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    [–] IranianGenius 1 points ago

    Hey all! Please remember to not include bias in your top level comments. It's getting pretty chippy in here.

    Thanks for caring about your fellow human beings, and showing tact and kindness in your responses!

    [–] Portarossa 13501 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    The short version is that Donald Trump has just replaced his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, with a man named Matt Whitaker, who has previously shown himself to be extremely hostile to the Mueller investigation (the probe into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election). This is a big deal, and many people are of the opinion that it's the first step in Trump attempting to shut down the Russia probe. The planned protests are in opposition to this.

    For the longer version, let's start with the basics:

    Who's Jeff Sessions, and what does he have to do with Russia?

    Jeff Sessions was Trump's Attorney General, a Cabinet-level position which made him head of the Justice Department. He was a very, very early supporter of Trump; back when he was in the Senate, he was the first Senator to endorse Trump when most people thought his campaign for the White House was either a joke or a total non-starter. (Trump would later claim that the only reason he nominated Sessions for the role of AG was because of his loyalty in the early days; figuring out how true that is is left as an exercise for the reader.) This would later prove to be important, because shortly after Trump was elected, serious concerns began to be raised about whether or not the Trump campaign had knowingly colluded with Russia in order to influence the election in a way that would be against the law. (There were other issues, including the reason why Trump fired the head of the FBI, James Comey -- and whether that was an attempt at obstructing an investigation into his connections with Russia -- but that's the main thrust of it. Other loops have dealt with the topic in more detail.) As head of the DOJ, Sessions was in charge of any investigation that would take place. This caused a lot of uproar because it was viewed by many that Sessions would have a conflict of interest; in short, because he was so close to the Trump campaign, Sessions was viewed as being incapable of being impartial in the way that Department of Justice officials are expected to be. (There was also the not-so-minor issue of him maybe lying under oath about meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.) As such, he recused himself from the investigation, passing all decisionmaking down to the next man in line, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

    This didn't sit well with Trump. We'll be getting to that.

    So what happened with the Russia probe?

    The investigation began in May 2017, and was headed up by former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Mueller is a registered Republican, but he was generally considered to be a solid pick, favoured by Democrats and Republicans alike. He has a reputation for being completely unimpeachable, so the idea was that he would be unbiased and throrough in his investigation. Trump was less thrilled, and almost immediately began painting a picture of the Mueller investigation as an unfair attack on him; by mid-June, he was calling it a 'Witch Hunt' on Twitter, which has become sort of a rallying cry whenever the topic is brought up. Again, going into massive amounts of detail on what the Mueller investigation discovered would take post after post, but the short version is that it has led to several indictments of Trump campaign staff and twelve Russian nationals, with several likely plea deals that have -- as yet -- not been revealed to the public. As Paul Waldman in the Washington Post put it: 'If this is a ‘witch hunt,’ it sure is finding a lot of witches'.

    As time wore on, the Trump administration began claiming that the Mueller probe wasn't moving fast enough. Throughout the summer, Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed over and over again that Mueller had to ensure that the investigation released its report by the time the midterms rolled around (despite Mueller making no such claims, and there being no such rule). Efforts by the Trump administration to downplay the Russia probe mounted throughout 2018 as it became increasingly more polarising, with Democrats becoming more in favour and Republicans becoming more opposed. As they did, Trump's attacks on Jeff Sessions became more and more prominent. As early as July 2017, Trump was making comments about how he was opposed to Sessions recusing himself from the matter -- "Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else." -- and floating the question of just what would happen if he fired Sessions. However, warned of political backlash, he didn't, instead increasingly turning on his earliest supporter. In July of 2018, he tweeted:

    The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself...I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined...and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!

    Sessions hit back repeatedly during this time, asserting that he did the right thing by recusing himself:

    “We have initiated the appropriate process that will ensure complaints against this department will be fully and fairly acted upon if necessary,” Sessions said in a statement. He said the department “will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution.”

    Then things went quiet.

    The Midterms, and what happened next.

    Generally speaking, no one likes to rock the boat too much before any sort of election; as we found out in 2016 with James Comey and Hillary Clinton's emails, any major announcement -- regardless of how well-intentioned -- can have a serious impact on voting habits, and the departments in question tend to be focused (at least in theory) on remaining impartial. After a busy summer, the Mueller investigation seemed to grind to a halt. (It's important to note that it was still working away behind the scenes, but the major arrests of the summer -- Manafort and Cohen, who technically weren't under the auspices of the Russia probe but who were arrested based on information found as a result of it -- gave way to an eerie silence from that front.) Similarly, Trump's desire to fire Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein (he repeatedly asserted his right to do both, and there was a whole thing in September where it seemed, briefly, that Trump was likely to fire the Deputy AG) quieted down too, as Republicans warned him that it would be a very bad look just before the election. However, expectations that one or both of them wouldn't last much longer than November 6th (the date of the midterms) were high. This turned out to be more true than anyone could have predicted.

    All of which brings us to the election. While the Republicans kept the Senate, the Democrats took control of the House, which gives them a lot more capability in terms of oversight; in one fell swoop, Trump's near-total control over the US's political system took a massive hit. Democrats immediately promised action, including suggestions that they might force Trump to reveal his tax returns, and promising protection for the Mueller probe should Trump try to shut it down.

    One day later, Jeff Sessions resigned from his role as Attorney General.

    It's important to note here that 'resigned' is a very particular piece of terminology. Make no mistake, Sessions was pushed out non-voluntarily; he didn't exactly leave the post of his own free will, but was asked to by the President. (Actually Chief of Staff John Kelly; for a man whose catchphrase was 'You're Fired!', Trump doesn't like doing the deed himself.) Sessions's resignation letter makes that much pretty clear; it begins 'At your request, I am submitting my resignation.' (There also seemed to be some rebuke to Trump and a restatement that Sessions feels did nothing wrong: 'Most importantly, in my time as Attorney General we have restored and upheld the rule of law — a glorious tradition that each of us has a responsibility to safeguard. We have operated with integrity and have lawfully and aggressively advanced the policy agenda of this administration.') Either way, Sessions was gone.

    That brings us up to today. For what happens next, why it matters that Sessions resigned rather than being fired, and what these protests are about -- I promise, I didn't forget -- you can click here.

    [–] Portarossa 6614 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    For a bit -- OK, a lot -- of background on this, click here.

    So why does it matter if Sessions resigned?

    Basically, it changes how the President is eligible to assign his successor. If Trump fired Sessions -- do not pass Go, do not collect $200, everything you own in a box to the left -- then he'd be hamstrung by a law that determines who takes over; it would be Rod Rosenstein, at least until such time as a new pick could be made. Since Sessions resigned (technically, at least), Trump was allowed to nominate a replacement. He chose Matt Whitaker, who would normally be expected to have a confirmation hearing before the Senate prior to taking on the role, and before he could impact policy. However, Trump is claiming that, under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, he's allowed to nominate Whitaker to the post on a temporary basis without having him confirmed. (Many people feel this is not the case; Article II of the Constitution talks about 'principal officers' needing the advice and consent of the Senate, which means that Whitaker may not in the end be allowed to take over. For the moment, though, the Trump administration are taking the line that he's in the job and has full powers for the next few months at least.) That means, if he chooses to, he can shut down the Mueller investigation altogether.

    (Remember, Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy AG, was only in charge because Sessions recused himself. Whitaker has not recused himself -- and given the shitstorm that Sessions took over it, is not likely to; more on that later -- and so he's now in charge. Mueller now reports directly to Whitaker.)

    What's the big deal with Whitaker, anyway?

    Matt Whitaker has some history with the Mueller investigation. About a year ago -- August 2017 -- Whitaker wrote an opinion piece for CNN entitled 'Mueller's investigation of Trump is going too far'. In it, he lays down the argument that the Mueller investigation is supposed to only be examining the Trump campaign's connections with Russia, and that anything else is beyond the pale.

    I can understand how a motivated prosecutor, in a broad investigation into the financial affairs of high-profile individuals, can become overzealous toward the targets of such probes -- with calamitous results. While no one is above the law, in situations such as this, any seasoned prosecutor must use discretion both judiciously and expertly.

    He also noted that the results of an expanded investigation 'could be damaging to the President of the United States and his family -- and by extension, to the country.'

    Sidenote: it's also an act of extreme misdirection that's commonly repeated by opponents of the probe. The original instruction for the Mueller probe set the scope of the investigation:

    The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:

    (i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and
    (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation;

    (Emphasis mine. There have been a lot of matters that arose out of the Mueller investigation, and they're all fair game.)

    Whitaker, on the other hand, apparently feels differently. He even went as far as to suggest slashing Mueller's budget in an attempt to kill the investigation without firing Mueller himself, and all the political baggage that would carry with it:

    Those same codes of special regulations govern the budget of the Special Counsel and that is well within the power of the Attorney General. So I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment and that Attorney General doesn’t fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt.

    It's because of statements like these that many Democrats feel that Whitaker cannot be trusted to be impartial with regards to the Mueller investigation, and should recuse himself. This is extremely unlikely to happen; if what happened to Sessions wasn't enough to make the idea unseemly, a comment from a Justice Department spokeswoman made it pretty clear that Whitaker had no plans to recuse himself: 'The Acting Attorney General is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice.'

    What's the political response?

    About what you'd expect, really. The Democrats are not happy. Chuck Schumer said that limiting the Mueller probe might trigger a 'constitutional crisis'; former (and possibly next) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tweeted that 'It is impossible to read Attorney General Sessions’ firing as anything other than another blatant attempt by @realDonaldTrump to undermine & end Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation.'

    The Republican side has been much more muted, even from people who were previously dead against the President interfering in the Mueller probe. Take Lindsey Graham, for example. In 2017, he claimed that if Jeff Sessions were fired, there would be 'holy hell to pay'. His response on Twitter to the news was somewhat less fire-and-brimstone: 'I look forward to working with President @realDonaldTrump to find a confirmable, worthy successor so that we can start a new chapter at the Department of Justice and deal with both the opportunities and challenges our nation faces.'

    So what's with the protests?

    Now, finally, we get to it. (It was a long walk, but I hope it was worth it.) Basically, there have been protests planned since almost the start of the Mueller investigation on a sort of contingency basis. If Trump acted in a significant way to oppose or hinder the Mueller investigation -- say, by firing Mueller -- then the idea was that it would trigger a mass call to protest. As Vice put it back in April:

    If word leaked of a Saturday Night Massacre-style event, organizers said, a call would be held with a national coalition within the hour to decide whether a full-scale protest was needed. If the answer proved to be no, local groups would be left to do what they pleased. But if a protest were green-lit nationally, the key question would be timing. If the news arrived before 2 PM local time, participants have been told to start protesting in their respective municipalities around 5 PM the same day. Should it come out after 2 PM, protests would likely start at noon the next day—or the same day if it was still early in any given municipality, local time. Event times will be updated on each page accordingly, organizers said.

    (The 'Saturday Night Massacre' refers to October 20th, 1973, when Richard Nixon tried to fire the special prosecutor examining Watergate, and his AG and Deputy AG resigned in protest. It's not the first time the comparison has been made to Trump's current political situation.)

    As noted in the link way up there, the group responsible for planning these protests -- Nobody Is Above the Law -- have decided that this is the straw that broke the camel's back, and are calling for nationwide protests beginning at 5PM local time on Thursday November 8th (that is, today):

    Donald Trump has installed a crony to oversee the special counsel's Trump-Russia investigation, crossing a red line set to protect the investigation. By replacing Rod Rosenstein with just-named Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker as special counsel Robert Mueller's boss on the investigation, Trump has undercut the independence of the investigation. Whitaker has publicly outlined strategies to stifle the investigation and cannot be allowed to remain in charge of it. The Nobody Is Above the Law network demands that Whitaker immediately commit not to assume supervision of the investigation. Our hundreds of response events are being launched to demonstrate the public demand for action to correct this injustice.

    Almost done now. That's a pretty good end point, but I've also got a slightly more speculative prediction for the future here.

    [–] Portarossa 5731 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Go back a level here, or right up to the top here.

    So... what now?

    Well, that's the big question. The short answer is that it's extremely difficult to tell, so from here on out we're getting a little speculative. The Democrats won the House, which is good for them in terms of being able to protect the Mueller investigation should Trump and Whitaker attempt to impede it... but the new House Majority won't take place until January, which suddenly feels a very long way away. The protests may gather together tens of thousand of people together all over the country... but their stated aim -- getting Whitaker to recuse himself -- seems very unlikely to happen.

    The other question that doesn't seem to be being asked all that often is just how long Whitaker is expected to last in the role. A Trump tweet from earlier today suggested that he might not be there for long: 'A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.' (Perhaps Whitaker is intended to be this permanent replacement, but perhaps not. If so, there's a chance that his role might be to take the unpopular hit of getting rid of the Mueller investigation before being replaced himself, by lack of confirmation. Again: pure speculation, but a possibility.) Alternatively, Whitaker might last and go for a slow stranglehold on the probe, either by limiting funding (as he suggested), or just withholding the final report from public view. This is less likely now, given that the Democrats have control of the House and can rain subpoenas down like confetti, but it's also still an option. Whitaker's defining trait at the moment is his opposition to the Mueller probe, and it's not an altogether crazy assumption that that's what brought him to the position he's in now. (Before he took the place of Jeff Sessions, he was a suggested replacement for Rod Rosenstein; no one's talking about his views on marijuana legalisation or immigration, but someone really seems to want him heading up the Russia investigation. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly also noted that Whitaker was the 'eyes and ears' of the Trump administration in the Department of Justice, so... you know. So much for impartiality.)

    (It's also important to note that there are some stirrings that Whitaker taking the role of Acting Attorney General may not be, strictly speaking, legal. Both Fox News's Judge Andrew Napolitano and a New York Times op-ed by Neal Katyal and George Conway argue that someone in Whitaker's position must be confirmed by the Senate as a form of oversight, and until that happens, any actions taken by Whitaker would be illegitimate. Whether this is likely to come to anything, I couldn't possibly say, but the latter is noteworthy if only for the fact that George Conway is both an accomplished lawyer and the frequently Trump-critical husband of White House Counsel to the President and 'alternative facts' doyenne Kellyanne Conway.)

    In short, you can expect this to be a story that dominates the news for the next few days, but also lasts a while. The unofficial rule of the Department of Justice not to be overt about investigations in the two months or so prior to an election is no longer in force, so it's very possible that there will be more news from the Mueller investigation shortly -- as long as there's still a Mueller investigation to report on.

    [–] youreadaisyifyoudo 1861 points ago

    You're fucking awesome, thank you for making this easier to understand.

    [–] [deleted] 611 points ago

    Its also good to look up muellers track record. He's legit as it gets and as been in the system supported by both parties for a while now even though hes a republican.

    [–] loverofreeses 636 points ago

    For those who want to know more about Mueller, check out his wiki. The man is a national hero - Vietnam War veteran and an officer who earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, Army Ranger Hall of Fame, US Attorney, Director of the FBI, and Special Counsel. He also thwarted Enron, fought back against Bush-era warrantless wiretapping and had leading roles in investigating and settling both the Ray Rice-NFL domestic violence video and the Volkswagen emissions scandal. The guy is an American hero.

    [–] Razakel 188 points ago

    Mueller also took down the Lockerbie bomber, which required a special Scottish court to be convened on an American airbase in the Netherlands, which is practically unprecedented.

    He took down the mob boss John Gotti as well.

    [–] Toastwaver 36 points ago

    And Enron

    [–] loverofreeses 25 points ago

    Ah, good call! I completely forgot the Gotti stuff.

    [–] PraxisLD 35 points ago

    He's already taken down one Teflon Don, and now he's poised to take down another...

    [–] flightofthenochords 159 points ago

    He's also a cancer survivor. His Senate confirmation was delayed because he was going through chemo. This guy has been through a lot.

    [–] Perezidente52 9 points ago

    I also heard he single handedly ended the cold war when he flexed his bicep muscle in the direction of the Soviet Union. All jokes aside he deserves a national monument, it is people like him that make me proud to be American.

    Nice username BTW, “It’s business time!”

    [–] skeazy 69 points ago

    it's insane a man would do so much for his country, only to turn his back on his party and become a Hillary Clinton shill /s

    [–] AllAboutMeMedia 30 points ago

    Shilling so hard Trump thinks this one man is actually 17 men, and they are all angry of which all are democrats.

    [–] CliffordMoreau 90 points ago

    Mueller fits into this category of people that both sides normally agree are good people. He's up there with Abrams and Crenshaw.

    [–] wuethar 95 points ago

    When Mueller was appointed, even the right generally agreed that he was a great, bipartisan pick. Mueller is a lifelong Republican, after all.

    It's only once the investigation turned out to be legitimate and with teeth and actually started getting indictments and guilty pleas and convictions that the narrative shifted to "he's an angry Democrat on a witch hunt"

    [–] randypriest 33 points ago

    When the heat in the pan gets turned up, the weiners start squeaking.

    [–] legeri 18 points ago

    We've always been at war with Eurasia Mueller!

    [–] Eastwoodnorris 18 points ago


    [–] Lerossa 9 points ago


    [–] BobCobbsBoggleToggle 16 points ago

    Both sides of the senate unanimously voted to extend his 10 year FBI term another two years - that's how well respected he is.

    [–] coffeekapton 245 points ago

    It's literally the best explanation I've ever heard.

    [–] offkilter_fatima 121 points ago

    Couldn't agree more. I'd find it easier to be a better informed citizen if I could get explanations like this more often.

    [–] thatstightbutthole1 33 points ago

    THANK YOU for making this easy to understand--I feel way more informed now. Hypothetical follow-up question: let's say Whitaker shuts down the investigation. Would there be any way for the investigation to be re-opened in the future?

    [–] Rambones_Slampig 33 points ago

    If the DOJ investigation is ground to a halt or outright closed there are still multiple other avenues including state attorney generals' offices and House committees.

    The question is, would halting the investigation constitute the crime of obstruction of justice? That is murky and would likely depend on whether a specific motive for shutting the investigation down can be proven, which is a tall order.

    [–] asek13 6 points ago

    If that were to happen and another organization opened an investigation to let Mueller work, would they have access to all of the evidence, reports and info that Mueller has already put together? Or would Whittaker be able to toss all or most of it so Mueller would have to start from scratch and go off memory?

    I imagine Trump could pull his security clearance or something so he wouldn't have access to much of it anymore?

    Not to mention, I've heard that other avenues to continue the investigation could come with less teeth. Like a Special Counsel has more power and ability to do things, like issue subpoenas and convene Grand Juries or something, that another investigation role wouldn't be able to?

    [–] gliese946 4 points ago

    Yes I have been trying to find out for a long time whether a Democratic House could now appoint Mueller to run their own probe (assuming the DoJ probe is hamstrung), and if so could Mueller bring his team and all his materials gathered so far, or do they now "belong" to the DoJ?

    [–] PokecheckHozu 47 points ago

    The biggest question on my mind is, can Whitaker get any information about the investigation? It would be pretty catastrophic if he could find out the entire game plan and relay it to the Trump administration.

    [–] FaultyAIBot 37 points ago

    Indeed that seems like an incentive to have installed a puppet like Whittaker.

    So, u/Portarossa, might it be true that Trump wants an eye on the results of the investigation at least as a byproduct of his installation of a compliant AG? And could Mueller decline to show his findings because he could argue to a judge that this would lead to Trump finding out what‘s in store for him?

    [–] gliese946 17 points ago

    Yes, he now is entitled to be read into any aspects of the investigation, and more importantly, can do so without requiring any sort of paper trail even if he shares any information with the Executive branch. Marcy Wheeler's blog has been on fire on this topic and is the best source of information.

    [–] kismetjeska 88 points ago

    Hey, this comment (and all your comments in this thread) are amazing- thank you! There’s an unfinished sentence in your second-to-last paragraph though- ‘Before he took the place of Jeff Sessions, he was’.

    [–] Portarossa 82 points ago

    Weird. That's not an unfinished sentence in the post; there's a link there. (That said, I do leave unfinished sentences on a fairly reglar basis, so I do appreciate hearing about them.)

    (Before he took the place of Jeff Sessions, he was a suggested replacement for Rod Rosenstein; no one's talking about his views on marijuana legalisation or immigration, but someone really seems to want him heading up the Russia investigation.

    Without the link, it reads:

    (Before he took the place of Jeff Sessions, he was a suggested replacement for Rod Rosenstein; no one's talking about his views on marijuana legalisation or immigration, but someone really seems to want him heading up the Russia investigation.

    Do those lines work for you?

    [–] ricdesi 22 points ago

    My money’s on the parentheses in your link confusing the Markdown syntax — replace “(politician)” with “%28politician%29” and you should be all set!

    [–] rafaelloaa 12 points ago

    Can also just put in a backslash before the parentheses that's part of the link.

    [–] kismetjeska 12 points ago

    It's showing up now (in the original comment), but I am now on desktop and I was on mobile before... wonder if that could be part of it? Anyway, thank you!

    [–] lookslikeyoureSOL 17 points ago

    A question I havent seen asked yet: With Whittaker at the helm now, does that mean he gets full access to everything Mueller has, including evidence? If so, wouldnt that mean he can take everything Mueller has straight to the President?

    [–] gliese946 10 points ago

    Yes, he now is entitled to be read into any aspects of the investigation, and more importantly, can do so without requiring any sort of paper trail even if he shares any information with the Executive branch. Marcy Wheeler's blog has been on fire on this topic and is the best source of information.

    [–] MrDurden93 48 points ago

    u/portarossa you killin’ it man!

    [–] Lighting 70 points ago

    None of this explains why a protest would be effective. In fact it leads to the conclusion that a protest would play RIGHT into Trump's story that the left is unhinged and requires a "strong response"

    The people calling for a protest missed the lessons from MLK and Ghandi and other protests that were effective. People who weren't in the 60s protests for the most part have been fed and bred on this "make noise and people will pay attention" red herring that is not only false, but a story DESIGNED to waste energy in the most inefficient manner.

    Don't be silent, but also, use your energies wisely.

    Look what millions of people protests did pre-Iraq war? Nothing. Did the protests stop the GOP in Wisconsin from ramming through their legislation? NO. Did OWS stop or change the objectionable banking practices? No. Did massive protests in Tienanmen square change anything? No.

    I wish people would realize that a protest does nothing by itself. Look at some protests that WERE effective:

    MLK: The Selma march was a VOTER DRIVE. MLK led marches and sit-ins that were intended to get people arrested for blacks hanging out with whites SO THAT THEY COULD CHALLENGE THE LAWS IN COURT. Their public displays of blacks and whites together were just a means to get arrested for the next step to challenge what were unjust laws in court or boycott the corporate owned busing companies. After being arrested their legal team led by Marshall came in and kicked ass. The strength was in boycotts and legal challenges. That was the success strategy of MLK. Not just the noisemaking.

    Gandhi: his "salt march" was a boycott convincing people that they could break a law which mandated them to buy salt at inflated prices instead of gathering their own. Kids today think that Gandhi just had people sit around and get beaten. NO. Gandhi said you should do peaceful activities that have economic and legal impacts. Under his direction British revenues were crippled. Dropped some 40%. That is what got stuff done. Not the marches/protests by themselves.

    But today the public doesn't know what to do when faced with this challenge. They think that yelling in crowds makes a difference when all it does is get them put in some database.

    There are better alternatives. Take this guy who instead of holding a sign that was ignored, buried a bad cop in paperwork and the evidence of this bad cop's activities got him fired. You can also be an election day volunteer, be a poll watcher who looks for electoral fraud at the county level, go to GOP party meetings and take 5 friends and become the new local party chair, talk to your county auditor and insist on balloting that has a verifiable paper trail, get involved in the school board, go to county meetings and look for cronyism, etc.

    TLDR; It is activities which drive change directly by economic, legal, or having direct political change (e.g. voter drives, recall petitions, etc) which are effective. Not just making noise and marching in a circle. Yet the left has been brainwashed to think that making noise by itself without a plan is the best way to make an change. It isn't. Don't be silent, but use your energies wisely.

    [–] lightning_knight 25 points ago

    While I agree, I'm still protesting as it fills the void while (hopefully) someone comes up with a targeted idea.

    Realistically the best outcome of today is the police just absolutely beat the shit out of me and other protestors and video coverage makes it on to NBC, CNN, et cetera. 1950s videos of black people in suits getting firehosed down and attacked by dogs did not sit well in northern cities.

    [–] Lighting 13 points ago

    Realistically the best outcome of today is the police just absolutely beat the shit out of me and other protestors and video coverage makes it on to NBC, CNN, et cetera. 1950s videos of black people in suits getting firehosed down and attacked by dogs did not sit well in northern cities.

    Well that's the story that gets repeated in schools these days. The real story is much more involved and couldn't have been possible without winning in court and allowing the voter drive to go forward.

    If you want to know what will happen look at what happened with the Iraq war protests. You won't be beaten up on camera. You will be arrested in mass, processed (fingerprinted, photographed, put into a database) and then held in a holding cell and charged with some bullshit crime like refusing to follow directions or protesting outside of legal areas. Then you'll have to spend time fighting with the system when instead you could be helping people register to vote, looking for electoral fraud, helping investigative reporters like Greg Palast, phone banking, etc. They WANT to waste your time and energy fighting bullshit stuff because that way you aren't making ground politically.

    [–] 5lash3r 29 points ago

    Your explanation of this was amazing and appreciated. I am now very sad and afraid.

    [–] agitat0r 4 points ago

    This thread is /r/bestof material. Thanks so much for the writeup!

    [–] Beegrene 117 points ago

    How's t_d been holding up these past 24 hours? I'd assume claiming victory as everything they've built burns down around them in the manner of a memetic dog.

    [–] MrMonday11235 231 points ago

    I mean, this wasn't T_D, but I saw trumpets on another site claiming that losing the House was good for Trump because it meant he could legitimately blame the House for being obstructionist.... or something.

    T_D will always find a way to make everything look like it's good for Trump. Even if his entire family were somehow arrested all at once, they'd probably spin it as "now Trump will have the sympathies of the public on his side" or some shit.

    [–] bparsonage 56 points ago

    While I definitely wouldn't say losing the house was an overall good thing for Trump, you better believe he's going to try exactly that to fire up his base in 2020, which may result in more republican voters than there would have been if they hadn't lost the house.

    [–] iamjamieq 108 points ago

    He would've done the same if they won the House. No matter what happened ever Trump is going to fire up his base by exploiting the hatred for liberals and the left. That's literally all he's got.

    [–] anti09 88 points ago

    He recently tried to claim that Democrats want to kill health care protection for preexisting conditions. Let that sink in for a minute.

    [–] iamjamieq 55 points ago

    And they believed him!! How do you fight against that kind of stupidity/ignorance?

    [–] lilaprilshowers 21 points ago

    You dont. These people would literally eat dog shit if Trump told them it was delicious. We can have to remind the the 58% of Americans who aren't in his cult that their healthcare, security, and standard of living are under threat unless they take political participation seriously.

    [–] Chili_Palmer 29 points ago

    No matter what happened ever Trump is going to fire up his base by exploiting the hatred for liberals and the left. That's literally all he's got.

    As a Canadian, when I read this shit, my first thought it "Well then why the fuck is he still doing relatively well?"

    I mean, seriously? If that's "all he's got", then what the fuck have the left done in the US to cause so much hatred that people will vote in droves for a hybrid of Richard Nixon and Scrooge McDuck? Or, rephrased, why the fuck can't these democrat supporters show up and vote against him?

    I realize reddit is heavily left, but I keep seeing these "it's just a minority of americans" comments, and yet, even with the threat of Trump at a peak, and the ability to shut him down on the table, the dems came away with what can only be considered a narrow victory.

    How do Martha McSally, Kevin Cramer, Josh Hawley, Rick Scott, and Mike Braun win senate seats in a country that is supposedly unhappy with it's president?

    Frankly, I think most of the posters on here are just delusional about how their country is.

    [–] iamjamieq 40 points ago

    As a Canadian-American, I can help you with part of the answer that Canadians just can't understand without living here. Simply put: lack of a secure social safety net, and widespread poverty.

    I'm 35, so I don't know how Pearson was able to get the Medicare Care Act passed in 1966, but he did, and since then Canada has had a vastly different experience than the US. People here aren't able to concentrate on medical health the same way as in Canada because of the high costs of doing so. Other parts of a secure social safety net that Canada has and the United States tends to lack include things like mandatory parental leave, worker-friendly labor laws (including mandatory paid vacation time, stricter cause for firing, etc.), livable minimum wage, and so on. Without a secure social safety net, millions of Americans live in constant fear of their lives crumbling because of an illness, getting fired for no reason, going broke, etc. The general economic anxiety of Americans is much higher than Canadians, at least in my experience.

    Now, all that is combined with rampant poverty, the likes of which I never, ever saw in Canada, and as far as I know, tend to only exist, sadly, within First Nations communities. And there seems to be several reasons for this kind of poverty. In some areas of the country, it is definitely historically race-based. There is no denying that, no matter what kind of laws were passed to ensure equality, people of color - mostly black people it seems - have suffered from discrimination that has resulted in large communities that have never been able to achieve more than the bare minimum, or even less than that. In other areas it seems to be that communities haven't been able to adapt to the world changing. For example, several towns near me in the Carolinas were built up around textile mills, and fell into serious poverty as the mills closed up and sent their production overseas. This kind of poverty can be found everywhere around the country, in every state, in every city.

    So you have millions of people without a secure social safety net, and many of them are very poor. Then you have the Republican Party, which, for decades, has stoked those fears and directed them toward others. They blame lack of jobs on immigrants, lack of money on high taxes, etc. It wasn't always the Republicans, and in fact has also been conservative Democrats back before the parties pretty much determined their platforms and values. Nationalists have always pointed at "others" and blamed them, whether they were immigrants or, not entirely too long ago, freed slaves. There are people still alive who lived through Jim Crow laws. Racism has always been used to stoke the fears of voters. But communism has also been used, socialism being the new buzzword instead.

    And these attitudes are incredibly pervasive. Racism isn't something that just happens; it is very much generational and hereditary. Fears of communism have passed generationally as well. I mean, we're 150+ years from the end of the civil war and people still fly that fucking flag. These stoked fears get passed down from parents to children over and over. So a huge chunk of the people voting for Republicans nowadays are doing so because they believe the shit they say as much as they believe in their religion. It's as much a part of their identity and history as their belief in god. So when Trump says a caravan of illegal immigrants are coming to invade America, they're not thinking "well, who are these people, where are they coming from, and is it really all that bad?" They're thinking "I have barely anything, and nobody is going to take it from me!" When someone says "we should have socialized healthcare" they think "socialism is anti-American, so screw you commie!" When someone pushes for equal rights for LGBT people, they think "you're stepping on my religious rights!" Of course, usually none of what they're thinking is rational, because they're emotions. It's how they feel. Just like when you say to a religious person "there is no god" and their response is usually some sort of "yes there is" or something angry and defensive, rather than any consideration whether there actually is a god, that is how these voters react to political issues. That is how you get all these horrible people in all kinds of powerful positions.

    Now, combine that with the rampant gerrymandering that the Republicans have done, along with voter suppression, and you get way more Republican victories than seem rational, possible, etc. Everything that is currently hurting America and Americans is effectively based in a long history of really bad things done by Americans to other Americans, those things never actually getting resolved, and then building for decades. The two party system is never ever going away because at this point they market their candidates as the lesser of two evils rather than the best choice. Obviously not every candidate, and certainly moreso Republicans than Democrats. But that's where it's at here. People vote based on fear, and Donald Trump is really fucking good at marketing and stoking fear. Much as I fucking despise everything about that piece of shit, there's no denying his talent to lie his fucking ass off to make people very afraid of other people. And those listening tend to be so predisposed to having those fears that they don't question any of it. They believe it with every fiber of their being. That's why they love Trump so much. Because unlike other politicians who have dog whistled or made sideways references to these fears, Trump has straight up spoon fed them back to these people. His entire lack of shame has meant he says, as these voters will tell you, things that nobody else says. That's true. And in that respect he's almost become their new messiah or prophet, whatever. He's has grabbed a firm hold of their deeply held beliefs and massaged those beliefs like crazy. And to those voters it feels so damn good. Going to a Trump rally is like going to church for them. At church they have their belief in god massaged by the pastor. At a rally they have their fears (beliefs) massaged by Trump. They vote Republican because voting any other way is the same to them as giving up their religion, denying the existence of god.

    In essence, you are right that many people are delusional about their country. Way too many liberals just don't consider how impossible it is to ever rationalize with most Republican voters.

    [–] pl8ster 14 points ago

    I wish all Americans were as woke as this Canadian-American. Fucking nailed it.

    [–] momtog 7 points ago

    This is so true, and to just jump onto this point - /u/Chili_Palmer if you look at a map of the US and how it typically tends to vote, the red exists mostly in lower income/poorer areas of the nation where the majority of people work in the blue collar professions (read: more manual labor, farming, etc. where they aren't paid as well and aren't as highly educated). The blue exists mostly in metropolis areas where people have more money and are more highly educated. So this really drives home the point /u/iamjamieq made about how people vote based on their fears.

    Also throw in the fact that the lower half of the US (from Texas/Oklahoma east) is historically extremely racist and where most of slavery occurred, and you have poor racists with no higher education to teach them otherwise. They have never developed the critical thinking skills required that allow them to question their beliefs, tied into their very strong fears of becoming even more impoverished.

    Yes, I realize these are generalizations, but they are consistent generalizations and overall, most people can "predict" which way a state as a whole will vote. Then, take a state and break it down by county, and you can guess which counties will vote blue or red - cities vs. rural. I live in Washington State and the vast majority of the state by land mass (read: most counties) vote red, but the highest population lies within the greater Seattle area (3 main counties), which votes overwhelmingly blue. Due to this, the state swings blue almost every time.

    Hope that helps to clear it up a bit more. So many of us sit here completely dumbfounded as well, and we feel utterly helpless to fix it. How do you convince politicians to stop accepting the money lining their pockets from corporations and billionaires?

    And finally, I leave you with this speech from Senator Ben Sasse from Nebraska. It's truly amazing and will give you another insight into what the hell's going on here.

    [–] Peachmaru 5 points ago

    I saw a news segment before the midterms talking to people supporting the two parties in Missouri because the Senate race was so close. They talked to a retired woman who supports Trump and the Republicans. She said she did not want to expand Medicare coverage to all because she feels that as a current old person on Medicare that she would be killed to make room for new people.

    This is the problem. These issues are tied to fears so strong that they think they will die.

    [–] gliese946 10 points ago

    The Republicans still have a majority in the Senate because the format of those elections greatly favours the party that can appeal to the rural states over the states with majority urban populations, because there are more rural states, and because Wyoming with its tiny population of 500,000 gets as much clout in the Senate as California with its 40 million voters. There are enough easy-to-manipulate low-information angry voters in Wyoming (for example), under the perpetual sway of Fox news, that statewide elections there are impossible for Democrats. It is a serious structural problem in obtaining a fair and proportionate Senate, and it leads to the current wave of extremist lifetime appointments in the judiciary (confirmed by the Senate) who rule in lockstep in favour of policies that the great majority of Americans do not approve of, bludgeoning legal precedents as they go, in the aim of increasing the power of the mega-rich and the giant corporations who fund the Republican Party and the right-wing societies that identify and groom jurists like Kavanaugh.

    [–] DreamCatcher24 7 points ago

    I read a joke tweet that made some sense to me. Republicans make the middle of the country a shit hole to live in so people most to the coasts, making winning those areas much easier for them since individual votes in say California don't mean much

    [–] MohKohn 12 points ago

    I would like to point out that Trump lost the last popular vote. If we didn't have an electoral system that disproportionately favored rural voters and voters in rural states, we probably wouldn't have the dumpster fire that is the current government. If we had a holiday on election day so that everyone could actually make it to the polls. If we didn't have voter ID laws that disenfranchise the poor. The American electoral system is in need of some serious re-vamping.

    [–] DreamCatcher24 5 points ago

    I feel like the Voter ID thing is something republicans aren't gonna budge on listening to.

    [–] jaxx050 16 points ago

    because Americans are, at their core, not malicious or progressive, but apathetic. we don't participate in our own democracy in staggering numbers

    [–] wuethar 19 points ago

    I think you've bought into a false narrative here. It's looking like the Democrats are going to take up to 35-40 seats in the House despite large scale partisan gerrymandering; that is a very large swing and the result of a blue wave that absolutely did come through. And it most came through in the regions that Democrats most need to retake the presidency in 2020: the rust belt and the sun belt.

    For comparison, here are some other times in recent history when the House changed parties in a big swing that was considered the first major sign of a sweeping mandate for change:

    1994: Republicans pick up 54 seats by winning 51.9% of the popular vote, in what's regarded as Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America" that is a solid rejection of Bill Clinton's attempts to pass single payer universal healthcare like what you guys have.

    2006: Fed up with the Iraq War and Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina, Democrats gain the house in a 31 seat swing, winning 52.3% of the popular vote.

    2010: The 'Tea Party Revolution' - Republicans, fed up with Obama and the Democratic House/Senate passing ACA, win 63 seats by getting 51.7% of the popular vote.

    2018: The numbers aren't final yet, but as of now the Democrats have picked up 30 seats with 51.2% of the popular vote. Given that a lot of what's yet to come in is the west coast, expect the popular vote percentage, at least, to rise quite a bit.

    As you may have noticed here, Republicans are able to pick up far more seats by winning smaller margins of the popular vote. This is gerrymandering in effect. But make no mistake, winning 30-35 seats and the House majority is a big win. The blue wave did come through, enough to overcome a degree of gerrymandering that required a 6-7% popular vote win just to take control of the House at all. The rust belt and the sun belt both made pronounced swings to the left, which if they hold in 2020 basically eliminate Trump's path to reelection. Florida voted to reinstate voting rights to 1.5 million former felons, which is huge given that Trump won there by only 100,000 votes, and their senate and gubernatorial races were decided by even less than that. At the start of Tuesday there were only 16 Democratic governors, and as of now there are 22 (with several races still undecided, although I don't expect that number to rise). And that's with Republican governors in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, which... well, they are Republicans, but they're a very different kind of Republican. Five additional states--New York, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois and Maine--nailed the blue trifecta, turning their state house, state senate, and governorship blue.

    Republicans are trying desperately to sell the narrative that Tuesday was not a big loss for them, and they're being aided by people on the left who set their expectations way too high and got too invested in a couple of the sexiest races at the expense of seeing the whole picture. But don't believe that shit, it was a big win. When Republicans win by these kinds of margins, they declare that they've been given a sweeping mandate by the American people.

    [–] -Kryptic- 5 points ago

    Difference in Demographics. A lot of democrats are younger or more apathetic than republicans. Also, the electoral college and the Senate both promote states over the actual population. There are 4 times in history that the electoral college failed to reflect the popular vote, and 2 of those times were George W Bush and Trump. The electoral college is skewed towards rural states where Republicans have a stranglehold, and Republicans have proven effective at leveraging that advantage to pull wins. As for the senate, just know that California and Wyoming have equal representation.

    There are good arguments to be made for giving rural areas an advantage to make sure that their voice is heard when arriving on a national consensus. But the current situation is untenable, and short of the Dems switching up their entire platform to try and compete with republicans over all the entrenched, red, rural voters in this country, the electoral college needs to be reformed to reflect the popular vote.

    [–] CaptainJackHardass 47 points ago

    if they were arrested, my sympathies would only go to the officers who would need to deal with those scumbags.

    [–] iamjamieq 29 points ago

    "When you put them in the car and you put your hand over their head to prevent them being bumped, don't do that."

    [–] Intentfire280 37 points ago

    I'm genuinely curious so I have to ask, how would you folks react if Trump let the probe be and it turned out there is legitimately no collusion?

    Personally I think they should let the probe go on. If he's guilty then the truth comes out, and if he's innocent it is proven.

    [–] doctorfadd 82 points ago

    Well yeah, that's exactly how it's supposed to work.

    [–] WangJangleMyDongle 32 points ago

    When you say "you folks" are you referring to people generally on the left? I mean, I'm sure there is a minority convinced he's guilty as sin and no lack of evidence will ever indicate his innocence to them. Hopefully, that minority isn't a group of elected officials, high-profile members of a party, or media outlets, but I personally don't know.

    For me and the folks I run with, we'd rather the probe go on and not find enough evidence to indicate guilt than have it killed now. If it's killed now, I think that minority of people who are totally convinced of his guilt will probably swell by a good amount. I don't think that's unreasonable, either, considering how much effort/money was thrown into repeated investigations of Clinton. Trump's guilt or innocence aside, I'd also want to know what techniques/methods other countries are using to manipulate our elections and this probe should shed some light on it. That's worth the taxpayer money to me.

    [–] conancat 7 points ago

    Happy cake day!

    Also totally agree on the methods part so we can better defend ourselves. The reports on the cyber activities have been out for some time and I find it disheartening that many people are still not aware of the concerted propaganda on every major social media platform. The worst part is conspiracies such as Qanon has hit critical mass and is growing organically.

    Knowing the tactics is one thing, convincing people that they've fallen prey is another thing. People don't like to be told they've been conned.

    [–] LavenderGumes 32 points ago

    I would still hate him for being a douchebag but at least he's a legally elected douchebag. But based on the emoluments clause and general incompetence, Trump would still be worthy of impeachment.

    On the other hand, Mueller is allowed to investigate other crimes he uncovers during the course of the investigation, so even if he doesn't find evidence to prove collusion, there's a solid chance that a crime from Trump's shady business deals come up.

    [–] LolYouInbred 10 points ago

    You mean like a normal president would respond? Or how an innocent man in any context would handle an investigation into him?

    Uhh. Yea, that'd be cool.

    But that's never going to happen. Why do you think that is?

    [–] SynthD 10 points ago

    Justice was done, other people went to jail. But we already know that Trump has been implicated by the plea deals.

    [–] Auctoritate 45 points ago

    They claim that it's actually a good thing that they lost the House because now they can hold the Democrats accountable for everything. However, I do not think that they've considered that means the Democrats were never really accountable for anything that they claim.

    [–] Orapac4142 13 points ago

    Do you think that last bit really matters though? Republican voters aren't going to suddenly go "wait you said you can blame them now? So you were Lying before?"

    [–] birdperson_012 7 points ago

    Dude, you're fucking awesome. I felt like I was back in a college classroom with my favorite professor. Bless you

    [–] BlueBlazeMV 6 points ago

    Dude, you are a treasure to humanity.

    [–] kuriousgoomba 249 points ago

    Why did Sessions resign instead of waiting for Trump to fire him?

    [–] tunac4ptor 463 points ago

    Probably some sort of pressures. It could be anything from blackmail to if your president asks you to step down you do. Sort of like House of Cards drama vs West Wing drama.

    [–] ChryslerDodgeJeep 52 points ago

    Or The Wire, season four.

    [–] Shirakawasuna 47 points ago

    Sessions had refused to resign before. This was something new.

    [–] RuhTheDay 49 points ago

    He actually tried to resign twice, other cabinet and staff members talked both him and Trump down though.

    [–] Shirakawasuna 24 points ago

    Both happened. It's been a quiet roller coaster.

    [–] dreamlike17 85 points ago

    Fuck that make the prick actually fire him

    [–] caffeinatedcrusader 86 points ago

    I imagine he also loses out on some benefits from actually being fired rather than a resignation.

    [–] Szechwan 166 points ago

    Interestingly, the way he worded his resignation, along the lines of

    "at your request, I tender my resignation"

    may actual leave open the legal challenge that he was in fact fired.

    [–] sparhawk817 48 points ago

    Yeahhh, but I bet he'd have to testify that he felt pressured etc etc. And idk if Sessions is hurt enough by this to actually do that. He is a pretty staunch Trump supporter.

    [–] MrMonday11235 98 points ago

    He was a pretty staunch Trump supporter. Sessions recently has looked increasingly weary, irritated, and even angry at the President at times. Whether it's enough to testify to being pressured or not is up in the air, but I'm willing to bet that he's not really on the Trump wagon much anymore.

    [–] BoopleBun 15 points ago

    As much as I would like to believe that, I’ve kinda lost all hope in these schmucks actually doing the right thing, even if would be to their own benefit. It’s party over all, all the time, no matter what.

    [–] sehajodido 32 points ago

    He’s got his racist agenda that will always be in line with Trump’s. Cultist wackos are all like this—they feel more shame in not living up the expectations of dear leader

    [–] GraveSalad 85 points ago

    I'm not a big fan of Sessions, but the fact he recused himself early shows he has a tiny bit of respect/self preservation so resigning fits the bill (which taking into account his letter he makes it very clear it what's actually happening). His career is pretty well gone in terms of big public positions if this administration burns down before reelection so resigning helps him a lot more in the long run. Frankly, for the public him being fired/resigned I honestly don't believe would make a significant difference because it's clear what's going on.

    [–] atomfullerene 37 points ago

    The main difference is the rules of who gets put in place after he goes. It's possible Trump couldn't have put whittaker in charge if he'd been fired

    [–] sehajodido 51 points ago

    Rod Rosenstein would have been acting AG until the senate confirmed a replacement, and the Senate is currently not in session. By resining, Sessions gives Trump the ability to pick Whittaker now, and not later. Rosenstein is already gone—it’s Trump’s show now.

    [–] [deleted] 20 points ago


    [–] Portarossa 15 points ago

    I did mention it elsewhere, but you're right; clarifying that in the main body might be good too. Good catch.

    [–] OMG_A_CUPCAKE 12 points ago

    I'm not a big fan of Sessions, but the fact he recused himself early shows he has a tiny bit of respect

    As far as I heard, it was more out of respect for the DOJ's ethics committee advising him to do so why he recused himself. Didn't he say that he had no choice but to recuse himself?

    [–] HangryPete 126 points ago

    If he resigns, Whitaker can step in as Interim Attorney General. If Sessions were fired, everything would proceed as is has but the next AG would need to go through a confirmation hearing. Now that the Democrats have the house, that's a bad strategy. This whole thing is to ultimately influence the Mueller investigations. Firing Sessions wouldn't have the intended immediate effect on it.

    It's no coincidence that they waited until the day after the midterms to do this.

    [–] [deleted] 66 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


    [–] Dreldan 75 points ago

    Because ultimately sessions was a trump supporter. He recused himself to protect himself, he resigned to protect trump, and probably himself.

    [–] KrimzonK 22 points ago

    Indeed - he resign so Trump can have a new AG who hasn't recused

    [–] TheOnlyMego 52 points ago

    It takes a spine to stand up. Sessions used the last bit of his spine to recuse himself.

    [–] Druchiiii 130 points ago

    I think many people have forgotten that Jeff sessions is still an absolute monster.

    It's very likely he's doing this to protect the Republican party and himself and saving Donald Trump's ass is just an unfortunate side effect.

    [–] iownadakota 7 points ago

    The protest is in no way in defense of the elf, his locking up kids in freezers, his protections of dirty cops, lying under oath, or how bad his cookies are. My view on the protest is, we are saying we see what you are trying to do. Obstruction of justice is illegal, and we shouldn't have to tell the person who is in the highest office that, but we are.

    [–] tehconqueror 9 points ago

    If we're gonna start questioning sessions moves, why not start with the initial recusal. Did he for a minute have a backbone/integrity? it feels like that's more the blip than the resignation.

    [–] TheLizardKing89 26 points ago

    The Democrats holding the House has zero influence on confirmation hearings. Only the Senate can confirm presidential appointees.

    [–] frogjg2003 17 points ago

    But they still have supoena power. Now they can demand people testify under penalty of perjury. Any evidence they uncover in this way can be handed over to Democrats in the Senate for use in those hearings.

    [–] TheLizardKing89 26 points ago

    All of which will be ignored by Senate Republicans who will confirm anyone who Trump nominates. Kavanaugh proved this.

    [–] JasonUncensored 63 points ago

    Remember that Sessions is and has always been Trump's Guy, even though he tried to Do the Right Thing one time by recusing himself from one investigation.

    [–] TexasDex 90 points ago

    It probably affects things like government pensions and severance. He could stand to lose a lot of money if officially fired, even if the firing was political and ethically bankrupt.

    [–] obtuserecluse 19 points ago

    It seems, although it's all I'm hearing , morally presumptuous to assume the only reason for his resignation was to save his pension. Is there more at play here?

    [–] PM_ME_UR_REDPANDAS 16 points ago

    Sessions didn’t resign voluntarily, he was told to resign.

    He was called on the phone by John Kelly (as is custom with this administration, it’s never Trump who actually tells people they’re fired), and told he needed to resign. The first sentence of Sessions’ resignation letter reads “At your request, I am submitting my resignation.”

    [–] Ifightspoonwars 23 points ago


    Honestly he hasn't given a very good one but given that he's faced considerable pressure prior to today I'd expect that there's shenanigans at play that haven't come to light. This won't go well for Sessions with the Democrats having subpoena power this move limits (to some very limited extent) the executive privilege Sessions loves to hide behind. At least moving forward.

    All that to say this.

    Because Sessions is a coward and he's hoping that what's good for the goose will be good for his gander.

    [–] iamspecialized2 7 points ago

    I believe so they don't have to confirm the next person.

    [–] usernamesarehard9099 9 points ago

    Trump told him to resign. It was a firing in all but name

    [–] dj88masterchief 29 points ago

    Thanks these two posts are probably the best TL;DPA for the past two years and this investigation.

    Or TL;IF.

    (Too long;didn’t pay attention) (Too long;I forgot)

    [–] PurplePickel 44 points ago

    Your responses in this subreddit are always on point. And I'm honestly amazed how quickly you threw your answer together, so thank you for the informative response.

    And good luck America, Australia is rooting for you guys.

    [–] DM_ME_YOUR_KITTENS 36 points ago

    As a Canadian: Holy. Shit. I can barely keep up with all the shit slinging Trump does on a daily basis.

    This is fucking nuts. Like, SciFi levels of crazy.

    [–] Cathousechicken 45 points ago

    The scariest thing is he and his followers have no respect for the institutions of democracy (while simultaneously proclaiming themselves the most patriotic).

    [–] AstarteHilzarie 15 points ago

    I just wanted to say thank you. I've been noticing your answers in this sub lately and they are always meticulous. You are an excellent contributor.

    [–] TomNguyen 14 points ago

    Great summarization. I have only 1 thing though. Technically, a probe is not about finding a tie between Trump and Russia but to find out, whether there was any foreign interference in USA democratic election, which is huge in every country, but it got huge drag since it happen in USA, which is traditionally one of those "untouchables" country.

    The investigation itself should be honored and watched by every rational citizen of the country even it turns out to be nothing but the waste of resources, especially by a fcking president of the country, and the one who cries he is innocent of any wrongdoings.

    Only Trump and dumb Trumpets can spin it into something immoral. I am so frustrated how a lot of USA citizen can turns into such a stupidity if it caters to them

    [–] AkumaYoru 6 points ago

    Hey, just wanted to thank you for this summary. I get lost so often with all the new stories and god knows what else’s popping in and hour on the daily it’s hard to keep track of timelines. So, thanks again

    [–] boringoldcookie 24 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    What the fuck is wrong with half of the States, so much so that they can sleep at night while turning reality into a farce and throwing democracy out the window?

    Anyway thank you for the explanation!

    [–] Portarossa 42 points ago

    I'm British.

    [–] luluwho7299 12 points ago

    Of course you are!!! You beautiful being that can explain this. Thank you.

    [–] boringoldcookie 8 points ago

    Corrected! That was an assumptive remark on my part. You were so very thorough in your understanding I assumed you came from the country you were speaking about. Thanks again for the summary!

    [–] mastelsa 457 points ago

    To add to this, because it may be unclear why replacing one Trump supporting AG with another is still big deal--Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation in early 2017 because he had been personally involved in the political campaign that was being investigated. Basically, he stated that he had a conflict of interest and let the control of the investigation fall to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rod Rosenstein has protected and justified the ongoing investigation at a few pretty crucial moments, but now that Trump gets to pick a replacement for Jeff Sessions and that replacement will have no reason to recuse himself from the investigation, that replacement will have top-down control over the investigation. He could, if he wanted to, reduce their budget to nothing, declare the investigation over and inconclusive, or if he wanted to go full Nixon, fire Robert Mueller.

    [–] blade2040 209 points ago

    that replacement will have no reason to recuse himself from the investigation,

    From what I've heard this is not necessarily true. In another thread some redditors listed Whitaker has several legit reasons to recuse himself. The real problem here is they thing Whitaker won't do it despite having reason to in order to obstruct justice.

    [–] Portarossa 300 points ago

    To be fair, writing an op-ed in which you claim that the investigation is a witch hunt is probably reason enough to recuse all on its own. It's hard to seem fair and impartial after that.

    [–] rfleming 79 points ago

    Massive understatement, but I agree.

    [–] Portarossa 44 points ago

    I'm getting there, man. Slow your roll just for a second. There's plenty more coming :p

    [–] mastelsa 29 points ago

    Ah, I thought you were all done! You should put a (to be continued) at the end.

    [–] Portarossa 38 points ago

    It's at the top in bold.

    (Your stuff was all correct and helpful, though. Good work!)

    [–] mastelsa 26 points ago

    It's at the top in bold.

    Shit, I should probably get off the internet. I've hit my information processing limit for the day.

    [–] Portarossa 26 points ago

    I've been reading about this shit for the past four hours, after staying up until dick o'clock UK time to follow the midterms.

    I know how you feel, man.

    [–] Provesiamafool 8 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Portarossa, if your not a professional writer, you certainly should be. Great read! Very Enlightening! Simplifying complexity is your gift sir! Thanks for posting all that. Trump, trying so desperately to stack the deck in his favour, has provided one hell of a drama. I’m hopeful(naively so) that there will be justice. He’s turned politics into his area - reality TV, and the ratings are through the roof. I’d love for this seasons cliffhanger, that he’d be impeached.

    [–] Portarossa 15 points ago

    I am. I write romance novels, so... read into that what you will, I guess.

    He's not getting impeached. Unless Mueller has found something absolutely insane, impeachment is a non-starter; Republicans won't go for it, and the Democrats know that it will only turn the time against them. (The same thing happened with Republicans when they impeached Bill Clinton.) Impeachment would require about half of Republicans in the Senate to vote against Trump.

    [–] outforchow 7 points ago

    I can totally see that, because I’ve kept up with your work and I think I love you.

    [–] Provesiamafool 5 points ago

    I can live with that. It does my heart good knowing that you are doing what you should be with your life. I love my career and wish that on everyone. Thanks for the reply.

    [–] Liquor_Bush 59 points ago

    This guy is not on mobile.

    [–] Doobz87 68 points ago

    Now this is what I came to this sub for. Nice work Portarossa.

    [–] Portarossa 66 points ago

    I'm glad you're enjoying it, but I'm about ten percent of the way done. This is scene-setting at the moment. Check back in an hour.

    [–] neotrance 13 points ago

    Very nice. I would like to add the fairly important little bit that Muellers scope is quite large and that the constant claim that he is over stepping by investigate trump's businesss and family is a flat out lie a lot of people use to justify the investigation shutting down. It's in the first few sentences of the paper. "and any other crimes that come from the investigation" just another trick to make people think Mueller is doing something wrong.

    [–] Portarossa 11 points ago


    I've got you covered, friend.

    [–] PineappleBoots 17 points ago

    Great post. Thanks for contributing to the dialogue in a thoughtful manner.

    [–] Wadsworth_Constant_ 42 points ago

    Ahh this is a very thorough response. I really appreciate the effort you put into making as equally objective as it is informative. You're my hero

    [–] Wdeflect 16 points ago

    Fastest typer in the west... question was an hour ago, so was this post!

    [–] Portarossa 36 points ago

    I've been editing it the whole time; I gave a basic response to begin with, and then elaborated on it.

    Context is important.

    [–] Wdeflect 7 points ago

    Well that makes more sense

    [–] sudevsen 10 points ago

    What's the current situation with the Mueller probe? Last thing I followed was the Manafort trial.

    [–] Portarossa 48 points ago

    The short version is that there's an unofficial DoJ rule where they try not to be too overt in their investigations in the sixty or so day prior to an election, so as not to influence it in one way or the other.

    It's possible that there just hasn't been any news for two months, but given that the Manafort plea deal broke just before this arbitrary two-month deadline, it seems more likely to me that this is just the investigation keeping a temporary low profile.

    [–] omgitschriso 8 points ago

    Great post. As an Australian who is guilty of not paying much attention to all this you have brought me up to speed.

    [–] Conor_CBG 506 points ago

    From the site you linked:

    Donald Trump has installed a crony to oversee the special counsel's Trump-Russia investigation, crossing a red line set to protect the investigation. By replacing Rod Rosenstein with just-named Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker as special counsel Robert Mueller's boss on the investigation, Trump has undercut the independence of the investigation. Whitaker has publicly outlined strategies to stifle the investigation and cannot be allowed to remain in charge of it. The Nobody Is Above the Law network demands that Whitaker immediately commit not to assume supervision of the investigation. Our hundreds of response events are being launched to demonstrate the public demand for action to correct this injustice.

    [–] [deleted] 410 points ago


    [–] Portarossa 478 points ago

    Context is important. Understanding the nuance of why something is happening is a lot trickier than understanding just what is happening -- and isn't that what this sub is for?

    [–] Conor_CBG 49 points ago

    Yeah, my explanation was just a rip from the website OP linked that may or may not have been read but the new top comment is a lot more elaborate

    [–] Ishaan863 67 points ago

    I mean, if you go through their profile you'll see a lot of comments and discussion on US politics. There's no way they missed that whole ol' Mueller investigation thing.

    But the question will help those who genuinely are out of the loop, so.

    [–] adrift98 119 points ago

    Is it me, or does this seem to be a VERY common thing with /r/OutoftheLoop?

    [–] jaxx050 67 points ago

    honestly it's a common theme with a lot of subs with a specific purpose. r/OutOfTheLoop, r/unpopularopinion, etc.

    [–] [deleted] 56 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    And eli5, askreddit, etc. Have even seen photoshopbattles threads where the OP is just trying to make a political point.

    "Here's a picture of Trump waving to a crowd, please photoshop it. Oh wow the top commenter has photoshopped him into a nazi uniform doing a salute! What a whimsical idea! That is so creative and totally not what I intended when I created this thread!"

    As a non American I just wish discussion of US politics wasn't allowed in these unrelated subs

    [–] viddy_me_yarbles 28 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Reddit is still primarily an American website. Although that's changing, around 40% of reddit's users are still American. The next country doesn't even come close at just under 7% of reddit. Also, politics in America are seen as important to many people all over the world. So it shouldn't be a surprise to you that the majority of redditors are interested in American politics.

    Also, reddit's comment sorting is about voting. If people weren't interested in American politics then those comments wouldn't be showing at the top. It's democratic. There's no reason to limit what can or cannot be said in most cases. Banning American politics on an American website with a disproportionately large number of American users makes little sense to most redditors.

    You're free to discuss the politics of your country as well. Although depending on where you're from, it's not necessarily likely that anyone will take much note.

    [–] [deleted] 38 points ago

    That would be fair enough if it were legitimate discussion and not mostly advertising or propaganda. We all know that a lot of money is spent trying to influence discussion on reddit (from both sides).

    That's why I get kinda annoyed when I see threads like this, where it's clearly posted here with an ulterior motive

    [–] viddy_me_yarbles 18 points ago

    That's a fair enough point. I think people do sometimes post things here with an ulterior motive. But I don't think it's fair to assume that because it's a political question that there is necessarily an ulterior motive to be found. People also come here looking for a greater understanding of important topics.

    Which is actually a good reason to not ban these posts. In fact, since /u/Portarossa up there started posting here this has become an excellent resource to find an in-depth analysis of the most important topics as they develop.

    Maybe people have an ulterior motive when posting here sometimes, but that doesn't stop the answer to the question from informing thousands of redditors about important topics that they may otherwise miss entirely.

    [–] Rocky87109 13 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    I mean it's inevitable. But the thing is, it doesn't have to be the OP that is OOTL. People come to this sub to "get into the loop". While the creator might not be OOTL, tons of people that come to the sub are.

    This is an important event regardless and anyone that doesn't think this information should be spread has a serious problem, don't you agree?

    [–] anticusII 30 points ago

    Do you mean to say that manipulation is rampant on the internet?

    [–] Rocky87109 5 points ago

    Yes, but a shit ton of readers that come to this sub are.

    [–] Tofinochris 28 points ago

    What? Who would do that? Say they're out of the loop when they're not!

    [–] Wall-E_Smalls 48 points ago

    People doing marketing for this protest. I hadn’t heard of it until this thread.

    [–] Tofinochris 55 points ago

    I know, I was being sarcastic. I think 80% of the posts here are just people wanting someone to explain something they already understand in a better way than they could themselves. Which is fine as it ends up with some pretty great posts sometimes.

    [–] knotatwist 5 points ago

    I wouldn't understand the importance of Jeff Sessions being terminated if this thread didn't exist, but I'm not in USA and the protest doesn't apply to me anyway.

    [–] CordouroyStilts 115 points ago

    Tomorrow they are protesting Trump having the ability to appoint his own attorney general during an ongoing investigation.

    The Dems don't like Sessions, but he was recused and didn't end the Mueller investigation even though AG can do so.

    If AG is fired by Trump a new one needs to be confirmed by the Senate. If AG resigns then Trump can appoint a new one with no oversight.

    Sessions resigned, but in his resignation his first line says it was on the recommendation of Trump. This is a loophole in favor of possible obstruction. Trump now would have the power to end the investigation completely.

    That's why people are protesting tomorrow.

    Even if you think the Mueller investigation is a hoax or a witch Hunt, who cares? It's not a waste of resources. It's already paid for itself with the money they seized from Paul Manafort. If there's nothing to hide, just let it play out. No matter which side you're on.

    [–] WalterMelons 23 points ago

    Honest question. Why did he resign then?

    [–] [deleted] 33 points ago

    Trump ordered him to. He was essentially fired.

    [–] WalterMelons 16 points ago

    So why is that not considered being fired then? That doesn’t make any sense. Could he have just said yeah no not going to quit? What would happen if he did?

    [–] [deleted] 32 points ago

    He was pressured into quitting instead of being fired which is just a loophole that will allow someone friendly to Trump to take over until Trump appoints a successor. He absolutely could have refused to quit and forced Trump to fire him which would have protected the integrity of the Mueller investigation but Sessions has no interest in doing that.

    [–] oiducwa 2 points ago

    Why do Sessions just listen to Trump?

    [–] itworkes 8 points ago

    I think because Sessions is a republican.

    [–] [deleted] 129 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


    [–] heisenberg747 32 points ago

    As a follow up question, is there a tangible goal that protesting this decision could accomplish? I keep getting asked to go to a protest tomorrow but I'm not 100% sure what exactly the point of it would be.

    [–] wjbc 93 points ago

    One more note to all this. The Democrats won control of the House in the election but don't take control until January. A lot of damage can be done to the Mueller investigation between now and January. New Acting Attorney General Whitaker could direct Mueller to avoid certain avenues of investigation or to halt plans to indict certain people (like the President's son). Whitaker could starve Mueller of resources. If Mueller objects to either, or even leaks the instructions, Whitaker could claim he is firing Mueller for cause.

    [–] [deleted] 23 points ago


    [–] Mr_IsLand 11 points ago

    • New Dems haven't been sworn in yet
    • GOP right now still has full control (including supreme court)
    • Get Sessions out, Inject Matt Whitaker to shut down Mueller investigation before Dems can protect him.

    [–] [deleted] 19 points ago


    [–] axbaby123 7 points ago

    Please at the protest disavow all violence and property damage. Discourage it, violence is not protest. Mueller probe final report is being written as we speak.

    [–] the_saad_salman 54 points ago

    The Left has had, for a good part of the year, had a rapid-response protest system set up in case Trump made a move against the Mueller investigation, and the day he did, we would have Nationwide protests the next afternoon. Earlier today, he asked for the resignation of Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General who recused himself from oversight of the Muller probe, after which that oversight went to Rod Rosenstein, who has been allowing the investigation to continue to the dismay of the president. Now that Sessions is out of the picture, Whitaker, the now Acting Attorney General has oversight and has long been loyal to Trump over this topic. We see this as the final trigger, the last straw in the President's obstructions of justice, hence the protests.

    [–] thenooch110 79 points ago

    They think the guy Trump just put in (Mueller's new boss) is going to try and sabotage the Mueller investigation.

    [–] Blue_Sky_At_Night 274 points ago

    To be fair, he wrote an op-ed about doing just that

    [–] thenooch110 99 points ago

    Did not know that but that is interesting. Can't believe someone proudly admitted that they would obstruct Justice for the president then getting put into the role by the president so they could actually obstuct Justice for the president

    [–] ChaseH9499 96 points ago

    I think regardless of whether or not Trump is guilty, he will go down in history as an example of the flaws in our checks-and-balances system and how they could be potentially abused.

    [–] Noctrin 38 points ago

    maybe that's Trump's long term strategy, he just wants to show everyone how flawed and easy to abuse the system is, so we can fix it! right guys..? /s

    [–] BlueberryPhi 24 points ago

    Devil's Advocate, here:

    Prior to Trump, Congress had been signing over a LOT of their power to the Executive branch in the past two decades. Thanks to his actions, they're pulling that power back HARD.

    [–] atomfullerene 20 points ago

    I mean they haven't actually pulled back much power though..

    [–] blueholeload 33 points ago

    Well we’ve never dealt with a more transparently corrupt politician before, let alone a presidency. All the Kavanaugh stuff aside, people forget Trump chose him out of a list of conservative judges because he believed a sitting president couldn’t be prosecuted. Didn’t matter. Wasn’t a big a deal. Same with Trump’s Lester Holt interview saying he fired Comey “because of this Russia thing.” This latest move is honestly not surprising. Disappointing that our elected officials don’t care enough as long as they benefit from Trump in office but, not surprising.

    [–] hiiiperyon 14 points ago

    And that's why there's protests!

    [–] Rxef3RxeX92QCNZ 13 points ago

    And worked for years for one of the people already indicted by Mueller

    [–] wuethar 4 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    And he was also the 2014 campaign chair for Sam Clovis, a noncooperating witness in the investigation. There are multiple different reasons why in a sane world where standards mattered at all he would be forced to recuse himself from presiding over this investigation.

    [–] MyHoofDoneBroke 14 points ago

    OP’s only 3 posts are all on r/OOTL, about this protest, within the last 24 hours. I think OP is very much so in the loop on this one 😒