Mueller’s Facts and Trump’s Make-Believe

The president’s credo: “Just tell them and they believe you.”

Comments: 172

  1. You just believe Trump's phony facts? And never again can relax, Armageddon Don Is the one you must shun Do not follow in his troll tracks!

  2. Saw the movie, "1984" when I was about 12. There were 2 protagonists, played by Edmund O'Brien and Jan Sterling. To a 12 year old, it was a scary movie because of the 'rats in a cage' scene. When I was in college, I read the book and got the point. Never in my mind since then has the thought occurred to me that some form of "1984 " could happen here. I've changed my mind about that.

  3. Don't forget Animal Farm. It can happen and it is happening here. It's so plain an elementary school pupil can see it. ORWELL LIVES

  4. I’d like to thank Roger for stopping in his qualifications during the description of Trump before he actually got to … “in SALES”. Gentlemanly of him. Roger is going off again, as is his wont, basically claiming that the sun is going nova on this or that issue, in this case because Trump opens his mouth with depressing regularity. Our atmosphere isn’t about to be incinerated or our marshmallows too-singed because Trump is president. It just seems so, this week, to Roger. Seems to me that Trump’s make-believe isn’t very important relative to Mueller’s. Mueller needs to prove impeachable offenses and, so far, after many months … hasn’t; although, like all special counsels by whatever name, he will tend to cause everyone AROUND his target to burst into flame. This won’t dilute Trump’s power or affect his agenda, but it will create SO much goodwill between Republicans and Democrats. And that’s a worthy point to examine – all that goodwill. If Mueller is successful in generating enough smoke to get a couple of Democratic House members to introduce one or more articles of impeachment, where exactly do y’all think they’ll go? Do you suppose that a solidly Republican House will vote to impeach Trump or a Republican Senate will vote to convict when he’s signing Republican bills? Dream on. Mueller is conducting an academic exercise that divides us by giving electoral losers hope that they can lose SO badly … and still win. All this does is further postpone a time of healing.

  5. Ha! Your claims about Mueller are tired fiction. Let's be honest - few, if any, of us have a clue what Mueller knows so far, or where he'll ultimately end up. That he's managed to 'keep a lid on it' to this point is amazing in itself, especially when compared to what seems to be the 'norm' these days, and I believe it tells us something about the integrity and professionalism of his entire team. It may turn out as you say, but I wouldn't bet anything valuable on it. If you look at Trump's overall profile, how this illustrious business tycoon has made his money, it's ALL dicey stuff. Real estate inside deals. Hype and deception. Not honouring commitments. Gambling casinos. Fake online 'universities'. Close association with an endless list of shady and/or unprincipled individuals. And a total absence of honest concern, with any sincerity, for anyone but himself. Can you think of any well-known businessman that is more selfish and dishonest? I don't know what Mueller will find regarding colluding with the Russians, but if there's anything illegal in Trump's liaisons and business dealings, that'll be uncovered. Especially when Mueller gets his hands on those tax returns.

  6. Your disdain for the rule of law and due process is as staggering as Trump’s incompetence.

  7. You are being literal. The point is that Trump is a liar. If the President can lie and get away with it, there cannot be any healing until he is out of office whether by impeachment or, more likely, an election.

  8. Congress has failed us, the Supreme Court has failed us. Our last hope for continuing our uniquely American experiment in Democracy is Robert Mueller. I fear too that Russian interference, not just meddling, but true, real intereference to the point of actually turning the election in Trump's favor, will happen again in 2020. The only way out of our national nightmare is to impeach our erstwhile Emperor and mad king DJT.

  9. The headline refers to "facts," but Mr Cohen offers none, presumably since the facts so far in the investigation have nothing to do with the Special Prosecutors mandate to find collusion between Trump and the "Russians." Opinion pieces like Mr Cohen's are the rule of thump across the media, they are common, the only difference being that Mr Cohen is a much better writer than most. Donald Trump is an execrable character but he is an American one that reflects essential characteristics, and major flaws, of American society. The dangers to American democracy have nothing to do with the "Russians" and everything to do with losers in elections no longer accepting the results, with a voting system that disenfranchises a segment of the population, and not least, with a "deep state," intelligence agencies and powerful corporations, that has now interjected itself openly in politics and which is beyond evaluation or even questioning.

  10. You mention his apprentices, but left out his accomplices. This cooperation, active and tacit, have brought our republic to its last breaths. Everyone must speak up and vote, and encourage those disenfranchised to vote.

  11. And it is beyond shameful that the U.S. Congress is aiding and abetting the destruction of our country. The judiciary is next. We must watch what else is happening with the assistance of Don McGahn and the right-wing "think" tanks and the U.S. Senate, Trump is remaking the Federal judiciary for a generation to come. The Congress is underfunding the 2020 Census, to solidify GOP gerrymandering for at least a decade.

  12. In pursuing obstruction based on this last Tweet, which doesn't match the previous Tweet, how will they prove Trump knew Flynn lied prior to speaking with Comey? Because, the next question is, who told him? (Not that I am defending Trump - I just like truth.)

  13. Years ago I read a book, of which I have forgotten the title. But I remember the first line of the book "the chief characteristic of a totalitarian society is its artificiality". There is no truth or reality in a totalitarian society, It is all artificial. All there is the current statement of the Beloved Leader. Mao said that sparrows ate the grain crop, so millions and millions of them were killed causing severe ecological imbalance and crop loss (the birds were no longer there to eat the insects that did eat the grain. Since he was the Leader nobody told him he was wrong. People starved and millions of birds die because reality was what Mao said it was. Do we really want this for America?

  14. Is there a starker contrast in character than between Trump and Mueller? After Mueller cleans out the corruption, he should run for president in 2020. He would make a president we can be proud of. He has all the characteristics Trump lacks: intelligence, integrity, patriotism, and fortitude.

  15. If the right diagnosis of Trump is that he is full of contempt, for the truth, for our shared values, then we have to wonder whether the same should be said about many who are guiding the GOP today. He's not doing the damage on his own. Only one Republican senator stood up against the tax plan, and now the GOP has thrown its financial support back to Moore in Alabama's special election. Are Collins and McCain themselves in the depths of their souls full of contempt for us as well and simply better at hiding it -- or have they just been made afraid?

  16. I think it's still nice that we assume there'll be another Presidential Election. In Trump's America, where truth is an ever-changing dispensable, lies come as easy as breath and unapologetic hatred is a thing to be embraced, I no longer take for granted things like the rule of law, free and fair elections, a trustworthy media, the respect of allies. After seeing the utter disrespect for the Constitution shown by the Trump family and the spineless lack of a response from the GOP in protecting both the Office of the President and the dreams of our Founding Fathers, who's to say the elections in 2020 won't be "slightly delayed" for the "good of the country?" Terrifying thought, I know. But would anyone really be that surprised?

  17. Monarchy inevitably involves some elements of make-believe, which sometimes grows to dominate people's consciousness by collective coercion or submission (at least in Japan). I can see the same defect for presidency; this may not be caused just by one Trump but by people's overzealous expectation to a man called president.

  18. "....So must Americans if they are to resist Trump’s contempt for truth. It’s not just about the next election. It’s about the Republic." This is the whole point, isn't it? 2018 and 2020 will tell whether the idea that WAS America can be salvaged and whether America can redeem herself. But there's no way around the fact that Republicans have plunged us into the lowest depths.

  19. As you so ably point out in paragraph one, Trump (aided by the Republicans in congress) has indeed made us all much worse off in almost all aspects of our lives, and it has been accomplished in less than a year. I used to think that we continued to make progress every so slowly toward fairness and equality in this country. I no longer have that perception. Next on the agenda is privitization of Medicare and Social Security. Then Trump and the Republicans can declare total victory for their rich donor class.

  20. It is not just Trump. American citizens have been conditioned by decades of Newspeak and Doublethink. A significant minority of Americans have accepted that the problems of America have a singular cause - liberalism and democrats, while a majority of liberal thinking American still believe the game to play is to give equal consideration to both/all sides of an issue. Truth has become fungible as vast resources are spent on campaigns aimed at science and scientists studying the negative impacts of tobacco, mercury, the burning of fossil fuels, etc. There are many villains out there who have systematically put self-interest ahead of nation, democracy and the republic. We now have a majority in congress and most state houses who have sworn fealty to the financiers over oaths to our constitution. It is these enablers, office-holders, we now turn to "impeach" or hold accountable a man who treats truth with the same contempt that put all of them in power in the first place. We need a list of the villains who have perpetrated these crimes against our once great nation that was seen as a pillar of democracy across the world. The list would be relatively short, begin with Charles and David Koch, and include most of the GOP members that voted for the recent tax bill. These are all the villains/criminals who deserve our contempt and only this contempt can save America from an authoritarian future.

  21. Mr. Cohen—we all know the symptoms of our disease, as you eloquently lay out. But what is to be done? In spite of all the talk about prosecution, impeachment and hanging-on with white knuckles to the next election, it seems that those remedies are a palliative, not a cure. If we are unravelling, how do we 're-ravel'? History shows little example of that.

  22. one wishes the electoral process in this country could allow us to elect a leader such as angela merkel. paraphrasing the late molly ivins, she stated that the american voter votes for a politician that 'has a little elvis presley' in his comportment. in 2016, our electorate didn't even require that this elections gop nominee was even a politician. unsurprisingly, incessant chaos, blatant diminshment of civility, rebuffs to our allies, systemic reductions of policies to protect the health and welfare of our citizens have ensued.

  23. Very good article. Personally I have lost faith in anything this country stood for since the election of donald trump. Just waiting and working out my last years when I will begin collecting "my entitlement" of social security which I have paid into my whole working life. I will leave the battles up to the younger generation, they will have to decide and fight for the type of country they want, and I will go disillusioned by everything into the sunset. I still wake up every morning not believing that these are the type of people leading our government.

  24. No, don't give up the battle. I have been collecting my Social Security for most of a decade, but I still believe I can and should join with others to protect our country from Trump and the Republicans. I find the younger generation in the Resistance quite interested in the battles we have fought (and won!) in the past and ready to join with my generation to battle on.

  25. Mollie: All of us are at risk. If and when the tax bill is enacted, the debt and deficient will grow. Trickle down economics did not work for Reagan or more recently in Kansas. What then? Paul Ryan proposed reductions in "entitlements" in the past. Your social security payments are not guaranteed.

  26. You "wake up every morning not believing that these are the type of people leading our government." Really? You should be more concerned about the type of country whose citizens would elect those "leading our government," because that's the real problem. People who get their info from facebook "news," or "Faux news," or the Kardashians or "TMZ." Or from nowhere in particular. And this people aren't gonna change who they are overnight. This is generational, America has poisoned itself, with a little assistance from Vladimir P.

  27. It is about image. Do we want to portray as a republic an image of humanitarian decency with the ability to reason beyond the singular or one of authoritarian rule. You are absolutely correct that Trump associates and admires authoritarians. He admires them because they can retaliate when the peons challenge and question their ways. If Trump survives the republic image as one of good perishes.

  28. There is no logic to offer in rebuttal to the grim facts recited in this column by Roger Cohen, unless it is the logic of greed offered by those who foolishly believe that they eventually will be able to control Donald Trump when they have finished feeding at the trough.

  29. There is so much work for the People to do over the next year. Organized marches and rallies to protest the inevitable war to come that will be designed to deflect attention from the Mueller investigation. We can't allow any sympathies to build for a wartime president. And buttressing this investigation as a means to convince voters to flip Congress next year, both the House and the Senate, by a wide enough margin to be able to override presidential vetoes. After that, terrify the GOP with the impeachment and ouster of Trump and his cronies. We can then start to rectify the damage before 2020. That will be a big stretch, but let's face it, it's worth it. Enough of this insanity. We need to prove to the world that we have the capacity and the guts to take back our country. That it matters to us, for the sake of our Republic, and that we care about everyone else on the planet, too. Hopefully enough of us do. Otherwise, what good are we?

  30. How do you score a victory in a debate when your opponent freely lies, insults, and diverts attention. In a dinner conversation with several Trump supporters, who freely use Trump's debating strategy, I found myself frustrated with the inability to establish any agreed upon facts. No matter what fact I brought up, I was told that it was untrue and then, to make matters worse, was offer a counter Trump "fact" that was so absurd to leave me speechless: e.g. "15,000 Muslims had just crossed over the Mexican border." It helps a bit to ask what is the source of this "fact," but even here, the response is, "Oh my wife found it on the internet." My Dad told me years ago that you can never win an argument against total ignorance--- without established norms of what is a fact you have no rhetorical weapons to work with. While intellectually I understand what my Dad was saying, watching unfold every day on the news is frightening.

  31. This is why I dislike the NYT and others asking me to be “open-minded” and to respect the views of “others”. I will not be so open-minded that my brains fall out.

  32. Trump's entire form of argument is the "Gish Gallop". It is a well-established method of outmaneuvering opponents with an overwhelming onslaught of lies and dubious arguments. Trump's lies come at such a rapid clip because it's easier and faster to make a false claim one after another than it is for people to disprove them. The "Gish Gallop" is named after Duane Gish, a creationist who used it to great effect in the evolution debates between science and fundamentalists. Until this lying president is gone, the "Gish Gallop" technique he uses will only serve to confuse many people about what facts really are. Trump must Go.

  33. I remind them of a study that revealed those who listen to certain right-wing news broadcasts are less aware of current events than those who do not keep up with news at all.

  34. The president has convinced not only his base but Congress that the news media is the enemy of America, that it is out to get him. This paranoia is reminiscent of the way Richard Nixon ran his presidency, with an “us against them” posture, an attitude that is hostile and accusatory that is designed to keep people at a distance. His run for the White House was based on personal resentment of people less fortunate than he was, and a callous disregard for compromise and reason, important qualities for politicians seeking public office. Since being elected president, this man has not grown into the job, as his Republican enablers insisted he would, but has sullied, soiled, mocked, defiled, contaminated and polluted the nation’s highest and most hallowed office. His election has not humbled him one bit. The Oval Office for him is simply a bully pulpit to air his petty grievances about how unfair life has been to him, citing Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Jeff Sessions and many other public servants who drew his ire. The president resents criticism in any form but he forgets that nobody forced him to pirate the Republican party and declare that he alone could make America great again. He resents truth and justice because they are what makes the rule of law work for all citizens. It may come down to Robert Mueller's truths or the president's make-believe. Our national nightmare must come to an end.

  35. This is worse than Nixon. There were Republicans then who actually condemned Nixon. Now they support him and a pedophile.

  36. "Our national nightmare must come to an end." But don't you hope that it doesn't end with the death of the nation? Der Tveeter has made it clear that it's his way or the highway. The Republicans are in agreement. Any true American patriots who want to do something about this disastrous travesty of governance are eagerly welcomed. Just don't get your hopes up. Stupid seems to be a very desirable commodity in this old USA.

  37. I don´t think that the GOP Congress buys Trump´s accusations against the media. I do believe that they are staying mum about Trump´s outrageous behavior in order to take advantage of a window of opportunity to suck the coffers dry by prostrating themselves at the altar of the donor class. This Nation will be left in tatters for generations after this money and power grab.

  38. It's erroneous to keep blaming the nation's moral rot on Donald Trump. Trump is merely the natural outcome of a Republican Party, with the assistance of many Democrats, that has become nothing more than a tool for the ultra-rich. The racism goes back to the Nixon/Atwater southern strategy, the assault on poor people, rending of the social safety net, and deregulation frenzy to the Reagan administration, and the fascination with alternate realities to the Bush administration. The real problem is our assumption that in the business world Donald Trump's moral depravity is acceptable, but not in the White House. We've grown so accustomed to cheating that when practiced by the likes of Mitch McConnell, we've taken it for granted for years. Now when the moral rot of the American character suddenly rears its orange head in the White House, everyone is shocked. That's what happens when we've spent decades defending corrupt politicians and deluding ourselves that that we have a government of the people and for the people. Our government is simply the means by which the ultra-wealthy loot the nation's treasures and load the ill effects off on the backs of the working classes. The reason so many heretofore happy purveyors of the American fantasy are upset is Trump has made it impossible to sustain their fantasies about truth, justice, and the American way.

  39. "Our government is simply the means by which the ultra-wealthy loot the nation's treasures and load the ill effects off on the backs of the working classes." Exactly

  40. True, but ... we've had politicians pretty just as bad as Republicans for several centuries. They did not ruin the Union (albeit Southern politicians showed the same intransigence to compromise and constructive governing as McConnell and his allies do now). Trump is unique, we see, uniquely authoritarian and disconnected from any motivation of good character, or even good sense. The problem is Trump, not the Republican party. It's a popular idea to blame Republicans for Trump, but that's a mistake. He has been hard to believe; It's been hard to comprehend how evil he is. They made a reasonable mistake. It's the same for the voters; They clearly had no idea what they were chosing... for the most part. The national problem is Trump and, to the first approximation, only Trump. After all he's a grifter, a scammer, a deceiver; and, worse, he is nothing MORE.

  41. I think we must also blame the media - they certainly helped elect trump, but they haven't provided "programming in the public interest" since Reagan was president. All programming is now for profit - and it seems propaganda is very profitable.

  42. Donald Trump's career has been a sort of Ponzi scheme: paying off bluffs, lies, and fantasies with new bluffs, lies, and fantasies. Borrowing from Peter to Pay Paul (but spending the money before Paul gets it). Staying in motion, because if he ever comes to rest his responsibilities will catch up with him. A Ponzi scheme is a reckless fraud, and a perpetual-motion machine is an impossibility. Trump's career is of course headed for a crash. Too bad all our wagons are now hitched to it.

  43. I try to imagine to be an American citizen, wondering how I, as an American, would try to bring the Trump regime down. Except going to the midterm elections next year, I see none. That's so frustrating about a democracy; youy go to the ballots box, and that's it. The day after, you are feeling helpless, because you are from the minority, who voted for HC.

