Trump enters the stage

Discussion of the recent unfolding of history.

Re: Trump enters the stage - Politically incorrect & UP

Postby Meno_ » Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:12 pm

UP_ wrote:Obama says he's 'troubled' GOP backs Trump refusal to concede

Donald Trump says Joe Biden 'won' election, then backtracks and says he won't concede

DAVID JACKSON | USA TODAY | 34 minutes ago


The admission on Twitter was quickly followed up with a tweet doubling down that he was not actually conceding.
USA TODAY, WOCHIT
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time Sunday that Joe Biden won the presidential election, even as he repeated false claims that Democrats "rigged" the balloting and again refused to concede the race.


"He won because the Election was Rigged," Trump tweeted early Sunday, referring to Biden. His assertion about election malfeasance was at odds with a finding from a national coalition of election security officials, which concluded that the Nov. 3 general election was "the most secure in American history."

"There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised," said a statement from the security group, which included the cybersecurity agency within Trump's own Department of Homeland Security, along with the National Association of State Election Directors.

Trump later tweeted of President-elect Biden: "he only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go."


Biden defeated Trump in a series of crucial battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan, achieving the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidential race with room to spare.

He leads Trump in the popular vote by more than 5 million votes, or 3.6 percentage points.

Will Trump remain the GOP kingmaker? Trump wants to run the Republican party even if he leaves office. Can he?


President Donald Trump waves to supporters from his motorcade as people gather for a march Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in Washington.
JULIO CORTEZ, AP
Trump's campaign and its allies have filed lawsuits that aim to delay the certification of the results in some of the states that Biden won. But his team has offered no evidence of widespread fraud, and many of the lawsuits have been rejected by the courts.

Legal experts have said Trump's challenges are almost certain to fail.

Meanwhile, Trump has blocked federal resources for Biden's transition team and has refused to allow the president-elect access to high-level classified briefings. Incoming presidents typically have access to those assessments, so they can be prepared to deal with any national security threats on Day One.


Several GOP senators have urged Trump to allow the briefings.

Re-tweeting commentary from Fox News host Jesse Waters, Trump repeated false claims that Republican election observers not allowed to watch the vote count (they were). He again decried alleged media bias, and he revived a discredited claim that a company behind the vote tabulation in some states contributed to his loss to Biden.

More: Trump campaign's challenge of election results in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona push US toward 'loss of democracy'

MAGA supporters gather in DC: Tens of thousands rally in DC to support outgoing President Trump


Thousands of President Trump supporters joined together for the 'Million MAGA March'
USA TODAY
Trump's former national security adviser, John Bolton, said Sunday that Trump's refusal to concede was harmful to the country.

"Every day that he delays ... ultimately is to the country's disadvantage," Bolton said on ABC's "This Week."


As recently as last week, some of Trump's top aides were continuing to insist that the president won a second term, despite the results.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany answered a question about whether Trump would attend Biden's inauguration by saying that Trump will attend "his own inauguration."

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo falsely claimed Trump won a second term, saying there would be a "smooth transition to a second Trump administration."

Biden's aides welcomed Trump's seeming acknowledgement Sunday of the president-elect's win, but added that they want him to authorize the transition.


“I accept it as a further confirmation of the reality that Joe Biden won the election," said incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain on NBC's "Meet The Press."

Trump aides said that he was mocking the idea of a Biden victory, and that he still expects to prevail after a series of lawsuits, recounts and election challenges.

"The president was referring to the mindset of the media," said Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman. "His goal remains to un-rig the election and continue exposing voting irregularities and unconstitutional election management by Democratic officials.”

© Copyright Gannett 2020



https://youtu.be/vCu0VJYMbiA





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The New York Times
The Presidential Transition

Trump, Trying to Cling to Power, Fans Unrest and Conspiracy Theories

The president’s refusal to concede has entered a more dangerous phase as he blocks his successor’s transition, withholding intelligence briefings, pandemic information and access to the government.

Image
President Trump waved to his supporters at a demonstration near the White House on Saturday. Pockets of violence broke out that night as they clashed with anti-Trump protesters.
President Trump waved to his supporters at a demonstration near the White House on Saturday. Pockets of violence broke out that night as they clashed with anti-Trump protesters.Credit...Kenny



Updated Nov. 16, 2020, 11:34 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s refusal to concede the election has entered a more dangerous phase as he stokes resistance and unrest among his supporters and spreads falsehoods aimed at undermining the integrity of the American voting system.

More than a week after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the winner, Mr. Trump continues to block his successor’s transition, withholding intelligence briefings, critical information about the coronavirus pandemic and access to the vast machinery of government that Mr. Biden will soon oversee.

Some former top advisers to Mr. Trump have said that his refusal to cooperate is reckless and unwise. John F. Kelly, Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, called it “crazy” on Friday. John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser who wrote a scathing memoir about his time in the administration, said the refusal “harms the country.”

“Every day that he delays under the pretense that he’s simply asking for his legal remedies ultimately is to the country’s disadvantage,” Mr. Bolton said on ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday morning.



The president’s attempt to cling to power played out against a backdrop of protests by Trump supporters and opponents late Saturday, with sporadic clashes near the White House. The police arrested 21 people as one protester was stabbed and four officers were injured. Rather than seek to calm tensions, Mr. Trump lashed out.

“ANTIFA SCUM ran for the hills,” he posted on Twitter on Saturday as he urged the police to move in aggressively. “DC Police, get going — do your job and don’t hold back!!!”

By Sunday morning, the president seemed to briefly acknowledge defeat, but he quickly reversed himself, declaring “I concede NOTHING!” He repeated lies about the vote-counting process, falsely insisting that Mr. Biden’s victory was the result of a “RIGGED ELECTION” orchestrated by the “Fake & Silent” news media.

Facing his final 66 days in office, Mr. Trump appears unwilling to break from the gut instincts that have guided his pursuit of the presidency and his exercise of authority in the past five-and-a-half years: a fierce determination to act only in his self-interest and a near-total refusal to accept blame or responsibility for his failures.



As the total number of coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 11 million and deaths neared 250,000, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, warned that 200,000 more people could die by spring if Americans did not more fully embrace public health measures, even with an effective vaccine.

“We are not going to turn it on and off, going from where we are to completely normal,” Dr. Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, challenging Mr. Trump’s claims that the virus would go away quickly once a vaccine was ready. “It’s going to be a gradual accrual of more normality as the weeks and the months go by, as we get well into 2021.”

Dr. Fauci said health officials had not begun working with Mr. Biden’s transition team. He also said the president had not attended a meeting of his coronavirus task force in “several months,” vanishing from participation in the panel.

But anyone hoping for a similarly quiet withdrawal from Mr. Trump as he leaves the presidency appears destined not to get it. He continues to deny facts and science in favor of baseless conspiracy theories and has moved aggressively to remove anyone he views as disloyal: a fact underscored by a purge of top officials at the Pentagon last week that was followed by an implicit rebuke by the military’s top general.



“We do not take an oath to a king or a queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a speech on Wednesday. “We take an oath to the Constitution.”




The president’s desperate language as he tries without success to preserve his position stood in stark contrast with the disciplined silence from Mr. Biden, who spent Sunday morning at church services and later met behind closed doors with his transition advisers. Ron Klain, who will be Mr. Biden’s chief of staff, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that a concession tweet from the president was not necessary.

“Donald Trump’s Twitter feed doesn’t make Joe Biden president or not president,” Mr. Klain said. “The American people did that.”



Before going to play golf at his club in Virginia for the second day in a row on Sunday, the president once again lashed out at the news media and Mr. Biden’s supporters, retweeting reports of a university professor who said that anyone who voted for the Democrat was “ignorant, anti-American and anti-Christian.” In his tweet, Mr. Trump called that “Progress!”

He also continued to attack the election results, calling a hand recount underway in Georgia, a state he narrowly lost, “a scam.” Despite the president’s assertions, the recount, which is being conducted at the direction of a Republican secretary of state, appeared to be going smoothly, as about 50 of Georgia’s 159 counties had completed their new counts.

As Mr. Trump arrived at the golf course, dueling signs showed the deep rift in the country that he has sought to exploit with false allegations of vote-counting fraud since Nov. 7, when Mr. Biden was declared the winner. The president’s supporters at the entrance waved “TRUMP 2020” and “KEEP AMERICA GREAT” messages while protesters held signs saying, “SURRENDER DONNIE.”

The nation’s divisions were on grim display in the capital on Saturday night, when pockets of violence broke out between people rallying on behalf of Mr. Trump’s desire to stay in office and anti-Trump demonstrators. After a day in which thousands of the president’s supporters gathered mostly peacefully in support of his false election assertions, the scene turned darker as night fell.



Counterprotesters, including some from a group calling themselves Refuse Fascism, confronted Trump supporters. One threw bottles and fireworks, a USA Today reporter said. People backing the president at one point ripped “Black Lives Matter” signs off a building before trampling them on the ground.

“You could feel the intensity,” said Damien Courtney, 24, a Trump supporter from Tennessee. “It was nerve-racking.”

The rally on Saturday also prompted Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, to wildly exaggerate the size of the pro-Trump crowd. In a tweet from her personal account, she claimed that “more than one MILLION marchers for President @realDonaldTrump descend on the swamp in support.” In fact, the authorities estimated it was far short of her claims, which echoed the falsehoods that Sean Spicer, the president’s first press secretary, told about the inaugural crowd four years ago.

Former President Barack Obama warned in an interview that aired Sunday night that Mr. Trump’s willingness to spread misinformation about the election was hurting the country’s ability to conduct the basic functions of democracy.



“It’s very hard for our democracy to function if we are operating on just completely different sets of facts,” Mr. Obama said on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” “Any of us who attain an elected office — whether it’s dogcatcher or president — are servants of the people. It’s a temporary job. We’re not above the rules. We’re not above the law. That’s the essence of our democracy.”

Mr. Obama said he worried that many parts of what he called a “deeply divided” nation believed Mr. Trump’s falsehoods.

“The power of that alternative worldview that’s presented in the media that those voters consume, it carries a lot of weight,” Mr. Obama said.

Inside the West Wing, most of Mr. Trump’s top advisers have privately told him what is clear to everyone except his most loyal supporters and the Republican politicians who fear his wrath: His re-election bid has failed, and Mr. Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.



A few Republicans have acknowledged that publicly. On Sunday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas joined their ranks, saying on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he expected that Mr. Biden would be the next president and should have access to intelligence briefings.

But publicly, Mr. Trump’s aides and virtually all Republican lawmakers continued to stand by — or at least not challenge — his false assertions about the election.


The president’s supporters argued with counterprotesters near the White House

Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, has taken over the president’s legal fight to overturn the election results. In interviews on Sunday with Maria Bartiromo on Fox News, Mr. Giuliani and Sidney Powell, another member of the president’s legal team, floated false conspiracy theories that there was a sweeping effort to switch votes using specific software.



“President Trump won by not just hundreds of thousands of votes, but by millions of votes, that were shifted by this software that was designed expressly for that purpose,” Ms. Powell insisted. “We have so much evidence, I feel like it’s coming in through a fire hose.”

In fact, Mr. Biden leads in the popular vote by more than 5.5 million votes, a total that has climbed as states have continued counting.

At another point, Ms. Powell claimed that the C.I.A. had ignored complaints about the software, “which makes me wonder how much the C.I.A. has used it for its own benefit in different places.” She then urged Mr. Trump to fire Gina Haspel, the agency’s director.

Asked by Ms. Bartiromo whether the president was conceding the race, Mr. Giuliani said: “No, no, no, far from it. What he’s saying is more, I guess you’d call it sarcastic.” He added that “obviously he’s contested it vigorously.”



The president’s tweets about whether Mr. Biden had won the election came as Mr. Trump continued to spread misinformation about the vote-counting process.

His first tweet on Sunday came at 7:47. Referring to Mr. Biden, the president said that “he won” and claimed again that “all of the mechanical ‘glitches’ that took place on election night were really THEM getting caught trying to steal votes.” Twitter quickly labeled almost all of Mr. Trump’s posts on Sunday morning as “disputed.”

After a flurry of tweets and news reports about his “concession,” Mr. Trump insisted that he had been misunderstood.

At 9:16, he insisted: “RIGGED ELECTION. WE WILL WIN!”

The rapid flip-flop made clear that Mr. Trump was still refusing to abandon his false narrative about the vote being rigged and stolen that he has been spreading since Election Day, inflaming anger among his supporters about his defeat.



There was no indication that his tweet would immediately prompt the administrator of the General Services Administration to officially allow the Biden transition team to have access to the money and information they are due, which she has so far refused to do. Mr. Trump later retweeted a post by the administrator, Emily W. Murphy, on veteran-owned small businesses, adding, “Great job Emily!”














More in Politics

Credit...Chloe Cushman
When a Leader Just Won’t Go

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With Trench Warfare Deepening, Parties



© 2020 The New York Times Company



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Trump's latest election lawsuit is dead on arrival, legal experts...

'100 percent dead': Court ruling could torpedo some lawsuits challenging Trump's loss
KEVIN MCCOY | USA TODAY | 2 hours ago


The admission on Twitter was quickly followed up with a tweet doubling down that he was not actually conceding.
USA TODAY, WOCHIT
A federal appeals court ruling may have torpedoed several federal lawsuits that seek to overturn President Donald Trump’s all-but-certified defeat by former Vice President Joe Biden.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Friday that Pennsylvania voters and a congressional candidate could not use certain constitutional arguments to back their claims that some voters were disadvantaged by changes to election rules spurred by the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. Postal System delays.

On Monday, Trump supporters who used similar constitutional arguments in federal lawsuits in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin voluntarily dismissed their claims.

The dismissals came in advance of Tuesday's scheduled oral arguments in a federal lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign in Pennsylvania. On Sunday, attorneys for the campaign narrowed their legal arguments in that case to avoid running afoul of the appeals court ruling.


Although the revised complaint still argues 689,472 ballots were improperly processed and counted outside the view of Trump election watchers, it does not not seek legal relief specifically on that point.

Election workers count ballots at the Philadelphia Convention Center on November 06, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Election workers count ballots at the Philadelphia Convention Center on November 06, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
CHRIS MCGRATH, GETTY IMAGES
Some election law and constitutional law experts predict that case, too, is in trouble.

“Trump’s legal path to overturn the election results appears 100 percent dead,” Richard Hasen, an election and campaign law expert at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law wrote on his Election Law Blog on Monday.

Even if the Trump campaign succeeded in its slimmed-down arguments in the case to be argued Tuesday, "it does not involve enough ballots to call Pennsylvania’s election results into question,” Hasen said in an email to USA TODAY.

Biden led Trump by 67,353 votes in Pennsylvania as of Monday, according to Associated Press tallies.


The Trump campaign's lawsuit seeks to delay Pennsylvania from certifying its election results. It asks the court to bar certification of results that include absentee and mail ballots that it claims were improperly "cured" of mistakes made by voters, without adequate oversight by Trump campaign monitors. It couldn't be immediately determined how many ballots are in question.

From the beginning, legal experts said the case had no chance of success. Courts are reluctant to invalidate ballots cast by voters who relied on instructions from election boards, they said, and mail balloting is constitutional and common.

Analysis: Nine legal experts say Trump's lawsuit challenging election results in Pennsylvania is dead on arrival

The Trump campaign’s arguments center on the Constitution’s equal protection clause, which requires “equal protection of the laws” for citizens. The pared-down complaint retains an argument based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore ruling that decided the 2000 presidential election.


Appeals court: Bush v. Gore ruling was limited to the 2000 election
The case that went before the appeals court was filed by Republican congressional candidate Jim Bognet and voters who alleged Pennsylvania's three-day extension for mail and absentee ballots improperly allowed county election boards to accept ballots "that would otherwise be unlawful."

What history has shown us about contested elections and peaceful transitions of power.
JUST THE FAQS, USA TODAY
An appeals court panel denied some of that suit's constitutional arguments. The court said it did not review the Bush v. Gore decision in evaluating plaintiffs' equal protection arguments because the Supreme Court said in that ruling it was “limited to the present circumstances” of that case.

“That is a bad sign” for the Pennsylvania case set for arguments on Tuesday, said Kermit Roosevelt, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in an email.

That case and others are among an explosion of election-related legal challenges that even before Election Day had topped the number of similar federal lawsuits filed during the three prior presidential elections, a USA TODAY analysis found.


Trump's election challenges haven't gone far
Trump’s efforts to challenge election results, partly based on allegations of ineligible votes and inadequate observer access to ballot counting, have largely failed. In Pennsylvania alone, Trump supporters have filed at least 15 legal challenges in an effort to reclaim the state’s 20 electoral votes, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Judges in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Nevada, however, have quickly dispatched some of them. A few have been appealed.

On Friday, Pennsylvania courts dismissed six Trump campaign lawsuits that argued nearly 9,000 absentee ballots should be disqualified for violations of state election code requirements.


With the U.S. Capitol in the background, supporters of President Donald Trump rally in Washington.



Rival appeal petitions were filed over the weekend in those cases.

The four federal lawsuits voluntarily dismissed by voter plaintiffs on Monday in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin were linked to the law firm of conservative attorney James Bopp Jr. He is a legal consultant for Trump’s 2020 presidential election campaign.


The cases focused on alleged violations of the equal protection clause, as well as constitutional directives on elections and presidential electors. Each of the cases challenged election officials' inclusion of "illegal presidential elector results in certain counties."

Trump campaign alleged "two-tiered voting system in Pennsylvania
The Trump campaign’s case set for arguments on Tuesday initially alleged that Pennsylvania used an “illegal, two-tiered voting system” — in-person and mail ballots. It argued that ballots cast in person were devalued because of the extended deadline and a lack of oversight for mail and absentee ballots.

But after Friday’s appeals court ruling in the other case, Trump campaign lawyers scrapped most of the references to a "two-tiered" voting system, as well as constitutional arguments based on issues other than the equal protection clause.

The amended complaint alleges that Pennsylvania election officials in areas with heavy Democratic Party enrollment improperly enabled mail voters who had made technical mistakes on their ballots to “cure” the errors. Election officials in other areas of the state followed the law by not providing such assistance, the lawsuit charged.


A Phila. city commissioner says the 'highest ethical standards' were followed during the election and subsequent canvassing. Omar Sabir says he understands the Trump campaign filing lawsuits but feels 'America really needs healing" going forward. (Nov. 10)

AP

When the ballots were being counted, election officials in Democratic-majority areas “intentionally denied the Trump Campaign access to unobstructed observation ... denying plaintiffs and the residents of Pennsylvania the equal protection of the law.”

Late Monday, the Trump campaign's lawyers in the case were granted permission by the court to withdraw. They were the second set of lawyers to depart.

The campaign is now being represented by the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, law firm of Marc Scaringi, whose biography on the firm's website says he once worked as a part-time radio talk show host.

The Trump campaign asked U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann to delay Tuesday's hearing. Brann denied the motion.






© Copyright Gannett 2020
Meno_
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Re: Trump enters the stage - What the....

Postby Meno_ » Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:20 am

Don't ignore Trump's election mischief. Take it seriously

Updated 1:13 AM EST, Fri November 20, 2020
article video



(CNN)Until either President Donald Trump admits defeat and calls off his minions or the GOP admits his defeat and acknowledges that Joe Biden is the President-elect, you've still got to hold your breath a little bit.

That's the truth, even though last desperate gasps of the Trump era increasingly bear one striking similarity to its origin: it all seems like a hopeless joke.


When the reality star descended his golden escalator at Trump Tower way back in 2015, his shock brand of race-baiting populism seemed like a futile attempt to make himself relevant and kickstart a flagging media career. The idea that he had a shot at becoming President of the United States seemed laughable.

But, dismissed by the media and ridiculed by fellow Republicans, Trump found a way to hopscotch from conspiracy theory to conspiracy theory all the way to the White House. And then nobody was laughing any more.

Now, it's Trump remaining in office that seems impossible. Trump was clearly rejected by voters at the polls -- nearly 6 million more people chose Biden -- and his legal challenges in multiple states have all faltered.

But those lawsuits have had a very real effect, sowing or solidifying doubts in the minds of his supporters about the election results. Now, Republican officials in Michigan are buying into Trump's alternate reality and want to rescind their certification of election results in Detroit. He's apparently invited lawmakers from the state to the White House Friday.

