Thursday, August 2, 2018

Last Call For That Whole Saturday Night Massacre Thing, Con't

In the Trump West Wing, new external pressure inevitably brings the buildup of internal heat, followed by its release, often most visibly in a series of tweets. The start of Paul Manafort’s federal trial this week has triggered Trump’s hottest blast yet, and has renewed the possibility that Trump will fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further,” Donald Trump tweeted yesterday. “Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”

Whether it’s confidence, bluster, or delusion, Trump is venting to advisers both inside and outside the White House that the Manafort trial proves Mueller has nothing on him and his family, because Manafort’s trial doesn’t involve Russia or the 2016 campaign. “The Manafort trial is spinning him into a frenzy,” one Republican in frequent contact with the president told me. Another Republican told me Trump thinks “the only thing the trial shows is that Manafort is a sleaze.”

Sources say Trump is increasingly taking his legal defense into his own hands—very much at his own peril. The Sessions tweet crossed a line into what many interpreted to be outright obstruction of justice. Trump also is arguing that he wants to sit for an interview with Mueller, against his lawyers’ advice, The New York Times reported. This is partly driven by Trump’s frustration with his legal team’s inability to end the Mueller probe. As I reported this week, Trump is angry with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani for giving a series of erratic television interviews that seemed to disclose a previously unknown strategy meeting at Trump Tower that took place days before Don Jr.’s infamous sit-down with a Russian lawyer to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Trump is also unhappy with White House counsel Don McGahn, who in the past stood in the way of Trump’s effort to fire Mueller.

Trump’s latest attacks on Mueller are partly being enabled by conversations with his attorney Emmet Flood, one source told me. “Emmet feels there’s nothing there with collusion, so it’s fine for Trump to comment and tweet,” the source explained. This person added that Trump appears to be in earnest about his desire for Sessions to end the Mueller probe, and spoke of a timeline of a couple of weeks. Otherwise, Trump has threatened to fire Rosenstein himself.

A couple of weeks would put us near the end of the Manafort trial, but still in August before the House has returned from recess.  (Mitch McConnell is of course keeping the Senate in session through Labor Day in order to prevent incumbent Senate Democrats from being able to campaign at home, while their GOP challengers have no such restrictions.)

As I've said before, Trump has everything in place now to fire Rosenstein from both a technical and political aspect. I've been predicting this since February, when the previous number 3 official as Justice, Rachel Brand, abruptly resigned.  It took until Brand's replacement, Brian Benczkowski, was confirmed three weeks ago that the plan picked up speed.

Since then, Robert Mueller has upped the ante with the indictments of Russian GRU agents accused of interfering in the 2016 elections, and the GOP countered with the House Freedom Caucus plan to impeach Rosenstein.  The impeachment threat against Rosenstein didn't gain any traction before the House adjourned for August recess, but then came Trump's tweets on Wednesday.

That brings us to now, where Trump is supposedly giving Jeff Sessions a "couple of weeks" to end the Mueller probe or he fires Rosenstein.

If that's the case, then we're heading for the cliff, guys.

Be ready.

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

Long-time readers of ZVTS will recognize that I've long held the theory that a significant number of white Obama voters turned on President Obama and the Democrats after he defended Trayvon Martin and Black Lives Matter.  For these voters, the fact that Barack Obama recognized that his election was not the end of racism in America was too much of an admission for them to handle.  

It was an unforgivable crime in their eyes that kindled resentment and revenge on Hillary Clinton in 2016.  "We elected a black president, what more do you people want?  Maybe four years of Donald Trump will teach you gratitude for what we allow you to have!" is the kind of thought process I'm talking about here.

The answer to that question is "We'd like to work at our employer's place of business without the police being called on us for the crime of being black."

The rising sophomore at Smith College was quietly eating her lunch in a campus common room when a police officer approached her Tuesday afternoon.

A college employee had called police to report someone who “seemed out of place” in a Smith building that was being used for a summer program. But when campus police arrived, they found a Smith student, taking a break from her campus job.

There was “nothing suspicious about the student’s presence,” the school said in a statement released Wednesday about the incident, the latest example of police being called to investigate black people in everyday situations.

In two posts to Facebook on Tuesday, the woman identified herself as the student in question. She wrote that a white college employee had reported her to the police as a “suspicious black male.”

I am blown away at the fact that I cannot even sit down and eat lunch peacefully,” she wrote in one post. “I did nothing wrong, I wasn’t making any noise or bothering anyone. All I did was be black.”

The student was working on campus this summer as a teaching assistant and residential adviser, according to her Facebook page.

“It’s outrageous that some people question my being at Smith College, and my existence overall as a woman of color,” she wrote. The student did not respond to requests for comment.

Amy Hunter, the college’s interim director of diversity and inclusion, said the school “does not tolerate race- or gender-based discrimination in any form.”

Such behavior can contribute to a climate of fear, hostility and exclusion that has no place in our community,” she wrote in a message sent to students, faculty, staff, and alumni Wednesday morning, said Samuel Masinter, a college spokesman.

When police are called for situations like this, there is always the non-zero chance that it turns deadly.  Black people can die when it does.  Any confrontation between a black person in America and the police can potentially lead to death.

"But that's true for any police interaction, that's why law enforcement officers risk their lives every day with every move they make!"

So do black people in America.

In only one of these two situations is the risk voluntarily accepted.

Immigration Nation, Con't

Get used to headlines like this from the NY Times when it comes to the Trump regime and legal immigration: Trump May Slash Number of Refugees U.S. Accepts by 40%

The White House is considering a second sharp reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled in the United States, picking up where President Trump left off in 2017 in scaling back a program intended to offer protection to the world’s most vulnerable people, according to two former government officials and another person familiar with the talks. 
This time, the effort is meeting with less resistance from inside the Trump administration because of the success that Stephen Miller, the president’s senior policy adviser and an architect of his anti-immigration agenda, has had in installing allies in key positions who are ready to sign off on deep cuts. 
Last year, after a fierce internal battle that pitted Mr. Miller, who advocated a limit as low as 15,000, against officials at the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Pentagon, Mr. Trump set the cap at 45,000, a historic low. Under one plan currently being discussed, no more than 25,000 refugees could be resettled in the United States next year, a cut of more than 40 percent from this year’s limit. It would be the lowest number of refugees admitted to the country since the creation of the program in 1980. 
The program’s fate could hinge on Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state. His department has traditionally been a strong advocate for the refugee program, but Mr. Pompeo is now being advised by two senior aides who are close to Mr. Miller and share his hard-line approach, according to the people briefed on the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal internal deliberation about a decision that has yet to be completed. 
A White House official who also did not want to be identified declined to confirm or deny whether deep cuts to the program, including a cap of 25,000, were under consideration. 
But the official implicitly made the case for substantially reducing refugee admissions. A “migration crisis” was gripping the country, the official said, and the administration was instead prioritizing asylum cases in which a person is already in the United States and claims a credible fear of returning home.

If you're white and wealthy, welcome.  If you're not both, the legal immigration target for the Trump regime is "zero".  The plan was always two-fold: end legal immigration from all but a handful of countries, reverse it by deporting most undocumented.  The beneficiaries would always happen to be the "right" immigrants.

Or, the "white" ones.
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