HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news

Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
BagNewsNotes
Daily Kos
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Echidne
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
oilprice.com
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014 06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014 07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014 08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014 11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014 12/01/2014 - 01/01/2015 01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015 02/01/2015 - 03/01/2015 03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015 04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015 05/01/2015 - 06/01/2015 06/01/2015 - 07/01/2015 07/01/2015 - 08/01/2015 08/01/2015 - 09/01/2015 09/01/2015 - 10/01/2015 10/01/2015 - 11/01/2015 11/01/2015 - 12/01/2015 12/01/2015 - 01/01/2016 01/01/2016 - 02/01/2016 02/01/2016 - 03/01/2016 03/01/2016 - 04/01/2016 04/01/2016 - 05/01/2016 05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016 06/01/2016 - 07/01/2016 07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016 08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016 09/01/2016 - 10/01/2016 10/01/2016 - 11/01/2016 11/01/2016 - 12/01/2016 12/01/2016 - 01/01/2017 01/01/2017 - 02/01/2017 02/01/2017 - 03/01/2017 03/01/2017 - 04/01/2017 04/01/2017 - 05/01/2017 05/01/2017 - 06/01/2017 06/01/2017 - 07/01/2017 07/01/2017 - 08/01/2017 08/01/2017 - 09/01/2017 09/01/2017 - 10/01/2017 10/01/2017 - 11/01/2017 11/01/2017 - 12/01/2017 12/01/2017 - 01/01/2018 01/01/2018 - 02/01/2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

 

Illegal or not, Trump still betrayed the country

by digby




I wrote about the fact that the Trump transition betrayed the country last December whether they broke the law or not for Salon this morning:


I've been around long enough to have gone through several presidential scandals. If there's one consistent theme among all of them, it's that there's always a moment when the president's defenders start to argue that even if the president did what he's accused of doing, it's not illegal and therefore it's no big deal.

During the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon himself operated on the belief that his status as the chief executive meant that he answered to no authority. He fought the charges on that premise, until it became untenable when the Supreme Court ordered him to turn over the White House tapes and he lost the confidence of his own party, which told him it was time to go. After leaving office, he famously told interviewer David Frost, "When the president does it, that means it is not illegal."

In the Iran-Contra scandal, the argument was made explicitly by congressional Republicans, who fought the independent counsel investigation every step of the way. In the face of outright lying and obstruction of justice by Reagan administration officials, they waved it away as the result of excessive patriotism. Rep. Henry Hyde, an Illinois Republican, argued they deserved no punishment:

All of us at some time confront conflicts between rights and duties, between choices that are evil and less evil, and one hardly exhausts moral imagination by labeling every untruth and every deception an outrage.

During the Lewinsky scandal a decade later, Hyde was not quite so philosophical. While Bill Clinton's defenders all claimed that the alleged perjury and obstruction of justice by the president in dealing with his extramarital affair did not meet the impeachment threshold for a high crime or misdemeanor, Hyde thundered, "Lying poisons justice. If we are to defend justice and the rule of law, lying must have consequences."

In other words, these scandals are always partisan to some degree, which is to be expected. But they also always seem to feature arcane legal and constitutional arguments about what constitutes obstruction of justice and perjury as the scandal moves closer to the president himself.

Despite the fact that President Donald Trump hasn't even been in office a year, we have already reached the point where these questions are being asked. Cable TV lawyers are hashing out the usefulness of an archaic law like the Logan Act and arguing about whether lying to the FBI is a crime if it's not "material" or whether the president can be charged with obstruction of justice as a criminal matter.

Normally we don't reach this point so quickly, but then, Trump's administration is a dumpster fire in which two of his former top advisers have already been indicted and face jail time and there's more turnover in the White House than the average fast food joint. Mostly, however, the pace of this scandal's unfolding is a testament to the seriousness of the underlying issue: a foreign government sought to influence the U.S. presidential election to help its chosen candidate. It may be the most serious presidential scandal in our history.

It's certainly not the first time a nation has either openly or covertly interfered in another country's election to help one candidate or another. The United States has done it in the past, on multiple occasions. In this case, however, the point seems to have been to create discord and mistrust in the electoral system itself, to help Donald Trump malign and discredit his opponent and to turn allies against each other. This too is not unprecedented. Richard Nixon was known for this sort of thing -- they called it "ratf***ing," and one of Nixon's original hitmen, Roger Stone, was intimately involved in this one too. But the fact that it happened, and resulted in the election of someone so unqualified, has shaken the American democratic system to its core.


It's obvious at this point that there was a concerted Russian effort to infiltrate the Trump campaign. The extent to which it was successful is still unclear, although we have plenty of evidence that members of the Trump campaign were willing to talk about it. At least one, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, may well have been working for more than one boss. There are many questions about Trump's business dealings with Russia, mostly because he has been opaque and secretive about his finances and because the world in which he worked is rife with oligarchs and mobsters looking for people with whom to park their money. All this is worthy of a thorough investigation, particularly since Trump is so obviously unwilling to be forthcoming about any of it.

But frankly, even if none of that turns out to be true -- or if the Mueller investigation finds no evidence that anyone else committed any crimes -- it doesn't much matter. Michael Flynn has admitted to calling up Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak -- at the behest of other members of the incoming administration and likely the president himself -- and telling him not to worry about any U.S. retaliation against Russia for its election meddling, because when the Trump team took office they'd make it all go away. He might as well have said, "Tell Vlad thanks for the help. We've got his back."

Indeed, Donald Trump, who was then the president-elect, tweeted this the very next day:




What Flynn relayed to Kislyak that day was a shocking act of betrayal by the president-elect of the United States and his team. One can only imagine what authorities at the Department of Justice thought when they figured it out. After all, the Obama administration was not protesting the legitimacy of Trump's victory when it imposed those punishments. Our government was sending a straightforward message to the Russians that there would be a price to pay for their audacious interference in the American democratic system and their attack on American sovereignty. And then the newly elected president, the beneficiary of that attack, secretly sent a different message saying he would make sure there was no such penalty.

Was that to pay back Russia for its help or simply because he didn't want to give his political opponents any credibility? I can't say. But before he was even sworn in, Trump acted against the interest of the country in order to protect himself. Everything he's done since then has been in service of that same interest: Donald J. Trump.

.