Trump enters the stage

Discussion of the recent unfolding of history.

Re: Trump enters the stage what a fool believes

Postby Meno_ » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:20 am

2 Republican senators refute Trump’s Ukraine-Biden conspiracy theory

Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) know that what Trump says about Biden just isn’t true.

By Alex Ward 

on October 7, 2019 4:20 pm

 



Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) arrive for the Republican Senate Policy luncheon at the National Republican Senatorial Committee on June 12, 2018.

 Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Two senators over the past five days have blown a major hole in one of President Donald Trump’s favorite conspiracy theories about Ukraine. Those two lawmakers are staunch Republicans.

Here’s what Trump believes: Joe Biden improperly used the power of his office as vice president to get a Ukrainian general prosecutor fired, in order to stop him from investigating a Ukrainian gas company that Biden’s son Hunter served on the board of. The reality is that Barack Obama’s administration — as well as many other Western European officials — wanted the prosecutor, a man named Viktor Shokin, removed because he was believed to be trying to stymie anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.

But you don’t have to take my word for it: Take what Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) have recently said about Shokin’s 2016 departure.

“The whole world felt that this that Shokin wasn’t doing a [good] enough job. So we were saying, ‘Hey, you’ve ... got to rid yourself of corruption,” Johnson told the radio program The Vicki McKenna Show on Thursday.

And then on Monday, Portman told Ohio’s Columbus Dispatchthe same thing. While the article doesn’t contain quotes to this effect, it describes Portman as “disput[ing] Trump’s characterization of an ousted Ukrainian as an aggressive battler of corruption,” saying he and other lawmakers “believed the prosecutor wasn’t doing nearly enough to root out corruption — not because he was doing too much.”

This isn’t terribly surprising. Johnson and Portman were two of three GOP senators who co-signed a bipartisan 2016 letter to Ukraine’s then-president calling for him to “press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office and judiciary.” Four days later, Shokin resigned (although he didn’t officially leave until the following month when Ukraine’s Parliament voted him out).

But in another sense, this is a crucial point. Trump’s belief in this conspiracy theory is seemingly part of what got him into this mess: He noted it in conversation with current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in their now infamous July 25 callwhere Trump pressured his counterpart to investigate Biden’s conduct.

“I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair,” the president told Zelensky. “A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved.”

What Portman and Johnson have done, though, is confirm Trump’s desire to want Biden investigated isn’t based in reality. Shokin was so bad that Biden, European, and GOP lawmakers wanted him gone.

It’s worth noting that neither senator has said they believe Trump’s desire to have Kyiv probe a 2020 rival is impeachable conduct, so the president isn’t in any more danger of leaving the White House early. Johnson, particularly, has become one of the president’s staunchest defenders in recent days, signing a September 2019 letterasking Attorney General Bill Barr to look into possible Biden-Ukraine corruption and pushing debunked conspiracy theories about the FBI on television this weekend.

But what’s more clear than ever is that the impeachment crisis, of Trump’s own making, was based on a conspiracy theory he had no business believing in.



© 2019 Vox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved



https://youtu.be/dJe1iUuAW4M
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Re: Trump enters the stage - hero or victim ?

Postby Meno_ » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:27 pm

Two alternative theories are emerging within political and public domains.

The first one is based on the view that Trump is a vile and manipulative narcissist, of a very high IQ , a managed genius of high caliber, who will not stop catering to his vast self perception, not even short of destroying the cradle of civilisation he should be grateful for, for that accounts for his abundant wealth.

The second view much more conventional is that he has been set up not only by the contradictory mesh that his own conflicting situation bears on the basic contradictions of current national and international politics, but by the imbalance between his own assessed economic reality, and that of his handlers who set him up in this mess.
His core supporters are not of the agile mind who could possibly pick up on this subtler distinction, and go along with the make America less swampy idea.

They are for the most part, bible thumping like those from Missouri, who believe only what become a appearent to them.

This reinforces the earlier ontological contradictive struggle inherent within an assumed contention , readily appearent to those in 'know'.

His certainty may be an embedded assurance of his worth as a businessman, politician, and actor.

Again, this work proceeds the developmental first stage, and that is meant figuratively, which may or may not have a sequal .

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Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Plum Line

Opinion

This will get worse for Trump. Adam Schiff signals what’s next.

(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

By Greg Sargent 

Opinion writer

October 8, 2019 at 9:19 AM EDT

Public opinion is shifting precipitously against President Trump, with a new Post-Schar School pollshowing that 58 percent of Americans support the House’s impeachment inquiry, and 49 percent support outright removal.

But even more ominously for Trump, 62 percent say Trump’s pressure on the Ukrainian president, the topic of the inquiry, was “inappropriate.” This, along with the large majority backing the inquiry, suggests a broad public appetite to learn more about this scandal. If more evidence of related corrupt conduct emerges, support for removal could keep growing.
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Re: Trump enters the stage : Hero or victim

Postby Meno_ » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:28 am

Democracy Dies in Darkness

Politics

Live updates: White House says it will not cooperate with House impeachment inquiry; Democrats to subpoena State Dept. official

President Trump arrives to speak during a signing ceremony in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Monday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

By Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz 

October 8, 2019 at 8:01 PM EDT

The White House said Tuesday that it will not cooperate with House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, ratcheting up tensions between the legislative and executive branches amid an outcry from Democrats that the Trump administration is stonewalling their investigations.

Trump personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani said earlier Tuesday that he would not cooperate with House investigators and that he “can’t imagine” that anyone from the Trump administration would appear before a Democratic-led panel investigating the president.

Giuliani’s comments came hours after the State Department blocked a scheduled deposition by Gordon Sondland, a key figure in the Ukraine controversy, prompting three House committee chairmen to announce that they would issue a subpoena.

The Democrats said they viewed the move as “obstruction of the impeachment inquiry,” while President Trump sought to justify it by calling the House committees investigating him a “kangaroo court.”

Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said he would invite Giuliani to appear before his panel to testify about “corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine” — a prospect that Senate Democrats said they would welcome.

●Poll: Majority of Americans say they endorse opening of House impeachment inquiry of Trump.

●House Democrats consider masking identity of whistleblower from Trump’s GOP allies in Congress.

●Demoralized State Department personnel question Pompeo’s role in Ukraine crisis

7:30 p.m.: McCarthy says Trump ‘is right to call out this rushed process’

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) issued a statement Tuesday night supporting Trump’s decision not to cooperate with House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

“President Trump is right to call out this rushed process because Democrats refuse to protect the transparency and basic fairness that have been integral to previous impeachment proceedings,” McCarthy said.

Earlier Tuesday, Pelosi sent a letter to House Democrats defending the inquiry.

“The President will be held accountable,” she wrote. “When it comes to impeachment, it is just about the facts and the Constitution.”

7:00 p.m.: House Democrats subpoena Sondland

Three House Democratic committee chairs sent a letter Tuesday night formally subpoenaing Sondland. The subpoena compels Sondland to testify at a deposition on Oct. 16 at 9:30 a.m and to produce documents by Oct. 14.

“In light of Secretary Pompeo’s direct intervention to block your appearance before our Committees, we are left with no choice but to compel your appearance at a deposition pursuant to the enclosed subpoena,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, wrote in the letter.

6:40 p.m.: Gowdy expected to join Trump’s legal team

Former congressman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) is expected to join Trump’s legal team as an outside counsel, according to a senior White House official who said Gowdy met with White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney earlier Tuesday.

Trump has blessed the move, the official added.

Gowdy is a former chairman of the House Oversight Committee; he also led the two-year House investigation into the 2012 terrorist attacks on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

Like many in Trump’s inner circle, he has been a regular fixture on Fox News Channel, both before and after his departure from the House in January.

— Josh Dawsey

6:10 p.m.: House Democrats respond to White House: Letter ’won’t halt Congress one iota’

Several House Democrats took to Twitter on Tuesday night to denounce the letter sent by White House counsel Pat Cipollone to House leaders.

“Trump and his enablers continue to argue that the Constitution is unconstitutional,” Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) said. “This letter could’ve been written by the same authoritarian goons trump admires so much. It’s garbage and won’t halt Congress one iota.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who had briefly pursued a 2020 presidential bid, said Trump’s actions show he has “a guilty conscience.”

“I want you to imagine what would happen if while driving you saw police lights behind you and instead of pulling over, you sped away,” he said. “If you think you can’t do that, then it’s clear why @realDonaldTrump can’t do that. But he is.”

And Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) argued that the White House’s refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry warrants yet another article of impeachment.

“I don’t think I’m confused here: The House wants, but does not need, the WH to conduct an impeachment inquiry; and obstruction of an impeachment inquiry is, itself, can be grounds for impeachment,” he tweeted.

5:45 p.m.: Louisiana Republican running for governor calls for Pelosi’s expulsion

Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.) filed a House resolution Tuesday calling for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to be expelled from Congress, citing the ongoing impeachment inquiry targeting Trump.

Abraham is locked in a heated race for governor, and his resolution targeting Pelosi (D-Calif.) — a despised figure among GOP voters — comes just days before Louisiana voters go to the polls Saturday for the first round of voting.

“Nancy Pelosi’s vicious crusade against our lawfully-elected President is nothing more than a politically-motivated witch hunt and it must be stopped,” Abraham said in a statement. “She has disgraced the people’s House and weaponized the Speaker’s gavel for her party’s political gain.”

Recent polls show Democratic Gov. Jon Bel Edwards is on the cusp of securing a second term Saturday by winning an outright majority. Abraham is trying to both keep Edwards under 50 percent and outflank GOP businessman Eddie Rispone to win the right to challenge Edwards in a Nov. 16 runoff.

Only five members have been expelled from the House since its founding in 1789 — most recently Rep. James A. Traficant (D-Ohio), who was ousted in 2002 after his conviction on federal corruption charges.

A Pelosi spokesman dismissed the letter as a “publicity stunt” meant to bolster Abraham’s teetering campaign ahead of Trump’s planned visit to the state Friday.

— Mike DeBonis

5:30 p.m.: White House press secretary says Trump ‘has done nothing wrong’

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham defended Trump in a statement shortly after the release of the letter to House leaders.

“The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it,” Grisham said. “For purely political reasons, the Democrats have decided their desire to overturn the outcome of the 2016 election allows them to conduct a so-called impeachment inquiry that ignores the fundamental rights guaranteed to every American.”

She accused Democrats of holding closed-door hearings to “deny the president the right to call witnesses, to cross-examine witnesses, to have access to evidence, and many other basic rights.”

5 p.m.: White House says it will not cooperate with House impeachment inquiry

In a scathing eight-page letter to House leaders, Cipollone wrote that House Democrats’ recent actions violate “the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent.” He criticized the impeachment inquiry as attempt to overturn the 2016 presidential election results and to influence the upcoming 2020 campaign.

“In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his Administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances,” Cipollone wrote.

Pelosi has said repeatedly that the House does not have to hold a formal vote to launch an impeachment inquiry.

“The effort to impeach President Trump — without regard to any evidence of his actions in office — is a naked political strategy that began the day he was inaugurated, and perhaps even before,” Cipollone wrote.

4:30 p.m.: Pelosi tells Democrats: ‘The President will be held accountable’

In a letter to the House Democratic Caucus, Pelosi urged her members to address the impeachment inquiry they’re undertaking “somberly and prayerfully.”

“The actions taken by the President over the past two weeks show a defiance of our Founders, with a total disregard for their wisdom and the U.S. Constitution,” Pelosi wrote.

Then, mocking a phrase he used to describe himself in a tweet, she wrote, “In his ‘great and unmatched wisdom,’ President Trump must know that no one is above the law. The President will be held accountable. When it comes to impeachment, it is just about the facts and the Constitution.”

Pelosi also accused Trump of “obstructing justice, abusing power and diminishing the office of the presidency,” which she said makes it all the more important that the legislative branch of government perform its role.

4 p.m.: No comment from Sondland’s attorney on subpoena

Robert Luskin, Sondland’s attorney, said he had no additional comment to make about Democrats’ plans to subpoena his client for testimony on Capitol Hill. Sondland’s legal team will review any subpoena when it is served, he added.

— Carol D. Leonnig

3:40 p.m.: Clinton to Trump: ‘Don’t tempt me.’

Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, responded to Trump’s suggestion that she could win the nomination next year over Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

“Don’t tempt me. Do your job,” Clinton tweeted.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump had mused that Clinton “should enter the race to try to steal it away from Uber Left Elizabeth Warren.”

Clinton is currently on a book promotion tour with her daughter and co-author Chelsea Clinton.

3:30 p.m.: House panel asks court to enforce Mueller-related subpoenas, a step toward possible impeachment

Justice Department lawyers urged a federal judge Tuesday to deny a House Judiciary Committee request for grand jury materials in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, arguing that in hindsight, courts in 1974 should not have given Congress the Watergate grand jury “road map” that led to President Richard M. Nixon’s impeachment.

Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington, D.C., expressed astonishment at the position, calling it one of several “extraordinary” stances taken by Trump administration lawyers to oppose House subpoenas and witness testimony in a gathering impeachment investigation.

The debate centers on the 1974 decision in Haldeman v. Sirica, ultimately upheld by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which found that a congressional impeachment investigation and trial satisfy an exception to grand jury secrecy rules provided for a “judicial proceeding.”



— Spencer Hsu

3:15 p.m.: Pocan says individual who blocked Sondland testimony may have broken the law

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) send a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday requesting information on who instructed Sondland not to testify.

Pocan cited Section 713 of Division D of Public Law 116-6, which prohibits the payment of salary to any “officer or employee of the Federal Government who prohibits or prevents … any other officer or employee of the Federal Government from … communication or contact with any Member, committee, or subcommittee of the Congress.”

“I believe the person prohibiting Ambassador Sondland from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee is in violation of this statute, and that their salary should be withheld until Ambassador Sondland appears before Congress,” Pocan wrote.

3 p.m.: Former State Dept. attorney says White House can’t legally block Yovanovitch from testifying.

Harold Koh, a former State Department legal adviser and current Yale Law School professor, said he sees “no basis to legally block” former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch from testifying Friday.

But Trump, through Pompeo, could say “you’ll never work for the U.S. government again,” in which case she could potentially suffer other consequences. He noted how FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was fired just hours before he was set to retire with full benefits.

If she receives some kind of letter asking her not to testify, but does so anyway, she could be further instructed by that letter not to answer questions that would violate executive privilege or that require recitation of classified material, Koh said in an email to The Post. A claim of violation of classification laws could expose her to prosecution under the Espionage Act and other laws, he said.

“Presumably Ambassador Yovanovitch would just say, ‘I don’t want to testify about privileged and classified matters’ and then go on to testify truthfully and at length about other conversations” — particularly, he said, text chains with other officials similar to the text disclosed to Congress by former Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker last week.

— Ellen Nakashima

2:45 p.m.: Career diplomats tell Pompeo to defend Yovanovitch

More than two dozen career and political diplomats who at one time worked with Yovanovitch wrote to Pompeo asking him to defend attacks on Yovanovitch.

Yovanovitch, they wrote, “represents the finest in the Foreign Service,” and described her work as “exemplary.”

Which is why, they said, they were so disturbed to learn that during Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, he disparaged her and said, “she’s going to go through some things.”

Yovanovitch, who was called back early from her Ukraine post, is scheduled to meet with congressional investigators on Friday.

“Ambassador Yovanovitch deserves your unstinting support, as do other career diplomats who may become ensnared in the upcoming Congressional investigation and impeachment process,” they wrote. “All employees of the Department — Foreign Service officers, civil servants, and political appointees — need to know that you have their backs against scurrilous political attacks and smears.”

Those who signed include ambassadors who worked in Republican and Democratic administrations.

2:35 p.m.: Trump ‘must stop stonewalling,’ Biden says

Former vice president Joe Biden responded to the Trump administration’s efforts to block Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, from testifying by arguing that the president should cooperate with lawmakers.

“President Trump must stop stonewalling Congress and fully cooperate with the investigations,” Biden said in a tweet. “The American people deserve the truth.”

1:45 p.m.: Schumer says Giuliani must be under oath if he testifies

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that if Giuliani appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee, his testimony must be under oath.

“We welcome Mr. Giuliani testifying,” Schumer tweeted. “Given the apparent depth of his involvement in the president’s effort to convince foreign governments to investigate a political rival, he must testify under oath.”

Schumer was referring to Trump’s effort to persuade the leader of Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

1:30 p.m.: Giuliani says he won’t testify in House, ‘can’t imagine’ others will

Giuliani said Tuesday that he would not testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee and that he “can’t imagine” that anyone from the Trump administration would appear before the panel led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) either.

“The position I’m stating is now the position of the administration,” Giuliani said in an interview in which he revealed that the administration has written a letter that will be released soon saying that Schiff’s committee is illegitimate.

“I wouldn’t testify in front of that committee until there is a vote of Congress and he [Schiff] is removed,” Giuliani said, referring to Republican calls for a full House vote on an impeachment inquiry and the removal of Schiff as the committee’s chairman.

“Let them hold me in contempt. We’ll go to court. We’ll challenge the contempt,” Giuliani added.

A White House spokesman declined to comment on Giuliani’s remarks.

Giuliani, meanwhile, said that he is “very interested” in accepting Graham’s officer to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee but that “there are a lot of legal issues to consider.”

“Graham wants me to lay out in one place, in one time the Ukrainian collusion and the Biden corruption,” Giuliani said, adding that the idea for him to testify was not his. “I appreciate Lindsey offering the opportunity to lay the whole case out.”

It’s unclear how public Giuliani’s testimony would be, if it even occurs. A spokeswoman for the Senate Judiciary Committee said it has yet to be determined whether Giuliani’s appearance would be open or closed to the public. The committee also has not decided whether senators or staff would question Giuliani, she said.

— Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim

1 p.m.: Jimmy Carter says Trump is stonewalling, advises him ‘to tell the truth’

Former president Jimmy Carter reacted Tuesday to the Trump administration’s decision to block Sondland from testifying, calling it “a departure from custom and what American people expect.”

“I think that’s going to be another item of evidence used against him if he continues to stonewall and prevent evidence to be put forward to the House and Senate to consider,” Carter said during an appearance on MSNBC.

“My advice to him would be to tell the truth and also to cut back on his Twitter feeds,” Carter told host Andrea Mitchell. “And give the House of Representatives, and also the Senate and the general public, the evidence that we need to form a case either for or against him.”

12:20 p.m.: Harris, Feinstein say they have questions for Giuliani

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) on Tuesday highlighted a potential dilemma for Giuliani as he decides whether he wants to take up Graham’s offer to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In a tweet, Harris responded to Graham’s announcement on Twitter that he asked Giuliani to share his concerns “about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine.”

“Good. I have questions,” tweetedHarris, who has earned a reputation for her aggressive questioning of witnesses before the committee, including now-Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

While testifying would offer Giuliani a chance to advance Trump’s unproven contention that Biden and his son were involved in corruption, it would also provide the opportunity for Harris and other Senate Democrats to probe Giuliani’s role in pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, made that clear in a statement shortly after Harris’s tweet.

“I welcome the opportunity to question Rudy Giuliani under oath about his role in seeking the Ukrainian government’s assistance to investigate one of the president’s political rivals,” she said. “Democratic members have plenty of questions for Mr. Giuliani and this would give us an opportunity to help separate fact from fiction for the American people.”

12:10 p.m.: Trump takes another shot at Schiff

Trump lashed out anew at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who he has previously said should be removed from office.

“Hasn’t Adam Schiff been fully discredited by now?” Trump tweeted. “Do we have to continue listening to his lies?”

The president didn’t spell out what he considered to be lies by Schiff.

11:40 a.m.: House committees to issue subpoena to Gordon Sondland

Three House committee chairmen announced that they would issue a subpoena to compel testimony from Sondland, hours after learning he had declined to appear for a deposition at the direction of the State Department.

“We consider this interference to be obstruction of the impeachment inquiry,” the three committee chairmen said in a statement Tuesday. “We will be issuing subpoena to Ambassador Sondland for both his testimony and documents.”

Schiff, Engel and Cummings issued the statement after Sondland was a no-show on Capitol Hill.

Schiff said that the Trump administration had also directed Sondland not to share text messages relevant to the inquiry, which focuses on a July phone call in which Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.

11 a.m.: Jeffries sends a pointed warning to Trump on Twitter

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a key member of the House Democratic leadership team, sent a blunt warning to Trump on Twitter late Tuesday morning.

“Obstruction of a constitutionally mandated impeachment inquiry is a high crime and misdemeanor,” Jeffries wrote, referring to the standard for impeachment of a president

His tweet came about two hours after news reports that the Trump administration was blocking Sondland from appearing before three House committees.

10:20 a.m.: Trump campaign manager welcomes Giuliani testimony

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale took to Twitter shortly after Graham announced his invitation for Giuliani to testify, seemingly voicing his approval.

“Open up Pandora’s box! Let the Democrats dirty secrets out,” Parscale tweeted.

10:15 a.m.: Graham say he’ll invite Giuliani to testify on Ukraine corruption

Graham said Tuesday that he would invite Giuliani to testify before his panel about “corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine.”

Giuliani has pressed Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, and the firing of the prosecutor who had investigated it.

Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani took to the airwaves to defend President Trump — and it didn’t always go well. (Zach Purser Brown/The Washington Post)
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Re: Trump enters the stage : hero or victim

Postby Meno_ » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:31 pm

Meno wrote "Two alternative theories are emerging within political and public domains.

The first one is based on the view that Trump is a vile and manipulative narcissist, of a very high IQ , a managed genius of high caliber, who will not stop catering to his vast self perception, not even short of destroying the cradle of civilisation he should be grateful for, for that accounts for his abundant wealth.

The second view much more conventional is that he has been set up not only by the contradictory mesh that his own conflicting situation bears on the basic contradictions of current national and international politics, but by the imbalance between his own assessed economic reality, and that of his handlers who set him up in this mess.
His core supporters are not of the agile mind who could possibly pick up on this subtler distinction, and go along with the make America less swampy idea.

They are for the most part, bible thumping like those from Missouri, who believe only what become a appearent to them.

This reinforces the earlier ontological contradictive struggle inherent within an assumed contention , readily appearent to those in 'know'.

His certainty may be an embedded assurance of his worth as a businessman, politician, and actor.

"Again, this work proceeds the developmental first stage, and that is meant figuratively, which may or may not have a sequal ."
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Re: Trump enters the stage : hero or victim

Postby Meno_ » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:46 pm

Meno_ wrote:Meno wrote "Two alternative theories are emerging within political and public domains.

The first one is based on the view that Trump is a vile and manipulative narcissist, of a very high IQ , a managed genius of high caliber, who will not stop catering to his vast self perception, not even short of destroying the cradle of civilisation he should be grateful for, for that accounts for his abundant wealth.

The second view much more conventional is that he has been set up not only by the contradictory mesh that his own conflicting situation bears on the basic contradictions of current national and international politics, but by the imbalance between his own assessed economic reality, and that of his handlers who set him up in this mess.
His core supporters are not of the agile mind who could possibly pick up on this subtler distinction, and go along with the make America less swampy idea.

They are for the most part, bible thumping like those from Missouri, who believe only what become a appearent to them.

This reinforces the earlier ontological contradictive struggle inherent within an assumed contention , readily appearent to those in 'know'.

His certainty may be an embedded assurance of his worth as a businessman, politician, and actor.

"Again, this work proceeds the developmental first stage, and that is meant figuratively, which may or may not have a sequal ."




The unification of the two is what is at stake, to make a credible effort to see these two views in a.c. c ordnance to a single derivitive to appear as non consequential, within the higher value of the betterment for the country as the whole. At issue is one consisting of a desired progressive national unity within it's worldly implications.
The vacuum left after the fall of the Soviet Union is enormous, and world politic was left missing the most important political tool with which to grapple day to day matters, that is the dialectics of substantial manifested mechanics of the intercourse of diplomacy.

As hidden it was before it's demise, it exerted enormous influence within the actual machinations involved, in the Western spheres of influence, as it had within the perimeters of the third world.
Whether the NWO conceptually required such states of affairs, or, negatively, the effecticitu of such relationship was more of a build up of probable contingencies, is still harboring levels of conscious manifestation in accordance with the levels and forces of conscious policy conscious constructions.

Such appear more as fabrication today, and momentum is building to further public required clarity.

The former, seems more likely a scenario, remembering that Trump appeared sans platform in the weaning days of his presidency.
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Re: Trump enters the stage : hero or victim

Postby Meno_ » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:46 pm

Meno_ wrote:Meno wrote "Two alternative theories are emerging within political and public domains.

The first one is based on the view that Trump is a vile and manipulative narcissist, of a very high IQ , a managed genius of high caliber, who will not stop catering to his vast self perception, not even short of destroying the cradle of civilisation he should be grateful for, for that accounts for his abundant wealth.

The second view much more conventional is that he has been set up not only by the contradictory mesh that his own conflicting situation bears on the basic contradictions of current national and international politics, but by the imbalance between his own assessed economic reality, and that of his handlers who set him up in this mess.
His core supporters are not of the agile mind who could possibly pick up on this subtler distinction, and go along with the make America less swampy idea.

They are for the most part, bible thumping like those from Missouri, who believe only what become a appearent to them.

This reinforces the earlier ontological contradictive struggle inherent within an assumed contention , readily appearent to those in 'know'.

His certainty may be an embedded assurance of his worth as a businessman, politician, and actor.

"Again, this work proceeds the developmental first stage, and that is meant figuratively, which may or may not have a sequal ."




The unification of the two is what is at stake, to make a credible effort to see these two views in a.c. c ordnance to a single derivitive to appear as non consequential, within the higher value of the betterment for the country as the whole. At issue is one consisting of a desired progressive national unity within it's worldly implications.
The vacuum left after the fall of the Soviet Union is enormous, and world politic was left missing the most important political tool with which to grapple day to day matters, that is the dialectics of substantial manifested mechanics of the intercourse of diplomacy.

As hidden it was before it's demise, it exerted enormous influence within the actual machinations involved, in the Western spheres of influence, as it had within the perimeters of the third world.
Whether the NWO conceptually required such states of affairs, or, negatively, the effecticitu of such relationship was more of a build up of probable contingencies, is still harboring levels of conscious manifestation in accordance with the levels and forces of conscious policy conscious constructions.

Such appear more as fabrication today, and momentum is building to further public required clarity.

The former, seems more likely a scenario, remembering that Trump appeared sans platform in the weaning days of his presidency.
Meno_
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 5488
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
Location: Mysterium Tremendum

Re: Trump enters the stage : hero or victim whistleblower fu

Postby Meno_ » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:46 pm

Meno_ wrote:"Two alternative theories are emerging within political and public domains.

The first one is based on the view that Trump is a vile and manipulative narcissist, of a very high IQ , a managed genius of high caliber, who will not stop catering to his vast self perception, not even short of destroying the cradle of civilisation he should be grateful for, for that accounts for his abundant wealth.

The second view much more conventional is that he has been set up not only by the contradictory mesh that his own conflicting situation bears on the basic contradictions of current national and international politics, but by the imbalance between his own assessed economic reality, and that of his handlers who set him up in this mess.
His core supporters are not of the agile mind who could possibly pick up on this subtler distinction, and go along with the make America less swampy idea.

They are for the most part, bible thumping like those from Missouri, who believe only what become a appearent to them.

This reinforces the earlier ontological contradictive struggle inherent within an assumed contention , readily appearent to those in 'know'.

His certainty may be an embedded assurance of his worth as a businessman, politician, and actor.

"Again, this work proceeds the developmental first stage, and that is meant figuratively, which may or may not have a sequal ."




The unification of the two is what is at stake, to make a credible effort to see these two views in accordance ordnance to a single derivitive to appear as non consequential, within the higher value of the betterment for the country as the whole. At issue is one consisting of a desired progressive national unity within it's worldly implications.
The vacuum left after the fall of the Soviet Union is enormous, and world politic was left missing the most important political tool with which to grapple day to day matters, that is the dialectics of substantial manifested mechanics of the intercourse of diplomacy.

As hidden it was before it's demise, it exerted enormous influence within the actual machinations involved, in the Western spheres of influence, as it had within the perimeters of the third world.
Whether the NWO conceptually required such states of affairs, or, negatively, the effecticitu of such relationship was more of a build up of probable contingencies, is still harboring levels of conscious manifestation in accordance with the levels and forces of conscious policy conscious constructions.

Such appear more as fabrication today, and momentum is building to further public required clarity.

The former, seems more likely a scenario, remembering that Trump appeared sans platform in the weaning days of his presidency.




New wrangling:



Trump says Kurds ‘didn’t help us with D-Day’ as Turkey attacks – live

Trump fails to note that allies helped fight Isis for years amid questions over troop pullout


Maanvi Singh in San Francisco (now) and Joan E Greve in Washington (earlier)

Wed 9 Oct 2019 19.11 ED

Key events

19:11 EDT

Donald Trump pressed former secretary of state Rex Tillerson to persude the Justice Department to drop a case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who was a client of Rudy Giuliani, Bloomberg is reporting, citing three unnamed sources familiar with the 2017 meeting.

Tillerson refused, arguing it would constitute interference in an ongoing investigation of the trader, Reza Zarrab, according to the people. They said other participants in the Oval Office were shocked by the request.

Tillerson immediately repeated his objections to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly in a hallway conversation just outside the Oval Office, emphasizing that the request would be illegal. Neither episode has been previously reported, and all of the people spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the conversations.

Zarrab was being prosecuted in federal court in New York at the time on charges of evading U.S. sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. He had hired former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Giuliani, who has said he reached out repeatedly to U.S. officials to seek a diplomatic solution for his client outside the courts.

The president’s request to Tillerson -- which included asking him to speak with Giuliani -- bears the hallmarks of Trump’s governing style, defined by his willingness to sweep aside the customary procedures and constraints of government to pursue matters outside normal channels. Tillerson’s objection came to light as Trump’s dealings with foreign leaders face intense scrutiny following the July 25 call with Ukraine’s president that has sparked an impeachment inquiry in the House.

The Guardian has not independently verified Bloomberg’s report.

Updated at 19:11 EDT

19:06 EDT

Bernie Sanders said he “misspoke” when he said he’d be slowing down his campaign

Sanders spoke to reporters outside his home in Burlington, Vt. Photograph: Wilson Ring/AP

In an interview with NBC, Sanders said he wouldn’t be slowing down his campaign after suffering a heart attack, saying he misspoke when he told reporters that he will “change the nature of the campaign a bit” after being hospitalized.

“We’re going to get back into the groove of a very vigorous campaign, I love doing rallies and I love doing town meetings,” Sanders said. “I want to start off slower and build up and build up and build up.”

Last week, Sanders was at a campaign event in Nevada when he experienced chest discomfort and was taken to a hospital.

Updated at 19:06 EDT

18:47 EDT

“I found that to be wholly appropriate,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of the July call between Donald Trump and Ukraine’s president.

“I was on the call. I listened to it. It was consistent with what President Trump has been trying to do to take corruption out” Pompeo told PBS’ Judy Woodruff.

Live on @NewsHour: @JudyWoodruffinterviews Secretary of State Mike Pompeo https://t.co/7BNYxda8Fp

— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) October 9, 2019

Updated at 18:47 EDT

18:10 EDT

As we noted earlier, when Trump defended his decision abandon Kurdish allies in Syria by saying that they didn’t help the US during World War II.

“They didn’t help us with Normandy as an example,” Trump told reporters.

Trump on the Kurds: "They didn't help us in the Second World War, they didn't help us with Normandy, as an example." He suggests that they battled alongside U.S. forces for "their land," and adds, "With all of that being said, we like the Kurds." pic.twitter.com/4aFGJiQquv

— Luis Velarde (@luivelarde) October 9, 2019

Kurdish forces, did, however, fight alongside the US against Isis for nearly five years, losing roughly 11,000 fighters.

On Sunday, the president announced that US troops would withdraw from the region, and today, Turkey has launched an offensive into north-eastern Syria against Kurdish forces who control the region.

Trump said he learned that the Kurds didn’t help in Normandy from a “very, very powerful article”, and seemed to be referencing a column by conservative opinion writer Kurt Schlichter.

