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Mulvaney Defies Trump

Donald Trump is not known for nuance. Anyone choosing to defy him runs the risk of a expulsion from Camelot, or rather, Kompromat. So it comes as an eye-opener that the Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, sent his lawyer to court Friday night to join a lawsuit brought by Charles M. Kupperman, the president’s former Deputy National Security Adviser, who has also been subpoenaed by the House and is someone already on the outs with the president. He is asking the courts to tell him whether to remain silent (Trump’s preference) or comply with a House subpoena.

This is different from the other administration officials who have simply defied the House subpoenas for Mulvaney, accepting the president’s order not to cooperate, as sufficient to justify their contempt of court status, which is sure to follow. 

This is the natural result of a strained relationship between Mulvaney and Trump since his spectacular press conference debacle which resulted in Mulvaney having to walk back his “get over it” remark. In it he declared that “Quid Pro Quo” threats are made all the time.  After all, Mick Mulvaney is still the “acting” Chief of Staff ten months in as Trump’s uses his Chief of Staffs as high-level go-fers, nothing more.

The Chief of Staff is key to so many important aspects of the Presidency and is yet another benefit the office of the presidency extends to Trump which he then, in turn, squanders for self-serving greed, vane-glory. What a far cry from the utopian ideal of a relationship between an important figurehead and the Chief of Staff we might have had were this president not Donald Trump. 

In Aaron Sorkin’s West Wing, Roger Tribby, the Secretary of Agriculture, was chosen to stay behind in the White House during the State of the Union address. President Bartlet, before the speech, is giving him tips on what to do in the unlikely event he becomes president.

BARTLET: You have a best friend?

ROGER: Yes, sir.

BARTLET: Is he smarter than you?

ROGER: Yes, sir.

BARTLET: Would you trust him with your life?

ROGER: Yes, sir.

BARTLET: That’s your chief of staff.

Since he has no friends, is the self-professed smartest man on the planet, and trusts no one, Trump would have answered NO sir, NO sir, and NO sir. 

It’s hard to imagine how vulnerable Trump is right now and how threatened he must feel. Beware cornered animals.   

Kompromat

Definition - compromising information collected for use in blackmailing, discrediting, or manipulating someone, typically for political purposes.)

It’s FAKE! It’s FAKE! The Pres. has made it clear.

The climate is really perfect all the year.

A law was made in 2016 here:

The Times and Post cannot be trusted.

And there’s a legal limit to the news here

In Kompromat.

The emoluments are never remembered

And Russians are favored every time.

By order, sons and daughter are White House staffers.

In Kompromat.

Kompromat! Kompromat!

I know it sounds a bit bizarre,

But in Kompromat, Kompromat

That’s how conditions are.

The House may never pass laws while in session.

By Fall, the Syrian Kurds must disappear.

To wit, there’s simply not

A more Nationalistic spot

For MAGA Trumpists than here

In Kompromat.

Kompromat! Kompromat!

I know it gives a person angst,

But in Kompromat, Kompromat

These are the legal pranks.

The tariffs and tax breaks favor the rich.

By election the Dems must resign.

In short, there’s simply not

A more Nationalistic spot

For MAGA Trumpists than here

In Kompromat.

Each election, from November to November,

Before you choose to vote upon your lot,

Think back on all the horrors that you remember

Of Kompromat.

Ask ev’ry person if he’s heard the story,

And tell it strong and clear if he has not,

That once there was flaming horror and gory

Called Kompromat.

Kompromat! Kompromat!

Now say it out with shame and pain!

Kompromat! Kompromat!

Yes, Kompromat, again!

The emoluments are never remembered

And Russians are favored every time.

Don’t let it be forgot

That Nationalistic spot

For one brief shining moment that was known

As Kompromat.

Trump::Putin

© Dana Lubow 2019 All rights reserved. The nature of the Trump::Putin relationship.

Putin: I could make you king for life.

Trump: We don’t have Kings.  We elect Presidents. 

Putin: No problem. It’s easier to make a President than a King.

Trump: Ok. What do you want? 

Putin: A favor here. A request there.  Do what you can. 

Trump: Ok. What else? 

Putin: Nothing.  You want fame? You want fortune?  Do whatever you want. It does not matter to me.

Shakedown Strategies

Copyright 2019 Dana Lubow All rights reserved.

We’re getting a more complete picture of diplomacy, Donald Trump style, as we watch the rapidly unfolding impeachment investigation.  Trump’s Art of the Deal* should really be called Shakedown Strategies.  Threats and intimidation, extortion and blackmail pass for diplomacy in the Trump State Department.

It should come as no surprise since assuming office, that Trump has repeatedly tried to shakedown his prey with little or no success. Remember when he called Kim Jong Un ‘Rocket Man’, in an effort to bully Kim into a nuclear arms treaty? Since 1945, Kim is the third generation supreme ruler of North Korea. Trump didn’t get that.  Two embarrassing summits later, North Korea boasts a more powerful arsenal and both South Korea and Japan are feeling much less safe. The China tariff debacle is self-evident. What is only now coming to light are whole swaths of our economy that have been torn asunder with no hope of repair. Trump tried to bully President Zelensky of Ukraine by withholding much needed funds to stay Russian aggression, asking for dirt on Joe Biden’s son that he could use during the upcoming election. At least, that is what journalists speculated was the case.  It’s turning out to be a much more extensive shakedown attempt. Queue Rudy Giuliani, Russian mobsters and money bags.

Who knows how much of the rest of his foreign policy, his domestic governance and political activities are really shakedowns billed as “deal-making”. When you’ve been bullying for as long as he has, with no moral compass or emotional keel, the lines are so blurred that recognizing his strongarm tactics is like trying to tell the difference between Adderall and cocaine dust. It turns out that we are extremely vulnerable to these shakedown tactics, too, because Americans have little or no experience being on the receiving end of threats, someone forcing their agenda through intimidation and coercion. 

Do you know who isn’t vulnerable to these cowardly tactics? Immigrants.  They’ve been there. They’ve seen this behavior up close and personal. That’s not to say that the threats are any less intimidating, or painful if carried out, but immigrants know a shakedown when they see one while we’re still naively asking, “Gee, isn’t that a little rude?” 

In the end, the shakedown is not a great strategy.  It requires an exhausting amount of energy to maintain the status quo and ultimately fails.  We’re about to witness that, as well.  

*title of the book ghostwritten by Tony Schwartz