the Shadow Cabinet

I. “HOW DOES THIS END?” Trump on the Edge, July 1, 2017

Mark Green 

Now that Special Counsel Robert MuelIer has charged three Trump aides and 45 tweeted in response “NO COLLUSION!”, it’s worthwhile to step back from the blur of numbing headlines to visualize the most plausible outcomes of the Trump saga.

Norman Mailer called this neither fiction nor factual but “factional” since it’s speculation grounded in reality. So in a political version of ‘Create Your Own Adventure’, here are six likely inflection points based on the story to date…and based on both Trump’s history as well as American history.


1. Will he fire Robert Mueller? November 15, 2017. Trump has a quandry – do nothing and risk Mueller indicting family members/staff or fire him and generate a huge public backlash. “Hell, I’ve taken dozens of risks and my crazy base always sticks with me,” he confidently tells Steve Bannon. So he instructs the ranking DoJ official to fire Mueller for being too chummy with James Comey and having too many Democrats in his Special Counsel office.

Mueller immediately sues for “fraudulent termination” since these are not remotely “good causes” as required by law…and is reinstated a month later after an expedited process by a 6-3 Supreme Court. (Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch dissent: “The doctrine of ‘the unitary executive,’”, they conclude, means that ‘good cause’ is effectively whatever the President says it is.”)  Back to square one – with more indictments expected soon.

Polls favor impeachment by 51% to 38%.


2. Will Trump pardon everyone? December 23, 2017.  “Why the hell not?”, he rhetorically asks his White House Counsel. “I pulled it off with Arpaio plus Ford came back from the Nixon pardon to lose only by a point. And it’s Christmas.”

Late today Trump releases a no-cameras statement: “I am issuing a full and complete pardon covering everyone who have been or may be indicted by Mueller because it’s time this national witch hunt was over so we can get back to making America great. And the tradition that a pardon implies guilt should now end since these are all good people caught up in politics-as-usual. They’ve suffered enough.”

He includes himself in the blanket pardon.

There is a huge bi-partisan backlash. “This is not an administration but a junta,” concludes The Nation magazine, as its ideological opposite, the National Review, also dissents. “We cannot in good conscience elevate our agenda over the Rule-of-Law. We’re conservatives, not anarchists.”

This time a 5-4 Supreme Court splits the baby. “The Founders never intended for a President to pardon himself because of the Common Law understanding that no man can be a judge in his own case. As for other family and staff pardoned, we remand to a lower court to determine whether a defendant’s possible criminal conduct includes culpable behavior by the President.” His polls now fall to 28% favorable.


3. Will impeachment proceedings proceed in the Repuiblican 115thCongress? January 20, 2018. Speaker Paul Ryan publicly announces that “it would be unfair if there were impeachment proceedings contaminating the jury pools in the Special Counsel’s cases.” (Privately, he admits to his chief of staff,  “We’re screwed – can’t live with him or without him. I had to pick my poison.”)


4. If Democrats win the House majority in mid-terms, will he be impeached…and then convicted? November 6, 2018. An anti-Trump wave election elevates the 198 House Democratic Caucus to 230 seats and the majority.  On January 9, Speaker Pelosi announces that the Judiciary Committee under chair Jerry Nadler – a brainy and un-flamboyant House veteran — will initiate impeachment proceedings. After four weeks of revealing hearings, the panel votes 24-17 – and the full House later concurs 250-188 – to charge Trump with three Articles of Impeachment:

According to Chairman Nadler: “First, it’s beyond doubt that Trump did try to ‘Obstruct Justice’ by his own incriminating statements, actions, tweets and pardons – especially the firings of five prosecutors overseeing investigations into him [Bharara, Yates, Comey, Rosenstein, Mueller].”

“Second, he did profit from foreign emoluments by publicizing and maintaining ownership in properties run by his children that kept receiving discretionary benefits from foreign entities. His defense that ‘my sons are brilliant’ wasn’t taken literally by the Committee.”

