Trump is not learning

On Thursday, February 6, 2020, I wrote that,

I expect that U.S. President Donald Trump will abuse the power of the presidency today. If not today, then no later than tomorrow.

Trump is acquitted. What next?

He actually waited until the morrow at the end of the day. On Friday, he fired Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman from his post as a national security advisor to the President.

Vindman was planning to be transferred from his post by the U.S. Army at the end of February. However, rarely does one just leave the Trump administration. They are fired, usually in a dramatic way. This is an abuse of power. Trump sends away people who have worked for him with drama because he can. These people do indeed serve at his pleasure. But why drama and humiliation? Why seething and mocking tones?

But, why such forbearance to wait another day?

Actually, according to The Washington Post (February 8, 2020), Trump wanted to fire Vindman on Wednesday just after being acquitted in a Senate trial from the impeachment charges leveled against him by the House of Representatives. However, aides to the President persuaded him to delay the action in hopes of enjoying positive news coverage over the acquittal.

To make matters worse, “Trump simultaneously ordered the ousting of Vindman’s twin brother, Yevgeny, a chief ethics lawyer at the National Security Council (NSC) who did not testify in the impeachment probe.” Besides this, Trump recalled Gordon Sondland who was serving as U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Sondland also testified before the House’s impeachment probe. Both Alexander Vindman and Sondland were responding to subpoenas from the House. Yevgeny Vindman was caught in Trump’s snare only because of his brother.

So, Trump has become emboldened – as I wrote – and is seeking revenge for betrayal, real or imagined.

According to the Post, Fernando Cutz, who served on the NSC as a senior advisor to then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster before they both left in 2018, said, “Every career official will tell you it’s not just chilling but frightening … The broader message to career officials is that you can’t speak up. Even if you see something illegal, something unethical, you can’t speak up. That’s the message the president wants to send.”

Trump has been and continues to be a bully. With the backing of the power of the presidency, he bullied Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky (last July), and this is what precipitated his impeachment. He’s not learning from his misdeeds. He remains the Bully-in-Chief.

Trump’s celebration — a coronation

Thursday, February 6, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump was received today in the White House’s East Room. Trump was clear. “It’s a celebration, because we have something that just worked out.” This is how he characterized his remarks to the nation – a celebration.

As I heard it, I imagined a coronation. He entered the East Room to the herald of the United States Marine Band playing “Hail to the Chief.” Trump thanked his supporters in the room, many by name. I heard this as bestowing knighthoods on his warriors. He actually called his Senate and House partisans “warriors” – “great warriors,” “incredible warriors.”

Trump spoke for an hour in his extemporaneous, rambling style. He often used the royal ‘we’, although at times it was an inclusive ‘we’ – everyone in the room, all Republicans (except for Senator Mitt Romney whom he’s sorry about). No barrier between him and the people. Entirely unified against the party of black knights who tried to depose him.

Trump spouted his grievances against those whom he styled as his enemies who were out to get him – ranting on and off for a full hour about the injustice heaped upon him. The Speaker of the House is “a horrible person.” The chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is “a vicious, horrible person.” He’s a “corrupt politician.”

His enemies were out to get him even before the election. It was so unjust – “tremendous corruption,” according to Trump.

But the righteous king was victorious – a “total acquittal.” Trump was only missing a crown and a sable stole.

Trump is acquitted. What next?

Thursday, February 6, 2020

I expect that Donald Trump will abuse the power of the presidency today. If not today, then no later than tomorrow. Yesterday he was acquitted by the U.S. Senate of the two articles of impeachment delivered by the House of Representatives. Most likely, he regards the acquittal as license to do whatever his heart desires.

But, on what basis do I predict that his next malfeasance will be today?

On July 24, 2019, Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified before the House Judiciary Committee, answering their questions in line with the report that bears his name. Mueller’s findings were two: He could not find sufficient evidence that the Trump presidential campaign of 2016 cooperated or coordinated with Russians to sway the vote in his favor. Since Mueller couldn’t find sufficient evidence, U.S. courts would not bring charges. Second, as far as obstruction of justice was concerned, Mueller found ample evidence that President Trump should be charged. Despite this, Mueller refrained from bringing charges because of a ruling that a sitting president cannot be prosecuted.

The very next day after Mueller testified, President Trump spoke to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and extorted him. Zelensky was to investigate Ukrainian corruption in connection with presidential candidate Vice President Joe Biden and his son. In return, Ukraine would get consideration to receive $391 million in military aid. President Trump released a record of the call, saying that there was nothing wrong with the call.

On one day, Trump was relieved of liability from his misbehavior of three years, and the very next day, he abused the power of the presidency.

Yesterday, Donald Trump was acquitted by the U.S. Senate. Today, he already outraged the attendees at National Prayer Breakfast by speaking divisively against politicians he doesn’t like. He publicly nursed his grievances. He spoke this way after the featured speaker spoke about reconciliation. Trump indicated that he’s not interested in reconciliation. He has no shame.

I’ll write later about his public celebration of acquittal that he presented only a few hours after the Prayer Breakfast.

We now have an unrepentant man occupying the office of the President of the United States. Shame on us for boosting him into office.

