Trump enters the stage

Discussion of the recent unfolding of history.

Re: Trump enters the stage - Ted Cruze, Trump policy echoes?

Postby Meno_ » Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:23 pm


Ted Cruz echoes Trump to slam Biden for rejoining Paris climate accord
"Do you also believe the Geneva Convention was about the views of the citizens of Geneva?" Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retorted.

Senator Ted Cruz's comment about President Joe Biden's rejoining the Paris climate agreement was met with derision on Twitter, with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg saying: "So happy that USA has finally rejoined the Pittsburgh Accords

Jan. 21, 2021, 8:17 AM EST / Updated Jan. 21, 2

Senator Ted Cruz repeated Donald Trump's America-centric climate rhetoric as President Joe Biden rejoined the Paris agreement on his first day in office.

Cruz, R-Texas, said in a tweet late Wednesday that by returning America to the multinational climate accord, Biden has indicated he was more interested "in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh."

When Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, the biggest international effort to curb climate change, in 2017 he said: "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris."

Trump said the accord disadvantaged the U.S. — part of his broader strategy to loosen restrictions on domestic oil, gas and coal producers. The U.S. is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China.

Cruz’s comment on Wednesday was met with criticism on Twitter, with users pointing out the obvious: the Paris agreement is a multinational effort.

France was just one of the 196 participants to commit to the 2015 accord, which aims to keep the increase in average temperatures worldwide “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., responded to Cruz in a tweet, saying: "Quick question: do you also believe the Geneva Convention was about the views of the citizens of Geneva?"

The Geneva Convention, a set of protocols that regulates armed conflict, takes its origins in Geneva, Switzerland, but is recognized by nearly every country in the world.

Ocasio-Cortez introduced a sweeping policy resolution called "Green New Deal" that called for tackling climate change by moving the U.S. off fossil fuels in 2019, but it was defeated in the Senate.

Pittsburgh’s mayor, Bill Peduto, also reacted to Cruz on Twitter, saying: "Here we go, again…”

Pro-immigration reform group calls for pathway to citizenship in new ad buy
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg quipped in an apparent reference to Cruz's tweet: "So happy that USA has finally rejoined the Pittsburgh Agreement. Welcome back!"

Meanwhile, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., also criticized Biden's decision to rejoin the Paris agreement, saying in a tweet it will cost American jobs and "force households and small business to pay higher utility bills." It's not clear what the costs of the U.S. rejoining the agreement would be — if any — to Americans, or how it would impact utility bills.

Biden’s rejoining of the Paris accord marks the start of a major policy reversal for the U.S. on the international stage, but he is already facing pushback at home.

Moments after Biden signed an executive order to rejoin the accord on Wednesday, a group of Republican senators called on Biden to submit his plan to re-engage the U.S. in the agreement to lawmakers for "review and consideration."

The senators’ move reflects the deep-seated political divisions over climate policy that could hamper Biden’s ambitious $2 trillion climate plan.

Yuliya Talmazan is a London-based journalist.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump Senate trial

Postby Meno_ » Fri Jan 22, 2021 1:03 am



Pelosi says she’ll send impeachment article ‘soon’ with trial in limbo
“I’m not going to be telling you when it was going,” she told reporters.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.

01/21/2021 12:43 PM EST

Updated: 01/21/2021 02:33 PM EST

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she would “soon” take steps that would formally launch the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump but refused to offer a specific timeline as Senate leaders continue to haggle over details.

Pelosi is expected to transfer the House’s article of impeachment against Trump in the coming days, a step that will require the Senate to swiftly begin its days-long trial into charges that Trump incited the deadly insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month.

Pelosi could deliver that article as soon as Friday, more than a week after a bipartisan House voted to convict Trump, according to lawmakers and aides. That would tee up a trial to start the next day the Senate is in session.

But several Democrats said part of Pelosi’s calculation is waiting for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to reach a power sharing agreement for the 50-50 Senate, something they’re still negotiating.

“They’ve now informed us they’re ready to receive,” Pelosi told reporters of the Senate Thursday, noting that there are “other questions about how a trial will proceed.”

“I’m not going to be telling you when it was going,” she added, declining to offer further specifics.

The House voted to impeach Trump on Jan. 13, with one week left in his term as every Democrat and nearly a dozen Republicans warned he posed a clear and present danger to the country.

But Pelosi has so far held off transmitting the article to the Senate, a process that involves the House’s impeachment managers hand-delivering the paperwork across the Capitol dome. It’s a similar move to Pelosi’s handling of Trump’s first impeachment in December 2019, when Democrats waited weeks over Congress’s winter recess to transmit the articles as they sought to carefully choreograph the start of the Senate’s trial.

This time, the process is more complicated as the start of a Senate impeachment trial would come as Trump is out of office and a newly inaugurated President Joe Biden attempts to lock in his Cabinet amid multiple national crises.

The Senate is moving quickly to approve key national security posts this week, but a trial — which would require senators to sit in the chamber six days a week for its duration — would almost certainly slow the process for at least some of Biden’s nominees.

Further complicating things, Schumer and McConnell have yet to reach an agreement for governing the Senate, which several Democrats said will have considerable influence over when Pelosi sends the article and the trial starts. The biggest obstacle to reaching a deal is McConnell’s demand that Schumer preserve the legislative filibuster, which Democrats have rebuffed.

Unlike in 2019, however, when almost all Republicans were in favor of acquitting Trump, his fate in the Senate remains uncertain. It is unlikely that 17 Republicans would vote to convict their former president, but key GOP senators, including McConnell, say they remain undecided and the GOP conference’s calculation could change quickly.

Some Republicans have questioned the constitutionality of holding an impeachment trial now that Trump is no longer in office. Some have also complained that the Democrats’ move to impeach Trump — regardless of his involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots that left five people dead — would undercut Biden’s calls for national unity at his inauguration ceremony on Wednesday.

But Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she is “not worried” about that argument.

“The president of the United States committed an act of incitement of insurrection,” Pelosi said. “I don't think it's very unifying to say, oh, let's just forget it and move on. That's not how you unify.”

“Just because he’s now gone — thank God — you don’t say to a president, ‘Do whatever you want in the last months of your administration. You’re going to get a get-out-of-jail card free’ because people think you should make nice, nice, and forget that people died here on Jan. 6.”

Trump leaves QAnon and the online MAGA world crushed and confused

Democrats rebuff McConnell's filibuster demands
Trump’s ‘crony pardons’ flabbergast the political world

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump the outcast They don't wa

Postby Meno_ » Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:28 pm

They don't want him in Florida or New York.

"The Palm Beach Committee, also wrote a letter saying they don’t want Trump as a neighbor because he “breaks laws” and could draw crowds of “Proud Boys, Skin Heads (and) Neo Nazi Crazies.”

Where will the poor things go? Will some take them?
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Mc'Connell

Postby Meno_ » Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:45 pm

McConnell privately says he wants Trump gone as Republicans quietly lobby him to convict
By Michael Warren and Jamie Gangel, CNN
Updated 12:15 PM EST, Fri January 22, 2021


As the House prepares to send articles of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, CNN has learned that dozens of influential Republicans around Washington -- including former top Trump administration officials -- have been quietly lobbying GOP members of Congress to impeach and convict Donald Trump. The effort is not coordinated but reflects a wider battle inside the GOP between those loyal to Trump and those who want to sever ties and ensure he can never run for President again.

The lobbying started in the House after the January 6 attack on the Capitol and in the days leading up to impeachment. But it's now more focused on Sen. Mitch McConnell, the powerful minority leader who has signaled he may support convicting Trump.

"Mitch said to me he wants Trump gone," one Republican member of Congress told CNN. "It is in his political interest to have him gone. It is in the GOP interest to have him gone. The question is, do we get there?"

McConnell had proposed delaying the trial until February, but with the articles coming to the Senate on Monday, the process will likely be set in motion sooner. It would take 17 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats in order to convict. While the bar is high, some GOP sources think there is more of an appetite to punish the former President than is publicly apparent.

"There were 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment. There were probably over 150 who supported it," said Charlie Dent, a former Republican congressman and CNN contributor.

The ongoing Republican whisper campaign, according to more than a dozen sources who spoke to CNN, is based on a shared belief that a successful conviction is critical for the future of the Republican party. Multiple sources describe this moment as a reckoning for the party.

"Trump created a cult of personality that is hard to dismantle," said a former senior Republican official. "Conviction could do that."

The lobbying effort has included behind-the-scenes pressure by Republican donors, calls from former top Trump White House officials, and a set of talking points circulating among Republicans arguing for Trump's impeachment.

The 9-point memo charges that "it is difficult to find a more anti-conservative outburst by a U.S. president than Donald Trump the last two months." Other points include that Trump "urged supporters from across the nation to come to Washington, DC, to disrupt" Congress on January 6 and egged on the crowd, which was "widely understood to include people who were planning to fight physically, and who were prepared to die in response to his false claims of a 'stolen election.''

The memo goes on to point out Trump "tweeted and made other statements against the Vice President as the Secret Service was being forced to rush Mike Pence out of the Senate chamber and into a protective bunker." It's unclear how widely disseminated the memo is among Republicans in Washington.

'A fight for the party'

The U.S. Capitol on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.
McConnell is also facing pressure from a faction of Senate Republicans to stick with Trump, with some telling CNN that support for conviction could threaten McConnell's leadership.

"No, no, no," Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican and Trump ally, told CNN when asked if he could support McConnell if he voted to convict Trump, calling such a vote a "dangerous precedent" and adding: "I don't even think we should be having a trial."

"If you're wanting to erase Donald Trump from the party, you're going to get erased," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on Fox News Wednesday. "This idea of moving forward without Donald Trump in the Republican Party is a disaster for the Republican Party."

There have also been public appeals for Republican lawmakers to take action against Trump. Former White House chief of staff John Kelly told CNN if it was up to him, he would vote to remove Trump. Former Attorney General Bill Barr accused the President of "orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress" and went on to call his conduct a "betrayal of his office."

Among some former Trump administration officials, the President's actions around the January 6 riot aroused feelings of disgust.

"I almost threw up when I saw the President tweeting against Mike Pence," said one former senior Trump official.

In addition, more than 30 former Republican members of Congress signed a letter urging House members to vote to impeach. At the same time, current and former Senate aides are encouraging their bosses to seriously consider voting to convict.

And in the days after January 6, a handful of House staffers whose bosses supported Trump resigned, including a senior GOP staffer on the House Armed Services Committee and aides to Reps. Lauren Boebert and Jim Jordan.

"A lot of people view this as a fight for the party," said one former Republican Hill aide.

Others are hoping more Senate Republicans will step up.

"In the Senate, there is more institutional respect and understanding of the long-term consequences," said former Trump administration appointee Gabriel Noronha. "There is also real resentment of Trump and the damage he has done, and awareness of what this means in the next four to eight years."

Noronha recently made news when he was fired by the White House for a tweet condemning Trump's actions on January 6.

Signals from McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, wears a protective mask while walking to his office from the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, J
The consensus among the Republicans who spoke to CNN is that McConnell's decision on conviction will sway others. On Tuesday, in his most forceful comments yet, McConnell tied Trump's actions to the attack itself during a speech on the Senate floor.

"The mob was fed lies," McConnell said. "They were provoked by the President and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like. But we pressed on."

Since he is known as restrained and deliberate, McConnell's words gave hope to Republicans who would like the party to split from Trump.

"I hope Mitch's institutional reverence for the Senate will overcome his natural political caution and will lead him to the conclusion that Trump is in the way of the party's future," said the former senior GOP official.

The legal arguments

Former President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media while departing the White House on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.
Other Republican senators who have said they will vote to acquit cite a Jan. 12 op-ed in The Washington Post by former federal judge and conservative legal luminary J. Michael Luttig. Luttig writes an impeachment trial after Trump left office would be unconstitutional.

"I think a lot of people would like a reason not to convict," said a former Republican Senate staffer.

But other Republican legal experts are pushing back with GOP senators.

"It feels like the weight of the energy in Washington with legal conservatives is pretty strongly in favor of impeachment," said Gregg Nunziata, a former counsel to the Senate Republican conference who has reached out to senators himself.

However the fear of reprisal from Trump's allies in the media -- Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham have already criticized McConnell's condemnation of Trump -- and Trump's base may prevail.

The former senior Republican official who would like to see Trump convicted characterized it as an internal war within the party and expressed pessimism that enough senators would rise to the occasion.

"I have learned through sad experience that no one has lost money betting on the seemingly bottomless capacity of congressional R's for self-abasement and cowardice," said the former official.


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Re: Trump enters the stage - and the beat goes on

Postby Meno_ » Sun Jan 24, 2021 9:26 am

Democracy Dies in Darkness

Trump jumps into a divisive battle over the Republican Party — with a threat to start a ‘MAGA Party’
A supporter of President Donald Trump holds a flag and gun outside the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Jan. 20.
A supporter of President Donald Trump holds a flag and gun outside the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Jan. 20. (Courtney Pedroza/for The Washington Post)
By Josh Dawsey and Michael Scherer
Jan. 23, 2021 at 6:10 p.m. EST
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former president Donald Trump threw himself back into politics this weekend by publicly endorsing a devoted and divisive acolyte in Arizona who has embraced his false election conspiracy theories and entertained the creation of a new "MAGA Party."

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In a recorded phone call, Trump offered his “complete and total endorsement” for another term for Arizona state party chairwoman Kelli Ward, a lightning rod who has sparred with the state’s Republican governor, been condemned by the business community and overseen a recent flight in party registrations. She narrowly won reelection, by a margin of 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent, marking Trump’s first victory in a promised battle to maintain political relevance and influence after losing the 2020 election.

In recent weeks, Trump has entertained the idea of creating a third party, called the Patriot Party, and instructed his aides to prepare election challenges to lawmakers who crossed him in the final weeks in office, including Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), according to people familiar with the plans.

Multiple people in Trump’s orbit, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, say Trump has told people that the third-party threat gives him leverage to prevent Republican senators from voting to convict him during the Senate impeachment trial. Trump advisers also say they plan to recruit opposing primary candidates and commission polling next week in districts of targeted lawmakers. Trump has more than $70 million in campaign cash banked to fund his political efforts, these people say.

The prospect of a divisive battle threatens to widen a split in the Republican Party and has alarmed leaders in Washington, who have been pleading publicly to avoid any new rounds of internecine retribution. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel are among the leaders who have worked to protect politicians like Cheney, who supported Trump’s second impeachment and now faces an internal effort to remove her from her role as the third-highest-ranking member of the House Republican leadership.

McDaniel has also spoken out about the idea of a third-party split, while repeatedly pushing back against moves by Arizona state party leaders to censure fellow Republicans, such as Gov. Doug Ducey and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who have broken with Trump. (The Arizona party on Saturday night censured Ducey, McCain and former Arizona senator Jeff Flake, all longtime establishment Republicans.)

“Having differences in the party is fine. Being a party that is adamantly against cancel culture, we need to recognize that purging isn’t good. Let the voters make the decision,” McDaniel said. “The only way we win in 2022 is if we start getting rid of this purism and cancel culture in our own party.”

Graham, a close confidant of Trump, has also been trying to talk him out of attacking Cheney, Rice and Ducey, who earned Trump’s ire by recognizing Joe Biden’s win in Arizona and refusing to endorse Trump’s baseless assertions that it rested on fraud.

“We’ve got to go together, and be a party together,” Graham said. “I’m into winning. I’m into conservatives who can win.”

The central issue between the warring party elements is whether Republicans will continue to organize themselves around fealty to Trump or whether a broader coalition should be built in the coming years that can welcome both his most avid supporters and those who have condemned his behavior. The scale and shape of the big tent built by Ronald Reagan, nurtured by George W. Bush and transformed by Trump is once again up for grabs, as the party finds itself without power at the White House, the House or the Senate for the first time since 2014.

“What we have seen in President Trump is an incredible politician but one who was limited to getting 46 or 47 percent of the national vote,” said Henry Barbour, a Mississippi national committeeman who serves on the board of the Data Trust, a company that manages the party’s data infrastructure. “We can win over 50 percent if we grow the party by addition and not division.”

A truck owned by a supporter of President Donald Trump at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Jan. 6. (Caitlin O'Hara/for The Washington Post)
As it now stands, the big tent is tearing at the edges. Business groups have called for a Grand Old Party purge of more extreme leaders, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has blamed Trump and other Republicans for provoking the U.S. Capitol riot and McCarthy has said Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack by not immediately denouncing the violence once it began — although he later said he did not believe Trump provoked the riot.

Trump’s fiercest supporters in Congress, meanwhile, have continued to threaten and denounce those who criticize the former president, repeatedly raising the prospect of a more fundamental party division.

Adding to the conflict, Republican voters remain overwhelmingly supportive of Trump, suggesting strength in primary races that the establishment figures fear could prompt losses in competitive state and national races. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 6 in 10 Republicans believed the party should follow Trump’s leadership going forward, rather than chart a new path.

“Here’s a warning the GOP needs to hear,” tweeted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a newly elected member who has embraced Trump’s conspiratorial view and made supportive comments about the extremist group QAnon. “The vast majority of Republican voters, volunteers, and donors are no longer loyal to the GOP, Republican Party, and candidates just because they have an R by their name. Their loyalty now lies with Donald J Trump.”

The same tensions are also playing out in the states, where grass-roots party apparatuses have rebelled against calls to accept Biden as the duly elected president. The state party of Wyoming, where Cheney serves, previously demanded that the electoral college results be rejected in Congress.

Nowhere is the division more stark now than in Arizona, where the state Republican Party, run by Ward, has tried to lead the challenge of Biden’s victory. Before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, she filed a failed lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence in Texas in an effort to force him to rule on the legitimacy of Arizona’s electoral votes. She has also recorded conspiracy-laden videos about election impropriety that have attracted legal threats for defamation from Dominion Voting Systems, which makes software used to count ballots in parts of Arizona.

At a state party meeting Saturday in Phoenix, hundreds of party activists gathered in church for a largely maskless gathering where some members disregarded yellow caution tape on chairs meant to enforce social distancing. Political divisions were often described in near-apocalyptic terms, and chaotic shouting dominated large parts of the proceedings, as different members of the party and people who have advocated for a new third party fought over parliamentary procedure during nominating speeches.

“We can’t give up, we can’t give in, everything is at stake, hold the line,” was the rallying cry that ended an introductory video.

“We are on a precipice that has never been seen before since maybe the mid-1800s,” Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) said at one point, in an apparent reference to the fight over slavery.

Ward was expected to win reelection, though her margin was surprisingly narrow, after she presented her candidacy as the only option to keep the Arizona party from going “back to the dark days before Trump.” She said Trump had asked her to run in a private meeting, and then played the recorded message from him endorsing her candidacy.

“The president is watching today’s race very closely,” she said.

Her efforts to reject the results of the presidential election, which were run in her state by Ducey and other Republicans, have created a massive backlash among moderate elements of the party and among the business community, which has historically sided with Republicans in the state.

On the day of the Capitol riot, Ward posted a poll on her Twitter account asking, “Can we salvage/save the Republican Party or do we need another option?” “Salvage it!” received 8 percent of the responses, compared with 78 percent who selected “#MAGA Party needed.”

Though Republicans performed well down ballot in 2020, they have lost two U.S. Senate seats since 2018. Last year, Biden became the first Democrat in 24 years to win Arizona’s electoral votes, narrowly besting Trump by 0.3 percentage points. Many moderate Republican strategists in the state blame the extremism of the party infrastructure for the losses and worry about finding a candidate to field for the Senate seat up in 2022. Ducey, who is term-limited, has said he will not run for that office.

