Trump presidency

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MartianInvader
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby MartianInvader » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:19 pm UTC

Obviously if we compare against things Trump hypothetically might do in some hypothetical future, nothing's gonna come close. But that seems silly, given how many genuinely terrible things he's actually done already.
Let's have a fervent argument, mostly over semantics, where we all claim the burden of proof is on the other side!

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby cphite » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:37 pm UTC

Fantastic Idea wrote:But uhh Dubya was a threat to many institutional norms in America. Like how we vote, remember how we voted and then didn't get to actually have a President Gore?


We didn't have a President Gore because Al Gore didn't win the election. He lost Florida by a slim margin, demanded a recount - and the recount confirmed that he lost. His side wanted to keep recounting until it went their way, which isn't how it works.

Or how Dubya tried to nominate someone completely astoundingly unqualified for the Supreme Court?


Yeah, he tried and failed, because Congress rejected his nominee in bipartisan form. The system worked exactly as intended.

Oh, and the time he started two illegal wars?
Those really get me, the illegal wars.


They weren't illegal wars. He had approval from Congress to use military force against Iraq. That is the extent of the legal authority he needed.

None of these things were any sort of threat to institutional norms; they were all examples of the system working as intended.

A better example of a POTUS who didn't follow institutional norms would be Barack Obama. How many times did he deliberately bypass Congress? Let's see... there was changing the ACA coverage mandates, attempting to change immigration law, military force in Libya, military force in Yemen, a nuclear deal with Iran, an international climate agreement...

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby kingofdreams » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:19 pm UTC

the commissioned NORC study suggests that a broad recount of all disputed ballots statewide (as opposed to the 4 counties Gore was after, and not just limited to the 'undervotes' the supreme court ordered), would have found Gore won.
but that might be besides the point
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:43 am UTC

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/us/po ... f=politics
Trump sacks Secretary Tillerson's aide(who establishment figures wanted) not because he was establishment, but because Trump found out that the aide had badmouthed Trump earlier. Turns out Trump didn't know until just a few days ago. What's gonna happen when Trump finds out that half of Congress bad mouthed him?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby zmic » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:52 am UTC

sardia wrote:I went to a Democratic meeting just to see the local opposition. It was pretty disappointing. Lots of fear mongering, not a lot of organization. Nobody seems to understand why Democrats lost. Almost nobody had any data to back up their talk. I dare say the average attendee is worse than the worst posters here. Oh well. Maybe the next meetup will go better.


To understand why the Democrats lost people need to stop staring at Hillary and looking a bit more closely at Obama and the true nature of his presidency.

It's ironic that Trump is now being smeared as a shill, a puppet and and easily manipulated fool by the same corporate establishment that used Obama exactly like that for 8 years, and to great effect. Your tax dollars, they surely bought some nice fireworks in the Middle East. And Obama? His weariness and depression where almost palpable in the last 2 years.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:22 pm UTC

zmic wrote:
To understand why the Democrats lost people need to stop staring at Hillary and looking a bit more closely at Obama and the true nature of his presidency.

It's ironic that Trump is now being smeared as a shill, a puppet and and easily manipulated fool by the same corporate establishment that used Obama exactly like that for 8 years, and to great effect. Your tax dollars, they surely bought some nice fireworks in the Middle East. And Obama? His weariness and depression where almost palpable in the last 2 years.

You don't understand why Democrats lost either. Or you don't understand how politics works at all. When I said Democrats are disappointing, you seem to think I was being wistful for a nostalgic past that never was.

That is not my complaint. My complaint is people like you are what's holding back the Democrats from taking back power. Every election they listen to people like you, more damage is done by Republicans.

Being able to recognize something is wrong and not walk away in disgust is the only way to get anything done in politics.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby xkcdfan » Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:47 pm UTC

Hard to imagine why Obama could have been weary and depressed. It's not like he spent his entire presidency being obstructed by petty, childish Republican congresspeople throwing tantrums about everything he and the Democrats tried to do, no matter how benign or even beneficial. Not like Republicans spent nearly a year refusing to even allow a vote on his Supreme Court appointment.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Lazar » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:20 pm UTC

http://observer.com/2017/02/donald-trum ... n-embassy/

In light of this, and out of worries about the White House's ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the "good stuff" from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president's eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.

What's going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that "since January 20, we've assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM," meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. "There's not much the Russians don't know at this point," the official added in wry frustration.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:52 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:http://observer.com/2017/02/donald-trump-administration-mike-flynn-russian-embassy/

In light of this, and out of worries about the White House's ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the "good stuff" from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president's eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.

What's going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that "since January 20, we've assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM," meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. "There's not much the Russians don't know at this point," the official added in wry frustration.

Do you have a corroborating source on this? A heavy accusation like this needs extra scrutiny.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Lazar » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:04 pm UTC

The claim seems to be limited to the author of that piece for now.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:51 am UTC

Lazar wrote:The claim seems to be limited to the author of that piece for now.

Flynn is under heavy questioning, it's just the rest seems like rumors as opposed to how bad it really is.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/busi ... f=business
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:31 am UTC

He wondered could you eat the mushrooms, would you die, do you care.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby MartianInvader » Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:47 am UTC

Flynn has resigned. Thus ending all Whitehouse controversies for the remainder of the term, I'm sure.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:29 pm UTC

Exciting!

Who else knew about it at the time, I wonder :?:
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Chen » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:00 pm UTC

Liri wrote:Exciting!

Who else knew about it at the time, I wonder :?:


Knew about the call itself? While outside of protocol as the article mentions, it seems the resignation was more because of lying to Pence about it than actually having the call.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:32 pm UTC

Chen wrote:Knew about the call itself? While outside of protocol as the article mentions, it seems the resignation was more because of lying to Pence about it than actually having the call.

Well, you say that, but according to the article he actually broke the law. If he hadn't resigned the Dems would have surely pursued it through every legal avenue available to them.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:45 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Chen wrote:Knew about the call itself? While outside of protocol as the article mentions, it seems the resignation was more because of lying to Pence about it than actually having the call.

Well, you say that, but according to the article he actually broke the law. If he hadn't resigned the Dems would have surely pursued it through every legal avenue available to them.

Of which they have none. You don't think the Democrats don't want to investigate Trump and his cronies? All investigative power is held by the majority party. The Republican in charge literally said he wasn't going to start a fishing expedition on Trump.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Chen » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:46 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Well, you say that, but according to the article he actually broke the law. If he hadn't resigned the Dems would have surely pursued it through every legal avenue available to them.


I hadn't read the BBC article. The NYT one was surprisingly light on any law breaking. Apparently there would be some technicality of conducting diplomacy without US government authorization. Some subsequent digging has shown that act has apparently never been enforced.

Regardless though, I don't see what has resignation has to do with prosecuting him. Whether or not he's working for the US government now, didn't change what he did or didn't do.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby freezeblade » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:51 pm UTC

And now the white house is claiming that he was, in fact, fired.

Edit: http://www.wnyc.org/story/white-house-p ... y-adviser/

That makes two presidents that have removed him, no?
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:47 pm UTC

Nice. I wonder what the record for being fired by most presidents is. It's probably two.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:41 pm UTC

Liri wrote:Nice. I wonder what the record for being fired by most presidents is. It's probably two.

Trump firing him is worse than Trump not knowing about it. It means Trump was smart enough to know he brings the law, but let it slide until he got caught.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Trebla » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:47 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
Fantastic Idea wrote:But uhh Dubya was a threat to many institutional norms in America. Like how we vote, remember how we voted and then didn't get to actually have a President Gore?


We didn't have a President Gore because Al Gore didn't win the election. He lost Florida by a slim margin, demanded a recount - and the recount confirmed that he lost. His side wanted to keep recounting until it went their way, which isn't how it works.


That's... not how it went at all. He lost Florida by a slim margin (less than 2000 votes) which initiated an automatic recount. The recount reduced that margin to less than 400 votes. Gore then requested a manual recount (which is supported by election law) due to widespread complaints by voters of voting machine malfunctions; Bush sued to stop the recount.

