of where that path leads.

    And that silence will be remembered when they rediscover their voices and reemerge in a few months to opine on how President Biden and the Democrats are destroying the country.

    16
  3. Kylopod says:

    More bizarrely, even if Georgia somehow “found” enough votes for a Trump win and overturned their thrice-certified results and submitted a new slate of Electors—all of which are precluded by law even if they legitimately found them—Biden would still have more than enough votes to win.

    What makes you think this is the only state where he’s had a conversation like this with a state official? It’s just the only one where a recording of the conversation was released.

    35
  4. mattbernius says:

    One would like to think that all of this lunacy has pretty much doomed the two Republicans seeking to keep their seats in Georgia’s run-off tomorrow. Not only should the Republican brand be seriously damaged among swing voters but the two candidates have jumped on this bandwagon and proven they have no honor. Alas, I’m not sure one or both won’t be sent back to Washington.

    Again, this is the case. It’s possible, but still not probable, that the Dems will take both seats in this race. But again, the reality is that in 2022, the Republicans will most likely take back the House and the Senate because (a) our system remains optimized for minority (and rural) rule and (b) all those deafeningly silent “good” Republicans out there would rather have a corrupt Republican than any type of Democrat.

    12
  5. Kylopod says:

    @PJ:

    I really like to find out if Susan Collins has learned her lessons.

    Of course she has. She’s learned that hackery and sycophancy have no negative consequences whatsoever for her political career, because she lives in a state full of morons who are perfectly fine with any level of corruption as long as it comes with a furrowed brow.

    33
  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kylopod:

    I suspect that the AZ Gov & Sec of State has also heard from him. MI, WI and PA have Dems in those offices so his jawboning would be for naught anyway. In those states he already tried pressuring the legislative leadership and has been rejected. He has no chance of actually changing the outcome, so it is reasonable to guess that the call is an attempt to bolster his support on Wed among senators and reps.

    Given that it seems the recording was made on the WH end, it is likely that it was released by the WH in the expectation that it would again bolster his support Wed. But it blew up in his face and it more than likely reduces his support and Cruz and the others look dumber than they already did. In fact Cruz was trying to turn down the heat on this yesterday.

    6
  7. Mikey says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Given that it seems the recording was made on the WH end, it is likely that it was released by the WH in the expectation that it would again bolster his support Wed.

    Politico is reporting it was Raffensperger’s office that released the recording, which was made because they know Trump lies about everything. Raffensperger only ordered it released after Trump tweeted a blatant lie about the call.

    It started on Saturday when Trump and his team reached out to talk to Raffensperger, who, according to an adviser, felt he would be unethically pressured by the president. Raffensperger had been here before: In November he accused Trump ally and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham of improperly exhorting him to meddle in the election to help Trump win Georgia. Graham later denied it.

    So why not record the call with the president, Raffensperger’s advisers thought, if nothing else for fact-checking purposes. “This is a man who has a history of reinventing history as it occurs,” one of them told Playbook…

    …Raffensperger’s team kept quiet about the call and the recording and waited. The president made the next move, claiming on Sunday morning via Twitter that Raffensperger was “unwilling, or unable, to answer” questions about his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true,” Raffensperger replied at 10:27 a.m. “The truth will come out.” It wasn’t an empty promise.

    16
  8. mattbernius says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Given that it seems the recording was made on the WH end

    FWIW, I’m not sure we know that for sure. Or rather it could be that there were multiple recordings made on both sides (as reportage today suggests that Raffensperger team definitely recorded the call because of what had been discussed on past calls with Trump surrogates).

    1
  9. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    The Trump fan club appears absolutely convinced that Raffensperger released the tape, and that he should be prosecuted for it.

    4
  10. Barry says:

    @Kylopod: “What makes you think this is the only state where he’s had a conversation like this with a state official? It’s just the only one where a recording of the conversation was released.”

    In addition, if GA switched the win to Trump, he’d claim vindication, and all of his followers would agree.

    3
  11. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey:

    Politico is reporting it was Raffensperger’s office that released the recording, which was made because they know Trump lies about everything. Raffensperger only ordered it released after Trump tweeted a blatant lie about the call.

    I think this says something about the way people still can’t wrap their heads around the idea that Trump’s actions should be taken at face value–that they aren’t part of some master plan. Josh Marshall and some other pundits have called it Trump’s Razor–in any attempt to explain Trump’s behavior, the stupidest explanation is probably the correct one.

    17
  12. Nightcrawler says:

    There is no coming back from all this.

    There won’t be a “civil war” per se, but we will see widespread domestic terrorism similar to what the IRA did in the UK during the Troubles. D.C. will burn on Wednesday, and that will be only the start.

    Gee, I wonder how the stock market will react when people are afraid to leave their homes because bombings and mass shootings are going on left and right? I wonder how multinationals that are headquartered in U.S. cities will react? Notice how major corporations don’t really want to headquarter in politically unstable countries where terrorists are setting off bombs and committing mass shootings all the time.

    We’re going to lose a lot of jobs to Canada and other nations that are relatively politically stable.

    4
  13. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Given that it seems the recording was made on the WH end, it is likely that it was released by the WH in the expectation that it would again bolster his support Wed.

    I’m not sure about this. I read in Politico that Raffensberger was pretty direct in saying that he’d decided to record the call for two reasons: one, Trump’s proclivity to revise history and say whatever he wants (also known as lying); and two, Lindsey Graham asked him to flip votes in an earlier call and when he was called out on it, Graham lied and said he hadn’t.

    Here’s the excerpt (link):

    It started on Saturday when Trump and his team reached out to talk to Raffensperger, who, according to an adviser, felt he would be unethically pressured by the president. Raffensperger had been here before: In November he accused Trump ally and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham of improperly exhorting him to meddle in the election to help Trump win Georgia. Graham later denied it.

    So why not record the call with the president, Raffensperger’s advisers thought, if nothing else for fact-checking purposes. “This is a man who has a history of reinventing history as it occurs,” one of them told Playbook. “So if he’s going to try to dispute anything on the call, it’s nice to have something like this, hard evidence, to dispute whatever he’s claiming about the secretary. Lindsey Graham asked us to throw out legally cast ballots. So yeah, after that call, we decided maybe we should do this.”

    ETA: I see @Mikey beat me to this, excerpt and all!

    7
  14. Joe says:

    Kylopod and Barry:
    While I prefer Sleeping Dog‘s suggestion that the was to help Trump on Wednesday, my darker suspicion is that Trump has decided he doesn’t have to change the EV count, he just has to sew enough doubt that the chaos will cover his coup.

    3
  15. MarkedMan says:

    [Sorry for the repost, but this thread seems to be the one gaining traction]

    The modern Republican Party is the result of an attempt fifty years ago by party leaders to co-opt the revanchist Jim Crow governing block in the South. Rather than co-opt that block, it has instead completely taken over the Republicans at the national level, and mostly taken it over at the state level. Jim Crow governance by its very nature cannot be democratic, for it is based on keeping power in the hands of a few wealthy individuals by pitting groups against each other. One or more of the groups is systematically disenfranchised while fostering the idea that the self worth of the other groups is entirely based on keeping those “others” under the heel of the governing forces. A strict caste system is enforced, where certain individuals are elevated slightly as a reward for keeping those below them firmly under the bootheel. Whenever people grow discontented with their lot, the people in power generate intra-group strife to distract them, using the police and other armed forces to violently put down those in the out-group. This bloody reprisal serves two purposes: it feeds the basest instincts of the thirsty mob, and it serves as a reminder of what the powerful can do to those who rise above their station.

    That is the modern Republican Party. That is how they operate and we make a fatal mistake in treating this as merely a battle between factions or parties when in reality it is between those who believe in the American ideal and those who serve their aims by dividing America and keeping the rabble down.