“Right now on the Republican side, I don’t have a word to describe what is going on,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Glenn Hamer said. “Whatever the worst-case scenario is, this is worse. There will be a reaction to this. I have no doubt about it.”

Supporters of President Donald Trump protest the results of the 2020 election at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Jan. 6. (Caitlin O'Hara/for The Washington Post)
The divide in the party was evident on Jan. 6, when Republican protests at the Arizona Capitol physically split in two when jumbotron screens showed the riot happening thousands of miles away in Washington. One group of protesters said they supported the raid, while a separate group opposed it.

In the first nine days after the riot, nearly 5,000 Arizona Republicans changed their party registration, compared with 719 Democrats, according to the secretary of state’s office. The pattern has continued since then at a reduced scale.

Neil G. Giuliano, the president of Greater Phoenix Leadership, a group of the state’s corporate leaders, says he personally knows more than a dozen people who have left the party after the attack on the Capitol and the decision by Republican lawmakers to endorse Trump’s false claims of fraud. The group put out a statement this month condemning as “reprehensible” the behavior of Ward, Gosar and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) for “disinformation and outright lies to reverse a fair and free election.” The two members of Congress were among the most vocal in seeking to deny Biden his electoral victory.

“They all know the truth,” Giuliano said about the Republican officials who nonetheless claimed the election result was fraudulent. “I can’t remember a time when there was something as serious as this that compelled CEOs to speak so strongly about what was going on in a political party.”

Chuck Coughlin, a Republican consultant who worked with former governor Jan Brewer (R), is hoping to raise money for a statewide referendum that could impose nonpartisan primary elections in the state, draining power away from local Republican Party officials.

“They get self-validated through their chat groups, and they think people like Gosar can win statewide elections and there is just no truth to that,” Coughlin said. “They would rather worship themselves than work on a cause greater than themselves.”

Trump himself is likely to decide how vicious the coming fights will be. Since leaving office, he has played golf in Palm Beach while remaining focused on his political fortunes. In recent weeks, Trump has told advisers that he remains angry at both McConnell and McCarthy and has the popularity to drive down their support within the party. He is encouraging his most loyal Republican lawmakers and advisers to attack other Republicans for being disloyal — and is launching an effort to blanket the airwaves during the impeachment trial, according to a person familiar with his efforts.

At the same time, he has told aides he plans to keep a lower profile over the next few months before ramping his public activities back up to fulfill his vague departing pledge, made at Joint Base Andrews on Inauguration Day, to “be back in some form.”

Kelli Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican Party, holds a news conference in Phoenix on Nov. 18. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)
“The president has made clear his goal is to win back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022,” Trump senior adviser Jason Miller said. “There’s nothing that’s actively being planned regarding an effort outside of that, but it’s completely up to Republican senators if this is something that becomes more serious.”

Conservative activists have grown concerned about Trump’s talk of a third-party split, which has been spreading over Facebook and through other messaging apps.

“A third party would lock in for a generation the left’s ascendancy in American politics,” said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity and an early tea party organizer. “If you look at what Republicans accomplished during the brief time they were in power — generational tax reform, three Supreme Court justices, deregulation of the economy and energy policies to help America — they had some key successes.”

Those hoping for more party unity argue that time, and collective anger at Democratic policies, are likely to heal the current wounds, as it has in past moments of crises for the party, like after the Watergate scandal, the election of Bill Clinton and the total government takeover by Democrats under Barack Obama.

Grover Norquist, a longtime party activist who runs Americans for Tax Reform, said that by the next election, complaints about Democratic proposals will overshadow the current Republican divisions.

“You can count yourself to sleep at night by recounting the number of times the establishment has said that the Republican Party is dead,” he said.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Will Trump's bid survive to 202

Postby Meno_ » Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:51 pm

Five GOP 3senators vote Trump impeachment trial is constitutional
Risky business: Donald Trump isn't alone in seeing his political fate tied to his impeachment trial

House Democrats have sent the impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate, kicking off the trial process.
WASHINGTON – An impeachment trial is both a legal proceeding and a political event, and the upcoming prosecution of former President Donald Trump has spawned a complex set of political challenges for Republicans and Democrats, as well as the defiant defendant.

Republicans are already fighting about whether to move past Trump by convicting him – and blocking him from seeking office again – or keep faith with the former president and his large base of voters ahead of elections in 2022 and 2024.

The Democrats and new President Joe Biden, meanwhile, run the risk of distracting themselves in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic by conducting the trial of a politician who is already out of office.

With opening arguments set for Feb. 9, the trial "will make it difficult for Joe Biden to unify the country," pollster Frank Luntz said. "It will be very difficult for the Republicans to unify their party. It will be difficult for the Democrats to push their agenda because everybody will be talking about impeachment."

"In short," Luntz said, "it's pretty bad for everyone."

At the center of it all: Trump and his hold on the Republican Party.

Presidents have been impeached, but none have been removed from office due to impeachment. Confusing? Here's how.

Trump in exile but plotting his strategy

If the Senate convicts Trump – which remains a long shot with 17 Republicans needed to join all 50 Democrats – it could then vote on whether to bar him from public office, potentially crippling plans for another Trump presidential run in 2024.

Trump has been unusually quiet since leaving the White House last week, mainly because Twitter de-platformed him shortly after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

More: As Trump impeachment trial begins, he lacks star lawyers, full Republican backing

More: Feds track plans to attack members of Congress during Trump impeachment

That attack triggered the Democratic-led House to impeach Trump on Jan. 13. The impeachment article accuses him of inciting the insurrection by making false claims of election fraud behind Biden's victory, and pressuring state and federal officials to reverse the result.

Many doubt there are enough Republican votes for conviction. On Tuesday, a total of 45 GOP senators – more than enough for acquittal – voted in support of a motion that would have dismissed the trial by declaring it unconstitutional.

Secluded in his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Trump has made clear he expects Senate Republicans to defend him and vote for acquittal, said two aides who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Trump is also threatening vengeance on those who oppose him by threatening to back primary challengers against them, aides said, just as he did the ten House Republicans who voted for impeachment.

President Donald Trump tours a section of the U.S.-Mexican border wall Jan. 12 in Alamo, Texas.
President Donald Trump tours a section of the U.S.-Mexican border wall Jan. 12 in Alamo, Texas.

The former president is planning to back 2022 primary challengers against Republicans who refused to help him overturn the election, aides said. That list ranges from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

Trump has already gotten involved in one 2022 race. He endorsed his former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, shortly after she announced she is running for governor of Arkansas.

The potency of Trump's political appeal could be affected by events at his impeachment trial.

House prosecutors said they will provide evidence of how Trump tried to get state and federal officials to break the law for him, and how his lies fueled the rage of supporters who attacked the Capitol, all in an effort to stay in power.

Trump has retained South Carolina lawyer Butch Bowers, and is preparing a defense that argues he acted within his rights, and that he did not instruct voters to commit violence.

If the Senate does wind up voting to convict Trump, and bar him from future office, he has discussed forming a third political party. Aides have discounted the possibility, at least so far.

In a carefully worded written statement, Trump political adviser Jason Miller said that "the President has made clear his goal is to win back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022."

"There’s nothing that’s actively being planned regarding an effort outside of that," Miller said regarding creation of a so-called Patriot Party. "But it’s completely up to Republican Senators if this is something that becomes more serious.”

Republicans remain divided: Move forward with or without Trump?
As House impeachment prosecutors prepare to turn the Senate chamber into a courtroom, the internal Republican battle over support for Trump is already on public display.

As the House voted to impeach, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky let it be known he didn't mind if Trump face charges. McConnell also said he hasn't made up his own mind on whether to vote to convict Trump. He was one of the 45 Republicans who voted Tuesday against holding the trial.

In a floor speech, McConnell said Trump "provoked" rioters who had been "fed lies" about the elections – comments interpreted as a signal to other Republicans that it would be OK to vote to convict Trump.

Pro-Trump Republicans pushed back at McConnell. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on Fox News that McConnell was "wrong" in his analysis.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, flanked by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., left, and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., right, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.
While praising McConnell as a leader, Graham told Fox News that the Kentuckian was "giving some legitimacy to this impeachment process that I think is wrong."

More: Running on empty: Senate Republicans ponder barring Donald Trump from seeking office again

More: The 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump: 'There has never been a greater betrayal by a president'

Graham and other Republicans have said that convicting Trump and barring him from office would alienate his base of working-class voters, dooming Republicans to minority-party status for years.

Other Republicans argue Trump is the one dragging down the party. Many blamed him for the loss of two GOP Senate seats in Georgia runoff elections this month, calling those defeats signs of things to come if the party maintains fealty to Trump.

"You have a divided party right now," said Jessica Taylor, the Senate and Governors Editor at The Cook Political Report.

Some Senate Republicans said they would be vocal in defending Trump and opposing the very idea of trying an ex-office holder.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said the impeachment could backfire on the Democrats who now run the Senate.

"A lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago," he tweeted.

The Democrats move forward – for better or worse
Democrats said Trump needs to be held accountable for the insurrection that will resonate in American politics for years.

Responding to Republican complaints, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said "the theory that the Senate can’t try former officials would amount to a constitutional get-out-of-jail-free card for any president who commits an impeachable offense."

There are risks for Democrats, however. They are pushing the impeachment trial at the same time members are negotiating with Republicans on Biden proposals to fight COVID-19 and stimulate the economy.

Biden has said it is the Senate's decision to hold a Trump trial, but he hopes the leadership will find ways "to deal with their constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of the nation." White House Press Jen Psaki said Biden "still continues to feel that way."

The second Trump impeachment
Conviction may be a hard vote for Democratic senators in closely divided swing states. Two new Democratic senators – Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Mark Kelly of Arizona – won elections to unexpired terms. They both have to run again in 2022 in states that have elected many Republicans in recent years.

Democrats, meanwhile, have explicitly said that one of their goals is to bar Trump from future public office – a development that would have unknowable effects on congressional and presidential races over the next two political cycles.

Luntz, the pollster, said he might advise Trump to attend the trial and testify.

If Trump wins an acquittal, Luntz said, he can claim vindication and campaign again as the "victim" of political chicanery. "Donald Trump loves to be the victim," Luntz said.

And if he's convicted? "Then he's done," Luntz said.

Taylor, of The Cook Political Report, noted that predicting what Trump might do is a "futile" exercise.

"He will clearly do what he wants to do," Taylor said. "He's not going to stick to a script."

© Copyright Gannett 2021
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump on reset?

Postby Meno_ » Thu Jan 28, 2021 7:30 pm

In the Republican Party, the post-Trump era lasted a week

Updated 10:37 AM EST, Thu January 28, 2021
article video

(CNN)Two roads diverged in American politics, and the Republican Party chose the one traveled by disgraced ex-President Donald Trump and QAnon conspiracy theorists.

While pundits ponder the GOP's future -- and traditionalists hope to change course out of the wreckage left by Trump's insurrection -- Washington's power players and state activists have already made their choice.

Highlighting the former President's lightning fast rehabilitation, the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will visit Trump in Florida on Thursday after repudiating his own criticism of the incitement of the US Capitol riot.

Only a week after Trump left the White House, it's clear that his party is not ready to let him go. Extremists and Trumpists are on the rise, while lawmakers who condemned his aberrant conduct fight for their political careers. The anti-Trump wing -- represented by members of Congress such as Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Mitt Romney of Utah and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger -- look like a small and outmaneuvered force.

This week's sorting will have significant implications for the GOP's positioning as it heads into the 2022 midterm elections, and for President Joe Biden's hopes of draining the poison from Washington in the name of national unity.

But it will also pose a fundamental question for the Grand Old Party itself. Is yet another doubling down on grassroots fury and the Trump base the best way to win back Americans? Especially those in suburban areas who rejected the ex-President who lost the House, the Senate and the White House in a single four-year term?

A jazzed turnout by the pro-Trump base is vital to GOP hopes of winning the House in the 2022 midterms. But there is also a chance that a flurry of fervently pro-Trump Senate candidates in swing states could damage the party's hopes of overturning the thin Democratic majority in the chamber.

Trump is gone but the party is still his
Most House Republicans silent over violent Marjorie Taylor Greene comments as Democrats condemn them
Most House Republicans silent over violent Marjorie Taylor Greene comments as Democrats condemn them
Across the country, Republican leaders are reacting to Trump's exit by intensifying the political revolution that transformed the party in his image, censuring and marginalizing those deemed disloyal to a defeated and twice-impeached ex-President.

In a key impeachment test vote this week, 45 GOP senators signaled that they plan for Trump to pay no price for inciting the most heinous assault by a president on the US government in history in the Capitol riot.

McCarthy, who humiliatingly walked back his earlier tepid criticism of Trump, has traveled to Florida for an audience as he seeks to make amends to the former leader in his palace in exile.

In another sign of the GOP's future course, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was not censured by her party after CNN's KFile reported that she expressed supporting in recent years assassinations of Democratic leaders before she ran for Congress. McCarthy plans to have a word with the congresswoman over what his spokesman in a statement Wednesday evening called the "deeply disturbing" comments. Axios was first to report the statement and McCarthy's plans to speak with Greene.

But the QAnon adherent's rocketing rise as a prominent face of a party in the thrall of lies and outlandish propaganda does not seem in danger. In fact, Greene, was rewarded with a plum committee assignment.

Alarmed by splits in his party, McCarthy has ordered his troops to "cut that crap out" and focus on Democrats, CNN reported Wednesday. It is not clear whether his admonition applies to pro-Trump Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who is traveling to Wyoming to slam the GOP's No. 3 House leader Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump, on her own turf.

Remnants of the old GOP -- such as former George W. Bush aide Rob Portman -- who are unwilling to sign up to the unhinged populism that now drives the party of Lincoln have nowhere to go. The Ohio senator announced this week that he will not run for reelection.

Kinzinger told CNN's David Axelrod in his "Axe Files" podcast that he voted to impeach Trump over the Capitol Hill uprising "knowing full well it could very well be terminal to my career."

But in Arkansas, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is wearing her wars with the Washington media in her dishonest tenure as a badge of honor to appeal to the fervidly pro-Trump base in a gubernatorial run.

And in Arizona, Oregon and Pennsylvania, anti-Trump Republicans such as Cindy McCain are being purged while Trump loyalists take prominent positions and state officials who stood firm against the former President's efforts to overturn Biden's election win come under extreme pressure.

'Time to stand up'

Retirements shake up 2022 map as Republican senators eye exits
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is now a CNN commentator, said on "The Situation Room" that the GOP needed to move swiftly against Greene and compared the failure of leaders to honor its values with the courage shown by detained Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

"They are worried about losing an election or not winning a majority," Kasich said. "These folks have to stand up and say this is not our party, we disavow this and this is unacceptable to us."

The lesson of the Trump era is that where there is a choice in the GOP between its values and power, Power always wins. But the party's descent into the sewer of election lies is coming with an increasing price for the rest of the nation. The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued a rare threat bulletin related to domestic terrorism Wednesday warning of the potential for violence by extremists emboldened by the US Capitol attack.

The warning cited the presidential transition "as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives" as potential catalysts for uprisings. Those narratives were pushed for weeks by Trump and his Republican enablers in Washington and still find a home in sections of the conservative media.

The GOP's embrace of the departed Trump is perfectly logical, even if it leaves Republican lawmakers in awkward positions as they let his crimes against the Constitution slide along with lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

The former President has long enjoyed elevated approval ratings in his party that have protected him from the consequences of his unconstitutional power grabs and failures among Republicans leaders he bullied for years. Their discomfort when confronted by the Washington media pales by comparison to the fury of grassroots voters back home if they break with the ex-President.

Still, a CNN/SSRS poll published just before he left office, found however that 48% of Republicans wanted to move on from Trump while 47% hoped that he would continue to be regarded as the leader of the party.

The clarity offered this week -- including McCarthy's pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago -- suggests that party leaders and rank-and-file members believe that any blip in Trump's popularity after the Capitol mob attack was only temporary.

And McCarthy's strategy makes clear he views the Trump base as critical to seizing what history suggests is a strong chance of winning back the House for the GOP in the midterms of a new president's first term in 2022.

He may also be making a judgment that corporate donors who halted PAC contributions to GOP lawmakers who refused to certify Biden's election win will return to the fold with the potential prospect of a Republican House majority from 2023.

Why the GOP never dumps Trump

McCarthy to visit the former president in Florida, showing where he stands in a post-Trump Republican Party
Power has always been a key motivating factor behind the Senate GOP's pained support for the ex-President and its unwillingness to constrain him or punish his transgressions when he was in office.

Any senator who wants to avoid a primary challenge has no practical choice but to demonstrate total loyalty to Trump.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whose presidential dreams were crushed by the former reality star in 2016, was long seen as the poster boy for a new, more optimistic and inclusive GOP. A career trajectory that now has him standing strongly with Trump and branding impeachment as all about "vengeance from the radical left" is an apt personification of the transformation Trump wrought in the party. It may also have something to do with chatter about a possible primary challenge from Ivanka Trump.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was among the most distraught Republicans over the attack on his beloved US Senate incited by Trump in his effort to thwart the constitutional transfer of power to Biden.

The Kentucky senator even made it known that he was thinking of voting to convict Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors in his Senate trial. He has yet to say what he will decide. But on Tuesday, McConnell was among the senators who voted, unsuccessfully to dismiss the case on the dubious grounds that it is unconstitutional to try a former President who was impeached while in office.

The vote reflected increasing confidence among Trump's Washington acolytes that he will escape a conviction that would preclude him from running for federal office in the future.

Another key Republican figure, former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who expertly engineered her exit from Trump's administration with the ex-President's blessing, has walked back her tame earlier criticism of Trump after the insurrection. Now, Haley who is clearly laying the ground for a run for president in 2024, is painting the President who tried to destroy American democracy as the victim.

"I mean, give the man a break," Haley said on Fox News.

© 2021 Cable News Network. A Warner Media Company. All Rights Reserved.




Democrats look to quickly move past Trump trial
The new Senate majority is eager to turn to Biden’s agenda now that it’s clear Republicans won’t convict the ex-president.

Tim Kaine
“To do a trial knowing you'll get 55 votes at the max seems to me to be not the right prioritization of our time,” Sen. Tim Kaine told reporters Wednesday. | Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Even before Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins, some Senate Democrats are getting ready to speed to the end.

After only five Republican senators joined Democrats in a vote Tuesday essentially declaring that Trump’s trial was constitutional, some in the new majority are signaling they’d like to quickly focus their attention elsewhere. If it wasn’t obvious before, they say, it’s now clear the GOP isn’t going to convict Trump.

“To do a trial knowing you'll get 55 votes at the max seems to me to be not the right prioritization of our time,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told reporters Wednesday. “Obviously we do a trial, maybe we can do it fast, but my top priority is Covid relief and getting the Biden Cabinet approved.”

Under Senate rules, the chamber is obligated to hold a trial now that an article of impeachment has been delivered. But lawmakers can decide how long the trial itself will last or whether to hear from any witnesses. Several Democrats emphasized in interviews Wednesday that they view Trump’s second impeachment trial as far different from his first, given that senators themselves witnessed the insurrection.

“This is a pretty straightforward trial,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “I never thought it needed to be as long as the Ukraine trial which was a very complicated charge with a lot of witnesses and important testimony. I would hope we could get this done in a week.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a member of Democratic leadership, agreed: “It is really a judgment call about whether or not people think that his inciting an insurrection and essentially an attack on our democracy warrants conviction.”

The trial comes as the new Democratic majority is eager to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominees and advance his agenda, including another coronavirus relief package. But rushing through the proceedings could also undercut the only chance to hold Trump accountable for inciting the deadly riot at the Capitol and prevent him from running for office again.

