You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Alan Zendell, July 16, 2019

Forty-five years ago, when Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s hit single said, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, here’s something that you’re never gonna forget,” they were talking about love. Today, with the specter of nearly sixteen months of election campaigns still to go (does this madness ever end?) those words have taken on a different, more sinister meaning. If you thought Donald Trump was a divisive spewer of hate and bigotry before, just wait. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Trump made it clear this week that nothing is too outrageous, too hateful, or too lacking in class in his win-at-any-cost approach to life. He elevated his rhetoric to outright lynch mob proportions, sounding even more like 1933 Adolph Hitler than he did in 2016. I don’t care which side you’re on politically. This is so far beyond politics, it has become an existential question of the survival of our national identity.

As we continue to struggle to put the aftereffects of our legacy of slavery and genocide (remember the native tribes that used to inhabit America?) behind us, Trump would usher in a new era of hate. In a transparent appeal to the Alt-Right and those who still subscribe to the Nazi-like mentality of the last century, he has thrown down the gauntlet to anyone who is not white enough, male enough, or American enough to suit his taste.

If you’re not the kind of American he believes in, you don’t belong in Trump’s America. He said so over the weekend in unambiguous, coherent (for him) terms. His rabid base heard him loud and clear. Did the rest of the country get the message? The rest of the world surely did, and not just countries where millions live in poverty and fear for their families. It’s become clearer every day to our erstwhile allies that the America Trump would build is not the country they tied their hopes to in the past.

Our (perhaps false) national image of openness, generosity, and commitment to democratic ideals has become one of selfishness, callous disregard, and lack of compassion. Not surprisingly, those qualities perfectly describe Trump himself. By attempting to change the country to look just like him, Trump, who views himself as godlike, makes a sick mockery of the Judeo-Christian tradition that men and women were created in God’s image.

Last week, I singled out Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for risking the party unity that is essential to defeating Trump in 2020 with her unbridled rhetoric. But I did not criticize her for being non-white, female, or progressive. I love what she represents. She is her generation’s embodiment of the American ideal of immigrants growing and strengthening our country. I didn’t call her anti-American, anti-Semitic, or a Communist, as Trump referred to her and the other members of the so-called Squad.

The Squad is four members of the US House of Representatives: AOC of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayasha Pressly of Massachusetts, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. They are all American citizens and women of color who hold strong beliefs and ideals and who are not afraid to speak their minds. They are anathema to Donald Trump who would banish them to the nonexistent places they came from that he conjured up in his sick mind.

Like many Americans, I am sometimes troubled by the things they say. They remind me of the deep divisions that still exist in America, and their sometimes exaggerated claims scare me, because they could deepen the racial and gender chasms that separate us. That said, they don’t scare me nearly as much as Donald Trump’s hate-mongering, which is made worse by the unwillingness of anyone in his party to call him out for it.

I’m angry as hell at the millions of Americans who buy Trump’s lies and bury their heads in their tax returns to avoid seeing and smelling the putrid corpse of America’s prestige in the world. I don’t blame the far right for Trump’s success – there aren’t enough of them to re-elect him. If he wins in 2020, it will be because of the indolence and intellectual laziness of Americans who won’t get involved. The real crisis in America isn’t at the Mexican Border. It’s the gradual erosion of what most of us believe in.

I normally don’t quote television personalities, but Stephen Colbert got it right last night. Commenting on Trump’s statement that if the Squad doesn’t like it here they should leave, Colbert suggested that Trump apply that to himself. He even suggested a place for him to go.

If you’re already nauseated by what politics has turned into in America, look closely at who is the chief purveyor of hate. Between now and November of 2020 it’s only going to get worse. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Evolution of AOC

Alan Zendell, July 12, 2019

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sprang onto the national scene in 2018 I cheered. She seemed to be exactly what the country needed in Congress – a young, intelligent, self-assured woman with a strong belief in social and racial equality, women’s rights, and the urgency of saving our environment. She also spoke about the need to defeat Donald Trump, which should have resolved any doubts I had about her. But even in my enthusiasm, fueled somewhat by the coincidence that she represented a district I lived in for many years, I had reservations.

Her youthful idealism reminded me of my own fifty years earlier, and her charisma made her delightfully attractive, especially her viral dancing videos on a New York City rooftop and entering her Congressional office for the first time. And in response to criticisms from the right and from within her own party she simply smiled and carried on, ignoring it. Very impressive!

But in the fifty years since I might have marched alongside her, oblivious of the collateral damage I might be causing, I grew up. I learned that sometimes goals have to be prioritized. Sometimes we have to reign in our passionately held ideals and recognize that in politics timing is everything. Sometimes fighting for something we believe in can undermine other, more fundamental ones, and we need to choose our battles carefully.

Perhaps the most important growing up lesson was that loners who never learn the value of being part of a team usually fail in the end. After watching her during her first six months in Congress, it’s clear that the evolution of AOC still has a long way to go. In her current incarnation, she is as much a danger to our future as a potential savior.

Today, a coworker said AOC’s behavior and overall demeanor reminded him of Trump’s. That startled me until I thought about it. I’d have said they couldn’t be more different, but if you disregard AOC’s words and focus only her brashness and her commitment to the promises she made to her base their similarity is striking. They both carved their own path through the jungle of politics. They both totally disregarded the establishment wing of their party and won upset victories that surprised everyone.

In Trump’s case, his victory left a horrifying trail of debris, the remnants of the former Republican Party. He not only trashed everything the legitimate Conservative movement stood for, but he has been on a thirty-month rampage that sought to redefine the rules of behavior and decency we live by and undermine the respect for law that has been the strength of our democracy. In doing so, he shined a spotlight on the fundamental weakness of what the Republican party had become prior to his campaign. What might once have been seen a strongly principled bloc of people turned out to be a bunch of self-absorbed sniveling cowards who trembled in the face of a far-right bigoted base that no one realized still existed in this country.

Given all that I have two concerns. One is that despite the skilled, strong leadership of Nancy Pelosi, AOC and her “Squad” may ultimately have a similar effect on the Democrats. Big tents contain disparate interests that don’t always get along. If she continues to create wide schisms among Democrats she can make her party as dysfunctional as Trump made the Republicans, and that would be a tragedy for the country.

The other is that since there is enough dissatisfaction with Trump as president (by a roughly three-to-two margin in every poll taken since he took office) to assure his defeat in 2020, the most likely path for his re-election is a fractured opposition. Trump understood that in 2015, and he proceeded to dismantle the party he shanghaied and remodel it to suit his base of support. He could never have won otherwise.

There is only one priority over the next sixteen months. Donald Trump must be defeated for the good of the country. To those who criticize Pelosi for marginalizing AOC and a few other young Turks, I say you should be thanking her, because the divisiveness they create runs parallel to Trump’s route to victory in 2016. The difference is that while the fissures that already existed in the Republican Party ultimately enabled Trump’s victory, exacerbating differences among Democrats can only result in their defeat.

It’s possible that both Trump and AOC will prove me wrong. Trump the narcissistic loner might survive 2020, and AOC could wind up heading her own wing of a splintered Democratic Party. But they’re possibilities that must be averted at all costs, like nuclear war and making our planet uninhabitable for our grandchildren.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hijacking The Fourth

Alan Zendell, July 4, 2019

I loved parades. Every year I waited for Memorial Day, Independence Day, even Labor Day, so I could see soldiers, bands, artillery batteries – you name it – marching down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, with my father, a purple heart World War II veteran beside me. Of course, I was a child, then. All I knew was that we’d won that horrible war and we were all so proud and grateful that our fathers and uncles were safe at home.

It didn’t take long to outgrow the lure of military parades, notwithstanding Blue Angel flyovers at football games. Not too many years later, government sponsored military parades were uniformly seen as bluster by other nations putting on a show for their people. We saw May Day parades in the Soviet Union and China, replete with soldiers, tanks, and ICBMs on truck beds. It was always a chilling sight, but we were told they were merely signs of weakness, an inferior military puffing out its collective chest showing the rest of the world how tough they were. After that, we still honored our war veterans when they marched in Veterans’ Day parades, but we stopped waving our weapons under the noses of the rest of the world.

Until now.

Disgusting and obscene as it is to see tanks on flatbeds moving down Pennsylvania Avenue, is anyone really surprised at the way Donald Trump hijacked our holiday of national pride and turned it into a personal ego trip to bolster his base? He must be nervous as hell seeing polls that say he’d lose to almost every one of the Democrats who have declared their candidacy, were the election tomorrow. So he’s rattling our sabers again and sending ICE storm troopers out to round up all the hard-working people who have been doing the jobs Americans see as beneath them, all the while paying taxes, going to school, and serving in our military. That’ll show the rest of the world what bad-asses we are.

I’m writing this from Canada, Banff to be specific. I didn’t plan it this way, but having been here for Canada Day last Monday and for the Fourth, today, I couldn’t be happier that I’m not home to see the latest desecration of our treasured traditions and values. The contrast with Canada Day was impossible to ignore. To my eyes, it was a happy, proud celebration of Canada’s 152nd anniversary as an independent nation. Happy, friendly people, public cutting of giant birthday cakes, everyone wishing everyone he came in contact with Happy Canada Day. It’s the busiest weekend of the year in Canada, and it doesn’t offend anyone.

There are thousands of people here enjoying the Rockies, British Columbia, and Alberta from every English-speaking country in the world. From several non-English-speaking ones too, but I wasn’t able to interact much with them. From the others, Canadians, Brits, Australians, Kiwis, there was a shockingly consistent outpouring of negative comments every time Trump and the USA were mentioned. And that came up a lot, as all the American news channels are available everywhere, here.

All we saw and heard this week was headshaking dismay. How could you let your country come to such a pass? It was never said with malice or in a mocking tone. It sounded like the compassionate comforting you might offer a friend who just lost a loved one. My server at dinner last night, a young woman from Montreal, actually hugged me when I told her how glad we were to be far from Trump’s latest embarrassing spectacle.

It’s never clear what’s going on in Trump’s head, but if it’s true that the only reason he backed off on having tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue under their own power was the cost of having to repair the streets afterward, that speaks volumes about how he thinks. It apparently never occurred to him that a military parade in Washington would conjure memories of Soviet tanks putting down uprisings in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, of Nazi armies occupying Paris, Antwerp, Warsaw, and Amsterdam. Or of Chinese troops and tanks facing off against civilian protestors in Tiananmen Square. My guess is he wouldn’t care.

It was both mildly surprising and refreshing to hear all those well-meaning foreigners lament with us. The most commonly heard comment was that Trump adores dictators and autocrats and does everything possible to imitate them. Note that the people expressing that are from all over our planet, far from the clutches of fake news.

This new development is more than disturbing. Except for those in Trump’s base who find the idea of American forces bombing everyone Trump dislikes sexually arousing, for the rest of us, it’s another reminder of how desperately we need to be rid of him.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bye Bye Sarah

Alan Zendell, June 15, 2019

In an administration that has come to be known for lies, alternative facts, and fake news, there has been no better poster child for the Trump brand than Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. It was apparent in her statement immediately following the announcement of her resignation last Thursday. Sanders proudly proclaimed her legacy was one of openness and transparency, while the world, excluding the president’s hard core base was issuing good riddances.

Representative of those who were happy to see Sanders go was David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Barrack Obama. Upon hearing of Sanders’ resignation, Axelrod said her legacy as White House press secretary will be one of “defending the indefensible, and not being truthful with the American people.” While Axelrod is clearly partisan, he has never been a political attack dog, and he has freely criticized Democrats as well as Donald Trump and his staff. Most notably, he recently took Joe Biden to task, seriously questioning the viability of the Democratic frontrunner for the 2020 nomination for President.

White House Press Secretary is a tough job. With someone like Donald Trump in the White House, the degree of difficulty soars by orders of magnitude. To be successful, a press secretary needs to be tough and self-confident. She needs to stand up to the aggressive White House press corps, but balance her strength with civility and at least the appearance of openness. In the opinion of most observers, Sanders did neither. As Axelrod put it, “In this job, she was called upon to choose between her fidelity to Trump and her fidelity to the truth, and she chose Trump.”

She did so not only with her words, even adopting the president’s own pugnacious, in-your-face style. She seemed to have a perpetual sneer on her face whenever the cameras were on her, and to my ears at least, she always spoke with whiny disdain. Unlike her predecessor, Sean Spicer, who was clearly not up to the job and often seemed uncertain and uncomfortable in the role, Sanders always appeared to relish it. Her unquestioned loyalty to the president, while admirable from one point of view, knew no limits in terms of partisanship and lying in his defense.

VICE News recently documented the most flagrant of Sanders’ failures to tell the truth. As we have all seen in recent years, every media outlet is guilty of some degree of bias, but the website “” rates VICE Media as center-left leaning (the lowest level of bias on their seven point scale) and very high in factual reporting.

In case you’ve either given up listening months ago or you just don’t remember, VICE recounted some of Sanders’ most flagrant distortions of the truth. Concerning the firing of James Comey, she asserted that he had completely lost the confidence of the  rank and file of the FBI, a lie made up in what she referred to as “the heat of the moment” that was later refuted by the Mueller report. Then she lied, first about whether Trump had paid hush money to a porn star, and later about whether he knew about the payments. When Trump fired Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Sanders claimed that the Trump administration had created more than three times as many jobs for African Americans as the Obama administration. The truth is that more than four times as many African-American jobs were attributed to Obama than to Trump.

The list goes on. Sanders tweeted a video of CNN reporter Jim Acosta that had been altered to make it look like he had assaulted a White House aide. She claimed that 4,000 suspected terrorists had been apprehended trying to enter the United States from Mexico when in fact the number of migrants who appeared on law enforcement watch lists was six (6). She claimed that the Obama administration had wire-tapped the Trump campaign and that Trump had never encouraged political violence at his rallies.

If you view Sarah Sanders as an employee of the President, she did her job impeccably. Trump was her boss, but I would argue that she was first and foremost an employee of the American people whose taxes paid her salary. From that perspective, she was nothing but a shill for Trump, and her obvious antagonism for the press and the First Amendment may have done more to widen the partisan divide in our country than anyone in the Administration except Trump himself.

I happily join those who wish Sarah goodbye and good riddance. Will her successor be any better? Not likely, considering that the only qualification for the job in the Trump White House is unflinching loyalty to the president.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A 3-M Week

Alan Zendell, June 11, 2019

This is not an attempt to convince anyone to buy or sell 3M stock. Rather, it’s a mildly depressing look at the way Donald Trump massacred the thirteenth letter of our alphabet this week.

The first M is for Mexico, which is also the M in the agreed to but as yet unratified USMCA, the trade agreement that is supposed to replace NAFTA. According to the president, USMCA was needed because NAFTA was the worst deal ever negotiated in the history of the United States. Of course, Trump has also described the Iran nuclear deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the Paris Accords on Climate Change as the worse deals his predecessors ever made, though he has offered nothing to replace them.

A quick read of the US Trade Representative’s summary of the USMCA offers no specifics to prove that it actually improves the US position in trade with Mexico and Canada, and most observers describe USMCA as NAFTA on an allegedly more level playing field (though the USTR summary offers no specific evidence of that) with a couple of “new chapters covering Digital Trade, Anticorruption, Good Regulatory Practices, [and how] Small and Medium Sized Enterprises benefit from the Agreement.

Since the Office of the Trade Representative is essentially a shill for the White House, this description is about the rosiest spin anyone could put on USMCA, which using Trump’s own words would make it only a marginal improvement over an agreement that is in a four-way tie as the worst in our history. The whole USMCA thing was quintessential Trump: lies, exaggerations, bullying threats, and a thinly veiled cloak of xenophobia and racism. In May, his administration came full circle by lifting the tariffs on steel and aluminum with which he started his little heroic operetta of phony crisis followed by fearless leader rushing in to save the day.

That’s the kind of alternate reality Trump lives in, and this week he added a layer of absurdity worthy of Gilbert and Sullivan as he announced he’d “reached a deal” with Mexico that averted his latest round of bullying tariff threats. Trump proudly proclaimed that he had brought Mexico to its knees, forcing them to control the flow of migrants through their country to our southern border. The centerpiece of the intimidation/extortion deal was Mexico’s agreement to send thousands of its national guard troops to police its own southern border with Guatemala…but wait, wasn’t that the same agreement that had been made months earlier before Trump announced new tariffs?

By now we’re all familiar with the Trump playbook. It’s pretty short since he only knows one play. Trump up (the phrase may have been coined for him) a fake crisis, create chaos among his own Congress and business communities, revel in how his actions make the stock market dance, and then pull out a meaningless victory that accomplishes nothing that didn’t already exist. Are you as tired of all this as I am?

This brings us to M number 2 – the Moon. Trump had bragged for months that he was revitalizing NASA and increasing its budget to restore its former greatness. We were going back to the Moon, and would land astronauts there, including the first Selenian woman, by 2024. He touted the Moon effort loudly for weeks until it suddenly occurred to him that the Moon was fifty-year old news.

So he changed his tune. Why spend all that money doing something we’ve already done, which gets us to M number 3 – Mars. Apparently, we’re finally going to Mars because Trump said so, though there was none of the inspiration in the announcement that we felt when John Kennedy told us about Project Apollo. Just more of Trump’s brash, uninformed brags. You see, Trump forgot that the plan all along had been to establish a base on the Moon first and then use it as a jumping off point to Mars.

In his uniquely inarticulate way, he managed to conflate the two efforts in one huge gaffe when he tweeted that “the Moon is part of Mars” over the weekend. As much as I consider Trump a dangerous embarrassment and a horrible excuse for a leader, I don’t believe he actually thinks the Moon is part of Mars. But that doesn’t excuse making all of us cringe at his ludicrous tweet. I don’t know whether it would be worse if our president was dumb enough to believe the Moon was part of Mars, or that he’s simply content to sound like a moron whenever he sees television lights or a computer keyboard.

I said at the outset that this would be only mildly depressing. That’s because we’ve heard this stuff so much we’re becoming dulled to it.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Defeating Donald Trump

Alan Zendell, June 2, 2019

To listen to the pundits with their prediction models, defeating Donald Trump in 2020 will be a monumental task which is made worse by our outmoded Electoral College. Those same pundits told us Trump would never win the Republican nomination, and up until a few days before the 2016 election, assured us that he had little chance of beating Hillary Clinton.

Almost every House and Senate Republican seems to be telling us that Trump’s base is so strong, it makes a mockery of integrity. They fear his base so much that they never speak up and tell the truth about the president when the cameras are rolling, as many of them do in private, off-the-record remarks. Trump’s shameless pandering and bullying, his willingness to do anything to win, regardless of how venal and immoral has made them forget why they were elected.

While it’s true that short of a smoking gun proving Trump committed felonies, the core of his base is immovable, Republican cowardice in the face of existential necessity is actually an affront to the other two-thirds of the electorate. Those people who voted for Trump hoping he would grow into the office, those who didn’t vote because they disliked both candidates, and those who bought into the right wing’s twenty-year long hate-Hillary campaign couldn’t care less about who Trump’s base supports.

Beyond that, we can at least hope that those Americans who were willing to believe anything they read on Facebook last time have learned something. Far too many people in this country displayed a frightening level of intellectual laziness combined with a herd mentality that made them easy to manipulate by fake news and Russian bots. Those who realize they were suckered in 2016 are angry now, angrier than they’ve been since they were lied to about Vietnam and the misguided decision to fight in Iraq.

There have been many times when we doubted Americans’ ability to get it right when things looked bad. In the 1970’s I was among the millions of people who feared that our system was being undermined and it might collapse. But American voters have always shown great resiliency when it mattered most, and they will this time, too. Forget all the nonsense about how difficult it will be to defeat Trump. Ignore the people who are paid handsomely by the media to get it wrong, as long as they stir up controversy and increase ratings. Think for yourself. It’s not that complicated.

Despite all the factors working against her, including Russian interference and James Comey inexplicably and irresponsibly inserting himself into the campaign weeks before the election, Hillary Clinton still won the popular vote in 2016 by more than three million. She ran an abysmal campaign that was rife with tactical mistakes, she was abandoned by many Bernie Sanders supporters who felt the Party had rigged the primary, and her strategists completely missed what was happening in the rust belt states. It was a perfect storm of incompetence and unanticipated events.

The fact is, Trump’s base hasn’t grown since he took office – it’s still barely more than a third of the country. Trump only wins again if all the things that went wrong for Clinton in 2016 happen again. But of the Democratic candidates with enough name recognition to matter this time, none has a disapproval rating remotely as negative as Clinton’s was. With Trump’s continued attacks on women’s rights, immigrants, and refugees, it should be child’s play to energize voters sympathetic to those issues. 2020 is the Democrats’ election to lose, which they might do if they fail to heed the wise counsel of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and keep trying to sell Socialism to an electorate too ignorant to even know what it is.

Given the 2016 debacle, 2020 should be easy. As James Carville might say, it’s the Electoral College, Stupid. 2016 was lost in the rust belt states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Democrats should easily be able to take at least three of those states back, and possibly all four, given former Ohio governor Kasich’s disdain for Trump. How? By showing voters how they’ve been hurt by Trump’s trade war, and how Trump’s tax bill will not help working people as their temporary benefits are sunsetted. By asking rust belters, as Ronald Reagan did successfully, if they’re better off today than they were four years ago, and tellling them how Democrats will do better..

If Democrats want to win the rust belt back, their best hope is a team of Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar. They’re both popular in those states, and they’re centrists who avoid the extreme positions that marginalize large segments of the electorate. Priority number one is defeating Donald Trump. Democrats should save their policy debates for after they win.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trump Should Be Thanking Mueller

Alan Zendell, May 30, 2019

Though it was certainly unintentional, Robert Mueller did Donald Trump a huge favor when he defined the scope of his investigation as he did. As he made clear both in his report and his televised remarks, yesterday, Mueller treated an opinion by the Justice Department’s General Counsel as undisputed constitutional law, when in fact it is a matter of great dispute among law professors and judges.

The opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted for a crime while he is in office is just that. It is neither law nor regulation. It is not based on established precedent and has not been approved by any court. Despite Mr. Mueller’s statement that prosecuting Trump would be unconstitutional, the Constitution says no such thing.

It’s not difficult to understand why Mueller wanted to avoid taking his investigation into uncharted legal territory. Whatever he did was bound to be controversial with a volatile, thin-skinned president watching every move he made. For his findings to be credible he had to frame them within clearly defined boundaries.

Various legal scholars are now weighing in on whether Mueller’s ultra-conservative approach was the right one. In today’s Washington Post, Rosalind Helderman quotes one former federal appellate judge who thinks Mueller could have gone further even if he believed the president couldn’t be indicted: “the fact that a president cannot be prosecuted does not foreclose a finding by a special counsel of whether a president committed a crime.”

Mueller could have reached the same conclusion, but chose not to because, “it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.” Clearly, Mueller was bending over backwards to ensure that there could be no hint of political bias (against Trump) in his investigation.

The Post article also quotes George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who said that “neither the Constitution nor writings by its framers refer to a desire to make the president immune from criminal prosecution.” The legal status of the DOJ ruling would be clearer today if either of the Special Counsels investigating Presidents Nixon and Clinton had tested it in the courts, but like Mueller, both Ken Starr and Leon Jaworsky chose not to challenge it. In those two cases the threat of prosecution was unnecessary. As Mueller made clear, the Constitution provides for other means of trying a president – impeachment. In Clinton’s case it was attempted and in Nixon’s the certainty of a conviction in the Senate convinced him to resign.

As a result, Mueller was constrained by a Justice Department policy opinion that a sitting president may not be indicted or prosecuted regardless of the evidence, because doing so might prevent the president from carrying out his constitutional responsibilities. It’s impossible to know how the Supreme Court would rule if the opinion came before them, but that sounds like an extremely flimsy basis for determining whether the president is a criminal.

The Constitution also provides a remedy for a president who is temporarily indisposed and unable to carry out the duties of his office. The president steps aside for the duration of the indisposition and the vice president assumes the role of acting president. Could that apply to a criminal prosecution? Apparently none of the people appointed to investigate presidents since 1973 were inclined to ask that question.

Given all that it’s hard not to conclude that Mueller was not only fair and unbiased in his investigation, but he did Trump a huge favor by not challenging the DOJ opinion. Instead of carrying on like a five-year-old throwing a tantrum and viciously attacking Mueller, Trump should be saying, “Thank you, Bob.”

But this misses the essential point that despite Mueller’s unquestioned integrity, and Trump’s televised irrational tirade in which he called Mueller a Trump-hater and “one of the worst people in the world,” the conclusions of the Special Counsel’s report couldn’t be clearer to anyone reading it with an open mind. As more than a thousand former prosecutors and federal judges have publicly stated, the evidence in volume 2 of the report would have resulted in indictment and prosecution if the subject of the investigation had been anyone but the president.

On second thought, a thank you would be wholly inadequate. Trump ought to finally give Mueller the refund he asked for after changing his mind about joining Trump’s golf club.

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments