Bob Woodward book & Sessions attacks more proof of an unhinged president…Other big headlines this week are the Kavanaugh hearings & that controversial anonymous NY Times letter, which we cover extensively in part 2. Further down below here in part 1 are comments & articles on the Bob Woodward book & Trump’s tweets taking dead-aim at Jeff Sessions. But as we always do in part 1, we begin with the Russia scandal updates.
Mueller & Rudy jostling
Mueller’s reports first proving obstruction & then conspiracy could take down Trump’s presidency. Or the cumulative effect of the weight of numerous scandals could do the trick, as seen from this article: not-just-robert-
TV lawyer Rudy is now saying they don’t want his client to testify about anything to do with the obstruction side. They must know he’s guilty on that one.
Rudy also suggests they would seek to block the release of Mueller’s report(s), so they must know there’s going to be plenty of damaging evidence in there: rudy-giuliani-says-hes-
Going after Sessions
Trump is laying the groundwork for firing AG Sessions with unrelenting criticisms on his tweets, including going so far as blasting the indictments of his crony congressman, Chris Collins & Duncan Hunter. The president is basically saying politics should trump the rule of law. Those tweets alone could be grounds for impeachment as explained inside: toobin-trump-could-be-
Trump aspires to make the DOJ/FBI into loyalists making symbolic blood sacrifices to him, serving as henchmen to repress any opposition as an Americanized gestapo, where protecting him always takes priority over adhering to the law: analysis-in-chastising-
NY Times: trump-sessions-
NY Times: trump-sessions-midterms-tweet
USA Today: donald-trump-justice-tweet-
Daily Kos: A-Confused-Donald-Trump-Posts-
These excerpts are the opening to vanityfair.com/news/2018/
In a less degenerate era, the president’s remarks over the Labor Day weekend might have prompted an earnest conversation about impeachment. “Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” Donald Trump tweeted on Monday, criticizing the U.S. attorney general for not burying evidence of alleged criminal corruption by two of his close political allies, Representatives Chris Collins of New York and Duncan Hunter of California, both of whom were recently indicted. “Two easy wins now in doubt,” he added. “Good job Jeff.” This is perhaps the closest Trump has come to explicitly arguing for a two-tiered justice system: one for his political enemies, like Hillary Clinton, and one for friends who prove their loyalty. “The president’s tweet is a naked admission that he thinks law enforcement by his Justice Department should serve his political goals,” Washington defense attorney William Jeffress, who worked on the Valerie Plame leak case, told me. “That is the opposite of what thinking people of both parties have believed strongly for decades, and if the president is allowed to succeed it would undermine federal law enforcement like nothing else in our lifetimes.”
And in the following posts which are the conclusion to trumps-jeff-sessions-tweet-
Trump’s attorneys worry that Mueller might recommend perjury charges against the president. But the more serious charge would be obstruction of justice. Trump is already implicated in a series of incidents that seem designed to impede the investigation: asking then–FBI Director James Comey to go easy on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, pressing Comey to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation, firing Comey, pressing Sessions to reclaim control of the investigation, and attempting twice to fire Mueller. Together, these incidents could add up to obstruction. But to make that case, Mueller has to show that Trump acted with “corrupt intent.” As Trump’s lawyers explained in a January memo to Mueller, the president is constitutionally entitled to fire the FBI director, the attorney general, and anyone in the Justice Department who refuses to get rid of a special counsel. Mueller has to show that Trump did or threatened these things not for the good of the country, but to shield himself or his friends from justice. According to Woodward’s sources, Mueller has told Trump’s lawyers that he needs the president’s testimony because “I want to see if there was corrupt intent.”
The incident Woodward reports, in which Trump allegedly called Sessions a “traitor” for his recusal, helps Mueller make that case. When combined with another episode cited in the book—Trump accusing then–economic adviser Gary Cohn of “treason” for attempting to resign—it suggests that Trump defined treason as betrayal of himself, not betrayal of the United States. But it doesn’t establish Trump’s motivation beyond doubt. To prove corrupt intent definitively, you’d have to catch the president attacking the justice process specifically because it threatened him or his political allies. On Monday, Mueller received that evidence. He didn’t get it from Woodward or anyone quoted in the book. He got it from Trump. And it wasn’t in an email or a secret audio recording. It was on Twitter. There, the president lambasted Sessions for allowing the Justice Department to indict two pro-Trump congressmen: Chris Collins, charged with insider trading, and Duncan Hunter, charged with stealing campaign money for personal use. “Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” Trump wrote. “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff…”
There’s no handy way to spin this tweet. You can’t argue, as Trump’s attorneys have in the Comey case, that Trump fired an official for malfeasance and knew his replacement would continue the investigation. In the tweet, Trump explicitly denounced the Justice Department for bringing charges based on thorough investigations. He made clear his objection: that the charges hurt his party. And he complained that the indicted congressmen were “very popular.” That’s crucial. It shows that Trump wasn’t saying he wished the congressmen had been indicted sooner so that other Republicans could have replaced them on the ballot. Trump was implying that he wished the congressmen had been allowed to carry the Republican banner through the election without being indicted at all. This strengthens the case against Trump by broadening it. It shows a pattern of corrupt intent that goes beyond the Russia investigation. Trump’s lawyers have long argued that Trump knows he didn’t collude with Russia and therefore genuinely believes, correctly or not, that the investigation is a sham. But Trump, by all appearances, knows nothing about the Collins and Hunter cases. All he knows is that both men are Republicans, that they were the first two congressmen to endorse his candidacy, and that they’re under indictment. He has no plausibly innocent grounds on which to attack the indictments.
