Nel's New Day

April 11, 2019

Barr, Others Face Congressional Hearings

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has done one smart thing for himself: with the help of corrupt GOP, he put Bill Barr into the DOJ leadership. Much has been written about Barr’s protection of DDT for the past two days in hearings about his “Barr Report,” a bastardized interpretation of Mueller’s investigation. But before that, Barr put DDT above the Constitution. Thanks to Barr, DDT’s financial benefits from foreign payments to his hotels, resorts, condos, and trademarks have been exempted from the emolument clause: foreign countries can pander to DDT as much as they want by paying inflated prices at his facilities. The justification is that DDT doesn’t get the money because of his “official capacity” because it’s related only to his private business.

Barr also supports DDT by lying for him. “I support the president’s policy, which is we’re not going to separate families,” Barr said two days before DDT fired his DHS secretary for refusing to separate families. About the Affordable Care Act, Barr said that DDT supports protections for people with pre-existing conditions while Barr goes to court to eliminate the ACA. Today, Barr continued his lying during testimony before House Appropriations Committee and its chair Nita Lowey (D-NY), ignoring how transparent his falsehoods are. He claimed that DDT had no warning about Russia targeting DDT’s first presidential campaign despite media coverage to the contrary. From NBC reporting on December 18, 2017:

“In the weeks after he became the Republican nominee on July 19, 2016, Donald Trump was warned that foreign adversaries, including Russia, would probably try to spy on and infiltrate his campaign, according to multiple government officials familiar with the matter. The warning came in the form of a high-level counterintelligence briefing by senior FBI officials, the officials said.”

Like a squid shooting ink, Barr tried to cover up for DDT and Republicans though his obfuscations and lies. He told committee members that he was “concerned” that the government during President Obama’s administration had “spied” on DDT’s campaign although he admitted he had no evidence. Going beyond protecting DDT with redactions, Barr plans an investigation into Russia’s “spying” against DDT’s first presidential campaign.

About his claim, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote under the heading of “Trump Toady”:

“This is the language of a PR spinner, not the attorney general of the United States. As my colleague Aaron Blake points out, ‘spying’ is a loaded phrase and a political accusation.”

Congressional members were disturbed by Barr’s bizarre allegations:

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted that Barr’s words contradicted previous Department of Justice communications and asked for an immediate briefing to clarify the issue.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said he had been told nothing about any spying on DDT’s campaign and that “almost seems to be endorsing one of these theories that has been debunked time and time again.” Warner added that Barr’s comments are “disrespectful” to Department of Justice employees.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, argued “the top law enforcement officer of the country should not casually suggest that those under his purview engaged in ‘spying’ on a political campaign” and that Barr’s “partisan talking point … strikes another destructive blow to our democratic institutions.”

Barr couldn’t even answer questions on issues other than the Mueller investigation.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) asked in the hearing about people losing health care coverage if Barr succeeds in helping to overturn the ACA because there is no replacement. Barr said, “If this is such a hokey position to have, what are you worried about?” Adding that healthcare is a policy issue, Barr added, “I’m a lawyer. I’m not in charge of health care.”

Barr didn’t know that the DOJ, his own department, found a 17-percent rise in hate crimes in 2017.

At least the redacted pages won’t be all black. Barr plans to color-code his redactions and add “explanatory notes” for each redaction. He plans to redact information in four categories: classified information, current investigations, and peripheral people not charged with a crime. Barr denies that DDT would fit into this category, but he also lies. “Executive privilege” might also be redacted. Barr won’t ask a federal court to allow Congress to see grand jury material. If Nadler wants to see it, he can ask the court, Barr said.

Some salient comments from Barr’s hearing yesterday:

Asked specifically whether the investigation was a witch hunt, Barr said, “it depends on where you sit.”