Trump appears to have gotten his "Kurds didn't help us at Normandy" line from a Kurt Schlichter column. https://t.co/jAbsP9VCQtpic.twitter.com/6HknvoZ0gl

— Will Sommer (@willsommer) October 9, 2019

Misrepresenting howNato works, Trump told reporters: “If you look at how much money we spend on NATO and how much countries from Europe who are a much bigger beneficiary than we are.”

“Alliances are very easy. But our alliances have taken advantage of us,” Trump said.

“We have spent a tremendous amount of money helping the Kurds,” the president said. “They’re fighting for their land. When you say they’re fighting with the US, yes. But they’re fighting for their land.”

“With all of that being said, we like the Kurds,” Trump added.

Turkey unleashes airstrikes against Kurds in north-east Syria

Updated at 18:27 EDT

17:55 EDT

Trump told reporters he’ll cooperate with the House democrats’ impeachment inquiry if “they give us our rights”.

Asked whether he’ll cooperate with the democrats if they hold a vote on the impeachment inquiry, Trump responded: “The Republican Party and president has been treated extremely badly by the Democrats, very unfairly, because they have a tiny margin in the House, they have eviscerated the rules, they don’t give us any fair play, it is the most unfair situation people have seen, no lawyers, you can’t have lawyers, you can’t speak, you can’t do anything.”

But does the president have the right to due process during an impeachment?

In a word: No.

From NPR:

The Constitution states clearly that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment,” and that “the Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”

What “impeachment” means in this context is, effectively, indictment — the House has the power to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to spur a trial that would then take place in the Senate.


Updated at 17:55 EDT

17:01 EDT

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will be taking over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

The Justice Department announced the arrest of an employee at the Defense Intelligence Agency for allegedly leaking sensitive national security information to two journalists.

For the first time, Joe Biden called for the impeachment of Trump over the Ukraine controversy.

Trump defended his decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria as Turkey launched a military operation in the region. (The president also flippantly said he was not worried about the potential escape of Islamic State fighters because they would likely flee to Europe.)

Despite that defensive stance, a number of Republican lawmakers criticized Trump’s Syria policy as news of the Turkish operation broke.

House Democratsare reportedly planning a new wave of subpoenas as the White House made clear it would not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.

Maanvi will have more on the news of the day, so stay tuned.

Updated at 17:01 EDT

16:50 EDT

Democrats reportedly planning new wave of subpoenas

House Democrats are preparing a new wave of subpoenas as the White House has signaled it will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, according to CNN.

They are also considering a secret interview of the whistleblower who kicked off the Ukraine controversy.

CNN reports:

In the face of the blistering White House letter refusing to cooperate with their probe, Democrats expect they are likely done with any voluntary interviews for most witnesses, according to multiple Democratic sources. And Democrats are now threatening subpoenas to associates of Rudy Giuliani and considering them for current State Department officials, including former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. She is scheduled for an interview Friday, but there are new concerns she won’t appear given that she is still a State Department employee and could face backlash internally if she were to appear voluntarily.

Negotiations are also intensifying over bringing in for an interview the whistleblower whose complaint has upended Trump’s presidency, with new discussions about holding the interview in secret or off site and not disclosing that it happened until after the fact, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

Updated at 16:50 EDT

16:44 EDT

In response to a question about the threat facing America’s Kurdish allies now that Turkey had launched a military operation in northern Syria, Trump blamed them for not assisting in World War II.

Asked about the Kurds, President Trump said that the Kurds did not help the US during WWII or in the Normandy invasion/ D-Day

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) October 9, 2019

Updated at 16:44 EDT

16:34 EDT

Asked about Islamic State fighters potentially escaping amid Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, Trump told reporters he felt the United States had carried a disproportionate amount of responsibility in capturing the militants.

Trump indicates he's not worried about ISIS fighters escaping northern Syria because if they do they'll just end up in Europe pic.twitter.com/cBsbXQxjsg

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 9, 2019

Trump said: “Well, they’re going to be escaping to Europe. That’s where they want to go; they want to go back to their homes, but Europe didn’t want them from us.”

Trump predicts Islamic State fighters will escape to Europe - video

The president said the relationship between the US and its European allies had not been “reciprocal” when it came to combating the Islamic State.

In response to Trump’s comments, a CNN reporter questioned whether the flippant remark about Islamic State militants returning to Europe, where the group has previously carried out terrorist attacks, would provoke any condemnation from Republican lawmakers.

Is there a single GOP lawmaker, Trump surrogate or media ally who will take issue with the US president dismissing the escape of ISIS terrorists into Europe? https://t.co/O0HvkWltqs

— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) October 9, 2019

Updated at 17:23 EDT

16:27 EDT

Trump said he would cooperate with the impeachment inquiry if the full House votes on it and “if the rules are fair,” but he appeared to leave himself a lot of wiggle room on the issue.

Trump says he'll agree to cooperate in Democrats' impeachment probe only "if the rules are fair." Won't commit to cooperation if the full House holds a vote.

— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) October 9, 2019

Updated at 16:27 EDT

16:16 EDT

Trump predicts Islamic State fighters will escape to Europe

When asked by reporters whether he was concerned that Islamic State fighters would be able to escape because of Turkey’s military operation, Trumppredicted that the militants would not travel to the US.

The president said this to apparently reassure the American people (and surely terrify many US allies): “They’re going to be escaping to Europe.”

President Trump says he will "wipe out" Turkey's economy if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tries to take out the Kurds in northern Syria: "I hope that he will act rationally" https://t.co/1ftZN3y51Ypic.twitter.com/OAkuAlsYc4

— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 9, 2019

Trump also dismissed criticism from senator Lindsey Graham, one of his closest congressional allies, over the president’s decision to withdraw US troops from the region.

Trump said: “I think Lindsey would like to stay there for the next 200 years.”

Updated at 16:16 EDT

16:08 EDT

Trump stands by his decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria

Speaking to reporters after signing two executive orders, Trump stood by his decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria even as Turkey launched a military operation in the region.

President Trump: Turkey has been wanting to do this for years. These people have been fighting each other for centuries. I feel like we are doing the right thing by pulling out. It has to be done or otherwise we will never do it.

— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 9, 2019

Asked how he would react if Turkish forces decimated America’s Kurdish allies in the region, Trump warned he would “wipe out” Turkey’s economy if they did so.



15:57 EDT

The British prime minister’s office released a readout from Boris Johnson’s conversation with Trump.

It reads, in part: “The Prime Minister spoke to President Trump this evening. The leaders expressed their serious concern at Turkey’s invasion of north east Syria and the risk of a humanitarian catastrophe in the region. ...

“On trade, the Prime Minister underlined his disappointment at the US announcement of tariffs against UK and EU exports in the Airbus-Boeing dispute, which will harm a number of industries including Scotch Whisky. He pressed the President not to impose the tariffs.”

Updated at 15:57 EDT

15:51 EDT

Trump is now making remarks about two executive orders he is signing and noted that he had an “extended conversation” with the British prime minister, Boris Johnson.

President Trump says he just had an “extended conversation” with British PM Boris Johnson, adding “they will be doing a number of things for us.” pic.twitter.com/S1UPo4DHDB

— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) October 9, 2019

Updated at 15:51 EDT

15:45 EDT

Even as senator Lindsey Grahamlambastes Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, he is standing by the president on confronting the impeachment inquiry.

Specifically, the Senate judiciary committee chairman is accusing House Democrats of abusing their power by not releasing a transcript from their closed-door interview with Kurt Volker, the former US ambassador to NATO.

Graham warned that he would call Volker to publicly testify if the transcript is not released soon.

If this continues, I will call Volker before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify publicly to ensure the full story is told.https://t.co/jNi3KQ3wRB

— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 9, 2019



Facebook is refusing to take down a Trumpcampaign ad that centers on false claims of corruption against Joe Biden.

CNN has already refused to air the ad over its factual inaccuracies, but Facebook wrote in a letter to the Biden campaign that the video did not violate the social media platform’s policies.

A Facebook executive wrote: “Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is.”

The social media giant’s decision provoked an enraged response from at least one of Biden’s primary opponents, Elizabeth Warren.

The following is a record of a conversation I had this afternoon with a White House official about the telephone call yesterday morning between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The official who listened to the entirety of the phone call was visibly shaken by what had transpired and seemed keen to inform a trusted colleague within the U.S. national security apparatus about the call. After my call with this official I [redacted] returned to my office, and wrote up my best recollection of what I had heard.

The official described the call as "crazy," "frightening" and "completely lacking in substance related to national security." The official asserted that the President used the call to persuade Ukrainian authorities to investigate his political rivals, chiefly former Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter. The official stated that there was already a conversation underway with White House lawyers about how to handle the discussion because, in the official's view, the President had clearly committed a criminal act by urging a foreign power to investigate a U.S. person for the purposes of advancing his own reelection bid in 2020.

The phone call lasted approximately half an hour. The two leaders spoke through interpreters. My conversation with the official only lasted a few minutes, and as a result, I only received highlights:

The President asserted that "it all started in Ukraine," referring to the allegations of foreign interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the subsequent investigation into the Trump campaign's contact with Russian individuals
The President asked Zelenskyy to locate the "Crowdstrike server" and turn it over to the United States, claiming that Crowdstrike is "a Ukrainian company," (Note: This appears to be a reference to the DNC server from which Russian hackers stole data and emails that were subsequently leaked in mid-2016; the DNC hired cyber security firm Crowdstrike to do the forensic analysis, which informed the FBI's investigation. It is not clear what the president was referring to when he claimed Crowdstrike is a Ukrainian company; one of its cofounders was born in Moscow.)
The President told Zelenskyy that he would be sending his personal lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to Ukraine soon and requested that Zelenskyy meet with him. Zelenskyy reluctantly agreed that, if Giuliani traveled to Ukraine, he would see him.
The President raised the case of Burisma Holdings, Hunter Biden's role in the company, and former Vice President Biden's role in setting Ukraine policy. The President urged Zelenskyy to [end page 1] investigate the Bidens and stated that Giuliani would discuss this topic further with Zelenskyy during his trip to Kyiv.
The President urged Zelenskyy not to fire Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who the President claimed was doing a good job. (Note: Lutsenko has spearheaded various politicized investigations, including on Burisma Holdings and alleged "Ukrainian interference" in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Lutsenko is widely reviled in Ukraine, and Zelenskyy has pledged to fire him but has been unable to secure approval from the legislature.)
The President stated that he wanted Attorney General William Barr to speak with Zelenskyy as soon as possible. (Note: It was not clear whether this conversation was to be in reference to Crowdstrike or the investigations of the Bidens.)
The President reiterated his concern that Zelenskyy was surrounded by people who were enemies of the President, including "bad oligarchs."
The President did not raise security assistance. According to the official, Zelenskyy demurred in response to most of the President's requests.

I did not review a transcript or written notes, but the official informed me that they exist.

The standard White House practice for Presidential-level phone calls with world leaders is for the White House Situation Room to produce a word-for-word electronic transcript that memorializes the call. The transcript is typically then circulated to key White House officials to be transformed into a formal memorandum that is distributed as an eyes-only document, to the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Director of the CIA.
In this case, the official told me that such a transcript had indeed been produced and was being treated very sensitively, in hard copy only. Moreover, several additional senior White House officials listened to the entire phone call in an adjacent room in the Situation Room suite and they presumably took written notes on the call.
The official did not know whether the President was aware that other people were listening and that the call was being transcribed. The official also was not certain whether anyone else was in the Oval Office with the President during the call.
On the Ukrainian side, it is unclear who listened to the call or whether a record was produced.


© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.






Copyright © 2019 CBS Interactive Inc.


The following is a record of a conversation I had this afternoon with a White House official about the telephone call yesterday morning between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The official who listened to the entirety of the phone call was visibly shaken by what had transpired and seemed keen to inform a trusted colleague within the U.S. national security apparatus about the call. After my call with this official I [redacted] returned to my office, and wrote up my best recollection of what I had heard.

The official described the call as "crazy," "frightening" and "completely lacking in substance related to national security." The official asserted that the President used the call to persuade Ukrainian authorities to investigate his political rivals, chiefly former Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter. The official stated that there was already a conversation underway with White House lawyers about how to handle the discussion because, in the official's view, the President had clearly committed a criminal act by urging a foreign power to investigate a U.S. person for the purposes of advancing his own reelection bid in 2020.

The phone call lasted approximately half an hour. The two leaders spoke through interpreters. My conversation with the official only lasted a few minutes, and as a result, I only received highlights:

The President asserted that "it all started in Ukraine," referring to the allegations of foreign interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the subsequent investigation into the Trump campaign's contact with Russian individuals
The President asked Zelenskyy to locate the "Crowdstrike server" and turn it over to the United States, claiming that Crowdstrike is "a Ukrainian company," (Note: This appears to be a reference to the DNC server from which Russian hackers stole data and emails that were subsequently leaked in mid-2016; the DNC hired cyber security firm Crowdstrike to do the forensic analysis, which informed the FBI's investigation. It is not clear what the president was referring to when he claimed Crowdstrike is a Ukrainian company; one of its cofounders was born in Moscow.)
The President told Zelenskyy that he would be sending his personal lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to Ukraine soon and requested that Zelenskyy meet with him. Zelenskyy reluctantly agreed that, if Giuliani traveled to Ukraine, he would see him.
The President raised the case of Burisma Holdings, Hunter Biden's role in the company, and former Vice President Biden's role in setting Ukraine policy. The President urged Zelenskyy to [end page 1] investigate the Bidens and stated that Giuliani would discuss this topic further with Zelenskyy during his trip to Kyiv.
The President urged Zelenskyy not to fire Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who the President claimed was doing a good job. (Note: Lutsenko has spearheaded various politicized investigations, including on Burisma Holdings and alleged "Ukrainian interference" in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Lutsenko is widely reviled in Ukraine, and Zelenskyy has pledged to fire him but has been unable to secure approval from the legislature.)
The President stated that he wanted Attorney General William Barr to speak with Zelenskyy as soon as possible. (Note: It was not clear whether this conversation was to be in reference to Crowdstrike or the investigations of the Bidens.)
The President reiterated his concern that Zelenskyy was surrounded by people who were enemies of the President, including "bad oligarchs."
The President did not raise security assistance. According to the official, Zelenskyy demurred in response to most of the President's requests.

I did not review a transcript or written notes, but the official informed me that they exist.

The standard White House practice for Presidential-level phone calls with world leaders is for the White House Situation Room to produce a word-for-word electronic transcript that memorializes the call. The transcript is typically then circulated to key White House officials to be transformed into a formal memorandum that is distributed as an eyes-only document, to the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Director of the CIA.
In this case, the official told me that such a transcript had indeed been produced and was being treated very sensitively, in hard copy only. Moreover, several additional senior White House officials listened to the entire phone call in an adjacent room in the Situation Room suite and they presumably took written notes on the call.
The official did not know whether the President was aware that other people were listening and that the call was being transcribed. The official also was not certain whether anyone else was in the Oval Office with the President during the call.


© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.




U.S. accused of abandoning Kurds to face Turkish onslaught

Trump defends troop drawdown in northern Syria
23M AGO
Biden announces support for Trump's impeachment

Turkey launches military offensive in Syria

Copyright © 2019 CBS


Fallout:



House Democrats are increasingly confident they have all the evidence they need to impeach President Donald Trump for obstructing their investigations.

Lawmakers say White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s letter sent Tuesday night to Speaker Nancy Pelosi — accusing Democrats of running an “invalid” and “illegitimate” impeachment probe — is the final insult in a long-running campaign of obstruction that will likely become a voluminous article of impeachment against Trump.

Former Rep. Trey Gowdy was fired as a Fox News contributor, a spokesperson for the network tells CNBC on Wednesday.

Gowdy has been tapped to join President Donald Trump's outside counsel as the White House suits up for an impeachment fight with Congress, Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow said.

A source familiar with the situation says that Gowdy representing the president would pose a conflict of interest with his role as a Fox contributor.

 — President Donald Trump wants the House to vote on impeachment as soon as possible — ideally, three weeks ago.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Not so much.

The White House put proof of its stance in an eight-page letter on Tuesday evening — half lawyerly complaint, half campaign fundraising message — accusing the Democratic-led House of running a sham investigation and announcing Trump would block any further participation by his administration.

The letter challenged the rights of the House to set the rules of impeachment, charged Democrats with trying to reverse the results of the 2016 election and influence the 2020 contest, and concluded that there is "no legitimate basis" for the inquiry Pelosi is calling "impeachment" that's already underway.

"For the foregoing reasons, the President cannot allow your constitutionally illegitimate proceedings to distract him and those in the Executive Branch from their work on behalf of the American people," White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote.

The Constitution vests the House with "the sole Power of Impeachment" in Article I, Section 2, and prescribes in Article I, Section 5, that "each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings." What's really going on is a fight over when the House will first take a vote involving Trump that has any form of the word "impeach" in it.

ROCHESTER, N.H. — Former Vice President Joe Biden called for President Donald Trump to be impeached during a blistering campaign speech on Wednesday.

"Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts," Biden said in his strongest comments to date on the matter, adding, "He should be impeached."


Today:

------- ------- ------- ------- ------- -------- --------
.
What the polls are saying: More than half of US voters want Trump impeached and removed from office, according to a Fox News Poll released Wednesday.


And here is what Trump is tweeting about Fox News:


From the day I announced I was running for President, I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll. Whoever their Pollster is, they suck. But @FoxNews is also much different than it used to be in the good old days.

Ha! I wonder how that goes down with the American people!


Evangelical Christians:




The Guardian

Pastors from the Las Vegas area pray with Donald Trump.

Evangelical Christianity

Abandoning Kurds could cost Trump support of evangelical Christians
One of the president’s staunchest constituencies has stuck by him through many controversies but Syria may be a policy lurch too far

Tom McCarthy in New York
@TeeMcSee
Fri 11 Oct 2019 02.00 EDT
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via Email
Evangelical Christian voters have been among Donald Trump’s most enthusiastic and reliable supporters. Trump’s recent rejection of asylum seekers and cuts to domestic food assistance programs have not stopped followers of Christ from flocking to the president.

A great schism, however, may finally be at hand. In drips that have become a gush, evangelical leaders this week have sharply criticized Trump’s decision to stand down US forces in northern Syria, warning that Turkey’s invasion of the region threatens America’s longstanding Kurdish allies and vulnerable Christian communities.

“It is very possible that the American withdrawal from the region will lead to the extinction of Christianity from the region,” Ashty Bahro, former director of the Evangelical Alliance of Kurdistan, told the Christianity Today news outlet.

'Betrayal leaves a bitter taste': spurned Kurds flee Turkish onslaught
“An invasion by Turkey into NE Syria would pose a grave threat to the region’s Kurds and Christians, endangering the prospects of true religious freedom in the Middle East,” tweeted the evangelical leader Tony Perkins, a Trump adviser.


The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) founder, Pat Robertson, described even more grave stakes in a broadcast on Monday.

“I believe … the president of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen,” Robertson said.

Despite warnings from domestic and international allies, Trump’s move allowed Turkey to launch a ground and air assault on Wednesday against Syria’s Kurds, who had been a crucial American ally in the fight against the Islamic State.

As Turkish planes bombed towns in north-eastern Syria, angry and terrified civilians fled, unsure of their futures. But another consequence of Trump’s decision is that losing the mandate of heaven could seriously hurt Trump’s re-election chances.

White evangelicals made up 26% of voters in the last presidential election and they voted 81% for Trump, according to Robert P Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and author of The End of White Christian America.

Trump has won the avowed love of evangelicals by appointing conservative judges, opening the way for new abortion restrictions, supporting Christian universities, moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and other measures.

With so much common ground, not all of Trump’s most high-profile evangelical allies have broken with him over Syria. The Liberty University president, Jerry Falwell Jr, who helped Trump seal the deal with evangelical voters as a 2016 campaign adviser, said Trump was “keeping his promise to keep America out of endless wars”.

Christian leader Jerry Falwell urges Trump support: 'He’s a moral person'
“The president has got to do what’s best for the country, whether it helps him with this phony impeachment inquiry or not,” Falwell told the Associated Press.

But other extremely loyal Trump allies have split with him, warning that Roman Catholic, Armenian and Syrian Orthodox churches in northern Syrian border cities such as Ras al-Ayn, which is in the crosshairs of the Turkish invasion, are under threat. Thousands of civilians have fled Turkish shelling in the area.

“Today I ask that you join me in praying for the lives affected by the White House decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria,” tweeted one evangelical pastor, Franklin Graham. “Both Democrat & Republican leaders are deeply concerned bc this would be, in essence, abandoning our closest allies there – the Kurdish people.”

“Hey @SpeakerPelosi,” tweeted the evangelical radio host Erick Erickson, “maybe do a vote to initiate impeachment STAT, have the committee get out articles by tonight and over to the Senate, and perhaps we’ll still have time to save some of the Kurds.”

“Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration,” tweeted the Republican senator Lindsey Graham. “This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS.”

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanuyahu, a deeply popular figure in the American evangelical community, joined the chorus.

“Israel strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies,” Netanyahu said. “Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people.”

But evangelical Christians are not ready to cast Trump out entirely. Earlier this week CBN News, America’s top Christian-themed media outlet, reported that Trump would be the keynote speaker this weekend at the Value Voters Summit, a huge political convention for evangelical Christians.

“Typically, when President Trump speaks to evangelical audiences, he receives multiple standing ovations,” the report said. “This Saturday will probably be more of the same because, even with the swirl of impeachment surrounding him, evangelicals have stood solidly behind the president so far.”

“So far.” The report went on to note evangelical “concern” about the Syria situation and concluded:

“President Trump will have an opportunity to explain his reasoning in front of this all-important voting block.”

© 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.



Counter argument to mistaken strategy of Syrian withdrawal:



Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

GLOBAL RESOURCES
5 Reasons Why Trump is Right About Getting America Out of Syria

RICHARD SOKOLSKY, AARON DAVID MILLER
JANUARY 03, 2019

LOS ANGELES TIMES
Source: Getty

Summary: Although the president’s failure to consult with Congress and allies in making the decision to withdraw from Syria was diplomatic malpractice, critics’ fears about the withdrawal are overblown.


Much of America’s foreign policy establishment, on both the right and the left, has been in an uproar over President Trump’s decision to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. If Trump’s critics are to be believed, it amounts to one of the worst foreign policy blunders in American history, a catastrophe for the nation’s interests and influence in the Middle East. Although the president’s failure to consult and coordinate with Congress and allies in making the decision was a head-spinning case of diplomatic and political malpractice, on balance, critics’ fears about the withdrawal are overblown.

Here are five reasons why.

Richard Sokolsky
Richard Sokolsky is a nonresident senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program. His work focuses on U.S. policy toward Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
THE ISLAMIC STATE “CALIPHATE” ISN’T GOING TO RETURN.
Islamic State now controls 1% of the territory it once held in Syria and Iraq. It has lost thousands of fighters and recruitment is down. Syria is not Iraq in 2011, where Islamic State militants advanced when there were no countervailing forces. The group’s fighters still confront thousands of determined Kurdish forces, and Syria, Iran, Israel, Turkey and Russia share a common interest in preventing an Islamic State resurgence. Jihadist attacks in northeast Syria will continue and could certainly contribute to keeping Syria unstable. But a continued U.S. military presence won’t change that, or eliminate the risk of a terrorist attack on the United States. Wiping out Islamic State was never realistic — the political, economic and sectarian grievances that inspire its fighters cannot be eliminated by military means alone, and the Trump administration refuses to invest in the kind of stabilization efforts that might address those issues.

ISRAEL AND THE KURDS CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT U.S. TROOPS IN SYRIA.
It’s true that the foothold that Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, have established in Syria threatens Israeli security. But Israel is capable of defending itself and is doing so by attacking Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria. “Our enemies understand our intelligence and air superiority,” said the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff after Trump’s announcement.

Aaron David Miller
Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, focusing on U.S. foreign policy.
As for the Kurds, U.S. officials always made it clear that Washington viewed its partnership with these fighters as transactional, temporary and tactical. It simply isn’t in U.S. interests to help carve out the autonomous enclave the Kurds seek in northeast Syria. That fight could lead to a direct military confrontation with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces or with our NATO ally Turkey, which sees the Syrian Kurds, allied as they are with the militant Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, as a mortal enemy. The major actors, including Turkey, have an interest in avoiding an all-out battle with the Kurds, who, in the wake of Trump’s decision, have begun to seek reconciliation with the Assad regime.

VITAL U.S. INTERESTS WON’T BE SACRIFICED WHEN THE TROOPS ARE WITHDRAWN.
The United States doesn’t have vital interests in Syria. This was true under President Obama just as it is under Trump. Yes, the Syrian war is a proxy conflict between the U.S. and Iran and Russia, and yes the war has had a horrific toll — hundreds of thousands of civilians killed, a massive refugee crisis, whole cities destroyed, terrorists sent around the world — but neither the White House, Congress nor the American public, after protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support a huge military and economic investment in Syria.

Syria is not a major source of oil. It does not pose an existential threat to Israel. The terrorist threat it poses to the United States has been inflated and is better handled by means other than military action. The country is so broken and dysfunctional that neither Russia nor Iran will be able to use its influence there as a springboard to establish hegemony in the Middle East.

AS U.S. TROOPS DEPART, RUSSIA AND IRAN AREN’T LEFT WITH A WIN.
Iran and Russia will dominate Syria as they have done for years. Both countries have always had a greater strategic stake in Syria than the U.S. and thus were more willing to accept a high price to protect their interests there. Now both will struggle with the difficulties of pacifying and reconstructing a war-torn state. With American forces in place, Putin and the Iranians could leave some of the dirty work of confronting the remnants of Islamic State to Washington; no longer. And with the U.S., a common adversary, gone, tensions between Iran and Russia could rise. The more Syria becomes a burden for Russia and Iran, the better for the United States.

AMERICAN CREDIBILITY HASN’T BEEN DESTROYED.
Any damage to the U.S. stems from our own reckless rhetoric and confused policy in Syria — we never committed to ousting Assad, pushing out Iran or helping the Syrian Kurds realize their political goals. Other U.S. allies and partners will judge America’s support based on how the U.S. responds to them individually, not on how Washington has behaved in a country where it has no vital interests.

Two U.S. presidents have failed to come up with an effective policy toward Syria and the Syrian civil war. Withdrawing 2,000 U.S. forces from a battlefield in which other powers have the will and resources to prevail may make Syria even messier than it is now. But keeping U.S. military forces in place with no serious, long-term strategy or attainable objectives to guide them would not make the situation significantly better. Syria was never America’s to win or lose, and getting out now is not a catastrophe.

This article was originally published in the Los Angeles Times.



SUPPORT THE GLOBAL THINK TANK
Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace

© 2019 All Rights Reserved
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Re: Trump enters the stage trouble in Minneapolis

Postby Meno_ » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:07 pm

Fox News

POLITICSPublished October 11, 2019 Last Update 7 hrs ago

Trump protest in Minneapolis erupts in pepper spray, MAGA hat fires





Hundreds of protesters outside President Trump’s rally in Minneapolis Thursday night set fire to Make America Great Again hats and other memorabilia in an effort to show their defiance to the current administration before police broke up the crowd, reports said.

There were reports that multiple protesters were arrested. One report indicated that protesters threw urine.

TRUMP BELITTLES BIDENS WITH GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AT MINNEAPOLIS RALLY, AS CHAOS UNFOLDS OUTSIDE ARENA

Cell phone video posted by Star Tribune reporter Chao Xiong showed Trump supporters walking through a crowd of protesters outside the Target Center in Minneapolis, shouting, “Lock him up” and “Shame on you.”

A reporter for The Washington Post posted a video on Twitter that appeared to show a protester punch a Trump supporter in the back of the head as he left the rally. The crowd can be heard shouting “Nazi scum! Off our streets!” The video shows a Trump supporter being followed by protesters before someone calls out “There’s a Nazi over here,” prompting the attack.

Continue Reading Below


The apparent Trump supporter was also slapped and pushed before eventually running to safety.


The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that police deployed pepper spray.

Police officers on horseback and bicycles formed a protective line in front of the arena, according to The Tribune. Officers with riot batons and shields also maneuvered through the crowd of protesters. The Post captured video of one Hispanic family who wore pro-Trump clothing departing from the rally as one protester shouted “He hates you!” The mother repeated “Mexicanos for Trump!" as she left the scene.

Trump arrived in Minnesota as polls show Americans' support rising for impeachment. Democrats claim he used his office to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens for his political gain. Trump insists that he was just making sure the country was doing its part to weed out corruption.

Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, who had a separate schedule of appearances in the state Trump is trying to tip his way next year.



Trump praised police officers during his rally. USA Today reported that Minneapolis police were not allowed to attend the rally in their uniforms, so they wore, "Cops For Trump" t-shirt


Fox News©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.



POLITICS NEWS

Trump loses appeal over House subpoena for financial records

The president has challenged the authority of the House Oversight Committee to obtain his tax returns.

SHARE THIS —

Oct. 11, 2019, 10:35 AM ET

By Dartunorro Clark

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has affirmed a lower court’s ruling rejecting President Donald Trump's challenge to a subpoena from House Democrats seeking the president’s tax returns.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee — chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. — subpoenaed 10 years of Trump's financial records from accounting firm Mazars USA and the Trump Organization in April.

The subpoena was prompted by the testimony of Trump's former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, who told Congress that Trump inflated and deflated the value of his assets for his personal benefit.

The president has attempted to block the subpoena, challenging the authority of the committee to obtain his financial records.

This is a breaking story, please check back for updates.



Dartunorro Clark is a political reporter for NBC News.

© 2019 NBC UNIVERSAL



And now another happening in DC,
that's worth noting.

IMMIGRATION
Judge rules Trump violated the law on wall funding with national emergency
The president ordered that money for Pentagon construction projects would be used instead for the barrier on Mexico's border.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:45 pm

Democracy Dies in Darkness

National Security

Trump defends Giuliani amid reports of federal investigation



By John Hudson 

October 12, 2019 at 12:21 PM EDT

President Trump defended his personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani on Saturday amid reports that federal prosecutors are investigating whether the former New York City mayor broke lobbying laws in his efforts to oust the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yavonovitch.

“So now they are after the legendary ‘crime buster’ and greatest Mayor in the history of NYC, Rudy Giuliani,” Trump tweeted. “He may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and wonderful lawyer.”



We dig deeper.


Trump IS a genius, true, but manageable?

Everyone is merely fired, or give up from exhaustion.




Andrew McCarthy: Bad impeachment news for Trump – GOP senators enraged by Turkey’s invasion of Syria
Andrew McCarthy By Andrew McCarthy |
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Re: Trump enters the stage political punches and counterpunc

Postby Meno_ » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:18 pm

The election is gearing up as more swamp sort is thrown around.


Hunter Biden
is stepping down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity company and promising to forgo all foreign work if his father, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is elected president in 2020.”

Hunter Biden and his father are the victims of a smear campaign by the most corrupt president in history, who falsely alleges that Joe Biden intervened in Ukraine to protect his son who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma. (“Trump has alleged that Vice President Biden in 2016 threatened to withhold billions of dollars in loan guarantees unless Ukraine fired the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, as a way to quash the probe and help his son. But U.S. and Ukrainian officials said the investigation at the time was dormant and that Shokin was fired for the opposite reason: failing to fight corruption.”)



Sure Russia supports Trump, after all who is to gain from the Syrian withdrawal?

Seriously this is no rocket science, but is this merely a revision to ultimately unify and collude a universally valid supposition for the need to strengthen to stabilize world politic?

Can not be appreciated toward the view that Trump was unaware of recordings made of hoi international head of state telephone calls.

The hotline is still in effect, after all.
Meno_
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Re: Trump enters the stage political punches and counterpunc

Postby Meno_ » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:54 pm

Meno_ wrote:The election is gearing up as more swamp sort is thrown around.


Hunter Biden
is stepping down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity company and promising to forgo all foreign work if his father, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is elected president in 2020.”

Hunter Biden and his father are the victims of a smear campaign by the most corrupt president in history, who falsely alleges that Joe Biden intervened in Ukraine to protect his son who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma. (“Trump has alleged that Vice President Biden in 2016 threatened to withhold billions of dollars in loan guarantees unless Ukraine fired the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, as a way to quash the probe and help his son. But U.S. and Ukrainian officials said the investigation at the time was dormant and that Shokin was fired for the opposite reason: failing to fight corruption.”)



Sure Russia supports Trump, after all who is to gain from the Syrian withdrawal?

Seriously this is no rocket science, but is this merely a revision to ultimately unify and collude a universally valid supposition for the need to strengthen to stabilize world politic?

Can not be appreciated toward the view that Trump was unaware of recordings made of hoi international head of state telephone calls.

The hotline is still in effect, after all.











RED PHONE

This Hotline Could Keep the U.S. and Russia From Cyberwar


U.S. intelligence officials are looking to Washington-Moscow hotline as a last-ditch crisis channel that might just prevent a cataclysmic online showdown.

Erin Banco
National Security Reporter
Kevin Poulsen
Sr. National Security Correspondent
Updated 03.07.19 4:38AM ET Published 02.23.19 9:19PM ET


As concerns mount that Russia will unleash hackers and online disinformation brigades to wreak havoc in another American election, senior U.S. officials are taking a second look at a technology handed down from the age of Gorbachev and Reagan: an emergency “hotline” between officials in the U.S. and Russia that might someday pull both countries back from the brink of an all out cyberwar.

The secure messaging system, known colloquially in the White House as the “cyberhotline,” already exists. It was set up in 2013—building off a Cold War messaging system, in fact—in the hope that it might facilitate conversations between the two countries during a crisis in cyberspace, where the identities and intentions of attackers are often muddled. So far it’s been used only once, in the waning days of the Obama administration, when the White House’s cyberchief fired off a carefully worded warning to Moscow not to attack the “infrastructure” for the 2016 election.


Since then, the U.S. has invested in developing a Cold War-style deterrence capability in cyberspace, and military brass have publicly touted their willingness to respond to foreign cyberaggression in kind. But with that sharper stick comes greater risk of a misunderstanding that might lead to an escalating conflict online. So intelligence officials in the Trump administration are talking about using the cyberhotline as a last-ditch crisis channel that might just prevent the electronic equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis, according to three U.S. officials.

“Everything has been laid out on the table, all sorts of options of dealing with this cybersecurity threat. The hotline is something that came up in the context of us needing to really face this issue head on—and to know that Russia has received the message,” said one senior intelligence official. “It’s the option we would use if we felt like all the other options weren’t working and if the crisis was escalating quickly. We’ve seen no signs that Russia has stopped meddling."

There are ongoing concerns in the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that Russia, among other countries, is continuing to to stir trouble in U.S. politics and is actively planning to meddle in the 2020 presidential elections, according to three individuals with first-hand knowledge of reports drawn up within the last six months. (The FBI declined to comment for this story, and DHS didn’t respond to multiple written and telephone requests for comment.)

But while the Justice Department continues its prosecutions of Russian intelligence officers for their roles in the 2016 election and the military continues to prepare for a possible cyberwar, national security policymakers are grappling with a pair of beyond-thorny questions: How do we stave off another Russian attack on U.S. elections? And what do we do to keep any attack from becoming a cataclysm? Warning Russia directly through an official channel could provide at least some answers.


“I would expect to see some of that same Russian activity to occur again. I think the hotline is a useful tool to raise concerns,” said Michael Daniel, the former White House cybersecurity adviser and president and CEO of the Cyber Threat Alliance. “I am certain at some point the U.S. will use it again.”

Daniel was there for the first and only time the hotline has been used so far.

It was October 2016, not long before the voting for president was set to begin. According to Daniel, the Obama White House decided to warn President Vladimir Putin that it had gathered intelligence that indicated Russia was attempting to disrupt the U.S. election.

"We didn’t have full knowledge and understanding of the scope of the social media and disinformation work,” Daniel said. “We were focused on the threats to the actual infrastructure.”

The decision to contact Russia through the established hotline included a slew of top-level cabinet secretaries, including then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

Discussions about when and how to contact Russia spanned weeks, according to four former National Security Council staffers.

“There was a process at the staff level to approve the actual content to make sure we were sending the right message,” Daniel said, adding that no one in the administration knew if or how Russia would respond to the communication.

“The fact that we were using it to communicate our concerns about the potential for Russia using cyber-means to disrupt the election,” he added. “We knew it would convey how serious we were about this issue.”

“It’s the option we would use if we felt like all the other options weren’t working and if the crisis was escalating quickly. We’ve seen no signs that Russia has stopped meddling.”
— U.S. intelligence official
The message, which was carefully crafted into an agreed template between the U.S. and Russia, eventually made its way to staffers at the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center (NRRC) at the State Department.

The U.S. and Russia created the center in 1987 as a way to establish a direct line of communication in the event of looming nuclear war. More than a quarter-century later, Washington and Moscow signed an agreement to establish the cyberhotline—one tacked on to the old NRRC messaging system and an additional voice line that would extend between the U.S. Cybersecurity Coordinator in the White House and the Russian Deputy Secretary of the Security Council.

“It was a big deal… just like in the cold war, the way you handle nuclear, and now cyber, is to ease involuntary escalation,” said Chris Painter who served as the top U.S. “cyberdiplomat” at the State Department from 2011 to 2017.

Once the 2016 message left the NRRC system, Daniel and his team received notice that it had been delivered to the Kremlin.

“And then, we waited,” Daniel said, adding that everyone involved in the crafting of the message went back to their daily routines.

“It took a couple of days,” he said. “Then, we heard back. Their message was, ‘We need more information.’ That was the last of the communication.”

Two other former National Security Council staffers said that a voice hotline was also used to communicate with the Kremlin about election meddling.

The cyberhotline idea came to fruition in 2013 amid growing concerns in the U.S. administration that its relationship with Russia was on a crash course.

“The hotline was a symbolic gesture that could be used to help build a relationship with Russia and in the event of a real emergency, the administration and Moscow could… chat,” said one former State Department official.

The voice line, Painter said, “was something the Russians wanted… No matter how bad things get between Russia and the United States, it is always answered.”

But the discussions that led to the implementation of the cyberhotlines—the messaging systems and the actual voice line—took several rounds of official talks between the U.S. and Russia.

According to former officials, there was a fundamental disagreement on what cybersecurity meant to Washington and to Russia.


The Pentagon Has Prepared a Cyberattack Against Russia
Center For Public Integrity

“On our side, cybersecurity means protecting the integrity of information systems, protecting infrastructure that could be damaged through cyberintrusions,” one former official in the State Department said. “The Russians have a much broader definition of cybersecurity. That’s where you get things like monitoring communications of private citizens.”

A former staffer on the National Security Council told The Daily Beast that the voice lines between the White House and the Kremlin were open and at times active during the Obama administration. White House communications personnel conducted a radio check with Russia each day to ensure the lines were working, the source said.

“One of the things we were all trying to figure out at the time is how to get in touch with the Kremlin if anything ever happened or if there was an emergency,” a former official told The Daily Beast. “I remember one of the IT guys that worked in the White House telling me, ‘I can get you a line with anyone in Russia, you just have to tell me who you want to talk to.’”

But there were no real conversations until that day in October 2016.

“Even before we had full awareness of what Russia was doing, it was always going to be difficult to talk about,” said one former State Department official. “We use cyber against each other for espionage and other things. There’s not a lot of trust there to begin with.”

Today, the White House is insisting that it is doing everything it can to prevent a hack of the American political system.

“The Trump administration is working across all levels of government to help protect America’s elections from foreign interference,” said Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council. “These efforts build on the administration’s support to states during past elections.”

But officials inside the administration are worried that Trump might somehow interfere with or block the communications channels..

“There’s no one willing to bring up Russia in meetings with the president,” one former official from the intelligence community said. “Whether it has to do with elections or sanctions—it’s just not something that gets discussed with him in front of large intelligence briefings or meetings.”

“There’s no one who is willing to bring up Russia in meetings with the president. It’s just not something that gets discussed with him in front of large intelligence briefings.”
— Former U.S. intelligence official
For the most part, Russia has been uncooperative in cases of Russian hackers victimizing American companies and individuals, said Luke Dembosky, a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton. Dembosky is a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for National Security who was stationed in Moscow for nearly three years as the Justice Department’s cyberattaché to Russia.

And, he said, more needs to be done to establish a working relationship with Russia to avoid another cyberfiasco.

“There’s little-to-no cooperation on the day-to-day stuff. The relationships aren’t in place for when something really bad happens,” he said. “You can set up all the hotlines you want but unless there’s some trust between the two countries, it’s going to result in failure.”

—with additional reporting by Anna Nemtsova in Moscow


Erin Banco
National Security Reporter


Kevin Poulsen
Sr. National Security Correspondent
@kpoulsen


CONFUSION REIGNS

U.S. ‘Withdraws’ Forces to Let Turks Advance on America's Allies
Spencer Ackerman
Justin Baragona
Barbie Latza Nadeau
Updated 10.13.19 3:08PM ET Published 10.13.19 11:18AM ET
In the latest surge of anti-war rhetoric from the Trump administration, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. is launching a “deliberate withdrawal” of American forces from northern Syria, but refused to say how long it will take.

“We want to conduct it safely and quickly as possible,” Esper told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday morning, adding, “I’m not prepared to put a timeline on it, but that’s our general game plan.”

Two knowledgeable U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that the troops are just withdrawing further away from the advance of Turkish forces massacring the Syrian Kurds whom America relied upon to destroy the so-called Islamic State’s caliphate.

There are currently 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria. A knowledgeable U.S. official said hundreds of those troops, without further specificity, will leave Syria for elsewhere in the Mideast. Following a pullout from two northern Syrian observation posts last week, the U.S. will now retreat further away from the area Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invaded.

Esper said that President Donald Trump gave the withdrawal order because Turkish forces are pushing further south into Syria and Kurdish forces are trying to cut a deal with Syria and Russia to counter-attack.

“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said.

But as Esper made clear, the order affects only the north and there will still be American forces in the rest of Syria even as Trump—who separately has ordered about 14,000 U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf region over the past six months—rails against the disastrous, bloody and interminable U.S. misadventure in the Middle East over the past generation.

A U.S. official told CNN that U.S. policy “has failed” and that the campaign in Syria to defeat ISIS is “over for now,” giving the terrorist group “a second lease on life with nearly 100,000 [people] who will re-join their jihad.”

The mixed messaging by the Trump administration is making it difficult for even his most ardent supporters to help unravel his foreign policy on Syria as it spins out of control.

Just days after Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria where they have been providing weapons and cover to allied Kurdish fighters on the border between Turkey and Syria, Turkey began a military incursion that has sent the region into a level of chaos it has not seen in recent years.

The Daily Beast first reported Friday that claims made by the Trump administration that U.S. troops had been withdrawn were false. “We are out of there. We’ve been out of there for a while,” Trump said Wednesday. “No soldiers whatsoever.” Two officials told The Daily Beast that in fact the U.S. military had only pulled back–not completely out–of northern Syria. They had simply abandoned two small observation posts from which they supported Kurdish allies in the fight against Islamic State fighters.

ENDLESS
Trump Says U.S. Troops Have Quit Syria. It’s Not True.
Spencer Ackerman

Trump then tweeted that he had been talking with Senator Lindsey Graham (R–SC), who had been highly critical of Trump’s decision to remove troops. “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration. This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS,” Graham warned Wednesday. “I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time by going back to the safe zone concept that was working.”

Graham later tweeted that any sanctions had to be serious. “The conditional sanctions announced today will be viewed by Turkey as a tepid response and will embolden Erdogan even more,” Graham tweeted Friday. “The Turkish government needs to know Congress will take a different path–passing crippling sanctions in a bipartisan fashion.”

But in a Sunday morning tweet, the president wrote that he was working with Graham “and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey.”

He then added: “Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”

Turkey has warned that any threats of sanctions would be met with the release of millions of refugees along the border between Turkey and Syria into Europe. Trump told reporters at the White House earlier this week that it did not concern him. “Well they're going to be escaping to Europe,” he said. “That’s where they want to go, they want to go back to their homes.”

2. Here is a screengrab from a pro-ISIS channel on the app Telegram, as ISIS rejoices at the “bushra” (good news) regarding the liberation of their supporters at Ain Issa: pic.twitter.com/RyvI08ZDKR

— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) October 13, 2019
On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that up to 700 ISIS sympathizers did escape the Ain Eissa camp, which holds up 12,000 people caught up in years of unrest. Most of those who escaped are ISIS brides and children, but officials warn that they could be part of a resurgence of the so-called Islamic state. Several known ISIS fighters were also spotted fighting in the current conflict, according to CNN which said at least five fighters had escaped the notorious Ghuwairan prison due to heavy shelling in the area.

During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—who has been one of the president’s most vocal defenders regarding the Syria decision—called it a “messy, complicated situation” while saying the president was right to move soldiers out of the way because “Turkey was coming in one way or another.” When host Chuck Todd noted that U.S. soldiers near the Turkish border were serving as a deterrent to an Erdogan invasion, Paul retorted “they were until they weren’t.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin repeated Paul’s line that this is a “complicated situation” when asked on ABC’s This Week why the administration hasn’t imposed sanctions on Turkey yet.

“We are ready to go on a moment’s notice to put on sanctions,” Mnuchin said. “As I said, these sanctions could be starting small. They could be maximum pressure which would destroy the Turkish economy. The president is very focused on this. He’s offered to mediate the situation.”

Mnunchin also pushed back on criticism from those within the president’s own party. In response to Graham and others saying sanctions would be a tepid reaction to Turkey, Mnuchin stated that this is a “multi-step process” and the administration needs to make sure “we have the proper authorizations.”

The treasury chief, meanwhile, was asked what the president was talking about when he criticized the Kurds for not storming the beaches at Normandy alongside America. Mnuchin asserted Trump’s analogy was that he was pushing back on everyone “saying the Kurds are these long-standing allies” and that our role in Syria “was not to defend the Kurds.”

On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said that while he wished the president’s decision had “been different,” he feels that we tend to “oversimplify the complicated relationships” in the region. He went on to say this wasn’t a “binary choice” as both the Turks and Kurds are considered allies. As for whether the U.S. was retreating from the area and allowing the Turks to invade northern Syria, Cramer said “we can’t be in the middle of every skirmish in the neighborhood.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-NY), meanwhile, told Meet the Press that while he is working on a bipartisan bill that will slap sanctions on Turkey and condemn the president’s policy as it relates to the Kurds, he acknowledges that “it’s not going to stop” the Turks now. Asked whether it’s too late to do anything at this point, Engel seemed to resign himself to that notion.

“We could mitigate the damage,” he told Todd. “Of course, it’s spiraling quickly. And what’s happened, of course, is a lot of ISIS prisoners, we’ve gotten reports that they have been released or they’ve escaped and so this is just the tip of the iceberg. And if we think this is terrible, I predict we will have many, many more days, weeks and months of terrible things like this.”

Elsewhere on Meet the Press, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that we could see the revival of ISIS in the area, noting the Syrian Democratic Forces were the ones who largely fought the Islamic State in Syria. If we don’t keep pressure on, ISIS will resurge,” Mattis said. “It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”

We also heard from one of the Democratic presidential candidates. During his State of the Union interview, South Bend Mayor and Afghanistan War veteran Pete Buttigieg insisted Trump was “systematically destroying American allies and American values.”

“What’s even more disturbing to me as a veteran is hearing from soldiers who feel they have lost their honor over this, who feel they are unable to look in the eye [of] allies who put their lives on line to fight with us,” he added. “If you take away a soldier’s honor, you might as well go after their body armor next, that is what the commander-in-chief is doing.
© 2019 The Daily Beast Company LLC


More troubling : Demonstrations in front of White House



U.S.



By Christina Zhao On 10/13/19 at 8:42 PM EDT 

U.S. DONALD TRUMPPROTESTERS WHITE HOUSE

Protesters gathered outside the White House and loudly chanted "impeach Trump" as they held up signs condemning Donald Trump on Sunday, while other demonstrators greeted the president's motorcade as he arrived at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.

Julio Rosas, a senior writer for conservative news website Townhall.com, on Sunday afternoon shared images and videos of the anti-Trump protest as it unfolded outside the White House. "Last Sunday it was the impeach Kavanaugh protest. Today it's the Women's March's impeach Trump protest," he tweeted.

The protest is part of a nationwide movement organized by The Women's March and By The People, which aims to encourage elected congressional lawmakers to impeach Trump over his involvement in the Ukraine scandal. "Trump and his administration have been wielding the executive branch to undermine our democracy, divide Americans against each other, and enrich and empower themselves," a websitefor the protests reads.

In another video, shared by Twitter user @debramayberry, a large crowd of protesters can be seen holding up signs and banging drums as they chanted "impeach Trump" to the beat.

"Repulsive. No dictators here," one of the signs reads. Another said: "Congress do your jobs. Impeach now!"

Meanwhile, a smaller group of protesters gathered outside the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia to greet the president's motorcade as it arrived at the location. United Press International (UPI), an international news agency, shared a photoof the event taken by Yuri Gripas which showed the protesters holding up signs that read "traitor" and "Trump's despicable" as the president's motorcade passed by. The New Yorker also confirmed the incident on Sunday.

The protests come amid an ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump, announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late last month. At the heart of the proceedings is a July phone call made between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which the U.S. president asked his foreign counterpart to investigate the family of his 2020 domestic rival former Vice President Joe Biden.



A partial transcription of the conversation, released by the White House one day after Pelosi announced the formal impeachment inquiry, proved that Trump had urged Zelensky to probe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and revealed that he had even offered his own administration's Attorney General to assist in the investigation.

As congressional Democrats continued to gather information for the ongoing impeachment inquiry, Trump abruptly shifted policy last week and withdrew some U.S. troops out of areas in northern Syria. The U.S. forces were deployed to support Kurdish troops in fighting the Islamic State (ISIS.) Shortly after Trump announced the decision, Turkey began its offensive against Kurdish forces in the area.

Trump's decision has since evolved into another major controversy for the president's administration, with bipartisan lawmakers in Congress—including some of Trump's usually-staunch supporters—sharply criticizing the move.

This story has been updated to include information about the White House protest's oragnizers.












On another front:


Trump says ‘treason.’ His fans invoke violence. How attacks against Schiff are escalating online.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) talks to reporters about canceling a session with Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who was set to appear before the panel, which is investigating President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

By Isaac Stanley-Becker 

October 14, 2019 at 9:28 AM EDT

Hours after President Trump mused online about whether the Democratic lawmaker leading the impeachment inquiry should be “arrested for treason,” a 53-year-old mother of four in Wisconsin retweeted Trump’s post to her few hundred followers and added her own take.

“SHIFTY SHIFF NEEDS TO BE HUNG,” wrote Jean Spanbauer, a onetime supporter of President Barack Obama. She had adopted Trump’s epithet for Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), slightly misspelling his name.



 
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Turkey and other matters

Postby Meno_ » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:13 pm

Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan quiet after Trump demands ceasefire, issues sanctions

KIM HJELMGAARD |USA TODAY | 9 minutes ago

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said it was an "impulsive" decision by Turkish President Erdogan to invade northern Syria and it will further destabilize the region and put America's Syrian Kurdish partners "in harm's way". (Oct. 11)

AP, AP

Turkey pressed on with its incursions into Syria on Tuesday as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remained quiet amid the Trump administration’s demands for an immediate ceasefire as well as its economic sanctions and threats to punish Turkish officials.

President Donald Trump's request to Erdogan to halt the advance was revealed by Vice President Mike Pence, who said he would travel to the Middle East this week. 

Trump made the demand in a Monday phone call with Erdogan. 

About 1,000 U.S. troops Trump ordered to leave Syria will remain in the Middle East to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State group, Trump said late Monday as he announced the economic sanctions on Turkey. 

In a written statement, Trump said the troops will "redeploy and remain in the region."

While he said the troops will leave Syria entirely, a small number will remain at a base in southern Syria to "monitor the situation" and prevent a "repeat of 2014," when Islamic State fighters took control of large parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq.

Erdogan has not responded to the move, although in anop-ed in The Wall Street Journalpublished late Monday around the time Trump unveiled the sanctions he wrote that his "administration concluded that the international community wasn’t going to act, so we developed a plan for northern Syria."

The sanctions Trump is putting on Turkey are aimed at pressuring Turkey's leader to halt a military offensive in Syria against Kurdish forces it views as a terrorist threat. The sanctions put a freeze on trade negotiations and raise steel tariffs on Turkey. Trump said Monday that he will also soon sign an executive order permitting sanctions to be imposed on current and former Turkish officials.



Trump did not specify whether an invitation he made for Erdogan to visit the White House next month would be rescinded. Erdogan had already accepted the invitation.   

Dozens of civilians have been killed in Turkey's operation so far, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a conflict-monitoring group. 

Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands have banned arms sales to Turkey. 

The United Nations says that at least 160,000 civilians have been displaced since the Turkish offensive began on Oct. 9. Northeast Syria was already facing a humanitarian crisis before the Turkish invasion, with several million women, children and men in the region in need of assistance and tens of thousands of vulnerable people who fled the battlefields of the Islamic State group living in makeshift camps. 

Some of these camps also acted as detention centers for captured Islamic State militants. U.S. troops had been assisting Syrian Kurds to fight the Islamic State group since 2014. When Trump ordered troops to withdraw from northern Syria, it cleared the way for Turkey’s invasion. Ankara considers these Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish groups in Turkey.

Turkey wants to create a "safe zone" where it can resettle as many as two million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey. The area would also act as a buffer against Syria's Kurds, according to Turkey's government. 

Trump’s move has been characterized at home and abroad as a betrayal of an ally and Syria's Kurds say that because of the U.S. withdrawal they have been forced to strike a deal with the government forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad to fend off the Turkish invasion and prevent a massacre of Syrian Kurds.

It is a move that represents a potentially significant shift in Syria's eight-year-old civil war, not least because Assad's regime is allied with Russian military forces who have waged a deadly bombing campaign in Syria on its behalf. 

Russia's foreign ministry said Tuesday that its military is patrolling areas "along the line of contact" between Assad's forces and Turkey's military. The U.S. military confirmed that it is continuing a "deliberate withdrawal" from the area. 

A video circulating on social media on Tuesday appeared to show a Russian-speaking man videoing himself inside what he claims is a recently abandoned U.S. military base in Manbij, Syria. U.S. forces confirmedthey left Manbij on Tuesday. 

Alexander Lavrentiev, Russia's envoy for Syria, told reporters in Abu Dhabi during an official visit there by Russian President Vladimir Putin, that Turkey's military offensive in northeast Syria was "unacceptable," according to Russian news agencies. 



© Copyright Gannett 2019



The future in a looking glass
-----------------------------------------------

Trump is on his way to an easy win in 2020, according to Moody's accurate election model

Jeff Cox | @JeffCoxCNBCcom

Published 1 Hour Ago Updated 32 Mins AgoCNBC.com

President Donald Trump will win re-election easily in 2020 if the economy holds up, modeling by Moody's Analytics shows.

"If voters were to vote primarily on the basis of their pocketbooks, the president would steamroll the competition," the report states.

Three models show Trump getting at least 289 electoral votes and as many as 351, assuming average turnout.

The Moody's models have been backtested to 1980 and were correct each time — except in 2016, when it indicated Clinton would win a narrow victory.

President Donald Trump looks likely to cruise to re-election next year under three different economic models Moody's Analytics employed to gauge the 2020 race.

Barring anything unusual happening, the president's Electoral College victory could easily surpass his 2016 win over Democrat Hillary Clinton, which came by a 304-227 count.

Moody's based its projections on how consumers feel about their own financial situation, the gains the stock market has achieved during Trump's tenure, and the prospects for unemployment, which has fallen to a 50-year low. Should those variables hold up, the president looks set to get another four-year term.

The modeling has been highly accurate going back to the 1980 election, missing only once.

"If the economy a year from now is the same as it is today, or roughly so, then the power of incumbency is strong and Trump's election odds are very good, particularly if Democrats aren't enthusiastic and don't get out to vote," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics and co-author of the paper along with Dan White, the firm's director of government counseling and public finance research, and Bernard Yaros, assistant director and economist. "It's about turnout."

Three models show Trump getting at least 289 electoral votes, assuming average turnout. His chances decrease with maximum turnout on the Democratic side and increase with minimum turnout expected.

Of the three models, he does best under the "pocketbook" measure of how people feel about their finances. In that scenario, assuming average nonincumbent turnout, he gets 351 electoral votes to the generic Democrat's 187. "Record turnout is vital to a Democratic victory," the report states.



In the stock market model, Trump gets a 289-249 edge, while the unemployment model shows a 332-206 advantage. Across all three models, Trump wins 324-214.

"Our 'pocket¬book' model is the most economically driven of the three. If voters were to vote primarily on the basis of their pocketbooks, the president would steamroll the competition," the report states. "This shows the importance that prevailing economic sentiment at the household level could hold in the next election."

Stock market levels also are key, and the two are intertwined. Zandi said that even a garden-variety 12% market correction around election time could sway the race, as could an unexpected downturn in the economy.

The results might come as a surprise given Trump's consistently low favorability ratings — 40% in the latest Gallup poll — and as most head-to-head matchups against Democrats show the president losing.

However, the report said that Trump's relatively stable ratings help provide a good benchmark for how he will do once election time comes.

Zandi said the race could come down a few key counties in Pennsylvania, which Trump flipped in 2016 after the state had voted Democrat in the previous five presidential elections.



Specifically, he said Luzerne County, in the northeast part of the state, "is the single-most important county, no kidding, in the entire election." The longtime Democratic stronghold favored Trump, 51.8% to 46.8% in the election.

Trump doesn't even have to win the county, but merely needs a strong turnout, Zandi said.

The Moody's models have been backtested to 1980 and were correct each time — except in 2016, when it indicated Clinton would win a narrow victory. The authors attributed "unexpected turnout patterns" in Trump's favor caused the error and they adjusted for that in the latest projections. They also said the will be updating the projections as conditions develop and change.



© 2019 CNBC LLC. All Rights Reserved. A Division of NBCUniversal



And this :



Trump’s impeachment barricade crumbles

Key witnesses are ignoring Trump and delivering bombshell testimony in Democrats’ Ukraine investigation.



Former White House adviser Fiona Hill leaves Capitol Hill after giving closed-door testimony to a panel of impeachment investigators. | Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

By KYLE CHENEY and ANDREW DESIDERIO




Donald Trump's impeachment blockade has collapsed.

The president's former top Russia adviser, Fiona Hill — the first White House official to cooperate in Democrats' investigation of the Ukraine scandal — has detailed for lawmakers a trail of alleged corruption that extends from Kyiv to the West Wing. In dramatic testimony on Monday, she roped insome of Trump's top advisers as witnesses to the unfolding controversy.

And on Tuesday, a senior State Department official, George Kent, testified for nearly 10 hours about his knowledge of the episode despite an attempt by Trump administration lawyers to block him, according to a source working on the impeachment inquiry. The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena for his testimony Tuesday morning, and Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, complied.

According to people familiar with his testimony, Kent told House impeachment investigators that he was alarmed at the role Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, was playing in Ukraine. In particular, one lawmaker in the room said Kent was concerned because the president was apparently listening to Giuliani, who had mounted a months-long campaign to discredit Joe Biden on unfounded charges.

“He was concerned at the undue influence a private attorney — not an official with the United States government and not someone charged with the responsibility of U.S. relations with Ukraine — was exerting, and that Giuliani was listening to discredited sources and had ties to some questionable characters in Ukraine, and nonetheless had the ear of the president,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said in a brief interview as he emerged from Kent’s deposition.

Kent’s appearance on Tuesday was just the latest evidence that the White House’s stonewalling against congressional requests for documents and testimony is crumbling — and Democrats now have a new sense of momentum.

“The walls are closing in. The details we are learning about the shadow foreign policy operation Trump has been running to benefit himself personally are stunning.”

- Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)

“Thank you to patriots like @realDonaldTrump appointee Fiona Hill who chose to ignore the obstruction from Trump and gave testimony to Congress today,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). “The truth will keep coming out. And Trump cannot stop it.”

In closed-door testimony described by a source in the room, Hill said she raised concerns with White House officials over Giuliani’s campaign to pressure Ukrainian officials to probe Trump’s political rivals.

Hill said she shared her concerns with then-national security adviser John Bolton, who encouraged her to report her concerns about Giuliani's efforts to a National Security Council lawyer. She told House impeachment investigators that she met with the lawyer, John Eisenberg, twice. Hill also connected Giuliani's efforts to Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and said Bolton characterized their efforts on Ukraine as a “drug deal.”

According to a source in the room Monday, Hill said Bolton compared Giuliani to “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”


And the flood of damaging information isn’t subsiding.

As lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, a growing number of witnesses are poised this week to describe their own roles in the controversy, even as the White House has vowed not to engage with House Democrats’ “illegitimate” impeachment effort.

On Wednesday, Michael McKinley, who abruptly resigned last week as a top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, intends to testify before lawmakers.

On Thursday, lawmakers are expected to hear from Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union whose text messages revealed by lawmakers indicated he was aware of efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden. Sondland reportedly is ready to deflect any blame onto Trump about whether there was a quid pro quo involving military aid to Ukraine or a meeting between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart in Washington.

Congressional investigators on Friday will hear from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper, who oversees Russia- and Ukraine-related matters at the Pentagon.

But despite the series of breakthroughs, Democrats still face resistance from the White House to some of their high-level requests.

When asked whether Trump's budget office had planned to comply with a Tuesday subpoena deadline for documents, a senior administration official would not comment, instead pointing to a White House letter last week that deemed the House impeachment probe “unconstitutional” in part because there has not been a House vote authorizing the inquiry.

Meanwhile, Giuliani, who is facing a mounting set of legal woes, parted wayswith his attorney Jon Sale on Tuesday after Sale sent a letter to the three key investigative committees stating that Giuliani would not comply with a congressional subpoena seeking documents. Sale wrote that the subpoena was “overbroad” and “unduly burdensome.

“Jon has done what I retained him for,” Giuliani told POLITICO.

An official working on the impeachment inquiry slammed the former New York City mayor and said his refusal to comply with the subpoena would be treated as evidence of obstruction and of a cover-up.

“If Rudy Giuliani and the president truly have nothing to hide about their actions, Giuliani will comply — otherwise, we will be forced to consider this as additional evidence of obstruction, and may infer that the evidence withheld would substantiate the accusations of President Trump’s misconduct and efforts to cover it up,” the official said.

Similarly, Vice President Mike Pence rejected House Democrats’ request for Ukraine-related documents, a demand which also had a deadline of Tuesday. Pence’s counsel, Matthew E. Morgan, echoed the White House’s position that the impeachment inquiry is illegitimate. A subpoena to Pence is likely to follow.

The Pentagon, too, rejected a subpoena seeking documents. In a letter to Democratic committee chairs, the Defense Department’s legislative affairs chief also cited the White House’s view on the impeachment inquiry.

But the recent spate of witness interviews underscores how the president’s once-impenetrable barrier to meaningful testimony in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry has been blown apart.

“The walls are closing in. The details we are learning about the shadow foreign policy operation Trump has been running to benefit himself personally are stunning,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “Why have a democracy, if we allow this to happen without consequence?”

Though Hill's testimony was the most damning to date, she wasn't the first to put a crack in Trump’s wall.



Earlier this month, former NATO Ambassador Kurt Volker provided text messages between himself and other diplomats in which they described concerns that Trump was using a potential White House visit for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and possibly even military aid, as a cudgel to force the besieged country to probe Biden. Volker testified for nine hours to lawmakers and aides behind closed doors. Trump has forcefully denied any “quid pro quo” occurred.

Last Friday, Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified about her abrupt removal by Trump, which came amid a smear campaign by Trump's allies that accused her of disloyalty. Yovanovitch's ouster in May infuriated senior State Department officials, and she testified that the ability of bad actors to engineer her removal could be exploited by foreign adversaries.

Kent served under Yovanovitch in Ukraine for three years. A former State Department official said Kent is “able to peel back layers of the onion that many people can’t,” and he is likely to speak out against Yovanovitch’s ouster. Connolly said Kent “implicitly” defended Yovanovitch during his testimony.

House Republicans have said little about the substance of Hill's testimony but have complained vehemently about Democrats’ decision to hold witness interviews behind closed doors. They contend a matter as weighty as the potential impeachment of a president should be conducted publicly.

Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has countered, arguing that the secrecy surrounding the initial interviews is meant to prevent witnesses from aligning their statements. Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Schiff said public hearings would soon follow the evidence-gathering phase of the impeachment inquiry.

Caitlin Emma, Darren Samuelsohn and Nahal Toosi contributed to this report.



© 2019 POLITICO LLC


The electability of Trump is way up in polls, therefore who do the Dems pull out of the hat?

Another high profile big hitter. Smart move, since those running up to now, appear lack luster.

Fox News

OPINIONPublished October 15, 2019
Doug Schoen: Hillary vs. Trump in 2020? If Clinton is serious, here's best way for her to defeat the president
Douglas E. Schoen By Douglas E. Schoen | Fox News




After months out of the limelight, Hillary Clinton has reentered the public sphere, leading to a great deal of speculation about whether the former Democratic presidential candidate is seriously considering a rematch against President Trump in 2020.

The speculation surrounding whether Clinton would mount another presidential run has even caught the attention of President Trump, who took to Twitter on Wednesday to bash both Clinton and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the current Democratic frontrunner.

“I think that Crooked Hillary Clinton should enter the race to try and steal it away from Uber Left Elizabeth Warren,” Trump tweeted. “Only one condition. The Crooked one must explain all of her high crimes and misdemeanors including how & why she deleted 33,000 Emails AFTER getting ‘C’ Subpoena!”

MICHAEL GOODWIN: HILLARY CLINTON NEEDS TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT AGAIN — OR GET OVER IT ALREADY

“Don’t tempt me. Do your job,” Clinton responded.





Chris Prudhome: Don’t believe Dem lies – Trump is NOT a racist and his policies have benefited black people
James Lynch: Trump is giving Biden a gift – Why is the Scranton street fighter shying away?
Newt Gingrich: The resistance against Trump began the day he was elected -- This is not an impeachment process
Trump and Clinton’s latest Twitter exchange comes just a few weeks after she blasted the president in an interview with CBS, calling him a “corrupt human tornado.”

“I believe that, look there were many funny things that happened in my election that will not happen again. And I'm hoping that both the public and press understand the way Trump plays the game,” Clinton said.

In my view, Clinton entering the 2020 race would do the party an enormous disservice. Further, given that there are still currently 19 Democratic candidates vying for the nomination, Clinton’s ability to re-clinch the nomination is a long shot at best.( this idea is extremely contentious, in my humble opinion)



However, if the former secretary of state has genuine ambitions to enter the Democratic primary race, the best way she could do so is not by blasting Trump or by being divisive.

Rather, Clinton needs to rise above the field and present a worldview that is unifying, and can bring together the two factions of the Democratic Party.

If Clinton is hoping to break through the deadlocked primary and make another run for the presidency, her best way in would be by presenting big ideas on climate, the economy, health care, and job creation.

Ultimately, the Democratic Party very well may be deadlocked, as nearly 20 candidates are seeking the party’s nomination.

Thus, if Clinton is hoping to break through the deadlocked primary and make another run for the presidency, her best way in would be by presenting big ideas on climate, the economy, health care, and job creation.

While some are arguing that there is a path for Clinton in the 2020 race, support for her third run is mixed, even within her own party.

A Rasmussen poll released this month showed that even though Clinton is running even with President Trump, most Democrats don’t want her to get into the race.

While Trump and Clinton both garner 45 percent of the vote in this hypothetical match-up, 71 percent of all voters don’t think Clinton should run again.

Moreover, 59 percent of Democrats don’t think that Clinton should enter the race for their party’s nomination, compared to 74 percent of independents and 80 percent of Republicans who believe that Clinton should stay out of the 2020 contest.

Ultimately, whether Clinton is seriously weighing another presidential run or is just bashing Trump as a way to promote her book, she is still speaking as one of the most prominent Democratic politicians in the country. Thus, Clinton should not waste her media time and influence on taunting the president.

Rather, Clinton should seize on this moment to contribute to a unifying, inclusive Democratic narrative which entails bold plans for tackling climate change, making the economy work for everyone, and fixing the broken health care system.


To be sure, even when she is out of the running for president, Hillary Clinton is still one of the most prominent voices in the Democratic Party today.

However, it remains to be seen whether Clinton will use her power to move the party closer to the White House, or whether she will merely use it to tease the president as he faulters.



Douglas E. Schoen is a Fox News contributor. He has more than 30 years experience as a pollster and political consultant.

©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby MagsJ » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:27 pm

How’s the impeachment going? I haven’t been watching the news.. has it fallen through?
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get that time back, and I may need it for something at some point in time. Wait! What?

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Re: Trump enters the stage melt down

Postby Meno_ » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:44 pm

MagsJ wrote:How’s the impeachment going? I haven’t been watching the news.. has it fallen through?



It is down to another wire, the matter or impeachment has been subordinated to voting for it.

The issue with that one is, that premature voting on it will be used as a political springboard, whereupon, for the Republicans to argue that a Senate voting against it, signals how the Dems are negatively politically motivated.

On the other hand, critics of the immediate House vote express frustration at appearing weak, or something like it.



CONGRESS

Democrats angrily walk out of White House meeting after Trump 'meltdown'

"He was insulting, particularly to the speaker," Schumer said.


Oct. 16, 2019, 4:49 PM ET

By Rebecca Shabad and Alex Moe

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders in Congress on Wednesday angrily walked out of a White House meeting with President Donald Trump after he had a "meltdown," according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown. Sad to say," Pelosi told reporters outside the White House with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The President started the meeting with a lengthy bombastic monologue, according to a senior Democratic aide. He bragged aboutthe "nasty" letter he sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the Turkish leader's decision to invade northern Syria, the aide said.

The meeting quickly devolved into a series of contentious exchanges centering on the president's decision earlier this month to pull troops from Syria, which paved the way for the Turkish invasion. The White House called the meeting to discuss the president’s decisionand the deescalating situation on the ground. Ahead of the meeting, the House overwhelmingly votedin favor of a resolution rebuking Trump’s decision to pull troops out in a 354-60 vote.

"I think that vote, the size of the vote — more than 2 to 1 of the Republicans voted to oppose what the president did — it probably got to the president, because he was shaken up by it," Pelosi said. "That's why we couldn't continue in the meeting because he was just not relating to the reality of it."

At one point during the meeting, Schumer brought up former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that Trump's decision to pull troops from Syria could lead to ISIS's resurgence.

According to multiple aides, Trump called Mattis, "the world's most overrated general."

"You know why?," Trump said, according to one aide. "He wasn't tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take two years. I captured them in one month."

The Democratic leaders said that the moment that prompted them to abruptly leave was when Trump called Pelosi "a third-rate politician" to her face.

According to the senior Democratic aide, Hoyer stated, "This is not useful."

Pelosi and Hoyer then stood up and left the meeting, the aide said.

As they left said, Trump shot back, "Goodbye, we'll see you at the polls."

Schumer followed shortly thereafter.

"He was insulting, particularly to the speaker," Schumer told reporters later on Wednesday. "She kept her cool completely. But he called her a third-rate politician. He said that there are communists involved and you guys might like that. I mean, this was not a dialogue. It was sort of a diatribe — a nasty diatribe not focused on the facts, particularly the fact of how to curtail ISIS, a terrorist organization that aims to hurt the United States in our homeland."

Hoyer echoed those remarks, saying that the meeting "deteriorated into a diatribe" and that they were "deeply offended" by the way Trump treated Pelosi. He said that after serving in Congress over the course of six presidential administrations, he has "never" seen a president "treat so disrespectfully a co-equal branch of the government."

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham denied the Democrat's characterization of the meeting, saying, "The President was measured, factual and decisive, while Speaker Pelosi’s decision to walk out was baffling, but not surprising. She had no intention of listening or contributing to an important meeting on national security issues. While Democratic leadership chose to storm out and get in front of the cameras to whine, everyone else in the meeting chose to stay in the room and work on behalf of this country."

Republicans, who stayed behind in the meeting, spoke to reporters afterward. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said that Pelosi stormed out of the room, calling it “unbecoming” of the speaker.

"When there is a time of crisis, leaders should stay" whether they like what they’re hearing or not, he added.

The dramatic meeting comes amid the House's ongoing impeachment inquiry. Democrats on Wednesday said that impeachment did not come up during their conversation with the president.

The episode was reminiscent of the White House meeting Trump held with congressional leaders in May on the nation’s infrastructure, during which Pelosi said that Trump threw a "temper tantrum" and "stormed out" of the room. Trump said at the time that he would only work with Democrats if they stopped investigating him.

Rebecca Shabad

Rebecca Shabad is a congressional reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.

Alex Moe

Alex Moe is a Capitol Hill producer for NBC News covering the House of Representatives. 

Hallie Jackson, Peter Alexander and Frank Thorp V contributed.


Remember when Juliani was the hero of 9-11? Things have really changed.



Trump's fury rises with key impeachment inquiry testimony on the horizon

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN 

Updated 12:59 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2019

 



Washington(CNN)President Donald Trump's frustration with the Democratic impeachment probe is boiling over, with investigators set Thursday to peel back yet another layer of what is being revealed as a broad, and possibly unlawful, behind-the-scenes scheme to pressure Ukraine for political gain.

Trump blew up Wednesday at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who made the fateful decision to initiate impeachment investigations three weeks ago. Those have moved at staggering speed and produced a torrent of damaging revelations for the White House.

The President's tantrum, described by top Democrats, came with his increasingly vehement denials of wrongdoing being challenged every day by testimony from current and former officials that has undercut the administration's effort to stall an impeachment process that it claims is illegal in itself.



Democrats say Trump had a 'meltdown' at White House meeting

Another day of danger looms on Thursday for the President with Gordon Sondland, the Republican donor-turned-US ambassador to the European Union, due to give a private deposition on Capitol Hill that could get to the root of Trump's backdoor dealings with Ukraine.

Sondland was a go-between linking Trump's circle to the government in Kiev, amid allegations the White House conditioned incentives -- including hundreds of dollars in military aid -- on Ukraine's willingness to open an investigation into the President's possible 2020 foe, Joe Biden.

The President's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is meanwhile slipping ever deeper into trouble, amid revelations about his go-it-alone Ukraine policy shop that could also come back to hurt Trump.

CNN reported Wednesday that a federal inquiry into Giuliani's activity also includes a counterintelligence probe -- to establish whether the former New York mayor's business ties to Ukraine made him vulnerable to a foreign intelligence service.

"He needs an attorney. I mean, he needs a bunch of attorneys, because Giuliani is in serious trouble," said Guy Smith, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton's impeachment defense.

"If there's a (counterintelligence) investigation going on, this is serious business. Those guys don't just look for non-paid parking tickets. This is serious stuff," Smith told CNN's Brooke Baldwin.

Trump's meltdown



On impeachment, Democrats crack down on White House stonewalling strategy

Trump unleashed his fury at Pelosi during a briefing for top congressional leaders on the situation in Syria following Turkey's assault on Kurdish anti-ISIS allies abandoned by Trump.

"What we witnessed on the part of the President was a meltdown, sad to say," said the California Democrat, who colleagues said the President blasted as a "third-rate politician."

The showdown followed a vote in the House that overwhelmingly condemned Trump for paving the way for the Turkish invasion, in which many Republicans broke with their standard compliance and lined up against the President.

"We were offended deeply by his treatment of the speaker of the House of Representatives, said Pelosi's No. 2, Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham described the meeting differently, saying in a statement that Trump had been "measured" and "decisive" and that Pelosi "had no intention of listening."

After the meeting, the President tweeted several photos of the gathering, including one of Pelosi that he captioned, "Nervous Nancy's unhinged meltdown!" The speaker retaliated by turning the picture into her Twitter cover shot.

Trump then tweeted,"Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her 'upstairs,' or she just plain doesn't like our great Country. She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!"

For all the bitter political battles between Republicans and Democrats in the post-9/11 era, there has never been this level of personal animosity between a President and his enemies.

Trump's fury at the impeachment probe had been in evidence earlier in two White House press events with Italy's President.

"People, like, that are testifying -- I don't even know who they are. I never even heard of some of them, most of them," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

CNN has reported that the White House is frustrated that it cannot get a handle on the impeachment drama because it learns of developments only when they seep out of closed hearings.

"I have all these people testifying. And then they leak out. They don't say the good parts, they only say the bad parts," the President said, complaining that he was not allowed lawyers in the depositions. "The Democrats are treating the Republicans very, very badly."

The case against the White House appears to have darkened this week with testimony by the White House's former top Russia official, Fiona Hill, and several career diplomats.

Hill testified that she had been advised by then-national security adviser John Bolton to inform White House lawyers of her alarm at activity by Giuliani and others, sources have told CNN.

One source said that Hill, a Trump appointee, had seen "wrongdoing" in the White House approach to Ukraine and tried to report it to officials. She was concerned that Giuliani was circumventing the State Department by seeking the removal of then-US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and pushing for Ukraine to open an investigation into the former vice president and his son Hunter Biden. There is no evidence of wrongdoing in Ukraine by either Biden.

Democratic investigators will also want to ask Sondland about new details of Hill's testimony reported in The New York Times. The paper reported that Hill had said Sondland revealed in a meeting that Trump would meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky if his government opened the investigation he wanted.

Testimony is a new wild card for White House

Trump's former top Russia adviser told Congress she saw 'wrongdoing' in US policy toward Ukraine, source says

Sondland's testimony before three House committees represents another wild card for the President.

A longtime Republican fundraiser, Sondland plans to show up on Capitol Hill under a subpoena despite the administration's policy of seeking to bar testimony from serving officials.

Lawmakers are eager to press him about text messages he exchanged related to Trump's July phone call with Zelensky and the freezing of foreign aid to Ukraine that cut to the heart of the Democrats' impeachment probe.

Sondland has been a player in Republican politics for a number of years. A hotelier and philanthropist, he was a late Republican convert to Trump's cause and was rewarded with his current position -- a lofty one for a non-diplomat.

He probably did not bargain for being caught in the middle of the biggest presidential scandal in decades, a factor, along with his neophyte status in Washington, that makes his testimony unpredictable.

Lawmakers may want to know, first of all, why he was involved in a close circle of policy making on Ukraine at all -- since the former Soviet state is not a member of the European Union.

State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent told the inquiry on Tuesday that Sondland, along with then-US Envoy to Ukraine Paul Volker and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, were in an informal Ukraine policy group dubbed the "three amigos," according to Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who's a member of the House Oversight Committee.

Sondland will also be questioned over a series of text messages with Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, that have emerged from the impeachment investigation.

Taylor raised concerns about the US withholding nearly $400 million in US military and security aid in a text that has become a key piece of evidence in the inquiry.

The Washington Post reported that Sondland is expected to tell Congress that Trump relayed to him directly the content of a text he sent to Taylor denying any quid pro quo with Ukraine.

Democrats will seek more understanding of Sondland's conversation with the President that led up to that text message, and may suggest it is an attempt to create a record of mitigation should the texts emerge in public, as they now have.

Republicans will argue, however, that the text proves that the President had no intention of withholding military aid from Ukraine in order to force it to dish dirt on Biden.

Trump's closest allies in Congress renewed efforts to discredit the impeachment process.

"The President didn't do anything wrong," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California told reporters on Wednesday.

He also picked up Trump's attacks on House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, accusing the California Democrat of lying about his contacts with an intelligence community whistleblower who first raised the alarm about the President's dealings with Ukraine.

There is "no doubt he should be censured," McCarthy said.



© 2019 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



More witnesses



ABCNews

Trump directed me to work with Giuliani to push Ukraine on investigations: Sondland

By Katherine Faulders,Conor FinneganOct 17, 2019, 9:29 AM ET



WATCH: Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.

The U.S. ambassador to the European Union will tell Congress that President Donald Trumpdirected him and others to work with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to push Ukraine to announce investigations, but that he was in the dark on the extent of Giuliani's efforts and the political motive behind it, according to his opening statement obtained by ABC News.

Gordon Sondland, the Trump mega donor turned diplomat, has emerged as a central character in the impeachment inquiry led by three House committees for the role he played in leading Ukraine policy, at times outside official government channels.

While he denied in a September text messagealready obtained by Congress that there were "quid pro quo's of any kind," Sondland will tell committee staff and lawmakers Thursday that Ukraine announcing "anti-corruption" investigations "was one of the pre-conditions for securing a White House meeting with President [Volodymyr] Zelenskiy," the country's new president eager for U.S. support.

But Sondland will say that he, former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, while "disappointed," had no choice but to work with Giuliani to do that: "The key to changing the President's mind on Ukraine was Giuliani... My understanding was that the President directed Mr. Giuliani's participation, that Mr. Giuliani was expressing the concerns of the President."

In a July 25 call, Trump asked Zelenskiy to "do us a favor" and work with Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr to investigate an unfounded allegation that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election and claims of corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.

At least one week before the call, Trump had ordered nearly $400 million of U.S. security assistance to Ukraine to be withheld -- a fact that Ukrainian officials would learn later in August as Sondland, Volker, and others continued to ask for an investigation announcement.

Sondland will say that he did not know the political nature of those investigations, that Giuliani never discussed the Biden's with him, and that he didn't know the Biden connection to Burisma -- insinuating that if he did, he would have opposed the effort.

"Inviting a foreign government to undertake investigations for the purpose of influencing an upcoming U.S. election would be wrong. Withholding foreign aid in order to pressure a foreign government to take such steps would be wrong. I did not and would not ever participate in such undertakings," his opening statement reads.

Instead, he will say he believed the administration was pushing for "a public embrace of anti-corruption reforms by Ukraine" as a precondition for the meeting.

"Nothing about that request raised any red flags for me, Ambassador Volker, or Ambassador Taylor," Sondland will say. Taylor, a career State Department official, is the top diplomat to Ukraine. Volker resigned as special envoy in late September after the extent of his role in facilitating Giuliani's efforts was revealed.

But Taylor did raise a red flag in September. In text messages turned over to Congress by Volker and first obtained by ABC News, Taylor tells Volker and Sondland, "I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."

In his testimony Thursday, Sondland will confirm that after receiving that message, he called Trump directly and asked him what he wanted from Ukraine.

"The President responded, 'Nothing. There is no quid pro quo.' The President repeated: 'no quid pro quo' multiple times. This was a very short call. And I recall the President was in a bad mood," Sondland will say.

In those texts, Sondland and Volker also discussed working with Zelenskiy's aides to have them announce an investigation, including into Burisma, in order to secure a White House meeting. On Aug. 13, they even help draft a statement for Zelenskiy to announce the investigations that, at Giuliani's insistence, included specific references to Burisma and the 2016 election, according to a source familiar with Sondland's testimony.

"We intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, including those involving Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections,” Volker's draft says in part. Sondland responds, "Perfect," and says it should be sent to Andrey Yermak, a top Zelenskiy aide.

In his testimony, Sondland defends that draft: "Requesting that parties align their public messaging in advance of any important leadership meeting is a routine way to leverage the power of face-to-face exchange."

Sondland is the sixth person to testify in the impeachment inquiry led by the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs committees. Still the current E.U. ambassador, he was initially blocked from appearing for testimony by the State Department and White House. But he announced last week that he would comply with a subpoena and testify Thursday.

Fiona Hill, the National Security Council’s former senior director for European and Russian affairs, told House lawmakers and investigators on Monday that she believed Sondland was a potential national security risk, given his inexperience and extensive use of a personal cell phone for official diplomatic businesses, sources familiar with her testimony told ABC News.

The New York Times first reported some of these details about Hill's testimony regarding Sondland. When reached by ABC News, a representative for Hill had no comment on the matter.

Sondland, according to Hill’s testimony, would also provide the cellphone numbers of American officials to foreigners, creating potential counterintelligence risks, sources familiar with Hill's testimony confirmed to ABC News.

ABC News' Benjamin Siegel and Ali Dukakis contributed to this report.

© 2019 ABC News Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.


Here it is, the crix6 of identity politics exposed:





MEET THE PRESS
Trump replaces 'America First' with 'Me First'
First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, on Oct. 17, 2019, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.Jeffrey McWhorter / AP
SHARE THIS —
Oct. 18, 2019, 8:59 AM ET
By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann
WASHINGTON — In an inaugural address he delivered just more than 1,000 days ago, President Donald Trump proclaimed that “America First” would guide his agenda.

But on a jaw-dropping Thursday — following a jaw-dropping Wednesday — Trump and his White House made it abundantly clear it was Trump First.

Or Putin and Erdogan First.

From the White House press briefing room, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Trump had chosen his own Florida golf resort to host next year’s G-7 meeting in the United States.

“That decision is without precedent in modern American history: The president used his public office to direct a huge contract to himself,” the Washington Post says.

This browser does not support the video element.

Mulvaney also admitted that the Trump administration withheld foreign aid to Ukraine because, among other things, it wanted the country to investigate the conspiracy theory that somehow Russia wasn’t involved in the hacking of DNC emails in 2016.

Question: "So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he ordered to withhold funding to Ukraine?"

Mulvaney: "The look back to what happened in 2016 ..."

Question: "The investigation into Democrats."

Mulvaney: "... certainly was part of the thing that he worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate."

Mulvaney tried to walk back that comment later in the day.

And then Trump celebrated a ceasefire in northern Syria between Turkey and the Kurds — which gave Turkey everything it wanted.

“The cease-fire agreement reached with Turkey by Vice President Mike Pence amounts to a near-total victory for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who gains territory, pays little in penalties and appears to have outmaneuvered President Trump,” the New York Times writes.

Ask yourself: Who gains from the G-7 being held at Trump’s golf resort?

Who gains from withholding foreign aid from a country — unless it agrees to an investigation into the 2016 election?

And who gains from the military incursion into northern Syria?

It’s not America.




2020 Vision: This week’s forgotten debate
Tuesday’s Democratic debate took place just three days ago.

But it feels more like three weeks ago, right?

That’s the consequence of the impeachment inquiry, plus the situation in Syria, plus the jaw-dropping statements and actions from the White House.

The debate was just an intermission from the bigger drama playing out in Washington.

On the campaign trail
Today: Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard and John Delaney stump in Iowa… Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Tom Steyer attend a cook-off in Orangeburg, S.C… Elizabeth Warren holds a town hall in Norfolk, Va... And Mark Sanford also is the Hawkeye State.

Saturday: Bernie Sanders holds his “Bernie’s Back” rally in Long Island City, N.Y., at 1:00 pm ET… Klobuchar, Gabbard and Sanford remain in Iowa… Harris and Booker stay in South Carolina… Buttigieg raises money in DC… And Castro attends a house party in Las Vegas.

Dispatches from NBC’s embeds
Joe Biden Thursday spoke at the DNC’s Women’s Leadership Forum in D.C., where he floated the idea that President Trump will be removed from office before the 2020 election. NBC’s Marianna Sotomayor reports Biden’s remarks: “’He's got another year in office ... maybe. Maybe,’ he said. ‘He's not even smart enough to know what he doesn't know.’” And on Rudy Giuliani, Biden said, “Giuliani, God bless him, reminds me of that old line from Voltaire. Voltaire said, I've never made but one prayer to God. Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it. Well God has granted it again to the Democratic Party.”












Trump Agenda: Mitt’s theory
Mitt Romney may have a theory about what happened with Trump’s Syria decision.




Chuck Todd
Chuck Todd is moderator of "Meet The Press" and NBC News' political director.

Mark Murray
Mark Murray is a senior political editor at NBC News.


Carrie Dann is a political editor for NBC News.
Meno_
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 5488
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
Location: Mysterium Tremendum

Re: Trump : Comedy of errors or straight ole' lace

Postby Meno_ » Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:16 pm

"It is the winter of our discontent , made glorious by this son of New York?

Or is the swamp swallowing up everything in it's wake , reminiscent of a naustalgic trip back to glitz'land classic ' The Blob'?

By now perhaps even the provoked or intended comic politi Cal relief has swallowed in whole the difference, as Hollywood reins supreme on the power of Vaudville up in the U.S. psyche.
The reductio into absurdity was well received over all by a neat and almost perfectly split opinionated poll, on wether to in pinch or not.
As things stand, the choice hovers around the issue of which conspiracy theory is more substantial and sustainable.

Here is today's debacle :


We're going to have him for another four years.' Impeachment fight riles up Donald Trump supporters for 2020



Supporters of President Donald Trump hold a "Stop Impeachment" rally in front of the US Capitol Oct. 17, 2019 in Washington, DC.



COURTNEY SUBRAMANIAN AND DAVID JACKSON |USA TODAY | 1 hour ago


As the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trumprapidly unfolds in Washington, the president is venting his frustration at campaign rallieswhere his attacks on House Democrats and the media are serving to further energize his supporters.

Trump, facing impeachment over allegations he improperly used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political enemies, is rousing his devotees on the road rather than hunkering down at home. He has derided the accusations as a "witch hunt."

While Trump has faced intense criticism in Washington over the Ukraine scandal and his abrupt pullout of U.S. troops from Syria, he has reveled in the rock-star reception he has received at rallies thousands of miles away in Minneapolis and Dallas.

Supporters echo the president's attacks on impeachment, House Democrats and what Trump calls the "swamp" of Washington, D.C. Like the president, they view impeachment as an illegitimate effort to take him down and defend his phone call with Ukraine's president in which he pushed for an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden, a top political rival. Impeachment, many said, will wind up re-electing Trump in 2020.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

JEFFREY MCWHORTER, AP

James Wilson, 47, a payroll manager in Rowlett who grabbed a front-row seat at Trump's rally in the Dallas sports arena Thursday, said impeachment was just another in a long line of attacks including special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But he likened it to a "boomerang."

"Every time the other side throws something, it comes back and it hits them," Wilson said.

It will never stop, he said.

"The Democrats don't want him in," Wilson said. "They're going to do everything they can – legally and illegally – to get him out. But they're going to lose in 2020."

'The swamp is fighting back'

It's not just Democrats going after Trump, supporters said; it's also members of what the president calls "deep state" of the government bureaucracy.

"I think the swamp is fighting back and they're going down hard," said Mary Shea, 65, a retiree from Houston who waited for hours to get into the Dallas arena.

"I don't think he did anything that most other presidents haven't done," she said. "All presidents cut around the corners."

The impeachment inquiry centers on Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Vlodomyr Zelensky, in which he repeatedly urged him to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of Burisma, an energy company in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. 



Trump rally in Texas: Here's what it was like

Trump supporters slammed his accusers.

"That's a bunch of guilty people trying to keep their crooks covered up," said Naomi Hodgkins, 64, a semi-retired business consultant from nearby Mesquite, Texas, who wore a button that said "Trump 2020: No More Bullshit." 

"They're doing a psychological transference of their guilt to him ... The Biden thing is going to go real deep."

Origins of a conspiracy: Trump's conspiracy theories thrive in Ukraine, where a young democracy battles corruption and distrust

Hodgkins' sentiment was echoed among the president's supporters hundreds of miles north in Minneapolis, where Trump held a rally on Oct. 10, his first campaign event since the impeachment inquiry was announced on Sept. 24.

Impeachment signs sailed above crowds outside the downtown arena, where protesters blew whistles and beat drums in the rain along Minneapolis' First Avenue. Dallas saw its own share of protesters thrusting similar impeachment signs into the air.

Supporters react as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a "Keep America Great" Campaign Rally at American Airlines Center on October 17, 2019 in Dallas, Texas.



Meanwhile, his supporters flocked to rallies, lining up hours – and in some cases days – ahead of time to get in.

Barb Koy, a Bloomington, Minn., resident who attended Trump's Minneapolis rally, said the inquiry is "another game by the Democrats." 

“Everybody is tired of it. I know people who voted blue and they’re voting red now because they’re sick of it,” she said. "I'd think even if you're a Democrat you'd be sick of it." 

The Minneapolis rally came on the heels of a new Fox News poll that found 51% of voters supported impeaching Trump and removing him from office, the latest in a string of polls showing a plurality of Americans have shifted their attitude on impeachment.

Impeachment ad blitz 

Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dismissed the poll as inaccurate.

The campaign and the Republican National Committee are pushing back, spending $10 million on ads attacking the impeachment inquiry, with $8 million coming from the campaign itself, McEnany said.

Trump's schedule over the next few weeks has plenty of events that will take him out of Washington. He will attend a 2020 presidential candidate forum in Columbia, S.C. and a natural gas conference in Pittsburgh next week, and has rallies in Tupelo, Miss. and Lexington, Ky. at the beginning of November. 

What Americans think: Nearly 3 weeks into the Trump impeachment inquiry, polls show a shift in public opinion

Not all Trump supporters were shrugging of the impeachment inquiry. Some worried it could cast a shadow over his re-election effort.  

University of Minnesota student Blake Paulson, one of dozens who slept in a downtown Minneapolis skywalk ahead of Trump's rally, said he's concerned at how his classmates perceive the impeachment inquiry.

Paulson said students scrolling through social media are taking their cues from headlines that he believes are misleading.



Trump rally: President in Minneapolis spurs protests, support

"They see these headlines and think, 'Oh, he did something bad,' and that's what they go off of," said the 20-year-old, who will cast his first vote for Trump in 2020. "These are new voters who are going in with that shallow information and not thinking it through."

"I'm afraid of a lot that's happening next year," he added. 

While several supporters in Minneapolis and Dallas said they expect the Democratic-led House to impeach Trump, they contend it would be political act with no meaning. They expressed confidence that Republican-dominated Senate would never vote to convict and remove Trump from office.

Caiden Anderson, 15, a high school sophomore from Alvin, Texas, and a volunteer at the Dallas event, said House Democrats' impeachment drive is "nothing."

"Even if they get it past the House, they won't get it in the Senate," Anderson said.



Emotions run high at Trump Minneapolis rally

Wayland Hunter, a 24-year-old who didn't vote for Trump in 2016 and was attending his first rally in Minneapolis, dismissed the inquiry's legal implications. 

"It's just an inquiry," the dental school student said. "It's not even like an official, drawn-out government procedure. It just seems like political staging."

Impeachment will only embolden voters, backers said – Trump voters like themselves.

Halona Porter, 45, who works in an auto parts store in Fort Worth, said Trump's enemies "need to give it up, because it's not going to happen."

After 2020, she said. "we're going to have him for another four years."




Originally Published 1 hour ago







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© Copyright Gannett 2019


POLITICO

Trump veterans see a presidency veering off the rails

But White House insiders differ on whether the president has changed — or they have.




By DANIEL LIPPMAN

10/19/2019 06:31 AM EDT



Former Trump White House officials and other Republicans close to the White House are increasingly worried about President Trump’s erratic behavior and say there are no longer enough safeguards around him to prevent self-inflicted disasters large and small.

Just in the last two weeks, Trump precipitously withdrew U.S. troops from northern Syria and attacked America’s Kurdish allies as “no angels,” sparking outrage among GOP lawmakers; released a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan whose undiplomatic language was widely mocked; called his former defense secretary “the world’s most overrated general”; and blew up at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a meeting his own White House had called.



His acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, also admitted on national television that the administration had held up aid to Ukraine for political purposes, before reversing himself hours later on Trump’s orders and claiming his remarks had been “misconstrued.”

Under the strain of a metastasizing impeachment probe on Capitol Hill and helming an administration run by a diminishing number of heavyweight officials of independent stature, the president is displaying the kind of capricious behavior that once might have been contained or at least mitigated, former officials say.

“The wheels are not off the car. The situation is way worse than that. The car has been impounded and we are now waiting to figure out what the fine is and to see whether or not we’re going to get the car back,” said former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. “Mulvaney is a good Catholic and in fairness to him, that was a full-blown Catholic confessional on Thursday afternoon.”

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump has never felt shackled by traditional ways of running a government. But earlier in his administration, “there was enough guardrails around Trump or enough caution on his part that when he did things that were more impulsive, they had less significance and fewer external ramifications,” said a former White House official.

Now it’s become more of a one-man White House and government.

Trying to constrain Trump is “a pipe dream,” said one current White House official. “Everyone who has tried had eventually failed in some way.”

“It’s just looking like everything is coming apart,” said a former White House official. Another former senior West Wing aide agreed that the White House seemed to be “a little bit unraveling” in recent days.

"Mulvaney is a good Catholic and in fairness to him, that was a full-blown Catholic confessional on Thursday afternoon.”

- Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

Some current White House officials say they are simply exhausted after all the constant fighting, and lack the energy to try to constrain a wilful president bent on having his own way. It’s normal for officials to return to the private sector after a few years of pressure-cooker public service, but the Trump administration has seen extraordinary levels of turnover, and the administration’s current ranks are thin and getting thinner. A current White House official described a “who cares” attitude creeping through the building under Mulvaney’s hands-off management style.



But others in the White House relish the daily hand-to-hand combat as House Democrats careen toward what looks like an inevitable impeachment vote. Those people “feed off of the frenzy and want to fight and are kind of excited about another opportunity to fight the ‘witch hunt’ like they did with Mueller and impeachment,” a former official said.

“We’re having the time of our lives fighting for the president and this country,” said a senior administration official.

There is also a concern among Trump alums and other Republicans close to the White House about the current quality of the White House staff. Unlike past officials who occasionally stood up to Trump, redirected his fury or learned which of his whims they could safely ignore, today’s crop of aides are more willing to indulge his basic political needs and desires, they say.

“Your Year Three team is very different from the Year One team in terms of the type of people and how they view their role and how Trump views their role,” said the former official. “He’s not looking for people to offer contrary opinions or to urge caution or try to restrain him in any way, and the people there don’t view that as their role either.”

The letter to Erdogan is a case in point, former officials note: It shows that Trump is more directly in charge of what goes on at the White House than ever before.

Earlier in his tenure, when the president was going to write a foreign leader, officials at the State Department and the National Security Council would usually draft a version and the president would try to “insert some of his Trumpisms into it” before other officials worked with him to get to a letter that everyone was comfortable with, said the former official. But with experienced bureaucratic warriors like Jim Mattis and national security adviser John Bolton now gone, there are few senior foreign policy officials left to stand in Trump’s way.










“You wouldn’t have a letter to a foreign leader that was just like dictated on the back of a napkin by him,” said the former official. “He’s even more personally and individually in the driver’s seat and doing things on his own.”

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley pushed back against the criticism, describing it as a “chattering class ‘we know best’ mentality.”



“While the media allow so many in Congress, the D.C. establishment and Beltway bureaucracy to complain anonymously from the shadows because their precious swamp is being drained,” he said, “President Trump continues to be out front working tirelessly and successfully for the American people.”

Veteran Trump aides differ as to whether, and to what extent, the president’s recent behavior is truly new. “Essentially it’s him doing what he wants, just as it was in the beginning, and now, and forever,” one former White House official said.

But the chaos at the White House has led to more staffers to plot their departures and try to get new jobs, according to a former senior aide in touch with current White House employees.

Another factor: It’s considered bad form to leave when the reelection campaign is in full swing, this person noted, not just because White House staffers are desperate to “get out of the crazy."



 


 



© 2019 POLITICO LLC




Bannon Predictions:





Steve Bannon says Trump may be impeached ‘in six weeks,’ face challenge from Bloomberg, Clinton

By Jon Levine

October 19, 2019 | 2:50pm



Impeachment is a “mortal threat” to Donald Trump’s presidency and the White House needs to start taking it more seriously, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told The Post.

“This is serious. As sure as the turning of the earth, he is going to be impeached by Pelosi in the next six weeks,” Bannon said during a wide-ranging interview with The Post. “Nancy Pelosi is very focused.”

And if Trump makes it out of a House impeachment probe alive, the 65-year-old ex-Breitbart News chairman says the president may have to face surprising — and viable — challengers in 2020 in Mike Bloomberg or Hillary Clinton.

Bannon said he’s been dismayed by what seems to be an uncoordinated White House approach to impeachment.

“I don’t feel comfortable when I see the chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney,” Bannon said, citing a disastrous press conference Thursday in which Mulvaney confirmed Trump’s decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine was part of a quid pro quo. He later walked that back.

“The problem we have is that the president needs a team around him and somebody has got to step up and make a play. Trump can’t do everything,” Bannon said. “There is just no coordination with the team.

“The fake news and witch hunt stuff is not working.”

The former 2016 campaign boss said Trump shouldn’t look to dump off-message surrogates like Mulvaney or Rudy Giuliani, but rather bring in people to share the burden.

Bannon advised the White House to establish an impeachment squad.

“You need to augment the legal team,” he said, adding that what worked on the probe by Robert Mueller into Russian interference “was bifurcation of the White House Counsel’s office. You need … a team put together than can focus on [impeachment] 24/7.”

Michael Bloomberg and Hillary Clinton might pose as a threat for Trump in the election.Getty Images

And while the GOP-controlled Senate would likely never find Trump guilty in an impeachment trial, Bannon repeatedly refused to offer a full vote of confidence to leader Mitch McConnell — who he called an adversary — and instead expressed frustration that the Senate leader might opt for a drawn-out public trial.

Bannon remained bullish overall about Trump’s chances in 2020, dismissing the current crop of Democratic candidates.

“Nobody on that stage can beat Trump at least as far as right now. The only person that could beat Trump that is currently in the field is Trump,” he said.

He predicted a total Biden implosion by the end of the year and a centrist revolt against Elizabeth Warren.

If Biden falters and Warren appears to be marching toward nomination, “Bloomberg and Clinton, both will … get into the race,” Bannon said. “Nobody is on the stage. The Cory Bookers and Kamala Harrises haven’t gotten enough traction to compete with Warren. The hedge fund investment banking corporatist community of the Democratic Party is not prepared to have them.”

Elizabeth WarrenAFP via Getty Images

Clinton and Bloomberg would be much stronger than the current field, Bannon conceded.

“Bloomberg or Clinton could be very competitive,” he said. “She is a very formidable candidate and I think Bloomberg would be very formidable.”

He said Democrats looking for an edge should do their best to force Team Trump to spend resources in his “southern arc” — potential swing states like Arizona, Texas, Georgia and the Carolinas.

Whoever ended up as the Democratic nominee would also “have to live in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin,” he said. In her 2016 race, Clinton famously neglected these states, and they turned against the party for the first time in a generation.

Since leaving the White House in 2017, Bannon has traveled the world at a breakneck pace, speaking at conferences, meeting with billionaires and promoting his vision of populist nationalism wherever he can find a friendly audience.

He has also taken a growing interest in China, which he views as the primary threat to the United States. Bannon spoke with The Post shortly after a screening of his new film, “Claws of the Red Dragon” in New York. The movie is a loose retelling of the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada last year.




© 2019 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved




The court that could decide the future of Trump's presidency

By Joan Biskupic, CNN legal analyst & Supreme Court biographer 

Updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun October 20, 2019

 



Washington(CNN)Presidents understand the power of this court, and President Donald Trump may come to understand that more than most.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit -- known as the DC Circuit and dubbed the country's "second highest court" -- handles a distinctive caseload testing the power of federal regulators and the executive branch.

The DC Circuit's portfolio has long put it at the center of disputes over potential White House wrongdoing, such as during Watergate in the Nixon years, the Iran-Contra scandal of the Reagan administration and Independent Counsel Ken Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton.

Now, it could help determine the fate of legal issues surrounding the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry and Trump's desire to withhold personal information and limit his allies from cooperating with investigators.

In its first such case regarding Trump, a three-judge panel earlier this month affirmed the investigatory power of the US House of Representatives and upheld a subpoena for eight years of the President's financial documents.

The decision, already reverberating in other Trump-related litigation, comes from an appeals court that is not only more prominent than most, but one whose members have been more provocative and attention-getting. Four of the current nine Supreme Court justices were elevated from this singular circuit. And Merrick Garland, whom President Barack Obama nominated to the Supreme Court but never received a Senate vote, is the chief judge of the DC Circuit.

The court's robust interpretation of Congress' oversight power arose in litigation that began before the Democratic-led House initiated its impeachment inquiry and started focusing on Trump's Ukrainian dealings. The subpoena fight involving Trump's longtime accountants, Mazars USA, had been simmering for months.

Yet the DC Circuit's regard for congressional power was broadly cast and could influence other battles between Democrats and Trump.

The decision reflected the judiciary's long-established regard for Congress' oversight authority. The DC Circuit also leans liberal. Of the 11 active judges on the circuit, seven were appointed by Democratic presidents and four by Republican presidents.

"They view themselves as legal technicians. Their view is that they do not make policy, they apply the law," said University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley. "But the nature of the fights that are brought to the DC Circuit are often those that get the partisan blood boiling."

Two of the three judges who ruled against Trump were appointed by Democrats. The third, Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee, wrote a strong dissent siding with the President.

"The law is on Congress' side," said Bagley, who was a law clerk on the DC Circuit and the Supreme Court and now specializes in administrative law, "But to the extent that politics matters here, and it probably matters at the margins, there are more Democratic appointees on this court."

Laying down markers in the Trump tax records lawsuit

Presidents tend to tap for the DC Circuit candidates with executive branch experience and a record of scholarly writings. They look for likeminded thinkers, sometimes ideological crusaders.



As a result, DC Circuit nominees have endured bitter confirmation fights through the years. Three of the current judges appointed by Obama made it onto the bench after a titanic 2013 partisan clash that led the then-Democratic Senate majority, faced with GOP stonewalling, to amend the longstanding filibuster rules.

Confirmation controversy has only accelerated over time as the DC Circuit has become a stepping stone for the Supreme Court. Among the four current justices who came from the DC Circuit is Chief Justice John Roberts. (An earlier chief justice, Warren Burger, also first wore a black robe on the DC Circuit.)

And in the annals of high court confirmation battles, three DC Circuit judges stand out: the Democratic-led Senate's 1987 rejection of Robert Bork, a nominee of Ronald Reagan; the Republican-led blockade of Garland; and last year's bitter fight over Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who eventually was confirmed.

Trump has sued to prevent Mazars USA from turning over documents to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The committee argued that it needs Trump's financial records to assess his compliance with federal ethics regulations and to guide its work on legislation.

The DC Circuit sided with the House committee, 2-1, asserting that it has subpoena authority under the House rules and the Constitution, and that Mazars must relinquish the documents.

Rao, whom Trump named to the bench last year and confirmed earlier this year, dissented. Rao declared that the US House could investigate the President for wrongdoing only as part of an impeachment. "Allowing the Committee to issue this subpoena for legislative purposes," she wrote, "would turn Congress into a roving inquisition over a co-equal branch of government."

That view, said Judges David Tatel and Patricia Millett, both Democratic appointees, "would reorder the very structure of the Constitution." Rao's "novel approach," Tatel wrote for the majority, would force "Congress to the Hobson's Choice of impeachment or nothing."

Either way, in classic DC Circuit style, both sides have laid down markers on the fundamentals of congressional investigations, likely with an eye to the Supreme Court and to future litigation. The Tatel opinion for the majority was 66 pages; Rao's dissent was 68 pages.



READ: Appeals court ruling on Trump tax returns

Trump's lawyers have the option of asking the full DC Circuit for an "en banc" hearing or directly appealing to the Supreme Court.

The DC Circuit rarely grants such en banc hearings, but if one was sought and granted, Trump's lawyers would make their case to all 11 judges in a dramatic session.

Even if a request for a full DC Circuit hearing would ultimately be denied, the Trump team might find it advantageous to request one, as going through that process could buy more time for Trump's larger effort to avoid disclosure of his records.

A history of controversy

Most US appeals courts handle an array of criminal cases, religion and social policy conflicts, and all manner of business disputes. But the DC Circuit, by virtue of its location in the nation's capital and specific jurisdiction, hears a narrower docket tied mainly to how government works.

The DC Circuit interprets the power of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Election Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

"Whatever combination of letters you can put together," Roberts said in a 2005 lecture reprinted in the Virginia Law Review, "it is likely that jurisdiction to review that agency's decision is vested in the D.C. Circuit."

Ideological clashes have endured through the years. Reagan made his mark on the court with the appointment of eight conservative jurists in the 1980s, including Bork; Antonin Scalia, later elevated to the Supreme Court; and Ken Starr, who later became Whitewater independent counsel and triggered the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Tatel, at 77, is the liberal lion of the bench today. He authored a major voting rights opinion, involving Shelby County, Alabama, upholding a section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that required states with a history of discrimination to obtain federal approval before changing their election laws. Tatel deemed race discrimination in voting "one of the gravest evils that Congress can seek to redress," and wrote that Congress, when passing legislation against it, "acts at the apex of the power."

The Roberts-led Supreme Court, in a decision that remains one of its most controversial, reversed by a 5-4 vote in 2013 and curtailed the reach of the Voting Rights Act's reach.

A 1994 appointee of Clinton, Tatel early in his career had been director for the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and previously worked for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Chicago.

Obama's imprint

When Obama took the White House in 2009, Democrats held the Senate majority, but Republicans were sizable enough to block efforts to cut off floor debate on his DC Circuit nominees. In 2013, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid persuaded the Democrats to change the filibuster rules, with the "nuclear option," so that a lower-court nominee could be confirmed with a simple majority of the 100 senators, rather than require at least 60 votes to close debate.

That change led to the confirmation of Obama appointees Millett, Cornelia Pillard and Robert Wilkins.

Pillard, now 58, was arguably the most liberal of the three. A Georgetown law professor, she had previously worked for the NAACP legal defense fund and had a deep record of advocacy for civil rights and women's rights. Pillard already is on the short list of liberals hoping that a Democrat wins the White House in 2020 and can fill a new vacancy on the high court.

Millett, 56, an appellate specialist who had worked for the Justice Department and in corporate law, had a more moderate reputation. But soon after Trump took office, she faced off against then-DC Circuit Judge Kavanaugh in the first phase of an unusual abortion rights case. Kavanaugh was part of a panel that sided with the Trump administration in its effort to block a pregnant migrant teen from obtaining an abortion. Millett wrote that the move sacrificed the 17-year-old woman's constitutional rights for no justifiable reason. The full DC circuit reheard the case and reversed the panel, allowing the woman to end her pregnancy.

Another possible liberal-leaning Supreme Court nominee for a Democratic president would be Judge Sri Srinivasan, who was born in India, grew up in Kansas, and would be the first Asian-American and Hindu on the Supreme Court.

Srinivasan, 52, was a relatively non-controversial Obama appointee, confirmed unanimously in spring 2013. He previously worked in the Justice Department and was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a Reagan appointee.

Trump's imprint

Trump has filled two DC Circuit vacancies since taking office, the first with Gregory Katsas in 2017, and then Rao, who until her confirmation this year had been the Trump-appointed administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget.

Both Katsas and Rao were law clerks to Justice Clarence Thomas, the most conservative member of the current Supreme Court. Both were approved by the Senate on party-line votes. No Democrat voted for Rao and only one Democrat voted for Katsas.

Katsas, 55, had previously worked in the George W. Bush administration and, in the Trump White House, was deputy to (former) White House counsel Don McGahn, defending early Trump immigration policies.

During her Senate hearing earlier this year, Rao, 46, drew controversy on multiple fronts, chiefly for her work overseeing Trump administration efforts to rollback regulations, but also because of her student writings suggesting women could avoid date rape by changing their behavior. After senators' criticism, including from Republicans, she wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee saying, "Sexual assault in all forms, including date rape, is abhorrent. Responsibility for the rape is with the rapist."

Before appointment as regulatory "czar," Rao oversaw the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School.

She has been especially in sync with the Trump agenda to diminish the reach of agency power -- what's been called the "administrative state" -- over the environment, labor and other public concerns.

Along with challenges arising from that Trump administration focus, the DC Circuit is positioned to take up more cases involving the House efforts to obtain Trump documents.

This is a familiar tale, the DC Circuit majority wrote in last Friday's case. "[D]isputes between Congress and the President are a recurring plot in our national story," Tatel said. "And that is precisely what the Framers intended."

The separation-of-powers doctrine, he said, quoting Justice Louis Brandeis in 1926, "was not to avoid friction, but, by means of the inevitable friction ... [among the branches] ... to save the people from autocracy."



© 2019 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.




-'-'-'-'-'-"-"'' -'-'-"-"-'-'


Romney: Some in GOP fear for jobs if they criticize Trump

By Ashley Imlay 

on October 20, 2019 7:48 pm

  
Romney chimes in:


Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney believes other GOP senators who may not agree with President Donald Trump often remain mum to keep their jobs, and to keep a Republican president in office.

The second of those reasons, he said, is more “elevated” than the first.

“People genuinely believe, as I do, that conservative principles are better for our country and for the working people of our country than liberal principles. And that if Elizabeth Warren were to become president, for instance, or if we were to lose the Senate, that would not be good for the American people,” Romney told HBO Axios co-founder Mike Allen.

The interview took place in Romney’s Holladay home and spanned topics ranging from hiking Utah’s Mt. Olympus to foreign relations, to the chance of Romney facing up against Trump during the upcoming election.

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When asked why many other Republican senators will only criticize Trump off the record, Romney said: “They don’t want to do something which makes it more likely for Elizabeth Warren to become president, or for us to lose the Senate.

“So they don’t want to go out and criticize the leader of our party, because they feel that may have the consequence of hurting our country longer term,” he said on the show that aired Sunday afternoon.

Although Romney said he votes with the president about 80% of the time, “I think that in some of the things that he has said and done, that he has detracted from the mission of a leader in shaping the character of the country in a positive way.”

Romney hasn’t shied away from voicing his disapproval of some of the president’s decisions, including his recent withdrawal of troops from northern Syria. He echoed those concerns during the HBO interview.

Other allies will think that they can’t count on America after the withdrawal, Romney said. And though the senator is on the Foreign Relations Committee, he said he didn’t get a head’s up on the decision beforehand, instead learning about it on Twitter “like most folks.”

On the Senate floor Thursday, Romney said serious questions remain about the decision to withdraw and that the administration needs to explain America’s future role in the region.

“The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory,” Romney said in that speech. “It is far from a victory.”

Romney has faced criticism in return from Trump.

On Friday, the president tweeted “REPUBLICANS MUST STICK TOGETHER AND FIGHT!” along with a video targeting Romney, the Associated Press reported. Also, a conservative political advocacy group — Club for Growth — is paying for television ads that describe Romney as a “Democrat secret asset” after his recent comments about Trump.

When asked how he feels hearing Trump say he “choked like a dog” in 2012, and other insults, Romney said he doesn’t take it too hard.

“Oh, look, if I worried about criticism, I’d be in the wrong job, in the wrong industry,” he said. ”Look, I’ve been tough on the president, so he’s gonna whack me back.”

When asked about his comments concerning Trump’s “brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and Ukraine” to investigate Joe Biden, Romney stood by them.

“I don’t think there’s any question but that going on TV on the White House lawn and saying, ‘China, will you investigate my political opponent?’ is wrong. It’s a mistake. It was shocking, in my opinion, for the president to do so.”

The conversation then turned to the topic of honor when Allen asked Romney if he believes President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are honorable men.

Of Obama, Romney said, “I believe he’s an honorable man, yes, yeah. A good family man. And he made a lot of mistakes, most presidents do.”

He said he doesn’t know Biden well, but that “he seems to be a man of honor.”

When asked the same question of Trump, Romney said: “He has elements, I’m sure, of honor in his life, and there’s things I think are not honorable. And I mention that because of the payment to a porn star for sexual relations outside of marriage. I’m one of those who believes we have a responsibility to be honorable and faithful to our wives, and the president made a failing in that regard.”

But while some have suggested Romney throw his hat into the ring during next year’s presidential election, Romney said Sunday there’s no chance of that.

“Well, I’m not going to run against President Trump. That would be a fool’s errand, I’m afraid, on my part. I’ve run twice before and lost, so I’m not going to do it again. There may be other people who will make that effort, and they can do so if they’d like to. I’m certainly going to indicate to them it’ll be an uphill climb.”


© 2019 Deseret News Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


WHHHHHAAAATTT IIIFF HHEEE WIIIIN AAGGGAAAIIIN? Experts in politocal predictions were asked this question:



What If Trump Wins?

He survives impeachment and he surprises at the polls. The second four years could be even crazier than the first.

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN

10/21/2019 05:04 AM EDT

Darren Samuelsohn is a senior White House reporter for POLITICO.



M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITIC

President Donald Trump has a lot riding on 2020. If he loses, he won’t just quietly resume his carefree snowbird lifestyle, albeit with millions of new Twitter followers. He’ll be dogged by big legal bills as he fends off criminal investigations in multiple jurisdictions.

But what if he wins?

The election is more than a year away, his possible impeachment over the widening Ukraine scandal is far from resolved, and, yes, numerous polls show the president trailing nearly all of his likely Democratic opponents. But impatient politicos are already gaming out a scenario that is hardening into conventional wisdom: Trump is impeached by the House, acquitted by the Senate and re-elected on November 3.

The prospect of four more years has already captured the fevered imaginations of Democrats and never-Trump Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted, “The reelection of Donald Trump would do irreparable damage to the United States.” Even the president’s own supporters envision an emboldened incumbent who pulverizes political norms with a vigor, to borrow the president’s go-to line, the likes of which the world has never seen.

Trump himself isn’t saying much about what a second term would really look like. Scripted legislative agendas are not how he rolls. Still, if his first term has taught us anything, Trump as a lame duck would be anything but unifying. Indeed, the civil war that the president has predicted could well be visible in the hostile crowds hectoring each other on the Mall in January. After that? What does a bruised but unbowed Trump do with his political capital? What does an enraged Democratic opposition bring to bear that it hasn’t already?

There’s only one way to answer these questions: the POLITICO Time Machine.



M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

For the uninitiated, we used it once before in April 2016, when Trump wasn’t even the Republican nominee yet and when most people insisted he still had no chance of winning the White House. But our band of armchair time travelers already foresaw the looming possibility that the unorthodox novice could well be impeached if he ever took office. Our prognosticators weren’t so far off, given how fast Democrats started investigating Trump once they took the House majority halfway through his first term.

OK, sure, we were a little wide of the mark in predicting Trump would reopen Alcatraz and the World War II-era internment camps to house suspected Islamic extremists. And back in early 2016, no one saw Russia, much less Ukraine, emerging as the centerpiece of the impeachment inquiry. But, boy, did our brain trust nail it on predictions about Trump skirting Congress to pay for his border wall; a full-blown civil war brewing inside the intelligence community; and presidential approval numbers collapsing faster than a Greenland glacier.

To further fine-tune the conventional wisdom, we reconvened the Time Machine travelers and added a bunch more to the roster—25 people who know Trump world and GOP and Democratic politics—and asked them: What’s in store for Washington and the nation if Trump defies the odds to hold onto the White House?

“We will have entered an era of authoritarianism,” warned John Dean, the former Richard Nixon White House lawyer whose public testimony about Watergate helped lead to the president’s resignation

That’s just left-wing hysteria, said Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and outspoken Trump ally. “No. I don’t think Trump will be emboldened. I think Trump will be Trump. I think Trump is emboldened every morning. He goes, ‘I’m a billionaire. I’ve got the White House, Air Force One and Marine One. And I’m commander in chief. What’s part two?’ All these guys who spent three years shooting at me and I’m still in the building and they’re not.’”

But even some Trump supporters foresee the chance that Trump might test the boundaries of presidential power with bad results.

Former George W. Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, a card-carrying establishment Republican who once criticized the president but now largely supports him, said a reelected Trump has the potential to take things too far. “I think it’d be very much like the first term with the risky exception that having survived impeachment and having been elected by the people he might feel like the guard rails are even farther away from the road he travels. I’d hope he’d realizes the guardrails are there for a good purpose and if he drives too fast [he’ll] crash through them.”

At a Rose Garden press conference in early 1999 after the Senate acquitted him, President Bill Clinton responded to a question about whether he could “forgive and forget” by saying, “I believe any person who asks forgiveness has to be prepared to give it.” According to Bob Woodward’s account in his book, Shadow, a reporter then shouted to the president as he was walking away asking whether he’d be vindictive toward the Republicans who’d just impeached him. Clinton didn’t turn around.

Trump “won’t keep walking,” Fleischer predicted. “He’ll run back to the mic.”

So what would Trump say? We’ll let the Time Machine do the talking.

***

The time is January 2021. The election has left the nation a psychological mess and a sulfurous cloud of election meddling by foreign hackers hangs over the still-contested results. Trump’s Ukraine scandal ultimately spared him but it wounded Joe Biden enough to give Elizabeth Warren the nomination. Once again, though, the result came down to the Electoral College, but even closer than in 2016. Warren, like Hillary Clinton four years earlier, took the popular vote by a resounding margin. But this mixed verdict has done nothing but further entrench the battle lines of a civil war that has become more than just a metaphor.

M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

The weeks after Election Day were ugly. Protests in New York, Washington, San Francisco and a dozen other cities turned violent, the byproduct of a tangled mass of disgruntled pink-hatted Democrats, MAGA supporters, left-wing antifa and far-right Proud Boys. People have been killed. The president chalked up the discord to urban blight. And then he imposed curfews and directed the National Guard to patrol the streets over the protests of governors and mayors.



On January 20, Trump takes the oath of office, vowing in the shadow of the Capitol for the second time that he would “to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The scene is unlike anything before in the country’s history. What’s always been a high-security event takes on a militaristic tone, with Trump ordering U.S. troops onto the streets of Washington as a show of force to deter more riots. His family surrounds him, along with a loyal base of congressional Republicans who but for a few defectors hung on during his first four years and most notably voted to keep him in office and defeat impeachment. Democrats, still seething at Trump’s flagrant constitutional violations, boycott the event en masse, the first time in modern history this has happened. Their seats are given away in a lottery open to Trump supporters.

Protesting former presidents

Imagining Trump’s second term: “They skip Trump’s inaugural ceremony and … hand out meals at a Washington D.C. homeless shelter.”

Jimmy Carter

Bill Clinton

George W. Bush

Barack Obama

Something else is notable, too. The four living ex-presidents, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter join George W. Bush in a protocol-busting protest. They skip Trump’s inaugural ceremony and accept Carter’s invitation to hand out meals at a Washington, D.C., homeless shelter.

After the inaugural parade, which includes tanks for the first time in a half-century, the president goes into the White House, takes out a hand-written enemies list of people who work for him and makes Jared Kushner fire everyone on it. The casualty list includes Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper resigned before the election, having been blamed by Trump for the Ukraine mess. Steve Mnuchin is the only original Cabinet secretary still in Trump’s good graces.

A new crop of loyalists gets hired, including now-former Reps. Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan and Doug Collins, as well as Lindsey Graham, who steps down from the Senate to become the new Defense secretary. Brad Parscale moves from campaign manager to serve as White House chief of staff—but only after Trump leaves Mick Mulvaney’s former job open for six months. Trump promises his longtime adviser Stephen Miller an appointment to run the Homeland Security Department in an acting capacity during the close of the second term, when Senate confirmation won’t matter for a lame duck administration. And the president also raids his reelection campaign for new staff, believing they will be more loyal than the Frankenstein crew from the Republican National Committee that he hastily assembled in 2017.

Trump Loyalists

Imagining Trump’s second term: “A new crop of loyalists” join the administration.

Brad Parscale Trump campaign manager

Jared Kushner Senior advisor to the president

Rep. Jim Jordan 
(R-OH)

Sen. Lindsey Graham 
(R-SC)

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)

Rep. Mark Meadows 
(R-NC)

Stephen Miller Senior advisor for policy

William Barr Attorney General

Rudy Giuliani Attorney to Trump
Meno_
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Re: Trump enters the stage whhhaaat if he we we wins again?

Postby Meno_ » Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:36 pm

You don’t work to reelect a man you hate to get into the White House,” observes Michael Caputo, a longtime Trump adviser who agreed to join us on our time traveling experiment and says the 2020 campaign represents a real bounty for faithful, Trump-believing worker bees.

Next comes the score settling. “Trump totally unburdened and 100 percent politics all the time. Payback is hell,” predicted one of the Republicans close to the White House who insisted on anonymity because of their current job.

M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

As Washington freezes through the end of winter, Trump moves his administration temporarily to Mar-a-Lago. He’s golfing six days a week with the likes of celebrity admirers Rush Limbaugh, Kid Rock and Tiger Woods but finds time between rounds to lob Twitter grenades at anyone who crossed him during his first four years in office. Republicans are not spared as Trump draws a bull’s-eye on the half-dozen senators who voted to convict him at the impeachment trial. He hounds Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to remove Ben Sasse from the Banking, Judiciary and Intelligence committees. He scouts out 2022 GOP primary challengers for Richard Burr and Lisa Murkowski. And he seethes that he doesn’t have more ways to deliver payback to Susan Collins or a certain Mormon senator from Utah.

“Romney is lucky he’s running for reelection in 2024,” said Sam Nunberg, another former Trump campaign aide from 2016 who is riding shotgun in our time machine and sees an election cycle four years into the future as far enough away to spare the 2012 GOP presidential nominee from Trump’s ultimate payback.

Trump Enemies

Imagining Trump’s second term: “Trump draws a bullseye“ on the half-dozen GOP senators who voted to convict him at the impeachment trial, and ramps up attacks on Jerome Powell.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski 
(R-AK)

Sen. Ben Sasse 
(R-NE)

Jerome Powell 
Chair of the Federal Reserve

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)

Trump keeps trying to goose his government into action as the summer of 2021 arrives. He’s starting to sweat the U.S. economy in the months after the long-anticipated recession became official that April with the second consecutive quarter of negative growth. He tweets 10 times a day about how Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell is responsible. He gives one of his remaining first-term holdovers, national economic adviser Larry Kudlow, one more chance to pitch a middle-class tax cut in the hope that can turn things around.


Trump also leans in harder on his Justice Department. First, he orders Robert F. Kennedy’s name removed from the building headquarters in Washington and replaces it with Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and personal lawyer to the president whom Trump has installed as the director of his revamped and celebratory Voice of America. Then Trump threatens to fire Attorney General William Barr and every U.S. attorney in the country if criminal charges are not filed by Thanksgiving against any holdovers from the Obama administration who had a role in the original 2016 Russia investigation.

M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

Trump cancels the annual turkey pardoning event and replaces it with a ceremony to give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Roger Stone. All three former 2016 campaign aides had been sentenced to jail for crimes tied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, but Trump thinks he’s got room to maneuver now that he’s safely in a second term and decides to wipe their records clean.

Confounded and depressed by the 2020 election results, Democrats can’t figure out how to respond to every new example of Trump defying Congress. “The infighting. The blaming. The everything. Whoo!” Democratic operative James Carville says of his party’s struggle to find itself after losing in 2020. Jim Manley, a longtime aide to Harry Reid who was with us back in 2016 the last time we zoomed off into the future, foresees a “circular firing squad” taking place in his party “with no national Democratic leader able to tamp down on the internecine warfare.”

In the House, Pelosi was a goner the moment the television networks back in November declared Trump the winner. The president had taunted her throughout the 2020 campaign for her leadership against him on impeachment. And while her party still clings to a narrow House majority, the San Francisco congresswoman decides to call it quits and hands the speaker’s gavel over to Hakeem Jeffries, a 50-year old lawmaker from a Brooklyn-Queens district that is a stone’s throw from the president’s childhood home.

Leadership

Imagining Trump’s second term: Democrats retain a House majority, but Pelosi hands the gavel to Hakeem Jeffries. In the Senate, McConnell continues churning out judges.

Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House

Mitch McConnell Senate Majority Leader

Hakeem Jeffries Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus

Chuck Schumer Senate Minority Leader

Democrats still have subpoena power, but they’ve been neutered by repeated attempts to draw anything out of the president. In the summer before the 2020 presidential election, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority rendered Trump virtually impregnable with a 5-4 decision overturning its seminal Watergate ruling against Richard Nixon and instead embracing a broad range of presidential executive powers.

The focus for House lawmakers shifts from Trump’s alleged abuses of power and foreign meddling in U.S. elections to something that doesn’t quite pique Trump’s ire as much: neglect at the federal agencies across his administration. While the Constitution has no double jeopardy clause for impeachment, Democrats debate whether to hold their fire in even considering another attempt at removing him from office.

Sure, there’s all manner of agitation to try again—namely from the crop of freshman and sophomore Democrats who now hold the largest bloc of votes in the House conference. But Jeffries cuts that talk off by the summer of 2021, saying the party won’t consider another impeachment until after the 2022 midterms—and only if there’s a blue wave that causes dramatic shifts in the Senate. He argues there’s no point going to war again with a president who won’t stop talking about his new mandate or with Republicans who wouldn’t convict the president in the first term even after being presented with a “smoking gun” audio tape that was secretly stashed on an internal White House server of Trump offering to sell Alaska to Vladimir Putin in exchange for Russian hackers’ help to win a second term.