And Rudy Giuliani is still ginning things up. On Thursday afternoon, Giuliani, hair dye dripping down his face, gave a wild press conference where he alleged a massive multi-state conspiracy to steal the election from the President. As evidence, he pointed to votes in Philadelphia, a barely concealed mimic of the Detroit complaint and a clear effort to disenfranchise voters in cities with large Black populations.

Here's a fact check of Giuliani.

"That press conference was the most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes of television in American history. And possibly the craziest. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you're lucky," said Chris Krebs, the DHS election security official recently fired by Trump, in a tweet.

The multi-pronged conspiracy is not millions more voters choosing Biden. It's the expanding effort to overturn results in at least three states and undo a solid electoral defeat. It would be sad and funny if it weren't quite literally about ignoring the voters to keep Trump in power.

And so it's extremely distressing that Trump is on the phone with Republican officials who now say they want to rescind their certification of votes in Wayne County, which covers Detroit -- a step that is normally just a technicality.

It's also aggravating that a mid-level political appointee, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, won't take the next step -- another technicality, "ascertainment" -- needed to let Biden's transition begin.

Anxiety is starting to rise in unexpected places. JP Morgan, for instance, is laying out the nightmare scenario for investors. As CNN's Matt Egan wrote:

Much of Wall Street views the Trump campaign's efforts to overturn the election results as a desperate sideshow destined to fail. But JPMorgan is telling clients there's still a chance that this process descends into chaos. It is 2020, after all.


Michael Cembalest, chairman of market and investment strategy at JPMorgan Asset Management, warned in a report Wednesday of the "remote risk of an American horror story" and "constitutional mayhem."


: Trust the votes
It was not that long ago that Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney was leading the GOP. Now he's "shunned" by some, as he told David Axelrod in an Axe Files podcast released Thursday.

Most people seized on Romney's comments about the consequences of Trump's potential actions as a lame duck President.

Mistrust of democracy. But I heard Romney say something else that completely hits the mark:

"Both here and around the world we are seeing a reduction in the confidence people have in voting," Romney said.

"And if people don't believe in voting, and don't have confidence in voting, how can you have democracy, because democracy is fundamentally based on people voting."

"And if the United State of America doesn't believe that we have voting that's reliable, why, how can you expect a country that's just becoming a democracy to adopt this practice and use it as a basis for determining its future."

The counterargument to this is that the 2020 election, despite Trump's silly allegations of rigging, drew a record number of voters. For now, at least, voters are voting. And that's a good thing. Georgia's hand recount of its election reaffirmed Biden's victory over Trump and found no widespread voter fraud -- just like we thought it would.

Paralyzed Senate. He also described how the Senate, which is necessary to pass any major legislation, votes on very little major legislation.

"Over the years the Senate has moved and moved to a point where I think there's a reluctance to vote on things that might be bad votes for members of the majority's party," Romney said.

"As a result we don't vote on much. Not either up or down, things we agree with, but if it's bad for Senator X, Y or Z, why then we don't want to take that vote. We vote very rarely on matters of substance. Just as a particular, I think in the two years I've been in the Senate, we haven't had a single vote on a matter related to health care, immigration, tax policy, climate change, the list goes on."

: Where schools are closed but restaurants are open
As more people around the country deal with new restrictions on schooling and movement, Greg Krieg writes about the special situation in New York City, where schools were shut after school ended Wednesday -- so suddenly that kids left their textbooks in class. Some excerpts from Krieg:

Poor delivery. It is a demoralizing setback for a city that slowly re-opened after seeing more than 30,000 pandemic deaths and now faces a deadly winter surge of new Covid-19 infections. The news was delivered to principals by the city's schools chancellor at around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, after hours of uncertainty, and set off a scramble among parents juggling child care needs and work responsibilities.

...

Conflicting standards. Part of the public confusion -- and private differences -- centered on how the city and state measure coronavirus test positivity rates. Some nine months into the pandemic, they are still employing different metrics to settle some of the most pressing issues facing New Yorkers.

...

Bars and gyms stay open! Frustration over the process and timing of the shutdown bubbled over almost immediately after the mayor, following hours of uncertainty, tweeted out his decision. That anger was compounded by the fact that city restaurants, bars and gyms -- the places most experts say the virus is most apt to spread -- remain open at limited capacities in accordance with guidelines set by the state.

: Now, reconsider Thanksgiving plans
The CDC has updated its guidance and now says you should really consider not traveling for Thanksgiving.

"The reason that we made the update is that the fact that over the week we've seen over a million new cases in the country," Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz, the CDC's lead for Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force, said during the briefing.






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Meno_
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Mental illness?"

Postby Meno_ » Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:01 pm

Trump endgame risks national security: Schiff
OPINION
Trump history and behavior suggest destructive mental processes that put America at risk
Trump is not just a childish man having a tantrum or a selfish man who can't accept defeat. His actions are dangerous to America's health and security.



One of us is a psychiatrist, the other a political scientist. We have watched the fiasco since the election with mounting trepidation, from two very different perspectives. But we have a common bond: For more than a decade, each of us has worked to advocate for people with serious mental illness to get treatment. We are coming together now to advocate for immediate intervention for our president.


Since President Donald Trump’s election, the psychiatric community has debated calling out his illness(es). The American Psychiatric Association says we should remain silent out of fear that we would violate the Goldwater Rule — an APA rule adopted largely to prevent the partisan misuse of psychiatric diagnoses to unduly influence an election. But it is clear what many psychiatrists know privately, and a few have said publicly. The threat to our democracy is too great to remain silent.

Not just tantrums or selfishness
It may be no surprise that Trump railed against a 2020 election process that promised a major increase in turnout through early voting and voting by mail. He and many Republicans have advocated for ways to suppress votes, and suggested repeatedly that when everybody votes, Republicans lose. Remember, Trump had said before the 2016 election that if he lost, it was rigged; if he won, it was fair.

It also may be no surprise that Trump denied the outcome of the 2020 election in the days that followed it, despite the fact that President-elect Joe Biden’s margins in battlegrounds Michigan and Pennsylvania were larger than Trump's four years ago and he flipped Arizona and Georgia to the Democratic column. And it is true that there is neither a legal nor constitutional requirement for a presidential candidate to concede when he has lost.


But Trump's behavior since is antithetical to every norm we have in a democracy that values as much as anything the legitimacy of elections and the peaceful and orderly transfer of power after voters have spoken.


Trump supporter Tara Immen of Happy Valley, Ariz., protests at the Maricopa County Elections Department in Phoenix on Nov. 18, 2020.
ROSS D. FRANKLIN, AP
The president’s actions — ordering his minions to deny all the elements of a transition to the president-elect, including access to intelligence and pandemic briefings, access to agencies to plan the next administration, access to the FBI to begin security clearances for incoming appointees — are not just wrongheaded, they are dangerous to the security and health of the American people.

Biden's top unification task:Expose every ounce of Trump team wrongdoing, restore trust in government

The president’s moves to fire key officials, including those in charge of the safety of our nuclear stockpile and those in charge of our national security, suggest that the loyalty test — loyalty to the president and not to the Constitution — is going to be applied more often, hollowing out our pandemic teams and intelligence and defense capabilities, and leaving in charge a group of sycophants willing to do his bidding in his remaining weeks in office. The fact that he has not attended a meeting on the pandemic in months and has barely mentioned it as it explodes across the country is another sign of alarm.


Many say that Trump's refusal to agree to a peaceful and orderly concession is just a threat from a selfish man who can’t accept defeat. President-elect Biden calls Trump’s failure to concede an “embarrassment.” It is worse. When someone says they are planning their suicide, mental health professionals don’t call it a “cry for attention.” They hospitalize them immediately to prevent harm. When someone threatens homicide, violence or child abuse, we act swiftly to protect potential victims. It is naïve to consider the current acts of President Trump as childish tantrums and nothing more than fodder for late night comedians.

Signs of personality or mood disorder
To any first-year psychiatric resident, Trump’s sleepless nights filled with ranting tweets suggest irrational exuberance and lack of control, possibly a sign of a mood disorder called hypomania. His life-long history of disregard for others and deceit, if correct as reported, are characteristic of a personality disorder on the narcissistic and even sociopathic spectrum.

To be sure, definitive psychiatric diagnoses cannot be made without an in-person examination And certainly, psychiatric diagnoses themselves don’t make someone unfit to be president. But President Trump’s particular history and actions create a high index of suspicion for destructive mental processes which are putting the country and its safety and security in jeopardy.

Norman Ornstein: Donald Trump has lost to Joe Biden, what's next? The presidential transition from hell.


If we had a functioning Republican Party, this would be the time either to pressure the president to resign early and let Vice President Mike Pence handle the remainder of the term (with the promise of a pardon to sweeten the deal) or to invoke the 25th Amendment. At minimum, we would hope that key figures, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and other senior officials, would act to embrace the reality of the election outcome and put constraints on Trump to stop destructive acts. Instead, they are enabling his worst instincts and behaviors.

But it is important to at least call it out for what it is. Whatever President Trump does leading up to Jan. 20 — whether it is reckless actions abroad or lawless and destructive acts of commission or omission at home — it should be clear that these are not normal nor acceptable actions by an American president.

Dr. Kenneth Paul Rosenberg is a psychiatrist affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical Center. His award-winning 2019 documentary "Bedlam" chronicles the roots of the broken mental health system in America and was shown on PBS' Independent Lens. Norman Ornstein (@normornstein) is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. His family foundation spearheaded "The Definition of Insanity," a 2020 PBS documentary on the criminal justice system and how it deals with those with serious mental illness.



© Copyright Gannett 2020
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Will to power or power to will

Postby Meno_ » Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:56 pm

If the Democrats cheated, that could be a sign of people, perceived by others or. themselves, as being so repressed and fractionally redirected, that in view of their rational conduct - they can justify any side's method of proof



For the common good, all actions, even illegal ones have a method by which truth and falsity can intertwine hidden repressive intentions


The said thing is, at this point, both sides evolve a mutually extreme positions, simulating the biblical anachronism of eye for an eye.

They are on this lookout for idols, victims, or anyone who can model the idea, the idea that can counter some onset of symbolic reversal, with teeth in it- to mimic legitimate processes of interaction on very basic levels

Propaganda becomes the only means to achieve this

The charge, that at this level, the perceptions of victims, of testaments and judges , and those pervy to evidential proof, witnesses who can be bought for a price. ; begin to exhibit the meaner aspects of the dueling ideas of the basic premises


When will. debate achieve a set goal to overcome any and all competitive form of argument, including it's own negative and absolute debunking , while this other way around, anything goes attitudes , when the adjudicants who can not fairly power the will , that the socially left behind , can represent.

This appearance of the nasty underbelly of political reality , always existing in an essentially divided binary form , have never
risen to the critical point to which , has previous to today,in recent modern political history. The whole process has underrated the quantum rate of change activated by post modern sentiment.

The structural stability of Democratic Capitalism has come under siege.
Do participants possess the will to acquire the power to sustain the Constitution foundation of the Bill of Rights, or does preemptive power has demolished the effort to understand the content of the power which has voided all possibility to connect with it's own ground.

Mere circle jerk coiling of a snakepit of rhetoric, has been completely been argued it's self into the pit.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>> >> >>

"Federal judge dismisses Trump campaign Pennsylvania lawsuit
By Katelyn Polantz and Kevin Bohn, CNN
Updated 9:40 PM EST, Sat November 21, 2020
article video

(CNN)A federal judge dealt a death blow to the Trump campaign's effort to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's win of the presidency on Saturday, by dismissing a closely watched lawsuit that sought to invalidate millions of Pennsylvania votes.

"It is not in the power of this Court to violate the Constitution," Judge Matthew Brann of the US District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania wrote on Saturday in a withering decision, hours after the final round of filings in the case came in. The judge wholeheartedly rejected the Trump campaign's attempt to throw out the Pennsylvania vote, noting that Biden has won the state and results will be certified by state officials on Monday. Biden has a margin of more than 81,000 votes in the state.




"In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more," the judge wrote. "At bottom, Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden to state a claim upon which relief may be granted."

Though the case was always extremely unlikely to succeed, President Donald Trump's backers and legal team -- and particularly his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani -- had pinned their hopes on the federal judge in Pennsylvania giving some credibility to their suspicions of fraud and entertaining Trump's attempt to overturn the popular vote for Biden.

But Brann, a longtime and well-known Republican in Pennsylvania, refused.

Shortly after the decision came down, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania congratulated Biden as the President-elect, breaking from party leaders and a vast majority of congressional Republicans who continue to back Trump's efforts to challenge the results.


READ: Judge's order dismissing Trump campaign Pennsylvania lawsuit
This was essentially the last major case seeking to throw out or block enough votes that could swing a key state in Trump's favor, and Brann's decision on Saturday is at least the 30th loss or withdrawal of a case from the Trump campaign and its allies since Election Day. There have only been two wins in court for Republicans, about very small numbers of votes.

"Plaintiffs ask this Court to disenfranchise almost seven million voters. This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated," Brann wrote Saturday.

In the case, Trump's legal team led by Giuliani had attempted to claim that the Equal Protection rights of two Pennsylvania voters were violated because the state had allowed counties to decide whether absentee ballots sent in with technical problems could be fixed by the voters. The two voters in the lawsuit said that in their counties, they were not allowed to "cure" their ballots, and thus had their ballots rejected, while other counties, like heavily Democratic Philadelphia County, allowed voters to "cure" absentee ballots. That discrepancy, they claimed, meant that Pennsylvania's election results in their entirety should be blocked by court order, which theoretically, could deprive Biden of the state's 20 Electoral College votes.

Brann called the legal reasoning behind the Trump campaign's Equal Protection claim "Frankenstein's Monster."

"The answer to invalidated ballots is not to invalidate millions more," Brann wrote.

Brann also admonished the Trump campaign for presenting no factual proof of voter fraud or other allegations -- evidence that Giuliani and Trump's supporters have repeatedly said is in the works but has never materialized. Elections officials in multiple states as well as judges have said there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Giuliani, who had swept into the case at the last minute ahead of a hearing on Tuesday before Brann, has been widely criticized for ignoring legal reasoning, leading a team that's made sloppy mistakes in its filings, and for pushing nonsensical and unfounded claims of conspiracy against Trump in Democratic-leaning cities.

"One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption, such that this Court would have no option but to regrettably grant the proposed injunctive relief despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens. That has not happened," Brann added. "Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence."

The counties in the state are scheduled to certify their election results on Monday.

The judge said any further consideration of this issue "would unduly delay resolution of the issues" regarding certification, and he closed the case. His order on Saturday notes that the Trump campaign cannot try to resurface their claims in a rejiggered version of the lawsuit.

The Trump campaign on Saturday night said they would appeal Brann's ruling, and quickly, with the intention of taking the case to the US Supreme Court.


What to know about Monday's Michigan State Board meeting to certify election results
Toomey emerged as a rare Republican voice so far acknowledging Trump's legal avenues have come to an end.

"With today's decision by Judge Matthew Brann, a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist, to dismiss the Trump campaign's lawsuit, President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania," the GOP senator said in a statement.

"These developments, together with the outcomes in the rest of the nation, confirm that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and will become the 46th President of the United States."

Mike Gwin, a spokesperson for Biden, praised the decision to dismiss the lawsuit.

"The judge's ruling couldn't be clearer: our people, laws, and institutions demand more — and our country will not tolerate Trump's attempt to reverse the results of an election that he decisively lost," Gwin said in a statement.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro also praised the decision in a statement Saturday night. "These claims were meritless from the start and for an audience of one. The will of the people will prevail. These baseless lawsuits need to end," he said.




View on CNN
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POLITICO

WHITE HOUSE

Trump calls on GOP state legislatures to overturn election results
The president’s comment comes after a series of legal defeats, and with his options dwindling.

President Donald Trump listens during an event on Operation Warp Speed on Friday in the Rose Garden of the White House.
President Donald Trump. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo





President Donald Trump made explicit Saturday the strategy his legal team has been hinting at for days: He wants Republican-led legislatures to overturn election results in states that Joe Biden won.

"Why is Joe Biden so quickly forming a Cabinet when my investigators have found hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes, enough to “flip” at least four States, which in turn is more than enough to win the Election?" Trump said, despite refusing to produce any such evidence either publicly or in court cases filed by his attorneys.


"Hopefully the Courts and/or Legislatures will have the COURAGE to do what has to be done to maintain the integrity of our Elections, and the United States of America itself," Trump said.

Trump's comment came after a string of legal defeats, including a rejection by a federal judge in Pennsylvania Saturday who said the Trump team presented no evidence of election fraud or misconduct, despite seeking to invalidate millions of votes. Trump's lead lawyer in the case, Rudy Giuliani, said he intends to appeal the case to the Third Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court.

But with few cases pending in courts, Trump's options have narrowed and he is becoming increasingly reliant on longshot scenarios where election results are not certified and Republican-controlled statehouses in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia intervene to declare him the winner.

GOP legislative leaders in those states have not endorsed this approach. Trump summoned Michigan legislative leaders to the White House on Friday, but they later issued a statement indicating they had not seen any reason to intervene on Trump's behalf.


To succeed, Trump's plan would require several unprecedented legal steps. First, Republican-led legislatures in states Biden won would need to move to overturn their state's popular vote and appoint a slate of Trump electors when the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14. In Pennsylvania and Michigan, such maneuvers would be certain to meet vetoes from Democratic governors, so the lawmakers would also need to secure a legal determination that they hold the sole power to appoint electors — a disputed legal premise that has never been tested.

Trump's call for lawmakers to hand him the election is the most overt call he's made yet for state lawmakers to overturn the election results. But it also underscores his dwindling options: Michigan is due to certify its vote totals on Monday, as are Pennsylvania counties, which would hand the statewide certification duty to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat. On Friday, Georgia certified Biden’s victory.

As of Friday evening, Pennsylvania's GOP leaders said they had not received an invitation to meet Trump at the White House, but last month, they said they would not step in to alter the election results.


© 2020 POLITICO LLC

<<<<<<<<<<< >>>><<<<< >>>>>>>><><<>> <<<<<





POLITICS

Chris Christie tells Trump to end election lawsuits, calls his legal team 'national embarrassment'



Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday that the president should end his legal fights challenging the results of the election and concede to president-elect Joe Biden.
"You have an obligation to present the evidence, the evidence has not been presented," Christe said.
Christie described Trump's legal team as a "national embarrassment" and Powell's explosive claims as "outrageous conduct."
Trump has alleged that the U.S. presidential election was riddled with "massive improprieties and fraud" and has therefore rejected the results.
GP: Donald Trump Chris Christie
US President Donald Trump (L) speaks with Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) after he delivered remarks on combatting drug demand and the opioid crisis on October 26, 2017 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's confidant former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday that the president should end his legal fights challenging the results of the election and concede to president-elect Joe Biden.

"Listen, I've been a supporter of the president, I voted for him twice but elections have consequences and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn't happen," Christie explained on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."


"They allege fraud outside of the courtroom but when they go inside the courtroom they don't plead fraud and they don't argue fraud," Christie said, adding "you have an obligation to present the evidence, the evidence has not been presented."

Trump has alleged that the U.S. presidential election was riddled with "massive improprieties and fraud" and has therefore rejected the results. Other top administration officials, such as Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have publicly insisted that the election is not over. The Trump campaign continues to question the integrity of the election through a series of legal actions across battleground states.

On Saturday a federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed a lawsuit by Trump's campaign that sought to block that state's certification of millions of votes. The judge's decision is another brick in the crumbling edifice that is Trump's already long-shot bid to invalidate enough ballots in enough states to reverse Biden's victory in the election.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said in a statement that the judge's ruling confirms "Joe Biden won the 2020 election and will become the 46th President of the United States."

"I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory. They are both dedicated public servants and I will be praying for them and for our country," Toomey added.

The Trump campaign and its allies now have lost or withdrawn more than 30 lawsuits that were part of that effort.

Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell listed a slew of allegations of fraud during an interview on Newsmax TV on Saturday. Powell alleged that Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp may have been involved in kickbacks to public officials but gave no details.

"Sidney Powell accusing Governor Brian Kemp of a crime on television yet being on unwilling to go on TV and defend and lay out the evidence that she supposedly has" is "outrageous conduct," Christie said.

The former governor and federal prosecutor slammed Trump's legal team as a "national embarrassment."


Trump vaccine chief has had ‘no contact’ with Biden transition team


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Re: Trump enters the stage - Trump resign? Nah!

Postby Meno_ » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:27 am

Here's one way to get Trump to resign

Opinion by Dean Obeidallah



(CNN)Donald Trump seems to have spent most of the year working on his reelection rather than the duties of the presidency. Now that he has lost, it appears he has really checked out.



