This Is Not Normal, May 13, 2019 – May 20, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is considering pardoning members of the military accused of war crimes, including some who murdered unarmed civilians.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general has tapped a federal prosecutor to review the FBI investigation of the president’s campaign, which the attorney general insists on referring to as “spying on Americans,” a framing that the FBI director, who was appointed by the president, rejects. A federal investigation is not spying.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the treasury refuses to comply with a House Ways and Means Committee subpoena of the president’s tax returns.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has proposed that immigrants must pass a civics exam to get a green card, which is (a) an onerous and unprecedented requirement for a green card and (b) not something I believe the president himself would pass.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a review of the travel expenses of the former head of the Environment Protection Agency revealed $124,000 in inappropriate expenditures.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House refuses to comply with yet more document requests from the House of Representatives. It is also NOT NORMAL that in court this week, the president’s legal team argued that any investigation of the president by the House of Representatives was not permitted by the Constitution. Under this theory, neither the investigation into Watergate nor the one into Whitewater would have been allowed, and legislative requirements to preserve presidential records and release presidential financial disclosures would be invalidated.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president pardoned someone who wrote a flattering book about him.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate was forced to subpoena the president’s son because he kept canceling scheduled hearings.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • attempt to conduct trade negotiations and diplomacy via social media (if I live to be a thousand, I will never understand why we can’t get bipartisan agreement on this one simple point);
    • call the Democratic Party “a sad JOKE!” because members of the party referred to his continual obstruction of House attempts to investigate his administration as a Constitutional crisis;
    • continue to call the special counsel investigation of his campaign a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” even as he erroneously claimed that he and his campaign were exonerated (reminder that the special counsel’s report literally said the president was not exonerated);
    • refer to a potential 2020 opponent as “Sleepy Joe Biden”;
    • use a bad-faith out-of-context interpretation of something a newly elected congresswoman said about Palestine to claim that the congresswoman was anti-Semitic (the president’s repeated conflation of Jewish Americans with Israeli Jews is more anti-Semitic than anything this congresswoman has said);
    • refer to migrants at the border as “bad ‘hombres'” (they are largely mothers and children, and I will leave you to judge the president’s repeated use of ‘hombres’ when talking about Latinos);
    • claim that the people who “spied” (i.e., legally investigated) his campaign deserved “long jail sentences” for “TREASON”;
    • bring up the freaking emails yet again;
    • complain that no one told him that his former national security adviser was under investigation, when in fact it has been well-established that he was told several times; and
    • complain about a Republican congressman who said the special counsel report revealed impeachable conduct, calling him “a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents [sic] hands!”
  • “Witch hunt,” “fake news,” and (to my great regret) “Crooked Hillary” all made appearances this week. “Crooked Hillary” actually happened twice, in case you thought the president might have moved past an election that he actually won.
  • We are now up to five migrant children who have died in the custody of the United States Border Patrol, and the administration said this week there might be an additional 1700 who were separated from their parents.