Journal During the Trump Regime (10)–Interregnum

Journal (9) is getting too congested. This thread will cover the period from the election. (Note: Some events that occurred after Election Day may be in previous journal threads, as it might be a more appropriate location.)

Journal During the Trump Regime (1)
Journal During the Trump Regime (2)
Journal During the Trump Regime (3)
Journal During the Trump Regime (4)
Journal During the Trump Regime (5)
Journal During the Trump Regime (6)
Journal During the Trump Regime (7)
Journal During the Trump Regime (8)
Journal During the Trump Regime (9)

80 thoughts on “Journal During the Trump Regime (10)–Interregnum

  1. From November 10, 2020:

    I was allowing myself to read more of my politics list on twitter, but last night, I saw that Bill Barr is giving permission for attorney’s to investigate “voting Irregularities:”

    Attorney General William P. Barr on Monday gave federal prosecutors approval to pursue allegations of “vote tabulation irregularities” in certain cases before results are certified and indicated he had already done so “in specific instances” — a reversal of long-standing Justice Department policy that quickly drew internal and external criticism for fueling unfounded claims of massive election fraud pushed by President Trump and other conservatives.

    One official has resigned over this decision:

    Now, I think I’m going to stop or reduce what I read until Inauguration Day, as reading will likely only increase my stress. We’re still on a bumpy ride, and it may not end even after Inauguration Day, as Trump and his enablers will attempt to de-legitimize Biden as POTUS, dividing our country.

    This makes me think of John McCain’s concession speech and Al Gore’s decision to concede–and all concessions by losing candidates–I believe Trump is the only one who has not done so! Their concession signifies, at least partly, that there is something bigger, and more important than themselves and their ambitions–namely, the unity of our country and the health of our democracy. When they do this, all Americans should be proud.

    What Trump, Barr, and his enablers are doing is the opposite. It is shameful, un-American, and a betrayal.

    On a different note, I am truly grateful and proud of all the people who worked to make the elections run smoothly and properly–including preventing violence. A big mahalo to them–I think they did a fantastic job!

    Another post on November 10, 2020

  2. (originally posted on Nov. 10, 2020)

    I’m on the same wavelength as Max Boot: By Humoring Trump, the GOP are Enabling Authoritarianism

    11/15/2020

    This is just one opportunity that the Republicans passed up, but they’re largely silent in across the board.

  3. (Originally posted on Nov. 12, 2020)

    This sounds like another Trump scam:

    (originally posted on Nov. 14, 2020)

    I read this with great interest: L.A. Times: We Turned Over Our Letters Page to Trump Supporters

    (originally posted on Nov. 14, 2020)

    One of the most critical moments in any person’s life is when they’re faced with decision to do the right thing, even at great personal cost, or not doing the right thing. For me, to do the right thing in these moments, is to pass a really big test. In the clip below, Elizabeth Neuman, a colleague of Krebs, recounts how Krebs said that there would be a moment where they’d have to do the right thing and risk being fired. Krebs passed the test–he can look himself in the mirror every day; his children and grandchildren should be proud of him, as he is an American hero.

    (Note: Neuman makes another important point. The USG protected the elections from foreign adversaries from undermining the election–but Trump is the one that is guilty of this.)

    It’s also worth pointing out that the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, who is resisting pressure from Republicans, is also a hero.

    On a side note, Trump’s twitter recent tweets create the impression of a raving mad king. The tolerance for his outrageous, baseless claims is way too high. That he can go on saying this, without any consequence, is so annoying.

    1/2/2021

    A few congressional Republicans behaving responsibly:

    1/3/2021

    Now, Governor DeWine using the circular fraud grift, at least to a degree.

    He asks what do we do about all the people who question the results. My answer: Republicans like himself need to vociferously condemn his fellow Republicans for casting doubt on the results. That’s the source of Trump supporters questioning the results of the election. Therefore, responsible Republicans should loudly and frequently condemn the Republicans undermining the election–point out that they’re lying.

    His answer is to make a bi-partisan commission to examine the election. My problem is that without addressing the Trump and congressional Republicans undermining trust in the election, without evidence, then I fear starting a bi-partisan commission will add credence to the claims that there were legitimate reasons to question the election results. Additionally, the idea that a bi-partisan commission would settle the matter, once and for all, seems fanciful. If such a commission affirmed the legitimacy of the election, and Trump and his minions continued to claim that was fraud, I highly doubt the commission would have a meaningful impact on reducing doubts from Trump supporters. All the court rulings against Trump has not changed the minds of Trump and his enablers. Why would the commission by different?

  4. (originally posted Nov. 18, 2020)

    The Wayne County incident was a roller coaster ride. I first saw that they didn’t certify the votes. Then I later saw that they did, due to public outcry, as well passionate arguments (shaming) from some of the other board members. After reading about that, I’m wondering if I should avoid the news even more–until Inauguration Day.

  5. I can’t remember feeling as angry as I did after reading these articles–specifically at the congressional Republicans and other Trump enablers who know better.

    Trump uses power of the presidency to try and overturn the election and stay in office from WaPo

    President Trump is using the power of his office to try to reverse the results of the election, orchestrating a far-reaching pressure campaign to persuade Republican officials in Michigan, Georgia and elsewhere to overturn the will of voters in what critics decried Thursday as an unprecedented subversion of democracy.

    After courts rejected the Trump campaign’s baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud, the president is now trying to remain in power with a wholesale assault on the integrity of the vote by spreading misinformation and trying to persuade loyal Republicans to manipulate the electoral system on his behalf.

    Trump invites Michigan Republican leaders to meet him at White House as he escalates attempts to overturn election results from WaPo

    Man, when is enough is enough for congressional Republicans? Where is the damn line for the them?

    11/20/2020

    Voters chose America. Now, Michigan Republicans must do the same. pic.twitter.com/ETgbQakbFe— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) November 20, 2020

    Aside: This meeting is really bad. If they go back and fail to certify the votes, it will look as though Trump pressured them to do so, which would de-legitimize the move and really do a lot of damage to our democracy. If they’re even seriously thinking about not certifying the votes, they would have to decline the meeting. This meeting is bad, but it would be somewhat more acceptable, if the Michigan Republicans are absolutely sure they will certify the votes.

    (Note: The next posts were a sub-post to the one above.)

    Yes, excellent questions from Kevin Williamson: pic.twitter.com/CKdfz6q1AS— Sarah Longwell (@SarahLongwell25) November 19, 2020

    I agree–these are good questions. To his last question, I would add a comment–namely, that the current approach does not benefit conservatives in terms of ideas nor does it benefit the country. Instead, it’s about my side winning–almost at all costs. It’s also getting close to a cult-like devotion to one individual.

    The following tweet, from the official GOP account, also points to something else that’s related to the questions above (which I thought I wrote about):

    "We will not be intimidated…We are going to clean this mess up now. President Trump won by a landslide. We are going to prove it. And we are going to reclaim the United States of America for the people who vote for freedom."—Sidney Powell pic.twitter.com/8KCEOGuL7w— GOP (@GOP) November 19, 2020

    The conservatives and Republicans who have the same questions as Williamson–and the Republicans that agree with Sasse and Romney–their stance seems incompatible with what the official GOP position. This may be the start where the fissure within the GOP is revealed. If there were any true patriotic conservatives in Congress, the fissure existed opened at the beginning of the Trump presidency and widened as time went on. All that would remain is to make it public–and then those breaking away should oppose and defeat the Trumpist GOP.

    11/2/2020

    Terrific write-up about what happened in Michigan. Recommended.

    The Inside Story of Michigan’s Fake Voter Scandal by Tim Alberta of Politico

    11/27/2020

    11/28/2020

    20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election from WaPo

    One of the more comprehensive summaries of what Trump and his legal team did after the Election Day.

    Remarkable sentences (not in a good way)–unreal

    Regarding the claim that voting machines were rigged by Venezuelan communists, here was Trump’s reaction

    The Venezuelan tale was too fantastical even for Trump, a man predisposed to conspiracy theories who for years has feverishly spread fiction. Advisers described the president as unsure about the latest gambit — made worse by the fact that what looked like black hair dye mixed with sweat had formed a trail dripping down both sides of Giuliani’s face during the news conference. Trump thought the presentation made him “look like a joke,” according to one campaign official who discussed it with him.

    The story was too crazy for Trump–which is saying something–although I wonder if Giuliani’s hair dye problem was the deal-breaker for Trump. That is, if that didn’t happen would he be OK with the conspiracy theory?

    Here’s a legit attempt at rigging the election:

    A number of Trump allies tried to pressure Raffensperger, the Republican secretary of state, into putting his thumb on the scale. Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler — both forced into runoff elections on Jan. 5 — demanded Raffensperger’s resignation. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a Trump friend who chairs the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, called Raffensperger to seemingly encourage him to find a way to toss legal ballots.

    But Kemp, who preceded Raffensperger as secretary of state, would not do Trump’s bidding. “He wouldn’t be governor if it wasn’t for me,” Trump fumed to advisers earlier this month as he plotted out a call to scream at Kemp.

    In the call, Trump urged Kemp to do more to fight for him in Georgia, publicly echo his claims of fraud and appear more regularly on television. Kemp was noncommittal, a person familiar with the call said.

    Trump’s reaction strongly suggests he thinks it’s appropriate to break the law and trample on the integrity of the election–to help him win. This is impeachable. And this isn’t the only time he’s done or said things in a similar vein.

    More troubling to Raffensperger were the many threats he and his wife, Tricia, have received over the past few weeks — and a break-in at another family member’s home. All of it has prompted him to accept a state security detail.

    “If Republicans don’t start condemning this stuff, then I think they’re really complicit in it,” he said. “It’s time to stand up and be counted. Are you going to stand for righteousness? Are you going to stand for integrity? Or are you going to stand for the wild mob? You wanted to condemn the wild mob when it’s on the left side. What are you going to do when it’s on our side?”

    11/29/2020

    I’m not a lawyer, but I assume standing is based on the quality of your case, the evidence you provide, etc.–not the status or position of the person filing a claim or whatever the correct term is. If this is basically correct, and the clip is accurate, Trump’s understanding of our court system is not only bad, but what he says suggests a more tyrannical mindset. The rule of law means laws apply to the president as well.

    11/30/2020

    12/1/2020

    Trump continues to attempt to pressure Gov. Kemp:

    12/7/2020

    1. Conservatives/Republicans who put the Constitution and our democracy ahead of their party and Trump…at least some of the time

      Now, you want to see what I expected from more Republicans? See below:

      "I'm a Republican, I'm a conservative one, and I don't like the idea that President Trump is not going to win," Raffensperger said. "But at the end of the day, I want every voter to know we're going to do our job and make sure every legal vote is counted." https://t.co/iGbzdbAlcM— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 19, 2020

      This! I didn’t read the article, but if what this says is accurate, this man is a patriot!

      I just saw something else that I applaud:

      New statement from @SenSasse refutes the conspiracy theories being advanced by the president: “When Trump campaign lawyers have stood before courts under oath, they have repeatedly refused to actually allege grand fraud — because there are legal consequences for lying to judges.”— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) November 20, 2020

      Sen. Ben Sasse statement: "President Trump lost Michigan by more than 100,000 votes, and the campaign and its allies have lost in or withdrawn from all five lawsuits in Michigan for being unable to produce any evidence…— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) November 20, 2020

      …wild press conferences erode public trust. So no, obviously Rudy and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. We are a nation of laws, not tweets.”— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) November 20, 2020

      Here’s a statement on the Giuliani presser today from @BenSasse, who somehow is still somewhat alone — with a few exceptions — in the GOP in speaking out honestly and forthrightly about what’s happening. pic.twitter.com/E1wKzyY8ON— Jon Ward (@jonward11) November 20, 2020

      Here’s what I find interesting. As mad as those first two articles mad me, I felt genuinely grateful seeing this statement by Senator Sasse. I get the sense that a lot of my anger, even after everything that has occurred, could diminish if congressional Republicans started speaking out. I don’t know how long that would last, but I’m surprised by how grateful I felt. I think this indicates the level of desire I have to see the Republicans do the right thing. I have no qualms with designating them as heroes, if they deserve it–and I really want them to be.

      (11/24/2020: I want to add this tweet today here:

      “I got nothing for you.” This is some emblematic of congressional Republicans, who know better, during the Trump presidency. Every once and a while they’ll do the right thing, but they’ll slink back into silence and stay there for long periods. I’m grateful when they speak out, maybe out of desperation, but their overall silence overshadows those moments. This applies to Mitt Romney as well.)

      And this from Stuart Stevens is apt:


      Edit

      Thank you, Sen. Romney!

      pic.twitter.com/S3kFsIRGmi— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) November 20, 2020

      I hope this Senator Joni Ernst said what is claimed below:

      🚨 Just asked GOP Senator @JoniErnst about this on the @GuyBensonShow. She called it an “offensive” insinuation & an “absolutely outrageous” attempt to confuse voters about what’s true & undermine faith in the system. Audio to come … https://t.co/Mr6omwINmO— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 19, 2020

      Tucker Carlson, to his credit, says Sidney Powell, one of Trump’s lawyers, has not provided evidence for her claims of voter fraud (involving millions of votes changed electronically. It’s interesting to watch the clip because he’s doing his darndest to not alienate his viewers. I’ll say more specifics after the clip.