“He’s now free to do everything he wants, even if it’s clearly an impeachable offense because they’re not going to go after him two times in a row,” laments former Connecticut Rep. Chris Shays, one of four Republicans who voted against all four articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton in 1998.

M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

With impeachment off the table, Trump tries to cut deals with a divided Congress. But he spends his political capital much faster than his aides want. He finally gets a win on a replacement for the North American trade agreement that he tore up in his first term. But that’s it. House Democrats balk at an infrastructure package. There’s nowhere close to the 60 Senate votes needed to overhaul the nation’s prescription drug laws. The resulting bickering and blaming among lawmakers kills the chances for even bigger lifts. Reforming entitlement programs is nixed during the debate over Trump’s first budget in his second term. A comprehensive immigration overhaul gets shelved in the aftermath of Mexican troops accidentally opening fire on their American counterparts outside El Paso, the resulting tensions stoked by Trump and conservative media warnings about a caravan of thousands of migrants that never materializes at the border.



As we travel further into Trump’s second term, we see that he doesn’t lose every battle in the Capitol. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, reelected in 2020 to a seventh term, continues to do his part to remake the federal courts. The Kentucky Republican clears the floor calendar to hold votes confirming more than 100 more new judges with lifetime appointments to the district and appellate circuits, and conservatives rejoice at the prospect of friendly decisions for decades to come on issues like abortion, religion, and environmental and labor policy.

Soon-to-be former judges?

Imagining Trump’s second term: Thomas and Alito retire, ensuring their replacements are conservatives. RBG and Breyer “maximize their cardiovascular workouts and adopt strict Mediterranean diets.”

Samuel Alito

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Clarence Thomas

On the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, two associate justices in their mid-70s at the time of Trump’s second inaugural, opt for retirement rather than risk being replaced by a Democratic president after 2025. Meanwhile, the two remaining Bill Clinton-appointed justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, maximize their cardiovascular workouts and adopt strict Mediterranean diets.

Trump doesn’t really alter his erratic, isolationist foreign policy instincts. He withdraws all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, despite reservations even among Republicans. In Syria, ISIS has proclaimed a second modern-day Caliphate. He threatens repeatedly to pull the U.S. out of NATO, even ordering that the paperwork be drawn up but backs down as Republicans and Democrats unite to throw legislative hurdles in his way. He saber rattles on tariffs with China for all four additional years, but never closes a trade deal with Beijing; by the end of his second term, the U.S. and China have had near-skirmishes in the increasingly militarized South China Sea. Jared Kushner never actually releases the second half of his Middle East peace plan. The Iran nuclear deal collapses entirely, although Tehran doesn't immediately restart its nuclear program as it tries to rebuild its economy. Luckily, for the Iranians, China and Russia increasingly are willing to ignore U.S. sanctions and give them a financial lifeline. There also is no breakthrough on nuclear weapon talks with North Korea, though Kim Jong Un makes his first visit to the United States and joins Trump and Dennis Rodman courtside at the United Center for a Chicago Bulls game.

Global Counterparts

Imagining Trump’s second term: “Trump doesn’t really alter his erratic, isolationist foreign policy instincts.”

Xi Jinping 
President of China

Kim Jong-un Supreme Leader of North Korea

Vladimir Putin President of Russia

Trump also spends his time thinking about his legacy, and whom he wants to replace him in the White House. After dropping hints in private for months, he finally sends out a tweet on July 4, 2022, that he doesn’t support Mike Pence’s presidential ambitions. “Great guy, TREMENDOUS veep, but it’s time for some Beautiful NEW BLOOD,” he writes. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul back out by Labor Day, and the field is cleared for Ivanka Trump to take the party’s nomination 17 months before anyone has participated in a caucus or primary.

Future presidents?

Imagining Trump’s second term: The president spends time thinking about his legacy, and whom he wants to replace him in the White House. He chooses Ivanka.

Ivanka Trump Senior advisor

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Sen. Ted Cruz 
(R-TX)

Sen. Rand Paul 
(R-KY)

Mike Pence 
Vice President

Meanwhile, Trump takes direct control over planning for his presidential library, which in a break with tradition will include no actual presidential papers because there are none that have been preserved. He strong arms the General Services Administration to write through the lease agreement on his D.C. hotel and tells Congress he won’t consent to end a months-long government shutdown unless it amends a century-old law restricting height limits on buildings in the Capitol. When the standoff ends, construction begins immediately on a new 75-story addition to the historic building that when finished will look down on the Washington Monument and the rest of the city.

M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO



Some of our fellow time travelers aren’t entirely certain that second-term Trump will be distinguishable from first-term Trump. “He’s a category 5 tornado now,” insisted Ty Cobb, the former Trump White House lawyer who managed the president’s response to the Robert Mueller investigation. “It’s not like he’s going to break the measuring point.”

Trump himself has acknowledged how a state of perpetual scandal has reset all the meters. “It's almost become, like, a part of my day,” the president told reporters earlier this month when talking about all his interactions with lawyers.



The question is whether his opponents will finally resign themselves to his existence and find ways to adapt to his style of chaotic governance.

“This has been a war every single day since the day he won. My presumption here is that is not sustainable if he gets elected [again]. At that point it’s just too difficult to sustain,” says Gingrich. Indeed, he says he can envision a bloc of around 50 House Democrats who will eventually come around to working with a second-term Trump on issues like infrastructure or join him in a big health care push on sickle cell anemia research.

“Once they get past having to chant ‘We hate Trump!’ and ‘Impeach Trump!’, which I think will disappear if he wins reelection because it’s not sustainable emotionally, then there’s a real opportunity to put together a series of bipartisan majorities,” said Gingrich, who now lives in Rome with his wife, Callista, the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

That was, after all, the case with Clinton, who stayed busy in his final two years after his Senate trial, signing more than a dozen big laws, including a major banking deregulation plan later blamed for sparking the subprime mortgage financial crisis.

“We went back to work,” Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader during the 1999 impeachment trial, said in an interview. “It was a different time, different people, different media, quite frankly.”

While our time machine travels did not envision more impeachments in Trump’s future beyond what’s coming today in his first term, anyone watching the current battles can’t help but acknowledge the ever-present possibility that he could get pulled through the process again. Doug Holtz-Eakin, who in 2008 worked as a top adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign, said he would see “little upside” for Democrats to keep trying to impeach a second-term Trump.

But he wouldn’t rule it out entirely, either. “The only way I could imagine a second impeachment would be if there was a clear, serious violation of national security laws,” he said.

There are those who clearly will never adjust to Trump, and who see the president serving four more years as a real threat to the country’s constitutional balance.

M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

“As someone who has been in this business for more than 50 years in Washington, I cannot tell you how troubled I am by these prospects that the entire structure of the government system that’s operated for my lifetime and probably for a century before seems to be crumbling,” said Philip Allen Lacovara, a former Watergate prosecutor who made the winning argument in that unanimous 1974 Supreme Court case that helped lead to Nixon’s resignation.



“The very fact that people in the executive branch figure that they can simply put a thumb in the eye of Congress when they’re asked for information day after day after day after day, not on particularly controversial or sensitive single subject inquiries, that really is changing the fundamental nature of the government,” Lacovara added. “And the typical voter who is concerned about other things is simply not aware of this. And if Trump gets another four years to codify, institutionalize and embed this attitude it’s going to be very hard for Congress to reassert any effective control and oversight. I think that’s the real risk.”

Trump’s critics also worry that, given four more years in office, the president's unconventional ways could have other long-lasting effects on society. “Young people will grow up thinking that’s the way politics is,” said Shays. “So many of the things our Founding Fathers believe in will just go out the window.”

To Trump supporters, including the ones who came along on our time machine ride, all the talk about the end of democracy sounds laughable. “We said the same thing in 2012. ‘The stakes are just so high,’” Nunberg said of the fears surrounding a second Obama term. “We were fine.”

America, Trump’s supporters argue, is much more durable than the president’s critics acknowledge—even if he wins two terms. “It drives me crazy,” Fleischer said, “when people think Donald Trump’s tweets somehow are stronger than James Madison’s handwriting.”


 

© 2019 POLITICO LLC



Guardian




Impeachment inquiry: Democrats say diplomat’s testimony is a ‘sea change’ – as it happened

Bill Taylor, acting US ambassador to Ukraine, says he was told Trump made aid conditional until Ukraine publicly announced investigations into Biden and the 2016 election

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Maanvi Singh in San Francisco (now) and Joan E Greve in Washington (earlier)

Tue 22 Oct 2019 20.01 EDT

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Key events

20:01 EDT

Summary

That’s it from the liveblog for today. Here’s a recap:

Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, testifiedthat Donald Trump withheld military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and the 2016 election. Taylor contradicted ongoing insistence from Trump and his allies that there was no quid pro quo.

Democrats signaled that the Taylor testimony was a turning point, indicating that the inquiry will be speeding up in the coming days.

Trump and his allies, continued to insiston the president’s innocence. Republicanlawmakers took to the House floor, reiterating claims that the inquiry was unfair and unethical.

Democrats and Republicanscondemned Trump’s statements comparing the impeachment inquiry to a “lynching”.

The US envoy to Syria testified that he wasn’t consulted on the decision to withdraw US troops.

Russia won joint control of formerly Kurdish territory in Syria

Updated at 20:01 EDT

19:44 EDT

Bill Taylor leaves Capitol Hill after nine-hour-long deposition

Bill Taylor does not respond to questions as he leaves Capitol Hill following a deposition that lasted 9+ hours pic.twitter.com/FtQYNrNpo4

— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) October 22, 2019

Updated at 19:44 EDT

19:34 EDT

Meanwhile... Pelosi creates petition to condemn Trump

Here’s what Trump has done *just this week*:

- He called the constitutional ban on profiting from the presidency “phony.”
- His Administration has defied lawful subpoenas and document requests.
- He stood by his shakedown of a foreign government and called it “perfect.”

— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) October 22, 2019

Even as House Republicans rally behind Trump and seek to discredit the impeachment inquiry, Pelosi is promoting a public petition to condemn Trump.

There’s no real purpose for such a petition — but it’s a sign that Pelosi is sticking with her impeachment strategy despite Republican attacks.

Updated at 19:34 EDT

19:20 EDT

Republicans take to House floor and speak out against impeachment

Several Republican representatives are speaking out against the impeachment inquiry, repeatedly calling it a sham, echoing language from the president, his press secretary, and his associates.

Republicans including minority leader Kevin McCarthy are once again arguing that the inquiry is invalid because the House has not taken a vote to open it. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that there is no rule or regulation requiring such a vote.

Trump held two days of meetings with House Republicans over the weekend at Camp David, signaling that the White House is working hard to ensure support as evidence mounts in favor of impeachment.

Under Chairman Schiff and the Dem majority, the most basic responsibilities of the committee have been neglected.

Instead, the House Intelligence Committee is using its time and resources to run a sham impeachment inquiry in secret.#StopTheSchiffShowhttps://t.co/Othy2TMJYn

— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) October 22, 2019

Republican lawmakers are taking advantage of time allotted for one-minute speeches this evening to reiterate their loyalty to Trump.

“The facts will exonerate our president,” said Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

“Instead of wasting valuable time with this baseless inqurity there is so much more we could and should be doing,” said Tim Whalberg of Michigan.

Schiff's impeachment scheme is being conducted in secret behind closed doors. He's shutting out Republican Members.

This is a joke. The American people deserve complete transparency and access to the real facts, and @realDonaldTrump deserves due process!#StopTheSchiffShowpic.twitter.com/DxUOov2IFZ

— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) October 22, 2019

One after another, Republicans repeated claims that the impeachment inquiry was illegitimate and unfair.

Updated at 19:41 EDT

18:58 EDT

White House: Bill Taylor testimony was 'triple hearsay'

Insisting “there was no quid pro quo”, the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement: “Today was just more triple hearsay and selective leaks from the Democrats’ politically-motivated, closed-door, secretive hearings.”

She also said the inquiry was “a coordinated smear campaign”.

.@PressSec releases a statement on the Taylor testimony: pic.twitter.com/TWsQsy1i8G

— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) October 22, 2019

US envoy says Trump used military aid to push Ukraine to investigate Biden

Updated at 19:32 EDT

18:49 EDT

Biden campaign weighs in on Bill Taylor testimony

“Trump is so desperate not to love to Joe Biden that he threatened to withhold vital military assistance,” said Biden’s campaign manager Kate Bedingfield in a statement.

“The president has betrayed his office,” the statement reads.

Joe Biden’s campaign weighs in on Bill Taylor’s testimony. pic.twitter.com/6cgJGVGU1n

— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 22, 2019

Updated at 18:49 EDT

18:26 EDT

Trump to Netanyahu: ‘You are great!’

In March, Donald Trump hosted Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Trump wished Netanyahu a happy birthday, calling him “one of my closest allies”, in a letter sent on Monday, after the Israeli prime minister announced his failure to form a coalition government.

“You are great!” Trump added, in a handwritten note next to his signature.

According to Axios, Netanyahu’s office released the letter to show that he still had strong ties with Trump, who remains popular in Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu tells Israeli president he cannot form government

Updated at 19:31 EDT

17:50 EDT

Syria envoy said he was not consulted on US troop withdrawal

James Jeffrey, the special envoy to Syria, said he wasn’t consulted on the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw troops. In a testimonybefore the Senate foreign relations committee, he said “I personally was not consulted before the decision.”

He defended the administration, saying that Barack Obama and George W Bush both acted in Iraq without consulting him while he worked as an ambassador and a chargé d’affaires, respectively.

“In my current job, I feel that my views, through Secretary Pompeo have been brought repeatedly and frequently and, I think in many cases, effectively,” he said.

But lawmakers were incredulous.

“Professionally are you indifferent to not being consulted about the matter that is in your lifelong expertise?” asked Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. “Whether you mind it or not, I mind not being consulted.”

Turkey and Russia agree deal over buffer zone in northern Syria

Updated at 19:31 EDT

17:28 EDT

Democrats say Bill Taylor testimony signals 'sea change' in impeachment inquiry

Bill Taylor’s testimony – which contradicts claims by the president, his chief of staff and his and his associates – “is a sea change”, said the Democratic representative Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts. “I think it could accelerate matters,” he said.

The Democratic representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida said: “I do not know how you would listen to today’s testimony from Ambassador Taylor and come to any other (conclusion) except that the president abused his power and withheld foreign aid”

Meanwhile, other Democrats, including those running for president, have reiterated their support for a speedy impeachment.

I'll say it again: This is corruption, plain and simple. Donald Trump must be impeached. https://t.co/ZZH4J3DY0t

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 22, 2019

Updated at 19:24 EDT

17:00 EDT

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, testified in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry that he was told Trump was holding up military aid to Ukraine until the country’s president publicly announced investigations into Joe Biden and the 2016 election – contradicting Trump’s repeated denials of a quid pro quo.

Trump sparked outrage by comparing the impeachment inquiry to a “lynching”.

The anonymous author of a 2018 New York Times op-ed who claimed to be part of an internal White House “resistance” to Trump is now writing a book while maintaining anonymity.

Russia has won joint control of formerly Kurdish territory in Syria, marking a crucial victory for Vladimir Putin after the withdrawal of US troops.

The UK parliament rejected the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposal to fast-track Brexit, virtually guaranteeing that Britain will not leave the EU by its set deadline at the end of the month. (Follow the Guardian’s UK politics live blog for more.)

Maanvi will have more on the news of the day, so stay tuned.

Updated at 19:23 EDT

16:40 EDT

Bill Taylor also said in his opening statement to the House committees investigating impeachment that a National Security Council official, Tim Morrison, had offered a less than glowing assessment of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president.

The acting US ambassador to Ukraine said: “Mr. Morrison told me that the call ‘could have been better’ and that President Trump had suggested that President Zelenskyyor his staff meet with Mr. Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr. I did not see any official readout of the call until it was publicly released on September 25.”

Morrison’s opinion is a far cry from Trump’s repeated assertions that his call with the Ukrainian president was “perfect” and included nothing improper.

Updated at 16:40 EDT

16:23 EDT

A Washington Post reporter summarized the opening statement of Bill Taylor, the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, in this way:

Shorter Bill Taylor: President Trump insisted, over and over there was not a "quid pro quo." But there was a quid. Followed by a pro. And then, finally, a quo.

— Matt Viser (@mviser) October 22, 2019

Updated at 16:23 EDT



© 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights
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Re: Trump enters the stage Will he fight impeachment?

Postby Meno_ » Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:16 pm

TRUMP EFFECT
Will Trump shut down the government to fight impeachment?
Analysis: Washington is bracing for the prospect that president may seek to let funding lapse in a bid to blame Democrats.

President Donald Trump speaks to the media at Naval Air Station Joint Reverse Base in Fort Worth, Texas, on Oct. 17, 2019.Andrew Harnik / AP file
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Oct. 23, 2019, 5:00 AM EDT / Updated Oct. 23, 2019, 10:21 AM EDT
By Jonathan Allen
WASHINGTON — Impeachment, meet government shutdown.

With funding for federal operations set to expire Nov. 21, the political class here is beginning to plan for the possibility — or the likelihood, in the eyes of some — that President Donald Trump will shut down the government to try to turn public opinion against House Democrats and their push to impeach him.

"He used it for his almighty wall for the longest shutdown in history, so I don't put anything past him when it comes to this," Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic minority whip, told NBC News.

It's not just Democrats who have learned that Trump has a tendency to add as many chips to the pile as he can in high-stakes political battles, particularly when things aren't going his way. Right now, according to an impeachment tracker by FiveThirtyEight.com, a plurality of Americans (48.6 percent to 43.3 percent) support removing the president from office.

Trump has a history of seeking dramatic means to alter storylines.

This browser does not support the video element.

"The Republican leadership is watching this very closely and anything really can happen, and that does give him the ability to express himself and he has done that before," said Ron Bonjean, a former Republican leadership aide in both the House and Senate who assisted the Trump White House with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearings. "Could it happen again? Absolutely. And especially when everything is so personal."

Beyond Trump's irritation at the impeachment inquiry, many Republicans see the potential for a shutdown to flip the script on Democrats.

"The administration could use a spending showdown to put the focus back on the issues and the fact that Democrats don't want to pay for national security, border security or restrain wasteful spending," said one former senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the president.

"The longer Democrats drag out this impeachment circus, the less likely Trump has any reason to cooperate with them on appropriations," the source added.

Yet Democrats contend such a move would backfire on Trump because the public would see it as an attempt to help himself at a cost to the country.

"If some Republicans want to shut down the government because the House is upholding our oath of office and holding President Trump accountable, they'll have to defend that to the American people," Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.

On Capitol Hill, where the Senate is just taking up some of its versions of the annual appropriations bills — the dozen measures that fund the government — there is no realistic hope of the two chambers agreeing to all of them before the deadline.

A big part of the impasse has to do with the long-running fight between the White House and Congress over the president's efforts to fund a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, but the two chambers haven't even yet reached a deal on how much to money to allocate for each of the dozen spending bills.

Those who want to avoid a government shutdown want to make progress on those bills while passing a measure called a "continuing resolution" that would keep the government operating beyond Nov. 21.

Count the House Democrats — who would face the politically risky prospect of moving forward with impeachment while the rest of the government sat still — in that camp.

"House Democrats refuse to play politics with a government shutdown, and we will pass necessary legislation to keep the federal government up and running," Lowey said.

Lawmakers keep working during shutdowns, and, as is the case with federal agencies, Congress can designate certain staff as "essential" to do the same.

A senior Trump administration official said in an email that the president probably won't shut down the government, but stopped far short of closing off that option.

"The administration expects Congress to do its job to secure the border and pay our troops, but in the event that they are unable to pass full-year appropriations bills, the president is unlikely to oppose a clean temporary funding bill," the official, who declined to be identified, lacking authorization to speak about the issue, said in an e-mail.

Like Lowey, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Appropriations Committee, doesn't want to see a lapse in federal funding. And he doesn't think it would be a political boon for Trump.

"I've said for years, and I've said to the president, that to shut down the government helps no one, including the administration," he said.

As for whether he's worried that Trump would shut down the government out of frustration with the impeachment process, Shelby stopped short of predicting that the president would avoid that route.

"I would hope not," he said.

Jonathan Allen
Jonathan Allen is a Washington-based national political reporter for NBC News who focuses on the presidency.

Frank Thorp V contributed.



Trouble in Congress:
------ ------- ------- ------- -------

Chaos erupts as Republicans barge into Trump impeachment inquiry hearing

Group chanting ‘Let us in’ entered closed-door meeting where top Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine policy was to testify.

Wed 23 Oct 2019 14.38 EDT




Political tensions over an intensifying impeachment inquiryreached fever pitch on Wednesday as Republicans “stormed” a closed-door committee hearing on Capitol Hill where another witness to the Ukraine controversy was appearing – a day after devastating testimony from a key diplomat.

A group of Republican members of the House of Representatives, chanting “Let us in”, barged into a secure, in-camera hearing room where Laura Cooper, a top Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine policy, was set to testify before the committees in charge of the inquiry.

The chaos and confusion temporarily shut down the proceedings as Republicans tweeted live updates of the disruption from their cellphones, which are not typically permitted in classified areas, and reportedly entered into yelling matches with committee members.

“BREAKING: I led over 30 of my colleagues into the SCIF where Adam Schiff is holding secret impeachment depositions. Still inside – more details to come,” tweeted Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican congressman and one of Donald Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, referring to secured areas of the Capitol known as Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities, or SCIFs, and Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee leading the Trump-Ukraine impeachment inquiry.

The Republicans who led the protest do not sit on the three committees involved in the impeachment inquiry and are not permitted to attend. Members of those committees already include Republican members of Congress, as well as Democratsand both parties attend and ask questions at the hearings, whether public or, as in this case, closed to the public and the press.

But the members involved in the action on Wednesday have sought to attack the inquiry on procedural grounds, protesting against the private nature of the hearings and demanding access to the full breadth of the testimony that has rattled Washington in recent weeks.

Much of the testimony that has been made public by the committee, however, and news reports confirm key elementsof a whistleblower complaint that set in motion the impeachment inquiry. The investigation centers on reports of Donald Trump withholding military aid and dangling a meeting at the White House for Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in return for favors that would benefit him in domestic US politics.

Could Donald Trump actually be impeached? – video

The invading Republicans were still in the chamber by early afternoon and ordered in pizza.

“Reporting from Adam Schiff’s secret chamber,” Republican congressman Andy Biggs began, in a series of tweets from inside the room. Biggs has accused Democrats of conducting a “Soviet-style” impeachment inquiry and demanded the testimony be made available to all lawmakers.

“When Republican members were in the SCIF, Chairman Schiff immediately left with the witness,” he tweeted.

The dramatic escalation by Republicans on Capitol Hill came after Bill Taylor, the most senior US diplomat in Kyiv, testified for hours before House investigators on Tuesday, delivering an account that was so shocking to some lawmakers, freshman Democrat congressman Andy Levin described it as “my most disturbing day in Congress so far – very troubling”.

In a lengthy opening statement, Taylor told lawmakers that Trump wanted “everything”, including military aid to Ukraine, tied to a commitment by the country’s leaders to investigate Democrats and the 2016 election as well as a company linked to the family of Trump’s leading 2020Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

“He said that President Trump wanted President Zelenskiy ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations,” Taylor said.

Trump emerged briefly on Wednesday to declare victory in enforcing what he called a “permanent” ceasefire along the northern Syrian border after his abrupt withdrawal of US troops effectively opened the door for a Turkish offensive against Kurdish-led forces in that region, leaving scores of civilians and fighters dead and hundreds of thousands of people displaced.

The president, who has denied any wrongdoing in the impeachment inquiry, spent the morning on Twitter downplaying the investigation’s findings, including Taylor’s explosive testimony. He didn’t address the impeachment issues or take any questions after delivering his statement on Syria.

Later, leaving the White House for Pittsburgh to speak at a fracking conference, Trump was unusually quiet when heading to the Marine One helicopter on the lawn.

He has become accustomed to often relatively lengthy sessions of questions and answers with reporters gathered outside, on his way to the helicopter, which has become known as “chopper talk”, but he did not take any questions on Wednesday.

Meanwhile a report emerged noting that as early as 7 May, newly elected President Zelenskiy told senior aides he was already worried about pressure from the Trump to investigate his Democratic rivals.

The group of advisers spent most of a three-hour meeting talking about how to navigate the insistence from Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for such an investigation, and how to avoid becoming entangled in the American elections, according to three people familiar with the details of the meeting.

Among the many defenses the White House has offered is that Ukraine had not been aware that Trump was withholding military aid that Congress approved for the country unless it launched two investigations.

Associated Press contributed to this repor

© 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.



Bellaire and mutiny?



PASTOR WARNS IF TRUMP IS REMOVED FROM OFFICE, 'GUYS THAT KNOW HOW TO FIGHT' WILL HUNT DOWN DEMOCRATS

By Jason Lemon On 10/23/19 at 4:15 PM EDT 

U.S. DONALD TRUMPUKRAINE IMPEACHMENTSENATE

Christian church leader Rick Wiles threatened that "There's gonna be violence in America" if President Donald Trump is removed from office.

Wiles, the senior pastor at Flowing Streams Church in Florida, made the remarks on his right-wing TruNews program Tuesday evening. He claimed that cowboys, mountain men and "guys that know how to do violence" would start attacking and "hunting down" Democrats.



"If they take him [Trump] out, there's gonna be violence in America," the religious leader said. "That's all there is to it," he asserted.

"However he leaves, there's gonna be violence in America," Wiles went on. "I believe there are people in this country, veterans, there are cowboys, mountain men, I mean guys that know how to fight," he said, "and they're going to make a decision that people who did this to Donald Trump are not gonna get away with it."

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"And they're gonna hunt them down," the pastor said.

"The Trump supporters are going to hunt them down," he added. "It's going to happen and this country is going to be plunged into darkness and they brought it upon themselves because they won't back off."

Wiles' threat came as it has appeared increasingly likely that Trump will be impeached by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. The fast-moving impeachment inquiry, which was launched at the end of September, has already revealedthat the president pressured Ukrainian leaders to investigate his political rivals and allegedly withheld bipartisan approved military aid to the country as a "quid pro quo" to open the probes.

Although it appears likely that Trump will be impeached in the House, most analysts do not believe he will be removed from office by the Republican-controlled Senate. Although a few GOP senators have expressed serious concerns about Trump's actions towards Ukraine, a two-thirds majority of the legislative body is required to remove the president from office. That would mean all the 45 Democrats, the body's two independents and 19 Republicans would need to vote for Trump's ouster.

President Donald Trump speaks during a "Keep America Great" campaign rally at American Airlines Center on October 17 in Dallas, TexasTOM PENNINGTON/GETTY



Building a wall!



WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Wednesday that a wall is being built in Colorado.


"And we're building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we’re building a wall in Colorado. We’re building a beautiful wall. A big one that really works — that you can’t get over, you can’t get under,” Trump said during a speech at the Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh.

He continued, “And we’re building a wall in Texas. And we’re not building a wall in Kansas but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned. And Louisiana's incredible.”

Colorado is not positioned along the U.S.'s southern border, where Trump has focused his desire for a physical barrier, and there have been no reports of plans to construct a border wall in the state. A portion of the border wall is being built along the Colorado River in Arizona.

Trump presumably misspoke, as he had just been speaking about the border wall plans along the southern border between New Mexico and Mexico.


“You know why we’re going to win New Mexico? Because they want safety on their border. And they didn’t have it. And we’re building a wall on the border of New Mexico,” he declared before mentioning Colorado.

Nevertheless, Trump’s comments spread on Twitter.



Cute maneuvers


ABCNews
Trump campaign scoops up Biden's Latino voter web address, trolls his voter outreach
By Will Steakin,Rachel Scott
Oct 23, 2019, 7:28 PM ET

WATCH: Vice President Mike Pence helped roll out the Trump campaign's first 2020 coalition in Miami on Tuesday.
It didn't take long for the Trump campaign to figure out how to troll Joe Biden moments after the former vice president's campaign announced a Latino voter outreach program on Wednesday.

Biden, who spent the day campaigning across Pennsylvania and Iowa, announced "Todos Con Biden," a "national network of Latino supporters" working to help elect the former vice president earlier on Wednesday.


But there's one problem. The Biden campaign failed to purchase http://www.todosconbiden.com, or even lock down the @TodosConBiden Twitter handle before announcing the new effort -- prompting the president's reelection team to do what it does best: troll.

Now, the Trump campaign is using http://www.todosconbiden.com to mock the former vice president, with a landing page that says in both English and Spanish, "Oops, Joe forgot about Latinos." The page also links out to the president's own Latino outreach coalition "Latinos for Trump." And the @TodosConBiden Twitter account, in the possession of the Trump campaign, has already begun posting unflattering counter messaging targeting Biden.

The reelection team told ABC News they bought the URL for a "minimal cost" after the Trump campaign's coalition team noticed the URL for the new effort was still up for grabs.


"The Biden campaign continues to be inept with a deeply flawed candidate," Deputy Communications Director Erin Perrine told ABC News. "Latinos are thriving under President Trump and now thanks to the Biden camp, people can find out more about that success at http://www.todosconbiden.com.


The landing page for the Donald J. Trump for President campaign. The Trump campaign said they bought the URL for the Biden campaign's newly announced Latino voter outreach effort "Todos Con Biden."
In response, the Biden campaign said the move by the Trump campaign was "no surprise."

"It is no surprise that Trump's Campaign would resort to childish antics like this to take attention away from this President's appalling record of separating families and using immigrants as scapegoats, fomenting hatred and white supremacy, and trying to take away health care from millions of Americans who need it," according to Isabel Aldunate, deputy director of strategic communications/Hispanic media press secretary for the Biden campaign.

Scooping up the URL and Twitter handle to mock Biden is just the latest example of the Trump campaign's trolling strategy, which has in part fueled and embodied the reelection effort so far. During the last two Democratic primary debates in Ohio and Houston, the campaign paid thousands of dollars to fly a massive banner above the host cities slamming the president's potential rivals.

The campaign has also turned mockery into cash, selling everything from "Pencil-Neck Adam Schiff" T-Shirts to most recently "Where's Hunter?" shirts, which went on sale less than an hour after the president asked about the former vice president's son at a Minneapolis rally.

And it's not just the Trump campaign who sees a gaffe like this as a broader issue for Biden, who himself has been prone to missteps over his decades-long career.

"How the hell are you Joe Biden's campaign and you don't lock up the URL before you announce stuff?" Mike Madrid, a veteran Republican political consultant who's a vocal critic of the president told ABC News.

On top of trolling Biden, the Trump campaign is using this opportunity to tout the president's record with Latino Americans, such as record low unemployment. But critics, including Madrid, argue economic issues alone won't be enough to sway large numbers of voters given Trump's record on immigration.

"Anybody who believes that economic numbers are going to motivate Latinos to shift allegiances -- that's an absurd notion," Madrid said.

However, the longtime political operative added that if Democrats are going to beat Trump in 2020 it will require a far more efficient operation than the campaign Hillary Clinton ran in 2016, and Wednesday's Biden blunder doesn't instill faith that the 76-year-old former vice president is the best option.

"Can the Democratic nominee get higher Latino voter turnout than the disastrous operation by Hillary Clinton? This tells me that Biden and his campaign are not looking really strong in that regard," Madrid said. "That's what concerns me."

The Biden campaign launched "Todos con Biden" with the goal of growing grassroots support while also promising immigration and education reform for the Latino community.

"Joe Biden knows that our diversity is our strength, and as president, he will continue to ensure that all Americans are treated with dignity -- not scapegoated or used to score political points, " Laura Jiménez, the campaign's national Latino vote director said.

It comes months after the Trump campaign rolled out its own "Latinos for Trump" coalition in June, an effort aimed at turning out Latino voters.

In the 2016 election, Trump took 29% of the Latino vote, topping Romney, who took 27% of the Latino vote in 2012. Hispanics are projected to become the largest minority group in the electorate in 2020, with 18.3%, surpassing African Americans.

