Impeachment Week in Review: Omarosa Unhinged

The big news this week is the apparent campaign for “co-star/arch-enemy status” launched by Omarosa Manigault Newman, who had previously played supporting roles in the first two versions of The Apprentice series, and also in the first season of the latest White House remake: Celebrity Apprentice President.  Newman has a new book out, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House billed as an “insider-tells-all” about corruption in the White House.  Lots of books are out… but Newman has four unique and crucial ingredients in her not-so-secret sauce. First, she’s a very talented, telegenic TV performer – with skills learned over years from the master himself.  Very simply, and very bluntly, she can compete toe-to-toe with Trump on the Tube. It’s difficult to overemphasize the importance of this – it really does amount to a new co-star/arch-enemy dynamic to our situation.  Ratings won Trump the Republican nomination, and Ratings will probably make it impossible to keep her off FOX – where she has the potential to do major damage to Trump. Second, she’s already well known to Trump’s base – she’s been in their living rooms for decades.  FOX viewers will watch her from both familiarity and curiosity – the bean-counters can’t ignore that.  Third, she’s got tapes – apparently lots of tapes.  Fourth, it appears she has legal claims and defenses associated with Whistleblower status – the incredible tangle of legal issues that will emerge when Season One of Techtonic Tweeters: Whistleblower Meets Executive Privilege goes into production should be a field day for lawyers and legal pundits. Newman’s book campaign kicked off with a 21-minute session on Meet the Press, then she appeared on the Today Show Monday, before dashing off to the next interview (tight schedule!)  Trump is already in over-reaction mode – calling/tweeting her a “lowlife” and a “dog.” Omarosa will be on anything and everything you’re plugged into.  Meanwhile, the Unite the Right 2 march in Washington D.C., marking the anniversary of the deadly rally in Charlottesville VA, went on with a whimper – about two dozen people gathered and quickly scattered – amid significant coverage of how Antifa’s antics were likely “hurting the cause.”  The Paul Manafort trial is heading for closing arguments and a jury verdict.  And we are being reminded that impeachment is not just a Federal process – the West Virginia House has impeached their entire Supreme Court – an emerging story that may have significant educational value going forward.  Books from the pro-Trump camp have dominated sales recently – Omarosa’s new book will certainly change that next week.

Meet To Impeach Event: The next MeetToImpeach event will be at “People’s Plaza” (AKA "Government Plaza", between Minneapolis City Hall and the Hennepin County Government Center, at 4th Street and 5th Avenue) from Noon to 1 PM on Saturday, August 18th.  "The purpose of these meetings is to launch a bi-partisan discussion of what our Constitution actually says about Impeachment and removal from office, and to challenge some major teachings of 'Conventional Wisdom' that appear to be just plain wrong... or incomplete at best,” bobagain said.  Although bobagain is also a candidate for the Republican nomination in the August 14th primary for U.S. Congress in the 5th District, which includes Minneapolis, he expects to have lost that primary before the August 18th event – it will be a non-partisan, non-campaign event in any case. 

Omarosa’s Unhinged is on the launch pad –

NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd devoted 21 minutes Sunday to Omarosa Manigault Newman and her new book, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House, set for release Tuesday, August 14th.  Trump is responding by calling her a “low life” and a “dog” in tweets – an arbitration filing is also reported in New York, based on an agreement she is reported to have had with the campaign.  She appears to be claiming whistleblower status and rights.   Both the book and Newman’s entire recent story line revolve around tapes – including a dispute about a tape that Newman claims to have heard, in which then-reality TV host Trump is reported to use the N-word.  Portions of one more recent tape were played – Newman’s recording of a meeting in the Situation Room with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.  Kelly says: “We’re going to talk to you about leaving the White House.  It’s come to my attention over the last few months that there’s been, in my opinion, some pretty significant integrity issues…”  Kelly suggested the firing decision was his, not President Trump’s, and suggested that if she, in effect, went quietly and cooperatively, her future path will be smoother.  Nelson thought she was clearly being threatened and commented to Todd: “that’s downright criminal.”  She adds: “and then, they tried to buy off my silence, which is also unlawful.”  The following day, on the Today show, when describing her Situation Room meeting with John Kelly, she told Savannah Guthrie: “and the moment I said I would like to leave, and they said I can’t go, it became false imprisonment… I’m going to tell you there are other people who’ve been treated this way by General Kelly, there’s a lot of very corrupt things happening in the White House, and I am going to blow the whistle on a lot of this.”  Regarding legal issues, and in particular regarding taping the conversation in the Situation Room, Newman also told Guthrie: “I have protections.  The moment that I decided to blow the whistle on a lot of the corruption going on in the White House there are protections that are afforded to me.”  Nelson told Todd she was offered a job, conditioned on a non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreement, and added it wasn’t a real job, saying “they told me I could work from home, if I even wanted to work, they didn’t really care if I showed up, in fact there are several former employees from the White House who actually signed this agreement, who are all being paid $15,000 for their silence” [ed: that could refer to monthly pay.]  On the N-word, and her White House experience more generally – Newman wrote in her book that during a phone conversation “I was told exactly what Donald Trump said yes – the N-word and others in a classic Trump-goes-nuclear rant – and when he’d said them.  During production he was miked and there is definitely an audio track.”  Newman told Todd that although she herself had not heard the tape before her book went into print, she has personally heard it since then: “… and I heard his voice as clear as you and I are sitting here… I have heard for two years that existed, and once I heard it for myself, it was confirmed what I feared the most… that Donald Trump is a con… and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities, but when he talks that way, the way he did on this tape, it confirmed that he is truly a racist.”  Nelson acknowledged her role in promoting Trump up to when she was fired, but offered as an explanation: “being used by Donald Trump for so long I was like the frog in the hot water… I will say this to you; I was complicit with this White House deceiving this nation.  They continue to deceive this nation by how mentally declined he is, how difficult it is for him to process complex information…”  Nelson also says, apparently referring to White House staff and not to the Cabinet: “I was working to try to find someone who could take my place.  I was the only African-American at the table.  If I left, which I did, when I left there has been no new appointment of an African-America assistant to the President, which means that people are making decisions about us without us.” 