Asked if the White House has seen or been briefed on Mueller’s report, Barr said, “I’m not going to say anything more about it.” [Sounds like, “Yes, but I don’t want to admit it.” Richard Nixon’s AG John Mitchell went to prison for 19 months for conducting obstruction on Nixon’s behalf by briefing him on investigations.] Earlier he had said that he had not consulted

Barr plans to release his [heavily] redacted report “within a week” but won’t talk about it until then. Congress is on recess for the next two weeks.

Barr’s misrepresentation in his four-page summary of the Mueller report that clears DDT of obstruction of justice has disturbed members of the investigative team who found “alarming and significance” evidence of this obstruction. They also found that evidence of collusion was “compelling.” Barr said that Mueller did not review the Barr Report before he submitted it to Congress.

The “Spygate” that Barr intends to “investigate”started with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) when he maintained that the surveillance of Carter Page, which started over a year before DDT announced his first campaign, was politically motivated. Nunes had a lot to say but never read the intelligence surrounding the FISA issued for Page by four GOP-appointed judges. Investigation of the infamous Steele dossier, created through an investigation to find damaging information about DDT and other GOP candidates by conservative Paul Singer, also revealed that it did not trigger the FBI investigation into Russian influence over the U.S. election. Singer pulled his funding for the project after Sen. Marco Rubio pulled out of his presidential campaign.

Jubilant about Barr’s testimony, DDT repeatedly shouts, “They spied. They spied!” He also asserted, “I have not read the Mueller report. I won. No collusion, no obstruction. I won. Everybody knows I won.” A majority of people, 56 percent, think that DDT and his campaign have not been exonerated. The investigation is still in play. DDT commonly claims that “everybody knows ….” Here are 30 examples.

Barr wasn’t the only person testifying to Congress this week. Jeffrey Rosen faced fire at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for a position to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy AG by refusing to firmly commit to making special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia probe public.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had a contentious appearance before the House Financial Services Committee when he tried to give weak excuses for the IRS breaking the law by failing to give Congress six years of DDT’s tax returns. Mnuchin said that DDT already won the 2016 election and had disclosed some information about personal finances. He also said that Kevin Brady hadn’t requested specific returns; President Obama voluntarily disclosed his tax returns every year. A GOP chair obtained tax returns in 2014 from conservative and liberal nonprofit groups claiming tax-exempt status.

When Mnuchin maintained that he had to leave for an “important meeting,” the back and forth erupted into Mnuchin petulantly telling Chair Maxine Waters with appropriate hand gestures, “Please dismiss everybody. I believe you’re supposed to take the gravel [sic] and bang it.” The exchange is well worth watching.

About releasing his tax returns, DDT’s excuse is “the people don’t care.” A majority of people, 51 percent, want Democrats to require DDT to release his returns. Even more, 64 percent, want DDT to voluntarily release his tax returns. IRS officials said that being under audit, DDT’s excuse, does not prevent people from releasing returns. DDT’s assertion, that there’s “no law whatsoever” for turning over his tax returns, also doesn’t hold water. A 1924 statute gives some congressional leaders access to anyone’s tax returns.  in this area, he’s overlooking one inconvenient statute. The only reason to hide DDT’s tax returns is if they contain incriminating information.

June 30, 2018

DDT: Week 75 – Lies, Hate

When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill reducing the cost for handgun licenses, he held up the target sheet that he had riddled with bullets and said, “I’m gonna carry this around in case I see any reporters.” One person followed his advice and killed five journalists at the Capital Gazette this past week because the newspaper published an article about the man after he pled guilty for criminal harassment for stalking a woman online. A White House spokesman said DDT thinks “journalists like all Americans should be free from the fear of being violently attacked” while doing their job. Like a dictator, DDT referred to ”my government” but refuses to answer any questions about the horrific event.