On Saturday morning, Trump joined an online meeting of G20 leaders at 8 a.m. ET to discuss Covid-19 and other issues of concern. How did Trump approach this vitally important conference? He began tweeting about 13 minutes into the opening session, spewing more baseless claims about voter fraud in an effort to overturn the 2020 election. And by 10 a.m. Trump departed to go play golf, skipping a special side conference that was focused on the coronavirus crisis that's exploding in many countries -- including our own.

Beyond Trump's non-stop efforts to erode US democracy with lies about voter fraud, the dangerous blocking of the start of President-elect Joe Biden's transition until the General Services Administration makes a determination that he won the election means the incoming administration can't start the process of working with all of the federal agencies, including the Covid-19 vaccine team, to prepare for battling this deadly virus and putting in place a vaccine distribution plan. As Biden recently warned about Trump's actions, "More people may die if we don't coordinate."


Appealing to Trump to do the right thing for the good of Americans is a fool's errand. Trump only cares about Trump. We need to make his incentive something that benefits Trump personally. So here's an offer to Trump: Resign today and American taxpayers will cover the cost of unlimited golf between now and January 20, the day Biden is sworn in -- or "Freedom from Trump day," as I refer to it.

What Trump is doing should worry us all
What Trump is doing should worry us all
Yes, I know, many of you are saying, "Don't we already pay for Trump's golf?!" Fair point. Exact numbers are hard to confirm, but given that it can cost millions every time the President takes a trip -- and that Trump had already spent 266 days during his Presidency at a Trump golf course by May of 2020 -- it's clear that Trump's love of golf has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars for the federally-funded security and transport needed to get him to his favorite courses. After all, Trump doesn't just golf in the United States -- he likes to play in places like his resorts in Scotland and Ireland too.

I hope Trump takes a moment from tweeting unfounded conspiracy theories to check out Golf Digest's top 100 golf courses outside the US. (In reality, I'm betting Trump has read Golf Digest more than his daily intelligence briefings.) There, Trump will be treated to an eye-popping buffet of magnificent golf courses that he can visit at our expense while we wait for Biden's inauguration.

Trump could begin at the top-rated golf course in the world, Royal County Down Golf club located in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. This course, founded in 1889, is located between Dundrum Bay to the east and Mountains of Mourne to the south and is famous for its "gorse-covered dunes in golden bloom." As Golf Digest notes, "There is no lovelier place in golf."

From there, Trump could jet over to New Zealand to play the world's second-highest-rated golf course, Tara Iti golf club. For golfers, this must be the eighth wonder of the world, with a course that took two years of "gently re-sculpting the sandy soil into hummocks, punchbowls and sand dunes that look like they were formed by wind and vegetated by nature." It's breathtaking -- and it could be Trump's at no cost to him if he simply signs that resignation paper. (Of course, he might have to wait until New Zealand lifts its coronavirus travel ban -- but perhaps if he books now he can get a credit for later.)

Judge&apos;s devastating question for team Trump
Judge's devastating question for team Trump
But wait, there's more. Trump could then skip over to South Korea to play the ninth-ranked golf course in the world, South Cape Owners club, located on the picturesque Namhae Island. This course not only features a view of the ocean from every tee, but it could also feature a very special golfing partner. That's right: the man Trump exchanged "love letters" with, the one and only dictator of North Korea: Kim Jong Un. Trump already asked Kim to play golf in their February 2019 summit, as noted in Bob Woodward's recent book, "Rage." In fact, Trump said to Kim, "Let's go play a round of golf" and "Let's go to a movie together." Well, now they can do both, and we US taxpayers will foot the bill if Trump accepts our offer.

Trump is the "Art of the Deal" guy, so he might say I want more than free golf, how about a pardon?! I can understand Trump's desire for one considering the potential criminal investigations he is facing upon leaving office. But all we are offering is golf -- take it or leave it.

I think most Americans -- or at least the 51% of voters who cast a ballot for Biden -- would agree Trump can gleefully enjoy all the taxpayer-financed golf, diet Cokes and burgers he can handle between now and January 20. In exchange, all he has to do is resign right away. It's a win for all involved. This could save American lives from Covid-19, save our democracy from Trump's assault and provide Trump the freedom to focus on what he does best: Golf and tweeting. What do you say, Mr. President?





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He still has a card up his sleeve after all, he is still Commands in Chief. I doubt he will go that route, but National Security is not peanuts.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - grand finale?

Postby Meno_ » Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:52 pm

2020 ELECTION

'Beyond an embarrassment,' legal experts say of Trump and Giuliani's floundering efforts in court
"It's as dysfunctional a litigation strategy as I've ever seen," one attorney told NBC News.

Image: Rudy Giuliani And Trump Legal Advisor Hold Press Conference At RNC HQ

Rudy Giuliani was brought in to lead an "elite strike force" of lawyers to guide President Donald Trump's legal challenges to the 2020 election, but their efforts have been "dysfunctional" and "an embarrassment," based on "unsubstantiated evidence" and "outlandish claims," legal experts told NBC News.

"It's beyond an embarrassment," said lawyer Glenn Kirschner. "It's both really poor lawyering and it has the worst possible motive behind it. It's all in the name of overturning the will of American voter."


Election lawyer Matthew Sanderson compared Giuliani unfavorably to James Baker, who led George W. Bush's legal effort in the 2000 presidential election.

"This is like Bush v. Gore, but replace James Baker with the editor of a QAnon subreddit," he said. "It's not competent lawyering. There are strategic errors, typographical errors — every kind of error you can make in a case."

"It's as dysfunctional a litigation strategy as I've ever seen," Sanderson added.


On Monday, the campaign filed its appeal of a federal judge's ruling dismissing the campaign's lawsuit in Pennsylvania challenging some mail-in votes.

The appeal complained the judge in the case, Matthew Brann, "misconstrued the remedy sought. The Campaign is not seeking to disenfranchise 6.8 million Pennsylvanians," as the judge wrote in his scathing decision — and Giuliani acknowledged in a court hearing last week.

The appeal says the campaign just wanted to set aside some ballots that they believe may be defective — and then notes that one of the remedies they're seeking is "an order that the results of the 2020 Presidential general election are defective, which would allow the Pennsylvania General Assembly to choose Pennsylvania's electors" — in other words, which would disenfranchise 6.8 million Pennsylvanians by dismissing their votes.

The filing at one point refers to ballots as "ballets," and another of the campaign's filings earlier in the day referred to "Presidential Donald J. Trump" instead of president.

That earlier filing — which said the campaign was only appealing part of Brann's order but then added it might appeal other parts of the order — led to confusion from other defendants in the case, who said it was improper and they couldn't understand what exactly the campaign was seeking.

It also wasn't the first such filing since Trump named Giuliani his lead lawyer. Earlier in the same Pennsylvania case, Giuliani was seeking to add back in arguments his predecessors had dropped, presumably because they didn't have the evidence to back their claims. "The lawyers thought they were losers," Sanderson said.

Also Monday, the campaign lost another lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court — the latest in a string of dozens of court losses in six swing states since the election, most of which were started by Giuliani's predecessors.

"I don't think any team of lawyers can save this case. Election litigation is not designed to overturn tens of thousands of votes. That just doesn't happen. But even with that caveat, this strategy has not been well-executed," Sanderson said.

He noted that Giuliani seemed to struggle with some legal terms during his court appearance last week, and his over-the-top claims about a massive nationwide voter fraud scheme haven't been helping his credibility.

Myrna Pérez, director of the Brennan Center's Voting Rights and Elections Program, said Giuliani's efforts aren't aimed at winning court challenges — they're designed to bolster Trump's attacks on the democratic process.

"I think this is a strategy of trying to dog whistle to his base" by attacking minority voters in Democratic strongholds, she said. "It's to cheapen the process of how we resolve our political differences peacefully, and cast doubt on the outcome of the election in which he's not the winner."

"It's a pernicious, problematic attempt to bedraggle our democratic processes," Pérez said, adding the legal campaign has been full of "unsubstantiated allegations, inadequate evidence and outlandish claims."

Some of those claims have apparently even gotten to be too much for the president — he jettisoned lawyer Sidney Powell from his team over the weekend after she suggested Republicans had taken payoffs to fix the election in Georgia. That's where two seats that will determine control of the U.S. Senate are up for grabs in a runoff election in January.

Giuliani had made claims similar to some of Powell's, but never accused any Republicans of wrongdoing.




A source familiar with Trump's thinking told NBC News Monday the president was unhappy with Powell's and Giuliani's over-the-top performances at a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters last week, where both shared baseless conspiracy theories about the election. The source said Trump is concerned his team is comprised of "fools that are making him look bad."

Pérez called Giuliani's variety of conspiracy allegations "the legal equivalent of jumping the shark."

"This is all going to ultimately fail, but this is still going to be damaging," she said.

Kirschner, an NBC News legal analyst, said, "It angers me when I hear Donald Trump's lawyers and defenders say, 'You have every right to bring these cases.' Actually, no. You have every right to bring a winning case. You don't have a right to file a frivolous lawsuit for purposes other than winning a lawsuit, like trying to undermine public confidence in elections."


© 2020 NBC UNIVERSAL
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Re: Trump enters the stage - power to will ?

Postby Meno_ » Wed Nov 25, 2020 7:38 pm

Lame marked baby, Man, will he throw a tantrum as commander - in - chief. ?


POLITICO

Magazine
2020

The Inside Story of Michigan’s Fake Voter Fraud Scandal
How a state that was never in doubt became a "national embarrassment" and a symbol of the Republican Party’s fealty to Donald Trump.

An elections worker rubs his head in the closing hours where absentee ballots were processed at the central counting board, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit.
An elections worker rubs his head in the closing hours where absentee ballots were processed at the central counting board, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit. | AP Photo/Carlos Osorio



11/24/2020 09:00 PM EST

Tim Alberta is chief political correspondent for Politico Magazine.

After five years spent bullying the Republican Party into submission, President Donald Trump finally met his match in Aaron Van Langevelde.

Who?



That’s right. In the end, it wasn’t a senator or a judge or a general who stood up to the leader of the free world. There was no dramatic, made-for-Hollywood collision of cosmic egos. Rather, the death knell of Trump’s presidency was sounded by a baby-faced lawyer, looking over his glasses on a grainy Zoom feed on a gloomy Monday afternoon, reading from a statement that reflected a courage and moral clarity that has gone AWOL from his party, pleading with the tens of thousands of people watching online to understand that some lines can never be uncrossed.

“We must not attempt to exercise power we simply don’t have,” declared Van Langevelde, a member of Michigan’s board of state canvassers, the ministerial body with sole authority to make official Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. “As John Adams once said, 'We are a government of laws, not men.' This board needs to adhere to that principle here today. This board must do its part to uphold the rule of law and comply with our legal duty to certify this election.”

Van Langevelde is a Republican. He works for Republicans in the Statehouse. He gives legal guidance to advance Republican causes and win Republican campaigns. As a Republican, his mandate for Monday’s hearing—handed down from the state party chair, the national party chair and the president himself—was straightforward. They wanted Michigan’s board of canvassers to delay certification of Biden’s victory. Never mind that Trump lost by more than 154,000 votes, or that results were already certified in all 83 counties. The plan was to drag things out, to further muddy the election waters and delegitimize the process, to force the courts to take unprecedented actions that would forever taint Michigan’s process of certifying elections. Not because it was going to help Trump win but because it was going to help Trump cope with a loss. The president was not accepting defeat. That meant no Republican with career ambitions could accept it, either.

Which made Van Langevelde’s vote for certification all the more remarkable. With the other Republican on the four-person board, Norman Shinkle, abstaining on the final vote—a cowardly abdication of duty—the 40-year-old Van Langevelde delivered the verdict on his own. At a low point in his party’s existence, with much of the GOP’s leadership class pre-writing their own political epitaphs by empowering Trump to lay waste to the country’s foundational democratic norms, an obscure lawyer from west Michigan stood on principle. It proved to be the nail in Trump’s coffin: Shortly after Michigan’s vote to certify, the General Services Administration finally commenced the official transition of power and Trump tweeted out a statement affirming the move “in the best interest of our Country.”


Still, the drama in Lansing raised deeper questions about the health of our political system and the sturdiness of American democracy. Why were Republicans who privately admitted Trump’s legitimate defeat publicly alleging massive fraud? Why did it fall to a little-known figure like Van Langevelde to buffer the country from an unprecedented layer of turmoil? Why did the battleground state that dealt Trump his most decisive defeat—by a wide margin—become the epicenter of America’s electoral crisis?

Large numbers of people gathered to join in the Stop the Steal protest, on Nov. 7 in Lansing, which was organized to show opposition to Biden winning the presidency. Many at the demonstration suspected voting counts to be inaccurate or fraudulent. | Stephen Zenner/Sipa via AP Images

In conversations with more than two dozen Michigan insiders—elected officials, party elders, consultants, activists—it became apparent how the state’s conditions were ripe for this sort of slow-motion disaster. Michigan is home to Detroit, an overwhelmingly majority Black city, that has always been a favorite punching bag of white Republicans. The state had viral episodes of conflict and human error that were easily manipulated and deliberately misconstrued. It drew special attention from the highest levels of the party, and for the president, it had the potential to settle an important score with his adversary, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Perhaps most important, Trump’s allies in Michigan proved to be more career-obsessed, and therefore more servile to his whims, than GOP officials in any other state he has cultivated during his presidency, willing to indulge his conspiratorial fantasies in ways other Republicans weren’t.

This, Republicans and Democrats here agreed, was the essential difference between Michigan and other states. However sloppy Trump’s team was in contesting the results in places like Georgia and Wisconsin, where the margins were fractional, there was at least some plausible justification of a legal challenge. The same could never be said for Michigan. Strangely liberated by his deficit of 154,000 votes, the president’s efforts here were aimed not at overturning the results, but rather at testing voters’ faith in the ballot box and Republicans’ loyalty to him.

“We have to see this for what it is. It’s a PR strategy to erode public confidence in a very well-run election to achieve political ends,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said in an interview last week. “This was not any type of valid legal strategy that had any chance at ultimately succeeding.”


“Anybody can sue anybody for any reason. But winning is a whole different matter. And Trump didn’t have a realistic pathway here,” Brian Calley, the former GOP lieutenant governor, told me prior to the certification vote. “I’m not too worried about the end result in Michigan. I understand the drama. … I know the system looks clunky. But I actually think we’ll look back on this and say, you know, we’ve actually got a very strong system that can stand up to a lot of scrutiny.”










Benson and Calley were right that Trump was never going to succeed at altering the outcome in Michigan—or in any of the other contested states, or in the Electoral College itself. The 45th president’s time in office is drawing to a close. No amount of @realdonaldtrump tweets or wild-eyed allegations from his lawyers or unhinged segments on One America News can change that.

But what they can change—where he can ultimately succeed—is in convincing unprecedented numbers of Americans that their votes didn’t count. Last month, Gallup reported that the public’s confidence in our elections being accurate dropped 11 points since the 2018 midterms, which included a 34-point decrease among Republicans. That was before a daily deluge of dishonest allegations and out-of-context insinuations; before the conservative media’s wall-to-wall coverage of exotic conspiracy theories; before the GOP’s most influential figures winked and nodded at the president of the United States alleging the greatest fraud in U.S. history.

Trump failed to win Michigan. But he succeeded in convincing America that a loss, no matter how conclusive, may never again be conclusive enough.

The irony of Michigan’s electoral meltdown is that Election Day, in the eyes of veteran clerks and poll workers across the state, was the smoothest it had ever been. Like clockwork, one can always depend on controversies—sometimes mini-scandals—to spring up by noontime on any given Election Day. But not in 2020. There were no documented instances of voter intimidation. No outcry over precincts opening late or closing early. Heck, in the state’s biggest and busiest voting jurisdictions, there were no lines to complain about. The day was eerily uneventful.

Much of this owed to months of tireless preparation by election officials at the state and local level. Of course, it also had something to do with the historic nature of 2020: More than half of Michigan’s voters chose to vote absentee, the result of a new law that predated the deadly Covid-19 pandemic that scared many people away from voting in-person. For this reason, Michiganders were not congratulating themselves when the polls closed on election night. They knew the real gantlet lay ahead.

“You’re talking about election officials implementing new laws, running an election with a 60 percent mail vote, in the middle of a pandemic,” said Chris Thomas, Michigan’s longtime chief elections administrator, a nonpartisan who spent decades working under secretaries of state from both parties. “In terms of voters getting the ballots processed and counted in a reasonable time period, I thought they did a marvelous job. But it was a huge challenge.”

Because state law prohibited the processing of absentee votes until 7 a.m. on Election Day—preventing workers from getting a head start with the time-consuming work of opening envelopes, removing ballots and preparing them for tabulation—everyone understood the state would face a historic backlog of votes to count once the polls closed at 8 p.m. This was the source of a monthslong dispute between the Democratic governor, the Democratic secretary of state and the Republicans who control both the House and Senate in Lansing. Whitmer and Benson warned the GOP leaders that a protracted counting process, especially in the scenario of a competitive election, would invite chaos. Other states Trump carried in 2016, such as Ohio and Florida, allowed for pre-canvassing of absentee and other mail-in ballots so that voters would know which candidate carried the state on election night. Why couldn’t Michigan do the same?

In this Nov. 3 photo, election inspectors are reflected in a window as they begin processing ballots while a voter outside arrives to drop a ballot into an official box on Election Day at City Hall in Warren, Mich. | AP Photo/David Goldman

The Republicans—House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey—were not interested. Spooked by Trump’s continued assault on mail voting, and aware that their own members in the Legislature were distrustful of the new “no-excuse-absentee” rules, Chatfield and Shirkey weren’t inclined to do the process any favors. Only in the late stages of the race, when Republican state senator (and former secretary of state) Ruth Johnson suggested a meager concession—allowing 10 hours of absentee ballot processing before Election Day—did the GOP throw a bone to election workers.


It’s helpful to understand the party’s logic. Not only did they want to avoid the perception of aiding a system the president was attacking as illegitimate and not only were they skeptical of the Democrats’ concerns of a drawn-out count. But many Republicans didn’t believe the election would be terribly close to begin with. A summer’s worth of polling, conducted for them privately at the local and statewide level, indicated that Trump stood little chance of carrying Michigan a second time. The common expectation was that the president would lose comfortably, by at least 4 or 5 points, a margin that would render any controversy about absentee voting meaningless.

That thinking changed abruptly around 10 p.m. on election night. As the president surged to a durable lead in Florida—defying expectations by winning large numbers of Hispanics and holding his own among absentee voters—Michigan Republicans were gripped by equal parts euphoria and panic. It was clear Trump was running far more competitively than they’d anticipated; he was on track to win Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, three states that tally their ballots quickly, meaning the spotlight would abruptly shift to the critical, slow-counting battlegrounds of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Everyone here knew this had been a possibility, but it wasn’t until midnight that the urgency of the situation crashed over Republicans. Trump had built a lead of nearly 300,000 votes on the strength of same-day ballots that were disproportionately favorable to him. Now, with the eyes of the nation—and of the president—fixed on their state, Michigan Republicans scrambled to protect that lead. Laura Cox, chair of the state party, began dialing prominent lawmakers, attorneys and activists, urging them to get down to the TCF Center, the main hub of absentee vote counting in Detroit. She was met with some confusion; there were already plenty of Republicans there, as scheduled, working their shifts as poll challengers. It didn’t matter, Cox told them. It was time to flood the zone.

“This was all so predictable,” said Josh Venable, who ran Election Day operations for the Michigan GOP during five different cycles. “Detroit has been the boogeyman for Republicans since before I was born. It’s always been the white suburbs vs. Detroit, the white west side of the state vs. Detroit. There’s always this rallying cry from Republicans—‘We win everywhere else, but lose Wayne County’—that creates paranoia. I still remember hearing, back on my first campaign in 2002, that Wayne County always releases its votes last so that Detroit can see how many votes Democrats need to win the state. That’s what a lot of Republicans here believe.”

As things picked up at the TCF Center, with more and more white Republicans filing into the complex to supervise the activity of mostly Black poll workers, Chris Thomas noticed a shift in the environment. Having been brought out of retirement to supervise the counting in Detroit—a decision met with cheers from Republicans and Democrats alike—Thomas had been “thrilled” with the professionalism he’d witnessed during Monday’s pre-processing session and Tuesday’s vote tabulating. Now, in the early morning hours of Wednesday, things were going sideways. Groups of Republican poll challengers were clustering around individual counting tables in violation of the rules. People were raising objections—such as to the transferring of military absentees onto ballots that could be read by machines, a standard practice—that betrayed a lack of preparation.

