Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A Few Words About the Obvious

You are being gaslighted.

Last week the Mueller Report was released to the public – or at least some of it was.  Nearly a third of that document was censored by partisans working directly for the guy who was the main target of the investigation, up to and including the Attorney General, a man who is supposed to be working for the American people but who might as well have a sign around his neck announcing to the world that he is a wholly-owned property of der Sturmtrumper.  Given that the missing third is likely to be the part that is most significant, there is some question as to whether the American people have been shown anything of value.

Although the parts that were shown were far more damaging to der Sturmtrumper than his Pet Attorney General or his army of sycophants would have you believe.

Der Sturmtrumper has repeatedly claimed that the report “exonerates” him.  This is an outright lie, one so completely divorced from reality that not even Pet Attorney General Barr dares to echo that claim.  Mueller is explicit on this point: the report “does not exonerate” the president.

Der Sturmtrumper has repeatedly claimed that the report does not show any collusion.  This is an outright lie, but one that the minions and the gullible are happy to repeat.  The report documents “sweeping and systematic” Russian interference with the 2016 election and details at least thirty more contacts between der Sturmtrumper’s presidential campaign and Russian agents than had previously been known – nearly 150 in all – few of which were known publicly prior to the election.  There is no explicit smoking gun, no specific legal agreement between der Sturmtrumper and the Russians, but there is a clear and convincing pattern.  As the analysts at Lawfare put it, der Sturmtrumper’s campaign was “aware the Russians sought to help them win. They welcomed that assistance. Instead of warning the American public, they instead devised a public relations and campaign strategy that sought to capitalize on Russia’s illicit assistance. In other words, the Russians and the Trump campaign shared a common goal, and each side worked to achieve that goal with basic knowledge of the other side’s intention.”

To sell out this country to its enemies in the hopes of political gain is a betrayal of the Oath of Office.  “Russia attacked our democracy,” noted Tom Nichols in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  “Trump and his cronies knew it and were glad for it. As president, Trump has steadfastly refused to accept his responsibility to do anything about this assault on our institutions. This is a dereliction of duty, and it continues even now.”

The report details der Sturmtrumper and his campaign welcoming Russian help, using Russian intelligence, and offering benefits to Russian agents during the campaign.  “Every person around the president, and the president himself, acted as though they had something to hide on Russia,” observed Paul Waldman.  Trump Jr.  Papadopoulos.  Flynn.  Cohen.  Manafort.  Stone.  Der Sturmtrumper himself.  All of them lied when asked about Russian interference – repeatedly, and documentedly. 

Most of the things censored out of the public version of the report appear to be about these facts, which raises far more questions than are answered by the simple-minded braying of der Sturmtrumper’s supporters.

Der Sturmtrumper has repeatedly claimed that the report absolves him of attempting to obstruct justice.  This is an outright lie that they’re not even trying to pretend otherwise.  The report is unequivocal. 

“Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations. The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels. These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony. Viewing the acts collectively can help to illuminate their significance. For example, the President’s direction to McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed was followed almost immediately by his direction to Lewandowski to tell the Attorney General to limit the scope of the Russia investigation to prospective election-interference only—a temporal connection that suggests that both acts were taken with a related purpose with respect to the investigation.”

Furthermore, “many of the President’s acts directed at witnesses, including discouragement of cooperation with the government and suggestions of possible future pardons, occurred in public view. While it may be more difficult to establish that public-facing acts were motivated by a corrupt intent, the President’s power to influence actions, persons, and events is enhanced by his unique ability to attract attention through use of mass communications. And no principle of law excludes public acts from the scope of obstruction statutes. If the likely effect of the acts is to intimidate witnesses or alter their testimony, the justice system’s integrity is equally threatened.”

The report also notes that “The president’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons surrounding the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests. Comey did not end the investigation of Flynn, which ultimately resulted in Flynn’s prosecution and conviction for lying to the FBI. McGahn did not tell the Acting Attorney General that the Special Counsel must be removed, but was instead prepared to resign over the President’s order. Lewandowski and Dearborn did not deliver the President’s message to Sessions that he should confine the Russia investigation to future meddling only. And McGahn refused to recede from his recollections the events surrounding the President’s direction to have the Special Counsel removed, despite the President’s multiple demands that he do so.”

Der Sturmtrumper has repeatedly claimed that he is above the law and cannot be prosecuted even if he has committed crimes.  This is an outright lie.  “The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law,” according to the report.

The Mueller Report paints a dire picture of a corrupt and criminal regime, led by a narcissistic idiot, manned by incompetents and fools, and supported by a blindly partisan base.

That blindly partisan base is now charging about like a punch drunk elephant, flailing away at anyone bold enough to call them for who they are and who dares to defend the Constitution and the rule of law in this increasingly autocratic state.  Der Sturmtrumper was right about one thing – he said he could murder someone in broad daylight and not lose a single supporter, and he was right.  His crimes are obvious, documented, and damning, and his base has no problem with this.

They tell us that the investigation is the problem.  That investigating the crimes of a president is treason.  That they rule and the rest of us need to bend over and take it.

They lie.  They lie repeatedly.  They lie even when the truth is obvious.  They lie because that's the only way they can get you to doubt the facts in front of you.

You are being gaslighted by right-wing extremists afraid that the truth will take their shriveled little ideological bubble down and them with it and who will loudly insist that you are not seeing what is so plainly there.

Do not believe them.

The world is full of gullible people who need to learn how to read.

They hold power now.

But not forever.  And perhaps not for long.

No comments: