The 45th President of the U.S. Chapter VI post-2020 election

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The 45th President of the U.S. Chapters I-V

A long read that summarizes almost everything written elsewhere
“This account of one of the final chapters in Trump’s presidency is based on interviews with 32 senior administration officials, campaign aides and other advisers to the president, as well as other key figures in his legal fight, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details about private discussions and to candidly assess the situation.”
20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election
With his denial of the outcome, despite a string of courtroom defeats, Trump endangered America’s democracy, threatened to undermine national security and public health, and duped millions of his supporters into believing, perhaps permanently, that Biden was elected illegitimately.
(WaPo) The 20 days between the election on Nov. 3 and the greenlighting of Biden’s transition exemplified some of the hallmarks of life in Trump’s White House: a government paralyzed by the president’s fragile emotional state; advisers nourishing his fables; expletive-laden feuds between factions of aides and advisers; and a pernicious blurring of truth and fantasy.

22 November
What Trump faces on Jan. 20, 2021
As soon as he becomes a private citizen, Trump will be stripped of the legal armor that has protected him from pending cases both civil and criminal.
(NBC) On Jan. 20, 2021, around noon, Joe Biden will take the oath of office as president and Donald Trump will lose both his job and one of its most important perks.
Trump has faced investigations involving his campaign, his business and his personal behavior since he took the oath of office himself four years ago. As soon as he becomes a private citizen, however, he will be stripped of the legal armor that has protected him from a host of pending court cases both civil and criminal.
He will no longer be able to argue in court that his position as the nation’s chief executive makes him immune to prosecution or protects him from turning over documents and other evidence. He will also lose the help of the Justice Department in making those arguments.

20 November
Trump undercuts American democracy as he clings to power
(CNN) President Donald Trump is trying to steal a free and fair election that he lost by a wide margin to President-elect Joe Biden by tearing at the most basic principle of American democracy: He’s trying to throw out hundreds of thousands of votes.
Many of Trump and Giuliani’s maneuvers seem so desperate and outlandish that they are hard to take seriously. But constitutional experts are warning that the President is already doing irreparable harm to the nation.
“The problem is, he’s speaking for the President of the United States,” veteran Republican elections lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

14 November
Republican leaders in 4 key U.S. states quash Trump bid on switching electors
(CBC) Republican leaders in four critical states won by U.S. president-elect Joe Biden say they won’t participate in a legally dubious scheme to flip their state’s electors to vote for President Donald Trump. Their comments effectively shut down a half-baked plot some Republicans floated as a last chance to keep Trump in the White House.
State Republican lawmakers in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have all said they would not intervene in the selection of electors, who ultimately cast the votes that secure a candidate’s victory. Such a move would violate state law and a vote of the people, several noted.
Heads roll as Trump launches post-election purge
(The Hill) Rumors are swirling around whether CIA Director Gina Haspel might be next, as the president’s allies accuse her of obstructing efforts to declassify top-secret materials they say would expose wrongdoing in the Russia investigation.
A shake-up is underway at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cyber division, where top officials have disputed Trump’s baseless claims that Democrats fraudulently stole the election from him.
The president has installed loyalists at agencies responsible for overseeing the government’s environmental and energy regulations, and there is speculation that he could clean house at the FBI or Health and Human Services.
Thousands rally behind Trump, believing he won race he lost
Trump loyalists converged on the nation’s capital to protest the election results and falsely assert the vote was stolen.

