Official Special Investigation Into Trump Thread

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Kwak:

Seanchaidh:

Yes, heaven forbid a 'hostile state actor' do the things that our oligarchs have been doing for years.

Why have you been arguing against the evidence when your position is that you DO believe Russia interfered, but you just don't care?

That's not my position.

Seanchaidh:

Kwak:

Seanchaidh:

Yes, heaven forbid a 'hostile state actor' do the things that our oligarchs have been doing for years.

Why have you been arguing against the evidence when your position is that you DO believe Russia interfered, but you just don't care?

That's not my position.

What is your position? It would be appreciated if you would clarify because honestly, you sorta have come across as not caring about it happening at times.

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
A hostile state actor deployed information warfare and social engineering techniques to affect the outcome of a US presidential election

Yes, heaven forbid a 'hostile state actor' do the things that our oligarchs have been doing for years.

Man, this is my point. One: this is some genuinely new shit. Election interference is an old game, but social media and cyberwarfare are changing the way it's played. And two: powerful actors worldwide are going to start copying it, including non-state actors with sufficient resources such as corporations and the hyper-wealthy.

Do we want to see the Koch brothers doing this shit? American elections are already corrupt enough without people breaking into voter databases and email accounts and then using social media algorithms to make custom-to-the-individual propaganda.

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
A hostile state actor deployed information warfare and social engineering techniques to affect the outcome of a US presidential election

Yes, heaven forbid a 'hostile state actor' do the things that our oligarchs have been doing for years.

bastardofmelbourne:
If we were to assume this was the case, then it would represent a colossal scandal in its own right - we would be seeing a federal prosecutor basically running a kangaroo jury to justify frivolous charges that have no business going to trial, all at great taxpayer expense. It'd be McCarthy all over again.

A lot of those charges are never going to go to trial because they apply to people who will never fall into United States custody.

You claim to want us to skip the lesser evils and go straight to the 'good' choice, but then you say stuff like this that reeks of 'I don't care cause that's just how it is' which contradicts you.

Saelune:

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
A hostile state actor deployed information warfare and social engineering techniques to affect the outcome of a US presidential election

Yes, heaven forbid a 'hostile state actor' do the things that our oligarchs have been doing for years.

bastardofmelbourne:
If we were to assume this was the case, then it would represent a colossal scandal in its own right - we would be seeing a federal prosecutor basically running a kangaroo jury to justify frivolous charges that have no business going to trial, all at great taxpayer expense. It'd be McCarthy all over again.

A lot of those charges are never going to go to trial because they apply to people who will never fall into United States custody.

You claim to want us to skip the lesser evils and go straight to the 'good' choice, but then you say stuff like this that reeks of 'I don't care cause that's just how it is' which contradicts you.

I'm flippant because extremely selective adherence to a principle is not really better than no adherence whatsoever. Wielding a principle as a weapon against political opponents while subverting those very same principles against those who want real change is cynical in the extreme and I won't ever stand for it.

If the people pushing this narrative want to have a conversation about how this is not, in fact, very novel at all, and how it represents merely an evolution of a very bad status quo, then I'm all ears. But until the moronic bleating of THIS ISN'T NORMAL while clutching one's pearls isn't the dominant attitude about these proceedings, I won't care one little bit one way or another about this unhealthy reality television for political junkies.

bastardofmelbourne:

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
A hostile state actor deployed information warfare and social engineering techniques to affect the outcome of a US presidential election

Yes, heaven forbid a 'hostile state actor' do the things that our oligarchs have been doing for years.

Man, this is my point. One: this is some genuinely new shit. Election interference is an old game, but social media and cyberwarfare are changing the way it's played.

Debatable.

bastardofmelbourne:
And two: powerful actors worldwide are going to start copying it, including non-state actors with sufficient resources such as corporations and the hyper-wealthy.

And not many are going to give a shit, because the standard that is being applied here is whether it's foreign. Or not even that-- whether it's specifically the Slavic menace.

bastardofmelbourne:
Do we want to see the Koch brothers doing this shit? American elections are already corrupt enough without people breaking into voter databases and email accounts and then using social media algorithms to make custom-to-the-individual propaganda.

There is no outcome of the Mueller investigation that will have an impact one way or the other on whether Koch brothers will do this shit. And anyway, this shit was hardly even the most important thing about the last election. It's just gotten by far the most coverage.

Lil devils x:
What is your position? It would be appreciated if you would clarify because honestly, you sorta have come across as not caring about it happening at times.

That this is vastly less important than people think, that it's mostly being cynically employed as a distraction, that there are good arguments against the evidence presented so far that place the conclusion that the Russian state was involved (or the extent of their involvement) in doubt, and I'm unconvinced by the legal arguments against Trump concerning impeachment for federal election law. Emoluments, on the other hand, go for it. (But that might come back to bite the next kleptocratic President, so no one wants to touch that.)

Seanchaidh:
I'm flippant because extremely selective adherence to a principle is not really better than no adherence whatsoever. Wielding a principle as a weapon against political opponents while subverting those very same principles against those who want real change is cynical in the extreme and I won't ever stand for it.

I don't believe my concern over recent developments in information warfare is selective. Y'know, the last time I was this worked up about cyberwarfare, it was when Iran got hit by Stuxnet. At the time, I was flipping out, going "holy shit, Israel made a bunch of nuclear centrifuges explode with a computer worm, what the fuck dudes" and so on and so forth.

I'm not just getting worked up about this because Russia was involved or because the Democrats were the target, is what I'm saying.

Seanchaidh:
If the people pushing this narrative want to have a conversation about how this is not, in fact, very novel at all, and how it represents merely an evolution of a very bad status quo, then I'm all ears. But until the moronic bleating of THIS ISN'T NORMAL while clutching one's pearls isn't the dominant attitude about these proceedings, I won't care one little bit one way or another about this unhealthy reality television for political junkies.

It can be argued that this represents an evolution of a previous status quo, but I still think that's an understatement. Like saying that the Internet represented an evolution in the way people communicated with each other. We're looking at a much more serious development than just people tweaking their tactics.

For example, consider the evidence indicating that Russia attempted to breach electronic voter databases in 2016. Historically speaking, states did not raid each other's voter databases because historically speaking, electronic voter databases did not exist; they're a relatively recent technological development. Even if a KGB agent c. 1980 got their hands on a state's voter roll, there's precious little they could actually accomplish with that information.

That has changed. Set aside the possibility - which is remote, but very real - that voting machines could be remotely tampered with to alter ballot counts. Consider, instead, what might happen if an intelligence agency took the sophisticated algorithms developed by enterprising engineers at Google and Facebook over the past decade to more efficiently sell shit to people and fed the information stolen from a voter registry. Imagine if they cross-referenced the registry with publicly available information on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and from that developed a statistical model telling them precisely what message would resonate with which people. Then say that they commission a bunch of web architects to build the realistic facade of one or a hundred news sites, and then start feeding those news sites lies - lies that could be custom-tailored for any combination of voter demographics to be as convincing and plausible as possible. Headlines designed to trend, propped up by armies - literal armies - of bots capable of convincingly imitating the intellect and conversation capacities of the average Reddit user.

That has never been possible before. Prior to the Internet, we did not have a communications system that was worldwide, near-instantaneous, and which recorded and time-stamped nearly every piece of information fed through it. Prior to social media, we did not have a habit of placing vast quantities of our personal information out into the public record for the purposes of socialising. Prior to modern online marketing, it was not feasible to take that immense quantity of information and sort it into frighteningly accurate product recommendations simply because the necessary algorithms did not exist. Now they do.

Don't get me wrong; propaganda has always existed, and election manipulation is as old as democracy. You're right about that. But it's changing rapidly. It wasn't possible to even contemplate remotely altering the ballot counts of a rival nation's elections during the Cold War, because during the Cold War people wrote their ballots on paper. Now it's a serious concern. Election manipulation in that era took the form of ballot-stuffing and voter intimidation - physical tactics that were usually perpetrated by the citizens of the nation itself upon their own democratic system, not by transnational actors. The idea that a hundred or so assholes in an office halfway around the world might present a serious threat to the outcome of an American election would have been laughable. Now it's plausible. More than plausible; it literally just happened.

I mean - okay, how about this analogy. Say it's the eve of WWI, and two generals are arguing about whether these fancy flying machines, machine guns and bolt-action rifles are a game-changer or a gimmick. The general who thinks it's a gimmick might argue that war has always existed, that aerial warfare is still basically war, and that guns are an old technology that's just being made more efficient. The general who thinks it's a game-changer will argue that these technologies are such a drastic shift over the status quo of previous decades that their entire military doctrine needs a fundamental overhaul in order to accommodate or counter them.

I think the events we're observing now are genuinely a game changer. We're not fully prepared for these technologies we've invented. Mentally speaking, we're just not prepared. We're not used to thinking of Facebook or Twitter as propaganda outlets, but that's what they are. We're not prepared for the full-scale exploitation of all our private information by conmen and trolls. We're going to have to learn to deal with that.

Seanchaidh:
And not many are going to give a shit, because the standard that is being applied here is whether it's foreign. Or not even that-- whether it's specifically the Slavic menace.

So? Is "nobody's going to care about this dire threat" a convincing argument for ignoring a dire threat?

The fact that people will overlook similar incidents in the future if it's orchestrated by people with Anglo-Saxon names should be more worrying. That's precisely why people need to take this seriously; it's not limited to just "the foreigns."