The Florida Supreme court ruled that all ballots cast, but not counted, by voting machines must be manually recounted. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned this decision (in a 5-4 ruling along party lines) and halted the recount before it could be completed with the final margin recorded at 500something.

So no, he did not want to "keep recounting"... he wanted a single recount that was never completed. Note that I'm not saying he won, just that your explanation is a set of "alternate facts."

Notable in the US Supreme Court decision... the justices that voted to overturn the state ruling had, in the majority of their rulings, deferred to state court decisions. The ruling also cited the fourteenth amendment citing equal protection clause with the rationale that (and I'm paraphrasing), "recounting only some votes manually gave those votes unequal treatment, regardless of whether those votes had been counted in the first place."

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Dark567 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:54 pm UTC

Trebla wrote:The Florida Supreme court ruled that all ballots cast, but not counted, by voting machines must be manually recounted. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned this decision (in a 5-4 ruling along party lines) and halted the recount before it could be completed with the final margin recorded at 500something.
Well it's deeper than that. It was actually a 7-2 ruling that the above recount was illegal and would have to be redone. The 5-4 decision was about how to remedy the situation with the illegal recount.

The Supreme Court, in a per curiam opinion, ruled that the Florida Supreme Court's decision, calling for a statewide recount, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This ruling was by a 7–2 vote, but (as discussed more fully in the next subsection below) two of the seven disagreed with the Court's remedy for the Equal Protection violation.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby zmic » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:41 pm UTC

xkcdfan wrote:Hard to imagine why Obama could have been weary and depressed. It's not like he spent his entire presidency being obstructed by petty, childish Republican congresspeople throwing tantrums about everything he and the Democrats tried to do, no matter how benign or even beneficial. Not like Republicans spent nearly a year refusing to even allow a vote on his Supreme Court appointment.


To give one example of the Republican's "obstruction" : Obama asked Congress to bomb Syria. Congress refused. Obama bombed Syria anyway. In fact, they bombed so much that they ran out of bombs. Talk about "benign and beneficial", much?

It's rich that Trump is being called Hitler for not allowing Syrians into the USA while Obama's cabinet KILLED countless Syrians in Syria so that certain people could get rich selling bombs. That and that other tax racket on the American people, the "Affordable Care Act".

Obama is basically a decent guy but an ineffective intellectual who was easily overruled by his cabinet. And in the end he understood this. That's why he appears so deflated near the end of his presidency.

Trump got elected because he was the only candidate who dared to say the word of this age: corruption. Have you heard Clinton or Obama say that word even once, ever? So who is being real here?
Last edited by zmic on Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:57 pm UTC, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:48 pm UTC

I detect a point of view at extreme odds with that of others...

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby ObsessoMom » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:08 pm UTC

Russia just pulled a North Korea by firing a missile in violation of standing treaties. Apparently. It's very murky. "Unidentified U.S. officials" are reporting it, with few details. I haven't seen anyone confirming it or saying where it happened yet. We'll have to wait, I guess.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:11 pm UTC

Chen wrote:Regardless though, I don't see what has resignation has to do with prosecuting him. Whether or not he's working for the US government now, didn't change what he did or didn't do.

That's amusingly naive.

Even in America, powerfully connected people can usually avoid prosecution for crimes unless someone is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to stand up to the administration - usually risking their career in doing so.

As sardia says, the majority party holds the power, so now he's resigned there's little incentive for the Dems to expend precious political capital to attempt to hold him to account.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:26 am UTC

elasto wrote:
Chen wrote:Regardless though, I don't see what has resignation has to do with prosecuting him. Whether or not he's working for the US government now, didn't change what he did or didn't do.

That's amusingly naive.

Even in America, powerfully connected people can usually avoid prosecution for crimes unless someone is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to stand up to the administration - usually risking their career in doing so.

As sardia says, the majority party holds the power, so now he's resigned there's little incentive for the Dems to expend precious political capital to attempt to hold him to account.

