Media must challenge all of Trump’s lies

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post says all of us in the media should stop spreading Donald Trump’s fake news.

Writes Sargent:

At a rally on Wednesday night, President Trump accused Hillary Clinton of conspiring with Russia to try to swing the 2016 election. “There was collusion between Hillary, the Democrats, and Russia,” Trump said, adding that there was “a lot” of such “collusion.” As always, the crowd chanted: “Lock her up!”

This claim is based on an absurd and convoluted theory about the genesis of the Russia investigation that has been flatly debunked as a massive lie.

Incredibly, even though Trump has made more than 5,000 false or misleading statements as president, major news organizations’ social media feeds continue to inject his unadulterated lies into the political bloodstream without clearly informing readers that they are just that — lies.

Yes, NBC’s story on this new lie did say it’s “evidence free.” But the fact that the social media feeds themselves are regularly awash in Trumpian falsehoods represents a serious institutional failing. As Brian Beutler notes, this “should be the easiest problem in the world to solve,” but instead, we’re getting “abject professional failure after abject professional failure.”

On Wednesday, USA Today published a piece by Trump in which “almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood,” as Glenn Kessler put it. All these went initially uncorrected, and USA Today’s feed featured multiple tweets spreading its falsehoods and distortions. We have seen this again and again.

This may seem trivial — who cares about single tweets? — but they all add up to a gushing Amazon River of disinformation.

Sargent argues those who quote Trump’s many lies without immediately telling readers that the president is lying, over and over, are instead helping him spread his own “fake news.”

Too often, the problem begins in the headlines.

Sargent quotes Craig Silverman of Buzzfeed:

The importance of headlines is arguably even greater now in the social media era, because a lot of people are in passive consumption mode. When people see stuff on social media, what they often see is only the headlines. If you are restating claims that are false or misleading in headlines, you are spreading misinformation. And social media is pouring gasoline on that fire.

Sargent’s arguments are valid.  Good, objective journalism is more than simply reporting what happens and what is said. It should also provide insight into whether or not someone is lying.

A good journalist is a professional skeptic, someone who approaches information that must be verified or, if necessary, disproven.

A city editor early in my career told me that “if your mother says she loves you, confirm it with a second source.”

As a newsman for the last 55 years, I have doubted, by nature, anything that a candidate or elected officials says.  They routinely lie to serve their own preconceptions or a hidden political agenda.

Trump, however, towers over elected officials I have encountered over the last five and a half decades — including Lyndon Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — when it comes to lies, exaggerations and flights of fantasy.

Trump uses the proven propaganda tactics of Adolph Hitler by ignoring the facts that disprove a lie and repeats it over and over until it is accepted by his cult-like following, which then floods social media with the lies while claiming they are truth.

Sadly, media contributes to his con.

_______________________________________________________

Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

Kavanaugh battle further divides a weakened America

President Donald Trump addresses the crowd during a campaign rally in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The bitter battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court has exacerbated the nation’s political divide and left many Americans emotionally raw. It’s also given new definition to the high stakes of November’s election.

Until now, the fight for control of Congress has largely been viewed as a referendum on President Donald Trump’s first two years in office. But the turmoil surrounding Kavanaugh has transformed the midterms into something bigger than Trump, with implications that could endure long after his presidency. The election is suddenly layered with charged cultural questions about the scarcity of women in political power, the handling of sexual assault allegations, and shifting power dynamics that have left some white men uneasy about their place in American life.

Both parties contend the new contours of the race will energize their supporters in the election’s final stretch. And both may be right.

Republicans, however, may benefit most in the short term. Until now, party leaders — Trump included — have struggled to energize GOP voters, even with a strong economy to campaign on. The president’s middling job approval rating and independent voters’ disdain for his constant personal attacks have been a drag on GOP candidates, particularly in the more moderate suburban districts that will determine control of the House.

But Republican operatives say internal polling now shows Kavanaugh’s acrimonious confirmation has given the party a much-needed boost, with GOP voters viewing Democrats as overzealous partisans following the public testimony by Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accused the judge of trying to rape her while they were both in high school. Ford said she was “100 percent” certain that Kavanaugh was her attacker, while the judge steadfastly denied her allegations.

“Their strategy to capitalize on the ‘Me Too’ movement for the political purposes backfired on them,” Republican strategist Alice Stewart said of Democrats. “The fact that they were willing to use Dr. Ford’s story that was uncorroborated to launch character assassinations on Judge Kavanaugh did not sit well with voters. A lot of people looked at this as a bridge too far.”

