Frank Vyan Walton for Daily Kos
This week the House Judiciary Committee voted to begin a formal impeachment inquiry into the actions of Donald John Trump from just before the 2016 election until now. We don’t yet know what the outcome of that inquiry will be—whether it will lead to articles of impeachment and whether those articles will ultimately pass out of the committee to the full House, and from the House to the Senate. Currently, only 135 members of the House are on record as supporting this inquiry.
Whether he ultimately leaves as a result of trial in the Senate, his own resignation, or his ultimate defeat in 2020 we don’t yet know. But there will eventually be an end to his administration and that will be the point where the U.S. will have many various broken processes to pick up, dust off, and clean up.
In many ways, Trump has shown us the ragged edges of our democracy. He has stretched and pushed us as far away as possible from being a constitutional republic toward an authoritarian dictatorship. Even after he’s gone, there will be many fixes and corrections which will need to be put in place to prevent anyone from ever attempting anything like this in the future.
We’ve had many different examples of corruption during Trump’s awful reign, starting with the twisting of the Department of Justice into a partisan weapon against the rule of law. Attorney General Bill Barr clearly twisted the results of the Mueller report into a false “exoneration” when that was exactly what the special counsel did not find. Arguably, they were blocked from reaching a conclusion on the issue of conspiracy by the resistance of Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, who both were in contact with members of Russian intelligence during the campaign.
Prosecutors in the Stone case have come forward to point out that he was in contact with both WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 while also being in communication with the Trump campaign, and was able to pass information back and forth between them. Marcy “Emptywheel” Wheeler has recently documented that Stone was in possession of at least four different contact numbers for Trump and his organization, and did manage to share information with them for upcoming WikiLeaks releases.
On or about October 3, 2016, STONE wrote to a supporter involved with the Trump Campaign, “Spoke to my friend in London last night. The payload is still coming.”
Later that day, on or about October 4, 2016, the supporter involved with the Trump Campaign asked STONE via text message if he had “hear[d] anymore from London.” STONE replied, “Yes – want to talk on a secure line – got Whatsapp?” STONE subsequently told the supporter that more material would be released and that it would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign
But far more damning is that there are four Donald Trump phone numbers there, as well as numbers for his two assistants and his bodyguard, Keith Schiller.
Trump told Robert Mueller, under oath, that he didn’t remember being in the loop on Roger Stone’s efforts, clear lies.
Response to Question II, Part (e)
I was in Trump Tower in New York City on October 7, 2016.
I have no recollection of being told that WikiLeaks possessed or might possess emails related to John Podesta before the release of Mr. Podesta’s emails was reported by the media. Likewise, I have no recollection of being told that Roger Stone, anyone acting as an intermediary for Roger Stone, or anyone associated with my campaign had communicated with WikiLeaks on October 7, 2016.
Response to Question II, Part (f)
I do not recall being told during the campaign that Roger Stone or anyone associated with my campaign had discussions with any of the entities named in the question regarding the content or timing of release of hacked emails.
Response to Question ll, Part (g)
I spoke by telephone with Roger Stone from time to time during the campaign. I have no recollection of the specifics of any conversations I had with Mr. Stone between June 1.2016 and November 8, 2016. I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with him, nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign, although I was aware that WikiLeaks was the subject of media reporting and campaign-related discussion at the time.
Now we know that Trump spoke to Stone a lot. So much so it’s going to make clear all these claims are lies.
This indicates that Trump lied under oath in his written answers to Mueller in order to try to cover up exactly how much he knew about WikiLeaks’ plans to release their remaining information on the exact same day that The Washington Post revealed the existence of the Access Hollywood “Grab ‘em by the pussy” tape.
Mueller may have stated that no one in the Trump campaign participated in a conspiracy to coordinate with the various Russians who had hacked and were releasing negative data on Hillary Clinton and the DNC, but then again Roger Stone wasn’t an official member of the campaign.
Then you have the 10 various elements of obstruction by Trump, including trying to get White House counsel Don McGahn to get special counsel Robert Mueller removed for so-called “conflicts of interest” when he had already been cleared by the DOJ’s ethics department. When McGahn refused to talk to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the issue and threatened to quit, Trump tried to get him to lie about it to the press. He also tried to get former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to pass a note to Sessions to “get rid of Mueller,” and he stalled it until finally passing the note to Rick Dearborn, who ultimately didn't deliver it.