  44. Actually, the majority voted for HRC--but I appreciate your sympathy nonetheless.

  45. Worse...we were the majority...by almost 3 million votes.

  46. What is described here is how a fascist has taken over the White House successfully. We are now on the same downhill path from democracy to fascism as Gemany in the 1930s. All we need is an economic collapse, all out war with Korea or Iran or major terrorist attack like 9-11 or further GOP victories in 2018 and this president will throw the Constitution aside with the blessing of the GOP. Bannon and Trump want to ensure that only neofascists who do not support the rule of law or open compromise in Congress get elected to the Congress. If Democrats lose again 2018 as they have already donein 2016 and they did again on SCOTUS nomination, gun control, immigration, ACA, theft of the Treasury by GOP donors and the undermining of the judiciary with political hacks, then the takeover by Trump's base of anarchists will be complete. Couple those losses with destruction of all federal regulatory agencies, State, Education, Energy, and Interior departments along with ongoing assault on FBI and CIA, and fascism will be a fait accompli for Trump and his base. Then he can truly begin his assault on minorities and mass deportations and arrests. It may be a good time to invest in rail cars.

  47. This is my nightmare.

  48. In 9th grade civics class--remember when civics was taught?--the American system seemed a good thing. But that was the 60's when America was being propelled forward by the tsunami of the baby boomers and before the juggernaut that is the plutocracy really took hold. Now I am not so sure. Our ship of state is listing badly and may very well broach in the waves of climate change and population pressures and global instability heading our way. Head to your lifeboat stations.

  49. According to a 2014 Gallup poll four in 10 Americans believe God created the Earth and anatomically modern humans, less than 10,000 years ago. So there you have it, if 40% of Americans are hard core creationists; I bet the majority of them are also part of Donald Trump's base. The larger issue is how in the 21st century we so desperately lack critical thinking in the most advanced country in the world...

  50. Education? I'm 75. I went to a public grade school and a high school that both taught me how to think along with reading, writing, etc. Today we teach to standard achievement tests, and very little civics and comprehensive history. So, how can we expect to have intelligent, informed voters? So, we need to vote and support the right candidates at every level of government. AND, more importantly we need to support good education in our communities everywhere across the US. We need to lobby at a local level - local school boards, local government officials - to achieve this.

  51. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as either the richest or the most advanced country in the world. We are a fading empire, rotten at the core and rapidly breaking apart.

  52. The current tax bill takes from student loan recipients, graduate students, and university endowments to finance a huge gift to corporations and the wealthy. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that Republicans worry that Americans might stop believing in hokum like trickle-down economics or how gay weddings threaten our way of life? Back in 2012, Texas Republicans included a plank in their party platform that opposed the development of critical-thinking skills in public schools. "We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority." https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/texas-gop-rejects... America today is a far cry from the country in which I grew up where education and scientific research were seen as critical resources for our nation. I never expected to see an America where knowledge is considered dangerous.

  53. Double standards, anyone? Trump is the very personification of gross and contemptible, but were Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or Karl Rove ("Bush's Brain") any better? The U.S. is suffering a paroxysm of soul-searching over an election that was 'probably' influenced by Russia and in which nobody has (yet) died. Yet there has been no serious attempt by the U.S. or any other nation to initiate an investigation into U.S. War Crimes that have resulted in over one million deaths, 10 million wounded and 50 million either displaced or abandoned to the elements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen; with the invasions and bombardments based on either free choice or gross miscalculation. I wish the U.S. struggle for justice at home were applied equally to its foreign policy.

  54. Were Cheney, Rumsfeld, or Karl Rove any better than Trump? Good question. They, plus their boss, GWBush, displayed moral rot by planning the Iraq invasion, they displayed incompetence by not planning it well, they displayed greed for their reasons (their real reasons) for the invasion -- oil, war profits, and personal power, and they displayed their deceitful natures by pretending to believe Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction and by waging the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with deficit financing and then complaining about the national debt while blaming it on the other party. They were less crude than Trump (except maybe Rove), but all the while the Bush cabal were in power they egged on their party in such tactics as gerrymandering and voter suppression to the point where, now, people in many states believe their votes are tampered with. They set the stage for Trump. And Trump really is worse, and not only because of his crudities, his open contempt for women and minorities, or his compulsive lying about everything. ...I can write this here, today, without fear of repercussions, and I'm appreciative. But, for the first time in my long life, I can foresee a time when comments like mine (or yours, Mr. Varzi) would not be allowed in America because of the despicable Trump and his campaign to destroy free speech and truth with his "Fake News" strategy.

  55. Is it not the American democracy that produced the Trump presidency? Roger Cohen idealizes the tree, but despises the fruit of that very same tree.

  56. Trump is precisely what the founders worried about, they had hoped to prevent such a person from being elected and put into charge of the country. They feared that people were too easily swayed by a demagogue. Unfortunately they were right. It is the reason that they tired to not have a direct democracy, but a republic democracy. They failed.

  57. The truth heist is partly the fault of the media. Republicans flat-out lie about a non-existent JCT analysis, but "How Crazy is Trump" headlines get higher placement. Call a lie a lie. Every day. Don't let Trump's fireworks distract from reporting on what Republicans are actually doing.

  58. The Republicans have been following this govern-by-falsehood practice for many years. They make up happy outcomes for their projected tax cuts on the wealthy (see, Kansas and North Carolina) which don't come true, but they keep saying it anyway. They don't "believe in" climate change because it gets in the way of unfettered profits for the petro-chemical industry. They bring in conservative ministers with no scientific background to speak of beyond "Earth Science" in seventh grade, to tell us that there is no such thing as evolution, despite the fact that understanding evolution is the key undermining so much of our medical research today. We are used to hearing Republicans just tell us lies, expecting us to swallow them, even as the storms grow stronger, oceans get higher, and the economy doesn't perform they way they promise it will. Trump is just the embodiment of this phenomenon--and he lies for his own profit--where Mitch McConnell lies for the Koch Brothers or whatever other wealthy person is pulling his leash these days. This is why we can't count on Republicans to go after Trump for any of his lies--they don't see lying as a problem--it's their way of governing.

  59. It may be asking too much, but isn't it time that eery report of everything that comes out of Mr. Trump's mouth include the fact that he's fabricating (or, if you prefer) lying -making things up out of whole cloth, fantasizing, making assertions that are at odds with all the known real fact, etc. . It may mean that the NY Times excellent coverage of what happened on late night TV may have to be curtailed in order to make room for all the warnings about the President's lies, but it is irresponsible to print anything Mr. Trump says or Tweets without pointing out that he lies every time he opens his mouth or sends a tweet.

  60. We "must really take fate into our own hands". That starts locally, not just with voting for good, responsible people, but holding them responsible while they are in office. Too many people think that their responsibility comes only at election time, and not between elections, but that lets politicians off too easily, and keeps voters from becoming informed over how their representatives should be voting. My Congressional representatives are also the people I voted for, but that doesn't stop them from emailing them once a month or more frequently about issues that really concern me. I don't want them trading votes on things I really care about, or becoming too comfortable in the party machine. If, for example, Democrats had been willing to stand up for Obama's Supreme Court nominee, even at the expense of defaulting on the national debt, we wouldn't have Trump's nominee in now, but they didn't want to stake their "reputation". When times get back, politicians have to take bold action, and now is the time to do that.

  61. Excellent summary of where we have travelled in less than a year. I found a solution; cut the cable and sent back the HD recorder. Don't watch the evening news (used to tape two programs a night). By the time the news comes on, I'm often taking a nap (same age as our president). Result? My overall mood has much improved. I do find political humor on FB, especially Andy Borowitz and how he can turn the most dismal report into something to laugh about, and the late night comics, whose best bits are recorded and posted while I sleep.

  62. Trump would make Goebbels proud. Not even Putin has reached the levels of mendacity displayed by this poor specimen of human kind. Trump now shines as the most powerful and shameless liar in the world. He is despicable, but no less despicable are his enablers, a Republican party that has lost all moral bearings and any pretense of concern for the well being of the inhabitants of the wealthiest country on earth. The nazis were a bloody bunch. followers of a murderous ideology. The Republicans in Congress have become a greedy bunch, intent on looting the US wealth for the benefit of wealthy donors and their promise to keep them in power.

  63. I'm thinking we need a constitutional convention to rewrite our founding document based on the "loopholes" that Trump and his enablers in Congress have so masterfully utilized to enrich themselves and their compatriots. Then we need total new representation in all 3 branches. It's either that or we may yet face a military takeover, further proving what kind of banana republic we've descended to.

  64. Donald Trump has never been anything more than a HUGE bottle of Snake Oil. A certain portion of the population will always enjoy nutritious, delicious snake oil due to stupidity, fear, lack of education and inability or to process nuance and complexity. It is up to rest of the population - those with critical thinking skills, an education, a sense of right and wrong, principles - to stand up and reject the gilded horse manure that this Snake Oil Salesman brings to the Oval Office. Trump is an oligarch's oligarch, spending his first year massacring health care and the tax code to take from the poor and give to the rich, trashing the countryside with Grand Old Pollution of the soil, the water, the air and the human mind as he entertains the carnival-goers with great feats of Twidiocy. He's the apotheosis of Greed Over Principle, the real American 'exceptionalism' of unfettered Greed Over People - society, the environment, democracy, truth, facts, and science be damned to bread and circuses. We are being flushed down a gold-plated Trumpian toilet. Trump is reminder to all that psychopathic greed and selfishness will always remain the greatest threat to humanity as it perpetually tries to deform truth, facts and honesty for corrupt personal profit. Robert Mueller, the court system and the American people themselves remain an important bulwark against this shameful interloper whose vision of the Oval Office is completely Kremlinesque. We are not Russians; we are Americans.

  65. Terrific, well communicated argument! Thanks!

  66. Brilliantly stated. The fact that strikes fear: Already, the truth does not seem to matter. The GOP is now a party of Trump sycophants. They will swallow any lie for the advancement of their hateful ideology. The Democrats are politically impotent. They display no more vision than "Trump is a disgrace," which, though true, is not much more inspiring than the former GOP rallying cry: "Obama is black and therefore, his presidency is illegitimate." We are left with three slim hopes: The "Mueller" investigation; impeachment; a Trump defeat in 2020. Each seems, at this moment, unlikely, and thus my fear: Have we already lost to the disgrace named Trump? That is not to say that future generations will pick up the pieces of this political emergency. But what a legacy we will have left those who follow us. Let us hope that the unlikely happens now: That the demagogue is removed from office and truth, again, is revered.

  67. The enemy is us. Stop blaming Trump. This was all very predictable yet nearly half of voters either chose to elect him president, or shrugged their shoulders and voted Green in a leftist pity party. They are to blame. Americans need to learn a lesson apparently. The financial collapse, the Iraq fiasco and all of its disastrous collateral damage just wasn't enough to keep them from voting for lower taxes and plain old common sense, otherwise known as ignorance.

  68. It's also about the stacked Supreme Court and the very real possibility that Trump will fire Mueller and the Court may back him in any impeachment effort. Trump can just go to the Justices and argue that the President can do no wrong, and if they agree, we will be led by Putin's disgusting stooge for the entire four years, at least. Trump is the Republican Party, they elected him in the primaries and they fought to get him into office. The Republican Party is being shown for what it truly is, a home for haters of the poor and the powerless. Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  69. The court fortunately can't back him in impeachment. However the fact that the the republicans control the house and senate means that Trump won't be impeached.

  70. Oh. But it is very much about the next election. And about the Republic. The GOP are complicit enablers as they do their donors bidding and ignore their constituents. Trump is a rotting scab barely covering the festering pool of infection that is in the heart of the Republican party.

  71. Only if the GOP is threatened politically will anything change. This happened in Watergate.

  72. The thing Trump deserves most is the thing he fears the most: oblivion. If we are worth anything as a nation, we must deliver.

  73. Trump was right when he said "just tell them and they believe you." This real estate conman, sexual predator and reality show liar told us he would build a Wall, "drain the swamp," lower our taxes, give us better and cheaper health care, reopen closed coal mines and factories, protect Medicare and Social Security and MAGA. By official vote count, 62,979,636 million Americans believed. Another 65,844,610 Americans did not but because of an Electoral College designed to appease southern slavers, he became president anyway. Since then Trump has broken every electoral promise and shown nothing but contempt for working class Americans while enriching himself and others of his ilk. But still more than a third of our population blindly supports him. And his Republican enablers are using him to engineer the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of taxation, robbing the poor to further enrich the rich.

  74. We all know what is going on here. Trump is like a cornered animal. As the Mueller investigation closes in on him, he is using every bit of his wicked talent for demagoguery to indoctrinate and incite his base, which is his last line of defense. He depends on them to keep him in office and out of jail. He will say and do anything to prevent his downfall, no matter how much damage it does to the country. His opponents must be prepared to flood the streets in their millions when he inevitably goes too far.

  75. The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine...or something like that.

  76. Alas, I am old enough to remember when President Nixon, then President Reagan, was The Source of All Evil in the Universe. Politics becomes simple. Just remove the Evil President and the sun will shine once more and everything will be perfect. Why do we maintain this belief despite repeated experience that proves it is a delusion? I think it is because Americans spend their lives watching TV dramas. As a result, they see politics as a contest between Good Guys (us) and Bad Guys (the enemy) that is resolved by the Bad Guy being defeated. Because Marxist ideas in the US are in practice banned, unlike workers in other countries, they are not able to understand the economic forces and class conflicts that operate beneath the surface conflict of politicians. Someday President Trump will be no longer President. But the evil system that produces Nixons and Reagans and Trumps will remain and that is what must be changed.

  77. You want to know what I struggle with most about this President? He just does not inspire me. I hear him speak and his words are as empty as the man himself. That he has been elevated to the same office as A. Lincoln causes me to deeply question, for the first time in my life, my sense of patriotism. There is not one single word or phrase that comes out of his tweets or his mouth that causes me to pause and reflect. He has failed to inspire, and he has failed to lead.

  78. There has been a stealthy right wing coup d'etat in America over the last two decades by forces such as ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth, Frank Luntz, et. al., especially GOP mega-donors such as the Kochs and Mercers. "Conservatives" furtively turned the Congress, SCOTUS and Presidency into instruments to combat what they perceive as a progressive, "Liberal" direction in American society. This has spawned spurious notions such as a "flat" tax (or lower tax on the wealthy), elimination of "death"/estate taxes, not to mention less environmental regulation worldwide as well as domestically. Their wordsmith wizards are now trying to persuade Americans that Social Security and Medicare are suddenly "entitlement" programs, after decades of paying taxes into what most consider part of the Social Compact. American "conservatives" are far different from their European cohorts such as Theresa May. They have their own agenda and own interests, well-served by Breitbart and the Fox News Network in molding public opinion. Conspiracy theorists further aid and abet their machinations with unhinged schemes and stratagems. Donald Trump may be an illustration of unintended consequences resulting from reactionary forces. Americans (and the rest of the Free World), unfortunately will suffer the results of ultraconservative policies and programs.

  79. /Their wordsmith wizards are now trying to persuade Americans that Social Security and Medicare are suddenly "entitlement" programs/ Scare quote all you want, but that is precisely what they are by virtue of the fact that you have paid into them and therefore are entitled to their benefits. It is Republicans who believe otherwise. Please do not do their job for them.

  80. Note, it is not just don trump. The entire Republican Party is complicit - look at their monumental lying on the tax cuts for the wealthy. It is not good enough to get the man-child out of the White House. The Republican Party must be defeated at the polls and democratic institutions must be strengthened.

  81. You are in Moab, Utah central to an area of amazing natural beauty. I hope there are enough of you to keep protecting it.

  82. I wish I had your confidence Roger. That gale truth is pushing against is his base that believes you and your colleagues are the enemy and two branches of government that enable him and will not intervene. The gift we have is the voting booth, which is why even that is under assault. Trump is the end point, not the beginning. Course correction will only occur if those who cannot abide this use the power we have left. #vote2018

  83. Trump is not a thinker. He is a reactionary. Trump appeals to those people who do not want to examine the facts, but rely on his tweets and Fox News for their information. We now live in an "alternative universe" thanks to 60 millions votes for Trump and the Electoral College. The Republican Party lives in that same universe. McCain, Collins, Murkowski and Flake disappointingly are among those ranks now. You are writing about a bunch of politicians who have no shame, but Trump tops the list. If May had any guts, she would cancel her meeting with Trump. Teresa May, on behalf of British citizens needs to stop pretending that Trump can do something for Britain. Maybe if he is not recognized by our allies by meeting with him, the Republicans in Congress and the Senate would impeach Trump. We need a real leader of Western Democracy. And right now that is Merkel, Trudeau and Macron. Respect for the U.S. is at an all time low. Between the bad decisions coming from the Supreme Court, the Republican Party and Trump now endorsing a child abuser, what hope do we have? The Democrats need to start serious realignment with the citizens of the United States. We need Democrats in Congress and the Senate, besides Pelosi and Schumer, speaking out about the American values that most of us still hold. They also have to come up with a believable platform, sensible and aspirational in order to regain respect with the voters of America. And recruit a lot of young American voters.

  84. RE "Thank God for Robert Mueller" With Wray as the new FBI director? This was a bad choice because Trump now has a back channel communication option with the FBI director through Chris Christie. On the surface, it may have seemed like a safe mainstream pick but it is far from it. The choice of Christie's friend and defense counsel in the Bridge-gate scandal shows that Trump can and surely will push the envelope to solidify his inner circle. His next move will be to disembowel the FBI itself, the same way the EPA is being gutted, removing all remnants of its investigation into his Russian connections. With new FBI director Wray expect funding cuts, resignations and dismissals. Doubtless this cleansing is already afoot with the deliberate surreptitious sabotaging of all related records throughout the entire administration. The system is rigged and the further we let this guy get away with this, the more damage he will do to our democracy. James Clapper is right, Watergate pales in comparison to the Russia probe.

  85. Many, if not most, of us have had Trump's number all along. My despair at this moment is that he is enabled by so many of those in a position to thwart his awful behavior. It is the Republican Congress that is on the verge of imposing a terrible tax law that will destroy nearly everything the government does except defense. It's Republicans in general who plan to put a man like Roy Moore in our Congress, and who will keep Trump in office despite his incompetence. It is the Supreme Court, the best legal minds in the country, that has upheld the latest discriminatory travel ban and is entertaining a case seeking to allow businesses to discriminate at will against those members of the public who don't measure up to their values. And that gutted the Voting Rights Act and decided that corporations are people entitled to buy the political system. We can't expect Robert Mueller to save the country, no matter how honest and competent he may be. Apparently we can't expect non-Republicans of any stripe to take any meaningful action to stop this juggernaut. It's hard to remember what we were taught American values are.

  86. Like all humans, every nation is flawed. Trump embodies all the worst traits of our national character. This is a shameful chapter in U.S. history. I fervently hope it is not the last chapter on this grand experiment in self-government.

  87. Thank you for summerizing the many reasons I'm so angery with my fellow Americans,who elected and continue to support this President. Never in my 65 years have I felt so stongly about our political condition. My embarrassment for our Country and fear for our future is extreme. I pray we weather this storm, but with each preposterous tweet, my faith in my Country wanes.

  88. Lying and trying to cove it up got Nixon out of the White House. One can only hope The Donald is headed down the same road. However, there is just one problem. The GOP controlled House, Senate and Supreme Court.

  89. You just mentioned Nixon and a memory popped up. Do you remember his press secretary/spokesman who didn't articulate what Nixon wanted? He slapped him upside the head as they were leaving the dais. Too funny.

  90. It is clear by now that Trump is an unmitigated disaster. As persons who oppose virtually everything he stands for we must engage. First, we must vote and repudiate all candidates that would enable this monster. Second, we must confront his chronic lies with the truth. I remain thankful that we still have a free press, although Trump and his minions are doing their best to silence it. Turn off Fox News and boycott their sponsors. Boycott all Trump enterprises. God bless America, the "land of the free and home of the brave."

  91. You'll know with certainty in the instant Roy Moore takes his seat in the Senate what your vote is worth in the view of the oligarchs. No gerrymandered seat in Congress has a hope of turning blue. Roy Moore is about to prove yet again that the DNC has no sense of the moment or the obvious. With 2018 just around the corner, is there any sign that the great centrist hope is mobilizing? Without Obama, it can carry the day? Any day? I'm in no way defending electoral cheating. That's one problem. The second I've alluded to above. Both are huge. But IMO the second needs to be fixed before anyone has a hope of arresting the first. (How much for a message that the majority will buy? Money helps, but is not the be-all answer. For over a billion bucks, the best ever qualified candidate for president lost to a disgraceful fool. Surely better more effective value could be had for donors. Right now though, if I'm a betting man, the DNC looks like a horse that won't make the finish line.)

  92. If this keeps up, I'm going to end up on anti-anxiety drugs. Our republic is dying by the minute. Each day Trump is in power, America turns more fascist, more authoritarian. I keep thinking about the rise of the Nazis in the early 1930's. The parallels are striking. I don't fear ending up in an oven, but I do fear being ruled by oligarchs under a corporatist, fascist state. The only thing that will keep us from falling into that abyss is respect for the truth. The erosion of that respect is Trump's primary task. Without the truth, there can be no justice. Without justice there can be no liberty. This battle isn't about opinions or freedom of speech, its about the one and only thing that makes America free. The truth.

  93. Thank you, Mr. Rozenblit. Everytime I read one of your comments I am humbled by your honor, thoughtfulness, logic and just plain goodness.

  94. Trump is just taking advantage of the profound ignorance of many Americans, most of whom watch FOX. Numerous independent studies confirm that watching FOX is worse (in terms of knowledge of current events) than not having any news source at all. There was an article in Slate which equated watching FOX to brain damage. The country sure has the proper symptoms.

  95. There are those who are stuck in the feedback loop of Fox-Trump-Fox-Trump. It's all they know and all they believe. They will choose to believe whoever feeds their need to feel superior to "outsiders".

  96. Mueller spent 3.2 million on his work from May to Sept. That's roughly the cost of one trip to Mar-a-Lago for Trump for a weekend. It's obvious where tax payers are getting the better value.

  97. While reading your column, Mr. Cohen, I flashed back to something that President Barack Obama said. The Times ran a long piece on him in the spring of 2016; in it, we learned that, long after “lights out,” Mr. Obama was up reading letters from Americans, children mostly. He said that the stresses of the office often “brought me to my knees in prayer and humility.” The 44th president was channeling Abraham Lincoln, the 16th, in a fraternal appreciation of the awesome duties of the office. America has had two-score-plus commanders-in-chief, most, perhaps, who were sufficiently aware of the duties that come with the terrible territory. But this latest edition is much less a president than a mere office-holder, the snickering coachman who holds the reins as he awaits his betters. We are, Mr. Cohen, in awful peril. The racism and resentment on which this man has built his “governing” coalition, and which has found support both here and abroad, are the cracked pillars that uphold his dreadful tenure. Robert Mueller is our final refuge; if he fails, if his mission is de-legitimized by this president, with the concurrence of a cowardly Congress, our headstone will read “we were never here.”

  98. I share your pessimism. It's the cruelest of jokes to go from Barack Obama to the current squatter in the White House. And if the reports are correct that Mueller is ready to go after Trump's financial records, it will take about a minute before Trump tries to fire him. If people think we are in the midst of a constitutional crisis now, give it another month or two. They will not believe their eyes and ears.

  99. All true. All so true. But, Obama made it clear in 2012. If Democrats don't vote, we will have Republican obstruction (and now Trump destruction) for many years to come. 2018 elections will tell us what to expect for the next 20 years.

  100. These comments should now be applied more broadly to the Republican Party which has submitted to and/or endorsed Trump's platform. The only robust solution is to vote them from office. Barring that, more of the same (or worse, as power entrenches).

  101. My son who is not a Trump fan, called last night to tell me his girlfriend (who lost her job at end of Obama's term), got a better job she applied for recently. He was quiet like he wanted to say something more. But he ended with "Maybe the economy is coming back" which to me meant "maybe there's something to this Trump win after all." It made me happy.

  102. The economy has been coming back since Obama took office. Trump is merely riding the coattails of something he has done nothing about.

  103. Typical observations from the establishment left: (1) Trump's a dangerous leader who is - with a lot of help from the Republican Party - taking the country in some very dangerous directions and has already arrived at some very high risk places, (2) Mr. Mueller walks on water and is gonna stop Trump for us, (3) No need for established leaders of the Democratic Party to put themselves at risk of a Trump tweet attack or actually do anything other than useless posturing for the base to protect their positions within the party. Certainly no need for new leaders, the established ones having failed.

  104. The 1st point is correct, unfortunately the 2nd point is all mueller can do is get the small fry, and the 3rd point is that the democrats won't commit themselves is true.

  105. Excellent commentary, this, especially tying Trump's (and the GOP's) shameless efforts to make us believe him, just because he says it's true. It has been correctly said that, "The first casualty of war is the truth." That truth has now been co-opted by Trump and the GOP: "The first casualty of GOP leadership is truth." Evidently Alabama, if it elects Moore, as suspected, is America's new microcosm. Alas!

  106. What is so clear so far, is that however disgusting, and corrupt their chosen representatives are, the GOP will support them and voters will vote for them. The concept of ethics, responsibility, doing what is right, seems to have sadly disappeared from the political landscape. The example set by the elected President trickles down. Congress and the electorate are willing to sell their souls for that extra vote they need to get their appalling legislation through congress. One wonders how they look in the mirror or sleep at night.

  107. Trump has captured the attention of the nation. His name is plastered on buildings and dominates the media. He is being analyzed from every perspective: psychological, ethical, legal, historical, economic, and political. So good for Angela Merkel and Roger Cohen who quotes her: "We must take fate into our own hands." Trump is a symptom, an especially nasty and dangerous one, of disease in many of the institutions that Americans have created and rely upon to keep our society functioning. By calling attention to the extreme dysfunction in these systems, the Trump presidency alerts us to the depth of decay and the challenges we face in working for systemic change: in our electoral, political, economic, and other social systems. We must not let endless focus on one attention-getting individual to distract us from the important work to be done. business, educational, legal

  108. In all my years on this earth, through the turbulent 60s to the present day, I have never feared for the stability and continuity of our institutions. This President and his feckless enablers have changed all that. Do you remember when this man, thinking he would lose the election, stated that he might not accept the result? The Citizen's United decision, this abomination of a tax plan that strengthens the grip of the oligarchs on our democracy, and the President's assault on the press leads me to fear for the future of our democracy. The 2018 mid-term elections will be a vital, perhaps critical, opportunity to begin to turn around this erosion of our democracy. Voting could never be more important to the future of our country.

  109. The bottom line is that Trump is a very sick individual who cannot bear criticism and lives in his own gilded plastic bubble. Most Americans do not believe his lies and want him gone. But there is a collective frustration with system and maybe we need to address it. In other countries like England, the prime minister can be voted out. If this was England, Trump would have been gone by now. Impeachment takes too long. He won't resign. The longer he stays the worse it gets and the angrier we become as a nation. Maybe we need to change the system. But then again Trump is an nightmarish aberration that hopefully we never witness again.

  110. I fear it is too late for Democracy. All of the levers of power at the national level have been bought and paid for by the conservative oligarchs. As witnessed by the theft of wealth from the poor to them there appears to be no way to obstruct the greed and kleptocracy taking place. Next will be a war with North Korea and the declaration of emergency powers to cement their stranglehold on power.

  111. Then VOTE for Democrats in future elections. 2018 will soon be here. Republicans need to be shown the door. Why let your hopes give up the ghost?

  112. So I guess it's all come down to Bob "Neo" Mueller and a veritable dream team of crack government attorneys to save us from Trump and ourselves. By all accounts, Mueller seems to be a pretty solid guy, but the smart money should not be on him. Is Las Vegas taking bets on this? I think we may have been just a little naïve and celebrating a bit prematurely with that whole "the arc of the universe bends toward justice" thing. There's always been a lot of compelling evidence to the contrary, and at this moment in time it seems to be bending back the other way. Without facts, there can be no justice, and people just don't want to be bothered with facts anymore.

  113. There is so much to hate about the free loader and chief who currently is president of the US. The plutocratic feeding frenzy on the USs finances launched by Trump and his cronies is loathsome indeed. But this hope that somehow the Russia stole the election of the anti Trump people is just not going to accomplish anything. Its going to meander around and end up with Trump still president able to continue his pointless mean spirited eye sore of a presidency.

  114. "... He has not given a moment of reflection to the office he occupies, or how its responsibilities may differ from those of running a real estate company. ..." I disagree Roger. Trump for decades gave a lot of thought to the office he occupies and the responsibilities he envisions for it and they are exactly the same as those he allots to himself in his fantasy business world: Trump views the office of the President of the United States as one of Emperor. When Trump says that he thought the job would be easier, he doesn't mean that in a physical sense, or complex sense, he means it in the sense of he believed, and continues to believe, that whatever he wants, and wants done, should be done. He can't obstruct justice because he decides justice. He's president. He can't break laws because he makes them or ignores them. He's president. He can appoint or fire whomever he desires, when he desires, for the reasons that occur to him. He's president. “I thought being President would be easier than my old life.” - Donald Trump “You have a bunch of bad hombres down there. You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I might just send them down to take care of it.” - Donald Trump to Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico His objection to the Russian investigation isn't that it's happening, but that it wasn't directed by him against Hillary, as should happen in the reign of Emperor Trump.

  115. It is frustrating beyond belief to witness the United States become an Orwellian/Trumpian/Republican world where up is down and bad is good. The Republican Party and Trump depend on the Big Lie propaganda technique. Even more powerful than Trump in promoting the Big Lie is Fox News, trusted by the Red State voters and dedicated to nothing but right wing propaganda. Murdoch's Fox News is the GOP entree into the homes of untold millions. We can call Trump supporters stupid, but they live in a closed universe and are fed nothing but lies, 24/7...lies they believe without question. These are very dangerous times indeed.

  116. Most Times readers would agree completely with Roger Cohen.But so what?Until the mainstream media regain the trust of all Americans Trump and his alternative fact universe will prevail.How about some in depth analysis of that objective.Elsewise it is right on Charles.Right on Roger.Right on Paul.And so on.Going nowhere.

  117. Roger Cohen, whom I respect and admire to an inordinate degree, writes about truth and Donald Trump. He then quotes Angela Merkel: “We Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands.” If that's really what the Europeans are doing, it's difficult for people like me to see it, although I admit, sincerely, that Roger Cohen may have more wisdom and understanding in this area than I do. And I mean that, honestly. For many of us, though, what Europeans appear to be doing is slowly and surely handing their fate over to members of The Great Religion of Peace. And in another generation or two, once those individuals have the fate of Europe in their hands, truth - Mr. Cohen's truth or anyone's truth - will be, I'm afraid, among the last things that survive on this continent.

  118. I do my share of commenting on the Times website, and I enjoy reading the views of others, whether I agree with them or disagree. I will say that I am noticing in the comments an increasing tone of despair by people I assume are everyday, normal citizens who love their country and want the U.S. to be an effective, benign presence on the world stage. The damage being done to those who hold to these ideals is incalculable. With despair comes resignation, which is all that those who want to create chaos in the world need to put in place people and policies that are inimical to our traditional national interests. We must do better. We have to be better.

  119. Indeed Trump can shape an alternate reality and persuade enough Americans of its authenticity. He has already proven than in the election and in the acquiescence of his base. They have suspended disbelief.

  120. Republicans celebrate their contol of the Senate, the House, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and a majority of State governments. What a force for the public good and the security of America’s future this electoral anomoly could be. And yet how dangerous it is to the security of the nation when led by President Trump, and congressional leaders McConnell and Ryan. Trump’s ability to inflict terrible damage on the Republic is made possible by the passive complicity of the Republicsn Party and its state and Federal leadership. Setting aside all arguments over policies, the Senate, House, and state government majorities are the best check against this bizarre president. When this Republican party chooses to support rather than check Mr. Trump, they become guilty of placing personal career interests and the interests of their party above the interests of the constitutional republic and its citizens that they took an oath to defend. In fact, by enabling Trump’s behavior as the leader of the American government that the Republican Party controls, the party leaders must ultimately be held collectively responsible as individuals for the disaster they are creating. As President Nixon pleaded ,before his impeachment induced resignation, let history judge us! Remember, in the end it was a Republican congress that ultimately rid the nation of the criminal and constitutionally corrupt Nixon administration. Only a courageous Republican Party can protect the nation from Trump.

  121. When I was eleven, I had already stopped believing that most people were inherently good. Personal experiences are generally the catalyst to this thought. I do, however, continue to believe that mostly everyone do in general know the right or proper thing to do in most circumstances. Lately, though, I feel as though I'm living in a Twilight Zone episode, where everything is 180 degrees from right and proper. The worrying part of this is that many people, mostly politicians, are defending that notion. How can anyone conceivably defend perpetual lies, overt bigotry, widespread sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rampant insults, or abject idiocy? It matters not that all this might be cocooned in dementia, it is still being defended by seemingly intelligent, educated, healthy people. Those are not inherently good people.

  122. It's not the free fall that kills you. It's the sudden stop. Trump was always going to be this kind of President. Everybody knew it, and America in her collective "wisdom" elected him anyway. Western capitalism is dying of metastatic consumption and Donald Trump and Brexit are just signs of just how late term we are in the dying process. The real problem for America is not Trump but his supporters and enablers. The Trump base sent him to Washington to "tear down the place." So far, he's doing a pretty good job of that. Trump enablers just want his signature on right wing legislation and conservative judges on America's courts. They have collectively sold out the country to private interests. Even if Mueller sends the whole gang to prison, we are no better off. President Pence? President Ryan? Are you kidding me? America stands desperately in need of a renewed grass roots display of good citizenship in the service of reuniting our divided society and taking back the powers reserved to "we the people" that have been usurped by corporate and individual wealth and power.

  123. I believe in Mr. Mueller's abilities. I do not, however, have any faith in the republicans who would be charged with following up on Mr. Mueller's findings. What I see is the transfer of our wealth and the rape of our natural resources for the benefit of a very few world oligarchs. I fear that the take over of our country is a done deal and that we only imagine ourselves to be a free people under a democracy.

  124. Trump is merely the symptom of our disease. So large and ugly, maybe now we will see it. We have been living in a win-at-all-costs political environment for decades wherein operatives have increasingly honed their skills with desensitization to any moral compass and access to sophisticated technology. We have to believe it's better to lose than to elect a child molester; it's better to lose at convincing voters of our policy ideas than to win via gerrymandering; it's better to lose and try again for what we believe in - than win by losing our souls and destroying our democracy.

  125. Trump is a liars liar and a quantum leap in lying in politics. The standard evasive answer or non answer by our elected is the mind numbing default we all expect from most all politicians. Trump is a different animal, and he has been honing his belligerent in your face outright lying for decades. Attorney's and bodyguards were his fall back positions in private life, he now has the GOP; it's really up to Mueller to end this.

  126. A Republic? Yes, with a representative democracy -- currently gerrymandered to favor Republicans. Trump is not above the law. Trump is not the chief law enforcement officer in the United States, despite his lawyer's proclamation (the AG is). Trump has no respect for the rule of law or the citizens of the United States. Trump will not go quietly. Now that Mueller has subpoenaed his bank records in Germany -- we have been getting a lot of static from Trump. His static can't drown out the voices shouting back at him.

  127. Unfortunately the Republican Congress will never do anything to remedy this situation. They have too much to gain from appeasing their oligarch masters who don’t care what Trump does or doesn’t do. Trump’s antics are inconsequential to the oligarchs as long as he pushes the things they want, namely deregulation, climate change denial, lower corporate taxes, and conservative Justices. The hordes of Trump supporters, so righteous in their ignorance, don’t care either. They don’t even think in terms of “benefit of the doubt”. There is no doubt in their minds as long as he promotes scapegoating of immigrants and liberals as the source of all their woes. As long as he continues with a program of “make whites ascendant again” they will dismiss every horrific thing he says and does. Remember these are the people who during the campaign said “He Tells It Like It Is” while at the same time saying “he doesn’t really mean exactly what he says”. Deplorable? No, Hopeless is more like it. And then there are the folks who would normally be against Trump but who can’t seem to be able to get out to vote at all. No, Mueller’s investigation will end up being impotent, Trump will run and win again in 2020 and at my age I fear this gargantuan excuse for a decent human being will end up being the last President of my lifetime. I cannot but despair.

