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Ready for President Pelosi? Trump and Pence Could Both Go Down in Unprecedented Impeachment

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So, now that we know that Donald Trump and Mike Pence reached the White House through at least two specific and separate criminal conspiracies, what do we do about it?

Can they be removed from office? Can the election be done over? Can the Trump/Pence administration’s actions over the past two years be reversed, particularly the appointments of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and all the damage to our federal agencies?

According to federal court filings last week from the Southern District of New York, and from the Special Counsel’s office, Donald Trump and Michael Cohen criminally conspired to hide from the American people the fact that Trump had sexual relations immediately after the birth of his son Baron with both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, and that his affair with McDougal lasted about a year.

Had Republican voters known about those affairs long before Trump gained the momentum he did during the period of the cover-up, Trump wouldn’t have become the GOP’s nominee and would now be back to playing the roles of a faux billionaire and a reality TV star.

Similarly, those same court filings tell us that even after Trump won the GOP’s nomination for president, he continued to negotiate with the Russian government to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Presumably construction would begin right after he lost the election of 2016, which is fully what he expected: he hadn’t even bothered to write an acceptance speech.

That Moscow property would have brought him, according to the court filings, “hundreds of millions of dollars” in net revenues, probably more than any other project he’d ever engaged in. It would finally make him financially secure.

And, because it was going to be financed by a Russian bank that’s under sanctions, and both Cohen and Manafort were expecting to get a cut of the action, they led his campaign to corruptly change the GOP’s platform to go soft on the Russians. The goal was to end the sanctions so they could move forward with the Moscow construction right after the elections.

In exchange for Trump Tower Moscow, it appears that either Russian oligarchs (who were presumably in on the Trump Tower Moscow deal) and/or the Russian government itself (which quite reasonably wanted the sanctions lifted) set out, at Trump’s explicit and public request, to help Trump.

They hacked the DNC and took down Hillary Clinton, both with the WikiLeaks revelations and a widespread social media campaign, which also constituted an illegal campaign contribution and further ensnared the Trump/Pence campaign in a campaign finance crime.

All of this adds up to Trump and Pence holding control of the Executive Branch of government fraudulently; the rightful claimant to the White House is Hillary Clinton, and the rightful claimant of Scalia’s SCOTUS seat is Merrick Garland.

Trump not only knew about these frauds but, according to the court filings, directed at least the sexual cover-up.  We’re still waiting to hear the details of Trump’s involvement in altering the GOP’s platform to benefit the Russians, but it strains credulity that Trump didn’t know about this, if not being the force behind it.

Meanwhile, Mike Pence – who ran the transition into the White House – either knew or, with even a small bit of competence and common sense, should have known but was looking the other way.  Thus, he’s complicit, legally and/or morally and politically.

We don’t yet know all the dirt that Mueller and company have on Trump, but just these two things that Trump successfully hid from the electorate – that he was porking porn stars and Playboy bunnies prior to the primaries, and that he was negotiating with the Russians right through the first half of the general election – mean that he committed two separate massive frauds to become president.

If he had not committed that fraud, he would never have become the GOP nominee and, even if he had won the nomination through some inexplicable miracle, he and Pence would not have squeaked through the Electoral College with about 70,000 votes spread over three or four states. Hillary Clinton would be president, but for Trump and Pence’s fraud.

So, what do we do?

The Framers of the Constitution had such confidence in the “wise elders” of the Electoral College that they didn’t even envision such a scenario, so there’s no mention of such a situation in the Constitution.  And, while courts have ordered that elections be done over on numerous occasions all over the country, I can’t find a single case of that happening years after the initial election. (If you know of one, please let me know!)

As to solutions, it’s remotely possible that the election of Trump and Pence could be challenged in federal court.

In the Federal District Court case of Donohue v Board of Elections (1976), Judge Mishler wrote in his decision that ordering a new election is within the purview of the courts, and that this has been done in the past.  He wrote:

“The point, however, is not that ordering a new Presidential election in New York State is beyond the equity jurisdiction of the federal courts. Protecting the integrity of elections, particularly Presidential contests, is essential to a free and democratic society. See United States v. Classic, supra.

“It is difficult to imagine a more damaging blow to public confidence in the electoral process than the election of a President whose margin of victory was provided by fraudulent registration or voting, ballot-stuffing or other illegal means. Indeed, entirely foreclosing injunctive relief in the federal courts would invite attempts to influence national elections by illegal means, particularly in those states where no statutory procedures are available for contesting general elections.

“Finally, federal courts in the past have not hesitated to take jurisdiction over constitutional challenges to the validity of local elections and, where necessary, order new elections. The fact that a national election might require judicial intervention, concomitantly implicating the interests of the entire nation, if anything, militates in favor of interpreting the equity jurisdiction of the federal courts to include challenges to Presidential elections.”

But this case from December 7, 1976 was a futile attempt by the GOP to prevent New York State from casting its electoral votes for Jimmy Carter (thus handing the presidency to George HW Bush) before the swearing in of Carter in January, 1977; it wasn’t an effort to reverse an election that had already been decided and the candidate had been sworn into office.

Additionally, such a case could take years and would certainly end up before the Supreme Court; given the current composition of the Supreme Court, it’s hard to imagine that they’d invalidate Trump’s “victory” and possibly remove two of their own from the Court.

But there is a constitutional route that can be taken by Congress, via impeachment.

In January, Nancy Pelosi will become the Speaker of the House.  As such, should the nation lose its president and vice-president to impeachment, we’d have President Pelosi.  It wouldn’t reverse the damage the GOP and Trump/Pence have done, but it would be a start.

The key is to illuminate Mike Pence’s role in Trump’s frauds, so both men succumb to impeachment in the House, and conviction and removal from office by the Senate.

The level of criminality engaged in by Donald Trump, his family, his campaign, and his “fixer/lawyer” is broad and sweeping, consistent with lifetime patterns of criminality on all of their parts (and we still have more to learn).

To imagine that Mike Pence didn’t know about this, or at least suspect it, is simply inconceivable, making him an accessory to those crimes – as well as being the principle secondary beneficiary of those crimes.

As evidence that Pence was complicit or knowledgeable, or should have been, comes to the fore, an impeachment effort must include both men.  The nation can no easier withstand the incompetence of a corrupt former right-wing talk show host (Pence) than a corrupt former reality TV star and real estate con man.

And that evidence must be strong enough that it’ll overcome the concerns of nearly a dozen Republican senators, so both Trump and Pence are removed from office.

Nothing less than the integrity of our nation and the survival of democracy are at stake.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

 

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COMMENTARY

Trump Dodges and Gives an Accidentally Revealing Answer When Confronted on His Anti-LGBT Policies

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When President Donald Trump was asked Tuesday about whether he supports his administration’s anti-LGBT policies — including a new rule that would make it easier for employers to discriminate — he gave what seemed to be an unintentionally revealing answer.

The issue was raised by reporter Chris Johnson from the Washington Blade:

Washington Blade: Mr. President, your administration has been taking steps to make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people in the workforce. Are you OK with those actions?
Trump: Well, you know, I just got an award and an endorsement yesterday from the exact group. You saw that? They gave me the endorsement yesterday. I was very honored. It was Log Cabin. The Log Cabin, and I was very honored to receive it.
I’ve done very well with that community and some of my biggest supporters are of that community, and I talk to them a lot about it. I think I’ve done really very well with that community, as you know, Peter Thiel and so many others, they’re — they’re with me all the way, and they like the job I’m doing, and I just got a big endorsement from the Log Cabin group.
Washington Blade: But what about those actions?

Having ignored the actual substance of the question, Trump didn’t answer the follow-up.

But his answer actually revealed a lot. Despite his claim to “fight for” the LGBT community, Trump has been particularly antagonistic its members as president.

