Trump Is Tweeting About ‘Civil War’ and Asking for His Political Opponent to Be Arrested


Trump Is Tweeting About ‘Civil War’ and Asking for His Political Opponent to Be Arrested

The president ventured into the insane during an hours-long tweet spasm.


It was around nine o’clock on Sunday night when the president of the United States echoed language about a “Civil War” if he is impeached and removed from office. Now, he’ll say he wasn’t calling for a civil war—he was just announcing his belief that there would be a “Civil War like fracture” if he faced consequences for violating his oath of office and betraying the national interest for his personal gain. Never mind that impeachment is a provision of the Constitution designed for removing a lawless or otherwise dangerous chief magistrate from power in a manner that comports with the law. The intent here was clear: to tie one outcome to the other, and place the idea of violent response in millions of minds across this country. The vast majority of people would never act on that, but the tweets were incitement. The message has already been received, loud and clear, by at least one right-wing paramilitary group.

Here is the diatribe trump quoted from a Fox News appearance by Robert Jeffress, one of these devoutly Evangelical pastors who talks a lot about following Jesus and also raises the prospect of violent civil war. Don’t get it twisted: there is no Civil War-like fracture without political violence, and that is what they are threatening.

Pastor Robert Jeffress: “Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can’t put down the Impeachment match. They know they couldn’t beat him in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, and they’re increasingly aware of the fact that they won’t win against him in 2020, and Impeachment is the only tool they have to get……..rid of Donald J. Trump – And the Democrats don’t care if they burn down and destroy this nation in the process. I have never seen the Evangelical Christians more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this President from office, overturn the 2016……..Election, and negate the votes of millions of Evangelicals in the process. They know the only Impeachable offense that President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That’s the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him………If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.”

Nothing like an endless paragraph full of triple ellipses to reassure you the world’s most powerful man is firing on all cylinders. And it continues to amaze that, three years on, we are still hearing about Hillary Clinton and 2016. The Ukraine issue concerns Trump’s conduct in office this year. It has nothing to do with the election he won despite getting fewer votes. (And never mind that, in the more recent 2018 election, Democrats absolutely routed Republicans in the House elections—not exactly an advertisement for the idea this president has the people’s mandate.) The Ukraine scandal has to do with 2016 only insofar as trump is trying to combine three separately debunked conspiracy theories to muddy the waters around what happened.

But none of these details are particularly important, since the president will soon enough be twisting or outright contradicting them to feed a constantly shifting narrative whose only steadfast feature is that he’s totally innocent and it’s actually his opponents who are traitors. Speaking of, the president also called for his political opponent to be arrested Monday morning.

It must be an incredible feeling when you see the President of the United States call for your arrest for a capital offense via some throwaway sentence fragment at the end of a tweet. Traditionally, this kind of dictatorial call for abuse of the justice system would feature in some long, impassioned speech from a balcony. In the Digital Age, however, it takes less than 280 characters to become an Enemy of the State. While Schiff did paraphrase the transcript of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president in language that made Trump’s conduct more explicitly incriminating—a move that was unnecessary and wrong—there is no evidence he committed treason.

Make no mistake: the stakes are ramping up now, and the president’s behavior will grow increasingly erratic and dangerous. He knows full well that once he leaves office, he no longer enjoys the protection of that justice department guideline which dictates a sitting president cannot be indicted. It might be the only reason he hasn’t been. If you thought he lied before, just wait. If you thought he smeared people before, just wait. If you thought he had spasms of vicious stupidity before, just wait. And if you thought he embraced political violence before— and he has—just wait. Right-wing domestic terrorists, some of whom cited the president’s rhetoric specifically, have already engaged in sporadic acts of violence over the last few months and years.

Of course, all of this is just further reason he should be removed, along with the manifest financial corruption at the heart of his domestic and foreign policy-making thanks to his refusal to divest from his private business holdings. He is capable of anything now, and defenders of the republic will need courage in response.

Jack Holmes is the Politics Editor at Esquire, where he writes daily and edits the Politics Blog with Charles P Pierce.

How many of Trump’s minions will go down with him?


How many of Trump’s minions will go down with him: Bill Barr? Mick Mulvaney? Possibly Mike Pence?

No photo description available.
How deeply is Bill Barr entangled in Ukraine mess? Has he forgotten the rule that whatever Trump touches dies?
Sophia Tesfaye        September 26, 2019
How many of Trump's minions will go down with him: Bill Barr? Mick Mulvaney? Possibly Mike Pence?
It’s hard to recall anything that Donald Trump has touched which initially looked bad but eventually turned out to be nothing. With Trump, things are always worse than they appear. Throughout his recent career, that has usually ended up hurting those closest to Trump more than the president himself. If that pattern holds true in the growing Ukraine scandal, then several top members of Trump’s administration should be worried right now. This is likely to get real messy before it ends.While attempting to defend himself from accusations that he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid during at least one phone call — a reconstructed transcript, or “memo” of which was released on Wednesday — Trump gratuitously dragged his vice president into the middle of his mess.”I think you should ask for VP Pence’s conversation because he had a couple of conversations also,” Trump told reporters during a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations summit. “I could save you a lot of time. They were all perfect. Nothing was mentioned of any import other than congratulations.”
Of course, Trump previously described his own call with Zelensky as “perfect.” An aide to the Ukrainian president has since told ABC News that “it was clear that Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case.”

Earlier this month, Pence met with Zelensky and promised to relay to Trump just how hard Ukraine was working to fight corruption — a term Trump has repeatedly used to explain his interest in getting Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who was formerly employed by a Ukrainian gas company. When Pence was asked if U.S. aid was being held up over Ukraine’s failure to investigate Biden, he acknowledged that “as President Trump had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption.” A week after Pence met with Zelensky, U.S. military aid was finally released to Ukraine.

Another Trump confidant looks to be tangled up in this sordid bullying of Ukraine as well. When Trump ordered military aid to the nation to be frozen earlier this year, he reportedly went through his acting chief of staff and budget director Mick Mulvaney, to the chagrin of Pentagon officials.

Finally, Attorney General Bill Barr appears to be most implicated by the recent revelations on Ukraine.

As Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., told CNN after reading the whistleblower report Barr attempted to withhold from Congress, it appears the attorney general has once again been caught playing interference for the White House. “All I can tell you is they’re doing the very same thing here,” Quigley told CNN, comparing Barr’s rationale for blocking the whistleblower report to his summary of Robert Mueller’s report earlier this year. In his four-page summary of the Mueller report, Barr downplayed the documented episodes of Trump’s obstruction of justice, writing that he found no evidence to support criminal charges. As Barr later admitted, he had not read the Mueller report in its entirety before writing that summary.

As the White House summary of Trump’s July call with Zelensky notes (there was reportedly also an April call), the president mentioned four times that he wanted Barr to speak with the Ukrainian government about launching an investigation into Biden. As the New York Times reports, both the director of national intelligence and the inspector general of the intelligence community referred the whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s communications to the Justice Department Curiously, Barr’s DOJ took less than a month to abandon an inquiry into Trump’s communications with Zelensky, concluding that the complaint could not even trigger an investigation because the allegations could not involve a crime.

While Barr’s DOJ released a statement denying that Barr had any contact with the Ukrainians, it is increasingly difficult to believe an attorney general who has already been held in contempt of Congress for previously faulty testimony. As Sen. Kamala Harris recalled on Wednesday, Barr previously testified under oath that he had never been directed by the president to investigate a political rival. Remarkably, a month before that, Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he ordered Barr to look into Biden’s dealings in Ukraine.

Barr, like Pence and Mulvaney, basically begged to get into Trump’s swampland. He leapt out of retirement to become one of the architects of Trump’s assault on our democracy. He is not a bumbler who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and was too weak to resist being corrupted. He came corrupt.

But Barr, like Trump’s personal lawyers Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani, doesn’t actually care about corruption. More than likely, he’s playing for the Fox News retirement plan. Every lie has told on behalf of Trump is another badge of honor.

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon’s Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

Audio of private meeting shows oil industry ripping into Trump administration

These Scientists Were Disbanded by the EPA — They Plan to Meet Anyway

These Scientists Were Disbanded by the EPA — They Plan to Meet Anyway

Jordan Davidson       September 27, 2019


         EPA offices in DC. Skyhobo / E+ / Getty Images

A group of 20 scientists charged with reviewing the nation’s air quality standards plans to convene and to issue a report on the country’s air pollution regulations, even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disbanded their panel.

In a move that is consistent with the administration’s skepticism towards science and expertise, the EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, disbanded the Particulate Matter Review Panel, part of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, in October 2018, as The Hill reported.

When he disbanded the group, Wheeler claimed that the group — made up of some of the nation’s top scientists assigned to review the impact of soot and other microscopic air pollutants on human health — took too long to perform its task, according to Bloomberg Environment.

Now, in a seemingly unprecedented maneuver, the scientists will meet in Arlington, Virginia Oct. 10-11, one year after they were disbanded, to issue a report on whether or not the current federal particulate matter standard is sufficient, according to Reuters.

The group, which now calls itself the Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel wants to make sure there is a documented record of scientific consensus that reaches the EPA decision-makers.

“I’m proud to say that being disbanded is not an obstacle for our panel,” said Chris Frey of North Carolina State University who chairs the panel to the NC State press office.  “If anything, being told that we were unilaterally terminated has redoubled my determination to discharge the public service to which I originally agreed.”

Even though Wheeler is a former coal-industry lobbyist, Frey is hopeful that he will consider the independent panel’s recommendations.

“As a group, this panel has more experts, more breadth, depth and diversity of expertise than the chartered Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee,” Frey said, as E&E News reported.

Like Frey, most of the members of the independent panel come from universities and all are unpaid for serving on the panel.

“This is the first time in the history of EPA where the credibility of the agency’s science review process has been so compromised that an independent panel of experts has recognized the need for and will be conducting a comprehensive review,” said Chris Zarba, who will help lead the effort and once served as director of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, another board that provides scientific advice to the agency, The Hill reported reported.

The Union of Concerned Scientists will host the panel since it was troubled that the EPA is operating without the scientific expertise it needs to ensure a particulate standard based on the best available science.

“Reconvening a disbanded pollutant review panel breaks new ground,” said Gretchen Goldman, a research director at the Union for Concerned Scientists, to The Hill. “Nothing like this has ever been done before. Indeed, nothing like this has ever been necessary. But we live in unprecedented times.”

The EPA, however, disagrees with the idea that it is without scientific expertise or that it writes regulations without considering science.

“EPA is committed to scientific integrity and transparency,” EPA spokeswoman Corry Schiermeyer said in an emailed statement when asked about the start-up of the independent panel, as Reuters reported. “EPA always welcomes comments from the public and it is not uncommon for special interest groups and coalitions to organize, meet and develop comments for submission to the record. EPA will continue to take into consideration these comments that meet our scientific standards.”

Frey, for his part hopes the EPA will consider the independent panel’s work.

“We will place our written report into the docket for this review cycle, which obligates EPA to look at our findings and advice,” he said to NC State. “We would like for our findings and advice to be considered by EPA staff as they revise the draft Integrated Science Assessment and draft Policy Assessment into final documents, and by the administrator in making a decision regarding whether to retain or revise the existing standards.”

Researchers Assembled over 100 Voting Machines. Hackers Broke Into Every Single One.

Mother Jones

Researchers Assembled over 100 Voting Machines. Hackers Broke Into Every Single One.

A cybersecurity exercise highlights both new and unaddressed vulnerabilities riddling US election systems.

Al Vicens           September 27, 2019

im Weber/The Commercial AppealZuma Press

A report issued Thursday by some of the country’s leading election security experts found that voting machines used in dozens of state remain vulnerable to hacks and manipulations, warning that that without continued efforts to increase funding, upgrade technology, and adopt of voter-marked paper ballot systems, “we fear that the 2020 presidential elections will realize the worst fears only hinted at during the 2016 elections: insecure, attacked, and ultimately distrusted.”


The 47-page report is the product of researchers who organized a shakedown of voting machines at the annual DefCon conference, one of world’s biggest information security gatherings frequented by hackers, government officials, and industry workers. First incorporated into DefCon in 2017 with the aim of improving voting machine security, this year’s version of the now-annual “Voting Machine Hacking Village” assembled over 100 machines and let hackers loose to find and exploit their vulnerabilities. While election officials have criticized the effort’s utility as a testing ground, deriding it as a “pseudo environment,” some have seen value in letting machines’ flaws become more known and potentially lead to security improvements.

“Once again, Voting Village participants were able to find new ways, or replicate previously published methods, of compromising every one of the devices in the room,” the authors wrote, pointing out that every piece of assembled equipment is certified for use in at least one US jurisdiction. The report’s authors, some of whom have been involved with election machine security research going back more than a decade, noted that in most cases the participants tested voting equipment “they had no prior knowledge of or experience” in a “challenging setting ” with less time and resources than attackers would be assumed to marshal.

The report urges election officials to use machines relying on voter-marked paper ballots and pair those with “statistically rigorous post-election audits” to verify the outcome of elections reflects the will of voters. The authors also warn that supply chain issues “continue to pose significant security risks,” including cases where machines include hardware components of foreign origin, or where election administrators deploy foreign-based software, cloud, or other remote services. The report lands as officials in several states are working to upgrade election equipment, and as lawmakers in Washington, D.C. debate federal election security legislation and funding.

Ultimately, the report notes flaws that have been acknowledged for years.

“As disturbing as this outcome is, we note that it is at this point an unsurprising result,” the authors conclude. “However, it is notable—and especially disappointing—that many of the specific vulnerabilities reported over a decade earlier…are still present in these systems today.”

Russians Used Greed to ‘Capture’ NRA

The Daily Beast

Spencer Ackerman, The Daily Beast        September 27, 2019
Senator Rips Majority Leader McConnell for Standing Beside Trump and NRA on Guns


Trump, Impeachment, and the Democracy That Happens Between Elections

There was always going to be a last straw, a single event that would launch impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. On Tuesday, the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, declared that Trump had finally gone too far, by “asking the President of Ukraine to take actions that would benefit him politically.” As a result, she was officially announcing the transition from investigation to an impeachment inquiry. “The President must be held accountable,” she said. “No one is above the law.”

The Rubicon that Pelosi crossed is more rhetorical than procedural. As my colleague John Cassidy has pointed out, the six congressional committees that have been investigating Trump in a de-facto impeachment inquiry will continue their work, incorporating the newly urgent investigation of Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian President, Vlodymyr Zelensky,  and the whistle-blower report that apparently, at least in part, stemmed from it. But what makes this event different from all the other malfeasances of the Trump Presidency? Trump has been credibly accused of breaking the law many times—nearly two hundred pages of the Mueller report document the President’s attempts to obstruct justice. Now he appears, judging from a newly released summary of the call, to have pressured a foreign leader to dig for dirt on a potential electoral opponent, tied the release of congressionally approved military aid, explicitly or implicitly, to this request, and stopped the acting director of National Intelligence from releasing the resulting whistle-blower report to Congress. Why are these alleged crimes the ones that, in the estimation of Pelosi and her colleagues on the Democratic caucus, warrant impeachment proceedings?

This is less a legal question than a political one. Hours before Pelosi’s announcement, Vox’s Zack Beauchamp argued that the Ukraine revelation changed the mathematics of impeachment because it concerned an “ongoing attempt to hijack American foreign policy in service of the president’s reelection.” Impeachment stemming from the Mueller report would constitute punishment for past misdeeds, while impeachment stemming from the whistle-blower report would serve to prevent further harm. This, Beauchamp argues, would make it harder for Republicans to dismiss the inquiry.

The inquiry gains additional urgency because it concerns the 2020 Presidential election. For the first two and a half years of the Trump Presidency, congressional Democrats and much of the legacy media have concentrated on investigating and relitigating the 2016 election, sometimes at the expense of paying attention to the events of the Presidency itself. Now the focus is shifting to 2020, with Ukraine upstaging Russia and the entire story already upstaging current events (such as, for just one example, Trump’s isolationist, anti-immigrant speech at the United Nations on Tuesday). An election gave us Trump, and, impeachment proceedings notwithstanding, an election has the potential to rid us of him. For the past two and a half years, Trump has aspired to autocracy—attacking institutions, undermining and subverting the separation of powers—but, as long as his Presidency can be ended by an election, he has not consolidated autocratic power.

How Trump Could Get Fired

Evan Osnos on what it would take to cut short Trump’s Presidency.

And yet we habitually overstate the importance of elections. We have a way of talking about elections as though they were synonymous with democracy. They are not: they are merely a very imperfect way of creating the possibility of democracy, which is the government of the governed. Ideally, democracy is what would happen between elections. Trump’s attacks on democracy include his war with the media, his redefinition of American identity in white-male supremacist terms, his isolationism, his use of the Presidency for personal profit, his campaign of packing the federal courts, his verbal attacks on judges, and his treatment of the judiciary as a nuisance on the way to getting things done—a view that he applies to the separation of powers in general. These are just some of his high crimes.

Trump should be impeached. The event that finally got Pelosi to say so is, in fact, a straw: an incident that resembles a succession of other incidents in which Trump has used his office for personal gain and sabotaged the system of checks and balances. His attempt to use two hundred and fifty million dollars of congressionally approved military aid for his own benefit falls in the same category as his and his children’s foreign business deals, brokered on the back of American diplomacy; his use of the Presidency to attract lobbyists, dignitaries, and perhaps entire summits as paying guests to his properties; and his use of taxpayer funds for incessant leisure travel. Trump’s attempt to quash the whistle-blower’s report is similar to his attempt to pressure the F.B.I. director James Comey to stop the investigation of the national-security adviser Michael Flynn, or his attempt to get the White House counsel Don McGahn to lie to the public. This time, Trump succeeded, at least for a while, surely in part because Joseph Maguire is the third person in the course of his Presidency to hold the National Intelligence job, and because, like an ever-growing number of Administration officials, Maguire has the word “acting” in front of his job title. As the impeachment inquiry moves forward, it would behoove congressional Democrats, and all of us, to focus less on Ukraine and the eternal spectre of election contamination by a foreign power and more on Trump’s pattern of abuse of executive power and the destruction it has wrought on American government. This is what will require repair in the time after Trump.

Let the young people save the planet! Just get out of the way!

NowThis Politics

September 25, 2019

‘We’ve been talking about saving the Amazon for 30 years.’ — Harrison Ford urged UN leaders to listen to young people and let them save the planet from the climate crisis

Harrison Ford Urges Leaders to Get Out of Young Activists' Way on Climate

‘We’ve been talking about saving the Amazon for 30 years.’ — Harrison Ford urged UN leaders to listen to young people and let them save the planet from the climate crisis

Posted by NowThis Politics on Wednesday, 25 September 2019

The Ukraine ‘Transcript’ Illustrates How Foreign Leaders Handle Trump: Flatter Him and Pay Him


Jack Holmes, Esquire        September 25, 2019