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The fall of Donald Trump

The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.

Bob Marley

Introduction

It’s been a long 2 years and eight months for the American people to have endured and suffered from a degenerate mafia style miscreant in the White House. President Donald Trump has turned out to be the worst President and lowest rated President in American History. Nancy Pelosi, ever the political pragmatist, finally saw the light of day when she came to support the Congress in opening an official and formal investigative inquiry into Donald Trump’s behavior while President.

No less than five congressional committees are charged with some aspect of Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry. If there is some kind of irony here, it is that Donald Trump turned out to be  his own worst enemy. His narcissistic personality, his complete lack of knowledge, and his failure to respect the rule of law, has now put himself in great jeopardy of being removed from office.

This is not to say that he doesn’t have some supporters, such as the “Grand Old Ostrich Party” soon to be replaced by more moderate, liberal and progressive democrats in 2020. The trouble with the Republican Party goes back to the 1994 mid-term elections with their Contract with America. All their ideas and proposals failed to materialize. As President Bill Clinton said at the time, the Republican’s contract with America was in reality more like a contract on America. Donald Trump missed the mark; he should have drained the swamp of Republicans, whom since 1994, have seldom contributed anything substantial in terms of policy for the American people.

Dante once said, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” Republican leadership is a real misnomer; in the modern era they have yet to show any real leadership that wasn’t self-serving. This was supposed to be the frugal political party. Yet over several decades they turned out to be the real big-spenders. Cowardice is their creed and denial is their plan of action for keeping their head in the sand. Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio is a master of denial. After all, he denied awareness of a sexual predator that molested eight of his own wrestling team members while he was an assistant coach at Ohio State University.

The Republicans also have no basis for criticizing democrats. If you remember, Republicans tried to “Deep-Six” Hillary Clinton with the Benghazi Investigation. They spent and wasted over 4+ million dollars of the taxpayer’s money ironically, as a “Witch Hunt,” in order to cast aspersions and crucify Hillary Clinton as she was running for President. This inquiry resulted in no charges at all, although Republicans were not above character assassination of the country’s first female presidential candidate. This was the real purpose of their inquiry. They could care less about the truth.

 

What areas for charges are there against Trump?      

A few days ago I was talking with a close friend and realized we were both on the same page when it came to Donald Trump. We collectively thought that an itemized listing of criminal charges was needed so that the American people could see, in black and white, the extensive number of criminal acts he may have committed while in office.

But above all, it must be remembered that impeachment is a political act or process, whether or not criminal acts are involved. Even though quid-pro-quo may have, or may not have, been part of the phone call to the Ukraine President, it is not necessary for impeachment. His intent is more important than any other consideration. Criminal charges are only part of the process if they are warranted.

Most Americans don’t fully understand the politics of impeachment. That said, they do understand the meaning of someone committing a criminal act. For that reason, I think it would be helpful to enumerate a listing of the possible criminal charges Donald Trump might be charged. And Trump friends along with Trump Administration people, need to be cognizant of the fact that aiding and abetting someone who has engaged in criminal behavior leaves them open to facing criminal prosecution as well as the President. Moscow Mitch and Leningrad Lindsay need to stay as far away as they possibly can from Donald Trump as the country goes down the road of impeachment.

One might ask, why is it the Republican Party feels it doesn’t have other options if Donald Trump is impeached. Whether you like him or not, Mike Pence would make a good lame duck president until he too is removed from office in 2020. However, since he was aware of Trump’s crimes, he too may be removed from office shortly after Trump is removed. Say hello to President Pelosi.

This president is really unhinged. In the whistleblower controversy he is threatening those who supplied him with information with being treasonous spies deserving of the death penalty. His thoughts are eerily similar to Republican President Richard Nixon who once said, in an interview with David Frost in 1977, that a president is above the law.

The fact that the President tried to solicit a favor from a foreign government was and is a very serious violation of his oath of office. Some might say where Russia is concerned, Trump is treasonous as well. As more is learned in the months ahead, more information on the Trump/Putin connection may well actually lead to charges of Treason against President Trump, the Benedict Arnold of our time.

Does anyone really believe Donald Trump wasn’t involved in soliciting help from the Russians in 2015-2016? You’d have to be the most naïve person on the face of the planet to believe collusion with the Russians didn’t occur.

If you think back to the days Trump was building his real estate empire, evidence such as civil lawsuits showed he cheated contractors and others left and right. He also engaged in much fraud in his business dealings. Trump University was a real boondoggle! of fraudulent misrepresentation and deceit.