      Tucker Carlson calls out Sidney Powell, saying he asked her for evidence to support her election fraud claims, but "she never sent us any evidence despite a lot of requests, polite requests, not a page." "When we kept pressing she got angry and told us to stop contacting her." pic.twitter.com/IOlOdhp6MJ— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) November 20, 2020

      One way he does this is by saying his show is open to UFOs–and he goes on a relatively long riff on this. Subtext: Our audience is into conspiracy theories, so we gotta make them feel like we’re on their side. The line that I laughed at because I doubt it will work–“We care about truth on this program. And we know you do, too.” That’s not going to stop the cursing at the TV.

      By the next day,

      Tucker Carlson Dared Question a Trump Lawyer. The Backlash Was Quick. – The New York Times https://t.co/shufNkLb58— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) November 21, 2020

      Tucker Carlson calls out Sidney Powell, saying he asked her for evidence to support her election fraud claims, but "she never sent us any evidence despite a lot of requests, polite requests, not a page." "When we kept pressing she got angry and told us to stop contacting her." pic.twitter.com/IOlOdhp6MJ— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) November 20, 2020

      One way he does this is by saying his show is open to UFOs–and he goes on a relatively long riff on this. Subtext: Our audience is into conspiracy theories, so we gotta make them feel like we’re on their side. The line that I laughed at because I doubt it will work–“We care about truth on this program. And we know you do, too.” That’s not going to stop the cursing at the TV.

      But by the next day,

      Tucker Carlson Dared Question a Trump Lawyer. The Backlash Was Quick. – The New York Times https://t.co/shufNkLb58— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) November 21, 2020

      11/21/2020

      WSJ editorial page has been strongly pro-Trump if I’m not mistaken (e.g., Kim Strassel)

      WSJ Editorial bd. notes giant hole in Dominion conspiracy: “If soft­ware flipped Geor­gia’s elec­tronic to­tals, there would be some big, un­ex­plained dis­crep­ancy be­tween those data & the pa­per bal­lots. The hand re­count found noth­ing of the sort.” https://t.co/BfJJ1nEtSn— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 21, 2020

      12/1/2020

      Gabriel Sterling, a Republican and voting systems manager for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger:

      I totally agree with him, and I’m super angry as well.

      Congressional GOP non or tepid response is sickening as well. I’m worried someone will get hurt or killed, too.

      12/3/2020

      The enablers have no excuse for not speaking out.

      1/19/2021

      The Fox News hosts were fired. My understanding is that they were the two that called Arizona for Biden on Election Night, which supposedly messed up Trump’s plans.

      1. In contrast to some conservatives above,

        In response to this tweet, I agree with completely with the tweet below:

        This is especially true when you have to choose between being fired or keeping your oath to support and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. That federal government officials, the military, members of Congress (I’m not sure about the members of the judiciary branch) take this oath is one of the greatest things about America. The people in government are ultimately loyal to the Constitution, not the POTUS. That’s what Emily Murphy is failing to understand–or if she understands this, she’s putting her loyalty to Trump over her loyalty to the Constitution and rule of law.

        And the principle of the rule of law is similar. It’s the idea that the rules and principles are more important than how much we like a person or the amount of power a person has. Rules and principles are more important and apply to everyone equally–that’s the general idea, and one we have to always strive to uphold.

        We need a reaffirm and strengthen our commitment to rule of law and the idea of being ultimately loyal to the Constitution, not to an individual.

        1/21/2021

        1. Finally,

          If Murphy wanted the public to believe she acted independently, Trump just ruined that.

          On a side note, I’m suspicious that Trump would approve of this. Why? Did she stall long enough for him to get get rid of or hide information that he doesn’t want Biden to see? I do not trust Trump.

        2. The List of the state Attorney Generals and congressional Republicans who signed up with Texas to throw out the votes of WI, MI, PA, and GA.

          They should be remembered for this shameful act.

          AGs

          Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton; Eric Schmitt, Missouri (he goes first because Missouri filed the brief); Steve Marshall, Alabama; Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas; Ashley Moody, Florida; Curtis Hill, Indiana; Derek Schmidt, Kansas; Jeff Landry, Louisiana; Lynn Fitch, Mississippi; Tim Fox, Montana; Doug Peterson, Nebraska; Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota; Mike Hunter, Oklahoma; Alan Wilson, South Carolina; Jason Ravnsborg, South Dakota; Herbert H. Slatery III, Tennessee; Sean Reyes, Utah; Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia.

          126 congressional Republicans

          Organizers:

          Kevin McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise (La.); Jim Jordan (Ohio), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee; Kevin Brady (Tex.), ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee; Rep. Gary Palmer (Ala.), head of the Republican Policy Committee; and Mike Johnson (La.)

          The rest:

          Alabama (Robert B. Aderholt, Mo Brooks, Bradley Byrne), Arizona (Andy Biggs, Debbie Lesko), Arkansas (Eric A. “Rick” Crawford, Bruce Westerman), California (Ken Calvert, Doug LaMalfa, Tom McClintock), Colorado (Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn), Florida (Gus M. Bilirakis, Mario Diaz-Balart, Neal Dunn, Matt Gaetz, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, Ross Spano, Michael Waltz, Daniel Webster, Ted Yoho), Georgia (Rick Allen, Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Douglas A. Collins, Drew Ferguson, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Austin Scott), Idaho (Russ Fulcher, Mike Simpson), Illinois (Mike Bost, Darin LaHood), Indiana (Jim Baird, Jim Banks, Trey Hollingsworth, Greg Pence, Jackie Walorski), Iowa (Steve King), Kansas (Ron Estes, Roger Marshall), Louisiana (Ralph Abraham, Clay Higgins).

          Maryland (Andy Harris), Michigan (Jack Bergman, Bill Huizenga, John Moolenaar, Tim Walberg), Minnesota (Tom Emmer, Jim Hagedorn, Pete Stauber), Mississippi (Michael Guest, Trent Kelly, Steven M. Palazzo), Missouri (Sam Graves, Billy Long, Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Jason T. Smith, Ann Wagner), Montana (Greg Gianforte), Nebraska (Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith), New Jersey (Gregory Steube, Jeff Van Drew), New York (Elise Stefanik, Lee Zeldin), North Carolina (Dan Bishop, Ted Budd, Virginia Foxx, Richard Hudson, Greg Murphy, David Rouzer, Mark Walker), Ohio (Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson, Robert E. Latta, Brad Wenstrup), Oklahoma (Kevin Hern, Markwayne Mullin).

          Pennsylvania (John Joyce, Frederick B. Keller, Mike Kelly, Dan Meuser, Scott Perry, Guy Reschenthaler, Glenn Thompson), South Carolina (Jeff Duncan, Ralph Norman, Tom Rice, William Timmons, Joe Wilson), Tennessee (Tim Burchett, Scott DesJarlais, Charles J. “Chuck” Fleischmann, Mark Green, David Kustoff, John Rose), Texas (Jodey Arrington, Brian Babin, Michael C. Burgess, Michael Cloud, K. Michael Conaway, Dan Crenshaw, Bill Flores, Louie Gohmert, Lance Gooden, Kenny Marchant, Randy Weber, Roger Williams, Ron Wright), Virginia (Ben Cline, H. Morgan Griffith, Rob Wittman, Ron Wright), Washington (Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dan Newhouse), West Virginia (Carol Miller, Alex Mooney), Wisconsin (Tom Tiffany).

          Addendum:

        3. No cooperating and hurting the Biden transition team is tantamount to hurting the country

          I believe there was a report that Secretary DeVos also instructed her department not to cooperate with Biden’s team as well, but I could be wrong about that.

          1/21/2021

      2. This took way longer than it should have. We don’t know the damage of this delay, but it’s reasonable to believe that it could be massive

        I don’t believe Trump is able to put the country first.

        More congressional Republicans publicly signaling Biden won and it’s time to move on (in this thread):

        Prediction: Trump is going to pull a General Zod, double-down and make these guys all kneel to him–at least if these Republicans keep insisting their position publicly, which they likely won’t–they’ll probably slink back into the shadows and keep their mouths shut.

        He said he’d release his taxes, too. His word is worthless.

        12/15/2020

        Putin congratulated Biden a few hours before Senate Majority Leader.

    2. Unhinged really seems like the appropriate word for the claims that Trump and his supporters are making.

      Sidney Powell, one of Trump lawyers, is accusing Governor Kemp, a Republican, who has been supportive of Trump, of being paid by Dominion, the company that makes the ballot counting machines (I think). She makes some insinuation about the CIA and Venezuela with regarding to the machines as well.

      Ruling from Pennsylvania court today:

      Senator Pat Toomey says Trump has “exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result…in Pennsylvania,” and congratulates President-elect Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris. Also, “President Trump should accept the outcome of the election and facilitate the presidential transition process.”

      Trump’s reaction to the Judge Brann’s decision and Sen. Toomey’s announcement:

      Who really believes “hundreds of thousands” of votes are fraudulent–especially from the guy who claimed millions voted illegally for Clinton, set up a special commission to investigate and eventually had to disband it because they found nothing?

      “My investigators.” He also claimed to have investigators sent to Hawai’i, who would soon bring back evidence that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. This is same sort of scam when he says, “Soon, I’ll have the health care plan,” “in a couple of weeks I’ll release my tax forms.” I kinda wish some news outlet would do a program just on Trump’s con man tactics.

      (This tweet follows the one right above it.)

      It’s interesting the way he tries to use the language that is actually appropriate for his anti-democratic behavior–i.e., “the world is watching,” “have courage to do the right thing,” in the name of the “integrity of the elections”–this from the guy who has baselessly being saying the election was rigged since the summer, prior to the 2016 election; the guy who recommended voting by mail and going to vote in person; the guy who publicly said he didn’t want to fund the USPS because the that would help the processing of mail in ballots; the guy who said mail-in ballots were bad, but they encouraged Florida voters to be sure to get in their mail-in ballot.

      11/30/2020

      Unhinged idea re-tweeted by Sidney Powell:

      More unhinged–and reprehensible public statements from another Trump attorney:

      DiGenova: ““Anybody who thinks that this election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity [for Trump]. That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot…”

      12/2/2020

      More unhinged ideas–this time from Trump’s former National Security Adviser, recently pardoned by Trump:

      12/3/2020

      Uh, so Trump is now attacking Lin Wood, who I believe is an attorney(?) working with Sidney Powell. Apparently Wood and Powell are urging Republicans in Georgia not to vote in the run-off election (unless Georgia declares Trump the winner of their votes?).

      This is getting hard to follow.

      12/3/2020

      This feels like Frankenstein’s Monster striking back and reaping the whirlwind.

      12/8/2020

      Maybe not as unhinged as the conspiracy theory around the Dominion machines, but the idea that mail-in ballots are unconstitutional seems very far-fetched. Also, the GOP pushes voter ID laws because they’re so concerned about voter fraud, and ostensibly the integrity of the election. But the type of actions we’ve seen, going to courts to throw out mail-in ballots and the POTOUS asking states to overturn their election–the GOP’s concern for election integrity seems like a sham, and their actions just seem like voter suppression.

      12/8/2020

      12/9/2020

      12/17/2020

      It’s scary to think this guy was the former National Security Adviser.

      Flynn does qualify by saying he’s not “calling for this. We have a constitutional process…,” but it’s still irresponsible to suggest something so extreme, and questionable (maybe even legally). I take it as laying the groundwork for such actions.

      12/28/2020

      I saw other people I trust re-tweet and comment on this:

      12/30/2020

      The second story in this Bulwark post by Jonathan V. Last is crazy and reprehensible at the same time.

      You may recall that just the other day the polling firm Rasmussen was helpfully suggesting that Republicans follow advice from Joseph Stalin.

      Well now the polling firm is back for more non-data-based analysis. Here’s what happened:

      Act I:

      Act II:

      Act III:

      stephen fowler covers Georgia’s election!
      @stphnfwlr
      The “theory” is that Ron Raffensperger is Brad Raffensperger’s brother, and somehow because Huawei is a Chinese company, that somehow China owns Dominion (it doesn’t) and somehow nefariously installed machines in GA.

      Pesky thing is – Raffensperger doesn’t *have* a brother.
      stephen fowler covers Georgia’s election! @stphnfwlr

      Ok today in EASY conspiracy-land to debunk.

      There’s posts/memes floating around claiming Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s “brother” Ron is CTO of a Huawei subsidiary, ergo China, ergo suspicion with Dominion.

      Ron+Brad are not bros and look nothing alike!!! https://t.co/KBpzZNgfCa
      December 23rd 2020

      Just the president of the United States claiming that a political enemy (who is actually one of his supporters) is committing a crime because he’s doing the bidding of his fake brother’s Chinese paymasters.

      Update regarding Raffensperger’s brother:

      1/5/2021

      Note: Trump has been tweeting and saying many deranged things. I haven’t posted them all–and I haven’t been vigilantly tracking all of them in the past few weeks (getting worn out). But here’s one today:

      1/6/2021

      I’ll say two things:

      1. I don’t know what Giuliani means by “combat” but the word choice is irresponsible. Trump and his minions have been inciting violence for a long time. I’m surprised, pleasantly, that we haven’t had more and bigger acts of violence. I hope that continues, but Trump and his followers are really inciting violence.

      2. They’ve been proven fools over and over again–including on the election fraud issue. In 2016, Trump claimed millions voted illegally for Clinton. He set up a voter fraud commission that eventually disbanded because they couldn’t find any evidence. Trump’s claims have generally been baseless–and he’s been proven a fool. See his comments about the pandemic, as an example.

      1/16/2021

      Speaking of proving fools, here’s some evidence:

      American Thinker: “Dominion isn’t playing. OK, we give up. We made everything up. Sorry!”

      1. There are serious consequences to rhetoric that incites violence (See talk of executions above.)

        This is not an isolated incident. I believe officials in other states are experiencing similar threats. This is sickening, and I’m worried that someone will really get hurt.

        Steven Bannon also got banned from twitter because of threatening language towards Dr. Fauci and FBI Director Wray:

        If President Trump wins reelection, former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon said in a video posted Thursday that he should quickly eliminate Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray — by means of medieval execution.

        “I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England. I’d put the heads on pikes,” Bannon said during a live taping of his online show, “War Room: Pandemic.”

        Twitter permanently suspended Bannon’s @WarRoomPandemic account on Thursday after he posted the clip, a spokeswoman told The Washington Post, citing the service’s prohibition on “the glorification of violence.” The move makes Bannon one of the most high-profile political figures to be banned.

        This is so, so far out of bounds. Utterly irresponsible and disgusting.

        12/13/2020

        12/15/2020

        I also may have forgotten to post about violence (stabbing) in Washington D.C. over the weekend. I believe the Proud Boys were involved.

        Proud Boys sparked clashes during pro-Trump rally, D.C. officials say from WaPo

        District officials on Monday denounced the violence that erupted in downtown Washington over the weekend, blaming many of the clashes on protesters who refuse to accept the presidential election results.

        Police said the Proud Boys movement of white chauvinists amassed its largest gathering yet in the District and was met by anti-Trump counterprotesters who police said willingly engaged the group.

        It’s important to note that counter-protestors “willingly engaged.”

      2. Contemplating these actions is crazy.

        Thread from Maggie Haberman, based on her NYT reporting with Zolan Kanno-Youngs.

        SCOOP – Sidney Powell was in Oval Office last night as POTUS discussed making her special counsel for election fraud. @KannoYoungs and me

        Trump Discussed Naming Campaign Lawyer as Special Counsel on Election Fraud.

        In a meeting at the White House on Friday, the president weighed appointing Sidney Powell, who promoted conspiracy theories about rigged voting machines, to probe voter fraud.
        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/us/politics/trump-discussed-naming-campaign-lawyer-as-special-counsel-on-election-fraud.html

        Among those pushing back on the idea was Pat Cipollone, Meadows and even Giuliani. But Giuliani separately pushed DHS this week to seize control of voting machines to examine them for possible fraud. DHS said it has no authority to do that.

        Trump Discussed Naming Campaign Lawyer as Special Counsel on Election Fraud

        In a meeting at the White House on Friday, the president weighed appointing Sidney Powell, who promoted conspiracy theories about rigged voting machines, to probe voter fraud.
        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/us/politics/trump-discussed-naming-campaign-lawyer-as-special-counsel-on-election-fraud.html

        The meeting got raucous, with various administration members drifting in and out and different people arguing. Powell told others they were quitters, people people briefed on the meeting

        Trump Discussed Naming Campaign Lawyer as Special Counsel on Election Fraud
        In a meeting at the White House on Friday, the president weighed appointing Sidney Powell, who promoted conspiracy theories about rigged voting machines, to probe voter fraud.
        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/us/politics/trump-discussed-naming-campaign-lawyer-as-special-counsel-on-election-fraud.html

        The fact of the meeting – and Giuliani hope of seizing the voting machines – has alarmed some of the president’s advisers, who see his desire to take his refusal to accept the election results as in a dangerous new place

        Trump Discussed Naming Campaign Lawyer as Special Counsel on Election Fraud
        In a meeting at the White House on Friday, the president weighed appointing Sidney Powell, who promoted conspiracy theories about rigged voting machines, to probe voter fraud.
        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/us/politics/trump-discussed-naming-campaign-lawyer-as-special-counsel-on-election-fraud.html

        Meadows and Cipollone strenuously and repeatedly objected to these suggestions, saying there was no constitutional basis, according to the people briefed.
        One person floated an executive order to seize the voting machines. That was also shot down by Cipollone, per the people briefed.

        Adding to the story but two people briefed said Flynn was there as well for this meeting.

        During the meeting, the president asked about Flynn’s suggestion of deploying the military, those briefed said. That was also shot down.

        MORE – POTUS asked about possibility of Powell being given security clearances to pursue her theories, per people briefed on the meeting.
        In the president’s mind, “special counsel” is what DoJ made happen with Mueller, but what was being discussed was Powell working inside the White House – and Trump came very close to hiring her, per multiple people briefed.

        This makes me wonder if Congress should impeach and remove Trump now. If these conversations actually occurred, if Trump is seriously contemplating ordering the military to intervene or appointing Sidney Powell as a Special Counsel (to check Dominion machines? Looking for nefarious connections with Venezuela?).

        If congressional Republicans are pushing back hard on this, behind the scenes, they are so utterly despicable and irresponsible. Insert the worst adjectives that one can think of.

        Edit

        Hoax? The 2016 interference was a hoax, too. In that case, you argue that Trump cast doubt on Russian interference because that narrative undermined his winning the presidency. Given Trump’s behavior, this is plausible. But there isn’t that type of connection in this case. There just seems to be a very strong desire to defend Russia, as if they are the loyalist of friends to Trump–or he owes them something big and/or fears them.

        This probably not worth saying, but I’ll say it anyway: If the U.S. IC was perpetuating a hoax, with his ability to get and declassify any information from the government, he could prove his claims. Or, if he this would compromise national security, he could take it to Congress, the gang of 8, and show them in secure setting. They could them corroborate his claims or start investigations. Of course, the likely explanation is that Trump is making things up. It’s sickening that the congressional Republicans, GOP party leadership, and conservative media like Fox News allowed the country to live through four years of this.

        1. Maybe I’m overreacting, but this is worrisome, and it also makes me angry at those who kept/keep chiding, condescendingly at times (Noah Rothman, I’m thinking of you!) those who were anxious and even panicked after Election Day. It’s not only reports like this, but the fact that the GOP has acquiesced, or actively enabled Trump.

          Here’s what I want to say. The GOP has been avoiding a big confrontation with Trump. Even moments when Romney has spoken out, it’s like a few thrown punches and then crawl back into their hole. There has never been a big confrontation where they directly and forcefully draw the line and/or repudiate him in a sustained way. I think they desperately hoped that day would never come–that Trump would just go off on his own, while our system and other civil servants would prevent some disaster. They didn’t want to remove him from office, pushing the responsibility to voters. Now that Trump is attacking the election and attempting to overturn it, congressional Republicans defer to state and county officials to protect the country. But in some ways, I think you could argue that a confrontation was likely–just because Trump would have very little holding him back–besides Congress exercising their powers and authority. (Well, there’s the SCOTUS and other courts, too–and they have done their job, as far as I can tell.) Congressional Republicans want everyone else besides themselves to protect and defend our Republic. But they might not have that luxury; and I have doubts they will be up to the task.

    3. I bet there are more than this–and I will be surprised if there are not. Actually, maybe more have drunk the kool-aid than I realize.

      But this is disgusting. And when we get more details, I think it’ll be even more disgusting.

      I think Michael Gerson, the conservative WaPo editorialist, sums it well in this thread:

      11/23/2020

      There is something in this story (Trump relents on transition as Republicans join mounting calls for him to acknowledge Biden’s win from WaPo), if true, really gets me angry.

      Trump only reluctantly agreed to let the transition begin as criticism intensified in recent days of his chaotic legal strategy, his failure to produce evidence of widespread voter fraud and his reliance on misinformation and debunked conspiracy theories.

      This implies that the intense criticism–like from business leaders and former GOP national security professionals–forced him to do something he didn’t want to. And if that’s true, then if members of his own party–or the business community–had put more pressure on him at other times–like to not undermine the vote and discredit mail-in ballots; or pressure the Ukranian president to politically damage Joe Biden; to urge him to urge the country to wear a mask, and many other things–maybe they could stopped Trump from undermining our democracy. But they didn’t.

      Of course, maybe Trump gave in for other reasons–reasons we don’t really know yet. Maybe one reason is that he doesn’t want the job. At the same time, I would be surprised if Trump isn’t in legal jeopardy once he leaves office. Yes, he find a way to get himself and his family pardoned, but he can’t do that from state governments. So why is he allowing the transition? Has he convinced himself that he can still win?

      Interesting tidbit:

      Decreasing the chances of winning the two Georgia seats–yes, I could see that causing congressional Republicans to pressure Trump and maybe those business people pressuring Trump might also have impact on him. Still, if this is true, this means these people always had the capability to preventing Trump from doing bad things–but by and large they did not do this.

    4. Trump accuses the process of being rigged or fraudlent when he loses:

    5. Trump’s won-loss court record on challenging election: 1-42.

      12/13/2020 update: 1-59

    6. Two said Trump won.

      Supposedly Trump wants names of all those who said Biden won:

      Here’s where I want to use profanity. Trump is not a bleepin’ king.

      A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

      from the Declaration of Independence

      1/2/2021

      Reprehensible

    7. Barr says he hasn’t seen fraud that could affect the election outcome from WaPo

      That’s what Barr said early this week. I believe, on that day, he also extended(?) John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, which would extend into the Biden administration, which feels like an attempt to damage Democrats and Biden into his administration.

      Reports are that Trump is furious at this. Trump sychophants are taking their cue:

    8. I put this in the original post of this sub-thread, but I decided the article should get more attention.

      Trump calls Georgia governor to pressure him for help overturning Biden’s win in the state from WaPo

      Again. I’m losing track of how many times, the number of efforts to try to alter the results in Georgia. (Sen. Graham also called the Georgia Secretary of State, asking how votes could be thrown out, I believe.)

      Hours before he was scheduled to hold a rally in Georgia on behalf of the state’s two GOP senators, Trump pressed Kemp to call a special session of the state legislature to get lawmakers to override the results and appoint electors that would back him, according to a person familiar with the conversation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private call. He also asked the governor to demand an audit of signatures on mail ballots, something Kemp has previously noted he has no power to do.

      Kemp declined the entreaty from Trump, according to the person.

      I hope Kemp declined. If Trump said this, this continues to be outrageous and impeachable–especially when you add this with all the other things he’s done to undermine the integrity of the election.

      This once again raises the question: Where’s the line for congressional GOP and the Republican party? Trump can attempt to overturn the election and that’s not a bridge too far–their careers, conservative judges, tax cuts–all this is worth allowing Trump to do this. They are all unfit to govern, and they are betraying the country.

      Another tidbit:

      Trump and his allies have falsely claimed with no evidence that county election officials in Georgia accepted ballots where the envelope signatures did not match the ones on file.

      Even if officials audited signatures on ballot envelopes, it would be impossible to match them with the ballots themselves, which are separated from envelopes during processing to protect voters’ privacy, as required in the Georgia Constitution.

      and

      “Georgia law prohibits the governor from interfering in elections. The Secretary of State, who is an elected constitutional officer, has oversight over elections that cannot be overrriden by executive order,” Kemp’s spokesman said several days ago in response to Trump’s public demands.

      Kemp has also said that he will not call for a special session of the legislature.

      Lawyers for Raffensperger have determined that current law gives Georgia legislators no role in seating electors.

      Trump is essentially pressuring Gov. Kemp to break the law.

      12/6/2020

      More on this. You can see the pressure being put on Gov. Kemp–pressure to do something illegal:

      I’m not sure if this tweet came before or after the the post above:

      12/15/2020

      Trump re-tweeted this:

      12/30/2020

    9. I just want to post two tweets that I saw today that makes me ask: Can someone make this guy shut up?

      When will enough be enough for congressional Republicans? Trump has been constantly whining and lying about his loss; pressuring states to overturn the election; challenging the electoral results in several states and constantly losing. All of this undermines the election and legitimacy of Biden’s presidency, and has lead to death threats on state election officials. I can’t losing the words to describe my contempt and disgust at congressional Republicans, Republican party leadership, and conservative media.

      Addendum

      I can imagine where the line would be drawn–if some person, particularly a prominent person or government official, is murdered or assassinated. But the trajectory for those outcomes are already apparent. Therefore, the responsible thing is to speak out vociferously right now–to prevent such an outcome. To not do so is tantamount to waiting until someone dies before one takes action. This is incredibly irresponsible and deplorable.

      12/10/2020

      Trump has been incessantly undermining of the legitimacy of the election.

      Edit

      Regarding the comment about assassination/murder, here’s a tweet from a conservative, who has supported Trump, but who has been debunking the election fraud claims.

      12/28/2020

      Some might rationalize Trump’s actions by saying that all politicians lie, but Trump’s lying was different in frequency and degree. No matter if his claims have been proven untrue that will not deter him–by sheer force of will he seems to make something true that is not. (The scary thing is that if has the will, and lack of shame, it can be quite effective.)

    10. This is crazy–17 states joining Texas in petitioning the SCOTUS to throw out the votes of four states Trump lost–WI, MI, PA, and GA. This is a good thread that goes into this more. (Note: I originally posted this on 12/9/20 in the OP of this sub-thread, but I think it deserves it’s own post.)

      Republicans have to choose–they’re going to either defend democracy or oppose it. Silence is tantamount to opposing it, a sin of omission.

