Did Trump Betray His Base By Signing Resolution Condemning Hate?

 

It was lightly reported in the media that most Republicans in Congress joined Democrats on Monday past to “deliver a notable rebuke to President Trump” over his warm embrace of fascists and white supremacists. Both houses of the  legislature fairly dared Trump to condemn his fascist acolytes for “the violence and domestic terrorist attack” that occurred last month around a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Trump finally signed the “joint resolution” yesterday condemning his most reliable supporters as domestic terrorists, but if any American believes for a nano-second that Trump will follow through on any of the “recommendations” Congress strongly urged of him, they are foolish lunatics. Trump loves his fascist supporters because they are white supremacists and they are safe under his administration.

For over a year Trump has put Republicans in the unenviable position of having to suffer his untoward remarks while carefully weighing how much damage they will do to their own careers if they rebuke their  Party’s standard bearer. Even though it’s safe to say many Republicans agree with every word Trump utters, at least most of them have enough self-restraint to keep their true bigoted opinions and racism close to the vest.

After Trump sided with white supremacists and Nazis after they killed a woman and injured dozens for opposing Nazi fascists in Charlottesville Virginia, Republicans refused to sanction  or censure Trump; he is a fellow Republican after all.  All they could bring themselves to do publicly was offer tepid disgust over Trump’s affinity with racists and fascists and his accusation that Americans protesting against hate and fascism are “really bad.”

The resolution Trump signed late Thursday passed with a unanimous vote in the House and a solid majority of the Senate. It had to have stung Trump that Congress actually passed a “joint resolution calling the Charlottesville protest a domestic terror attack” he had to sign to make it official.  This particular joint resolution was rare because Democrats and Republicans structured it specifically to require Trump’s signature to pass. In fact, one of the measure’s sponsors, Senator Tim Kaine explained why he was pleased the bipartisan measure passed so easily. He said:

I think it’s great for [Democrats and Republicans] to be able to make a moral call that white supremacy’s not acceptable, and I want the president to have to sign it. We wouldn’t have had to add in that point had he not demonstrated this moral equivocation at the time, but I think it would be a really good thing.

Here’s the thing, even though Trump signed the resolution, he still demonstrates “moral equivocation” by repeating his claim that inspired the bipartisan joint resolution in the first place.  Trump signed the measure just a few hours after comparing his most ardent supporters that Congress labeled “hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy” as “domestic terrorists” to the counter-protestors in Charlottesville.

If Trump was sincere, he would never have repeated the comments that counter-protestors were “just as bad” as the fascists they were protesting against. It is very telling that Trump doubled down on his vile comments that inspired Congress to pass the joint resolution in the first place; he is still solidly behind his fascist base.

The resolution called on Trump to not only speak out against his devotees and condemn them as domestic terrorists and hate groups, it “urged” the administration to “use all resources available to the President Trump and the President’s Trump’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”

Congress also brought pressure to bear on Trump’s racist attorney general calling on Sessions to “investigate acts of violence or domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists.” In fact, it called on Sessions to direct the Department of Justice to work closely with the Department of Homeland Security to:

Investigate thoroughly all acts of violence,  intimidation, and domestic terrorism by White supremacists, White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and associated groups in order to determine if any criminal laws have been violated and to prevent those groups from fomenting and facilitating additional violence.”

Prior to signing the resolution, Trump told reporters:

“I think especially in light of the advent of antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also. A lot of people are saying — in fact a lot of people have actually written —  ‘Gee, Trump might have a point.’  I said, you got some very bad people on the other side also, which is true.”

No, Trump doesn’t have a point no matter how many times he attempts to equate Americans opposing fascism as “very bad people.” Trump is a punk-ass fascist for attempting to demonize the counter protestors opposed to fascists the bipartisan “joint resolution” never mentioned; except to honor the memory of slain anti-fascist protestor Heather Heyer and the first responders who perished while monitoring the Nazi fascists.