“Reading these affidavits afterward from these Republican poll challengers, I was just amazed at how misunderstood the election process was to them,” Thomas chuckled. “The things they said were going on—it’s like ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what was going on. That’s what’s supposed to happen.’” (The Trump team’s much celebrated lawsuit against Detroit was recently withdrawn after being pummeled in local courtrooms; his campaign has to date won one case and lost 35.)

At one point, around 3:30 in the morning, Thomas supervised the receiving of Detroit’s final large batch of absentee ballots. They arrived in a passenger van. Thomas confirmed the numbers he’d verified over the phone: 45 trays, each tray holding roughly 300 ballots, for a total of between 13,000 and 14,000 ballots. Not long after, Charlie Spies, an attorney for the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican John James, approached Thomas inside the TCF Center. He wanted to know about the 38,000 absentee ballots that had just materialized. Thomas told him there were not 38,000 ballots; that at most it might have been close to 15,000.

“I was told the number was 38,000,” Spies replied.

By five o’clock on Wednesday morning, it was apparent Trump’s lead would not hold.


His cushion over Biden had been whittled down to 70,000 votes. There remained hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in the large, Democratic strongholds of Detroit, Lansing and Flint. The math was simply not workable for the president. Just before 9:30 a.m., Biden overtook Trump in the tally of Michigan’s votes—and suddenly, a switch flipped on the right.

After 24 hours of letting the democratic process work, Republicans around the country—watching Trump’s second term slipping through their fingers—began crying foul and screaming conspiracy. No state cornered the hysteria market quite like Michigan.

First it was breathless accusations about Antrim County, a rural Republican redoubt in northwestern Michigan with a total turnout of 16,044 voters, where the unofficial returns showed Biden leading Trump by 3,000 votes. (A human error caused the candidates’ totals to be transposed, the county clerk said, and it was quickly corrected, though this did nothing to stop context-less social media posts about the mistake from going viral, or to slow the spread of rumors about Governor Whitmer buying off local officials because she owned a vacation home in Antrim County.)

Then it was Stu Sandler, a longtime Michigan GOP operative and top adviser to James’ U.S. Senate campaign, moving preemptively to declare victory and accuse Democrats of trying to steal the seat. “John James has won this race. The ballots are counted. Stop making up numbers, stalling the process and cheating the system,” Sandler tweeted. (James, who was clinging to a small lead that would soon disappear, promptly retweeted this sinister claim. Sandler later deleted it and told me he apologized for tweeting “in the middle of an intense moment”—but stuck to his claims of widespread “irregularities” that damaged his candidate.)

The true insanity was saved for Detroit. By early afternoon on Wednesday, hundreds and hundreds of Republicans had descended on the TCF Center, responding to an all-hands-on-deck missive that went out from the state party and was disseminated by local officials. Cox, the party chair, tweeted out a video of her comrades standing outside the locked-up downtown building. “Republican poll challengers blocked from entering the TCF Center in Detroit! This is egregious!” she wrote.

Truly egregious was Cox’s dishonesty. At the time of her tweet, several hundred of her party’s poll challengers, attorneys and representatives were already inside the TCF Center monitoring the count. By law, Republicans were allowed to have 134 challengers in the room, one for each tabulation table. In reality, the GOP had far more than that, according to sworn testimony from nonpartisan poll watchers inside the TCF Center. Because of the overflow, election officials ultimately decided to lock down the complex, starting with the glass-encased canvassing room where the tabulation work was being done. This left dozens and dozens of Republicans trapped behind the glass—in addition to the hundreds of others locked outside with Cox. Some began to bang hard on the inside windows; others began to film workers handling the ballots, a violation of state law. To protect the workers, TCF officials covered some of the windows with cardboard—a decision Thomas said he was not consulted on, but absolutely agreed with.

“The people outside that room were doing exactly what the law says you would eject people for doing—they were disrupting the election,” Thomas said. “Everyone else in the room—the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the ACLU, the nonpartisans—they all still had a full complement of challengers in the room. And the Republicans, by the way, had far more challengers in the room than they were entitled to.”

What made this behavior all the more confounding, Thomas said, is that the election was conducted more transparently than any he’d ever participated in. Each of the 134 tables had monitors placed at the end, “showing every keystroke that was made,” so that challengers could see exactly what was happening. But he came to realize that none of this mattered. Having dealt with Republican poll challengers for decades, Thomas said, it was clear the people who infiltrated TCF on Wednesday were not adequately trained or there for the right reasons.

“They clearly came in believing there was mass cheating going on in Detroit and they were on a mission to catch it.”

Chris Thomas

“Unlike the people who were there Monday and Tuesday, these people Wednesday were totally unprepared. They had no idea how the system worked. They had no idea what they were there for,” Thomas said. “Many of them—not all of them, but many of them—they were on a mission. They clearly came in believing there was mass cheating going on in Detroit and they were on a mission to catch it.”


As conspiracy theories proliferated across the right-wing information universe—Sharpie markers disenfranchising Trump voters in Arizona, a marked Biden/Harris van unloading boxes full of ballots in Nevada, suspicious turnout patterns in Wisconsin—Detroit held a special place in the president’s heart.

When Trump addressed the nation from the White House on Thursday night, insisting the election had been “stolen” from him, he returned time and again to alleged misconduct in Michigan’s biggest city. Detroit, he smirked, “I wouldn’t say has the best reputation for election integrity.” He said the city “had hours of unexplained delay” in counting ballots, and when the late batches arrived, “nobody knew where they came from.” He alleged that Republicans had been “denied access to observe any counting in Detroit” and that the windows had been covered because “they didn’t want anybody seeing the counting.”

All of this was a lie. Republicans here—from Ronna Romney McDaniel to Laura Cox to federal and local lawmakers—knew it was a lie. But they didn’t lift a finger in protest as the president disparaged Michigan and subverted America’s democratic norms. Why?

In the days following Trump’s shameful address to the nation, two realities became inescapable to Michigan’s GOP elite. First, there was zero evidence to substantiate widespread voter fraud. Second, they could not afford to admit it publicly.

McDaniel was a case in point. Born into Michigan royalty—granddaughter of the beloved former governor, George Romney, and niece of former presidential nominee Mitt Romney—she knows the state’s politics as well as anyone. Working for her uncle’s campaign here, and then as a national committeewoman and state party chair, McDaniel earned respect for her canny, studied approach. She spun and exaggerated and played the game, but she was generally viewed as being above board.

That changed after Trump’s 2016 victory. Tapped by the president-elect to take over the Republican National Committee—on the not-so-subtle condition that she remove “Romney” from her professional name—McDaniel morphed into an archetype of the Trump-era GOP sycophant. There was no lie too outlandish to parrot, no behavior too unbecoming to justify, no abuse of power too flagrant to enable. Longtime friends worried that McDaniel wasn’t merely humiliating herself publicly; she seemed to be changing in private. She was no longer coolly detached from the passions of politics. If anything, she was turning into a true MAGA believer.

There was some relief, then, when in recent weeks McDaniel told multiple confidants that she doubted there was any scalable voter fraud in Michigan. Nevertheless, McDaniel told friends and fellow Republicans that she needed to stay the course with Trump and his legal team. This wasn’t about indulging him, she said, but rather about demonstrating a willingness to fight—even when the fight couldn’t be won.

If this sounds illogical, McDaniel’s thinking is actually quite linear. The RNC will vote in January on the position of chair. She is anxious to keep her job. It’s bad enough that despite an enormous investment of time and resources in Michigan, McDaniel was unable to deliver her home state for the president. If that might prove survivable, what would end McDaniel’s bid instantaneously is abandoning the flailing president in the final, desperate moments of his reelection campaign. No matter how obvious the outcome—to McDaniel, to the 168 members of the RNC, maybe even to Trump himself—any indication of surrender would be unforgivable.

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This is why McDaniel has sanctioned her employees, beginning with top spokesperson Liz Harrington, to spread countless demonstrable falsehoods in the weeks since Election Day. It’s why the RNC, on McDaniel’s watch, tweeted out a video clip of disgraced lawyer Sidney Powell claiming Trump “won in a landslide” (when he lost by more than 6 million votes nationally) and alleging a global conspiracy to rig the election against him. It’s why McDaniel felt comfortable throwing under the bus a highly respected local Republican clerk in her own backyard, the Detroit suburb of Oakland County, for a human error that was rectified with transparency from start to finish. (The clerk, Tina Barton, called McDaniel’s insinuations of fraud “categorically false.”)

Honesty and decency have not been hallmarks of Republicanism during Trump’s presidency. They certainly are not priorities now. With Trump entering the anguished twilight of his presidency, all that appears to matter for someone like McDaniel—or Cox, the state party chair, who faces an upcoming election of her own—is unconditional fidelity to the president.

“The unfortunate reality within the party today is that Trump retains a hold that is forcing party leaders to continue down the path of executing his fantasy of overturning the outcome—at their own expense,” said Jason Cabel Roe, a Michigan-based GOP strategist who once worked as a vendor for McDaniel, and whose family goes back generations with hers. “Frankly, continuing to humor him merely excuses his role in this. The election wasn’t stolen, he blew it. Up until the final two weeks, he seemingly did everything possible to lose. Given how close it was, there is no one to blame but Trump.”

“Principled conservatives who respect the rule of law and speak out suddenly find themselves outcasts in a party that is no longer about conservativism but Trumpism.”


Cabel Roe added, “But if they want a future within the party, it is required of them to demonstrate continued fealty. Principled conservatives who respect the rule of law and speak out suddenly find themselves outcasts in a party that is no longer about conservativism but Trumpism. Just ask once-conservative heroes like Jeff Flake, Justin Amash and Mark Sanford.”

This same principle applies to Chatfield and Shirkey, the state legislative leaders who were summoned to Washington last week for a meeting with Trump. Under normal circumstances, nobody would begrudge anyone a meeting with the president. But the circumstances surrounding the Michigan GOP leadership’s secret huddle with Trump were anything but normal.

Just days earlier, a meeting of the Wayne County canvassing board had devolved into pandemonium after the two GOP members initially refused to certify the county’s results. There were valid concerns about some inconsistencies in the balancing of Detroit’s poll books; and yet, those inconsistencies were minimal relative to the 2016 election, when Trump won by a margin 15 times smaller—and when the board voted unanimously to certify the result. Monica Palmer, one of the GOP canvassers, caused an uproar when she offered to certify the rest of Wayne County—precincts like Livonia—without certifying Detroit. (Livonia, which is 95 percent white, had more poll-book irregularities than Detroit, which is 80 percent Black.)

Tweeting out siren emojis, Jenna Ellis, the attorney for Trump’s campaign, announced: “BREAKING: This evening, the county board of canvassers in Wayne County, MI refused to certify the election results. If the state board follows suit, the Republican state legislator will select the electors. Huge win for @realDonaldTrump.”

This proved wrong on two counts. First, the Wayne board—after a heated period of comments from the public—reversed course the same night and voted unanimously to certify the results after Democrats agreed to an audit of the county’s numerical inconsistencies. Second, the notion that legislators would under any circumstance be free to send their own partisans to the Electoral College had no basis in fact. Under Michigan statute, the only electors eligible to represent Michigan are those who will vote for the winner of the popular vote. There is no discretion for anyone—the governor, leaders of the legislature, canvassers at the county or state level—to do anything but follow the law.


Wayne County Board of Canvassers discuss a motion to certify election results during a board meeting in Detroit on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. | Robin Buckson/Detroit News via AP

That didn’t stop Trump from buying in. Having long been advised by his legal team that state legislators would be his ace in the hole—particularly in Republican-controlled states with close elections—the president called Chatfield and Shirkey the morning after the Wayne board meeting. He invited them to the White House for a briefing on the state of play in Michigan. Both Chatfield and Shirkey are talented and ambitious, self-grooming for future runs at higher office. Both could see the obvious problems of meeting with the president at such a precarious moment—and both could also see how spurning Trump could torpedo their careers in the GOP.

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When they huddled with some of their rank-and-file members, an uneasiness gripped some of the people present. Some wanted to know whether Trump had been inviting legislators from other swing states; others wondered whether he might make a direct ask to intervene on his behalf, putting them in a tenuous and potentially incriminating position. More than a few mentioned how their inboxes had exploded ever since Mark Levin, the far-right radio personality, had begun tweeting screeds about legislatures having the power to send any electors they wish to the Electoral College.

Ultimately, the GOP lawmakers felt they were obligated to go. This was the president calling on them—and besides, they joked, it might be a long time before a Republican occupied the Oval Office again. But precautions were taken. In a savvy move, Chatfield and Shirkey prepared a letter addressing concerns over funding to deal with Covid-19 in Michigan. They also brought along their general counsels. These two maneuvers—one to soothe the outcry over Michigan lawmakers meeting with a president whose legal team was calling for them to overturn the state’s election results; the other to insulate them from improper discussions about doing exactly that—were sufficient to sidestep any major crisis.

The president asked them about allegations of fraud, and the legislators told him about various probes they had authorized to look into reports of irregularities. But Trump, perhaps sensing the nervous reticence of his guests, did not make the ask they feared. As the meeting went on, it became apparent to some people in the room that more than anything, Trump had called his Michigan allies to Washington to get an honest assessment of what had happened there. He wanted to know if there was any pathway to victory. They told him there was not.

“I don’t get it,” the president said, venting confusion and frustration. “All these other Republicans, all over the country, they all win their races. And I’m the only guy that loses?”

Right around the time Chatfield and Shirkey were bearing the bad news to Trump in Washington, the Republican rumor mill was churning back home.

With all 83 counties boasting certified results, the only thing that stood between Joe Biden and his rightful claim to Michigan’s 16 electoral votes was certification from the state board of canvassers. In a rational political climate, this would not have been the subject of suspense. But the swirling innuendo and disinformation had long ago swept away any semblance of normalcy. Already, one of the board’s two Republicans, Norm Shinkle, a career party fixture, had hinted he would not vote to certify the state’s result. Because the two Democrats would obviously vote in favor of certification, a manic gush of attention turned to the other Republican member, Aaron Van Langevelde.

The problem? Hardly anyone knew the guy. Van Langevelde, a deputy legal counsel to the Michigan House GOP, had been appointed to the board less than two years earlier by Governor Rick Snyder. He had kept a deliberately low profile in Lansing, attending the occasional happy hour but spending most of his time in nearby Eaton County, where he lives with his wife, an assistant prosecutor, and their three children.

All day Friday, and throughout the weekend, a chorus of Michigan Republican heavyweights tried and failed to contact Van Langevelde. When it became apparent that his extended family was shooing away callers—giving the impression he did not welcome this intrusive sort of spotlight—word got around that Van Langevelde had cold feet. By Sunday morning, speculation was rampant that Van Langevelde would resign from the board on Monday. This made perfect sense to Republicans and Democrats alike: Based on their fact-finding mission into the mysterious fourth board member, Van Langevelde was a bookish type, a rule follower, an obsessive student of world history (particularly the Roman Empire) who believes to his core in a conservative application of the law. His pious Dutch sensibilities, one co-worker said, make him “the the kind of guy that would turn himself in for tasting a grape at the grocery store.” He would be inclined, Lansing insiders figured, to vote in favor of certifying the results. But he would be disinclined to throw away his future in the Republican Party. A resignation from the board was his only way out.


Working off this expectation, a late lobbying blitz turned on Shinkle. In the 36 hours preceding Monday’s vote, he was inundated with calls and emails and text messages from high-ranking Republican luminaries around the state. Some, such as former congressman and House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers, urged him to certify the results in accordance with Michigan law. Others, including McDaniel and Cox and other state party figures, pleaded with Shinkle to stand his ground and insist on a two-week delay. The response they got was universal: He would promise to “do my best,” then he would offer a litany of unsubstantiated allegations of fraud. (Not everyone bothered contacting Shinkle: That his wife served as a plaintiff’s witness in Trump’s ill-fated lawsuit against Detroit struck many people not just as a conflict of interest, but as a clear indication he would never vote to certify.)

When Monday morning arrived, the Michigan MAGA coalition hoped to wake up to news of a postponed meeting on account of Van Langevelde’s resignation. No such luck. Nervously, the calls and text messages and email chains began anew—this time directed not toward Shinkle or Van Langevelde, but to each other. What was going on? Was the 1 p.m. meeting really going ahead as scheduled? Would Van Langevelde, who had stayed silent and off the grid for the previous 96 hours, dare to vote against the party’s edict?

Some Republicans didn’t want to believe it. But for others, reality began to set in. They had grown so accustomed to Republicans falling in line, bending a knee to Trumpism, that the notion of someone acting on his own personal ethic had become foreign. But the more they learned about Van Langevelde, the more he sounded like just that type of independent thinker. Some viewed his relative youth as an asset, believing he wouldn’t risk throwing away his future in the party. What they had failed to appreciate was that young conservatives were oftentimes the most disillusioned with the party’s drift from any intellectual or philosophical mooring.

By the time the meeting commenced, just after 1 p.m., the smart money had shifted dramatically—away from any resignation or delay and toward prompt certification. Van Langevelde did little to disappoint. “The board’s duty today is very clear,” he declared just minutes into the meeting. “We have a duty to certify this election.”

Like a good attorney, Van Langevelde meticulously questioned a number of expert guest speakers to ascertain if they had dissenting views of the board’s authority under state law. Time and again, they affirmed his position. The body did not have power to audit or investigate or recount; that could be done only by distinct bodies after certification was complete. The job of the board of state canvassers was narrowly to examine the certified results from all 83 counties and then, based on the relevant vote totals, certify a winner of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes. The one time he was challenged—by Spies, the political superlawyer representing John James’ U.S. Senate campaign—Van Langevelde calmly brushed his recommendations aside, telling Spies, “I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you on that.”

If this young canvasser’s rebellion against the entire Republican Party apparatus was surprising, what came next was all too predictable. Within minutes of Van Langevelde’s vote for certification—and of Shinkle’s abstention, which guaranteed his colleague would bear the brunt of the party’s fury alone—the fires of retaliation raged. In GOP circles, there were immediate calls for Van Langevelde to lose his seat on the board; to lose his job in the House of Representatives; to be censured on the floor of the Legislature and exiled from the party forever. Actionable threats against him and his family began to be reported. The Michigan State Police worked with local law enforcement to arrange a security detail.

All for doing his job. All for upholding the rule of law. All for following his conscience and defying the wishes of Donald Trump.

“It took a lot of courage for him to do what he thought was right and appropriate, given the amount of pressure he was under,” said Brian Calley, the GOP former lieutenant governor, who told me days earlier that he had never heard the name Aaron Van Langevelde. “He carried himself as well as anybody I’ve seen in that type of setting, including people with decades and decades of experience. He showed an awful lot of poise.”

In Michigan, the upcoming race to chair the Republican Party has already been turned on its head. Ron Weiser, the former party head who’s made it known that he wants to reclaim his old post, was thought to have a strong case against Cox, who has been viewed as unsteady by some GOP elders. But it was Weiser who, while chairing the party in 2018, recommended Van Langevelde to then-Governor Snyder—a fact Cox and her allies are already sharpening for attack.


That’s right: The name Van Langevelde is already so infamous in Michigan Republican lore that those associated with him are at risk of being branded turncoats, too.

It might sound silly, given Trump’s imminent departure from the White House. But Trump shows no sign of ceding the spotlight: He is already making noise about running for president in 2024. Because of this, and because of the sweeping transformation of the party—not just ideologically or stylistically, but mechanically, with MAGA loyalists now installed in state and local leadership posts across the country—the question of loyalty will continue to define the Republican identity for years to come.

That contours of that identity—what it means to be a Trump Republican—have gained clarity over time. The default embrace of nationalism. The indifference to ideas as a vision for governing. The disregard for institutional norms. The aversion to etiquette and the bottomless appetite for cultural conflict. Now there is another cornerstone of that identity: The subversion of our basic democratic process.

2020

The Election That Broke the Republican Party
BY TIM ALBERTA

More than any policy enacted or court vacancy filled, Trump’s legacy will be his unprecedented assault on the legitimacy of the ballot box. And it will not be considered in isolation. Future iterations of the GOP will make casual insinuations of voter fraud central to the party’s brand. The next generation of Republicans will have learned how to sow doubts about election integrity in one breath and in the next breath bemoan the nation’s lack of faith in our elections, creating a self-perpetuating justification to cast suspicion on a process that by raw numbers does not appear conducive to keeping them in power.