That's being charitable. I said that Democrats don't control punitive or investigative powers, only the party in the majority does,aka the Republicans. And Republicans won't attack, much less jail one of their own.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:02 am UTC

The interesting thing, though, is that he's not really "one of their own" - he's an independent schmuck (who generally affiliated more with the Democrats until...well, not to put too fine a point on it, until they put a black man in the Oval Office) who essentially usurped their ticket and actively hacked off about half the GOP in the process, and only the prospect of winning the presidency (and keeping Clinton out of it) got them to roll over. I don't think they're eager to turn on him, but when you get right down to it they're tolerating him because it benefits them. If he becomes toxic enough, they'll dump him; the only question is where that line is and when he'll cross it.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:12 am UTC

commodorejohn wrote:The interesting thing, though, is that he's not really "one of their own" - he's an independent schmuck (who generally affiliated more with the Democrats until...well, not to put too fine a point on it, until they put a black man in the Oval Office) who essentially usurped their ticket and actively hacked off about half the GOP in the process, and only the prospect of winning the presidency (and keeping Clinton out of it) got them to roll over. I don't think they're eager to turn on him, but when you get right down to it they're tolerating him because it benefits them. If he becomes toxic enough, they'll dump him; the only question is where that line is and when he'll cross it.

Are you talking about Trump or Flynn?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:57 am UTC

Oh, you were referring to Flynn, weren't you? My mistake.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Diadem » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:57 am UTC

So there's one thing I don't understand about this Flynn story.

I get that he lied about talking to the Russian (or at least that's the claim. Others now claim that the Trump administration knew about it all along). But why is talking to the Russians wrong in the first place? He was one of Trump's most important advisers. Isn't talking to foreign leaders or representatives part of his job? I suppose he talked to them when Trump hadn't officially been appointed yet, but I have to admit it doesn't strike me as strange for a president-elect to try and get a head-start on foreign policy.

I obviously disagree with his Trump's and Flynn's policies. But it seems to me that Trump has the right to make policy regarding Russia, and I also have to admit that this is one of the few areas where he has been very consistent.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:43 pm UTC

AIUI (and I may not, entirely), this is like breaking the One China policy, in that there are certain things that certain levels of official contact should not talk about, as a matter of protocol. Some things should be broached by low-level feeler conversations, not by top-table people suddenly saying either something insulting like "oh, by the way, your farts stink" or indicating a massive national concession like "how would you like Alaska back?"...

I don't know how many times one head of government has slammed the phone down on another head of government, but if Trump did that with his Aussie counterpart (not even a unfriendly nation needing a judicious and measured amount of hardball playing with!) it probably indicates a problem with the intermeshing briefing-stacks at both sides not making it a known and prepped-for issue that both sides knew would/could be talked about, with enough knowledge to make a sensible (if not necessarily in agreement) dialogue about.

And if a senior guy introduces off-script concessions of that magnitude whilst in off-piste conversations (it may not actually be off-piste, in which case those who defined the ski-runs he should use may or may not wish to explain that), there are questions to be had about how much was he taking it upon himself to form policy, how much it was actually commanded from above and whether anyone overstepped the scope mandated (by their superiors, including The People).

Not that it doesn't go on a lot, I imagine, in choreographed dances between suitably-levelled officials (I would imagine somdthing like "this is way above my pay-grade to suggest, and it is way above your pay-grade to accept, but if I happened to have had a whisper that my boss's boss's boss wishes to FOO in the hope that your boss's boss's boss would do BAR, it might be useful if you maybe heard a whisper about the likely response...").

The big issue here is a combination of it being found out (the cardinal sin in much of politics), and nobody seems willing (yet?) to give the alibi that it was an authorised feeler/post-feeler discussion, rather than an off-the-cuff "hey, I bet I can get my lot to do this..." playing with the first-conversation of an issue not in his remit to broach.


But machinations in political circles are beyond my pay-grade. All I can imagine is that official cross-polination of policy information has various layers of sub-official communication, and it is a finely evolved art. Sounds like either some less senior artist in the factory-studio has sploshed some paint improperly, or the main artist does not wish, for some reason, to announce that this was an experimental artwork that he was asked to try out...