    12
  16. Nightcrawler says:

    if they had a majority in both Houses, Republicans might actually pull off this coup

    Oh, they would, and if they ever control both Houses of Congress again, there’s no point in voting, because they’ll install their candidate.

    One of my math professors at university was a Russian immigrant who’d lived in the old Soviet Union. He told us about how they ran elections: only one candidate, selected by the party, and you could vote YES or NO. Voting was conducted in full view of government thugs. If you wanted to put your ballot in the YES box, you could do so and go on your merry way. But if you wanted to vote NO, they “took you behind the curtain.” His words.

    That’s how the GOP wants “elections” run in the U.S.

    There is no coming back from this.

    13
  17. Teve says:

    @Nightcrawler:

    Oh, they would, and if they ever control both Houses of Congress again, there’s no point in voting, because they’ll install their candidate.

    the 2022 field is heavily tilted Republican. They could potentially steal the 2024 Presidential election.

    7
  18. Nightcrawler says:

    @Teve:

    I wish I’d left this country when I was young enough to do so. At least I didn’t have children. It’s bad enough I’m stuck in this godawful place. Anyone who has kids needs to get them the hell out of here while they still can. Anyone with the ability to do so needs to get the hell out of here while they still can.

    Maybe I’ll be lucky, and the cancer will come back between now and 2024 and just kill me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suicidal. I don’t want to die. That’s why I’m so angry.

    5
  19. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I suspect that the AZ Gov & Sec of State has also heard from him.

    The AZ Secretary of State is a Democrat. Gov. Ducey turned off a call from Trump while he was midway through the public ceremony certifying the AZ vote.

    5
  20. Teve says:
  21. Henry Tann says:

    Mr. Trump is showing that there are defects in the voting process as with any human activity. That process will be done more accurately in coming elections because govt people will have better in mind that others are watching their work.

    1
  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    Classic dumb criminal behavior. I was 24 when I was arrested. A young woman who’d provided some minor help, and who I’d rewarded, in my Tahoe burglary, started blabbing to friends and one thing led to another, as it tends to do, and pretty soon it was orange jumpsuit and four-by-fours.

    One witness. Let’s call her Kathy because that was her name. If I could turn Kathy, I could walk. Did I try and turn her? Call her on the phone? Drop by her place? And end up on tape or with additional witnesses? No, of course not because even at 24 I wasn’t a complete imbecile. (Reckless, arrogant and unwise, but not an imbecile. OK, a little bit an imbecile.) Rule #1 of crime: don’t create evidence. Trump’s phone call created evidence. In fact, he created proof.

    Dear Georgia Attorney General, here’s some proof if you’d like to prosecute me. Yours truly, Donald Trump.

    If you’re gonna crime, learn the business. It’s what I tell all aspiring burglars and embezzlers: listen to Uncle Michael on my weekly podcast, So You Wanna Be a Crook, sponsored by Nord VPN.

    9
  23. gVOR08 says:

    I honestly don’t know which is worse:

    Clearly No 1, that they’ll do this for real if they ever have majorities in both houses and a D prez-elect. TAC has a piece up now arguing that the real problem here is that future Ds may use these same tactics. Like almost everything Rs say about Ds, pure projection.

    That, and that they’ll use the Lost Cause Stolen Election myth to support more gerrymandering and vote suppression. Making the preconditions for No. 1 more likely.

    GOPus delendus est.

    8
  24. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds: This is what’s so baffling to me. All of those internal advisors…the lawyers…what WERE they thinking?

    It’s astonishing. Trump is a standard victim of his own stupidity, I get that. But the people he’s surrounded himself with–people who not only *should* know better, but DO know better–let him make this call.

    From what I’ve read, Cleta Mitchell is a good lawyer–how the heck did she allow this to happen? The whole thing is surreal.

    7
  25. charon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    AZ Secretary of State is a Democrt.

