Saturday, September 15, 2018

They call him a flipper

The news that the former campaign manager for the 2016 Republican candidate has flipped, pleading guilty to the charges against him in a plea deal that guarantees full cooperation with the Mueller investigation, is likely to prove to be far more important than many people realise. The unindicted co-conspirator in the Oval Office must be wearing clothes soaked in sweat. He should be.

Manafort knows the full details of the Republican campaign’s collusion with the Russian government. He knows what happened before the infamous meeting at Trump Tower, and he was at that meeting and can attest to what really happened. Don Jr. and Jared should be worried.

Manafort also single-handedly chose Mike Pence to be the Republican Vice Presidential nominee. Why? Why Pence, specifically? Manafort—who was doing the bidding of the Russian government—knows. Pence went on to completely direct the transition, including who would take on what jobs. Pence should be worried, and many of those same officials still in office should be worried, too.

In the run-up to the 2016 Republican National Convention, the campaign changed one—and ONLY one—item in the Republican Platform, and that was a plank on Ukraine, which they wanted changed to a pro-Russian position (a 180-degree change). The platform was changed. Paul Manafort was responsible for the change, so he’ll know why it was the only thing they cared about. Everyone in the current regime, potentially, should be worried.

Meanwhile, the former personal lawyer of the current occupant of the White House has pled guilty and is also cooperating with federal investigators. Everyone in the Trump organisation and family should be shit scared about that, because he knows where all the bodies are buried, so to speak.

So far, every single one of the people charged in connection with the Mueller investigation has pled guilty, and any of them who know anything material are also fully cooperating with federal investigators. This cannot end well for the unindicted co-conspirator in the Oval Office, but how, exactly, will it end?

It is unlikely to be impeachment. Even if Democrats re-take the US House of Representatives, where impeachment begins, they will not have the votes in the US Senate to remove him from office, even if they take control of that body, too.

However, that could change if Democrats take control of the US House and their thorough investigations turn up more damning information about the corruption and criminality of the current regime. That could be enough to convince Republicans to act against the current occupant—or to use if for political justification for acting.

It’s also possible—probable, in fact—that the Congressional investigations will cause the current occupant to launch into increasingly, unhinged tantrums and even more bizarre behaviour than usual, and that could embolden Pence and the cabinet he installed to remove the current occupant under the 25th Amendment. This is not as difficult to do as some pundits have been saying in media reports, but would be easier if Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly back it, and if they can lay out a convincing case that “the president is absolutely nuts”, they just may get away with it.

The Republicans need only two more things from this regime and its leader. First, the confirmation to the Supreme Court of their ultra rightwing extremist, and that will happen before the November elections. He, in turn, is absolutely guaranteed to help overturn reproductive choice in the USA, as well as to cement the power of corporations over real people, both of which are top priorities for the Republicans and the tiny numbers in the special interests they actually serve. Their Supreme Court pick is also a sure vote to prevent the current occupant of the White House from being indicted for his crimes while in office, which could buy them time to make the case to remove him.

The second thing Republicans in Congress want to do is to make their tax cut scam permanent, to keep taxes cut for the rich and for corporations, while allowing taxes to go back up for working people and middle class people. They’ll wait to do this in the lame duck session after the midterms, if the Democrats win, or any time after that if they don’t (though it may still be in the lame duck session to inoculate incoming Republicans from voter backlash in 2020). This is also certain to happen.

One option that could be off the table is resignation. The current occupant’s malignant narcissistic personality disorder could well prevent him from agreeing to resign. However, if Democrats start making the case for impeachment, he may agree to go in exchange for a pardon to protect him from federal prosecution, though it would do nothing to protect him from charges in the several states where he’s done business.

The Republicans’ actions will be dictated on calculations of how much damage acting against the unindicted co-conspirator will do to them with the frothing fanatical fans of their party’s current leader, weighed against how much damage NOT acting will do to them with the VAST majority of voters who are not Republican. This is why a convincing case that “the president is absolutely nuts” is so important for them.

Failing that, they’ll have to try to continue the flow of negative propaganda on their party’s TV channel, Fox “News”, in order to try and turn Republicans’ opinions against their leader. That would take a lot of work.

For Democrats, there’s a positive aspect to not being able to remove the current occupant from office: To fix all the damage the current regime has done, it will take a massive change in Congress, and 2020 will be better for that. The current occupant’s inevitable unhinged tantrums and even more bizarre behaviour than usual will help Democrats win in 2020. Meanwhile, Democrats will be in a position to block all of the current occupant’s worst legislative agenda impulses, and to preserve, protect, and defend the US Constitution—and the republic itself.

Ultimately, what happens will depend on two things. First, what information, precisely, will Manafort and the others provide to investigators? That could speed everything up by emboldening Republicans to act. Second, what will happen in the midterm elections? The stronger the position of Democrats in the new Congress, the more likely an early resolution will be.

There is only one thing that is absolutely certain beyond any doubt: It’s time to pop the popcorn, because this show is about to get really interesting.

Photo above assumed to be by Logicaldisaster~commonswiki (based on copyright claims). [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

1 comment:

rogerogreen said...

Damn! I have the theme to an old NBC-TV show stuck in my head: "They call him, Flipper, Flipper..."