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By Robert A. Vella

Donald Trump’s push to turn the U.S. presidency into his own private dictatorship has escalated to the point of ignoring Congress’ constitutional authority to authorize war and arms sales to foreign powers and also to the point of threatening the confidentiality of the U.S. intelligence community.  This is what totalitarians do.  In contrast, federal courts have ruled against his national emergency declaration to divert funding appropriated for other purposes to build his border wall (also in defiance of Congress) and have ruled against one of the fanatical anti-abortion laws recently enacted in deep-red states.  Meanwhile, the Democratic Party leadership in the House of Representatives is increasingly at odds with itself over the issue of impeachment.  Reluctant Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is not disputing her dissenters’ assertion that Trump has committed and is still committing impeachable offenses, but she is putting the brakes on impeachment ostensibly for pragmatic concerns regarding the 2020 election.  Those concerns, if that really is what’s guiding her, are putting the fate of America at terrible risk.  When Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, and uncounted other totalitarians began to seize and consolidate power, the political opposition did essentially what Pelosi is doing now:  1) underestimate the severity of the threat, and 2) cautiously delay and restrict their responses in the hope that other forces (e.g. the judicial system, public opinion, etc.) intervene on their behalf.  In Russia, Italy, and Germany during the Interbellum, such hopes never materialized and the consequences were horrendous.

Trump’s dictatorship escalates

From:  Defying Congress, Trump sets $8 billion-plus in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump, declaring a national emergency because of tensions with Iran, swept aside objections from Congress on Friday to complete the sale of over $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

The Trump administration informed congressional committees that it will go ahead with 22 military sales to the Saudis, United Arab Emirates and Jordan, infuriating lawmakers by circumventing a long-standing precedent for congressional review of major weapons sales.

Members of Congress had been blocking sales of offensive military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for months, angry about the huge civilian toll from their air campaign in Yemen, as well as human rights abuses such as the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

See also:  Over 70 retired military leaders sign letter urging Trump against war with Iran

From:  Potential Clash Over Secrets Looms Between Justice Dept. and C.I.A.

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s order allowing Attorney General William P. Barr to declassify any intelligence that led to the Russia investigation sets up a potential confrontation with the C.I.A. It effectively strips the agency of its most critical power: choosing which secrets it shares and which ones remain hidden.

Mr. Trump said on Friday that he wanted Mr. Barr to “get to the bottom” of what the intelligence agencies knew about the investigation into his campaign. He promised, “We’re exposing everything.”

The president raised questions about C.I.A. involvement in the origins of the Russia investigation, and other officials said Mr. Barr wanted to learn more about sources in Russia, including a key informant who helped the C.I.A. conclude that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered the intrusion on the 2016 election. Mr. Trump also invoked two close allies, Australia and Britain, telling reporters he wanted the attorney general to examine their roles in sharing intelligence about Russia’s interference.

Courts reject border wall and anti-abortion law

From:  Judge partially blocks Trump border wall plan

A federal judge has partially blocked President Donald Trump’s plan to fund construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The preliminary injunction issued Friday immediately halts a $1 billion transfer of Pentagon counterdrug funding to cover expansions and enhancement of border barriers.

The court order also appears to jeopardize another $1.5 billion of the $8.1 billion the administration planned to use for border construction.

From:  ‘Here we go again’: Federal judge blocks Mississippi’s six-week abortion ban

A federal judge has blocked a Mississippi law that would have imposed one of the nation’s strictest bans on abortion by outlawing the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy — before some women know they’re pregnant.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled on Friday that the ban, set to become law on July 1, won’t take effect while the lawsuit against it proceeds. Reeves’s decision is similar to his 2018 ruling that declared a 15-week ban unconstitutional.

Impeachment divides Dems

From:  Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote

There is growing daylight between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) over the best strategy for combating a Trump administration that is flouting a flurry of congressional subpoenas at nearly every turn.

The pair of powerful Democrats clashed in recent days over whether to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump and how soon to hold a contempt vote against Attorney General William Barr.

Nadler, spurred by frustrated Judiciary Committee members, has been privately pushing leadership for both an impeachment inquiry, and a contempt vote immediately after lawmakers return from their weeklong Memorial Day recess.

From:  Ex-GOP congressman calls for impeachment, says Trump an ‘illegitimate president’

A former longtime Republican congressman called Friday for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, who he said is an “illegitimate president.”

“I’m calling for impeachment now because the Mueller report is out, and in it (special counsel Robert Mueller) describes 10 obstruction of justice charges that he could not bring because of a Department of Justice rule and regulation that says you can’t indict a sitting president — that’s (reason) number one,” former Rep. Tom Coleman, who represented Missouri for nearly two decades, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront.”

“Number two, I believe this is an illegitimate President because he welcomed help and influence from the Russians in his campaign,” he said. “For example, his (campaign) chairman Paul Manafort met with a Russian intelligence asset in New York and shared with him their polling information and a strategy on how to win the Midwestern states.”

