Trump's impeachment is now in play

When Republican congressmen and Wall Street start turning on The Donald, then it's only a matter of time.
This is no longer an Orange State wet dream.

If President Donald Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to stop investigating National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and his ties to Russia, that’s obstruction of justice. But let’s be clear: It’s the impeachable offense of obstruction. It’s probably not the criminal version of that act. With the evidence now available, it’s extremely unlikely that an ordinary prosecutor could convict Trump.

This is an outstanding example of a crucial distinction that Americans badly need to keep in mind. High crimes and misdemeanors, to use the Constitution’s phrase, aren’t the same as ordinary crimes. What makes them “high” is their political character. High crimes and misdemeanors are corruption, abuse of power, and undermining the rule of law and democracy. They don’t have to satisfy all the technical aspects of an ordinary crime. And this act of Trump’s, as described in a memo written by Comey first reported Tuesday by the New York Times, probably doesn’t.

Start with the federal obstruction statute, 18 U.S.C. Section 1503. The first part of the law has to do with trying to influence jurors in the course of a trial; we can ignore it for our purposes.

The second part of the law punishes anyone who “corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice.”

Personally I think Pence is much, much worse than Trump, but what I think doesn't matter.

As of mid-Wednesday morning, widely followed site PredictIt was indicating about a 27 percent chance that Congress would move to boot Trump out of office. While that's barely a 1-in-4 probability, it's up dramatically from as recently as May 8, when the probability was as low as 7 percent.

I also think that people need to take into account the reaction of the Trump fans. They will be rightly pissed. They will assume this to be a soft coup.
We could see some serious radicalization here.

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Comments

Azazello's picture

You know that "intel" that Trump shared with Russia, about the laptop bomb plot ? Looks like what may have outraged the "intelligence community" was that the source of the intel was our mortal enemy/close ally ISIS. Can't have that getting out. Dances with Bears

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GreatLakeSailor's picture

@Azazello

Error establishing a database connection

Too much traffic?

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The only reason the 1% are rich is because the 99% have agreed to it.

Azazello's picture

@GreatLakeSailor
It looks like the site is down. It was linked at naked capitalism this morning and it worked then. I read it. The gist of the story still shows up in the address bar at the top.

washington-post-reveals-isis-was-partner-supplying-trump-intelligence-briefing-for-russian-officials

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Azazello

On the other hand, they may have gotten it from ISIS in one of their military hospitals, where ISIS injuries are treated.

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lotlizard's picture

@Pluto's Republic Israel has been treating injured ISIS fighters (cloaked by the vague and generic designation “Syrian rebels”) in its hospitals.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=israel+isis+hospital&t=ffsb&ia=web

https://foreignpolicy.com/2014/06/11/exclusive-israel-is-tending-to-woun...
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-civil-war-the...
http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-Israel-treating-al-Qaida-fighter...
https://news.vice.com/article/inside-the-hospital-where-israeli-doctors-...

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@Azazello

Thanks for the article!

Right, think I've got it now: it's so essential that Russian civilians be blown up by terrorists because not enough innocent people are killed already in the search for profits and power to steal for corporations by the world's largest military and by the terrorists predominately created by this murderous and destructive pathology exerted within multiple countries for 'the Right Fossil Fuel Interests/MIC' and which terrorists are sometimes funded/trained/armed/otherwise aided by various US government departments/agencies.

Russian citizens are not 'the enemy'; Russia is not 'the enemy' - The Psychopaths That Be are the enemy and here they're upset because they're forced to miss out on allowing the slaughter of tourists snd business-people simply taking a commercial flight.

TPTB and their lackeys always manage to go lower yet than any low which we normals could ever imagine - there is no bottom or end to this evil...

Actually, this seems to indicate that however lunatic Trump may be, he at least isn't murderously psychopathic and seems at least to realize to allowing airplanes full of people to be blown up isn't acceptable. No wonder they want to get rid of him to install Pence.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

The Aspie Corner's picture

And that makes me wonder what the so-called 'resistance' who helped him get elected will do should the Orange Cheeto be removed from office.

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tweeting, its been 22h since his last tweet.

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CB's picture

@LaFeminista
Very hard to consider long term ramifications when the thinking process is broken up into 140 byte sections.

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Centaurea's picture

@CB You'd think the president of the United States would have more important things to occupy his time and energy than constantly posting on twitter.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep." ~Rumi

@CB

... Very hard to consider long term ramifications when the thinking process is broken up into 140 byte sections.