Some Democrats are in no mood to discuss any timeline for the trial. Asked whether Tuesday’s procedural vote forced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) informed his thinking on how much time Democrats should spend on the trial, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) responded that senators need to take a step back.

“Our job isn’t just to answer the minutiae of today’s Twitter-fueled news cycle but to think about our republic and its health and its viability,” said Coons, a close Biden ally. “We just had one of the most terrifying incidents in American history that put in question the viability of our democracy. How much time do you think we should spend on that?”

Coons added: “I’m struck at how few of my colleagues seem concerned about the quality of their answers.”

The parameters for the forthcoming impeachment trial have yet to be set. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reached an agreement last week that the trial would begin the week of February 8 and established a schedule for House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense to file their trial briefs. But Schumer and McConnell still need to work out the organizing resolution to govern the trial itself. Earlier this week, Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that the trial will be “fair” but also done “relatively quickly.”

Democrats are privately predicting the trial could start Tuesday February 9 and wrap up by the weekend. But the length of the trial could also depend on whether the House impeachment managers decide to bring in additional witnesses.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the new Budget Committee chairman who would help steer any relief package under reconciliation procedures, also signaled his desire to move quickly on the trial. “I would hope that we deal with that as quickly as possible,” he said, adding that he wants to see "the needs of working families" addressed.

While Senate Democrats are broadly expected to vote to convict Trump, they may only win over the five mostly moderate or retiring GOP senators who already voted with them: Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey and Ben Sasse. That’s far short of the 17 needed to convict Trump on a two-thirds majority.

Even after departing the White House largely disgraced in the eyes of official Washington, Trump has maintained his grip on the GOP. Many Senate Republicans are coalescing around the argument that it’s unconstitutional to convict a former president, though that claim is disputed by other legal scholars, including members of the conservative Federalist Society. Republicans have been eager to focus on procedural arguments against impeachment and not on Trump's behavior.

Some Republicans suggested that their vote Tuesday was not necessarily an indication of their final vote on whether to convict the former president. McConnell is among the Senate Republicans who say they remain undecided. The Kentucky Republican told reporters Wednesday that he’ll listen to both sides of the argument.

“I hope enough Republicans join us to impeach this president,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “If they don't, perhaps we'll consider some alternatives.”

Among the alternatives under discussion is a possible censure resolution, though it's not yet clear whether it could gain momentum.

Collins told reporters Wednesday that she and Kaine are working on a proposal that she said would be “in lieu of a trial.”

“The outcome of the trial is already obvious,” Collins said. “I believe yesterday's vote shows clearly that there is no possibility of conviction... the question is, is there another way to express condemnation of the president's activities with regard to the riot and the pressure that he put on state officials?”

Second police officer died by suicide following Capitol attack
Senate GOP braces for more retirements after Portman stunner
Biden starts staffing a commission on Supreme Court reform
Trump poll shows impeachment backlash hitting Cheney

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Renewal Trump and MCarthy

Postby Meno_ » Fri Jan 29, 2021 2:19 am

McCarthy and Trump discuss Republicans' plans to win House majority at Florida meeting Thursday
By Devon M. Sayers, Jamie Gangel and Ryan Nobles, CNN
Updated 5:37 PM EST, Thu January 28, 2021

(CNN)Former President Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy met Thursday at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where the two Republicans discussed strategy for winning the House majority in next year's midterms, according to a readout of the meeting provided by Trump's Political Action Committee Save America.

"They discussed many topics, number one of which was taking back the House in 2022," the statement read. "President Trump's popularity has never been stronger than it is today, and his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time."

The statement described the meeting as "cordial" and highlighted a stronger than expected performance among key House GOP candidates, though Democrats maintained their House majority with a slimmer margin.

McCarthy's visit comes at a tumultuous time for the Republican Party, following Trump's role ahead of the January 6 deadly riot storming the Capitol that led to his second impeachment just days before he left office. Ten House Republicans voted to impeach Trump and the Senate is expected to pick up the former President's trial next month. Still, all but five Republican senators voted earlier this week that such a trial was not constitutional, outlining just some of the divides in the party, as Democrats now control the legislative and executive branches.

McCarthy released his own statement confirming Trump's account of the meeting, showing he's in lock-step with the former President.

"Today, President Trump committed to helping elect Republicans in the House and Senate in 2022," McCarthy said. "A Republican majority will listen to our fellow Americans and solve the challenges facing our nation. Democrats, on the other hand, have only put forward an agenda that divides us — such as impeaching a President who is now a private citizen and destroying blue-collar energy jobs. For the sake of our country, the radical Democrat agenda must be stopped."

He added, "A united conservative movement will strengthen the bonds of our citizens and uphold the freedoms our country was founded on."

McCarthy was also in Florida fundraising as the House is out this week.

Republicans bullish Trump isn't at risk of conviction in impeachment trial
Despite political pressure from some in the GOP that the party must move on from Trump, McCarthy is eyeing what will win him back the House and possibly catapult him to the speakership.

CNN reported earlier Thursday that two sources told CNN that some people warned McCarthy not to go see Trump. A source familiar with the matter said it made McCarthy look weak. Another source close to McCarthy told CNN that the California Republican was told that he would look like he was "crawling back to Trump," and that it would further isolate him from mainstream donors who want to move away from Trump.

Since the early days of Trump's campaign, McCarthy stood by him, earning the nickname "my Kevin." Even in the last days of Trump's time as president, McCarthy joined a Texas lawsuit that was struck down by the Supreme Court that sought to overturn the results of the election. Even after the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, McCarthy voted to object to the election results.

Politically, sources have told CNN that McCarthy is caught between Trump's fervent supporters in the party and the GOP conference members who think the attack on the Capitol was sedition, including the 10 House Republicans -- such as GOP conference chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming -- who voted to support Trump's second impeachment.

The fallout has led to questions about McCarthy's leadership in his conference. As much as McCarthy cannot afford to lose support from members of the Freedom Caucus, he also can't lose the backing of members in front-line districts that could help him win back the majority.

McCarthy has backtracked on Trump's role in the insurrection as recently as this week, when he was criticized at his most recent news conference for saying he didn't believe Trump "provoked" the insurrection "if you listen to what he said at the rally" -- after saying two weeks earlier that Trump bears responsibility.

This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump Anti Pope

Postby Meno_ » Sat Jan 30, 2021 1:42 am


The Antipope of Mar-a-Lago
What a medieval religious schism can teach us about Donald Trump’s unprecedented and radically antagonistic approach to the ex-presidency.

An illustration of Donald Trump in papal vestments, surrounding by followers in medieval attire


01/29/2021 04:30 AM EST

The ousted leader refused to relent to reality.

Set against a backdrop of avarice and inequality and persistent sickness, distrust and misrule, the leader exploited and exacerbated societal unrest to seize and flaunt vast power—doing anything and everything he could to try to keep it in his grip. He resisted pleas for unity and calm. He tested the loyalty of even his most ardent and important establishment supporters. He was censured and then toppled. Still, though, he declined to consider even the smallest acquiescence. Besieged and increasingly isolated, he faded as he aged—but he never yielded. Some people believed he had no less than the blessing of God.

He was Benedict XIII—“the pope,” said Joëlle Rollo-Koster, a noted scholar of the Middle Ages, “who never conceded.”

Benedict, who died in 1423, was the last of the popes of Avignon, in what’s now the south of France. He was an “antipope”—in opposition, that is, to a sequence of popes presiding from the more customary hub of Rome—and insisted even as he was twice deposed that he remained the rightful pontiff. He tried to exert control from a fortress of a palace in a separate seat of power—propped up by a stubborn type of papal court, retaining sufficient political capital to pressure heads of states to pick sides, bestowing benedictions and other benefits and if nothing else gumming up earnest efforts to allay divides. Weary, irritated leaders, both religious and royal, “said, ‘You’re out, you’re out, you’re out,’” Rollo-Koster told me, “and he said, ‘No, I’m in, I’m in, I’m in.’”

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. | AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Six centuries later, Donald Trump, twice impeached, is finishing his first full week as a dispatched post-president ensconced in his own Florida fortalice of Mar-a-Lago—committed by almost all accounts to do from his Palm Beach perch some modern-day variant of what Benedict pulled off for decades. The calamitous, lies-laced last few months of Trump’s White House term, and in particular the last few weeks, almost certainly will make this harder—the broad corporate blowback, social media silencing and historic (and ongoing) congressional condemnation piled atop his already looming legal, financial and reputational peril.

Even so, according to dozens of interviews with Trump associates, former staffers, biographers, Washington and Florida strategists and consultants, party functionaries, Palm Beach politicos and members of Mar-a-Lago, Trump is sure to try—to badger the man who beat him, to exact revenge against recalcitrant Republicans, to play a role of kingmaker and power broker, to return to his life-force rallies, to tease a 2024 comeback and to generally wreak what havoc he can on the public and body politic while enforcing fealty from his official (but contested) residence serving as his active home base and headquarters. And an early indicator of Trump’s undiminished influence: House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy—who’s gone in the span of half a month from saying Trump “bears responsibility” for the pro-Trump mob’s January 6 attack on the Capitol to saying “I don’t believe he provoked it” to asking for and receiving this week a patch-up lunchtime confab … at Mar-a-Lago.

“The new Trump Tower,” said former Trump political adviser Sam Nunberg.

“The MAGA capital,” said Christian Ziegler, the state Republican vice chair.

“He is going to essentially try to rule in exile,” said Rick Wilson, a former GOP operative in Tallahassee and a co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, forecasting “a post-presidency like we’ve never seen.”

What will Trump’s post-presidency look like—and what will it do to America? There is no real precedent in the annals of the nation—and thus no real playbook for how to manage the kind of civic disruption it is likely to cause. But from history, and from people who’ve known him, it’s possible to stitch together a more-than-educated guess at what the country’s in for—a portrait of the nation’s first real anti-presidency.

The closest analog is probably the capitals of the Confederacy—and the self-evidently still unresolved aftermath of the Civil War—but Jefferson Davis never carried the legitimacy of having once been the president in the White House. And real former presidents, even the most compulsive limelight hounds, from Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, historically have made themselves scarce, consciously refraining from meddling in or even commenting on the affairs of their respective successors. Trump in this regard figures to be as contemptuous of convention going forward as he was in the past five-plus years. “We’re going to see something remarkably new,” said Princeton historian Kevin Kruse. “There will be,” added Lawrence Douglas, a professor at Amherst College and the author of a book about Trump’s endgame, “this kind of shadow ex-president.”

“There will be this kind of shadow ex-president.”

Lawrence Douglas

“Donald Trump’s not an ex-president—he’s a right-wing, nativist, revolutionary leader,” presidential historian Doug Brinkley told me recently. “He has a movement that is massive with global implications—that kind of revolutionary—and he took on the entire federal government of the United States. That kind of character doesn’t register as a typical ex-president.”

As unequaled as this is in the 245 years of the country’s existence, there are, however, rough parallels from other areas and eras around the world—tainted, brought-down kingpins, cast off to often island elsewheres. A defeated Napoleon was sent to Elba and then again to Saint Helena. Chiang Kai-shek went to Taiwan. Ferdinand Marcos made off to Hawaii. But none match the current moment with the resonance of Benedict XIII.

Manipulative and unabashed, he worked to cling to the trappings of power, sapped the sway of his counterpart popes and complicated attempts to mend the crippling split in the Roman Catholic Church called the Western Schism. Monarchs, clerics and other popes, his most potent adversaries, tried diplomacy, force and outright excommunication, ultimately stamping him a heretic—but they could never make the uncompromising Benedict altogether disappear. And there was an unexpected twist to Benedict’s intransigence, one Trump’s many high-ranking opponents would do well to heed: The harder and longer he held out, the more he was seen by some as a victim or a martyr, abidingly admired precisely because of his obstinacy and unwavering audacity.

Supporters wave to outgoing President Donald Trump as he returns to Florida along the route leading to his Mar-a-Lago estate on January 20, 2021. | Getty Images

“History never repeats itself; man always does,” said Voltaire, and Trump last Wednesday departed a rattled, armored Washington, pledging to “be back in some form.” Unwilling to acknowledge the legitimacy of his loss, he left town before the inauguration of Joe Biden—without having invited him to the White House, or congratulated him publicly, or even so much as mentioned his name. No longer roundly welcome in his native New York and all but chased from D.C., Trump jetted toward Florida, his habitual winter weekend getaway turned paramount political stomping grounds—the site of some of his biggest, most important wins; the bastion of a governor he helped get elected, two Republican senators and the House member who’s maybe his most fervent minion, plus a roster of media accessories and grassroots boosters; and America’s notoriously fact-flouting fantasy land, a hundred-year haven for hucksters and hustlers, outsiders, refugees and retirees, a sandy, sweaty Shangri-La of second chances, where Trump is now intent on concocting a papal-like court, a coterie of officeholders and wannabes, hangers-on and aides-de-camp, ring-kissers and the wholly beholden.

A little over a week ago, after Air Force One dutifully deposited the still-45th president on the tarmac at Palm Beach International Airport, Trump milked his last hour of presidential pomp. His final, full-on, lights-flashing motorcade snaked across the intracoastal waterway, past a BMW with a license plate that blared “LUV DJT,” past one sign wrongly saying he “WON!” and another asserting that “On the 8th Day God Created Donald Trump,” slowing to a crawl to let him bask in the clamor of shrieking, flag-flying, mostly maskless crowds at whom he pumped his fist. He pulled up to the front of his private, oceanfront club, greeted by a cluster of chanting fans. “Welcome home! Welcome home! Welcome home!”

The antipope of Mar-a-Lago, whose adherents have embraced him and his crusade with a religious, even cultlike ardor, got out of his shiny, fortified black Suburban, clapped, pointed and waved from the other side of a line of velvet ropes, and walked through the doors of his strange and very American sort of Holy See.

‘Trump is the new Benedict XIII’

cross the Atlantic, some 600 years back, everybody said they wanted unity.

But unity was hard. “Comparing a pre-democratic system with a democratic system, there is kind of something odd,” Rollo-Koster said, offering a necessary caveat. “But behaviors remain constant throughout history regardless of the political system.” And unity was hard at that moment because of the whims and wants of leaders, because of ever-shifting protections and allegiances, and because people who had power didn’t want to give it up. “The schism,” wrote Barbara Tuchman in A Distant Mirror, “was a trap not easy to get out of.” It “lasted as long as it did,” as Rollo-Koster put it in her book, “because it benefited the private interests of many parties.”

In this case, though, often the crux of the trouble was just one man.

Benedict XIII, already in his 60s, was made a pope in 1394, by mainly French cardinals, principally because he suggested he would be willing to step aside in an effort to fix the fracture in the church. That professed selflessness subsided once he got a taste of the throne. King Charles VI of France sent envoys to Avignon to urge him to abdicate. Benedict’s retort: “I would rather be buried alive.” The king broke with him in favor of neutrality, and many cardinals and clergy followed suit, chastising Benedict for “creating and fostering schism.”

The niceties of diplomacy having failed, the king ordered mercenaries to lay siege to the papal palace. It lasted a year. Benedict, trapped, was forced to eat cats, rats and sparrows. He still didn’t surrender. And ultimately, and unexpectedly to the most elite and entrenched, a substantial share of the hoi polloi and rank-and-file sided with Benedict the victim rather than the royals and their hired hands. The king grudgingly restored his backing of Benedict.

“Certainly,” the British critic Edwin Mullins wrote of the rebel pope, “he appears to have remained quite undaunted by his own predicament, even reveling in it, personally urging on his small garrison, forever devising fresh strategies to foil his attackers, and continuing to maintain that as the Vicar of God he was receiving God’s help and hence inevitably would triumph over his enemies.”

“They bombarded him, but he was in his freaking palace, and he stood firm, and people thought, ‘You know, maybe he’s right.’”

Joëlle Rollo-Koster

“They bombarded him,” Rollo-Koster told me, “but he was in his freaking palace, and he stood firm, and people thought, ‘You know, maybe he’s right.’”

What Benedict really wanted was to be the pontiff in Rome, in the Vatican, the actual seat of power. He threatened to invade but never did. He made movements to talk to his rival popes—there were three of them during his tenure as an “anti”—but he never did. And he talked about healing the schism, just enough, to keep the French crown and connected clerics in suspense, or at least at bay. Even as he aged, even as his support and loyalty waned, keeping the story going was as important as getting anything done.

When he was deposed the first time, by the Council of Pisa in 1409, he excommunicated all the cardinals and patriarchs—calling them the “schismatic” heretics, posting on all the churches in Avignon a papal bull, like some kind of medieval tweet or email blast. And when he was deposed the second time, by the Council of Constance in 1417, his response was just as truculent. He excommunicated the entire council.

“Trump,” said Rollo-Koster, “is the new Benedict XIII.”

‘There’s no one more “Florida Man” than Trump’

vignon, once a warm-weather backwater, had become by the time of this saga “a place,” in Mullins’ words, “where unholy opulence was coupled with greed, rapacity, nepotism, corruption, a shameless abuse of its power and wealth, and above all an outrageous moral laxity.”

Florida, in other words, is just the place for Trump and what he’s about to try to do.

“There’s no one more ‘Florida Man’ than Donald Trump,” Tallahassee-based Republican strategist Slater Bayliss told me.

“He is peculiarly suited for Florida,” said Mac Stipanovich, the semi-retired operative, lobbyist and all-around political fixture in the state, who shifted over these past few years from Republican to independent to registered Democrat largely on account of Trump and the ways he’s changed the GOP. Other equally or more pro-Trump states—he cited Texas or Alabama—“they’re just not,” he said, “culturally nouveau riche enough or morally louche enough to be a better fit for Donald Trump.”

“Florida is the Trumpiest state in the union,” added Joshua Karp, a Democratic consultant who’s worked there on House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns, “and for a million reasons.”

“Start with geography,” said Mark Braude, the author of a book about Napoleon and the former French emperor’s exile in 1814 and ’15 on the Mediterranean island of Elba. “The whole point of exile,” Braude explained, “whether it’s self-imposed or imposed by others, is the importance of being removed from the main seat of power, and what that does to somebody’s reputation and sense of self is totally important, I think, to both Napoleon on Elba and Trump in Florida.”

“The whole point of exile … is the importance of being removed from the main seat of power, and what that does to somebody’s reputation and sense of self is totally important.”

Mark Braude

Florida is not an island but a peninsula, of course, but the peninsula is so long there can be (I say as a former resident) an almost palpable sense of separation from the rest of the nation. Avignon is almost 600 miles from Rome. Elba is almost 800 miles from Paris. Mar-a-Lago is almost a thousand miles from the White House.

Another way the state’s an apt fit for Trump: Florida exists in its present-day form because of a century of shady selling of sand and swamp—a prerequisite of the round-and-round boom-and-bust cycle, from the 1920s land frenzy on, not simply supply and demand and no income tax, but an anything-goes, devil-may-care air and a devoted indifference to history and climatic constraints. “Florida,” said Karp, “has been a state for a long time where the truth just doesn’t matter.”

But the most important reason Florida’s the ideal locale for the antipope of Mar-a-Lago is the politics. It’s “the center of America’s political universe,” said Florida Studies professor Gary Mormino.

And it’s filled with Trump fiefs.

