GOP Backing Roy Moore is About Keeping the Presidency, Not Just a Senate Seat

GOP Backing Roy Moore is About Keeping the Presidency, Not Just a Senate Seat

How low can Republicans go, some may ask. After months of looking the other way as Donald Trump toys with nuclear war, alienates our international allies, reaps millions in profits from his Presidency, and tweets falsehoods on a regular basis, many thought that the Republican Party had hit rock bottom. Until they endorsed accused pedophile Roy Moore for the US Senate.

Multiple women have alleged that Roy Moore dated them or engaged in sexual activity with them when they were teens. At the time, Moore was a District Attorney in his 30s in Alabama. In his defense, Moore recently asserted on Fox’s Sean Hannity’s show that he had never dated any girl without first getting “permission of her mother.”

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Alleged messages written by Alabama District Attorney Roy Moore to Debbie Gibson and Beverly Nelson when they were teenagers.

How can the Republican Party, which for years had sanctimoniously proclaimed itself the party of God and morality, throw its endorsement behind someone who appears to have sexually preyed on children? Is keeping one Senate seat really so important to them that they are willing to throw aside all pretense of integrity? Yes and no.

Republicans currently hold a slim majority in the Senate, and they would no doubt like to maintain that majority. But there is an office that is far more important to them to hang onto: the Presidency.

The tie-in here requires a look at the immediate circumstances of the President, the Mueller investigation, and what kind of political process could prematurely end that investigation.

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has recently subpoenaed and received Donald Trump’s financial records from Germany’s Deutsche Bank. Aside from being one of the few financial institutions willing to lend money to Mr. Trump after one of his bankruptcies, Deutsche Bank was also fined $630 million by the US government in January of this year for laundering over $10 billion for wealthy Russians in a stock fraud scheme. (Money laundering means running illegally obtained money through some process to make it appear legitimate). My personal suspicion is that, prior to his life as a political figure, Donald Trump engaged in real estate transactions that assisted others, including wealthy Russians like oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, to launder or hide their money. Such assertions have been made in the infamous “dossier” compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Vladimir Putin would no doubt be aware of such illegal activity, and could use that knowledge to blackmail President Trump, which would explain the President’s baffling reluctance to criticize Putin while attacking virtually everyone else, including the US intelligence community.

As Mueller ”follows the money” and gets closer to areas that can bear fruit in his investigation, many Republicans, who initially supported the selection of Robert Mueller (a Republican with an excellent reputation within the legal community for his dogged investigative practices and impeccable integrity) have suddenly begun turning on the Special Prosecutor, now calling him “corrupt” and “the head of the snake.” The President has made no secret of his dislike of the Mueller probe, calling it a “witch hunt.”

Yet if Trump were seen as directly trying to remove Robert Mueller after already having fired FBI Director James Comey, it would be viewed as a blatant obstruction of justice. Republicans have discovered another way to get rid of Mueller, and it requires the election of Roy Moore to the Senate.

The Special Prosecutor would ordinarily be appointed by the US Attorney General. However, in the current situation, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (former Alabama Senator) had recused himself from the Russia investigation, due to his potentially being considered a witness in that case. So instead, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was given the responsibility to appoint a Special Counsel. He chose former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Rosenstein would be the most appropriate person to remove Mueller from the case, but seems unlikely to do so, and Sessions cannot do so, because he has recused himself.

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has been encouraging Alabamans to write in Jeff Sessions when they vote. He has also said that if Roy Moore is elected, the Senate will immediately begin an ethics investigation into the allegations of the various women against Moore. Such an investigation will likely find that these women are in fact telling the truth about their teenage encounters with Roy Moore, and such findings will likely result in the Senate expelling Moore or demanding his resignation.

When a Senator leaves office prematurely, that state’s Governor is empowered to appoint a replacement. Some Republican political operatives have advocated for Moore to be replaced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, essentially putting Sessions back in his old job as one of Alabama’s two Senators. It would seem a natural choice.

