Even without seeing Robert Mueller’s report, or knowing what prosecutors with the Southern District of New York have unearthed, or what congressional investigators will find, we already have witnessed the biggest political scandal in American history. Historians tell Axios that the only two scandals that come close to Trump-Russia are Watergate, which led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974, and the Teapot Dome scandal of the early 1920s, in which oil barons bribed a corrupt aide to President Warren Harding for petroleum leases.
*Mueller has already delivered one of the biggest counterintelligence cases in U.S. history, author Garrett Graff points out — up there with Aldrich Ames (a former CIA officer convicted in 1994 of being a KGB double agent), or Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (executed in 1953 for spying for the Soviets).
*Watergate yielded more charges than Mueller has so far: A total of 69 people were charged in Watergate; 48 people and 20 corporations pleaded guilty. Mueller so far has indicted 27 people; seven have been convicted or pleaded guilty.
*But historians say that both Watergate and Teapot Dome were more limited because a foreign power wasn’t a central player, and a much narrower band of potential offenses was under investigation.
*A fourth notable scandal, the Iran-Contra affair of the mid-1980s — in which arms were traded for hostages held by Iran, with the money used to fund rebels in Nicaragua — also involved a more limited range of issues.
The “biggest” realization might strike Trump supporters as overblown or plain wrong. But consider what we already know about actions of Trump and his associates:
Scandal 1: Trump secretly paid hush money to two mistresses on the eve of his presidential victory, and lied about it. His longtime personal lawyer is going to prison after carrying out the scheme on his behalf.
*The historical parallel: Bill Clinton was impeached (but acquitted by the Senate) for lying under oath about an affair with a White House intern.
*Clinton impeachment Article 3, passed by the House, was obstruction of justice.
*Earlier presidents, or their friends, had also been known to pay off mistresses.
Scandal 2: During the presidential campaign, Trump confidantes continued negotiating for a tower in Moscow, potentially one of Trump’s most lucrative deals ever. He hid this from the public and lied about it. His lawyer is going to prison for making false statements to Congress about the deal.
*The historical parallel: None.
Scandal 3: Russian officials had more than 100 contacts with Trump associates during the campaign and transition, including his son, his closest adviser, his lawyer, and his campaign manager. The Russians offered assistance in undermining Hillary Clinton. The FBI and other government authorities weren’t alerted about this effort to subvert our election.
*The historical parallel: None.
Scandal 4: Michael Flynn was national security adviser at the same time U.S. intelligence officials believed he was compromised by the Kremlin. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts.
*The historical parallel: None.
Scandal 5: Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and told NBC’s Lester Holt it was at least in part because of the Russia investigation: “[T]his Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.”
*The historical parallel: In the “Saturday Night Massacre” of 1973, Nixon tried to stop the Watergate investigation by abolishing the office of Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox; and accepting the resignation of Attorney General Elliot Richardson, and firing Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, when they refused to fire Cox.
Scandal 6: Trump overruled the advice of his lawyers and intelligence experts, and granted his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a top-secret clearance. This so alarmed his White House chief of staff John Kelly that he recorded his opposition in a memo. Trump and his family repeatedly denied he had interfered.
*The historical parallel: None.
The big picture: Presidential historian Jon Meacham tells us that this “transcends scandal — it’s a national crisis in the sense of a period of elevated stakes, high passions, and possibly permanent consequences.”
*”We’re in the midst of making history more than we are reflecting it.”
Be smart: Trump himself might survive all of this — and even more. Republican voters seem basically unmoved by the mounting evidence.
Making Up for Lost Time
I wouldn’t mind so much a renegade outsider coming in as president to shake up the system, so long as they had the nation’s best interests at heart along with valid ideas. But when a lifelong con man with selfish divisive interests & an autocratic personality runs roughshod over our democratic institutions/norms while operating what might soon to be discovered a criminal enterprise, it puts our nation at great risk. And we can’t let a criminal head our nation. Had any other president done even half the wrongdoings we know Trump has done, they’d had been long forced-out by now. But now it’s time to get to the bottom of all these signs of criminal behavior & expose all the facts.
Congress does have oversight authority & with so many obvious signals of crimes, they’re obligated to open up multiple probes. But politically, it’s important Dem congresspeople can prove they can walk & chew gum at the same time, in that they can do a lot more than just probing Trump’s mounting number of wrongdoings. So along with investigating the prez for numerous potential crimes from which there are ample good reasons to look into, they can also push forward worthy legislation to help our nation, such as a budget deal, infrastructure, health care, prescription drug costs, education, housing, college costs, gun background checks & any number of issues/proposals which have been stalled far too long.
The Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee opened a sweeping investigation Monday into President Donald Trump and his associates, requesting documents from 81 “agencies, entities, and individuals” connected to the administration and Trump’s private businesses. The series of requests – directed to Trump’s family, his businesses and scores of his associates – were among the first salvos from a newly powerful Democratic majority in the House intent on investigating the president. Lawmakers said they hope the documents will shed light on whether Trump sought to obstruct justice or misuse his powers, and made little secret of the fact that they saw it as a precursor to what could become an impeachment investigation. “Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms,” Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement announcing the investigation “into the alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration.”Those issued document requests included names connected to the Trump Organization, the Trump campaign and the White House. Among the names were both of Trump’s adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump; Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; the Trump trust; Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer; former national security adviser Michael Flynn; longtime Trump associate Roger Stone; former White House adviser Steve Bannon; WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; former White House press secretary Sean Spicer; former White House communications director Hope Hicks; the National Rifle Association and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The requests come as Democrats have intensified investigations into Trump. The House Intelligence Committee’s chairman has said it plans to broaden its probe of Russian election interference, and would begin examining Trump’s finances. Last week, yet another committee summoned Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who delivered searing testimony trashing the president as a “con man” and saying that he had encouraged Cohen to lie to Congress. MORE: See the full list of names
Democrats unleashed a sprawling investigation of President Trump’s businesses, family, campaign and administration on Monday as the House Judiciary Committee demanded paperwork from at least 80 different people and organizations. The investigation reflects a burgeoning effort by Democrats to use their newfound majority in the House to launch aggressive probes into Trump and his administration. Judiciary’s announcement comes days after Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen delivered high-profile testimony to Congress.
Democrats are being careful to say that the new investigation is not part of an impeachment process, but they have indicated that is still possible down the line. “Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Monday that did not mention impeachment once. “Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee,” he said. “We have seen the damage done to our democratic institutions in the two years that the Congress refused to conduct responsible oversight.”
If there’s anyone who might know anything about any allegation about wrongdoing by President Trump, encompassing everything from obstruction of justice to collusion with Russia to paying off potential ex-mistresses, the Democrats who now run the House Judiciary Committee on Monday are asking for their files. Just days after the president’s former fixer Michael Cohen testified at length about what Cohen described as Trump’s habitual criminal behavior, House Judiciary Democrats sent letters requesting documents on a wide range of investigative lines to 81 people, government agencies, and private organizations. It’s the investigative equivalent of shock and awe, heralding an even deeper phase of protracted congressional inquiries into all aspects of the president, his associates and his businesses. While the House Democrats are allergic to talk of impeachment, information they’re asking about concerns Trump and allies profiting from their offices, potentially lucrative ties to both hostile and allied foreign powers, and work to shut down investigations into these matters—all of which are likely to add to pressures on the left for impeachment.
Requests to produce material, initially due in just two weeks, went out to everyone from the White House and the Trump Organization to Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Jared Kushner, ex-communications director Hope Hicks, ex-strategist Steve Bannon, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, Roger Stone associate Randy Credico, Maria Butina boyfriend and GOP operative Paul Erickson, cooperating witness and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Flynn’s son. The only member of Trump’s inner circle who did not receive document requests is Ivanka Trump, though several requests concern both her and her business interests. Ivanka Trump, sources said, could receive document requests herself in a later wave of committee activity.
The committee conceptualizes the document requests into three areas that can overlap: obstruction of justice, including about the various Russia probes; “public corruption,” including the campaign-finance violations that Cohen’s hush money payments to Stephanie “Stormy Daniels” Clifford and Karen McDougal potentially represent; and “abuse of power,” including attacks on what the committee described as “the press, the judiciary, and law enforcement agencies.” That wide focus underscores both the aggressive investigative approach adopted by the newly empowered House Democrats and the wide span of allegations against the president of the United States. “Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms,” the committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler of New York, said in a statement Monday. “Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee. We have seen the damage done to our democratic institutions in the two years that the Congress refused to conduct responsible oversight. Congress must provide a check on abuses of power. Equally, we must protect and respect the work of Special Counsel, but we cannot rely on others to do the investigative work for us.”
Lots more Articles listed below on the Document Request
Since we have a limit on the number of live outbound links, this list of news sources & article titles aren’t live but are real authentic news stories. These titles mostly have to do with congressional investigations & in particular from Jerry Nadler’s Judiciary Committee. In seconds you can find any of them by doing a copy/paste into a search engine:
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday lawmakers have found “enormous amounts of evidence” into potential collusion between the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and the Russians during the 2016 election. Mark Warner of Virginia made his remarks in response to an assertion that there is “no factual evidence of collusion” from the Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who is chairman of the Intelligence Committee. As evidence, Warner cited on NBC’s “Meet the Press” ongoing negotiations about Trump Tower and the dump of WikiLeaks material. “Where that evidence leads, in terms of a conclusion … I’m going to reserve judgment, until I’m finished,” Warner said. But he added: “There’s no one that could factually say there’s not plenty of evidence of collaboration or communications between Trump Organization and Russians.”