In Tallahassee is Ron DeSantis—governor, some contend, thanks to Trump tweets. Deeper into the Panhandle is perhaps the most pro-Trump bulldog in Congress in Matt Gaetz. Also on Capitol Hill are two GOP senators—Rick Scott and Marco Rubio—who both have had to navigate Trump-entangled terrain in Washington and back home and (in the case of Rubio) the bruising ’16 campaign trail as well. The state’s vast, rural, hard-up inland areas as well as pockets of older, wealthier, overwhelmingly white conservatives—both spots are stocked with Trump supporters, broadly representative of the two main poles of his coalition. And South Florida, especially Miami-Dade County, which can feel more than anything like the Caribbean, boasts the staunchest bloc of Trump’s nonwhite support. Now it’s home, too, to his favorite child in Ivanka—rumored to be considering a primary challenge next year for Rubio’s Senate seat—and her husband, the former White House wingman Jared Kushner, and their family. Trump won Florida in 2016. He won it by even more in 2020—the 3.3-point margin a landslide by its usual razor-thin swing-state standards.

The Florida Court
Rep. Matt Gaetz

Sen. Marco Rubio

Sen. Rick Scott

Christopher Ruddy

Dan Bongino

Rush Limbaugh

When Trump started running for president, way back in June 2015, he prioritized Iowa and New Hampshire. After that, though, and quickly after that, according to a person with direct knowledge of his mindset, he zeroed in on Florida, making multiple calls a day to his advisers in the state to keep tabs on his standing. “He’s been Floridacentric ever since,” this person told me. “That was his metamorphosis from being the New Yorker to being something else.”

He switched his main residence from Trump Tower to Mar-a-Lago in October 2019. He had a “homecoming” rally in Sunrise, just south of Palm Beach, the next month. “He’s the first Floridian president,” state GOP chair of chairs Evan Power told me.

“This state’s on fire for Donald Trump, and I think that’s going to have a long-lasting effect. He started a movement. He’s energized, and he’s redefined, frankly, the Republican Party here in the state of Florida—across the country as well, but specifically here,” said Ziegler, the party vice chair.

“Southeast Florida is one of the political capitals in the entire country, and it’s MAGA country now,” he added, citing the prevalence of conferences, fundraisers and homes and businesses of conservative media notables like Rush Limbaugh, right-wing commentator Dan Bongino and Newsmax CEO, Trump pal and Mar-a-Lago member Chris Ruddy. The Republican National Committee’s spring donor meeting is scheduled for April in Palm Beach, and Trump’s invited.

“I think just kind of the get-rich-quick-and-dirty-and-hope-somebody-becomes-president-to-pardon-you culture that he surrounds himself with is probably more prevalent in Florida than other parts of the country,” Kevin Cate, a Florida-based consultant and former Barack Obama spokesman, said of Trump. “He surrounds himself with yes-men and yes-people. And there’s way more Trump stans with aluminum foil under their red hats in Florida than there are in New York.”

f the Sunshine State is Trump’s papal state, Mar-a-Lago’s set to serve as his papal court—his own peculiar kind of curia, populated by 21st-century equivalents of footmen, butlers and lackeys, cardinals, dukes and lords.

Having said on his way out of Washington “goodbye, but hopefully it’s not a long-term goodbye,” Trump arrived in Florida last week with a small clutch of aides that included senior adviser Jason Miller, political director Brian Jack, social media director Dan Scavino, assistants Beau Harrison, Molly Michael and Margo Martin, and a band of Secret Service—whose protection of members of his family he extended for the next six months in an extraordinary decree on his way out of office. But Trump’s court, based on my recent round of conversations, will involve his family, of course, and also could include, among others, longtime advisers Dave Bossie and Corey Lewandowski, possibly the pardoned Steve Bannon and Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani, Ruddy, Gaetz …

“You can count on a group of the hangers-on, the bootlickers and ass-kissers,” said Wilson of the Lincoln Project.

Who else will be seen at Mar-a-Lago?

“Anyone running for a Republican primary,” said Ziegler. “I don’t think anyone beats Donald Trump in a Republican primary, and I think it’s very difficult to beat a Donald Trump recommendation in a Republican primary.”

The Inner Circle

Here, then, at the outset of his post-presidential chapter, the role of Mar-a-Lago is in this way a Bizarro extension of what it’s almost always been for Trump.

It originally was built—in the land-boom ’20s—as a mansion for cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. Trump bought it in the go-go ’80s. He converted it into a club a decade later. When he was the president, he took to calling it the Winter White House. Over the decades, though, it’s been for him more than a sun-splashed redoubt.

“The reason he loves Mar-a-Lago,” Laurence Leamer, the author of a book about Trump and his Palm Beach roost, “is that like many wealthy men or people he’s created his own universe around him. And that’s what he’s created at Mar-a-Lago—where people are constantly stroking him. Wherever he goes, they’re just celebrating him.”

“No matter what else is happening in the world,” a club source told People magazine in 2019, “he is treated like royalty at Mar-a-Lago.”

“I’m the king of Palm Beach,” Trump once crowed to biographer Tim O’Brien.

“He will be able to surround himself with people whose job it is to elicit that same supreme sense of not just self-confidence but domination, of absolute control.”

But in this new context, Trump will raise money, stoke talk of a 2024 run and aim to quash the careers of candidates who’ve crossed him, deploying post-Twitter methods to continue to press his message to people who support him—and to pique the people who don’t. In many respects, though, it’s not some marked change as much as a return to the way he likes it, a comfort zone long ago established on the 26th floor of Trump Tower—a relatively small staff within shouting distance, put there and kept there mainly to nod and egg him on as he watches and comments and plots and fights and generally just mixes it up instead of having to respond to constant scrutiny and actual make-or-break responsibility. “He will be able to surround himself,” biographer Gwenda Blair told me, “with people whose job it is to elicit that same supreme sense of not just self-confidence but domination, of absolute control.”

Last Thursday, Trump’s family, top donors and supporters put on a welcome-back luncheon for him at Mar-a-Lago. Earlier this week, he planted a more official flag in Palm Beach County, opening his post-presidential office to “carry on the agenda of the Trump Administration through advocacy, organizing, and public activism.” As was the case in Avignon, the presence of power, even of an alternative ilk, is almost certain to spawn an ecosystem of gawkers and underlings, opportunists and money men.

“If you’ve ever been to Mar-a-Lago or any of his clubs, you have to appreciate the detachment from reality by not just him but by the members as well, so their sort of craziness—it’s validation of his craziness,” Michael Cohen, his former fixer and attorney, told me. “And when I say supporters, I’m not talking about just the average Joes—I’m talking about politicians that continue to support this notion of his that he won.”

And Trump?

“He’ll settle scores,” biographer Michael D’Antonio said. “He’ll reward certain people.” He’ll be “a troublemaker,” said Barbara Res, a former Trump Organization executive. He’ll be “the ultimate Monday morning quarterback,” said Jack O’Donnell, a former Trump casino executive. “Every little hiccup, every little mistake—and believe me, Biden’s going to make mistakes, things aren’t going to be perfect, the stock market’s going to dip—he’s going to relish those opportunities.”

Top and center left: Members of the U.S. and Japanese media walk across the grounds of President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club, during a state visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in April 2018. Bottom: A member of the Secret Service is seen at Mar-a-Lago in March 2018, as Trump returned from his golf club in West Palm Beach. Center right: In an image released by the office of the former president on Jan. 28, 2021, Kevin McCarthy meets with House Minority Leader Trump at Mar-a-Lago. | AP Photos

“He’ll cash in on being a former president in a way that we haven’t seen,” Mark Updegrove, a presidential historian and the author of Second Acts, a book about post-presidencies, told me—noting that Harry Truman, for instance, didn’t use brand-name pens for fear of implicitly endorsing one company over another. “He’ll see it as a badge of honor to make as much money as he possibly can,” Brinkley said. “He’ll be grifting,” said Cate, “because that’s what he does.”

Trump’s been bringing in money like mad, fundraising off the election he lost but said he won—and that mother lode of more than $200 million, which ostensibly was going to be used to fight the result in court, actually is his to do with as he sees fit. He’s already loosed emissaries to remind GOP senators that he intends to still be a force in the party—and to punish those who defy him. He’s wasted no time targeting his most conspicuous dissidents. And in the past week, he’s watched all but five Republican senators vote to call his current impeachment unconstitutional and state parties in Hawaii, Oregon and Arizona not only side with him but censure essentially anti-Trump heretics. For a one-term president whose time in the White House included (and some say caused) his party’s losses of both houses of Congress—and who’s been stripped of one of his favorite and most effective weapons in Twitter—Trump, nonetheless, so far from Mar-a-Lago has been remarkably successful in compelling allegiance. Witness the McCarthy meeting.

‘There’s still going to be people who like him’

hat remains to be seen, though, is whether all this will work, or work as well not merely in the wake of the grievous end of his presidency but in the face of any additional consequences to come.

The establishment, as it did with Benedict XIII, has tried and is still trying to effectively excommunicate Trump.

It didn’t work the first time, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to work the second time, either. The establishment in Palm Beach, reminiscent of the French king with Benedict, will have to decide how hard to try to hold Trump to an original understanding—the 1993 agreement he made with the town that says he can’t use Mar-a-Lago as his full-time residence. The legal establishment? Trump’s jeopardy persists, in New York if nowhere else, but this week the Supreme Court shut down a pair of suits alleging he derived private profit from his public service. And real and looming is a siege, so to speak, of sanctions from the business and cultural establishment—corporate dissociating, dried-up lending, the specter of dips in Mar-a-Lago memberships or any lasting diminishment in see-to-be-seen prestige—but there are plenty of growing signs Trump could stand pat in his palace like Benedict and that these developments could add up to a hiccup more than a coup de grâce.

George Norcross, a top Democratic mover and shaker in New Jersey and the brother of congressman Donald Norcross, gave up his Mar-a-Lago membership, and some others apparently are quietly doing the same or considering it.

“A cop was killed,” one disappointed member told me, referring to the riot on the Hill. “Other people were killed.”

And yet …

“There are some members who just love Donald Trump, and he can do no wrong, and it doesn’t matter,” said Jeff Greene, a former member and Palm Beach real estate bigwig.

“There’s still going to be people who like him,” said member George “Guido” Lombardi—who’s one of them.

A portrait of Trump inside Mar-a-Lago. | Damon Higgins/Palm Beach Post/ZUMA Press

Others, too, dismissed the idea that the alarming coda of the Trump presidency constituted any kind of death knell for his post-presidency. If it’s any indication, the last years of the plague-beset 1300s looked for Benedict like the end. They turned out to be only the beginning.

“He’ll continue to hold court,” Palm Beach-based Republican consultant and fundraiser Blair Brandt told me when we talked about Trump and his prospects. “I think the notion that Mar-a-Lago has been canceled is a total stretch,” he said, “and I think that speaks to the fact that people forget how politics works and how short memories can be.”

Especially in Florida.

“Florida’s been a place where people retire, or go to remake themselves, or reinvent themselves,” a former top staffer to a top Florida Republican said. He told me a quick story from years ago about a bar in Miami called Monty’s. “I remember walking in there,” he said, “and seeing a throng of women, all well-dressed, good-looking, kind of anywhere from their mid-20s to mid-40s, all surrounding one guy. And in the middle of that throng was O.J. Simpson. And this was after he had killed his wife. So, you know, celebrity and money and notoriety—attracts a certain type of element. And now imagine it’s the former president of the United States.”

“Florida’s been a place where people retire, or go to remake themselves, or reinvent themselves.”

former Florida Republican staffer

Rollo-Koster, the expert on the Avignon popes, for her part couldn’t help but think in a longer-arc scope. In 2000, more than half a millennium after Benedict XIII finally died in his mid-90s, two ne’er-do-well brothers stole his skull from a small museum in Spain. It was, according to news reports at the time, worth an estimated $315,000. The thieves tried to extort the local village council in exchange for the return of all that was left of the remains of the antipope one writer described as “the most tragic,” “the most implacably stubborn,” “and in some respects … the most intriguing of them all.”

Why, though, I asked incredulously, would bones of this rogue pope from a bygone age pack such residual power?

“Because,” Rollo-Koster said, “people loved the idea that he never said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘I believe that I am the legitimate pope. You can do whatever you want to me. You can even steal my head once I am dead! I still have legitimacy. And the behavior of people around him kind of reinforced that legitimacy—even a small group of people.”

Trump will turn 75 in June. His mother was 88 when she died. His father was 93. Rollo-Koster offered a prediction. “He will be beatified, one way or the other. He may not be beatified religiously, but I am sure he will be beatified by his base with some form of pseudocanonization. It will happen. People will save those MAGA hats as precious relics,” she said. “People will come—I’m sure he will have a golden mausoleum. He will have a Taj Mahal someplace, where people will come in droves, and will burn candles, and will bring their children. I’m calling it.”

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Ignore a must ?

Postby Meno_ » Tue Feb 02, 2021 4:57 pm



Trump and the conservative groups that support him aren’t fretting the impeachment trial
They were vocal in backing him the first go around, but they’re sitting on the sidelines now. Acquittal, after all, seems guaranteed.

President Donald Trump speaks at the "Stop The Steal" Rally on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Donald Trump speaks at the "Stop The Steal" rally on Jan. 6 in Washington. An aide confirmed on Monday that there are no plans for the former president to testify in his own defense during the Senate trial next week. | Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

A constellation of conservative groups that rallied behind former President Donald Trump during his first impeachment is sitting this one out, confident that the outcome is preordained.

The groups have gone quiet on social media, eschewing the pro-Trump tweets and calls for action that dominated their Twitter feeds last time Trump was approaching a Senate trial. Others said they are content to watch from the sidelines — opting to preserve their war chests for the 2022 midterm elections — or are still considering if and how they will get involved.

“We’re really more focused right now on a lot more of the Biden policies and executive orders,” said Peter Vicenzi, director of communications for FreedomWorks, which became an unofficial rapid response operation during Trump’s first impeachment in the fall of 2019.

During the impeachment trial in January 2020, the Tea Party Patriots did calls to action, urged supporters to call congressional offices, hosted conference calls to discuss messaging and talking points, and sent materials to voters. The group also sent 47 tweets condemning or criticizing the process. So far, this go around, it has only shared five impeachment-related tweets since the House impeached Trump again on Jan. 13, according to a POLITICO review.

“It would be news to me if any serious conservative organization was involved,” said one conservative strategist.

The hesitance of conservative organizations to join the impeachment fracas suggests that the political drama isn’t motivating Republican voters as they, and others, grow confident in Trump’s acquittal. The former president may be barreling toward a historic second impeachment trial with little infrastructure in place for his defense, but Senate Republicans almost certainly won’t care what type of defense they offer. Forty-five of them voted that a post-presidential impeachment is unconstitutional — all but ensuring that there won’t be 67 votes needed for conviction.

As a measure of Trump’s internal confidence, an aide confirmed on Monday that there are no plans for the former president — who firmly believes he is his own best advocate — to testify in his own defense next week, despite reports it was under consideration. However, Trump adviser Jason Miller would not rule out the possibility of the former president acting as his own surrogate with media appearances during impeachment.

Still, there are some disputes within Trump’s ranks over what strategy they should pursue as Trump defends himself against charges that he helped incite the deadly riot on Capitol Hill that resulted in the deaths of five people. While Trump wants to use his trial to decry voter fraud and plead for election reforms, the few aides who still staff him say their best recourse is to simply argue what the vast majority of Senate Republicans are on record saying: that the impeachment itself is unconstitutional.

Sen. Bill Cassidy speaks during a confirmation hearing Jan. 27 on Capitol Hill.

Bill Cassidy says Trump defense should focus on impeachment charge

One aide involved with Trump’s defense, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said there were no plans underway for the communications team to discuss election fraud as part of their messaging around impeachment, despite reports that the former president was itching to do so.

“I’ll be focused on constitutionality,” said the aide, citing the 1974 House impeachment proceedings against former President Richard Nixon, which were halted after he resigned from office and never brought to a full floor vote in the House.

“[Nixon] left and House Democrats dropped the case and moved on with the business of the American people,” the aide added, previewing a talking point ahead of next week’s trial.

Settling on a messaging strategy isn’t the only hurdle Trump and his aides face. Putting together an actual legal team has been difficult, too. Over the weekend, five lawyers who were reportedly preparing to represent the former president abruptly departed. The group had planned a two-part defense strategy focused on whether the Constitution allows for impeachment of a former president and whether the definition of incitement applies to remarks Trump delivered at the White House hours before his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

But their approach left Trump annoyed by its lack of attention to his voter fraud claims. On Sunday, the former president announced that two new attorneys, David Schoen and Bruce Castor, Jr., would take over his defense. A source close to Trump’s team said there was no expectation, as of now, that additional attorneys would be formally added to the team, including Jenna Ellis and Rudy Giuliani, the two lawyers who led Trump’s unsuccessful quest to overturn the 2020 election results.


He used to win elections in a Never-Trump stronghold. Now he’s leading Trump’s legal team.

Miller, who has been in frequent contact with Schoen over the last two weeks, told Fox News on Monday evening that the former president’s attorneys will meet the deadline to file a short brief on Tuesday in response to the article of impeachment passed by the House. He did not list election fraud among the topics when previewing the contents of Trump’s defense.

“The compressed timeline has made things interesting,” Miller said in a separate interview with POLITICO. “It’s a good thing this is pretty straightforward.”

Miller remains one of the few Trump aides who is publicly working on impeachment matters. He has been joined, in the lead-up to the trial, by a small group of former campaign aides and White House officials who are assisting with research, congressional outreach, surrogate operations and rapid response. They include Francis Brennan, Dean Cleary, Sonny Nelson, Ali Pardo and Ted Goodman from Trump’s 2020 campaign, and Ben Williamson, Ory Rinat and Sam Brown from the White House.

While the Republican National Committee has been working with Trump’s impeachment team behind the scenes, they are not expected to take a public-facing role during next week’s trial nor do they plan to launch a centralized website targeting Democratic lawmakers for supporting the impeachment proceedings — something they did in the fall of 2019 with their “Stop the Madness” campaign.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene: I’m meeting with Trump
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump must go on

Postby Meno_ » Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:49 pm



House impeachment brief argues Trump unmistakably responsible for Capitol attack
Trump’s legal team is expected to file its first official response later today.

Protesters break into the U.S. Capitol.
Protesters supporting President Donald Trump break into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

02/02/2021 10:03 AM EST

Former President Donald Trump bears “unmistakable” responsibility for the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and should be barred from holding federal office, the House’s impeachment managers argued in their opening salvo for the Senate’s upcoming trial.

A week before the Senate is slated to put the ex-president on trial for a second time, the House’s first legal brief outlines a weeks-long campaign by Trump to overturn President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory based on unsubstantiated claims of election fraud — culminating in the insurrection at the Capitol while lawmakers were certifying Biden’s win.

“President Trump’s pursuit of power at all costs is a betrayal of historic proportions,” the House wrote in its opening brief. “It requires his conviction.”

The House impeached Trump a week after the Jan. 6 attack, charging him with inciting the insurrection and writing in Tuesday’s brief that he did so using “incendiary and violent language.”

“It is one thing for an official to pursue legal processes for contesting election results,” the House managers wrote. “It is something else entirely for that official to incite violence against the government, and to obstruct the finalization of election results, after judges and election officials conclude that his challenges lack proof and legal merit.”

Trump’s legal team is expected to file its first official response to the impeachment charge later Tuesday.

The House’s legal brief also directly addresses the arguments from Trump’s allies that the Senate has no constitutional right to put a former president on trial. Indeed, 45 out of 50 Republican senators voted last week that trying an ex-president on impeachment charges is unconstitutional, creating a significant hurdle for the House as it seeks to convince at least 17 GOP senators that Trump should be convicted of the charge against him.

Pushing back against this claim, the House managers noted that the Constitution gives the Senate the “sole power to try all impeachments,” and said refusing to put a former president on trial gives future presidents a license to commit impeachable offenses in his or her final days in office and then simply resign in order to evade accountability.