“Third, it was ‘Dereliction-of-duty- and Abuse-of-power” when his administration failed to do anything significant after Russia interfered with the 2016 election – or even admit that it had; actively sabotaged Obamacare; persisted in undermining respect for major American institutions like the Judiciary and – consistently demeaning the First Amendment — the Media; lying voluminously on major issues; and ignored settled science on global warming, with catastrophic consequences.”

The Senate – which is split 50-50 and has never convicted an impeached president – fails to convict by 62-38 (2/3 being required) as 12 Republicans vote yes due to ”a Niagara of damning evidence,” says Sen. Corker.  Headlines everywhere blare “Pyrrhic Victory.”


5. ”The Terrorists are coming! The terrorists are coming!” January 20, 2019. There’s a horrible ISIS attack at LAX when a suicide bomber blows himself up at a terminal entrance killing 43. Three hours later, Trump commandeers all network and cable news to say: “Enough’s enough! We will not rest until we have won this Third World War. So I am today announcing a new National State of Emergency – as presidents Adams, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Truman and Bush43 did in their wars. Safety First! America First!”

His “Emergency Declaration” allows for pre-trial detention of up to a year, use of Armed Forces domestically to quell any “disturbances”, and the requirement that state laws possibly affecting immigration get DoJ clearance before enactment.

“He thinks he’s Bruce Willis in Siege,” tweets @NicholsUprising, adding “Political Correctness forbids me to use the words ‘Reichstag Fire.’”

While Trump was prepared, so were the ACLU and ProtectDemocracy, whose lawyers argue, “Commander-in-chief of the armed forces doesn’t mean Commander-in-chief of the Nation. Recall that the Constitution does make an exception for a domestic ‘rebellion,’ like the Civil War. But LAX was not a ‘rebellion’.” David Frum goes on @Lawrence: “The chance of an American being killed by ISIS on home soil is less than being killed by your flat screen TV falling on you. Yet we don’t have States of Emergency for Flat Screen TVs.”

Two weeks later the Supreme Court overturns it. “The so-called State of Emergency executive order is null-and-void,” writes Justice Ginsburg for the 5-4 majority, “because it has no basis in law, in the Constitution or in an actual threat level. As even an originalist reading of the Constitution shows, Americans elected a president, not a monarch.”


6. Run Again in 2020? February 15, 2020. With poll numbers stuck in the high-20s and significantly trailing possible Democratic nominees, Trump’s family pleads with him to bow out gracefully: “Daddy, you’ll always be the 45th president. Walk away before they make you crawl away. Pride should not require a 74 year old man run for re-election.”

The next day Trump appears at a Rose Garden press conference in front of an enlarged map of states that he won in red and that he lost in blue.”

“Look at my landslide last time and the record we’ve created – in jobs, spirit, respect around the world. But given some unexpected health concerns and obligations to my family’s world-wide holdings, I won’t be running in 2020 for reelection. I love this job but don’t need this job.”

Eight months later the ticket of Mike Pence and Nikki Haley – their posters read “America Luuvs Guvs” – lose in an electoral rout, 70 million to 54 million votes and 388 electoral votes to 150. The Senate goes Democratic 53-47 and the House Democratic majority grows from 228 to 240.

The next morning, the President-elect – who ran against ”Corrupt Don” and for “The Best America” — tells a room of delirious Democrats: “Plutocracy posing as patriotism has been decisively rejected.  No more stupid tweets about stupid feuds. We’ve won the American Future! We will…”

II. The Impeachment Papers: A Timeline (as of July 27, 2017)

June 14

#7 Mueller probe of Trump begins.

#7 Mueller probe of Trump begins.

June 14, 2017. The Washington Post reports that not only the campaign but also the President himself are under investigation by Mueller for possible obstruction of justice, collusion with Russian interests, and money laundering.


Trump attacks the probe as a “witch hunt,” the first of many such references.  He, Pence, Sessions and Conway all flatly deny that there were any meetings between the campaign and Russians. Supporters repeat the talking point that “there’s no evidence” of any collusion, which is true if you ignore Michael Flynn’s five calls with Ambassador Kislyak, Trump’s public plea in mid-2016, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you will be able to find the [missing] 30,000 emails; and the Reuters report about 18 contacts between the Trump campaign…not to mention that the Mueller probe has only just started.


