Dereliction of Duty

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Every blog entry needs a title, but ‘dereliction of duty’ is too kind for what Trump is doing at this point in time. However, it is probably too early for ‘treason’ and it may never come to that no matter how hard the president tries.  With the COVID pandemic raging and over 320,000 US deaths, the vaccine roll-out facing serious logistical challenges, a minimal disaster relief package passing Congress via a last minute vote and a large-scale Russian invasion of US computer systems of which the damage cannot yet be assessed, Trump was laser focused on reversing the result of the presidential election Joe Biden won by 7 million votes.  Strengthened by a report produced by his trade advisor Peter Navarro covering ‘six dimensions of election irregularities’ and claiming that 379,000 possibly illegal votes were cast, which, if reversed, would make him the winner in all the swing states, the president set out to finally claim his prize, his war cabinet consisting of Sidney Ponson, who suggested grabbing and investigating voting machines, Michael Flynn, who argued for invoking martial law and re-running the election, and Rudy Giuliani, who filed yet another bizarre lawsuit.

The main problem of Navarro’s report is that all its ‘facts’ have been rejected in courts in the states they pertain to.  Giuliani, in an assist of Sidney Ponson, inquired with the Department of Homeland Security if voting machines can be confiscated but found no support there, and his latest suit, filed with the Supreme Court, will be rejected as expeditiously as the last one, and was probably only filed to give Trump false hope and keep him from doing something really stupid.  While these plots were being hatched the president lost quite a few friends.  Mitch McConnell was already on his shitlist because he urged Republican senators not to challenge the election results, and White House Counsel Pat Cippolone joined him for disapproving of Flynn’s cockamamie idea.  Giuliani and Mark Meadows, who also rejected both Ponson’s and Flynn’s nefarious schemes, are still hanging by a thin thread, but not Bill Barr, who fell off the pedestal Trump had put him on by refusing to appoint Special Counsels to investigate voting machines and Hunter Biden and by declaring Russia responsible for the computer hacking, an opinion expressed earlier by Mike Pompeo to Trump’s chagrin. 

Regarding the hacking of government computer systems the president tweeted that he had been fully briefed and that it wasn’t a big deal, while a declaration about Russia’s culpability was shot down at the eleventh hour by the White House.  It raises the question of Trump’s allegiance to Moscow once again, with explanations ranging from anger about his presidency being delegitimized by the ‘Russian collusion hoax’ to financial dependency and possibly even blackmail.  Hopefully criminal investigations under way in the Manhattan DA’s office will shed light on this matter.   

In a late night Oval Office meeting, attended by his looniest advisors including a new QAnon House member, but also by Mike Pence, the president charted a course towards disrupting the Electoral College’s reporting to Congress on January 6th.  This is an empty and rather pathetic gesture that at worst will make the ceremony more time consuming than necessary, but it will force Pence to fold himself into a complex pretzel because he will ultimately have to accept the report.

Last night Trump granted pardons and commutations to 20 crooks in one of the most corrupt and immoral acts of his presidency. Among the beneficiaries are two people indicted by Robert Mueller, three former GOP congressmen and four ex-contractors convicted for killing 17 unarmed civilians in Iraq. Surprisingly, the president also threatened to veto the COVID relief bill, probably to piss off McConnell.


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