The authoritarian Republican ‘coup’ against American democracy

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The closing argument of House Intelligence Committee Chairman and House Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff (D-CA) should be a haunting condemnation which follows every Republican senator who abdicated their constitutional duty and oath of office in disregarding the overwhelming evidence to acquit Donald Trump out of GOP tribalism:

“We must say enough — enough! He has betrayed our national security, and he will do so again,” Schiff, D-Calif., told the Senate. “He has compromised our elections, and he will do so again. You will not change him. You cannot constrain him. He is who he is. Truth matters little to him. What’s right matters even less, and decency matters not at all.”

* * *

“Can we be confident that he will not continue to try to cheat in [this] very election? Can we be confident that Americans and not foreign powers will get to decide, and that the president will shun any further foreign interference in our Democratic affairs?” Schiff asked. “The short, plain, sad, incontestable answer is no, you can’t. You can’t trust this president to do the right thing. Not for one minute, not for one election, not for the sake of our country. You just can’t. He will not change and you know it.”

“Emboldened by his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, President Trump and his team of loyalists have launched one of their most aggressive attacks yet on democracy and the rule of law — to purge the administration and the intelligence community of those perceived to be insufficiently devoted to the president.” TRUMP’S POST-IMPEACHMENT AUTHORITARIAN PURGES:

It took less than a week after his acquittal in the Senate for President Donald Trump to unleash his revenge on those who testified in the House impeachment inquiry and to ramp up what appears to be a full-scale expulsion of supposedly disloyal political appointees and career officials from the U.S. government. For a year and a half, White House officials and allies had been assembling lists of “bad people,” and now they are finally acting on it.

All of this is occurring in plain sight, reported in dribs and drabs by the media in individual reports without tying them all together into a unified theory and overarching narrative of this authoritarian Republican tyranny.

Trump has purged the State Department.

Trump has purged the Intelligence Agencies.

Trump has purged the FBI.

Trump is completing his purge of the Justice Department, with the removal of Inspectors General, and U.S. Attorneys. William Barr illegally tries to fire U.S. Attorney for SDNY to protect Trump associates (updated).

Trump is purging the Pentagon of perceived enemies and installing loyalists in their place. See also, Trump loyalty purge roils Pentagon.

And last week Trump seized control of the Voice of America and its networks with a Steve Bannon acolyte to create his own state media propaganda network (as if Fox News, OANN, Sinclair Broadcasting, etc. are not enough state media already). The Voice of America Will Sound Like Trump.

All the while Trump’s Republican enablers in Congress, particularly the Senate, remain silent and do nothing to challenge his repeated abuses of power (as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abuses his power by packing the federal courts with unqualified activist right-wing judges). They are complicit partners in this authoritarian Republican tyranny.

George Packer warns at The Atlantic, “After three years, the adults have all left the room—saying just about nothing on their way out to alert the country to the peril.” The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions:

The adults were too sophisticated to see Trump’s special political talents—his instinct for every adversary’s weakness, his fanatical devotion to himself, his knack for imposing his will, his sheer staying power. They also failed to appreciate the advanced decay of the Republican Party, which by 2016 was far gone in a nihilistic pursuit of power at all costs. They didn’t grasp the readiness of large numbers of Americans to accept, even relish, Trump’s contempt for democratic norms and basic decency. It took the arrival of such a leader to reveal how many things that had always seemed engraved in monumental stone turned out to depend on those flimsy norms, and how much the norms depended on public opinion. Their vanishing exposed the real power of the presidency. Legal precedent could be deleted with a keystroke; law enforcement’s independence from the White House was optional; the separation of powers turned out to be a gentleman’s agreement; transparent lies were more potent than solid facts. None of this was clear to the political class until Trump became president.

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When Trump came to power, he believed that the regime was his, property he’d rightfully acquired, and that the 2 million civilians working under him, most of them in obscurity, owed him their total loyalty. He harbored a deep suspicion that some of them were plotting in secret to destroy him. He had to bring them to heel before he could be secure in his power.

* * *

This is the story of how a great republic went soft in the middle, lost the integrity of its guts and fell in on itself—told through government officials whose names under any other president would have remained unknown, who wanted no fame, and who faced existential questions when Trump set out to break them.

Packer’s long piece is a must-read. Americans should be shitting their pants terrified over what is occurring in our government right now. Our country is under assault from a domestic enemy within.

Donald Trump’s partner in crime and chief enabler, Attorney General William “Coverup” Barr, was on the bobblehead show Sunday on Fox. Certifiably insane Fox News host Maria Bartiromo interviewed the most corrupt attorney general in the history of the United States, which produced this conspiracy theory:

Bartiromo: A source said to me a couple of years ago, speaking of the Russia collusion story, that this was the closest the United States ever came to a coup to take down a president since the assassination of Lincoln. Is that an appropriate statement?

Barr: In this sense, I think it is the closest we have come to an organized effort to push a president out of office.

Bartiromo: And it continues.

Barr: I’m not reaching a judgement to what the motivations there were.

Bartiromo also brought mail-in ballots into the conversation:

Bartiromo: While there’s a big discussion right now about mail-in voting, Hillary Clinton said it’s fine, it’s fair.

Barr: Well, it absolutely opens the flood gates to fraud.Those things are delivered to mailboxes. They can be taken out — there are questions whether it denies a secret ballot because the states have you signing the outside of the envelope, so the person opens the envelope will know how how people voted. Right now a foreign country could print up tens of thousands of counterfeit ballots, and it would be very hard for us to detect which is the right one and which is the wrong ballot. So I think it can upset and undercut the confidence in the integrity of our election. If anything, we should tighten them up right now.

This morning our Twitter-troll-in-chief was rage tweeting the mail-in voting conspiracy theories of his partner in crime. Trump Claims Election Would Be “Rigged” If Mail-In Ballots Were Used:

The president claimed without evidence that “MILLIONS” of mail-in ballots “WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS.” He referred to it as “THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES.”

The president’s tweet follows a claim he made last week, when he cited mail-in voting as his “biggest risk” of not winning reelection this November in an interview with Politico.

Just to be clear, there is a “coup” of sorts going on against American democratic institutions, and it is being carried out by Donald Trump, William Barr, and Trump’s complicit Republican enablers in Congress in this authoritarian Republican tyranny.

And if any foreign country interferes in our election it will be at the express invitation of Donald Trump, who openly invited such foreign interference in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos last year. In exclusive Interview, Trump says he would listen if foreigners offered dirt on opponents. Former National Security Advisor John Bolton recounts other Trump invitations to foreign countries interfering in our election in his new book.

Just as he did in 2016, Donald Trump is laying the groundwork to contest his loss in the 2020 election by claiming that it was “rigged” and asserting unfounded allegations of voter fraud. He has previously encouraged violence from his supporters, and no doubt he will do so again in a last-ditch effort to retain power after losing an election. Trump shows no signs of complying with the American tradition of a peaceful transition of power.

Democrats cannot take a wait and see attitude on this. This effort must be thwarted now. House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler is wrong to forgo the impeachment of William “Coverup” Barr as “a waste of time at this point, because we do know that we have a corrupt Republican majority in the Senate which will not consider an impeachment, no matter what the evidence and no matter what the facts.” Jerry Nadler Calls Every GOP Senator Who Voted To Acquit Trump Corrupt. The House must impeach, and put the onus on Trump’s corrupt Republican Senate enablers in Congress.

Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa called for Barr’s impeachment in a new column for The Daily Beast (subscriber content). Summarized by Travis Gettys, ‘Trump’s legal goon’ Bill Barr must be impeached before he corrupts the 2020 election: ex-FBI agent:

“Barr tried to bamboozle the country (and, apparently, bully Berman himself) into believing that Berman had resigned his post,” Rangappa wrote. “Berman’s day-long standoff with Barr, in which he refused to resign, included a public letter that was an S.O.S. to anyone paying attention, as he assured the public that the ‘office’s important cases would continue unimpeded’ — suggesting that Barr was attempting to obstruct justice by removing him, which Barr ultimately succeeded in doing.”

Barr has authority over any Justice Department investigation of his own conduct, and Rangappa argued that leaves only one option to determine why the attorney general removed Berman.

“That leaves just one last option: impeachment,” she wrote. “House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler has stated that pursuing impeachment against Barr would be a ‘waste of time’ because the Senate would never vote to remove him. That may be true. It may also seem pointless to begin impeachment with an election only five months away. But that approach misses the point, and the urgency.”

Rangappa said the attorney general’s actions seem intended to help Trump win re-election, and she said that makes an investigation and possible removal crucial.

“Barr has the potential to inflict more damage on the U.S. than even the president because he can use the levers of justice to stonewall investigations, bury evidence, and provide a veneer of legality to illegal acts,” she wrote. “Even if he isn’t ultimately removed, an impeachment hearing brings some measure of accountability to Barr, by making public the myriad ways he has subverted the administration of justice by acting as Trump’s legal goon.”

“As Adam Schiff stated in his closing statement in the Senate’s impeachment trial for President Trump, ‘No constitution can protect us if right doesn’t matter anymore,’” Rangappa added. “Right matters. It’s time to impeach Bill Barr.”

Tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler that they have a constitutional duty to impeach the most corrupt attorney general in American history, William “Coverup” Barr, and put the onus on Trump’s corrupt Republican Senate enablers in Congress. They must do so now.




1 COMMENT

  1. There is a long-standing DOJ policy of not doing anything that could influence an election (yes, FBI Director James Comey breached this policy in 2016). “Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party.” “Barr Ignores Settled Justice Department Policies in Run-Up to 2020 Elections”, https://www.justsecurity.org/70041/barr-ignores-settled-justice-department-policies-in-run-up-to-2020-elections/

    Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky is warning Democrats to beware of Attorney General Bill Barr’s last-ditch effort to save President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign by having DOJ prosecutor John Durham bring last-minute indictments of former law enforcement officials involved in probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in an “October surprise.” “Bill Barr Has Pie on His Face, and One More Trick Up His Sleeve With John Durham’s October Surprise”, https://www.thedailybeast.com/bill-barr-has-pie-on-his-face-and-one-more-trick-up-his-sleeve-with-john-durhams-october-surprise

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