Seanchaidh:
There is no outcome of the Mueller investigation that will have an impact one way or the other on whether Koch brothers will do this shit. And anyway, this shit was hardly even the most important thing about the last election. It's just gotten by far the most coverage.

I could easily see the results of this investigation leading to a heightened standard for cybersecurity in future elections and even a move for more comprehensive election reform. Watergate prompted a flood of legislation aimed at reforming election finance and government accountability that lasted...well, until Bush, because idiots have short memories.

Seanchaidh:
That this is vastly less important than people think, that it's mostly being cynically employed as a distraction, that there are good arguments against the evidence presented so far that place the conclusion that the Russian state was involved (or the extent of their involvement) in doubt, and I'm unconvinced by the legal arguments against Trump concerning impeachment for federal election law. Emoluments, on the other hand, go for it. (But that might come back to bite the next kleptocratic President, so no one wants to touch that.)

I think there are for sure some people out there exploiting this kerfuffle for cynical reasons. I don't think that makes this kerfuffle less important.

As for emoluments - there are real obstacles to a whole-hog prosecution of Trump for violating that clause. (Bear in mind that I 100% think he is violating that clause, on a daily basis.) The fact is that there is a near-complete dearth of jurisprudence regarding the emoluments clause. I don't believe it's ever actually been litigated, much less against the President. There are some cases pending, though.

bastardofmelbourne:
I don't believe my concern over recent developments in information warfare is selective. Y'know, the last time I was this worked up about cyberwarfare, it was when Iran got hit by Stuxnet

You are not the establishment of my country who approved of that very same offense. One way that dictatorships often enforce loyalty among their police is that they underpay them and look the other way when they resort to corruption to survive. Corruption proceedings are then brought against those who are not sufficiently loyal to the regime. Essentially the same sort of thing is playing out here. The application of this anti-election-interference principle is so absurdly selective-- and comparisons to other cases met with such hostile dismissals-- that it's obvious the people pursuing it don't intend any consistency whatsoever. It is a club used to batter convenient targets into submission.

Manafort trial is at jury deliberation at the moment, and it seems to be taking a long time. This might be nothing (lots of evidence to review) but it could also mean that you have a few Trump diehard who believe all of it is a witch-hunt and will refuse to declare Manafort guilty no matter what, handing up with a hung jury or even worse, an innocent verdict.

Meiam:
Manafort trial is at jury deliberation at the moment, and it seems to be taking a long time. This might be nothing (lots of evidence to review) but it could also mean that you have a few Trump diehard who believe all of it is a witch-hunt and will refuse to declare Manafort guilty no matter what, handing up with a hung jury or even worse, an innocent verdict.

Last I heard they asked questions of the judge, including a definition of "beyond reasonable doubt".

The trial has been blatantly compromised by a hostile judge.

During the trial, Ellis intervened regularly, and mainly against one side: the prosecution. The judge's interruptions occurred in the presence of the jury and on matters of substance, not courtroom conduct. He disparaged the prosecution's evidence, misstated its legal theories, even implied that prosecutors had disobeyed his orders when they had not.
...
The judge continually interrupted the prosecution's questioning of witnesses, prompting lead prosecutor Greg Andres to pointedly note: "Your honor stops us and asks us to move on." Ellis pressed the prosecution to rush through testimony about important financial documents. He made critical comments about prosecution evidence and strategy - all in front of the jury.

Ellis also questioned the relevance of Manafort's work as a political consultant for Russian-backed politicians in Ukraine, for which he was paid tens of millions of dollars from 2010 to 2014. But if Manafort didn't disclose some payments because he was not registered in the United States as a foreign agent, it would provide a motive to hide the amounts from the U.S. government - just what the trial was about. Ellis chided prosecutors for eliciting testimony about Manafort's lavish lifestyle, but that kind of testimony is also a classic element in a tax-evasion case. That your cars, boats, condos and clothing suggest you made much more income than you reported would surely be relevant.

After prosecutor Uzo Asonye questioned a bank employee about Manafort's failed attempt to obtain a $5.5 million construction loan on a Brooklyn brownstone, the judge - unprompted by a defense objection - declared: "You might want to spend time on a loan that was granted." The comment strongly implied to jurors that the prosecution was wasting their time. But an attempt to defraud was part of the conspiracy count in the indictment; false representation to secure a loan, successful or not, is itself a crime.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-extraordinary-bias-of-the-judge-in-the-manafort-trial/2018/08/16/aca48040-a16c-11e8-83d2-70203b8d7b44_story.html?utm_term=.92f530a4220b

And apparently the jury is going over the week end... with Trump obviously tweeting about it... What a shitshow, I don't see how this doesn't end in a mistrial one way or another.

