Thursday, June 15, 2017

What it means that Trump is "under investigation"

I figured I knew what I would be writing this morning as soon as the shooting happened, but then we found out that Trump really is formally under investigation.  Yup, Mueller really is formally investigating Trump for obstruction of justice on the Comey firing.  If you check in on the prediction markets, though, they have gotten a bit of sanity back on the whole impeachment thing.  I still think they are overestimating the likelihood of impeachment.  I wouldn't pay 14 cents for that dollar payoff for a 2017 impeachment (and in fact, I don't participate in these things at all), and while Trump might not finish out 2018, his odds of getting through the year are better than 2-1.  I have a hard time seeing Trump resigning voluntarily, impeachment is absurdly unlikely (which I'll address again today), and that leaves death.  Trump is old, and contrary to his crazy, old coot of a doctor, he can't be healthy because he leads an absurdly unhealthy lifestyle because he thinks that exercise is unhealthy for wasting his precious bodily fluids, or something like that.

So, that brings us back to impeachment.  Comey was investigating the Trump campaign's connections to Russia, Flynn, etc.  Trump told him to back off, the way a mafia don would.  Comey didn't.  So, Trump fired him, and like the dumbest unclefucker* in political history, he admitted the reason on national tv, even after having lawyers craft something vaguely resembling a different legal justification for the firing to give him cover for the act.

As a political scientist rather than a lawyer, this looks pretty open-and-shut to me, but lawyers have an amazing ability to tie themselves in knots over definitions of words too obscure even for me, and that's before we get into, "that depends on what your definition of 'is' is."  But, of course, that's kind of where I'm going here.

Yes, if Mueller isn't a total hack, he'll recommend charges be brought against Trump because Trump already admitted, on national tv, to exactly what Mueller is investigating.  Add that to Comey's memos, which nobody except Trump is challenging-- and even Senate Republicans didn't challenge Comey when he called Trump a fucking liar-- and it is hard to see how Mueller exonerates Trump on obstruction of justice.

Of course, this could get dragged out, or he could get fired.  He could say that he can't draw a conclusion.  There are a lot of ways that this could play out, but a very strong possibility now is that Mueller recommends charges, and that goes to Congress.  With a sitting president, the proper course of action, constitutionally speaking, is impeachment.

And that brings us back to Kenny Starr.  Starr was given the task of finding something, anything that congressional Republicans could use to impeach Bill Clinton.  It started with the possibility of something shady in the Whitewater land deal, but expanded way beyond that.  What, you may ask, did that have to do with a blowjob from an intern named Monica Lewinski?  Nothing.  You see the point.  Starr's job was just to find anything Republicans could use to impeach Clinton.  So, he was given several years, tens of millions of dollars, no topical constraints, and the goal of finding wrongdoing with respect to anything on any topic.  The best he could come up with was that he found out about Clinton banging his interns, asked about it with Billy-boy under oath, confirmed that Clinton had lied about it because, well, there was a stain on her dress and Lewinski had talked about it to Linda Tripp with the call recorded, and voila!  Clinton lied under oath.  Was that "perjury?"  The legal distinction is that a lie under oath is only perjury if it is material to the case.  Since Clinton's relations with Lewinski were relevant to nothing except his own marriage, impeaching him for lying about it was kind of a problem.  So, while House Republicans under Newt Gingrich, who was cheating on his then-second-wife with a staffer (now his wife) impeached Clinton for perjury, Democrats killed Kenny's report, with the Senate only garnering 50 votes to convict, thanks to Arlen Specter (at that point, still a nominal Republican) being a douchebag and refusing to vote either guilty or innocent, and instead pulling some bullshit from Scottish common law, and voting "not proven therefore not guilty."  It wouldn't have mattered anyway if he had voted guilty since the conviction threshold is 2/3.  He was just being a tool.

Anywho, the point is that the president's party rejected the charges.  That can happen.  Mueller can recommend that Trump be charged with obstruction of justice.  It is hard to see him convincing Republicans in Congress to remove Trump.  Have you watched those hearings?  Did you see Tom Cotton?  I don't care what's in Mueller's report.  Cotton won't vote to convict.  Risch?  No fucking way.  It doesn't matter what is in that report.  McCain tortured himself worse than the VC to defend Trump against Comey's testimony.  Little Marco was toeing the Trump line.  Lindsey Graham was doing Trump's bidding.  Ted Cruz, whose father Trump accused of murdering Kennedy, and whose wife Trump called ugly, is backing Trump all the way.

Why?  The 1974 midterm election, and the 1976 presidential election.  The party is circling the wagons around Trump because that unclefucker has a electoral bomb strapped to him with a dead-man trigger, and they're chained to him by that "R" after their names.  If Mueller puts out his findings before 2018, it will be brutal.  All the Republicans can hope to do is minimize the damage, though, by circling the wagons.  Witch hunt!  Fake media conspiracy!  Deep state!  Trump could even try some Wag the Dog shit.  This could get very ugly, but the Republicans' best chance to minimize the damage is to signal to everyone that this is a purely partisan fight, and they do that by holding ranks.  So far, they're doing that.

And yes, I know that after a shooting, we're supposed to tone it down and pretend to be nice and play along.  No.

*Does anyone ever notice how much Trump loves to bring up his uncle, the professor from MIT, as evidence that he, Donald, must be smart?


  1. {Insert requisite gun debate here}

    1. {Insert Godwin's Law demonstration here}

    2. {insert pithy trolling here}

    3. {Insert angry over-reaction, thereby validating the trolling effort here}

    4. {insert celebration of winning the conversation here}

    5. {Insert futile attempt to regain dignity here}

    6. By the way, you know that Hitler invented Godwin's Law, right?