Nel's New Day

February 28, 2021

DDT Can’t Escape His History

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) has left the White House and denied access to his favorite communication device, Twitter, but investigations into events during his term in the White House continues to be exposed.  

A recently released report explains how Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was involved in how Jamal Khashoggi, U.S. resident and journalist, was coerced into the Saudi embassy in Turkey for the purpose of torturing him before his murder and dismemberment. DDT consistently covered up MBS’s involvement in the crime for a number of personal reasons. MBS was also a personal friend of DDT’s his son-in-law Jared Kushner. The released intelligence report now fully proves DDT knew about MBS’ involvement in the killing since its occurrence in October 2018 despite his repeated denials.

DDT had been enamored with Saudi Arabia and MBS since his inauguration. His journey to the country was his first foreign trip after he moved into the White House. The media fully covered the visit where he tried to participate in the sword dance and touched  the glowing “orb” along with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and Saudi King Salman. According to MBS, a new book by New York Times reporter Ben Hubbard, DDT was given the orb, but people were afraid the photos people took with it would cause a scandal. Hubbard wrote, “The orb was hidden away in embassy storage.”

DDT’s not-so-secret weapon to derail mail-in voting, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, has reappeared in a congressional hearing. In DeJoy’s first few weeks last June, he cut back workers, overtime, and equipment to drastically slow down first-class mail delivery so much that Congress tried to block him. Despite lost equipment from his beginning, most of the ballots managed to get delivered on time, thanks to the efforts of Democratic legislators. DeJoy has remained in his position because the DDT-appointed board for the postal service is leaving him there. During his hearing last Wednesday, DeJoy showed a high degree of arrogance. When Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked him how long he planned to remain as postmaster general, he responded, “Long time. Get used to me.”

In the hearing, DeJoy also promised greater delays in service along with higher prices, including no longer having two-day delivery for first-class mail and limit air transport for it. DeJoy said, “Does it make a difference if it’s an extra day to get a letter?” He didn’t address the fact that some first-class mail isn’t delivered for weeks. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “The Postal Service needs leadership that can and will do a better job.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) joined other Republicans in accusing Democrats of conspiracy theories to create “chaos and confusion” in the information about delayed mail delivery. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) answered Jordan:

“I didn’t vote to overturn an election. And I will not be lectured by people who did.”

During the hearing, President Joe Biden announced his decision to fill the three vacancies on the nine-member USPS board with these nominees: Anton Hajjar, former general counsel for the American Postal Workers Union; Amber McReynolds, chief executive officer of Vote at Homes supporting mail-voting in the 2020 election; and Ron Stroman, a former deputy postmaster general on Biden’s transition team. Stroman quit last year because of DeJoy’s position on delaying the mail. Two of the appointments are Democrats; McReynolds is unaffiliated. She was Denver’s director of elections from 2011 to 2018 where she implemented a complete vote-by-mail elections system for the city. Appointments include two men of color and a woman.

The current DDT-appointed chair, DDT-supporter Ron Bloom, can also be replaced because he took the place of another board member whose term ended in December 2020. All the Republican members on the board are friends of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and, like DeJoy, have donated large sums to both the GOP and DDT. The entire board is composed of wealthy white men with limited postal service

Last week’s hearings included an investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by the House Appropriations Committee. Key moments:

Intelligence reported to the U.S. Capitol Police headquarters about an attack on January 5, but the department’s leadership wasn’t notified, according to former Chief Steven Sund, who resigned after the insurrection. The FBI sent an email the night before the attack about an eminent attack, but Washington’s acting Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department Robert Contee said a late-night evening email was not sufficient to highlight the threat.

The insurrection was coordinated, with prepared people bringing equipment such as climbing gear, explosives, chemical spray, etc. They used hand signals and radio communications when they breached the building. Some rioters claimed they were caught up in the spirit of the event, but members of far-right extremist groups planned the attack for weeks and months, judging by the criminal charges against them. Even DDT’s lawyers claimed the attack was pre-planned during the impeachment trial.