Independent Counsel Muller is not at fault for failing to prove collusion. This is because any prosecutor will tell you proving conspiracy is one of the most difficult crimes to prove. In fact there is no legal crime of collusion; it is legally called conspiracy. Mueller did his best; he was nonetheless certainly very successful in laying out charges of Obstruction of Justice leveled upon Donald Trump.

Donald Trump’s admission of wanting a favor from a foreign government is technically violating the Emolument Clause of the United States Constitution. “The emoluments clause, also called the foreign emoluments clause, is a provision of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 8) that generally prohibits federal officeholders from receiving any gift, payment, or other thing of value from a foreign state or its rulers, officers, or representatives.”

Donald Trump right now is in real deep Do-Do over violating the Emoluments Clause in areas beyond just the Ukraine scandal and violations. Trump is already facing two lawsuits, both as the president and as an individual, for allegedly violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bans elected officials from financially benefitting from foreign governments.

The Whistleblowers complaint is now available for inspection; it can be found online. However, the Inspector General’s official review report has yet to be released. More information is also needed on Rudy Giuliani and his role in this impeachment inquiry. In addition it has now been revealed (as of September 30, 2019) that William Barr, the Attorney General and confidant of Donald Trump, sought help from foreign governments to probe of CIA/FBI activities related to 2016 election.

If that isn’t Treason I don’t know what is. William Barr needs to be taken into custody by agents from his own department, or taken into custody immediately by The U.S. Secret Service. Either way will work.

Possible Trump charges under Investigation

I first want to say such a listing of charges at this point in time is probably pre-mature. But here is a possible initial list subject to change: Some of these offenses cited are interwoven with others. For now, these offenses include:

Extortion

The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.

This includes demanding money with menaces. Other synonyms include: · exaction · extraction · blackmail · shakedown

 

Bribery

Bribery is the act of giving or receiving something of value in exchange for some kind of influence or action in return, that the recipient would otherwise not offer. Bribery is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.

Essentially, bribery is offering to do something for someone for the expressed purpose of receiving something in exchange. Gifts of money or other items of value, which are otherwise available to everyone on an equivalent basis, and not for dishonest purposes, is not bribery.

Offering a discount or a refund to all purchasers is a legal rebate and is not bribery. For example, it is legal for an employee of a Public Utilities Commission involved in electric rate regulation to accept a rebate on electric service that reduces their cost for electricity, when the rebate is available to other residential electric customers. Giving the rebate to influence them to look favorably on the electric utility’s rate increase applications, however, would be considered bribery.

 

Conspiracy to Commit Extortion

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

If, however, the offense, the commission of which is the object of the conspiracy, is a misdemeanor only, the punishment for such conspiracy shall not exceed the maximum punishment provided for such misdemeanor.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 701; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

 

Ten counts of Obstruction of Justice

Here are the 10 events Mueller investigated for potential obstruction of justice charges:

  1. The firing of FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. At the time he was dismissed, Comey was leading the bureau’s probe of alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  2. Trump’s efforts to have former Attorney General Jeff Sessions take control of the Russia investigation. After Sessions recused himself, Trump expressed anger at the fact that Sessions was unwilling to “protect him” from the probe.
  3. Trump’s attempt to have Comey go easy on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had made false statements about his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition. The president had a one-on-one meeting with Comey during which he asked him to think about “letting Flynn go.”
  4. The campaign’s response to Russia’s outspoken support for then-candidate Trump. According to the report, Mueller focused on the campaign’s reaction to Russia’s involvement in the WikiLeaks release of damaging Democratic Party emails and the president’s denying he had Russian business contacts.
  5. Trump’s attempts to remove the special counsel. Trump reacted to Mueller’s appointment by telling advisers that it was “the end of his presidency,” according to the report. Then, in June 2017, the president called White House Counsel Don McGahn at home and directed him to remove Mueller over conflicts of interest. McGahn refused.

President Donald Trump at an Opportunity Zone conference with state, local, tribal and community leaders on April 17. On Thursday, Attorney General William Barr released a redacted version of the special counsel’s final report on the Russia investigation. Before the report was released, Barr cleared the president of obstruction of justice.

  1. Trump’s efforts to “curtail” Mueller’s investigation. The special counsel investigated several instances where Trump attempted to affect the course of the probe. In one instance, Trump told his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to tell Sessions to publicly say the investigation was “very unfair” to the president.
  2. The president’s efforts to “prevent public disclosure of evidence.” Specifically, the special counsel took issue with Trump’s attempt to mislead the media about Donald Trump Jr.’s June 9, 2016, meeting with a Russian lawyer at Manhattan’s Trump Tower.
  3. Trump’s denial of having directed McGahn to remove the special counsel. When the press began reporting in early 2018 that the president had told McGahn to get rid of Mueller, Trump directed White House officials to tell McGahn to dispute the stories.
  4. Trump’s conduct toward Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. When Flynn began cooperating with prosecutors, Trump’s personal counsel asked Flynn’s attorney for a “heads-up” if Flynn had damaging information on the president. Then, when Manafort was found guilty, Trump defended him as a “brave man” and declined to rule out a potential pardon.
  5. Trump’s attacks on his former personal attorney Michael Cohen. After Cohen implicated Trump in campaign finance crimes and began cooperating with Mueller, the president publicly attacked him as a “rat” and a fraud.

 

Violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emolument Clause

The following information was obtained from Wikipedia sources:

Emoluments Clause may refer to the following clauses of the United States Constitution:

  • The Foreign Emoluments Clause, Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, also called the Title of Nobility Clause.
  • The Domestic Emoluments Clause, Article II, Section 1, Clause 7, also called the Presidential Emoluments Clause.
  • The Ineligibility Clause, Article I, Section 6, Clause 2, sometimes also called the Emoluments Clause.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause

The Title of Nobility Clause is a provision in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution,[1] that prohibits the federal government from granting titles of nobility, and restricts members of the government from receiving gifts, emoluments, offices or titles from foreign states and monarchies without the consent of the United States Congress. The Clause is subject to interpretation.[2] Also known as the Emoluments Clause, it was designed to shield the federal officeholders of the United States against so-called “corrupting foreign influences.” The clause is reinforced by the corresponding prohibition on state titles of nobility in Article I, Section 10, and more generally by the Republican Guarantee Clause in Article IV, Section 4.

The Domestic Emoluments Clause

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

The president’s salary, currently $400,000 a year,[11] must remain constant throughout the president’s term. The president may not receive other compensation from either the federal or any state government.

The Ineligibility Clause

The Ineligibility Clause (sometimes also called the Emoluments Clause,[1] or the Incompatibility Clause,[2] or the Sinecure Clause[3]) is a provision in Article 1, Section 6, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution[4] that makes each incumbent member of Congress ineligible to hold an office established by the federal government during their tenure in Congress;[5] it also bars officials in the federal government’s executive and judicial branches from simultaneously serving in either the U.S. House or Senate. The purpose of the clause is twofold: first, to protect the separation of powers philosophy (upon which the federal frame of government is built); and second, to prevent Congress from conspiring to create offices or increase federal officials’ salaries with the expectation that members of Congress would later be appointed to these posts.[6][7]

Paying Hush Money to three women

What crimes were committed by a President paying hush money to three women? Here are four legal opinions on 1 aspect of it:

On Trump arguing that the money didn’t come from his campaign:

FOLEY: It doesn’t matter where the source was; what matters is intent. The fact it came from personal funds doesn’t immunize him from criminality, but it could be a subsidiary fact to the ultimate question of what was done for campaign purposes? Cohen asserts that Cohen made the payments at the candidate’s direction for “purposes of influencing the campaign.” If those facts are true, that would be a violation.

SPIES: If it wasn’t the candidate’s money but somebody else’s personal money, it would have to be reported. And if corporate money were used, it would be an impermissible accepted corporate contribution that should have been reported.

TOKAJI: Regardless of whether they were from Mr. Trump’s personal funds or from some other source, there’s an obligation to disclose. To report expenditure or contributions, as the case may be. That wasn’t done.

SMITH: If they’re not campaign expenditures, they’re not subject to disclosure. My view is that this is not campaign expenditure, and once you hit that point, it doesn’t matter how you paid for it.

Final Comments

It’s my value judgment that all of us need to show more kindness to our fellow human beings and lead a life worth living by helping others. What I’ve just said about myself is a value. And values, whatever they constitute, are the cement that holds communities, states and countries together.

Where ever they appear, values are a product of culture or learned behavior in small social groups (like the family). The differences or similarities we see in other people are also a product of culture. In our culture now we are a divided nation. Our actions are different and so are our values. Said another way, most of our actions or behaviors are dictated by our values and beliefs.

And yet we all strive to be individuals not just members of a group. What makes America so great is that our founding fathers saw democracy as a good way of handling our differences. Explaining the origins |of democracy as a concept is beyond the scope of this Blog.
.

