Greg Sargent: Trump Is Flailing

Greg Sargent does something I was thinking of doing – listing all the ways Trump is flailing. Trump has always been protected from his own incompetence and sadism by layers of lackeys – Javanka, Michael Cohen, and even when he first became President, his generals, Javanka (still), and a minimally competent but toadying cabinet. He thought that being President means having unlimited power.

He had done what he wanted – or thought he did – as the head of the Trump organization. He never cared to see the people who were steering away from the rocks he found so alluring or who actually did the work to make things happen.

It turns out that there are many things that a President can’t do. That’s why we have a Constitution. The Founding Parents were quite explicit about that. People like John Kelly and Jim Mattis reminded him of that, so they had to go.

Now we have Trump unbound. Kirstjen Nielsen was one of the last to tell him no, if some of the reports are to be believed.

The handlers also steered Trump away from the places where they would have to tell him no. Without them, he is getting more noes.

Here’s Sargent’s list:

  • “Total exoneration” and Attorney General William Barr’s attempt to keep the Mueller report away from the public
  • Throwing in with the suit against the ACA and promising a new Republican health plan
  • The immigration clusterf**k

Trump is clearly becoming desperate on immigration. His emotions are getting out of control. He seems to believe that there is some physical way – his wall, the brutality of what he would like to be his Gestapo – to stop immigration from the south. That is simply not going to happen for both logistical and humanitarian reasons.

Trump knows only bullying and brute force. It’s hard to predict what he will do next in his flailing. But it’s better to note it than to pretend it’s some n-dimensional strategy for his base.

Open thread.

Roger Stone Pursues the Path to Martyr-dumb!

Bless his heart…

National security correspondent Dan Murphy has the chain of transmission:

Stone has already deleted the instagram post, and, of course, thrown an employee under the bus. Long time members of the party of personal responsibility never seem to take personal responsibility…

To be serious here for a moment, a simple google image search for Judge Amy Berman Jackson, returns dozens of images of her. To find one with a cross hairs image or logo near her head meant that whomever went looking for an image for Stone’s post had to specifically either be looking for an image like that or trying to create one. Which is not surprising given that Stone has a long history of positing material with anti-Semitic themes or borrowing them from people and our sites that do. Here’s just one example. Also, why does it look like Rudy has a squirrel crawling around in his flight suit? Ewww!!!

In regard to Roger Stone, as they say in the south: that boy ain’t right!

This will definitely not get Judge Jackson removed from the case, but it is likely to get Federal law enforcement to overreact. Especially as some of the people who follow the conspiracy theories that Stone promotes tend to take them to heart and then take violent action as a result of them.

Though it is interesting to watch the seeming political evolution of former Congressman Joe Walsh:

Open thread!

The Line of Succession for the Governorship of Virginia: Lieutenant Governor Fairfax Comes Under Fire

Even as Governor Northam huddles with his cabinet as an attempt to maintain his governorship of Virginian, the same fine folks that thought Breitbart was too liberal have decided to direct fire against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.

From 13NewsNow:

Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax denies 2004 sexual assault allegation

The allegation involves an unsubstantiated claim of sexual assault against Fairfax during the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

The full details of the allegation are on Big League Politics.

This allegation was previously investigated by both local Virginia news outlets and The Washington Post last year and they could not substantiate it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true, or parts of it aren’t, but that the allegations couldn’t be corroborated and/or substantiated.

Here’s Lieutenant Governor Fairfax’s statement:

Longtime Republican campaign strategist and strategic communication professional Rick Wilson thinks something here stinks in regards to how the allegations against Lieutenant Governor Fairfax came to light just after a “concerned citizen” discovered Governor Northam’s yearbook page.

The problem here is that it doesn’t really make a lot of political sense to do all of this so far from the Virginia state elections that are coming up later this year. If either and/or both of these stories play out, with Northam ultimately resigning or being forced out by the Democrats in Virginia – and there is a process to do that – and Fairfax also having to step aside, it isn’t going to make the Democrats look like they didn’t take either and/or both of these problems seriously. Nor would it hand the governorship to a Republican as the next in the line of succession is Mark Herring, who is Virginia’s Attorney General and a Democrat. (emphasis mine below)

In the case of the removal of the Governor from office or in the case of his disqualification, death, or resignation, the Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor.