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Chen » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:45 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:I get that he lied about talking to the Russian (or at least that's the claim. Others now claim that the Trump administration knew about it all along). But why is talking to the Russians wrong in the first place? He was one of Trump's most important advisers. Isn't talking to foreign leaders or representatives part of his job? I suppose he talked to them when Trump hadn't officially been appointed yet, but I have to admit it doesn't strike me as strange for a president-elect to try and get a head-start on foreign policy.


That was the technically illegal part that elasto pointed out to me above. Before he was appointed it was not legal for him to conduct diplomacy on behalf of the US.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:51 pm UTC

sardia wrote:That's being charitable. I said that Democrats don't control punitive or investigative powers, only the party in the majority does,aka the Republicans. And Republicans won't attack, much less jail one of their own.

But that presumes that the minority can't sometimes get what they want by offering a quid-pro-quo somewhere else. They can, it just costs them political capital to do so.

The minority party isn't completely powerless - just look at how successfully the Republicans obstructed Obama's first term; But they do have to pick and choose their battles. And now he's resigned there's no point them picking here to take a stand.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:26 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Diadem wrote:I get that he lied about talking to the Russian (or at least that's the claim. Others now claim that the Trump administration knew about it all along). But why is talking to the Russians wrong in the first place? He was one of Trump's most important advisers. Isn't talking to foreign leaders or representatives part of his job? I suppose he talked to them when Trump hadn't officially been appointed yet, but I have to admit it doesn't strike me as strange for a president-elect to try and get a head-start on foreign policy.


That was the technically illegal part that elasto pointed out to me above. Before he was appointed it was not legal for him to conduct diplomacy on behalf of the US.

Primarily this and a bit of what Soup said. This has been illegal since 1799 (but never put to the test in courts because people haven't been idiots about it).

It's also pretty clear that Trump knew that Flynn had been lying for weeks (and let Pence defend him on-air!). The spookier thing is the as-yet unverified possibility that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election.

Edit: after some reading, people have been threatened with it several times over the years. I knew I remembered it being bandied about recently - when those senators wrote the letter to Iran in 2014.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Plasma_Wolf » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:36 pm UTC

Meanwhile, Trump is aiming a gun at the messenger:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/831853862281699331

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:04 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:So there's one thing I don't understand about this Flynn story.

I get that he lied about talking to the Russian (or at least that's the claim. Others now claim that the Trump administration knew about it all along). But why is talking to the Russians wrong in the first place? He was one of Trump's most important advisers. Isn't talking to foreign leaders or representatives part of his job? I suppose he talked to them when Trump hadn't officially been appointed yet, but I have to admit it doesn't strike me as strange for a president-elect to try and get a head-start on foreign policy.
Obama put sanctions on Russia in response to perceived US election tampering. Flynn implied to Russia that these sanctions would be removed once Obama left office. It's illegal because you're undermining the President's role as a representative of American interests on the international stage -- by making deals and promises with foreign powers before the President has even left office. Sure, you're doing it at the very end of his term -- but that doesn't change the fact that you're now screwing with the President's ability to do their job.

And the problem isn't just that it was illegal -- it's that the Russian embassy knew it was illegal. They effectively had a piece of blackmail on Flynn ('Do this, or we'll release the recordings where you clearly broke the law to the American public'). That's probably why it was leaked; because it's not in America's best interest for Russia to have blackmail material on members of our President's administration.

What a mess.

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Zamfir
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Zamfir » Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:48 pm UTC

Plasma_Wolf wrote:Meanwhile, Trump is aiming a gun at the messenger:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/831853862281699331

Is he wrong, though? It is somewhat odd to have intelligence services wage a PR war against the president.

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sardia
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:50 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Plasma_Wolf wrote:Meanwhile, Trump is aiming a gun at the messenger:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/831853862281699331

Is he wrong, though? It is somewhat odd to have intelligence services wage a PR war against the president.

Leaking from intelligence agencies would be a crime, unless the White House itself leaked it. This information was somewhat of an open secret. Several agencies knew so it's hard to tell who leaked.


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