Is Trump’s Presidency Unraveling Before Our Eyes?

Is Trump’s Presidency Unraveling Before Our Eyes?I know I’ll take some heat for this, but here’s an article in Cincinnati.com, part of the USA Today network, in which Mark P. Painter, a retired judge (pictured), a Republican who served on the bench for 30 years, discusses the imminent demise of the Trump presidency.  Before you blast me, please read his piece and let it sink in for a moment or two.  Then Google the subject and learn a bit about what’s happening and the velocity with which it’s going down.  Yes, each day is a new nightmare, but it really could be over soon.

 

 

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21 comments on “Is Trump’s Presidency Unraveling Before Our Eyes?
  1. Bruce Wilson says:

    It is in fact time for the Congress to act, but I do not see it happening anytime soon. It would require more character than is currently evident in Congress. I remember thinking that our country could not survive the Reagan administration as we bemoaned the likes of Ed Meese and James Watt and.

    • craigshields says:

      You’re certainly right about integrity of our Congress. But remember Watergate. It was the press that made all that happen. The press is on the warpath at this point, and they’re being given more high-powered ammunition every day. The intelligence community will play an important role in this too.

  2. Breath on the Wind says:

    Clearly Painter shares your views on this presidency.

    I am rather amazed at the shortsightedness of this president in holding on to his world wide assets. There are many implications:

    — Any one of his hotels can be a rather soft target. Anyone killed or injured in his hotels might be directly tied to his decision not to divest. At the very least this creates an additional liability.

    — If I was writing his insurance contracts I would be busy putting exceptions into the policies.

    — If I was looking for a safe place to stay in a foreign country the very last place I would stay is anywhere near a Trump hotel.

    — Maybe he gets a call: “Remove those sanctions or we will blow up your hotel?”

    — Your son needs to come to the hotel in our foreign country to settle some business. But now he is not coming back…

    — Or maybe Trump expects the American taxpayer to pay for demolished hotels he refused to divest?

    It is a disaster waiting to happen.

    • craigshields says:

      I actually hadn’t thought about this, but I think it’s minor in comparison to the conflicts of interest and his dealings with Russia. We’ll see.

    • marcopolo says:

      Breath,

      You make an interesting observation, and one not given enough media coverage.

      I can remember the sad fate of Pan American Airlines, which because it was heavily associated with the USA, got bombed out of the skies.

      I don’t think a nicety like divesting his interests would deter terrorist attacks. The Trump name would remain and legalities aren’t a big thing with terrorists.

      Maybe the influence of his local partners, or fear of retaliation may give pause for thought, but you’ve raised a very valid area of concern.

  3. Breath on the Wind says:

    I suspect that eventually we will discover the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians and he will be forced to resign. We might be just days away from that now or it may take some time. Will Pence then pardon him before he is convicted “to save the party?” Will we then see Trump supporters protesting in the streets?

    The trouble the Republicans have is if the campaign did collude then is the entire election invalid? I would not be surprised to see some attempt by Democrats to sue for a new election. If they are supported by continued protests then Republicans may be forced to allow a new election or get slaughtered in the mid-terms. The longer the conflict is unresolved the more it will stir up interest and voting action which will only hurt Republicans.

    • marcopolo says:

      Breath,

      Why would President Trump be required to resign in the eventuality that it was discovered an individual or individuals in his campaign did collude with Russians.

      “Colluding with Russians” isn’t, in itself, an offence. Any collusion would require a conspiracy to commit a criminal act against US law.

      It would also require a cover up, or some knowing direct involvement of the President himself, otherwise it’s just another political embarrassment.

      In any eventuality, Trump would simply choose to fight it out, and his term would end long before the legal process ground to it’s final conclusion.

      • Breath on the Wind says:

        Marco, certainly a valid observation. I believe the same statute that could be used to call the actions of the Mike Flynn treason could be used in this case. Specifically the Logan Act

        “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer of agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to dispute or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measure of the United States [commits a felony}.”

        Of course, there is always the possibility of a defense. But they will ask parties under oath for information they will then either get an admission or prosecute for lying under oath.

        But there is this half a trillion dollar deal that Exxon mobile was set to do with the Russians. What caught Flynn was trying to smooth things over regarding this deal. If if turns out that all the contacts really centered around this “art of the deal” and it turns out that Trump expected to profit from promoting the deal then we have what may be an intolerable violation of law besides a question of trust.

        Presently we have the NSA, FBI, at times the CIA and increasingly the media at odds with the President. The intelligence community and the media are reporting contacts with the Russians, they have the proof. The president and his staff are denying their existence in the belief that they can fabricate the facts. The intelligence community is leaking information in pieces but they know the story at this point. If the president can’t trust his intelligence sources and they can’t trust him this is an intolerable and untenable situation. It will not last. Congress will be forced to act and Trump may be forced to follow Nixon’s footsteps.

        • marcopolo says:

          Breath,

          Given their history, I mean these are the same guys who confirmed WMD to Bush and Blair, I’m not sure the public are that confidant about the USA intelligence community!

          The CIA, aren’t those they guy’s who,….never mind, I think when it comes to deploring chicanery, the CIA isn’t an organization whose evidence I would accept without question!

          The reason the Logan Act has never been used since 1803, is it’s simply too vague and unenforceable.(It’s also probably unconstitutional),

          Attempting to bring down a President on the basis of an indecipherable and exceedingly dubious 1799 law that hasn’t been used in 213 years, will not hurt the President, but make his detractor look petty, vindictive and crazy !

          On the other hand, it’s interesting to watch the left suddenly compromising all their values by praising their previous mortal enemy, the evil CIA, in order to vilify Trump.

          • Breath on the Wind says:

            Marco, I would have to agree it is certainly a mess.

            If the Logan act is used, its broad wording would certainly have to be interpreted by the courts. It would likely be included in the various counts of an indictment. However as written any multi-national corporation should be concerned when negotiating with a foreign government without congressional approval. While the Logan act is a dubious peg upon which to hang a the vilification of an administration it is none the less the law and so it is not accurate to say that “no law has been broken.” We should keep in mind that it was only a few administrations ago that congress decided that lying under oath was a “high crime or misdemeanor” sufficient to impeach a president. There are also other relevant statutes, but as you are well aware the US legal system is a complex mix of constitution, statutes, regulations and legal precedents. I haven’t done a complete search in order to answer a question here and my previous answer is a far distance from a legal opinion.

            Regarding the CIA this is also the same political party who’s administration outed an operative in a vindictive retaliation for calling the WMD a hoax. How long is their memory? But once again I don’t claim to know what is happening behind the scenes. You can find some, like “Moby” on facebook who do claim insider information, but we have to be very careful about our sources of information these days.

            But you said something a few days ago that has stuck with me. Something about enjoying the embarrassment of the US form of government. It is quite easy to think that somehow something bad is happening “over there” and it does not concern us. We have learned that destabilizing the government in Iraq has had a global impact on terrorism. Similarly here is a piece on the very real impact of deporting all the immigrants in the US: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWrknR7SDLk The Washington Post put out a more extensive review here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/14/what-donald-trumps-deportation-plans-would-do-to-american-businesses/

            Instability in America’s government has had and will have a world wide effect. A recent one is the Russian Missile test that will affect the balance of power in Europe and NATO and the security of Eastern European Countries. Can the UK or Australia remain isolated from these and other events? Sadly I don’t think so. Just as an economic collapse in the US will have world wide effects so also does political instability.

            Now in today’s news it seems the administration is trying to plug the leaks with a review/witch hunt of intelligence services. If there is an ongoing connection between the Trump administration and Russia then what will this do to intelligence services around the world. How long before some country or some intelligence service decides it has to stop the madness from reaching its own borders.

            There is a great deal here that should be deeply troubling and not only within the borders of the US.

      • Breath on the Wind says:

        “Collusion” sounds like such a benign term. Suppose those in the Trump campaign were coaching the Russians on what would be necessary to “hack” the US election. Perhaps then “collusion” sounds a lot more like “treason.”

        • craigshields says:

          “Collusion” doesn’t sound benign to me, FWIW.

        • marcopolo says:

          Breath,

          I’m not sure what you mean by the vague term “hack” an election.

          Given the considerable cyber abilities of Belorussian, Russia and PRC intelligence agencies, in addition to their massive rogue private capacity, it’s doubtful they need any coaching from the US !

          I’m not sure that it’s even treason. The only use any hacking could be to discover scandal or secrets of a personal or political nature concerning the Democratic party.

          That may not be legal, but the Democratic party isn’t a part of the US government, so it isn’t really treason.

          Even so, you would still have to prove Donald Trump personally knew of the illegal activity and approved it.

          Had Nixon not covered up the transgressions of his staff and attempted to prevent the prosecutions, he would not have faced any penalty.

          In this case, Trump has immediately taken action by removing Gen.Flynn. Any further “investigations” will be seen as mere political witch-hunts and only strengthen the President’s standing with his supporters.

          I’m not sure why you find a missile test by Russia to be alarming. For over fifty years the Russians have possessed a vast array of WMD, quite capable of eliminating all life on the planet.

          Nuclear warfare is a no win option for any participant.(It’s not called MAD for nothing)

          The Russians argue the are not increasing nuclear capacity, simply modernizing their aging “deterrent” fleet while reducing actual numbers. They also argue this is part of a new defense strategy to better control weapons within Russia, while further dismantling installations in the old USSR.

          I don’t see this as expansionist.

          Trump’s vulnerability, is not his unusual behavior, if anything it adds to his popularity. He’s not vulnerable on immigration. Those outraged were never his constituency. His wealth, commercial dealings, policies were all known at the time of his election.

          Again, those indignant and outraged were never Trump supporters and the more vehement the political attacks the more solid his base of support.

          Trump’s vulnerability is his administration’s lack of any cohesive economic policy. This is the only issue capable of derailing his Presidency, and losing support among his constituency.

          The Republican majorities in both houses are a political liability for this President as he can’t hide his lack of ability to manage the economy on a truculent opposition.

          Populists like Trump, always self-destruct when all the political hoo-ha and drama dies away and they’re exposed as poor economic managers.

          Ideologues from the Left can often survive economic mismanagement longer, because the “true believers” are more concerned with idealism than the economy. However, Trump has no ideological tenets to galvanize loyalty,his popularity depends on criticizing others, vague slogans and boasts.

          Those wishing to see the downfall of Trump, should stop all the counter-productive outrage, and simply concentrate on his vulnerability on economic issues. (That’s the only thing voters really care about).

          Of course, I might be wrong, Trump’s economic team might miraculously develop a set of brilliant economic initiatives and policies capable of advancing prosperity for the average American !

          In that (very unlikely) event, any legal and political maneuvering designed to bring him down would be meet with very hostile response from US voters.

          • Breath on the Wind says:

            Marco, You may be confusing the DNC hack with the election hack. While related to winning the election these may be two separate methods to determine the outcome of the election. To be accurate “hack” as a verb it is going to refer to “b : to gain access to a computer illegally ”

            All voting in the US is now counted by computerized voting machines. This makes them vulnerable to “hacking.”

            Having all the techniques is required but knowing where to apply them is also essential. Knowing what to change, which states to apply those techniques, to not be obvious, would be important information. That is the kind of intel that is best provided with those most familiar with the system and the rules. Several years ago voting machine companies said they were 100% secure. They were hacked within 24 hours. And then the story quietly disappeared.

            There are those who check the results using statistics. Statistical anomalies are used to uncover potential fraud such as a heavily Republician district suddenly voting differently than the rest of the state and voting Democratic. Once again knowing where to look is important information.

            Trump knew of Flynn’s lying to the VP for almost 3 weeks and did nothing about it. Clearly he was OK with lying to the public and was upset primarily at being caught. During that time he allowed someone who was clearly compromised to maintain his secret clearances and view sensitive documents. So Trump was trying to cover up the problem.

            The Russian medium range ballistic missile test is a direct violation of a 1987 test ban treaty. It is now speculated that the missile is operational. It would be be for deployment in the immediate neighborhood of Russia. With Trump 1. making remarks that NATO should not be supported, 2. proposing isolationist policies, and 3. permitting the demonstration of this missile to go unchallenged he signals his acquiescence to Russia to threaten Eastern Europe. It is no secret that Putin would like to regain the former Soviet territory. Naturally if Eastern Europe is threatened, some of which is now part of the EU, Europe will be intensely interested in what Trump is doing. He may be inviting a war. He is certainly destabilizing international agreements and making an abrupt change to established international relationships.

            This would be alarming to not only the US intelligence agencies but to those of other countries. It may not be coincidental that there are now reports that non-US intelligence agencies have confirmed portions of the blackmail file that was in the news in the transition period. That report suggested that Russia was holding some “blackmail” over the US president.

            So whether it is “blackmail” or an incentive to part of a 500 billion dollar oil deal there seems to be some kind of an “unnatural” connection between Russia and Trump. Events may move quickly and we may never find out if there is anything to this. At some point, if Trump can’t gain control of the situation, someone might take action if just to stop the bleeding of information that may lead to places even beyond the presidency.

            So when you put the pieces together we are clearly coming to a crisis that is not likely to end well.

          • marcopolo says:

            Breath,

            I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were suggesting the possibility of electoral fraud.

            Hey, wait a minute,didn’t you claim this was nonsense when the issue of electoral fraud was raised by the President ?

            Claiming Putin want the old USSR back is a fantasy. Putin is a pragmatic leader of Russia.

            It’s fair to say when the USSR broke up, it did so in a chaotic manner. All of a sudden huge Russian minorities were trapped in political boundaries created by Stalin or old Tsarist Russian Empire.

            Putin is under considerable pressure by the Russian people to refine those border regions to allow those minorities to rejoin Mother Russia.

            Putin’s problem is no different from aftermath of any collapse any Empire to redefine the borders of former states.

            Much of the problems of the Middle East are the result of the poorly planned break up of the old Ottoman Empire.

            No foreign policy is set in stone. I believe Trump is correct, Putin’s Russia has been reduced to a European sized power, and apart from it’s formidable nuclear arsenal, is no match for NATO and the US.

            Trump, or more accurately, Rex Tillersen sees Putin’s Russia a useful ally and counter-balance against the growing power and aggressiveness of the PRC.

            The idea that the US can play no useful role in the complex border squabbles of former USSR states, is not unreasonable.

            What I don’t quite understand is your position that Trump is both an isolationist, and a war-monger ! Surely, he can’t be both?

            Tramp has stated he would not have pursued the war in Iraq, and he would certainly have reorganized the nation into more nations whose citizens were more compatible with one another.

            He’s expressed no interest in US involvement with Syria which he sees as a civil war and not America’s business.

            Here again, I can’t fault his logic.

            President Trump may be pursing a new and different US foreign policy. He may be proved correct and innovative or in error, but as President, it’s his call.

            It seems to be extraordinarily difficult for Americans not to see Russia as the old rival and enemy that was the USSR. Quite rightly, the Russians feel the US should butt out of purely local affairs of which they have no knowledge, and where US interference can only exacerbate matters.

  4. Silent Running says:

    @ Craig and others

    As I have said before – been sipping some good Red wines and going about business and nothing RE the CON Orangatun Narcistic Trumpet and the CON job he imposed on America to date that has erupted surprises me.

    Breath has pointed out several of the more obvious points all good ones.
    Poetic or rough Justice would be for several of his prized properties to engulf in explosions and flames would do him right.

    His daughter s line of products now being Expelled out of Big time retailers – how fitting to smear the whole family in the consequences of their blue blood empire . All foreign made of course !
    The long trail of hypocrisy is a Web of Lies , Deceit , Fraud and the resignation of Flynn is just the Tip of the Iceberg and these FBI agents and others are all whistle blowers waiting for their moment to expose the real ugly details of how deep into Russia’s
    snare we now are. As Craig has long said.

    But as Bruce said the existing gang of RepubliCONS Congress and Senate are not really concerned with what is good for country they just want to preserve their gerrymandered and voting suppression ed hold onto power- so they will try to Deflect, Deny, Distort , destroy all the Truithful details they can and continue their only playing card SPIN!

    But a alienated press thanks to the Trumper – fake news words – is on the War path to reclaim the 4th Estates rightful role in public discourse.

    The Resistance movement is growing nationally and soon more folks will be in the Streets and yes we could get a call for a new election this is all getting so wonderfully interesting!

    the FBI has tapes on Trumper s staff talking to Russians during the campaign its just a matter of time……..the clock is ticking and the CON game is headed for a Eruption of Immense proportions.

    As my circle enjoys some more fine Italian Chianti with our meal we are reminded of the Truthful Adage

    One can Fool some of the people some of the time, some of the People All the time but One can’t Fool All the People All the Time…

    aka DJ Trump loved exposing illegally obtained emails against the Anointed One HRC during the campaign and he revvelled in all the lies and false narratives he created….

    WEll M…..r F ….r payback and Karma are Looming . the Sands of Reality are running down..

    Wonderful what will the Deplorable s think??or say ?? or Do?

    America’s love affair or infatuation with the CON man may be shorter than planned lets see if the GOP can tidy up all the dirty details this time???

    Enjoy Craig its only just the Beginning
    The wine tastes better with every passing day.

  5. marcopolo says:

    Craig,

    This sort of high drama and refusal to accept the result of the election is growing tiresome.

    At the moment, while the administration is still in it’s fledgling stages, the public will be fascinated by the theatrics, but will soon start to become bored and grow impatient with those who continue to rant against the President for even the most trivial things.

    The rantings will continue, even grow more shrill as the President continues implementing his policies. Certainly his controversial style won’t help dampen the drama, but that’s his business.

    The actions of Gen Flynn were foolish, and he paid the price. His error was not his talking to Russians ( that’s simply not an offense) in fact it’s his job, his error was misleading the Vice-President.

    Had he simply admitted his dealings with the Russians, no reasonable criticism could be leveled against him.

    Even if Russia wanted a Trump victory and provided aid and assistance without the Presidents knowledge, so what ?

    The US seems to be unable to switch off the cold war phobia about Russia.

    Careful examination of the US constitution revels no prohibition to any of the things Mark P. Painter rants about.

    So what does Mark P. Painter rant about ?

    1) He compares the President and his family with the newly-rich working class TV characters “the Clampetts”. Far from an insult, this only serves to validate Trump’s claim of ‘elitist” rage at his election. It strengthens the resolve of ordinary man to support a president whose main crime is he’s like them.

    But, looking like the Clampetts, isn’t mentioned in the US Constitution as grounds for impeachment !.

    2) Mark P. Painter, sneers at Trump’s tweet regarding his daughter. Not in most refined manner and not terribly statesmanlike, but hey, he’s defending his daughter and millions of fathers (and daughters) will appreciate his very human response.

    But, tweeting support for your daughter, isn’t mentioned in the US Constitution as grounds for impeachment !

    3) Not appointing someone like Thomas Jefferson instead Rex Tillersen as Secretary of State. Rex Tillersen is lifelong Boy Scout and former head of Americas boy scout movement, while also rising to be CEO of America’s largest corporate taxpayer.

    Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner, who fathered many illegitimate children for his dalliances with his slaves. Today he would be charged with rape !

    But, appointing a business leader to Secretary of State isn’t mentioned in the US Constitution as grounds for impeachment !

    4) Being rich, having a son’s and daughter’s running the family business isn’t mentioned in the US Constitution as grounds for impeachment !

    5) It seems what Mark P Painter really object to is Trump lack of respect for certain Judges. While Judges are protected from displays of disrespect in a Court, the respect vests in the court, not the individual Judge.

    Indeed, far from being Constitutional grounds for impeachment, Trump’s remarks are actually protected by the Constitution !

    6) Trump has issued “illegal and badly written orders ” . The US Constitution provides a methods for resolving such events. Nowhere does it consider such actions as as grounds for impeachment.

    Mark P Painter’s demand that matter being contested in the court process and yet to be decided, should be grounds for impeachment, makes me wonder how this individual got a law degree, let alone became a Judge !

    Is Trump’s Presidency Unraveling Before Our Eyes? This observation assumes the Trump Presidency was ever “raveled “.

    This is what happens when a President is elected who has no previous political experience, and very little professional party machine support.

    For years people have been demanding a President who is not a politician. This may be a case of “be careful what you wish for, you may not like the fulfillment of your wish”!

  6. Breath on the Wind says:

    Marco, it could be that this is what happens when you put a businessman into government who remains intent on growing his personal wealth above the national good.

    There has been rhetoric for decades that government should be more like business. It seems the apex of that philosophy to put a businessman in as head of state. Perhaps with this President we will find it a failed experiment.

    Regardless we now have a very unstable government that has allowed Russia to recently violate a test ban treaty by testing a ballistic missile.

  7. Silent Running says:

    Breath on wind

    Enjoyed your well written reply to Marco.

    Things are definitely much more complex and there is more to all of this than meets the eye. The International implications are endless and it is all signs of a country USA that has a failing political system and is burdened enormously by the corrupting influence of dark money.

    We may claim to be the Grand Beacon to the World but when the curtain is pulled back the Emperor’s clothes are soiled and out of date and there is no one Emperor just a large Cabal of power seeking tax deduction seeking and death and destruction military adventurous forces that think the only tool that works is more fighting in anywhere or for any new false Red Herring cause they can sell to the feeble minded public.

    mean while dams may fail becasue of short sided budget cutting and no money can be used to fix and update aging and deteriorating basic infrastructure.
    We have a circus CON man in charge now so get ready for more Circular confusion…

    Certain Secret Service and national security staff are considering not giving all info to this Circus Orangatan Trumpet Puppet master of a Con man…that is how deep this latest fissure runs! When in our lifetime has a sitting US president been considered as Off Limits to all Security Briefings – speaks volumes more than I or most of us can even begin to speak to.

    Like the lies used to execute poorly the Iraq Wars and fight Afghanistan effort just as poorly. Now the total cost for all this Hubris and claims of American Exceptionalism is closing in on $ 4 Trillion dollars lost in Vain revenues. Like the price tag for the damaged nuclear plants in Japan the price tag will continue to rise.

    And now we have a real CON man in charge – he just got off TV and he said that everything in his administration is running fine like a fined tuned machine – its just the lying media that fired Flynn.

    that’s the Spin of the Moment !

    Bring on the Red Wine…..the beat is going on and on…..

    You summed it up quite nicely Breath Thank you

  8. Breath on the Wind says:

    Rachael Maddow here makes the point that it may be not a particular legal issue that makes administration by the executive impossible but something more personal. It is a bit long but a reasonably crafted presentation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tja-pKEF_YI

    There are now 3 different investigations into some aspect of this presidency. I don’t see this ending well.

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