ABC News' Molly Nagle and Johnny Verhovek contributed to this report.

© 2019 ABC News Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.
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Impeachment proceedings-some opinions behind doors :





EDITORIAL

The far-reaching implications of Trump’s betrayal

Updated October 24, 2019, 3:00 a.m.



Ambassador William Taylor is escorted by US Capitol Police as he arrives to testify before House committees as part of the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday. (J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP PHOTO)

When he took the job as president, Donald Trump swore an oath to faithfully execute the responsibilities of the office. One of those tasks, passed into law with overwhelming bipartisan support, was to provide almost $400 million in military aid this year to Ukraine to help the Eastern European country resist Russian aggression. The war there has claimed 13,000 lives, and American aid is critical to Ukraine’s — and Europe’s — defense. Trump’s responsibility — his sworn duty — was to deliver that aid to Kyiv.

To use the money instead for his own personal purposes would be a breathtaking abuse of presidential power, and a betrayal of national security. And yet, with each passing day, there’s more evidence that Trump did just that. The latest evidence came in explosive testimony from a US diplomatwho told Congress Tuesday that the president held up the military aid as part of a pressure campaign to get the Ukrainian government to assist Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.

If Congress lets this abuse of power pass, they’re creating an alarming precedent for this and all future presidents: Go ahead and use taxpayer money to help yourself, even when the funds were earmarked to support an important American national security goal. The consequences would be long-lasting: A superpower like the United States cannot allow its foreign policy to be subordinated to the president’s personal needs and expect to maintain any international support or respect.

It was appalling enough that Trump had asked for political favors from Ukraine, and it was that request for Kyiv to meddle in a US election that triggered the House’s impeachment inquiry. The fact that the president seems to have used congressionally approved military aid for leverage makes the abuse of power that much graver. He sought to make Ukraine choose between participating in a corrupt scheme or losing American aid in the face of an existential threat.

The new information came from the current US envoy to Ukraine, William B. Taylor, who testified that Trump had held up the aid to Ukraine not for any legitimate reasons, as the White House has tried to argue, but to compel the country to help his reelection campaign. Specifically, he wanted Ukraine to launch two phony “investigations,” both of which would be politically beneficial for the president in defending himself and attacking a prospective rival. He wanted Ukraine to investigate a preposterous theory that that country, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 election, and to launch a probe into potential Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The mere existence of those investigations, if Ukraine had opened them and announced them publicly, as Trump wanted, would help his campaign.

The testimony from Taylor buttresses the public admission of acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who acknowledged last week that Trump had held up the aid money in part to pressure Ukraine. Mulvaney backtracked, and the administration has been trying to retroactively invent legitimate-sounding reasons for the holdup, but Taylor’s account is said to be backed up by contemporaneous notes he took at the time.

Taylor — along with the other officials who have testified — deserves the public’s gratitude for ignoring the White House’s efforts to prevent him from appearing. Unlike the president, he has put duty and the national interest first. Officials who have participated in the stonewalling, like Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, are putting a permanent blot on their reputations.

Taylor’s testimony strengthened the case for impeachment but also injected a dose of foreign-policy realism about the wider consequences of the scandal. The president’s misconduct is not some kind of minor lapse. By holding up the aid, Trump put in doubt American commitment to its own foreign policy priorities. And he sent the message to the world that American support is for sale, undercutting decades of diplomacy based on supporting shared democratic values. In the world’s eyes, every US foreign policy decision is now tainted by the knowledge that the president makes major decisions based on what’s in it for him, and that the safeguards in the American political system meant to prevent just that kind of abuse have failed because of the spinelessness of congressional Republicans.

Or at least, they have so far. Some of the damage is already done. But if members of Congress of all parties want to defend both their own power and the integrity of American foreign policy, impeachment is the proper constitutional remedy.


EDITORIAL

The far-reaching implications of Trump’s betrayal

President Trump’s misconduct is not some kind of minor lapse.

MICHAEL A. COHEN

©2019 Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC


Republican counterpunches --------
-------

Democracy Dies in Darkness

Live updates: Graham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry

By John Wagner and Felicia Sonmez
October 24, 2019 at 12:27 PM EDT
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) advertised a news conference Thursday to announce a resolution condemning the House impeachment inquiry, as partisan rancor continued to escalate over the Ukraine scandal.



-------- --------- ------ ---- --- --

Lindsey Graham Introducing Resolution to Permanently Attach Lips to Trump’s Ass
BESS LEVIN
OCTOBER 24, 2019 12:17 PM
Lindsey Graham listens to Donald Trump make an announcement regarding the "First Step Act", prison reform bill, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on November 14, 2018 in Washington, DC.
By Mark Wilson/Getty Images.
Lindsey Graham is hopping mad and he’s pretty sure you know why. Despite the South Carolina senator’s insistence that Donald Trump did nothing wrong when it comes to Ukraine, and that it’s “very appropriate” for the president of the United States to try to extort another country, House Democrats just had to go ahead and open their impeachment inquiry. Even though Trump, who admitted to withholding aid to Ukraine until it investigated his political rival, is quite obviously innocent. Even though, as God is his witness, Graham will testify Trump doesn’t have a corrupt bone in his body, and would never do any of the things his acting chief of staff has already confessed to on live television. Even though Nancy Pelosi can quite obviously see it’s tearing Graham up inside.


And that got Lindsey thinking: Sure, he can wag his finger at Democrats and tell them they should be ashamed of themselves, that their mamas raised them better than this, and that they should be sent to bed without any shrimp and grits, but serious times call for serious measures. And that is why, on Thursday afternoon, he will introduce a resolution that not only formally denounces the House’s impeachment inquiry, but makes it clear to any presidents listening that he is willing to go down with the ship. Speaking about his plan on Fox News, Graham told Sean Hannity, “This resolution puts the Senate on record condemning the House…. Here’s the point of the resolution: Any impeachment vote based on this process, to me, is illegitimate, is unconstitutional, and should be dismissed in the Senate without a trial.”

Of course, nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the House must hold a vote before opening an impeachment inquiry, nor does anyone believe that Republicans would suddenly be totally cool with the proceedings should one be held, but never mind you that. Graham is also apparently upset that the president has not been allowed to confront the whistle-blower, whose identity is protected by federal law. “We cannot allow future presidents and this president to be impeached based on an inquiry in the House that’s never been voted upon, that does not allow the president to confront the witnesses against him, to call witnesses on his behalf, and cross-examine people who are accusing him of misdeeds,” he said.

Graham, whose devotion to Trump runs so deep that he’s willing to overlook all the times the president has slandered his dead friend, announced the resolution after saying earlier this month that he would be sending a letter to Pelosi telling her that Senate Republicans have no intention of removing Trump from office over a friendly phone call with the president of Ukraine. And even though Graham is sticking his neck out for the president he loves, for some people, it’s apparently not enough. According to Jonathan Swan, “a source close to” Donald Trump Jr. doesn’t think a resolution is enough. “If you’re going to talk the talk on Fox, you better walk the walk in the chamber,” this person said. “And a resolution is just talk. People expect action.”

It’s not clear what kind of action Don Jr.’s inner circle would like Graham to take, or what would constitute walking the walk, though there is presumably a nonzero chance Graham will use his 3 p.m. press conference to chain himself to the doors of Pelosi‘s office and refuse to get out of the way until the House agrees to clear Trump on all charges and pass a law declaring him president for life.

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Related
Sen. Lindsey Graham questions U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing June 19, 2018 in Washington, DC.
IMPEACHMENT
Lindsey Graham: “Very Appropriate” for Trump to Try to Extort Another Country

LEVIN REPORT
Lindsey Graham: Trump Will “Blow You Away” With His Innocence on Ukraine



© Condé Nast 2019
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Re: Trump enters the stage. Strange Brew

Postby Meno_ » Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:56 pm

Democrats claim justice department being used for ‘political retribution’ – live

The chairmen of two key House committees have condemned the reported opening of a criminal investigation of the Russia inquir


Defense secretary confirms troop presence remaining in Syria

Mark Esper, the secretary of defense, confirmed that a small number of US troops will remain in Syria to prevent the Islamic State from gaining access to key oil resources.



The announcement comes weeks after Trump announced he was withdrawing all US troops from northern Syria and less than an hour after the president tweeted that troops were “COMING HOME.”

This announcement will likely do little to assure Trump’s base that the president is moving to end US engagements in the Middle East.

Updated at 09:45 EDT

09:34 EDT

Bolton reportedly in talks to speak to impeachment investigators

John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, is reportedly in talks to sit for a deposition with the House committees investigating impeachment.

CNN reports:

Former NSC officialFiona Hill testified before the committee last week that she saw ‘wrongdoing’ in the American foreign policy and tried to report it to officials including the National Security Council’s attorney, according to multiple sources.

‘She saw wrongdoing related to the Ukraine policy and reported it,’ one source said. The same source told CNN that Hill testified that Bolton referred to Giuliani -- Trump’s personal attorney -- as a ‘hand grenade’ who was ‘going to blow everybody up.’

Bolton also reportedlyinstructed Hill at one point to tell White House lawyers: “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondlandand Mulvaney are cooking up,” referring to the US ambassador to EU and Trump’s acting chief of staff.

Bolton left the administration rather abruptly last month after Trump announced his departure in a tweet, and the former official has since been publicly critical of the president’s foreign policy.

Updated at 09:34 EDT

09:13 EDT

Trump insists troops are coming home (eventually)

Trump seems to be lashing out against reports that hundreds of US troops will remain in northern Syria, despite the president’s announcement that he was withdrawing American forces from the region.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The White House is considering options for leaving about 500 U.S. troops in northeast Syria and for sending dozens of battle tanks and other equipment, officials said Thursday, the latest in an array of scenarios following President Trump’s decision this month to remove all troops there.

The options, presented by military officials, would represent a reversal from the American withdrawal Mr. Trump wanted. It also would modify U.S. objectives—from countering Islamic State extremists to also safeguarding oil fields in eastern Syria with additional troops and new military capability.

However, Trump was on Twitter this morning insisting things in Syria were “gong well” and US troops were “COMING HOME.”

Turkey fully understands not to fire on the Kurds as they leave what will be known as the Safe Zone for other fairly nearby areas. I don’t have to repeat that large scale Sanctions will be imposed for violations. Going well! ISIS secured by Kurds with Turkey ready as backup.....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2019

....COMING HOME! We were supposed to be there for 30 days - That was 10 years ago. When these pundit fools who have called the Middle East wrong for 20 years ask what we are getting out of the deal, I simply say, THE OIL, AND WE ARE BRINGING OUR SOLDIERS BACK HOME, ISIS SECURED!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2019

The president is also exaggerating the situation he inherited in Syria. There was never any agreement to completely withdraw from Syria after a month, and US forces only became involved in the country in 2014.

Trump is essentially demanding credit for a promise that he has not kept.

Updated at 09:13 EDT

08:44 EDT

Democrats slam reported investigation of Russia inquiry

Good morning, live blog readers!

We are almost to the end of a very damaging week for the president, with more evidence of a quid pro quo in the Ukraine scandal coming to light, but it appears that the Trump administration may be using every tool at its disposal to fight back.

News broke last night that the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into its own Russia investigation, which Donald Trump spent more than two years criticizing as a “witch-hunt”.

The New York Times reports:

Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to convene a grand jury and to file criminal charges.

The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.

Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, the Democratic chairmen of the House intelligence and judiciary committees, issued a statement last night warning that the reported criminal investigation could signal the Justice Department has become “a tool of political retribution”.

Schiff and Nadler said: “These reports, if true, raise profound new concerns that the Department of Justice under AG Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump’s political revenge.

“If the Department of Justice may be used as a tool of political retribution, or to help the President with a political narrative for the next election, the rule of law will suffer new and irreparable damage.”

© 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.


Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Plum Line

Opinion

Explosive William Barr news points to Trump’s weakness and panic

(Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

By Greg Sargent 

Opinion writer

October 25, 2019 at 10:12 AM EDT

Let me make an admittedly tentative suggestion about the explosive news that William P. Barr’s review of the origins of the Russia investigation has become a criminal probe:

Don’t freak out.

Yet.

No question, it’s deeply worrying that the Attorney General’s review — which President Trump badly wants in hopes of discrediting the origins of the special counsel investigation that revealed bottomless corruption on his part — now appears to be a criminal matter.



Well the pieces are beginning to fit. Or, are they?



Yes. They are.

The Senate. Is softening.:




IDEAS
Donald Trump Has a Big Problem in the Senate
A resolution meant to be a show of solidarity by Republicans with the president has instead become a sign of weakness.

DAVID A. GRAHAM
12:23 PM ET

ANDREW HARNIK / AP
As the White House struggles to build an anti-impeachment strategy, President Donald Trump turned this week to Lindsey Graham, his staunchest ally in the Senate, to try to stiffen Republican spines in that chamber. It’s not going the way the president must have hoped.


On Thursday, Graham announced that he’d put forward a resolution condemning the House impeachment inquiry. By mid-afternoon, when he actually announced it, the resolution had been watered down to a plea for a different and more transparent process, apparently a sop to GOP senators unwilling to go quite that far. And yet by Friday morning, only 44 of 53 Republicans in the Senate had signed on to the resolution. A gesture meant to be a show of solidarity by senators has instead become a sign of the weakness of the president’s position.

The Senate was supposed to be Trump’s firewall in the Ukraine scandal, and there’s still not any reason to believe that there would be 67 senators willing to vote to remove the president. But with impeachment in the House an all-but-foregone conclusion, as I wrote earlier this week, the administration is turning its focus to the Senate, and it’s proving to be less of a redoubt than Trump wanted.


The New York Times reports:

After another private meeting Monday night with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, Mr. Trump began complaining privately that he did not think Senate Republicans were doing enough to have his back. For days, some allies of the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had agitated on Twitter for Mr. Graham to do more to try to counteract Democrats in the House.

One line of pressure has been for Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, to call witnesses in that chamber as a sort of counterprogramming, though on Thursday he said that made no sense to him.

MORE BY DAVID A. GRAHAM
Why Republicans Are Complaining About the Impeachment Process
DAVID A. GRAHAM
The 2020 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet
DAVID A. GRAHAM
Impeachment Just Became Inevitable
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William Taylor Delivers the Smoking Gun
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David A. Graham: Nothing and everything changed on impeachment

But Graham is not the problem; he’s signaled a willingness to stand by Trump through thick, thin, and horrific lynching analogies. The White House’s challenge is other senators. Some Republicans have been notably open to an impeachment inquiry, but most have been conspicuously quiet. Some use the time-honored excuse that they’d serve as jurors in a trial and therefore ought not to weigh in; many more are simply dodging questions. What they’re mostly not doing is mounting substantive defenses of the president’s behavior. A Daily Caller canvass found only seven of the 53 Republicans were willing to rule out voting to remove Trump.

Republican senators have always been less tractable for Trump than representatives, though the GOP controls the Senate but not the House. The president has many rah-rah fans in the House, and House members are also more vulnerable to pressure from Trump-loving constituents if they get out of line with the White House. (Francis Rooney of Florida, the most outspoken Trump critic on the Ukraine matter in recent weeks, has announced he’s retiring.) Senators are more insulated from immediate political pressure, more rooted in Washington and the party structure, and less fond of the president.

Nonetheless, it would take a major change in the evidence against Trump, or a vast shift in polling, for enough Republican senators to support conviction that the president would be in serious danger of removal in a Senate trial. Yet it’s clear that Trump does care a great deal about senators’ positions. The impetus for his hasty cancellation of plans to host the Group of Seven summit at this resort in Doral, Florida, was apparently the anger it provoked among Republican senators. In the past, Trump has been content to weather their displeasure, but this time he folded.

David A. Graham: ‘Get over it’ is the Trump Doctrine

Perhaps Trump believes that a unified GOP Senate response will persuade Democrats not to vote to impeach; I am skeptical that will work. Or perhaps Trump worries about the political damage if a majority of the Senate voted to convict, even if it didn’t lead to removal. It would take only four GOP defections to reach a majority for conviction in the Senate.

There’s little precedent that can help forecast what the political fallout might be. A majority of senators voted to convict President Andrew Johnson, but they fell one vote short of removal; Johnson’s presidency never recovered. More recently, the Senate voted 45–50 and 50–50 to acquit President Bill Clinton, without a majority for conviction in either case. Even so, that result was arguably ruinous for his Democratic Party in the 2000 election. It would be a powerful talking point if Democrats headed into the 2020 campaign season with a vote for conviction in the Senate that had garnered a majority with Republican support, even without removal, so Trump’s worry is rational.

Graham may eventually be able to cajole the rest of the Republican caucus into signing on to his resolution condemning the House process. The final vote isn’t the point, though. Graham’s resolution was intended to send a message about Senate support for Trump—and it already has.

DAVID A. GRAHAM is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers U.S
1 Donald Trump Has a Big Problem in the Senate


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Copyright © 2019 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby MagsJ » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:57 am

It is down to another wire, the matter or impeachment has been subordinated to voting for it.

The issue with that one is, that premature voting on it will be used as a political springboard, whereupon, for the Republicans to argue that a Senate voting against it, signals how the Dems are negatively politically motivated.

On the other hand, critics of the immediate House vote express frustration at appearing weak, or something like it.

I caught an update on Newsnight two nights back.. it was such a none event, that I can’t remember much if it.. perhaps that was the plan.. distraction, by way of making it be such a none-event, that viewers start wondering why an impeachment has even been called.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get that time back, and I may need it for something at some point in time. Wait! What?

--MagsJ
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:27 pm

Right. Now am-Baghdadi was killed and the president is getting brown points, whereas the special forced pulled it off. Obama , to be sure was given credit credit for bin Laden, so the credit is given to the Commander in Chief.
But get the hoopla and the op-ego plays that are sponged out the sought after political advantage.
We discussed humility by the members of society, well what about our supposed leaders?
I remember the story with Joseph Stalin. He couldn't write worth a bean, yet he hired professional writers to so the job, then had them killed so that the fraud would not leak

Here is how the Leader summarizes his victory :

A similar charade for hungry egos

Fox News





ISIS

Published October 27, 2019

Last Update 5 hrs ago

Trump says he kept details of ISIS operation from Pelosi to avoid leaks

By Ronn Blitzer | Fox News





President Trumpsaid Sunday morning that he did not tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the U.S. military raid in Syria that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi because he was worried about leaks that could have compromised the mission.

Vice President Mike Pence said this was not an indication of a lack of trust.

When asked if he notified Pelosi beforehand, Trump said he did not because he did not want any members of the U.S. forces to die.

TRUMP DESCRIBES AL-BAGHDADI AS 'WHIMPERING AND CRYING' BEFORE DYING IN U.S. OPERATION: 'HE DIED LIKE A COWARD'

“No, I didn’t. I didn’t do that. I wanted to make sure this kept secret,” Trump said. “I don’t want to have people lost.”



Pelosi issued a statement after al-Baghdadi's death was announced, criticizing Trump for not informing leaders in Congress beforehand.

"The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified of in advance, and on the Administration’s overall strategy in the region," Pelosi said. "Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington."

Trump said that he did notify Russia beforehand that the U.S. would be active in the region, because Russia currently has a presence there. The president said he did not reveal the purpose of the mission.

Pence downplayed Trump’s decision to keep Pelosi in the dark in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday" immediately following Trump’s address. The vice president claimed that Trump did not mean to say he did not trust the House Speaker.

ISIS LEADER'S DEATH MARKS LATEST DEFEAT OF ONCE-POWERFUL GROUP

“I don’t think that was the implication at all,” Pence said. When pressed on the issue, the vice president said, “We maintain the tightest possible security here,” and focused on Trump’s goal, which was to bring al-Baghdadi to justice.



Before fielding the question about Pelosi, Trump had said that the only ones who knew about the operation beforehand “were the few people I dealt with.” He mentioned Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley as some of those with whom he worked.

Congressional sources from the Republican side told Fox News they were notified about the raid Saturday night, but it was unclear if this was before or after it took place.

Trump said he spoke about the operation with certain individuals like Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sunday morning, but that he did not tell any of them beforehand.




“We’ve notified some, others are being notified now as I speak,” Trump said. “We were going to notify them last night but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen befor

The president went on to call Washington, D.C. “a leaking machine, and said he decided “we will not notify them until our great people are out,” because “I don’t want to have them greeted with firepower like you wouldn’t believe.”

Trump touted the success of the operation, and how no members of the U.S. forces were killed, with just one military dog injured.

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.



. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.



Another obstructive legal manipulation:




CONGRESS

Former Trump deputy national security adviser Kupperman a no-show for impeachment testimony

Kupperman on Friday filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to rule on whether he must testify under a congressional subpoena.



The Capitol in Washington on Oct. 17, 2019.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images file

SHARE THIS -

Oct. 28, 2019, 10:01 AM EDT

By Rebecca Shabad and Adam Edelman

WASHINGTON — Former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman will not appear for a scheduled deposition Monday before three House congressional committees involved in leading the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, House Oversight Committee ranking member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Monday.

The White House is trying to block his appearance, and Kupperman, who worked under former national security adviser John Bolton, filed a lawsuit Friday asking a federal judge to rule on whether he must testify under a congressional subpoena.

“He’s not coming today," Jordan said in brief remarks to reporters on Capitol Hill, adding that Kupperman will wait to testify until the judge rules on the subpoena.

Moments later, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters it was "deeply regrettable" that Kupperman was a "no-show."

"He was compelled to appear with a lawful congressional subpoena," Schiff said. "Witnesses like Dr. Kupperman need to do their duty and show up."

Schiff said his refusal to appear "may warrant a contempt proceeding against him."

Three Democratic committee chairmen wrote in a letter to Kupperman's lawyer on Saturday that the ex-deputy national security adviser was simply trying to delay the deposition.

“Dr. Kupperman’s lawsuit — lacking in legal merit and apparently coordinated with the White House — is an obvious and desperate tactic by the President to delay and obstruct the lawful constitutional functions of Congress and conceal evidence about his conduct from the impeachment inquiry,” Schiff, Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of House Oversight and Reform Committee, wrote in the letter.

They wrote that if Kupperman doesn’t cooperate with the subpoena, it would give greater weight to the obstruction case against the president.

“In light of the direction from the White House, which lacks any valid legal basis, the Committees shall consider your client’s defiance of a congressional subpoena as additional evidence of the President’s obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry,” they wrote. “Such willful defiance of a duly authorized subpoena may cause the Committees to draw an adverse inference against the President, including that your client’s testimony would have corroborated other evidence gathered by the Committees showing that the President abused the power of his office by attempting to press another nation to assist his own personal political interests, and not the national interest.”

Kupperman, a longtime associate of Bolton, has emerged as a key witness in the impeachment inquiry. House investigators believe he has firsthand knowledge of Trump's decisions regarding Ukraine.

Kupperman’s attorney responded late Saturday in a letter obtained by NBC News that said "it would not be appropriate for a private citizen like Dr. Kupperman to unilaterally resolve this momentous Constitutional dispute between the two political branches of our government."

On Monday, Schiff said Kupperman's delay signaled that "we can infer ... that his testimony would be incriminating of the president."

Rebecca Shabad

Rebecca Shabad is a congressional reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.

Adam Edelman

Adam Edelman is a political reporter for NBC News.



IMPEACHMENT inquiry fallout:



POLITICO

Dear GOP, Some Scary Advice on How to Survive Your Impeachment Nightmare

Take it from the movies, denying reality is not going to slay the monster.

By CHARLES SYKES

10/29/2019 05:03 AM EDT

Charles Sykes is the editor-in-chief of the Bulwark.





To: Senate Republicans

By now it should have dawned on you that there is no escape. You are going to have to render a verdict not just on Donald’s Trump’s policies, but on his personal conduct. For just the third time in U.S. history, the Senate will hold a trial on the impeachment and removal of a president.

You’ll have to vote up or down and your decision will have consequences that will linger long past this election cycle. The situation is already grim.

“It feels like a horror movie,” one senator recently told the Washington Post.

But it is all about to get worse: the evidence, the venue and the president’s conduct. There may be more smoking guns, the trial will be televised, and based on the past few weeks, Trump is likely to be more unhinged than ever.

In honor of the season, I offer you some unsolicited Halloween-themed advice to help you navigate the coming nightmare. If you take this advice, you have a chance of saving your party. Ignore it, and, well, you’ve seen what happens in those horror movies, right?

1. Don’t hide in the basement.


So far you and your fellow Republicans have been able to hide behind complaints about process and the claim that the impeachment probe is “illegitimate.” Your colleagues in the House actually stormed the secure hearing room in the basement of the Capitol and complained about the process even as a few dozen GOP lawmakers were inside being part of that process. It was juvenile and self-defeating. Sooner or later, you will have to confront the substance of case; and that is not likely to get any better.

You have to consider the possibility that there may be more transcripts, more tapes, more whistleblowers. The new evidence is not likely to be exculpatory, because the president’s conduct in pressuring foreign governments for dirt on the Bidens and obstructing justice has already been well documented.

The venue will also change. Republicans are complaining that the process has been secretive, but be careful what you wish for. The trial will be must-see television and not even Fox News will be able to keep much of the evidence from your constituents. Polls already suggest historically high support for the impeachment inquiry, and we have not even begun those public hearings. In short, pretending that the facts aren’t facts—that you’ll be safe behind your flimsy justification—is not going to help when everything is out in the open. Deal with it.

2. To kill the monster requires confronting how you made him.


As you watch this reckless and unleashed presidency it may have occurred to you how much you have contributed to this moment. You have convinced Trump that he can take you for granted. The president has bullied and berated you and, again and again, you have rolled over. And it has made things only worse.



Trump’s instinct is to escalate both his tactics and his language. The cascade of stories in just the last week—Ukraine, Syria, the G-7 and Doral, the launching of a criminal probe against his own Department of Justice, his reference to critics as “human scum”—are a microcosm of his presidency and where we are going.

Between now and the beginning of the Senate trial, that behavior could become even more erratic and you will be forced to defend an ever-widening gyre of inanities, deceptions, abuses of power, episodes of self-dealing and other assorted outrages. Imagine six months of Giuliani butt-dials.

The first step to saving your life is to recognize what the monster feeds on. In this case, it’s your fear of standing up to him.

3. You survive only if you fight back.


All the craziness might suggest that a policy of strategic silence is the best option. This includes not signing on to more resolutions like the one authored by Sen. Lindsey Graham condemning the House inquiry. Graham may be immune to humiliation and indifferent to history’s verdict, but you likely will not be.

You probably also think you can finesse this by finding a middle ground where you can acknowledge that the call to the Ukrainian president was inappropriate and Trump’s behavior questionable, but not impeachable.

But Trump may not let you. The president and his loudest supporters continue to insist that (a) the phone call with the Ukrainian president was “perfect,” (b) there was no quid pro quo, and (c) even if there was one, it was completely appropriate. Indeed, on Monday he urged to stop focusing on process and defend the merits of his actions. “I'd rather go into the details of the case rather than process. ... Process is good, but I think you ought to look at the case.”

The problem is that “the genius of our great president” demands total fealty. He will insist that acquittal be considered total exoneration, and he intends you to be a part of the whitewash. He wants you to embrace and ratify his conduct; and if you do, you will own it.

4. The sequel is often scarier than the original.


You need to consider the full implications of the precedent you will be setting if you vote to acquit the president. Imagine a second Trump term beyond the reach of credible constitutional accountability. Consider what that would mean for our political culture, constitutional norms and the future of your party.



“The boundaries of acceptable presidential behavior are defined by which actions the political system tolerates or condemns,” writes Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes.

We are already “perilously close to the point at which there may no longer be a national consensus that there’s anything constitutionally problematic about using governmental powers to advance one’s own pecuniary and electoral interests.”

Writes Wittes: “If a substantial group of members of Congress signals not merely that the president’s conduct does not warrant impeachment and removal but also that it does not even warrant branding as intolerable, such conduct will become normalized—at a great cost to previously unquestioned first principles of constitutional governance—even if the House impeaches Trump.”

This is why you should pay more attention to the Federalist Papers than Fox News.

On Fox News, the impeachment proceedings will be characterized as a “coup,” or an attempt to “overturn an election.” But they are neither.

5. Your ultimate weapon is always within reach.


Alexander Hamilton clearly envisioned impeachment as a constitutional check on “the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” He understood that impeachment proceedings were, by their nature, political, “as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.” He also had no illusions about how divisive the process would be, noting that impeachment “will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community,” and that “in such cases there will always be the gravest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.”

But the founders reposed their confidence in you; or rather in what they thought the Senate would be. “Where else than in the Senate could have been found a tribunal sufficiently dignified, or sufficiently independent?” What other body, asked Hamilton, would feel confident enough “to preserve, unawed and uninfluenced, the necessary impartiality,” between the accused “and the REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE, HIS ACCUSERS?” (Emphasis Hamilton’s.)

There’s a good reason to listen to Hamilton here—for the sake of the GOP.



Consider this: What if, instead of breaking with Richard Nixon in 1974, Republicans had stuck with him, deciding that Nixon’s impeachment was a test of tribal loyalty? What would the consequences have been if they had voted to acquit him on charges of obstructing justice, lying to the public, contempt of Congress and abuse of power? Specifically, what would it have meant for the Republican Party had it embraced the defense of Nixon’s corruption? If it had been less Barry Goldwater and more Lindsey Graham?

We know what actually happened. Even after abandoning Nixon, the GOP was punished in 1974 and 1976, but it was able to otherwise wipe the stink off relatively quickly, winning back the presidency in 1980 and holding it for 12 years.

But what if the party had gone all Watergate-is-no-big-deal? If it had, it’s unlikely that Ronald Reagan would even have been elected, because the GOP would have been haunted by Nixon for a generation.

In your idle moments, you have perhaps wondered what your legacy will be. Here’s the answer; history will remember what you do over the next few months.

Short term, breaking with Trump will spark a nasty blowback. But imagine for a moment a post-Trumpian Republican Party freed from the baggage of Trumpist corruption. The choice is between a party inextricably tied to Trump, with all of his crudity, dishonesty, lawlessness and arrogance, and a party that has shown that it is capable of being a principled defender of constitutional norms.

At the end of this process, the simple narrative is likely to be that the president has abused his power, broken the law and sold out his country. You have an opportunity to hold him accountable by doing your constitutional duty. History will want to know whether you got scared and shirked it.



© 2019 POLITICO LLC
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Re: Trump enters the stage IMPEACHMENT inquiry vote tomorrow

Postby Meno_ » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:51 pm

Trump impeachment inquiry







Trump attacks long line of career national security experts and diplomats3:08



The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Sheena McKenzie, CNN

Updated 6:34 p.m. ET, October 30, 201

NOW: Two State Department officials who worked for Ukraine diplomat Kurt Volker — Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson — are testifying before lawmakers today.

Congressional votes: The House Rules Committee is expected to vote today on a resolution that will formalize the procedures of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The full House will vote tomorrow.



15 min ago

White House press secretary criticizes the testimony of top Ukraine expert

From CNN's Pamela Brown 

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has raised concerns over the testimony Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman gave yesterday in the impeachment inquiry.

Vindman was the first witness to offer testimony in the inquiry who listened to the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vindman toldlawmakers that he tried to make changes to the White House's rough transcript of the July phone call, including that Trump mentioned tapes of former Vice President Joe Biden, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Grisham challenged Vindman today, saying the President "released a full and accurate transcript of his call with President Zelensky so the American people could see he acted completely appropriately and did nothing wrong."

"The media is reporting that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman claims he proposed filling in words that were missing in areas where ellipses were shown in the transcript – this is false," Grisham said in a statement. "Because Chairman Schiff has kept his sham hearings secret and has excluded the President’s counsel from the room, we cannot confirm whether or not Lt. Col. Vindman himself made any such false claim. What we can confirm is that he never suggested filling in any words at any points where ellipses appear in the transcript."

11 min ago

Rep. Adam Schiff: "We certainly hope" John Bolton will cooperate and testify

From CNN's Jeremy Herb 

Rep. Adam Schiff arrives for depositions in the House impeachment inquiry on Oct. 30 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said that he hopes John Bolton will cooperate and testify before his committee.

Schiff wouldn’t say whether he would issue a subpoena should Bolton, President Trump's former national security adviser, not voluntarily appear for his deposition. 