      12/10/2020

      And these Congressional Republicans have chosen to oppose democracy:

      12/11/2020

      We need to get to a point where this type of inconsistency matters–not just to the country at large, but to people who are supporting actions with this kind of glaring inconsistency. What it reveals is that the Republicans don’t really care about principles they’re claiming they care about. They will only care–they will only invoke the violation of principles–when it hurts the Democrats. This has to change.

      Edit

      This is a good comment, but she, and other congressional Republicans, need to be far more vocal–like the conservatives at Project Lincoln. The party has behaved in an extremely anti-democratic way, one that can lead to violence. Really, politicians like Romney, Murkowksi et al. should leave the party–and they should have left a long time ago.

      Edit

      20 more congressional Republicans choosing an anti-democratic path.

      Also, SCOTUS rejects the Texas lawsuit that these unfit politicians and AGs have joined:

      Leader of the Texas GOP responds:

      12/12/2020

      See my comments about Murkowski above.

      National Review have not been Never Trumps, so this is not nothing.

    11. *Updated Post on an important story: WaPo released a taped recording (4 minutes) of Trump haggling with Brad Raffsenperger, the secretary state of Georgia, and a Republican who publicly said he supported Trump, trying to get him to change the election results. It’s un-American, disqualifying, anti-democratic.

      What also is reiterated to me is that Trump seems incapable of believing he lost–to the point that creates the impression that he has a mental disorder. It’s not just this clip alone, but this reaffirms the impression created by his words and actions in the past four years.

      Trump’s tweet earlier today:

      Raffensperger’s response:

      Here’s the full recording (which I haven’t heard yet):

      Comments:

      Significant number of Republicans disagree. If Rep. Hurd believes what he says a schism in the party already exists. The battle for American Conservatives is at hand (and has been at hand). The question is whether patriotic Conservatives will stand up and fight–and will they do so with vigor or squeak like a mouse and slink back in the shadows.

      Rep. Kinzinger is a Republican.

      Paul Ryan speaks out (good for him):

      Former House Speaker, current minority leader, takes a different tack from Ryan:

      From a former DOJ IG:

      1/22/2021

      1. Updated: Warning from all 10 former Secretaries of Defense

        1/4/2021

        1. The post above is about the ten former Defense secretaries warning Trump not to use the military to interfere in the election. That’s the context for the interview with Axios’s Jonathan Swan, regarding his article about a December 2020 meeting where Trump considered using the military (or Dept. of Homeland Security) to seize the voting machines and/or appoint Sidney Powell as a Special Counsel to investigate election fraud.

          After the interview, I have the article with some excerpts. I didn’t have a lot of interest in reading this, but I made myself read it after listening to the CNN interview. It was more compelling than I expected—primarily because Swan features dialogue between the conspiracy theorists and the WH lawyers. Really, the article feels more like a scene from a play. The conversation—or I should argument—is heated. What stood out for me was the WH lawyers, who not only shoot down the conspiracy theorists, but do so with vehemence and outrage. The WH lawyers actually seem sane—and their reaction to the craziness is totally appropriate. How do they react like this and yet serve in the Trump WH? But in the CNN interview, Swan is clear that “every single detail in the story is bulletproof and is completely verified.” Based on that, I’m guessing someone taped the conversation, and Swan heard the tapes, and transcribed them.

          Bonus episode: Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency reporting from Jonathan Swan of Axios

          The hours to come (four, according to Swan in the CNN interview above) would pit the insurgent conspiracists against a handful of White House lawyers and advisers determined to keep the president from giving in to temptation to invoke emergency national security powers, seize voting machines and disable the primary levers of American democracy.

          Trump was no longer focused on any semblance of a governing agenda, instead spending his days taking phone calls and meetings from anyone armed with conspiracy theories about the election. For the White House staff, it was an unending sea of garbage churned up by the bottom feeders.

          Trump, for his part, also seemed perplexed by Byrne. But he was not entirely convinced the ideas Powell was presenting were insane.

          He asked: You guys are offering me nothing. These guys are at least offering me a chance. They’re saying they have the evidence. Why not try this? The president seemed truly to believe the election was stolen, and his overriding sentiment was, let’s give this a shot.

          Trump expressed skepticism at various points about Powell’s theories, but he said, “At least she’s out there fighting.”

          The discussion shifted from Dominion voting machines to a conversation about appointing Powell as a special counsel inside the government to investigate voter fraud. She wanted a top secret security clearance and access to confidential voter information.

          Lyons told Trump he couldn’t appoint Powell as a special counsel at the Justice Department because this was an attorney general appointment.

          The Oval Office portion of the meeting had dragged on for nearly three hours, creeping beyond 9 p.m. The arguments became so heated that even Giuliani — still on the phone — at one point told everyone to calm down. One participant later recalled: “When Rudy’s the voice of reason, you know the meeting’s not going well.”

          Hahaha!

  6. Hopefully this will be the final installment of this series.

    I didn’t read much of this (sorry), but I will say that Gerald Ford granted Nixon “a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes that he might have committed against the United States as president” (from Wikipedia). I don’t know about pardoning himself, but 45 is easily in position to pardon his associates, including his offspring. I will be shocked if he doesn’t at least do that.

    1. I’m really hoping this is the final installment, too.

      No worries about reading the journals, but I appreciate you having some desire to do so. That you didn’t read much is totally understandable. It’s been rough four years. I’m at the point where I go through periods where I want to find something to take my mind out of politics completely.

      …but I will say that Gerald Ford granted Nixon “a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes that he might have committed against the United States as president” (from Wikipedia).

      I vaguely knew Ford had pardoned Nixon, but not a blanket pardon that would include things that Nixon hadn’t even been charged with, yet. If Trump resigns before inauguration, and Pence does something similar, I don’t think this would include state crimes.

      This last point is what worries me about the interregnum. Unless he’s seriously thinking of leaving the country, I think he’ll likely see jail time, and because of that, he’ll do whatever he can to stay in power.

      (And I agree with you–I would be surprised if he doesn’t pardon his children.)

  7. 11/25/2020

    Frum gives good background on Flynn, and speculates on the reason that Trump pardoned him.

    While Frum is speculating, it is very plausible, if not likely.

    I want to read the article below:

    ..and this…

    12/1/2020

    The fact that this is up for discussion is not a good thing. Republicans would be going crazy if a Democrat did this.

    12/22/2020

    Trump grants clemency to 20 people, including three GOP former members of Congress and two men convicted in the Russia probe from WaPo

    The first batch released Tuesday night show how the president is using the power of his office to undo the work of the Russia probe that shadowed much of his term, undercut major cases that took on political corruption and wave away the crimes of Americans convicted of participating in a massacre during the Iraq War.

    12/23/2020

    No pardon is more corrupt than a self-pardon

    (originally posted Nov. 13, 2020)

    Crazy he’s even considering this–and I believe he publicly said he has the right to do this. For crimes he and his family haven’t been charged with.

    1/11/2021

    According to the report below, Trump’s lawyers are telling him he could get in more legal trouble if he pardons himself. Trump is angry and says he won’t pardon anyone else, if he can’t pardon himself.

    1/19/2021

    1. Historical context: pardons by authoritarians in transition periods

      Ben-Ghiat, is a historian who has written about Mussolini and other authoritarian rulers.

  8. Besides corrupt pardons, I, like others, are expecting Trump to do bad things. Here’s a post to collect that. This one below is apparently true, although it sounds like an Onion headline:

    I would add this to other actions/rhetoric that have indicated an advocacy of violence: advocating torture; praising Duterte’s extra-judicial killings; telling police not to be so careful when putting people they arrest in cars; wanting shark spikes to impale people trying to climb over the border wall; zero tolerance policy for illegal immigrants, using child-family separation as a deterrent, etc.

    I will also remember how Trump has been awol on the the worsening pandemic. The very least he could be doing is urging Americans to wear a mask, encourage them to not meet during the holidays, etc.

    12/4/2020

    I’m not sure how bad this is, but it doesn’t sound good.

  9. Contrasting Thanksgiving messages

    (I checked Trump’s twitter page, too. There’s nothing on there that would make him look better.)

    (Update: 11:13 AM now,and I checked Trump’s twitter feed. Impression: the man is incapable of thinking outside himself–while COVID-19 numbers are going up and the economy isn’t great. Thank the doctors, nurses and people who work in hospitals; thank our military; thank the people who worked on the election (OK, that’s asking too much of him); encourage those who are struggling emotionally, economically, and socially. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes through this day without doing this.

    He did take the time to stoke the culture wars:

    Edit

    Whitehouse proclamation regarding Thanksgiving comes out:

    Wittes mentions the start: “On Thanksgiving Day, we thank God for the abundant blessings in our lives. As we gather with family and friends to celebrate this season of generosity, hope, and gratitude,…”

    At best, it seems inappropriate, as we should either not be meeting with friends and family, or limiting it.

    The middle section thanks various Americans for their work and sacrifice during the pandemic.

    This year, as our Nation continues to combat the coronavirus pandemic, we have once again joined together to overcome the challenges facing us. In the midst of suffering and loss, we are witnessing the remarkable courage and boundless generosity of the American people as they come to the aid of those in need, reflecting the spirit of those first settlers who worked together to meet the needs of their community….

    This is appropriate, and a good thing. But then the proclamation ends with this:

    I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.

    Given what we know about his attitude towards mask-wearing and his overall handling of the pandemic, this seems almost defiant. He actually wants Americans to gather. (He could have said I encourage all Americans to offer prayer….)

    Edit

    There was this press conference where Trump:

    “I’m the President of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the President that way.”

    12 minutes ago, he tweeted the tweet below, referring to the press conference above:

    A mad king.

    1. Finally read this. This may sound overly-dramatic, but I think the following Americans (who are Republicans) should be honored for their principled and patriotic stance–and for the heavy cost that they have do endure because of it (e.g., death threats on their families, maybe adverse affects on their careers, etc.)

      Tina Barton, county clerk in Rochester Hills, MI
      Rusty Bowers, Arizona Speaker of the House
      Clint Hinkman, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
      Brad Raffensperper, Georgia Secretary of State
      Judge Stephanos Bibas
      Judge Steven Grimberg
      Judge Matthew Brann

      I’m so grateful for these Americans. They make me feel proud.

      But as much as these people make me feel proud, the vast majority of congressional Republicans make me ashamed, disappointed and disgusted. They failed and mostly continue to fail our country.

  10. Preparing for Republican Opposition to Biden

    What Beutler says here resonates with me:

    There needs to be some consequences for people who enabled Trump.

    The media also needs an alternative to balanced approach when covering the two parties–while also keeping the public’s trust as the same time.

    More later.

  11. Hear the fury of Gabriel Sterling, a Republican and voting systems manager for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (Georgia):

    This is how Congressional Republicans should have sounded like for most of the past 3.5 years.

    1. …and because congressional Republicans failed to be as outspoken and vehement as Gabriel Sterling, this thread from Molly McKew is fitting, and well-said:

      Later — not now, not soon — it will become apparent that allowing this POTUS — moribund, diminishing, corrosive — to remain in office during this crisis — spewing out lies, poisoning minds, piling bodies — was the greatest dereliction of duty in the history of our government. /1

      There will be choices to be made once these grotesque mummers have slunk away from this most important house.

      Mostly, it will be easier to point and say “it was just this one mad king.” Albatross the blame around his neck, let him sink all the way down to the bottom alone. /2

      But it was not just him. Alone, he would have fallen long ago. He has floated, floated, bouyed by the hollow men who can no longer tell who leads who, where the lies started, where they end.

      The truth will be long coming.

      One we know: the hour arrived, and they failed. /3

    2. Michael Gerson, a Never Trumper, has harsh words for Republicans, but also appeals to their conscience in a way that I wish more people would do.

      I know and like many Republican members of Congress. But those who sacrifice their ideals to the ambitions and insecurities of a single corrupt ruler have ceased to serve the country. Their failure to defend democracy at this moment of testing cannot be excused and will not be forgiven.

      That judgment is harsh. But I am upset with elected Republicans precisely because I believed in many of them. Because I still know they can be better. Losing a public office is ultimately a small matter in the soul’s long adventure. And losing a public office in a just cause is one of history’s great honors.

      My plea to elected Republicans: Remember who you are. Remember the oath that binds you. Remember the idealism and love of country that brought you to service. In a world of chance and change, the great things are eternal: courage, judgment, honesty, honor, moral integrity and a sense of the sacred. It is never too late to do the right thing.

      As an aside, I wanted to comment on another description:

      This is the interpretive key to Trump: He is instinctually un-American. He has no respect for the country’s institutions or values. He is ignorant of the nation’s story, dismissive of its conventions and unmoved by its romance. He sees politics the way a Machiavellian would in any country — as the pursuit of power, not the stewardship of certain truths.

      I share this perception, but if you said this to someone–particularly one who doesn’t follow the news–there’s a good chance you’d lose all credibility. It is not very far from saying Trump is an authoritarian. Now, I know many editorialists and pundits have said this, but I don’t think this is the over-arching theme that has guided press coverage. I don’t think the casual news consumer is getting this impression. But maybe I’m wrong; I hope I am.

      Speaking of pundits being blunt about Trump,…

      12/5/2020

      Crazy, the most cynical attack on our democracy–and asking states to break the law:

  12. The word “cult” seems over-the-top when describing Trump and his support, but consider the following:

    12/9/2020

    The quote seems insane, and it seems like this is a fitting place to put it. (I didn’t read the article, yet.)