As an aside, and a little historical reminder for dumb Donnie, the advent of the anti-fascist movement goes back to at least World War II when the entirety of the American people banded together and went to war to defeat the same fascists Trump’s supporters are emulating. It is likely why the congressional resolution included no criticism whatsoever of the counter-protestors; even Republicans comprehend that people who oppose fascism, including Trump’s fascism, are not “very bad  people.”

In normal times, standing in opposition to an historical American enemy, the fascists, would be rewarded. Instead, Trump uses a pejorative made up by his Nazi fascist supporters, “antifa” when referring to patriots who oppose him and his fascist sycophants. No doubt most Americans identify as ‘anti-fascists” and if they don’t they are likely Nazi racists.

Even though he signed the joint resolution, no-one should hold their breath waiting for him to “use all resources available to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.” And it is likely that few people expect Jeff Sessions to work with Homeland Security to “investigate acts of violence or domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists.

Remember, one of Trump’s first acts was instructing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to stop investigating domestic terrorism associated with “white supremacist and militia” groups. It is one thing to sign a meaningless joint resolution, but it is contrary to Trump’s worldview to take action against his most valued supporters; particularly after they made a big deal expressing their undying gratitude for his action neutering the FBI and Homeland Security’s investigative power that gave the alt-right (Nazi) fascists what they desired most; “space to destroy.

Trump’s attempt to equate violent fascists and hate groups with patriots opposed to fascists and hate groups was no mistake, and the timing of his comments hours before signing the resolution was no coincidence. He sent a signal to his fascist supporters that he will use his White House platform and authority to portray “his” opposition as the real bad guys; it is a tried-and-true Nazi propaganda technique.

After his remarks defining Americans protesting fascism as “some pretty bad dudes” just hours before signing Congress’ joint resolution, it is possible that there is some kind of White House announcement in the works. Likely to sate his fascist zealots,  Trump will issue an executive order instructing the FBI, Department of Justice, and Homeland Security to target the people who oppose fascism mirroring the language in the Congress’ joint resolution; it is precisely what Americans should expect from the petty fascist in the White House.

 

Misogynist Betsy DeVos To Use Title IX For Republicans’ War On Women

The religious Republican war on women was, although relentless, somewhat diminished during President Barack Obama’s 8-year tenure in the White House, but that firewall came to a screeching halt on January 21, 2017. It is an understatement to say Donald Trump is a misogynist of the first order, but no more so than the evangelicals he installed in his Cabinet.

Two of Trump’s evangelical department heads are mounting an attack on women in the form of assisting perpetrators of sexual assault to rape with impunity. In fact, it was announced recently that Trump’s unqualified evangelical Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is poised to do as she promised and roll back Title IX protections to better conform to what evangelical men believe is right and proper; free reign over women.

At issue for DeVos is “repealing and replacing” Title IX protections to make it more difficult for victims of rape get a semblance of justice on college campuses. Even before DeVos took aim at Title IX, a “leaked” Department of Justice (DOJ) memo issued exactly six days after evangelical misogynist Jeff Sessions was sworn in as attorney general sought to change policy to favor male sexual abusers.

The DOJ memo’s authors “expressed concern” over the inequities faced by male students accused of sexual assault; one particular “policy shift” should please every misogynist alive and women should be absolutely terrified. The disconcerting recommended changes is that going forward during rape and sexual assault cases:

Every complainant’s sexual history may be introduced at the hearing. Currently, questions about the complainant’s (victim’s) sexual history with anyone other than the accused perpetrator are not permitted.”

That memo by Sessions is old-school misogyny when no matter the circumstances, it was always a woman’s fault that she was raped and men were always victims. The DOJ memo to the Education Department states its purpose is to rectify Title IX’s “disparate and unfair treatment and impact on male students accused of sexual assault.” That so-called “disparate and unfair treatment of male students is an oft-cited complaint of men’s groups renowned for harassing rape victims; the same groups DeVos appealed to for guidance and direction in her effort to “repeal and replace” Title IX’s protection for women.

