And another barrier has fallen. Now, states can expect to be harassed by King Donald, and their citizens denied rights, if they fail to acknowledge his absolute power.
It started when New York passed a law giving undocumented immigrants drivers’ licenses, and the Trump administration decided that meant that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was letting terrorists get on airplanes. So acting Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, who used to spend his time down in Virginia being cruel to gay people, announced that in the future, New Yorkers would not be able to use Global Entry and TSA PreCheck privileges.
This is kind of funny, inasmuch as it will inconvenience the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Sean Hannity, and a thousand other pestilential humans of their ilk. Except that it’s not.
In fact, according to press reports, the licenses for undocumented people don’t conform to federal standards and can’t be used to board airplanes.
Thursday, Cuomo came to Washington to meet with Trump, who Tweeted:
As is his custom, Trump confessed out loud, and on the record: Must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits and harassment. He does not, of course, mean of undocumented immigrants. He means of him.
At least two investigations into Trump are ongoing right now, originating out of the state of New York. One in the Manhattan DA’s office, and one by state Attorney General Letitia James. The Southern District of New York, too, had been looking into the Trump organization, though it’s unclear if this probe is still ongoing.
It wasn’t clear which investigation Trump was referring to. One presumes he didn’t mean the SDNY, because it’s federal, and the governor has nothing to do with it. But he probably meant all three. After all, if Trump were governor, he’d do it!
Instead, he's the president flat-out saying: Don't sue me and I won't screw you.
Later in the day, James fired back:
The great touch of James’ tweet, of course, is that last sentence. James is African-American, so obviously, Trump just X’ed her out of the equation. She doesn’t exist. She’s not named Diamond or Silk. She’s just not part of this at all. A black woman couldn’t possibly have, you know, a mind of her own or anything like that.
It was nice to see Bill Barr stand up Thursday and trot out some mild criticism of Trump and his tweets in that ABC interview, but really, it’s a little late, pal. Is what passes for his conscience finally getting to him? Is he worried that the House might move to impeach him, so he throws out one quote to lower the heat a little? Is he hoping this will prevent a wholesale departmental revolt, a pell mell exodus of career lawyers for whom the Roger Stone sentencing fiasco is absolutely the last straw? Does he realize that this episode stands to destroy his reputation permanently—render him potentially unemployable even by the essentially nonexistent standards of the Washington right-wing legal-jurisprudential complex?
We don’t know, but we can almost surely assume that it isn’t sincere and he’s working some angle. “The president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case,” Barr said. Yeah dude, we know that. He doesn’t have to!
And as Barr and Trump know, Barr’s comments buy them both six more months of corruption. It buys them John Durham continuing to run around the globe trying to line up indictments of decent patriots.
Still, as I say, that constituted a little point for sanity, the law, and all the things this country allegedly stands for. But it’s a losing battle. The Republican Party from top to bottom thinks Trump’s impeachment acquittal means that he can do just about anything.
I heard on MSNBC or CNN Thursday afternoon that Trump said that he’s now thinking about having no one listen in on his calls with foreign leaders. Of course he is! A, his calls are perfect, and B, all those gray bureaucrats in their Men’s Wearhouse suits are just there to get him, catch him in a petty inconsistency.
So he will do this. As president, I can do what I want. He has always believed it. It was just a matter of creating a phalanx of sycophants who would repeat it and turn it into “reality.” And now it is.
It makes me wonder what this whole impeachment thing was worth. I mean, I’m glad they did it. They had to. Given what Trump did, they couldn’t not do it.
But I wonder if Nancy Pelosi wasn’t right in the first place. I’ve written a few times on what I think the impact of impeachment will be on the election: zero, one way or the other. I still think that will be so on balance, but if you pressed me to say whether it will help Trump or hurt him, I’d probably say help around the margins. You have to picture him holding forth at these rallies this fall bleating about his total exoneration and the need to punish the out-of-control Democrats. He’ll get some people to vote on their anger over it. Whereas what progressive is going to vote to reward the House for impeaching him? Nobody.
As I say: They had to do it. But that’s the thing with people who live in the gutter and will do anything for power. You can never top them. As Andrew Cuomo and Letitia James are learning, they will always do something you never dreamed of doing. Firing Vindman’s brother proves that. That’s a Joe Stalin move. And that didn’t even take Trump a week after his “total exoneration”!
Where we’re headed is unfathomable. He will always go lower. He has not, so far, been able to overpower certain norms that keep us on the friendly side of democracy. He hasn’t, for example, built a standing militia loyal to Trump; swearing an oath to Trump.