DDT frequently calls journalists “the enemy of the people” and allowed his campaign guards to treat protesters roughly. Pro-DDT audiences at rallies beat up protesters. A year ago, DDT re-tweeted a 2007 video of himself beating up WWE owner Vince McMahon with DDT’s head covered with the CNN logo. After that, he tweeted videos of a train hitting a victim marked with CNN and a man stepping on and splattering an insect marked with CNN. Asked during his campaign about Vladimir Putin’s killing journalists, DDT said, “Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe.” Since Putin became president, 28 journalists have been killed. When pressed, DDT reluctantly criticized the killings but gave glowing comments about Putin. DDT also praises Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who openly threatens to kill journalists.

After Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) called for protesters to call out DDT’s separation of migrant children from their parents, she had to cancel events in Alabama and Texas from serious death threats. Calling Waters “an extraordinarily low IQ person,” DDT falsely tweeted that she “called for harm to supporters” and threatened her by writing, “Be careful what you wish for Max!”

DDT supports white supremacists, not even criticizing the man who killed one woman and injured several other people at a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville (VA) last year. DDT was elected by selling hate, and he keeps his base by continuing to sell hate.

The man who killed five people at the newspaper supported two politicians—DDT and Michael Peroutka, and neo-Confederate funder with ties to Michael Hill who wants a paramilitary group to fight the media. Hill said that the targets are “political leaders, members of the hostile media, cultural icons, bureaucrats, and other of the managerial elite without whom the engines of tyranny don’t run.”

Before the killings, Milo Yiannopoulos, a blogger for InfoWars, posted on Instagram:

“I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.”

Instagram, owned by Facebook, answered complaints that the post did not violate its terms. Message boards 4chan and 8chan celebrated the killings and encouraged more, based on a scene from white supremacist The Turner Diaries, long inspiring the public hanging of journalists, “race traitors,” professors, and other cultural figures, including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

The neo-Nazi website Daily Storm posted a message that “killing journalists is an awesome position to promote.”

DDT’s constant complaints about “fake news” partly come from their corrections of his lies, misrepresentations, and mental confusion. He couldn’t even remember the name of the Supreme Court Justice who retired last week. During a press conference, DDT sputtered:

“I have great respect for … Justice Anthony — you know who I’m talking about — Justice Kennedy.”

DDT’s speech had three facts about Kennedy: Kennedy is a man, he is a SCOTUS justice, and he is retiring.

About the immigration system, DDT knows very little. He wants all people to be stopped at the border, ignoring the law that allows people to come into the country seeking asylum, and not give them due process. Violence and gangs in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have caused hundreds of thousands of children and families to seek refuge in the U.S. since 2014, and the U.S. Constitution grants due-process to every “person” in the U.S. The Supreme Court ruled that this provision covers undocumented immigrants. Turning away asylum applicants without court proceeds violates legal due-process rights. U.S. treaties also require the nation to allow qualified immigrants to seek asylum.

DDT’s claim that someone wants “to hire 5,000 more judges” is also false. The request was for an additional 365 judges, bringing the total to about 700. Sen. Ted Cruz’s bill asks for 750. The judicial branch has almost 1,300 sitting federal judges; immigration judges are in the executive branch.

Most illegal immigration comes from people outstaying their visas. In fiscal 2016, U.S. officials reported 408,870 southwest border apprehensions, 544,676 visa overstays and 65,218 asylum claims. Eighty-five percent of removal orders do not require a hearing before a judge.

DDT also lied about seeing ICE “liberating” towns from MS-13 gangs. The famous liar reached 103 lies last week from a previous weekly record of 60. He also said that Democrats want to eliminate police forces in the U.S.

Trying to save the debacle of his meeting with Kim Jong-Un, DDT is claiming the victory of getting the remains of Korean War veterans returned. Instead of the 200 remains returned, North Korea has sent none—zero. And no one knows when any of them will arrive; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is “optimistic” it would take place “in the not-too-distant future.” DDT claims that the need for the returns are the “thousands” of parents who begged him to bring home their children—parents who would now be at least 100 years old. The White House did not provide any names of these parents or why DDT is lying about the bodies being returned.