The DOJ has also been used to start an anti-trust investigation into California and several car manufacturers for their attempt to keep emissions and fuel-efficiency standards high, while the Trump administration tries to lower them.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department has opened up anti-trust investigations against four major automakers who have made a deal with California on emissions controls opposed by President Donald Trump.
The report states that Justice Department lawyers are seeking to determine if Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, BMW AG and Volkswagen AG violated federal competition laws after making the deal with California that go beyond what the Trump White House desires.
We have massive corruption inside the Department of Homeland Security with Customs and Border Protection and the handling of asylum cases, the placing of absolutely every person into detention camps, the separation of children from their families, and the violation of the Flores agreement by holding these families indefinitely in centers that are outside the reach of lawyers and state regulators.
The administration is moving to formally terminate the so-called “Flores Settlement Agreement,” the longstanding court settlement that governs how migrant children and families are treated in government custody.
Under the settlement, children cannot be held in federal detention centers for long — specifically, a 2015 ruling stipulated that neither children nor families could be held in federal detention for longer than 20 days.
Under the proposal announced Wednesday, ICE would be able to hold families long past that 20-day mark. If the judge in charge of enforcing the settlement signs off on the proposal, families would face indefinite detention as their cases proceed through the immigration courts, rather than being released from detention with a court date.
We’ve seen the corruption of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by Trump after his ridiculous claim that Hurricane Dorian was going to hit Alabama when it had already turned northward, moving away from fully hitting Florida. Then it turned out the it was White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney who had pushed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross into leaning on the NOAA.
Trump had been complaining about a tweet from the Birmingham, Alabama National Weather Service office correcting his false statements for days, according to the Washington Post.
That griping led Mulvaney to press Ross to obtain a public disavowal of the Birmingham statement from acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs, as first reported by the New York Times.
Ross reportedly called Jacobs on Friday and threatened him and other political staffers with termination should they not obey. Later that day, an unsigned statement went up on the NOAA website criticizing the Birmingham office for speaking in “absolute terms.”
We’ve seen Trump cut methane emissions standards, which are many times more dangerous than other greenhouse gases when it comes to retaining heat. Trump’s Treasury Department has been slashing housing regulations which were put in place as a result of the 2008 real estate crash. The Air Force has diverted flights to the Middle East just to stay over at Trump’s Scotland resort as part of a deal they have with the local airport, while Vice President Mike Pence spent more than $600,000 in limo fees during his visit to Trump’s golf resort in Ireland. Trump has stolen money from the families our military to spend on his border wall. He’s offered pardons to the members of his administration who break the law when trying to grab land for his wall.
The House Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas on Wednesday for records regarding President Donald Trump’s alleged offer of pardons to Homeland Security officials who violate the law in a pre-election mad-dash to build his beloved border wall.
With his promised border wall nowhere near complete, Trump has reportedly been pushing hard for any kind of progress on the ground to buttress his re-election campaign. That reportedly includes musing about pardoning officials who break the law to get the slapdash job done. The President has also reportedly offered pardons directly to officials who he has ordered to continue with border wall construction.
The new subpoenas seek documents and communications from the Department of Homeland Security about any potential pardons for agency employees either for building the wall or for immigration enforcement.
Just about every aspect of our government has been infiltrated by the corruption and self-dealing of this administration. What all of this has shown is that the protections built into our democracy and the power of various Inspector General departments within the agencies themselves need to be severely strengthened. The ability of Congress to perform oversight and to question members of the government need to be bolstered. More structural bulwarks, such as better protection for whistle-blowers, need to be erected. There should have been a path for former FBI director James Comey to come forward and bring up his concerns about Trump to Congress. We need a new rule for the OLC in terms of whether a current president can be indicted, and that rule needs to be amended or the statute of limitations for any potential crimes need to be extended until that person leaves office so that they can’t just run out the clock by remaining in office.
From top to bottom, we need to overhaul many avenues so that people who may have overstepped their bounds can be held to account.
Never again can any future administration be allowed to pull off any of the bullcrap that this administration has done and attempted. Systematically, item by item, our entire system needs a reboot. We need to refresh our democracy, and protect ourselves from future despots.
It may not be easy and it may not happen quickly, but it needs to be done.
We absolutely can not allow anything like what is happening right now to ever occur again. It absolutely needs to be blocked and stopped.
Hopefully, we will have learned this lesson. Hopefully, this experience will set us on a new and brighter path for the future.
We just have to survive the middle part, with a dangerous Trump in the driver’s seat for a little while longer.https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/9/15/1885062/-Ending-the-Trump-administration-may-be-the-best-thing-this-nation-has-ever-done