Look no further than John James. It took three full weeks after Election Day—despite his race being called for Gary Peters on November 4, despite the certified county totals proving he had lost by 92,000 votes—for the Republican Senate nominee to concede defeat. In the interim, he released a series of videos calling for independent investigations into Detroit’s voting irregularities, insisting that such efforts are needed to “restore trust” in the system.

“This is not some whacked-out fringe,” James said in one taping. “When half the votes in our state believe we just had the most secure election in U.S. history, and the other half believe they were cheated, we have a problem.”

James is right. We do have a problem. Our elections continue to be underfunded. Our election bureaus are chronically understaffed. Our election workers are badly undertrained. Our elections are prone to a significant amount of human error—and any municipal or county clerk will tell you that concerns over not catching those errors keep them up at night.

But errors are not fraud. And when James says he’s troubled that half of Michigan’s voters feel they were cheated, he would do well to remember that he was the one telling them they got cheated in the first place.

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That November 4 missive James retweeted from his campaign adviser—“Stop making up numbers, stalling the process and cheating the system”—has since been deleted. But there is no denying the advent of a pattern. Republicans in Michigan and across America have spent the past three weeks promoting baseless allegations of corruption at the ballot box, the rabid responses to which they use as justification to continue to question the fundamental integrity of our elections. It’s a vicious new playbook—one designed to stroke egos and rationalize defeats, but with unintended consequences that could spell the unraveling of America’s democratic experiment.

“By capriciously throwing around these false claims, you can’t get to the heart of a really important issue. In fact, you lose any credibility to get to the heart of that issue,” said Venable, the longtime Michigan GOP official who rocked his former comrades by endorsing Biden this fall. “And by the way, if you’re going to do an audit, you’d better do it statewide. This is not just a Detroit thing. There are sloppy Republican precincts all over the state. When I served on the Ingham County board of canvassers, we never had a problem in Lansing. You know where our big problems were? The small townships in the rural precincts of the county, run by Republican clerks. And those folks weren’t perpetrating fraud, either. That’s the point: There’s a difference between sloppiness and fraud. But you can’t solve one by inventing stories about the other.”

There is no immediate way to make Americans appreciate this distinction, no instant cure for the flagging confidence in our elections. But there are obvious incremental steps to take in the name of transparency and efficiency. First among them, acknowledged Chatfield, the Michigan House speaker, is getting rid of the rules that led to the TCF Center circus in the first place.

“There’s a lot we can learn in the state of Michigan, because the way we’ve handled this, it’s become a national embarrassment,” Chatfield told me in a brief interview after the final certification vote. “And one of the items where we should look at other states and see how they’ve done it well, is regarding the early processing of absentee ballots. We mishandled that this year. We should have allowed for early processing. We didn’t, and it became a spectacle. I think we can learn from that. It should be something the Legislature fixes moving forward.”

This is relatively easy for Chatfield to admit—he’s term limited and leaving office soon. For those Republicans left to pick up the pieces in the coming legislative session, there may be little incentive for bipartisan cooperation on a subject that now divides the two party bases as starkly as gun rights or tax rates. The backlash against absentee voting from Republican constituents was already fierce; in the wake of Trump’s defeat and the TCF Center conspiracies, Republicans might find it beneficial to avoid raising the issue at all.

There is little cause for optimism. If the majority of GOP politicians couldn’t be bothered to do the easy work of debunking crackpot conspiracy theories, how likely are they to do the hard work of hardening our democracy?

“A lot of our leaders in this country ought to be ashamed of themselves,” said Thomas, the nonpartisan elections guru who kept Michigan’s governing class guessing his political affiliation for the past several decades. “They have propagated this narrative of massive fraud, and it’s simply not true. They’ve leapt from some human error to massive fraud. It’s like a leap to Never Neverland. And people are believing them.”

He exhaled with a disgusted groan.

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“The people of this country really need to wake up and start thinking for themselves and looking for facts—not conspiracy theories being peddled by people who are supposed to be responsible leaders, but facts,” Thomas said. “If they’re not going to be responsible leaders, people need to seek out the truth for themselves. If people don’t do that—if they no longer trust how we elect the president of the United States—we’re going to be in real trouble.”

FILED UNDER: REPUBLICAN PARTY, DETROIT, MICHIGAN, DONALD TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP 2020, 2020 ELECTIONS, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES, GRETCHEN WHITMER
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Re: Trump enters the stage. - loser

Postby Meno_ » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:13 pm

The New York Times

‘Loser’: How a Lifelong Fear Bookended Trump’s Presidency
The president’s inability to concede the election is the latest reality-denying moment in a career preoccupied with an epithet.


President Trump went on the attack this month after failing to win a second term, pushing baseless claims of a rigged democratic process.


In the now-distant Republican presidential primaries of 2016, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas handily won the Iowa caucuses. This was determined by a method that has lately come under attack but at the time was considered standard: elementary math.

One of the losers in Iowa, the developer and television personality Donald J. Trump, soon accused Mr. Cruz of electoral theft. He fired off several inflammatory tweets, including this foreshadowing of our current democracy-testing moment: “Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.”

The episode vanished in the tsunami of political vitriol to come during the Trump presidency. Still, it reflects what those who have worked with Mr. Trump say is his modus operandi when trying to slip the humiliating epithet he has so readily applied to others.

Loser.

“The first thing he calls someone who has wronged him is a loser,” said Jack O’Donnell, who ran an Atlantic City casino for Mr. Trump in the 1980s. “That’s his main attack word. The worst thing in his world would be to be a loser. To avoid being called a loser, he will do or say anything.”



Across his long career, he has spun, cajoled and attacked — in the press, in lawsuits and lately, of course, on Twitter — whenever faced with appearing as anything less than the superlative of the moment: the greatest, the smartest, the healthiest, the best. This has at times required audacious attempts to twist a negative into a positive, often by saying something over and over until it either displaces the truth or exhausts the audience into surrender.

It is a matter of record that Mr. Trump has been a loser in many business ventures (Trump Steaks, anyone?). In fact, his greatest success flowed not from real estate but from the creation of a popular alternate-reality television persona — Donald Trump, master of the boardroom — that he ultimately rode to the White House.

But his famous aversion to the label of loser has now reached its apotheosis.

Since Joseph R. Biden Jr. was declared the winner of the Nov. 3 election — and Mr. Trump therefore declared the loser — the president has repeatedly trafficked in baseless allegations of a fraudulent and corrupt electoral process. What was once considered the quirky trait of a self-involved New York developer has become an international embarrassment, nearly upending the sacred transition of power and leaving the world’s foremost democracy — grappling with a deadly pandemic and a teetering economy — with a leader who refuses to concede despite the basic math.

“AND I WON THE ELECTION,” Mr. Trump tweeted last week. “VOTER FRAUD ALL OVER THE COUNTRY.”

On Monday, the Trump administration finally authorized a weeks-delayed transition process after Michigan certified Mr. Biden as its winner. Still, Mr. Trump continued to press quixotic lawsuits and tweet of fraud and defiant resolve.



“Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight.”

“This was a LANDSLIDE!”

And for Thanksgiving: “Just saw the vote tabulations. There is NO WAY Biden got 80,000,000 votes!!! This was a 100% RIGGED ELECTION.”

The president’s tweets have succeeded in sowing doubt about the foundational underpinnings of the republic among his many millions of followers. In a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, about half the Republicans questioned believed that Mr. Trump had “rightfully won” re-election, and 68 percent expressed concern that the election was “rigged.”

Such behavior by the president reflects a binary-code approach to life that spares no room for nuance or complication. If a person isn’t a one, then that person is a zero.



“You are either a winner or a loser,” Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, said in an interview last week. “Reality is secondary. It is all about perception.”




Mr. Cohen, who was convicted in 2018 of tax evasion and campaign finance violations and who has since become a vocal critic of the president, provided several examples in his recent book, “Disloyal: A Memoir.”

Mr. Cohen recounted how, in 2014, CNBC was preparing a poll of the 25 most influential people in the world. Mr. Trump, who initially ranked 187th out of 200, ordered Mr. Cohen to improve his standing.

“Just make sure I make it to the top 10,” Mr. Trump said, according to Mr. Cohen.

Mr. Cohen hired someone to assess the options. After that person determined that the poll could be manipulated, $15,000 was spent to buy discreet I.P. addresses through which votes for Mr. Trump could be cast. The scheme worked, with Mr. Trump elevated to ninth place when all the votes were counted.


“Before long, Trump believed he really was rated in the top 10 and was regarded as a profoundly important business figure,” Mr. Cohen wrote.

But CNBC removed Mr. Trump from the list without offering an explanation. The infuriated future president ordered Mr. Cohen to get the network to change course. This failed. He then ordered him to plant a story in the media about “the terrible treatment Trump had received at the hands of CNBC.” This also failed.

Still, Mr. Trump managed to exploit the fake ranking before he was dropped from the list. “He had hundreds of copies made, and he added the poll to the pile of newspaper clippings and magazine profiles of himself that he would give to visitors,” Mr. Cohen wrote.

This fear of being seen as somehow less than the very best is a recurring theme in the mountains of books and articles written about Mr. Trump. Many observers of Trump family history have reflected on the influence of the patriarch, the developer Fred C. Trump, who had his own version of the binary taxonomy of humanity: the strong and the weak.



Mr. Trump flicked at this in his book “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” in which he recalled gluing together the blocks of his younger brother, Robert, effectively ensuring that he would not be outdone in any competition involving — blocks.

“That was the end of Robert’s blocks,” he wrote.


A grown-up iteration of that episode came at a seminal moment in the man’s career: the opening of his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City in 1990.

According to Mr. O’Donnell, who was deeply involved in the venture, Mr. Trump pushed to have the casino open prematurely because he feared the shame a delay would bring after promising the world a glitzy, celebrity-packed opening.



The casino wasn’t ready; among other issues, only a quarter of the slot machines were open, leaving the cavernous space quiet and empty. “It was just horrible,” recalled Mr. O’Donnell, who wrote a book about his experiences with the future president. “It didn’t look like a normal casino.”

Privately, Mr. Trump was furious, and blamed his brother Robert for some of the problems. (The younger Trump quit and did not speak to his brother for years.) Publicly, though, Mr. Trump boasted of the wonder that was the Taj Mahal.

Appearing on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in April 1990, Mr. Trump said the only problem with the Taj Mahal’s opening day was too much success. Gamblers were playing the slots with such ferocity that the machines almost burst into flames.

“We had machines that — they were virtually on fire,” Mr. Trump said. “Nobody’s ever seen anything like this.”



The Taj Mahal filed for bankruptcy the following year, which left Mr. Trump’s many lenders and bondholders in the lurch.

Mr. Trump expounded on his worldview in a 2014 interview with the author Michael D’Antonio. “You can be tough and ruthless and all that stuff, and if you lose a lot, nobody’s going to follow you, because you’re looked at as a loser,” he said. “Winning is a very important thing. The most important aspect of leadership is winning. If you have a record of winning, people are going to follow you.”

Mr. Trump has often used the courts to try to crush anyone who might cast doubt on his Olympian standing in wealth and success. A standout in this category is the $5 billion lawsuit he filed against the journalist Timothy L. O’Brien, whose 2005 book, “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald,” argued that Mr. Trump’s net worth was no more than $250 million — that he was not, in other words, a billionaire.

Mr. O’Brien reported that Mr. Trump attributed the chasmic discrepancy to envy. “You can go ahead and speak to guys who have 400 pound wives at home,” Mr. Trump said, “but the guys who really know me know I’m a great builder.”



The lawsuit was dismissed.

Of course, Mr. Trump’s need to be seen as a winner has informed his presidency. The self-declared superlatives cover all bases, from being the “best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico” to doing the most for Black Americans (with the “possible exception” of Abraham Lincoln). In anticipation of his eventual impeachment, Mr. Trump referred to himself as “our greatest of all presidents.”

Perhaps the most famous moment in which this desire bled into public policy came in late 2018, when Mr. Trump used an approaching government shutdown to demand funding for one of his central fixations: a wall along the Mexican border.




After Mr. Trump encouraged his fellow Republicans in Congress to reach a compromise, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, worked out a deal to avoid a shutdown and temporarily set aside negotiations over security measures, including a border wall.



It appeared that Mr. Trump would sign the deal — that is, until conservative pundits accused the president of caving to Democrats, of breaking his “Build the Wall” promise, of effectively being a loser.

The president reversed course, and so began the longest federal government shutdown in the country’s history — at an estimated cost to the economy of $11 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

After Mr. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States in January 2017, his administration asserted that the inauguration’s audience was the largest ever, despite all evidence to the contrary. But any suggestion otherwise would have rendered Mr. Trump a loser in some imagined contest about inaugural crowd sizes.

Now, nearly four years later, the citizens have cast their ballots, baseless lawsuits alleging electoral fraud have been dismissed and states have certified the vote. Still, the loser of the 2020 presidential election continues to see crowds that the rest of the country does not.

It ends as it began.


Nov. 25, 2020


© 2020 The New York Times Company
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Re: Trump enters the stage - conspiracies and facts

Postby Meno_ » Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:28 pm

The medical pandemic may be a conspiracy , or not, but there are sub-conspiracies conspiracies , that are made of such intengibles as "facts" turning into unintelligible fusions that can drive understanding either way.

Take the pressing need to do something, to suppress real facts, to which no credible laws have been adjucated, even though this has been processed for a long time.

The rush of executive orders is a good example, paralleling an equally dubious practice to appoint Supreme Court Judges without waiting for a newly elected president to take office


Here is a comment which shows the gravity that executive orders can impinge on the power o of an incoming president:


"

OPINION

Make America incompetent again? Trump wants to ruin our merit-based federal jobs system.
Trump wants to bring back a corrupt system of political patronage. Congress and Joe Biden must undo this attack on the capability of our government.

MAX STIER | OPINION CONTRIBUTOR | 32 minutes ago

Federal agencies across the government are quietly moving ahead with an 11th hour plan to fill vacant, nonpartisan career jobs with political appointees as well as fire and replace civil servants with individuals loyal to President Donald Trump.


With only two months to go before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, agencies are rushing to implement an executive order that would undermine the merit-based, nonpartisan civil service system, eviscerate employee due process rights and replace professionals with partisans.

Although the Oct. 21 executive order has brought congressional scrutiny and legal challenges, and would most likely be rescinded by Biden, Trump administration appointees are hoping to place as many allies as possible into key government positions as they head for the exits.

Loyalty would replace competence
While the conversion of political appointees to career positions, often referred to as “burrowing,” has long been a concern during presidential transitions, such conversions have been rare and ordinarily undergo a rigorous review process.


The Trump executive order sidesteps this process and has created a new job classification for “career employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy‑making and policy-advocating positions,” stripping these individuals of long-standing civil service protections and allowing politically appointed leaders to fire them at will. It is a stunning exercise of executive power and calls into question whether such a dramatic change is — or should be — permitted without a change in law.

President Donald Trump signs executive orders on Aug. 8, 2020 in Bedminster, New Jersey. 2020.
President Donald Trump signs executive orders on Aug. 8, 2020 in Bedminster, New Jersey. 2020.
JIM WATSON/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
There are literally tens, if not hundreds of thousands of positions in the career civil service that could be considered of a "policy-advocating” character. The American people depend on scientists, policy analysts, attorneys, managers, inspectors general and other nonpartisan career employees to evaluate current or proposed governmental policies and make relevant recommendations.

Under the executive order, career public servants who have raised alarms about major problems on the horizon, given honest but unwanted advice or proposed uncomfortable solutions could lose their jobs and be replaced by political appointees selected for their loyalty, not competence. All of this could be done out of public view, making the government less accountable and less effective.

Cabinet: The Cabinet is a graveyard for presidential dreams. So why do senators want these jobs?

A career Food and Drug Administration expert could be punished for making recommendations regarding a coronavirus vaccine that run counter to the promises made by politicians. A Federal Aviation Administration employee could be sidelined for recommending that an unsafe aircraft be grounded, or an Environmental Protection Agency employee could be penalized for suggesting a new chemical contaminant in drinking water poses a health hazard.


In other words, it allows political appointees to shoot the messenger and weakens the principle that federal employees must be secure in their jobs and feel free to speak truth to power.

Late last week, it was reported that Russ Vought, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, has reclassified 88% of that agency’s career 425 employees, making them vulnerable to arbitrary ouster and replacement.

The Trump administration has argued that the executive order will help agencies address long-standing problems with current disciplinary procedures and provide “flexibility to expeditiously remove poorly performing employees.” Contrary to the myth and the administration’s rationale, it is possible to remove federal employees for poor performance or misconduct — more than 9,500 federal employees were terminated in 2019. And, there are much better ways to address these issues than destroying the merit-based foundation of the civil service.

Return to a corrupt and failed system
Besides dealing a blow to expertise of the professional civil service, this executive order takes us back to the corrupt and failed system of the 1880s by proliferating public sector jobs that can be used for political patronage.


Our government already has 4,000 politically appointed positions, more than any other major democracy, and includes more than 1,200 requiring Senate confirmation. We should have fewer, not more appointees, including those requiring Senate approval, and those individuals need to be held to the highest standards of ethics and competence.

While our civil service is the envy of the world, it is by no means perfect and must be strengthened in a variety of ways.

Harry S. Truman's grandson: The messy, impolite history of presidential transitions

We need to improve leadership and stewardship of the public trust. Our government should do more to attract skilled and diverse talent, make better use of technology, foster a climate of innovation and work collaboratively across agencies, state and local government, and the private sector to address our nation’s difficult challenges.

But this new executive order, drafted secretly without informing or consulting with Congress and relevant employee groups and other stakeholders, is an assault on our civil service, the core to our system of government and democratic institutions. Congress should act now on a bipartisan basis to reassert its legislative authority and stop this irresponsible executive order, and the incoming Biden team should prioritize undoing this attack on the capability of our government.




© Copyright Gannett 2020
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby obsrvr524 » Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:08 pm

You should be aware and keep in mind that they always always always accuse the other party of what they do themselves. Everything just pointed out is exactly what any new Biden team will do.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:51 pm

obsrvr524 wrote:You should be aware and keep in mind that they always always always accuse the other party of what they do themselves. Everything just pointed out is exactly what any new Biden team will do.




Yes, and that makes legality the question revolving around practice and praxis, almost a redundancy.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - routinely corrupted - bizaar ba

Postby Meno_ » Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:20 am

.

The New York Times

Transition Updates

Trump, in Video From White House, Delivers a 46-Minute Diatribe on the ‘Rigged’ Election
The president posted a recording on social media of what he said “may be the most important speech I’ve ever made.” It was filled with false allegations about voter fraud.


President Trump once again refused to concede defeat in his bid for re-election almost a month after Election Day.
President Trump once again refused to concede defeat in his bid for re-election almost a month after Election Day.Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

By Michael D. Shear
Dec. 2, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday released a 46-minute videotaped speech that denounced a “rigged” election and was filled with lies the day after his own attorney general joined election officials across the country in attesting to his defeat.

Mr. Trump recorded what he said “may be the most important speech I’ve ever made” in the Diplomatic Room of the White House and delivered it behind a lectern bearing the presidential seal. He then posted a two-minute version on Twitter, with a link to the full version on his Facebook page.

The president once again refused to concede defeat in his bid for re-election almost a month after Election Day, repeating a long list of false assertions about voter fraud and accusing Democrats of a conspiracy to steal the presidency.

Twitter quickly labeled the post “disputed.” Facebook added a note that President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who received almost 81 million votes and 306 electoral votes, is the projected winner of the election.



The video, which a White House official said was recorded last week, was the in-person embodiment of Mr. Trump’s staccato tweets over the past three weeks: one falsehood after another about voting irregularities in swing states, attacks on state officials and signature verifications, and false accusations against Democrats.

The president’s rambling assertions in the video were drastically undercut on Tuesday, when Attorney General William P. Barr told The Associated Press that despite inquiries by the Justice Department and the F.B.I., “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

The same day, a Republican election official in Georgia blamed him for inciting violence and a wave of death threats.

“Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language,” said Gabriel Sterling, a voting systems manager in Georgia. “Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence.”



At the end of the video, Mr. Trump improbably described himself as the defender of America’s election system, saying he had been told that the single most important accomplishment of his presidency would be protecting the integrity of the voting system.

