Trump must be impeached and removed for commuting Roger Stone’s sentence. Rule of law demands it

It’s very simple: By commuting Roger Stone’s sentence, The Man Who Lost The Popular Vote has sent a clear signal that anyone who does something illegal on his behalf, or who has knowledge of something illegal he has done and lies about it under oath, and/or to investigators, will never be punished. This an act that fatally weakens the constitutionally mandated checks and balances through which our democracy prevents a president from achieving dictatorial power.

Investigations cannot proceed toward any sort of justice if no one is required to tell the truth. That much should be apparent to any reasonable, objective observer, no matter their party. This president has now created a shield around himself so that he can—so long as he simply maintains the loyalty of his minions—do literally anything he wants and remain free of accountability or punishment. That cannot be allowed to stand. Our system offers but one remedy.

Thus far, only a single Republican office-holder of note has spoken out about Trump’s attack on the rule of law. All other Republicans must take a stand—either for the would-be Tyrant from Trump Tower, or for American constitutional democracy. There is no in-between.

Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.

— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 11, 2020

We know the reasons we will hear from those who counsel against impeachment and removal: “but the election…..” You know what? Fuck that. This is about standing up for our Constitution. And not just the Second Amendment.

For far too long, Trump and Republican leaders in Congress, and in the states, have acted in ways that are technically within their rights (does Merrick Garland ring a bell?), but which violate fundamental constitutional norms. Commuting Roger Stone, however, goes far beyond violating norms. Even Richard Nixon didn’t pull anything like this. Trump’s corrupt actions represent a blatant attempt to destroy our democracy, and the only way to stop him is for Congress to take the one power the Constitution provides to rein in such a president.

Congress must impeach and remove Donald Trump. Now.

It’s time for Lisa Murkowski to leave the GOP

The Republican Party and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski have always had a rocky relationship. The daughter of Senate giant Frank Murkowski, she has always seemed an odd fit for a party that has evolved ever right. 

She was appointed to her seat in 2002, and cruised easily with a primary victory in 2004 before squeaking out a general election win 49-46. But in 2010, during the apex of the frothy tea party-movement, Murkowski was ousted in the Republican primary against Sarah Palin-backed Joe Wilson (remember her?). She is a senator today because during her write-in campaign, Alaska Democrats rallied around the lesser-of-two-evils. Yet as we saw Thursday, Alaska is shifting leftward while Senate Republicans are headed into the minority. Republicans back home hate her. So why fight it? It’ll soon be time for her to ditch the GOP, become an independent, and caucus with the Democrats. 

Yesterday’s Alaska poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) confirmed what we have been seeing in our own Civiqs data, and what I’ve been hearing from insiders—that Alaska is a battleground state this year—at the presidential, Senate, and House levels.

According to PPP, impeached racist Donald Trump has a narrow 48-45 lead against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the presidential contest. In the Senate race, incumbent Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan leads by a woeful 39-34 against independent (and de facto Democrat) Al Gross, despite the latter having a name ID of almost zero. And in the House race (Alaska only has one), Democrat Alyse Galvin leads long-time Republican incumbent and crank Don Young 43-41. 

But here’s something else that is really interesting: only 29% of poll respondents approved of Murkowski when asked about her job approvals, compared to 55% who disapproved. That’s not a base upon which one builds a successful reelection campaign, which she will in 2022.

Amazingly, among Republicans, those job approval numbers are an eye-popping 17-71%! She is loathed inside her own party. Meanwhile, Democrats’ approvals of her are at 41-41%!

Of course, Democrats like her because she’s become a thorn on the GOP’s side. While she voted to acquit Trump during his impeachment trial, she has legislatively bucked the GOP in key moments—the vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the only Republican “no” vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation vote, a rare “no” on George W. Bush’s PATRIOT Act, a vocal critic of Trump’s racist border wall, the list goes on. She has needled her caucus leader, Mitch McConnell, for his unwavering focus on judges. “It’s unfortunate that we’re kind of viewing [judicial nominees] as this is the one thing we can do,” she said. “We’re not focusing on [legislation] as much as I think we should or we could.” Republican Senate whip John Cornyn, in charge of getting his colleagues to vote however leadership wants them to vote, said, “I would say she’s the most independent.” 

There is definitely no love lost between her and Trump. After her Kavanaugh vote, he did what Trump does and lashed out on Twitter: 

Few people know where they�ll be in two years from now, but I do, in the Great State of Alaska (which I love) campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski. She voted against HealthCare, Justice Kavanaugh, and much else...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020

Trump was joined by Alaska’s most famous grifter: 

Hey @LisaMurkowski - I can see 2022 from my house...

— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) October 5, 2018

Murkowski hasn’t backed down, by any measure. Where Maine Sen. Susan Collins pretends to be oh-so-concerned before caving to Trump and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Murkowski just doesn’t give a damn. When former Trump defense secretary Gen. James Mattis unloaded on Trump, Murkowski singularly stood out among her cowardly caucus by underscoring the important of that criticism.

“I was really thankful. I thought General Mattis’ words were true and honest and necessary and overdue,” she told reporters. “When I saw General Mattis’ comments yesterday I felt like perhaps we are getting to a point where we can be more honest with the concerns that we might hold internally. And have the courage of our own convictions to speak up.” 

She added that she was “struggling” over whether she could support Trump.

So it’s obvious, Republicans hate her and are gunning for her. Murkowski isn’t stupid, and she sees the dangers she faces in a Republican primary. That’s why her crew is pushing a ballot initiative that would replace party primaries with a “jungle primary,” in which all candidates run on the same line. The top four finishers (regardless of party) would advance to a runoff to determine the ultimate winner. 

That could certainly save her hide, but why bother? What is keeping her a Republican, at this point, besides fealty to the legacy of her father? She can strike out and build her own legacy. 

Alaska has a rich tradition of Democratic-caucusing independents. She doesn’t need to become a Democrat, just caucus with them. Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, I’m sure, would be happy to let her keep her committee assignments, and in particular, her chairmanship of the Energy and Natural Resources committee—of obvious importance to Alaska. 

Obviously, it would be stupid of her to do this before November, while Republicans still control the chamber. But she’ll have to decide, if Democrats take the Senate (which is likely at this point), whether she wants to live in the hapless minority in a new, filibuster-free Senate, or whether she wants to keep her chairmanship, her influence, and—perhaps most importantly—the ability to vote her conscience without having to deal with the likes of McConnell, Cornyn, and the rest of the male-dominant Republican Party.

It would also be the ultimate “fuck you” to Trump and Palin, and you know Murkowski wants to deliver that message. The disdain is visceral. 

Ultimately, she won’t win reelection on the strength of Republican voters. Her base is now Alaska Democrats. They are the reason she is in the Senate today, and they will be the reason she keeps her job, even if the jungle-primary ballot initiative is enacted. So why not own it? 

Given Alaska’s shift leftward in recent cycles, it’s also the smart political-electoral play. 

Alaska presidential elections Republican vote % 2016-Trump 2012-Romney 2008-McCain 2004-Bush
51.3
54.8
59.4
61

Millions of Americans will soon find out just how badly they’ve been screwed by Trump and the GOP

Robert Reich, writing for The Guardian, weighs in on the fairy tale that our country is somehow “roaring back,” as Donald Trump characterized it when he hawked a report last week based on misleading unemployment statistics—numbers that were already woefully out of date at the time they were released.

The US economy isn’t roaring back. Just over half of Americans have jobs now, the lowest figure in more than 70 years. What’s roaring back is Covid-19. Until it’s tamed, the American economy doesn’t stand a chance.

As former Labor Secretary Reich notes: “The uptick in jobs in June was due almost entirely to the hasty reopening, which is now being reversed.”

Last month, many businesses rehired previously laid-off employees based on cues they received from state governors assuring them the crisis had passed and that it was “time to reopen.” Those governors and Republicans in their legislatures in turn took their cues from a political imperative pushed relentlessly by the White House. But, as most of these governors well knew, that wasn’t the reality at all. It was simply a story spun out of thin air by an administration growing increasingly desperate about its reelection chances; a story to mollify a restless public grown increasingly frustrated at the endless lockdowns; a story to provide temporary cover for Republicans at the state and federal level who had absolutely no clue how to handle this pandemic.

But mostly it was a story to satisfy their donors, who were seeing their corporate profits evaporate and taking it out on their paid stooges in Congress and the states. The GOP jumped to the task, bailing out businesses as much as they possibly could—namely with hundreds of billions of dollars—without ever telling the American public where those funds were actually going. (Hint: It was to their donors.) But it wasn’t done out of any concern for American workers. If it had been, the GOP would have come up with a game plan that didn’t simply involve waving some fairy dust at the end of May and telling people it was now suddenly safe to go back to work.

This was effectively an untested medical experiment on a grand scale, collectively embraced by Republicans, with ordinary Americans as its unwitting subjects. The reopening push was not based on any scientific or medical planning to address the pandemic but wholly on “feel-good” politics designed to satisfy donors for a few months. 

So when those June unemployment numbers trumpeted by Trump and his state media last Thursday were actually compiled, reported COVID-19 cases in this country were averaging 25,000 daily because all those reopenings in late May were only just beginning to register a corresponding spike in infections. Since that report, cases have now jumped drastically to an average of 55,000 per day or more, forcing many states that had prematurely reopened to reverse course, shutting down businesses once again in a desperate attempt to prevent the virus from spiraling out of control and overwhelming their state’s medical capabilities. Late in June, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci warned that we were likely to see 100,000 cases of new infections every day thanks to inadequate efforts to contain the virus and these misguided reopenings.

Republican state legislators from Texas to Arizona to Wisconsin, where COVID-19 cases are now shooting through the roof, all rode the reopening bandwagon for months. They pounded their chests on their Facebook pages about their “patriotism,” attended rallies in support of gun-toting Neo-Nazi militias, and brought frivolous lawsuits to force businesses to reopen. In most Republican-led states (and some Democratic-run ones as well), the GOP’s blind push—and often violent agitation—to force accelerated reopenings caused several states to issue blanket, credulous edicts to reopen long before it was safe to do so. In states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where they did not control the governor’s mansion, GOP-controlled legislatures introduced articles of impeachment to try to force their states to reopen, or petitioned like-minded judges to overrule the lockdown measures.

In less than a week since those new job numbers were released, instead of a nation “roaring back,” we are now witnessing an embarrassing and hasty Republican retreat from everything they and Trump assured us of with such certainty. Meanwhile, as Reich painstakingly points out, the pandemic hasn’t gone anywhere in the last four months. It still hangs around, strong as ever, like a voracious beast, ready to devour anyone foolish enough to try to defy it.

Now, Reich explains, all of those efforts are proving to be disastrous.

Arizona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, initially refused to order masks and even barred local officials from doing so. This week he closed all gyms, bars and movie theaters in the state. The governors of Florida, Texas and California have also reimposed restrictions. Officials in Florida’s Miami-Dade county recently approved the reopening of movie theaters, arcades, casinos, concert halls, bowling halls and adult entertainment venues. They have now re-closed them.

And so on across America. A vast re-closing is under way, as haphazard as was the reopening. In the biggest public health emergency in US history, in which nearly 130,000 have already lost their lives, still no one is in charge.

You’d think some Republicans would have the decency to apologize. But none have as of this writing. Meanwhile, as a result of Republican dithering and inaction, millions of Americans are now finding themselves teetering on the edge of a financial abyss thanks to the complete lack of a coherent national response to this crisis by this president, and thanks to the Republican officials at all levels who abetted him. Reich plainly lays out what is coming in the next few weeks, all Republican “magical thinking” and fantasy-spinning to the contrary.

Brace yourself. Not only will the virus take many more lives in the months ahead, but millions of Americans are in danger of becoming destitute. Extra unemployment benefits enacted by Congress in March are set to end on 31 July. About one in five people in renter households are at risk of eviction by 30 September. Delinquency rates on mortgages have more than doubled since March.

An estimated 25 million Americans have lost or will lose employer-provided health insurance. America’s fragile childcare system is in danger of collapse, with the result that hundreds of thousands of working parents will not be able to return to work even if jobs are available.

The GOP-controlled U.S. Senate has all but abandoned the field in this pandemic, blocking attempts by Democratic lawmakers in the House to provide additional emergency aid to suffering Americans, and instead going on vacation throughout the entire month of June. In this conscious act of cowardice, they deliberately left Americans to their fate. Sen. Mitch McConnell and his colleagues have long since exhausted their quiver of phony, supply-side, “market-based” solutions and are now willingly leaving millions to be crushed by an ongoing economic catastrophe that is only now beginning to reveal its full ferocity.

As the true, stunning magnitude of this crisis finally hits home for Americans, the Republican Party will be offering no solutions—because they have none. Helping Americans in a crisis like this is not in their playbook, and they have no point of reference even if they had the inclination to do anything. In the end, they will be only too happy to scamper away to whatever gated communities continue to offer them shelter, muttering their worthless platitudes as Americans collapse into economic hardship, hunger, and in many cases, homelessness.

By late summer, all people of voting age in this country are going to be forced to make brutal, existential decisions about their futures and those of their families, and none of Trump’s hysterical babbling about Confederate statues or other race-baiting dogwhistles is going to make one whit of difference. This crisis is about to go into overdrive, far beyond any Republican attempts to “wish it away.” Millions of peoples’ lives are about to come alive with a fierce urgency that may well consign the Republican Party to the sorry trash bin of history, as Americans realize just how badly they’ve been screwed and lied to.

Guess who’s even more unpopular in Maine than Donald Trump? That’s right, it’s Susan Collins!

The Maine primary is next week, July 14 (delayed a month by coronavirus), when Sen. Susan Collins will finally have an official Democratic opponent. That is almost certainly going to be Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, who's led the field from pretty much the beginning of the cycle. Gideon also continues to lead in the general election, according to the latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) polling in the state.

Back in March, PPP polled the state and found Gideon had a 47-43 advantage. This month Gideon has the same four-point advantage, leading 46-42. That's no movement in four months, with Gideon not being able to fully campaign against Collins, and Collins throwing everything she's got at reelection. Collins is deeply underwater with just 36% of voter approval and 55% disapproval. That leaves her 9% to try to sway to her side against the headwind of the Trump pandemic. In comparison, Gideon is holding at 37-37 approve/disapprove, with 26% of voters still to woo.

Let's make sure her time is up. Please give $1 to help Democrats in each of these crucial Senate races, but especially the one in Maine!

Collins has lost Democrats and Dem-leaning independents, with just an 8% approval rating from 2016 Clinton voters, down from 32% last year. Impeachment, PPP's polling memo says, "effectively shut off the bipartisan appeal she had for years." She's also tied with Gideon with independents at 44-44. Collins has achieved this fall mostly on her own by deciding she was sticking with Trump. In fact, 46% of voters say Collins is "more a partisan voice for Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell" than "an independent voice for Maine," compared to 42% who say she's looking out more for the state than the party.

More bad news for Collins comes with Trump's numbers, because he's not even as disliked as she is. He has 41% approval to her 36%. But they share the disapproval of 55% of the state's voters. Joe Biden leads Trump by 11 points there, 53-42. Notably, Collins still hasn't said whether she voted for Trump in March's presidential primary in Maine when his was the only Republican name on the ballot. As if she can play coy with that one.

Collins, who famously pledged to serve just two terms in the Senate when she first ran in 1996, is seeking her fifth term. Seems like Maine has decided that's three terms too many since she made her promise.

Florida Man Rep. Matt Gaetz goes full white fright on Twitter and gets smashed … again

Florida Man Rep. Matt Gaetz was online today, doing what he does online: saying stupid, frequently racist, shite. Gaetz was responding to the story out of St. Louis, Missouri, of the wealthy white lawyer couple who decided to stand in front of their home and threaten peaceful protesters with guns as those protesters walked—legally—down their street, on Twitter. He tweeted out an image of the couple and wrote:

“In Joe Biden’s America your job is illegal, you are locked in your home, borders don’t exist, MS-13 lives next door and the police aren’t coming when the mob arrives. This is all of us.” Such a strange thing to say, eh? Very quickly, Rep. Gaetz’s Twitter feed was overrun with people wondering how Rep. Matt Gaetz is able to type and breathe at the same time. So, #MattGaetzIsATool began trending, as it seems to do at least once every week these days.

Most people are empathetic by nature, so they wanted to give Gaetz some advice.

Got to stop tweeting while drunk, Matt.

— Nickles (@pessoasclerk) June 29, 2020

That’s good advice. Others wanted to remind Matthew that sadly for the entire planet, we are not in any Democratic official’s “America” at this point in time.

The photo was taken in Trump's America.

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 29, 2020

Of course there were the requisite reminders of how cowardly and craven Rep. Gaetz truly is.

As well as footnotes for Gaetz’s understanding of the world around him.

Yep, MS-13 lives right next door, Matt. pic.twitter.com/T4CdSk5zqW

— Cody Johnston (@drmistercody) June 29, 2020

Also a reminder that Matt Gaetz is afraid and he’s a racist.

Rep. Matt Gaetz: "Some might call that 'male privilege or 'white privilege.' You know what? Those terms are just racist terms to try to tell people to shut up, and we're done being quiet." pic.twitter.com/R91GvGT7WO

— The Hill (@thehill) June 23, 2020

At this point, this tweet is also obligatory, as Matt Gaetz … is a tool.

Matt Gaetz doing his obligatory tweet to get #MattGaetzIsATool trending on twitter... once again. You'd think he'd take a day off once and a while but the man is a tool.

— Coddiwomple (@wildjaden) June 29, 2020

And also this, because I’m not cursing if I let someone else do it.

And this one made me laugh.

#MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/UpKDos5fge

— Ronald Singleterry (@Singleterry) June 29, 2020

Then there’s this.

So we all agree that you are a privileged white person with poor taste, little common sense, who doesn't understand the concept of a well regulated militia and overreacts to the concept of democracy and diversity? Good, that's settled.#MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/y2JTV3fRTZ

— Devin Nunes' Slowed Down Testing (@tinkerdogcuss) June 29, 2020

And finally.

#MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/ynk2e7LhwQ

— Lev Parnas & Igor Fruman LLCðÂ�Â�Â� (@KurisuS) June 29, 2020

Senate Republicans worry that Trump’s racism will cost them in November

Donald Trump is tanking in the polls and threatening to take Senate Republicans down with him. That has some Republican senators wishing Trump would tone it down a little with the racism and the ranting. Sure, they’ve enabled him for three and a half years, but now the polls suggest it might have costs for them.

“He's good with the base,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune told CNN. “But all of the people who are going to decide in November are the people in the middle, and I think they want the President at a time like this ... to strike a more empathetic tone.” Trump shouldn’t be less racist because it’s the right thing to do—he should be less racist because he’s alienating voters he (and Senate Republicans) need in November.

To Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, “[i]t looks like something needs to be adjusted” on the Trump campaign. But talking about tactical campaign tweaks with reference to polling is, again, extremely different from condemning racism.

To Sen. Lindsey Graham, “[i]t's been a couple bad weeks, and structurally we got to up our game.”

What does that mean, though? Apparently, “I just think sort of the cultural wars, the Democrats are on the wrong side of that. But at the end of the day, I think a little more message discipline would help.”

What about Trump’s repeated use of the racist term “kung flu” for COVID-19? “Ask the president about that,” said Sen. Thom Tillis. “Every week you all try to get me into a running commentary on the President's comments about a variety of different things. I really don't have anything to add,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

These Republicans have been there for Trump at every turn, giving him their votes on issue after issue and unqualified judge after unqualified judge, and protecting him during the impeachment trial. Now they’re making it clear they don’t really care how racist he is. They just don’t want it to cost them anything.

Help Democrats win the Senate! Can you chip in $3 to the Democratic nominee in each of these critical states?

House Judiciary committee hearing confronts Barr’s politicization of the DOJ

On Tuesday, Capitol Hill was dominated by a hearing with health experts, where the biggest news was that Trump hadn’t spoken to Dr. Anthony Fauci or any of his team on the subject of the pandemic in over two weeks. On Wednesday, the focus of the day shifts to the Department of Justice and how Attorney General William Barr has blown up the barriers that are supposed to exist between that agency and the White House.

The most critical testimony of the day is likely to come from attorney Aaron Zelinsky, who was formerly assigned as a prosecutor in the case against Trump campaign adviser, Roger Stone. Zelenski’s opening statement makes it clear that there was an unprecedented degree of political influence exerted on prosecutors. That included giving Stone unmatched leniency, including reducing the sentencing recommendation without cause, and bringing in a new attorney at Barr’s direction to give Stone kid-glove treatment. With Barr’s dismissal of the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York fresh off the headlines, and multiple voices from within the DOJ speaking up against the politicization of the department, the hearing can be expected to be contentious.

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In his opening statement, Zelinsky is expected to say that, "What I saw was the Department of Justice exerting significant pressure on the line prosecutors in the case to obscure the correct Sentencing Guidelines calculation to which Roger Stone was subject—and to water down and in some cases outright distort the events that transpired in his trial and the criminal conduct that gave rise to his conviction.” 

Since the release of Zelnsky’s statement, Barr has issued a reply which clarifies the situation, by making it worse. The statement shows that Barr personally intervened in Stone’s case, ordering the removal of sentencing guidelines. Laughably, Barr also maintains that stepping into this one case specifically to deal with Trump’s long-time friend and campaign adviser, was keeping the department “away from politics.”

Barr’s handling of the Justice Department may be unprecedented, but so is the Republican reaction. Republicans in both the House and Senate have been protective of Barr and Trump’s ability to turn the DOJ into an extension of Trump’s personal legal team and to overlook its use as a political tool—just as they’ve defended Trump’s right to use pardons to reward friends with protection from absolutely justified convictions. 

The special treatment for Stone came after Barr fired U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu and replaced her with an acting attorney who was under “heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break.” The way in which Liu was removed to clear the way for making things easy for Stone is a mirror of the legal musical chairs that has seen Barr replace the legal team handing charges against Michael Flynn. And it’s exactly why the removal of U. S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in the midst of investigations of Rudy Giuliani and other Trump associates rang (and continues to ring) so many alarm bells. In all of these instances, Barr has removed experienced prosecutors taking a standard, apolitical approach to cases involving serious crimes, and replaced them with second-tier toadies who get their marching orders via Twitter. And in the case of both Stone and Flynn, Barr has used his personal authority to the benefit of Trump’s associates.

Barr has bent the law beyond the breaking point to protect Stone, and Flynn, and most of all Trump. What has happened with both Stone and Flynn, as the DOJ has revised and reduced sentencing proposals, isn’t just unprecedented or extraordinary, it’s corrupt. Republicans who defend these actions aren’t just protecting this corruption, they are rolling in it. Five months is not too short a time to conduct an impeachment.  

The Judiciary Committee hearing on prosecutorial independence will begin at 12 PM ET.

Trump’s attempt to block release of John Bolton’s book denied by federal judge

Judge Royce Lamberth has denied Donald Trump’s attempt to block the release of John Bolton’s book. In the ruling, Lamberth says that the presentation from William Barr’s DOJ team failed to “established that an injunction is an appropriate remedy.”

During the presentation on Friday, Lamberth repeatedly pointed out that the book was, in fact, already published, printed, in the hands of reviewers, and stacked up in both warehouses and bookstores. Digital versions have also been produced, along with audiobooks. He asked the DOJ “what do you want me to do about it?” and got back a fumbling response about possibly blocking the release in ways that seemed about as well thought out as most things emerging from this White House. In his ruling, Lamberth makes it clear that he was unimpressed: “For reasons that hardly need to be stated, the Court will not order a nationwide seizure and destruction of a political memoir.”

None of this makes Bolton’s book worth buying. The former National Security Advisor’s demonstrated cowardice and greed in refusing to testify before the House impeachment proceedings showed clearly enough that he placed potential profits infinitely above the good of the nation. 

Over the next few days, as the embargo is released, all the “good parts” of Bolton’s book will be made public in any case—including information this morning that makes it clear that Donald Trump was mad at the U. S. attorney who Barr is trying to kick out in part because that attorney screwed up a scheme between Trump and a Turkish bank. And no one really wants to read John Bolton’s opinion on anything. Ever.

Lamberth’s ruling makes it clear that Bolton may have violated national security and that he, “stands to lose his profits from the book deal, exposes himself to criminal liability, and imperils national security.” However, none of that means that this last second maneuver can stop the release of the book.

So Trump loses. Barr loses. And Bolton also loses. That’s a good ruling.

The ruling from judge Lamberth just establishes—again—how willing Bill Barr is to use the Justice Department as if it is Trump’s private law firm. And how amazingly incompetent Barr is in just about every instance. But it also shows that Bolton’s cowardly action is unlikely to net him a dime. You have to like that.

Senate Republicans recommit themselves to Trump—no matter how much he endangers the country

Sure, Donald Trump is unfit. Sure, Trump may have begged yet another country—China—to help him win reelection. Sure, Trump is emotionally damaged and intellectually addled, according to a written account by his former national security adviser John Bolton. 

But does that matter to the Senate Republicans who cosigned Trump's presidency by saving him from conviction without hearing from a single witness? Are you high? No effing way do they have the integrity required for a little self-examination, according to CNN reporting. They're in the tank for Trump—always have been, always will be, no matter what.

Wanna give Senate Republicans the boot? Give $2 right now to say “Bye Felicia” this November.

Asked whether Senate Republicans should have sought to secure Bolton's testimony now that his book is out, the ever-reflective Sen. Ron Johnson responded, "No," adding, "We never should have had an impeachment trial."

Of course, that's not what Bolton said. Based on Trump's persistent pattern of placing his own personal and electoral needs over duty to the country, Bolton said Trump should have been investigated and impeached for more, not less. Trump engaged in "obstruction of justice as a way of life," as Bolton said, referring to his interventions in criminal investigations for personal favors.

Still, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who's likely one of the top two most-endangered GOP senators seeking reelection, had the nerve to speak up and blame House Democrats for not taking Bolton to court over this unwillingness to testify. "The House didn't think it was important," Sen. Gardner quipped. What a weasel. Bolton, who's no hero, did publicly express his willingness to testify in front of the GOP-led Senate—the Republican caucus just refused to hear from him, or any other witnesses for that matter.

The sole Republican senator to express regret about not hearing from Bolton also voted in favor of having witnesses at the trial. “I wish we had a trial with the people testifying under oath,” Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told reporters.

But most Republicans did the only logical thing one could do in the face of a 500-page manuscript documenting the myriad ways in which Trump is selling out and endangering the country: They refused to comment. 

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, however, really went the extra mile, affirming that he's more convinced than ever that Trump's the right guy for the job despite begging China to buy more agricultural products in order to secure his reelection. "Different people use different sales techniques," Barrasso offered. Whether they’re legal or not apparently isn’t relevant. "Every president has, one way or another, thought they ought to be reelected. I think President Trump should be reelected. I support his reelection, I'm for it."

Do Republicans even know the Constitution exists? They are  proving themselves more useless by the day, and have no business stewarding the country.

The worse Trump does, the more pathetic Senate Republicans’ blind fealty to him looks

Republican lawmakers are twisting themselves into pretzels trying to figure out how to save their own hides without attracting the rage and fury of Donald Trump.

Four of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans have already disappeared Trump from their TV ads as if the bloviator in chief doesn't actually exist. In essence: Trump? Yeah, never heard of him, except that one time I voted to clear him of all impeachment charges without ever hearing from a single witness.

That would be Sens. Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Susan Collins of Maine. All of those Republicans, while trying to dodge Trump's ire, have figured out there's no upside to overtly aligning themselves with a guy whose approvals are cratering as he blows it on the nation's two biggest crises. 

But stuck in the middle are GOP senators like Joni Ernst of Iowa, John Cornyn of Texas, and David Perdue of Georgia—who haven't yet reached the point of no return where they realize Trump is clearly dooming them. 

Perdue, for instance, wasn't willing to answer reporter questions on Trump spinning conspiracy theories about a 75-year-old activist who was shoved to the ground by Buffalo police officers. But asked about attacks on Perdue's fealty to Trump, his spokesperson offered: "Bring it on," according to the AP.

Anti-Trumper and GOP strategist Tim Miller calls Republicans "hostages" but is still mystified that they couldn't find the basic resolve to separate themselves from Trump's insane attack on an elderly protester. 

“I’m not asking them to become Twitter trolls,” Miller said. “But I don’t see why they don’t take opportunities to put a little distance between themselves and the president.”

Of course, that's how we arrived here in the first place. Republicans are truly spineless—they haven't shown a lick of integrity or concern for their oaths of office since the day Trump took office. Just reckless acquiescence to a man who is clearly physically and mentally not well. So the idea that they might show a bit of dignity or put country first at risk of drawing a mean tweet from Trump is just unthinkable to them.

What remains to be seen is how many Senate Republicans running for reelection this November are willing to get on a stage with Trump. Remember, the last GOP politicians in tough races to do some high-profile campaigning with Trump were 2019 GOP gubernatorial candidates Matt Bevin in Kentucky and Eddie Rispone in Louisiana. They both lost.