Especially when the thinking may be broken as well. Have to admit that I can actually empathize with that problem, if not with the results or the very notion of Trump's being in a position to make decisions affecting others. But once Pence is in, I'm afraid that the grating of America and the world will become just that much more devastating.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

edg's picture

Trump told Comey Flynn's a "good guy" and he "hoped" Comey could let this go. Hope surely fits the definition of “corruptly or by threats or force" in 18 USC § 1503. Hope is corrupt. Hope is a threat. Hope is force.

Of course, the biggest problem for whoever it was that foolishly cited this statute is that it only applies to obstruction against jurors and officers of the court. Comey was neither.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@edg The twin corollaries of this is Truth is a threat, Truth is force, Truth is illegal and punishable..

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to the demands of the War Party before the NATO summit on May 25 and does what they told him to do (give a presentation selling an escalation of the war in Afghanistan, deployment of significant number of troops, commit to a long term occupation, and urge NATO allies to contribute bodies and money, and allow the generals to set troop levels going forward) then I'm willing to bet this thing goes away.

I agree with the VIPS former intelligence guys saying this is a soft coup attempt. It's a regime change operation like the deep state/War Party inflicts on any leader or country who doesn't do what they're told.

The "Comey memos" will be convenient to keep hanging over his head though, I suppose, if he does submit and the impeachment threat disappears suddenly just like other extreme accusations have done in the past.

I can't STAND this guy but the idea that this president gets impeached during a warmonger witch hunt and the past 2 presidents' war crimes go unpunished (hell one of them is still holding a Nobel Peace Prize) is absurd in a major way. I believe it will destablize the country and blood will be shed.

Pence isn't just a worse option, he's a massively worse option. He's a Cheney. And he won't be running the country anyway. The deep state will have proven to everyone that they run the country. That will be crystal clear.

I really hope people can compartmentalize their hatred for Trump and see clearly what is going on here.

Edit: re: Afghanistan, I'm referring to this report of generals and intel community assessment that it will take 50K troops "to save the Kabul government" and the war plan also called for generals being able to set their own troop levels going forward with no approval from the White House.
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-17/trump-has-to-decide-5...

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gulfgal98's picture

@Joanne Leon and I am glad to see you post here, Joanne.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStopthe Signal

joe shikspack's picture

@Joanne Leon

who see that a coup is happening here is small and probably dwarfed by the numbers of people who just want trump gone because he offends their sensibilities. the propaganda is pretty thick these days, and the deep-state media wurlitzer is certainly pandering quite effectively to the anti-trump crowd.

good to see you here, joanne!

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Joanne Leon

...geopolitically, in containing China and cutting Russia. That's right on the money, I'd say.

By my reckoning, the coup occurred in early April when Trump announced that Assad can stay and the US was going to move on. Two days later, Assad supposedly used a chemical weapon pointlessly against a handful of civilians, followed by Trump's war crime attack with Tomahawk missiles against a sovereign nation without notifying congress or the UN. By the end of that week, all of the cabinet's positions suddenly flipped 180 degrees on Russia, China, and other evil middle-class nations.

Looking into this obstruction story, I discover that the source is a partial sentence from an invisible Memo, that was read out of context over the telephone by an "anonymous source" to an also anonymous New York Times reporter. The memo remains invisible because no one has ever seen it.

Therefore, the NYT rushes to hysterical print, breaking this major [!!!] story, and doing their best to imply an intent to corrupt. Mind you, Flynn had already resigned and the investigation was not open-ended. The pumas at the Times are ridiculous.

Trump will certainly not serve a full term. But these are not the droids we're looking for.

[EDIT: Oy the typos.]

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Alligator Ed's picture

@Joanne Leon I checked the link to Eli Lake, who is no peacenik but a shill for the War Party, you know the one with the red and blue shoes. He mentions all kinds of stuff about Afghanistan, about what military posture would be endorsed by Trump but he does not mention the third, most obvious, possibility, which is to get the Hell Out of Afghanistan. After Karzai's corrupt government, and now with Ghani's likely equally corrupt government, why should we even be in that desolate poppy patch? Yeah, I know: let's make the US safe from the Taliban, who are constantly threatening our country by cutting off a major source of heroin. Maybe Elon Musk is pushing for control of Afghanistan because it is a major source of lithium?

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smiley7's picture

@Joanne Leon

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Not Henry Kissinger's picture

Comey is compromised.
Flynn did nothing wrong.
The Goopers are too afraid of their base (with good reason).
Trump has more institutional support than you think.
Nobody trusts the media pushing this Constitutional WMD.
Cenk's a Hillary shill.
Bloomberg is not Wall Street.
Al Green is not a Republican.