Michael Cohen has plead guilty to 8 charges. In addition, he stated in his guilty plea that he paid off Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal at Trump's direction, directly implicating Trump in the matter. In addition, Cohen has stated unequivocally that he did so to influence the 2016 elections.

That said, part of the guilty plea's agreement was that Cohen doesn't have to cooperate with prosecutors in any other cases, so I don't know how much of an impact this will make. It's still the first time Cohen has actually stated that he paid off the women at Trump's request.

Wall Street Journal

ETA: Reading more of the article, it seems that Cohen may be more cooperative in the future, because Trump has upset him. Seems that Cohen's legal fees are bankrupting him, and Trump's refusal to help him out is upsetting the poor bastard. Whomp, whomp.

Manafort trial is over and he's partly guilty and partly mistrial... this went better than expected honestly although it seems that the more important stuff is what ended being in mistrial.

Meiam:
Manafort trial is over and he's partly guilty and partly mistrial... this went better than expected honestly although it seems that the more important stuff is what ended being in mistrial.

Hes still looking at 240 years in jail, those 10 other charges can be retried, and he still has a completely second trial yet to start.
Now chances are Trump will pardon him, but at least today the investigations into Trump dont look so baseless

Silentpony:

Meiam:
Manafort trial is over and he's partly guilty and partly mistrial... this went better than expected honestly although it seems that the more important stuff is what ended being in mistrial.

Hes still looking at 240 years in jail, those 10 other charges can be retried, and he still has a completely second trial yet to start.
Now chances are Trump will pardon him, but at least today the investigations into Trump dont look so baseless

Maybe. None of his guilty charges were to do with the campaign but was to do with previous pro-Russia deals

trunkage:

Silentpony:

Meiam:
Manafort trial is over and he's partly guilty and partly mistrial... this went better than expected honestly although it seems that the more important stuff is what ended being in mistrial.

Hes still looking at 240 years in jail, those 10 other charges can be retried, and he still has a completely second trial yet to start.
Now chances are Trump will pardon him, but at least today the investigations into Trump dont look so baseless

Maybe. None of his guilty charges were to do with the campaign but was to do with previous pro-Russia deals

No but its a stepping stone. They wanted to prove Manafort was doing illegal things with Russians and that he was millions in debt to Russians when he agreed to work for Trump, for free, presumably because he was offering the Russians access to the Trump campaign. Such as changing the GOP position on Ukraine at the convention.

thebobmaster:
Michael Cohen has plead guilty to 8 charges. In addition, he stated in his guilty plea that he paid off Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal at Trump's direction, directly implicating Trump in the matter. In addition, Cohen has stated unequivocally that he did so to influence the 2016 elections.

That said, part of the guilty plea's agreement was that Cohen doesn't have to cooperate with prosecutors in any other cases, so I don't know how much of an impact this will make. It's still the first time Cohen has actually stated that he paid off the women at Trump's request.

Wall Street Journal

ETA: Reading more of the article, it seems that Cohen may be more cooperative in the future, because Trump has upset him. Seems that Cohen's legal fees are bankrupting him, and Trump's refusal to help him out is upsetting the poor bastard. Whomp, whomp.

And Rep. Collins and Rep. Hunter were also indicted for serious crimes. Funny how all of these Republicans that were among the first to endorse Trump are being indicted for shit. It's almost as if there's an investigation into a certain political party.

Silentpony:
Now chances are Trump will pardon him,

Trump will almost certainly pardon him - I suspect the question is more when rather than if. It's overwhelmingly likely he went to trial only because of assurances that he'd barely see the inside of a jail cell if convicted.

However, pardoning him now could potentially be viewed as sending a message to anyone else involved in the Mueller investigation that the president has their back if they want to stonewall the investigation, thus has more than a whiff of obstructing justice. Consequently, Manafort may have to cool his heels in a "five star hotel" prison for a year or two before he gets to carry enjoying his life of extreme affluence and comfort.

thebobmaster:

ETA: Reading more of the article, it seems that Cohen may be more cooperative in the future, because Trump has upset him. Seems that Cohen's legal fees are bankrupting him, and Trump's refusal to help him out is upsetting the poor bastard. Whomp, whomp.

That's probably "bankrupt" in the sense it usually means for multi-millionaires, which is the sense where they are reduced to a life of mere middle-class comfort rather than affluent luxury.

Neat spot of asset transferral into the hands of family, and someone can declare bankruptcy to fend off their creditors whilst continuing to live very nicely indeed.

Adam Jensen:

And Rep. Collins and Rep. Hunter were also indicted for serious crimes. Funny how all of these Republicans that were among the first to endorse Trump are being indicted for shit. It's almost as if there's an investigation into a certain political party.