The surge in GOP enthusiasm could recalibrate a political landscape that was tilting toward Democrats throughout the summer. Though Democrats still maintain an advantage in competitive House races, the past two weeks appear to have shifted momentum in the fight for the Senate majority back to the GOP.

In North Dakota, Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer has pulled comfortably ahead of Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who voted no on Kavanaugh. GOP operatives say they’re also seeing renewed Republican interest in states like Wisconsin, where Democratic candidates for both Senate and governor have been polling strong.

“It’s turned our base on fire,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday, moments after the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh.

To be sure, some tightening in the race was likely inevitable this fall. Wavering voters often move back toward their party’s candidates as Election Day nears, and most of the competitive Senate races are in states that voted for Trump by a significant margin.

With just over four weeks until Election Day, there is still time for the dynamics to shift again. And the political headwinds from the Kavanaugh confirmation are unlikely to blow in just one direction.

To Democrats, Kavanaugh’s assent to the Supreme Court in spite of decades-old sexual misconduct allegations will only deepen the party’s pull with female voters, including independents and moderates who may have previously voted for Republicans. Democrats point to the flood of women who have spoken out about their own assaults following Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Party operatives also believe the optics of the all-male GOP panel that presided over the hearing struck a chord with female voters.

“Kavanaugh’s confirmation will leave a lot of outraged and energized women in its wake,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster.

Democrats argue that some of the same tactics that have helped energize Republican voters also motivate their base, particularly Trump’s attacks on Ford. During a campaign rally in Mississippi, the president mocked Ford for not remembering key details of the alleged attack, including the date and location of the party she says she and Kavanaugh attended 36 years ago.

“You’ve seen some shifts, but I still think that we’re in a strong place,” said New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “I still think that it gives us a lot of enthusiasm on our side because there are a lot of people out there that are really upset, not just with the testimony that came from Judge Kavanaugh but the way the president was even mocking (Ford) days ago.”

Trump remains the fall campaign’s biggest wildcard. White House advisers and Republican senators are encouraging him to keep Kavanaugh in the spotlight in the campaign’s final weeks. But they’re well aware that the president often struggles to stay on message and can quickly overshadow his political victories with new controversies.

Given that, Stewart said Republicans can’t assume that this burst of momentum will sustain itself through Election Day.

“The question is whether this is the October surprise or the calm before the storm,” Stewart said.

___

EDITOR’S NOTE — Julie Pace has covered the White House and politics for The Associated Press since 2007. Follow her at http://twitter.com/jpaceDCThe bitter battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court has exacerbated the nation’s political divide and left many Americans emotionally raw. It’s also given new definition to the high stakes of November’s election.

Until now, the fight for control of Congress has largely been viewed as a referendum on President Donald Trump’s first two years in office. But the turmoil surrounding Kavanaugh has transformed the midterms into something bigger than Trump, with implications that could endure long after his presidency. The election is suddenly layered with charged cultural questions about the scarcity of women in political power, the handling of sexual assault allegations, and shifting power dynamics that have left some white men uneasy about their place in American life.

Both parties contend the new contours of the race will energize their supporters in the election’s final stretch. And both may be right.

Republicans, however, may benefit most in the short term. Until now, party leaders — Trump included — have struggled to energize GOP voters, even with a strong economy to campaign on. The president’s middling job approval rating and independent voters’ disdain for his constant personal attacks have been a drag on GOP candidates, particularly in the more moderate suburban districts that will determine control of the House.

But Republican operatives say internal polling now shows Kavanaugh’s acrimonious confirmation has given the party a much-needed boost, with GOP voters viewing Democrats as overzealous partisans following the public testimony by Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accused the judge of trying to rape her while they were both in high school. Ford said she was “100 percent” certain that Kavanaugh was her attacker, while the judge steadfastly denied her allegations.

“Their strategy to capitalize on the ‘Me Too’ movement for the political purposes backfired on them,” Republican strategist Alice Stewart said of Democrats. “The fact that they were willing to use Dr. Ford’s story that was uncorroborated to launch character assassinations on Judge Kavanaugh did not sit well with voters. A lot of people looked at this as a bridge too far.”

The surge in GOP enthusiasm could recalibrate a political landscape that was tilting toward Democrats throughout the summer. Though Democrats still maintain an advantage in competitive House races, the past two weeks appear to have shifted momentum in the fight for the Senate majority back to the GOP.

In North Dakota, Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer has pulled comfortably ahead of Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who voted no on Kavanaugh. GOP operatives say they’re also seeing renewed Republican interest in states like Wisconsin, where Democratic candidates for both Senate and governor have been polling strong.

“It’s turned our base on fire,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday, moments after the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh.

To be sure, some tightening in the race was likely inevitable this fall. Wavering voters often move back toward their party’s candidates as Election Day nears, and most of the competitive Senate races are in states that voted for Trump by a significant margin.

With just over four weeks until Election Day, there is still time for the dynamics to shift again. And the political headwinds from the Kavanaugh confirmation are unlikely to blow in just one direction.

To Democrats, Kavanaugh’s assent to the Supreme Court in spite of decades-old sexual misconduct allegations will only deepen the party’s pull with female voters, including independents and moderates who may have previously voted for Republicans. Democrats point to the flood of women who have spoken out about their own assaults following Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Party operatives also believe the optics of the all-male GOP panel that presided over the hearing struck a chord with female voters.

“Kavanaugh’s confirmation will leave a lot of outraged and energized women in its wake,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster.

Democrats argue that some of the same tactics that have helped energize Republican voters also motivate their base, particularly Trump’s attacks on Ford. During a campaign rally in Mississippi, the president mocked Ford for not remembering key details of the alleged attack, including the date and location of the party she says she and Kavanaugh attended 36 years ago.

“You’ve seen some shifts, but I still think that we’re in a strong place,” said New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “I still think that it gives us a lot of enthusiasm on our side because there are a lot of people out there that are really upset, not just with the testimony that came from Judge Kavanaugh but the way the president was even mocking (Ford) days ago.”

Trump remains the fall campaign’s biggest wildcard. White House advisers and Republican senators are encouraging him to keep Kavanaugh in the spotlight in the campaign’s final weeks. But they’re well aware that the president often struggles to stay on message and can quickly overshadow his political victories with new controversies.

Given that, Stewart said Republicans can’t assume that this burst of momentum will sustain itself through Election Day.

“The question is whether this is the October surprise or the calm before the storm,” Stewart said.

___

Julie Pace has covered the White House and politics for The Associated Press since 2007. Follow her at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

_______________________________________________________

Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Brett Kavnaugh: Another liar and sexual predator?

Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. (AP / Alex Brandon)

In a letter now in the hands of the FBI, a woman charges Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh throwing her onto a bed in a locked room and trying to force her into sex while he was in high school and she was also a teenager.

Reports Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. Schmit:

The letter says that Mr. Kavanaugh, then a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in suburban Washington and now President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, had been drinking at a social gathering when he and the male friend took the teenage girl into a bedroom. The door was locked, and she was thrown onto the bed. Mr. Kavanaugh then got on top of the teenager and put a hand over her mouth, as the music was turned up, according to the account.

But the young woman was able to extricate herself and leave the room before anything else occurred, the letter says.

“I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation,” Kavanaugh says. “I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

The other boy, Mark Judge, now a conservative journalist who writes for the Daily Caller and Weekly Standard, claims it didn’t happen either.  Kavanaugh, he said, was into sports and not “into anything crazy or illegal.”

Other students at the school during that time say privately that Kavanaugh was also “into girls” and that he and Judge probably wouldn’t have considered an aggressive assault on the young girl illegal or crazy.

“He was ‘all hands’ to those who dated him,” said one student, who asked not to be identified, about Kavanaugh reputation with dates. “He was a horny high school student, as were most of us.”

Kavanaugh was a high school student at a time when girls his age took birth control pills, saying they “helped ease cramps.”  Even Catholic high school girls used that excuse and took the pills.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice of America, says the woman’s account of the alleged assault must be taken seriously.

“The charge of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh is disqualifying and we call on him to immediately withdraw his nomination for the Supreme Court,” she said.

Unfortunately, such a charge, however, is not considered serious by most Republicans in Congress, not with a president charged with such behavior and worse.

Donald Trump is accused of sexual assaults by more than a dozen women along with a woman who said he raped her when she was an undersage model in Manhattan several years ago.

The rape charge disappeared amid reports that money changed hands, a practice we now know was normal for Trump and his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Trump’s first wife, Ivana, in her divorce filings, charged him with rape.

Trump never denied the sexual activity.  He only claimed that they were married at the time and “a man can’t be charged with raping his wife.”

