Scandal Deepens for Top Democrats

From Las Vegas Review Journal:

Have you heard the latest nursery rhyme? It goes like this: Hillary and Obama went up the hill. They both came down in handcuffs.

Don’t laugh. It’s not a joke.

The noose tightened last week upon the entire FBI leadership over the scandal to destroy candidate Donald Trump and then President Donald Trump. But it’s no longer just the FBI leadership facing prison time for conspiracy and obstruction of justice. It’s no longer just Hillary and her pals at the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton Foundation facing prison time.

The real question now: What did Barack Obama know, and when did he know it?

Continue reading …

Tom Cotton, David Perdue, and the Trap of Lying for Donald Trump

From The New Yorker:

On Monday, the Washington Post shed some light on how Senators Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, and David Perdue, of Georgia, felt able to assert that President Donald Trump had not referred to Africa as a collection of “shithole” countries—a comment that the White House itself did not, at first, bother to protest—and thus that those who said he did, including their fellow-senators, were liars. According to the Post, “Three White House officials said Perdue and Cotton told the White House that they heard ‘shithouse’ rather than ‘shithole,’ allowing them to deny the President’s comments on television over the weekend.” Is that how people sleep at night in Trump’s Washington? The stories that Republicans tell themselves to justify their partnership with, or obedience to, the President are not just absurd; they are pathetic. SpongeBob SquarePants would be laughed out of the Krusty Krab for telling them. And they are poisonous.

It should be clear that the house/hole distinction, should it even have existed, would not count as “allowing” Cotton and Perdue to deny the President’s remarks on any terms. But the ones on which they did so are particularly egregious, because they offered themselves as witnesses to other senators’ supposed dishonor. Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, had confirmed the reported phrase “shithole countries” publicly; Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, had backed up the press accounts more obliquely but unmistakably. Senator Tim Scott, his Republican colleague, who is African-American, told reporters that Graham had confirmed the essentials of the report to him; Graham didn’t dispute that. Graham had also publicly said that there was a racial aspect to the remarks, which he said he’d called the President on, saying, by his account, “America is an idea, not a race.” Graham also told the Charleston Post and Courier that he favored a merit-based immigration system—a phrase that Trump uses a great deal—“But when I say merit-based, I don’t mean just Europe.” The suggestion was that the President had a different view.

In contrast, Cotton, appearing on Sunday news programs, specifically disparaged Durbin’s credibility. “I didn’t hear it, and I was sitting no further away from Donald Trump than Dick Durbin was,” Cotton told John Dickerson on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And I know, and I know what Dick Durbin has said about the President’s repeated statements is incorrect.” He also said that Durbin had a history of dishonesty.

Donald Trump’s Long History of Racism, From the 1970s to 2018

Trump has repeatedly denied being a racist — but his track record doesn’t back up those assertions all that much.

If you ask President Donald Trump whether he’s racist, he has a standard response: He claims that no, in fact, he’s “the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered.”

But Trump’s record tells a very different story.

On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly made explicitly racist and otherwise bigoted remarks — from calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists to proposing a ban on all Muslims entering the US to suggesting that a judge should recuse himself from a case solely because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.

The trend has continued into his presidency. From stereotyping a black reporter to pandering to white supremacists after they held a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump hasn’t stopped with the racist acts even after his election.

In fact, the very first time that Trump appeared in the pages of the New York Times, back in the 1970s, was when the US Department of Justice sued him for racial discrimination. Since then, he has repeatedly appeared in newspaper pages across the world as he inspired more similar controversies.

The latest came in remarks surfaced by the Washington Post. Talking about immigration from Haiti and African countries, Trump reportedly asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He suggested that America should allow more people from countries like Norway instead. The implication is very clear: The people coming from predominantly black countries are bad, while the people coming from predominantly white countries are good.

This long history is important. It would be one thing if Trump simply misspoke one or two times. But when you take all of Trump’s actions and comments together, a clear pattern emerges — one that suggests that bigotry is not just political opportunism on Trump’s part but a real element of Trump’s personality, character, and career.

Here’s a breakdown of Trump’s history

Trump Denies ‘Shithole Countries’ Remark but Senator Asserts He Said It

Donald Trump says highly inappropriate things in front of witnesses, gets in trouble for saying them, then turns around and flatly denies having said them. It has happened time and time again. When will he ever learn?

Here’s the latest reported example:

Donald Trump denied on Friday that he used the phrase “shithole countries” to describe Central American and African nations during talks with US lawmakers the day before. But one of the senators present contradicted Trump and called the remarks he had heard “hate-filled, vile and racist”.

Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat who was in the meeting, contradicted him to local Chicago press on Friday morning. He said Trump “in the course of his comments said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist”.

Durbin said: “He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”

Donald Trump Is Not attacking the FBI, Even As He Attacks the FBI

Retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent James A. Gagliano writes:

Does anyone truly believe that Trump is attacking the 35,000-plus FBI employees? When the POTUS tweets that the FBI is “in tatters” or that its reputation is the “worst in history,” is he aiming his ire and disappointment at the rank and file?

One word: No.

So, please, don’t conflate what clearly appears to be the president’s social media animus aimed at certain compromised senior level FBI executives with the FBI as an entity.

I am no fan of Trump, and I should be one of the “aggrieved.” And I’m not.

The president, along with innumerable others, are fairly alarmed at what may be occurring on the seventh floor executive suites within FBI headquarters. Yesterday, I even listened to former colleagues of mine, retired FBI Assistant Directors Tom Fuentes on CNN, and Chris Swecker on FOX, make the exact same points. Changes need to be made at FBI headquarters. And it has zero to do with how cases are investigated in the field.

So we have joined a chorus of retired FBI voices and press-restricted onboard employees that have squarely placed the blame for the FBI’s diminished reputation on questionable senior leader decisions. The FBI has long pledged fealty to simply following the evidence, investigating potential federal crimes, bereft of fear or favor.

But here we are.

The“Trump vs. FBI” conflagration has resulted in a sharp increase of donations to the FBI Agents Association — some 2,000 this month, totaling over $140,000. This largesse will aid charity causes that include providing for the children of slain FBI Agents. Yet, in an agency that eschews accusations of its politicization, the Association could almost ironically be viewed as “fundraising” off this “war.”

But, let’s carefully clarify the “combatants” in this current melee. And let’s be fair.

So we’re all clear: Donald Trump is not attacking the FBI, even as he attacks the FBI.

In Trump’s Washington, the Lie Has Become the Truth

Columnist Richard Cohen writes that “the children of tomorrow will ask today’s politician why they either lied for Donald Trump or failed to denounce him. The politicians will say that they needed to get re-elected or were hoping that some obscure bill they had been pushing for years would become law. But the kids would say, ‘What about America’s moral standing? What about the obligation to be truthful and to unite the nation? What about what’s on all those memorials in Washington?'”

Good questions.