Trump admits to Lester Holt that he indeed was thinking about “the Russia thing” when he sacked Comey, thereby incriminating himself in any obstruction charge. (“It was like Watergate,” jokes Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, “if Deep Throat was Nixon.”)


The first GOP elected official breaks with Trump – Sen. Jeff Flake. Will he be first of many…or alone?

June 10

The Impeachment Papers thus far


*Jan. 19 – Trump cannot unlearn life-long habits of a bullying, narcissistic, unethical, ruthless businessman/talk show host. Can his private M.O. work in public arena?


*Jan. 20 – Trump’s impeachable problems begin when he refuses to divest his properties, violating ban on emoluments. Four lawsuits filed against his self-enrichment.


*Jan. 21 – A record three million protestors in 150 venues rally against the new POTUS – worried the “carnage” will come from his Orwellian Long Con.


*May 9 – 45 fires Comey after asking for loyalty & ”let this go” re:Flynn, says Comey under oath. 45 says he’ll deny it under oath. Mueller picked as new Special Counsel for ’16 Russia probe.


*May 11 – Admits to Lester Holt that he was thinking about Russian “witchhunt” when he fired Comey. “Like Watergate IF ‘Deep Throat’ was Nixon”, jokes Trevor Noah.


*May 28 – All pols lie but none have usually lied. WashPo documents 586 in first four months, one every three waking hours. From birtherism to “I won popular vote.“


*June 29  45 keeps tweeting false/repugnant stuff, e.g., 44 wiretapped 45 & Mika Brezinski was bleeding after plastic surgery. Attracts 33m followers & much criticism.


*July 9 – Refuses to blame Russia for hacking at G-20, confers with Putin twice & accepts his denials. Steve Schmidt: “He lacks moral authority to lead Western Alliance.”


*July 10 – NYT reveals that Donald Jr/Kusher/Manafort sat with three Russians to discuss HRC dirt + sanctions. 45 dictates false statement for Jr. Obstruction? Collusion?

June 8

#6: Nixon-Cox/Trump-Comey

#6: Nixon-Cox/Trump-Comey

#6. May-June, 2017.  On May 9, Trump fires FBI Director James Comey in middle of his 10 year term. With AG Sessions recused from the Russia probe, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein chooses Robert Mueller, an ex-FBI director confirmed 100-0 in Senate, to take over probe.


Then on June 8th, Comey testifies under oath in a public Senate hearing that Trump solicited his “loyalty” and then pressured him to drop the ongoing investigation of ex-NSC adviser Michael Flynn. (“I hope you can let this go.”) The next day the President contradicts Comey and also floats the falsehood that he may have a tape recording of their meeting. “Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” responds Comey.


Three weeks later, intelligence chiefs Dan Coats and Mike Rogers tell the Senate Intelligence Committee in closed session that Trump urged them to pressure the FBI to state publicly that he wasn’t under investigation; both refused.


Frank Rich writes a cover piece for New York magazine tracking the eerie parallels between Watergate and Russiagate. His conclusion: “The Watergate auto-da- fé wasn’t built in a day.”




LA Times Trump Fires Comey   

May 28

#5: The original lie… and more.

#5: The original lie… and more.

#5. May 28, 2017. “Facts don’t cease to exist,” wrote Aldous Huxley, “because they are ignored.”

Trump’s original campaign lie was the constant innuendo that the prior American president was not an American. By the Trump admits that he was – once, quickly, on September 15, 2016 at his Trump International Hotel — over half of the GOP base believes that the first black president had indeed been born in Africa. When Elisabeth Spiers, the top editor at the Kushner-owned New York Observer, asks how his father-in-law could say something so crazy and racist, he replies, according to her reporting online, “He doesn’t really believe it Elizabeth. He just knows Republicans are stupid and they’ll buy it.”



Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler concludes this month that President Trump has already told 586 lies, for an average of one every three waking hours [rising to 836 by late July]. It starts to dawn on many journalists, used to writing “both sides-do-it” stories, that his repeated falsehoods are not incidental but as essential to how he governs as to how he ran his business. When the Shadow Cabinet’s chief-of-staff asks a prominent conservative commentator if he really thinks that Hillary Clinton lied as much as Trump in the campaign, he laughs: “No one lies as much as Trump.”