    Think of all the people who go to his rallies without masks and maintaining proper physical distancing. In the case below, Trump left them stranded in the cold for a long time (because of bad planning with buses).

    I think of cult leaders as believing unhinged ideas.

    “I don’t know anything about that.” He doesn’t know if there’s a Satanic cult in the federal government (“deep state”) involved in sex trafficking and pedophilia. So absurd.

    Trump on Qanon believers: they “basically believe in good government.”

    Trump seems to be saying positive things about Qanon–or more specifically, avoiding denouncing them–because they are supportive of him.

    12/11/2020

    If these politicians were family or friends of mine, I’d say something like: “Stop and think about this. Do you want your political power to be based loyalty to one person–particularly an authoritarian like Trump? How is this not like selling your soul to the Devil?”

  13. Alberta’s answer resonates with me. I would add that “the fight” is part of a narrative which I believe is the key to Trump’s power. In this narrative Trump supporters have been treated badly and unfairly by the elites. The rise of cultural, social, and even economic influence and prominence by minority status groups (e.g., people of color, non-Christians, women, and LGBT people) is a threat. Trump is going to fight against the elites, particularly those that embrace these changes, and rail against these changes. As long as Trump is seen as fighting against these things, then the narrative remains viable and compelling. Whether what he says is true or comes to fruition doesn’t matter. His supporters almost seem to want someone to scream in rage on their behalf, and make the elites suffer–and very little beyond that.

    Addendum

    Right now, I’m starting to think that the narrative above is the key. That is, whatever strengthens this narrative, Trump wins and the Republic is in danger; whatever weakens the narrative, Trump loses and the Republic is in a safer position. The reason for this? The narrative provides a framework for polarization–a framework which turbo-charges it. If the narrative is undermined–particularly if those the narrative brands as enemies behave more like allies or at least not like enemies–that’s half the battle. There are some other things that I think must be done, but that last point would achieve a lot, in my view.

    If this is correct, all the failed court challenges–the 17 state AGs and the 106 congressional Republicans joining the Texas lawsuit–should be seen as a win, as energizes the narrative. It also creates a backdrop that will strengthen the narrative if the Biden administration tries to hold Trump accountable. That is, those actions will be seen as an attack by the enemy.

    Now, here’s something against the theory I’m presenting here. If the number of people that are buying into Trump’s narrative is small, and there isn’t a large group of Americans who are confused and don’t know what to believe, then Trump winning in terms of keeping his narrative strong and alive may be negligible. I hope this proves true.

    By the way, the tweet below made me think of writing this addendum:

    12/11/2020

    Note: Write about two ways of analyzing Trump’s actions: The practical effect versus the impact on his populist narrative.

    1/1/2021

    Summary of three crazy moves by the GOP

    I don’t know if this is the main justification, but I’ve heard this argument used by them. By this logic, Democrats should have done all things Republicans and Trump are doing now–to a greater degree–after the 2016 election.

  14. I hope AOC and other Democrats at least explore this overture.

    I would like to officially reach out to @AOC on behalf of the @ProjectLincoln in defense of democracy. We disagree on many issues and that is ok in our view. Btw, we don’t look down on waitresses. We admire them. We are all the types of guys who always tip at 50% or more.
    I have an idea. Let’s approach each other and our points of view with good faith. We say the following with respect and seriousness Ma’am. Our hand is open and we need to work together or we are going to lose America. The fight will last for many years.
    Here is the unexpected part. A democratic-socialist and former waitress who knows what it is to actually work combined with @ProjectLincoln and many others is going to hold the line together. We will not yield and we will never break. We are the side opposed to autocracy.
    We are the left and right flanks of a broad coalition. Should we buckle, they will win. We must not. We are together. We pledge to listen. We pledge to learn. We pledge to be open to your ideas and we pledge to compromise. We have no such offer for the other side.

    There are only two ways to win a fight. You can win through submission or exhaustion. Submission=Berlin 45. Exhsustion=Saigon 75 . We have no open hand for the nationalists, white nationalists, fascist proud boys, militia groups, conspiracy theorists ect. Our proposition is
    We win- you lose. There is no accommodation. It is zero sum. Our coalition is fragile but it must hold. @AOC perhaps you look at us and see something that is not so. We do not know each other and perhaps we should. Maybe even it is the case that the future of the country
    Depends on us. Know this, since know one asked, we all admire your coviction,
    Integrity and guts. We say the following with respect. Maybe it is the case that we are stronger together. I wish you a merry Christmas and all of your supporters a happy holiday season. We admire
    Your conviction. You are a living example of democracy and the importance of faith and belief in the system. We are one election away from losing this country to Autocrats. We stand with you against that. We hope you will stand with us also. God bless America.

  15. This tweet describes my attitude during this interrugum–specifically to people who chided those who felt anxiety (me) about Biden being sworn in. I tended to think it would happen, but I had enough doubts to make me uncomfortable.

    The thing about knowledgeable people saying “it’s over:”

    Knowledgeable people were wrong about Clinton winning in 2016; they seemed wrong about the election–Biden winning easily–(or at least it seemed like they were wrong). Additionally, Trump does things almost no other politician would do.

  16. It sure doesn’t seem like we’re one of the best at all things cyber. It seems like the Russians have been kicking our a** a lot.

    Big question that remains unanswered: Why Trump is so reluctant to criticize Russia/Putin?

    12/15/2020

    Putting this hear to read later.

    12/16/2020

    Didn’t read this yet, too.

    Man, has Trump done or said anything about this? At best, it seems like he doesn’t care this is happening, which upsets me.

    These excerpts make me feel ill.

    More from the thread above,

    “The actual and perceived control…could easily be used to undermine public and consumer trust in data, written communications and services. In the networks that the Russians control, they have the power to destroy or alter data, and impersonate legitimate people.”

    “According to SolarWinds SEC filings, the malware was on the software from March to June. The number of orgs. that downloaded the corrupted update could be as many as 18,000, which includes most federal government unclassified networks and more than 425 Fortune 500 companies.”

    Russia “will surely have used its access to further exploit and gain administrative control over the networks it considered priority targets…gained what experts call ‘persistent access,’ meaning the ability to infiltrate and control networks…that is hard to detect or remove.”

    If this is accurate, and not hyperbole, this is a huge story. This should be getting way more attention now. If Republicans were patriotic, they’d be working with Democrats to investigate this and work to fix this.

    Edit

    12/17/2020

    Didn’t read this (but I am catching up on the ones above. I would think a normal Congress and POTUS would be working furiously to deal with this. I don’t get the impression this is the case.)

    Edit

    I find this statement a bit reassuring. I hope Richard Haas is right.

    12/24/2021

    2/6/2021

    by Nicole Perlroth of the NYT

    Soon, though, he was assigned to a new project: proving the Emiratis’ neighbor, Qatar, was funding the Muslim Brotherhood. The only way to do that, Mr. Evenden told his bosses, would be to hack Qatar.

    “Go for it,” they told him. No matter that Qatar was also an American ally or that, once inside its networks, his bosses showed no interest in ever getting out. Before long his team at the contractor, CyberPoint, was hacking Emirati enemies, real and perceived, all over the world: Soccer officials at FIFA, the monarchy’s Twitter critics, and especially Qatari royals. They wanted to know where they were flying, who they were meeting, what they were saying. This too was part of the mission, Mr. Evenden was told; it had all been cleared up high. In the War on Terror and the cyber arms market, you could rationalize just about anything.

    The hubris of American exceptionalism — a myth of global superiority laid bare in America’s pandemic death toll — is what got us here. We thought we could outsmart our enemies. More hacking, more offense, not better defense, was our answer to an increasingly virtual world order, even as we made ourselves more vulnerable, hooking up water treatment facilities, railways, thermostats and insulin pumps to the web, at a rate of 127 new devices per second.

    At the N.S.A., whose dual mission is gathering intelligence around the world and defending American secrets, offense eclipsed defense long ago. For every hundred cyberwarriors working offense — searching and stockpiling holes in technology to exploit for espionage or battlefield preparations — there was often only one lonely analyst playing defense to close them shut.

    America remains the world’s most advanced cyber superpower, but the hard truth, the one intelligence officials do not want to discuss, is that it is also its most targeted and vulnerable. Few things in the cybersecurity industry have a worse reputation than alarmism. There is even an acronym for it: “FUD,” short for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.”

    When Leon Panetta, then secretary of defense, warned of a coming “Cyber Pearl Harbor” in 2012, he was dismissed as stoking FUD. The Cyber Pearl Harbor analogy is, indeed, flawed: The U.S. government did not see the Japanese bombers coming, whereas it has seen the digital equivalent coming for decades.

    And the potential for a calamitous attack — a deadly explosion at a chemical plant set in motion by vulnerable software, for example — is a distraction from the predicament we are already in. Everything worth taking has already been intercepted: Our personal data, intellectual property, voter rolls, medical records, even our own cyberweaponry.

    This threat often feels too distant to combat, but the solutions have been there for decades: Individuals just decided that access and convenience, and in governments’ case, the opportunities for espionage, were worth leaving windows open, when we would have all been better off slamming them shut.

    The N.S.A. knew the same vulnerabilities it was finding and exploiting elsewhere would, one day, blow back on Americans. Its answer to this dilemma was to boil American exceptionalism down to an acronym — NOBUS — which stands for “Nobody But Us.” If the agency found a vulnerability it believed only it could exploit, it hoarded it.

    What must be done:

    For individuals, this means making life less convenient. It’s not ignoring password prompts and software updates, turning on two-factor authentication, not clicking malicious links. For businesses, it requires testing code as engineers write it, not after it has made its way into consumer hands. It requires adding moats around the crown jewels: using hand-marked paper ballots, removing the controls that govern our nuclear plants, medical equipment and air traffic from anything else.

    For the government, perhaps, an easy place to start is setting clear rules that prevent the N.S.A.’s own, like Mr. Evenden’s former employer, from doing the dirty work for other governments where the rules that govern our own spycraft do not apply. And it’s long past time to shut all the doors and windows that should never have been left open.

  17. The President of the United States is AWOL op-ed by Jonathan V. Last (JVL) at The Bulwark

    This is nothing new, but JVL’s message is worth considering–and we should be outraged by this.

    In 45 tweets this week (so far) the president has not said a single word about the record deaths from COVID. Or economic stimulus. Or the Russian hack. Not. One. Word. Instead, it is an endless litany of complaints, self-aggrandizement, and conspiracy theorizing.

    We have never seen a dereliction of duty at this scale from an American president. With citizens dying by the thousands every single day and the federal government being raided by the intelligence services belonging to his good friend, he pouts and rages and tweets and tries to overturn a free and fair election in order to break our democratic republic.

    There is no precedent for this. No historical analog to help us understand the scale of destruction and the level of irresponsibility, stupidity, and derangement.

    1/8/2021

    From the Daily Beast.

    These are remarks two days after the mob entered the Capitol building and four (five?) people died, including a Capitol police officer.

    Even though certain top officials want him to lie low as much as possible, Trump, the sources say, is excited and keen on sitting for interviews in the coming days—because he says he wants to showcase as many of his and his administration’s “amazing achievements” before his time in office is up.

    This is not normal. Also: He’s having second thoughts about the speech because his followers may be displeased. He’s not well.

    Meanwhile, the pandemic is getting worse, the economy is not great, what’s the status of that massive hack? Trump continues to be AWOL.

    1. Not only is Trump silent on the Solar Winds hack, but he not minimizes it and deflects blame on Russia, by suggesting China was the culprit.

      …and then he goes on to making baseless claims about the election…

      Thought that pops into my head: A functioning Congress would have, at least, vigorously examined Trump-Russia connections, particularly the POTUS’s financial situation, particularly who he owed money to. The dereliction of duty–the active ennabling–is such an enormous failure the word “betrayal” is totally apt.

      Edit

      Stand down (said with disgust). Same old pattern. Those who think Russian-Trump thing is an overreaction need to explain Trump’s reluctance to criticize Russia. He wants to get along with Russia doesn’t cut. Based on the recent hack–and the bounties on American soldiers–the approach doesn’t seem to have been effective. Has the U.S. benefited in anyway from Trump’s “get along approach?”

      Maybe Trump just has an affinity for authoritarians and aversion to liberal-democracy–including leaders who respect it. That would be a really bad thing, no?

      But this explanation doesn’t seem fully adequate. Trump insinuated that China could have been the culprit. That is, Trump has said bad things about other authoritarians (e.g. “Rocket man”). To my knowledge, he has not had a bad word about Putin. Given all the facts we know, this is a question that should not have been ignored. Congress should have gotten to the bottom of this. That they did not is a huge failure on their part–and by “their” I mean the Republicans.

    2. In keeping with the AWOL theme, this time regarding handling the pandemic

      Thread:

  18. What a year for our nation. Words fail me–or I don’t want to put the effort into finding the right words, as I don’t want to spend much time thinking about politics, especially now and in the last week or so. My thinking is very now similar to my approach on Election Day: I won’t know the results into a few days, and the news cycle will likely be a crazy emotional roller coaster, so I just won’t “ride” it. I don’t always succeed at following through on this, but I usually don’t feel good when I don’t. Trying to articulate what’s happening seems to put me back on that metaphorical roller coaster.

