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‘Building the idiocracy’: Conservative reveals the strategy Trump defenders use to confuse GOP voters

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- Commentary

David French — a conservative critic of President Donald Trump — argued this week in a newsletter for The Dispatch that Republicans are “building the idiocracy, one word salad at a time” in their attacks on impeachment.

“Idiocracy” is the title of a 2006 comedy which, French notes, is “set in the fictional, dumbed-down America of the future — where President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho rules over a drought-stricken, miserably stupid nation.” And in real life, French asserts, Trump’s defenders “are actively trying to build the idiocracy” for “the sake of defending” him.

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French explained how this pattern unfurls as bad news for the president emerges:

If you follow social media in the age of Trump, you’ve likely noticed a pattern. When there’s a report of an alleged Trump scandal, there’s often a brief pause on MAGA Twitter and in MAGA Facebook. One set of defenders waits patiently for the media overreaction, ready to pounce on the first blue checkmark who goes too far or misstates the alleged facts. Another set waits for a credentialed or credible person to toss a word salad for Trump — granting them a ‘well akshually’ fig leaf that they can trot out as a talking point online.

Examples of such pro-Trump talking points, according to French, include claims that he has “a constitutional right to confront the whistleblower” in the Ukraine scandal and is the victim of an attempted “coup” by Democrats who are seeking to overturn the 2016 election results. French observes that while the “overturn the election results” talking point is common among pro-Trump Republicans, that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.

“If Trump is impeached and convicted — highly unlikely — it doesn’t ‘overturn’ the 2016 election,” French writes. “Hillary Clinton won’t be president. Every one of the laws, judicial confirmations and regulations enacted during the entirety of Trump’s term would remain in place.”

Trump supporters throwing the term “coup” around, French emphasizes, aren’t even using it correctly.

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“A coup is an unlawful, often violent seizure of power,” French explains. “Impeachment is a constitutional process that can’t succeed without the affirmative votes of, first, a majority of the House, and then, a supermajority of the Senate — and every person voting is a person who won an election, also according to constitutional process. Impeachment isn’t the dissipation of constitutional government, it’s the exercise of constitutional authority.”

Another talking point on the “Trumpist right,” French points out, is the claim that under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Trump has the right to confront the whistleblower — a claim that is ludicrous, he says, because the Sixth Amendment deals with criminal prosecutions, not an impeachment in Congress. And French laments that even Steven Calabresi, a conservative legal scholar who teaches law at Northwestern University, has referenced the Sixth Amendment to defend Trump.

“The scope and reach of the Sixth Amendment has been extensively litigated, and it most assuredly does not apply to the House’s impeachment inquiry,” French emphasizes. “One can certainly make a good-faith argument that maintaining the whistleblower’s anonymity is unfair, but to argue that it violates the Sixth Amendment is simply and plainly wrong.”

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French stresses that when even respected legal scholars and historians are using ridiculous talking points in Trump’s defense, an “idiocracy” is being established.

“I know that there’s a longstanding tradition of hyperbole in American political rhetoric, but there’s a difference between exaggerations and plainly false constitutional assertions,” French explains. “Moreover, while people expect hyperbole from Sean Hannity or any other screaming Trump defender on talk radio, the same ideas from the pen of a respected historian sends a message that ‘this really is a coup.’ It’s not. It’s not even close.”

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Two House Democrats push a clever plan that calls Republicans’ bluff on their Biden attacks

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Democratic Reps. Katie Porter of California and Max Rose of New York introduced a clever plan this week that will expose whether Republicans’ criticisms of former Vice President Joe Biden in the Ukraine scandal reflect good faith — or if, as many assume, they are just a shameful distraction and a bluff.

The lawmakers announced a bill on Wednesday called the Transparency in Executive Branch Officials’ Finances Act. It has two key components:

First, it would require all politically appointed executive branch officials, as well as the president and the vice president, to “disclose any positions they or any members of their extended families hold with foreign-owned businesses, any intellectual property they own that is protected or enforced by a foreign country, and whether any members of their families have stakes in companies that engage in significant foreign business dealings.”Second, it will “require the President and Vice President to disclose their tax returns for the previous five taxable years and prohibit political appointees from accepting payments from foreign entities.”

What’s clever about the proposal is that it latches on to two important issues, creating a wedge for Republicans. As part of the GOP’s defense of President Donald Trump in the Ukraine scandal, Republicans have argued that the president’s patently corrupt efforts to get a foreign country to investigate Biden, a political rival, were legitimate because the former vice president’s son created a conflict of interest by taking part in business in Ukraine.

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Nancy Pelosi praised as ‘the only serious national leader’ in America — and Trump is ‘jealous’

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi was praised on Thursday for her leadership as she directed the House of Representatives to begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

MSNBC's anchor Nicolle Wallace played a clip of the Speaker's press conference, where Pelosi strongly replied after a question on whether she hated Trump that was asked by James Rosen, who works for the right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting network.

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Contracts show how Giuliani-backed lawyers planned to help fired Ukraine prosecutor get revenge on Biden

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Newly revealed contracts obtained by the Daily Beast show that two lawyers backed by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani explicitly promised to help fired Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin regain his reputation by digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

A contract written up by attorney Victoria Toensing this past April stated that Shokin would agree to pay Toensing and her husband, fellow attorney Joseph diGenova, $125,000 "for the purpose of collecting evidence regarding [Shokin’s] March 2016 firing as Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the role of then-Vice President Joe Biden in such firing, and presenting such evidence to U.S. and foreign authorities."

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