“It is unthinkable that those same Framers left us virtually defenseless against a president’s treachery in his final days, allowing him to misuse power, violate his Oath, and incite insurrection against Congress and our electoral institutions simply because he is a lame duck,” the House managers wrote.

Central to the House’s argument is that Trump’s public statements and actions threatened American democracy at its core in a way that the U.S. has never seen in modern times.

“Since the dawn of the republic, no enemy — foreign or domestic — had ever obstructed Congress’s counting of the votes,” the brief states. “No president had ever refused to accept an election result or defied the lawful processes for resolving electoral disputes. Until President Trump.”

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Trump answers :

Trump team says Senate has no grounds to hold trial, asks for dis...


Donald Trump's impeachment filing fails to make a case for acquittal
There is no fig leaf for Republicans in Donald Trump’s defense. If Republican senators refuse to condemn Trump's behavior they are endorsing what he has done.

Trump filed a formal response to the article of impeachment currently awaiting trial in the Senate and it was about what you’d expect. Trump makes three main arguments. The first is that it isn’t constitutional to impeach a president after he has left office. The second is that this impeachment proceeding violates Donald Trump’s First Amendment right to free speech. The final argument claims that the single article of impeachment actually charges multiple instances of impeachable conduct and, therefore, isn’t in the proper legal form.

The first argument — that the Senate lacks jurisdiction to conduct an impeachment trial of an ex-president — has been extensively dealt with elsewhere and logic, precedent, prudence are all on the side of proceeding with the trial. In short, it’s not so much a legal argument as a convenient excuse for Republicans desperately hoping to avoid the twin disasters of either endorsing Trump’s efforts to overthrow American democracy or infuriating Donald Trump’s fan base and drawing a primary challenge.

Absurd arguments over the impeachment
The last argument, that the single article of impeachment is improper because it charges multiple instances of impeachable conduct, is the most lawyerly but it’s also an effort to get people to focus on the leaves rather than the forest. The charge is that “Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.” The impeachment trial in the senate is not a criminal trial and there is no reason to treat it as if it were. But even if it were a criminal trial, there is no requirement that the prosecution only allege that a defendant violated the law in just one way. Federal jury instructions don’t require such unanimity. “In order to return

a guilty verdict, all twelve of you must agree that at least one of these [illegal acts] has been proved; however, all of you need not agree that the same one has been proved.”

But by far and away the most absurd argument is that Donald Trump is a First Amendment martyr. There is a Pythonesque “Help! Help! I’m being repressed!” feel to the idea that the impeachment trial is punishing Trump for exercising his constitutional right to free speech.

First of all, Presidents of the United States don’t have the same “free speech” rights as normal citizens because they have taken an oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” As a private citizen, I am free to argue for overthrowing American democracy and replacing it with, say, an Islamic theocracy if I want and the First Amendment protects me. But the president of the United States can and should be impeached for doing the same thing. It's insane to suggest that impeaching a president for advocating the overthrow of American democracy will somehow impact the First Amendment rights of ordinary citizens.

Trump's impeachment: If all his lawyers quit, Trump should represent himself at his Senate impeachment trial

More to the point, organizing and encouraging a plot to incite insurrection isn’t speech that is protected by the First Amendment. Nor is making legally-actionable defamatory statements that directly damage our democracy. A great many of the statements that Donald Trump made between November 3rd, 2020 and January 6th, 2021 were outright lies specifically intended to whip his followers into a frenzy. Regardless of the outcome of the impeachment trial, Donald Trump is likely going to be sued by Dominion Voting Systems for telling outrageous, damaging lies about how Dominion helped “steal” the election. Rudy Giuliani and Sydney Powell already have been. FOX and other media outlets who promoted these claims are in the legal crosshairs as well. If Trump is facing the wrong end of a $1.3 billion defamation suit for telling lies that damage a private company, there is absolutely no reason the Senate can’t try him on the same lies for damaging American democracy.

High crimes and misdemeanors
At the end of the day, “high crimes and misdemeanors” are things that damage our fundamental democratic institutions. An impeachment trial is a solemn exercise in preserving those institutions from harm. It isn’t a criminal trial and it is unwise to think of it that way. The First Amendment notwithstanding, the question before the Senate is whether Donald Trump’s actions in the two months following the election — actions that culminated in a violent assault on the Capitol aimed at disrupting the electoral college vote count — were acceptable behavior for a U.S. president. If the answer is “no,” then senators of both parties should put aside their political interests and their political fears and vote to convict.

Legal reason for impeachment: Of course the Senate can hold a Trump impeachment trial. There's no real legal argument against it.

There is no fig leaf for Republicans in Donald Trump’s defense. There is no dispute about what happened. If Republican senators refuse to condemn that behavior, for whatever reason, they are endorsing what Donald Trump has done. Donald Trump may be the defendant, but it is his jurors who are on trial.

Chris Truax, an appellate lawyer in San Diego, is a legal adviser for The Guardrails of Democracy Project, CEO of and a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors. He is also a spokesman for Republicans for the Rule of Law.

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Re: Trump enters the stage. Slippery Republican slope

Postby Meno_ » Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:01 am

"The latest on Congress as GOP tensions rise
By Meg Wagner,

The latest on Congress as GOP tensions rise What you need to know
The House voted today to remove GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments for extreme comments she made before winning her seat.
A Senate power-sharing agreement was approved that allows Democrats to take control of committees. Democrats in both chambers are moving to fast-track President Biden's Covid relief package.
The House impeachment managers requested that former President Trump testify at next week's Senate impeachment trial, in a move to get Trump on record about his conduct surrounding the Capitol riot. Trump quickly rejected the request.
Our live coverage has ended. For the latest, follow CNN Politics.
7:58 p.m. ET, February 4, 2021
Following Greene vote, Pelosi says GOP is on "slippery slope towards conspiracism and intolerance"

Scott Applewhite/AP
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Republicans in a statement issued shortly after the House voted to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments.
“In the past 24 hours, House 'Republicans' made it abundantly clear where their allegiances lie: with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, conspiracy theorists and QAnon believers. From their standing ovation for Rep. Greene to their votes this afternoon against punishing her for spreading QAnon, 9-11, anti-Semitic and school shooting conspiracy theories,” Pelosi said in the statement.
Pelosi added: “McCarthy’s failure to lead his party – and House Republicans’ refusal to reject QAnon adherents – has effectively handed the keys to the conference over to Greene. Unfortunately, this is just the latest step by House Republicans on a slippery slope towards conspiracism and intolerance, as evidenced by their shameful votes on January 6th when nearly 60 percent of their conference voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election and throw out the will of voters even AFTER the deadly insurrection.”
What happened earlier tonight: The House voted to remove Greene from her committee assignments, a decisive step that comes in the wake of recently unearthed incendiary and violent past statements from the congresswoman that have triggered widespread backlash from Democrats and divided congressional Republicans.
The vote tally was 230-199 with 11 Republican House members voting with Democrats to remove Greene from her committee assignments.

7:48 p.m. ET, February 4, 2021
Rep. Cheney defends vote to keep Greene on committee assignments

Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images/FILE
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who faced off with members of her own caucus last night over her vote to impeach former President Trump, defended her vote to keep Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on her committee posts.

In a statement, Cheney said it is the GOP's responsibility to address Greene's statements "inside our conference."

Read her full statement:
“Republicans are not the party of QAnon conspiracy theorists, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, or Neo-Nazis. These views are evil.
Representative Greene has espoused opinions that have no place in our public discourse. It is our responsibility as Republicans to address these issues inside our own conference.
Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat majority have no business determining which Republicans sit on committees. This vote today sets a dangerous precedent for this institution that Democrats may regret when Republicans regain the majority."
7:07 p.m. ET, February 4, 2021
House votes to remove GOP Rep. Greene from committees

The House voted today to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, from her committee posts.

Greene was removed by a vote of 230 to 199.

Eleven Republicans crossed party lines and voted to remove Greene from the committees.

These 11 GOP lawmakers voted with Democrats:

Several Republicans crossed party lines and voted to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, from her committee assignments.

So far Reps. Adam Kinzinger, Nicole Malliotakis, John Katko, Fred Upton and Brian Fitzpatrick voted yes to strip Greene of her committee posts.

The vote on the House floor is ongoing.

The House is voting right now on a measure to remove Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments, a decisive step that comes in the wake of recently unearthed incendiary and violent past statements from the congresswoman that have triggered widespread backlash from Democrats and divided congressional Republicans.
House Democrats, who control the chamber, set up the vote after first attempting to pressure Republicans to strip the Georgia Republican of committee assignments on their own. House Republicans have not taken that action, however, and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday released a statement calling the push by Democrats to take away the congresswoman's committee assignments a "partisan power grab."
Greene defended herself ahead of the vote in a speech on the House floor and attempted to distance herself from the dangerous and debunked QAnon conspiracy theory, which she has previously embraced.

House TV

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer walked a giant photograph of a post from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene across the House floor during his remarks today.

The post featured an AR-15 and pictures of members of the so-called “Squad.”

The post said “AR-15- the squad’s worst nightmare.”

“They are not the squad — they are Ilhan, they are Alexandria, they are Rashida. They are our colleagues,” Hoyer said, referring to House Democratic members Rep. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib.

Correction: An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that Greene’s message was posted on Twitter. It was posted on Facebook.
Watch here:
5:10 p.m. ET, February 4, 2021
McCarthy blames Democrats for pushing through a "dangerous new standard" with resolution against Greene
From CNN's Kristin Wilson
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is speaking on the House floor against the resolution to remove Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments, saying that while he condemns the comments made by Greene, he blames the Democrats for pushing through a “dangerous new standard.”
“This resolution sets a dangerous new standard that will only deepen divisions within this House. For all their talk about norms and institutions, it’s the democrats who’ve acted to undermine the people’s House at every turn,” he said. “Never before in the history of the House has the majority abused its power in this way.”
He said Greene’s comments “do not represent the values of my party as a Republican, as a conservative, as an American” and that he “condemns those views unequivocally”

“I made that clear when I met with Rep. Greene. I also made clear that we as members have a responsibility to hold ourselves to a higher standard. She acknowledged this during our conversation and apologized for past comments. I will hold her to her words and her actions moving forward.”

He’s now blaming Democrats for not punishing Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Eric Swalwell.

4:37 p.m. ET, February 4, 2021
Trump's lawyers reject request for him to testify in impeachment trial
From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Jim Acosta
President Donald Trump's attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen AP & Schoen Law Firm
Former President Trump will not testify at his impeachment trial, Trump adviser Jason Miller told CNN.

"The president will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding,” he said.

Miller has also tweeted a response from Trump’s lawyers to the request from Democratic impeachment managers that the former president testify.
“We are in receipt of your latest public relations stunt,” Trump’s attorneys write to Rep. Jamie Raskin.

“The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games,” wrote Trump's attorneys, Bruce Castor and David Schoen.

Earlier today: The House impeachment managers requested Trump testify at his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, in a dramatic move to try to get the former president on the record about his conduct surrounding the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol.

2:40 p.m. ET, February 4, 2021
Sen. Graham calls request for Trump to testify, a "political, showboat move"
From CNN's Ali Zaslav
Sen. Lindsey Graham leaves the floor of the Senate on January 26. Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters he doesn’t think former President Trump would come testify at the Senate impeachment trial next week.

“No, I hope not,” Graham said, “I don’t think that would be in anybody’s interest.”
He added: “It’s just a nightmare for the country to do this... it’s just a political, show boat move. They didn’t call him in the House.”

The South Carolina Republican also said he spoke to Trump a few days ago, and that he’s in “pretty good spirits... trying to get adjusted to his new life” and that he’s “very focused on 2022” to help the GOP retake the House and/or Senate."

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Re: Trump enters the stage -The stage literally collapsing?

Postby Meno_ » Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:39 pm

"Screen Actor’s Guild issues hilarious response to Trump’s resignation after threatening to expel him over Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

FEB 04, 2021 AT 3:21 PM

SAG-AFTRA delivered a memorable one-liner Thursday when Donald Trump resigned from the actors union ahead of a disciplinary hearing over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

“Thank you,” the guild’s leadership said in a terse, two-word response.

The self-satisfied statement followed after Trump sent a petulant letter Thursday “revoking” his union membership.

“I write to you today regarding the so-called Disciplinary Committee hearing aimed at revoking my union membership. Who cares!” Trump wrote in the letter apparently signed with a fat black marker.

Former President Donald Trump is acting out at the actors union.
Former President Donald Trump is acting out at the actors union. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
“While I’m not familiar with your work, I’m very proud of my work on movies such as Home Alone 2, Zoolander and Wall Street,” he continued, naming a few more credits including his “Apprentice” reality show.

[More Snyde] Emmy Rossum blasts women who skip protective masks in favor of ‘designer scarves’ »
“This letter is to inform you of my immediate resignation from SAG-AFTRA. You have done nothing for me,” he wrote.

Trump, who lost his reelection bid to Joe Biden, was a member of the union for more than 30 years.

He was on the cusp of a trial before the union’s disciplinary committee after he was charged with violating the union’s constitution.

“The charges specifically cite Trump’s role in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and in sustaining a reckless campaign of misinformation aimed at discrediting and ultimately threatening the safety of journalists, many of whom are SAG-AFTRA members,” the union said last month.

“The charges request the imposition of the most severe penalty available to SAG-AFTRA: expulsion from membership,” SAG officials said


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Re: Trump enters the stage - No future roles?""

Postby Meno_ » Sat Feb 06, 2021 4:00 am



Congress Still Has One More Way to Ban Trump from Future Office
Even if the Senate acquits the former president, Democrats can achieve their ultimate goal by putting some teeth in a little-used section of the Constitution.

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force One for his last time as President on January 20, 2021.

Kimberly Wehle is a professor of law at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

It seems likely that despite abundant evidence Donald Trump provoked the deadly mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, the Senate will vote to acquit the former president of the charge of incitement of insurrection. And with acquittal goes the opportunity to punish Trump by barring him from holding future office.

There’s been talk of using a censure resolution as a fallback compromise. But as Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said this week, there’s not enough support on either side for that option. Democrats want “impeachment or nothing,” he explained, and Republicans “don’t want to bar Trump from running for office.”

But if the Democrats’ ultimate goal is to keep Trump from ever appearing on a presidential ballot again, there is still one avenue open to them. It’s in the Constitution, although it hasn’t received a judicial test in about a century. It’s Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides that “No person shall … hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.”

This less well-known section of the amendment that also gave people due process and equal protection under the Constitution after the Civil War has gotten a lot of attention of late. Some commentators have suggested that Section 3 could be invoked to bar Trump from future office regardless of the outcome of impeachment. But it’s procedurally tricky. And if it is to work, as many are suggesting, it may require that Congress shore it up statutorily so that it might survive the scrutiny that it needs—and would undoubtedly get—if Section 3 were ever employed against Trump.

The last time it was invoked was in 1919. That year, the U.S. House of Representatives refused to seat the first Socialist elected to Congress, Victor Berger, on Section 3 grounds. Berger actively opposed U.S. participation in World War I, and was prosecuted and convicted under the Espionage Act. The House of Representatives referred his case to a special committee for investigation, concluded that he was ineligible for membership and refused to seat him. If Trump were to run successfully for Congress, a Democratic majority in either house could presumably follow suit and vote to preclude him from taking office. But that option doesn’t address a possible 2024 presidential bid, which is perhaps foremost among concerns of Democrats and many Republicans too.

Alternatively, the current Democratic-controlled Congress could simply declare Trump in violation of Section 3 in due course, but whether that declaration would be enforceable in a future election is hard to tell.

There are few reported judicial opinions that even mention Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, and none from the U.S. Supreme Court. The primary case appears to be the 1871 opinion in United States v. Powell, in which Amos S.C. Powell was indicted for accepting public office after the Civil War. Before the war, he had held “the office of constable,” which “was such an office as rendered those who had held it…engaged in the Rebellion” against the Union. As a result, the court explained, Powell was deemed “ineligible to any office now, by the provisions of the 3d section of the 14 amendment.”

To bring this aspect of the 14th amendment up to date, and to make it useful in a modern political context, Congress likely needs to pass a new law. Somewhat surprisingly, the Constitution’s terms are not self-executing—that is, for an individual to seek judicial enforcement of the Constitution, Congress generally must have passed a statute giving litigants a cause of action.

Congress has done this as a matter of criminal—but not civil—law for Section 3. To enable judicial enforcement of Section 3 the 14th Amendment, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1870 (also known as the Enforcement Act or the First Ku Klux Klan Act), among other laws. Section 15 of that act makes it a misdemeanor to run for office when ineligible to do so under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, punishable by up to a year in prison. Section 14 of the same law also allows a federal prosecutor to forcibly remove an offender from office. (Congress later passed the Amnesty Act of 1872, which lifted political barriers for senior members of the former Confederacy.)

Whether the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden would have an appetite to indict Trump for a misdemeanor under the 1870 statute is highly dubious. When the act was drafted, everyone knew precisely what sections 14 and 15 were aimed at: former members of the Confederacy, who Congress wanted to keep out of public office during Reconstruction. The act—and thus Section 3 itself—is outmoded.

Congress can enhance the enforceability of the 14th Amendment’s ban on certain individuals holding public office by permitting private citizens to bring lawsuits for alleged violations of Section 3. Of course, there’s plenty of precedent for statutes authorizing judicial causes of action.

For example, in order to bring a lawsuit against a state or local police officer for allegedly violating the 4th Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures and other constitutional rights, a plaintiff must invoke 42 U.S.C. § 1983—a statute passed in 1871 after the Civil War to implement the Reconstruction amendments to the Constitution. In 1961, the Supreme Court prominently brought that statute to life in Monroe v. Pape, which allowed a homeowner to use the act to sue individual Chicago police officers for money damages in connection with a warrantless search.

In theory, a law passed by Congress to implement Section 3 of the 14th Amendment could give a competing candidate for the same office the necessary standing to bring a civil lawsuit. If Trump were to run in 2024 and a plaintiff brought a suit to enjoin his campaign, the constitutionality of the legislation would undoubtedly wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court, with unpredictable results.

But this route would at least avoid criminal prosecution and thus the perception that the Department of Justice under a Democratic administration was trying to silence a political enemy. It would also shore up Congress’s role as a co-equal branch charged with ensuring that Oval Office occupants remain accountable for wrongdoing in office—a constitutional obligation that a second impeachment acquittal would largely disavow.

Not since the Civil War has America seen a violent insurrection the likes of Jan. 6. Nor has it seen a president as cynically prone to undermining the Constitution and the rule of law as Donald Trump. If Senate Republicans aren’t willing to risk their own political relevance for the sake of the republic come Feb. 9, then the rest of those members who swore an oath to the Constitution should take steps to give it meaning through Congress’s legislative prerogative.

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‘Politics isn’t about the weird worship of one dude’: Sasse shoots down Nebraska censure motion

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Don't look homeward angel""

Postby Meno_ » Sat Feb 06, 2021 4:51 pm


Trump may survive impeachment. But like my cousin Roy Cohn, he's lost New York's respect.
New York remembers my cousin not as a master of the universe, but as a lonely and discredited figure. That should be a warning to his favorite apprentice.

Donald Trump spent the last four years at the center of the world. Holed up in Florida, he is about to face down the Senate in a historic second impeachment trial. He probably won't be convicted, and he remains beloved by his rabid fan base. But he's surely lost forever the chance to get what he really craved: respect in the boardrooms, clubrooms and newsrooms of Manhattan.

As a New York Daily News cover phrased it, "DON'T COME BACK!"