    I also feel like I’ve exhausted all the extreme, negative adjectives–e.g., repugnant, crazy, reprehensible…These words seemed to have lost their force; they seem inadequate. Yet, what those words describe would be appropriate for much of the activity and rhetoric going on now, and probably will continue, if not get worse. For example, I’m hearing growing number of House Republicans who will vote against accepting the results of the election or something to that effect. Senator Hawley says he’ll challenge the results (or something to that effect). It’s truly crazy. I also read an Atlantic article headline suggesting that Trump could attack Iran. Ugh, writing this makes me feel uneasy.

    I’ll close with this. There are people in Congress, aides to Trump, people working at Fox News, etc.–people who know better. They could have done something to oppose his claims and rhetoric. They could have more forcefully opposed him. They have no excuse. Early in the administration, they may have dismissed Trump’s authoritarian behavior as an act, that Congress and other guardrails would keep us safe. None of those arguments carry any weight now. They are the worst. Once again words fail me.

  19. Runoff for two Senate seats in Georgia

    I’ve made some effort to avoid reading about the results of this election until we had definite results, as I didn’t want to put myself on an emotional roller coaster, but it seems like the two Democrats have won.

    (Note: I’ll be updating this post with different tweets and links regarding this runoff.)

    1/20/2021

    Yes!

  20. Updated: Congress to certify the electoral votes today

    This is a post to follow what’s happening today, as some Trumpist Republicans are set to challenge the vote. I’ll be regularly updating this post.

    Four years ago, VP Biden shoots down an objection to electoral vote.

    This is good:

    In the Senate

    Senator McConnell speech:

    I agree with much of the sentiments and points Senator McConnell makes in this speech (with the exception of his attacks on Democrats), but he should have been expressed them much earlier, more frequently, and with more force. That is, if this is indeed his genuine feelings. I have serious doubts that they are. How can somehow who genuinely believes these things keep these sentiments locked within himself, standing by Trump’s authoritarian and demagogic rhetoric and actions? McConnell’s action suggests he primarily cares about power, not the Constitution, our country and the institutions that are critical to both. Here’s what I think: If he has some some shred of conviction in what he says, he suppressed this for four years—in order to achieve his political objectives—putting the republic (and even the world) at risk with a dangerously unfit person. It’s like he chose to ride a runaway train, thinking he can pull the breaks before going over a cliff—instead of pulling the breaks much, much earlier. This speech is his attempt to pull the breaks. If true, he and people who behaved like him deserve to be remembered in infamy.

    Mitt Romney’s speech. (I especially liked the part about Trump supporters never changing their minds, and that leadership was about telling them the truth.)

    Re: vote to object to Arizona’s votes

    “Seditious Six” (not my name): Cruz, Hawley, Hyde-Smith, Marshall, Tuberville, John Kennedy.

    1. Updated 1/11/21: Call to immediately impeach, remove and even arrest Trump

      I confess this idea didn’t cross my mind—although I did think impeachment and removal would have been warranted at about the end of the summer, before the election. At this point, I thought we could wait until the 20th, but the following commenters give make their case for impeaching, etc. now.

      Trump is a danger to his own country. He shouldn’t be president for one more minute. op-ed by Tom Nichols in USA Today

      Impeach. Convict. Indict. Robert Transinski from theBulwark

      After this, if Congress wants to pretend it is still the dominant legislative authority in this country, if its members still want us to view the U.S. Capitol as the seat from which the people govern, they need to immediately impeach and convict Trump and remove him from office for sedition.

      The charges should then be sent to the Justice Department, which should arrest Trump and indict him for the same crime.

      What is this if not sedition? This was a lawless mob encouraged—practically ordered—by the president to disrupt Congress in the act of recognizing the results of the Electoral College. It was a mob summoned to prevent the peaceful transition of power, to prevent the legitimate government of the United States from exercising the authority granted to it on behalf of the people of the United States. This mob overran the Capitol. Congress fled.

      Trump’s actions perfectly fit the : conspiring “by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.”

      Impeach Trump Again from Yoni Applebaum in theAtlantic

      Here are some thoughts on the matter:

      1. What effect would impeachment, removal (and arrest) have on the country? How would his followers react? I’m worried it would irreparably split the country. To me, this consideration has to be at the forefront of the decision.
      2. If Congress decides to impeach/remove, my sense is that they should first give him conditions he must meet, otherwise they will impeach/remove him—e.g., stop undermining the results with baseless lies, etc. In this way, the public, including his followers, that Congress is making reasonable demands and that Trump is behaving irresponsibly and unreasonably if he defies them. Congress would be giving Trump a chance. And if Trump ignores this, impeachment.

        and removal will seem justified to the majority of the Americans. In a way, Congress articulating behavior that warrants I/R—which, if reasonable, the public can examine and digest. They would give Trump a chance to avoid this—which is reasonable and fair on their part. If Trump doesn’t comply, then I/R should be more palatable. If Congress impeaches immediately, the public may fully understand the reasons for this—it may not seem as reasonable or necessary.

      3. Maybe we don’t have time for this—or the justification can be made right now. I do think Trump will do more to stay in power. I doubt he’ll stop. The chances he will see prison time is high, and he knows this. What happens if he attempts to invoke the Insurrection Act and take over the military?

      Edit

      The following, if true, lends support for Trasinski’s argument that Trump should be indicted (for insurrection).

      David French:

      Max Boot:

      I agree with his tweet.

      1/8/2021

      One reason to remove Trump

      Then again, if Trump were impeached and removed, he might be in a stronger position to push for this. On the other hand, if he did this as a private citizen, he would be subject to prosecution. There is a real possibility that he would be seen as a kind of martyr, which might just increase his political power.

      At the same time, if the House impeaches Trump, the Senate need not remove him immediately. They use it as a threat–in the even Trump did something that warranted removal. The threat might keep Trump in check until January 20, which should be a top priority.

      1/9/2021

      1/11/2021

      Thread from Juliette Kayyem:

      Political commentators are falling into mistake that violent terror threats get less so if some mercy (no impeachment) is shown its leader. There is history of counterterrorism efforts that show otherwise. Only complete isolation, powerlessness, deplatforming, of leader works. 1/
      For the next 10 days and beyond, Trump has to be seen as ineffectual, without oxygen, so he can not have second act. No soft exit. It’s horrible to admit, but do not buy into argument that violence is less if we put a brake on gas pedal. They need to be stopped. 2/
      But the violence is actually worse if they, and future recruits, view him as strong. They want to back a winner. We prepare for violence but it will be less so in the future with no leadership and if they know their leader can’t help them. 3/
      Maybe I’m sounding too harsh, no mercy etc. He may be president of the United States but he is also inciter of domestic terrorism. And his complete isolation and condemnation is the safest path forward. We can’t stop now. Total isolation. 4/4

      1/13/2021

      Reading this thread makes me think the Senate convicting Trump is unlikely, which is dismaying especially given the account of Trump’s reaction during the mob ransacking of the Capitol. If Senate Republicans can’t convict when the Trump was slow to react, was excited by ransacking–which could have lead to their own physical harm or even death–then I don’t know what will.

      One thing that comes to mind: Are the Republican Senators worried about the safety of themselves and their families if they vote to convict Trump? To me, this is a legitimate concern, and the threat could be real long after this vote–extending out for a year or more maybe. Some fanatical Trump supporter may seek revenge. At the same time, I would think this applies to Democratic Senators as well, and I’m assuming they’ll all vote to convict. If physical safety is not really a factor, then I can’t sympathize with them if they don’t vote to convict.

      With regard to the fear Republicans may be feeling,

      1/19/2021

      Not a call to remove Trump, but certainly something that can be used in the trial to convict him:

      “Other powerful people”=congressional Republicans, GOP party leaders, Fox News and other conservative pundits.

      “Republicans, such as myself, also failed to vigorously speak out and condemn President Trump’s lies that undermined the election and his incitement of violence and racial tensions.” Hope he said that, too, but I doubt it.

      1/20/2021

      op-ed by Amanda Carpenter in Bulwark

      Never forget that the insurrection of January 6 did not start on January 6. Yes, Donald Trump stood before the mob on the morning of January 6 and urged them to march on the Capitol. But the mob gathering was planned in advance. And even before that, the ground was seeded for weeks on end by elected Republicans attesting to the lie that Donald Trump was the legitimate winner of the presidential election and calling for the results to be overturned, by hook or by crook.

      McConnell waits until December 15 to congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the winners.

      For his part, Mitch McConnell does not seem to have done much of anything to stop this train until December 31, when he tried to warn senators against objecting to Biden’s certification during a conference call.

      By then, it was much too late.

      McConnell, though his silence and complicity, permitted Trump to unfurl his election conspiracies for weeks. And, McConnell helped by throwing his full backing behind the Georgia candidates who amplified, legitimized, and took those lies straight into the heart of the United States Capitol.

      1. Updated: 1/11/2021 Some Republicans opposing removing Trump via impeachment or 25th amendment

        If Rep. McCarthy has a genuine desire for unity, he should be honest with Trump supporters and the rest of the country–admit he and other Republicans and conservative pundits were being dishonest about the election and that he should have recognized Joe Biden as president-elect much sooner. He should also apologize for his role in this.

        My sense is that part of healing will involve truth telling. Republicans and those in the conservative media, particularly those who supported Trump, play a critical role in this–because they’re the ones that will have the most credibility with Trump supporters. Healing and unity will be difficult if Trump supporters continue to believe in falsehoods and conspiracy theories.

        At the very bare minimum, McCarthy needs to stop pushing mis/disinformation, and he needs to tone down his rhetoric. If he doesn’t, this reasoning to not impeach should not be taken seriously.

        I’m seeing remarks from other Republicans say the same thing–Cruz, Graham, and now Scalise:

        I’m probably repeating myself, but these remarks are annoying–unless they back them up with actions that prove they’re sincere. They have to acknowledge their role in enabling Trump and inciting his supporters. If their language doesn’t change, if they keep casting the Democrats as if the latter poses some dire threat to the country, then they really don’t care about unity.

        Here’s another Republican:

        1/10/2021

        Something that came to mind: Republicans don’t want impeachment primarily because they don’t want to have be forced to vote on the issue. That may be obvious for political reasons, but they may fear backlash in their communities, maybe even in the form of violence, to them and their families. While I sympathize on some level with this position, the fact is that the Republicans are a big reason we’re here at this point. They had many opportunities to vigorously oppose Trump–last year’s impeachment and removal being the most obvious example.

        But they refused to take this stand–to level with the American people about Trump. Some actively participated in the lies. They been running away from this–this day of reckoning–hoping they will not have to do what is required them–what the country needs from them. (Mitt Romney would be an exception. Justin Amash would probably be another.) My sense is that they’re running away from this now, hiding behind “unity talk.”

        1/11/202

        I sort of feel like his accusation that Dems are trying to “settle scores” is projection. That is, this reflects the way the GOP thinks and operates. I do think the Democrats do try to settle scores, but not to the same degree as Republicans. And in this case, there are good reasons to impeach Trump, reasons he ignores. If the shoe were on the other foot, I believe most of his colleagues would be calling for impeachment.

        At the start of the thread, Zeldin says,

        To the Dems and media trying hard to somehow tie Wednesday’s shameful acts of violence in the Capitol to the intentions and motivation of tens of millions of other Americans – just stop.

        To me, I’m focused on the role Trump, Zeldin’s colleagues and Fox News pundits played in undermining the legitimacy of the election and inciting violence. And I’m thinking of the appropriate consequences for these individuals.

        Edit

        A note to people in the future. No one has really argued against invoking the 25thA on the grounds that Trump is mentally competent and fit. That seems to be assumed by most people. If it were not, you’d hear more of his supporters saying something like, “Clearly, Trump is of sound mind and fit to be POTUS. The 25A was for presidents who were mentally incapacitated.” At least one person I know has said that invoking the 25A would be going against the spirit of the law, but I haven’t heard congressional Republicans make this case–especially stating that Trump is mentally sound. There’s a sense that most people in Washington accept he is not of sound mind. That’s the times we’re living in.

        Edit

        The anger is based on lies told by Trump and his enablers in Congress and Fox News. How are Trump supporters supposed to move on if they believe the election was stolen? Trump and his enablers, if they were leaders, would level with his supporters. Trump won’t do this and his enablers don’t want to. The country needs their leadership.

        1/18/2021

        I totally agree with this:

        1/21/2021

        To me, impeachment is related to security. We don’t ever want a POTUS to incite violence and insurrection. If Congress doesn’t impeach and convict, that leaves the door open for future presidents to behave in a similar way.

        1/25/2021

        Reprehensible. There isn’t a basis for impeachment means future presidents can behave the way Trump did and that would not warrant impeachment. That’s so wrong.

    2. Updated: Some Cabinet members contemplating invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump

      That’s what’s being reported by CBS News:

      Edit

    3. Updated 1/11/21 Was the mob storming the Capitol the final straw for Republicans?

      Given the responses I’ve seen this question has popped into my head, although I don’t trust myself at judging such things, because there were “straws” in the past that I thought might be “final.” But Bill Barr’s comments today made me think about this question again.

      Since the incident, there’s more talk about impeachment/removal or invoking the 25th amendment, too.

      Kinzinger, a Republican, has been publicly criticized Trump before, but still.