I have been covering this President and his behavior since 2015. At times I’ve felt compassion for a fellow human being so mentally disturbed. It’s really sad that some people suffer in life this way. Life’s tough enough without having the additional burden of illness, either mental or physical.

At other times I’ve felt nothing but repulsion for a man that has done so much harm to people. At this level of angry feeling I’ve found myself thinking the president is a wretched human being. His core followers raise even more problems for the country, and have generated much alienation among the populace. All of this consternation is occurring because a “psychiatrically challenged” President is running the country. This has happened for four years now ever since he announced he was running for the nation’s highest office. And yet he received, and continues to receive, unconditional support from many in the public, especially Republicans.

Not all conservative Republicans are bad people; it’s just that there aren’t many good ones. I’m not talking about the GOP of long ago whose congressmen and senators had honor and respectability. I’m talking about a gaggle of misfits (Tea Party and Freedom Caucus) that invaded the government and Congress in 1994 and later in 2010. Like Donald Trump they have no place in a modern forward-looking democracy.

I asked myself why is it the president is supported by such a sizable number of supporters. This represents about 30% of the voting population, 94% of which are conservative Republicans. Why did so many people during the last four years unwaveringly give their support to Donald Trump, a man with an insatiable appetite for lying and deceit? Where is the moral compass for this faction of American society? For now it looks like it is nowhere to be found.

Up to this point I’ve ascribed Trump’s support to non-college educated people, who were mostly blue collar workers, male, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. However women who originally voted for Trump have since rebuffed him in droves and are the most disillusioned among initial Trump supporters. They found him to be a misogynist and a bully and want no part of him.

It turns out age, race, gender and occupation can only supply some of the explanation. There is something else going with the Trump supporters than simple sociological demographics. Demographics are useful for pinpointing where support comes from—but not why. This is where motivational intent and purpose become important variables. How might this be explained?

One really needs to take a deeper look. Beliefs and values do seem to differentiate groups, but it may be that psychology is more important than demographics.

It is my opinion that support for Donald Trump is coming from a mass movement. This suggests one ought to look to the psychology of mass movements for our explanation. Why did Adolf Hitler command such a large following? There are parallels here to all mass movements. I can see a connection between the Trump Presidency and his supporters and the observations made by Eric Hoffer in his seminal 1951 book, “The True Believer.”

The appeal of persons with an authoritarian personality to followers will become much clearer. Why does such an identity issue lead us to another psychological theory? There is another theory gaining credence these days in the field of psychology. It is known as Identity Fusion. Identity fusion is a psychological construct rooted in social psychology and cognitive anthropology. It is a form of alignment with groups in which members experience a visceral sense of oneness with the group.

Both explanations may explain the existence of the Trump supporter. However, a more detailed explanation of Hoffer’s book and the theory of Identity Fusion will be explained in a later Blog. Limitations of space dictate I not cover these topics right now. However, stay tuned!

The bottom line for me is this. I don’t care whether President Donald Trump resigns from office or is removed by congressional impeachment. He just needs to be removed from office, plain and simple. You can think of the last 2 years and eight months as a national nightmare or temporary excursion and detour from our sanity as a nation.

It’s about time we all get back on track as a nation. There are real problems out there, worldwide and domestically. Our future survival as a country and as a species may well depends on what the country does over the next 25 years.

In this connection It is my belief that the young with courage and moral determination (like 16 year old Greta Thunberg) will lead us out of the valley of climatic death that lies ahead. Always the optimist, I hope I’m right. I also hope Donald Trump is impeached shortly or resigns from office.

 

                                                              

 

 

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Donald Trump’s Presidency in Jeopardy
Impeachment Now on the Horizon