March 30

Trump Demands Loyalty

Trump Demands Loyalty

March 30, 2017: Loyalty Demanded

March 24

#4: The Emoluments fuse starts a slow burn.

#4: The Emoluments fuse starts a slow burn.

#4. March-July, 2017. His apparent effort to make both policy and money as President comes under scrutiny.

There are frequent reports of foreign delegations eagerly booking rooms at the Trump International Hotel in D. C. and of countries granting previously denied trademarks and licenses to the Trump Organization. China, for example, provides them on the very day that Premier Xi has dinner with the Trumps at Mar-a-Lago. Jared Kushner’s sister is caught boasting about her brother’s role in the White House when she addresses potential investors in China – and the Kushner Company apologizes. The President plays golf 22 of the first 25 weekends at his various golfing properties, generating enormous publicity and brand name identification, after which the Mar-a-Lago membership doubles to $200,000.


Eric Trump admits on March 24th that his family gives him quarterly reports “on the bottom line, profitability reports and stuff like that.” The President’s lawyers on June 13 publicly admit that they cannot determine “above fair market value.” Four separate lawsuits are filed alleging unconstitutional self-enrichment. Will a court require the President to disclose his tax returns to better understand potential business conflicts? What’s the remedy if he’s found to be in violation of the emoluments clauses – Divestment? Disgorgement? Only impeachment?

January 21

#3: Three million protestors…

#3: Three million protestors…

President Trump’s Inaugural Address hit a rhetorical crescendo when he said of the “mess” he inherited, “This American carnage stops right here and right now!”
The next day, three million people in 150 locations around the country participate in “The Women’s March” – protesting “Agent Orange,” according to one cheeky sign in NYC — to stop the carnage they fear will be coming from his White House.

January 20

#2: Did 45’s legal problems begin when he took the oath of office?

emoluments clause trumpShortly after noon on January 20th, Donald J. Trump puts his left hand on a Bible and vows “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.” At that instant, argue constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe and presidential ethics counselors Norm Eisen and Richard Painter, he and his company become a magnet for money from foreign powers eager to ingratiate themselves with the most powerful person in the world in violation of Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution, as well as Article II, Section 7 which prohibits accepting anything of value from the federal or any state government.


Online petitions use the hashtag #DivestOrImpeach. The long-time head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, concludes that “I don’t think divestment is too high a price to be President of the United States.” Instead, Trump announces that he’ll separate himself from any operational involvement in the Trump Organization – which would be run by his two sons — but not from his ownership interests. Sheri Dillon, his lawyer, asserts that the Emoluments Clause means “profits beyond fair market value” – a phrase and distinction nowhere in the Constitution, which instead explicitly prohibits foreign benefits “of any kind whatever.”


The Emoluments Clause: Its Text, Meaning, and Application to Donald Trump Jr. – Norman Eisen, Richard Painter, Laurence Tribe (12/2016)
January 1

#1: How did Trump get to this point after six months when it took Nixon nearly six years?

#1: How did Trump get to this point after six months when it took Nixon nearly six years?

Trump and his ardent supporters blame a liberal “Fake Media” right from the start – i.e., mainstream journalists who make up stories about him because he challenges the status quo and political correctness. The 45th president takes a vibrant anti-media theme from Nixon-Agnew to an entirely new level as a way of both arousing the GOP base and neutralizing any criticism.


On the other hand, argue progressive critics, Trump’s essentially engaged in an Orwellian Long Con, so far with some success. He’s been an incipient Article of Impeachment because of his disdain for American history and law and because he can’t unlearn the habits a life-long businessman who bluffed and bullied staff, rivals, politicians, lenders, vendors, law enforcement and journalists. This – plus a defiant impulse to always generate headlines with his name in them — means that a President Icarus will constantly fly recklessly close to the sun.


January 1

@ShadowingTrump releases The Impeachment Papers

@ShadowingTrump releases The Impeachment Papers


Make your voice heard! Get the attention of President Razzle Dazzle as he scours Twitter at 6am…