      The response from social media companies is different as well:

      …although someone pointed out that this happened after Biden’s victory was certified and the Republicans lost the Senate. (I believe Twitter also locked Trump’s account for a certain time period as well.)

      Senator Schumer:

      Edit

      WSJ editorial section has been staunchly pro-Trump.

      Message from the Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer:

      Resignations from the Trump Administration

      Several happened, ostensibly because of the mob storming the Capitol. Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation.

      Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary. Here’s a quote from her resignation letter:

      Shaking my head.

      Trump makes another announcement, where he more firmly condemns yesterday’s storming of the Capitol. It’s obvious to me that he doesn’t really mean a word of it. My takeaway is that pressure can actually work on Trump–and he might even be scared now. That is, he’s only saying this because there is serious talk of removing him. Had the Republicans seriously raised this threat at other points in Trump’s presidency, perhaps they could have kept him in check. But they didn’t. They had to wait for something that dramatically crossed the line, resulting in tragedy–and I think it had to happen right before he would be out of power. I say this because there were many dramatic incidents that were tantamount to crossing a line–e.g., the Helsinki press conference, the Charlottesville press conference, his handling of the pandemic, the phone call to the Ukranian president, and many more. Beyond expressing concern, the GOP largely did nothing or encouraged him.

      Several have mentioned that Trump poses a danger right now. I’m starting to agree with this. His speech means nothing. The chances that he will do something awful is very high in my view. Trump’s reaction today reminded me of Saddam Hussein–the way he’d play games with the West. When the Western coalition clearly applied pressure he’d submit. When they seem to lose interest, he’d behave badly (e.g., expel weapon’s inspectors). If some serious consequence isn’t hanging over his head, I’m pretty sure he’ll do something bad. I’m leaning towards removal, via impeachment process or the 25th amendment.

      Thread from Olivia Nuzzi, Buzzfeed reporter, on comments Trump made about the mob at the Capitol:

      A person who currently advises Donald Trump tells me: “It’s all hit him since yesterday: ‘You may have legal exposure from yesterday. You definitely have legal exposure from other things. You have less than two weeks to remain ensconced in here with executive privilege.’”
      Donald Trump was annoyed by the violent siege on the Capitol Wednesday — which left several dead — because it looked “low class,” according to his adviser. “He doesn’t like low class things.”
      The adviser confirmed that he was watching television coverage of the siege enthusiastically, but noted that the sight of his own supporters forming a violent mob and destroying property and lives offended him on aesthetic grounds.

      Something is wrong with him.

      1/8/2021

      Note: Russell Moore is a Southern Baptist. He’s been publicly critical of Trump, not a supporter.

      In other news,…

      This is good, but not good. It’s good because it hopefully will prevent Trump from doing something crazy, but this doesn’t seem legal or constitutional. The quote says Pelosi spoke about “available precautions” so she’s not necessarily overriding the POTUS or directing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, but this is still not a good thing. At least this should not have been made public.

      I thought of another reason Pelosi is making this public. This will start a conversation in the media about the president’s ability to launch nuclear weapons. What will be revealed is that there’s really no way to legally stop him from using nuclear weapons. This will get out to the public, and make create the political will to impeach and remove Trump. That’s one theory that makes sense to me. I’m saying it’s good or bad, but it makes sense.

      1/9/2021

      If a member(s) of Congress died or even severely injured, I feel like Trump would be impeached and removed right now. That he not suggests that the event wasn’t sufficiently tragic and sobering. I feel like this was the state of affairs for much of Trump’s presidency–namely, most Republicans knew he was capable of causing a catastrophe, but that wasn’t enough to move them. Only an actual catastrophe would do this. We’ll see if Republicans think the mob at the Capitol was sufficiently catastrophic to sober up and start behaving patriotically.

      The thought that popped into my head after seeing the following picture and caption: More people–particularly a public figure–will die, maybe in a more horrific/dramatic way, unless more stronger steps are taken by our leaders.

      (Edit)

      Alexandra Petri’s response to Trump officials resigning is pretty funny.

      1/11/2021

      A sign that the mob rush on the Capitol was not sufficiently tragic.

    4. Updated 1/12/21 Discussion and video of the mob breaking into the Capitol

      (Note: Post originally written on 1/6/21, 17:10)

      There might be better video and images, but I’m going to use this one now. If you haven’t seen video clips or images, I recommend doing so. I first learned about this from print media and some WaPo footage, which showed a rather small crowd outside the Capitol. These things didn’t capture the magnitude and significance of the days events in my opinion. The video above does a better job of that—showing the mob breaking a window to get into the Capitol, a barricaded door in the Senate chambers, and people sitting in the seat of the Speaker of the House.

      After seeing more video and images, I had a better understanding of why several commentators were calling for the immediate impeachment, removal and in some cases arrest of Trump.

      Images that make me embarrassed, sad, and angry at the same time:

      Comments about the mob

      Trump’s culpability

      WaPo

      As rioters broke through police barricades and occupied the Capitol, paralyzing the business of Congress, aides said Trump resisted entreaties from some of his advisers to condemn the marauders and refused to be reasoned with.

      “He kept saying, ‘The vast majority of them are peaceful. What about the riots this summer? What about the other side? No one cared when they were rioting. My people are peaceful. My people aren’t thugs,’” an administration official said. “He didn’t want to condemn his people.”

      From General Mattis:

      “Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump. His use of the Presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice. Our Constitution and our Republic will overcome this stain and We the People will come together again in our never-ending effort to form a more perfect Union, while Mr. Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country.”

      GOP culpability

      Good question:

      Also, I’m pretty confident if BLM protestors or Muslims stormed the Capitol the reaction–from law enforcement, DOJ, and the WH would be totally different–more forceful and violent, more arrests, etc.

      Consequences

      I vaguely remember these comments regarding protests (in Oregon?). It seems to apply in this recent incident.

      1/8/2021

      The reaping of the whirlwind continues

      1/9/2021

      Chilling:

      Link to the WaPo article above.

      1/10/2021

      1/12/2021

      A more detailed account of Trump’s response to mob ransacking of the Capitol

      Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol reporting from WaPo

      This portrait of the president as the Capitol was under attack on Jan. 6 is the result of interviews with 15 Trump advisers, members of Congress, GOP officials and other Trump confidants, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid details.

      But as senators and House members trapped inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday begged for immediate help during the siege, they struggled to get through to the president, who — safely ensconced in the West Wing — was too busy watching fiery television images of the crisis that was unfolding around them to act or even bother to hear their cries for help.

      “He was hard to reach, and you know why? Because it was live TV,” said one close Trump adviser. “If it’s TiVo, he just hits pause and takes the calls. If it’s live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold.”

      Even as he did so, Trump did not move to act. And the message from those around him — that he needed to call off the angry mob he had egged on just hours earlier, or lives could be lost — was one to which he was not initially receptive.

      The rest of this is filled with various people struggling to get a hold of Trump, begging him to speak publicly against the violence, and his reluctance to do so. His response is incredibly appalling (which is par for the course, I guess). Where are all the people who were incensed by the Benghazi incident?

      1/22/2021

      Self-styled militia members planned on storming the U.S. Capitol days in advance of Jan. 6 attack, court documents say from WaPo

      1. Updated 1/8/21What happened to the security at the Capitol?

        Count me as one who has question about this. I haven’t read all the articles out there, yet, but this is a big deal. It is not only horrific, disgraceful, but disconcerting that something like this could happen. My understanding is that 5 people have died from this, including one of the Capitol police officers.

        1/8/2021

        Edit

        The following is sickening to hear–Trump was delighted by the storming of the Capitol and “confused” why others weren’t excited. If Trump reacted this way (and it’s totally believable), it raises serious questions about the poor security and the delayed response from law enforcement and the National Guard. If there’s evidence that Trump and his administrators inhibited security, they must face serious consequences.

        Recaps of what happened:

        How the U.S. Capitol Police were overrun in a ‘monumental’ security failure report from WaPo

        How They Stormed Congress from “The Daily” (NYT)

        One of the disturbing things I learned (from the podcast, I think) was that some of the rioters were looking for and calling out for Pence–and not for a friendly greeting, if you know what I mean. I don’t want to jump the gun, but I’ve seen pictures of the rioters with plastic ties, and I’ve heard that some rioters tried to set up a gallows. I don’t know if this is true, but if it is, and if the rioters planned to kidnap or kill Pence or any of the politicians or staff, this takes the situation into another level.

        On a related note, these details reported by Josh Dawsey seem relevant:

        A thread I’ve gleaned from eight conversations today with Trump advisers, White House aides & others in GOP: There is deep anger in Trump world at how Trump treated VP Pence. One described as “unconscionable.” A second said they were “repulsed.” Wide feeling he deserved better. Trump never checked in on Pence after he was taken to secret location from vote. Tweeted negatively about him as the mob was already in the Capitol.Whatever you think of Trump or Pence, there is no doubt Pence was unceasingly loyal to POTUS. Would not badmouth him privately to anyone, even allies or others in admin. Defended all sorts of things Trump did. But Trump turned on him because Pence said he had to follow the law.

        Honestly, I don’t feel a lot of sympathy for Pence, but it’s horrific (but not totally surprising) that Trump doesn’t seem to care about the harm that may have come to the VP–or members of Congress.

        Edit

        As riot raged at Capitol, Trump tried to call senators to overturn election from CNN

        President Donald Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani both mistakenly made calls to Republican Sen. Mike Lee as deadly riots were unfolding at the US Capitol earlier this week, a spokesman for the senator confirmed to CNN — calls that were intended for another GOP senator the White House was frantically trying to convince to delay the counting of Electoral College votes.

        Lee’s spokesman said the calls from Trump and his attorney were intended for Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a newly elected Republican from Alabama.

        The effort by the White House to get Tuberville to delay certification of the votes provides insight into the President’s thinking and priorities as a mob of his supporters lay siege to the iconic building. As the President worked to convince Tuberville to delay the process, he and other top White House officials did little to check in on Vice President Mike Pence while he and members of his family were inside the breached Capitol, a source close to the vice president told CNN.

        “…as deadly riots were unfolding…” What the heck?!

        1/8/2021

        This not good. This seems like the either the FBI failed or they are somehow complicit.

        Mr. Warner did not specify who he spoke to at the FBI, but an aide to the Virginia senator said he spoke directly with Deputy Director David Bowdich.

        I’d like to know more about Bowdich.

        1/9/2021

        From BuzzfeedNews, two African-American Capitol police officers speak about the mob attack on the Capitol:

        The officer said that many of the widely spread images of smiling marauders, wandering the halls dressed in absurd costumes, had the effect of downplaying how well prepared some of the rioters were to overtake the building, and even to capture and kill Congress members.

        “That was a heavily trained group of militia terrorists that attacked us,” said the officer, who has been with the department for more than a decade. “They had radios, we found them, they had two-way communicators and earpieces. They had bear spray. They had flash bangs … They were prepared. They strategically put two IEDs, pipe bombs in two different locations. These guys were military trained. A lot of them were former military,” the veteran said, referring to two suspected pipe bombs that were found outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee.

        The officer even described coming face to face with police officers from across the country in the mob. He said some of them flashed their badges, telling him to let them through, and trying to explain that this was all part of a movement that was supposed to help.

        Later,

        While it was a hard day for almost every officer at the Capitol, Black officers were in a particularly difficult position, he said, and he drew a stark contrast with how police handled the Black Lives Matter protests this summer.

        “There’s quite a big difference when the Black Lives Matter protests come up to the capitol,” he said. “[On Wednesday], some officers were catering to the rioters.”

        He said that what upset him the most was when he later saw images of a white colleague taking a selfie with the attackers, seeming to enjoy his time with the insurrectionists who were roaming the US Capitol with confederate flags and other symbols of white supremacy.

        The older Black officer didn’t think it was a simple case of treating the rioters differently from BLM protesters, but instead part of a bigger issue with how the agency is managed.

        “Our chief was nowhere to be found, I didn’t hear him on the radio. One of our other deputy chiefs was not there,” he said. “You don’t think it’s all hands on deck?”

        Why? Where was the chief?

        “I got called a nigger 15 times today,” the veteran officer shouted in the rotunda to no one in particular. “Trump did this and we got all of these fucking people in our department that voted for him. How the fuck can you support him?”

        “I cried for about 15 minutes and I just let it out.”

        Super disturbing. Man, Congress better do a thorough investigation of this. There should be consequences as well.

      2. Update: 1/11/2021 Examples of inciting the mob

        1/11/2021

        What Trump to His Supporters Before They Stormed the Capitol, WaPo’s annotation of Trump’s speech.

        1/12/2021

        There’s a good chance he genuinely believes this, proving how grossly unfit he is. Same with the “perfect” call to the Ukranian president.

        1/17/2021

      3. Did Trump go beyond inciting the mob that flooded into the Capitol building?

        News is coming in to suggest the possibility that Trump may have create conditions to allow the mob to disrupt the counting of ballots–besides egging on the crowd prior to them marking to the Capitol building. Here are some examples:

        • There are reports that the he delayed calling in the National Guard;
        • I believe the Maryland Governor he wasn’t given permission to send in the National Guard
        • There are reports that Trump was pleased about the riot at the Capitol, and he couldn’t understand why others in his team weren’t more enthusiastic.
        • He and Giuliani attempted to contact Senator Tommy Tuberville, while the riots were taking place, to find a way to delay the counting.

        (I don’t have the energy to make the links, but most of them can be found in this thread.)