Like so many of his claims, Trump lied.  A married man can be charged with raping his wife if she says “no” and he doesn’t stop.  Jose Santos in the Washington Heights area of New York City went to prison for raping his wife.  Ivana Trump dropped the charge as part of a negotiated deal for the divorce settlement but still says Trump “made me feel violated” during sex.

Are the juvenile antics of a horny teen a valid reason for not gaining an appointment on the Supreme Court?  Yes, but it is not the only reason to keep Kavanaugh off America’s top court.

Senator Patrick Leahy, who represents Vermont, says Kavanaugh misled the Senate in his confirmation hearings, not only for the Supreme Court but also when appointed to the District of Columbia Circuit Court.

Wrote Leahy in the Washington Post on Sept. 13:

Last week, I uncovered new evidence that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh misled the Senate during his earlier hearings for the D.C. Circuit Court by minimizing and even denying his involvement in Bush-era controversies. I gave him the opportunity to correct his testimony at his hearing last week; he chose instead to double down.

Kavanaugh was asked more than 100 times about this scandal in 2004 and 2006. He testified repeatedly that he knew nothing about the source of the information; that he received nothing that even appeared to be prepared by Democratic staff; and that he never suspected anything unusual, or “untoward.”

But emails I released last week show that then-Republican Senate Judiciary Committee counsel Manuel Miranda regularly shared obviously ill-gotten, inside information with Kavanaugh, which Miranda often asked be kept secret.

With the rush to confirm Kavanaugh, the Senate has vetted only 7 percent of his White House record. And Republicans are intent on keeping the rest hidden. On Thursday, Republicans repeatedly blocked subpoenas that would have answered these questions. And the White House is withholding an outrageous 102,000 pages of records, the “most significant portion” of which relates to judicial nominations. The chance that these records do not contain evidence relevant to Kavanaugh’s truthfulness under oath? Approximately zero.

“I cannot support a nominee for a lifetime seat to our highest court who cast aside truth in pursuit of raw ambition,” Leahy writes. “Unimpeachable integrity must never be optional.”

Let’s see.  Kavanaugh lies under oath and treats women as sexual objects — a perfect nominee for the Supreme Court by fellow sexual predator and liar Donald Trump.

_______________________________________________________

Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

Stinking gutter toxins seep out of Trump swamp

Donald John Trump, the corrupt reality TV show host who conned enough of the Electoral College electors, but not the majority of voters in the 2016 debacle of a presidential election, calls an Op Ed column by a member of his senior staff a “gutless editorial” and Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear,” a “total piece of fiction.”

When I heard those statements by Trump, I first thought he was talking about himself.

He’s the gutless one at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington and his sham presidency is the “total piece of fiction.”

“There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first,” the senior official writes.  “It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”

That official adds:

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.

There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.

Woodward’s book says Trump’s former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and former staff secretary Rob Porter routinely removed papers from Trump’s desk to stop him from taking action.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis disregarded Trump’s order to assassinate Syrian President Basher al-Assad and told his staff: “We’re not going to do any of that.”

Capitol Hill Blue applauds The York Times for letting the senior Trump staff member remain anonymous while they published his details about the “quiet resistance” by several on the White House staff who uses subterfuge when necessary to stop Trump’s nation-threatening antics and the proven stupidity of the man who is a documented “idiot.”

We also recognize Woodward’s book for what it is:  A well-documented and carefully researched work from an accomplished, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter whose reputation is far more credible than any of Trump’s daily sputtering of lies and false claims.

Woodward’s book and the heroic efforts of a Trump senior official to let Americans know that “there are adults in the room” at the White House continue to expose Donald John Trump as a proven “gutless coward” whose verbal diarrhea coats America with the stench of corruption from his toxic mouth.

_______________________________________________________

Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

A tough 50 years, symbolized by John McCain, Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

“Hope I die before I get old,” the Who sang at Woodstock as the 1960s hurtled to their end. Indeed, the decade and its echoes made premature legends of so many — Kennedy to King, Hendrix to Joplin to Morrison. They became emblems of an era, and the packaging of their virtues and vices has never really stopped.

But then there were those who didn’t die, who did get old and emerged from that crucible and carried themselves through the arc of a life unabbreviated. They moved across decades and changes and navigated a culture that their younger selves would not have recognized.

That’s the crossroads where both Aretha Franklin and John McCain stood — shaped by the decade that reshaped so much of American life but propelled into the 1970s and all the way to 2018, carrying some of the fundamental storylines of the 1960s as they progressed forward.