13 November
Is This a Coup, or Just Another Trump Con?
A post-election report from Minsk-on-the-Potomac.
By Susan B. Glasser
Despite President Trump’s bluster, senior Administration officials and outside advisers say that he is not serious about defying the election results to remain in office.
(The New Yorker) Even after a full four years of watching Trump, this might have been the most unsettling, and uncertain, few days in his Presidency. On Monday, as Republicans made clear that they would not publicly challenge Trump’s election denialism, there were moments when I worried this really was the power grab we’ve spent the past few years dreading. By late in the week, it seemed more like much of the tumult of the era: terrible for democracy, but ultimately a bad case of Trumpian bluster rather than an ominous portent of tanks in the streets.
‘Never bet against me’: Trump and his allies dig in despite election defeat
The unrealistic prediction from the president, published in the Friday edition of Washington Examiner correspondent Byron York’s newsletter, represented some of Trump’s first remarks to a member of the news media since Biden was declared the winner of the election last weekend.
In his interview with York, Trump argued he was still competitive in several key swing states where Biden had already emerged victorious, saying he was “going to win Wisconsin” — a state called for Biden last Wednesday where Trump is currently trailing by more than 20,000 votes.
In Arizona, which was also called for Biden as early as last Wednesday, the race will “be down to 8,000 votes,” Trump said, even though he is behind by more than 11,000 votes there.
Prediction: Trump will resign, Pence will pardon him
By Brent Budowsky, opinion contributor
(The Hill) President Trump has been defeated for reelection. The campaign is over. The results are in, and decisive. Donald Trump has lost. His chance of succeeding in being reelected through any strategy or tactic is mathematically zero.
Second, Trump will issue pardons to his immediate family and whoever else he may feel a residual loyalty to.
Third, Trump will be told by his attorneys that he has no option to pardon himself. He probably has already been told this. The worst case for Trump, both legally and politically, is that he tries to pardon himself, creates a wave of national outrage, and his pardon of himself is overturned by the courts.
Fourth, Trump will resign from the presidency before his term officially ends, and he will be pardoned by Vice President Pence, when Pence becomes president.
A presidential pardon by Pence would not offer protection from cases originating in states, but those cases will be far more manageable if they are not sunk into a morass of federal cases that only a federal pardon can protect him from. …
The biggest issue is that Trump must obtain a pardon for federal offenses, which he can only achieve if he resigns the presidency early and is granted a pardon by Pence. Without a federal pardon, it is almost guaranteed that Trump will spend much of the coming years mired in federal cases that could pose grave legal risks for him and create problems for executing any multibillion-dollar business deal.
It’s also possible that Trump concludes his presidency with a politically disastrous end, pursuing a wrecking ball strategy of mass firings and purges that are widely seen as endangering our national security. This will create permanent anger throughout leading democracies that will sabotage his effort to monetize profits through multibillion-dollar deals with a mass audience and customer base in those nations.
In Trump’s final days, a 30-year-old aide purges officials seen as insufficiently loyal
(WaPo) Over the past week, President Trump has axed his defense secretary and other top Pentagon aides, his second-in-command at the U.S. Agency for International Development, two top Homeland Security officials, a senior climate scientist and the leader of the agency that safeguards nuclear weapons.
Engineering much of the post-election purge is Johnny McEntee, a former college quarterback who was hustled out of the White House two years ago after a security clearance check turned up a prolific habit for online gambling.
A staunch Trump loyalist, McEntee, 30, was welcomed back into the fold in February and installed as head of personnel for the Trump White House
‘Purely outlandish stuff’: Trump’s legal machine grinds to a halt
So many lawsuits have been filed in so many state and federal courts that no one has an exact number. The campaign has lost nearly all of the cases that have been decided so far.
(Politico) A Michigan lawyer for Donald Trump’s campaign filed a case in the wrong court. Lawsuits in Arizona and Nevada were dropped. A Georgia challenge was quickly rejected for lack of evidence. His Pennsylvania legal team just threw in the towel.
The president’s legal machine — the one papering swing states with lawsuits and affidavits in support of Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud — is slowly grinding to a halt after suffering a slew of legal defeats and setbacks.
Along the way, Trump lawyers have abruptly dropped core claims, been admonished in court for lack of candor and even been forced to admit they had no evidence of fraud, while their client inaccurately rails to the contrary on Twitter.

12 November
Small Cracks Emerge in G.O.P. Support for Trump’s Baseless Fraud Claims
President Trump retains a powerful hold on his party. But a growing number of Republican elected officials and party leaders have signaled they will indulge his conspiracy theories for only so long.
(NYT) …with Mr. Biden now leading in enough states to deliver him as many as 306 Electoral College votes — the same sum Mr. Trump won in 2016 and declared a “landslide” — and with no credible evidence of electoral malfeasance, Republicans are gingerly beginning to acknowledge the reality of Mr. Biden’s win.

11 November
Not every Trump voter is racist or misled. There’s a rational Trump voter too
(The Correspondent) Donald Trump not only didn’t lose votes, he gained votes. It seemed even more unfathomable than in 2016, where Trump’s record only included his stunts on the campaign trail. Here was an increase in the Trump vote after four years where he fomented racial discord, behaved in unstable and destabilising ways, and mismanaged a pandemic that has already claimed almost a quarter of a million lives in the US.
But Trump’s unexpected 2020 performance should never have been unexpected, whatever the polls said. It was only so because the motivations of Trump voters are still stuck in a binary, seen as either racist or misled.
Ignorance and racism alone can’t account for 71 million votes.

9 November
Trump’s firing of Esper was a slap in the face
(WaPo) A darker possibility is that Trump wants a Pentagon chief who can order the military to take steps that might help keep him in power because of an election result that he claims is fraudulent. Any such attempt would be strongly resisted by Milley and his senior commanders, as well as the civilian service chiefs. But the fact remains that until his term expires on Jan. 20, Trump remains the commander in chief, whose orders must be obeyed if they’re lawful.

