The Senate saves Trump

Right after the Senate easily voted not to remove him from office on the two impeachment charges, Donald John Trump tweeted “I will be making a public statement tomorrow at 12:00pm from the @WhiteHouse to discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!” He was [typically] 20 minutes late. Not surprising he went after just about everyone who opposes him.

He said “We’ve been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops, it was leakers and liars. And this should never, ever happen to another president, ever.” Trump told an East Room packed with conservative lawmakers, media pundits, and a number of Cabinet officials, who cheered as Trump meandered through a list of grievances and musings.

“As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” he said. Uh huh.

He apologized to his family “for having them have to go through a very phony rotten deal by some very sick people.” And whose fault was that? “I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it; some people said no, they wouldn’t have.”

He called Sen. Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican who voted to convict: a “failed presidential candidate” who “used religion as a crutch.” And yet Trump calls himself a church going Christian but he probably hasn’t stepped in a church since the last funeral that he was invited to.

He then went after others:

  • “A dirty cop” who represented “top scum” at the agency for James Comey, the FBI director he fired.
  • “It was all bullshit” regarding the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • “In my opinion, it’s almost like they want to destroy our country” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who led the effort to oust him from office.

At one point, he claimed but didn’t mention who – if even existed – that he got a call from a world leader praising the outcome. Blah. Blah. Blah. With his reputation, if you can’t offer the leader’s name, it didn’t exist.

Trump took the opportunity during the state of the union address to describe what he calls “the great American comeback” when he took office to revive the U.S. economy by “slashing a number of job killing-regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements.”

But let’s look at what he has done:

  • In the case of blue-collar workers and lower-income earners, in particular, the facts and the rhetoric don’t always quite match because of slowing median wage gains, as well as the struggles of certain sectors that tend to employ lower- and middle-income earners.
  • The farm bailout is twice what was given to the auto sector back in the financial crisis [of 2008] and this was because Trump applied tariffs on China.
  • The stock market is soaring. But the vast majority of stocks are held by the wealthiest Americans.
  • The GDP is still growing at a respectable pace, but it’s down from the high points under Barack Obama.
  • Job growth has slowed. There have been a large uptick in company bankruptcies costing thousands of permanent jobs. There has been large job loses in manufacturing, some replaced in the service industry.
  • Trump pushed for easing regulations for the coal industry, promising jobs. But the coal industry has actually lost jobs since he has been in charge.
  • The federal budget deficit surpassed $1 trillion last year – doubling 2017 and 2018 combined. Trump promised he would start paying down the national debt, but his tax cuts and sweeping spending plans have seen the deficit soar to record highs.
  • The national debt went over $22 billion for the first time ever – jumping 10% since he took charge.
  • Even with tax cuts, the economy grew 0.6% less from 2018.

Trump’s buddy, former convict Conrad Black, was on CTV News in Canada after and rambled on and on and on. He roasted Mitt Romney for voting in favor and says his career as a politician is finished. This genius was even against Richard Nixon’s impeachment. He says what Trump was doing wasn’t illegal. Telling his staff not to participate in the House impeachment is not obstruction of justice? Black then said that Trump will easily win the next election by a landslide. Time for Black to retire with the millions he frauded people of.

Trump began his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast by taking veiled shots at Pelosi, who was on the stage with him as he spoke, and Romney, the morning after the GOP-controlled Senate acquitted him. Man child.

You may lose your hair scratching vigorously after reading this: Senator Marco Rubio gave his reason why he would vote against the articles of impeachment by saying in a statement that “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office… I will not vote to remove the President because doing so would inflict extraordinary and potentially irreparable damage to our already divided nation.”

So Rubio’s comment is basically saying the [near] equivalent that individual can kill someone but because the individual is the breadwinner of the family, the individual won’t be arrested or tried in a court. Trump has already inflicted plenty of damage on the nation and the rest of the world. He is unstable.

Ummm. When Trump went to the front of the House, he shook Vice President Mike Pence’s hand but did not shake Pelosi’s hand. At the end of his speech, she tore up his speech that he did give her. I guess they are still angry at each other. Pelosi called Trump’s State of the Union address a “manifesto of mistruths”.

The pro-Trump Conservative base went after her calling her “classless” or “childish” but they didn’t seem to care that Trump did not shake her hand before the speech when she held it out.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo badly trolled Pelosi’s ripped speech by showing a screen capture of Lisa Simpson crying while ripping up a sheets paper. Yeardley Smith [does Lisa’s voice] took to Twitter to scold Pompeo. “Be a leader and fight you own fight!” she tweeted. “Oh, wait I forgot, you’re a follower.”

Trump could be working on [another] shake-up at the White House. He effectively lost confidence in his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, months ago but was told not to remove him until the impeachment was over. Trump denied Mulvaney is out – but you know him. North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows has been floated as a possible replacement.

Mulvaney himself is increasingly unhappy in the role. Trump has never graduated Mulvaney from his “acting” role, often ignores Mulvaney’s input and has opted on multiple occasions to do the opposite of whatever he suggests. Mulvaney has taken an active role in the administration’s efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak that originated in China and he travels regularly when Trump leaves town.

Trump was enraged when Mulvaney acknowledged a quid pro quo in Trump withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. Mulvaney was not a visible presence in the impeachment proceedings.

Lt. Col. Alex Vindman, the top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, was pushed out of his role earlier than expected. Vindman was not slated to leave until July. Trump has continued to fume privately about Vindman’s testimony during the impeachment inquiry, and some Democrats say the move is clearly retribution for it. Vindman is expected to return to the Pentagon.

Also fired was the US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who testified at the impeachment inquiry. Sondland’s ties to the White House and Trump had deteriorated since his testimony. He was also pulled from overseeing the Ukraine portfolio, which wasn’t directly related to his position as EU ambassador.

The Department of Justice revealed in a court filing that it has two dozen emails related to Trump’s involvement in the withholding of millions in security assistance to Ukraine — a disclosure that came just hours after the Senate voted against subpoenaing additional documents and witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial, paving the way for his acquittal.

The filing marks the first official acknowledgment from the Trump administration that emails about Trump’s thinking related to the aid exist, and that he was directly involved in asking about and deciding on the aid as early as June. The administration is still blocking those emails from the public and has successfully kept them from Congress.

Days before the July 2019 call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, US officials were still working to expedite the delivery of Javelin anti-tank missiles to the country, according to emails and other internal documents. In an email to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, a top Defense official communicated his concern over Trump’s “reported view that the US should cease providing security assistance” to Ukraine and its impact on national security.

What a classy man. Just before the Super Bowl Trump ranted away. “I see the hatred. … They don’t care about fairness, they don’t care about lying,” Trump said in a taped interview with Fox News Channel.

In the same interview, Trump claims former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, of making a special request for a box to stand on if he qualifies for future presidential debates. Bloomberg’s campaign denies that is the case. Trump’s campaign and Bloomberg’s will be running dueling, multimillion-dollar ads during Sunday night’s game. “Why should he get a box to stand on? … Why should he be entitled to that, really?”

Minutes after the Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years, Trump sent a congratulatory tweet to the team’s fans and the state of Kansas. But the team is based in Missouri. “Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on a great game, and a fantastic comeback, under immense pressure,” Trump tweeted. “You represented the Great State of Kansas and, in fact, the entire USA, so very well. Our Country is PROUD OF YOU!” It was corrected 10 minutes later.

Trump tweeted “The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the Country. Remember the 5 Billion Dollar Obamacare Website, that should have cost 2% of that.” No shocker that he is confusing the state Democrats from the federal Democrats. It is the state Democrats that decide how voting takes place and are tabulated. The website’s final bill was $1.7 billion.

With the mess going on in the Democratic Iowa caucus, Trump was tweeting “I had the largest re-election vote in the history of that great state, by far, beating President Obama’s previous record by a lot. Also, 97% Plus of the vote!” Nope. Trump received just 24%. Ted Cruz beat him.

Trump, like presidents before him, typically invites anchors from all the major networks to dine with him at the White House in advance of his State of the Union address. The lunch conversation is considered off the record. This year, he has not invited CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer from attending with no reason given [other than his usual dislike for CNN].

In another one to laugh at, a tweet “My Approval Rating in the Republican Party = 95%, a record! Big Iowa win. Approval Rating overall = 53%, a new high. With our great Economy and other major successes, would be 20 points higher without the phony Witch Hunts and Hoaxes???” He thinks he would be at 73% if it wasn’t for the impeachment? He also looks at the Rasmussen poll because it always favors him – instead of all the other polls which consistently have him in the 40s.

The senate impeachment – part 2

Well, a true democracy where politicians voted with their conscious instead of their party [or their wallet or job] wasn’t seen today when the Senate voted 51-49 not to interview witnesses or view documents that has evidence.

With this vote, it is now all but guaranteed that the Senate will vote not to throw Donald John Trump out of the White House.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer forced votes on four amendments [including to call witnesses] and they were all not surprisingly defeated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Republicans’ vote against witnesses and documents “makes them accomplices to the President’s cover-up.”

If there was any bright side [and there really wasn’t], Trump won’t be able to walk in the House this coming week for the state of the Union address and not be able to gloat in his speech that he won. All he won was something that was obvious even before there was a Senate trial. The only question was whether there would be enough Republican Senators that would actually be unbiased. Only 2 changed sides.

Democrats demanding new witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial are seizing on a report that he ordered former national security adviser John Bolton to keep military aid to Ukraine frozen in a bid to coerce political favors. “I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens [Joe & Hunter]. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination,” Trump tweeted.

Yes. This is like all the other times he has denied he did, say or knew someone.

“The Democrat controlled House never even asked John Bolton to testify. It is up to them, not up to the Senate!” Trump also tweeted. House Democrats sent Bolton an official request to testify. He declined to appear — because the White House did not authorize him to do so. A letter was sent on October 30 to Bolton’s lawyers requesting Bolton’s voluntary testimony at a deposition on November 7.

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly says he believes Bolton’s allegation that Trump told Bolton that US security aid to Ukraine was conditioned on an investigation of Trump’s political rivals, adding that Bolton should be heard from. “If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton,” Kelly said.

The White House has issued a formal threat to Bolton to keep him from publishing his book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” In a letter to Bolton’s lawyer, a top official at the National Security Council wrote the unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s book “appears to contain significant amounts of classified information” and couldn’t be published as written.

Bolton’s lawyer notified the NSC last week that if Bolton is called to testify, he will use some of the part of the chapter related to The Ukraine mess.

Trump mentioned that Bolton’s book contained classified information. However, outside of Bolton’s people, the NSC, and the public was the book leaked and maybe the the NSC?

Bolton wrote that Trump gave him the instructions in May 2019 where the conversation also included acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s lawyer Rudy “Loose Lips” Giuliani and White House lawyer Pat Cipollone. Trump released a statement claiming he “never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani….”

A nearly 90-minute recording of Trump at a 2018 donor dinner that included indicted businessmen, Lev Parnas, a person Trump has claimed he doesn’t know. It includes Trump speaking animatedly about removing the US ambassador to Ukraine — at one point stating, “Get rid of her!” Parnas is the Soviet-born businessman who subsequently worked with Giuliani.

GOP Senator James Lankford was interviewed and was asked about this tape which occurred at a dinner. Parnas was chatting with Trump for 90 minutes. Lankford’s excuse? Trump came to the dinner, ate, chatted with a few people and then left. Surely you would remember a 90 minute conversation – let alone other times Parnas was with Trump. Lankford’s other excuse? Do you remember what you did 15+ months ago?

Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said “Not a single witness testified that the President himself said that that there was any connection between any investigation and security assistance, a presidential meeting or anything else.” Well, when you don’t allow any witnesses who were part of the administration to be called, of course there are none!

Sekulow also said “In the blind drive to impeach the president, President Trump, in reality, strategically has been the best friend and supporter of Ukraine certainly in our recent history. These are the facts.” Hmm. You sure? Withholding the aid [and supposedly not telling them]? If you are expecting a package and it is past a deadline, don’t you call the sender? Blame the Ukraine and not Russia] on 2016 election tampering when US intelligence servers said it was Russia?

Sekulow also said “The transcript shows that the President did not condition either security assistance or a meeting on anything.” Read the transcript.

Trump’s legal team continues to put the blame on Ukraine’s corruption for cutting off aid that partially led to his impeachment even though he hid nothing in the two previous years. Ukraine wasn’t corrupt then? They also claim – with no proof – that Ukraine interfered with the elections and not Russia.

Trump’s legal team are also still claiming that the whole reason to for the impeach Trump is to nullify the 2016 elections because just about everyone in government outside of the administration believe Russian interfered with the election. By nullifying the election, they would claim that Hillary Clinton would become President. Impossible. We would like the last three years of hell to disappear, but it won’t happen this way.

And of course if Trump was tossed out as President, Mike “Expressionless” Pence would become President. But the tossing out would hurt the Republicans’ chances of winning the next election.

Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump’s legal team, said the charges against Trump – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – were not impeachable offenses, which he said must be a crime under existing law. Legal scholars and Dershowitz himself argued the opposite view during the 1998 impeachment trial of Democratic President Bill Clinton. Dershowitz excuse for the change? He has done extensive research since then and has concluded that “no, it has to be a crime.” Sure Alan.

“When you compare that to what Trump has done with Trump University, with so many other things, I think there’s no comparison between who has engaged in more corruption and who is more likely to continue that if elected President of the United States,” Dershowitz said in 2016. “So I think what we’re doing is we’re comparing, we’re saying, look, neither candidate is anywhere close to perfect, let’s vote for the less bad candidate.”

In a 2016 book, the law professor called him a “destabilizing and unpredictable candidate” who “openly embraces fringe conspiracy theories peddled by extremists.”

In an odd statement, Dershowitz said that while he disapproved of Mike Pompeo berating a reporter, “if he can help bring about peace in the Middle East, I’ll forgive him his rudeness towards a reporter.” Trump praised Pompeo’s behavior toward a National Public Radio reporter [see later] as “very impressive” and having done “a good job on her”.

This coming from the President of the free world: “Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!” Sounds a bit like a death threat. Corrupt? How? Was he paid off by someone? Trump knows this topic well as he is using his administration with plenty of nepotism. How much was he charging the Secret Service to use golf carts again? [$588,000 in 3 years. Yes. Renting.]

Asked if he took Trump’s social media post as a threat, Schiff said, “I think it’s intended to be.” Critics have accuse Trump of using an anti-Semitic trope in referring to the Jewish lawmaker as “shifty.”

White House spokeswoman Stephanie “Parrot” Grisham told FOX News Channel she had not spoken to Trump about the tweet but, “I think he means he hasn’t yet paid the price with the voters.” Same for Lankford. And yet, Schiff had 78% of the vote in his district in 2018. The Republican didn’t even hit 20%. In a “blue” district, unlikely the voters will switch to the GOP. a.k.a. Useless excuses.

Schiff’s suggestion regarding witnesses: “We’re going to let the chief justice make a fair determination of who is pertinent and who’s not. We’re not going to let the House decide who the President’s witnesses are. We’re not going to let the President decide who the House witnesses are. We will let them submit their top priorities and let the chief justice decide who is material and who’s not. That is fully within your power.” That, of course, didn’t happen.

In the question and answer phase of the impeachment trial, various Republicans have sent questions to Chief Justice John Roberts, who reads all questions first, but would not read any questions that named the alleged Ukraine whistleblower.

The day before the Senate vote on having interviews and bring in documents, Trump did an interview with his propaganda, department, FOX News, where he raked up 27 false claims in a short interview. Everything from impeachment [he didn’t win 196-0 in the House], lower estate taxes and “Man of the Year” in Michigan, USMCA [“the biggest trade deal… in the history of the world”, 2016 election, etc.

At a rally in Des Moines, Iowa – not far from where the Democrats will have their first primary – Trump said about Schiff: “Shifty Schiff is a very sick person… He lies awake at night shifting and turning. Shifting… Shifting and turning in his bed, sweating like a dog…. “Oh what a sick guy he is.” Maybe he should attend one of his wife’s anti-bullying sessions.

“We’re having probably the best years in the history of our country, and I just got impeached. Can you believe it?” he asked. And what does the economy got to do with his corruption? He then added “They want to overthrow the entire system of government… Today I hit my highest poll numbers since I got elected.” You know that last sentence was definitely false.

He predicted a straight sweep for Republicans in the November election, saying the GOP would win the House, the Senate and he would stay in the White House. Sure Johnny.

How petty. Trump’s defense team showed a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi passing out pens to impeachment managers after signing the articles of impeachment earlier this month with Sekulow calling it a “celebratory moment.” So exactly why wait 4+ days to say so? Doesn’t every major signing usually have the president [and not just Trump] do the same thing?

The US doesn’t seem to like it when another country interferes in their election but it looks like Trump will interfere again in the upcoming Israeli election when he is expected to release a “peace” plan. When a part of it was released last year, the Arab countries easily rejected it [no shock that Iranian backed countries would, but others also.] The plan could give a boost to PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Others suggest it is a way to deflect attention away from his impeachment trial and Netanyahu’s issues as well.

More pettiness: A NPR reporter was notified that she was being removed from the press pool covering Pompeo’s upcoming trip to the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The sudden change came just a few days after Pompeo responded angrily to an interviewer from the public radio outlet.

According to the reporter, Pompeo shouted and cursed at her after the interview ended. Pompeo did not deny that, but he called the reporter a “liar” and accused her of violating an off-the-record agreement. The reporter and NPR said she did not do that, and dozens of journalists came to her defense. Now we know why Trump hired Pompeo.

The reporter said Pompeo also questioned her intelligence by directing the reporter to identify Ukraine on a blank map of the world. An aide fetched the map for Pompeo. The reporter pointed to Ukraine, and Pompeo moved on. In a statement the next day, he implied [without outright claiming] that the reporter actually pointed to Bangladesh, a country thousands of miles away.

And then another NPR reporter was being removed from the press pool covering Pompeo’s upcoming trip to the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan as well. The White House gave no reason for it.
Trump “spiritual adviser” and White House staff member Paula White is defending her recent prayer at her church in Florida that “satanic pregnancies” be miscarried.

Even FOX News, Trump’s former propaganda department, is getting into the polls with 45% approve his performance but 54% don’t [January 19-22 polling]. The same poll said 50% should convict and remove Trump, 44% said no.

Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s lawyers served notice to a Trump attorney. She accuses Trump of raping her in the 1990s are asking for a DNA sample, seeking to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress she says she wore during the encounter. Trump would need to submit a sample on March 2 in Washington for “analysis and comparison against unidentified male DNA present on the dress.” Carroll filed a defamation suit against Trump in November after Trump denied her allegation.

Trump said in June that Carroll was “totally lying” and he had “never met this person in my life.” While a 1987 photo shows them and their then-spouses at a social event, Trump dismissed it as a moment when he was “standing with my coat on in a line.” [Of course you know that Trump denies or gives an excuse for anyone who accuses him.]

Trump “won” a German poll as the greatest threat to world peace at 41%. Kim Jong Un, Ali Khameneni, Vladimir Poutine and Xi Jinping combined had less than Trump!

Larry Shannon Hargrove “wrote” a song with the lyrics “You are so impeachable to me/Can’t You See/You Lie and you lie, you just lie and you keep on lying” — all sung to the borrowed tune of “You Are So Beautiful.”

He’s impeached

Well, it’s done.

We now have the third President of the United States that has been impeached.

And the second President in just over 20 years.

This could make things very tricky in the future if a President loses a mid-term vote as the Republicans did about a year ago in the House as it is the House that votes with a simple majority for the impeachment while the Senate with a two thirds majority vote [in a trial] to see if the impeachment is worthy of the President losing his or her job.

After the next mid-term election, if the President loses his or her majority in the House, he or she would have to walk a fine line.

Anything that could be considered even a very lightly illegal could lead to an impeachment.

How can Trump be happy with the outcome?

While some of the races haven’t been completely decided, the Democrats retook control of the Senate while the Republicans grabbed probably at least 2 extra seats in the Senate to ease some of the close voting that occurred in the first half of Donald Trump’s term.

The additional Senate seats was not surprising since quite a few contested seats were generally Republican to begin with but flipped to Democrats 6 years ago as President Obama won his second term and the areas were generally easily won by Trump in 2016.

However, the Democrats made big but not surprising gains in the House with only 2 seats [at this time] flipped to the Republicans but dozens switched to the Democrats. Most of those were grabbed in the suburbs.

At the traditional news conference the day after the mid-term elections, Trump pointed to “major” victories in races where he campaigned, particularly in Florida, Indiana, Missouri and others. He will likely downplay — or ignore — disappointments, particularly losses in governor’s races.

“Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night…” Unsure how he can call it a victory when he lost the House badly. In addition unsure who would congratulate him other than within the party. The only bright spot is that he has some slight security in the Senate but still not 60 seats needed to properly govern. He will also be forced to work with the Democrats to get most things done. He can kiss the Trump Wall goodbye.

“Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!” Trump tweeted before midnight. Yes, you lost the House and six states have new Democrat governors [almost all in usually Republican mid-west states] and no new Republican governors.

“Think of how his position with Republicans improves-all the candidates who won tonight….” Trump said [“his” being himself]. It sounds like the House and Gubernatorial votes didn’t exist according to him.

Not surprising Trump went on the attack by saying “If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!” Except, the House is where most investigations do start. You think he has anything? Leaks?

He also said “Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well. Those that did not, say goodbye! Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!” What a nice guy. Claiming that those Republicans who lost, lost because they didn’t want Trump’s backing. Rep. Mia Love and Barbara Comstock are two he singled out.

“By expanding our Senate majority, the voters have also clearly rebuked the Senate Democrats for their handling of the [Brett] Kavanaugh hearings….” That doesn’t explain why he lost so many seats in the House. Most who vote for one party in the House will vote for the same party in the Senate. More like the Senate seats he picked up were generally “red’ states.

“This election marks the largest Senate gains for a President’s party in the first midterm election since at least President Kennedy’s in 1962.” Yes but these Senate gains all occurred in states Trump won in 2016.

He said Republicans faced “the most House Republican retirements in 88 years”. Which proves what? The GOP couldn’t find decent replacements? Maybe retirements are for different reasons such as getting away from the party’s leader?

“Last night the Republican party defied history to expand our Republican majority,” he said, adding that the Republican Party “(beat) expectations in the House.” Was he expecting to lose even more in the House?

Trump’s three most recent predecessors all lost House majorities in the course of their tenures. In post-election news conferences, all three took some form of responsibility. President George W. Bush called a 2006 rout a “thumping.” President Barack Obama deemed 2010 losses a “shellacking.”

The early exit polling suggests that two-thirds of voters said that their vote was about Trump, with more saying they came to vote to show opposition rather than support for Trump; nearly 4 in 10 voters said that their vote was meant as a sign of opposition to Trump.

Midterm elections are almost always referendums on the president and his party. And they are almost always negative referendums. It’s why the president’s party has not lost House seats in only three midterms since the Civil War.

Family members and friends, including ex-campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, and informal advisers like Blackstone chief Stephen Schwarzman, joined Trump in the evening for a viewing party, snacking on pizza and tiny hot dogs as they watched results come in on television.

Most likely when special counsel Robert when Mueller submits his final report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the House Judiciary Committee will be able to request it from the Department of Justice, and make it public if it deems that it is warranted. All of these actions will make it much harder for the White House to block or bury evidence of any alleged collusion or obstruction of justice, whether or not Mueller or Rosenstein are fired.

As an added “bonus” to the day, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions although Sessions handed in his resignation letter. In any case, Sessions is, not surprisingly, out. Most knew it would come sometime after the mid-term elections.

Matthew Whitaker, former Chief of Staff to Sessions, will take over as acting attorney general and is expected to take charge of the Russia investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Whitaker has been openly critical of Mueller and the investigation.

The Democrats immediately called on him to recuse himself as “given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

 

An Alabama upset win for the Democrats

A big ouch!

Alabama Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones won a tight race over Republican Roy Moore. Is this the end of Moore’s career?

The question is what will Donald Trump do now. In a seat where the Republicans won by over 30 points in the last senate election only to lose by over a full percent.

Will Trump open a Twitter storm and blame everyone but himself? He should admit to the mess and take part of the blame. Same for other Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump tweeted “The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election.  I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!” How was it stacked? Trump still endorsed Moore. Didn’t have to.

Moore’s votes plus write-ins would of put Moore over the top – barely. Democrats controlled the major cities and the center of the state, Republicans controlled the outskirts/rural areas.

Privately, some of Trump’s advisers cast blame on his White House political director Bill Stepien, already under fire for losses last month in New Jersey and Virginia. Stepien unsuccessfully advised Trump against backing Moore — a sign, his detractors say, of his middling influence.

“This guy [Stephen Bannon] does not belong on the national stage. He looks like some disheveled drunk that wandered on to the national stage,” said Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican.

“Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment got their wish and delivered the Yellowhammer State into the hands of a liberal Democrat,” said Andy Surabian, senior adviser to the Great America Alliance, an outside political group aligned with Bannon.

Moore appeared on a conspiracy-driven radio show twice in 2011, where he told the hosts in an interview that getting rid of constitutional amendments after the Tenth Amendment would ‘eliminate many problems’ in the way the US government is structured. Those amendments include the abolition of slavery, voting rights, etc.

In a May 2011 episode, Moore told the two radio hosts, who have repeatedly rejected the official explanation for the 9/11 attacks, that he would be open to hearings looking into “what really happened” on that day.

Moore campaign spokesman Brett Doster said that Moore “is the only Senate candidate with experience serving in a combat zone.”

When Trump backed Luther Strange, who lost to Moore at the end of September, Trump was infuriated at having taken his team’s advice. Worried his support for Strange risked alienating his Republican base, Trump erased all evidence that he’d endorsed the senator at all, including on Twitter [which is probably illegal].

Moore was favored in exit polls by whites, males, voters 50 and older, and those with some college or less. 2% of Democrats would vote for Moore but 8% of Republicans and a slight majority of independents would vote for Jones. Most moderates and the vast majority of liberals would vote for Jones.

Moore had said after his loss that he will ask for a recount. With a 20,000 majority by Jones, that would be a losing battle.

“This is the worst political operation in my lifetime in a White House, Republican or Democrat,” said one Republican close to the White House. “It’s just a rudderless ship with no direction and no captain.”

Republican Senator Richard Shelby, who was the last Democrat to win a Senate seat from Alabama in 1992 before switching parties two years later, declared the charges credible, despite Moore’s denials, and the senior senator said he’d write in another Republican. No nasty tweets about him by Trump. Maybe Trump can’t afford to completely alienate a senator after losing one.

 

A short guide to US Elections

[Call this a mini guide if you wish. Some things are left out.]

Many people are probably very happy they don’t live in the US. One just have to look at the election process to see why.