Warner’s House Intelligence Committee counterpart, Adam Schiff, said Sunday on CBS‘ “Face the Nation” that there’s both “direct evidence” and “abundant circumstantial evidence” of collusion with Russia. The California Democrat said “there is direct evidence” in emails from the Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton in what is described as the “Russian government effort to help elect Donald Trump.” “They offer that dirt. There is an acceptance of that offer in writing from the president’s son, Don Jr., and there is overt acts in furtherance of that,” Schiff said. “That is the meeting at Trump Tower and all the lies to cover up that meeting at the Trump Tower, and apparently lies that the president participated in.”
Asked Sunday by NBC host Chuck Todd whether a Russia conspiracy without any actual evidence of a crime being committed could lead to impeachment of the president, Warner again said he would wait to reach his conclusion but qualified his statement by looking at history. “I have never, in my lifetime, seen a presidential campaign, from a person of either party, have this much outreach to a foreign country and a foreign country that the intelligence community, and our committee has validated, intervened, massively, in our election and intervened with an attempt to help one candidate, Donald Trump, and to hurt another candidate, Hillary Clinton,” he said. Warner also said that some of the “key people” the Senate committee wants to talk to are “caught up” in the Mueller criminal investigations. “Those criminal investigations need to conclude, before we get a chance to talk to them,” he said. For his part, Trump has continued to call any and all suggestions of collusion to be part of a witch hunt against him. On Sunday, he tweeted: “I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt that is illegal & should never have been allowed to start.
A former presidential adviser said President Donald Trump’s bombastic weekend appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference was that of a man “seeing the walls close in.” David Gergen, who adivsed Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, told CNN on Sunday that Trump was clearly troubled by the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, as well as the intensifying congressional oversight driven by new Democratic House majority. Trump delivered a rambling two-hour speech at CPAC on Saturday, attacking a range of opponents and saving special vitriol for the Mueller inquiry and the Democrats intensified scrutiny of his inner circle, private business dealings and presidential conduct.
Robert Mueller’s soon-to-be-delivered report will begin months of congressional investigations, subpoenas, court challenges, partisan slugfests, media revelations and more desperate conspiracy claims by Donald Trump, all against the backdrop of the burning questions. Will he be impeached by the House? Will he be convicted by the Senate? Will he pull a Richard Nixon and resign? In other words, will America fire Trump? I have news for you. America has already fired him. When the public fires a president before election day, as it did Jimmy Carter, Nixon and Herbert Hoover, they don’t send him a letter telling him he’s fired. They just make him irrelevant. Politics happens around him, despite him. He’s not literally gone but he might as well be.
It’s happened to Trump. The courts and House Democrats are moving against him. Senate Republicans are quietly subverting him. Even Mitch McConnell told him to end the shutdown. The Fed is running economic policy. California is running environmental policy. Top-level civil servants are managing day-to-day work of the agencies. Isolated in the White House, distrustful of aides, at odds with intelligence agencies, distant from his cabinet heads, Trump has no system to make or implement decisions. His tweets don’t create headlines as before. His rallies are ignored. His lies have become old hat. Action and excitement have shifted elsewhere, to Democratic challengers, even to a 29-year-old freshman congresswoman too young to run. Don’t get me wrong. He’s still dangerous, like an old landmine buried in the mud. He could start a nuclear war. Yet even America’s adversaries just humor him. Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping give him tidbits to share with the American public, then do whatever they want. Why did America fire him? If the nation were to write him a letter informing him he’s no longer president, it would go like this: (click on the link to see the letter).
The most stunning and frightening truth about the nuclear age is this: Nuclear weapons are capable of destroying civilization and most complex life on the planet, yet next to nothing is being done about it. Humanity is flirting with extinction and is experiencing the “frog’s malaise.” It is as though the human species has been placed into a pot of tepid water — metaphorically with regard to nuclear dangers and literally with regard to climate change — and appears to be calmly treading water while the temperature rises toward the boiling point. In this piece, I focus on the metaphorical pot of heating water, heading toward a boil, representing the increasing nuclear dangers confronting all humanity. Disconcertingly, there is virtually no political will on the part of nations in possession of nuclear arsenals to alter this dangerous situation; and, despite legal obligations to negotiate in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms race and for nuclear disarmament, there is no major effort among the nuclear-armed and umbrella countries to achieve nuclear zero. While the non-nuclear-armed countries have negotiated a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and are working to bring this treaty into force, those countries that possess the weapons and those sheltering under their nuclear umbrella have not supported the new treaty.
