Career criminal Donald J. Trump. Getty Image
It gets weirder. Trump's mutation into full do-me-a-favor-Godfather-redux mode by asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" or "recalculate" 11,780 of the state's election votes so he could avoid losing yet again - a move that makes Nixon's Watergate tapes look "quaint" by comparison - is about the same level of gonzo as the purported good guys trying to save us from it. Even given everything that's come before, the call, reported by The Washington Post, is mind-boggling, from Trump's wheedling to find imaginary votes - "There's nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated... C'mon fellas...Give me a break” - to threatening - "There's no way I lost Georgia...You know what they did and you're not reporting it" to the news Trump had reportedly tried 18 times to get Raffensperger on the phone. Equally astounding is that the GOP Raffensperger stood up to him - "The data you have is wrong”; the “simple, stark, horrific" brazenness of the effort; and, confirming he's both a crook and an idiot, the number of state and federal crimes he was evidently committing: "Trump is talking like a mafia boss, and not a particularly smart mafia boss at that...(This) is really, truly, an impeachable offense.” Later, Raffensperger's advisers said they recorded the call because, "This is a man who has a history of reinventing history as it occurs (so) we decided maybe we should do this"; Raffensperger told them not to release it unless Trump attacked them or lied about it, both of which - see crook/idiot - he obligingly did the next day. The damning consensus: The crime syndicate boss already guilty of tax evasion, bank fruad, sexual assault and obstruction of justice could now add election fraud to his rap sheet. Dan Rather on the audio: "Wow. It's like telling the Nixon tapes to 'hold my beer.'"
The quickly trending #TrumpTapes, reflecting what Kamala Harris deemed "the voice of desperation," sparked multiple appeals to impeach him again, find out how many other shakedown calls he'd made and, from two House Democrats, to launch a criminal investigation given "the evidence of election fraud (is) now in broad daylight" - which Fulton County's D.A. says they're now considering. In another sign of extraordinary opposition, all ten former surviving defense secretaries, including two who worked for Trump, wrote a joint letter citing the oath they took to "defend the Constitution against enemies, foreign and domestic" and calling on Trump and his supporters to chill - ie: accept he's a loser and forget about this whole let's-overthrow-democracy-with-a-military-coup insanity. "Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted...The time for questioning the results has passed," they wrote. “There’s no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election,” and any effort to involve them "would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory." The letter arguing against the once-unthinkable was signed by James Mattis, Mark Esper, Leon Panetta, William Cohen, Chuck Hagel, Robert Gates, William Perry, Ashton Carter, Donald Rumsfeld, and famous patriot and war criminal Dick Cheney, who was reportedly its creator. For many people, the sudden, sinister, unspeakably bizarre appearance at this historic moment of Cheney - the Darth Vader of U.S. foreign policy who long fomented lllegal wars of choice against brown people in Iraq and around the world and sure add some torture to go with it - as the voice of reason and restraint was...too much. "Color me shocked," wrote one. "His artificial heart must have been an upgrade." Also, "When a war criminal calls you out it's a REALLY bad sign" and "When Cheney arises from his crypt, you know shit is real." Yes.
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