Yeah, but you can't arrest a PotUS. And his capacity to give pardons may keep them silent I imagine. And guess what? More ammunition not to impeach. At least, I'm fairly certain you can't arrest a PotUS? I would have thought there'd be some capital felony, something so beyond the pale, but someone was telling me that the PotUS can be quite untouchable and sticky regardless of how much proof and regardless of the nature of the felony.

This race of 'Who will get Trump' keeps getting weird.

Honestly, two days ago, I thought Omarosa would have the smoking gun with her 200 tapes. Now, Cohen just blithely admitted that Trump told him to commit federal crimes with campaign funds..

Trump's own actions with Putin (in a sane world) probably should be enough. But for the sake of the Republican party.. Yeah, they have to be the one's to lead the charge on Amendment 25. They have to cite incapacitation and cite Trump's waning mental facilities. I feel that's the way that the Republican Party will come out with any moral fortitude.

ObsidianJones:

Honestly, two days ago, I thought Omarosa would have the smoking gun with her 200 tapes. Now, Cohen just blithely admitted that Trump told him to commit federal crimes with campaign funds..

Omarosa was never going to achieve more than embarrassing the president, which might be fodder for the news feeds but hardly enough to endanger him.

Trump's own actions with Putin (in a sane world) probably should be enough. But for the sake of the Republican party.. Yeah, they have to be the one's to lead the charge on Amendment 25. They have to cite incapacitation and cite Trump's waning mental facilities. I feel that's the way that the Republican Party will come out with any moral fortitude.

Yeah, that's not going to happen. Trump's clearly no worse than he was when he took office. As long as Trump is remotely popular and without a clear and unbiased medical examination, the blowback from removing him over his mental faculties would be hugely damaging to the party.

This is the problem Republican legislators are in, I suspect. I think they want Trump gone, but when they look at their party members, he's more popular than they are and so they can't remove him without severe repercussions. The only thing that would push them is a) sufficient evidence of serious illegality, and/or b) a huge drop in support for Trump.

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
A hostile state actor deployed information warfare and social engineering techniques to affect the outcome of a US presidential election

Yes, heaven forbid a 'hostile state actor' do the things that our oligarchs have been doing for years.

I humbly submit the issue is NOT whether foreign governments and nation-state actors have tried to influence U.S. elections (they have -- and so have we).

The issue is whether a candidate for office and his campaign officials engaged those actors, who committed criminal acts, in an effort to influence the election in their favor, and whether or not the candidate/now president and a significant portion of his political party, have obstructed or attempted to obstruction the investigation into these matters.

I expect the former, because that's what foreign spies and intelligence agencies do. I do NOT, however, expect the latter.

Agema:
Omarosa was never going to achieve more than embarrassing the president, which might be fodder for the news feeds but hardly enough to endanger him.

You never know what was on one of those tapes. Literally, she could have captured Trump saying that he knew about the about the emails and asking how much trouble he could be in if he's caught. With a man that self obsessed and constantly covering his own ass, you have to assume that would be a hot topic of conversation during the Mueller investigation.

Let it be known, if Omarosa giftwrapped the 'N-Word tapes' to the public, I think that would have been barely a blow. Just another speaking point for FLOTUS on her 'Be Best' tour.

Yeah, that's not going to happen. Trump's clearly no worse than he was when he took office. As long as Trump is remotely popular and without a clear and unbiased medical examination, the blowback from removing him over his mental faculties would be hugely damaging to the party.

This is the problem Republican legislators are in, I suspect. I think they want Trump gone, but when they look at their party members, he's more popular than they are and so they can't remove him without severe repercussions. The only thing that would push them is a) sufficient evidence of serious illegality, and/or b) a huge drop in support for Trump.

That's not entirely True. When he took office, there was hope. Hope that he could rise to a height of not actively fucking with the country. Or that he would pick a cabinet or have someone pick one that could counteract him. And he dashed all those hope in short fashion.

Then the hope became that he wasn't corrupt. Just completely incompetent. That he might actually just really be picking the wrong people just because he's actually dumb. Now we see the malicious connections from his picks and how it was self serving.

Trump officially changed from "I hope he has hidden depths" to "No, he's worse than I thought. He's actively sabotaging this Country for reasons we can only speculate at".

And also, I think the Party needs to take a step back and realize the truth. The Party isn't strong. Trump is. They can't hope to replicate this with anyone else. No party can. A cult leader has been elected. And once he's gone, they will not have a semblance of this same kind of loyalty. Trump is a messianic figure to his loyalists.

We've seen this as Republicans who don't follow Trump lose. The party is just a staging ground for the advancement of Trump in the eyes of loyalist. Elected officials are Republicans in name now, Trump Supporters by actions. They openly discuss breaking the trust of the American people just to keep him in power.

