Insert the "It's Happening" gif here, folks. Maybe. A story dropped by BuzzFeed last night about President Donald Trump's directives to Michael Cohen has the internet and airwaves ablaze with talk of imminent impeachment.
Whatever political stakes may come, however, perhaps the most truly profound part of this story is how mundane Trump's motives reportedly were. His alleged dealings with Vladimir Putin's people and, later, alleged orders for Cohen to lie to Congress about it come down to securing the right to build a Trump skyscraper in Moscow, Buzzfeed's sources say.
For all the cries of collusion, treason, and kompromat; all the speculating about sinister political motives; all the high hysteria we've been subjected to from Democrats, cable news, and supposedly serious thinkers…well, here we are: Trump wanted Trump Tower Moscow. He had long wanted to build a hotel there, and when progress on that front finally started happening he wasn't going to give it up just because he was running for president—a bid that at that point Trump and his campaign did not actually expect him to win.
Doesn't matter what Buzzfeed alleges about Trump: impeachment is a political act, as is the decision to convict and remove from office. It is not automatic. Either roughly 20 Republican senators flip to vote with the Democrats or Trump isn't going anywhere.
— Damon Linker (@DamonLinker) January 18, 2019
The "Moscow Project" has been public for a while, thanks to Cohen's prosecution for lying about it. (Cohen claimed that work securing Russian authorities' approval for the hotel ended in January 2016, though it continued at least through that June.) BuzzFeed's biggest new reveal is that Trump personally told Cohen that he should lie about it to Congress, according "to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter."
BuzzFeed also reports that, contrary to his debate claims, Trump was directly egging on the hotel deal during part of his campaign, and that the Trump children were much more involved in the hotel project than they have let on.
Why did people have to go with this fantastical version of Trump where he's a secret double agent with sinister America-subverting motives and not just the reality which is he's a big dumb crook who'll do big dumb crimes with anyone anywhere if he thinks there's money in it
— Molly (@dignified_n_old) January 18, 2019
To quote Reason's Scott Shackford, "despite all the crazy conspiracy theorizing, everything that's coming out about Trump is very, very Occam's Razor simplest explanation." Trump likes shiny towers with his name on them, he blurts things out, and he expects everyone around him to cover for him when these things aren't true.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's response to the new allegations: "If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge."
Rudy is actually not joking. He has believed he owns the Brooklyn Bridge for several months. Mostly folks humor him. "That's a fine bridge, all right" they say. "And no, you never said anything about the campaign colluding."https://t.co/lKnWi5MMZT
— NeverSaid"Hat" (@Popehat) January 18, 2019
The House Intelligence Committee says it will begin an investigation.
— Emily Ekins (@emilyekins) January 16, 2019
- The Chicago police officers who helped cover up the killing of Laquan McDonald were acquitted.
- Rep. Justin Amash calls out Trump's attorney general nominee for his stance on FISA:
While many GOP politicians and pundits feign outrage over FISA (there were few who objected as Congress recently reauthorized the worst parts of FISA), @POTUS's own nominee for attorney general, William Barr, wishes FISA were even more awful: https://t.co/juimpQTgKy
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 17, 2019
- "Many in Congress do not appear to understand how Section 230 works, what it protects, or the potential damage that carving out too many exemptions could do."
- This is the song that never ends…
Facebook/Twitter content-moderation loop:
(1) Demand for better moderation.
(2) Companies respond by censoring inconsistently.
(3) Complaints about lack of moderation or inconsistent moderation.
(4) Presumption that the companies could do more and better.
(5) GOTO (1).
— Mike Godwin (@sfmnemonic) January 17, 2019