“We certainly hope that he will cooperate. He obviously has very relevant evidence to provide,” Schiff said.

According to a source familiar, Bolton was invited to appear next week on Nov. 7. They have also invited John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis to testify on Monday, the source said.

45 min ago

Gen. Joseph Dunford calls the White House's top Ukraine expert a "loyal officer"

From CNN's Barbara Starr

State Department

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has called Lt. Col Alexander Vindman a "professional, competent, patriotic, and loyal officer" following criticism the top White House Ukraine expert has received following his testimony yesterday in the impeachment inquiry.

Dunford added that he came into regular contact with Vindman while he was on the joint staff.

"He is a professional, competent, patriotic, and loyal officer. He has made an extraordinary contribution to the security of our nation in both peacetime and combat," Dunford told CNN.

Why this matters: Dunford's comments come after Republicans criticized Vindman this week. On Tuesday, former GOP Rep. Sean Duffy said about Vindman: "It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense." Trump also claimed, without evidence, that the White House's top Ukraine expert is a "Never Trumper." Trump repeated this unfounded claim this morning on Twitter.

Vindman served multiple overseas tours as a US infantry officer, including a deployment to Iraq where he received a Purple Heart after being wounded in an IED attack. He has served in Trump's National Security Council since 2018.

25 min ago

White House official set to testify Thursday is stepping down soon

From CNN's Kylie Atwood

Tim Morrison, the top White House official on President Trump’s National Security Council for Europe, will be leaving his job soon, according to a source familiar with his move.

The news comes on the eve of Morrison’s testimony behind closed doors as part of the House impeachment inquiry. The departure, however, was Morrison's decision and it has been “planned for some time,” the source added.

Morrison was recruited to join the NSC by former national security adviser John Bolton, and his departure has been expected since Bolton was fired in September. A number of Bolton’s other allies at the NSC left around the time that he did. 

Morrison is still finalizing his date for departure but the source said that he will still be a current White House official when he testifies tomorrow.

"After more than a year of service at the National Security Council, Mr. Morrison has decided to pursue other opportunities — and has been considering doing so for some time. We wish him well," a senior administration official said.

About Morrison: He has been at the NSC for about 15 months. He was initially the senior director of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Biodefense and over the summer he took over the Europe job. 

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

1 hr 33 min ago

Republicans on House Rules Committee offer up amendments to impeachment resolution

From CNN's Haley Byrd 

Republicans on the House Rules Committee are offering up close to 20 amendments to the Democrats' impeachment inquiry resolution, an aide familiar tells CNN. 

So far the committee has debated six GOP amendments and all have gone down along party line votes. 

The committee is on a break for House floor votes, but expect to take up the remaining amendments later this evening. 

A look at some of the amendments: The first amendment Republicans offered up came from Georgia Republican Rob Woodall. The amendment would get rid of the parts of the resolution dealing with the House Intelligence Committee and leave the procedures concerning the House Judiciary Committee intact.

Woodall seemed to argue that the resolution should require the intelligence committee to hold only public hearings and no more private depositions. But there was confusion among members in the room about why he is seeking to get rid of everything related to the intel committee, especially the procedures for releasing deposition transcripts and holding public hearings. 

The amendment failed on a party line vote, 4-9.

Rep. Debbie Lesko introduced an amendment to allow the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee to issue subpoenas to the same number of witnesses that the Democratic chairman subpoenas — and without consent from the Democratic chair of the committee.

In the Democratic resolution, Republicans would be able to subpoena witnesses only if Schiff agrees to it or if a majority of the committee approves it.

That amendment also failed on a party line vote. 

1 hr 43 min ago

Podcast: State Department officials describe Rudy Giuliani's shadow diplomacy



In the latest episode of "The Daily DC: Impeachment Watch" podcast, CNN's Marshall Cohen looks at:

The testimony of two State Department officials who worked for Ukraine diplomat Kurt Volker

The fallout from top White House Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman's testimony

Whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will testify in the inquiry

What it’s like to be a whistleblower  

Cohen is joined today by Kylie Atwood, CNN's national security reporter, and retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst.





Yahtzee lovers can't stop playing this gameDownload Yahtzee® with Buddies



1 hr 47 min ago

Sen. Lindsey Graham on invitation for Bolton to testify: "I don't know what kind of problems that creates"

From CNN's Lauren Fox and Ali Zaslav

Sen. Lindsey Graham was asked by reporters today about Democratic House impeachment investigators inviting former national security adviser John Bolton to testify behind closed doors next week.

Here's what Graham said:

“I don't know if you want to start calling President’s national security advisers about national security advice. I don't know what kind of problems that creates for the office, but I'll leave it up to them."

About the invitation: According to a source familiar, Bolton was invited to appear next week on Nov. 7. They have also invited John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis to testify on Monday, the source said.

2 hr 40 min ago

White House official testified he was convinced Ukraine aid became part of Trump's demand for Biden investigations

From CNN's Jake Tapper



Top White House Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman told congressional investigators he was convinced President Trump was personally blocking $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to force that country to publicly announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his family, two sources present at the deposition told CNN.

Vindman, a decorated Army officer, on Tuesday testified that he was convinced that a quid pro quo existed by July 10, which was before Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call that is now at the heart of the House's impeachment inquiry. Trump has repeatedly said he did nothing improper on the call and has cited it as the sole reason for the impeachment inquiry.

The sources at the deposition said Vindman believed the existence of a quid pro quo was clear during a July 10 meeting between American and Ukrainian officials. In his opening statement, Vindman wrote that date is when US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told Ukrainian government officials that they would need to deliver "specific investigations in order to secure the meeting" with Trump that they so desired.

In a separate meeting of US officials immediately afterward, "Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma," Vindman testified.

But the fact that the $400 million in aid, including desperately needed military assistance, was also being used by the President didn't become clear until the next month, Vindman testified

2 hr 36 min ago

House investigators invite John Bolton to testify

From CNN's Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju

Alex Wong/Getty Images

House impeachment investigators have invited John Bolton to appear next week on Nov. 7, according to a source familiar.

Bolton is Trump's former national security adviser. The President fired him in September.

They have also invited John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis to testify on Monday, the source said.

A House Intelligence spokesman declined to comment.

When asked about a subpoena for Bolton to testify in impeachment probe, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel said: “We hadn’t done that yet. It’s something that we would consider."

“I’ve always found him to be very straightforward and honest about what he believes," Engel added.

He also said he doesn’t know if next week is the final week of depositions but added: “We are getting close”

GO DEEPER

House committee unveils impeachment resolution text

By Jeremy Herb, CNN

Alexander Vindman: White House's top Ukraine expert testifying in impeachment probe is decorated Iraq War veteran

By Devan Cole, CNN

Shouting match erupts in Vindman deposition as Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to out whistleblower

By Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb, Lauren Fox and Phil Mattingly, CNN

Mitch McConnell's extraordinary efforts to say nothing at all

By Ted Barrett, CNN

State Department Ukraine experts next up in impeachment inquiry

By Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood, C

© 2019 Cable News Network.Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.All Rights Reserved.CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:06 pm

Impeacment resolution passed by house along party lines.

Now, it will become a political battle cry toward the next election.
Where is the beef, the pork and the swamp?

Will it be contained domestically or, will effects be felt internationally, with myriad interpretive consequences?

DC reactions of potential witness actions to prevent testifying


Pelosi: I don't know why GOP is afraid of the truth2:08







What we're covering here

The latest: The House passed a resolutionformalizing the procedures of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Key testimony: Tim Morrison, top White House official on Trump's National Security Council for Europe, testified on Capitol Hill today. He told lawmakers that he was concerned the July 25 call transcriptbetween Trump and the Ukrainian president would leak, according to multiple sources.

Sign up for CNN's Impeachment Watch newsletter here.



House lawyer argues impeachment witness' lawsuit is attempt to delay inquiry

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

In the legal fight over impeachment witness Charles Kupperman's testimony, a major question will be whether he can even sue, and whether the court has a role to play in this case.

A lawyer for the House of Representatives told the judge today this isn't a legitimate case.

Kupperman's attorney Chuck Cooper noted that the Justice Department has been arguing in another hearing today that federal judges should stay out of witness subpoena fights. A lawyer for the Justice Department, representing President Trump in this lawsuit, didn't show her side's cards.

Cooper, speaking for Kupperman, said he believed the court should take this case. But he said he wouldn't side with the White House's immunity assertion or the House subpoena, when the case got to that point.

"We have no dog in the merits fight, your honor," Cooper said.

Todd Tatelman, a lawyer for the House, called Kupperman's lawsuit one that "serves no other purpose than to attempt to delay" the House's inquiries.

The judge responded by saying the lawsuit may potentially be more efficient, compared to holding Kupperman, Trump's former deputy national security adviser, in contempt of Congress, then pushing his abstention into court.



Attorney won't say if John Bolton will file a lawsuit if subpoenaed by House

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

The attorney for Charles Kupperman, who served until last month as deputy national security adviser at the White House, and President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton wouldn’t say in court today whether Bolton will file a lawsuit asking the courts to decide what he should do if he's subpoenaed by the House.

Kupperman filed a lawsuit last week after he was subpoenaed by the House committee to testify. The White House told him he was immune from testifying and should not appear this past Monday. Bolton is scheduled for a deposition in the House next Thursday.

Judge Richard Leon addressed Bolton’s scheduled testimony and asked Kupperman’s attorney if the issues for the former national security advisor would be the same.

Bolton's attorney Chuck Cooper didn’t give a straight answer on his plan, and instead kept open the possibility he could also file a lawsuit for Bolton.



NSC official is done testifying on Capitol Hill

Tim Morrison, the top Russia and Europe adviser on President Trump's National Security Council, has just wrapped up his testimony before House impeachment investigators.

About his deposition: Morrison toldlawmakers that he was concerned the July 25 call transcript between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would leak and could have negative ramifications, according to multiple sources. But he made clear he saw nothing wrong with the July call, saying he was "not concerned" that "anything illegal" was discussed, according to one source.

About the deposition: Morrison also told lawmakers that he was concerned the July 25 call transcript between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would leak and could have negative ramifications, according to multiple sources. But he made clear he saw nothing wrong with the July call, saying he was "not concerned" that "anything illegal" was discussed, according to one source.Morrison was involved with discussions after the call about how to handle the transcript, the sources said. Ultimately, the call transcript was filed in a highly classified system, a decision that's among the issues Democrats are seeking answers about in their impeachment investigation into Trump and Ukraine.



Legal fight over key impeachment witness' testimony won’t be resolved by court anytime soon

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

The issue over whether witness Charles Kupperman must testify in the impeachment inquiry won't be resolved soon.

US District Court Judge Richard Leon told the Justice Department, the House of Representatives and Kupperman that he will hear arguments on Dec. 10 on whether Kupperman needs to testify.

That means Kupperman’s testimony and potentially the testimony of his former boss John Bolton may not be resolved until then or later.

What we know: Kupperman, who served until last month as deputy national security adviser at the White House, was listening in on the July 25 phone call when, according to a White House transcript, Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

The House has subpoenaed Kupperman but the White House blocked him from testifying on Monday, claiming absolute immunity for White House officials in the impeachment probe.


More details on Ukraine emerge in testimony from NSC official

From CNN's Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb

The opening statement from Tim Morrison, the top Russia and Europe adviser on President Trump's National Security Council, includes passages addressing Ukraine in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Part of the statement mentions Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, who testified that he had been told President Trump would withhold military aid to the country until it publicly declared investigations would be launched that could help his reelection chances — including into former Vice President Joe Biden, according to a copy of Taylor's opening statement obtained by CNN.

Taylor said he was told that "everything" Ukraine wanted — from a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to hundreds of millions in security aid — was dependent on publicly announcing an investigation that included Burisma, the company that hired Biden's son Hunter, and Ukraine's alleged involvement in the 2016 election.

Morrison's statement also mentions US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Taylor testified that Sondlandtold him he'd made a mistake by telling the Ukrainian officials that a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "was dependent on a public announcement of the investigations." 

“I have no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the review until August  28, 2019," Morrison said in his opening statement today per a source. "Ambassador Taylor and I had no reason to believe that the release of the security sector assistance might be conditioned on a public statement reopening the Burisma investigation until my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador Sondland. Even then I hoped that Ambassador Sondland's strategy was exclusively his own and would not be considered by leaders in the administration and Congress, who understood the strategic importance of Ukraine to our national security.”

More from Morrison's testimony today:Morrison made clear he saw nothing wrong with the July call between Trump and Zelensky, saying he was “not concerned” that “anything illegal” was discussed. He wasn’t concerned that Trump asked Zelensky about “a favor,” the source said.

Morrison’s concern, CNN reported today, was about potential leaks of the transcript. He was concerned about how the leaked transcript would play out in a “polarized environment” in Washington, how it would impact bipartisan support for Ukraine in Congress and how it would impact the Ukrainian’s perception of the US.



Mitch McConnell has broad discretion to determine how a vote will take place during the Senate trial

From CNN legal analyst Elie Hon Im



If the Senate holds an impeachment trial, do the senators have to publicly hold a vote on whether the President is guilty? Can the vote be held in private?

Article I of the Constitution broadly grants the Senate “sole power to try all impeachments” and provides that “no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.” But the Constitution does not specify the manner in which the Senate must take that vote.  

In the absence of any specific Constitutional direction, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have broad discretion to determine how a vote will take place at the end of a Senate trial. He may feel that if the vote is held in private, senators from both parties will be more likely to vote their true conscience and to break from party lines.     

But both precedent and politics favor an open, public vote. In terms of precedent, the Senate impeachment trials of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton both concluded with open, public votes. And politically, it likely will be difficult for McConnell and other senators to justify anything but open, transparent, senator-by-senator voting. Impeachment and conviction are too important for senators to hide behind the cloak of anonymity.




Judge suggests federal courts have role to play in dispute between House and White House



US District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson suggested today federal courts have a role to play in the ongoing fights between the House and the White House during impeachment proceedings.

The ongoing hearing over whether former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify in the impeachment inquiry has dug into core questions about the checks and balances that underpin the American government. It comes on a day the House approved a resolution to formalize the procedures of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Some courts in the past have attempted to stay out of fights between the other two branches of government and a Justice Department attorney argued today that the judge should follow that model. But Jackson said she believed courts could referee these disputes.

"I thought that the court’s role in this constitutional scheme of balances, checks and balances and separation of powers, was to decide what the law is," she said today.

In another exchange, DOJ attorney James Burnham argued: "The branches can't sue each other." 

But Jackson cut him off, saying, "Doesn't mean it can't be done!"







In the latest episode of "The Daily DC: Impeachment Watch" podcast, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig covers: 

Voting on the impeachment resolution. Today, the House approved a resolution to formalize the procedures of the impeachment inquiry.

Timothy Morrison's testimony. Morrison is the top White House official on President Trump's National Security Council for Europe.

Two court proceedings today.The cases could impact the status of key witnesses, including Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton.

Honig is joined today by CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip and CNN crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz.





Republican senators talked about impeachment during their White House visit

From CNN's Ted Barrett and Ali Zaslav



Republican senators met with President Trump today at the White House to talk about a variety of issues, including impeachment, according to Sen. Josh Hawley.

Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, said that Trump told the senators the meeting was designed to talk to folks and hear what's on people's minds. He said Trump was in a jovial mood and that they all ate chicken for lunch in the Roosevelt Room. 

"We discussed a variety of topics, including impeachment. He didn't say anything he didn't say in public," Hawley said.

The subject of needing Republicans to better to defend him didn't come up.   

Sens. John Cornyn, Roger Wicker, John Barrasso, Rick Scott, Masha Blackburn and Tom Cotton, along with Hawley, attended the meeting.

Trump mentioned the Democrats in the House who voted against the impeachment resolution. He said repeatedly, "read the transcripts" and said he was glad he released the transcripts. 



Trump gave a brief status report on Syria and discussed the US raid of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's compound, but nothing he hasn't said publicly. 



GOP senators warn quick dismissal of impeachment trial would be bad for everyone

By Ted Barrett and Lauren Fox, CNN

National Security Council staffers uneasy, fear Trump backlash

By Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins and Zachary Cohen, CNN

Diplomats say they're in a 'strange parallel universe' amid impeachment probe

By Nicole Gaouette, CNN

House to take first vote related to Trump impeachment inquiry

By Clare Foran, Jeremy Herb and Alex Rogers, CNN

Impeachment investigators invite John Bolton to testify

By Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju and Kevin Liptak, CNN

One of the seven remaining Democratic impeachment holdouts announces support for inquiry resolution

By Paul LeBlanc,


© 2019 Cable News Network.Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.All Rights Reserved.CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network.



Here is Trump's dismissive tweet of the impeachment issues going on today in Washington:

"Republicans are very unified and energized in our fight on the Impeachment Hoax with the Do Nothing Democrats, and now are starting to go after the Substance even more than the very unfair Process......."


Rather then the Clinton and Nixon impeachments, which harbored denial, this combativeness and defiance is unprecedent reactions to what has come to a major fissure in government trust. Is no longer the personality of the president that is under attack, but the nearly total institutionalization of approbation of power that reflects current conflict.
Rather then unification, it is the strategy of divide and conquer which appears to be front and center.
Last edited by Meno_ on Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:42 am, edited 3 times in total.
Meno_
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Re: Trump enters the stage impeachment inquiry

Postby Meno_ » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:06 pm

Very basic logistics so far, the Executive branch arguing that the inquiry was defective in the first place because of lack of transparency, and openness, impeding the procedure of credible rule formation.

The House Democrats, viewed this as devoid of substance, and using procedure to invite the idea of a definition of a divided House, played on the idea to only defame the House, enabling a run on the Senate's verdict, and look for a lot of hype here, to make Trump's antics look like candy compared to what they deemed as procedural cover-alls.

A house divided, can be implicated as a weakened one, and one which can be argued,diminish the it as the last bastion of 'Democracy'.

The Justice Dept, and the various Departments, have been interpreted as doing the edicts of the Executive Branch, bringing in the Constitutional urgency of the checks and balances to impress the need to negate the emergence of an autocrat or a dictator.( The impression of popular belief is enough to create an autocrat)

The arguments set forth by the Republicans , of violation of due process, was contraindicated by the executive annihilating all attempts to cooperate with fact finding by the various various commitees.

The balance appeared , at least to this observer, (in reference to relative political understanding), to settle down , pretty much to the middle, procedure that would be clarified in the next stage of the investigation

Philosophically, the Putin-Trump nexus may have been subtly redacted, in some sort of coherence , not merely for mere political gain by Trump, but underlying security issues not disclosed , so as not to impede the election of 2020 one way or the other.



Now, there may be more to this then meets the eye, and within the bounds of popular understanding, of the cigniscience of dialectical materialism, NEGATION, or arguing on the basis of exclusion, or exculpability, -a model of procedure, may imply a missing epoche or reductibility, on some National Security issues, whereby creating controversy about internationally ambiguous relationships. That , including Syria, Russia and the US.

My feeling is, that beneath the veneer of nationalistic repressions, the contrary exists:toward which there is another way to proceed. With the NWO, in other words , the internal malfeasance with which the Dems are charged with, reside in the greater problem of the credibility problem based on Trump's actions. This is exactly what was charged , by Shift, when he struck back saying that all this obaession with procedure, the focus of Trump's behavior is ommitted.
The lack of in clarity , coincides with the arguments for setting a non reductive formation of rules, which is Congress's prejorative right to begin with.

That may be the cover and the hidden aspect of the rationale.

The failed USSR Marxian heretics, may have immense structural depths, and the critical balance between the conflicting objectives for social welfare aimed goods, which may be covered by levels of "freedom" that have no culpability. 50 some years of dialectics, ingrained in Communist soxial programs, mirror the capitalist/social inequality within the US, andnl threaten the delicate balance that isn't he primal progenitor of the NWO.

Some thing had to give, to assure that a nominal sentiment of social injustice will not impede on the reality of the danger of mutual destruction by strategic weapons.

The reductibility of the assertion that clarity and transparencen were missing in the initial phase of the investigation, may cover a far deeper cave of accessibility of non available information.
That Thomas Paine, Jefferson, Hamilton , all felt for the necessity of checks and balances of political powers, may , or could not foresee the real strength of popular sentiment, nor of the problem with separation of them, which Democratic Processes could not control in terms of dialectical materialism, sinking the existential process toward the eidectics of pure phenomenologically reduction toward Heglelian dialectical necessity.This could not been forseen
in the early jubilant days of Allied cooperation. It took a mere ten years for it to sink in , that ideological distinctions have not been sufficiently worked out.

The results are therefore to be expected to proceed toward the popular notion of executive strategy of hanky lanky, as usual, for polititical gain, and borderline skirmishes may cease to be justified by exclusive references to executive, narcissistic

quirk.
The problem with modeling such borderline particulars/peculiarities, is that real apprehension and effects of inter-national violence may escalate,
beyond the scope of reducible content, to basic personal psychological content.

I think parties on both sides of the isle look for unification, and probably understand how important it is to carry on with this greatest show on earth.
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Re: Trump enters the stage -why Florida move?

Postby Meno_ » Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:18 pm

This is how Fox News reacts to impeachment go ahead. How credible is it?
The political overture of the whole debacle is appearent, as a battle cry for Trump's election.
The point is , to whittle down the imbroglio as another unimportant political maneuver to secure Trump's reelection.
Confusion reins at the highest levels!
But oh so clever.
I believe the layers are peeling off to reveal what are the underlying factors, but whatcha the coming of more reactions, and cakks for immunity on basis of National Security.


OPINION

Published November 01, 2019

David Bossie: Trump impeachment vote is Democratic declaration of war – Republicans must declare war on Dems



 By David N. Bossie | Fox News



Continue Reading Below

With House passage Thursday of a resolution formalizing their blatantly partisan impeachment witch hunt against President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow crazed radical Democrats have declared war on the duly elected president of the United States. Now it’s time for Republicans to draw up their own declaration of war against Democrats.

The Democrats – who didn’t pick up a single Republican vote for their baseless resolution to move forward with a kangaroo court masquerading as public impeachment hearings – are choosing to tear apart the country we all love because they are consumed by their burning hatred for President Trump.

This charade isn’t about anything President Trump has done wrong, because he hasn’t done anything to warrant impeachment. Instead, the Democrats are improperly using the impeachment process to weaken public support for the president in an effort to defeat him in the 2020 presidential election.

REP. COLLINS: DEMOCRATS 'SHREDDED OUR PROCEDURES AND SHREDDED OUR RULES AND LIED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE'

The American people must hold the Democrats accountable for their abuse of power. As the Democrats well know, they have no valid grounds for impeachment.




RNC Chair McDaniel: Democrats’ impeachment vote is baseless political vendetta – Trump did nothing wrong

Liz Harrington: Democrats holding Soviet-style show trial to overthrow Trump – not an impeachment inquiry

Twenty-nine of the 31 House Democrats who represent districts that Trump won in the 2016 election voted in favor of Thursday’s deep state coup authorization – and they’re all going to suffer at the polls a year from now because of it.

The lack of judgment on display by the desperate Democrats – who fear that Trump’s enormous achievements in office will ensure his reelection – is stunning.

The Democrats are ignoring headlinessuch as “Polls show support for impeachment weaker in key battleground states.” This is a recipe for a Democratic disaster in the 2020 elections.

But driven by Trump Derangement Syndrome, Democrats are determined to pursue impeachment regardless of the harm it causes to our nation and to their own party.

If Democrats want to investigate phone calls, President Trump should release transcripts of calls by former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Biden with world leaders from countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Iran.

The sad truth is that the impeachment resolution approved Thursday isn’t worth the paper it’s been printed on. There is a zero percent chance the Democrats will abide by anything written in what amounts to a non-binding piece of trash. It’s a complete smokescreen designed to mislead the American people.

Pelosi, fellow California Democrat and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and their Democratic co-conspirators in their attempted coup are going to do whatever they want, however they want, because they think the rules don’t apply to them.

After all, who’s going to call them out for their misdeeds – their partisan allies at the fake and corrupt New York Times and Washington Post? Come on.

Let’s face it: unhinged radical Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota are calling the shots on behalf of a mob of anti-Trump socialists who have seized control of the Democratic Party.

Sadly, the biased mainstream media are willing accomplices in this anti-Trump hysteria. The Fourth Estate will never recover from this epic failure of duty.

Democrats are hyperventilating over a routine 30-minute phone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine. Rants about President Trump abusing his power and jeopardizing national security are a clever cover story for what this charade truly is – an attempt to substitute the judgment of Democratic politicians for the votes of the American people.

The vote by House Democrats to move forward on their impeachment crusade proved that the allegations being thrown around against President Trump are flimsy at best.

There was no criminal wrongdoing or high crime or misdemeanor committed by President Trump. Just ask former senior National Security Council official Tim Morrison, who was on the call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July.

Morrison testified in Chairman Schiff’s secret dungeon Thursday that President Trump and President Zelensky discussed nothing illegal and that the transcript of the call is accurate. But answers like this done fit Schiff’s phony narrative.

Former Vice President Joe Biden may turn out to be President Trump’s opponent in the 2020 general election and there are plenty of very legitimate questions about how Biden’s son Hunter earned enormous amounts of money doing business with foreign nations while Biden was vice president.

If Biden were a Republican, you can bet dozens of reporters would be working full-time to get to the truth about this scandal, looking to win the Pulitzer Prize. But because he is a Democrat, the anti-Trump media is giving Joe Biden and his son a free pass. They are swallowing the unbelievable claim that Hunter was paid $50,000 or more per month to serve on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company even though he had no expertise in natural gas or Ukraine.

The reason Schiff’s fake whistleblower hasn’t testified yet is because he doesn’t pass the smell test. This individual is an anti-Trump political operative, not a whistleblower.

If Schiff won’t call the whistleblower and the other deep state co-conspirators in to testify, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., must. There’s no time to wait for Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to testify about his report – Graham must get in the fight now.

If Democrats want to investigate phone calls, President Trump should release transcripts of calls by former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Biden with world leaders from countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Iran.


The American people should get to read the transcript of the call just before Obama sent pallets of cash totaling $400 million to the America-hating mullahs in Iran.

Now Senate Republicans need to lock arms and push back against this madness. These are not normal times. The Democratic Party is throwing historical precedent, due process and congressional decorum out the window.

This is not the Nixon impeachment of 1974 or the Clinton impeachment of 1998, where there was actual criminal wrongdoing. This is a political coup attempt against President Trump and his 63 million voters because Democrats fear they can’t defeat him at the ballot box.



Senators must face the realization that ducking questions now because they might be a juror in a Senate impeachment trial won’t cut the mustard. The Democrats are making a mockery of our system of government and the Constitution and they must be confronted head-on.

The Democrats are at war with President Trump. Every single Republican at every level of government must now unite and put their battle gear on. It’s time to put this coup attempt down.



David N. Bossie is president of Citizens United, a Fox News contributor, the 2016 deputy campaign manager for Donald Trump for President, and the former chief investigator for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and Oversight during the Clinton administration. He is the co-author of "Let Trump Be Trump"  and “Trump’s Enemies.”

U.S.



Fox News



Two guesses why Trump moved to Florida

Opinion by Edward J. McCaffery 

Updated 4:19 PM EDT, Fri November 01, 2019

 



Editor's Note: (Edward J. McCaffery is Robert C. Packard trustee chair in law and a professor of law, economics and political science at the University of Southern California. He is the author of "Fair Not Flat: How to Make the Tax System Better and Simpler" and founder of the People's Tax Page. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinionat CNN.)

(CNN)Donald Trump has changed his official residence from New York, where it has been all his life, to Florida. As the New York Times reports, the White House, and Trump's Twitter feed, have suggested that taxes have something to do with this move.



At first glance, this makes sense. Florida has no state level income or estate tax, so wealthy New Yorkers have been packing their bags and heading there for years. (This fact presents a cautionary tale for those, like presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who tout a brand new wealth tax on the rich to pay for a great many things: people do indeed move to escape paying taxes.)

Then there is also the matter of the 2017 Trump tax cuts, which targeted blue states, such as New York and California, by limiting the value of state and local tax deductions under federal law. Maybe Trump finally figured out that this was bad for New Yorkers such as he.

But there is a puzzle in these easy explanations for Trump's Florida move, as there typically is with all things Trump. As has been widely reported -- and as Trump himself likes to brag about -- the President does not pay many, if any, taxes, at any level. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York put it succinctly: "Good riddance. It's not like Mr. Trump paid taxes here anyway. He's all yours, Florida," per the Times story.

Still, in a tweet defending his change of address, the President asserted that "I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse."

What's going on?

Trump's legal move to Florida may indeed be about taxes, as Trump himself suggests, but just not about paying taxes, which Trump doesn't do. Instead, the move seems inspired by attempts to disclose Trump's taxes, which the President also very much does not like to do.

New York has been aggressive on the front of trying to shed light on Trump's taxes: The state legislature passed a law facilitating Congress's access to Trump's state-level returns, and the Manhattan district attorney, Cy Vance, has been pressing the case for access to Trump's returns in court.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has also proven to be a talented and persistent thorn in Trump's side, specifically on the tax disclosure issue.

To the President, attempts to disclose tax returns, as all presidents have voluntarily donesince Richard Nixon, constitute "very bad and unfair" treatment.

As for Florida? Well, aside from the fact that the Sunshine State has no state level income tax to disclose in the first place, it is also controlled by friendly Republicans, such as former attorney general Pam Bondi, she of the refusal to open an investigation into the Trump University scam fame.

In Florida, Trump can work on his tan while not worrying about any tax forms being disclosed to anyone. We should all be so lucky.



© 2019 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Two guesses why Trump moved to Florida

Opinion by Edward J. McCaffery 

Updated 4:19 PM EDT, Fri November 01, 2019

 



Editor's Note: (Edward J. McCaffery is Robert C. Packard trustee chair in law and a professor of law, economics and political science at the University of Southern California. He is the author of "Fair Not Flat: How to Make the Tax System Better and Simpler" and founder of the People's Tax Page. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinionat CNN.)

(CNN)Donald Trump has changed his official residence from New York, where it has been all his life, to Florida. As the New York Times reports, the White House, and Trump's Twitter feed, have suggested that taxes have something to do with this move.



At first glance, this makes sense. Florida has no state level income or estate tax, so wealthy New Yorkers have been packing their bags and heading there for years. (This fact presents a cautionary tale for those, like presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who tout a brand new wealth tax on the rich to pay for a great many things: people do indeed move to escape paying taxes.)

Then there is also the matter of the 2017 Trump tax cuts, which targeted blue states, such as New York and California, by limiting the value of state and local tax deductions under federal law. Maybe Trump finally figured out that this was bad for New Yorkers such as he.

But there is a puzzle in these easy explanations for Trump's Florida move, as there typically is with all things Trump. As has been widely reported -- and as Trump himself likes to brag about -- the President does not pay many, if any, taxes, at any level. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York put it succinctly: "Good riddance. It's not like Mr. Trump paid taxes here anyway. He's all yours, Florida," per the Times story.

Still, in a tweet defending his change of address, the President asserted that "I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse."

What's going on?

Trump's legal move to Florida may indeed be about taxes, as Trump himself suggests, but just not about paying taxes, which Trump doesn't do. Instead, the move seems inspired by attempts to disclose Trump's taxes, which the President also very much does not like to do.

New York has been aggressive on the front of trying to shed light on Trump's taxes: The state legislature passed a law facilitating Congress's access to Trump's state-level returns, and the Manhattan district attorney, Cy Vance, has been pressing the case for access to Trump's returns in court.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has also proven to be a talented and persistent thorn in Trump's side, specifically on the tax disclosure issue.

To the President, attempts to disclose tax returns, as all presidents have voluntarily donesince Richard Nixon, constitute "very bad and unfair" treatment.

As for Florida? Well, aside from the fact that the Sunshine State has no state level income tax to disclose in the first place, it is also controlled by friendly Republicans, such as former attorney general Pam Bondi, she of the refusal to open an investigation into the Trump University scam fame.

In Florida, Trump can work on his tan while not worrying about any tax forms being disclosed to anyone. We should all be so lucky.



© 2019 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby derleydoo » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:10 am

Greetings, Meno. May I ask if there has been any reaction to Mister Trump''s interference with the British electoral process? Was it reported in the USA?
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