    1
  26. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    Trump is a rampaging bull, who will except contradictory advice from no one. All you can be is a matador and step out of the way of the charge.

    3
  27. Kathy says:

    Note to self: Visit the US one last time before the 2022 elections. There’s no guarantee it will still be there in 2023.

    6
  28. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Is Cleta the female version of Cletus?

    3
  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jen:
    Trump is past listening to anyone. He’s absolutely terrified. Terrified in the gut-twisting, mind-warping way only a true coward can be. But he’s just so stoooopid he can’t see that his only way out is to resign, get Pence to pardon him, and GTFO of the country. Michael Cohen has talked about it. Even the New York AG Letitia James has talked about that option – not that it will save him from her. And it’s been my advice for four years. Pardon, Resign, Flee.

    10
  30. An Interested Party says:

    the 2022 field is heavily tilted Republican.

    In the Senate, there will be 22 GOP seats and only 12 Democratic seats up for reelection…the lift will be heavier for Republicans than for Democrats…

    4
  31. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Pardoning and resigning are doable. But fleeing at this point seems problematic. Given that NY state is after Trump, wouldn’t he have to make advance arrangements to be smuggled out of the country? And then announce his resignation from, oh, say, Brazil?

    4
  32. Mister Bluster says:

    A young woman who’d provided some minor help,..

    Rule #1a. Don’t involve anyone else.
    One objection to conspiracy theories is that it would mean that hundreds of conspirators have to remain silent about the scheme…forever.
    All it takes is one blabber to foil the plot.

    3
  33. Sleeping Dog says:
  34. Michael Cain says:

    @An Interested Party:

    In the Senate, there will be 22 GOP seats and only 12 Democratic seats up for reelection…the lift will be heavier for Republicans than for Democrats…

    Very few of the states on either side will be in play. On the (D) side, AZ (especially if Ducey runs). On the (R) side, PA and NC because they will be open seats, and maybe FL. GA should be close, but we don’t know if the incumbent will be (R) or (D) yet.

  35. Paine says:

    Even if it isn’t kosher to record a call without notice to release it publicly, as soon as DJT lied about the content of the conversation any such rules go out the window. They know DJT would do this as he is utterly predictable…

    Also, I simply do not have the expansive imagination required to imagine the blowback had the CLintons pulled out their rolodex and started calling up old friends in swing states asking them to find her some more votes. BUt as always, Dems are required to be the grown ups while Trump’s coup attempt is dismissed as Trump being a “fighter.”

    I’ve really had it with these people.

    5
  36. MarkedMan says:

    Machiavelli gave a lot of good, concrete advice. He said (essentially) that if you invite another prince in to help you obtain or keep power, you should kill that prince and his leaders as soon as you have achieved your aims. Similarly, if you are the Prince invited in by coup plotters, as soon as you have put down the rival Prince, you should immediately kill those that invited you in, as you know they are duplicitous schemers. The Republicans invited the Jim Crow Southerners in to attempt to win the 64 election, but failed to get rid of them afterward. It took a long time, but today that original Republican Party has been destroyed. And it wasn’t enough to win, the last few outliers remaining were made to suffer humiliation after humiliation, ala John McCain and Mitt Romney.

    Of course the party of Jim Crow is seditious. It should go without saying.

    15
  37. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    What good will that do him? The U.K. has an extradition treaty with the U.S., and in any case, from what I’ve read, his Scottish neighbors can’t stand him.

    4
  38. Kylopod says:

    I am going to make a prediction that a lot of people here aren’t going to like: I don’t think Trump will ever go to prison. And it’s not because he’s going to self-pardon, or suddenly resign on the last day and have Pence pardon him (which I always thought was farfetched). It will be simply because charges aren’t brought against him (federal or state), and even if they are, he probably won’t be convicted, and even if he is, he’ll almost certainly get something lighter than prison time.

    Let me be clear: I do think he’s definitely going to be sued up the wazoo–but not prosecuted.

    The first former president to actually be locked up, if there ever is one, will almost invariably be a Democrat. That’s because Republicans are the only ones with the balls to take that step. Dems are always so cautious, because they “don’t want to waste political capital” or “don’t want to be divisive” or “don’t want to make the US seem like a banana republic.” One way or another, they make a ton of rationalizations for what in consequence means that a president can do literally anything he wants without suffering prosecution. That’s the situation we’re in, and I’d be really surprised if it turns out differently.

    12
  39. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: when i last drove cross country i occupied myself with 45 hours of podcasts and audiobooks. One of them was The Prince. I was driving straight across South Dakota when I heard that bit you referenced. 😀

    2
  40. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Which is weird, because the Scots despise him…

    2
  41. Scott F. says:

    @Jen: If you scroll through the full transcript released by WaPo, I suggest you focus on the times Mark Meadows or one of the lawyers is speaking. (It will really cut down on your reading time as Trump just can’t shut up!) I think you can read through their comments the play they are making.

    MEADOWS: What I’m hopeful for is there some way that we can, we can find some kind of agreement to look at this a little bit more fully? …
    But in some of these areas where there seems to be a difference of where the facts seem to lead, and so Mr. Secretary, I was hopeful that, you know, in the spirit of cooperation and compromise, is there something that we can at least have a discussion to look at some of these allegations to find a path forward that’s less litigious?

    MITCHELL: Mr. Secretary, Mr. President, one of the things that we have been, Alex can talk about this, we talked about it, and I don’t know whether the information has been conveyed to your office, but I think what the president is saying, and what we’ve been trying to do is to say, look, the court is not acting on our petition. They haven’t even assigned a judge. But the people of Georgia and the people of America have a right to know the answers. And you have data and records that we don’t have access to.

    The lawyers are fishing, because they’ve got nothing they could use in court. This phone call was an attempt to strong-arm Raffensperger ahead of Trump’s rally in Georgia tonight. Trump has a new set of bogus numbers to spew (bogus because they wouldn’t hold up in a court of law and they don’t have any data that is evidentiary) and they wanted the GA SoS to make their Hail Mary unnecessary.

    2
  42. Scott F. says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    He’s absolutely terrified. Terrified in the gut-twisting, mind-warping way only a true coward can be.

    Yes, he’s terrified, but due to his Narcissistic Personality Disorder. he’s more afraid of being undeniably proven a loser and a coward than he is of being put in prison. Like all rich people, he has the belief that he is above the law (And his history even before he had the protections of the office of POTUS has reinforced that belief.) But like all flim-flam men, he knows his grift is over once the con is revealed.

    2
  43. EddieInCA says:

    @Kylopod:

    I would take that bet. I know too many people – really high level people – in NYC who want to see Trump behind bars. He’s definitely going to get charged. And based on what we already know, it will be easy to convict him of tax fraud, money laundering, bank fraud and tax evasion in several states.

    5
  44. An Interested Party says:

    @Michael Cain: I am aware of all of that…but it still presents more opportunities for Democrats than for Republicans…

    1
  45. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Well, yes, but do you see Donnnie the Rat taking refuge in a third world country? The man pretends to have some standards, after all.

  46. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    You’re assuming that he realizes that. Likely he assumes that his great powers of persuasion will convince his buddy Boris to let him stay.

  47. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Well, there are parts of Brazil–small parts, I grant you–that are enclaves of the very rich.

    But, if not Ipanema, then Moscow, I suppose.

  48. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    No, they love him. They just have a funny way of showing it. 🙂

    He wouldn’t care anyway. He’ll find some sycophants.

  49. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Boris probably thinks/knows Trump is a horse’s ass.

    1
  50. ptfe says:

    @EddieInCA: Never gonna happen. As I noted on Twitter yesterday, a septugenerian grifter fresh out of a job with almost zero historical accountability and access to teams of lapdog lawyers isn’t going to be jailed for tax evasion or money laundering.

    I’d lay money that we’re more likely to hear the phrase “look forward and not back” repeatedly over the next 6 months, spend a couple years trying to forget about him, then find that suddenly he’s back on TV with a 6-figure salary as Fox News’s high-ratings tell-it-like-it-is celeb.

    3
  51. CSK says:

    @ptfe:
    Trump and his minions absolutely hate Fox. I think it’s far more likely Trump would start Trump TV. Why would he want to share airtime with anyone, even a sycophant?

    1
  52. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    NY would have to indict and issue a warrant. Pardon the other gang members, resign, be pardoned by Pence. That all takes just a few minutes. Fire up Air Force one with the new president’s permission, and off he goes.

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @PJ:

    I really like to find out if Susan Collins has learned her lessons.

    Unless you live in Maine and constitute the 50% plus first vote, I’m not sure that why it matters, or even that it matters.

    1
  54. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Rule #1a. Don’t involve anyone else.

    Tell me about it. I was young.

  55. PJ says:

    @CSK:

    What good will that do him? The U.K. has an extradition treaty with the U.S., and in any case, from what I’ve read, his Scottish neighbors can’t stand him.

    Putin didn’t want to send a plane to the US.

    3
  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I was wondering the same thing. Probably is, but doesn’t have the negative connotation because of its rare use as a name.

    1
  57. CSK says:

    @PJ:
    Maybe Putin can have him picked up at Turnberry, if it’s true Trump is planning to flee to Scotland.

    1
  58. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Not sure he’d want to go there anyway, Scotland is now under a mandatory full lockdown through the end of the month.

    He’d be confined to one of the golf clubs I suppose, but no visitors, and no visiting.

    1
  59. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    In Greek mythology, Cleta was one of the Graces.

    I learn something new every day.

    2
  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: I’m not even sure that he’ll be sued. He appears to be so leveraged and LLC-ed up that he may be pretty judgement proof.

    1
  61. al Ameda says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Rule #1 of crime: don’t create evidence. Trump’s phone call created evidence. In fact, he created proof.
    Dear Georgia Attorney General, here’s some proof if you’d like to prosecute me. Yours truly, Donald Trump.

    … and of course this makes it more likely that he will pardon himself.
    I’m not sure that this isn’t a criminal act under Georgia State statutes, although I’m not sure Georgia would pursue criminal sanctions against Trump.

    2
  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Me too, since I also didn’t know that. 😀

    2
  63. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I wonder how Air Force One is fueled.

    Usually commercial flights don’t fill the tank, but rather take the fuel they’ll need to reach their destination, plus reach their planned diversionary airport(s), plus what’s needed for a long holding pattern at the destination, plus some reserve. For a “short” transatlantic flight like, say, DC to Edinburgh, the fuel load on a 747 would be light. More so for a 747 carrying few passengers, no cargo and little luggage.

    The Air Force may feel no need to save money on fuel, and their diversionary airport(s) may be “back to Andrews,” or the nearest US AFB or Navy base, or the nearest NATO base, which might require more fuel anyway, depending on the destination.

    So it’s possible the plane can be loaded with enough fuel to fly the max range of AF1 even for a flight to Scotland. Meaning it can easily divert to Moscow if the Cheeto so orders mid flight.

    The question then is what does ATC across Europe do. It’s unlikely any nation would refuse permission to the presidential plane, even if it has a Trump in it. I dare say Putin wouldn’t dare to refuse it landing permission.

    1
  64. EddieInCA says:

    @ptfe:

    I’d lay money that we’re more likely to hear the phrase “look forward and not back” repeatedly over the next 6 months, spend a couple years trying to forget about him, then find that suddenly he’s back on TV with a 6-figure salary as Fox News’s high-ratings tell-it-like-it-is celeb.

    Again. I’d take that bet. There are State and Federal prosecutors in NYC, NJ, Las Vegas and FL who will love nothing more than being the one that indicts Trump first. In NYC alone, you have three different major investigations. City of NY, State of NY and Southern District ALL have major active investigations. They’re just waiting until Jan. 21st.

    Yes. The Biden administration won’t do anything. But they’ll be hard pressed to stop the states. Also, keep an eye on Scotland bringing charges against Trump.

    But time will tell.

    3
  65. owen says:

    @Kathy: I remember during one of the coups/revolutions in (I think) the Central African Republic, a journalist had pictures published of a looted palace with gold plated plumbing fixtures, just like Trump Tower in Manhattan!

    1
  66. owen says:

    @Kathy: AF 1 can refuel in mid air, but there is also already an established contract to refuel US military aircraft at Prestwick Airport near Turnberry:

  67. Kylopod says:

    @owen: Well, Trevor Noah said a while back that Trump reminds him of an African dictator.

    1
  68. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    And maybe Trump will end up as an aeronautical version of the Flying Dutchman, doomed to roam the skies forever, given that no country will allow him to land.

    3
  69. Jen says:

    @owen:

    there is also already an established contract to refuel US military aircraft at Prestwick Airport near Turnberry

    Correct, and it’s recent activity at Prestwick that is fueling (sorry, pun) speculation about him heading to Scotland. However, Nicola Sturgeon has just announced no non-essential travel will be permitted into or out of Scotland, and I can’t think of anything less essential than Trump’s golf course.

    2
  70. ImProPer says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    “Rule #1 of crime: don’t create evidence.”

    The good old school of hard knocks. I’ve had the dubious good fortune of meeting some very good professors there, and was unusually open minded at the time ;•)
    As you know, it takes intelligence to learn from advice. Trump is incredibly stupid. From my hard won experience, stupidity can only be tempered by pain, something Trump has only observational experience with, by reflexively passing it on to others. Not the best attribute for someone to go from being stupid to becoming smart. He has the means to get the best legal advice he can buy with vast amounts of his sucker’s money, and still made that phone call.
    Out of all the stupid people out there he is among the greatest, only outdone by those that believe in him. ( I wonder if being bested eats at him)

    5
  71. Michael Cain says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m not even sure that he’ll be sued. He appears to be so leveraged and LLC-ed up that he may be pretty judgement proof.

    There’s something like $400M of notes he’s personally responsible for coming due to Deutsche Bank in the next couple years. The bank has already said publicly that they won’t roll them over. Javanka appear to have lots of cash — I wonder if they’ve been getting out of the Trump Organization as well. DB has enough money and accountants to follow the LLC structure and find real assets. I would not be surprised to see a cascading failure.

    4
  72. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    Yeah, but Trump doesn’t know that. He believes Boris loves him and owes him a favor or two.

    Boris is a moron as well, but he can see through Trump.

  73. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    Jen, you’re forgetting that he doesn’t believe rules apply to him.

    I believe that a US citizen can stay in the UK for 90 days w/o a visa, so they’d let him stay April and kick him out then as golf season begins.

  74. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: A US citizen can only enter Scotland right now if they are there on essential service business, I believe. I’m not sure how essential an ex-president is… 😉

    That said, since he owns businesses there, there’s probably some kind of loophole he could sneak in through.

    1
  75. wr says:

    @Scott F.: If they can’t jail Trump, can they at least disbar Mitchell, who is apparently one of the big macher DC lawyers whose work on the “campaign” hadn’t been known until now?

    2
  76. Michael Reynolds says:

    @al Ameda:
    It’s useful to remember that none of the state charges is dead until the statute of limitations expires. NY, FL, GA, any of the states with beef hold that threat over his head, whether or not they immediately prosecute. Trump would not be safe traveling in New York. But he’d also not be safe in any country with an extradition treaty with the US. I have no idea what the statutes of limitations deadlines are, but it will be years. And that’s all assuming that the feds don’t charge him, an assumption I am not prepared to make.

    3
  77. ImProPer says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    “Given that it seems the recording was made on the WH end, it is likely that it was released by the WH in the expectation that it would again bolster his support Wed. But it blew up in his face and it more than likely reduces his support and Cruz and the others look dumber than they already did.”

    The brief amout that I was able hear, brings me too the very same conclusion. Definitely sounds recorded on a mike from what ever room Trump was in, speaking on an intercom.
    The clarity of his voice would lead me to suspect that there was some post editing to make him sound as powerful, and in control as possible. But alas, just another of the many ill-conceived moves by the 9th level Master, to be blamed on someone else when the inevitable stupidity becomes apparent, usually about 30 seconds after it hits the court of public opinion. (None of the geniuses he has working for him seems to be competent enough to figure it out for him before the fact). Then of course the rubes just lap it up, and continue to be amazed at his perfect “winning” streak.

  78. charon says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Indictment, jury selection, trial, appeals, stalling tactics …

    The man has senile dementia visibly progressing. The dementia will win the race.

    4
  79. a country lawyer says:

    @Jen: I believe Trumps mother was a Scot so he may be able to claim citizenship.

    1
  80. Michael Reynolds says:

    @charon:
    Keep in mind that there are two goals: one, to preserve the rule of law. The preservation of the rule of law only requires indictment and trial, it doesn’t require conviction.

    The other goal, to put it bluntly, is to destroy Trump and bury any myth of Trump. Prosecution unto senility does that just fine.

    4
  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Henry Tann: Mr. Trump is showing that there are defects in the voting process as with any human activity.

    What trump is doing has nothing to do with the voting process, which is just fine, A-OK, good to go. What trump is doing is sowing doubt in the voting process, which a certain cohort of the electorate have been primed for by people who want to use that doubt for their own despicable ends.

    4
  82. JohnSF says:

    @a country lawyer:
    IANAL but I think the rule is that the parent must be a British citizen at time of the child’s birth If I am correct, then as a naturalised US citizen her son would not automatically have a claim to British citizenship, but might be able to apply. LOL

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Much as I dislike Alexander “Boris” Johnson, the man is not stupid.
    Lazy, venal, self-serving, self-indulgent, indecisive, pettily vengeful in a backhanded way, mendacious, deceitful, vain, cynical, and wholly motivated by personal ambition and self-interest.
    But not stupid; and also capable of being personally engaging, even charming, and being loyal to subordinates.

    The chances of him extending a favour to Donald Trump at cost of relations with Biden (that are not that great to begin with): zero.

    5
  83. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    And maybe Trump will end up as an aeronautical version of the Flying Dutchman

    Please; that’s way too cultured a reference for Trump. He’ll end up as Charlie on the MTA.

    6
  84. Jen says:

    @a country lawyer: That’s citizenship by descent, but for some reason I’m thinking they changed some of the parameters of that. So maybe, maybe not.

    I doubt that’s what he’s after, anyway. I’d wager his trip there is either compelled by Scotland to explain business irregularities, or to figure out what to do about the fact that Turnberry is hemorrhaging money.

    1
  85. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    … to figure out what to do about the fact that Turnberry is hemorrhaging money.

    The reason that Turnberry is hemorrhaging money, is that it was doing so when Trump bought it and they never fixed the underlying problems. But before Trump was president it was losing a wee bit of money, now its burning bundles of 100€ notes to keep the club house warm. Doesn’t matter how nice a place it is the Scots, nor other Europeans want to support a Trump property.

    2
  86. CSK says:

    Trump and the Trumpkins are very, very mad at Tom Cotton for saying he would not object to the certification.

    3
  87. An Interested Party says:

    Mr. Trump is showing that there are defects in the voting process as with any human activity.

    Indeed! His actions have illustrated how people who voted for him made a defective choice…

    3
  88. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @a country lawyer: Well, Meyer Lansky tried to claim Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return, but it didn’t work. I doubt Scotland would be impressed by such a half-assed claim.

    1