It was unclear why Mr. Trump waited until Wednesday to release the video. But he made it public after a series of rebukes by members of his own party, who have increasingly abandoned him as he refuses to acknowledge the results of the election.

The president’s legal team, led by his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has lost dozens of lawsuits in courts across the country while making wild allegations without any proof to back them up.

Some of the president’s key Republican allies on Capitol Hill and elsewhere have urged him to move on in recent days. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, who has been conspicuously silent about Mr. Trump’s claims, finally referred this week to the “new administration” that would be taking over next year, a clear signal to Mr. Trump that his time in office was coming to an end.



But he retains the support of a core group of voters who quickly responded to his latest attack on the election. Within a few hours, his tweet had been “liked” by almost 134,000 Twitter users, and his Facebook video had been shared 93,000 times.



Dec. 3, 2020


© 2020 The New York Times Company
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Re: Trump enters the stage - The beat goes on

Postby Meno_ » Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:21 am

POLITICO

2020 ELECTIONS

Trump rebukes Barr, complains AG 'hasn't done anything' with baseless fraud claims
The president also said DOJ officials “haven’t looked very hard, which is a disappointment, to be honest with you.”





President Donald Trump on Thursday declined to say whether he continues to have confidence in Attorney General William Barr, again demanding that the Justice Department investigate and back up his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Addressing reporters in the Oval Office after presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former college football coach Lou Holtz, Trump complained that Barr “hasn’t done anything” and that DOJ officials “haven’t looked very hard, which is a disappointment, to be honest with you.”



Trump went on to pledge that “when [Barr] looks, he’ll see the kind of evidence that right now you’re seeing in the Georgia Senate” — repeating the fraud allegations that Republicans fear could foment depressed voter turnout in two decisive Senate runoff races early next year.

Trump then contended that “massive fraud” was similarly perpetrated in various swing states he lost to President-elect Joe Biden, including Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. “This is probably the most fraudulent election that anyone’s ever seen,” he said.

In fact, a group of federal officials, election supervisors and voting technology vendors deemed the 2020 election the “most secure” in U.S. history. And in the latest rebuke of Trump’s claims, Barr said Tuesday that the Justice Department had not uncovered “fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome” in the election.

Asked Thursday whether he still had confidence in Barr in light of the attorney general’s assessment, the president paused before replying: “Ask me that in a number of weeks from now. They should be looking at all of this fraud,” Trump said. A spokesperson for Barr declined to comment on the president’s remarks.






© 2020 POLITICO LLC




>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>






Yahoo News

The Week

Freshly pardoned Michael Flynn shares message telling Trump to 'suspend the Constitution' to hold a new presidential election


Retired Gen. Michael Flynn is fresh off a presidential pardon and ready to get back into some trouble.

President Trump pardoned his short-lived national security adviser last week, after Flynn had previously pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian ambassador. Flynn has since been sharing dubious allegations of voter fraud, and on Wednesday, boosted a message telling Trump to take some radical actions to stop it.


In a full-page Washington Times ad from something called the We the People Convention, Ohio Tea Party leader Tom Zawistowski tries to draw a comparison between Lincoln trying to save the union in 1863 and Trump trying to claw back the 2020 election, using some disputed facts along the way. Zawistowski alleges a lot of similarities between the two times, from "Democrat/Socialist federal officials plotting to finish gutting the U.S. Constitution" to big tech "actively censoring free speech and promoting leftist propaganda." So to counter that, the We the People Convention suggests Trump "declare limited Martial Law to temporarily suspend the Constitution" in order to hold a presidential election re-vote overseen by the military.





Flynn shared the ad on Twitter on Wednesday, seemingly trying to encourage a bunch of Fox News hosts and QAnon supporters to share it. It's just one of many disputed facts and allegations about the election that are apparently flowing through the mind of the man who used to oversee America's national security.



Unbelievable!
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Re: Trump enters the stage -endgame yet?

Postby Meno_ » Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:28 am

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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri Dec 11, 2020 5:25 pm

Now contrast with the other side. Where be the truth.?

I think the source if the conflict, leval, constitutional, ecenomic, social-psychological, is the quantum change in. process, the procedure of attaining power.

Again the basic challamgr is Nietzchean, the power issue, the one that still is tryong to assert the will through. power, the power to nihilize, the ennui that has developed by Marxian interphase
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri Dec 11, 2020 5:57 pm

It challenges conceptual trinity of many levels of thought: e.i. the self containment of Cantor' s faith reasserting the Being in itself; the Marxian concept of diminishing returns , coupled with the Ayin Rand reproduction of In Praise of Capitalism backed by Common Sense.

How all of these strains coalesce inwardly,principally, sourcing values in the current contextual scheme- with the outward ratiplazition of the quantum of necessary power that is sufficient to evoke the will of the people--puts the whole question of 20th century anathema of political and military justification on a reset.

The industrial and military complex allegedly solved the growing European nihilism to existential angst, and for the next half century it contained it within its own perimeters, but it ran out of the dreams of ideal situations, that ended the Wisoniam isolative steam, within which such was still affordable on the level of ideals, where faith assumed it's own fortuitous imperative


The Marxism contentious doubt was contained successcully, but the fuel to power the machine to will its own destiny was sidelined by the diminished power of pragmatic assertions based on such local, nationalistic markets. Which traded openly on current fields of value transfer.

The power to engage and trade diminished , in light of thearxian charge, whereby, thearkets began to require extended world wide dimensions

It became a throwback into a categorically certain belief into in itself, a Kantian synthesis between what is evident factually, and what it has become existentially absent.

The 20 th century events attest to this and that triad of denial has mot yet been supported sufficiently and conclusively .

Nationalism , socialism, capitalism, have not successfully coelesced as of yet, not to avoid another literal test that can surmount a meaning full challenge to a phenomenal reduction ad absurdum, by stopping arbitrarily by an eidectic imposition, the value of which OS overcome by an ever increasing price if self justification


The world government, its tools, its power to act, has no real pubolicalkt vested faith in itself, to avoid separation between the elements mentioned before, to convince any differing levels into a fully functioning entity, hence, here we are today.

As long and disjointed this narrative appears, I was compelled to write it.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The New York Times
Opinion

The ‘Trump Won’ Farce Isn’t Funny Anymore
Republicans are now seriously arguing that elections are legitimate only when their side wins.


By Jamelle Bouie
Opinion Columnist





For our purposes, the “joke” is President Trump’s ongoing fight to overturn the election results and hold on to power against the wishes of most Americans, including those in enough states to equal far more than the 270 electoral votes required to win the White House.

“#OVERTURN,” he said on Twitter this week, adding in a separate post that “If somebody cheated in the Election, which the Democrats did, why wouldn’t the Election be immediately overturned? How can a Country be run like this?”

Unfortunately for Trump, and fortunately for the country, he has not been able to bend reality to his desires. Key election officials and federal judges have refused his call to throw out votes, create chaos and clear a path for the autogolpe he hopes to accomplish. The military has also made clear where it stands. “We do not take an oath to a king or a queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a speech not long after the election.



But there are others who — out of partisanship, opportunism or a simple taste for mayhem — have chosen to support the president’s attack on American democracy. They refuse to acknowledge the president’s defeat, back lawsuits to throw out the results, and spread lies about voter fraud and election malfeasance to Republican voters. They are laughing at Trump’s joke, not realizing (or not caring) that their laughter is infectious.

What was a legal effort by the Trump campaign, for instance, is now one by the state of Texas, which has petitioned the Supreme Court to scrap election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, depriving Biden of his victory. Filed by Ken Paxton, Texas’s attorney general, the suit says it would be a violation of due process to accept the outcome in those states, on account of “election irregularities” and “interstate differences in the treatment of voters” that disadvantage Republican voters in areas with stricter voting rules.

This lawsuit rests on the novel argument that the Constitution gives exclusive and unquestioned authority to state legislatures to appoint presidential electors as they see fit and renders any action to expand voting without direct legislative consent unconstitutional. The Supreme Court already rejected that argument once this week when it turned away a similar lawsuit by the Trump campaign to overturn the results in Pennsylvania.


Regardless, on Wednesday, 17 Republican attorneys general filed a brief in support of Texas, urging the court, in essence, to cancel the election and hand power back to Trump. “Encroachments on the authority of state Legislatures by other state actors violate the separation of powers and threaten individual liberty,” reads the brief, which also claims that “States have a strong interest in ensuring that the votes of their own citizens are not diluted by the unconstitutional administration of elections in other States.” The next day, more than 100 Republican members of Congress filed a brief in support of this lawsuit, in effect declaring allegiance to Trump over the Constitution and urging the court to end self-government in the name of “the Framers.”



Credit...Damon Winter/The New York Times
There’s a paradox here. This sloppy, harebrained lawsuit has no serious chance of success. Granting Texas (and, by extension Trump, who joined the lawsuit) its relief would plunge the country into abject chaos, with violence sure to follow. That this quest is quixotic is, in all likelihood, one reason it has so much support. It is only with the knowledge of certain defeat that Republican officeholders feel comfortable plowing forward with an effort that would tear the United States apart if it succeeded. They can play politics with constitutional government (Paxton, for instance, hopes to succeed Greg Abbott as governor of Texas) knowing that the Supreme Court isn’t going to risk it all for Donald Trump.

Then again, it was only two weeks before Election Day that four of the court’s conservatives announced their potential willingness to throw out votes on the basis of this theory of state legislative supremacy over electoral votes. It is very easy to imagine a world in which the election was a little closer, where the outcome came down to one state instead of three or four, and the court’s conservatives could use the conflict over a narrow margin to hand the president a second term.

With no evidence that Republicans have really thought about the implications of a victory in the courts, I think we can say that these briefs and lawsuits are part of a performance, where the game is not to break kayfabe (the conceit, in professional wrestling, that what is fake is real). Still, we’ve learned something from this game, in the same way we learn something about an audience when it laughs.



We have learned that the Republican Party, or much of it, has abandoned whatever commitment to electoral democracy it had to begin with. That it views defeat on its face as illegitimate, a product of fraud concocted by opponents who don’t deserve to hold power. That it is fully the party of minority rule, committed to the idea that a vote doesn’t count if it isn’t for its candidates, and that if democracy won’t serve its partisan and ideological interests, then so much for democracy.

None of this is new — there is a whole tradition of reactionary, counter-majoritarian thought in American politics to which the conservative movement is heir — but it is the first time since the 1850s that these ideas have nearly captured an entire political party. And while the future is unwritten, the events of the past month make me worry that we’re following a script the climax of which requires a disaster.


Why Is the G.O.P. Refusing to Recognize Its Own Success?Dec. 8, 2020

Opinion | Jamelle Bouie
It Started With ‘Birtherism’Nov. 24, 2020

Opinion | Jamelle Bouie
If Biden Wants to Be Like F.D.R., He Needs the LeftNov. 20, 2020




David Quammen
The Virus and Bats
Dec. 11, 2020
Michelle Goldberg
Covid Meds Are Scarce, but Not for Trump Cronies
Dec. 10, 2020




© 2020 The New York Times Company

To be edited.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - legal challenges over

Postby Meno_ » Sat Dec 12, 2020 4:49 am

Supreme Court denies effort to block election results in 4 key states that sealed Trump's fate
RICHARD WOLF | USA TODAY | 3 hours ago




USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court refused Friday to let Texas challenge the election results in four battleground states critical to President Donald Trump's defeat at the polls last month, likely sealing his political fate.


"Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections," the court said in a brief order. It dismissed all other related claims as moot.

The justices' action clears the way for electors to convene in 50 states and the District of Columbia Monday and all but confirm that President-elect Joe Biden will be the nation's 46th president.

Texas had made, and Trump had endorsed, an 11th-hour effort to have the nation's highest court block Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin from casting their electoral votes for Biden Monday. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed the four states used the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to change election rules and greatly expand mail voting in violation of the Constitution.

Within days, the last-ditch challenge had erupted into a war involving nearly every state in the nation. The four battleground states fired back, with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro labeling the effort to negate millions of citizens' ballots a "seditious abuse of the judicial process."

"Texas seeks to invalidate elections in four states for yielding results with which it disagrees," Shapiro told the justices in legal papers. "Its request for this court to exercise its original jurisdiction and then anoint Texas’s preferred candidate for president is legally indefensible and is an affront to principles of constitutional democracy."

Reacting to the decision, Shapiro said the high court's "swift denial should make anyone contemplating further attacks on our election think twice."

The effort was a long shot for several reasons. States run their own elections, making it a violation of sovereignty for Texas to interfere with other states' procedures. Federal law defers to states in choosing the 538 electors, and Congress ultimately counts those votes.

More: Texas AG asks Supreme Court to overturn Trump's losses in key states. Don't hold your breath.

What's more, voters in the challenged states followed the rules in voting, including by mail, and would have been disenfranchised under Texas' challenge. Lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign and allies across the country have not identified verifiable instances of fraud.

"Every American who cares about the rule of law should take comfort that the Supreme Court — including all three of President Trump’s picks — closed the book on the nonsense," Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska tweeted.

More: For these Trump supporters primed to disbelieve defeat, challenging the election was a civic duty


President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
EVAN VUCCI, AP
And while disputes between states can go directly to the Supreme Court without first being heard by lower courts, the justices retain discretion to deny such requests. For instance, the court refused in 2016 to hear a dispute between Colorado and two neighboring states over the cross-border impact of marijuana legalization.

Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said Friday they would have granted Texas' request to make its case, but "would not grant other relief."

Earlier: Will the Supreme Court ride to Donald Trump's rescue? Don't count on it.

Some opponents of the Texas lawsuit were nonetheless disappointed by the court's brief, unsigned order. The ethics group Fix the Court lamented that it should have been a stronger denunciation.

"SCOTUS could have asserted in one voice the danger Texas’ petition poses to our democracy," the group tweeted. "Instead, it took an easy off ramp and has left us to wonder whether some of the nine are sympathetic to Texas’ seditious request."

The action was the second time in recent days that the court had turned away efforts to forestall Trump's defeat. On Tuesday, the justices denied an effort by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., and others to block the election results in Pennsylvania. Those challengers had claimed that the state legislature's 2019 expansion of mail-in voting was illegal.

Texas had contended that changes in voting procedures made by state officials in the four battleground states abrogated laws passed earlier by their legislatures, which it said have the sole constitutional authority to run elections.

"Defendant states flooded their citizenry with tens of millions of ballot applications and ballots, ignoring statutory controls as to how they were received, evaluated, and counted," Paxton wrote in igniting the firestorm Monday night. "Whether well-intentioned or not, these unconstitutional and unlawful changes had the same uniform effect – they made the 2020 election less secure."

Trump's request to intervene in the challenge endorsed widely disputed statistics intended to show that Biden's victory in the election was almost an impossibility. Among other things, he incorrectly said no presidential candidate ever lost election after winning Florida and Ohio, as Trump did. Richard Nixon endured the same fate in 1960.

"These things just don’t normally happen, and a large percentage of the American people know that something is deeply amiss," Trump's lawyers said in court papers.

All four of the challenged states told the justices Thursday that Texas' request should be slapped down.

Georgia said the justices should not "transfer Georgia’s electoral powers to the federal judiciary." Michigan said Texas "does not have a cognizable interest in how Michigan runs its elections." And Wisconsin said "the harm and public interest factors strongly weigh in favor of denying the extraordinary relief Texas seeks – stripping millions of voters of the choice they made."

Originally Published 4 hours ago

© Copyright Gannett 2020
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Re: Trump enters the stage - An interesting twist

Postby Meno_ » Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:21 am

With Biden likely a foregone conclusion, will the following be reversed, as a logical predictable outcome of getting back to a peaceful coexistance of the Orban Hungarian president with the Democratic US president?

>>>>>>><<><><>><><><>>>>>>>>>>><><><><>{><><>


Dec 4, 2018,05:39pm EST
Why Hungary Forced George Soros-Backed Central European University To Leave The Country

I’m a senior editor in charge of Forbes’ education coverage.
George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundations attends the European Council On Foreign Relations Annual Council. of
Central European University in Hungary, founded and funded by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros after the collapse of the Soviet Union to spread principles of democracy and free society, announced yesterday that it was being forced from its campus in Budapest by the far-right government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.


The move came after a two-year struggle with the Orban government, which has blocked political and intellectual dissent and increased control over much of Hungarian life.

The university, which has 1,435 students from 118 countries, teaches in English and has a reputation as one of the top schools in the region. It will move its U.S.-accredited degree programs to Vienna where it will start enrolling students in the fall.

In an incredulous-sounding statement, CEU president Michael Ignatieff said, “This is unprecedented. A U.S. institution has been driven out of a country that is a NATO ally. A European institution has been ousted from a member state of the EU.” The statement went on to say, “Arbitrary eviction of a reputable university is a flagrant violation of academic freedom. It is a dark day for Europe and a dark day for Hungary.” Indeed, it appears to be the first time a major university has been forced to leave an EU country.

Soros himself has been a target of the Orban government for some time. In June, Hungary passed a measure it called the “Stop Soros” law. Crafted by Orban himself, it created a new crime, called “promoting and supporting illegal migration,” banning organizations from helping undocumented immigrants. Under the new law, distributing information about the asylum process or giving migrants financial help, could result in a 12-month jail sentence.

Soros has indeed given aid to Hungarian rights organizations. The law passed on World Refugee Day, five days after Orban talked on the phone with President Trump, who has also criticized Soros, claiming erroneously in an October tweet that Soros had paid for signs carried by people protesting the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.


Donald Trump Jr. recently retweeted the false contention by Roseanne Barr that “George Soros is a nazi (sic) who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered in German concentration camps.” In fact, Soros, whose family changed its name from Schwartz to sound less Jewish, was a Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied Hungary and to survive the war, lived for a time with a Hungarian officer who inventoried the possessions in homes where Jews had been forced to leave. Soros has written, “instead of submitting to our fate, we resisted an evil force that was much stronger than we were—yet we prevailed. Not only did we survive, but we managed to help others.”

At age 17 he left Hungary for London where he put himself through the London School of Economics while working as a railway porter and waiter. In 1956 he emigrated to the U.S. and in 1970, he launched Soros Fund Management, a hedge fund where he amassed his $8.3 billion fortune. Through his Open Society Foundations, he has given away at least $14 billion in grants, well more than his personal net worth.

In Budapest, thousands of protesters have marched in favor of keeping Central European University in the city, and for the past week, hundreds occupied Kossuth Square next to the Parliament building. “Even Voldemort didn’t kick Hogwarts out,” read one sign, according to The New York Times.

Orban has also made it difficult for Soros’s Open Society Foundation to operate, and it pulled out of Hungary this year.

Orban’s decision to oust the university has met with criticism from European politicians who earned their diplomas there and numerous universities have voiced support, as well as more than two dozen Nobel laureates.


The American ambassador to Hungary, David B. Cornstein, had initially criticized Orban’s move, but subsequently, according to The New York Times, he compared the university’s experience to his own career when he owned a jewelry business housed in a Long Island JC Penney store. “I was a guest in another guy’s store,” he said. “The university is in another country. It would pay to work with the government.”

In an interview with The Washington Post, Cornstein confirmed that he tried to use neither incentives nor threats to sway Orban. He also commented that the school’s ouster “doesn’t have anything to do with academic freedom,” according to The Post.

By contrast, Judith Sargentini, a Dutch politician and member of the European Parliament, told The New York Times, “It’s a very sad day for academic freedom in Europe, particularly in Hungary, of course, but all of Europe. If a European government can actually bully a university out of its country, and the others stand by and watch and don’t act, and I am particularly pointing at the other member states that have not been acting on things happening in Hungary for years now, we are in deep trouble.”

Soros did not immediately respond to a request for comment.





© 2020 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage tomorrow electoral college

Postby Meno_ » Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:41 am

"It happens every four years and officially names the next president and vice president — but thanks to President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election results, this year's Electoral College vote Monday is getting extra scrutiny and taking on even more significance.

All 50 states have already certified their election results ensuring that Joe Biden will be the 46th president, but the Electoral College vote makes the result official.


Trump and some Republican had sought to have electors removed in four crucial battleground states, but the Supreme Court rejected that attempt on Friday night. After the court victory, Biden spokesman Mike Gwin said, "President-elect Biden's clear and commanding victory will be ratified by the Electoral College on Monday, and he will be sworn in on January 20th."

Here's a look at what the vote means, how and where it takes place and what happens next.