All nine nuclear-armed countries boycotted international negotiations on banning and eliminating nuclear weapons. In addition, each of these countries is in the process of modernizing its nuclear arsenal, thereby wasting valuable resources on weapons that must never be used, and doing so while basic human needs for billions of people globally go unmet and unattended. Despite this unjust and deplorable situation, most of the 7 billion people on the planet are complacent about nuclear weapons. This only adds fuel to the fire under the frogs. In the nuclear age, humanity is challenged as never before. Our technology, and particularly our nuclear weapons, can destroy us and all that we hold dear. But before we can respond to the profound dangers, we must first awaken to these dangers. Complacency is rooted in apathy, conformity, ignorance and denial — a recipe for disaster. If we want to prevail over our technologies, we must move from apathy to empathy; from conformity to critical thinking; from ignorance to wisdom; and from denial to recognition of the danger.
The globe’s nuclear safety net is fraying badly. Dangers of nuclear confrontations are growing not only in Europe, with decisions by the presidents of both nuclear superpowers, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, to withdraw from a treaty banning intermediate-range missiles; they are suddenly rising, too, in Asia, where India and Pakistan — both nuclear powers — have carried out conventional airstrikes across the Kashmir divide. Elsewhere in Asia, negotiations between Mr. Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, to begin a denuclearization process have abruptly ended. The thickest, weight-bearing strands of this safety net are treaties that have been cast aside without being replaced. With diplomacy sidelined, policymakers are left with nuclear threats to deter competitors. But deterrence rests on the underlying possibility of the use of nuclear weapons; otherwise, they would cease to deter. This can lead to tragic miscalculations. Treaties, by contrast, muffle and reduce threats. So “strengthening” deterrence without treaties and diplomacy is dangerous; it’s a recipe for threatening your way into tight corners, as India and Pakistan have again shown.
Hope to find an alternative to deterrence springs eternal. Some strategies seek escape through abolition of nuclear arms or the missiles that could deliver them. Others aim for victory rather than deterrence, by putting a protective missile defense shield in space. Those brands of escapism invite failure and heighten nuclear dangers, while the combination of deterrence and diplomacy has a proven record. One of the great ironies of the Cold War is that the acceptance of mutual vulnerability backstopped three decades of nuclear arms control and, eventually, deep cuts in the nuclear arsenals of Russia and the United States. But now, killing treaties has become another form of escapism. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the George W. Bush administration announced America’s withdrawal from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty signed between the two superpowers in 1972. Mr. Putin’s response was to walk away from a 1993 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that prohibited land-based missiles from carrying multiple warheads, or MIRVs. Eliminating these missiles was a long-sought goal of arms control. Now Russia is deploying MIRVed missiles in the worst possible way — with easily targeted, slow-to-use liquid-fueled missiles based in silos — conditions that could provoke a launching at the first suspicion of an attack, even if unverified, for fear that they would be destroyed.
In August, Moscow and Washington seem set to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 — the treaty that broke the back of the Cold War nuclear arms race. Mr. Trump has announced America’s withdrawal without seeking to negotiate remedies to Russian violations. In his view, nothing less than destroying the offending Russian missiles would do. But now, Mr. Putin is free to deploy more of them. Next up is “New Start,” the sole surviving Russian-American treaty that limits longer-range missiles. It could be extended for another five years, but Mr. Trump and his national security adviser, John Bolton, have neither the diplomatic skills nor apparently an interest in extending its terms or negotiating better ones. On top of this, Mr. Trump and Mr. Bolton have championed new missile defense plans to protect every American city from any missiles from any origin. The problem with such plans is that ground-based missile defense interceptors remain woefully unable to do this — they don’t have enough time to catch up to their targets. The only theoretical hope to protect American cities lies in space-based interceptors. But that pursuit, like President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, is most likely to again fail for technical, financial and political reasons. If the United States deploys interceptors in space, Russia and China will probably pursue countermeasures in the form of space mines that could trail American space-based interceptors, at a small fraction of the cost. In other words, the hair trigger of terrestrial nuclear warfare would simply be duplicated in space.
How did we manage to survive the seven harrowing decades since Hiroshima and Nagasaki without the battlefield use of nuclear weapons? Deterrence alone didn’t produce this result; the combination of deterrence and diplomacy did. This safety net was the greatest unacknowledged achievement during the Cold War. It now has very little load-bearing capacity left. The champions of jettisoning treaties have no sensible strategy or diplomatic road map to replace the nuclear safety net they are cutting. They rely on muscle flexing, dictation and unilateralism, which are mere postures, not strategy. This will not end well. Russia and China have the means to counter an America that seeks to escape deterrence and denigrate diplomacy. Nuclear dangers will rise as a result. When the executive branch loses its moorings, it’s up to Congress to steady the ship of state.