So take a deep breath and please stop catapulting the propaganda. It doesn't suit you.

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I am waiting for you, Vizzini.

@Not Henry Kissinger Paul Ryan is with tRump. Ryan don't want that on his watch. I do wonder though if tRump going to "unmask" the Deep State on this bullshit.

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@Not Henry Kissinger
you're right.

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@Not Henry Kissinger
On every news source.
When the stock market drops 2% on the news it's serious.

Does that mean it'll happen? Not necessarily, but it' s in play now.

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Amanda Matthews's picture

idea as long as they think it hurts Trump. Some even think they can overturn the election.

Pence will freaking eat their lunch.

Idiots.

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dkmich's picture

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_line_of_succession

Look at this order of succession.
BUT WHAT IS THIS FOR PRESIDENT? Is this say Hillary would become President and not Pence?

The current presidential order of succession is:[2]
Key
Eligible Democrat (D)
Eligible Republican (R)
Eligible Independent (I)
Eligible Unknown
Not eligible

No. Office Current officer
1 Vice President Mike Pence (R)
2 Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R)
3 President pro tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch (R)
4 Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R)
5 Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (R)
6 Secretary of Defense James Mattis (I)
7 Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R)
8 Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (R)
9 Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (R)
10 Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (R)
11 Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta (R)
12 Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price (R)
13 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson (R)
– Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao (R)[a]
14 Secretary of Energy Rick Perry (R)
15 Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (R)
16 Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin (I)
17 Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly (I)

Am I being incredibly dumb and missing something I should get?

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*donate *follow us on Twitter *like us on Facebook

...why anyone would defend this POS. And no, HRC would not have been worse. She would have been scandal plagued - but with a GOP Congress. In other words, she wouldn't have gotten anything done.

This guy will get a free pass on everything from the Republican Congress. He will not be impeached. We will get a massive tax cut for the rich and draconian cuts on SS, Medicaid and Medicare. Hillary would have cut, but probably not draconian.

Don't think for a second that HRC is the only one of the two that would start a war, because Donnie has one ready to go you can be sure. It's the classic deflection and he has played every other one except a war.

Republicans will play this guy out until they can't get everything they want, which means until at least the 2018 elections.

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@Blueslide credit here to both Hillary and Repugnants. I'm quite sure she'd work with them, hell many of their voters voted for HER. Sure, there'd be some major "obstruction" but only for anything that might truly be actually progressive for ordinary people. Do you really see her using that veto pen for things she at the end of the day is on board with? Far easier for her to just say "look at those evil sexist Repugnants and tell me you're wondering why I just can't get anything done?" "Sorry, I tried my best but they are simply deplorable and there's nothing I can do about that."

As for the wars she'd probably already have us on the ground in Syria because the deep state gets its way every single time. This is a war between HER backers of the Deep State vs Trump's backers is all, and we would in no way, shape or form ever come out on top of that battle.

She wouldn't have been as draconian? I guess that depends on just what we consider truly draconian. If a few cuts on social spending are OK in an already shitty system, then I see very little difference between his draconian approach and her far more subtle and disingenuous one. Same ends.

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CB's picture

@Blueslide
Syrian airfield. She said she would have bombed all of them.

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@Blueslide

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dfarrah

@dfarrah @dfarrah exactly...he won't be impeached is my point. But say what you want about TOP, they are right about one thing... if HRC were in office sharing secrets with other countries, running a for profit family affair masquerading as a government, having spokespeople lie only to contradict them hours later etc etc...we'd have impeachment proceedings all day,
every day.

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@Blueslide

As Secretary of State, Hillary WAS in office doing many stupid, venal, evil and disgusting things, including the hazarding of US national security - and was evidently considered to be above the law on all of many, many counts. What official and pursued complaints were the Republicans making about her inability to follow even basic protocol have I missed the mention of? (Serious question.)

Please note that the two corporate parties never seems to really go after each other on any of the many real issues, typically involving making either defusing or distracting accusations, ones which can maintain a pretense of two sides of the same coin being in opposition to each other, often involving things which can easily disputed as 'right wing conspiracies' or 'left-wing nonsense'. And that Hillary gets on really well with her soulless Republican compatriots, despite the competition for the same donors, Hillary having won many of the Republican Big Donors in this last election.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

is a totally idiotic idea. It borders on being outright insane. No matter which way you look at it, it's a lose-lose proposition -- there is no up side to it, and the down side is potentially catastrophic. Is it really that hard to imagine the chaos that would result? To the neglect of nearly all other concerns, and the creation of a permanently hostile American underclass?

