Days of Infamy Edition
APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
FiveThirtyEight Poll: 41.6% — down from 41.7% last week
Rasmussen Poll: 51% — up from 46% last week
46% UKRAINE SCHEME GROUNDS FOR IMPEACHMENT — 12/04/19 — HarrisX Poll
Welcome to Trumplandia, a place where with a bit of wit and snark, we keep the world caught up on all of the tasty Nuggets-O-Trump you may have heard about but were too busy to care. Because most of this minutia occurs just below the massive headlines about the POTUS, it’s in a land of its own. Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.
So just like the president, we start it all with a little tweet like this:
The Ship Be Sinkin’!
The week of our Trump — Nov. 30, 2019: Almost 80 years to the date, violence erupted at a U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor, but this time it was not a day that lived in infamy, but just another senseless shooting by a very sick person in America.
On Dec. 4, a U.S. Navy sailor fatally shot two people before turning the gun on himself at the historic naval shipyard. Upset with his commanders, the mentally ill sailor had been undergoing counseling, but was facing punishment for minor misconduct. He also wounded a 36-year-old man who was listed in stable condition yesterday.
Sadly a normal occurrence, the shooting occurred days before today’s 78th anniversary of the Japanese attack that launched the United States’ participation World War II. However, this week the two murders at Pearl Harbor were not the most infamous things to happen. No, that was reserved for the current occupant of the Oval Office.
Orange Julius Caesar entered the rarified air of infamy several months back when a CIA whistleblower disclosed concerns about a telephone call between President Donald J. Trump and the president of Ukraine. Disclosure of the call and the subsequent coverup has Trump poised to become only the third president impeached in the House of Representatives.
Prior to Trump, four presidents had been considered for impeachment. John Tyler, who succeed William Henry Harrison following his death from pneumonia, was the first to be the focus of an impeachment inquiry. Articles were not drawn on Tyler and he was not tried in the Senate. Richard Nixon resigned before his impending impeachment in the House.
Only Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and now our Stable Genius, will have had votes for impeachment in the House of Representatives. Both Johnson and Clinton were acquitted in the Senate, as Trump is expected to be. Johnson missed the two-thirds of Senate votes for removal by one vote.
This week marked the beginning of impeachment hearings before the House Judiciary Committee. The hearings began after the House Intelligence Committee released the report of its investigation of Trump, who appears to have abused the power of his office by withholding military aid to an ally that he wanted to produce dirt on political rival (Democratic front-runner Joe Biden). Trump also apparently obstructed Congress in its investigation of the incident and may have attempted to use Ukraine as a pawn to exonerate Russia from charges tied to its conducting a coordinated interference campaign in the 2016 election.
According to the Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, (D-Ca.), Trump’s action in the matter of the Ukraine represents significant misconduct by a president:
“The evidence that we have found is really quite overwhelming that the president used the power of his office to secure political favors and abuse the trust American people put in him and jeopardize our security.”
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee called three legal experts on impeachment to examine the charges leveled against Trump. Testifying were Noah Friedman, professor at Harvard Law School; Pamela Karlan of the Stanford Law School and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina School of Law. Republicans called television pundit Jonathan Turley of George Washington University.
All three scholars produced by the Democrats indicated what we all have been saying all along, that there was no question Trump violated the Constitution and its limits on power. They testified that Trump’s bribe of Ukraine in the hopes of providing dirt on Biden was in “contravention of U.S. interests — in ways envisioned by the Founding Fathers when they gave Congress the authority to remove the chief executive.”
The star of the proceedings turned out to be Karlan, who pointedly agreed with her other two colleagues about Trump’s behavior as it related to the Ukraine affair. She said if Trump’s action with the Ukraine went unchecked it would have an impact on future presidents and on our upcoming presidential election:
“If you don’t impeach a president who has done what this president has done . . . then what you’re saying is that it’s fine to go ahead and do this again. It’s your responsibility to make sure that all Americans get to vote in a free and fair election next November.”
Despite her salient points on why the president should be impeached, it was one testy exchange with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that grabbed headlines the next day. Karlan, during an example about presidential overreach, made a reference to Trump’s 13-year-old son Barron, stating:
“Kings could do no wrong because the king’s word was law, but contrary to what President Trump says, Article II does not give him the power to do anything he wants. The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he cannot make him a baron.”
The offhand comment involving the First Couple’s only son roiled First Lady Melania Trump, who said the teen should not be brought into politics. “Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering and using a child to do it,” the FLOTUS tweeted.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D- NY) invited the president and/or his attorneys to participate in the hearings, giving them a deadline of 5 p.m. yesterday to respond. Issuing a pointed response shortly before the deadline, White House counsel Cipollone said he would not send lawyers to the House committee hearing on Monday when the panel is expected to hear from Intelligence Committee lawyers on the investigation into the Ukraine affair. Cipollone’s letter said:
“House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade. You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings. Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats and would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation’s history.”
Meanwhile, Trump on Dec. 6 challenged House Democrats to impeach him fast and get the process over with in the Senate, which is dominated by Republicans. He threatened to seek testimony in the Senate from Schiff, Pelosi, and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The Whole World is Laughing at US
This week’s NATO Summit, held in London on Dec. 3 and 4, celebrated the 70-year military alliance among the 29 members aimed at curtailing the spread of Communism following World War II.
Unlike in 1949 when America was a bourgeoning global power and the world looked to us for inspiration, nations around the world now see us a miserable joke. Viewed through the lens of an overweight, failed casino mogul and former reality television star, Trump’s ugly American act found another stage at NATO.
This time attacking President Emmanuel Macron from the start, Trump assailed a statement made by the French leader last month when he stated in The Economist that Europe could no longer rely on America to defend its NATO allies:
“What we are currently experiencing in the brain death of NATO. Europe stands on the edge of a precipice and needs to start thinking of itself strategically as a geopolitical power; otherwise we will no longer be in control of our destiny.”
The comment roiled Trump, who described Macron’s statement as “very, very nasty.”
Uncharacteristically defending the role of NATO, Trump said France was not doing well economically and that our longest ally had a rough year. He said Macron’s November comments were inappropriate. “You just can’t go around making statements like that about NATO,” said Trump, who has himself openly criticized the trade and security group. ”It’s very disrespectful,” Trump said of Macron’s remark.
The two would later face off in another exchange regarding the Islamic State (ISIS) in which Trump again criticized Europe for not wantonly returning alleged members of the militant group back into their countries of origin.
Aside from the comments about France’s “nasty” president, members of the NATO delegation appeared to get the last laugh when the leaders of Great Britain, Canada, France and the Netherlands were caught on camera during an event at Buckingham Palace.
Seen standing in a circle without Trump, a hot microphone captured their conversation and joking. The huddle of foreign leaders and their contempt for Trump stole the headlines with reports that world leaders were mocking America’s president.
News of the party chatter of course could not go on without Trump making another trademark petty and inappropriate comment. He called the Canadian Prime Minister a “nice guy,” but he’s “two-faced” and went on to question Canada’s contribution to NATO defense spending. Trudeau, for his part, was complimentary to Trump, emphasizing the “very productive and positive relationship,” the two longtime allies will continue to enjoy.
The next day, Trump’s European adventure continued until it didn’t. During what is usually the closing press conference held by the U.S., he abruptly left and canceled the presser, stating that he’d done a few earlier. Trump boarded Air Force One and returned to Washington for the National Christmas Tree lighting.
Throughout the trip abroad, the president’s thoughts seemed to drift back to America where his presidency was under additional scrutiny by the “fake hoax” that everyone else is calling an impeachment inquiry. Said Trump:
“I think it’s very unpatriotic of the Democrats to put on a performance where they do that. I think it’s a bad thing for our country. Impeachment wasn’t supposed to be used that way.”
As we enter the holiday season, each week we’ll take a look at an item that may or may not be under the Trump Christmas tree. Don’t toss your cookies – leave them for Santa.
This week, despite being giggled at in England and getting impeached at home, the First Family carried on as if everything was just perfect. They lighted the traditional Christmas tree outside the White House and Melania unveiled her annual Yuletide decorations.
On Dec. 1, the FLOTUS announced her theme: “The Spirit of America,” and released a video showing her setting up the display by sprinkling fake snowflakes on a tree and adjusting a miniature wreath on the traditional gingerbread White House in the State Dining Room.
According to the press release, highlights of the display include a Gold Star Family tree decorated by members of the Gold Star families in the East Wing; a timeline of American design, innovation and architecture in the East Wing, and the First Family’s Christmas card and ornament in the East Garden Room. In the Vermeil Room the “spirit of generosity,” is on display with two trees decorated to commemorate past first ladies.
In all the White House is decorated 58 Christmas trees with more than 800 feet of garland, 2,500 strands of lights and more than 400 gold stars.
After returning from the NATO Summit, Trump participated in the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse outside of the White House.
With the president counting down from five to one, Melania hit the button to light the 30-foot Colorado blue spruce, which was planted in October and adorned with 50,000 lights and 450 white stars. The tradition of lighting the national tree dates back to 1923 when then President Calvin Coolidge lighted a 48-foot Balsam Fir on Christmas Eve.
The Dec. 5 tree lighting came on the same day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- Ca.) announced she planned to go ahead with drafting articles of impeachment against Trump. Trump has in the past said impeachment would be good for his re-election efforts in 2020.