Related: ‘They’re With Me All the Way’: Trump Uses Log Cabin Endorsement as Shield When Asked About Destroying LGBT Rights

And contrary to what he said, the vast majority of the LGBT community does not and has not supported him. In 2016, Pew Research found:

Gay, lesbian and bisexual voters may make up a relatively small share of the American electorate – just 5% of voters in the 2012 general election identified as LGB, according to national exit polls – but they have long been a deeply Democratic constituency and today are overwhelmingly negative in their assessments of Donald Trump.

Nearly nine-in-ten LGB voters (89%) give the Republican presidential nominee a rating of cold on a “feeling thermometer” that ranges from 0 (the coldest, most negative rating) to 100 (the warmest, most positive score). About eight-in-ten (82%) rate Trump very cold, including more than half (54%) who give him a score of 0. Just 9% of LGB voters rate Trump warm.

But this doesn’t matter much to Trump, because he only cares about his supporters. So when asked about the LGBT community, he begins talking about the Log Cabin Republicans, a fringe group that does not represent anywhere close to the majority of the community. (As it happens, Jennifer Horn, a member of the group’s board, resigned in protest over the endorsement. And contrary to Trump’s claim, it did not give him an “award.”) And by mentioning Peter Thiel, a wealthy gay investor, Trump is pulling the laughable “I have a gay friend” excuse for being a bigot. He’s refusing to respond to or even consider the actual LGBT community as a whole because he just doesn’t care.

The president has long made clear that he’s only interested in representing his supporters, not the American people as a whole. That’s why he criticizes California when it experiences natural disasters but promises Alabama “A+ treatment” after tornadoes strike. That’s why Sen. Lindsey Graham could point out that Trump wouldn’t be launching racist attacks at a Somali refugee congresswoman if she were “wearing a MAGA hat.” For him, people only deserve basic dignity and respect if they already support him. Unfortunately, the likes of Thiel and the Log Cabin Republicans have to debase themselves to get this recognition.

 

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COMMENTARY

Trump Is the Nightmare From Which We Can’t Wake Up

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Every morning we wake up and the nightmare that is Donald Trump seems to go on. Most nightmares, even recurring ones, eventually come to an end. We must hope this one will eventually end as well.

As a columnist, it’s difficult to keep writing about what seems to be the same thing over and over — Trump being a racist, homophobic, sexist pig. Then he, his family or someone in the administration does something else that boggles the mind. Last week, he retweeted a conspiracy theory that the Clintons were responsible for Jeffrey Epstein’s death. Every time you think he can’t sink lower he does.

In my view the only way we can rid ourselves of the nightmare is to vote ‘it’ out of office. I use the word ‘it’ to refer to Trump because there doesn’t appear to be one shred of humanity in his body. But then he himself referred to his wife as ‘it’ when trying to compare her to a former first lady. Who does that?

It ostensibly goes to the site of the latest mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso to give comfort to the wounded and share the grief of the families of those killed. Yet it manages to make it all about itself. It releases a picture of itself and Melania holding a baby who had been orphaned by the white nationalist shooter in El Paso and stands there with a huge grin on its face and gives a thumbs up. What on earth is there to grin about in this tragedy? Any person with a shred of humanity would be crying.

Those who are trying to end the nightmare of Trump really only have one option, which is to vote him out of office in 2020. That opportunity is 15 months away and it will require a total commitment if it is to succeed. Some are calling for boycotts of the businesses of Trump supporters. While that may be satisfying it will not bring out the voters needed to defeat him at the polls. Doing that will require a laser like focus if it is to succeed. I would rather get out the voters and then tax the hell out of all those businessmen and women who are now supporting Trump.

Democrats are in the midst of what could become a brutal primary fight to determine who will be the eventual nominee to take him on. I want each of the candidates to do what Elizabeth Warren did in the last debate when she repeated what she has previously said in Iowa, “This really is our moment and the need for us to get this right couldn’t be more urgent. I’m going to support our Democratic nominee all the way.” We need to demand every candidate running in the primary say that, yes even you Bernie.

Continue reading the full op-ed at The Washington Blade.