8 November
Greg Sargent: How Trump can still try to burn the place down on the way out
Trump and his allies are set to spend at least another month on a “legal war” to reverse Joe Biden’s victory, Axios reports. They are reportedly discussing rallies at which Trump will highlight supposed examples of voter fraud, as well as pursuing targeted litigation in states where the outcome was decided.
…many Republicans are privately irked by it, Axios reports, noting that it will distract time and money from the two looming Senate runoffs in Georgia. What’s more, Republicans know the legal battle won’t succeed. Biden’s margins are far too large to be overcome by litigation
Wrecking ball: the damage Trump could do while still president until January
The next 11 weeks could be the most dangerous in US history, some analysts believe, with a vengeful and fearful lame duck incumbent
(The Guardian) Some of the mayhem that will follow Donald Trump losing the presidential election is already known. The US exited the Paris climate agreement on Wednesday regardless. The coronavirus pandemic that has already claimed almost a quarter of a million lives in America will worsen. Trump has hinted he will attempt to fire Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert in infectious diseases.
But Trump’s defeat also sets the clock ticking on 11 weeks that some analysts believe could be the most dangerous period in US history, the time before the 20 January inauguration of Joe Biden during which a vengeful president can wreak havoc if he chooses to do so.

7 November
Donald Trump Confronts a New Label: Loser
For the first time in a life that has been free of consequences for his failures, Trump has been held to account on the world’s largest stage.
(Politico Magazine) As he has so relentlessly in the past, Trump is fighting against being tagged with a label that he has considered toxic to his brand. He has refused to concede. “The simple fact is this election is far from over,” he said in a statement just after the election was called. He promised to fight the results in court, alleging, without evidence, that a massive electoral fraud had robbed him of victory. But his talent for recasting reality to his advantage was incapable of overcoming a statistical truth not only accepted but dictated by the majority of the nation. He lost.
In the interest of at least publishing another view, albeit a highly sycophantic one
Conrad Black: Trump may be down, but he’s certainly not out
He may appear beleaguered, but this battle is far from over
(National Post) This may be one of those American elections where the real victor will always be disputed, like 1960 and 2000 (when George W. Bush won by one electoral vote after he apparently won the state of Florida by 537 votes out of over five million cast against the incumbent vice-president Al Gore). But in this case, if Trump loses, it will not just be the result of what the president and his supporters describe as massive and brazen fraud at the polls (far exceeding the 50,000 or so missing or possibly fraudulent votes in 1960). It will be chiefly because of a campaign by almost the entire national political media and polling organizations to smear the president throughout his term.
Trump was practically certain of re-election prior to the onset of the pandemic, but the virus gave the Democrats the opportunity to climb into bed with the most vocal scientists, demand a complete shutdown of the economy for humanitarian reasons and then accuse Trump of inflicting a bone-cracking economic depression on the country because of his prior mishandling of the coronavirus….

6 November
Anne Applebaum: Trump Won’t Accept Defeat. Ever.
His forever campaign is just getting started.
(The Atlantic) Above all, though, the Biden illegitimacy myth will function as a prop for Trump’s own fragile ego. Unable to cope with the loss of the presidency, unable to accept that he was beaten, Trump will now shield himself from the reality of defeat by pretending it didn’t happen. His personal need to live in a perpetual fantasyland, a world where he is always winning, is so overpowering that he will do anything to maintain it. In his narcissistic drive to create this alternative reality, he will deepen divisions, spread paranoia, and render his supporters even more fearful of their fellow citizens and distrustful of their institutions. This is a president who never had America’s interests at heart. Do not expect loss to change him.
Trump Dumps 3 Agency Leaders In Wake Of Election
The Trump administration abruptly dumped the leaders of three agencies that oversee the nuclear weapons stockpile, electricity and natural gas regulation, and overseas aid during the past two days, drawing a rebuke from a prominent Republican senator for one of the decisions.
The White House declined comment on the firings and declined to say whether there would be more in the wake of the election.
Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose
The President has survived one impeachment, twenty-six accusations of sexual misconduct, and an estimated four thousand lawsuits. That run of good luck may well end, perhaps brutally, if Joe Biden wins.
(New Yorker Magazine) Two of the investigations into Trump are being led by powerful state and city law-enforcement officials in New York. Cyrus Vance, Jr., the Manhattan District Attorney, and Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, are independently pursuing potential criminal charges related to Trump’s business practices before he became President. Because their jurisdictions lie outside the federal realm, any indictments or convictions resulting from their actions would be beyond the reach of a Presidential pardon. Trump’s legal expenses alone are likely to be daunting.

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