Friday, October 18, 2019

Mulvaney Feeds The Fox

George Conway, husband to Kellyanne Conway, is a bold, brave, and well-informed lawyer and Never Trumper. He is, however, wrong:

Understandably, then, he believes also
Donald J. Trump, who got elected President after firmly endorsing sexual assault and is using the presidency to become the billionaire he always has claimed to be, is no fool. The most recent evidence comes by way an incident which at first glance seems to offer further evidence of Conway's assessment. Acting Chief of Staff Mike Mulvaney

made a stunning admission Thursday by confirming that President Donald Trump froze nearly $400 million in US security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats.

Hours later, Mulvaney then denied ever saying those words.

The dramatic admission came during an afternoon news conference where Mulvaney insisted that he knew only of a US request to investigate the handling of a Democratic National Committee server hacked in the 2016 election, but text messages between US diplomats show efforts to get Ukraine to commit to an investigation into Burisma, the company on whose board former Vice President Joe Biden's son sat. There is no evidence of wrongdoing in Ukraine by either Biden.

"That's why we held up the money," Mulvaney said after listing the 2016-related investigation and Trump's broader concerns about corruption in Ukraine.

We already knew that there was a quid pro quo, that the House of Representatives is very likely to impeach President Trump primarily because of it, and that the Senate will vote to acquit.

Comedian Trevor Noah maintained “It’s like the murder suspect in a Law & Order episode confessing in the middle of the scene." A Fox News host lamented that Mulvaney "stood at the podium and connected the dots for Democrats and said, ‘You are darn right… that we were holding up aid to Ukraine because the president wanted an investigation of corruption!'" House Speaker Pelosi charged "what he said, was of course, a confession, but it's also a cavalier attitude of get over it. It's so disrespectful of our Constitution, and it's just not the way our founders expected."

Mulvaney said nothing that was not already obvious. Further, he did not make the statement under oath (and in fact, recounted shortly afterward).  If he ever actually testifies, he always can fall on his sword, claiming that he had misunderstood the President. And he answers to one individual, one deity alone.

But he got Donald Trump's message out there by stating "Did he also mention to me in passing the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely."

And there you have it, the White House screaming "the Democrats made me do it."  It is part of the GOP's "it wasn't us, it was you" playbook," which neatly folds into the Trump theme that all are corrupt, aiding and abetting his effort to undermine faith in the democratic process. It gives Republicans in Congress and at the grass roots the all-purpose "DNC" excuse for Donald Russia's behavior.

Moreover, planting this theory reinforces the myth to which Trump and many of his die-hard supporters cling to, that the Kremlin did not interfere in the 2016 election.  Why would Trump & Co. even bring up the 2016 election if it were the actual beneficiary of meddling?

Mulvaney announced "It was almost like they built this building"- Trump's Doral resort- to host the G-7 meeting..  That is an obvious violation of the enoluments clause, an invitation to impeachment, unprecedented presidential influence-peddling, and an appeal to other nations to expect a return on their investment at a Trump property.

Of course, that got lost in the other news. It is thus yet another indication that if Donald Trump, whatever his mental, psychological or physical debilitation, is "crazy," it is only as a fox.

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