As the coronavirus pandemic rips through the nation, everyone seems to know someone who’s been personally affected, including the More Perfect Union family. This week Kevin and Jessica describe their experience after testing positive for Covid-19.
by D.J. McGuire
Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense Friday night; if his defenders would rather I stop saying that, then he needs to stop doing them. This particular abuse of power and offense to the Constitution was his commutation of Roger Stone’s jail time.
I’m not going to provide chapter and verse on Stone’s role in Russia’s interference with the 2016 election, largely because David Frum whipped up an excellent cliff-notes version in The Atlantic. Here are his key takeaways (emphasis in original):
It is not illegal for a U.S. citizen to act or attempt to act as a go-between between a presidential campaign and a foreign intelligence agency, and Stone was not charged with any crime in conjunction with his Trump-WikiLeaks communications. But it’s a different story for the campaign itself. At a minimum, the Trump campaign was vulnerable to charges of violating election laws against receiving things of value from non-U.S. persons. Conceivably, the campaign could have found itself at risk as some kind of accessory to the Russian hacks—hacking being a very serious crime indeed. So it was crucial to the Trump campaign that Stone keep silent and not implicate Trump in any way.
Which is what Stone did. Stone was accused of—and convicted of—lying to Congress about his role in the WikiLeaks matter. Since Stone himself would have been in no legal jeopardy had he told the truth, the strong inference is that he lied to protect somebody else. Just today, this very day, Stone told the journalist Howard Fineman why he lied and whom he was protecting. “He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t.” You read that, and you blink. As the prominent Trump critic George Conway tweeted: “I mean, even Tony Soprano would have used only a pay phone or burner phone to say something like this.” Stone said it on the record to one of the best-known reporters in Washington. In so many words, he seemed to imply: I could have hurt the president if I’d rolled over on him. I kept my mouth shut. He owes me.
And sure enough, Trump did owe him. Trump commuted Stone’s 40-month sentence. Roger Stone will not go to prison. Stone’s former business partner Paul Manafort is likewise keeping silent. And so the American public will likely never know what use the Russians made of the Trump polling information that Manafort shared with them. Manafort has extra reason to keep quiet, for he must feel new confidence that his pardon is coming.
Now I’m sure several of Trump’s defenders will populate the comments below with the closest thing they have to an intellectual defense on this: the president’s “right” to pardon or commute sentences for convicted federal criminals. The fallacy behind that is rather easy to expose.
The president has no “right” to exercise authority in the Constitution. The Constitution gives him the power to do several things – including pardon and commutation power. Having said power does not allow him to use it to obstruct justice. The ordinary American with a driver’s license has the power to operate an automobile. That doesn’t absolve one who drives the getaway car in a bank robbery, or transports an abductee, or even violates speeding limits. If one is using power to prevent themselves from being exposed for criminal behavior, then the power is being abused.
As it happens, Stone himself was brazen enough to present the evidence of abuse of power: “He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t.”
Donald Trump can pardon whomever he wants. He can commute the sentence for whomever he wants. However, if he commits a crime in the process, it is an abuse of power that requires his impeachment and removal from office.
There’s no need to take my word for it; here’s Senator Mitt Romney: “Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.”
That from the lone Republican Senator who voted to convict Trump for abuse of power – and thus to remove Trump from office – over the Ukraine fiasco.
Simply put, Donald Trump abused his power – again. His actions warrant impeachment, conviction, and removal from office – again. I fear that outside of Mitt Romney, members of his party will deny this truth – again.
Restoring the American republic is up to the electorate in November.
This episode looks at Roger Stone’s conviction, the latest impeachment testimony, new twists in the 2020 primary race, and how the latest high school shooting affected the hosts personally.
According to AG William Barr, special counsel Robert Mueller did not find enough evidence to suggest a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. But we also know from Mueller’s court filings that WikiLeaks and DCLeaks released some 150,000 illegally stolen emails they received from Russian government hackers, that Trump friend Roger Stone encouraged and coordinated with Julian Assange to release those emails, and that Stone kept the Trump campaign informed about the email dumps all along the way.
So how the heck did Mueller not see a criminal conspiracy in his own facts?!
Here are the relevant facts from the criminal indictment of Roger Stone with the names filled in. These are Mueller’s own words. Taken together, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Roger Stone and “senior Trump campaign officials” including campaign chairman Steve Bannon were colluding with WikiLeaks to help coordinate the email dumps. You be the judge.
FROM THE ROGER STONE INDICTMENT. THESE ARE MUELLER’S EXACT WORDS:
During the summer of 2016, ROGER STONE spoke to STEVE BANNON about WikiLeaks and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by Bannon and other senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by WIKILEAKS.
Around July 2016, STONE informed senior Trump Campaign officials that he had information indicating WIKILEAKS had documents whose release would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign.
After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails by WIKILEAKS, a Senior Campaign Official was directed to contact STONE about what other damaging information WIKILEAKS had regarding the Clinton Campaign. STONE thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by WIKILEAKS.
STONE also corresponded with associates about contacting WIKILEAKS in order to obtain additional emails damaging to the Clinton Campaign. (AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is no longer passive. Stone is now active in the conspiracy.)
On July 25, 2016*, STONE sent an email to JEROME CORSI with the subject line, “Get to Assange.” The body of the message read, “Get to Assange and get the pending WikiLeaks emails. They deal with [The Clinton] Foundation, allegedly.”
On August 2, 2016, CORSI emailed STONE, saying: “Word is Assange plans 2 more email dumps. One shortly after I’m back. Second in October. Impact planned to be very damaging. Time to let more than Podesta be exposed as in bed with the enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC. Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC [is] old, memory bad, has stroke, and [is] not well. I expect that to be much of the next [email] dump focus, setting stage for [Clinton] Foundation debacle.”
On August 8, 2016, STONE attended a public event at which he stated, “I have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation, but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”
On August 25, 2016, Julian Assange was a guest on RANDY CREDICO’s radio show. Shortly after, CREDICO sent a text to STONE that said, “Assange has kryptonite on Hillary.”
On September 18, 2016, STONE emailed CREDICO, “Please ask ASSANGE for any State Dept. or HRC e-mail…that mention [a rumored Clinton scandal] or confirm this narrative.”
On September 19, 2016, STONE texted CREDICO again, “Pass my message to ASSANGE.” CREDICO responded, “I did.”
On October 1, 2016, CREDICO sent STONE a text that stated, “Big news Wednesday. Hillary’s campaign will die this week.”
On October 2, 2016, STONE emailed CREDICO, with the subject line “WTF?,” a link to an article reporting that WIKILEAKS was canceling its “highly anticipated Clinton email dump due to security concerns.” CREDICO responded to STONE, “head fake.” Later that day, STONE texted CREDICO and asked, “Did ASSANGE back off?” CREDICO responded, “I think it’s on for tomorrow.”
On October 3, 2016, STONE wrote to a major Trump campaign supporter, “Spoke to ASSANGE last night. The payload is still coming.”
Also on October 3, 2016, STONE received an email from a reporter asking, “ASSANGE – what’s he got? Hope it’s good.” STONE responded, “It is. I’d tell [STEVE] BANNON but he doesn’t call me back.”
On October 4, 2016, STONE received an email from STEVE BANNON asking about the status of future releases by WIKILEAKS. STONE answered that there would be “a load every week going forward.” (NOTE: This is the Trump campaign chairman now coordinating with Stone about Clinton email dumps.)
Later that day, a major Trump campaign supporter asked STONE via text if he had heard anymore from Assange. STONE told the supporter that more material would be released and that it would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign.
Three days later, WIKILEAKS released the first set of emails stolen from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta. Shortly after WIKILEAKS’s release, an associate of STEVE BANNON sent a text message to STONE that read “well done.” (NOTE: This again is the Trump campaign chairman coordinating with Stone about the email dumps and acknowledging the campaign’s appreciation.)
It should be noted that Stone repeatedly lied to the FBI and investigators about all these matters, falsely denying most of them, and was also charged with Obstruction of Justice in this matter. As the New York Times Editorial Board stated, “Mr. Stone participated in and helped conceal an effort by the Trump campaign to cooperate with WikiLeaks in publicizing thousands of emails stolen from the Clinton campaign, which was done to devastating political effect.”
The Roger Stone indictment – with the charges set forth above – was signed by Robert S. Mueller. If he does not see a criminal conspiracy in these facts, I would love to learn why not.
* Where the indictment said “On or about” a date, author changed it to “On” for easier reading. Some missing prepositions and connective words were filled in for clarity.
This week the MPU gang tells you why the Mueller Report is unlikely to be the dud that some cable news talking heads are claiming it could be, why Trump’s meeting with Kim Jung Un will be a bigger dud than Trump is would like it to be, and what they’ll be snacking on when Michael Cohen drops a dime on The Donald in his televised congressional testimony.
This episode looks at the tragic chaos at the southern border, the comical chaos of the Trump administration, and the looming chaos of the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries.
Real debate without the hate!
Bernie Sanders may be about to run as a third party candidate in the general election, whether he knows it or not. And whether he wants to or not. Sounds ludicrous? Hear me out…
Like anyone who plays with fire, Sanders is about to get burned by his own revolution. Sanders has lost control of his unruly movement, and the Bernie or Bust crowd will not go gladly into that good night – even after Clinton’s inevitable nomination, when Bernie will no doubt urge his millennial minions to get on board with her.
“Okay,” you say, “but no one can force Sanders to run in the fall. Right?” Wrong.
Yes, they can get him to run. Or at least, they can run his name. Read More