Saturday, February 1, 2020

What the Republican senator has asked Americans to do

The data at the Trump Twitter Archive show that President Trump tweeted:
  • “no collusion” five times in 2017, fifty-three times in 2018, and ninety-five times in 2019.
  • “no obstruction” once in 2017, twelve times in 2018, and fifty-two times in 2019.
  • “no quid pro quo” eighteen times between Sept 24 and Dec 12, 2019.
  • “no bribery” and “no extortion” four times each in late 2019.

Nixon said "I am not a crook" only once on television, and everyone immediately knew he was a crook.

Trump's repetition wears down people's skepticism. It shouldn't. It's the same kind of transparently false defense as Nixon's. Trump denies committing these offenses because he knows he committed them, and he knows we know he committed them, and he knows that a lie can replace the truth if he repeats it enough. The disinformation has taken root, but we mustn't let it grow any further.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican who isn't seeking reelection, said he would vote against calling witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial. Nonetheless, he acknowledged that Trump had indeed done something wrong. Witnesses are not required at the trial, in his view, only because "there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven." After all, as he wrote in his January 30, 2020 a statement: "the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine. There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a 'mountain of overwhelming evidence.'" What Trump did was "inappropriate" and "undermines the principle of equal justice under the law," Alexander said. There is no question "whether the president did it."

The Republican senator is telling us: When the president says there was "no quid pro quo," the president is lying to the public.

The Republican senator only denies that it is his responsibility to remove the president from office (at least for this particular offense, or perhaps at all, ever). Instead, he wants American voters to remedy this problem in the 2020 election.

Oh, sure, he still says he supports Trump's reelection. Except that's not what his latest statement entails. Figure it out for yourself what you believe, and —

Register to Vote

Sen. Marco Rubio, too, also a Republican, wrote on January 31 that even if Trump did commit "abuse of power," he still won't vote to remove the president from office. This provides a convenient way to avoid the question of whether Trump is guilty and whether Trump lies about his guilt. It also provides an excuse not to vote for witnesses: because even if the witnesses were to confirm Trump's guilt, Rubio will never vote to convict Trump, so the entire trial may as well simply end.

CNN reports that the Trump administration has made its "first official acknowledgment...that emails about the President'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 revelation came from the Department of Justice, which admitted in a January 31, 2020 court filing that it has 24 emails which, in CNN's description, "related to the President Donald 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 Office of Management and Budget argues that the emails cannot be revealed to the public nor even to Congress precisely because they reveal "Presidential decision-making about the scope, duration, and purpose of the hold on military assistance to Ukraine." (Which is funny reasoning, since that is exactly the subject of the impeachment trial that has not yet officially concluded.) The DOJ's admission that it has relevant evidence "came just hours after the Senate voted against subpoenaing additional documents and witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial, paving the way for his acquittal."

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