In the past few months, Trump suffered humiliating defeats from voters, judges, social media gatekeepers and even PGA tournament organizers. But surely the hometown rejection stings. He loved to show off his gilded triplex penthouse atop Trump Tower; he drew energy from the paparazzi who tailed him on Fifth Avenue; he gloried in seeing his name on hotels and residential buildings in elite neighborhoods.

I know this because I had a front-row seat to observe Trump during his dizzying ascent in the 1970s and 1980s. As a college student and then a young journalist, I spent time with Roy Marcus Cohn, the fixer who mentored Trump. Roy was my father’s cousin, so I saw the Cohn-Trump bullying and corner-cutting.

As I watched Trump with Cohn at parties in Manhattan and the Hamptons, I realized that their intense friendship was forged out of their common resentment of New Yorkers who seemed more successful, more established, more accepted.

Trump and Cohn grew up in the city’s outer boroughs, their faces pressed against the window of society, hoping to join in.

Trump and Cohn grew up in the city’s outer boroughs, their faces pressed against the window of society, hoping to join in. Later, Trump would spin fables about his real estate prowess, like his $1.2 billion Taj Mahal casino, “the eighth wonder of the world” (until it went bankrupt). But deep down, he knew he was just an heir from a Queens family that owned undistinguished housing complexes. Cohn was born in the Bronx, raised by a mother who yearned for approval in Manhattan.

I understand. I spent my early childhood in East Harlem, while friends and relatives lived in glitzy neighborhoods, tantalizingly close by. New Yorkers know that the span of a few blocks means a world of difference in status.

Cohn wasn't much of a lawyer, but he was an unrelenting connector and charlatan. He introduced Trump to the tax-evading owners of Studio 54, the corrupt politicians who eased zoning restrictions, the Mafia bosses who allegedly ensured a steady supply of concrete for Trump Tower during a strike.

Cohn and Trump made sure the Old Guard saw them squired around town in their chauffeured Rolls-Royces. Yet no matter how many times Trump appeared in the tabloid columns or affixed his name to buildings, he couldn’t ingratiate himself with New York’s establishment.

“Donald operated in New York on the assumption that wealth, even pretend wealth, would buy everything he yearned for,” Ruth Messinger told me in an interview recently. She served as borough president of Manhattan in the 1990s and clashed with Trump over his attempts to wall in Manhattan with enormous apartment complexes.

“Real estate leaders made fun of Donald behind his back,” Messinger continued. “Some city officials turned him down just because they saw him as too conniving, too manipulative, too untrustworthy.”

No matter how many times Trump appeared in the tabloid columns or affixed his name to buildings, he couldn’t ingratiate himself with New York’s establishment.

When Trump started his presidency, he mused about spending part of the time in his 58th-floor Trump Tower apartment slathered with 24-karat gold. He was obsessed with coverage from the hometown media: The New York Times, the New York Post, the TV networks based in New York. But New York finally, resoundingly rebuffed him. In November’s election, he lost every Manhattan voting district to Joe Biden.

Trump derided the city as a "ghost town." He changed his residence to Florida. But he couldn't fool New Yorkers: He fled to Mar-a-Lago because he is a pariah everywhere in the city whose affirmation he coveted.

Trump-branded properties in New York have lost more than 20 percent of their value, Business Insider reported. New York prosecutors are building cases to show the Trump Organization’s “extensive and protracted criminal conduct,” the Associated Press reported.

In a final jab, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio canceled millions of dollars' worth of Trump contracts; the city will strip the Trump name from a city golf course and skating rinks.


Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes is a battle of the ages. Literally.
“We’ll be back in some form,” Trump promised as he departed Washington — fled, it felt like — for a state he once seemed to disdain. The Daily News cover gave him a Bronx cheer: “Trump joins fellow geezers in Florida.”

We want to hear what you THINK. Please submit a letter to the editor.
Trump shows no signs of having learned from his most important apprenticeship. In 1986, Roy Cohn was dying of AIDS complications in his 33-room townhouse off Park Avenue. One powerful New Yorker after another deserted him — including Donald Trump.

Today, New York remembers my cousin not as a master of the universe, but as a broken, lonely figure who was disbarred and discredited. That should be a warning to his favorite apprentice.

David L. Marcus

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Liz Cheney

Postby Meno_ » Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:23 am



Wyoming GOP censures Liz Cheney for vote to impeach Trump
Cheney defended her vote in a statement after the state party censure.

An empty chair labeled "Representative Cheney" sits in front of a meeting room in Rawlins, Wyo. on Feb. 6.

An empty chair labeled "Representative Cheney" sits in front of a meeting room in Rawlins, Wyo. on Feb. 6. | Mead Gruver/AP Photo

The Wyoming Republican Party on Saturday voted to censure Rep. Liz Cheney for her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump, the latest blowback the member of House leadership has faced from within her own party.

Just eight of 74 members of the Wyoming central committee opposed the censure move, which didn't go to a formal vote. Cheney did not attend the meeting in her home state. A censure document accused Cheney of moving to impeach Trump without "due process."

The move to censure Cheney came after House Republicans on Wednesday voted, 145-61, for her to keep her position as conference chair amid the intra-party backlash.

Cheney, a staunch conservative, has received heavy criticism from Trump loyalists for her vote to impeach the populist former president, who is facing a Senate impeachment trial beginning next week.

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida headed to Wyoming to hold an anti-Cheney rally Jan. 28, laying into her with a plethora of insults. But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended her at the closed-door meeting before the Republican caucus vote.

Cheney defended her vote in a statement after the state party censure.

"I’m honored to represent the people of Wyoming in Congress and will always fight for the issues that matter most to our state. Foremost among these is the defense of our Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees," Cheney wrote in a statement.

"My vote to impeach was compelled by the oath I swore to the Constitution. Wyoming citizens know that this oath does not bend or yield to politics or partisanship. I will always fight for Wyoming values and stand up for our Western way of life," she added.

Cheney isn’t the only Republican to come under fire for insufficiently supporting Trump in the eyes of a state party.

Arizona Republicans censured Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake, as well as Cindy McCain, Sen. John McCain’s widow, on Jan. 23.

Ducey opposed Trump’s bid to subvert the election results and Flake and McCain endorsed Joe Biden for president instead of the Republican incumbent.

Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska is also facing potential censure from his state party’s central committee after he declined to back Trump’s bid to challenge election results. He responded to the state party committee with a blistering video.

“Politics isn’t about the weird worship of one dude,” Sasse said. “The party can purge Trump skeptics. But I’d like to convince you that not only is that civic cancer for the nation, it’s just terrible for our party.”

The vote to censure Cheney also comes as the GOP grapples with its identity in a post-Trump political reality. McCarthy declined to punish Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — who has voiced racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views and promoted QAnon conspiracy theories — before Democrats voted to kick her off her committee assignments.

After Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump on charges of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, the Wyoming Republican Party said it had never heard so much blowback from fellow Republicans. She's now facing a pro-Trump primary challenger.

“The consensus is clear that those who are reaching out to the Party vehemently disagree with Representative Cheney’s decision and actions,” the party wrote in a statement Jan. 13.

After Trump was impeached, the Trump-supporting chair of the state party, Frank Eathorne, suggested seceding from the union.

Cheney tore into Trump in a statement explaining her decision to vote to impeach Trump.

“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President.,” Cheney wrote Jan. 12.


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Trump impeachment lawyer says he'll use video of Dems' own remarks at trial

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Re: Trump enters the stage - sarah Palin precurser""

Postby Meno_ » Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:01 am

“I Think People Will Get Tired of Him”: For Donald Trump, Sarah Palin’s Fall Shows the Limits of power

Back in the before times of January 2015, when I was a reporter for CNN, I did a weekend live shot from the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, one of those political cattle calls where Republican presidential hopefuls take turns onstage professing their Christian faith before a crowd of people harvested from a Grant Wood painting, hoping to impress the state’s conservative activists. Most of the supposedly serious 2016 contenders had flown to Iowa: Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee. But the CNN anchor that day, Michael Smerconish, asked me a reasonable question about two attention-grabbing Republicans who were also there, Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, and whether they might run for president too. Like most Very Savvy political journalists at the time, I laughed off Trump’s appearance as just another thirsty White House tease. And having covered Palin up close since she was chosen as John McCain’s running mate, I knew her best shot at the Republican nomination was back in 2012.

Soon after the segment aired, CNN president Jeff Zucker, who is always watching, emailed me and a few other producers demanding that we not cover Trump or Palin, explaining that both Republicans were carnival acts, attention-seekers, two unserious distractions from the real presidential race to come. At the time, few in politics would have disagreed. I think about that moment from time to time, and not just because CNN’s position on covering Trump so famously changed once he actually became a candidate, delivering ratings galore. But the Iowa story is worth remembering, too, because of the way Trump and Palin were lumped together by the smart set as little more than a sad and desperate right-wing sideshow, when in truth, they were two of the most consequential political figures in American history.

These days Palin has receded to a historical footnote and a punch line for a news media that’s become even more cocooned in its urban bubble since 2008, with Trump now receiving most of the credit for upending the presumed order of national politics. But it was Palin who opened the door for Trump, the first politician to fuse together backlash politics and anti-elitism with the mighty American power of celebrity. “The impact that she has had on rejuvenating almost the Republican Party, it’s been unbelievable,” Trump said of Palin in 2008, soon after she was picked from obscurity to join McCain on the ticket. After McCain lost, Palin resigned from the governorship in Alaska but continued to gather strength as a fixture on the conservative political circuit, publishing a best-selling memoir, headlining Tea Party rallies, joining Fox News, and coming close to running for president in 2012. And she did most of it while bypassing the “lamestream” media by posting her musings and rants on Facebook for an enormous community of die-hard fans.

Like Trump, Palin had powers beyond the campaign trail: She wore a celebrity halo rarely seen on a politician. Her traveling circus in the fall of 2008 proudly embraced redneck America, Hank Williams Jr. and Gretchen Wilson, hunting and fishing, Carhartts and Walmart. Her crowds were rapturous. Rural Americans and working people who didn’t go to college saw her as one of their own, while liberals and journalists loved to mock her lack of sophistication and manner of speaking. It was a partisan culture clash that only gave Palin more strength. Tina Fey’s scornful impression of Palin on Saturday Night Live was only the beginning. After Palin came on the scene, as Nancy Isenberg recounted in her book White Trash, a history of class in America, Hollywood unleashed a crop of new TV shows that played off the redneck trope that Palin ushered into the mainstream: Swamp People, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Redneck Island, Duck Dynasty, Moonshiners, Appalachian Outlaws. Her family dramas became tabloid favorites. And Palin would go on, fittingly, to star in her own reality show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, produced by Mark Burnett, Trump’s beloved reality-show producer.

Barack Obama later wrote in his 2020 memoir, A Promised Land, that Palin’s explosive rise was “a sign of things to come, a larger, darker reality in which partisan affiliation and political expedience would threaten to blot out everything—your previous positions, your stated principles, even what your own senses, your eyes and ears, told you to be true.” More than any politician that came before her, Palin made politics purely about cultural identity—and there would be no turning back. Obama left readers to draw the obvious comparison to Trump. Whether Trump was watching closely or not, Palin carved out a new path to power. And now, in his postpresidency, Trump’s future might also look a lot like Palin’s. Out of the White House and essentially deplatformed from Twitter and Facebook, Trump is inhabiting something of a media time warp, now much more dependent on traditional media for attention. He’s still the hottest story in the world, but Palin’s moment in the sun, which began more than a decade ago, offers a possible glimpse into how the next few years will unfold for the former president—and how his hold on Republican politics and the media, which seems overpowering today, will fade with time.

Between 2009 and 2011, Mitch McConnell might have controlled the official levers of GOP politics in Washington, but no Republican occupied the public consciousness more than Sarah Palin. The country might have had its first Black president in office, grappling with seismic economic distress, but Palin was the entertainer in chief. Her face was splattered on magazines, on cable and broadcast news, on Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood, on Oprah and CBN, on Facebook and Twitter, on weirdo fan blogs and international news sites alike. She was inescapable. In 2009, my colleague Michael Calderone wrote for Politico about the “Palin-media codependency,” noting that Andrea Mitchell had hosted her MSNBC show from a Barnes & Noble in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Palin was scheduled to stop on her book tour for Going Rogue. That year Andrew Sullivan blogged about Palin more than 24 times in two days for The Atlantic. National Review launched a blog dedicated solely to observing Palin. The Huffington Post helped usher in the “outraged fact check” genre, with “The 18 Biggest Falsehoods in Palin’s book” driving plenty of clicks. Palin sat down for a big exclusive with Barbara Walters, with ABC dripping out teaser clips across Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and Nightline. She was inescapable.

As the Tea Party movement forced its way into the national conversation, she emerged as its de facto standard-bearer. Political pundits were at once confounded and bewitched. Matthew Continetti of The Weekly Standard placed Palin’s defiant anti-intellectualism in the tradition of American populism. Maureen Dowd wrote that “Democrats would be foolish to write off her visceral power.” Matt Taibbi, in Rolling Stone, celebrated her ability to trigger know-it-all political reporters. Any of this sound familiar? Her arrival in politics came just as the legacy news media was succumbing to its current social media addiction, but Palin held attentional singularity, commanding clicks and TV ratings alike. In 2010, my colleague Gabriel Sherman wrote in New York that no politician in history had “marketed herself over multiple platforms with the sophistication and sheer ambitiousness that Palin has shown.” Every time she appeared on Fox News, where she signed on as a contributor in 2009, ratings shot up 10-15%, Sherman reported, a phenomenon that repeated itself at MSNBC. Fox even sidelined one of its own reporters after she delivered a tiny morsel of Palin criticism on air. With a $100,000-a-pop speaking fee, TV contracts, and a best-selling memoir, Palin was monetizing the whole time, making upward of $12 million in the year after leaving the Alaska governor’s mansion, out of power but more powerful than ever.

Palin leaned into the media chaos with a smile and not an ounce of restraint, giving her limitless political abilities. When Palin coined the phrase “death panels” during the fight to pass Obamacare, it became the Tea Party’s signature rally cry, repeated endlessly despite being a falsehood. Her appearances at conservative conventions and Tea Party rallies, often while wearing jewelry festooned with American flags, were aired in full on cable news, with reporters assigned to follow her every move. Her ability to raise small-dollar donations from grassroots conservatives was unparalleled. In 2009, when Palin was waffling about speaking at a Washington fundraiser for Senate and House Republicans—a D.C. micro-drama if ever there was one—the back-and-forth was covered exhaustively by NBC News, CNN, The New York Times, Politico, and dozens of other outlets. Republican elites were sick of her: The National Journal conducted an “Insiders Poll” of 85 GOP strategists in Washington, and Palin was the top response when asked: “Which voice in your party would you most like to mute?” Of course those insiders only uttered their concerns on background, fearing a GOP base that felt differently.

When Palin started picking favorites in GOP primaries during the 2010 midterms, she instantly became the most coveted endorsement of the election cycle. With her small-staffed political outfit, SarahPAC, Palin didn’t bring much of a political machine to the table, but a single social media post could generate enough media coverage and fundraising dollars to flip the direction of a primary overnight. In May 2010, when Palin endorsed Nikki Haley just before South Carolina’s four-way gubernatorial primary and appeared with her at a rally in Columbia, Haley was left for dead in last place. A few weeks later she was the Republican nominee. Former Haley adviser Rob Godfrey, who was then working for a rival candidate, told me at the time that Palin’s endorsement was “an earned media blowtorch.” The Washington Post launched a “Palin endorsement tracker” to follow along. Some of Palin’s picks were conspiracy lunatics and helpless eccentrics—Republicans like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware—who won their primaries but went on to lose in November, infuriating Republican strategists in Washington who saw their more electable candidates swamped by a single Palin tweet.

It’s memory-holed now, but Palin’s stardom continued unabated all the way through late 2011, a full three years after her arrival on the national scene. Her flirtation with running for the 2012 Republican nomination—never ruling out a bid and allowing supporters to build an operation for her in Iowa—kept her in the headlines. While dancing around a bid of her own, Palin threw carefree darts at declared candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. Her newest adviser, a filmmaker named Steve Bannon, helped position Palin as a populist alternative to the “crony capitalism” that had infected Republican politics. Advisers to the Republican candidates all groused privately to reporters about Palin’s headline-grabbing ways, but on the record, they politely welcomed Palin’s possible endorsement and shied away from criticizing her. In the summer of 2011, she announced a “One Nation” bus tour of historical sites up the East Coast, making stops at Fort McHenry, Gettysburg, and Bunker Hill, teasing a presidential run with her telegenic family in tow. Local TV news choppers chased the bus driving up Interstate 76 to air live coverage. ABC News, clearly interested in service journalism, added a helpful interactive map of the Palin bus tour to its website. The only event that managed to push Palin’s bus tour off of cable news was the “hacked” picture of Anthony Weiner’s junk that surfaced on Twitter. But some two months later, Palin was back at it, drawing a horde of press during her visit to the Iowa State Fair.

Only that October, when Palin declared that she wouldn’t run, did her influence begin to wane. Media attention drifted from Palin to the presidential race—and to wackier Tea Party characters like Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and the birther kingpin himself, Donald Trump. Romney wrestled the nomination away from his conservative rivals, temporarily snuffing out the restive grassroots wing of the GOP. Palin lingered on the scene, still showing up at conservative events, posting on Facebook, and handing out endorsements. But her schtick just got old, fading with time. Fox News dropped Palin in 2015. Her husband, Todd, later divorced her, a story that made barely a ripple. She surfaced recently with a strange Instagram video threatening to primary Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski, and she showed up in Georgia to campaign for Republicans ahead of the January runoff elections. The appearance was met with a shrug and, according to script, a handful of snarky reporter tweets about her wardrobe.

Right now, for Trump, that kind of political trajectory—from the center of the known universe to a lesser moon orbiting Pluto—feels like an impossibility. Unlike Palin, Trump was an actual president who changed the course of history, with a vise grip on the Republican Party and most of its voters. Trump has only just left office; he has yet to give an interview; his second impeachment trial is underway; and his influence on the GOP seems secure enough. The media will cover him for a long time to come, and hangers-on like Matt Gaetz will always be available for #content. He will tease a presidential run, and maybe box out other Republican contenders in the process. But the center of gravity in politics always changes, whether he decides to run or not. Trump’s shocking deplatforming following the January 6 Capitol Hill riot, predicted by no one, immediately neutralized the predictable “Trump 2024!” takes that followed his November loss. What is Trump without his tweets? It was proof, yet again, that the political class is permanently addicted to the present, rarely looking up from Twitter to think about future possibilities that might contradict it. With his social media megaphone gone, Trump is quite obviously a diminished man, operating in a media environment that looks a little more like 2011, when the establishment media had a bit more power, and a little less like 2021. Yes, there are more conservative outlets today, and more discreet communities where the cult of Trumpism can flourish. But going back to his real estate days, Trump’s power has always depended on the mainstream media’s addiction to his antics. Without social media, his influence moving forward will now be much more dependent on the media and the Republican Party, and how much they choose to accommodate him. Right now they are. But they won’t forever. Bad politicians like Missouri senator Josh Hawley will try to Xerox Trump and fail. Better politicians, as always, will find ways to win by wresting power away from those who hold it, marshaling voters with messages of their own.

