The Lincoln Project, a leading Republican anti Trump group working to defeat him in 2020, just put out a great video portraying the six convicted felons under the Donald Trump Presidency:
This anti Trump group, along with Republican Voters Against Trump; Right Side PAC; and 43 Alumni For Biden are all contributing to an aggressive campaign against Trump, but also his enablers in Congress, who have overlooked his transgressions, and now face reelection in their states.
Republican activists, including John Weaver, Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt, George Conway, Bill Kristol, Mike Murphy, Anthony Scaramucci, and independent 2016 nominee Evan McMullin are working not only to stop Trump and his supporters in Congress. They also want to undermine potential 2024 candidates Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Fox News Channel talk show host Tucker Carlson, all who are rumored to be planning to run in the image of Donald Trump.
Good. We need all the help we can get to defeat Trump and his cronies.
â€˜Leave Lincoln Out of Itâ€™
The Lincoln Project partakes of the spirit of a famous Republican presidentâ€”but heâ€™s not its namesake.
By Andrew Ferguson, June 30, 2020
To take a full accounting of Donald Trumpâ€™s corrosive effect on our politics, you need to look at his enemies. After the presidentâ€™s disappointing (for Trump fans) rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a political action committee calling itself the Lincoln Project jumped into the fray, as it tends to do, with both feet. It released not one but two video ads ridiculing the president.
The first was about Trumpâ€™s claim at the rally that he asked his â€œpeopleâ€ to slow down the pace of coronavirus testing. Trumpâ€™s spokesperson later said the remark was â€œin jest,â€ and the president himself told an interviewer it was â€œsemiâ€“tongue in cheek.â€ But it is the job of the presidentâ€™s opposition nowadays to pick and choose what to believe. The Lincoln Project chose to believe his first remark, drawing the implausible inference that the president actually wanted to slow testing, which would only inhibit the reopening of the economy, the one thing he doesnâ€™t want to do. I think Iâ€™ve got that right.
The voice-over of the first ad was male and stentorian; that of the second was female and mocking. The second commercial was called â€œShrinking.â€ â€œHey Donald,â€ the announcer said. â€œTurnout in Tulsa? A dud. Youâ€™ve probably heard this before, but it was smaller than we expected.â€ Cut to a shot of Trump bringing his palms together. â€œIt sure wasnâ€™t as big as you promised. Honestly, weâ€™re not surprised â€¦ Weâ€™ve seen that youâ€™re shaky, you canâ€™t keep your polls up â€¦ sad, weak, low energy. Just like your presidency. Just like you.â€
When the projectâ€™s Twitter account announced the adâ€™s debut, it made sure to tag Stormy Daniels.
â€œShrinkingâ€ was in the spirit of another recent Lincoln Project product, called â€œTrump Is Not Well,â€ from earlier this month. That ad used footage from Trumpâ€™s speech to the graduating class at West Point. Over pictures of the president holding a glass of water with two hands, the voice-over suggested he was suffering from some kind of disability that rendered him unfit for high office, evidently based on the theory that our nationâ€™s commander in chief must be able to sip water with one hand.
The Lincoln Projectâ€™s adsâ€”personally abusive, overwrought, pointlessly salacious, and trip-wired with non sequitursâ€”are familiar: They are undertaken with all the relish the president shows when he jokes about the mental hiccups of â€œSleepyâ€ Joe Biden, just as four years ago, he happily implied that Hillary Clinton suffered from some nameless disease. One reason Trump does this is to annoy his opponents; now his opponentsâ€™ supporters are returning the favor.
The adsâ€™ intended audience may be a surprise. In December, the PACâ€™s organizers published a manifesto in The New York Times, to mark their groupâ€™s launch. The headline read: â€œWe Are Republicans, and We Want Trump Defeated.â€
â€œThe 2020 general election, by every indication, will be about persuasion,â€ the organizers wrote. â€œOur efforts are aimed at persuading â€¦ disaffected conservatives, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in swing states and districts.â€ As for the name, they said, â€œWe look to Lincoln as our guide and inspiration.â€
The claim to the mantle of Abraham Lincoln was truer than the organizers knew. Long before he was made a martyr and then a myth, Lincoln was a small-time politician on the Illinois prairie, with a talent for what one of his biographers, Douglas Wilson, called â€œattack journalism.â€ Throughout his early career, he filled the columns of party newspapers with scurrilous, usually anonymous assaults on his political adversaries. Lincoln used every tool in the demagogueâ€™s kitâ€”slander, innuendo, mockery. Factual accuracy didnâ€™t restrain him, on those rare occasions when facts were at issue.
Lincoln knew his audience. His readers, Wilson wrote, were â€œbasically partisan.â€ â€œThey tended to take delight in any and all hits against their political opponents. The seductive appeal of demagogy is, of course, that meanspirited and unfair arguments do score points.â€
Such arguments, in other words, thrill those already on board, and only those. The Lincoln Projectâ€™s ads are not, as the manifesto claimed, â€œabout persuasion.â€ Like a Trump rally, the ads work exclusively on the predispositions of the faithful. Try to imagine the â€œdisaffected conservativesâ€ or â€œRepublican-leaning independentsâ€ whom the Lincoln Project says it hopes to win over. They straddle their fences, scroll through their timelines, leaning first this way then that â€¦ Biden, Trump â€¦ Trump, Biden â€¦ until at last they come upon a Project Lincoln ad and they discoverâ€”can it be?â€”that the presidentâ€™s genitalia arenâ€™t functioning nearly as well as the world thought!
â€œBy God,â€ they might cry. â€œThis is the last straw! We need Joe Biden to restore the soul of America!â€
But probably not.
Perhaps we shouldnâ€™t be surprised that the Lincoln Project isnâ€™t quite what it told us it wanted to be, given how many politicos fly under false colors in the Trump era.
The projectâ€™s board of advisers includes a few figures who might be described as â€œfamous for Washingtonâ€â€”and famous for doing the things that all professional Washington operatives do. In a report last month, the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign-finance watchdog group, wrote that the Lincoln Project is engaging in practices similar to those of pro-Trump PACs.
â€œThe Republican super PAC has amassed a substantial war chest,â€ the report said, â€œbut it has come under scrutiny for funneling money to its advisory board members and spending relatively little airing political ads to influence voters. The group also hides some of its vendors by stealthily paying subcontractors, making it difficult to follow the money. The Lincoln Project reported spending nearly $1.4 million through March. Almost all of that money went to the groupâ€™s board members and firms run by them.â€ This is, indeed, similar to what all PACs have done from the day of their invention.
Who are these swamp creatures? The political consultant Steve Schmidt guided John McCainâ€™s 2008 presidential campaign to a thunderous loss, and then quickly repaid his old boss by relating unflattering confidences to the authors of a gossipy campaign book. (The bookâ€™s depiction of Schmidt, by contrast, was highly favorable.) Another political consultant, Rick Wilson, was the creator of a campaign ad questioning the patriotism of Democratic Senator Max Cleland, a Vietnam veteran and a triple amputee; McCain called the ad â€œreprehensible,â€ and most Republicans agreed.
George Conway, another project adviser, was for decades a well-connected stalwart of the further reaches of the conservative movement, where he met and married Kellyanne Conway, now a counselor to Trump. More recently he has drawn attention not only as an energetic anti-Trump activist but also as one-half of the most mysterious marriage in American history. The political consultant John Weaver is known for directing McCainâ€™s first losing presidential campaign, in 2000, after which he went to work for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (He gingerly returned to the GOP fold by signing on to the fugitive presidential campaigns of Jon Huntsman and John Kasich, in 2012 and 2016, respectively.)
The uneven pedigree of this motley crew hasnâ€™t kept mainstream publications from referring to the Lincoln Project as a â€œconservative PAC.â€ This misnomer affords the group the privilege of having their cake and eating it too: Coming from Republicans, their attacks may appear fresh, principled, and transpartisan, while remaining stale, unprincipled, and partisan. Like many unhappy former Republicans, the leaders of the project have crossed over from being â€œnever Trumpâ€ to being â€œnever Republican,â€ taking aim even at such GOP moderates as Cory Gardner and Susan Collins. Their most recent ad, called â€œHow a President Leads,â€ is an unabashed valentine to Joe Biden.
Which is fine! But theyâ€™d do better, for the sake of history and intellectual honesty, to leave Lincoln out of it. Lincoln ripened, history shows us, and grew away from the young pol heâ€™d been on the Illinois prairie. The circle of his sympathy expanded, his soul deepened. Such growth is unlikely to overtake the Lincoln Project while it peers obsessively at the object of its hatred. This is an old story: We become what we behold. The project partakes of the spirit of a famous Republican president, all right. But heâ€™s not Lincoln.
Seconded, Leia. I could care less that they are or have been Republicans. The important thing is that they are helping us fight against the wannabe dictator.
The Trumpenfurher is attacking Fauci again.
The crooked, wannabe dictator pretending to be “president” obviously doesn’t like that Fauci is telling people the cold, hard facts.
Why this Roger Stone commutation is not as controversial as some think By Jonathan Turley
…….. In reality, the commutation of Stone barely stands out in the gallery of White House pardons, which are the most consistently and openly abused power in the Constitution. This authority under Article 2 is stated in absolute terms, and some presidents have used it with absolute abandon.
Thomas Jefferson pardoned Erick Bollman for violations of the Alien and Sedition Act in the hope that he would testify against rival Aaron Burr for treason. Andrew Jackson stopped the execution of George Wilson in favor of a jail sentence, despite the long record Wilson had as a train robber, after powerful friends intervened with Jackson. Wilson surprised everyone by opting to be hanged anyway.
Wilson, however, could not hold a candle to Ignazio Lupo, one of the most lethal mob hit men who was needed back in New York during a Mafia war. With the bootlegging business hanging in the balance, Warren Harding, who, along with his attorney general, Harry Daugherty, was repeatedly accused of selling pardons, decided to pardon Lupo on the condition that he remain â€œlaw abiding.â€
Franklin Roosevelt also pardoned political allies, including Conrad Mann, a close associate of Kansas City political boss Thomas Pendergast. Pendergast made a fortune off illegal alcohol, gambling and graft and helped put Harry Truman in office. Truman also misused this power, including pardoning the thoroughly corrupt George Caldwell, a Democratic state official who skimmed massive amounts of money off government projects, such as a building fund for Louisiana State University.
Richard Nixon was both a giver and receiver of controversial pardons. He pardoned Jimmy Hoffa after the Teamsters union leader pledged to support his reelection bid. Nixon himself was later pardoned by Gerald Ford, an act many of us view as a mistake. Ronald Reagan refused to pardon the Iran Contra affair figures, but his vice president, George H.W. Bush, did so after becoming president. Despite his alleged involvement in that scandal, Bush pardoned other Iran Contra figures, such as Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.
Bill Clinton committed some of the worst abuses of this power, including pardons for his brother Roger Clinton and his friend and Whitewater business partner Susan McDougal. He pardoned the fugitive financier Marc Rich, who evaded justice by fleeing abroad. Entirely unrepentant, Rich was a major Democratic donor, and Clinton wiped away his convictions for fraud, tax evasion, racketeering and illegal dealings with Iran.
Unlike many of these cases, there were legitimate questions raised about Stoneâ€™s case. The biggest problem is that the foreperson of Stone’s trial jury was a Democratic activist and an outspoken critic of Trump and his associates who even wrote publicly about Stone’s case; despite multiple opportunities to do so, she never disclosed her prior statements and actions, which would have demonstrated her bias. Trial Judge Amy Berman Jackson shrugged off all that, however, and refused to grant Stone a new trial â€” denying him the most basic protection afforded in our system.
Moreover, I think both the court and Barr were wrong to push for Stone’s imprisonment at this time, as he meets all of the criteria for an inmate at high risk for exposure to the coronavirus. None of that, however, justifies Trump becoming directly involved in a commutation, when many of these issues could be addressed in a legal appeal.
There is plenty to criticize in Trump’s decision without pretending this was a pristine power besmirched by a rogue president. Trump should have left the decision to a successor (as Reagan did) or, at a minimum, to Barr. Nevertheless, compared with other presidents, his commutation of Stone is not even a distant contender for â€œthe most corrupt and cronyistic actâ€ of presidential clemency.
Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley. – – “Source” – http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/55335.htm
Lincoln should be left out of it not because he “ripened and grew away from the young pol heâ€™d been on the Illinois prairie.”
“The circle of his sympathy expanded” and “his soul deepened” only when it was to his advantage to do so in his quest to “save the Union,” and to preserve the nascent American proto-Empire.
THAT is what history really shows us.
Trump Should Be Impeached for the Stone Commutation
It may not be practical, but itâ€™s right on principle.
Iâ€™m glad the editors at the National Review finally got around to condemning President Trumpâ€™s commutation of Roger Stoneâ€™s sentence and I agree that it was indefensible. However, I have to quarrel with their assertion that the act was â€œfully within the presidentâ€™s powers and in keeping with the long-established pattern of presidentsâ€™ pardoning or commuting the sentences of associates caught up in special-counsel probes.â€
To be sure, itâ€™s possible to find precedents if youâ€™re looking to make a two-wrongs-make-a-right argument. President Clinton famously pardoned his brother. He also pardoned Susan McDougal of Whitewater fame. Neither of these examples are on a par with Trump giving Stone a get out of jail card. In the case of Roger Clinton, the charges were drug-related and over a decade old, and he had served his full sentence. With respect to McDougal, itâ€™s conceivable, although not proven, that she covered up criminal, unethical or embarrassing acts by then-Governor Bill Clinton, but she likewise had already served her full sentences on charges of fraud, conspiracy and civil contempt. The National Review prefers the example of Poppy Bushâ€™s infamous Christmas Eve 1992 pardons of Iran-Contra figures, including former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. This is a better comparison because Weinberger almost certainly protected Bush from Lawrence Walshâ€™s special investigation as well as the inquiry conducted by Congress. But Bush had already been defeated in the November election and was headed out the door.
In one sense, since the presidential pardon is absolute, there can be no limitations on it and even the most self-serving and obvious example of obstruction of justice can be considered â€œfully within the presidentâ€™s powers.â€ This is basically the de facto situation in most cases, especially because the Department of Justice has a policy against prosecuting a sitting president. The only remedy while they remain in office is impeachment, and that possibility certainly had limited appeal in Poppyâ€™s case. Bill Clinton could have pursued impeachment of Bush if only to assure that he became ineligible to hold any further office, but that kind of contentious battle would have destroyed any honeymoon he had in DC, which was limited in any case. Some commentators, including myself, have argued that the costs of not pursuing impeachment were extremely high, and now weâ€™re seeing why, but the immediate problem was solved when Bush left office. As for charging a president once theyâ€™re a private citizen, itâ€™s not easy to overcome the constitutional right of a president to pardon and commute however they please.
This is problematic in theory and now in practice. If Donald Trump stood accused of murdering someone on Fifth Avenue and Roger Stone was an eyewitness, we would not say it was okay for Stone to stonewall the investigation and then receive a commutation as a reward. In that scenario, weâ€™d expect the Justice Department to drop their qualms about indicting a sitting president. At a minimum, weâ€™d certainly expect Trump to face charges of obstruction of justice once he left office. There has to be some legal limitation on the pardon power.
Personally, I think Nancy Pelosi would be doing the Republicans a favor if she impeached Trump a second time over the Stone commutation. I donâ€™t mean that sheâ€™d be making it easier for Trump to win reelection. I mean that itâ€™s too late for the Republicans to nominate someone other than Trump as their 2020 presidential nominee because heâ€™s already won all the necessary delegates. The only option they have left to avoid going into the fall election with Trump as their standard bearer is to convict him in an impeachment trial and render him ineligible. Were Pelosi to give them that option, it would be a gigantic gift. It would also be the right thing to do since Trump is manifestly incapable of managing the COVID-19 outbreak and itâ€™s already led to tens of thousands of excess deaths and untold economic damage.
It doesnâ€™t make a lot of sense for Pelosi to do this from a self-interested political perspective. Why disrupt a trajectory that looks increasingly like a Democratic landslide up and down the ballot? But it would still be the correct move because Trumpâ€™s crime sets a terrible precedent, and because so many peopleâ€™s lives are on the line.
The Republicans would probably take a pass, but that would help clarify where they stand, and thatâ€™s also a benefit for the voters, and the American people.