A Rat in the House
(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
In business Trump had a reputation for paying off his last debt with his next loan, which most likely put him deeply in debt with Putin’s clique. In politics the president is trying to do the same thing, taking attention away from the latest scandal by creating a new one. There is no security crisis on the southern border, illegal crossings are at an 18 year low, but Trump manufactured a humanitarian crisis by making it all but impossible for asylum seekers to be processed and taking thousands of children away from their parents. The next step would be to declare a national emergency and use his new autocratic powers to try and build his ludicrous wall, by taking money out of the Pentagon budget if an attempt to use emergency funding for victims of hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Texas and of wildfires in California fails. Holding 800,000 government workers and a growing number of people and businesses depending on their services hostage, Trump now claims he never said Mexico would pay cash for the wall, in spite of videos showing the opposite. Another video showed the results of a Home Depot saw cutting easily through the president’s preferred wall design.
As a true grifter, in a short speech from the Oval Office that resembled a hostage video but turned out to be a fundraising ploy for his campaign, for which the major networks were abused, Trump made his case to the American people. The next day he gave candy to Nancy Pelosi and when she didn’t give him $5.7 billion for the wall in return he ran out of a meeting in the Situation Room, making the impasse complete. Declaring a national emergency now appears to be his only way out of this mess, in spite of the fact that it will be immediately challenged in court and stayed, because even in Trump’s own words the crisis is not on the southern border but in DC. The president can then tell his base that he tried as hard as he could and keep the wall alive as an issue for the next campaign. Meanwhile his attempt to push other scandals off the front pages is failing. It was revealed that Paul Manafort shared Trump campaign polling data with a Russian who is still connected with his country’s security services, and on February 7th Michael Cohen will publicly testify before the House Oversight Committee about the crimes Trump ordered him to commit.
There can be no doubt that the information Manafort provided to the Russians was used to interfere in the US elections, and if Trump knew anything about it it makes a conspiracy charge even more shut than the Trump Tower meeting with Natalia Vesilnitskaya, who last week was proven to be a Russian government agent, already does. Cohen’s testimony can be even more damaging, because for the whole world to see and hear on live television he will implicate Trump in a campaign finance violation scheme that constitutes a felony he will go to jail for.
The fact that Trump in good mafia boss tradition called Cohen ‘a rat’ indicates how fearful he is of his former fixer’s testimony. Cohen won’t be able to talk about things prosecutors are still investigating, like the Trump Organization, but he will have enough to say. Anticipating the fall-out of these developments the White House has added seventeen new lawyers to its staff, and Rudy Giuliani demanded to see the Mueller report before the Department of Justice decides what to do with it.
Meanwhile furloughed government workers and those working without pay are suffering, unable to pay mortgages and the like. The Coast Guard suggested to its members to hold yard sales or become dog walkers to make ends meet. Because for Trump the only thing that matters is ‘the tallest’ or ‘the biggest,’ at some point he will boast about being responsible for the longest shutdown, which it will be by tomorrow.
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