APB: The Gang Leader Speaks

Donald Trump’s telephone  conversation with Georgia’s secretary of state will go down in history as a classic case of election interference, totally in keeping with Trump’s disdain for democratic processes and perfect willingness to use any means, legal or otherwise, to get his way.  James Comey was the first to warn us that Trump behaves like a Mafia capo, and Trump’s latest foray in Georgia is precisely that: a gang leader’s demand to “give me what I want or face the consequences.” (Audio of the call is at https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/listen-full-audio-trump-s-phone-call-georgia-secretary-state-n1252696)

On the surface, the conversation with Brad Raffensperger is about voter fraud: “It’s just not possible to have lost Georgia,” Trump says time and again. . . . there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you’ve recalculated.”  Then comes the veiled threat, and the rage: “I’m notifying you that you’re letting it happen. So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state. . . . You know, and I watched you this morning, and you said, well, there was no criminality. But I mean all of this stuff is very dangerous stuff. When you talk about no criminality, I think it’s very dangerous for you to say that. . . . [Trump tries to pressure Raffensperger to meet with lawyers immediately and go over Trump’s claims.] I think we should come to a resolution of this before the election. Otherwise you’re going to have people just not voting. They don’t want to vote. They hate the state, they hate the governor, and they hate the secretary of state. I will tell you that right now.”

As outrageous as Trump’s demands are, they have a wider significance.  First, attacking the vote outcome is really about Trump’s future, not his present.  He is determined to hold onto his base, and wild but consistent assaults on the voting system ensure that he will.  Second, we are reminded—though only Trump supporters need reminding—that this president is mentally and intellectually unfit to hold office.  His fear of losing is palpable; his obsession with winning is deranged; his accusations are rambling and at times incoherent.  Third, we witness Trump’s complete disregard for democratic processes.  He cannot accept any election result that goes against him, and he therefore demands that his representatives be allowed access to any data they want so as to find evidence of his actual victory.  Election laws, court decisions, and state investigations, all cited by the Georgia secretary of state in defense of the election result, mean nothing to Trump.

Lastly, Trump is clearly in violation of state and federal law, and the Constitution.  He has tampered with an election and sought to overturn the popular vote.  But more than that, he has committed sedition.  In urging the secretary of state to “find 11,780 votes” or face a “big risk,” Trump has taken his “voter fraud” mantra to a dangerous new level: undermining democracy and promoting autocracy.  Once again Trump has jeopardized national security.  It must be the last.

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  1. Dear Mel:

    I signed a petition advocating we impeach the sonofabitch; as worthless as that may be.

  2. The good news is that it pollutes the atmosphere for Loeffler and Perdue. They won’t have an easy time making their own closing arguments and will be asked unpleasant questions about where they stand on the latest Trump stinker. Also, it has begun to smoke out reluctant “more moderate” Republicans who feel this has crossed even their tolerant red lines. And finally, the presence of Trump lawyers on the call make it more difficult for him to claim that he was just blowing smoke or venting his spleen.

  3. Let’s hope one or some of our “leaders” initiate legal proceedings against Trump and his gang of outlaws. Otherwise, this will go on and on and on and on…..till they get back in power.

    Happy and Healthy New Year!!!

  4. Apparently prosecuting him for the violation of Federal law would have to prove that Trump intended to reverse a legitimate election. Trump surrounds himself with sycophants, who tell him what he wants to believe. He may actually believe his own lies, including that he won the election. So the need to prove intention may be a problem for prosecuting him, and a failed prosecution would be a disaster. Because the Mueller report did not indict him, he was able to claim falsely that he was exonerated. On the other hand, an opinion column in today’s Times argues that a successful impeachment and conviction would prevent him from becoming president again in 2024, and that is of course what we want. Trump’s sins are blatantly obvious to most of us, but how best to stop him from doing more damage to our democracy is less clear, at least to me.

    1. In a reply to John Cooper’s suggestion that Times argues that a successful impeachment and conviction would prevent him from becoming president again in 2024, and that is of course what we want. And, of course, such a scenario would be appealing; but we haven’t the time for it.

      May I suggest one alternative as an addition: Outright censure by both Houses of Congress: It is not the desirable alternative to impeachment or the 24th thingy-dingy; but has this supreme advantage: it can be done, relatively quickly, would require only a few members of the Rethuglican side of the Senate (along with ALL the Dem’s) and would VERY easily pass in the House of Representatives; and would put the proverbial mark of Cain on The Donald; just as it did with “tail gunner” Joe McCarthy. Not to mention the timeliness on this issue: Either the House or the Senate (I forget which) is due for an adjournment between now and the Presidential inauguration.

      1. Certainly an easier path to take than the 25th Amendment or impeachment, Mike. Yet even censure might not make it through the Senate. Right now, the old football strategy–run out the clock–seems most likely to happen.

  5. I think journalist David Cay Johnston compared the Donald to a Mafia family boss in his 2016 expose The Making of Donald Trump. And since that book was based on Johnston’s coverage of Trump going back into the 1980s, I suspect this illuminating comparison preceded the book by years, in Johnston’s earlier work. Comey — like Trump, another conman to whom the truth has never been a burden — was either late to the game in making the Trump=mobster connection, or withheld that info until he thought he could use it to improve his own tarnished, declining rep.

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