How to Remove a Lawless President Through the Use of Institutional Power

How to Remove a Lawless President Through the Use of Institutional Power

By Nick Knudsen and Matt Scharfstein

Calling for impeachment hearings now is certainly warranted by the evidence, but is not politically strategic, and that is why Democratic leaders are not doing it – yet.

Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on our border has prompted fresh calls for his removal from office. Rightfully so: the American people and their representatives in Congress do not support a border wall, so spending $6 billion in taxpayer funds on a project that nobody wants and that is rooted in xenophobia and politics instead of factual analysis is an abuse of power. Abuse of power is an impeachable offense.

Indeed, polls show that calls for impeachment now resonate with the part of the Democratic base that pays a great deal of attention to the day-to-day horrific news and policy coming out Trump’s White House. However, the same polling shows that those less involved tend to see impeachment as purely political and an attempt to overturn a valid election. Democratic leaders have made a judgment call that an early attempt at impeachment would actually play in Trump’s favor, and hand Trump and the Republican Party a victory we can’t afford. The better strategy – the strategy Speaker Pelosi appears to be endorsing by holding off on impeachment, is to move broader public opinion before beginning the process.
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The Loyal Opposition Mission Statement Update 2019

We have revised our Mission Statement to account for Democrats’ huge win in 2018 and the new challenges we face in 2019.

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The Kremlin’s Use of Amateur Agents

An artist’s rendering of amateur Russian spy Maria Butina in court

This piece was originally published by The Integrity Initiative

By Kseniya Kirillova

Russia uses many techniques in what is often now called “hybrid war.” They include subversive disinformation operations aimed at weakening Western countries and destroying trust in democratic institutions, as well as the direct lobbying of Russia’s interests through various unofficial channels of influence. Elements of this system of influence on Western societies and financial institutions are oligarchs and wealthy businessmen, propaganda media based in Western countries, various organizations for Russians living abroad, and even sometimes representatives of organized crime.

At the same time, in Russia, big business, the media, and the mafia are very closely connected with the Russian intelligence services. As a rule, such “agents of influence” don’t participate in espionage operations, and their functions are limited only to creating a positive image of Russia or laundering money through the Western financial system. However, sometimes Russian intelligence also uses civilians as ‘access agents’ or informants. Let’s look into how this works.

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How Does the Kremlin Influence Russians Living Abroad?

This piece was originally published in The Integrity Initiative & subsequently in DemWritePress.

By Kseniya Kirillova

The Russian-speaking diaspora abroad is quite numerous in many Western countries and is made up of many different waves of emigration – from descendants of White Russian émigrés to those who are arriving today. However, all these waves are characterized by a fairly high level of support for Vladimir Putin. It’s especially surprising to see such sentiments amongst people who emigrated in Soviet times, not so much for economic reasons but rather in search of freedom. However, even among them, support is quite high for a president who is far from democratic and rules a Russia that is far from free.

This leads some Western experts to wonder if Russian speakers are a potential “fifth column” – people who, even if they are not conscious agents of the Kremlin, can easily be manipulated into promoting Russian policies and influence operations abroad. And it should be recognized that the Kremlin is making great efforts to try and turn the diaspora into just such an arm of foreign policy.

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Donnie’s Fake Empathy for Kids

Artwork by Julie Frontera

Donnie loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red, brown, yellow; black and white. They are precious in his sight.

By Adam Cohen

Early in his presidency, some had hope. Donald Trump was incensed that Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack on his people, violating international law and killing civilians. “[E]ven beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack,” the president lamented.

In the wake of his disastrous Muslim ban, Trump took this moment to avenge the killing of Syrian children by ordering an airstrike on combined Syrian and Russian forces. At the time, some wondered whether this was a turning point for the blustering billionaire. Could it be that the president was beginning to understand his role as the leader of the free world, and with it the responsibility to hold those who commit atrocities accountable for their heinous actions?  Was this finally the moment he would “pivot” from campaigning to governing? Did he really care about the suffering of children?

Omran Daqneesh, 5, after Syrian regime forces struck Aleppo
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