Impeach the President

This day, Valentine’s Day, 2017, is the day Benedict Arnold went to the Watergate to deal with the Cuban missle crisis.

Questions abound and exegeses multiply. For example, Sean Spicer just offered a new chronology for Mike Flynn’s ouster. It raises still more questions.

Others do this sort of thing a damn sight better than me, so I will leave the questions alone. Except for one:

What happens when Michael Flynn, realizing that he is a scapegoat and a fool, goes Deep Throat?

What Did He Know and When Did He Know It?

nixon

This evening Josh Marshall has a useful elaboration of a thought that occurred to Aardvark this afternoon. I’ll bet it occurred to you, too.

Michael Flynn apparently lied to Mike Pence about what he was up to with the Ruskies. He probably lied to other folks too.

But isn’t it reasonable to suppose that when Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador about sanctions, he was acting with Trump’s knowledge and approval?

I’d put it that even a superficial examination of the facts points toward that conclusion. Marshall lays out the case in greater detail.

And let’s war game this thing one step further. If Trump is now compelled to shit can Flynn, what revelations can we expect from Flynn in retaliation?

Don’t you love the smell of napalm in the morning?

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Aardvark.

Many of the Founding Fathers were Deists. They believed that God, the Divine Clockmaker, had wound up the universe, set it going, and then stepped back. But, at least for some of them, their experiences during the Revolution made them rethink their theology. So high had been the odds against them, that they came to believe there really was a Divine Providence that blessed America.

Well, we need some of that old fashioned Divine Providence again, because the odds are that we’re in for multiple tragedies.

There is Turmoil at the National Security Council, From the Top Down.

The President discusses national secrets in a public dining room.

Decisions affecting national security exhibit malevolence tempered by incompetence.

Is economic policy any better? Paul Krugman writes,

And on economics — well, there’s nobody home. The Council of Economic Advisers, which is supposed to provide technical expertise, has been demoted from cabinet rank, but that hardly matters, since nobody has been nominated to serve. Remember all that talk about a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan? If you do, please remind the White House, which hasn’t offered even a ghost of a concrete proposal.

But let me not be too hard on the Tweeter-in-chief: disdain for expertise is general in his party. For example, the most influential Republican economists aren’t serious academics with a conservative bent, of whom there are many; they’re known hacks who literally can’t get a number right.

Or consider the current G.O.P. panic over health care. Many in the party seem shocked to learn that repealing any major part of Obamacare will cause tens of millions to lose insurance. Anyone who studied the issue could have told them years ago how the pieces of health reform fit together, and why. In fact, many of us did, repeatedly. But competent analysis wasn’t wanted.

This evening we learn that Justice Dept. warned that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, officials say. And, from another source, we are told that the President will interview David Petraeus as a possible replacement for General Flynn. I hope Petraeus accepts the job–on the condition that he can bring along his mistress, because he is going to need all the comfort he can get.

Plainly, reason and common sense have failed us. Democracy has chosen unwisely.

If we survive, it will be because God has Blessed America Again.

More Fans Leave the Stadium

winning

Thanks to talkingpointsmemo.com.

A frighteningly large number of Americans share Trump’s delusions. Two thirds of Trump supporters think Obama is a Muslim. They haven’t yet left the stadium.

Seventy-two percent of Republicans think Obama was born in Kenya. They are still with Trump, and will continue to be with him at least a few more innings.

But there are lots of folks who voted for Trump without partaking in his delusional thinking. For some, the only issue of importance was abortion. Others favor the billionaire agenda and thought Trump was a secret supporter as well—or that he could be manipulated into signing bills that hurt the poor and help the rich. Some bought the story that he’s a brilliant businessman; they thought he was only pretending to be crazy. And some just couldn’t get past their hatred of Hillary.

These folks are getting up to leave the stadium in the first inning.

The Government’s Legal Position: Ineptitude of Sinister Design?

Several decades ago Alan Dershwitz tried in vain to teach Aardvark about criminal law. Watching him on TV so many years later, I am glad, I suppose, that his self-confidence and sense of certainty have not diminished with age. Of some it may be said, “Often in error but never in doubt.” Surely the latter part of that sentence, at least, applies with full force to the good professor.

I have posted before on the difficulty of reverse engineering the government legal team’s legal strategy in the immigration case. Some readers may feel I obsess, but in fact this is damned important stuff.

Dershowitz contends that (1) the Trump executive order as originally written was constitutional (under the lenient and deferential “rational basis” test) and that (2) when Trump’s lawyers eschewed the “rational basis” test for review, and opted instead to argue that the order is unreviewable by the courts, they exhibited incompetence.

To leap from the sublime to the ridiculous, Joe Scarborough has said much the same thing. He may say the say the same thing tomorrow morning, if he remembers what he said last week.

I, myself, have identified legal incompetence by the defense team as one plausible basis to explain their behavior.

But, writing on Sunday evening, February 12, I now believe that incompetence is not the best explanation. I believe the best explanation for the Trump team’s anomalous legal strategy is that Bannon and Miller are attempting to create a constitutional crisis.

I think they want to put Trump in a place where he thinks his manhood compels him to order those he commands to disobey a court order grounded in fundamental constitutional law.

Does Trump fully grasp what Bannon and Miller are up to?

Does he approve?

Will he step back from the precipice?

We shall see.

Que será será.