More news

From:  Government moves to seize Manafort’s condo in Trump Tower

The federal government moved on Friday to formally take possession of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s apartment in Trump Tower, according to court documents obtained by USA Today.

Manafort pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by witness tampering as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

As part of his plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Manafort forfeited $22 million in New York real estate — including three Manhattan apartments, a Brooklyn townhouse and a home in the Hamptons, The New York Times reported at the time.

From:  Florida Is the Big Winner as the Wealthy Move Out of Northern States

22 thoughts on “Trump’s dictatorship escalates, courts reject border wall and anti-abortion law, impeachment divides Dems

  1. I feel for Pelosi. It is unconscionable *not* to remove this orange stain from the WH, but, and it’s a big but, she can see the total anihiliation of the GOP in 2020, which must be tempting.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That sure is a risky strategy, John; and, I’m dubious that Pelosi sees the total annihilation of the GOP in 2020 as an achievable or even desirable goal. The unavoidable fact remains that the longer Trump stays unchecked in the White House, the more immediate and irreversible damage he will cause.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Agreed. And this arms sale to the Saudi’s (with his ‘cut’ no doubt) is evidence enough of that. Personally, I say impeach, get it over with quickly, then send it to the Senate and take names of those who kill it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think impeachment hearings are the ONLY way we’re gonna get much of Trump’s obstruction bullshit out in the open. And you’re right. Let’s SHOW people what this orange shit pile did and take the names of the Repukes who do not vote to remove this traitor from office.

          Liked by 3 people

        • The prospect of televised testimonies scares the crap out of Trump… and for very good reason. Is it possible Pelosi might be holding that gun for sometime later, perhaps closer to the election?

          Liked by 2 people

        • I’m not sure. I think she’s misjudging how much many of us WANT this piece of orange shit impeached. She’s over analyzing it. After Clinton was impeached, the Repukes won the House, the Senate AND the Presidency, so they were NOT, in direct contradiction to the narrative I keep hearing, hurt by the fact they impeached Clinton. Yes, Clinton’s numbers went up, but, they were never truly “down”, at least not as “down” as Trump’s have consistently been. In other words, Trump’s numbers aren’t going to move up just because the House impeaches him. His minions will scream and froth at the mouth, but they do that anyway. It’s so fucking hard to know what exactly to do, but right now, we are sitting by watching Trump literally crown himself King of the formerly free world. It’s gotta stop. I FUCKING HATE this piece of shit! AAAAAHHH!!!

          Liked by 2 people

        • Perhaps, but can you imagine it. It would dominate the news, sound bites galore. And remember, no one still knows what the counter intelligence investigation has revealed. That would be how badly he’s compromised. To get attention through all that Trump would have to start disemboweling squirrels on the WH lawn.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Couple of things …

    When the news report says “Members of Congress” have been blocking sales, would this include both sides? I ask because the Repukes have given in and given over nearly every sensible action to tRumpsky. Would this be any different?

    Re: the declassifying of information — do you think Trump himself actually believes he’s not guilty? I mean, if the information is there, this action is going to bring things clearly out into the open so it would seem his guilty self would prefer it remain under wraps. (BTW, I do realize the seriousness of his actions as related to these intelligence agencies.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, the opposition to Trump’s arms sales and some other foreign policy moves has been sufficiently bipartisan in the Senate to block it. That’s why Trump declared this “national emergency” to bypass Congress’ constitutional authority.

      No, I do not think Trump believes he is innocent; and, his hostility towards the Mueller investigation and congressional investigations prove it. What Trump is trying to do now is bully the intelligence community in the hope of digging up some dirt which he could use to discredit the Russia narrative.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for your expert opening analysis of where we now stand in our continual slide towards becoming a totalitarian state. Both the GOP and Democrats are putting the survival of their parties before that of the entire nation. They are playing a dangerous game with our lives. But then again, to the corporate elite, we the 99 Percent don’t count. Our sheer numbers make us disposable entities.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Forgive me, Robert. This is a bit off-topic, but I’d be interested in your comments. A particular blogger, who is quite obviously taken in by conspiracy theories, has presented the idea that Britain and Russia were involved in the “collusion” fiasco.

    Doing a bit of research on his perspective, I came across this:
    What seems more clear each day is that there was collusion between certain members of the U.S. and British intelligence communities to spy on the Trump campaign.
    (AmericanThinker.com).

    I have my own perspective on this, but would be curious to know your thoughts. Perhaps a blog posting?

    Like

    • Good grief, Nan. I hope you’re not falling for that crap. “Collusion” implies unethical and/or illegal cooperation to achieve some nefarious goal. Yes, U.S. and British intelligence agencies shared information about Trump and the 2016 campaign because they suspected a serious threat to national security. In other words, they were doing their jobs!

      Like

  5. Pingback: The Center holds on for dear life: The E.U. parliamentary elections, and Democrats’ strategy in the U.S. | The Secular Jurist

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