My update on Trump’s three TV interviews today is that I didn’t watch any of them and neither should any of you.
“What is the cost of lies?” asked Valery Legasov in HBO’s brilliant Chernobyl mini-series.
It wasn’t a rhetorical question. Legasov had an answer: “It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all.”
Trump campaign manager Steven Bannon put it a little more succinctly when he summarized how to enact his alt-right agenda: “Flood the zone with shit.”
And so here we are, four years later, with a significant portion of the country unable to recognize truth – that Joe Biden won the election. 50 days after the 2020 election and Donald Trump is still claiming that he won, still filing lawsuits seeking to overturn the election, and encouraging congress to reject the results of the electoral college, which has already voted. These lies have been lucrative for Trump. He has raised over $250 million SINCE the election by telling supporters the funds are going to the legal fight to keep him in office. That’s a lie. The funds have been split between the Republican Party and a Trump PAC. As for the campaign funds themselves, Jared Kushner was operating a shell company to mask where over $600 million of the campaign’s money went. We do not know where all of it was spent, but we do know a large amount of that was directed to Trump family members.
Trump has now pardoned multiple people convicted of lying to the FBI in order to protect him during the Mueller probe – Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos, Alex Van der Zwaan. He pardoned 4 Blackwater mercenaries convicted of murdering over a dozen Iraqi civilians, including a nine year old boy who was shot in the head. He pardoned two border patrol agents convicted of shooting an unarmed man in the back. He pardoned Jared Kushner’s father. Charles Kushner arranged for a prostitute to sleep with his brother in law. Kushner filmed the act then sent it to his own sister. Why? To prevent her from testifying against him. He has pardoned multiple former Republican congressmen convicted of embezzlement and securities fraud. He is using the pardon power to protect those who obstructed the Mueller investigation to save him, to help personal friends, and to excuse the sorts of financial crimes he himself has been accused of.
The White House has been extremely opaque regarding their own Covid-19 infections. Every outbreak has been broken by the media, rather than released by the White House. We recently learned the head of White House security has been suffering from a severe case of Covid-19 for months. One foot and part of his other leg have been amputated. He’s currently running a GoFundMe to pay his medical bills. His boss claims to be one of the richest people on the planet and could wipe out his debt in an instant. He will not do so.
Trump’s political appointees at the CDC went to great lengths to lie about the state of the pandemic. Redfield himself instructed staff to delete an email from a Michael Caputo advisor seeking to alter the CDC’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality report. Caputo and his aid also sought to downplay the use of masks, alter data to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine, and to promote herd immunity over effective countermeasures. Why? To service Donald Trump’s lies about the virus.
Following other departments which have been instructed not to cooperate with the transition process, Betsy Devos told career staff to “be the resistance” against the Biden administration. Yesterday, staff at the White House were given instructions about how their jobs would wind down and about their last days in the building. (This is the normal process). A memo went out today telling them all to ignore those instructions entirely. The implication is that Donald Trump might still be the president.
States have not received their requested amounts of the Pfizer vaccine as Pfizer has said they have a large amount of the vaccine sitting idle in a warehouse. Why? The Trump administration did not instruct Pfizer on where to send the vaccine.
Trump tweeted out a video of a Texas elector saying that Chief Justice Roberts got into a shouting match regarding one of Trump’s bullshit lawsuits. The claim was that Roberts knew Trump’s case was sound but was killing it for… reasons. The Texas elector got this story from the alt-right media. And they got it from an anonymous post on 4-chan from someone claiming to be a Supreme Court clerk. At any point in that chain from “journalist” to president, the story would have fallen apart under the most basic fact checking. The Supreme Court has not met in person since the beginning of March.
Trump is touting a “report” from sycophant Peter Navarro. I’ll note that in Navarro’s books he was unable to find anyone in the field of economics who agreed with his ideas so he invented one, using an anagram of his own name. The report contains several disproven claims about how Trump actually won the election. Philip Bump did an excellent takedown here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/18/this-might-be-most-embarrassing-document-created-by-white-house-staffer/#click=https://t.co/7WflP1PIdk
Russia has undertaken the largest intrusion into US government computer systems in history. As usual, Trump responded to the revelation by calling the information itself into question but also saying it may have been China. It was not. The White House had a statement drafted announcing Russia’s responsibility for the hack. Trump stopped the statement from being released. Trump also said China may have been the country which hacked DNC email systems, said he didn’t see why it would be Russia who interfered in the 2016 election, and said it was fake news that Russia had paid bounties on US troops in Afghanistan. At every turn, Trump has gone to great lengths to say Russia has committed no wrong.
Nothing that’s taken place since the election was unpredicted. Because of how several of the swing states tallied votes, we knew Trump would appear to have a lead in them early in the tally which would be wiped out when the urban areas were counted. We knew Trump would claim fraud. We knew he would attempt to have the courts overturn the election.
His refusal to admit when he’s lost drives to the very core of who Donald Trump is. Loss is weakness and since he’s a strong brave alpha male, he can’t admit loss, mistake, or anything that would lead to growth. He’s been yelling for years that he actually won the popular vote in 2016 and that millions of illegal votes were counted for Clinton. In the primary, he insisted that now-sycophant Ted Cruz had fraudulently won the Iowa caucus. But this isn’t limited to his political career. Trump threw tantrums when passed over for an Emmy for the game show he hosted. (I will continually point out that Trump has never fired anyone, even on The Apprentice, whose contestants were not employed by Donald Trump.)
But right now I want to talk about Michael Forbes.
You’ve probably never heard of Michael Forbes. And there’s little reason you would. Mr. Forbes is a quarry worker who also runs a small family farm halfway between Foveran and Balmedie in Scotland. Mr. Forbes lives a simple life but received a recognition you’d not expect someone low-key like him to ever win.
Mr. Forbes, according to legendary Scotch brand Glenfiddich, was 2012’s “Scot of the Year.” (The company does not choose the recipient but rather runs a poll as a marketing stunt.) Being Glenfiddich’s Scot of the Year does not result in prize money. I don’t believe there’s a ceremony. Aside from those who read articles about the award, I doubt many people have any idea what it is or who has been selected.
Save Donald Trump.
Trump was FURIOUS that Glenfiddich named Mr. Forbes Scot of the Year. He banned their liquor from his properties – all of them. He attacked Glenfiddich on Twitter, back when no one gave a shit what Donald Trump said on Twitter because we all realized what a pathetic whining loser he was. Trump went so far as to insist the poll itself was fraudulent and a large number of people must have voted multiple times in order to select Mr. Forbes over Trump’s choice, tennis player Andy Murray.
If you think it’s odd Trump would be this involved in a COMPLETELY meaningless online poll, I’d point you to the time he spent months giving unsolicited relationship advice to Kirsten Stewart, a woman he’d never met. But in this case, there’s a reason that Donald Trump hated Michael Forbes.
Trump built his golf course next to Mr. Forbes’s farm. Mr. Forbes refused to sell it to him. That’s it. Most adults would either offer more money or move on. The farm belongs to Mr. Forbes and if he wanted to keep it, he was well within his rights. Trump began removing equipment from Mr. Forbes’s property anyway and fenced in part of it to begin construction. He even convinced the local police he owned the Forbes property. He did not. Once that failed, Trump tried to have the property condemned so that he could then buy it via the same sort of eminent domain transfers possible in The United States. He of course failed.
Michael Forbes was recognized in the Glenfiddich poll because he stood up to Donald Trump – and the Scots LOVED him for it.
And because Trump is a pathetic child, he couldn’t process this and insisted people hadn’t voted for Forbes. They hadn’t recognized and sided with a man who let Trump know he was an asshole.
That’s what’s happening right now in America. Biden soundly defeated Trump. And Trump is absolutely incapable of processing this. He has not been able to accept rejection his entire life – not from women, not from awards shows, not from the courts, and not from the people of this country. He’s treating the election the same way he treated Michael Forbes.
It can’t be that a record number of people voted against him. It can’t be that the majority of us recognize the incompetent failure that is Donald Trump. It can’t have anything to do with people rejecting Donald Trump.
So we get the old standbys – things that don’t go his way aren’t fair. Votes that go against him are fraudulent.
While it’s exceedingly dangerous that almost no Republicans are standing up to this coward, it’s also almost over. He will whine and throw a tantrum over this election until the day he dies.
And it won’t matter because the country is moving on in January and starting to heal the damage he has done.
We now have seen the scope of the Michael Flynn pardon and as expected, it’s extremely broad. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI but we knew there were other crimes the prosecutors hadn’t proceeded with. The pardon covers ALL crimes committed by Flynn uncovered by the Mueller investigation. General Flynn, formerly National Security Adviser and head of the military’s Defense Intelligence Agency, is now openly calling for Donald Trump to suspend the Constitution, throw out the election, and hold a new election conducted by the military. You may recognize this action as a coup. The president’s first national security adviser is calling for a coup.
Unsealed Department of Justice documents revealed an investigation into someone who was offering a bribe to Donald Trump in exchange for a pardon. While the documents do not reveal who the target of the investigation is, former UAW president Gary Jones fits what we do know. President Trump said the investigation was “fake news” apparently not understanding that the media did not uncover the investigation at all. We only know about it from the court documents themselves.
Rudy Giuliani has asked for a pardon to pre-empt any prosecutions arising from the work he’s been doing with foreign nationals and spies. Trump is also considering pardoning Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump, more commonly known as his family. Note that people who have not committed federal crimes do not need pardons.
Speaking of, Ivanka Trump was deposed yesterday in a civil case regarding the inauguration. There are multiple investigations into the inauguration, both civil and criminal. In this case, it’s a civil case related to the inauguration funneling money into Trump’s DC hotel which artificially inflated the prices it charged the inauguration. We have known about this issue for years via emails from inauguration organizer Stephanie Wolkoff who wrote at the time about concerns that the rates the Trump Hotel was charging were illegal.
The president’s lawyer, Joe diGenova, called for the execution of cybersecurity expert Chris Krebs. Krebs issued a statement that the election was secure and there were no signs of massive voter fraud. Trump fired him for telling the truth. Now Trump’s lawyer is saying Krebs should be drawn and quartered then shot. diGenova later said these comments were “sarcastic” and “made in jest.” They were not.
Another government officer who says there was no massive voter fraud is Attorney General Bill Barr. Barr last month secretly appointed investigator John Durham as a special counsel to investigate the Russia investigation. Durham so far has found no evidence at all of wrongdoing. Despite this, Trump is now considering firing Barr for saying the election was not fraudulent.
The Trump administration argued before the Supreme Court on Monday that undocumented immigrants should not be included in census apportionment. This concept has been tested numerous times and failed each and every time. The Constitution is quite clear on who counts in the census – everyone. They will lose this case.
Trump’s lawyers and allies continue to fail over and over again in court. They have to date lost 40 cases and won 1. This does not stop them from filing more. It is difficult to express how incompetent all of these lawyers are. Former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell issued a filing to the court to day which was simply a PDF where she had not filled in any forms. She has filed a suit in Michigan alleging irregularities in Edison County. Michigan does not have an Edison County. She’s confused Edison County with Edison Township, which is not in Michigan, but rather Minnesota. All of this is derived from a dataset she filed earlier in Michigan using information from places in Minnesota. Why the confusion? The person who assembled the data confused the state abbreviations for the two states, MI and MN. In yet another new filing, Powell accused election officials in Arizona of not following the required guidelines set up by the board of elections in Georgia. In a Wisconsin suit, Powell fired on behalf of plaintiff Derrick Van Orden. Slight problem – Van Orden never agreed to be a plaintiff in the suit.
As these cases continue to fail, the Trump campaign insists they have plenty of evidence in the form of affidavits about fraud. Several of those “witnesses” are now testifying and their evidence of fraud includes: election officials asking people to distance, observers wearing BLM apparel with rhinestones, and the room being hot. They are essentially parading every moron conspiracy theorist they can find in front of the microphones and claiming this constitutes evidence.
Trump gave a 46 minute speech today detailing what he claims is proof of election fraud. Every single claim he’s made has already been debunked, ranging from a communist conspiracy theory to have machines flip votes (hand counts have proven this did not happen), suspicious ballot dumps going for Biden (The spikes in tallied votes come from cities, with relatively massive populations, turning in their results), dead voters (every single instance has been proven wrong), etc..
Steve Mnuchin is planning on clawing back unspent PPP funds at the end of the year. The law required not doing this until 2026. He made the mistake of asking Congresswoman Katie Porter if she was a lawyer. She is. After receiving her law degree from an obscure school called Harvard, Porter clerked at the appellate level before entering into private practice and teaching law school for eight years.
Republican senator and Trump ally Ron Johnson spoke to the former chairman of the Brown County Republican Party. Johnson told Mr. Becker he was well aware of the fact that Biden won the election and there was no widespread voter fraud. Johnson, formerly a conduit for a Russian disinformation campaign about Joe Biden, said he couldn’t admit Biden won publicly because it would harm him politically among Trump supporters.
Dr. Jordan Keeperman is a Nevada doctor who recently began working in a Covid-19 ICU at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. He posted a picture of himself wearing PPE a few weeks ago with a story about the number of patients he’d recently seen who had died of the disease. He purposefully chose as a background a new ward which had yet to open so as to avoid any patient privacy issues. A twitter account accused him of taking the picture at a fake hospital and that Keeperman had never seen any Covid-19 patients. The President of the United States of America retweeted this bullshit accusation about Dr. Keeperman and added that Nevada also had fake election results. The president is directly attacking front line responders to the pandemic and saying they are lying about the virus.
And not a single Republican will say anything about his doing so.
This week the head of the GSA finally agreed that Biden is the apparent winner and initiated the actual transition process. Several media outlets, including reporters at major national publications, mistakenly characterized this as Trump accepting he’d lost the election. This is not what happened nor is it why Emily Murphy finally began the transition process. Trump is still, multiple times a day, claiming he won the election by a huge amount. The reason Murphy recognized Biden’s win is Congress. She was asked to appear before the House on Monday to address why she had not begun the transition process. She replied that they could instead speak to her deputy a week later. House leaders immediately responded to her with a thinly veiled threat of subpoena. After receiving the letter, Murphy published her own which opened the transition infrastructure to Biden.
Trump continues to assault the integrity of the election and continues to be rebuffed by the courts. They have now lost 39 lawsuits attempting to overturn the election and are now pleading with state legislatures directly to ignore the vote and appoint Trump electors. This is explicitly illegal. On Wednesday Trump called into a “hearing” in Pennsylvania about the same debunked fraud claims Giuliani has been pressing for weeks. This was not a hearing in any legal sense of the word. A handful of rogue PA state legislators had a press event in a hotel without any legal force behind it. This was not sanctioned by any government. No Democrats were included. This was merely a publicity stunt, not a government hearing.
Kash Patel has been placed in charge of the transition for the entire Department of Defense. Patel is a former Devin Nunes aid and was instrumental in pushing the conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden and Ukraine. Patel has been working at the Pentagon for 17 days. With less than three weeks of experience, he is the point person for moving the Pentagon to Biden’s control. This is a blatant attempt to make the transition as difficult as possible.
The president this week called the press corps into the briefing room where he spoke for just over a minute to notify them the Dow had broken 30,000., which he said was a “sacred number.” He made no other comments and took no questions. There’s been a rising movement in economics for some time now to stress that the Dow is not a particularly useful metric for measuring the health of the economy. 50% of the country own no stock whatsoever and 90% of the market is owned by the wealthiest ~10% of the country. This year has been an excellent illustration of the Dow’s divorce from the average American. As wealthy Americans have actually gained a great deal of wealth through 2020, food insecurity is at its highest level since the metric was first measured and food banks are seeing record demand and massive lines. At the end of December, several safeguards protecting the poor during the pandemic are going to expire. The federal eviction moratorium and student loan freeze will disappear. Most people receiving state unemployment payments will cease to receive them beginning December 26th. This could have a disastrous effect if the Senate does not take action.
Asked about whether he would leave the White House in January, amid his comments that he actually won the election, Trump exploded at CNN reporter Jeff Mason saying “don’t ever talk to the president that way” in response to a normal question. Like most other countries, Americans are allowed to speak to the president in whatever way they’d like.
For months before the election, pundits predicted there was no way Trump would concede and the constant rhetoric about mail-in ballots leading to massive fraud would serve as an excuse for him to not accept the results and to delay starting the transition.
And here we are.
Trump has posted dozens of conspiracy theories, flagged by Twitter, all of which are completely devoid of factual basis. Biden has a large margin in the Electoral College and won several swing states by huge numbers. In order for Trump to win, literally hundreds of thousands of ballots would need to be fraudulent.
So that’s exactly what the president is claiming.
This is of course, bullshit. So far there have been fewer than 5 cases of attempted voter fraud and zero cases of a fraudulent ballot being cast.
Trump has now lost or withdrawn THIRTY FOUR court cases over the election. As each argument has been swatted down, they’ve simply predictably moved on to the next.
Initially the suits focused on issues with the counting process itself. They solicited 234 pages of affidavits which included such egregious issues of poll workers being rude, a pollworker being large which was intimidated (yes, really), and someone saying it was suspicious that people in the military were voting for Biden. Needless to say, this was tossed out.
Once it became obvious they were losing every single lawsuit over the counting process, they pivoted to the next step – asking the courts and legislatures to just ignore the vote entirely. In multiple states, the Trump campaign has asked the courts to simply ignore the ballots entirely and declare Trump a winner. Trump is directly intervening to stop the certification of results so that sympathetic legislatures can declare him the victor. In Wayne County, Michigan, where Detroit is located. The two Republicans on the canvassing board said they would not vote to certify the results. They went so far as to say they’d certify the results in the cities outside of Detroit – which happen to be overwhelmingly white whereas Detroit has a huge black population. It turns out one of these board members for over a decade has been posting conspiracy theories about Democrats and racist memes about Obama. After a large public outcry, the Wayne County board voted to certify the results.
Then Donald Trump personally called them. After which both Republicans published affidavits saying they were forced to vote to certify the results and they wanted to “rescind” their certifications. Luckily, that isn’t a thing and there is no mechanism for them to change their votes. But to underline the danger here, the president is directly intervening with local officials pleading with them to reverse an election he decisively lost.
As Trump openly asks the Michigan legislature to simply ignore the election and appoint electors who will name him president, Trump reached out to two state Republican leaders and invited them to the White House. They discussed the election there. Both men, Lee Chatfield and Jim Lilly spent the night in DC after the meeting. They of course stayed at the Trump Hotel. Michigan taxpayers paid for their representatives to patronize the president’s private business as he was asking them to instigate a coup in his favor.
Conspiracy theorist lawyer Sidney Powell has joined Trump’s legal team after an exodus of more legitimate lawyers. She is claiming that a software company has flipped hundreds of thousands of votes nationwide. Recounts have compared paper results to the computer tallies. This is an insane lie. She’s blamed Hugo Chavez, who died 7 years ago, in part for this process. Why? The partial owner of one voting machine company is a Venezuelan immigrant. As part of this conspiracy theory, she says the US military has seized a computer server from a voting company in Germany that proves massive fraud nationwide. She has presented no evidence of this and there are the slight problems that we don’t send election data overseas, the company in question does not have any offices in Germany, and the US military does not conduct police raids in foreign countries we aren’t hostile towards.
This is not the fringe babbling of a crackpot. This is the president’s lawyer. The Republican Party itself sent out the video of her making these claims on their own social media.
The head of the GSA, the organization which kickstarts the transition process, is refusing to name Biden the apparent winner. Until she does so, he cannot access ANY government resources including information about the pandemic and the disease. She’s a Trump loyalist. One of her first official acts was to look into the conflict of Trump renting the building for his DC hotel from the government while also overseeing this government. This was explicitly forbidden by the lease. She resolved the conflict by declaring there wasn’t a conflict.
Meanwhile, Trump has ceased doing the job of the president other than a mass number of firings. He’s spent every weekend since the election golfing. This morning, the heads of the G-20 states held a Zoom meeting about the global pandemic response. Donald Trump skipped it to golf.
Four of the top Pentagon officials, including the Secretary of Defense, have been replaced with Trump loyalists. A court ruled that Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf’s appointment was illegal and therefore his orders were invalid. Trump has addressed this by appointing a new head of DHS for an afternoon, assigning Wolf to a new role, and then removing the temporary Secretary to re-appoint Wolf to the role. This, like so many other Trump actions, is an end-around to avoid seeking the required Senate confirmation for his subordinates. This will absolutely be challenged in court, but the point here isn’t validity – it’s simply chaos. The head of the DHS cybersecurity division which oversaw election security publicly stated that the election was secure, free of direct interference, and that no votes were electronically changed. In short, all of the president’s conspiracies about winning by a landslide were lies. He was repaid by getting fired, along with one of his deputies.
This isn’t limited to Trump. Lindsay Graham has called multiple Secretaries of State and in the case of Georgia’s, pressured him to throw out ballots which would swing the election to Trump there. (Georgia has since certified the election for Biden. So far, none of these efforts have succeeded.)
Trump is going to do as much damage to the country as he possibly can before leaving office and for the same reason he ran in the first place – spite.
And as he does this, elected Republicans simply stand by and watch. They are fine with burning the system to the ground. They are fine with the mass numbers of dead from the virus. And all of this because they know how unpopular their actual stances are and they think the chaos will help them retain power. None of this for them is about the 2016 election. This is a dry run for future elections. They are seeing what their supporters will go along with as far as fraudulently reversing elections they lose.
And the answer is anything at all.
In 2018 on election night, a narrative emerged that the Democrats had underperformed and the “blue wave” so many had predicted had never materialized. This was despite warnings that the final count would take days to finish.
In the end the Democrats gained 41 seats, a massive shift in The House. The predictions were correct – the Democrats won in a landslide.
We’re in the middle of that process right now regarding Joe Biden. Pundits warned that states like PA would count Biden-heavy mail/early ballots last which would cause a huge apparent shift from Trump to Biden in the days after the election. And that’s what we’re seeing.
Trump won 306 electoral votes in 2016. He called this a massive landslide. Republicans said this was a mandate from the people, despite the large popular vote gap.
Biden is tracking to win 306 electoral votes as well and may win the popular vote by the largest margin in history – over 7 million people. There are a lot of issues apparent from election night the Democrats need to work on (I’ll get to that later). But Biden’s victory is huge.
This was not the repudiation of Trumpism many of us hoped for but it was still a great accomplishment. You can breathe slightly easier for now.
As for this blog, the news about Trump is not slowing down especially as he’s openly contesting the election. I am going to continue documenting his malfeasance.
If you’re a Patreon subscriber and ready to tune all of this out, I do not blame you and thank you for your support through this endeavor. For those who want to, I am keeping the Patreon active until Biden’s inauguration. After that I’ll be shutting down donations.
If the news cycle on Trump continues past that, especially regarding investigations or criminal actions, I will continue writing about it for as long as it lasts.
Thank you to everyone for reading over these past five years. I know I’ve directly impacted the vote of some of you. You were seen. And you’ve perhaps made a bit of a dent in my Imposter Syndrome.
Thank you and I’ll be back to normal updates this week.
I obviously have a great many things to say, but I’m likely not publishing anything until after the weekend. Thank you for your patience.
I’ll obviously have thoughts regardless of what ends up happening, but Donald Trump just announced to the world that he has won the election and will be asking the Supreme Court to stop the tallying of votes.
The threat that is Donald Trump has never endangered the nation on this level before.