        In the next few days I hope we can get more confirmation and clarity on this, but it suggests the possibility that Trump wanted this to happen–maybe actively working to ensure the his followers could disrupt and delay the counting. Whether he knew or intended them to enter the Capitol or not, doesn’t seem significant (although it would be worse if he made arrangements so that the mob could get into the building).

        This is an extreme position, and right now, I’m assuming it’s not true. I’m going to lean toward a more mundane explanation–but the reports coming in are disturbing and make it hard not to think of this extreme scenario.

        I should that while the theory is conspiratorial and extreme, it does fit with egregious abuses of power and attempts to undermine the election–starting with the call to the Ukrainian president. The list actions taken by Trump, many public, is long and the actions are egregious.

        Indeed, I think the much of the recent behavior has occurred precisely because Republican Senators, save one, refused to convict Trump.

        Edit

        Some of our military allies are wondering the same thing:

        Edit

        I wasn’t familiar with these words:

        More from the thread:

        Under the Constitution, there should be an investigation of any U.S. Senator or Representative who encouraged or participated in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol of Wednesday, January 6, 2021. In case Hawley has ever read the Fourteenth Amendment to our Constitution, he would know that he may now be liable to expulsion from the U.S. Senate.

      4. Why Vice-President Pence is angry

        (Note: I’m moving this from the post describing the mobbing of the Capitol.)

        I don’t blame him. Trump seeming to not care about Pence and his family’s well-being–not condemning people calling for Pence’s execution–that makes me angry, too.

        More details about the mob and Pence from MSNBC’s, Chris Hayes

        First Trump tweeted about how it was all up to Mike Pence not to let him down.

        Then he gave a speech to the crowd telling them it all depended on Mike Pence doing his bidding, even as he knew that Pence wouldn’t.

        Then he told the mob to go to the capitol to watch to see who was on their side

        At the capitol someone in the mob erected what appears to be a functional gallows.

        They stormed the Capitol. Once inside many were heard to be actively looking for Mike Pence in order to kill him.

        Some in the crowd chanted “HANG MIKE PENCE”

        And to top it all off AFTER THE CROWD HAD BREACHED THE CAPITOL, perhaps the very moment they were asking aloud where Pence was, and chanting “HANG MIKE PENCE”, Trump ***sent out a tweet attacking Mike Pence.***

        (I’m trusting Hayes has accurate information on this.)

      5. Update: 1/15/21, 5:35 AM Right-Wing Embrace Of Conspiracy Is ‘Mass Radicalization,’ Experts Warn report from NPR–written on 12/15/20.

        (Note: Originally posted 1/9/21, 8:54 AM)

        Reading this just rams home the irresponsibility and danger of constantly pushing the idea that the election was stolen. Trump, congressional Republicans, Barr, and conservative pundits are complicit.

        Jason Dempsey, a military analyst and former Army officer on the panel, said too many people are turning to force as a response to fears over political divisions, whether through the military and law enforcement, or the formation of local armed groups. The election-rigging rhetoric only ups the ante as Democrats are painted no longer just as fellow citizens with different views but as enemies who must be vanquished.

        1/14/2021

        This topic reminded me of a passage from a good Politico article by Tim Alberta:

        I spend a lot of time around Trump voters. It’s a part of my everyday life, engaging with family and friends in Michigan. It’s been the heartbeat of my work in this election cycle, traversing America to figure out what ordinary folks are thinking about. I’ve learned a lot along the way. And there’s one conclusion of which I’m certain: The “fringe” of our politics no longer exists. Between the democratization of information and the diminished confidence in establishment politicians and institutions ranging from the media to corporate America, particularly on the right, there is no longer any buffer between mainstream thought and the extreme elements of our politics.

        1/15/2021

        I agree with Kayyem. Here’s what I find interesting: She’s applying a counter-terrorism approach to Trump supporters. Now, think about the following questions: What percentage of Trump supporters does this apply to? How many congressional Republicans, GOP party leaders, and conservative pundits should be seen a part of domestic terror threat? The answers may be unsettling. Look at that Tim Alberta quote above. He’s basically saying the fringe and the mainstream have merged to a large degree–and you can see that in the Republican party. There are at least one or two congress persons that embrace Qanon, for example. Large numbers of congressional Republicans voted to reject electoral votes from several states–even after their lives were in danger from a mob!

        I had a thread about the way the GOP has become an authoritarian party–and that transformation was one of the most important, under-reported stories. The merging of the fringe elements and mainstream GOP–to the degree that the party may foster domestic terrorism–is another super important point that may be flying under the radar.

  21. How to treat potential congressional Trump defectors

    Here’s the post that made me think of this:

    I understand this response–and a part of me agrees with it. But another, more pragmatic, let’s say, does not–or at least finds this more problematic. To wit, the country still may need congressional Republicans (as well the conservative media) to oppose Trump to protect the republic. Adopting Hill’s stance could be an impediment to that. At this point, protecting the republic should come first. Right? (I think unifying the nation should come first as well.)

    The idea that some of the enablers could be forgiven and absolved, if they do the right thing at the last minute–a kind of political “death-bed confession”–is galling. Yet, if accepting this would ensure the preservation of the republic, then that would be worth it.

    By the way, I sort of feel this ambivalence with Mitt Romney. I think he didn’t fight hard or frequent enough–often he remained silent, when he shouldn’t have in my opinion. And that applies to almost every congressional Republican. But to condemn him for this–to dismiss the fact that he voted to remove Trump and for the times he has spoken out—at this point–would seem like the wrong move. How are you going to encourage Republicans to do the right thing if one won’t accept this–particularly as some way to redeem themselves? It’s a tricky problem.

    Another comment that touches on this problem:

    On one level, if resigning does nothing to protect the country, then Phillip’s is right. But if resigning–or taking some action, including refusing something illegal or immoral–does help the country, this isn’t a good response. You can’t encourage people to do the right thing, while condemning and sneering at the people who eventually do so.

    Here’s another situation:

    It’s good she did this–maybe even important. But if she’s condemned in spite of this, that’s certainly going to discourage other Trump supporters to do the same.

    I kinda like this, although it’s not that encouraging:

    1/13/2021

    I want to capture the complexity of the way we should view Republicans for speaking out and/or standing up to Trump for basically the first time now. Yes, if they’re doing because it’s politically beneficial, then don’t deserve a lot of credit. At the same time, what they’re doing is important to our country–and to rail on them hard now seems counterproductive.

    What about those who are standing up when it’s not politically expedient? Rep. Liz Cheney seems to fall into that category.

    From what I understand, this stance will likely hurt Cheney politically. She deserves a lot of credit for that, if true.

    But then what about the times she stood by and really didn’t vigorously oppose Trump–or even leave the party–for example, during the summer and fall, when Trump undermined the election? Same with Romney. These things will likely be forgotten, but I feel like they’re part of the picture, too. I think both deserve credit for the times they stood up to Trump, though.

  22. Social media companies expels Trump and far right groups

    Mitchell, are you still comfortable with this–especially Twitter permanently banning Trump? I guess, it’s only a few more days until he is a private citizen. I have less of a problem twitter banning a private citizen.

    I still find it problematic and unnerving that private companies wield this power–that private entities make pretty consequential determinations. The decisions and the power seem like something that should go through a democratic process.

    If true, this seems like good justification, though:

    (Man, the security at the Capitol and WH better be on point. No excuses.)

    1/16/2021

  23. Trump is the only POTUS to be impeached twice

    Context:

    Someone said something about this that I agree with: If this is true, then this makes a stronger case for impeachment. Trump has been inciting violence from his supporters for most of his time in office.

    Some other points.

    I heard Dana Bash of CNN say that the vast majority of Republicans are voting against impeachment because they want power, not because they fear for their safety and the safety of their family.

    Also, Democrats have also been threatened.

    If I’m not mistaken, Trump was saying this to a crowd of his supporters, some of whom got a chuckle out of this.

  24. Consider using the following lens to examine Trump’s actions since the election

    Ben-Ghiat is a historian who studies authoritarians. She discusses the attitude of authoritarians when they are about to lose power and actions they take to exact revenge, including actions to hinder democracy.

    Case in point:

    Edit

    Experts warn of vaccine stumbles ‘out of the gate’ because Trump officials refused to consult with Biden team from WaPo

    1/16/2021

    Is this part of Trump’s revenge?

    I don’t really get this as an act of revenge. Is Trump doing this to hurt progressives and those who really oppose the death peanlty? “Cruelty is the point” is an expression I’ve heard to describe Trump and his administration. Is Trump so cruel and mean that cruelty is an end in and of itself? (Even I have a hard time believing that.)

  25. Updated 1/14/21,6:29 AM I’m worried about more violence in the next week, and beyond

    (Note: post original written on 1/12/21, 7:23 AM)

    What Trump said, after he claimed his speech before the mobbing of the Capitol was “perfect,”

    This impeachment is causing tremendous anger. And you’re doing it, and it’s really a terrible thing that they’re doing. For Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country, and it’s causing tremendous anger. I want no violence.

    In spite of tacking on “I want no violence at the end,” this is closer to threat–validating the anger his supporters may feel if Congress impeaches him and the violence that may occur as a result. He’s blaming those who impeach if any violence occurs, which is closer to encouraging violence than discouraging it.

    1/12/2021

    I hope violence doesn’t occur, but I know enough to feel like there’s a high enough probability to not say something like the following:

    Trump’s word for one thing. Second, even if it wasn’t, what will do to prevent violence? He’s almost certainly not going to say the right things that could lessen the likelihood. I imagine he’s saying this either out of poor judgment, or his enough of his voters won’t care.

    I’m pretty sure other Republicans are saying things that will make them look really bad if a tragic act of violence occurs.

    1/14/2021

    I haven’t read the op-ed or the memo referenced, but if true, this is damning to Trump and his enablers. The lies about the election have increased the chance of violence from domestic extremist groups.

    1/16/2021

    This is the kind of thing that warrants worry or at least concern:

    1/17/2021

    I’m hearing people call for a virtual inauguration, and I’m down with that. I know that is a kind of black mark on our democracy–as is the current heighten security presence in Washington D.C. But I see this as a small price to pay. Additionally, I see what’s happening in the larger context of the nation facing an existential threat–namely, majority groups (e.g., whites, Christians, etc.) sense their loss of their higher status. Trump and his minions, including the Fox News, have been exacerbating this situation by intensifying their fears and anger. To me, this does pose an existential threat. I don’t think this anger and fear are going to just go away. Indeed, I think it’s already been expressed via support for Trump and actions like the 1/6 mob rush of the Capitol. If we don’t find ways to decrease the anger and fear, I would expect more destructive expressions of it, including violent, tragic ones. Within this context, more security or a virtual inauguration is totally understandable. It doesn’t look good, but that’s the least of our concerns at this point. I don’t think we have any plan to transition from white, Christian majority to a country where these groups no longer have that status.

  26. Prominent Christians defending Trump makes me sad

    Franklin Graham:

    Side note: When I hear Trump supporters claim actions that harm Trump stem from hate, I wish I could make them answer the following question: If a future president does something similar, would it warrant the a similar reaction. In this case, if a future president baselessly questions the integrity of an election for months, lies about the election results/process, using language that incites violence, and a mob ransacks the Capitol, with five people dying as a result, would this warrant impeachment? I feel like this approach would be clarifying, at least for people who are reasonable and fair-minded.

  27. “This is not who we are.”

    That’s a phrase I often heard in response to some awful words or actions by Trump. I uttered these words myself in these situations. But the phrase is not entirely accurate. It’s not the the complete story. This is a part of who we are–the worst part of us. It is not who we want to be. Americans have higher aspirations–we seek a more perfect union, implying that we haven’t reached that perfection yet. This aspirational component is a critical part of who we are–and this aspirational component was totally missing from the Trump regime. He was a demagogue and con man– invoking and preying upon the very worst parts of us to maintain his power. He was an authoritarian, a bully, an ignorant narcissist. Yes, this is all a part of who we are, too. But this was never who we wanted to be.

    To me, America is at it’s best when we honestly and humbly recognize our failings, but continue to strive for our most treasured ideals–“all men are created equal,” we judge by one’s “content of character, not the color of their skin,” that no man is above the law, not even the President of the United States. And this also describes our best presidents–they recognize our failings, apologize for them, but they don’t give up on our ideals–they keep striving for them and keep urging us to do so as well. That’s who we are.

    1. Yeah; I hate this phrase. You hear it all the time when people in sports do stupid stuff, or maybe it just seems like it to me because I consume so much sports media.

    2. I actually don’t hate it. I think it’s one of those phrases that exist because a more accurate description would be clunkier and not sound as good. For example, here are some alternate phrases that better capture the the meaning I think people mean to convey:

      This does not accurately reflect our values.
      This violates are values and does not reflect who we aspire to be.

      Or something like that. But, “This is not who we are” is more concise and has more umph, I think. But then it can be misleading, but the actions might actually reflect an unpleasant truth.

      Do you hate it because it’s trite? Or sometimes not really true (i.e., it “is who you are”)?

      1. I hate it because it’s a cliche and for the reasons you gave when you brought it up. If I did it, it’s who I am. Now what am I going to do so I don’t do it again?

    3. Oh yeah, it’s cliched, and you don’t like cliches. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that right off the bat.

  28. This sounds right.

    If this is the worst thing that happens, in the next several hours, I think we should be thankful.

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