If a vacancy exists in the office of Lieutenant Governor when the Lieutenant Governor is to succeed to the office of Governor or to serve as Acting Governor, the Attorney General, if he is eligible to serve as Governor, shall succeed to the office of Governor for the unexpired term or serve as Acting Governor. If the Attorney General is ineligible to serve as Governor, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, if he is eligible to serve as Governor, shall succeed to the office of Governor for the unexpired term or serve as Acting Governor. If a vacancy exists in the office of the Speaker of the House of Delegates or if the Speaker of the House of Delegates is ineligible to serve as Governor, the House of Delegates shall convene and fill the vacancy.

If this is an attempt to place the Virginia governorship in Republican hands, sort of a coup by scandal, it won’t work unless there’s a scandalous story involving Virginia Attorney General Herring teed up and ready to be deployed because the only Republican in the line of succession is the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates is Republican William J. Howell.

What is unclear right now is what, in the larger political sense, specifically of partisan political warfare, is actually going on. If this is a coordinated attempt to remove the Democratic leadership of Virginia’s executive branch through selected news reports of opposition research that was either overlooked or never previously released because it couldn’t be verified, then expect Big League Politics or some other similar outlet to drop a story on Virginia Attorney General Herring in the next few days, especially if other news outlets give the allegations against Lieutenant Governor Fairfax serious coverage and the pressure builds on him to resign as well.

This much coincidence, long buried inappropriate behavior by Virginia’s Democratic governor and lieutenant governor that one would have expected to have been put forward as oppo research much earlier in their political careers, takes a lot of work. That it doesn’t seem to really be a coincidence doesn’t excuse Governor Northam’s admission he dressed in blackface to go to a theme party as Michael Jackson, even as he disputes that he is either the person in blackface or the person in the Klan costume pictured on his yearbook page. Nor would it excuse Lieutenant Governor Fairfax if the allegations that have surfaced regarding sexual assault are substantiated. That it would all surface right now seems much too convenient.

Once is chance, twice is coincidence, the third time is enemy action.

Lieutenant Governor Fairfax is giving a press conference right now where he is both addressing the issues around Governor Northam and the resurfaced allegations against himself. I can’t find a live stream. If I do, I’ll update the post.

Open thread!

We Need to See All the Videos Before Drawing Conclusions: Covington Catholic High School Students Yell at Young Women Edition

Since we have to see all the videos of the fine young men from Covington Catholic High School, we definitely should make sure this is on the front page with the context provided by the person who both took the video and was in the group of young women being accosted and yelled at.

Beware of the 21st century technological Panopticon. It sees all!

Open thread.

The Trump Narrative

I think that one reason people have taken up the Steele dossier as a key to Donald Trump’s election wrongdoing is that it is a relatively compact telling of events, from which a narrative may be extracted.

Most of the news coverage is of one small piece of the story at a time. The format of the articles tends to be a general statement of that small piece, perhaps with a bit of background, then a more detailed explanation of the small piece, and then more background. Space is limited, and the story is big. The cast appears to include thousands.

I find those articles largely unreadable and uninformative. Journalists seem to be having trouble too. Sally Buzbee, the executive editor of AP, said the Trump-Russia probes have “gone on so long that it’s difficult to be able to assess what in this investigation is truly very serious and what is not as serious. So that is one thing that journalists struggle with a little bit…” (video here; quote begins at 4:30) That certainly could be one reason that their articles are unreadable.

We need an overall story into which we can fit the breaking news. That will help us figure out what is truly very serious. Elliott Broidy, as far as we know now, is not as important to the story as Erik Prince, who is not as important as Donald Trump Jr. A master narrative can show where characters and subplots fit. Then the subplots can be written separately, noting the connections.

So I’m going to stick my neck out and provide a narrative. It is a bare-bones framework on which we can hang the many subplots and add in facts as they emerge. I’ve also added questions that need to be answered. I suspect that Robert Mueller has answers to some of those questions.

I invite you to suggest subplots. I’ll add them to my list and perhaps write another post in which I try to incorporate them into the narrative.

The narrative is below the fold. Read more