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. The Constitution, Article I, Section 3: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.
Donald Trump’s approval rating is at a 70-year low; it is now at 36 percent. In the months ahead there is a high probability that the presidency of Donald Trump will come to an end in impeachment or resignation. It will be the culmination of an intensive investigation by the Special Prosecutor and intelligence committees in both the House and Senate.
When it comes to criminal charges (and this is my best guess) many people in the Trump Administration, including Donald Trump himself, will be charged with criminal offenses or violations of constitutional law or other federal laws. Without boring my audience and re-hashing all of the things that have led to a failed Trump presidency, I think this Blog would better serve an audience by going over the impeachment process that will be carried out, factors related to the motivation of the Russians to hack our election, and something rather unique in all this, i.e., the concept of “life imitating art” or “art imitating life.” This latter concept will be explained against the backdrop of the strange, often bizarre relationship between the reality of a Trump presidency and the fantasy of the entertainment industry of which he was a part. Explanation will follow shortly.
In addition, it will be important to describe what this author believes was the real underlying motivation of Vladimir Putin to direct a cyber-attack against the United States during and preceding the American presidential election of 2016.
I doubt that President Trump will be removed from office because of treason because the United States is not currently in a “declared war.” However, sharing classified information (top secret, secret, or confidential) with officials of a foreign (albeit enemy) country is a federal crime tantamount to espionage. In addition, the following crimes may come into play during the impeachment process of Donald Trump. These crimes include:
• Obstruction of Justice
• Abuse of Power
• Violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emolument Clause
• Espionage
• Violation of federal laws related to financial or political corruption including illegal campaign finance laws and regulations

The following is an article by Charlie Savage for the New York Times, dated May 17, 2017 and describes how the impeachment process works.

How the Impeachment Process Works
Background
“WASHINGTON — The account from the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey of President Trump pressing him to drop an investigation into Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, has escalated talk among the president’s critics that his actions may amount to obstruction of justice and grounds for impeachment.
Asking F.B.I. to drop an investigation is obstruction of justice, Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. ‘Obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense.’
But several legal specialists across party lines cautioned that talk of impeachment was premature while the facts remained unclear; the White House has denied that Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Comey to drop the case.
Still, the early chatter has heightened interest in how the impeachment process works. Here’s what you need to know:
What is impeachment?
The Constitution permits Congress to remove presidents before their term is up if enough lawmakers vote to say that they committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Only three presidents have been subjected to impeachment proceedings. Two were impeached but acquitted and stayed in office: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 and 1999. A third, Richard M. Nixon in 1974, resigned to avoid being impeached.
What is the process?
First, the House of Representatives votes on one or more articles of impeachment. If at least one gets a majority vote, the president is impeached — which essentially means being indicted. (In both the Nixon and the Clinton cases, the House Judiciary Committee considered the matter first.)
Next, the proceedings move to the Senate, which holds a trial overseen by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
A team of lawmakers from the House, known as managers, play the role of prosecutors. The president has defense lawyers, and the Senate serves as the jury.
If at least two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed, and the vice president takes over as president.”
What are the rules?
There are no standard rules. Rather, the Senate passes a resolution first laying out trial procedures.
‘When the Senate decided what the rules were going to be for our trial, they really made them up as they went along,’ said Greg Craig, who helped defend Mr. Clinton in his impeachment proceeding and later served as White House counsel to President Barack Obama.
For example, Mr. Craig said, the initial rules in that case gave four days to the Republican managers to make a case for conviction, followed by four days for the president’s legal team to defend him — essentially opening statements. The Senate then decided whether to hear witnesses, and if so, whether it would be live or on videotape. Eventually, the Senate permitted each side to depose several witnesses by videotape.
The rules adopted by the Senate in the Clinton trial — including limiting the number of witnesses and the length of depositions — made it harder to prove a case compared with trials in federal court, said former Representative Bob Barr, a Georgia Republican who served as a House manager during the trial and is also a former United States attorney.
‘Impeachment is a creature unto itself,’ Mr. Barr said. ‘The jury in a criminal case doesn’t set the rules for a case and can’t decide what evidence they want to see and what they won’t.’
What are the standards?
The Constitution allows for the impeachment and removal of a president for ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’ But no controlling authority serves as a check on how lawmakers choose to interpret that standard, which makes it as much a question of political will as of legal analysis.
In the case of Mr. Clinton’s trial, for example, Robert Byrd, a Democratic senator from West Virginia at the time, told his colleagues that he thought Mr. Clinton was clearly guilty of perjury but that removing him from office was a bad idea.
‘To drop the sword of Damocles now, given the bitter political partisanship surrounding this entire matter, would only serve to further undermine a public trust that is too much damaged already,’ he said. ‘Therefore, I will reluctantly vote to acquit.’
Mr. Clinton was impeached by a Congress in which the opposition party controlled both the House and the Senate. In Mr. Trump’s case, his party controls both chambers, making it more politically unappealing for them to vote to impeach him.
What about the 25th Amendment?
Adopted in 1967, the 25th Amendment provides another mechanism for removing a president. It is geared toward dealing with a president who becomes too disabled to carry out the duties of the office, as opposed to presidential lawbreaking.
Under its procedures, if the Vice President and a majority of the cabinet tell Congress that the president is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,’ the vice president immediately becomes the acting president. If the president contests that finding, but two-thirds of both chambers of Congress side with the vice president, the vice president remains the acting president for the rest of the term.”
What really is the underlying motivation of Russia’s Interference in U.S. Elections?
Donald Trump’s financial dealings that relate to the Emolument Clause of the United States Constitution may transcend the country of Russia. Payments may be coming into the coffers of Donald Trump financial holdings from many countries.
However, it is clear that Russia is the pivotal country when it comes to hacking into a democratic country’s election, and whose motivation to engage in collusion with the Trump campaign not only occurred but was spearheaded by the Kremlin’s top man: Vladimir Putin.
If you’re not familiar with the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 U.S. law, here is the most important thing to understand: Russian President Vladimir Putin and everyone in his orbit hate it.
“A purely political, unfriendly act,” Putin called it at the time, and he has been railing against it ever since.
Congress wanted to punish Russian human rights abusers by barring them from entering the U.S. This followed the 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died at age 37 in a Moscow prison where he was held — and allegedly beaten — after accusing Russian officials of massive tax fraud.
The law symbolized the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia. Days after Congress passed it, the Russian parliament responded by banning American citizens from adopting Russian orphans.
In a bizarre 2013 trial, a Russian court went even further, convicting Magnitsky of tax fraud — four years after he died.

