BackstabWatch

And so we end as we began, with a stolen Supreme Court seat.

Had American governance worked as Americans expect it to — or used to — the ideological balance of the Supreme Court would have remained unchanged at this point, two replacements and a third to be named next year, pending this election’s victors. Perhaps a Republican president would be forwarding a nomination to a Democratic Senate, or the other way around.

Of course, the other way around at this point would have meant three unfilled seats by now, had GOP senators carried out their threats against President Clinton, and we’d be enduring earnest discussion whether six seats was, y’know, enough.

Instead, the Endgame is upon us.

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Time was when we thought it would be enough to keep a list.

Keep track of every policy he enacted, every policy he reversed, and come 12:01 pm January 20, 2021, switch them all back.

We actually thought that. We knew it wouldn’t undo all the damage he’s done, but at least it would help contain it.

It’s not gonna work that way.

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We’re not really sure what to do at this point.

Evidence of another impeachable offense has been uncovered. And by “uncovered”, we mean admitted to, live, on national television. That’s about as close as it gets to shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

Although we have to wonder whether that would make any difference either.

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Selections from the indictment of Roger Stone on charges of perjury, obstruction, and witness tampering. HPSCI is the House intelligence committee. Person 2 is Randy Credico, a former WBAI radio host whose talk show was canceled in November 2017 because of his “internet bullying”. Organization 1 is WikiLeaks.

Stone had testified — lied — that Credico was his connection to Julian Assange, and he was leaning on Credico to back his story. Credico wasn’t agreeing.

On or about October 19, 2017, STONE sent Person 2 an excerpt of his letter to HPSCI that identified Person 2 as his “intermediary” to Organization 1. STONE urged Person 2, if asked by HPSCI, to falsely confirm what STONE had previously testified to, including that it was Person 2 who provided STONE with the basis for STONE’s early August 2016 statements about contact with Organization 1. Person 2 repeatedly told STONE that his testimony was false and told him to correct his testimony to HPSCI. STONE did not do so. STONE then engaged in a prolonged effort to prevent Person 2 from contradicting STONE’s false statements to HPSCI.

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Much attention has been paid to the defiant op-ed in the New York Times, as is inevitable, as are the suspicions surrounding it.

On the surface, it reads as an heroic account by an anonymous insider to protect America from Donald Trump, maybe even to protect him from himself. Actions are taken to “insulate” the business of government from his whims. Without those actions, the worst we have feared would have come to pass.

The immediate, obvious suspicion is who wrote it. Because it was published in the Times, and because we trust the Times’ professional standards, if not their editorial judgment, we accept the claim of “senior official” as offered — we trust that they’re not inflating an intern, or just writing it themselves. We don’t know how senior, we don’t know how high up the food chain the writer grazes, but we presume it’s high enough to matter.

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Trump Jr. Was Told in Email of Russian Effort to Aid Campaign [NYT]

Our guest interlocutors are John Dean and Richard Nixon, speaking in the Oval Office on March 21, 1973. Their conversation has been condensed for obvious pointed contemporary comparison.

DEAN:
I think, I think that, uh, there’s no doubt about the seriousness of the problem we’re, we’ve got. We have a cancer — within, close to the Presidency, that’s growing. It’s growing daily. It’s compounding, it grows geometrically now because it compounds itself. Uh, that’ll be clear as I explain you know, some of the details, uh, of why it is, and it basically is because (1) we’re being blackmailed; (2) uh, people are going to start perjuring themselves very quickly that have not had to perjure themselves to protect other people and the like. And that is just — and there is no assurance—

PRESIDENT:
That it won’t bust.

DEAN:
That, that it won’t bust.

PRESIDENT:
True.

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