  128. Trump is a blight on the land no question. But can we dispense with all the left- right nonsense? I mean seriously putting everything and everyone into a "Conservative (or Liberal) = Bad (or Good)" box is simply too simplistic and is actually part of the problem. This current mess with Trump is a call to action for people to get involved in Our Democracy. Let's go people, get involved. Time to work together to fix things. sheldon

  129. Political scientists like to say that in a democracy political parties exist to äggregate and articulate interests¨, then puzzle over why Republican politicians appear so willing to vote against the interests of their constituents. Or why those constituents appear to vote heir own interests. The answer may be that the Republican Party over the last three decades has been transformed into a subsidiary of an informal coalition of economic elites and religious fundamentalists whose priorities permit a cooperation that permits, among other things, the conversion of the Republican Party from a political organization aggregasting and articulating The interests of the population at large to an organization channeling perspectives originating in the boardrooms, clubs, and think tanks for the coalition downward to the population at large. It is this coalition that offers to disaffected voters the explanation that their economic vulnerability lies with immigrants, not with automation and outsourcing abroad (both decisions in corporate boardrooms). It is this coalition that uses Republican politicians to disguise the reality the tax bill is class warfare against most Americans. And it invokes culture wars to raise fears and loathing against gays, religious minorities, and science. For the coalition control of the Republican Party, like control of the media, means control of mechanisms of governance. The Republican Party of Lincoln and Goldwater mutated to the party of Reagan and Trump.

  130. Mr. Cohen, you could have easily listed your native South Africa as another country that spent generations telling untruths to a fearful audience that chose to believe them. The tragedy that resulted, the brutality and oppression, the loss of so many lives, so much potential, so much promise, is unfathomable. Trump's election shows that it can happen here. We must not let it. But it will require more than speaking and writing the truth. That was not enough in apartheid South Africa, it is not enough here. We must work, act and vote. We must resist.

  131. How many press conferences has Mueller had? How many press releases? How many times has he responded to Trump's tweets? These are the signs of a man doing his job and not playing politics, no matter what Trump and his minions claim.

  132. This is exactly how I feel and want truth reestablished as the bedrock to our democracy. Mueller subpoenaed the Trump bank records from the Deutch Bank, affiliated with many Russian oligarchs and the Kremlin itself. They loaned him 300 million, which is a sizeable campaign donation with expectations related to be sure. This destructive presidency that calls to the worst in us, has had enough success in destroying everything we hold dear about our democracy and we look forward to an end to the chaos and confusion that has been rampant from this chaotic and confused man. We want our country back, standing for truth and justice for all, including the president.

  133. My parents and I left Fascist Italy in 1938-1939 (in batches because of US immigration laws) and came to America as a haven from intolerance and bodily harm. We flourished here and were grateful for the opportunity to be rescued. On the basis of what is happening in this country today, I sometimes wonder whether we should have bought return trip tickets.

  134. Tuscany and other parts of Italy are full of expatriate Americans. Even Newt Gingrich got his wife a job in Rome!

  135. Man Oh Man, I hope Karma is truly present in this world. Although faced with repeated instances that would make any decent human being have major doubts about humanity, I do believe that more of us have good souls as opposed to the constantly-on-display dark souls that are the focus of our news cycles. All of trump's dishonest and appalling past business dealings are hopefully fully exposed by now to the Very Special Prosecutor and his team ~ it's always been about the money and power; trump is really no different than any other common criminal and grafter ~ it all catches up with them at some point or another, especially when the spotlight is shining bright. Lock Him Up.

  136. Yes, it's about the republic and our democracy. The Republican party has long been deranged---they've acclimated to this so it appears normal to them. The current extreme result is what the NY Daily News editorial now calls an unstable, deranged madman. After the madman is gone, who else have they got in the wings--someone just a bit less obnoxious, authoritarian and sociopathic? But still damaging to all of us. To restore the republic, 1st the US must reform campaign finance. Get the big money out of our elections. Let the people’s will reassert. Then a wider range of sane, more responsible candidates with a sense of public duty, could be enabled to start running for office----they're blocked now, without the sponsorship of corporate billionaires. But when will NYT and TV media even talk about this underlying cause? We can only speculate why they ignore it. But in our distorted political culture, madmen may be encouraged. Or at least our protections from them are weakened.

  137. The only difference between a true authoritarian regime and present day United States is the ability to print articles like this. We'll know it's all over when Trump manages to curtail the Free Press.

  138. He is trying hard to silence a free press while the Republicans and right wingers are trying to build propaganda machines across the U.S.

  139. Everyone possessing a prefrontal cortex, to use a remark today by the Editorial Board today, has boiled down the blizzard of facts surrounding Mr. Trump to the one enormous fear we all have: Will this criminal presidency and the demented policies of the GOP destroy our democracy? For a year we have faced a blizzard of political opportunism, a president manifestly compromised by his own corruption and treasonous behavior, and policies implemented by a Republican Party intending to accomplish one objective only: the looting of our treasury. As Mr. Mueller assembles a prosecutable case against Mr. Trump, we fear that no matter how conclusive his case is, the GOP majority in Congress will refuse to impeach and convict the president they need to sign their legislation into law. We fear that our government has been overtaken by comic book villains – that a bloodless coup has occurred while we were enjoying the show. The question is: Can we extinguish this coup when all the levers of government have been bought by right-wing plutocrats with the help of a hostile foreign government? Our Constitution was structured to prevent a monarchy from supplanting our democracy, but the measures put in place in 1789 appear inadequate to preserve us from a plutocratic class that has, through bribery and non-existent campaign, laws disarmed the very institutions intended to curtail its power grab in 2016.

  140. Speaking of contempt ... Just as most of us thought that Trump and all republican members of congress can not make their contempt for ordinary citizens more damaging, yesterday they endorsed and backed Roy Moore. In so doing, they deepened their contempt for half of nations citizens; all women. All so called good republicans did not even blink. The nation sunk to a new low yesterday.

  141. On the mark. I wish all who voted for DJT would read your piece.

  142. That's the problem, illiterates can not read or understand.

  143. The cognitive dissonance is deafening Trump's base. They can.no longer hear reason.

  144. The 2017 elections were encouraging; if things remain static or get worse, the 2018 elections will tell all. And, of course, the election in Alabama could be meaningful. Most American problems are resolved at the ballot box. We shall see how much "stomach" the American public has for Trump's willful violation of the public's trust in him. I have no faith in the party of the incumbent. Incumbency is the most important thing to any politician. So it will be up to voters to have their say. We shall see.

  145. Uh oh, looks like Mueller is tracking down Russian state funding and ownership of loans Deutsche Bank put together for Trump after his bankruptcies cut of his credit in America. Is Vladimir Putin Donald Trump's loan officer and lender of last resort? DUHHH that would be a personal conflict of interest, wouldn't it?   Per Reuters report today: "A U.S. official with knowledge of Mueller’s probe said one reason for the subpoenas was to find out whether Deutsche Bank may have sold some of Trump’s mortgage or other loans to Russian state development bank VEB or other Russian banks that now are under U.S. and European Union sanctions. "Holding such debt, particularly if some of it was or is coming due, could potentially give Russian banks some leverage over Trump, especially if they are state-owned, said a second U.S. official familiar with Russian intelligence methods. “One obvious question is why Trump and those around him expressed interest in improving relations with Russia as a top foreign policy priority, and whether or not any personal considerations played any part in that,” the second official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. See Reuters article today: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-deutsche-bank/deutsche-bank... 

  146. Roger, I think your well written column presumes that we are dealing with someone who should have more commonsense and honesty. Let me suggest that those notions should be put aside. We are dealing with a narcissist. And a very bad one at that. Once you accept that then you (we) can dispense with trying to make sense of anything the man does. There is no logic. There are no patterns of expected behavior. What we are seeing is whatever comes into the man's head at that moment. With no impulse control and no working knowledge of government or our democratic form of government, we are stuck with his impulsivity and endless quest for fawning appreciation from anyone and everyone. God help Robert Mueller to find the truths that I believe will cause this man to be removed from office in keeping with the Constitution and current U. S. law.

  147. I would like recount a small story on an encounter i had with Mr. Mueller about 10 years ago when he was the FBI director. After work one day, i was out for a jog with my dog on a cart path at a local resort near my home. Approaching me were 2 golf carts containing Mr. Mueller and 3 FBI bodyguards the size of football lineman. Obviously, after 9/11, i recognized him immediately. I stepped off to the side of the trail and waved them on. Mr. Mueller pulled his cart over to the side and told me to stay on the path and he would wait. This small gesture of decency and common courtesy by Mr. Mueller is so at odds with how our illustrious leader acts, that it gives me hope that he will do the right thing and end this madness. I'm certain that if the same thing had happened to me at a Trump property, i would have been thrown off the path or run over ...

  148. Wonderful, wonderful. It is the every day actions of a person that truly shows their character.

  149. Nixon was gone a scant 6 years when the American people elected another Republican. Trump might be impeached, but the people, the party and the system that put him in the presidency will still be around. Even when we make progress it is snatched away (Obamacare). The voice of the majority is not being heard.