Politics
Donald Trump Jr. Meeting Included Russian Lobbyist:
The Magnitsky Act re-emerged as a front-burner topic this week in connection with the investigations surrounding President Trump’s campaign and possible links to Russian meddling in last year’s presidential race.
Russia has lobbied hard for repeal of the act. That’s what Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya said she was doing when she met with Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York.

Politics
Trump Says He Would Invite Putin to White House ‘At the Right Time:’
News broke Friday that she was accompanied at that meeting by Russian-American Rinat Akhmetshin. He is known as a skilled political operator who has worked in both the former Soviet Union and the United States on behalf of his clients, according to a U.S. journalist who has known him for two decades.
Akhmetshin has also spoke freely about his past in Soviet military intelligence, according to the journalist, Steve Levine, who works for Axios in Washington.

Politics
5 Questions Raised By Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails:
However, in remarks to The Associated Press, Akhmetshin said he served in a military unit that was part of counterintelligence but was not trained as a spy.
Levine first encountered Akhmetshin in Kazakhstan. There, in 1998, he provided Levine with confidential banking and legal documents pointing to financial corruption by the country’s president.

Politics
Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails about Meeting with Russian Lawyer: Annotated
“His signature is to be able to drill very, very deeply in the former Soviet Union, in a very knowing way,” Levine said. “Here in Washington, he’s this very unusual character, who may be the most skilled lobbyist I’ve met.”
Akhmetshin is, he added, “someone who can ingratiate himself with members of Congress and their staffs, power figures here, and make things happen.”
Levine said they’ve been in touch periodically over the years, including in brief email exchanges in recent days as Akhmetshin’s name began to surface in media reports.
Akhmetshin, who has become a U.S. citizen, has aggressively lobbied against the Magnitsky Act. Just a few days after his meeting with Trump Jr. in New York last year, Akhmetshin was in Washington to promote a movie called The Magnitsky Act — Behind the Scenes.
The film was shown at the Newseum in Washington on June 13, 2016. It offers the Russian government’s version of events and claims that Magnitsky was not mistreated by Russian authorities.
Trump Jr. has also said that — to his disappointment — last year’s meeting with the Russians focused on the Magnitsky Act. Trump Jr. was told in advance the meeting would produce critical material on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. When the topic turned out to be the U.S. law, he considered it a waste of time.
Analysts have offered many theories on why Russia wanted to meddle in the U.S. presidential election: to undermine the credibility of the U.S. vote or to harm Hillary Clinton, whom Putin blamed for the protests leading up the Russian presidential election in 2012.
Rarely mentioned is the Magnitsky Act, a relatively obscure matter inside the U.S. but a major frustration for Russia’s leadership.

Life Imitates Art and Vice-Versa
Here we are in the summer of 2017, six months into the presidency of Donald Trump. As I think back over the last two years of this nightmare with Donald Trump, I am convinced he lives in a childish fantasy of his own creation, ego-driven, and propped up by those around him in his close circle of “want to-be” important people.
Nationally, his supporters have dwindled to only 36% as of July 17, 2017. With the failure of his administration to repeal and replace Obamacare even his remaining supporters will never benefit from a low-cost comprehensive health care plan. This is unfortunate since a disproportionate number of his supporters are in dire need of good health care, particularly psychiatric mental health services.
It is both beguiling and perplexing to know that a degenerate womanizer and misogynist, white nationalist racist, crude, anti-intellectual buffoon could ever be elected president of the United States. And yet, here we are! Doesn’t say much for the intelligence and moral fiber of a sizeable portion of the American electorate— now does it?
He has tarnished the status of the highest office in the land and that, my friends, is unforgivable. He has taken a great American institution and turned it into garbage. I cannot help but see the quixotic (foolishly impractical, unrealistic, or capricious) parallel between the real life Donald Trump and the fantasy world he lives in.
There is an old expression that “art imitates life.” Ironically, sometimes the reverse is true, i.e., life imitates art. But in the make-believe world of art we often watch on television or in the movies, fantasy often parallels what’s going on in the real world. And television or movies often draw on material from the real world. It’s almost symbiotic in nature. Oscar Wilde seemed to believe however that this observable parallel was not equal.
Oscar Wilde Statement in 1889
Life imitating art. Anti-mimesis is a philosophical position that holds the direct opposite of Aristotelian mimesis. Its most notable proponent is Oscar Wilde, who opined in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying that, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.”
Sometimes the symbiotic relationship between life and art is fortuitous, at other times it seems like it is planned. For example script writing drew from current day events some of its planned material in the award winning TV drama series House of Cards (Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright).
The U.S. version of this series gives us an inside look at the greed and corruption in American Politics. Recently Vanity Fair looked at the similarity between Donald Trump and House of Cards president Frank Underwood (initials F.U.).
On May 30th Yohana Desta wrote the article. Titled “Trump vs. Underwood: 7 Times House of Cards Hit a Little Too Close to Reality.
Trump vs. Underwood: 7 Times House of Cards Hit a Little Too Close to Reality
Season 5 of the hit political series mirrored the Trump administration in a number of eerie ways.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers about Season 5 of House of Cards.
House of Cards has always pulled from the headlines. The political Netflix series, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, thrives on mirroring the more conniving side of U.S. statecraft, combing through American history to find story lines that feed and shape its White House narrative. The new season debuted Tuesday morning at a time when the country’s current president, Donald Trump, is besieged by allegations of obstructing justice and colluding with Russia, among other claims. Numerous moments in this latest installment of House of Cards reflected this moment in history perhaps a little too well. From Senate investigations to startling political tactics, here’s all the times this season might have hit too close to home.

1. Everything is a “distraction”
In Episode 1, Washington Herald editor Tom Hammerschmidt dismisses one of Frank Underwood’s political tactics as merely a “distraction” to the underlying issues at play. In most circumstances, that would be a fairly benign thing to say, but it’s a pointed choice of words that’s hard to ignore in an age when Trump’s critics have urged people not to get “distracted” by the president’s tweets or outlandish comments, and his Trump’s supporters have argued that all the chaotic “distraction” is actually part of his master plan.
Of course, the season ends with Underwood revealing that a large amount of the chaos that takes place actually is part of his master plan—but that’s a rather Machiavellian feat that Trump himself will likely not achieve.

2. All the executive orders!
Presidents throwing their weight around with executive orders are nothing new, but the incessant signing of new orders (some of them incendiary and arguably unconstitutional) is now a hallmark of Trump’s first 100 days. There are shades of his bullishness in Episode 2, when Frank Underwood declares an executive order for protecting “voting centers” and enforcing strict border restrictions, invoking “Section Blah Blah of the Blah Blah Act and Section Blah Blah of Title Blah Blah, Paragraph Bullshit Bullshit.”
The episode is bookended with Underwood secretly manufacturing a fake hack by terrorist group I.C.O., using it to prod the government to make a declaration of war. Hacks, terrorist attacks, and war talks! Where have we heard this all before . . . ?