In Canada, we have federal elections roughly every 4 years. Prior to the election, the government still in power decides the length of the election. The minimum number of days is 37. The maximum is generally twice that. During the campaign, there may be a number of debates. Usually after the election, if one party leader resigns [because of a poor showing during the election, an interim party leader is elected until a party convention. Between the announcement of the interim leader and the convention, various nominees for the party leader are announced. At the convention [over 3 days], the leader is voted on by the delegates [those who are members of the party].

There are separate elections for provinces and territories that can be at any time within their mandate as well as local elections which may or may not have a predetermined date.

Nice and simple. Something like this is typical for most countries.

Except the United States.

In case you somehow missed it, the US will be voting for their next election in early November [as well as about a third of the senate, various state propositions, etc.].

The run for the President actually start after the “midterm” elections [see after this].

From then, depending on whether the incumbent President can run or chooses not to run [can’t exceed two terms of 4 years each], either or both main parties [Republicans and Democrats] will begin the process of choosing a leader. Until about January of the election year it is primarily just announcing whether some will run or not as a nominee for part leader.

Come January, the primaries and caucuses begin. For about 5 months, a caucus is a system of local gatherings where voters will decide which Presidential candidate to support and then select delegates for the party’s conventions in July. In contrast, a primary is a statewide voting process in which eligible voters will cast ballots for their choice of candidate. Depending on the state, it is a winner takes all for who wins the state or proportionally allocated the number of delegates.

Over time, candidates will drop out and generally put their support behind their choice of candidates.

At the part convention, a final vote for the party’s nomination for President is finalized [plus various other party business such as a platform].

Then in early November, the US has their general election. In addition to a third of the senate seats up for grabs and all House seats, usually about 11 states have their gubernatorial and there could be additional elections for mayor, sheriff, etc.

In January the following year, the new government [or same if the incumbent wins] takes charge of the country.

Then the country goes on election hiatus except maybe 2-3 gubernatorial elections.

Then after that there is the “midterm” elections where there are many gubernatorial elections [maybe 35-36], all House seats, a third of the Senate seats and various local elections.

It is quite comment to see the President lose House and Senate seats – particularly if the country is doing well. A President with a minority in the House and senate will have a difficult time passing any laws unless there are negotiations with the other party.

Following the “midterm” election, the country goes on election hiatus except maybe 2-3 gubernatorial elections again until the process starts all over again.

Obama hampered by the Republicans

So President Obama had his big State of the Union address last night on most major US TV channels [why not CW and the others] and on many non-US news channels as well.

He decided that since the Republican controlled House only accepted 2 of 41 legislative initiatives [one was to stop the government shutdown], he will push his own unilateral actions with the first being to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for employees of federal contractors.

Would you believe the Republican did not want any increase and in fact some suggested lowering the minimum wage to just $3. The Republicans say that an increase in minimum wage would result in job loses. The old minimum wage has been below the poverty line since 2008. [Do the Republicans like having citizens in poverty?]

Obama may also push for some type of amnesty for illegal immigrants – maybe not full citizenship but something more official to the estimated 11 million illegal workers who do jobs that some Americans don’t want to do. That includes agriculture pickers, construction workers, etc. Republicans are against the plan.

Obama’s approval rating has dropped 11% since the previous State of the Union address. That is better than Congress at 13% and Republicans at 24%.

So while the Republicans are hampering Obama’s efforts to run an effective government, they are actually shooting themselves in the foot by doing so. It is their plan to cause legislative problems and at election time say Obama was ineffective. Of course he was ineffective – the Republicans blocked 95% of the initiatives.

Obama tried to push gun control and tax reform but the former was blocked primarily by the Tea Party elements and the National Rifle Association – this even after major gun shooting events called for more gun control. Just last week there was at least one major shooting incident each day of the week.

The biggest problem with the US political system is if the President does not have at least a slight majority in the House and the Senate, nothing can be properly passed.

Those who voted Democrats out of office in the previous elections are probably having second thoughts now.

[And why is it the Republican Party has a sub-party, the Tea Party?]