Think of the most dominant, most kinetic narratives of the 60s, the fiery combustion engines that drove the decade: From race, gender and music (Franklin) to war and politics (McCain), they are contained in the two figures to whom we bid farewell this week.

They exit the stage together in an American moment not unlike the period when each emerged. Fifty years after the cataclysmic year of 1968, today we are in a similar period of upheaval and polarization — a time when American society’s foundational pillars are being questioned and people of all political persuasions are deeply angry and uncertain about the nation’s path.

At a juncture like this, faced with this pair of memorials of a man and woman so very different and yet so uniquely representative of the American experience, what better time to stop and think about such figures, about what they meant and mean?

Sure, we’re doing that. But are we doing it effectively?

In the past few days, the American packaging machine has pulled these two lives into slick renditions of who they actually were. Video montages, photo slide shows, memories and even the pleasingly compact monikers we throw around — the “Queen of Soul” and the “Maverick” — are sweet and nostalgic, yes. But they tend to reduce whole lifetimes to their clichéd sharpest edges: the most popular hit songs, the most pointed quotes, the most outsized moments.

The United States is often accused of being an ahistorical nation, and these fragmentary, Twitter-feed-like glimpses of entire lives make that assertion easier to prove. Sort of like we’ve come to view the 1960s themselves through the prism of reductive, Halloween-party buzzwords like “flower children,” ″sit-in” and “Summer of Love.”

“If there were ever a moment for us to talk and sit down and reflect about who we are, where we came from and where we’re going, this weekend should give us that moment,” says Ron Pitcock, an assistant dean at Texas Christian University who teaches about American cultural memory.

“We need to not compartmentalize these two people into these convenient narratives,” he says. “We have two giants who waded through these muddy waters for us. If we settle for just making them an icon or giving them celebrity, then we’ve completely failed in this moment of reflection.”

The places where those muddy waters flowed were sometimes even muddier. Since the 1960s, the country has only gotten more complicated and, many believe, even more fraught.

Confetti falls on Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his wife, Cindy, at the end of their 114th New Hampshire town hall meeting with voters. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)

Trust in government sits near historic lows after beginning to plummet around the time that Franklin’s voice started becoming a household sound and McCain was enduring his years in North Vietnamese custody. Music, delivered on vinyl discs for Franklin’s first recordings, is now more typically served up in bits and bytes. And the stories of race and gender in America remain raw, ragged and aggressively unresolved.

What’s illuminating about McCain and Franklin, in the context of the formative eras and experiences that produced them, is this: Each navigated historical currents — rode them, you might even argue — and each figured out how to remain relevant and impactful on their communities. Lives of high drama, yes, but staying power, too.

“Years matter. The people from the ’60s who end up shaping America were often the ones that lasted. Ted Kennedy shaped America much more than John F. Kennedy,” says John Baick, a historian at Western New England University.

“So many figures from the ’60s are caricatures of themselves,” he says. “Aretha Franklin and John McCain didn’t talk about the good old days. They wanted to bring the past into the present. They were living reminders.”

The very youngest Baby Boomers are in their mid-50s now — despite the exhortation to never trust anyone over 30 — and more than half of today’s Americans have no living memory of the 1960s. When personal experience ebbs, myth fills in the mortar between the bricks.

But those who were shaped by the decade continue to influence it, both alive and dead. Sales of Franklin’s music on the day after her death increased by more than 1,500 percent, Billboard Magazine reported.

“Music changes, and I’m gonna change right along with it,” Franklin once said — or, at least, is widely quoted as saying. The 1960s were a time of great and lurching change. Those who made it through often had to change again and again — continuously, even. She did. He did.

That might be the ultimate echo of that long-ago decade that Aretha Franklin and John McCain leave us with this week. Looking past all else, the main story of the 1960s was change — causing it, managing it, figuring out how to live with it.

We’re still not anywhere near where we need to be with that, as American politics today so clearly demonstrate. In that respect, the lives of these two — and similar figures who survive them — hold clues still to be uncovered. Discuss.

___

Ted Anthony, director of digital innovation for The Associated Press, writes frequently about American culture. Follow him on Twitter at @anthonyted.

_______________________________________________________

Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Let’s honor McCain and disregard Trump

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

It is said that a man’s character can be seen, by the enemies he makes. The late Sen. McCain’s character, must have been made of titanium.

