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Kamloops News

THOMPSON: Rats leaving a sinking ship

October 14, 2019 - 12:00 PM



The rats aren’t leaving the sinking ship yet…but they are strapping on life vests.

William Shakespeare wrote about rats on occasion - real and human - in his comic, tragic and historical plays. And if Willie were alive today, he would no doubt combine all three genres masterfully in a tale of Donald Trump and a number of other rats in a corrupt administration.

Those who once held a thought that Trump has good judgment - business or otherwise - should have been disabused of that inkling when he openly invited Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election…on camera, no less.

But in life as in school…some people don’t get it the first time around. So, Trump obliged life’s remedial students with a repeat lesson. The very day after former Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III testified to Congressional committees this past Summer about Russia’s influence in America’s presidential election…Trump dishonoured America and violated his oath of office…again.

Trump simply moved one nation to the left from Russia on the map - the Ukraine - and did what he does best…corrupt. During a July 25 telephone conversation with Ukrainian’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump tried to extort help from Ukraine in getting dirt on a political rival - Joseph R. Biden - for arms that Ukraine needed desperately to defend itself from the Russians.

In true Shakespearean fashion, Trump blocked $391 million in aid to the Ukraine just a week before the call. This gave Mr. Art-of-the-Deal leverage…as Trump seemed to view this life-and-death situation as just another real estate deal. Zelensky was unaware that Trump was holding up arms, however, as Trump pressed him during the phone call to work with both Attorney General William P. Barr and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, on corruption investigations into Biden and other Democrats.

Just to be clear, Giuliani is not a government official…he is a personal lawyer for Donald Trump…not even a White House attorney. Further, there’s no need for Attorney General Barr to have contacted Zelensky…Ukrainian officials had already investigated Trump’s false claims about Biden and his son…and found them groundless. Like most things Trump says, all his allegations were and continue to be…lies.

Read the actual White House transcript of the call. You’ll see that the legal term, “Res ipsa loquitur” - Latin for the thing speaks for itself - clearly applies. Republicans - being Republicans - started their campaign of deflection and obfuscation…arguing that it was no “quid pro quo.”

Again, just to be clear, the high crimes and misdemeanours necessary for impeachment were committed when the president asked a foreign government official to do anything that might affect a state or national election in the U.S. Quid pro quo isn’t necessary to have committed this high crime.

A whole bunch of White House lawyers apparently saw how damaging the transcript might be and quickly had it removed from the computer server normally used to store information about communications with foreign leaders. It was moved to another server…reserved only for the most sensitive national security information…a decision that has never been made by White House lawyers.

The only thing sensitive about that transcript is that it provides clear evidence that President Trump sought interference in a presidential election. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - it was found just last week - also was in on the call to Zelensky. And those in the White House who had a choice of protecting Trump or protecting the Constitution and American democracy…chose Trump.

The fly in Trump’s ointment, however, and someone Shakespeare might have loved, was a whistle-blower - a Central Intelligence Agency analyst - assigned to the White House to review communications with foreign government officials who talk with the White House.

As of this writing, the whistle-blower’s identity is not known but by a few people…a fact that will likely change soon. You can and should read the actual whistle-blower complaint here. By the way, the nine-page complaint mentions Giuliani 31 times. Hint…Rudy would be one of Shakespeare’s leading antagonists in any modern-day play.

This complaint was filed on Aug. 12, 18 days after the Trump-Zelensky call. Under law, the complaint should have gone to Congress…immediately. But instead, acting-Director of National Intelligence Joseph McGuire, a retired three-star general, fell back on decades of his chain-of-command indoctrination and sought a higher authority for his orders…instead of following the law.

Shakespeare would have loved that, too. After all, If chickens are dead in the hen house…what better source to go for truth and advice on how to protect the henhouse…than the fox? And so it was…McGuire went to the White House to ask what he should do with a complaint against the guy in the White House.

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone - on the job for less than a year - should have had America’s back…but he chose Trump’s instead. Despite then Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson’s concurrence that the complaint was both “urgent” and “credible”…Cipollone waylaid the complaint with legal mumbo-jumbo, and to cover all the bases…sent it over to Attorney General William Barr…who was named five times by Trump during the Trump-Zelensky. Atkinson has since resigned his Inspector General post.

Barr, hardly at arm’s length to the call, had Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel write a letter supporting the White House and Department of Justice positions. Hmmmm…does it surprise anyone that Barr basically came up with a “This isn’t a thing,” argument…and held up Congress’ automatic right by law to see the complaint.

Another by the way…Barr two weeks ago traveled secretly to Italy to enlist that government’s help in trying to prove an insane conspiracy that has long been de-bunked…that the Ukraine rather than Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. election. 

Why? If that propaganda could be sold to the American public…Trump could lift sanctions on Russia. Are you beginning to connect the dots? Trump owes Putin…and God knows what Putin has on Trump to force his hand….but it’s something.

Truths almost always eventually came to light…yet another thing Shakespeare loved.
The antagonists are many and easy to find in Trump’s world…some play huge roles…Trump, Giuliani, Barr, Pompeo and Putin. But there are some lesser villains…the characters in Shakespeare’s real plays were usually killed off in the second act.

White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney…and other administration incompetents…metaphorically live and die at the whim of Donald Trump. My guess is that Trump sees these folks as necessary evils…you have to keep them around to deflect and eventually sacrifice for your misdeeds.

Also, there are - and we should be thankful - some protagonists in this real-life comedy-tragedy-historical story. The soon-to-be-known whistle-blower…and some patriotic career diplomats and government workers…are heroes.

Sadly, some of these good people were bumped off by Trump and his minions in earlier acts…like former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie L. Yovanovitch. Canadian-born Yovanovitch became an American citizen and spent 33 years in service to her country.

Her record prior to Trump…spotless…held in highest regard by the entire diplomatic corps…named by Republican President George W. Bush as an Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, then to Armenia, and by President Obama to the Ukraine.

But Trump, Giuliani and an array of Trump sycophants…Pete Sessions, Joseph diGenova and Lev Parnas all tried to destroy her good reputation…with, of course, lies. Yovanovich was re-called months ahead of schedule…perhaps Trump believed the lies himself and feared a lack of cooperation in his corrupt Ukrainian plans? Regardless, Trump ruined another career of a good person and tainted a good American. Very Shakespearean, indeed.

Meanwhile, Trump Tweeted nearly 300 times the past two weeks…mostly about how the whistle-blower can’t be trusted…and called that complaint hearsay. That ship sailed, Mr. President, your own White House of rats released the transcript of the call…remember? It said exactly what the whistle-blower said….exactly. Now, there is another whistle-blower, this one a first-hand observer.

The question is - knowing what we know about Trump’s one phone call with Zelensky that he tried to hide - don’t you wonder what was said during the dozens of calls and meetings with Putin, Kim Jong-un, and a host of Saudi Royal Family members? When you hide calls and destroy notes of meetings…are you serving America’s interests…or your own?

I know this man…nothing is beneath him. Same old pattern…deny, deflect, attack, repeat. Trump and his gutless minions talk about a coup. Trump raises the spectre of another Civil War…or worse?

It will be interesting to see which rats will leave Trump’s sinking ship first…and which might wait too long and - like the Captain - going down with the ship.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines. His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.

News from © iNFOnews, 2019

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