DC politicians might not realize how unpopular they are even now, but if they ever manage to pull off this particular stunt, they're all gonna need to hire armed security guards.

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native

@native
Impeaching Trump would accomplish nothing except radicalizing the working class.

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@gjohnsit I'd say voting for a white nationalist/racist/misogynist is about as radicalized as you can get.

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CB's picture

CIA's Team B has taken over America.

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@CB

and from Fox News of all places. I'm thinking everything must be turning upside down.

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native

Alligator Ed's picture

@CB then I would agree. The CIA which was so adept at safeguarding their hacking tools (s/) has now sent in the junior varsity to continue hammering an the Orangutang. Ain't gonna work, fellas. The aroma of bullshit is just too strong.

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CB's picture

@Alligator Ed
between the government and the low level CIA operatives that do the real work. They act like a filter to ensure only their version of the 'truth' gets through.

The following gives insight. It is very hard to paraphrase so I'll just give you some teasers.

The history of the Neocon takeover of the USA (a 4 part analysis)
...
Most Americans outside of Washington policy circles don’t know about Team B, where it came from or what it did, nor are they aware of its roots....
...
Populated by an inbred class of former Trotskyist intellectuals, the Team B approach represented a radical transformation of America’s national security bureaucracy into a new kind of elitist cult. In the 1960s Robert McNamara’s numbers and statistics justified bad policy decisions, now personal agendas and ethnic grudges would turn American foreign policy into an ideological crusade. Today those in control of that crusade fight desperately to maintain their grip, but only by de-encrypting the evolution of this secret “double government” can anyone understand America’s unrelenting post-Vietnam drift into despotism over the last 40 years.

Rooted in what can only be described as cult thinking, the Team B experiment tore down what was left of the CIA’s pre-Vietnam professional objectivity by subjecting it to politicization. Earlier in the decade, the CIA’s Office of Strategic Research (OSR) had been pressured by Nixon and Kissinger to corrupt their analysis to justify increased defense spending but the Team B’s ideological focus and partisan makeup so exaggerated the threat, the process could never return to normal.

The campaign was driven by the Russophobic neoconservative cabal which included Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pipes, Richard Perle and a handful of old anti-Soviet hardliners like Paul Nitze and General Danny Graham. It began with a 1974 article in the Wall Street Journal by the famed nuclear strategist and former Trotskyist Albert Wohlstetter decrying America’s supposed nuclear vulnerability. It ended 2 years later with a ritualistic bloodletting at the CIA, signaling that ideology and not fact-based analysis had gained an exclusive hold on America’s bureaucracy.
...
The odd, psychologically conflicted and politically divisive ideology referred to as Neoconservatism can claim many godfathers. Irving Kristol, father of William Kristol, Albert Wohlstetter, Daniel Bell, Norman Podhoretz and Sidney Hook come to mind and there are many others. But in both theory and its practice the title of founding-father of the neoconservative agenda of endless warfare that rules the thinking of America’s defense and foreign policies today might best be applied to James Burnham.
...
Croziers cooperation with numerous “able and diligent Congressional staffers” as well as “the remarkable General Vernon (‘Dick’) Walters, recently retired as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence,..” cemented the rise of the neoconservatives. When Carter caved in to the Team B and his neoconservative National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski’s plot to lure the Soviets and into their own Vietnam in Afghanistan it fulfilled Burnham’s mission and delivered the world to the Machiavellians without anyone being the wiser. As George Orwell wrote in his Second Thoughts on James Burnham, “What Burnham is mainly concerned to show [in The Machiavellians] is that a democratic society has never existed and, so far as we can see, never will exist. Society is of its nature oligarchical, and the power of the oligarchy always rests upon force and fraud… Power can sometimes be won and maintained without violence, but never without fraud.”
...

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@CB
to your writing on Team B with real hopefulness. I hope also that you will go back before WWII to research where the power of these Nazis comes from. You rock.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@Linda Wood But you have to be patient. The overall video is 3:30:00 long with the first half dealing with pre- and immediate post WW2 dark state politics, including the attempted 1934 coup against FDR:

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@Alligator Ed
is my middle name. Thank you for this. I will watch it soon. Peace.

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@Alligator Ed
Just Wow. I am only a third of the way through it, but I'm truly impressed and can't wait to see the rest. Thank you so much. I had not heard of this film or its maker. No doubt everyone who is interested in the history of the world in the last century will have his or her own perspective about parts of the film, but there is so much to think about here. Thank you, sincerely.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@Linda Wood Smile

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@Alligator Ed @Alligator Ed

Wow and thanks for posting this. It certainly - and - plausibly - covers/links/explains a lot and seems to fill in many gaps.

