Tuesday's HOT MIC

Welcome to HOT MIC, PJ Media's daily liveblog. Join our editors and contributors for news updates and conversation throughout the day, and add your thoughts to the mix in our comments section at the bottom or by clicking on the comment bubbles on individual posts.  Be sure to save this link so you can find HOT MIC every day.

So this just happened.

The rule of law is for suckers, apparently.

Former CIA Director Calls For A Coup If Trump Fires Mueller.

There's video at the link, but here's the gist.

In the most vocal opposition to president Donald Trump yet, former CIA Director John Brennan said that if the White House tries to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, government officials should refuse to follow the president orders, as they would be - in his view - “inconsistent” with the duties of the executive branch.

"I think it's the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry that out. I would just hope that this is not going to be a partisan issue. That Republicans, Democrats are going to see that the future of this government is at stake and something needs to be done for the good of the future," Brennan told CNN's Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Security Forum, effectively calling for a coup against the president should Trump give the order to fire Mueller.

Brennan appeared alongside his former colleague, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and both men who served in the Obama administration, told Blitzer they have total confidence in Mueller. "Absolutely. It was an inspired choice- they don't come any better, " Brennan said adding that "If Mueller is fired, I hope our elected reps will stand up and say enough is enough.

I didn't board the Trump Train until the GOP convention, and even that was reluctantly. I knew there would be chaos, but the prospect of Hillary Clinton making two or three SCOTUS appointments was worth any risk. And in Neil Gorsuch, I got the SCOTUS pick of my dreams.

But the level of chaos is far beyond anything I'd imagined -- and it isn't all Trump. Far from it.

What we're witnessing is the Democrat-Media Complex flexing its remaining muscles, in an attempt to unseat a President. They learned in 2005 how to use a hurricane on the Gulf Coast (not Bush's fault) and a civil war in Iraq (totally Bush's fault) to effectively neuter a President of the United States.

But their powers have greatly diminished since then. They couldn't even get Hillary elected, not with all of her money and recognition, and not with the entirety of the Democrat-Media Complex working to push, drag, or launch her over the finish line.

So now they're willing to risk everything -- up to and including the viability of the United States as a single republic -- to regain their powers of intimidation, by showing the world they can drive The Most Powerful Man in the World™ from office. And using, if you'll excuse the expression, a trumped-up charge of collusion with Russia.

If the Democrat-Media Complex can do that, then no one is safe.

I wish I were by hyperbolic, but I don't think that's true.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley fired off a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last week requesting information regarding alleged collusion between the Ukrainian government and the Democrat party. The allegations are centered around Ukrainian-American operative Alexandra Chalupa, who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign.

Grassley, citing a report in Politico last January wrote:

Reporting indicates that the Democratic National Committee encouraged Chalupa to interface with Ukrainian embassy staff to “arrange an interview in which Poroshenko [the president of Ukraine] might discuss Manafort’s ties to Yanukovych.” Chalupa also met with Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., and Oksana Shulyar, a top aid to the Ukrainian ambassador in March 2016 and shared her alleged concerns about Manafort. Reports state that the purpose of their initial meeting was to “organize a June reception at the embassy to promote Ukraine.” However, another Ukrainian embassy official, Andrii Telizhenko, told Politico that Shulyar instructed him to assist Chalupa with research to connect Trump, Manafort, and the Russians. He reportedly said, “[t]hey were coordinating an investigation with the Hillary team on Paul Manafort with Alexandra Chalupa” and that “Oksana [Shulyar] was keeping it all quiet…the embassy worked very closely with” Chalupa.

Is China preparing for war in North Korea? The Wall Street Journal reports that the Chinese military has repositioned some of its military forces, modernized others, and altered its posture along its border with North Korea.

A review of official military and government websites and interviews with experts who have studied the preparations show that Beijing has implemented many of the changes in recent months after initiating them last year.

They coincide with repeated warnings by U.S. President Donald Trump that he is weighing military action to halt North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, while exerting pressure on China to do more to rein in Pyongyang.

Recent Chinese measures include establishing a new border defense brigade, 24-hour video surveillance of the mountainous frontier backed by aerial drones, and bunkers to protect against nuclear and chemical blasts, according to the websites.

China’s military has also merged, moved and modernized other units in border regions and released details of recent drills there with special forces, airborne troops and other units that experts say could be sent into North Korea in a crisis. They include a live-fire drill in June by helicopter gunships and one in July by an armored infantry unit recently transferred from eastern China and equipped with new weaponry.

China’s Defense Ministry didn’t respond directly when asked if the recent changes were connected to North Korea, saying only in a written statement that its forces “maintain a normal state of combat readiness and training” on the border. It has denied previous reports of thousands of extra Chinese troops moving into border areas.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday said: “Military means shouldn’t be an option to solve the Korean Peninsula issue.”

Chinese authorities have nonetheless been preparing for North Korean contingencies, including economic collapse, nuclear contamination, or military conflict, according to U.S. and Chinese experts who have studied Beijing’s planning.