It is noteworthy, but typical of this administration, that the DOJ’s policy shift violates every state’s rape shield law going back to the 1970s. Those laws were enacted specifically to prevent a male defendant’s attorney from airing a rape victim’s entire sexual history to portray her as a “slut” that deserved what she got. The DOJ’s recommendation also violates the federal version of a rape shield law known as the Violence Against Women Act (1994). The DOJ memo’s purpose is clear: shame rape survivors or shut them up to protect male assailants.

The concept of protecting men accused of sexual assault is most likely high on DeVos’s to-do list in unilaterally “repealing and replacing” Title IX to conform to an evangelical misogynist’s worldview. She has complained, often bitterly, that Obama-era directives gave the Civil Rights office at the education department intrusive and overreaching authority; likely because it enforces civil rights and women’s protections on college campuses.

DeVos gave an indication of how she will “replace” Title IX civil right protections early in her tenure when she met first with anti-LGBTQ activists for advice and recommendations. A month later she reached out and met with several “men’s rights groups” that harass rape survivors for advice on how best to change Title IX to stop them from being treated unfairly when they were accused of sexual violence. That “advice” is likely why DeVos says she wants to “rescind Title IX protections for women survivors of sexual assault.

During a speech Thursday at George Mason University’s Law School, DeVos proudly announced that “the era of rule by letter is over.” The “letter” reference is to a “Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that was an Obama-era directive focusing on “how sexual harassment creates a hostile educational environment” that was officially part of “the 2011 Title IX Guidance.” According to the directive, for the purpose of a Department of Education (DOE) investigation, “one single instance of sexual violence is sufficient to qualify as creating a hostile sexual environment” that warranted an investigation.

DeVos laid out three reasons she is “repealing and replacing” sections of Title IX and they obviously came directly from the “counsel and advice” the men’s rights groups offered when DeVos “reached out” for their direction and guidance. She said that going forward “The accused must know that guilt is not predetermined;” school administrators can no longer be judge, jury and executioner when determining “whether or not” sexual abuse “really happened.” And she intends on putting the brakes on the “Office for Civil Rights” division practice of what she claimed was “terrifying schools and overreaching.”

Although DeVos has not yet issued her “repeal and replacement” of Title IX, it is almost certain to be as great a gift to misogynists as it will be a vile curse against women; particularly those who are victims of sexual harassment and rape. Coupled with the Sessions’ DOJ memo reversing course on “rape shield laws” and the Violence Against Women Act, and DeVos’ stated reasons for abolishing sexual abuse protections for women, her “replacement” will be devastating for women.

It is probably true that some Americans feared a Trump administration would wage a ferocious war on women, and not solely because there is no longer a woman’s rights advocate in the Oval Office. For dog’s sake, Trump is a serial misogynist and an admitted “pussy-grabbing” sexual predator, and his appointment of evangelicals with a misogynist bent to run the Education and Justice Departments almost ensured that misogyny would be rewarded and women would be in serious trouble.

DeVos’ announcement and the leaked Sessions’ memo nearly guarantee that the religious Republican war on women is escalating into a full-scale assault on women. Sadly, President Obama isn’t around to stop the dirty misogynists. This is not going to turn out well for whatever progress women have made over decades of struggle and as usual it is all down to religious Republicans’ who revel in waging war on women.

Sessions’ DOJ Defends Trump’s Constitutional Violations

After learning there is another lawsuit against Trump for using the office of the presidency for profit (self-dealing), it is curious whether or not the Trump-Sessions Department of Justice will rush to defend the corrupt swindler again. That is precisely what happened the last time, and if the Sessions-led DOJ repeats what it said just three days ago, it will prove there is a serious malignancy in Trump’s administration, and likely the majority of the Republican movement.

Yesterday the Attorneys General of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit asserting that Trump’s well-documented failure to separate himself from his businesses has undermined public trust and violated constitutional bans against self-dealing. The Maryland and D.C lawsuits fairly reiterate the charges in a lawsuit filed a few months ago in New York by a legal watchdog. In fact, the Trump Department of Justice recently filed a motion to dismiss that earlier lawsuit after spending months concocting a defense.

The real outrage in this insidious affair is that Trump’s Department Of Justice is rushing to defend what it knows is a constitutional violation, and likely “illegal.”  DOJ lawyers attempted to prove that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had no “standing” to bring a lawsuit against Donald Trump because its claim of injury is unjustified.