As the gravity of Trump’s outburst becomes clear, you’ll hear his attorneys and surrogates brush it off. They’ll say that tweets prove nothing about obstruction of justice, because tweets are just words—Sessions still has his job—and tweets are public, which is the opposite of a conspiracy. But none of that matters. Legally, the tweet sheds light on a specific question: Trump’s attitude toward the administration of justice. It shows that his motivation in attacking investigations is corrupt. It illuminates everything—the scramble to protect Flynn, the efforts to corrupt Comey, the hounding of Sessions, the attempts to fire Mueller—that happened behind closed doors.
Unfit for office
Here we see his number of lies are really piling up during his presidency, closing in on 5000: president-trump-has-
If you take seriously the revelations in Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” — and how can you not, given Woodward’s nearly half-century of scoops about Washington’s elite? — then it’s time for President Trump to be removed from office via the 25th Amendment because he is clearly “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” That will never happen, because the Cabinet is packed with Trump toadies who compete with each other to deliver the most fawning praise of their supreme leader. But on the merits, it should happen. Of course, it doesn’t take Woodward’s revelations to demonstrate Trump’s unfitness for office. Trump demonstrates it on a daily basis with his campaign-rally rants and Twitter tirades. Just in the past day, the president has demanded that the Justice Department drop criminal investigations against his supporters because it could cost Republicans House seats, and suggested that NBC lose its broadcast license because, in essence, he objects to the criticism he receives on MSNBC. A senior Justice Department official told Axios: “It shows how POTUS thinks DOJ should be used: As a weapon against enemies and a tool to win elections.” In a normal world — a world where Congress was not controlled by blind Republican partisans — the fact that Trump continues to make demands so at odds with the rule of law would be cause for his impeachment and removal. But even if Woodward doesn’t break ground in conceptual terms, he does provide damning new evidence to buttress what we already know — that after more than 18 months in office, Trump is just as unqualified as ever to be president. Even Republicans know it. They just choose to deny it, because it would be too dangerous to their political well-being to admit reality.
“He’s gone off the rails, we’re in Crazytown” & other highlights from Bob Woodward book
That Crazytown quote is attributed to Chief of Staff Gen. Kelly in the Bob Woodward book set for release in a few days. As a whole, the chaos, incompetence, cluelessness & chronic lying from Trump comes shining through in the book. The prez can’t process information, comes across as beyond the pale erratic, temperamental & flighty. So his advisers basically admit the prez has turned the White House into crazytown! Two of Trump’s lawyers even role-played in front of Mueller by demonstrating Trump’s inability to tell the truth. It’s clear his senior staff in the White House knows the President is a bumbling idiot, so they are just trying to protect Trump from himself & avoid him bringing on some cataclysmic disaster. Whenever it hits a tipping point the weight of illegality & scandal is destined to bring down this presidency, fully expect most of these administration officials will finally be freed up to publicly turn on him. The book fits perfectly with the profile seen in the NY Times op-ed, as we provide lots of details on that in part 2.
All these accounts are presented with a stunning level of detail, featuring firsthand accounts & many direct quotes from Trump, giving the book plenty of credibility. Woodward conducted dozens of interviews while possessing hundreds of hours of tape recordings, so he’s got the proof behind what he wrote. As opposed to authors of previous books on Trump, the Bob Woodward book can be trusted, as he has a proven track record as one of the most respected biographers in our lifetimes. And if Trump is going to be wearing an orange jumpsuit, it’d better be an XXL: bob-woodwards-trump-book-
But what’s truly worrisome for President Trump and his administration is that the portrait Woodward paints of a chaotic, dysfunctional, ill-prepared White House is all strangely familiar. It’s the same vision of the White House that Michael Wolff wrote way back in January in “Fire and Fury.” It’s the same picture that Omarosa Manigault-Newman constructed in her memoir of her year in the White House. It’s the same story that White House reporters at CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and virtually every other mainstream media outlet has told of the Trump White House. Sure, Omarosa could be a disgruntled former aide trying to make money while exacting revenge on her enemies. Sure, Michael Wolff could have been misled by a few sources with scores to settle with Trump. Sure, reporters could get a detail or two wrong. Sure, Woodward could have cast a scene or two in ways that are less than favorable to Trump.
But how could all — and I mean all — of the reporting on this White House reach a strikingsimilar conclusion? The portraits of Trump drawn by Wolff, Omarosa and Woodward are all eerily similar to one another — a man hopelessly out of his depth in the job, but entirely incapable of understanding how desperately out of depth he actually is. A man motivated almost entirely by personal grievance. A man willing to humiliate people who work for him, to play staffers against one another, to scapegoat underlings to keep blame off of himself. Someone who has so much self-belief that he rarely adequately prepares for situations involving international diplomacy and national security. Top aides who view that their jobs are primarily keeping Trump from causing serious harm, and grousing every step of the way about the man.
And now Bob Woodward — without question the preeminent political reporter and chronicler of the White House in the last four decades — has written a book that confirms every bit of the portrayals we’ve seen about who Trump is, who he surrounds himself and how he conducts his business. The consistency in those storylines is virtually impossible to explain in any other way than this: It’s true. To believe otherwise, you have to convince yourself that not only the entire daily media but also the likes of Wolff and Woodward all got together and agreed on how to portray Trump across tweets, stories and books. Which is, of course, beyond ridiculous.
Again keeping to my commitment in holding outbound links down to a minimum, here are articles you could look up which provide excellent perspectives on the Bob Woodward book, again starting off with a group from the Washington Post:
NY Times: trump-bob-woodard-new-book
The Hill: woodward-trump-aides-
The Hill: lawyer-told-trump-hes-
The Hill: trump-lost-his-temper-
USA Today: new-york-times-fear-captain-
Business Insider: everything-weve-learned-about-
The Atlantic: bob-woodward-book-
Huffington Post: carl-bernstein-trump-national-
NY Mag: woodward-book-fear-trump-
New Yorker: letter-from-trumps-washington/
Daily Beast: speed-read-the-most-
Investigate Russia: woodward-trump-
When a temperamental, psychologically-unstable Trump senses his presidency slipping away from him as his criminal acts are exposed, plus his policies on the international scene aren’t working out as planned, it’s feared this master of distraction could unleash his fury with reckless actions bringing on catastrophic consequences: donald-trump-
Dems must win Midterms, which I repeat this basic message in parts 2 & 3
When I went to our county fair last weekend & visited the Dems tent, I got to meet our gubernatorial candidate here in Ohio, Richard Cordray, who did an excellent job in DC cleaning up financial abuses as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. When we brought up our leader in the White House, he mentioned how the fish rots at the head. Yes, November’s election will be a referendum on Trump. This is the year it’s vital we vote for Dems in November, & I say that as a lifelong GOP supporter. At the bottom of part 3 are several good articles looking ahead to the midterms, featuring an excellent article by Tom Nichols which in the title explains saving the GOP may require voting for every Dem on November’s ballot. Republicans have been thoroughly corrupted & we now must break the curse. Plus GOP congresspeople are too timid & scared of their own voters to push back against a wanna-be dictator. We not only need a check on this reckless president, but it’s also critical we preserve our democracy by standing up for the rule of law.
The first paragraph below is the beginning & the latter paragraph the conclusion to how-robert-mueller-
Special counsel Robert Mueller faces a unique challenge in his investigation of Russian influence during the 2016 election. In addition to gathering information and prosecuting criminals, he has had to avoid getting fired by his resentful, mercurial, and unscrupulous commander in chief. Fifteen months into the investigation, he appears to have done a masterful job. By manipulating and distracting Donald Trump and his team of lawyers, he has not only preserved his job, he has maintained complete autonomy and seeded a cluster of spinoff investigations that will be nearly impossible for the White House to stifle. And despite Trump’s insistence that he’s “totally allowed” to intervene whenever he chooses, he won’t dare make a move this close to the midterm election, which means Mueller’s investigation will be protected for at least three more months. How has he done it?
The most critical moment for Mueller will likely come after the election on November 6. If Republicans maintain control of Congress, an emboldened Trump may feel confident enough to finally rid himself of the scandal that has been agitating him since he took office. On the other hand, if Democrats capture the House, a desperate Trump may attempt to quash the investigation before the new term begins in January. But even if he acts in November, it may be too late. By then, Robert Mueller will have had a full year and a half to investigate the misdeeds of Trump’s campaign and administration. Judging by how the special prosecutor has outfoxed the president so far, Mueller likely has a plan to ensure that his work will bear fruit. His report, in whatever form it eventually comes to light, will lay out all the charges that the investigators have kept secret so far, and no one in Trump’s inner circle will be spared, not even Trump himself.