Yet the resulting absence in the US Attorney General’s office would allow the President a “mulligan” on appointing an Attorney General – enabling him to select a new Attorney General who would not need to recuse himself/herself from the Russia investigation and who would therefore have the authority to remove Robert Mueller and either replace him with a new Special Prosecutor or declare the investigation over.

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Currently, Roy Moore is ahead of his Democratic opponent Doug Jones in the Alabama polls. If Moore wins, the wheels can easily be put in motion for a premature end to the Russia probe, or for an investigation that avoids looking in the most meaningful and damning areas.

– rob rünt

July 9 – 31, 2017


Articles & Editorials:


Main Stories


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Scaramucci on Leaks: ‘I’m Going to Fire Everybody’
(New York Times – 7/25/17)

Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon
(The New Yorker – 7/27/17)

Scaramucci: ‘If Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that’
(Washington Post – 7/27/17)

“The fish stinks from the head down. But I can tell you two fish that don’t stink, and that’s me and the president.”

– Anthony Scaramucci, White House Press Secretary

Is it a felony to leak a financial disclosure form, as Anthony Scaramucci said?
(Politifact – 7/27/17)

Reince Priebus Is Ousted Amid Stormy Days for White House
(New York Times – 7/28/17)

Anthony Scaramucci’s wife files for divorce
(Page Six – 7/28/17)


“There are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president. OK, that is not their job. Their job is to inject this president into America.”

– Anthony Scaramucci, White House Press Secretary
(CNN – 7/27/17)

Anthony Scaramucci removed as White House communications director
(Washington Post – 7/31/17)


Trump and Putin


Trump suggested a cybersecurity pact with Russia. Lawmakers say they were ‘dumbfounded.’
(Washington Post – 7/9/17)

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“This is like the guy who robbed your house proposing a working group on burglary.”

– Ash Carter, Former US Secretary of Defense
(Telegraph UK – 7/9/17)

 

Trump and Putin Held a Second, Undisclosed, Private Conversation
(New York Times – 7/18/17)

Trump Spins Putin Dinner Conversation
(FactCheck.org – 7/19/17)


Trump and Russia


All The Dots, Connected
(The American Interest – 7/25/17)

A Timeline: Russia and President Trump
(Moyers & Company – 7/17/17)

Bill Browder’s Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee
(The Atlantic – 7/25/17)

Russian mob money helped build Trump business empire
(MSNBC – 7/17/17)

Paul Manafort Reportedly Owed Millions to Russian Oligarch Before Joining trump Campaign
(Vanity Fair – 7/20/17)

Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria, a move sought by Moscow
(Washington Post – 7/19/17)

Mueller has broader authority in his Russia investigation than Trump may realize
(Business Insider – 7/21/17)

This Is How the Russian Kleptocracy Operates
(Esquire – 7/27/17)

Russia Seizes 2 U.S. Properties and Orders Embassy to Cut Staff
(New York Times – 7/28/17)

Trump dictated son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer
(Washington Post – 7/31/17)

Maybe What Russia Wants From Trump Is Permission to Launder Its Dirty Money
(Slate – 7/20/17)


Congressional Testimonies


Manafort testifies to Senate Intelligence Committee, turns over notes from Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer
(Washington Post – 7/25/17)

How Jared Kushner Helped the Russians Get Inside Access to the Trump Campaign
(New Yorker – 7/25/16)

‘I Did Not Collude,’ Kushner Says After Meeting Senate Investigators
(New York Times – 7/24/17)


Mueller Investigation


Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions
(Bloomberg – 7/20/17)

Trump Trains His Sights on Mueller’s Investigation
The president’s lawyers are looking at multiple ways to undermine or curtail the Russia inquiry, including his issuing pardons
(The Atlantic – 7/20/17)

As Team Trump Lawyers Up, Who’s Paying The Attorney Fees?
(National Public Radio – 7/19/17)

Deutsche Bank is Turning Over Information on Trump
(Vanity Fair – 7/20/17)

Does Trump Have a Case Against Mueller?
(Politico – 7/21/17)


Trump Pardoning … Himself?!


Trump pushes his ‘complete power’ to pardon
(Politic – 7/22/17)

President Trump is considering pardoning himself. I asked 15 experts if that’s legal.
(Vox – 7/21/17)

Jared Kushner sealed real estate deal with oligarch’s firm cited in money-laundering case
(The Guardian – 7/24/17)


“He isn’t smart enough to do the job and isn’t man enough to own up to the fact.”

– Kevin Williamson, National Review – 7/30/17


Healthcare Reform


Frustrated in defeat, Trump threatens healthcare of voters — and lawmakers
(Los Angeles Times – 7/29/17)

Dems pivot to offering ObamaCare improvements
(The Hill – 7/29/17)


Other Stories That You Should Know About:


Interview with Donald Trump – Partial Transcript
(New York Times – 7/19/17)

Jeb Bush calls out Republicans silent on Trump’s Russia probe
(The Hill – 7/21/17)

My Party Is in Denial About Donald Trump
(Senator Jeff Flake, Politico – 7/31/17)

Jared Kushner Discloses Dozens More Assets in Revised Financial Filing
(Wall Street Journal – 7/21/17)

Trump tells police not to worry about injuring suspects during arrests
(Washington Post – 7/28/17)

House Approves Spending Package, Border Wall and All
(New York Times – 7/27/17)

House Republicans call for a second special counsel — to investigate Clinton, Comey and Lynch
(CNBC – 7/27/17)

New poll offers deeper insight into what ails rural America
(Daily KOS –7/9/17)


Keeping Track of the Basics:


Editorials


Liberals can win again if they stop being so annoying and fix their ‘hamburger problem’
(Business Insider – 7/17/17)

Trump’s breathtaking surrender to Russia
(Washington Post – 7/20/17)
Note: Senator John McCain (R-AZ) recommends that every American read this piece written by a former Senior Policy Advisor for George W. Bush

The Democrats’ New Agenda Is Everything That’s Wrong With the Party
(In These Times – 7/27/17)

No, Trump can’t pardon himself. The Constitution tells us so.
(Washington Post – 7/21/17)

Trump’s Mistake at the Boy Scout Jamboree
(The Atlantic – 7/24/17)

Trump Is Woody Allen Without the Humor
(Peggy Noonan – Wall Street Journal – 7/27/17)

The Triumph of the Idiocracy: How Narcissism, Stupidity and the Internet Got Us Donald Trump, an Accidental President
(Alternet – 7/31/17)


Alternative Facts from an Alternative Universe

Self-selecting our news sources, a reluctance to hear opposing ideas, and the choice by many of us to surround ourselves only with like-minded individuals has resulted in many Americans becoming oblivious to the beliefs of those with whom they disagree. This bubble helped create the world of “alternative facts” in which Donald Trump could become President.

To counter this, each week I will present a little of what Trump’s supporters are thinking. Their reality may be very different from yours. Please listen/read to the end, and consider what respectful questions you could ask to better understand and have a conversation, rather than seeking to prove them wrong as quickly as possible and shut them down. We can’t change minds if we can’t talk to each other.


Posted on Facebook by An0maly, reposted here because it’s important to understand Trump supporters’ different perspectives so that we don’t have to go through this again.


Cartoons, Images & Videos


A video tweeted by Donald Trump about the G20 Summit – remarkably similar to the kind of video that one might expect the leader of North Korea to broadcast:

Posted on Facebook by “Union Thugs:”

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Source: Unknown:

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Cartoon by Nate Beeler, Columbia Dispatch:

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Cartoon by Steve Sack, Star Tribune:

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Source: Unknown:

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Source: Unknown:

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Source: Unknown:

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This Week’s Blog Entry


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The Mueller Investigation:
Why Trump’s Finances and Beauty Pageants are 100% Relevant to Russia


Events & Actions


Resources & Organizations


“People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes.”

President Donald Trump speaking about French President Emmanuel Macron
(New York Times interview – 7/19/17)