Trumpster Diving

* Alas, Trump isn’t testifying at his Senate impeachment trial. An unhinged narcissist under oath would have been right in the wheelhouse of the prosecution.

* Trump lawyers have characterized the impeachment trial as “political theater.” That would be ironically–and perversely–fitting after four years of the Oval Office version of theater of the absurd. Apologies to Eugene Ionesco.

* Impeachment bottom line: Without Trump, there is no election lie, no insurrection and no loss of life or America’s democratic credibility.

* No, Trump doesn’t deserve to get security briefings. It’s a gesture borne of tradition and respect—and a way of preparing an ex-president if their advice is solicited or if they are representing the incumbent administration abroad. But Trump doesn’t do tradition and hasn’t exactly earned respect. The chances are better that Steve Bannon or Paul Manafort could represent the U.S. abroad than Trump. Plus Trump, who previously represented an existential threat with access to nuclear codes, is arguably still unhinged, still blatantly self-serving and still entangled with foreign entities over business entanglements.

President Biden is correct is not signing off to such sensitive briefings. “What value is giving him an intelligence briefing?” rhetorically asked Biden. “What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?” Indeed, we don’t need any more low-caliber Trump bullets to dodge.

* Boca Raton-based Smartmaster USA, the voting technology company, is suing Fox News, three of its hosts and two former Trump lawyers (Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell) for $2.7 billion for conspiring to spread false claims that Smartmaster helped “steal” the U.S. presidential election. Accountability still matters.

* House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s facade of responsibility while unable to get off Republican script is an eerie, ironic reminder that he shares the same name as the male lead in “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Only that Kevin McCarthy was more credible.

* “Racism, misogyny, xenophobia and anti-Semitism have absolutely zero room in the Republican Party.” That’s from a commentary piece co-authored by Jeb Bush Jr. and MacKay Jimeson, the president of Ember Global Advisors. Upshot: Imagine actually needing to say that? But that’s what GOP racists, misogynists, xenophobes and anti-Semites need to hear from those who still say they miss “the party of Lincoln.

* “More than anything, this might have been the most surprising thing about Trump’s tenure: his ability to turn one of America’s two political parties into a cult of personality organized around a repeatedly bankrupt New York real estate developer.”–Susan B. Glasser, the New Yorker.

* The cost to the federal government resulting from Trump’s election-fraud claims is estimated at more than $500 million—from National Guard deployments to legal fees.

* It won’t be trumpeted by Trumpsters—let alone erstwhile Tea Partiers—but the national debt climbed nearly $7.8 trillion during Trump’s term.

* “As someone who believed in self-reliance, not the crowd, (Barry Goldwater) would have opposed today’s Republican litmus test, which seems to hold that loyalty to Trump is what matters over loyalty to country.”–CC Goldwater, granddaughter of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater and producer of HBO’s “Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater.”

* “I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true.”–That was Trump acolyte Marjorie Taylor Greene trying her passive-voice best to defuse criticism of her heinous touts and tweets about QAnon. In other words: “I’m not evil—just stupid and gullible.” Maybe her Georgia constituents don’t care. So be it. The rest of the country—and her party—should be outraged and alarmed.

* “The oath that I took to the Constitution compelled me to vote for impeachment, and it doesn’t bend to partisanship; it doesn’t bend to political pressure.”–Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaking largely for herself—not the Republican Party.

* However, more than two thirds of House GOPsters voted to keep Cheney in her leadership position as chair of their conference—despite her support for Trump’s impeachment. Is that a sign of spine-growing? It might have been had the vote not been by secret ballot.

* What do Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene have in common besides being off-putting, obstructive Georgia Republicans? Both actually look better in masks.

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