Nel's New Day

November 7, 2019

GOP Impeachment Strategy: Lies, Smears

News about Dictator Donald Trump (DDT)’s impeachment inquiry keeps dribbling out:

The Government Accountability Office is investigating DDT for possible law violation by withholding Ukraine aid with no supporting policy. In a legal review, the Pentagon concluded that congressionally approved funds must be released and expressed concern that the aid would expire last September 30 if not released.

DDT wanted Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to support DDT’s conspiracy theory by linking that false belief in Ukrainian interference for the 2016 U.S. elections with the word “Clinton,” according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. Gordon Sondland had told Tim Morrison about DDT’s wishes. More testimony from Kent from this transcript: 

Rudy Giuliani, DDT’s personal lawyer, orchestrated a “campaign of lies” against Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, with “assertions and allegations … without basis.”

Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, may have lied about Ukraine-related discussions he had with DDT. Fiona Hill, the top Russia expert on the National Security Council, told Kent about her concerns that Sondland “made assertions about conversations that did not match with what had actually been said.”

Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, wielded power over Ukraine policy and controlled the military aid designated for Ukraine. “[Mulvaney] put a hold on all security assistance to the Ukraine,” Kent testified.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Kent’s boss, failed to back up Yovanovitch and lied about investigators trying to “bully” diplomats into testifying.

After Zelensky’s aides decided that they had to take sides in U.S. politics to get the vital military aid against Russian aggression, Ukraine was saved by leaks about the freeze on military aid and DDT’s extortionist July 25 phone call. Zelensky’s speech to agree with DDT’s demands was scheduled for September 13 on CNN after the news broke.

In an exploration of what VP Mike Pence knew about the scandal, his aid Jennifer Williams, testified about the July 25 call, which she heard. She said it was political in nature and didn’t understand why the military aid was not being released. She did believe that it might be tied to an investigation into the Bidens. Her notes from the call went into Pence’s folder.

Pompeo has worked hard to stay out of the limelight, but witnesses are moving the Klieg lights toward him about his mistreatment of his staff in favor of pleasing DDT. His three taxpayer-supported trips to Kansas recently indicate he might bail out from DDT’s administration; a Senate seat is open.

AG Bill Barr finally refused to do something that DDT wants: Barr won’t hold a press conference to declare that DDT broke no laws during his phone call with Zelensky.  The DOJ is even distancing itself from DDT, saying that it won’t endorse the withholding of military aid from Ukraine in exchange for an its investigation into the Bidens. Barr has also separated himself from Giuliani.

During today’s Roger Stone trial, jurors heard tapes of his lying under oath to the House about his involvement with hacking by Wikileaks and communication with a former radio host and comedian, supported by texts and emails from Stone. Charged with making false statements to the committee and committing obstruction of justice and witness tampering, Stone also lied about talking with DDT. One text to the comedian, who denied Stone’s claim that he was the intermediary with Wikileaks, from Stone read, “Prepare to die … You are a rat.”

Giuliani admitted DDT’s extortion in a tweet that was followed by his conspiracy theories about the Bidens:

“The investigation I conducted concerning 2016 Ukrainian collusion and corruption, was done solely as a defense attorney to defend my client against false charges, that kept changing as one after another were disproven.”

The same Republicans who expressed fury about closed House hearings now say that they won’t be watching the open hearings in the coming weeks—too busy, at their day jobs, hearings are “political,” etc. This video shows Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) excuse for his demanding impeachment in Bill Clinton’s refusal to submit subpoenas and exonerating DDT for the same action. Hint: it doesn’t hold water. Also, the highly incensed Republicans crying “unfair” about closed hearings aren’t bothering to attend them even if they can. Those who do, spend their time asking unrelated questions, complaining about the process, and planting information about the whistleblower. For Sondland’s testimony, Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-1.

Republicans may have difficulty spinning these acts:

DDT suspended the military aid himself by ordering Mulvaney to tell budget officials that the funds were frozen, perhaps permanently—one week before his phone call extorting Zelensky. Officials were told not to tell members of Congress about the frozen aid.

Giuliani publicly confirmed the whole plot at DDT’s direction and to personally benefit DDT. Giuliani said, “I don’t do anything that involves my client without speaking with my client.”

Those texts explain of Sondland’s confession that he directly informed a top aide to Zelensky that “resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.” That was DDT’s demand of a public statement from Zelensky exonerating Russia of electoral sabotage and falsely implicating in corruption.

Pence directly delivered the message about suspended aid to Ukraine and told him he needed to do more to fight “corruption” on top of demands by Sondland and Giuliani.

Former Florida AG Pam Bondi has been added to DDT’s impeachment team after it dumped former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). She will have “special government employee” status, meaning that, as a part-time employee, she won’t have to meet the regular ethics rules and continue her outside work. The ethics deal helps Bondi because she has a checkered career. Six years ago, DDT’s now defunct charitable foundation, legally prohibited from donating to political campaigns, paid her $25,000 immediately before Bondi dropped investigation of solid allegations against the “Trump University.” This morning, Bondi called Jared Kushner “one of the smartest human beings” she’s ever met.

DDT claims that he’s done nothing wrong, but he refuses to turn over Bill Taylor’s notes to the House, blocks as many people as possible from complying with legal subpoenas, and conducts a “witch hunt” to find the whistleblower reporting his phone call with Zelensky. 

One of DDT’s recent strategies to distract people from his crimes and impeachable offenses is a concerted effort to out the whistleblower who alerted everyone to the July 25 phone call. After making demands on the media to follow this order, his sycophants comply with possibly legal violations of a law to keep whistleblowers’ identities confidential, preventing retaliation. Conservative press, however, named a person, and Donald Jr. retweeted the name from Breitbart News. Jack Prosobiec, responsible for publicizing the conspiracy theory of Pizzagate about Democrats involved in a child sex abuse ring leading to a shooting in a restaurant, originally came out with this name for the whistleblower that he said “sounds like” the person.  

By Monday’s campaigning for gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin with DDT, fellow Kentuckian and GOP Sen. Rand Paul violated the Hatch Act and then demanded the release of the whistleblower’s name, a violation of another law. Yesterday, Paul blocked a resolution to protect whistleblowers although Libertarian Paul supposedly fights for privacy. The identity of the person—even the person’s testimony—has lost all relevance after the number of witnesses appearing in House hearings, but it’s a diversion.

Next week, open House hearings for the impeach inquiry, called a “partisan clown show” by DDT, open with Bill Taylor, who testified about two different quid pro quos from DDT and his abuse of Marie Yovanovitch. Testimony will include highlights of how Giuliani is in charge of foreign policy regarding Ukraine. In his earlier testimony, Taylor also said that getting the military aid released was difficult because of “the Greenland question, about purchasing Greenland, which took up a lot of energy in the NSC.” Taylor said that a meeting with DDT was “hard to schedule.”

DDT claims that he’s done nothing wrong, but he refuses to turn over Bill Taylor’s notes to the House, blocks as many people as possible from complying with legal subpoenas, and conducts a “witch hunt” to find the whistleblower reporting his phone call with Zelensky. DDT tries to hide everything he does.

The one success DDT can claim is pleasing Russia. Showing the fiasco of the lying to defend Republicans, a Russian commentator said that DDT is “making Russia great.” She continued:

“The chaos brought by Trump into the American system of government is weakening the United States. America is getting weaker and now Russia is taking its place in the Middle East. Suddenly, Russia is starting to seriously penetrate Africa… So when they say that Trump is weakening the United States—yes, he is. And that’s why we love him… The more problems they have, the better it is for us.”

Russia predicts another win for DDT in 2020. DDT is giving Vladimir Putin everything he wants and more.

November 5, 2019

Impeachment Evidence Piles Up

Congressional testimony is creating a disastrous picture of extortion by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) as four transcripts have been released and Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union, reversed earlier testimony to admit the existence of a quid pro quo. He now admits that he told one of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisers that “resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.” Earlier, Sondland had said that the only quid pro quo was Zelensky’s invitation to the White House. Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, had testified that Sondland warned Zelensky aide Andrey Yermak that the security assistance “would not come” unless Zelensky openly promised an investigation into Burisma, an energy company where Hunter Biden had held a board position.

Today, Congress released transcripts from Sondland and Kurt Volker, former U.S. special envoy for Ukraine. Parts of these transcripts:

Sondland: He suggested that the quid pro quo “doesn’t sound good” and is probably illegal. His original statement claimed that he didn’t know in May that the Giuliani’s attempt for Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden although the media widely announced this at that time.

Volker: Undercutting Sondland’s testimony, Volker said Giuliani pushed “debunked” conspiracy theories, that Giuliani’s intent was for quid pro quo, including an investigation into the Bidens, was obvious. Giuliani gave DDT the idea that Ukraine was out to get him, according to Volker’s conversation with DDT who told Volker to talk to Giuliani. And Giuliani has announced that he works for DDT who is directing the Ukraine operation. Volker also testified that he sent a Ukrainian official DDT’s script for Zelensky to read, a statement that included an investigation into the energy company that employed Hunter Biden and a conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s interfering in the 2016 U.S. election on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Volker said:

“I agreed with the Ukrainians they shouldn’t [issue a statement mentioning the Bidens and 2016], and in fact told them just drop it, wait till you have your own prosecutor general in place.”

Before the release of the transcript, Republicans claimed that his testimony was good for DDT. The transcripts don’t show anything positive for the GOP and DDT’s argument. Transcripts from both men indicate that they believe DDT wants the investigations into the Bidens for only his personal benefit.

The first two transcripts from the impeachment inquiry emerged yesterday, testimonies of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and former Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

Yovanovitch: DDT forced her out of her job in May and called her “bad news” during his July 25 phone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky. She also she felt threatened by DDT’s comments that “[Yovanovitch is] going to go through some things” and was warned about “nervousness” in the White House endangered her “security.” She also reported concerns expressed by Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov about the danger of Ukraine being forced into U.S. domestic politics. (Ukrainian defense official Oleksandr Danyliuk expressed concern to Yovanovitch’s replacement, William B. Taylor, about Zelensky being used as a “pawn” for Trump’s reelection campaign, according to Taylor’s testimony.) Yovanovitch said Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland urged her to tweet her support for DDT to help save her job. https://thehill.com/homenews/house/468910-five-takeaways-from-the-first-trump-impeachment-deposition-transcripts   She expressed concern and confusion about DDT’s private secretary Rudy Giuliani pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter and the unfounded involvement of Ukraine in the U.S. 2016 election interference.  

Yovanovitch also testified that two people from Florida, Lev Parnas and Ignore Fruman, wanted her removed as ambassador for their personal business reasons. Giuliani was Parnas’ lawyer, and both men were indicted last month. Acting assistant secretary of state Philip Reeker told Yovanovitch after she returned in May that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he “was no longer able to protect her from President Trump.” When she asked Pompeo for a statement of support, he denied her request because because it could be “undermined” by DDT “with a tweet or something.”

McKinley: He defended Yovanovitch’s tenure and spoke out against DDT’s efforts to “procure negative political information for domestic purposes” and “what appears to be the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance political objectives.” He said that he also resigned because of Pompeo’s refusal not to publicly support Yovanovitch after the July 25 call. Four senior officials wanted to issue a statement of support, but Pompeo blocked it even after he had three conversations with Pompeo. [Pompeo said (lied?) to ABC that McKinley never asked for this statement of support.] McKinley also agreed with George Kent that officials asked to testify in the impeachment inquiry were bullied by the State Department to not give testimony. Although McKinley did not oversee Ukrainian issues and didn’t hear the July 25 call, he agreed that DDT’s political allies politicized the State Department as over testimony alleged. He cited Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker. In 47 years working for the State Department, McKinley said he had never seen the agency involved in getting damaging information about the president’s political opponents. 

Pompeo has a serious issue with his undying loyalty to DDT over his employees and his responsibilities. As CIA director, Pompeo knew the evidence about Russian hackers interfering in the 2016 election on behalf of DDT and testified in support of that conclusion in 2017. Now Pompeo supports DDT’s investigation into the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked the DNC to help Clinton, not DDT. He was the one who helped DDT and Giuliani to oust Yovanovitch with false accusations. State Department officials have been talking to congressional offices for months about the hold on Ukraine military aid, an attempt to cut $4 billion of foreign aid, and DDT’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Testimony against him described his “culture of harassment and impunity.” Like DDT, Pompeo prioritizes his personal ambitions over the United States’ national interests.  

Breaking with DDT and Giuliani, Lev Parnas now plans to talk to congressional investigators looking into impeachment, perhaps because DDT said he didn’t know him although their photos together go back at least five years. Yet DDT “signed off” on the lawyer for Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman, the same lawyer who had defended Paul Manafort. Parnas has fired that lawyer in exchange for new ones who said that Parnas will comply with a congressional subpoena. Parnas knows Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine to support DDT and the ways that illegal foreign donations are laundered to DDT and the GOP.

Jennifer Williams, a senior adviser to VP Mike Pence, will probably testify in Congress this week. She was one of the people listening to DDT’s July 25 call with Zelensky when DDT asked for a “favor” in return to releasing the military aid and requested that Zelensky work with AG Bill Barr and Giuliani on investigations into the Bidens.

DDT is openly asking Republicans to doctor the transcripts of the testimonies. He tweeted that they “should give their own transcripts of the interviews to contrast with Schiff’s manipulated propaganda. House Republicans must have nothing to do with Shifty’s rendition of those interviews.”

An under-reported and truly bizarre piece of the impeachment inquiry comes from DDT’s and conservatives’ conspiracy theory about emails centering on CrowdStrike. The House GOP campaign organization uses this California cybersecurity company to protect its sensitive data and has no plans to change. Yet DDT and some House Republicans accuse CrowdStrike—with no evidence—of conspiring with Democrats in the 2016 election in a Ukrainian-backed intelligence operation to hurt DDT’s winning the White House. DDT still maintains that the hacked DNC server is hidden in Ukraine. Continuing to hire CrowdStrike shows that the GOP knows that the conspiracy theory is wrong, yet Republicans continue to blame CrowdStrike for election interference.  

Continuing the conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 election, Giuliani met last week with a theory perpetrator, former Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Telizhenko. In spite of congressional investigations, it appears that soliciting Ukraine to investigate Biden and other Democrats hasn’t stopped, and some Ukrainian lawmakers are still looking into their conspiracy theory about a government campaign to smear Paul Manafort as part of taking down DDT in 2016. In his shadow foreign policy operation to damage DDT’s rivals, Giuliani had met with Telizhenko other times. Telizhenko had worked for Ukrainian businessman Pavel Fuks, a potential partner in DDT’s unsuccessful attempt to build a hotel in Moscow.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) may represent the GOP approach toward an impeachment trial in the Senate: he won’t be reading the transcripts and called the probe “a bunch of BS.”  

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote in a statement, “Both transcripts released today show there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought.” It’s a delusion. The transcripts show a quid pro quo, Ukrainian knowledge about it, and DDT directing the extortion scheme.  

October 25, 2019

‘Quid pro Quo’ Review

About 30 GOP House members, so desperate about evidence against Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the impeachment inquiry, behaved like thugs this past week when they pushed into a closed-door committee; forced out Laura Cooper, a top Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine policy who was preparing to testify; illegally compromised sensitive information by using their cellphones; and tried to record the proceedings for DDT. They delayed the proceedings for five hours, ordering they pizza and fast food before leaving a mess to be cleaned up. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who earlier threatened DDT’s former fixer Michael Cohen if he testified, bragged about leading the group. Like a mob boss, DDT urged them to carry out their illegal activities and then praised them.

GOP representatives claimed that their objection was the secrecy of the process, but 47 of them have access to the closed-door depositions but don’t take advantage of this opportunity. Thus far, not one of them has leaked any positive information about DDT from the testimony—which they would if it were available. When former GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy from South Carolina ran the mostly secret hearings about Benghazi, he said, “Private [hearings] always produce better results.” 

Not a trial, Impeachment inquiry proceedings are comparable to a grand jury, held in secret to determine if a person should be indicted. The Senate holds the trial if the House votes in favor of impeachment; Republicans will then be in charge to call DDT’s witnesses. On Fox & Friends, GOP legal analysis Andrew Napolitano explained to Brian Kilmeade how the Democrats are following congressional regulations:

“I read the House rules. The hearings over which Congressman Schiff is presiding … are consistent with the rules…. They can’t change the rules, they follow the rules. And when were the rules written last? In January of 2015. And who signed them? John Boehner. And who enacted them? A Republican majority.”