Unite the Right 2 fizzles; Antifa critics sizzle –

Vox reports of a widely publicized Unite the Right 2 rally in Washington DC, apparently timed to mark the anniversary of the Charlottesville VA event a year ago: “It was supposed to be the start of another show of force by white nationalists: Unite the Right 2, the follow-up to last year’s disastrous and violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, which concluded with a Nazi sympathizer ramming his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, injuring several and killing one.”  But the event quickly fizzled when only about two dozen protesters showed up, and then quickly dispersed.   The police were massively over-prepared, and kept counter-demonstrators, who included “Antifa” participants, separate from the Unite the Right 2 group.  But reporting and criticism of Antifa was also mainstream:  Vox also reports on counterprotesters: “a few left-wing “antifa” (short for “anti-fascist”) counterprotesters did engage in violence, throwing eggs and water bottles and shooting fireworks at police officers and some journalists who were covering the demonstrations.”  Writing for the Washington Post, Petula Dvorak reports and opines: “’There they are! Nazis!’ someone shouted, as a knot of about two dozen helmeted, masked, jackbooted marchers clomped through the back of the crowd down H Street NW. A sneak attack!  ‘Go home, Nazis!’ some counterprotesters shouted, as the crowd began to turn and surge toward the militant-looking group.  ‘Wait! No!’ someone yelled, one hand up.  ‘They’re on our siiiiiiiiiiiiide!’ another love and unity demonstrator shouted.  ‘Stop!’  Oh.  It was the antifa, the flip side of the Heil Trump crowd. Easily mistaken, yes.  And, all too often, their own worst enemy… what these moments do is hand political manipulators a gift, a snapshot of cartoonish, scattershot radicalism that undermines the very valid point the rest of the demonstrators are making.”  For evidence of this, see this Drudge Report archive, which had links headlined: ANTIFA VOWS ‘BULLETS’ FOR POLITICAL ENEMIES (link to InfoWars/Alex Jones) and “Threaten to Kill President: ‘Murder Him – Do like Gadaffi’…” (link to The Daily Caller.) 

Paul Manafort’s first Trial moves to final arguments and a verdict – The Washington Post reports: “Paul Manafort, President Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, is on trial in federal court in Alexandria on bank and tax fraud charges. Prosecutors allege he failed to pay taxes on millions he made from his work for a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party, then lied to get loans when the cash stopped coming in.   ¶The prosecution rested on Monday, and today the defense rested, and Manafort will not take the stand. The courtroom was sealed for nearly two hours this morning, then reopened at about 11:30 a.m. with Manafort coming in 10 minutes later. The reason for the sealed court was not disclosed.”

Impeachments can also occur at the State level -- The West Virginia Constitution specifies broad enumerated grounds for impeachment (Article 4.9): “Any officer of the state may be impeached for maladministration, corruption, incompetency, gross immorality, neglect of duty, or any high crime or misdemeanor.”  NPR reports: “West Virginia's House of Delegates voted to impeach all four justices on the state's Supreme Court of Appeals on Monday.  ¶Three of them, Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justices Allen Loughry and Elizabeth Walker, now face impeachment trials in the state Senate.  ¶The fourth, Justice Robin Davis, announced her retirement on Tuesday, just hours after her impeachment. A fifth justice on the court resigned before impeachment proceedings began.  ¶Workman, Loughry, Walker and Davis have all been impeached for failing to carry out their administrative duties. Loughry, Workman and Davis also were impeached for paying retired senior status judges more than the law allowed.  ¶Davis and Loughry were impeached for the use of state money to renovate their offices — but Walker and Workman, who spent less on renovations than their colleagues, were cleared of impeachment charges over the expenses.  ¶Loughry was also impeached for using state vehicles and computers.”

Book Beat -- With Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House, by Omarosa Manigault-Newman still on the launch pad, the PublishersWeekly top 25 Nonfiction list shows The Case Against Impeaching Trump, by Harvard Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz made it onto the list again, at #22, with 3,129 copies sold for the week.  Both the #1 and #3 books this week are also from the pro-Trump camp.  The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump, by Gregg Jarrett, stayed at #1 for its second week on the list, with sales of 31,209, and the #3 spot was held by Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy – from Jeanine Pirro, FOX news host of Justice with Judge Jeanine.

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