Dear America,

Enough has been said about Donald Trump's new role as Putin's toady that you don't need to hear it again from me.  Trump has demonstrated that he is a poltroon on numerous occasions, and he has only confirmed it with his pathetic attempt to excuse himself for taking Putin's side in opposition to both our intelligence establishment and the evidence by claiming that he didn't mean what he said, he meant the opposite.  And he isn't the first pusillanimous leader the world has ever had, though he may be the first cowardly American president, at least as far back as I can remember, but he himself isn't really the problem.  It's us, America.  We're the problem.

The day after what was the most pathetic performance by an American president that I have ever seen, many Americans are either apologizing for Trump or excusing him one way or another...and some are even lauding him as a strong leader.  What?  Our fellow Americans are taking the part of a president who, in his life before politics, was a dead-beat when it came to people with whom he contracted, an appalling self-seeker of publicity with which to stroke his own ego, a defrauder of investors, as in the case of the casinos he managed.  In that last instance, he ran the businesses into the ground with his management companies, floated junk bonds to pay their fees, and then declared the casinos bankrupt after he got his money for management.  Mind you, I am a native New Yorker of Trump's age, so I witnessed all of that on the news and in the papers, but most Americans didn't so they can't be blamed for their lack of knowledge when it comes to who this guy was.  But they are now seeing who he is today, and they are still defending him.  It was quite obvious at the Helsinki news conference that Trump was intimidated by Putin, and it's even more obvious now that he is a couple of days away from Putin and is trying to say that he knows what Putin is up to, having foregone his opportunity to confront him about it.  Trump can't stand up when it is important, which is his problem.  But many of we Americans are going to vote for him again, and that's our problem.

Unfortunately, our only hope, at least until next January when the next congress goes into session, is the Republican Party.  And if the Republicans retain control of congress in November, it will be two years before the rest of us have a chance to take our country back from Putin's stooge.  Some Republicans gave faint condemnation to Trump's performance, but overall, the Republican reaction to Trump's shame was pretty mild.  Lindsey Graham described the threat that Trump's statements represented, and Jeff Flake, craven himself for his refusal to stand for reelection because he might lose, characterized Trump's performance as "shameful", "confused" and "a mistake".  But by and large, the Republicans skulked away from their leader with a shrug as if to say, it wasn't me, so don't blame me...you elected him.  Of course, Trump can't be impeached for being a cowardly idiot.  But the last few days raises a question about his competence to hold office, and there is a constitutional amendment that deals with that.  Section III of the XXVth amendment says that if a president is unable to fulfill his duties, he can notify the president pro tem of The Senate and the speaker of The House and the vice president can take over.  Unfortunately, he has to give that notification in writing, and he has to do it himself.  Trump never even admits that he is wrong, so there is no chance that he will admit that he's incompetent much less corrupt.  Still, there is the letter.

You may recall that Donald, Jr. had a meeting with a Russian attorney who it turns out was also in Russian intelligence, at least at one time, and he denied it in a letter.  At the time, there was a rumor that Donald, Sr. had dictated the false denial letter, which was an attempt to deceive the FBI at the time in its investigation of collusion of the Trump campaign with the Russians.  Making a false statement to the FBI to misdirect one of its investigations is a crime...not a misdemeanor but a high crime: a felony.  If the Republicans wanted to, they could impeach Trump, and whether he was convicted or not, they could thus at least slow him down.

So, we are relying on the Republicans to do the only thing that can be done.  I wish us luck.  We're going to need it.

Your friend,

Mike

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