Pentagon officials were either unable or unwilling to rapidly sent National Guard troops, as evidenced by their delay after desperate pleas for help.

Sund said he asked the two former congressional sergeants of arms for an emergency declaration to call in the National Guard, but neither one recalled the request. According to Sund, Paul Irving said he “was concerned about the ‘optics’ and didn’t feel the intelligence supported it.” Irving denied saying that and couldn’t remember talking to Sund although Sund said he made the request at 1:09 pm on January 6.

Phone records prove Irving ignored Sund’s pleas for help, according to Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, who said Sund called Irving at 12:58 pm to request the National Guard as rioters breached the building. Lawmakers were forced into hiding. Sund called Irving another four times until 1:45 pm.

The continued presence of law enforcement and a fence remains, according to Pittman because militia groups announced their intention to “blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible” when Biden addresses the Congress.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), responsible in the past for putting Russian disinformation into the Senate record, read  a statement from an observer standing out by the fence that the violence came only after police provoked the protesters and “fake Trump protesters” were at fault. Before the hearing he had said there was no armed insurrection on January 6.

DDT’s financial records including his tax returns for eight years—reportedly millions of pages—are now with Cy Vance, Manhattan’s district attorney, for review after the U.S. Supreme Court refused DDT’s appeal to block the subpoena. The question now is whether DDT can slow the process long enough to get past the statute of limitations, six years in New York. State law, however, now excludes the time when a person charged with a state crime while acting as president, but the question is whether this exclusion is also for criminal conduct predating the law’s passage. If the law holds up, the time for limitations begins on January 20, 2021. Vance also has only ten months left in his current term and doesn’t plan to run for re-election.

Meanwhile, Vance has enlisted outside experts, including a forensic consulting firm, to examine the documents. The accounting records can determine fraud by showing how tax figures were calculated as were done in the Paul Manafort investigation. Manafort was sentenced to over seven years in prison before DDT pardoned him in December. Tax returns can also determine whether other financial records are false.

Despite DDT’s pardon for Steve Bannon, DDT’s former main strategist, DOJ prosecutors won’t dismiss the indictment against him as a matter of record. Bannon allegedly siphoned off over $1 million from GoFundMe donations for building part of DDT’s southern wall. According to Nixon v. United State, a pardon does not erase the grand jury finding probable cause for Bannon’s committing the indictment’s offenses. The prosecutors’ letter explained:

“Were the Court to dismiss the Indictment against Bannon, it could have a broader effect than the pardon itself, among other things potentially relieving Bannon of certain consequences not covered by the pardon.”

Vance’s office has subpoenaed Wells Fargo and GoFundMe for financial records tied to Bannon’s crowd-funding effort. Bannon may face state criminal charges which cannot be pardoned by a president.

DDT may have a parallel with the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City (NJ) which was leveled by an implosion on February 17, 2021. People paid $10 for watching it in person, and a front-row seat cost $575. The building was the first of DDT’s casinos going bankrupt with unpaid contractors and suppliers. During his campaign he bragged about how much money he made in Atlantic City where he put personal debts on the casinos, leaving debts to investors. The eyesore was destroyed as an “imminent hazard” because of falling debris and metal.

December 13, 2020

DDT: Week 203 – More Firings, Etc.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) keeps on firing people, and one of his targets is suing him. After Chris Krebs was fired as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in DHS, he accused DDT of the “coordinated campaign of intimidation, retaliation, and threats.” Krebs argues the attacks are to bully any Republicans who disagree the election was rigged or opposed DDT’s attempt to nullify the election in his favor. DDT is up to 59 failures in court but hasn’t stopped, according to his claims and those of his lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

DDT also fired three other senior officials in CISA for claiming no fraud—Matthew  Travis, Bryan Ware, and Matthew Masterson. At the same time, “the big four, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea” have attempted to steal intellectual property related to the coronavirus vaccine, according to Krebs. He explained that the attempts go beyond vaccine development to “their supply chains, … the distribution channels and public health institutions.” Now Russian hackers have compromised government agencies including the Treasury and Commerce Departments, prompting an emergency National Security Council meeting.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also firing personnel. The department’s acting Inspector General Matthew Klimow is gone after doing his job, in this case investigating travel by Pompeo’s wife, Susan. The IG revealed most of her trips during a two-year period lacked written approval from the State Department but were considered official travel and paid for by taxpayers. Klimow, the third IG to leave during Pompeo’s tenure, was appointed in August to look into waste, fraud, and abuse at the department. Pompeo refused to sit for interviews with the IG and expressed irritation when asked about the investigation. Also the U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan, Klimow is returning to that position.

The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative agency, is also looking into Pompeo for potentially violating the Hatch Act forbidding federal employees from political activity while on duty. In 2018, Navy lawyers probed concerns about Pompeo’s request for military housing that raised “factual, legal, fiscal and ethical issues.” Other concerns about abuses of taxpayer funds include using the staff as servants to have them walk the dog, pick up laundry, send personal Christmas cards, and make dinner reservations. Former IG Steve Linick was searching at least five cases of potential wrongdoing when Pompeo asked DDT to fire Linick. The Pompeos also hold dinners in the department’s ceremonial rooms which build his network and donor base instead of for foreign policy.

Tony Pham,  acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, leaves at the end of the month. Also hired in August, he participated in the joint operation of DHS and DOJ to raise standards for asylum-seeking to keep people out of the country. New guidelines bar people from types of immigration relief and deny asylum requests without a hearing. Persecution based on gender or gang violence will no longer qualify people for asylum.

AG Bill Barr is also in trouble with DDT after he stopped acting like DDT’s toady and failed to take part in DDT’s parade of lawsuits regarding election fraud. The last straw for DDT, however, was learning Barr had been investigating Hunter Biden for “tax affairs” since early in the year but had not announced it before the election for DDT to use it against his father, Joe Biden.

DDT is even angrier since Barr described DDT’s tweets as “the deposed king ranting” and “isn’t scared” when DDT calls him a “big disappointment.” Last Friday, DDT talked with aides about firing Barr, but Barr said he’s staying until he thinks he might be fired. Sources say the tension between the two of them feels like a “Cold War.” DDT thinks he might have lost the election because of Barr but is surprisingly calm—for him. One might ask what Barr has on DDT.

What’s good for the goose … DDT won’t concede his loss of 13 percent of the electoral vote and ten percent of the popular vote so other losers are following his path. Five weeks after the election results with all the votes turned in, several losing GOP candidates refuse to admit they lost. Loren Culp, Washington GOP gubernatorial candidate, lost by 13 percent, but he’s demanding an audit of votes. Buzz Patterson, who lost to Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) by over 13 percentage points, complains about voting machines. Errol Webber lost to incumbent Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) by 70 percent, but he won’t “let up until the truth is known.” Maryland GOP candidate for Congress Kimberly Klacik, losing by over 40 points, complains about “irregularities,” and another candidate in Tennessee losing by over 57 percent wants QAnon Sidney Powell to help her complain. Charlotte Bergmann, who failed to unseat Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), said “people couldn’t understand” her loss. A Massachusetts GOP candidate who lost by over 30 percentage points is one of five losing candidates in the state for both state and federal office who jointly filed a lawsuit. A federal judge threw out the case to invalidate the election results.

Just as DDT stiffs contractors, cities, and others by not paying them for services, his Wisconsin legislature allies are doing the same to Dane County. DDT paid the $3 million for the recount in two counties, the Dane County did the recount, and legislatures won’t give the county the money.

