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So Trump Basically Confessed to the Ukraine Charges

Esquire logo Esquire 4 days ago Charles P. Pierce
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: Just in case anyone is still interested in things like presidential abuse of power. © Mark Wilson - Getty Images Just in case anyone is still interested in things like presidential abuse of power.

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Not for nothing, America, but basically, he copped to it.

From CNN:

The reversal came Thursday in a podcast interview Trump did with journalist Geraldo Rivera, who asked, "Was it strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer? Are you sorry you did that?" Trump responded, "No, not at all," and praised Giuliani's role as a "crime fighter."
"Here's my choice: I deal with the Comeys of the world, or I deal with Rudy," Trump said, referring to former FBI Director James Comey. Trump explained that he has "a very bad taste" of the US intelligence community, because of the Russia investigation, so he turned to Giuliani. "So when you tell me, why did I use Rudy, and one of the things about Rudy, number one, he was the best prosecutor, you know, one of the best prosecutors, and the best mayor," Trump said. "But also, other presidents had them. FDR had a lawyer who was practically, you know, was totally involved with government. Eisenhower had a lawyer. They all had lawyers." ...
Trump's past denials came in November, when the House of Representatives was investigating the President's conduct with Ukraine. Multiple US diplomats and national security officials testified that Giuliani was a central figure in the pressure campaign to secure political favors from Ukraine. Trump also mentioned Giuliani in his phone call last summer with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ah, how wonderfully the elected fools and tools in the Congress must feel this morning. It's only a matter of time before this admission descends into the fog of, "Well, everybody knew that," in the national dialogue, and we all go back to worrying about whether Michael Bloomberg will let us sublet a bit of democracy after he buys it all up. But, even with the firings, and the frog-marches out of the White House, and the attorney general's meddling, this is the best piece of evidence we have yet of El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago's having been "emboldened" when the fools and tools acquitted him in the Senate. Susan Collins will embark on a sternly worded letter just as soon as she can locate a quill...and, perhaps, the odd brain cell or four.

Rudy Giuliani wearing a suit and tie: Everything was as it very much seemed. © Saul Martinez - Getty Images Everything was as it very much seemed.

And how smoothly the confession slides into the current Republican strategy of pretending the whole party isn't in the president*'s pocket. Here's Bill Barr, pretending to be mightily distressed by how the president*'s Twitter behavior is complicating Barr's lifelong commitment to being a disinterested pursuer of truth and justice. From The Hill:

The remarks are a significant and rare public break by the attorney general from the president, following days of controversy surrounding the Department of Justice's (DOJ) decision to lessen a sentence for Trump ally Roger Stone after the president tweeted about his displeasure with the gravity of the original sentence recommendation.“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr told ABC.

God's truth, some people actually believe that Barr has gone rogue, and that this represents some turning point in the administration*'s relationship with its lapdog DOJ. Barr is simply reminding the president* that the first rule of cover-ups is nobody talks about the cover-ups.

And here's Mitch McConnell, pretending to be mightily distressed at the president*'s Twitter behavior, also from The Hill:

"If the Attorney General says it is getting in the way of him doing his job, maybe the president should listen to the Attorney General," McConnell added, asked if he didn't like the president's tweets. Barr said during an interview with ABC News that he thought it was "time to stop tweeting" about DOJ criminal cases — a rare break with Trump.

Fools and tools, the lot of them. And they think we are, too.

Author and historian Timothy Snyder stopped by kindly Doc Maddow's shop on Thursday night to explain how easy it is for even established democracies to slide into something much darker. One of his suggestions about fighting against the momentum being encouraged from above is to be unpredictable. Don't do what they expect you to do and don't be the fools and tools they expect you to be.

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