What is the Electoral College?
The Electoral College is not a place — it's a process.

The "college" part of the term is derived from the Latin word "collegium" — a "society of colleagues." In this case, it's a society of electors. Under the Constitution, the electors are the people who actually cast votes for president.


The electors are chosen by the political parties of each state ahead of the November general election. The party whose candidate gets the most votes for president in the state gets to have its electors vote for that candidate. (Most states have a winner-take-all system, with Maine and Nebraska being the exceptions.)


How many electors are there?
The "college" consists of 538 electors, and 270 votes are needed for a candidate to win the presidency. The number of electors in a state is equal to the number of members in the state's congressional delegation. The District of Columbia has three electors.

What's happening Monday?
After a state's vote totals are certified, its governor prepares a Certificate of Ascertainment with the names of the winning electors and the number of votes.

Under federal law, the electors gather in their separate states to "give their votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December." This year, that's Dec. 14.

Most of the voting will take place in state Capitol buildings. In many states, electors meet in the office of the governor or the secretary of state.
What the Electoral College vote means for Trump and Biden
The first states set to vote Monday are Indiana, Tennessee and Vermont, which will take place at 10 a.m. ET. Battleground states that have been hotly contested with legal challenges by Trump vote a little later — Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania's electors are slated to vote at noon, while Wisconsin's are scheduled to vote at 1 p.m. and Michigan's at 2 p.m.

Once the votes are cast and Biden passes the 270 mark, he will officially be president-elect and Sen. Kamala Harris the vice president-elect. They will be sworn into office Jan. 20.

Biden is expected to deliver remarks on the vote around 8 p.m. ET on Monday.

What role do Congress and Pence have?
After the Electoral Colleges votes, the states send the votes on to Washington, where they'll be counted in a joint session of Congress at 1 p.m. ET Jan. 6. The president of the Senate — in this case Vice President Mike Pence — will then formally announce the winners.

(Biden got to announce his own re-election as vice president in 2013, and Trump and Pence's election in 2017.)

What's Trump said about the Electoral College?
While the president maintains the election was rigged and that he won a second term, he said in late November that he would clear out of the White House in January if he lost the Electoral College vote.

"Certainly I will," he said.

But, Trump added, if the Electoral College does vote for Biden, "they made a mistake."

Can electors change their votes?
Some can, but it rarely happens. Since 1948, there have only been 16 "faithless electors" — although there were seven in 2016. Five switched their votes from Hillary Clinton to other people and two changed their votes from Trump to others.

Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring the electors to vote for the candidate they've pledged to vote for and, of those, 15 have penalties for electors who don't. The Supreme Court earlier this year upheld states' rights to penalize faithless electors.

Can Congress block the Jan. 6 count?
Technically yes, but realistically no.

Under an 1887 law, a congressman and a senator together can submit written objections to a state's vote count. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., has already announced his intention to do so Monday, though no senator has yet said they would join him.

If Brooks is successful in finding a partner, the count would stop and the Senate and the House would separately debate the objection on the disputed state's vote for up to two hours. Then the House and the Senate would vote on whether to sustain the objections.

"Both houses must vote separately to agree to the objection. Otherwise, the objection fails," the Congressional Research Service noted.

With the House under Democratic control and Republicans having only a slim majority in the Senate, the odds of that happening are zero.

Objections have only been made twice since 1887, once in 1969 over a faithless elector and once in 2005 over voting irregularities in Ohio. Neither attempt was successful."

From the Washington Post
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Tomorrow and beyond""

Postby Meno_ » Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:02 am

The Guardian


US elections 2020

Electoral college vote may be knockout blow to Trump’s ploy to subvert election
Formality to cement outcome of election takes on real political significance as Trump continues efforts to undermine results

President’s lies spark political unrest in several cities

Donald Trump on Monday could suffer a withering blow to his increasingly hopeless effort to overturn the results of the US presidential election when 538 members of the electoral college will cast their ballots and formally send Joe Biden to the White House.

Under the arcane formula which America has followed since the first election in 1789, Monday’s electoral college vote will mark the official moment when Biden becomes the 46th president-in-waiting. Electors, including political celebrities such as both Bill and Hillary Clinton, will gather in state capitols across the country to cement the outcome of this momentous race.


Normally, the process is figurative and barely noted. This year, given Trump’s volatile display of tilting at windmills in an attempt to negate the will of the American people, it will carry real political significance.

Trump continued those quixotic efforts over the weekend, sparking political unrest in several cities including the nation’s capital. On Sunday morning he tweeted in all caps that this was the “most corrupt election in US history!”.

In an interview with Fox & Friends that aired on Sunday, he insisted that his anti-democratic mission was not over. “We keep going and we’re going to continue to go forward,” he said, before repeating a slew of lies about the election having been rigged.

Trump’s barefaced untruths about having won key states including Pennsylvania and Georgia went entirely unchallenged by the Fox News interviewer, Brian Kilmeade.

Any faltering hopes Trump might still harbor of hanging on to power were shattered on Friday when the US supreme court bluntly dismissed a lawsuit led by Texas to block Biden’s victory in four other states. In a different case, a Wisconsin supreme court judge decried Trump’s lawsuit aiming to nullify the votes of 200,000 Americans, saying it “smacked of racism”.

Despite the categoric rebuff that Trump has suffered in dozens of cases, including before the nation’s highest court, his unprecedented ploy to tear up democratic norms continues to inflict untold damage on the country with potential long-term consequences. The Texas-led push to overturn the election result was backed by 126 Republicans in the House of Representatives – almost two-thirds of the party’s conference – as well as Republican state attorneys general from 18 states.

Among the wider electorate, a recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 77% of Republicans believe – mistakenly – that there was widespread voter fraud in the 3 November election.

Another manifestation of the harm that is being done was the violence that erupted on Saturday night across several cities. In Washington DC, four people were stabbed and required hospital treatment, and 23 were arrested, when far-right groups clashed with counter-protesters following a so-called “Stop the Steal” march enthusiastically endorsed by Trump.

Far-right militia groups mingled among the Trump supporters and engaged in the violence, including the white nationalist Proud Boys who call themselves “western chauvinists”. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who Trump pardoned for lying to the FBI, addressed a crowd, exclaiming: “We decide the election. We’re waging a battle across America.”

Violence also broke out in Olympia, the state capital of Washington state. One person was shot in clashes between heavily armed factions, with Trump supporters and Proud Boys facing off against counter-protesters, and three people were arrested.

Video footage appeared to show that the shot was fired by a member of the Proud Boy and that the victim was a counter-protester, although details remained sketchy.

In Georgia, a separate militia group, Georgia Security Force III%, were in attendance at a far-right rally at the statehouse on Saturday. The armed group has helped to organise recent caravans that have intimidated local election officials at their homes claiming falsely that Biden’s victory in Georgia was fraudulent.

Biden’s transition team has watched with growing alarm the spate of violent incidents that has cropped up around Trump’s spurious claims of a rigged election. Cedric Richmond, a Democratic representative from Louisiana who Biden has tapped as the incoming director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, said they were anxious about what lay ahead in the holiday season.

“We are concerned about violence,” he told Face the Nation on CBS News. “Where there’s violence it is not protest, that is breaking the law, so we are worried about it.”

Asked about the majority of House Republicans who backed Trump’s frivolous lawsuit to block election results being certified, Richmond implied their resistance was more theatrical than real. “They recognize Joe Biden’s victory. This is just a small proportion of the Republican conference that is appeasing the president on his way out because they are scared of his Twitter” feed.

The outlier nature of Trump’s stubborn refusal to concede was underlined on Sunday by Al Gore in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union. Exactly 20 years ago to the day, he conceded the bitterly-fought 2000 presidential race to George W Bush, saying: “This is America, we put country before party – we will stand together behind our new president.”

Gore told CNN that he hoped Monday’s electoral college vote would be the beginning of healing. He called the lawsuit dismissed by the supreme court “ridiculous and unintelligible”, and castigated those Republicans who continued to stick with Trump in his “lost cause”.

“With the electoral college votes tomorrow in all 50 states, I hope that will be the point at which some of those who have hung on will give up the ghost,” Gore said. “There are things more important than bowing to the fear of a demagogue.”


© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage Trump moves despite electoral col

Postby Meno_ » Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:55 pm

The New York Times
Electoral College Results
Election Disinformation

Full Results




Biden Transition Updates

Trump Allies Eye Long-Shot Election Reversal in Congress, Testing Pence

Some House Republicans plan to try to use Congress’s tallying of electoral results on Jan. 6 to tip the election to President Trump. The attempt will put Republicans in a pinch.


The ensuing fight promises to shape how President Trump’s base views the election for years to come.
The ensuing fight promises to shape how President Trump’s base views the election for years to come.Credit...Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times


Published Dec. 13, 2020
Updated Dec. 14, 2020, 11:09 a.m. ET
President Trump lost key swing states by clear margins. His barrage of lawsuits claiming widespread voting fraud has been almost universally dismissed, most recently by the Supreme Court. And on Monday, the Electoral College will formally cast a majority of its votes for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But as the president continues to refuse to concede, a small group of his most loyal backers in Congress is plotting a final-stage challenge on the floor of the House of Representatives in early January to try to reverse Mr. Biden’s victory.

Constitutional scholars and even members of the president’s own party say the effort is all but certain to fail. But the looming battle on Jan. 6 is likely to culminate in a messy and deeply divisive spectacle that could thrust Vice President Mike Pence into the excruciating position of having to declare once and for all that Mr. Trump has indeed lost the election.

The fight promises to shape how Mr. Trump’s base views the election for years to come, and to pose yet another awkward test of allegiance for Republicans who have privately hoped that the Electoral College vote this week will be the final word on the election result.



For the vice president, whom the Constitution assigns the task of tallying the results and declaring a winner, the episode could be particularly torturous, forcing him to balance his loyalty to Mr. Trump with his constitutional duties and considerations about his own political future.

The effort is being led by Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, a backbench conservative. Along with a group of allies in the House, he is eyeing challenges to the election results in five different states — Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Wisconsin — where they claim varying degrees of fraud or illegal voting took place, despite certification by the voting authorities and no evidence of widespread impropriety.

Image
Representative Mo Brooks is not the first lawmaker to try to use the tallying process to challenge the results of a bitter election loss.
Representative Mo Brooks is not the first lawmaker to try to use the tallying process to challenge the results of a bitter election loss.Credit...Erin Scott/Reuters
“We have a superior role under the Constitution than the Supreme Court does, than any federal court judge does, than any state court judge does,” Mr. Brooks said in an interview. “What we say, goes. That’s the final verdict.”



Under rules laid out in the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887, their challenges must be submitted in writing with a senator’s signature also affixed. No Republican senator has yet stepped forward to say he or she will back such an effort, though a handful of reliable allies of Mr. Trump, including Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky, have signaled they would be open to doing so.

The president has praised Mr. Brooks on Twitter, but has thus far taken no evident interest in the strategy. Aides say he has been more focused on battling to overturn the results in court.

Even if a senator did agree, constitutional scholars say the process is intended to be an arduous one. Once an objection is heard from a member of each house of Congress, senators and representatives will retreat to their chambers on opposite sides of the Capitol for a two-hour debate and then a vote on whether to disqualify a state’s votes. Both the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate would have to agree to toss out a state’s electoral votes — something that has not happened since the 19th century.

Several Senate Republicans — including Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — have forcefully rejected the idea of overturning the results, and their votes would be enough for Mr. Biden to prevail with the support of Democrats.

“The Jan. 6 meeting is going to confirm that regardless of how many objections get filed and who signs on, they are not going to affect the outcome of the process,” said Edward B. Foley, a constitutional law professor at Ohio State University who has written extensively on the electoral process. “We can say that with clear confidence.”

But he noted that the session could still carry consequences for the next few years. If even one Republican senator backed the effort, it could ensure that the partisan cloud hanging over the election would darken Mr. Biden’s presidency for years to come. If none did, it could send a definitive message to the country that despite Mr. Trump’s bluster, the party trusted the results of the electoral process and was finally ready to recognize Mr. Biden as the rightful winner.

Mr. Brooks is far from the first lawmaker to try to use the tallying process to challenge the results of a bitter election loss. House Democrats made attempts in 2001, 2005 and even 2017, but they were essentially acts of protest after their party’s nominee had already accepted defeat.

What is different now is Mr. Trump’s historic defiance of democratic norms and his party’s willing acquiescence. If Mr. Trump were to bless the effort to challenge the congressional tally, he could force Republicans into a difficult decision about whether to support an assault on the election results that is essentially doomed or risk his ire. Many Republicans are already fearful of being punished by voters for failing to keep up his fight.



The dilemma is particularly acute for Mr. Pence, who is eyeing his own presidential run in 2024. As president of the Senate, he has the constitutionally designated task of opening and tallying envelopes sent from all 50 states and announcing their electoral results.

But given Mr. Trump’s penchant for testing every law and norm in Washington, he could insist that Mr. Pence refuse to play that role. And either way, it will call for a final performance of the delicate dance Mr. Pence has performed for four years, trying to maintain Mr. Trump’s confidence while adhering to the law.

“The role the V.P. plays in the transition is something that people have never focused on and never think about, but with Donald Trump, you now have to consider all the possibilities,” said Gregory B. Craig, a White House counsel under President Barack Obama.

In 1961, Richard M. Nixon, who had just lost the election, oversaw the vote tabulation and had to decide whether to recognize competing electors from the new state of Hawaii. Mr. Nixon ultimately made a decision that hurt his vote total but had no effect on the final result that John F. Kennedy had won. Forty years later, after the 2000 election, Al Gore had to reject objections from his fellow Democrats and certify the victory of George W. Bush, who had won the state of Florida after the Supreme Court ordered a recount ended in that state.

Image
Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus in early December. Mr. Brooks, trying to drum up support for the effort, has met with the group.
Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus in early December. Mr. Brooks, trying to drum up support for the effort, has met with the group.Credit...Al Drago for The New York Times
Since the election, Mr. Pence has sent mixed messages about how far he would be willing to go to help Mr. Trump. In the early days of the transition, Mr. Pence fended off requests from the president’s loyalists to back specious claims about election fraud. But more recently, he publicly praised the failed lawsuit brought by the attorney general of Texas to have votes from battleground states thrown out.

Democrats said they were confident that Mr. Biden would emerge unscathed, but his transition team has begun coordinating with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, to prepare for the possibility that one or more senators would sign onto the challenges.

Mr. Brooks has been trying to drum up support. He met last week with about a half-dozen senators, including Mike Lee of Utah, and separately with the conservative House Freedom Caucus.



“My No. 1 goal is to fix a badly flawed American election system that too easily permits voter fraud and election theft,” Mr. Brooks said. “A possible bonus from achieving that goal is that Donald Trump would win the Electoral College officially, as I believe he in fact did if you only count lawful votes by eligible American citizens and exclude all illegal votes.”

It remains unclear how broad a coalition he could build. More than 60 percent of House Republicans, including the top two party leaders, joined a legal brief supporting the unsuccessful Texas lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to overturn the election results. But it is one thing to sign a legal brief and another to officially contest the outcome on the House floor.

Some Republicans, including Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, have also signaled that they could support an objection. Mr. Brooks said he had been speaking with others who were interested. But prominent allies of the president who have thrown themselves headfirst into earlier fights, like Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio or even the House minority leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, have so far been publicly noncommittal.

“All eyes are on Jan. 6,” Mr. Gaetz said on Fox News on Friday night after the Supreme Court rejected Texas’ suit. “I suspect there will be a little bit of debate and discourse in the Congress as we go through the process of certifying the electors. We still think there is evidence that needs to be considered.”



Mr. Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said he would “wait and see how all the legal cases turn out” before deciding what to do.

Mr. Johnson plans to hold a hearing this week “examining the irregularities in the 2020 election,” featuring Ken Starr, the former independent counsel who is a favorite of the right, and at least two lawyers who have argued election challenges for Mr. Trump. Whether he proceeds to challenge results on Jan. 6, he told reporters last week, “depends on what we find out.”



Coronavirus Vaccinations Begin in the U.S.

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Re: Trump enters the stage -Ariona electors hiding in secret

Postby Meno_ » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:43 pm

Arizona held its Electoral College meeting at an undisclosed location for the safety of its electors, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told CNN.


“We’ve seen increasingly escalating sort of rhetoric and threats throughout the last week, and decided to move this for the safety of everyone involved,” she said, calling it “unfortunate.”
This comes as election officials across the country have reported that they're receiving death threats as President Trump continues to contest the election results and refuses to concede.
Hobbs said she and her team worked with law enforcement to keep the electors and the Electoral College meeting safe.



>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>}>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>}}>>>}>>>>>



POLITICS

President-elect Joe Biden wins Electoral College vote, cementing his victory over Trump



The Electoral College voted Monday to cement Joe Biden's victory over incumbent President Donald Trump.
The ballots were cast by individual electors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia mirror their state's popular vote, and Biden won 306 votes to Trump's 232 votes.
Trump's legal and legislative efforts to overturn this year's election brought heightened importance to the procedural votes.

WASHINGTON — The Electoral College voted Monday to cement President-elect Joe Biden's victory over President Donald Trump in this year's presidential election.

The ballots were cast throughout the day by individual electors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and they mirror their state's popular vote.


Shortly before 5:30 p.m. ET, California electors cast their 55 votes for Biden, pushing him over the crucial threshold of 270 electoral votes. At approximately 7:15 p.m., Hawaii cast the final 4 electoral votes of the day for Biden, who won 306 total electoral votes. Trump won 232 votes.

Biden plans to address the nation on Monday night, where he will emphasize that "the integrity of our elections remains intact."

"And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal," Biden will say, according to speech excerpts released by the transition.

RT: Electoral College Vote: Stacey Abrams: Democratic Delegates Certify Georgia's 16 Electoral College Votes
Democratic elector Stacey Abrams leads her fellow electors through the process of casting their votes for President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris in the Georgia State Senate chambers in the Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., December 14, 2020.


The Electoral College vote is typically a formality, occurring more than a month after Election Day votes are cast. But Trump's unprecedented legal and legislative efforts to overturn the election results this year have imparted a greater significance upon the proceedings.

The president, his campaign and his political allies have filed dozens of lawsuits since Election Day, asking federal and state courts to nullify the election results based on myriad unsubstantiated claims of irregularities.

These efforts repeatedly failed, prompting the president to shift tactics in early December and begin personally pressuring Republican state legislators to intervene in the selection of individual electors. So far, this too has failed.

Yet Trump continues to falsely claim that he, not Biden, is the legitimate winner of the November election and that he was the victim of a massive, coordinated nationwide conspiracy to alter votes in Biden's favor.

In Pennsylvania (below) and Arizona, two key swing states that Biden won, Trump supporters convened Monday outside their state capitols to protest the electoral college vote.


A small band of Trump supporters march with flags as electors gathered to cast their votes for the U.S. presidential election at the State Capitol complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 14, 2020.
Joanathan Ernst | Reuters
In Michigan, electors received police escorts amid threats of violence at the state capitol. A Republican state representative was stripped of his committee assignments by GOP leaders Monday after refusing to rule out that violence would occur in the capital of Lansing during the electoral vote.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans fearful of angering their Trump-loving constituents have largely fallen in step behind the president and refused to acknowledge Biden's victory.

Once electors have formally recorded their votes for president and vice president, the next major event in the Electoral College process is a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, during which both chambers will officially count the electoral votes.

Vice President Mike Pence is expected to preside over the Jan. 6 proceedings in his formal role as president of the Senate, a job which also includes announcing the results.

Any objections in Congress to the electoral votes must be submitted in writing and signed by at least one member of the House and one senator. If an objection arises, the two chambers consider the objection separately.

Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks has already said he will challenge the results of the Electoral College count in the House. In the Senate, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has not ruled out filing a similar objection.

But not all Republicans approve of Brooks' plan to jam up the electoral count in a bid to challenge results that is sure to fail. And several Republican senators who have yet to publicly acknowledge Biden's win have indicated that they will accept the results of Monday's vote in the Electoral College as the final judgment on the 2020 presidential election.

Still, the denial of Biden's victory by some Republicans in Congress is likely to stretch into January and beyond.

In a Washington Post survey of all 249 congressional Republicans, published Dec. 6, only 27 said they accepted Biden as the legitimately elected president. Another 220 GOP lawmakers gave an unclear answer or did not respond, and two, Brooks and Rep. Paul A. Gosar of Arizona, said they believed Trump was the rightful winner of the election.