To the Republicans, they think it might make them look loyal and determined. But when this gets out to the rest of the world, it looks cowardly. Weak. And the fact that miracle beyond miracles, Trump gets re-elected... the damage will be done to the Party. Maybe not to the Republican constituents, But to the rest of America and the world at large.

Democrats already can't stand Trump, but numbers are showing thatIndependents are moving further away from Trump as well. If Republicans don't widen the net, they are in trouble. That's it.

Oh ho ho. This just got QUITE interesting.

Cohen will not, under any circumstances, accept a pardon from Trump, according to Cohen's lawyer. He's also gone on record as saying that he will tell the complete truth, to the best of his ability, with whatever he is asked.

What caused this stand? Well, remember when Trump said that he believed Putin when the latter claimed no responsibility for the hacking in Helsinki? Apparently, the idea that Trump was willing to align with someone the entire intelligence agency he appointed said was responsible shook up Cohen's faith. Even the fact that Trump walked back the comments wasn't enough for Cohen, who said "As an American, I repudiate Russia's or any other foreign government's attempt to interfere or meddle in our democratic process, and I would call on all Americans to do the same. Simply accepting the denial of Mr. Putin is unsustainable."

Politico

Washington Post

thebobmaster:
What caused this stand? Well, remember when Trump said that he believed Putin when the latter claimed no responsibility for the hacking in Helsinki? Apparently, the idea that Trump was willing to align with someone the entire intelligence agency he appointed said was responsible shook up Cohen's faith. Even the fact that Trump walked back the comments wasn't enough for Cohen, who said "As an American, I repudiate Russia's or any other foreign government's attempt to interfere or meddle in our democratic process, and I would call on all Americans to do the same. Simply accepting the denial of Mr. Putin is unsustainable."

Cohen is lying. He's literally a member of the Russian mafia. And he's doing this for purely selfish reasons. Probably sees a big payout at the end with book deals, movie deals and whatnot. Much better deal than siding with Trump. He might be a terrible lawyer and a bad criminal, but he's at least smart enough to see where this train is headed.

ObsidianJones:

Then the hope became that he wasn't corrupt. Just completely incompetent. That he might actually just really be picking the wrong people just because he's actually dumb. Now we see the malicious connections from his picks and how it was self serving.

Let me sum up Trump's strength in one, simple way: 40% approval rating.

Now that's a terrible approval rating in historical terms. But for an apparently incompetent and corrupt president, it's very high. Now bear in mind they're nearly all Republicans... so, basically, the vast majority of the Republican party and voter base.

All those Republican Congressmen and Senators need to be selected as candidates and voted in by Republicans. In the vast majority of cases, their name just needs to go forward as party candidate, and they're in government as long as they're not dragged down by credible accusations of serious illegality.

You might like to think that they'll choose country over anything else... but has politics degraded that far? It seems to me plenty of senior Republican politicians who we might expect to stand up to the president are stepping down instead. I wonder: do they see where not where the party's going, but where it's already gone? Are theytacitly admitting the lunatics run the asylum?

Agema:

ObsidianJones:

Then the hope became that he wasn't corrupt. Just completely incompetent. That he might actually just really be picking the wrong people just because he's actually dumb. Now we see the malicious connections from his picks and how it was self serving.

Let me sum up Trump's strength in one, simple way: 40% approval rating.

Now that's a terrible approval rating in historical terms. But for an apparently incompetent and corrupt president, it's very high. Now bear in mind they're nearly all Republicans... so, basically, the vast majority of the Republican party and voter base.

All those Republican Congressmen and Senators need to be selected as candidates and voted in by Republicans. In the vast majority of cases, their name just needs to go forward as party candidate, and they're in government as long as they're not dragged down by credible accusations of serious illegality.

You might like to think that they'll choose country over anything else... but has politics degraded that far? It seems to me plenty of senior Republican politicians who we might expect to stand up to the president are stepping down instead. I wonder: do they see where not where the party's going, but where it's already gone? Are theytacitly admitting the lunatics run the asylum?

I had warned people this is exactly what was coming, but people seemed to think I was exaggerating or something about the level of corruption and lack of fail-safes to do anything about it. Here in Texas, the people have been electing the most corrupt republicans they can for a while now. People here seem to be content with of the corruption at all levels of government here so is no surprise to me they have managed to spread this to the federal level on the scale they have. With the few Republicans who speak up choosing to leave, I do not think there is much hope to do anything about it. I expect this to get much much worse rather than better unless people pull their heads out and realize this is not something they can just allow to run rampant as the future will indeed be bleak already with the setbacks they have already allowed to happen due to their inaction.

Agema:

ObsidianJones:

Then the hope became that he wasn't corrupt. Just completely incompetent. That he might actually just really be picking the wrong people just because he's actually dumb. Now we see the malicious connections from his picks and how it was self serving.

