Maybe this is how tourists behave in northern Georgia where, last year, voters overwhelmingly (78.6%) elected Andrew Clyde to represent them in Washington. I don't doubt he's a perfect representation of the voters of the 19 (a bit of Clarke being the outlier) beet red backward counties that make up Georgia's 9th congressional district, Biden having taken just 22.4%-- almost all of those voters from Clarke County. We're talking about Dawson County (Trump 83.3%), Habersham County (Trump 81.3%), Franklin County (Trump 84.2%), Banks County (Trump 88.6%)... I guarantee you, these people look at that video above and see something very different than what any normal American sees. And they hear their congressman calling these people "tourists" and it just makes them want to vote for Mr. Clyde again-- several times, no doubt.
If Trump is ever going to be held accountable for anything at all, it isn't because the voters in northern Georgia are demanding it. By the way, the other congressional representative from northern Georgia is QAnon's very own Marjorie Taylor Greene.
A couple of days ago, reporting for The Atlantic, Ron Brownstein noted that more and more damning evidence is piling up-- some in Georgia-- about how "Trump used and abused his authority as president." And it's just the tip of a very, very big iceberg.
Noah Bookbinder, the president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics told Brownstein that "The evidence already available, shows that Trump’s determination to use federal power to benefit him and his allies was felt in every corner of government [which] demands a more systematic investigation of how the full range of government agencies made decisions that helped political allies, well-connected lobbyists, or businesses associated with Trump himself."
Republicans have dismissed calls for new investigations of Trump’s actions as unnecessarily relitigating the past; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for instance, used that argument to oppose not only a January 6 commission, but even the calls for Barr to testify about the surveillance revelations. But Bookbinder, Eisen, and others argue that far from looking back, a more comprehensive accounting of Trump’s behavior is required to diminish the odds that the abuses will recur, whether Trump runs again or not. “Ultimately, it’s not about relitigating the past,” Bookbinder said. “If you are going to protect your democracy in the future from being abused and ultimately being chipped away at, you have to understand the abuses that have happened before, you have to make that public, and you have to take concrete steps to protect against the same kind of abuses in the future. But you can’t do that if you don’t know what they were.”
If an official “truth commission” is off the table, another option might be an informal citizens’ commission of prominent figures to catalog the record, notes Susan Stokes, a political-science professor and the director of the Chicago Center on Democracy at the University of Chicago. Although such a commission would not have investigative power, it could pull together the continuing flow of revelations into one revealing document, she says. “There’s a lot we don’t know yet, and we are learning more every day,” she told me. “But there is a lot we do know. A broad-ranging report, written by people who are private individuals and widely admired and weighty and bipartisan … to say, ‘Here is what happened,’ that is something that may attract a fair amount of interest.”
In the meantime, the most likely venue for a comprehensive debate over Trump’s use, and abuse, of executive power might come through sweeping legislation, called the Protecting Our Democracy Act, that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (one of the members whose records the Justice Department targeted) introduced in the previous Congress. The bill, which he’s expected to reintroduce shortly, looks to plug a series of holes that Trump exploited (or expanded) in ethics laws. Through 12 titles, it seeks to address abuses of presidential pardon power; bar payments from foreign governments to a president or his business interests; strengthen Congress’s ability to enforce subpoenas against the executive branch; record a president’s contacts with the Justice Department; protect the independence of departmental inspectors general; and extend the statute of limitations for postpresidential prosecution of misdeeds while in office, among other things.
Although Trump “no longer sits in the White House, we cannot ignore or simply move past those abuses without addressing the vulnerabilities in the system that he exploited,” Schiff said in an emailed statement yesterday. “And that means enacting many of the guardrails we thought were sacrosanct into law. The failure to do so would leave the justice system once again prey to an unscrupulous executive.”
The legislation is a panoramic attempt to respond to the many ways Trump shredded constraints on the exercise of presidential authority. But, by definition, it can respond only to the actions that are known. The big lesson of the DOJ-surveillance revelations is that more questionable Trump behaviors we don’t know about almost certainly exist—that, as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once put it, there are “known unknowns” about how Trump utilized power. Creating a more complete record of those abuses would be the first step toward preventing their recurrence.
Just over a week ago Bess Levin wrote that "what the next several months, and potentially years, hold for the ex-president are a lot of meetings with attorneys about how he’s legally in the bad place-- that is, assuming they’re still keeping him apprised of the situation and aren’t yet at a point where they just park him in front of the TV 'while the grown-ups talk.' ... Last month, after news of the convening of the grand jury broke, a source from Trumpworld told Politico that there was 'definitely a cloud of nerves in the air,' with the adviser saying that while Trump is no stranger to legal issues, this situation feels different, in part because prosecutors are trying to gain the cooperation of Weisselberg, who’s described himself as Trump’s 'eyes and ears' at the company. 'I think the Weisselberg involvement and the wild card of that makes the particular situation more real, because there’s no sort of fluff and made-up fictional circumstances around the guy,' this person told Politico. 'The fact that they’re dealing with a numbers guy who just has plain details makes people more nervous. This is not a Michael Cohen situation.' In related Trump legal news, Politico also reported last month that former prosecutors and defense attorneys believe Vance could be exploring the possibility of arguing that Trump‘s entire business empire is a corrupt enterprise, under a New York law known as 'little RICO,' which was modeled after the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, originally used to crack down on the mafia. The state law can be used with proof of as few as three crimes involving a business or other enterprise and carries a minimum mandatory sentence of one to three years-- and a maximum term of up to 25. 'It’s a very serious crime,' said Michael Shapiro, a defense attorney who used to prosecute corruption cases in New York. 'Certainly, there are plenty of things an organization or business could do to run afoul of enterprise corruption, if they’re all done with the purpose of enhancing the revenue of the enterprise illegally…it’s an umbrella everything else fits under.'"