  150. "With the power he has he thinks he can shape an alternate reality and persuade enough Americans of its authenticity to perpetuate his power." It's the "perpetuate his power" part that caught my eye because I believe Trump thinks if he can deep America always off kilter that he too will get to be like Putin or any other autocrat. And why would he think otherwise? No matter what he does, a complicit Congress-- led by some pretty unreality based old white men who have the gall to tell Americans they aren't rich because they spend too much--never checks him. They tolerate him, and he lets them craft whatever damned bill he says he promised, so that it's a Faustian bargain for sure. A man that's never been stopped just keeps getting wilder and more reckless, which is what we see here. Trump may be afraid of the Russia investigation but he thinks he can simply will it away because if his hold on Congress and his minority base who will believe just about anything, as long as it's said with a wink and a nod. And who knows? Maybe Trump is right, or, at least as right as any authoritarian on his way up once was. Yes, we have a technical democracy, a technical constitution, and technical checks and balances. But if the legislative (and maybe yet the Supreme Court) branch is all too willing to stay in bed with the man who would be Putin, what can Trump opponents do? Yes the Mueller investigation continues, but even Mueller can't impeach Trump. This is how it starts.

  151. The Republican leadership in Congress, who’ve belatedly decided to support Roy Moore’s Senate candidacy in Alabama, will NOT vote to impeach Trump, no matter what damning evidence Mueller uncovers. For them, loyalty to party and their billionaire masters will always come first. Trump will not be removed until and unless the Koch Brothers and their billionaire allies—who are calling the shots in the Republican world these days—decide he has become more nuisance than useful and a threat to their interests. Then they will instruct someone in his inner circle to stealthily record one of his White House screaming fits, and post it on YouTube. After the video goes viral, Trump will quietly be pressured to resign.

  152. I fear you might be right about the Republican congress.

  153. From the moment that Trump announced his candidacy, the most troubling and disqualifying thing about him, as far as I was concerned, was the ease with which he lied. And not only how readily, but how frequently and how fantastically. His is no 'bending' of the truth, it is wholesale 'out of the thin air' fabrication. I remember when he declared that Obama and Hillary had founded ISIS. A friendly conservative pundit attempted to help Trump make that lie more plausible. He suggested to Trump that what he had meant was that Obama's administration had created the conditions for the emergence of ISIS. No no no, insisted Trump. Obama and Hillary were the co-founders of ISIS.... So this is what we're dealing with: a POTUS who insists on shaping our reality for us, in complete disregard for what our senses and brains tell us. We are on exceedingly dangerous ground here. There is no more terra firma. We may all be swept away.

  154. Even Mueller can't save us. He can provide the information and the charges (the cowardly Republicans will never impeach), but it will be up to us. Only we can save us.

  155. The Republic is stronger than any president. Stop giving Trump so much credit.

  156. Harry doesn't know ANY one who has recently gotten hired? Trump is creating prosperity left 'n right. You'll have to go to th free media to read about it, of course.

  157. “You just tell them and they believe you,’ was, I thought, not a good choice to lead our country.” Actually, that Trump’s credo is “you just tell them and they believe you” doesn’t mean that Trump is unfit to govern. Rather it means that he understands something fundamental about politics, something that David Hume pointed out a couple of centuries ago. In his work on political theory, he describes the paradox that, in any society, the population submits to the rulers, even though force is always in the hands of the governed. More recently, Gene Sharp expressed the same thing in a different way in his work on non-violent resistance: “We don’t obey rulers because they have power. Rulers have power because we obey them.” As someone who came of age in the Vietnam era, this is a lesson indelibly printed on my soul. And although I’m no feminist, I must admit that possibly this is something that woman have recently discovered (post Weinstein) and acted upon. In any case, no matter how modest our stations in life might be, we can do more to shape our futures than we might imagine. To understand this makes us more hopeful, free and responsible.

  158. Cmon. The base believes. The base doesn't care how much evidence there is proving he lies. The base doesn't care what he did (does?) to women. They crave this. They love this. That can't get enough of this. Back in the day they would have said Jeffrey Dahmer was just a hungry guy who didn't have time to go to the grocery store. The longer this goes on, the more I hold them accountable and the more disdain I have for them.

  159. Agree, sir.

  160. Trump (or his doppelganger-in-law Kushner) doesn’t run a real estate company, as his execrable and fraudulent business record proves. He runs a branding company.

  161. Donald J Chaos & Co are all about greed and power. They worship money above all else and use their power to get as much as possible. It was very clear during the primary that Trump was a liar. The secret plan to destroy ISIS, there was no plan. The secret plan to rebuild our infrastructure, there was no plan. The secret plan for peace in the middle east, there was no plan. His meeting with Netenyahu of Israel was a joke, "One-state, two-state whatever you decide is OK with me." When you have no plan or vision it is easy achieve a result. To achieve a worthy goal, that is something different, that takes a plan. Trump is a belligerent boss and is involved in all the decision making. He directed the contacts and collusion attempts with Russia. He has been lying to all Americans. A good many of his current administration were making Russian overtures and attempts at back channel communication, the others knew about these efforts. At this point, they are all lying. This administration has become a criminal cabal. Thank you Mr. Mueller for your steadfast efforts to restore some semblance of integrity to the executive office in the White House. It is about saving our Republic and we can start that with the very next federal election in 2018. Your vote matters, but only if you vote!

  162. "Just tell them and they believe you." Sadly, they do. There seems no end to it.

  163. "This is an embarrassment. Worse, it’s shameful." Worse still, it's stupid, unintelligent, devoid of rational analysis, and completely contrary to our national economic and security interests.

  164. To the oligarchic plutocracy it is not stupid. Just look at the bonanza they are being handed by the GOP.

  165. Where is our firebrand Democrat? Bunch of sheep,lately.

  166. It's all very simple, whatever Donald the Twit says believe the complete opposite to be true.

  167. The overriding question: Did our electorate choose Trump or did Putin and/or another entity yet to be revealed give Trump the presidency. Trump, a well-known "deal maker", could well have been in on the deal. More than once Trump stated: "This election is "rigged". He got the "rigged" part right. And it was - in Trump's favor. Not in Hillary's favor, as he always implied. Take note: "Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty." - Joseph Goebbels (Nazi Propaganda Minister) The election was hacked. Anything can be hacked for that matter. Consider that it all came down to 77,000 votes spread out over 3 states that swung the election to Trump. Software/System Analysis child's play given today's Cyber capabilities. Any interference by Trump and his operatives into the ongoing investigation into this matter will only prove to be the tipping of Trump's hand. (Tweet away Trump, as you run scared.) Case in point - the removal from office of FBI Director Comey. Trump called Comey a "nut case" to a rapt group of Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting. Trump wallows well in hubris. The plot will thicken in time as investigations continue. The one and only job for our as yet Free Press is to keep its collective nose to the grindstone and seek to reveal collusion with a foreign entity. This in turn can be deemed a treasonous act. It can also be classified as a "high crime" as in high crimes and misdemeanor. Justice will be served by imposing the proper penalty.

  168. But one of tRump's "adults in the room", not the racist Kelly and not the Secretary of Defense who seems might be cogent, but HR McMasters says our foreign policy hasn't "missed a beat". They are all delusional liars, spies, miscreants and thieves. And to think McMasters became famous for his thesis that US generals refused to tell their Commander in Chief the truth. We are in an ever deepening vortex of filth.

  169. As Benjamin Franklin pointed out: we have a Republic if we can keep it. The state of our country isn't Trump's fault, he's just exploiting the fault lines that already exist. Nixon and Bush senior exploited racism, Reagan made us distrust the government and math, and Bush Junior used alternative facts to justify an unjustified war. All of them were rewarded by being elected into office. The only way to get through to those who can be reached is to tell the absolute truth. Eventually those who want to hear it will be reachable but we must continue to make ourselves available. We also need to start thinking about what kind of country we want to be going forward. Trump represents our worst selves rather well. How do we want to be seen 20 years from now.

  170. Yep. I would add to that we've had years of tax-advantaged individuals and corporations unwilling to pay their fare share. They've been raiding the Treasury while offshoring jobs, manufacturing, and billions in profits. Fox News and other alt right media--like a steady drip--have been skillful at diverting attention from these true culprits while denying the facts and demonizing others. Even before Trump, many people let themselves be manipulated by this game, ignoring the real reasons for job and opportunity loss and a hollowed out America. Now with Trump and the Republicans removing taxpayer-funded research from the public domain, giving billions to the wealthy and corporations, and downsizing government--our country's peril grows more acute.

  171. In 20years I hope America is known for saving its democracy and the world from a despot-run oligarchy, once and for all establishing that all humans are created equal and have certain inalienable rights, for example to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  172. Yes. But.. In my view the failure here, apart from the gross and grotesque failure of the Republican Party to subdue its base motives and members, is the incompetence and utter foolishness of the Democratic Party and HRC, who failed to get HRC elected, DESPITE the obvious country-wide preference for HRC. All it would have taken is HRC spending MORE time dealing with work and employment issues and MUCH LESS time spent trying to prove how much she loved the gays and transgenders and various sexually confused folk. I am not suggesting that she needed to trash the sexually or differently skin colored people, but she needed to deal with real issues of workers themselves, whatever their color, which in my view she failed to do. Each of the "Rust Belt" states she lost could have easily been won if more Democratic voters in those states had simply gone to the polls and voted. As it was there was simply a lack of enthusiasm for HRC and a failed "get out the vote" effort. The result of the this Democratic failure is that the country is stuck in an orange-tinged nightmare.