CREW’s lawsuit was only filed to compel Trump to adhere to the U.S. Constitution and “divest” from his business empire and stop profiting from being in the White House. The legal watchdog is not seeking criminal charges or pecuniary damages; it just wants Trump to stop violating the Constitution by profiting from living in the White House.

The Department of Justice motion to dismiss also claimed that even if Trump “illegally” owns and profits from his business empire while in the White House, it is none of the courts’ business. Instead of the Judiciary Branch doing its job in deciding the merits of a lawsuit, the Justice Department lawyers say it is up to the GOP-controlled Congress to work it out.

The Trump DOJ also said that dealing with another lawsuit would be too much of an impediment on Trump’s ability to perform his presidential duties and would distract him from his busy schedule. The DOJ claims that one branch of government cannot force “such an impairment” on another branch.

CREW said it was still going forward despite the DOJ’s sleazy defense of Trump and its refusal to defend the Constitution. The group said:

It’s clear from the government’s response that they don’t believe anyone can go to court to stop the president from systematically violating the constitution. We heartily disagree and look forward to our day in court.

As CREW’s lawsuit noted, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and other countries have held state-sponsored events at Trump’s D.C. hotel, and other entities associated with foreign governments lend money to his businesses or lease space in his properties.

CREW asserted in its lawsuit,”because Trump-owned buildings take in rent, room rentals and other payments from foreign governments which may seek to curry favor with him, the president has breached the emoluments clause.”

It is noteworthy that Trump has indeed been very “favorable” to Kuwait, Turkey and particularly Saudi Arabia as of late;  including keeping them off his “Muslim majority nation” travel bans because there are mutual investments involved.

It is abominable that instead of upholding, supporting or defending the U.S. Constitution, the one Trump violated the day he swore to uphold the Constitution, the Sessions-Trump Justice Department is defending the violator. And it is attempting to interpret the Constitution by claiming the Emolument Clause just doesn’t apply to Donald Trump because he is a businessman.

The cancer in Trump’s administration is endemic in the Republican Congress; they willfully refuse to support, uphold, and defend the U.S. Constitution. One is hard-pressed to identify even one Republican who is defending the Constitution from Trump’s violations and it is particularly disheartening that the Justice Department, the one agency expected to defend the Constitution, is attacking its legitimacy by defending Trump.

Top House Democrats Want Sessions Punished For Breaking Federal Law

In spite of the current administration’s endemic corruption, and congressional Republicans complicit involvement in covering up, or at least ignoring, blatant corruption and criminal acts, it was surprising there was little outrage after it was revealed the Attorney General committed perjury before the Senate. Even for corrupt Republicans, it seemed impossible they would do or say nothing about the nation’s top lawman committing a federal felony with impunity, but apparently there really is a perverted sense of honor among Republican criminals. Now, because Jeff Sessions was able to commit a federal felony and then get rewarded with a cabinet level position, he broke the law again. But Democrats are finally taking the criminal Sessions’ actions seriously and calling for his discipline at the least, and by rights summary termination.

The day following Trump’s obstruction of justice in firing James Comey, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) labeled Sessions’ role in the criminal obstruction of justice endeavor a “blatant disregard for the pledge he made in his recusal letter.” Remember, proud evangelical Sessions had to recuse himself from “any investigations” related to the Russian interference in the 2016 election because he violated the Ninth Commandment (he lied) about his contacts with Russians during the campaign. Wyden’s point, and it is beyond refute, is that Sessions violated that “public recusal” when, as attorney general, he played an integral role in firing the FBI Director overseeing the probe into Russian interference in the election; thus Senator Wyden’s remark that Sessions displayed “blatant disregard for the pledge he made in his recusal letter.

On Friday, two House Democrats went farther than just talking about Sessions’ violations and rightly asserted that indeed, in violating two very public recusal pledges, the Attorney General broke the law. The House Oversight Committee’s top Democrat, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was joined by the highest ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) in issuing a letter to the Department of Justice demanding disciplinary action for Sessions’ federal violations.