It’s already getting dark out there for Mister Trump. Without the presidency, he already commands much less of our mindshare than he did only a few weeks ago. Like Palin, Trump himself will recede over time, even if the damage he has inflicted on our political culture remains. The media has started to search for the next ambassador from Crazytown, the next ratings grab. In just the last two weeks, as cable-news ratings started to tumble without the constant drip of Trump outrage, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon Karen, became the new hotness. The Washington Post reported last week that Greene’s name had been mentioned about 400 times on MSNBC and 200 times on CNN since November. The writers, as the Twitter joke goes, have embarked on a new season, with some wild new plot twists and characters. “Palin is the perfect analogy here,” said Adam Kinzinger, one of the few Never Trump Republicans in Congress, who also happened to be blessed with a Palin primary endorsement back in 2010. “She was this fierce populist figure, and people couldn’t get enough of her. And then it stopped. Trump will certainly be relevant and a player in the next cycle, but that will decrease over time, and without Twitter and the trappings of power, I think people will get tired of him. People will finally start to see he’s not as powerful as he claims to be.” As a hockey mom from Wasilla once said: You betcha.

More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
— Embedding With Pentagon Leadership in Trump’s Final, Frenzied Days
— Donald Trump Refused to Take ‘No’ From Women—And Then From America Itself
— How Trump’s COVID Chaos Drowned the FDA in Junk Science
— Inside the Epic Bromance of Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump
— After Wrecking the Country, Jared and Ivanka Plot Vacation Plans
— Can Trump’s Cult of Followers Be Deprogrammed?
— Trump Makes an Exit With His Brand in Tatters

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Re: Trump enters the stage - clever Biden strategy

Postby Meno_ » Tue Feb 09, 2021 4:32 am



Biden’s strategy for Trump’s impeachment: Sit back and STFU
It "just makes no sense" for him to engage.

Washington may be consumed by Donald Trump’s impeachment trial this week but the White House has a decidedly different view of it: Impeachment? What impeachment?

The Biden team has shut down question after question about where Biden stands on this week’s trial, even with its massive historical, constitutional and political ramifications. On Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki wouldn’t even say whether the president would receive daily updates on the trial’s path.
It’s a remarkable bit of messaging discipline driven by a simple political calculation. Biden’s presidency rests on whether he can drive down Covid numbers, reopen the economy and get kids back in schools. He needs his Covid relief package to do that, not the banishment of his predecessor from future public office.

“[It] just makes no sense for Biden to weigh in on the impeachment,” said one source familiar with the White House’s thinking. “He’s already said that he thought [there] were grounds for impeachment but he has to stay focused on helping people in this crisis.”

Several other people familiar with the White House’s thinking say the Biden team sees no upside in Biden weighing in on impeachment, either. His remarks would surely not move votes on the Republican side, they say. Even the slightest comment about Trump at a press briefing would blot out anything else they do that day. Talking Trump would also signal to Americans that Biden is already tilting toward politics instead of figuring out how to get shots in people’s arms.

“The last thing Americans want to see right now is that conversation from the podium,” Karen Finney, a former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser and Democratic strategist, said of the White House talking about impeachment. “Part of what they’re trying to do here is say ‘it’s a new day it’s a new administration.’ They’re not going to use the White House and the tools of the presidency to engage in politics.”

Still, Biden’s public shoulder shrug to the impeachment trial is a notable contrast to Senate Democrats, who contend that the trial is essential to holding Trump accountable for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot in the Capitol. One Democratic senator has told POLITICO the trial was essential to publicly airing Trump’s “really heinous criminal wrongdoing and criminal intent.”

But when Psaki was pressed on Monday about how Biden would approach the proceedings, she sidestepped or deflected, saying it was a matter for Congress to handle. At one point, she said Biden didn’t have anything new to say because he was no longer in the Senate, where the trial will be held starting Tuesday.

“He will not spend much time watching the proceedings – if any time – over the course of this week,” Psaki said. “He will leave the pace, and the process and the mechanics of the impeachment proceedings up to members of Congress.”

Reporters pressed Psaki on how Biden could tell CBS News that Trump was too unstable to receive intelligence briefings but not weigh in on whether he should be stripped of the ability to run for office again—which could potentially be the end result of a Senate conviction.

“Well, he ran against him because he felt he was unfit for office and he defeated him, and that's why he's no longer President -- Trump is no longer President of the United States,” Psaki said. “So I think his views of the former President are pretty clear. But he's going to leave it to the Senate to see this impeachment proceedings forward.”

Biden world’s determination to not get side-tracked by Trumpian distractions is reminiscent of the strategy they adopted on the campaign trail. It was one that centered on sticking with the core message,shunned the Twitter conversation, and resisting calls to adopt the posture and temperament of the left.

Even during Trump’s first impeachment, Biden was among the last of a sprawling Democratic campaign field to call for a probe, despite the fact that he himself was central to the subject matter. Trump then was under scrutiny for applying pressure to Ukraine’s president to probe Biden’s political involvement and his son Hunter’s business dealings in that country.

Another outside adviser said that Biden has juggled the risks of having a current president weighing in on the actions of a former president, and feels wary of exacerbating political divisions. “Biden is still an institutionalist,” said the adviser, noting that the president is likely asking: “‘If I say anything, is it going to make it even more horrible for the country?’”

Republicans have cast the latest impeachment trial as a worthless political exercise, given that Democrats don’t have the votes to convict. They also plan to argue on Tuesday that it is unconstitutional to impeach a former president.

With the outcome preordained, Finney argued that should Biden hype Trump’s impeachment, he would only risk creating unnecessary political waves with the segment of America that still supports the former president.

“It’s recognizing there are people who are still in varying stages of grief about Trump,” she said of Biden’s restraint on talking impeachment politics. Finney said Biden is better off sending those voters a different message: “A lot of those folks who may have voted for Trump and are in red states, he’s trying to save their lives too.”

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Criminal intent or Senate actio

Postby Meno_ » Tue Feb 09, 2021 5:04 pm

"Opinion, Analysis, Essays


How Republicans' defense of Trump over his impeachment trial hurts him in the long run
Not only does it go against the constitution and historical precedent, it sets the former president up for an outcome he likely wants even less.

Image: TOPSHOT-us-politics-trump-medal-holtz-award
President Donald Trump listens during a Medal of Freedom ceremony for Lou Holtz in the Oval Office of the White House on Dec. 3, 2020.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images file
Feb. 9, 2021, 4:30 AM EST
By Michael Conway, former counsel, U.S. House Judiciary Committee
History — and the American people — demand that former President Donald Trump be held accountable by our legal system for his misconduct that incited his followers to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power outlined by the Constitution.

The Democratic-led house, by impeaching Trump on Jan. 13 before his term of office ended, offered Republicans in the Senate one option to do so. But by delaying any possibility of holding a trial until after his term of office was up and then — as 45 of 50 Republican senators voted last month — declaring that convicting him on those charges was unconstitutional, members of his own party have paved the way for the criminal justice system to be the only mechanism to hold him to account.

Trump's impeachment proves Republicans don't understand the Constitution. They're not alone.
In 1993, the Supreme Court recognized in Nixon v. United States (unrelated to the former president) that the Constitution envisions that the conduct of a federal official could be judged in two ways: by the Senate in an impeachment trial and by the courts in a criminal case.

In that case, the court ruled that it was powerless to review a claim by former U.S. District Judge Walter L. Nixon Jr. that his constitutional rights were violated when the Senate found him guilty in an impeachment trial after he had been tried and convicted on criminal charges, because only a Senate committee took part in the evidentiary hearings before the full Senate convicted him. The court stressed that the Constitution gave the Senate the sole authority to try impeachments, while the judicial branch is solely responsible for adjudicating criminal charges.

Because 45 Republican senators claimed that the Senate has no jurisdiction to try him after Jan. 20, they advanced the prospect that Trump's actions will be judged in a federal criminal trial.

In the court's majority opinion, Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that "the Framers recognized that most likely there would be two sets of proceedings for individuals who commit impeachable offenses — the impeachment trial and a separate criminal trial."

"In fact," he wrote, "the Constitution explicitly provides for two separate proceedings. See Art. I, § 3, cl. 7. The Framers deliberately separated the two forums to avoid raising the specter of bias and to ensure independent judgments."

The court also quoted Federalist 65, in which Alexander Hamilton wrote that it was essential that the decision in an impeachment trial and the verdict in a criminal prosecution be rendered by different bodies — the Senate and the courts, respectively — so a decision by the first would not improperly influence the second. "Would it be proper," Hamilton wrote, "that the persons, who had disposed of his fame and his most valuable rights as a citizen in one trial, should in another trial, for the same offence, be also the disposers of his life and his fortune?"

Why the GOP Senate vote against impeachment dooms the party
Hamilton clearly recognized that impeachment could strip a public official of his fame and rights as a citizen to hold federal office, while a criminal trial could result in imprisonment and fines.

But because 45 Republican senators have chosen to avoid Trump's fury by claiming that the Senate has no jurisdiction to try him after Jan. 20, they advanced the prospect that Trump's actions should and will be judged on the merits in a federal criminal trial.

Our democracy demands an accounting — and ultimately a condemnation — of Trump's incitement of a violent mob to attack the Capitol.

Impeachment, though, was designed to serve that purpose: An honest Senate verdict based on the evidence of Trump's conduct in provoking the mob's invasion of the Capitol — which endangered the lives of senators, Vice President Mike Pence, House members and others — surely would result in a conviction, which would indelibly mark Trump's actions as illegitimate and a violation of his oath of office. It would satisfy the pressing need for official action to decry that violation. It would be a warning to future autocrats against engaging in similar efforts to cripple our democracy.

And barring Trump from running for president again in 2024 would be a suitable penalty — one set out by the Constitution.

But conviction by a vote of two-thirds of the senators at a trial seems virtually impossible after 90 percent of the Republican senators went on record last month incorrectly asserting that the Senate lacked jurisdiction to convict Trump after his term ended.

Senators ducked their responsibility once before — in the impeachment trial of former Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876 (of which, it seems, there are now many armchair scholars).

Perhaps the congressmen of 1876 never envisioned a president like Trump, one undeterred by the threat of "public disgrace."

Despite being confronted with overwhelming evidence of Belknap's receipt of bribes in the Trader Post scandal — and despite the Senate's agreeing that it retained the power to try impeachment charges brought against former officials — Belknap was acquitted on all five articles of impeachment, since the votes for conviction on various articles (from 37-25 to 35-25) were less than the constitutionally required two-thirds majority.

The senators were permitted to state their reasons for voting to acquit, and 22 of the 25 based their votes on the supposed lack of jurisdiction to try Belknap, who had resigned moments before he was impeached. (Trump, of course, was still in office on Jan. 13, when he was impeached.)

Why should the Senate convict Trump this time? Just ask Benjamin Franklin
In a written report afterward, the House managers in the Belknap impeachment said the proceedings were nonetheless a "great good" because "it has been settled thereby that persons who have held civil office in the United States are impeachable, and that the Senate has jurisdiction to try them, although years may elapse before the discovery of the offense or offenses subjecting them to impeachment."

Their prediction that "this decision will be a constant warning that impeachable offenses, though not discovered for years, may result in impeachment, conviction, and public disgrace" was somehow debunked by 45 Republican senators last month.

A conviction would indelibly mark Trump's actions as illegitimate and a violation of his oath of office, as well as satisfy the pressing need for official action to decry that gross violation.

Perhaps the congressmen of 1876 never envisioned a president like Trump, one undeterred by the threat of "public disgrace," or that he would find so many complicit loyalists in the Senate.

Our democracy demands an accounting — and ultimately a condemnation — of Trump's incitement of a violent mob to attack the Capitol to undermine the legitimate recording of the electoral votes that made Joe Biden president.

Republican senators' shirking their responsibility to judge Trump's actions on the merits has consequences — consequences Trump himself may not like. The focus after an impeachment trial that fails to provide the accountability Americans deserve will shift to the even more divisive prospect of a criminal prosecution of Trump for conspiracy to engage in an insurrection.

And those Republican senators, having failed in their constitutional duty to judge the former president on his conduct rather than his party affiliation, will have unwittingly assigned their responsibility to a federal criminal trial.

Michael Conway was counsel for the House Judiciary Committee in the impeachment inquiry of President Richard Nixon in 1974. In that role, he assisted in drafting the committee's final report to the House in support of the three articles of impeachment adopted by the committee. Conway is a graduate of Yale Law School, a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a retired partner of Foley & Lardner LLP in Chicago.



Trump's trial set to rock Washington and echo
through the ages

(CNN)The simple question posed by Donald Trump's second impeachment trial that begins Tuesday is whether a president who loses reelection can get away with a violent coup attempt in a desperate bid to stay in power.

The answer contained in the former commander-in-chief's likely acquittal for inciting a deadly mob assault on the Capitol will echo through generations and may influence the outcome of some unknowable future test of US democracy.

But more contemporary concerns that do not depend on the verdict of the Senate trial -- like the consistent cowardice of Republicans who refuse to hold Trump to account and the effect of the evidence on the American public -- are also hugely consequential since they will shape the modern political age.

How to watch the Senate impeachment trial
How to watch the Senate impeachment trial

Events of the next week or so will inform the country's capacity to move on from a traumatic presidency that left it as divided as at any time since the Civil War. And the unpredictable partisan fallout unleashed by a trial unfolding inside an eight-foot high fence around the Capitol amid fears of more violence will have a direct effect on President Joe Biden's hopes of mustering the national will needed to conquer multiple crises.

The trial will begin just a month after a now infamous day, when Trump greeted a huge crowd in Washington already primed for revolt by his weeks of false claims of election fraud. The subsequent invasion of the US Capitol during a joint session of Congress to certify Biden's election victory led to five deaths and saw Trump fans parading unimpeded through the halls of the iconic building as lawmakers fled to safety.

By arguing that the trial is unconstitutional, politically motivated and an infringement of his free speech rights, Trump's defense will resurface a core theme of his tenure that a president is all-powerful and immune from censure for anti-democratic behavior rooted in a volcanic, autocratic temperament.

Security at US Capitol on high alert for Trump impeachment trial
Security at US Capitol on high alert for Trump impeachment trial
A majority of Senate Republicans have indicated that they will not wrestle with Trump's behavior but will take refuge in a questionable argument that a President who was impeached while in office for seditious behavior cannot be tried after returning to private life.

That means there is a little chance of a two-thirds majority to convict Trump among 100 senators who will serve as jurors in the chamber that became a crime scene to which many of them were witnesses.

But Democratic House impeachment managers will argue that if whipping up a rebellion against the peaceful transfer of US power is not an impeachable offense, nothing is. The prosecution case will unveil evidence of the horror unfolding in the Capitol that will make clear that the US political system was forced right to the brink.

While the managers will likely fail to secure a prohibition on Trump serving in federal office in future, they hope to so damn him in public perception that a political comeback in 2024 will be impossible.

Video of Trump declaring to an angry crowd he had called to Washington on January 6 "if you don't fight like hell, we are not going to have a country anymore," followed by clips of rioters shouting "fight for Trump" as they smashed their way into the Capitol will have a powerful effect. They will also make uncomfortable viewing for GOP senators who spent four years ignoring Trump's lawless conduct for their own political preservation.

The price to be paid for deserting an ex-president who still dominates his party is being demonstrated by the backlash directed at 10 Republicans who voted to impeach in the House.

A window into America's political soul

What we know about how Trump's second impeachment trial will go
The trial, however it ends, will mark an extraordinary and appropriate capstone to the most divisive presidency in American history that tore at the basic political guarantees laid down by the founders nearly 250 years ago.

At a moment of acute national crisis, amid a pandemic and economic disaster exacerbated by Trump's neglect in office, the trial will open a window into America's bitterly fractured unity.

Even after his presidency ended, Washington is under siege from extremism, Trump's trashing of truth with false claims of election fraud and unhinged conspiracies that show the fight to save US democracy did not end on Inauguration Day.

It's possible a handful of Senate Republicans will emulate Utah's Sen. Mitt Romney, the only member of his party to vote to convict Trump in his first trial. And Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who voted to impeach Trump, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post Monday encouraging Senate Republicans to vote to convict Trump, saying it "is necessary to save America from going further down a sad, dangerous road."

But Trump is convinced he will be acquitted. His own concerns about accountability are confined to Republicans such as Rep. Liz Cheney who ignored his personality cult and voted to impeach, sources told CNN's Jim Acosta.

From the balmy luxury in his Florida resort, the ex-President turned down a Democratic request to testify in his own defense, a factor that House impeachment managers will use to bolster legal arguments condemning him.

The trial will consume hours a day over the next few weeks, but it will be only one half of a compelling political story that is unfolding in Washington.

Biden, three weeks into his term, is intensifying his efforts to stand up his administration and to rescue the country with vaccines before new variants of Covid-19 trigger another deadly wave of infections.

The new commander-in-chief has steered clear of impeachment drama, leaving it to the new Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill to plow ahead. But Biden, who is pushing $1.9 trillion dollar pandemic relief plan, has a vested interest in the Senate wrapping up the process as quickly as possible.

"The Senate has to work it out," the President told reporters at the White House on Monday when asked if his predecessor should be deprived of his future political rights and the privileges granted to a former president.

A familiar line of defense

Trump tells aides he thinks he'll be acquitted as he remains fixated on 'accountability' for GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach
Trump's hurriedly overhauled impeachment defense team on Monday laid out their strategy in pre-trial briefs. They will first argue that the process is unconstitutional and motivated by a political vendetta.

"This was only ever a selfish attempt by Democratic leadership in the House to prey upon the feelings of horror and confusion that fell upon all Americans across the entire political spectrum upon seeing the destruction at the Capitol on January 6 by a few hundred people," the lawyers wrote.

The Trump defense will also revive one of the long-held tropes of the ex-President's apologists -- that his aggressive rhetoric should be taken figuratively not literally, with a claim that his call for the mob to "fight like hell" was metaphorical. The lawyers have also previously made clear that they will claim that impeaching Trump for his wild lies about election fraud deprives him of his First Amendment right to free speech. His team has also posited, despite multiple lawsuits and certifications of votes by states and Congress, that there is no evidence to disprove his false claims of voter fraud -- so prolonging the Big Lie that the election was stolen from the former President.

In a counter filling on the eve of the trial on Monday, Democratic House impeachment managers accused Trump's defense of indulging in "contortions" to support his discredited claims of a "rigged" and "stolen" election.

And they argue that the evidence of Trump's basic crime against the Constitution is overwhelming.

"President Trump violated his Oath of Office and betrayed the American people," the brief said. "His incitement of insurrection against the United States government -- which disrupted the peaceful transfer of power -- is the most grievous constitutional crime ever committed by a president."

House prosecutors may also seize on filings by some of the many pro-Trump protestors arrested over the Capitol incursion. One defendant, Matthew Miller, argues that he was "following the directions" of Trump to march on Congress. Another alleged rioter -- the so-called Qanon Shaman, Jacob Chansley -- told CNN on Monday, "I am deeply disappointed in former President Trump. He was not honorable," and his lawyer said he had "heeded the words of the former President."

The relatively uncomplicated nature of the charge against Trump and the more compressed nature of the trial contrasts with his first impeachment that resulted in his acquittal last year, over claims he abused his power to get Ukraine to intervene in the election to damage Biden. Trump now accounts for two of the four presidential impeachments in US history.

'A flat-out violation'

Trump lawyers argue former President did not incite riots by telling supporters to 'fight like hell'
The claim that a former president cannot be tried after being impeached relies on a hyper-literal reading of the Constitution. Trump's supporters argue the trial is moot since impeachment is about removing a President from office and Trump has already left power. But some legal analysts counter that the trial is supported by precedent following the impeachment of several former officials or judges in US history and is also validated by the provision in the Constitution for officials to be barred from future federal office.

Conservative legal scholar and frequent Trump critic George Conway told CNN's Jake Tapper on Monday that the former President was also rightly impeached because when the violence was raging on January 6 -- during the congressional process designed to certify the election of a new president -- he failed in his obligation to defend the Constitution and the American people.