 

Peter Rosenstein is a community and Democratic activist based in Washington, DC, where he appears in the media as a commentator on issues including LGBT rights, politics and education. His columns may be found here

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COMMENTARY

Log Cabin Republicans Endorse Trump for Re-Election Days After President Attacks LGBTQ People on Multiple Fronts

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Donald Trump Is the Most Anti-LGBT President in Modern History

With more than a year before the 2020 presidential election a nationwide gay group, the Log Cabin Republicans, have announced they are endorsing President Donald Trump for re-election. The 42-year old group wisely refused to endorse Trump during the 2016 election, but in a flip on Thursday decreed the anti-LGBTQ President has “met his commitments to LGBTQ Americans.”

That’s just plain false.

Log Cabin Republican chairman Robert Kabel and vice chairwoman Jill Homan penned a 751 word Washington Post op-ed, which the paper surprisingly appears to not have thoroughly fact-checked, attempting to justify the turnabout endorsement.

The op-ed comes during the same week that Trump has fired strong and potentially devastating attacking against the LGBTQ community in a clear attempt to further weaken our civil rights.

On Tuesday, as NCRM reported, Trump’s Dept. of Justice was caught attempting to strong-arm the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reverse years of findings and rulings, and declare before the U.S. Supreme Court that discrimination against LGBT workers is legal.

One day later Trump’s Dept. of Labor announced a new rule to make it easier for what it now calls “religion-exercising organizations” that are also federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ workers. Not only would the Dept. of Labor make it easier, it would offer them a roadmap on how to avoid being charged with discrimination.

In their Washington Post op-ed, after pointing to a 1992 speech by former GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchnan, a homophobic white supremacist, the Log Cabin leaders say Trump has made the Republican Party better “by moving past the culture wars that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s, in particular by removing gay rights as a wedge issue from the old Republican playbook.”

And in an astonishing act of gaslighting, Kabel and Homan say Trump “has committed to end the spread of HIV/AIDS in 10 years, through the use of proven science, medicine and technology to which we now have access.”

They conveniently leave out of their op-ed President Trump’s actual record on HIV/AIDS.

In June Trump axed federal funding for HIV treatment testing research over the usage of fetal tissue.

In February  The New York Times reported: “Trump Pledged to End H.I.V. But His Policies Veer the Other Way,” The paper offered a litany of examples detailing how the Trump administration has actually worked to reverse progress being made in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“In May 2017,” as HIV Plus Magazine reminded earlier this year, “the White House announced intended and deliberate funding cuts to HIV programs including PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), the Ryan White Program, and the Global Fund.

In June of 2017 six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) resigned, citing President Trump’s lack of interest or strategy to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Trump “simply does not care,” they wrote. Later that year, in December, without warning, Trump fired the remaining 16 members, “via a letter from FedEx.”

NCRM offered many more examples of Trump’s attacks on people living with HIV/AIDS  in an article published in March.

Meanwhile, in yet another astonishing act of gaslighting, the Log Cabin leaders wrote this apparent falsehood:

Trump has used the United States’ outsize global influence to persuade other nations to adopt modern human rights standards, including launching an initiative to end the criminalization of homosexuality, which is considered illegal in more than 70 countries. To lead this effort, the president has chosen the highest-ranking LGBTQ individual in the administration, Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, who brings his experience as the United States’ spokesman at the United Nations to bear on this critical campaign.

Trump has done no such thing. In fact, he has time and time again looked the other way and ignored the human rights abuses that occur around the world, despite calls for him to act.

On decriminalizing homosexuality, there is no record that any substantial effort has been made by the Trump administration, and as NCRM reported at the time, when asked about the supposed initiative during an Oval Office press gaggle, President Trump said he knew nothing about it.

This is but a small sampling of President Donald Trump’s attacks on LGBTQ people.

If the Log Cabin Republicans wish to pretend to support the LGBTQ community, they would do better than hitching their wagons to the most anti-LGBTQ president in modern American history.

Donald Trump is the most anti-LGBT President in modern American history.

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