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Tag: 25th amendment

The Dilemma Confronting Merrick Garland Is Worse Than You Think

None of us wants to live in the kind of country where losing an election means going to prison. Russia, for example, or the proverbial Banana Republic. Anywhere the powerful can have their freedom taken away, many fear that theirs too is in danger.

Even more oppressive, however, are regimes where the powerful enjoy absolute impunity. Equality under the law is the one right upon which all the others depend.

It follows, then, that Attorney General Merrick Garland faces the toughest of choices. Politically speaking, the only thing worse than failing to indict Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 mob assault upon the U.S. Capitol would be to charge the crazy SOB and fail to convict him.

Conspiracy charges are notoriously hard to prove.

Trump’s trial would be a legal spectacle like none before it. Jury selection alone would be a nightmare, mob violence a strong likelihood.

Too bad former Vice President Mike Pence, former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and other cabinet members who talked about using the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office after the insurrection failed to follow through.

A majority vote of Trump’s cabinet signifying that he was non compos mentis on the subject of the 2020 presidential election might have given pause to all but the most delusional members of the Trump cult before their suspicions hardened into dogma.

Non compos mentis as in crazy as a loon, crazier than the proverbial outhouse rat, crazier than a bag of cats, etc. During his videotaped testimony to the committee, Trump's former Attorney General William P. Barr said, “I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, boy … he has become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff.”

When he would try to explain how bizarre some of the voter fraud allegations pushed by cranks like Rudy Giuliani and the My Pillow Guy were, Barr added, “there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.”

Former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien told the committee that following the election, the former president’s immediate circle separated into “Team Crazy” vs. “Team Normal” and that the president had no use for the normal ones.

Mere reality, you see, has never meant much to Trump when compared to the intensity of his needs. That’s how he managed to go bankrupt running a casino; an airline, a make-believe “university,” etc. If the numbers don’t add up, he invents his own numbers, declares bankruptcy, and then cons somebody into lending him some more.

Anybody want to buy a used golf course?

In the present instance, the House Select Committee has learned that the Trump campaign solicited political donations for an “Official Election Defense Fund,” which happened not to exist.

Instead, Trump put the cash to other uses.

Same as it ever was.

So what are his needs? Well, the diagnostic criteria for “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” are as follows:

“A. Grandiose sense of self-importance or uniqueness, e.g. exaggeration of achievements and talents….

B. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance….

C. Exhibitionism: the person requires constant attention and admiration.

D. Cool indifference or marked feelings of rage, inferiority, shame, humiliation or emptiness in response to criticism…or defeat.”

Also, “entitlement,” “interpersonal exploitativeness,” and “lack of empathy.”

Sound like anybody we all know?

According to his niece, Mary L. Trump, a clinical psychologist and author of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, Uncle Donald is essentially a textbook case.

Like his cruel, bullying father before him.

Years ago, I wrote a book called Widow’s Web about an Arkansas murderer who turned the state upside down with the help of a showboating elected sheriff and a gullible, sensationalizing news media. Best thing I’ve ever done. Anyway, for a couple of years, the exploits and bizarre alibis of Mary Lee Orsini were all anybody here talked about; another textbook case.

Here’s how I summed her up:

“Criminal psychopaths live as permanent impostors. They know right from wrong; they just don’t give a damn. Their world divides into user and used; morality consists of fear of getting caught. And whatever happens, somebody else is always to blame. To the question: Are psychopaths sick or are they evil? There is just one answer: They are both…. ‘Moral imbeciles’ was the nineteenth-century term. The prisons are full of them.”

Could Trump himself end up in prison? Frankly, I can’t imagine that happening. There’s just no telling what mad acts he and his more enraptured followers would be capable of to prevent that happening. Remember, whatever happens, somebody else is always to blame.

As the evidence accumulates of the former president’s complicity in raising a mob to prevent Congress from certifying the presidential election, Merrick Garland’s dilemma deepens. He’s no rookie, having prosecuted both “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski and Oklahoma City terror bomber Timothy McVeigh. But he’s walking into a snake’s nest now.

Why McCarthy's Pathetic Groveling Is So Important To Trump

Call it the dictator’s paradox: By demonstrating weakness, you affirm the Big Man’s power. By groveling, you gain standing. Pretending to believe what’s patently false, you affirm manly independence from what Swift mockingly called “the vulgar Dictates of unrefined Reason.”

It’s not a question of true or false; it’s a matter of who’s in charge, a form of moral cowardice common in the pre-Civil Rights South: say, the Alabama of George Wallace or the Arkansas of Orval Faubus. Cowering acknowledges respect for the way of the world, enhancing one’s standing.

Up until the rotten edifice collapses, that is, when the ambitious sycophant may suffer a bad fall. Hard core segregationists became hard to find down South after the Civil Rights Act.

So it is with Trumpism. What happens if the Big Man’s strength proves more illusory than real? After all, everybody with sense enough to come in from the rain knows that Donald J. Trump didn’t merely lose the 2020 presidential election; he lost it by seven million votes.

What if something like that happens again, as appears quite likely? Whatever will become of the Rep. Kevin McCarthys of the world, who have turned themselves upside-down and inside-out to affirm Trump’s most preposterous lies?

Once upon a time, the California congressman who yearns to be Speaker of the House was overheard in a recorded conversation with a group of fellow Republicans on June 15, 2016, obtained by the Washington Post.

“There’s two people I think [Russian dictator Vladimir] Putin pays: [Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy said.

None of his listeners objected. Plays a bit differently today, doesn’t it? But then Trump went on to win the GOP presidential nomination, McCarthy made nice, and the two became allies.

His most recent series of blunders have made McCarthy look even weaker. Basically, he jumped into his own trap. Excerpts from a new book by two New York Times reporters titled This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future, began to circulate around Washington last week. It quoted McCarthy describing Trump’s role in the January 6 Capitol riot as “atrocious and totally wrong.”

He’d even gone far enough to inquire about using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office and put Mike Pence in his place.

Two days later, the Times reported, the House minority leader held a telephone conference with his leadership team. Regarding Trump’s conduct on January 6, McCarthy told the group “What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it.”

Responding to a question from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) about the likelihood of Trump resigning, McCarthy said he planned to phone Trump about the Democrats’ forthcoming impeachment resolution. He said he would tell the president that “I think [the resolution] will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign.”

TheTimes report stipulated that its reporters had “reviewed the full recording of the conversation.”

Seemingly panicked, McCarthy ignored the blinking red light and blundered on. He and his press spokesman put out dueling statements denying everything. The Times story, McCarthy insisted, was “totally false and wrong.”

Bad move.

Reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program that same night, and played the audio tape.

Uh-oh. How could McCarthy not suspect that Liz Cheney would keep a recording of the call, and might be disinclined to keep his secrets after he’d purged her from House leadership to please Trump? (To be fair, she has denied taping the call or leaking the audio.)

After all, history records that only days after President Biden’s inauguration, McCarthy had hurried down to Mar-a-Lago to roll on his back and pee on his belly like a puppy before the former president.

So now the Very Cowardly GOP Leader has had to do it all over again. Knowing a sycophant when he sees one, Trump has gone out of his way to appear magnanimous. McCarthy, he told the Wall Street Journal, had changed his mind “when he found out the facts.”

“I think it’s all a big compliment, frankly,” Mr. Trump said about Republicans who doubted him after January 6, but later changed their minds. “They realized they were wrong and supported me.”

That’s just how Trump likes it. He has a downright canine understanding of who’s the Big Dog in any relationship. “Trump actually prefers it when people oppose him and then have to beg for his forgiveness,” Salon's Heather Digby Parton has written. “It shows dominance. And if there’s one thing we know, dominance tastes sweeter to him when he forces it with his boot on his rivals’ necks.”

But it’s all dependent upon the perception that Republican voters remain in thrall to the Big Loser. And there are growing indications that his hold over the base could be waning. Upcoming GOP primaries in Pennsylvania, Ohio and particularly Georgia don’t look so good for Trump-endorsed candidates.

Ruling by fear only works when there’s something to be afraid of.

McCarthy Seeks To Soothe Trump After Embarrassing Audio Surfaces

Days after the Jan 6 insurrection, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told top GOP lawmakers in a call that he would ask Trump to resign, according to a newly released audio clip, prompting Trump’s allies to question McCarthy’s suitability for the top job of House speaker should the Republicans win back control.

The audio contradicts McCarthy’s fiery denial of a Thursday New York Times bombshell report about McCarthy’s propositions to Republican leaders on how best the party and Trump could handle the fallout.

In the clip, McCarthy spoke about a conversion he had with then-President Trump, where he pressed Trump on whether he bore responsibility for the vile riot that resulted in the death of Capitol law enforcement and the delay of the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

“Well, let me be very clear to all of you, and I’ve been very clear to the president — He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No if’s, and’s or but’s. I asked him personally today, ‘Does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened?’ He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened and he needs to acknowledge that,” McCarthy said in a clip that CNN obtained.

The minority leader also expressed concerns that Trump would ask him about getting a pardon from then-Vice President Mke Pence, who would have become president if Trump resigned. “Now, this is one personal fear I have. I do not want to get in any conversation about Pence pardoning,” he said in the audio.

Meanwhile, on a separate call the day before, McCarthy had expressed his frustrations with Trump, saying, "I had it with this guy. What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it," according to CNN.

The Washington Post reported Friday that McCarthy had hopped on a call with former President Trump shortly after the audio was released. McCarthy has also spoken to prominent Republicans in a bid to calm stormy waters and prevent a party revolt, according to CNN.

Former President Trump was not angry with McCarthy for his outburst, according to Politico. Instead, he was glad McCarthy didn’t follow up on the plan to seek his resignation, a sign of his vice-like grip on the GOP.

Citing anonymous sources, multiple news outlets predict potential party infighting in a closed-door meeting McCarthy will host with Republicans next week. The minority leader will hope to move past this controversy and shore up support in the party.

According to the Washington Post, the House GOP is awaiting a public response from former President Trump on the matter, so they can decide whether or not to continue backing McCarthy as their leader.

Former President Trump didn’t comment on the audio in his speech at a Heritage Foundation in Florida on Thursday night.

Book: Graham Threatened Trump With 25th Amendment After Capitol Insurrection

A new book is shedding light on Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) push back against former President Donald Trump while an angry mob of far-right Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, the authors of the book, titled This Will Not Pass, detailed the Republican senator's call to White House general counsel Pat Cipollone.

During the call, Graham reportedly leveled a threat toward Cipollone, saying, "we’ll be asking for the 25th Amendment” if Trump didn't take aggressive action to quell the chaos erupting inside the federal building.

Speaking to the authors of the book after the chaos waned on January 6, Graham reportedly said, “People will say, ‘I don’t want to be associated with that.’ ... There will be a rallying effect for a while, the country says: We’re better than this,” Graham said, according to Axios.

While an impeachment trial could have led to Trump's removal, a CNN report highlighted the unique difference between impeachment and the 25th Amendment:

"The 25th Amendment, which has periodically been discussed as a means of last resort to remove a rogue or incapacitated president, would be a faster route to removing Trump."

So, how would that have worked? CNN senior writer Zachary Wolf explained the full process.

"To forcibly wrest power from Trump, Pence would have to be on board, according to the text of the amendment," Wolf wrote. "Pence would also need either a majority of Trump's Cabinet officials to agree the President is unfit for office and temporarily seize power from him."

He added, "Trump could dispute their move with a letter to Congress. Pence and the Cabinet would then have four days to dispute him, Congress would then vote -- it requires a two-thirds supermajority, usually 67 senators and 290 House members to permanently remove him."

According to HuffPost, the January 6 insurrection wasn't the only time the 25th Amendment was mentioned. The book details reportedly follow multiple occasions where lawmakers discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

Roger Stone Unveils Insane Plan To Install Trump As President (VIDEO)

Longtime right-wing political henchman Roger Stone on Thursday revealed his new plan to install Donald Trump into the presidency. Speaking to the Republican Accountability Project, Stone shared his blueprint for, as he sees it, rectifying the crime of Trump's defeat to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

The three-point plan goes as follows:

First, Stone expects the House of Representatives to elect Trump as its Speaker if they retake control of the lower congressional chamber in this year's midterm elections. This is permitted in the United States Constitution. Literally, anybody whom a majority of the House chooses can hold the gavel as long as they meet the basic qualifications for getting elected, which in the House is any citizen 25 years of age and up.

Next, Stone predicts that Biden's Cabinet will invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Over what, he did not say.

In the final stage, according to Stone, Congress will impeach and remove Vice President Kamala Harris for refusing to promote ivermectin, a deworming medication used in horses, as an effective treatment against COVID-19. It is not.

At that point, with Biden and Harris out of office, Trump would ascend to the presidency via the line of succession.

Watch below:

Twitter had some questions.

Something seems missing from this equation.

Removing an impeached president and/or vice president requires the consent of 67 Senators.

Not to mention this little snag.

And this one.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Pence Refuses To Oust Trump Using 25th Amendment

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

As the House of Representatives prepared Tuesday night to vote on a resolution calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from his position, the man first in line to the Oval Office wrote a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi denying the request.

He started by acknowledging the shock of "the attack on our Nation's Capitol last week," and he praised her and others in Congress for their "leadership." But he wrote sharply against the idea of using the 25th Amendment.

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Trump Warns Against Impeachment, Issues Vague Threat To Biden

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened that efforts to invoke the 25th Amendment "will come back to haunt Joe Biden" and claimed the movement to impeach him "is very dangerous" for America.

"The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration," Trump said in remarks delivered in Alamo, Texas.

"The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country, and is causing tremendous anger and division and pain, far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the U.S.A."

The comments follow Trump's statement earlier in the day, when he said his call for supporters to flood the Capitol at a rally Wednesday morning was "totally appropriate," despite the death and destruction that followed.

Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and other lawmakers, have called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Trump Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

The House of Representatives is set to vote this week on an impeachment resolution citing Trump's decision to incite the riot.

From a Jan. 21 speech:

DONALD TRUMP: Before we begin, I'd like to say that free speech is under assault like never before. The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration.
As the expression goes, be careful what you wish for.
The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country, and is causing tremendous anger and division and pain, far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the U.S.A., especially at this very tender time.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Can Mike Pence Save The Country From Trump?

After three years and 50 weeks of meekly deferring to Donald Trump, Mike Pence finally ran out of patience Tuesday. Trump demanded that the vice president block Congress' certification of Joe Biden's election victory, and Pence gave his answer: No.

That refusal so infuriated Trump that he appeared at a rally in Washington, castigated his long-suffering subordinate and urged followers to march on the U.S. Capitol. "You'll never take back our country with weakness," he bellowed. Soon after, a mob was smashing windows, attacking police and invading the Senate chamber, forcing Pence and others to seek safety.

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