Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Coverup Is Everywhere

National Archives photoshopped blurring of a protest sign, via Vos Iz Neias.

I didn't even notice whether Governor Whitmer had mentioned the criminality of the White House occupant in her response to the State of the Union address of Individual no. 1, whose writers didn't of course find time to mention it at all. It turns out that she did allude to the Senate trial and Chairman Schiff's hopeful slogan at the very end:
As we witness the impeachment process in Washington, there are some things each of us, no matter our party should demand. The truth matters, facts matter, and no one should be above the law. It’s not what those senators say tomorrow, it’s about what they do that matters. Remember, listen to what people say but watch what they do. It’s time for action.
Meanwhile, the ongoing Trump administration violation of the Presidential Records Act goes way beyond the Stalinoid doctoring by the National Archives of a picture of the Women's March and the president's personal habit of tearing his own papers to pieces and throwing them out—White House staffers who tried taping them back together were fired, historian Matthew Connelly tells us in an opinion piece for The Times:

President Trump has long made it a practice to tear up his papers and throw them away. It is a clear violation of the Presidential Records Act, which is supposed to prevent another Watergate-style cover-up. Workers in the White House records management office who used to tape these records together say they were fired without explanation. 
In 2017, a normally routine document released by the archives, a records retention schedule, revealed that archivists had agreed that officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could delete or destroy documents detailing the sexual abuse and death of undocumented immigrants. Tens of thousands of people posted critical comments, and dozens of senators and representatives objected. The National Archives made some changes to the plan, but last month it announced that ICE could go ahead and start destroying records from Mr. Trump’s first year, including detainees’ complaints about civil rights violations and shoddy medical care.
That's obstruction of justice too, people, though Donnelly is a little too polite to say so, and the criminal conduct it's covering up is plainly in line with the president's policy of illegal abuse as what Stephen Miller calls an "effective deterrent".

The broad-scale destruction at the hands of the National Archives isn't all Trump, Donnelly points out; Congress has woefully been underfunding them for years,  even as the amount of paper the government produces continues to increase. But an awful lot of it serves the interests of Trump and his wealth anti-regulation friends:
It’s not just ICE. The Department of the Interior and the National Archives have decided to delete files on endangered species, offshore drilling inspections and the safety of drinking water. The department even claimed that papers from a case where it mismanaged Native American land and assets — resulting in a multibillion-dollar legal settlement — would be of no interest to future historians (or anyone else).
Virtually all the papers of the under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and environment are also being designated as “temporary,” despite the incredibly broad responsibilities of that office — from international aviation safety to foreign takeovers of American firms.
It is hard to know why the government is not even holding on to records about antidumping efforts, or the protection of intellectual property, which fall under the new temporary status. It is perhaps easier to understand why the Trump administration wants to delete other records from the under secretary’s office, including documents regarding the enforcement (or non-enforcement) of “health, safety and environmental laws and regulations.” All this is good news for anyone interested in evading economic sanctions, buying American strategic assets, selling us shoddy goods, stealing our intellectual property or violating aviation safety regulations. Now, even the court of history will be closed.
My bold. And Jared Kushner uses the self-erasing WhatsApp to exchange messages with foreign leaders including his buddy the Saudi crown prince with whom he may have financial relationships.

None of this is going to go away when the Senate formally agrees this afternoon that it's OK to bully foreign governments into giving him campaign contributions in kind, defying the express and legitimate will of Congress, and to run to do it for another four years. Social media disinformation campaigns against 2020 Democratic candidates strongly reminiscent of the Internet Research Agency's work in 2015-16 have been going on since last summer, and it seems clear to me that they're having some of the desired effect of dividing the party. Trump, of course, doesn't want to know about it, and the Republican Senate complies with his wishes:
Prior to resigning as U.S. Secretary of Homeland SecurityKirstjen Nielsen attempted to organize a meeting of the U.S. Cabinet to discuss how to address potential foreign interference in the 2020 elections. Mick Mulvaney, the White House Chief of Staff, reportedly warned her to keep the subject away from Trump, who views the discussion as questioning the legitimacy of his victory in 2016.[36] Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, has blocked various bills intended to improve election security from being considered,[37][38][39] including some measures that have had bipartisan support.[40][41] 
We're told it hurts Trump's feeling to talk about it—questioning the "legitimacy" of his election—but Mueller told us he "welcomed" it in 2016, and we've seen him publicly inviting such assistance from Ukraine, Russia, and China, quite recently (implying he doesn't think it's illegal, but knows he gets in trouble when he admits getting it). It's still a racketeering administration, regardless of what the senators say today, and the coverup is everywhere.

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