I've often thought that referring to Nazi-like behaviours and attitudes was discouraged precisely because of the industry/government Nazi influence and this is, of course, also Mafia-like in many ways, as is much US government behaviour and mind-set.

But they all do need to go... just don't ask me how...

Edited because once again the last part of a sentence jumped elsewhere.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Alligator Ed's picture

@CB I previously thought Team B would rank rank behind the A Team, but nothing in neoConditry makes much sense. But I do understand their slogan: "kill, kill, kill, it's great to be an American killer". Or did I mess that up too?

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We should remember that originally Trump didn't want Pence as his running mate, but was strongly advised to select him by GOP insiders. The smartest thing Trump could do now is get rid of Pence and select his own VP, unbeholding to GOP. But I don't know if he can see that Pence is his biggest threat. And ours.

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boriscleto's picture

@Alyosha Except he can't just fire Pence...

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" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

https://youpic.com/photographer/boriscleto/

joe shikspack's picture

assuming that they could.

trump is a weak president that has the democrat base angry, mobilized and active. he is their best chance to turn over legislative seats in 2018 assuming that people don't catch on that democrats are just republicans in drag.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@joe shikspack establishment Dems will be totally reliant on fat cat donors. They may still may receive lots of money but their base is steadily eroding. Hat tip to Tom Perez and Nancy Pelosi there. Why don't they put John Podesta on a unity tour--meetings to be held at pizzerias.

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If Comey were a special prosecutor, you might make a case, but the FBI investigates cases not the Director. The acting director has already made a statement that the FBI has plenty of resources and will continue the investigation of Russian influence in the Trunp administration. Trump doesn't stop the investigation by firing Comey.
Trump mentioned that he "hoped that Comey would let it go". That's not even close to interference in an investigation.
Republicans are pissed that Nixon was driven from office, and will never forget it. They failed to get their revenge with the Clenis. Do you think for even a second that they will allow Donald Trump to be impeached and convicted, a 2/3 majority being required in the Senate? The impeachment and trial of Clinton resulted in a huge backlash against the Republicans, and Clinton's support increased. The same will happen with Trump only worse as this case is even more flimsy than "I did not have sex with that woman" Buba Clinton.
I can see it now: The economy is crashing, the environment is going to hell, NK is firing nukes at Tokyo and the US is totally tied up in a ridiculous impeachment proceeding.
Clearly, this is Hillary getting her revenge...at America for voting for Trump.

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Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

@The Wizard as a yuge distraction to the real damage he and Repugnants are already doing. He's hardly the first one to use timely distractions...

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ggersh's picture

going on is who benefits? her heinous is back to grifting, the CIA is
doing what the CIA does, Koch's have Pence in pocket, Russia is getting
shit on just cuz, China got away with everything in it's best deal w/trump
SA/Israel have wars being fought for and by them.

In the meantime clowngress is doing what it does best, collecting bribe money, FBI
has been neutered, trump family milking donations far and wide, O collecting for
services rendered, media using trump to milk in them profits.

We get Muslim ban, laptop ban, ACA ban, protest ban, speaking to admim official ban
or jail ban for the rich and famous.etc.etc.etc.etc.

I'd say even a banana republic looks better than what we have going on, sorry for
the insult banana republics

I'm sure I missed much but these are interesting times we live in.

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NO MORE WAR

It's no accident that the greatest period of shared prosperity in our nations modern history coincided with it's highest percentage of unionized
workers.

Bollox Ref's picture

had an opinion piece about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, based on mental health concerns.

I started to laugh. Sure, that's going to work smoothly, with nary a problem. We think we live in a divided country now!

I'm still not sure if the article was meant to be comic/snark.

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CB's picture

@Bollox Ref
will have to be removed for the very same reasons. Good thing these wackos have the best hwealth care money can buy to pay for their hospitalization.

I notice that WaPo and NYT are seriously discussing this shiite in their OPED pages.

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@CB is a good example.

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dfarrah

Alligator Ed's picture

Citing part of what seems to be a transcript of his oration, diatribe, harangue, bullshit comes this:

The second part of the law punishes anyone who “corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice.

That quote perfectly applies to James the Weasel Comey who shut down the Hillary email case but was also stonewalling the Seth Rich case. He is the bastard deserving of impeachment. Trump has been horrible but is doing one good thing: going after the deep state.

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