Ever since Election Day, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have largely tried to stay above the fray of Trump's increasingly desperate campaign to overturn the results.

While a small team of Biden campaign lawyers monitors Trump's lawsuits, the former vice president is charging ahead with a formal transition process, announcing his nominees for his incoming Cabinet and laying out a plan to aggressively combat the coronavirus pandemic during his first 100 days in office.

Biden and Harris are set to be sworn into office as president and vice president of the United States on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day.



Attorney General William Barr resigns, effective Dec.

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Re: Trump enters the stage - SAY WHAT ? What ?

Postby Meno_ » Sat Dec 19, 2020 2:15 am

POLITICO

WHITE HOUSE

MAGA leaders call for the troops to keep Trump in office
A growing call to invoke the Insurrection Act shows how hard-edged MAGA ideology has become in the wake of Trump’s election loss.

President Trump

The Insurrection Act has gained popularity among the far-right fringes, mainly as a way for President Donald Trump to solve all their problems. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images



12/18/2020 04:30 AM EST

An 1807 law invoked only in the most violent circumstances is now a rallying cry for the MAGA-ites most committed to the fantasy that Donald Trump will never leave office.

The law, the Insurrection Act, allows the president to deploy troops to suppress domestic uprisings — not to overturn elections.



But that hasn’t stopped the act from becoming a buzzword and cure-all for prominent MAGA figures like Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, two prominent pro-Trump attorneys leading efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and even one North Carolina state lawmaker. Others like Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser who was recently pardoned for lying to the FBI, have made adjacent calls for Trump to impose martial law. The ideas have circulated in pro-Trump outlets and were being discussed over the weekend among the thousands of MAGA protesters who descended on state capitols and the Supreme Court to falsely claim Trump had won the election.

At its core, the Insurrection Act gives the president authority to send military and National Guard troops to quell local rebellions and violence, offering an exemption to prohibitions against using military personnel to enforce domestic laws. Historically, it has been used in moments of extreme national strife — the Civil War, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, violent labor disputes, desegregation battles, rioting following Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.

Only once, however, has it been used in the wake of an election — and that was to stop a literal militia from seizing the Louisiana government on behalf of John McEnery, a former Confederate officer who had lost the 1872 governor’s race.

Nonetheless, in the minds of some authoritarian-leaning and conspiracy-minded Trump supporters, the Insurrection Act has become a needed step to prevent President-elect Joe Biden from assuming the presidency. Their evidence-deficient reasoning: Democrats illegally rigged the election and are attempting a coup, and Trump must send in the troops to undo this conspiracy.



The conviction shows how hard-edged MAGA ideology has become in the wake of Trump’s election loss. While scattered theories about a “deep state” arrayed against Trump have long circulated in MAGA circles, calls for troops to stop a democratically elected president from taking office have taken those ideas to a more conspiratorial and militaristic level. It also displays the exalted level to which Trump has been elevated among his most zealous fans as his departure looms.

MAGA
POLITICS

MAGA-world may resist the vaccine, but it still wants Trump to get credit.

“The central theme here is that there supposedly exists a network of nefarious actors trying to undermine Trump and destroy the United States, and that this is a tool that Trump could use to save the day,” said Jared Holt, a research fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab, who focuses on far-right extremism.

The Insurrection Act has been rarely invoked since the civil unrest of the 1960s — the last time was to quell violence during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. And when it has been used over that period, it was always at the request of a state governor.

But over the past several years, it has gained popularity among the far-right fringes, mainly as a way for Trump to solve all their problems, from expelling undocumented migrants, to arresting generals and other “deep state” actors for allegedly plotting coups against Trump.


The idea has also become intertwined with the QAnon movement, the far-reaching and baseless conspiracy that Trump is secretly working to disrupt a cabal of pedophiliac, sex trafficking Democrats and global elite.

In May, a Q-drop — the name for the mysterious missives allegedly from a person at the center of the QAnon movement — floated the Insurrection Act for the first time as a way to solve “growing unrest” after George Floyd was killed by Minnesota police. “Call the ball,” Q said mysteriously.

Then, in June, GOP Sen. Tom Cotton brought the idea of the Insurrection Act into the national dialogue with a New York Times op-ed that called on Trump to invoke the law in response to rioting that was occurring amid largely peaceful protests over racial justice. Trump himself leaned into the idea, suggesting to a rally audience that he would use the act to put down “leftist thugs” protesting that summer.

From there, the Insurrection Act became a quick fix to everything among the more extreme MAGA figures.

Trump ally and convicted political operative Roger Stone brought it up on Infowars as a way for Trump to combat anything from coups to protests to election fraud.

“The president's authority is the Insurrection Act and his ability to declare martial law,” he told host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Stone added that Trump could also use the law to arrest anyone from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for election interference, to Democratic power couple Bill and Hillary Clinton — an interpretation that legal experts say strains credulity.

Jimmy Gurulé, a former Justice Department prosecutor now teaching at Notre Dame Law School, called the argument tenuous. While the Insurrection Act can be legally invoked as a response to a “conspiracy” that hinders people’s rights, there must actually be a conspiracy to justify sending in federal troops over the objection of local and state officials.

“I think that the key here is, 'Well, what the hell is that conspiracy?’” he said. “No one can articulate the participants in the conspiracy, the scope of the conspiracy, the object of the conspiracy. It’s all over the place.”


Still, Trump himself seemed keen to the idea, telling Fox News host Jeanine Pirro that he would “put down [anti-Trump protests] very quickly” if they broke out after the election: “Look, it's called insurrection. We just send in and we do it very easy.”

Further out on the MAGA fringe, Trump supporters suggested the president jump the gun and simply arrest everyone — before the election.

And now, with the Electoral College confirming Biden’s win, recounts failing to change the results and courts at every level swatting down lawsuits challenging the outcome, some MAGA figures have latched on to the specific Insurrection Act clause granting the president authority to use the military to quash a “rebellion against the authority of the United States.” In their strained interpretation, the clause gives Trump the power to go after the Democrats and deep state actors conspiring to remove him from office. It’s a reading of the law experts immediately rejected.

“When you're talking about a group of conspiracy theorists, and others who lack any kind of legal knowledge, they'll just pull that arrow out of their quiver when the rest don’t work,” said Brian Levin, executive director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.









It seems nearly impossible Trump would actually invoke the law in this manner. But that hasn’t stopped prominent Trump supporters like Wood, one of the lawyers pushing unsubstantiated lawsuits through the courts, from suggesting Trump send the military into Georgia to break up a meeting of electors.

And over the weekend, after the Supreme Court rejected a Trump-boosted lawsuit from Texas asking to overturn the election results in four other swing states, MAGA supporters took to the streets to demand, among other things, that Trump use the Insurrection Act to force an election do-over, or at the very least, stop Biden from taking office.

The Epoch Times itself ran an editorial on Monday arguing that it was time for Trump to invoke the act and send in the military to seize thousands of voting machines in order to find fraud: “Our system is in crisis. Trump would act to restore the rule of law.”

Gurulé, the former DOJ prosecutor, pointed out that even if Trump tried to invoke the Insurrection Act, there really is nothing for the military to suppress.


“I guess it’d be a voting fraud conspiracy, but how is the military going to suppress that?” he said. “By what, seizing all the ballots? By seizing all the voting machines? By then, what are they going to do, conduct the votes? It just doesn't make sense.”

The point, however, might just be to have the Insurrection Act as a talking point to keep the MAGA movement motivated. And Levin, the extremism researcher, feared a darker path if Trump — a man who already speaks in militaristic terms on a regular basis — continued to goad his base into thinking a Biden presidency is an insurrection.

“What is the heart of the Second Amendment, pro-militia, anti-government patriot movement? It's the insurrectionist theory of the Second Amendment,” he said. “It says people can rise up against a tyrannical government. To me, this looks like the last exit on the Jersey Turnpike before we get to that spot.”



© 2020 POLITICO LLC
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Re: Trump enters the stage - what the fxxk is coming down pl

Postby Meno_ » Sat Dec 19, 2020 7:34 am

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Re: Trump enters the stage - evolving widening of uncertaint

Postby Meno_ » Sun Dec 20, 2020 9:47 pm

POLITICO


TRUMPOLOGY

Is Trump Cracking Under the Weight of Losing?
Getting the boot from the White House is an undeniable ego blow for a man who has never admitted defeat.

President Donald Trump listens during a ceremony to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former football coach Lou Holtz, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington.
President Donald Trump listens during a ceremony to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former football coach Lou Holtz, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Washington.

By MICHAEL KRUSE

12/20/2020 07:00 AM EST

Michael Kruse is a senior staff writer at POLITICO and POLITICO Magazine.

Donald Trump has never had a week like the week he just had. On the heels of the Supreme Court’s knock-back and the Electoral College’s knockout, some of his most reliable supporters—Mitch McConnell, Vladimir Putin, Newsmax—acknowledged and affirmed the actual fact of the matter. Trump is a loser.

Consequently, he is plainly out of sorts, say former close associates, longtime Trump watchers and mental health experts.



It’s not just his odd behavior—the testy, tiny desk session with the press, the stilted Medal of Freedom ceremony that ended with his awkward exit, the cut-short trip to the Army-Navy football game. It’s even more pointedly his conspicuous and ongoing absences. The narcissistic Trump has spent the last half a century—but especially the last half a decade—making himself and keeping himself the most paid-attention-to person on the planet. But in the month and a half since Election Day, Trump has been seen and heard relatively sparingly and sporadically. No-showing unexpectedly at a Christmas party, sticking to consistently sparse public schedules and speaking mainly through his increasingly manic Twitter feed, he’s been fixated more than anything else on his baseless insistence that he won the election when he did not.

US President Donald Trump participates in a Thanksgiving teleconference with members of the United States Military, at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2020.


Over the course of a lifetime of professional and personal transgressions and failures, channeling lasting, curdled lessons of Norman Vincent Peale and Roy Cohn, Trump has assembled a record of rather remarkable resilience. His typical level of activity and almost animal energy has at times lent him an air of insusceptibility, every one of his brushes with financial or reputational ruin ending with Trump emerging all but untouched. His current crisis, though, his eviction from the White House now just a month out, is something altogether different and new.

“He’s never been in a situation in which he has lost in a way he can’t escape from,” Mary Trump, his niece and the author of the fiercely critical and bestselling book about him and their family, told me. “We continue to wait for him to accept reality, for him to concede, and that is something he is not capable of doing,” added Bandy Lee, the forensic psychiatrist from Yale who’s spent the last four years trying to warn the world about Trump and the ways in which he’s disordered and dangerous. “Being a loser,” she said, for Trump is tantamount to “psychic death.”

The combination of an unprecedented rebuke meeting an uncommonly vulnerable ego has some people wondering if there is a chance that Trump’s unusual actions suggest something potentially more dire. Could he be on his way to a mental breakdown?


Sam Nunberg dismissed the notion. “No,” the former Trump political aide said in a text.

Same with Anthony Scaramucci, who very briefly and semi-famously was his top White House spokesperson. “No chance,” he said.

But that’s not consensus. Louise Sunshine, for instance, has known Trump longer than just about anybody. She started working with him in the early 1970s—so I sent her a text asking her the question. “Maybe,” she responded.

Everybody, after all, has a breaking point. “And he’s not indestructible,” said Barbara Res, a former Trump Organization executive vice president who was the construction manager for Trump Tower and just wrote a book called Tower of Lies. “I do think Trump is struggling,” Tony Schwartz, the actual author of The Art of the Deal, told me, “and that this is far and away the toughest time he’s ever had.”

President Donald Trump arrives to the White House after spending Thanksgiving playing golf at his Trump National golf club on Friday, November 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo by Oliver Contreras/Pool/Sipa USA

“His fragile ego has never been tested to this extent,” Michael Cohen, his former personal attorney and enforcer before he turned on him, told me. “While he’s creating a false pretense of strength and fortitude, internally he is angry, depressed and manic. As each day ends, Trump knows he’s one day closer to legal and financial troubles. Accordingly, we will all see his behavior deteriorate until it progresses into a full mental breakdown.”


“Psychological disorders are like anything else,” said Mary Trump, who’s also a psychologist. “If they’re unacknowledged and untreated over time, they get worse.”

In Lee’s estimation, it’s not something that could happen. It’s something that is happening, that’s been happening for the past four years—and will keep happening.

“His pathology has continued to grow, continued to cause him to decompensate, and so we’re at a stage now where his detachment from reality is pretty much complete and his symptoms are as severe as can be.” She likened Trump to “a car without functioning brakes.” Such a car, she explained, can look for a long time like it’s fine, and keep going, faster and faster, even outracing other cars. “But at the bottom of the hill,” Lee said, “it always crashes.”

***

Trump is who and how he is first and foremost because of his parents. His unwell mother couldn’t and didn’t give him the attention he wanted and needed, while his domineering father gave him attention but a wrong and warping kind—instilling in him a grim, zero-sum worldview with the dictate that the only option was to be “a winner.” Ever since, he responded so relentlessly to these harsh particulars of his loveless upbringing—the insatiable appetite for publicity, the crass, constant self-aggrandizement—that he became the president of the United States and arguably the most famous person alive. But from the time he was a boy, the way Trump has coped with the void he’s felt ultimately has been less a solution than a spotlight—it’s what’s made his most fundamental problem most manifest.

“His problem is that he has grown up with vulnerability in terms of his self-worth, self-esteem and a clear sense of himself,” Mark Smaller, a past president of the American Psychoanalytic Association, told me. “Somebody with these kinds of vulnerabilities, affirmation, being the center of things, is never enough. Because you can’t solve these old wounds, these old, narcissistic wounds—you cannot solve them with affirmation, with being at the center of things. You can’t because they persist, so that you need more attention, you need more affirmation, you need to be more at the center of things, all the time, more often. And when realities start to interfere with getting that kind of affirmation, you just want more.”

The only moment in Trump’s life that remotely compares to what’s happening right now is in early 1990.

He was mired in a tabloid-catnip marital breakup on account of an affair with the B-movie actress who eventually would become the second of his three wives and the mother of the fourth of his five children. He also was a staggering $3.4 billion in debt—personally liable for nearly a billion of that—his business affairs in New York and with his casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in absolute shambles. “I would have been looking for the nearest building to jump off of,” Steve Bollenbach, the financial fixer banks made Trump hire, once told biographer Tim O’Brien. That spring, according to Vanity Fair, Trump ordered in burgers and fries and stayed up late in bed, staring at the ceiling. At risk of becoming a has-been and a punchline, Trump nonetheless boasted about future prospects—of national magazine covers and a comeback to come. “All Donald knew,” Wayne Barrett wrote around the time, “was that he was still a story.”


He sat at his desk paging through periodicals looking for his name. “Even if it was the same AP article in every single newspaper, he wanted to see it,” former Trump casino executive Jack O’Donnell told me. “That’s how he survives.”

“Did he collapse? No. He did not collapse,” veteran New York Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf said. “He just continued.”

Trump was able to do that, of course, principally due to the sprawling, near-foolproof safety net his father’s wealth allowed. Lenders in New York and regulators in Atlantic City, too, let him skate, both groups as beholden to him as he was to them.

Still, en route to averting comeuppance, he proceeded to weave this self-inflicted calamity into a preferred tale of a certain toughness he possessed. “Most people would have been in the corner sucking their thumb,” he said to a reporter from the Sunday Times of London. “You learn that you’re either the toughest, meanest piece of shit in the world, or you just crawl into a corner, put your finger in your mouth, and say, ‘I want to go home,’” he told a writer from New York. “You never know until you’re under pressure how you’re gonna react.”

But the biggest difference between then and now: Even when Trump was all but broke, even as bankers clawed back some of his “toys,” the “props for the show,” as he once put it in Playboy, they gave him an obscene $450,000-a-month allowance. And the most important thing? He got to keep Trump Tower. He got to remain living in the penthouse of the building that he had built, that had made him famous, and that served above all as the preeminent stage for how he wanted to be seen.

“He was always there in his office,” Alan Marcus, Trump’s publicist later on in the ‘90s, told me. “He was always there in his castle.”

This time, on the other hand, he’s getting kicked out. No more Oval Office photo ops. No more two-scoop nights watching Fox News in his room in the residence. In a month’s time, for most likely the last time, the door of the White House will close behind him.

This looming reality colors his interactions in these waning days.



Earlier this month, the Medal of Freedom ceremony to honor Dan Gable, the fabled Iowa wrestler and coach, seemed precisely the sort of pomp Trump liked the most throughout his single term. “He couldn’t stand the feeling of losing,” he said of Gable, reading from prepared remarks, standing behind the lectern festooned with the presidential seal, surrounded by Gable, Gable’s family and members of Congress from Iowa, reporters and photographers.


“Before matches,” Trump continued, “Dan would repeat the words ‘cakes, carries, ducks, picks, shucks, sweeps’ over and over again. I’ll have to ask Dan why. Why, Dan?”

“Because they’re all moves that end the match,” Gable said.

“Oh,” Trump said.

Toward the end of the event, though, when one of the reporters asked if he was still “looking to change the outcome of the election,” Trump called the election “rigged” and the United States “third-world” before turning to thank Gable again—and then abruptly walked out.

Gable, seeming surprised and still standing in the Oval, looked at the gathered press and held his hands up. He said all that was left to say.

“He’s gone.”

***

“So,” Brian Kilmeade of Fox asked Trump last weekend in one of the vanishingly few interviews the president has consented to since he lost, “would you show up at the inauguration. Will you?”

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“I don’t want to talk about that,” Trump said. “I want to talk about this: We’ve done a great job. I got more votes than any president in the history of our country—in the history of our country, right? Not even close: 75 million”—actually a little more than 74—“far more than Obama, far more than anybody. And they say we lost an election. We didn’t lose.”

This is true, obviously, only if one ignores the more than 81 million people who voted for Joe Biden and the 306 Electoral College votes he was awarded as a result.

The people who’ve known Trump well, the people who’ve watched him for a long, long time, the mental health professionals—they’re worried, they told me, about what’s to come, in the next month, and in the months and years after that.

“There’s no reckoning with reality,” biographer Gwenda Blair said. “He’s going to continue to frame it that he won, he was cheated, he’s the victim, and he’s going to continue to bend reality as best he can.”

President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he departs after an Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit in the South Court Auditorium of the of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House on December 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

“He’ll continue to rage against the results, and he’ll continue to solidify in the minds of millions more Americans that the democratic process was corrupted, and that’s going to have a long-lasting tail that we’ll have to deal with in American politics for many, many years,” said Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security who was “Anonymous” before he revealed his identity in October. “I don’t expect that the president is going to chain himself to the Resolute Desk and refuse to leave, but also, given what we’ve seen the past few weeks, I wouldn’t totally put it past him.”

“The probability of something very bad happening is very high, unacceptably high, and the fact that we don’t have guardrails in place, the fact that we are allowing a mentally incapacitated president to continue in the job, in such an important job, for a single day longer, is a truly unacceptable reality,” said Lee, the Yale psychiatrist. “We’re talking about his access to the most powerful military on the planet and his access to technology that’s capable of destroying human civilization many times over.”

“You have to remember,” said Cohen, his former attorney. “Trump doesn’t see things the way that you do. He sees things in his distorted reality that benefits him. He’s able to right now embrace that distorted reality because he still wakes up in the White House. But what happens each and every day as he gets closer to not only leaving, but also it comes with a sense of, in his mind, humiliation, right? And he knows that he is destined for legal troubles.”

“He’s looking down the barrel” of legal and financial difficulties, Mary Trump said. “But perhaps more troubling for him or more terrifying for him is the fact that he is in danger of losing his relevance.”


And that is not something Trump will ever be able to abide.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak during an Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit in the South Court Auditorium of the of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House on December 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

“He’s going to go back to Mar-a-Lago, to MAGAstan, as I call it, and he’s going to return to standing ovations and applause beyond what you can comprehend,” Cohen said, “because these sycophants that are there will continue to bolster his ego and he can go from table to table, listening to people placate him about how the election was stolen from him. And that’s just going to further create that mishigas in his head.”

“Do I think that Trump is going to fall apart in a way where he would become completely dysfunctional and not leave his room? I don’t think so,” said Smaller, the past president of the psychoanalytic association. “But if you’re in this kind of unregulated state, and I think that’s what we’re observing, he’ll do kind of desperate things to maintain that being the center of attention.”

“He will not go away, because this is his psychological lifeline,” Lee said.

“For him,” she stressed, “it’s a matter of psychic survival.”



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