Pam's Points: What's the real emergency in the Trump administration?

Pam's Points: What's the real emergency in the Trump administration?

January 9th, 2019 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

FILE — President Donald Trump last March views border wall prototypes in San Diego (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

Photo by DOUG MILLS

Beware of any Trumpian excuse for a national emergency to build a wall.

Little else Donald Trump has told us during his campaign and two years in the nation's bully pulpit has been true. Why should this be any different?

Even what we see with Trump cannot be trusted: Witness the campaign and ongoing Russian election interference campaign via social media.

But no matter what comes out of Trump's so-called "national emergency" cry of wolf, ask yourselves the obvious question. What does it have to do with the shutdown and negotiations with the Democrats?

Assuming he does declare a national emergency, and assuming it passes almost certain court challenges, and assuming he simply gets his wall money by that edict, will Congress and Trump simply stop fighting over more wall money and end the shutdown? We shouldn't hold our breath waiting on that outcome.

So what if anything will be accomplished by our pathetic president's most recent public babble and photo op?

Answer: Nothing. Absolutely nothing of substance. Just more chaos, public tune-out and a lot more wasted tax dollars.

 

And one more thing

In a New York Times editorial on Monday, the paper noted that the White House is calling for more immigration and Border Patrol agents, more detention beds and, of course, $5.7 billion to build 234 new miles of border wall — along with an additional $800 million for "urgent humanitarian needs," such as medical support, transportation and temporary facilities for processing and housing detainees.

"The situation is an especially rich example of the Trump Doctrine: Break something, then demand credit — and in this case a lot of money — for promising to fix it," The Times wrote.

Pile kids and adults into holding cells until they sicken or die after closed ports of entry forced desperate migrants to cross illegally to seek asylum. With no planning or safety nets, dump 600 off at bus stations and streets of El Paso because the shutdown he created furloughed immigration judges, then claim there's a crisis at the border. Never mind that you, Mr. President, created it.

Here are the facts: Migrant border crossings have been declining for nearly two decades. The majority of heroin enters the America through legal ports of entry, not through open areas of the border. Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes in the United States than native-born Americans. And even according to our State Department, there is "no credible evidence" that terrorist groups sent operatives to enter the U.S. through Mexico.

 

What's the real emergency?

Meanwhile, the Russian lawyer with whom Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner met at Trump Tower in June of 2016 during Trump's presidential campaign was formally charged by federal prosecutors Tuesday with money laundering.

Although Natalia Veselnitskaya became a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller's Trump/Russia probe, this indictment by federal prosecutors in Manhattan relates to a different legal fight involving the Russian and U.S. governments, and charges that she made a "misleading declaration" in a civil case arising from a Manhattan probe into suspected Russian money laundering and tax fraud.

That case, however, led to the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which allowed the U.S. government to sanction Russian officials found to have committed human rights violations there, and Veselnitskaya sought favor from the Trumps for derailing the Magnitsky Act and those sanctions. The indictment against her also underscores how some of the key characters in the Russian government's fight in that original civil case reappeared in the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But there was still more Russia/Trump news Tuesday.

Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager and one of those present in the Trump Tower meeting, shared Trump campaign polling data with an associate tied to Russian intelligence during the campaign, according to a court filing unsealed Tuesday in Manafort's broken plea agreement and upcoming sentencing.

The filing also indicates Manafort "may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan" with the Russian, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, "on more than one occasion."

You may recall that J.D. Gordon, the Trump campaign's national security adviser, told CNN that the Trump campaign's bewildering obsession with gutting a Republican Party plank that supported arming Ukraine in its fight against rebels supported by Russian forces was not, as widely believed, to be Manafort-influenced. Rather, Gordon told CNN, orders to reword the platform came directly from Trump himself at a March meeting in Washington.

You decide: Where and what is the real emergency?

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