Failing Trump administration. Sad!


#4051

Probably not, but I’m learning more about Andrew Johnson by reading the Chernow biography of U.S. Grant, and I think he’s up there. The section leading up to Johnson’s impeachment recounts a number of episodes in which Johnson seems extremely sensitive to perceived slights and breaches of protocol, and is constantly trying to bully his associates and subordinates into showing their loyalty to him.


#4052

Another bad thing Kelly didn’t manage to prevent:


#4053

Enough already with this deification of Kelly. He was NOT a good guy. I don’t care what he comes out and says now.


#4054

LOL. I’m not deifying him; rather the opposite. He’s a bad fucker, and the he agreed to serve in order to moderate the worst impulses of Trump argument always struck me as a kind of Nuremberg defense.


#4055

Yeah I didn’t mean you, sorry. Just from the start everyone seemed to suggest that Kelly would be the “adult in the room” and save us from Trump.


#4056

One of the things that allows Trump to apparently get away with so much is that he blusters, and implies without actually telling outright someone to do something they shouldn’t do. A great example is the Cohen original congressional testimony thing. Trump implies and blusters and Cohen gets the message: here’s what I am saying to congress, even if I know it isn’t true. And then when it gets back to Trump (if it gets back), he and his defenders can say “I never said that” or “It’s just Trump being Trump…”

So apparently–per both Haberman at the Times and Leopold at BuzzFeed–with Kelly on the Kushner security clearances, Trump tried to do the same thing, and Kelly resisted. And resisted again. And finally Kelly told Trump that the president would have to explicitly give the order…which Trump did, and which Kelly put into his contemporaneous memo.


#4057

None of this is new. It’s why there is so little documentary evidence directly linking Hitler to the Final Solution. (i.e. to my understanding, there is no document saying “Go systematically kill the Jews” signed by Hitler, or even Himmler for that manner. The best we have is stuff from the Wannsee Conference prepared by people a few steps down, and some audio recorded of Himmler without his knowledge speaking generally about the thing they are doing being very hard but necessary, etc.)

When people do horrible things, they very often speak in euphemisms, and exert pressure on underlings to go take responsibility for what the superior clearly wants done, but is too smart to just say outright.

It’s utterly unsurprising that Trump may never have directly said, “I’m ordering you to stop this investigation.” He’s just a fucking dirtball who twists arms.


#4058

Except in this case, Trump may have given a sworn statement that he didn’t order Kushner’s security clearance, and in this one case, he did, and there’s documentary evidence of it… And that could be an issue for him.


#4059

Oh, I hope so. The one thing we have going for us here is that Trump is far dumber than he thinks he is. And grandiose - his narcissism let’s him think he’ll get away with anything he wants.


#4060

image


#4061

Heh. Yeah, I should’ve been more clear originally. A few reporters have been squawking that Kelly’s contemporaneous memos are what separate the Kushner security clearance thing out of the vast field of other shady ridiculous nonsense the President has engaged in over the last few years. And the reason for that is that – ugly warts and all – Kelly obviously figured “I’m not taking the fall for this bullshit” and got Trump to give an explicit order to do something that Kelly and the intel community really didn’t want to do.


#4062

Doesn’t this also mean that Kelly covered it up? That he lied at least by omission about the whole thing?


#4063

EDIT Pic is rendering weirdly so I removed the link.

Captain Big Dick, Toilet Salesman, has left the DoJ.


#4065

Wow, that photo scales superbly on a tablet.


#4066

As for the news about the DoJ guy, good. Too bad this will still look good on his resume.


#4067

Right. So here’s where it gets complicated and speculative-y. :)

It isn’t illegal for the President to just say “Give my shady-ass son-in-law a security clearance.” That’s within his powers. And he probably can even lie about whether he did that or not to the FBI or a DOJ investigator like Mueller. Probably.

But the problem for him comes in if he answered that question as part of other questions leading to a criminal act are concerned. Which may have happened. (Some say, likely to have happened.)

The easiest way to explain that is to use a hypothetical. Let’s say that you’re a team lead at a big company, and you have a keycard that lets you swipe into a building at any time of day or night. Let’s say then, that a crime is committed: Bob is suspected of stealing a few thousand bucks out of petty cash. The cops think he used someone’s keycard to swipe in after hours to steal that money.

Now, if the cops ask you, you can tell them “Yes, I gave my keycard to Bob, because I’m allowed to do that by company rules, and if Bob did anything untoward that’s on him.” What you did may look pretty bad, but you are probably going to be OK from a legal standpoint. But if you say “I have no idea how Bob got in, I certainly didn’t give him my keycard…” and then the cops find out you DID give Bob your keycard…well, now things are a little different, legally.

(if any of that makes sense…)


#4068

Sounds like we’re in splitting hairs territory, AKA “hey, it might have been illegal but no big deal, everyone does that kind of stuff, and at least it wasn’t 33 million emails or Benghazi”


#4069

To an extent, yeah. But if Jared used his security clearance to do something shady with Yemen or Saudi Arabia, this could be an issue.


#4070

Yes, I understand all that quite well. I don’t mean to say that Kelly did something criminal by keeping it secret. What I mean to say is that bravely bold Sir Kelly — adult in the room and constrainer of Trump’s worst impulses — is a fraud. He’s an enabler of Trump.


#4071

There are SO many things where if the President does it, it’s not illegal, because it’s an entire branch of government. The President could throw a dart a map and nuke the country that came up – not illegal. It’s infuriating when the Trump defense is, this action is with the legal powers of the office of the President.