Considering, our sitting president refuses to acknowledge the fact that the late Sen. John McCain (after five years as a prisoner of war), is the very definition of a war hero:  A war hero, who spent his life in political service to this country.

My not so dear Mr. President Trump, just who exactly do you consider deserving of an official presidential statement? Veterans (and their families everywhere), need to know.

So it is with a sad heart, we say goodbye to Sen. John McCain.

I disagreed with some of his policies — but I still respected the man. He may have been fond of dirty jokes and his normal speech peppered with some profanities, but at the end of the day he was real.

Unlike Trump, who is plastic, molded into a winnable candidate. But he slipped his leash and now his true colors are there for everyone to see. He is manipulative, vindictive and small in mind, understanding and spirit — the best example of the Peter Principle we will ever see.

If you are religious….pray, if you are not religious then meditate, sending hope to the president. If you are neither, then find a safe bolt hole to ride it out. To quote Bette Davis: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

_______________________________________________________

Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

With Trump implicated in felonious actions, what’s next?

This might be Donald Trump’s next home at taxpayer expense.

Forty-four years ago, I wrote a column for my newspaper in Illinois about the resignation of an American president drowning in lies and scandals.

Now, I write on this political news website about the former personal attorney of our current president pleading guilty to eight felonies, including two that clearly implicated Donald John Trump in illegal actions to affect the 2016 presidential election that allowed him to become the upset winner.

In papers filed with the pleas of Michael Cohen in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday, Trump is identified as “Individual 1,” legal speak for a felony suspect in what the U.S. Constitution calls “high crimes and misdemeanors” that qualifies a president for impeachment.

In 1974, a Congressional committee charged with investigation of Nixon’s misdoings voted to impeach Richard M. Nixon for his high crimes but Nixon resigned in disgrace before actual proceedings could begin.

Since then, Congress has only impeached one other American president — Bill Clinton for perjury in lying about his sexual dalliances with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.  That impeachment, driven by Republicans, failed and Clinton completed his second term.

Now, with Trump in the White House with what he considers “absolute power” to run the nation as a ruthless dictator, the Republican-led Congress is both complicit in his illegal and immoral actions and too cowardly to act in the best interests of the nation.

“This is a very big deal. The president of the United States has been directly implicated in federal crimes, and implicated not by some enemy but by his own personal lawyer,” Neal Katyal, a former U.S. solicitor general who is now a white-collar criminal defense attorney, told The Washington Post Tuesday.

Former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason, who now teaches law at George Washington University, says Cohen’s pleas most likely “implicated Trump in aiding and abetting the campaign violation, or in a conspiracy.”

Cohen’s guilty pleas came on the say day that a jury in the federal courthouse in Alexandria, VA, found former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort guilty on eight counts of bank and tax fraud.  He faces another trial next month on other felonies.

Manafort’s trial and convictions came out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian collusion i the 2016 Presidential election and possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

Trump calls the investigation a “witch hunt” and claims, often, that he is not involved.  The information that brought the guilty pleas by Cohen came from Mueller, who provide documents, tapes and other evidence to the federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

Cohen’s guilty pleas, under oath, now clearly implicate Trump in directing him to break the law by arranging to pay hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy nude model Karen McDougal to keep quiet about details of claimed affairs with Trump.

A $130,000 payment to Daniels by Cohen was reimbursed by the Trump Organization as part of more than $400,000 in expenses and fees.  The payments, Cohen now admits, were made to keep damaging information from becoming public in the 2016 election — felony actions because they were unreported political contributions and exceeded campaign finance limits.

Not involved?  To use the gutter language of Donald Trump, he is up to his fat, lying ass in this mess of felonies and subversion of America’s political process.

Ironically, those attending a campaign-style rally for Trump in West Virginia Tuesday chanted “drain the swamp,” a refrain he used in the 2016 presidential campaign.

That swamp he promised to drain is now his, a toxic dump filled with his criminal associated and dominated by the most putrid hog of all — Donald John Trump.

Forty-four years ago, I wrote in a newspaper column about the resignation of a scandal-ridden Richard M. Nixon from the presidency.

The headline read: “Jail to the chief.”

Nixon never went to jail for his high crimes against the state because Gerald Ford, an appointed vice president after Spiro Agnew got caught in his own felonies, pardoned the disgraced president.

Voters paid Ford back for that pardon by defeating him in the next presidential election.

Something that Republicans facing the midterm elections in November should remember if they don’t take action that is needed against the current criminal at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

_______________________________________________________

Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue