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Trump vs. Trump

GOP Blunder graphic
This is the fourth in a series that examines the failings of Republican Party as it attempts to destroy Democracy by abandoning their Constitutional oaths and swearing fealty to the very person bent on causing its destruction.

Republicans are a party that thrives on always being in crisis mode. And when no crisis is apparent, they will create one. Even when a crisis is resolved, they find a way to start a new one. It appears they don’t understand that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Despite losing the White House, they followed the same playbook for the midterms. It cost them control of the Senate and now they have a slim majority in the House which requires them to cater to the lunatic fringe of the party. And what a collection of crazies it is. You have Lauren GED Boebert trying to challenge a law professor, George Santos releasing a video in ethics over the proposed censure of Adam Schiff for investigating Donald Trump, and Marjorie Taylor Greene banging the gavel and demanding members show some decorum as the committee she was temporarily chairing ran amok.

In so many instances, Republicans have either caused or manufactured crisis after crisis to appeal to their base. Despite most having very little factual evidence to support them, they continue, rolling out the next fabrication after the previous one fizzles out, or the public moves on.

No matter the issue, they will create controversies where none existed before. Often, the result is getting egg on their faces, but this doesn’t stop them from making up a new set of baseless accusations.

They never seem to learn.

Trump vs Trump

When Donald Trump wants to point the finger for who to blame for his latest woes, he need look no further than the nearest mirror. And when he wants to find his greatest defenders, he can thank Congressional Republicans who have repeatedly refused to hold him accountable.

Which is why he keeps pushing the envelope to see exactly how far he can go. So far there are no limits being set on the types or number of illegal activities he can commit, because every time someone tries to hold him accountable, Republicans jump to his defense.

The Mueller investigation into Russian election interference yielded multiple convictions or guilty pleas. Following Justice Department guidelines, Mueller refused to indict Trump. This led Trump to claim he had been totally exonerated in regard to the “Russian hoax”. While Mueller indicated that this was not the case, Trump and fellow Republicans continued to claim vindication. Many of those convicted were pardoned by Trump after serving little or no prison time.

It also began the Republican pattern of investigating the investigators rather than seeking the truth. The subsequent Durham investigation into going after those who conducted the Russian interference investigation yielded paltry results with only a single minor guilty plea. Desperate for a win, Republicans wanted Durham to testify that there was no valid reason for the FBI to be investigating Trump despite the fact the Mueller investigation found numerous connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives who were seeking to influence the outcome of the election.

It’s a back door attempt to try to justify Trump’s pardons of his cronies for their involvement by claiming they had been prosecuted illegally. It is also a blatant attempt to rewrite history after the firing of FBI Director James Comey when they were supposed to serve a ten-year term to prevent the position from being politicized.

They also needed a way to justify spending millions of taxpayer dollars on a years-long investigation that yielded zero results. Instead, what they got was Durham defending the Mueller report.

Because he refused to provide the dirt on the FBI Republicans desired, Durham was belittled by loudmouth Jim Jordan and even accused of being a part of a cover up conspiracy by Jimmy Neutron lookalike Matt Gaetz.

So, who is really weaponizing the Justice Department and law enforcement?

Feeling emboldened by the lack of accountability, Trump set his sights on his 2020 reelection bid and his potential opponent, Joe Biden. In what he has repeatedly called a “perfect phone call”, he tried to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy into providing damaging information on Biden in exchange for Congressionally approved arms aimed at warding off a then possible Russian invasion.

Trump denied trying to coerce the Ukrainian leader but acknowledged he tried to put a hold on the $400 million in aid promised. But if it was such a perfect phone call, why did the White House try to hide it by putting the details of the call on a classified server rather than the usual computer system?

The ensuing impeachment hearings uncovered the quid pro quo demands Trump made, yet Republicans still denied there was any wrongdoing. Instead, they attacked the investigative measures Democrats used to uncover the alleged indiscretion while trying to deflect with whataboutism by asking questions about Joe Biden’s involvement in Ukrainian affairs. They focused their ire on Biden’s son, Hunter, who they accused of using his father’s position as then Vice President for his own personal financial gain.

The ensuing Senate trial was a foregone conclusion. The Republican controlled Senate refused to allow witnesses who could corroborate what transpired, and instead conducted a sham proceeding that reached the inevitable conclusion that Trump should not be punished for his actions.

Had Trump been held accountable, January 6th would never have happened. But they didn’t, and it did.

Even before January 6th Trump was setting the stage to dispute the election results. In 2016 he refused to say if he would concede if he lost to Hillary Clinton. He did the same in 2020 and became the first president not to promise a peaceful transition of power. Instead, he demanded endless recounts, demanded a redo, sought relief from the courts and launched multiple investigations seeking to find alleged voter fraud. He even called election officials attempting to coerce them into rejecting the election results.

On January 6th, he urged his followers to prevent the final certification of the election results by attacking the Capitol. Earlier that day, he tried to pressure his Vice President into somehow overturning the results while attempting to get Republicans to offer an alternate slate of electors who would declare Trump the victor. He even promised to join his followers as the assault occurred but was allegedly overruled by his Secret Service detachment.

During Trump’s unprecedented second impeachment hearings, Republicans tried to portray the insurrectionists as a normal tourist visit. They tried to parse the depiction of the uprising as not being an armed insurrection since no one had firearms (They did). They tried to claim the insurrection was spurred on by left wing agitators from Antifa infiltrators planted by the FBI despite the numerous flags, banners and shouts supporting Donald Trump. They attempted to compare the insurrection to the Black Lives Matter protests. And they tried to defend Trump’s actions on that fateful day as an exercise of his First Amendment rights.

With an estimated one thousand arrests, you would think Republicans would try to distance themselves from the rioters and Donald Trump. Instead, as of now he is the likely nominee for the Republican nomination in 2024. Many refer to the insurrectionists as patriots and those who were found guilty of their actions, political prisoners.

Donald Trump has promised he will pardon those convicted if he is elected. Of course, he’s known for making promises that he won’t keep.

Others want to move on from the events of that infamous day. They are urging their supporters to look to the future while hoping Trump will escape punishment for his role in inciting the mob to attack the Capitol. They are trying to paint the Justice Department’s investigation, along with the Special Prosecutor, as political persecution aimed at interfering with the 2024 election.

But if it’s truly election interference and political persecution, why are Republicans still conducting investigations into President Biden’s connections to his son Hunter’s legal issues? Why are they continuing to accuse Biden of an elusive $5 million bribe?

The aim is as clear as day. Only investigations into Democrats are permissible, otherwise you are tampering with the people’s right to choose. So, the investigations into President Biden’s past are par for the course in the Republican playbook.

Consider how they’ve done it in the past, Ted Kennedy’s hopes sank at the mere mention of Chappaquiddick. They used the Birther issue in an unsuccessful attempt to disqualify President Obama. And Kevin McCarthy admitted that the Benghazi hearings were a blatant effort to discredit Hillary Clinton.

So, if Republicans want to cry political persecution, they need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Even as the investigation into the events on January 6th was unfolding, the National Archives began its own negotiations with Trump and his representatives over missing documents, many of them classified, that they determined Trump still possessed, in violation of the Presidential Records Act. To regain rightful possession of these documents, the National Archives was forced to obtain a search warrant of Trump’s Mar a Lago residence after months of failed attempts to get the documents back.

Had Trump turned over the documents initially, as requested, one of Trump’s multiple legal woes would have disappeared. Instead, he made excuse after excuse to try to explain why he refused to surrender the boxes and boxes of official government papers that he had no right to possess.

His first claim, that he had every right to have them morphed into asserting that none of the papers in his possession were classified because he had declassified them prior to leaving the White House. He further professed to have the ability to declassify a document with his mind, so merely by thinking of it, he could declassify it.

While the “think method” was popular in The Music Man, it fails to pass muster in the real world.

He then made the wild declaration that the papers were his personal property and he demanded that they be returned to him immediately. He incorrectly cited the Presidential Records Act during the catastrophic CNN Town Hall as alleged proof that he had every right to have the documents.

After his historic federal indictment, he continued to re-invent reasons why he didn’t immediately comply with the requests from the National Archives. In what many claim was an actual confession, Trump stated, in an interview with Fox News, that he didn’t return them because he was “extremely busy”. He alternately offered the explanation that he needed to go through the boxes to retrieve personal items such as golf shirts and shoes.

He appears to have forgotten the part of the Miranda warnings he was given on both of his arrest. You know. The part that says: Anything you say can and will be used against you. Legal experts have no doubt prosecutors will use this clip in his upcoming trial.

Making false statements after the fact appears to be in Trump’s DNA. Following his being found liable for sexual assault, he went on CNN to continue to profess his innocence and insult the victim. This allowed her to request from the presiding judge that she be able to seek more in damages. The request was approved.

The judge in the documents case, yes, it is necessary to indicate which case is being mentioned, is the same one who tried to slow the process in the beginning. It may be why she is trying to move so quickly with the current proceedings, setting an initial trial date for July 14th, well ahead of yet another trial, which is scheduled to begin just as primary season starts.

In 2016, Trump repeatedly used the assertion that not understanding the importance of protecting classified information should disqualify someone from being president. Of course, that was then, and this is now. He was referring, of course, to Hillary Clinton and her emails. Now he is trying to reclaim the White House in order to avoid prosecution for his improper handling of classified information.

The documents case is only one in which Trump faces federal indictment. His role in the January 6th insurrection may be far more difficult to prove, but it gives Trump another legal challenge to deal with. Like the documents case, Trump is pinning his hopes on being re-elected and then issuing a controversial self-pardon in both cases.

Since Watergate, the Justice Department has adopted a policy of not indicting a sitting president. They reasoned that fighting a legal battle while dealing with routine pressures of the office would be too much of a distraction. It would also make the president look weak in the eyes of the rest of the world.

A prime example of this distraction is the impeachment of President Clinton. Clinton claims he lied under oath because his attention was diverted by the prospect of facing bankruptcy due to the Whitewater investigation.

But Trump has already been indicted on the documents charges. Does that protection also extend to ongoing cases? Should the clock on statutes of limitations be paused to allow for the case to be prosecuted at a later date? Does the policy only apply to federal cases?

If it only applies to federal cases and the Department of Justice, there are a pair of cases on the state level that put Trump in legal jeopardy. He has already been indicted in New York for his shady business dealings in relation to his payoff of porn star Stormy Daniels and a multitude of other questionable business practices. The Atlanta District Attorney has promised a decision on Trump’s alleged election interference in trying to coerce the state Attorney General into altering the outcome in his favor.

Can these cases proceed? And what about the possibility of Trump issuing a self-pardon? While this would raise constitutional questions, it cannot be used in cases prosecuted on the state or local level, so there remains the very real possibility that Trump could be governing from the not-so-friendly confines of a state penitentiary since there is no constitutional provision that prohibits him from doing so.

All of this hinges on Trump being re-elected. Only Grover Cleveland has been re-elected in non-consecutive terms, so history is certainly not on Trump’s side. And, despite Trump holding a commanding lead over his rivals, more keep entering the race. It’s possible that, given Trump’s legal woes, he may drop out of the race or be forced to withdraw. With his freedom hanging in the balance, that option remains highly unlikely.

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