Friday, November 08, 2019

Quick notes: Madness, drugs and corruption



By this point, we're used to hearing stories about the dysfunction of the current White House. But the new book by Anonymous will disturb even those of us who think they've heard it all.

Substance abuse. If you've followed the Stone trial, you may have noticed one recurrent theme: Randy Credico repeatedly accuses Roger Stone of being a druggie, and Stone -- a confessed hedonist -- never denies this accusation.

In previous posts, I've looked into the copious evidence that Donald Trump abuses drugs -- specifically, that he uses various forms of "uppers." Hope Hicks pretty much confirmed this, as did one of Trump's biographers.

You don't have to look that hard to find allegations that Rudy Giuliani abuses alcohol, a charge he denies.

You also don't have to look hard to find allegations that Steve Bannon was in the meth business. See here and here.

During my unhappy years hobnobbing with the 90s-era conspiracy buffs, I found that many of them had secret issues with substance abuse. Could that be the key factor here?

On a perhaps-related note...

The madness of King Donnie. Earlier today, Trump gave a particularly absurd impromptu conference on the White House lawn. I was flabbergasted by his insistence that Schiff was cherry-picking witnesses who were Never Trumpers.

(This argument is founded on the belief that anyone who doesn't like Trump is a born liar. That's more than half the country.)

Apparently, Trump's idea of a "Never Trumper" now includes Bill Taylor, whom this administration coaxed out of retirement, and Gordon Sondland, who tossed a million bucks into Trump's crooked inauguration committee.

Moreover, Antipresident Trump kept claiming -- without citing any examples -- that the whistleblower's complaint contradicts both the transcript and the testimony. Not true. Everything the whistleblower said has been supported by the Inspector General's investigation, by the House investigation, and by the "transcript" (which is not really a transcript) itself.

Ivanka says that the identity of the whistleblower is not relevant. She's right. But her father and his defenders are relying on their usual strategy: Personalize and demonize. This trick worked on Christopher Steele.

And what can one say about Trump's expressed contempt for public impeachment hearings? Just days ago, the Republicans were screaming for public hearings!

Madness. Trump has descended into utter madness. And yet people believe every absurd thing he says.

The new GOP defense narrative, apparently, is that Rudy and the gang were rogue elephants. Like the proverbial piano player in the whorehouse, Trump had no idea as to what was going on.
House Republicans’ latest plan to shield President Trump from impeachment is to focus on at least three deputies — U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and possibly acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — who they say could have acted on their own to influence Ukraine policy.
Oh, come on. Giuliani and Barr are name-dropped in the "transcript" that Trump wants everyone to read, in which Trump asks Zelensky for a "favor." Does anyone think that Sondland, Giuliani and Mulvaney (and let's not forget Perry!) would risk jail to smear Biden, and that they would embark on such a risky scheme without Trump's blessing?

And does anyone truly believe that Rudy Giuliani will allow himself to be "underbussed" (if I may borrow Josh Marshall's neologism)? If the Trumpers attempt to scapegoat Rudy, Hell's lava will engulf DC.

(Yes, I know that the previous paragraph mixes a few metaphors. I'm comfortable with that.)

All the Ukraine documents. Want to know where you can get all of the released documentation? The transcript, the testimony, everything? Here you go.

By the way, have you seen the Mueller Report podcast?

For a while, I toyed with the idea of producing Mueller Comix, drawn in the style of R. Crumb. But I'm no longer an illustrator.

The Trump Foundation was closed for fraud. The Clinton Foundation is still going strong, and remains highly rated for it's charitable work. It's also one of the most transparent charities in existence. All of the Trumpers and BernieBros who lied about the Clinton Foundation have been exposed as vile frauds.

Trump has basically admitted that he broke the law.

Note that Pam Bondi is joining Team Trump as special outside counsel. What's striking about this is that Pam Bondi was formerly Florida's attorney general, in which position she refused to investigate Trump's crooked university scam -- and was paid off with money from Trump's crooked "charity."

I just re-read some of my 2016 posts: During the campaign, I had hopes that the Bondi scandal would suffice to bring down Trump. Boy, was that notion naive.

Absolute immunity.
That's what Mick Mulvaney has asserted as his last minute excuse for not testifying. (He was subpoenaed yesterday.) Didn't they try this trick before? The trouble is, these flimsy excuses will work just fine unless Congress starts enforcing its will. As one tweet puts it:
Susan McDougal. 22 months for contempt, for not answering 3 questions. Dragged from prison to prison. 8 months solitary confinement.
I know we've all made the same point many different ways on many different days, but just imagine the response from the Fox Newsers if anyone from the Obama administration had refused a subpoena by claiming "absolute immunity."

Lev and Igor were going to Kyiv. (I'm going to switch over to that spelling, even though I am an old dog who doesn't care for new linguistic tricks.) According to their lawyer, Vienna was just a connecting flight.

I'm not persuaded. I still think that this involves Firtash. That said, I have little doubt that the dynamic duo planned to go on to Ukraine, and had not intent to return to the U.S., where they had to face more pesky subpoenas.

A nugget from the Stone trial. Later today, I should have a few things to say about the Stone trial. As you might have predicted, more highly entertaining texts have received a public airing. I would note that Dan Friedman, in the course of live-tweeting this spectacle, offered a particularly intriguing observation:
An interesting thing about this outreach from WikiLeaks, via Credico, to Schiff, was that it appears to be one of several efforts by Assange to cut a deal to get some kind of immunity or leniency in exchange for talking. There have been a bunch.
Friedman then links to this Mother Jones story from last year, about an American lawyer named Adam Waldman, a registered lobbyist for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who also acted a go-between for Assange. The story does not name-drop Schiff or Credico, but it does mention Mogilevich. Apparently, all of this is linked to some aspect of what we're learning in the Stone trial.

Tell me more. Please.
Comments:
Susan MacDougall, there lies my contempt for Nervous Nancy Pelosi snark talker extraordinaire. She dithers holding a timid finger to the wind before acting. No, Nancy scolds, it's not 3D chess, it's no spine. Why not issue contempt of congress citations for no-show witnesses?
Afraid you'll lose a Trump Democrat vote?
They ain't gonna come back, Nancy.
 
How much of the madness of this White House will be later explained as drug abuse?


 
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