"He wanted something to disrupt the electoral vote count that would mean he would no longer be President of the United States," Conway said.

"None of that is protected by the First Amendment. It's a flat out violation of his oath of office and it's impeachable and he should be punished by being barred from ever holding future federal office."

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Re: Trump enters the stage - The unimaginable and the inconc

Postby Meno_ » Wed Feb 10, 2021 12:57 am

"Three weeks ago may have been the nadir of Donald Trump’s political influence. A meager crowd of supporters gathered to send him off to Florida, he’d lost access to Twitter and the Senate’s most powerful Republican, Mitch McConnell, seemed fully prepared to ghost him out of the party.

Now, heading into what could have been an historic bipartisan rebuke, the former president and his team are confident both of his acquittal and that he’ll come out of the trial with his influence over the Republican party all but cemented."

It is really amazing how the intricate turns and twists of political future can so suddenly turn !
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Rand Paul

Postby Meno_ » Thu Feb 11, 2021 4:12 pm



Trump on path to acquittal despite stunning evidence
Rand Paul engineered a strategy that put all but six GOP senators on the record saying former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is unconstitutional.

Marco Rubio leaves impeachment trial
Sen. Marco Rubio leaves at the end of the second day of the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump on Wednesday. | Joshua Roberts/Pool via A

Rand Paul engineered a strategy that put all but six GOP senators on the record saying former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is unconstitutional. And even after visceral new footage of the Jan. 6 insurrection rattled fellow Republicans, he’s feeling pretty good about Trump’s whip count.

“There will be at least 44. Or more. I think we might get one or two back on acquittal,” Paul (R-Ky.) said in an interview. “Everybody objects to that violence. Everybody is horrified by that violence. But the question is: Did the president incite that?”

To Paul, the answer is clearly no. And interviews on Wednesday evening revealed that the raw emotions stirred up by the day's never-before-seen footage of violent rioters ransacking the Capitol hadn't moved Republicans any closer to voting to convict Trump on a charge of inciting the mob.

Most Republicans are publicly unshakable from the hard line they've taken on their party's process argument: How could they convict on the merits after saying the Senate shouldn’t even hold the trial?

The dug-in GOP resistance to considering conviction illustrates the same phenomenon that has torn the party asunder for years under Trump: The former president's power over the Republican base still eclipses his political toxicity for most members of his party.

The compelling presentation by House Democratic impeachment managers, which featured images, videos and audio clips that forced senators to relive the harrowing day, even handed several GOP senators a clear argument for acquitting the ex-president. The trial tests whether Trump incited the riot, Republicans said, not the widely acknowledged calamity that Jan. 6 became.

"This is not a vote on whether what happened that day was horrifying because it most certainly was," said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). "This is not a vote on whether the president bears any responsibility, which I’ve said all along."

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said the impeachment managers took a “pretty polished approach.” But he concluded that they’re asking the Senate to provide a “solution that we just don’t believe we have available.”

“Their focus is on the actions of the day and they have still to reckon with the fact that most of us don’t believe we have the constitutional authority to impeach a private person,” said Rounds, who was just re-elected. “I don’t think they’re going to be able to overcome that based on the direction of their discussions today, as chilling as the events of Jan. 6 were.”

GOP senators went as far as to praise the House impeachment managers for delivering an effective and compelling case on the Senate floor Wednesday. Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said they had connected the dots effectively.

But many in the GOP argued that the managers have not proved their incitement charge against the former president.

“We all knew the elements of the case coming here. Putting it on video and spending the time to accentuate it,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), who has all but ruled out voting to convict. “For any of us who don’t think the whole process is constitutional, it makes it difficult to go beyond that point.”

And there were moments of backlash against the impeachment managers, most notably on the presentation of a call that Trump accidentally placed to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) when he was trying to reach Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). Lee said in a brief interview that the presentation from Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) "consisted of statements that I did not make," and they were stricken from the record.

Sen. Mike Lee objects to House Impeachment managers using a telephone call Lee reportedly fielded from former President Donald Trump on the day of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. | via Getty Images

In recounting Trump’s actions as the insurrection unfolded, Cicilline said that Lee answered the phone and Trump was on the other line, and referred to him as “Tommy.” According to Cicilline, Lee then handed the phone to Tuberville. Trump subsequently requested that Tuberville “make additional objections to the certification process,” Cicilline said.

Tuberville said that he wished the presentation “had been correct.”

“I don’t know if you’ve ever talked to President Trump. You don’t get many words in, but, he didn’t get a chance to say a whole lot because I said ‘Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I’ve got to go,’” Tuberville said in an interview.

The Republican stance perplexed Senate Democrats, who praised the House impeachment managers' case against Trump.

“Watching the footage of how they treated the police officers was so much worse than anything I personally saw that day,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) “I don’t know how you could watch that and acquit this guy."

Securing a conviction is a steep uphill battle for the House managers, especially after the vast majority of the Senate GOP conference reaffirmed its view this week that putting a former president on trial is unconstitutional. It takes 67 votes to convict the former president — requiring 17 Republicans to cross party lines and vote against Trump — and Democrats would then move to bar him from running for office again.

Still, Democrats said more Republicans may be privately reconsidering their votes. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told reporters his conversations indicate more than six GOP senators may be weighing conviction, though that might be wishful thinking.

Trump’s defense team starts presenting its rebuttals on Friday. Some Republicans expected the team to contend that Democrats offered their own encouragement of violence by cheering on last summer’s protests across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police.

“If we’re going to put into context what was happening for months before the attack on the Capitol and what all kinds of political figures on the other side were saying about that, that would be one of the ways I’d respond," said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the No. 4 GOP leader.

Several Republicans are withholding judgment until hearing both sides — even those thought to be amenable to the managers’ case. The House managers will present again on Thursday, and they appear to be making in-roads with at least one senator who first found the trial unconstitutional in January.

“It was very powerful. It was of course more complete than what I saw, because it had videos from all over,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who voted to uphold the trial’s constitutionality this week. “I cannot comment on how it addresses conviction because we have not heard from the other side.”

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Re: Trump enters the stage - .....and the beat goes

Postby Meno_ » Sun Feb 14, 2021 11:16 pm


Trump welcomes impeachment acquittal, says his movement ‘has only just begun’

fox8news and Associated Press
1 day ago

(WJW/AP) — Just after the Senate voted 57-43 to acquit former President Donald Trump on the charge of inciting an insurrection, Trump released a statement saying his movement “has only just begun.”

Senate acquits former President Donald Trump in second impeachment trial
Read the whole statement below:

I want to first thank my team of dedicated lawyers and others for their tireless work upholding justice and defending truth.

My deepest thanks as well to all of the United States Senators and Members of Congress who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country.

Our cherished Constitutional Republic was founded on the impartial rule of law, the indispensable safeguard for our liberties, our rights and our freedoms.

It is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law, defame law enforcement, cheer mobs, excuse rioters, and transform justice into a tool of political vengeance, and persecute, blacklist, cancel and suppress all people and viewpoints with whom or which they disagree. I always have, and always will, be a champion for the unwavering rule of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to peacefully and honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and without hate.

This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it, and it continues because our opponents cannot forget the almost 75 million people, the highest number ever for a sitting president, who voted for us just a few short months ago.

I also want to convey my gratitude to the millions of decent, hardworking, law-abiding, God-and-Country loving citizens who have bravely supported these important principles in these very difficult and challenging times.

Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun. In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!

We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future.

Together there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

We remain one People, one family, and one glorious nation under God, and it’s our responsibility to preserve this magnificent inheritance for our children and for generations of Americans to come.

May God bless all of you, and may God forever bless the United States of America.

Donald J. Trump
His son Donald Trump Jr. also weighed in on the Senate decision saying the following:

Barely a month since the deadly Jan. 6 riot that stunned the world, the Senate convened Saturday for a rare weekend session to deliver its verdict, voting while armed National Guard troops continued to stand their posts outside the iconic building.

The quick trial, the nation’s first of a former president, showed how perilously close the invaders had come to destroying the nation’s deep tradition of a peaceful transfer of presidential power after Trump had refused to concede the election. Rallying outside the White House, he unleashed a mob of supporters to “fight like hell” for him at the Capitol just as Congress was certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory. As hundreds stormed the building, some in tactical gear engaging in bloody combat with police, lawmakers fled for their lives. Five people died.

7 Republicans voted to convict Trump at the Senate trial. This is the most impeachment defections ever from a president’s party.

This was Donald Trump’s first statement since the impeachment trial started this week."

( the Associated Press contributed to this report)
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trumpie Horror Show

Postby Meno_ » Mon Feb 15, 2021 3:40 am

The world watches, stunned as Trump is cleared

Updated 1:57 PM EST, Sun February 14, 2021

Editor's Note: (David A. Andelman, a contributor to CNN, twice winner of the Deadline Club Award, and executive director of The Red Lines Project, is the author of "A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars That Might Still Happen" and host of its Evergreen podcast. He formerly was a correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News in Europe and Asia. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidAndelman. The views expressed in this commentary belong solely to the author. View more opinion at CNN.)

(CNN)The whole world watched the second impeachment of former US President Donald Trump and his acquittal. In many cases, if media coverage is an indication, the global audience paid rapt attention. The BBC was one of many outlets that carried the Senate proceedings live. France24 television broadcast much of the proceedings on their English and French services, with simultaneous translation into French, including the final vote and subsequent responses by Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and Republican Mitch McConnell -- both of whom condemned Trump's actions, but with McConnell nonetheless voting to acquit the former President.

At the onset of the proceedings, the leading Paris daily newspaper Le Monde carried an enormous photo at the top of its front page of the House impeachment managers marching across the Capitol Rotunda to the Senate floor. The French publication then followed the proceedings closely, concluding within minutes of the final vote with the headline on its website: "Donald Trump acquitté à l'issue de son second procès en destitution." ("Donald Trump acquitted at the end of his second impeachment trial.")

The German national daily paper Süddeutsche Zeitung carried a headline, "Trump also acquitted in second impeachment proceedings," on its website above a large photo of a grimly smiling Trump holding up a USA Today frontpage from his first impeachment, last year, with the headline, "Acquitted". In Nigeria, the Tribune quickly led its website with the headline: "Breaking: With 57-43 Votes, US Senate Quashes Impeachment, Acquits Ex-President Donald Trump."

It's likely that much (but not all) of the world has watched not out of pure curiosity or voyeurism but out of horror and fear, that Trump's actions and the fact that only seven of the 50 Republican senators were willing to vote for his conviction -- too few to cross the two-thirds majority threshold needed to convict -- have only accelerated the dimming of democracy and freedom America represented. Indeed, just as President Joe Biden was announcing he would sanction Myanmar's military leaders for seizing power by force of arms, the House impeachment managers were describing in brutal detail how then-President Trump sought to strongarm himself into a second term he'd failed to win at the ballot box.

The one thing impeachment accomplished
The one thing impeachment accomplished
The great fear in many quarters abroad is that Trump's budding autocracy was not simply a brutal interregnum, and that Biden's administration is but a brief interlude before America plunges again into the deep spiral that has marked the last four years. Although UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed Sunday that US democracy remains "strong" in spite of the impeachment "kerfuffle," Biden himself has warned that democracy is "fragile."

And as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pointed out on Jan. 6, "The enemies of democracy will rejoice at these inconceivable images from Washington DC. Seditious words turn to violent actions...Contempt for democratic institutions has devastating effects." In some even quite liberal quarters abroad Trump's acquittal now simply reinforces a fundamental belief that America has strayed off course.

The Senate's vote "speaks to something increasingly problematic about the American political system's ultimate ability to curtail presidential abuses of power: for many the impeachment process no longer presents much of a threat or deterrent to bad, or even illegal, behavior by the most powerful figure in the land," noted The Guardian newspaper.

This was no triumph for Trump
This was no triumph for Trump
Certainly, the Biden administration is doing its best to reassure the world that the American system can and will be made to work. As House Democrats were presenting images that were horrifying much of the world, President Biden was dialing up China's Xi Jinping, reading him the riot act as Trump never did -- warning him that America would no longer ignore gross human rights abuses from Xinjiang to Hong Kong, nor its military's threats from the South China Sea to Taiwan.

Still, Patrice de Beer, a former editor of Le Monde, said he believes that the world's view of America has only been reinforced by the chilling images displayed by House managers in the impeachment trial. "I don't think that this has changed our vision of the US as an unpredictable and violent country," he told me via email from Paris. "But we hope Biden has put a stop to this. For now."

At the same time, Claude Corpechot, a consultant in "big data" and professor of global management at the Paris Dauphine and Paris V universities, observed that while "Trump did not change my perception of America and Americans, he showed all of us the two faces of America, while many until now had seen only one."

Throughout the week, the world's press has been fixed on the vivid images streaming across televisions on every continent. In Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post led with the news, quoting Trump saying that the trial had been "the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country." And Saudi Arabia's Arab News reported the acquittal, adding Trump's comment that "his movement had 'only just begun.'"

The conclusion from French journalist de Beer was the kind of deeply felt plea that seems to be all but universal across broad swaths of the world. "Good luck [now] muzzling Trump and his Trumpets."

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Re: Trump enters the stage - Rocky Trumpet Horror Show

Postby Meno_ » Mon Feb 15, 2021 3:50 am

As it appears world wide, as a schizophrenic country with two faces:
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Re: Trump enters the stage - The problem with the days of pr

Postby Meno_ » Mon Feb 15, 2021 7:14 pm

Opinion, Analysis, Essays


Trump's impeachment trial shows why Presidents Day should only honor Washington
The Senate spectacle is the latest reason why we should return this holiday to a celebration of the father of our country, not his mostly middling successors.

Image: President Donald J. Trump
President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks in front of a painting of George Washington during a "Pledge to America's Workers" event in the East Room of the White House on July 19, 2018.Jabin Botsford / The Washington

Feb. 15, 2021, 11:12 AM EST
By Robert Schlesinger, author, "White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters"
We interrupt your regularly scheduled Presidents Day weekend sales for the impeachment trial of our newest ex-president.

There’s something ludicrous about celebrating our chief executives after the world’s greatest deliberative body just pondered whether to ban Donald Trump from ever again becoming president, over a charge that he incited a riot in order to stay in that office.

That “Presidents Day” is not actually the name of the federal holiday we observe on the third Monday in February only makes the situation more bizarre. As the Christian Science Monitor has observed, the proper answer to the query "When is Presidents Day this year?" is "never."

Within a couple of decades, “Washington’s Birthday” morphed into the featureless holiday-that-launched-a-thousand-sales, Presidents Day.

In fact, on Monday we technically only commemorate George Washington’s birthday — which is Feb. 22, a week after the 2021 federal holiday for Washington’s Birthday. If you don’t believe me, you can check the Office of Personnel Management’s official listing of federal holidays, which denotes that it is designated such in no less than “section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code.”

“Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names,” the site adds rather punctiliously, “it is our policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.”

But perhaps OPM is on to something, and the sad spectacle just concluded in the Senate is just the latest reason why we should return this holiday to its roots and celebrate the father of our country rather than his mostly middling successors.


Trump's response to getting Covid makes you wonder if he believes his own lies
How did a presidential pastiche supersede the singular Washington?

The first president’s birthday was observed as a federal holiday starting in the 1880s with a law signed by the immortal Rutherford B. Hayes, whose victory in a contested Electoral College vote many Americans likely heard about in great detail last November. Just shy of a century later — as the historian C.L. Arbelbide has recounted in exhaustive detail — Congress enacted a law designating that certain federal holidays would be observed exclusively on Mondays so as to create long weekends. It was a boon to retailers who could build sales around them and also to manufacturers, who no longer needed to worry about floating days off interrupting production.

The celebration of Washington’s birth was thus moved to the third Monday in February — which, as it happens, can never fall on the 22nd of the month because of math. The sponsor of the Mondays-only holiday bill was from Illinois and thus undoubtedly didn’t mind that the presidential holiday would fall closer to the Feb. 12 birthdate of the Prairie State’s favorite adopted son, Abraham Lincoln (an anniversary then widely celebrated in Northern states).


Here's what the founders actually thought about masks and quarantines
The same august member had unsuccessfully pushed to formally change the holiday’s name from Washington’s Birthday to “President’s Day.”

He failed in part because critics of separating Washington’s birthday from his birthdate presciently foresaw that the two great presidents’ celebrations would merge in the public consciousness, diminishing both men.

They were right: Within a couple of decades, “Washington’s Birthday” morphed into the featureless holiday-that-launched-a-thousand-sales, Presidents Day, while Lincoln’s is now largely neglected. A comparison of how often people search Google for “Presidents Day” vs. “Washington’s Birthday” illustrates how completely our first president has been subsumed into the humdrum whole. The third Monday in February has become the holiday equivalent of a presidential participation trophy.


Republicans don't want to work with Biden. They don't even want to work in a democracy.
(A popular misconception has Richard Nixon proclaiming “Presidents Day” as a “holiday set aside to honor all presidents, even myself” — but while Washington allegedly could not tell a lie, the internet can and, in this case, does.)

It is no mistake that presidents generally became the presumed object of celebration during an era in which the office has grown largely without check or balance both in terms of public perception and actual power.

“It speaks to is the extent to which the presidency has become such a dominant political institution in our country,” the distinguished presidential historian Robert Dallek told me. “Anyone who becomes president can be folded into that name and association with it. … It speaks volumes about our political culture.”

Only one Founding Father would be worth listening to about the coronavirus
That trend of a more imperious presidency, and the American people’s acceptance of it, has dramatically accelerated in recent decades. The road from a disgraced Nixon preposterously telling David Frost that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal” to Trump’s lawyers essentially making that case in court has been harrowing. And a polarized and tribalized Congress has done little to check or balance its own slow slide into irrelevance, either abdicating responsibility through gridlock or, when the president’s party is in charge, supinely acceding to its own marginalization. (See, again, Trump and congressional Republicans — even now.)

Both the office of the president and the holiday of the presidents need to be right-sized. One small way to start doing both would be to put Washington back at the center of his own birthday party. A renewed focus on his life might serve as a useful reminder that the presidency was not intended to be the dominant, nigh-monarchical office it has become.

The Constitutional Convention, over which Washington presided, produced an executive whose power was to be deliberately circumscribed by the other two coequal branches, while doing the same to them. Finding that balance was considered critical. “The first man put at the helm would be a good one,” Benjamin Franklin said, referring to Washington. “Nobody knows what sort may come afterwards.”

Well, we now do know: forgettable mediocrities occasionally distinguished by greatness (Lincoln, for example) and malevolence (Trump). We are fortunate that the first man “at the helm” was conscious of the standard he set in office, whether in abjuring fancy titles (Vice President John Adams floated “His Elective Majesty” and “His Highness, the President of the United States of America and the Protector of Their Liberties”) or voluntarily returning to private life after two terms in office, for example. He was aware that he “walk[ed] on untrodden ground,” as he often put it.

A renewed focus on his life might serve as a useful reminder that the presidency was not intended to be the dominant, nigh-monarchical office it has become.

We would do well to study his steps.

The Senate's sad spectacle is one more reason to change our current 'Presidents Day'
It’s worth noting, too, that we can do so while acknowledging that pre-eminence is not the same as perfection. A man of his times, Washington is tainted by our country’s original sin: slavery. He owned other human beings as chattel. But we can celebrate him in all of his dimensions, acknowledging both his greatness and his great flaws. Even our best Americans can exhibit some of our worst national traits. That contrast can serve as a reminder of both how far we have had to come as a country and the magnificence to which we should all aspire.

And no — contrary to right-wing hysteria — we’re not going to impeach Washington. Let’s just wish him a happy birthday.

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