Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Deposing of an American President

I have never been a conspiracy theorist. But what is being done to undermine, and even bring down, a sitting American President, should be frightening to everyone. It did not start with the women's march on January 21, the day after Trump's inauguration; although the posters being carried reflected many marchers really had no interest in seeing what policies Trump would put in place. It was not just the constant media attacks on virtually every Trump associate and adviser: from Steve Bannon (calling him an anti-Semite with no proof of same) to Stephen Miller to Michael Flynn to Kellyanne Conway (how horrible that she sat on the couch in the Oval Office with her legs folded back under her - but not horrible when Obama put his feet on the Resolute Desk on multiple occasions) to Jeff Sessions, and on and on. This is more than the left-wing hypocrisy, which I have demonstrated in many of my recent posts. What we are witnessing, less than two months into his Presidency, is an attempt to get Trump removed from office. It is unprecedented.

When the Watergate scandal was initially being investigated by the Washington Post about 45 years ago, most of the stories were buried somewhere deep in the paper. Now, notwithstanding no conclusive evidence of any wrongdoing or criminal activity by Trump or his people, the stories (allegations) are readily splashed across the front pages of most major newspapers. Why? Question: what motivated the Obama Administration, only days before Obama left office, to allow the sharing of raw intelligence data gathered by the NSA with all the other (16) intelligence agencies. The greater the access to that data, the greater the likelihood of leaks. And, not surprisingly, leaks there have been: from our President's telephone conversations with the Mexican President and the Australian Prime Minister, to the illegal release of Michael Flynn's name, while Flynn had a telephone conversation with the Russian Ambassador. The surveillance of foreign government officials on US soil is no surprise. However, the names of Americans involved in such conversations are to be redacted - it is illegal to release American's names.

On January 20, the day of Trump's inauguration, the front page of the New York Times had this headline: "Wiretapped Data Used In Inquiry Of Trump Aides." What an interesting headline. The article found no evidence of wrongdoing; and the Times subsequently deleted "wiretapped" from the headline. But, why was this a front page story? If there was no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, and no actual wiretapping of Trump aides, what point was the Times trying to make here? Or, was it just part of a concerted effort to bring an abrupt end to the Trump Presidency? Was it just coincidental that the day after Trump's well received speech to Congress that the Washington Post prints the story about Jeff Sessions communications with the Russian Ambassador?

During Sessions' testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Al Franken tells Sessions that CNN just published a report that "Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump," and that "there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government." Franken: "If it's true it's obviously extremely serious, and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?" So, in that context, relating to the campaign, Senator Sessions answers as follows: "I'm not aware of any of those activities. I have been a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communication with the Russians." It turns out that Mr. Sessions, as a Senator, did have two conversations with the Russian Ambassador. One, at the Republican convention, where they had a brief conversation. The other was in Sessions' Senate office, with two of his aides present - hardly the place to have a surreptitious meeting; and nothing like the basements of parking structures where Woodward and Bernstein would meet with "deep throat" during their investigation of the Watergate scandal. Nevertheless, it clearly would have been preferable if Sessions had simply said "as a Senator, I speak with many foreign officials, and as a Senator I did speak twice with the Russian Ambassador."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: "Because the Department of Justice should be above reproach, for the good of the country, Attorney General Sessions should resign." It's a shame that Schumer did not feel that way when Obama was President and Loretta Lynch was the Attorney General. When asked about Lynch's meeting with Bill Clinton, while her department had Hillary Clinton under investigation, Schumer opined: "She (Lynch) has said nothing was discussed related to the investigation. So you have two choices - to say this didn't matter, or she's lying. I think it didn't matter. I don't think she's lying." Of course, lying is not the issue now. No, it's "above reproach." Two AGs, two standards. And yet another attempt to have another Trump appointee removed from his post.

The 3/3/17 USA Today printed an opinion piece by Jason Sattler, described as a member of the paper's Board of Contributors. The headline was: "Democrats, Time to Talk Impeachment." I have already seen Democratic Congressmen on TV, calling for Trump's impeachment. One member of the Democratic National Committee (Gilda Cobb-Hunter) apparently said this: "You have someone (Trump) trying to erase your (Obama's) legacy. You have to do all that you can to make sure that doesn't happen." " all that you can..." Is it just a coincidence that the Obamas are leasing a house in Washington, D.C., in addition to the home they purchased in Rancho Mirage, California? Is it just a coincidence that "Obama for America" is now "Organizing for America?" Did anyone really believe that Obama would not interfere with Trump, the way Bush refused to criticize or speak out against Obama?

But Obama is not alone. His last Attorney General, the aforementioned Loretta Lynch, recently made a video. Here is what she said: "I know that this is a time of great fear and uncertainty for so many people. I know it's a time of concern for people, who see our rights being assailed, being trampled on and even being rolled back. I know that this is difficult, but I remind you that this has never been easy. We have always had to work to move this country forward to achieve the great ideals of our Founding Fathers. It has been people, individuals who have banded together, ordinary people who simply saw what needed to be done and came together and supported those ideals who have made the difference. They've marched, they've bled and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again."

What is she talking about? It was Obama who spied on reporter James Rosen and his family. It was Obama who spied on the AP. It was Obama who used the IRS to target conservative individuals and groups. And it was Lynch who threatened to prosecute otherwise protected speech - if directed against Islam or Muslims. Does it not sound like Lynch is now calling for violence in the streets? Because of what? What has Trump done that would warrant this type of reaction?

Another former official in the Obama Administration, Rosa Brooks, who worked at the D.O.D., just recently wrote a piece for Foreign Policy magazine. Brooks: "Donald Trump's first week as President has made it all too clear: yes, he is as crazy as everyone feared." After Trump was President for only one week she was prepared to ask: "Are we truly stuck with Donald Trump?" Then, she gave the options. One, wait for the 2020 elections. Two, impeachment. Three, invoke the 25th Amendment. That Amendment allows the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to declare the President unfit for office, with the result being that the VP becomes Acting President. And the last option given by Brooks: "The fourth possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders." A military coup. Like Lynch, Brooks is also an attorney, and is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

No, I do not need to be a conspiracy theorist at all to see that something very serious is happening. The constant barrage of news stories filled with innuendo and allegations, but little hard facts. The premature calls for Trump's impeachment - by the media and Democratic officials. And the call for what seems like rioting in the streets and a military coup by two lawyers who worked for Obama. Does Trump, at times, say some crazy things? Yes, but not as crazy as what appears to be a call for a civil war in this country.