Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Something to Know - 3 April

You should know about other stuff that Trump is guilty of.   You already know what a deranged and dangerous person is, and how he has corrupted the rule of law by not observing a peaceful transition of power, and all the felonies he is charged with.   You should also know how he is corrupting our nation's foreign affairs, and relationships and alliances that the USA has in place with other countries.   If you are like I am, you may have heard mention of the Logan Act.   HCR gives you enough to know what it is, and how #45 is in violation, as he is with any other of his nefarious doings:

Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American 

Apr 2, 2024, 9:54 PM (11 hours ago)
to me
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Almost six months have passed since President Joe Biden asked Congress to appropriate money for Ukraine in a national security supplemental bill. At first, House Republicans said they would not pass such a bill without border security. Then, when a bipartisan group of senators actually produced a border security provision for the national security bill, they killed it, under orders from former president Trump. 

In February the Senate passed the national security supplemental bill with aid for Ukraine without the border measures by a strong bipartisan vote of 70 to 29. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) cheered its passage, saying: "The national security bill passed by the Senate is of profound importance to America's security."

The measure would pass in the House by a bipartisan vote, but House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has refused to take it up, acting in concert with Trump. 

On March 24, on Washington Week, foreign affairs journalist Anne Applebaum said: "Trump has decided that he doesn't want money to go to Ukraine… It's really an extraordinary moment; we have an out-of-power ex-president who is in effect dictating American foreign policy on behalf of a foreign dictator or with the interests of a foreign dictator in mind." 

On Thursday, March 28, Beth Reinhard, Jon Swaine, and Aaron Schaffer of the Washington Post reported that Richard Grenell, an extremist who served as Trump's acting director of national intelligence, has been traveling around the world to meet with far-right foreign leaders, "acting as a kind of shadow secretary of state, meeting with far-right leaders and movements, pledging Trump's support and, at times, working against the current administration's policies."

Grenell, the authors say, is openly laying the groundwork for a president who will make common cause with authoritarian leaders and destroy partnerships with democratic allies. Trump has referred to Grenell as "my envoy," and the Trump camp has suggested he is a frontrunner to become secretary of state if Trump is reelected in 2024. 

Applebaum was right: it is extraordinary that we have a former president who is now out of power running his own foreign policy. 

For most of U.S. history, there was an understanding that factionalism stopped at the water's edge. Partisans might fight tooth and nail within the U.S., but they presented a united front to the rest of the world. That understanding was strong enough that it was not for nearly a half century that we had definitive proof that in 1968 Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon had launched a secret effort to thwart incumbent president Lyndon Baines Johnson's peace initiative to end the Vietnam War; Nixon had tried very hard to hide it. 

But the era of hiding attempts to undermine foreign policy ended in 2015, when 47 Republican senators openly warned Iranian officials that they would destroy any agreement Iran made with then-president Barack Obama, a Democrat, over nuclear weapons as soon as a Republican regained the White House. At the time it sparked a firestorm, although the senators involved could argue that they, too, should be considered the voice of the government.

It was apparently a short step from the idea that it was acceptable to undermine foreign policy decisions made by a Democratic president to the idea that it was acceptable to work with foreign operatives to change foreign policy. In late 2016, Trump's then national security advisor Michael Flynn talked to Russian foreign minister Sergey Kislyak about relieving Russia of U.S. sanctions. Now, eight years later, Trump is conducting his own foreign policy, and it runs dead against what the administration, the Pentagon, and a majority of senators and representatives think is best for the nation.  

Likely expecting help from foreign countries, Trump is weakening the nation internationally to gain power at home. In that, he is retracing the steps of George Logan, who in 1798 as a private citizen set off for France to urge French officials to court popular American opinion in order to help throw George Washington's party out of power and put Thomas Jefferson's party in. 

Congress recognized that inviting foreign countries to interfere on behalf of one candidate or another would turn the United States into a vassal state, and when Logan arrived back on U.S. shores, he discovered that Congress had passed a 1799 law we now know as the Logan Act, making his actions a crime. 

The law reads: "Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

Trump's interference in our foreign policy is weakening Ukraine, which desperately needs equipment to fight off Russia's invasion. It is also warning partners and allies that they cannot rely on the United States, thus serving Russian president Vladimir Putin's goal of fracturing the alliance standing against Russian aggression.  

Today, Lara Seligman, Stuart Lau, and Paul McLeary of Politico reported that officials at the meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) foreign ministers in Brussels on Thursday are expected to discuss moving the Ukraine Defense Contact Group from U.S. to NATO control. The Ukraine Defense Contact Group is an organization of 56 nations brought together in the early days of the conflict by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and then–Joint Chiefs chair General Mark Milley to coordinate supplying Ukraine. 

Members are concerned about maintaining aid to Ukraine in case of a second Trump presidency. 

Jim Townsend, a former Pentagon and NATO official, told the Politico reporters: "There's a feeling among, not the whole group but a part of the NATO group, that thinks it is better to institutionalize the process just in case of a Trump re-election. And that's something that the U.S. is going to have to get used to hearing, because that is a fear, and a legitimate one."


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