3. A suspicious election
No TV drama about a presidential election would be complete without absurd twists and turns. This season of HoC crafts a presidential race filled to the brim with scandal, illicit behavior, and shocking results, premiering just a few months after the U.S.’s own wild election in which Trump came out the victor over expected winner Hillary Clinton. In the show, Underwood prevails over projected winner Will Conway, who wins the popular vote, but, of course, Underwood wins the race by rigging the election in vital Electoral College states and engaging in voter suppression. In the real world, the Department of Justice and both houses of Congress are investigating potential Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and improper contact with members of Trump’s campaign, with new reports surfacing about their alleged collusion. (And voter suppression tactics figured in U.S. history long before Trump.)
The next episode shows how American citizens are reacting to the election, featuring a group of protesters banding together outside the White House and chanting “Not my president!” and holding signs that read “Never Underwood.” Both actions mimic the actual chants and signs seen during anti-Trump protests.
Later in the season, as Conway sinks deeper into a petulant downward spiral after losing the election, his adviser tries to cheer him up by saying, “You lost—but more than half the country still considers you their president.” Though Conway’s post-election temperament is miles away from Clinton’s reflective grace, it’s tough to imagine that people haven’t bolstered her spirits with the same kind of encouragement.
4. Acts of Russian aggression
House of Cards has already done a Russia-obsessed season, which would have been too on the nose had it premiered now. But it’s not done with Viktor Petrov, its version of Vladimir Putin, just yet. He turns up in the second half of the show as Russia approaches an American research facility stationed in Antarctica, poking around for oil. “It’s a brazen act of aggression,” Secretary of State Catherine Durant says in the episode. Her quote brings to mind actual acts of Russian aggression, such as recent reports of Russian fighter jets doing barrel rolls over U.S. planes, and flying close to a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft.
This event also leads to a long line of backdoor negotiations with Russia, which might make some folks in the current administration (cough, Jared Kushner, cough) a bit uncomfortable.
5. A president under investigation
In Episode 9, scorned Congressman Romero decides to relaunch the committee investigating Underwood’s potentially impeachable offenses. With the Trump administration under its own investigation—and talk of impeachment fluttering around, just as they do for Underwood—it’s hard not to compare the two.
The investigation in the show also leads to the questioning of F.B.I. deputy director Nathan Green, who’s deeply entangled in the Underwood administration and has done a number of illegal things. Hey, does anyone remember if there’s anything crazy going on with the real world F.B.I. right now?
6. A gas attack in Syria
Episode 10 features a devastating gas attack in Syria, which the Underwood’s try to use to their political advantage. The attack eerily mirrors the recent chemical attack in Syria, which was one of the worst in the country’s history. Season 5 was already wrapped by the time the attack happened, so the show didn’t directly pluck from the headlines for that. However, it’s still a surprising (and incredibly sad) example of how the show veers dangerously close to real life.
7. “Welcome to the death of the age of reason.”
Those are the intimidating words Underwood snarls to the camera in this season’s penultimate episode during his committee testimony. “There is no right or wrong, not anymore. There’s only being in and then being out,” he says. His words, sadly, invoke the current age of “alternative facts.” Underwood’s message rings particularly true when held up against Trump’s own behavior. The current president is prone to making outlandish, verifiably false or simply unfounded remarks in interviews and on Twitter, while also waging a war against the media (#FakeNews), leaving his team to scramble and smooth out his claims. Meanwhile, the rest of the country anxiously watches and waits for whatever fresh hell is coming next.
Final Comments
The colossal failure of the country to elect a real president in 2016 will continue to dishonor and haunt us long after the last stench of Donald Trump is removed from the White House. With the mid-term elections around the corner, it is time for democrats around the country to gear up for a good fight against republicans who, besides Donald Trump, have also let the country down.
Needless to say the role of the new DNC head will be critically important in trying not just to elect more democrats, but to convince people of the United States that their interests come first in this sometimes chaotic world we all live in.
A final moment of reverie for this author, please. The character of Donald Trump we’ve all seen many times in our lives. It is like “art imitating life.” A daydream I had has kept re-occurring over the last two years. But my original stimulus for this daydream occurred more than 60 years ago.
In 1957 I was a freshman in high school. One important movie made in 1957 was an academy award-winning movie (Best picture, Best Director, Best Actor) known as Witness for the Prosecution.
It starred the great English actor Charles Laughton, along with Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power. I won’t sidetrack my readers by going into a detailed recounting of the plot. It was based on a very clever book by the much esteemed Agatha Christie originally written in 1925.
I connect this movie’s most dramatic court room scenes to Donald Trump. Imagine if you will Donald Trump (the Prevaricator-in- Chief as President) was being grilled by a Sir Wilfred Robarts (Charles Laughton). What a field-day that would be if, like the movie, when Sir Wilfred says to Trump in Laughton’s surly special voice, “ Were you lying then, are you lying now, or are you not in fact a chronic and habitual Liar? In the movie Charles Laughton screaming the word liar—was absolutely deafening.

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