Rooting out corruption

Testimony of George P. Kent, United States Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, before the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on November 13, 2019:

You can’t promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people.

Now let’s mull that over with a cup of hot tea with sugar.

Donald Trump has fallen from grace; are the American people now rising in a nascent recovery?

Frankly, I was projecting when I posted that impeachment would bring a new dawn for America.

I’m now recovering from the suspense of whether U.S. President Donald Trump would be impeached and if so when. It was cathartic for me to think optimistically.

Now that the president has been impeached – which is to say indicted for high crimes and misdemeanors – I’m relieved to not be listening to Congressional hearings. I’m recovering. But, we Americans cannot expect to repair damage brought about by President Trump until a new president is inaugurated with a new Senate and House.

If I’m honest with myself, though, my own recovery will be short. I’ll soon be listening to the proceedings of his trial in the Senate. I’ll be listening in suspense over whether new damning evidence will be presented. Will such evidence reveal more corruption or further crimes? Will the Senate hear new testimony that appalls even the Republicans? Will the Republicans ask President Trump to resign, as in the case of President Richard Nixon?

So much suspense, and I’ll succumb to listening from the first gavel to the last.

By the way, I did watch some live feed of the proceedings from The Washington Post because I don’t have a television set hooked up to cable service. I moved into my present apartment ten months ago but have yet to set up my television.

I didn’t have a television during the Clinton impeachment trial either. I reluctantly listened to the disgusting proceedings over the radio. I had the flu during the trial and needed some noise to distract me from the aches, pain, and fever. So why didn’t I listen to classical music? Don’t ask. And classical music is not noise.

Sometime I’ll tell you why I didn’t have a television set.

Acquittal: freed from charges

I found these notes after the previous post on the subject:

A not guilty verdict is not exoneration except in a colloquial sense.

U.S. President Donald Trump claims that the Senate will exonerate him. “I’ve done nothing wrong.” What he doesn’t know – or doesn’t want to admit – is that a not guilty vote doesn’t mean innocent.

An acquittal, which is to say a preponderance of not guilty votes in the Senate, would only free President Trump from the impeachment charges. No explanation is attached to the individual votes, though.

A Senator who votes not guilty may intend to say that the President is innocent of the charges. He simply did not do what he was accused of doing. Another Senator might intend that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict. The President may still be guilty – just not in the eyes of the law.

What is the difference here?

Those who believe that he is innocent will still associate themselves with him. Those who believe that the President probably did what he was accused of will distance themselves from him.

Similarly with voters, although it is more complicated. People have been known to hold their noses when they reach a ballot box.

‘Not guilty’ is not ‘innocent’

President Donald Trump will go on trial in the U.S. Senate, probably in January 2020.

Senators will choose how to vote: guilty or not guilty. They cannot vote innocent.

A not guilty vote is ambiguous. Is the defendant innocent of charges, “exonerated” in everyday speech? Or did the prosecutors fail to give evidence that rose to the standard of “no reasonable doubt”?

Anyone who will claim that the President was exonerated is speaking colloquially but not legally or morally.

This figure of speech, ‘exonerated’ was previously declared by the President and his supporters after Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller issued his report. This way of speaking is feel-good speech.

The Mueller report did not find sufficient evidence that the Trump election campaign coordinated or cooperated with Russian intelligence agents. That’s it. They did find smoke but failed to find a fire.

President Trump was not exonerated. The failure to find unambiguous evidence doesn’t mean that evidence doesn’t exist. Evidence may yet turn up. Then again maybe not.

The final jury of history has yet to convene.


A new dawn for America?

Thursday, December 19, 2019 | Phoenix, Arizona

Now that President Donald J. Trump has been impeached (yesterday), can the people of the United States begin to repair the damage wrought by him as I prayed last week?

I’m trying to be an optimist. I see a balancing act between this president and the American people. Donald Trump has fallen from grace. The American people are rising in a nascent recovery.

Of course, President Trump can wreak havoc over the next thirteen months. He ran for office on the premise of becoming the Disrupter-in-Chief, and he has kept his campaign promise.

Nevertheless, he can’t cease to be impeached. The U.S. Senate can render a verdict of not guilty in his trial, but he can never be exonerated in the sense of being declared innocent. (More of this to follow.)

I’ve had a stubborn cold and been drinking hot tea with lemon juice. It’s not quite tea with sugar, but I feel less tense since the House of Representatives adopted the articles of impeachment.


‘Read the transcript! Read the transcript!’

A Republican defense of U.S.President Donald Trump is to read the transcript of his controversial July 2019 call.

Trump had called newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with, among other things, a request to investigate corruption. The specific alleged corruption that interested President Trump concerned Democratic candidate and rival Joe Biden.

There is no audio recording of this call, the standard approach to the phone calls of all presidents. What the public record shows, though, is a call record, also called a readout or memorandum record, assembled by those who were authorized to listen in on the President’s conversation. Listeners composed it from memory and notes they took. The result was then circulated among the listeners to elicit suggested changes or additions.

This readout is not a transcript. A transcript is a word-for-word copy of the original conversation. What the White House has and released is a rough reconstruction of part of the Trump-Zelensky call.

So proclaiming “Read the transcript!” is baying at the moon.