North Korea is continuing its work on a nuclear research facility, a fact that DDT has not announced although he did announce an emergency warning about North Korea’s nuclear power. The increased in production of enriched uranium for nuclear weapons went on during the negotiations. North Korea is also working to hide its military capabilities from the U.S.

DDT’s fantasies extend to telephone calls. His lies this last week caused a company’s stock to fall:

“The head of U.S. Steel called me the other day, and he said, ‘We’re opening up six major facilities and expanding facilities that have never been expanded.’” [U.S. Steel isn’t denying DDT’s statements, but it isn’t agreeing and hasn’t told its shareholders.]

More of DDT’s imaginary telephone calls include one with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, one from the head of the Boy Scouts, discussions about border-wall construction in California, another call from Jimmy Fallon, and a conversation with the head of a nation of over 300 million people complaining about the country’s 9 percent GDP growth rate. Other than the U.S., only China and India have over 300 million; their growth rates are 6.7 percent and 7.1 percent respectively.

During his campaign, DDT lied about a rising crime rate to defeat his opponent, and he’s still using his lies to bash immigrants. The facts show an overall decline in rates of crime, violent crime, and murder in the 30 largest American cities. This information, however, won’t support DDT’s hatred so he won’t be mentioning it.

Thanks to information from Russia, the people in the United States know that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) will meet with Vladimir Putin in Finland on July 16. Advance information about DDT’s support of Russia:

“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with meddling in our election!” [DDT’s tweet translation: DDT states he believes Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies.]

Tariffs continue to be a bone of contention. Angry that Harley-Davidson is making a financial decision to move some operations outside the U.S., a loss of 1,000 U.S. jobs, DDT threatened a “big tax” if they try to sell the motorcycles in the United States. DDT’s trade war has resulted in the European Union’s tariff against Harley-Davidson that increases the price of a motorcycle in those countries by $3,500.

General Motors also announced that the tariffs will cause “less investment, fewer jobs and lower wages” for employees and thousands of dollars more for car prices.

The VP of sales for Mid Continent Nail Corporation, producer of half the nails in the U.S., voted for DDT, but now he’s trying to get help from his Democratic senator, Claire McCaskill, to save 500 jobs in a Missouri community of 17,000. Eighty percent of the county voted for DDT. George Skarich, vice president of sales for Missouri-based Mid Continent Nail Corporation, said that the company might go out of business soon because the steel imports will raise prices for nails by almost 20 percent. McCaskill came through, addressing the problem with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during a Senate Finance Committee hearing. At least 40,000 Missouri workers will be affected by the tariffs.

The conservative Wall Street Journal told its readers that DDT’s tariffs are destroying jobs for the workers he promised to protect. An editorial stated that U.S. workers are the “biggest losers” under Trump’s policies.

The Dow Jones dropped almost 500 points last Monday before DDT’s trade adviser Peter Navarro partially salvaged the financial disaster by claiming that DDT was backing down on investment restrictions. It still plummeted 328 points. Early Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said that DDT would place restrictions on all countries. Despite Navarro’s comments, Huckabee Sanders said that other countries may have restrictions with an eminent announcement of “targets [on] all countries that are trying to steal our technology.” The Dow Jones is at the same level as November 30: the tax cuts did nothing for this part of the economy.

DDT and GOP efforts are responsible for health insurance rates rapidly increasing in the future. Rates would have stayed flat except for the repeal of the individual mandate and lack of restrictions on plans that provide far fewer benefits to subscribers. Information about the difference in rate increases with and without the GOP sabotage here.

A crowdfunding campaign is raising money for “Trump Baby,” a 20-foot orange blimp with a snarled face and cell phone in a tiny hand. They increased the request after doubled the first goal in the first 24 hours. The group wants to fly the blimp over Parliament Square during DDT’s visit to London in July. With no permits thus far, the group is considering alternative plans.

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