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Trump more concerned with the optics of being convicted by the Senate, as he cuts bait on pardons

8 min read

No doubt there are Trump pardons, but the cluster falls close to the _____. Apparently Trump has been advised that the optics of guilt are greater exposure to his soon to be mounting legal woes. This includes even the Trumpian small insults, a hastily assembled 1776 position paper to prescribe RWNJ ideologies in reaction to the 1619 Project, and perhaps even not even offering a USAF jet to fly Joe Biden to DC today.

Even as recently as Monday, with hours remaining in his presidency, Trump appeared fixated on pardons.

While he was considering preemptive pardons for his children and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, a source close to the process said those are no longer expected. Bannon, who has been indicted on fraud charges, is also not expected to receive a pardon on Tuesday, the source said.
Trump is also not expected to pardon Edward Snowden or Julian Assange, whose roles in revealing US secrets infuriated official Washington.
While he had once entertained the idea, Trump decided against it because he did not want to anger Senate Republicans who will soon determine whether he’s convicted during his Senate trial. Multiple GOP lawmakers had sent messages through aides that they felt strongly about not granting clemency to Assange or Snowden.
As he departs office, Trump has expressed real concern that Republicans could turn on him. A conviction in the Senate impeachment trial would limit his future political activities and strip him of some of the government perks of being an ex-president.


On Monday, The final report of the President’s 1776 Advisory Commission was released largely because Trump lost the election. As a screed, it does raise some questions about the didactic purposes of the Trump administration beyond calumny and corruption.

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Indeed, there are uncanny similarities between 21st century activists of identity politics and 19th century apologists for slavery

This quote alone disqualifies the strangest piece of dominionist propaganda written by the ideological geniuses of the Trump administration. Written by some of the right wing apologists for the human rights abuses attempted by Trump, it is filled with reactionary positions intended to propose a civic education appropriate for the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026, when presumably Trump would be in his third presidential term. It attacks the intent of the recent NY Times 1619 project, and is a simplistic document from academic backwaters and the dregs of GOP politics, and hardly qualifies as a conservative document, even with a pronounced lack of bipartisanship.

These three items from the Appendix for civic education demonstrate the underlying historical bias and misrepresentation within the document.

Recognizing that political activism has no place in formal education, mock civics and community service projects should be encouraged

Why did the founders opt for representative democracy over the “pure” version of democracy practiced in ancient Athens? How do the two kinds of democracy differ? What did the Federalist assert was the inadequacy of ancient democracy?

How does the Constitution seek to reconcile democracy, which means rule by the majority, with the rights of minorities? Stated differently, how does the Constitution do justice both to the equality of all and to the liberty of each? What exactly is the difference between a democracy and republic?

What economic conditions make American democracy possible? Could American democracy under the Constitution be reconciled with any and every economic system? Why does the Constitution protect property rights? Why do critics of American democracy such as Karl Marx believe that private property (protected by our Constitution) is the root of injustice? How would Madison and Hamilton have responded to Marx and his followers’ criticisms?

(p.39)

There is one historian on the commission, the rest are various GOP functionaries and members of think-tanks, some with academic connections.

Larry Arnn chaired the 1776 Commission. He is the president of Hillsdale College and one of The Heritage Foundation’s trustees. In 2015, he received the Bradley Prize. (Here is some background, from @WilliamCohanLarry P. Arnn – Hillsdale College

His Hillsdale colleague, Matthew Spalding, was the Commission’s executive director. He is the author of “We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future.” Previously, Spalding was a fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Matthew Spalding

Mike Gonzalez, a former reporter, columnist, and speechwriter for a Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, is the “E Pluribus Unum” fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He has no degrees in history. Mike Gonzalez
Michael Farris, who also has no degrees in history, is the CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that advocates “for religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, freedom of speech, and marriage and family.” Michael P. Farris
Charles Kesler, another Bradley Prize winner, is a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, with expertise in “idealism and nihilism,” the “conservative movement in America,” and “term limitations.” He was Michael Anton’s adviser.
Fmr. Rep. Bob McEwen has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami, but he did lobby for an historian: Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Côte d’Ivoire, who was charged with crimes against humanity.
Gay Hart Gaines, who was the head of GOPAC, “studied interior design at the University of Minnesota. “In 2016, Laura Ingraham presented her with the Republican Party of Palm Beach County’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. Chris Christie gave the keynote.
Peter Kirsanow, who was a member of the National Labor Relations Board, is a Cleveland-based lawyer. He recently argued in a piece for the National Review that there is no systemic racism in the United States: Peter N. Kirsanow
John Gibbs is a conspiracy theorist who President Trump recently nominated to be the next Director of the United States Office of Personnel Management. He is a computer scientist.
Ned Ryun, whose father recently received the the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is the founder and CEO of American Majority, “the nation’s premier conservative training organization. “He is a self-described “grassroots and conservative activism expert.”
Bradley Prize-winner Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and conservative commentator, is a fellow at Hillsdale College and The Hoover Institution.
Notably, he is not affiliated with Stanford University’s classics or history departments — even by courtesy. Victor Davis Hanson
Tom Lindsay is a distinguished senior fellow of higher education and constitutional studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank. He is not an historian. Thomas K. Lindsay, Ph.D.
Attorney Julie Strauss, a conservative activist, is Mark Levin’s wife. Julie Strauss Levin

Phil Bryant, who was Mississippi’s 64th governor, studied criminal justice and political science. Previously, he was a deputy sheriff, an insurance investigator, and a state auditor. Phil Bryant – National Governors Association
“I will not miss what American universities have allowed themselves to become,” she wrote at the time. Carol Swain to Retire From Vanderbilt
Jerry Davis has been, for 43 years, the president of College of the Ozarks, a Christian college in Point Lookout, Missouri. “Without patriotic education, historic American values and virtues will cease to exist in America’s youth,” he said.

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