China’s recent changes in force structure, equipment and training are connected to nationwide military reforms launched last year to overhaul Soviet-modeled command structures and prepare better for combat beyond China’s borders, those experts say.

In the northeast, however, those reforms are geared predominantly toward handling a North Korean crisis, the experts say.

Perhaps the most likely scenario that would give China a lot of trouble is a predicted famine in North Korea. There's a severe drought in the rice growing regions of North Korea and the UN reported it's the worst in 16 years. The famine in the late 1990s killed an estimated two million people.

Drought is surely a contributing factor to any famine. But ridiculous agricultural policies don't help. Coupled with massive spending on their nuclear and ICBM programs, this is a recipe for a human catastrophe.

Would China assist North Korea if the US attacked? As a client state on their border, the Chinese could ill afford to lose them as an ally. I would expect any military confrontation with the North to include going to war against China.

BREAKING: 

The American Psychoanalytic Association is telling its members that it's perfectly all right to call the president crazy.

Well, not really. But in so many words, the association says that its members can violate the decades old "Goldwater Rule" to comment about the president's mental health.

Stat:

A leading psychiatry group has told its members they should not feel bound by a longstanding rule against commenting publicly on the mental state of public figures — even the president.

The statement, an email this month from the executive committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association to its 3,500 members, represents the first significant crack in the profession’s decades-old united front aimed at preventing experts from discussing the psychiatric aspects of politicians’ behavior. It will likely make many of its members feel more comfortable speaking openly about President Trump’s mental health.

The impetus for the email was “belief in the value of psychoanalytic knowledge in explaining human behavior,” said psychoanalytic association past president Dr. Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago. “We don’t want to prohibit our members from using their knowledge responsibly.”

That responsibility is especially great today, she told STAT, “since Trump’s behavior is so different from anything we’ve seen before” in a commander in chief.

The Goldwater Rule is an unwritten directive followed by mental health professionals since the 1964 campaign when dozens of psychiatrists and psychologists said the GOP candidate was mentally unfit to be president.

Not mentioned in the article is the reason for the Goldwater Rule in the first place: mental health professionals have no business commenting on the mental stability of anyone unless they've examined them thoroughly and reached a clinical diagnosis.

What the APA is saying is that they're so fricking brilliant they don't need to examine Trump in a clinical setting. Apparently, they can peer into his mind and tell whether he's nuts or not.

Anti-Trump hysteria is even making doctors who treat insanity insane.

Fat-shaming ... on the floor of the Senate.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who was challenged to a duel by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) for her role in stalling Obamacare's repeal, went after his weight and appearance. This HOT MIC moment was captured by NTK Network.

Speaking with Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Collins called Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) “fat” and “unattractive.”

“You know why he challenged you to a duel?” Reed asked Collins. “Because you could beat the sh*t out of him.”

“Fat,” Collins remarked. “He’s huge.”

“He’s so unattractive it’s unbelievable,” she added.

“Did you see the picture of him in his pajamas standing next to this bunny, Playboy bunny?” Collins asked Reed before the audio cut out.

Burr said he would "settle this Aaron Burr-style," referring to an 1804 duel where Burr killed Alexander Hamilton. While Reed said Collins would "beat the sh*t" out of Farenthold, I'd bet on a Texan over a Mainer in a gun fight any day of the week.

After all, maybe Farenthold is proud of his size — everything's bigger in Texas.

Maybe we need those "ghost hominin" chicks again. Because things are looking rough for good ol' homo sapiens:

Sperm levels among Western men have plunged to a record low, new research reveals. It has fallen by more than 50% in 40 years – and is showing no signs of slowing down. The study did not examine causes but scientists believe the amount of ­chemicals used in everyday products, industry and farming may be behind the crisis.

Researchers from the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, screened 7,500 studies that took place between 1973 and 2011. Dr Levine said: “This is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world to investigate the causes of the sharp drop in sperm count, with the goal of prevention." Dr Swan added: “Decreasing sperm count has been of great concern since it was first reported 25 years ago. This shows the decline is strong and continuing.”

Hmmm, what movement went off the rails about 25 years ago and has been heading for the cliffs ever since?

Lil Miss Hot Mess, right (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Roger, if Rudy could get through a confirmation hearing, he would be in a cabinet position already.

Who will get through Senate confirmation for AG, with Dems asking questions like "Will you allow Mueller to do whatever he wants during his investigation unencumbered?" as a litmus test?

Roger, perhaps the more salient question is who would want the AG job after the way Trump has treated Sessions (arguably one of the most loyal Trump loyalists). When the Trump train runs over you, it doesn't look back. I guess one could speculate that Giuliani has nothing to lose at this point in his career — though who knows what skeletons are rattling around in his closet that Trump might know about? Other names being bandied about, Ted Cruz, for example, would have to seriously consider that the appointment could be a career ender.