In their letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, senior House Democrats Conyers and Cummings not only informed Rosenstein that Sessions broke another federal law, they demanded to know what kind of discipline the Deputy Attorney General was going to impose on the nation’s top law enforcement official. They wrote in part:

We are writing to request your assistance in addressing the crisis of confidence created by Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he participated directly in the decision to fire FBI Director James Comey despite the fact that he previously recused himself from any actions involving the investigations of the Trump and Clinton presidential campaigns.

It appears that the Attorney General’s actions recommending that Trump fire Director Comey may have contradicted his sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing, breached the public recusal he made before the American people, and violated the law enacted by Congress to prevent conflicts of interest at the Department of Justice.

Federal law sets forth as a penalty for recusal violations removal from office, and the Attorney General’s violation in this case appears to be particularly grave. Since you are the acting Attorney General in this particular matter, we call on you to explain the measures that now may be required to mete out appropriate discipline in this case.” (author bold)

The issues leading to Sessions committing another federal crime are his blatant violation of two separate recusal promises related to the 2016 presidential campaign. First, during his Senate confirmation hearing, Sessions promised to recuse himself from any investigation involving Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton because of the several derogatory statements he made about her while he was actively campaigning for the Trump.

Second, Sessions succumbed to public and Democratic pressure on March 2 after it was revealed he committed perjury under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee when he could no longer conceal that he lied that he had no contacts with Russia’s ambassador. But instead of resigning from Trump’s Cabinet, or being charged with perjury, removed from office, and prosecuted, Sessions simply recused himself from “any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.

The two House Democrats’ letter to Rosenstein, also complicit in aiding Trump’s obstruction of justice in Mr. Comey’s dismissal, asserted that Sessions broke the law by violating his recusal promises in several ways.

First, the Democrats point out that in his May 9 letter to Trump recommending Comey’s immediate termination, Sessions specifically agreed with the assessment by Rosenstein that Comey mishandled the “investigation into Clinton’s emails.”

That was a direct contradiction to Sessions’ first recusal promise and it is a contradiction widely publicized and in writing. And, in Representative Conyers and Cummings’ letter they particularly cited a report in Reuters that Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, and Trump met with and asked the then-FBI Director Comey to give them a preview of his testimony into the “Clinton email investigation” when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3; another violation of Sessions’ stated recusal.

As far as Jeff Sessions’ very public recusal regarding the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the election on Trump’s behalf, the House Democrats specifically made note of “multiple press reports that stated that Mr. Comey’s dismissal in which Sessions was a direct participant was directly related to the FBI’s ongoing Russia investigation.” That particular contention, that Comey was fired because of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference, was confirmed by Trump himself in a nationally-televised interview with NBC’s Lester Holt; an interview in which Trump all but admitted to obstructing justice.

According to Representatives Conyers and Cummings, Jeff Sessions’ actions merit some serious disciplinary action, including termination. As the Democrats proffered, Sessions certainly broke a federal law “barring Justice Department officials from participating in any investigation that presents a conflict of interest.” And, as if to punctuate their assertion that Sessions is guilty, Conyers and Cummings demanded that Rosenstein answer questions about Sessions’ conduct leading up to his violating two recusal promises.

Those questions include whether Sessions took the time or proper step of consulting with ethics officials regarding his involvement in matters relating to Comey’s firing, and whether Sessions had taken part in any discussions about the Clinton email or Russia investigations; something his meeting with, and letter to, Trump would inform that he certainly did.

The chance that the Deputy Attorney General will be any more law abiding or honest than Sessions or Trump seems slim to non-existent. This is especially true if he joined Trump and Sessions in asking the FBI Director to reveal in advance what his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee would entail. In fact, once one realizes that this entire affair is being run by corrupt and criminal Republicans from the Oval Office to the House to the Senate to the Department of Justice, there is little hope whatsoever that justice will ever be served. If Jeff Sessions was able to blatantly commit perjury under oath before the Senate with impunity and then be rewarded with a cabinet position, no Republican alive is going to hold him accountable for breaking another federal law.