A major reason for DDT’s increasing fury and terror at losing the election may be the acceleration of investigations into his financial affairs with the threat of criminal charges after he’s no longer in the White House. State prosecutors in Manhattan are interviewing employees of Deutsche Bank and insurance broker Aon. DA Cyrus R. Vance is still trying to obtain DDT’s personal and corporate tax returns; the Supreme Court will make the decision. On January 21, DDT loses any immunity from criminal prosecution. Even if he pardons himself for all his crimes, he is still liable for all non-federal ones. Court papers show an examination into DDT’s corporate insurance, tax, and bank-related fraud.

Russian state media outlets want DDT to seek asylum in Moscow to dodge prosecution in the U.S. A member of the Defense Ministry’s public council asked DDT to bring his money with him to “finally build his famous Trump City somewhere in our New Moscow.” Referring to Russia’s acceptance of Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych who fled there in 2014, an important host on Russia-1, asked, “Should we get another apartment in Rostov ready?” State media often refers to DDT fondly as “our Donald,” “Trumpusha,” and “Comrade Trump”; it blames the Democrats for DDT’s problems. Many of them recommend DDT pardon himself.  

In another avoidance of reality, DDT is hesitant to pardon the up-to-20 closest allies including his family and closest aides because his inner circle would look like criminals. They are. Some around DDT are concerned the massive pardons would tarnish DDT’s legacy. It already is. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he didn’t know what DDT would pardon himself for because he has “not been accused of any crime.” Yes, he has. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said DDT pardoned Michael Flynn because he was “railroaded.” No, he wasn’t. Thus far, DDT has granted 28 pardons and commuted 11 sentences.

Pardons can be profitable for DDT. He got $6 million from billionaire Sanford Diller, a real estate mogul, who promised more for the pardon of psychologist Hugh Baras, convicted of tax evasion and theft of government property. The donations to a PAC were not required to be disclosed for DDT’s campaign. Diller died, and Baras never received a pardon. DDT is fond of giving favors for money: the wife of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson received the Medal of Freedom after giving $500,000 to DDT’s campaign legal defense fund. 

DDT is executing federal prisoners instead of pardoning them. If executions proceed as scheduled within the next 39 days, he will execute more people than any other person in the Oval Office during the past century. Last Thursday, Brandon Bernard was killed despite doubts about the death sentence from members of his jury. Four more are scheduled until January 15, 2021, making a total of 13 since July. These executions violate a 130-year precedent pausing executions during the transition period. AG Bill Barr said he may schedule more executions before Biden is inaugurated on January 20, 2021.

Last weekend when the Proud Boys protested election results against DDT at the White House, their leader, Enrique Tarrio, claimed he had been invited to meet with DDT. White House aides claimed he was to be on a tour. At his debate with Biden in September, DDT had told the white supremacist group to “stand by” and flown his helicopter over the weekend march to support them. DDT flew to West Point (NY) and attended half the Army-Navy football game. The protest ended in violence when Proud Boys attacked counter-protesters. A question might be whether Tarrio was really invited and White House aides covered for DDT.  

To the suggestion he should reveal classified secrets, DDT said:

“I have been doing this. I agree!”  

Only 37 days left, but what can happen?

 

November 29, 2019

The Completion of Thanksgiving

For several weeks, the media has obsessed about Thanksgiving dinner—specifically how to get along with people gathering around the groaning board. Culture since the election of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has made this an all-consuming issue.

With his typical cruelty, DDT’s son Donald Trump Jr has this recommendation: “trigger a liberal” at Thankgiving dinner with the goal of encouraging fights among families at the family gathering. He tweeted, “Trigger a liberal thanksgiving” and offered an autographed copy of his book for winners who send him photos or videos of “something/someone triggered maybe with my book.” Jr is listed as author of Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us:

“This is the book that the leftist elites don’t want you to read — Donald Trump, Jr., exposes all the tricks that the left uses to smear conservatives and push them out of the public square, from…”

Triggered became a best seller after the RNC and the Trump Organizations spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase copies of the book that promotes lies through conspiracy theories and encourages Jr’s social media followers to engage in bad behavior. Conservatives, however, may be more “triggered” by a discussion of the facts and their lack of defense for their beloved leader.

On Thanksgiving Day, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) unexpectedly visited troops in Afghanistan after pardoning three war criminals who were blamed of their crimes by their Navy Seal colleagues. Once again DDT created chaos by announcing peace talks with the Taliban, after dumping the idea just two months ago after a period of negotiations, and demanding a cease-fire that negotiators had already rejected and that the U.S. has no leverage to enact. DDT claimed that the Taliban wants a ceasefire, but he also claimed that Turkey wouldn’t kill the Kurds. The Taliban negotiating team was surprised at DDT’s statements. A member said, “Our positions remain the same.” With DDT removing troops from Afghanistan, the U.S. has even less leverage than earlier.

Since he was inaugurated almost three years ago, DDT had previously made no trips to Afghanistan and only one to a war zone, a secretive trip to Iraq almost a year ago. That time, plane spotters saw Air Force One crossing Britain; this time, he took a military plane with only five people, including Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). DDT ate with Barrasso and a commander based at Bagram.

DDT demonstrated his obsession with impeachment during the traditional ceremony of pardoning a turkey. The two fowl, Bread and Butter, will not reside on a table but instead safely live out their natural lives because of the selection. DDT’s statement:

“Thankfully, Bread and Butter have been specially raised by the Jacksons to remain calm under any condition, which will be very important because they’ve already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff’s basement on Thursday. It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on turkey, but Bread and Butter — I should note that, unlike previous witnesses, you and I have actually met.”

DDT added that the news media would find the pardon “very popular” because “turkeys are closely related to vultures.”

Although both turkeys were saved, only Butter received a “pardon.” One joke was that Butter received the pardon because Bread got more votes.

Although the DDT base may have found humor in the comments about impeachment, satirist Andy Borowitz gave another perspective about the pardon in his humor column, “Trump Refuses to Pardon White House Turkey After Accusing It of Working for Soros”:

“In a startling break with Thanksgiving tradition, Donald J. Trump refused to pardon the White House turkey after claiming that it was working as a secret operative of the billionaire George Soros.

“A group of fourth graders from Bethesda, Maryland, who had gathered on the White House lawn for the annual turkey-pardoning ceremony appeared unprepared for the anti-Soros outburst that Trump unleashed on the Thanksgiving bird.

“’That turkey was sent by Soros to spy on me,’ Trump said, angrily turning on the fowl. ‘A lot of people are saying this.’

“While the oblivious turkey pecked desultorily at the ground, an increasingly enraged Trump spewed a stream of conspiracy theories linking the feathered animal to global élites, election fraud in Florida, and Jim Acosta.

“Trump attempted to lead the fourth-grade class in a chant of ‘Lock It Up,’ apparently directed at the Thanksgiving delicacy, but the students slowly backed away from him in silence.

“Tracy Klugian, one of the children who witnessed Trump’s meltdown, said that he found it ‘sad.’

“’I get that he’s upset about Mueller and the midterms, but he shouldn’t take it out on a turkey,’ he said.”

Background on the turkey pardon: residents of the White House typically ate the donated turkeys until 1989 with the exception of Abraham Lincoln giving the turkey in 1863 to his son Tad and President Kennedy’s refusal to eat the turkey in 1961. Richard Nixon freed the turkey but gave no pardon. George H.W. Bush began the official presidential turkey pardon tradition. The pardon got attention in 2007 when the turkey found back during the ceremony of H.W.’s son, W.

As my vegetarian friend said, maybe next year’s turkey could be named “Tofu.”

And now the conservative Christians can launch into their mythical persecution and their fantasy of the “war on Christmas.” If you get together with conservatives at the winter holiday dinner, here are some talking points. Just change the title.

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