Let me sum up Trump's strength in one, simple way: 40% approval rating.

Now that's a terrible approval rating in historical terms. But for an apparently incompetent and corrupt president, it's very high. Now bear in mind they're nearly all Republicans... so, basically, the vast majority of the Republican party and voter base.

All those Republican Congressmen and Senators need to be selected as candidates and voted in by Republicans. In the vast majority of cases, their name just needs to go forward as party candidate, and they're in government as long as they're not dragged down by credible accusations of serious illegality.

You might like to think that they'll choose country over anything else... but has politics degraded that far? It seems to me plenty of senior Republican politicians who we might expect to stand up to the president are stepping down instead. I wonder: do they see where not where the party's going, but where it's already gone? Are theytacitly admitting the lunatics run the asylum?

I'm a hundred percent with you. This is actually my point.

TRUMP still holds massive sway in this country. The Republicans don't. In fact, Republicans who just run on values but reject Trump lose.

But Trump won't be around forever. And then Republicans will have to justify this election, their actions, and everything they allowed under Trump. At best, they come off like a Captain Planet Villain. At Worst, they look spineless saying "... Well, he was the boss! I had to follow!"

ObsidianJones:

Agema:

ObsidianJones:

Then the hope became that he wasn't corrupt. Just completely incompetent. That he might actually just really be picking the wrong people just because he's actually dumb. Now we see the malicious connections from his picks and how it was self serving.

Let me sum up Trump's strength in one, simple way: 40% approval rating.

Now that's a terrible approval rating in historical terms. But for an apparently incompetent and corrupt president, it's very high. Now bear in mind they're nearly all Republicans... so, basically, the vast majority of the Republican party and voter base.

All those Republican Congressmen and Senators need to be selected as candidates and voted in by Republicans. In the vast majority of cases, their name just needs to go forward as party candidate, and they're in government as long as they're not dragged down by credible accusations of serious illegality.

You might like to think that they'll choose country over anything else... but has politics degraded that far? It seems to me plenty of senior Republican politicians who we might expect to stand up to the president are stepping down instead. I wonder: do they see where not where the party's going, but where it's already gone? Are theytacitly admitting the lunatics run the asylum?

I'm a hundred percent with you. This is actually my point.

TRUMP still holds massive sway in this country. The Republicans don't. In fact, Republicans who just run on values but reject Trump lose.

But Trump won't be around forever. And then Republicans will have to justify this election, their actions, and everything they allowed under Trump. At best, they come off like a Captain Planet Villain. At Worst, they look spineless saying "... Well, he was the boss! I had to follow!"

Nothing will happen to them. Look at Newt Gingrich. He cheated on two of his wives while harassing Clinton for his affair. When asked about it during the 2016 election, he simply said that's a shit question go fuck yourself and he got a standing ovation.

That's how the Republican base see things. You will have steve Bannon running for Congress saying he was never in the Trump administration and anyone who says otherwise is a queer and he will get a standing ovation and a 5 point jump in the polls.

That's the problem with cultists. They do not care about reality, only the dogma. No one will ever be held to task for how they acted in the Trump years, because we're still waiting for their Clinton years comeuppance

ObsidianJones:

I'm a hundred percent with you. This is actually my point.

TRUMP still holds massive sway in this country. The Republicans don't. In fact, Republicans who just run on values but reject Trump lose.

But Trump won't be around forever. And then Republicans will have to justify this election, their actions, and everything they allowed under Trump. At best, they come off like a Captain Planet Villain. At Worst, they look spineless saying "... Well, he was the boss! I had to follow!"

I don't know why you think they'll reject Trump instead of doubling down. Yeah, Trump will be gone soon, but what's stopping the next guy from carrying on his legacy. Republican are hard at work making sure that 40% is enough to get themselves elected no matter what, at the moment democrats need around 55% of vote to even just start having a shoot at unseating republican and that's not going to get any better any time soon.

Meiam:
I don't know why you think they'll reject Trump instead of doubling down. Yeah, Trump will be gone soon, but what's stopping the next guy from carrying on his legacy. Republican are hard at work making sure that 40% is enough to get themselves elected no matter what, at the moment democrats need around 55% of vote to even just start having a shoot at unseating republican and that's not going to get any better any time soon.

But Trump is the figure that people pray to, not anything else. Can you name the next Trump? I can't. That's like naming the next Michael Jackson, the next Gandhi. It's as much the person as it is the message.

Silentpony:
Nothing will happen to them. Look at Newt Gingrich. He cheated on two of his wives while harassing Clinton for his affair. When asked about it during the 2016 election, he simply said that's a shit question go fuck yourself and he got a standing ovation.

That's how the Republican base see things. You will have steve Bannon running for Congress saying he was never in the Trump administration and anyone who says otherwise is a queer and he will get a standing ovation and a 5 point jump in the polls.

That's the problem with cultists. They do not care about reality, only the dogma. No one will ever be held to task for how they acted in the Trump years, because we're still waiting for their Clinton years comeuppance

I might not be so much in the know when it comes to certain things, but I never heard of Bannon until I heard his name with Trump.

Christie actually tried a lot of the strong-arm tactics Trump employs today. Didn't work. I don't think anyone outside of the cult will let it work for anyone who is not associated with Trump. In fact, like I pointed out, when it is anyone who isn't just a Trump supporter, the strong-arm tactics blow up in their face immediately.

It's hard to say I can't see Trump winning, because I didn't see him winning the first time.

But he did. However, his policies and his actions have incensed the Democrats and a number of the Independents. His hill is steeper. He might be as strong as ever with the Republicans, but the Republicans don't rule this nation. Hillary's lack of campaign focus, not reaching out to the independents, and not trying to appeal to the Republicans gave Trump this country.

Hillary's not running again. Trump will not have an easy go of it at all, if he's still in the running.

ObsidianJones:

Meiam:
I don't know why you think they'll reject Trump instead of doubling down. Yeah, Trump will be gone soon, but what's stopping the next guy from carrying on his legacy. Republican are hard at work making sure that 40% is enough to get themselves elected no matter what, at the moment democrats need around 55% of vote to even just start having a shoot at unseating republican and that's not going to get any better any time soon.

But Trump is the figure that people pray to, not anything else. Can you name the next Trump? I can't. That's like naming the next Michael Jackson, the next Gandhi. It's as much the person as it is the message.

He has a bunch of kids, each just a dumb as he is, what's stopping the cult from just following them after him? Or you could have the infowar crazy guy. I mean even the mooch was spoken of highly by the cult. Look at scientology, the head guy died a long time ago and there's still alive and well.

Also don't forget that when president go for re-election: 1)they've historically almost always won there second round and 2) Turnout is always lower (2012 saw much lower turnout than 2008 and so on) which help republican since they have small number of dedicated voter versus democrat who rely on large number of apathetic one. Both of these massively help Trump in 2020. And look at Georgia this election cycle if you want an idea what's in store for 2020, republican are closing down voting booth in democrat district. There's going to be a lot of talk of voter ID too since the SCOTUS isn't going to strike those down now.

The people democrat have incensed were going to vote for them anyway. In fact that might actually be the worse thing to happen to democrat, now the far left is asking for democrat to be ideologically pure, which just mean that democrat in purple state that have a chance of winning might get replaced by people who'll never win.

ObsidianJones:

Agema:

ObsidianJones:

Then the hope became that he wasn't corrupt. Just completely incompetent. That he might actually just really be picking the wrong people just because he's actually dumb. Now we see the malicious connections from his picks and how it was self serving.

Let me sum up Trump's strength in one, simple way: 40% approval rating.

Now that's a terrible approval rating in historical terms. But for an apparently incompetent and corrupt president, it's very high. Now bear in mind they're nearly all Republicans... so, basically, the vast majority of the Republican party and voter base.

All those Republican Congressmen and Senators need to be selected as candidates and voted in by Republicans. In the vast majority of cases, their name just needs to go forward as party candidate, and they're in government as long as they're not dragged down by credible accusations of serious illegality.

You might like to think that they'll choose country over anything else... but has politics degraded that far? It seems to me plenty of senior Republican politicians who we might expect to stand up to the president are stepping down instead. I wonder: do they see where not where the party's going, but where it's already gone? Are theytacitly admitting the lunatics run the asylum?

I'm a hundred percent with you. This is actually my point.

TRUMP still holds massive sway in this country. The Republicans don't. In fact, Republicans who just run on values but reject Trump lose.

But Trump won't be around forever. And then Republicans will have to justify this election, their actions, and everything they allowed under Trump. At best, they come off like a Captain Planet Villain. At Worst, they look spineless saying "... Well, he was the boss! I had to follow!"

Well, it would follow the pattern of the Nazis that they have been following. Why not end it Nuremburg style? 'Just following orders' and all that.

ObsidianJones:
SNIP

Honestly I wouldn't hold your breath on Hilary not running again. One thing I will give her, she never knows when to quit.
As far as Republicans I wouldn't hold out hope that they'll ever do anything to stop Trump. And even if Democrats take both the House and Senate, Trump can just remove their security clearances so that none of them can ever do their jobs. And if/when they impeach him, he'll just refuse to leave.

He'll just tweet out "Terrible Democrats trying to steal this country, want me impeached. Most corrupt Congress in history. Not going anywhere. You and what army, Congress? #MAGA"

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