In evidence that DDT lied about wanting to combat corruption in Ukraine, he tried to cut foreign aid programs that would combat corruption in Ukraine and other parts of the world. On Fox News Sunday, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney tried to support DDT’s false claim by claiming that he held up the aid because of rampant corruption in Ukraine although he had earlier claimed that the money was held up for political purposes. That was just before he said he didn’t say that. [visual Mulvaney – Sure we’re crooks cartoon 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wouldn’t back up DDT’s false claims that McConnell called the DDT’s version of the July 25 extortion telephone call “the most innocent phone call he’s read.” McConnell said he does not remember any conversations with DDT about the Ukraine phone call or the subject of Ukraine.

DDT got lies from Kahyap Patel, a protégé of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) who formerly chaired of the Intelligence Committee and fed information from hearings to DDT. Fiona Hill, who testified about Ukraine to the House last week, said that DDT thought Patel was in charge of Ukraine policy for the National Security Council instead of Tim Morrison who replaced Hill in early September. Patel’s name has appeared in several depositions about DDT’s shadow foreign policy campaign to get political favors from Ukraine. Nunes’ top staffer, Patel also discredited FBI and DOJ officials investigating Russia’s election interference.

A breakdown of DDT’s quid pro quo:

State Department officials Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland testified about a May 23 meeting with DDT when he refused to invite Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House. Sondland said DDT “directed those of us present . . . to talk to Mr. Giuliani . . . about his concerns.”

Volker met with Giuliani on July 19 and testified that “he mentioned both the accusations about Vice President Biden and about interference in the 2016 election.” Giuliani said he wanted “Ukraine to investigate what happened in the past.”

Volker worked with Zelensky top aide Andrey Yermak to set up the July 25 phone call between Zelensky and DDT. On the morning of July 25, Volker texted Yermak to lay out the quid pro quo: “Heard from White House-assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate/‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington. Good luck!” During the call, Mr. Trump requested investigations of both the DNC server hacking and Biden; Zelensky promised to comply in exchange for a visit to the White House.

Giuliani called Volker and Sondland about Zelensky’s pending White House visit. Volker testified that “Mayor Giuliani then said he believed the Ukrainian president needed to make a statement about fighting corruption, and that he had discussed it with Mr. Yermak.” Giuliani said that the Ukrainians’ draft statement about corruption was too “generic” and demanded a “specific reference to ‘Burisma’ and ‘2016.’ ” (Joe Biden’s son Hunter was associated with the gas company Burisma.) Volker changed the statement per Giuliani’s requirements. Yermack accepted the statement but said that the declaration won’t be released until a confirmation of the date for Zelensky’s visit to the White House.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, testified about the demand for the public statement. Sondland told Taylor he had heard about the requirement directly from DDT and that DDT wanted “everything,” including military aid to Ukraine, tied to the country’s leaders’ commitment to investigate Democrats, the 2016 election, and Burisma. Taylor stated that DDT “wanted President Zelenskiy ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.” Mulvaney declared that he had held up the military aid in exchange for the Ukrainian investigations. Mulvaney may be right that the government exchanges “favors” all the time, but using favors to help just DDT is illegal.

Ukraine learned that the $391 million military aid was being held up in early August although DDT denied it, but pressure on Zelensky started before his election last spring. DDT also delayed trade privileges with Ukraine with former national security adviser John Bolton warning the White House’s trade representative to withdraw any action benefiting Ukraine.

Taylor said that Sondland told him on September 8 about a conversation with Zelensky, based on a talk with DDT, that Zelensky needs to “clear things up” in public to end a “stalemate,” meaning that Ukraine would not get the “much-needed military assistance” to fight Russia. Zelensky said he couldn’t promise investigations of Biden and the Democrats, the statement “was shelved,” and Zelensky’s visit was canceled. The military aid, far earlier authorized by Congress, was released on September 11 after public outcry. The House Democrats announced an investigation into the reasons behind the blocking of the military aid and possible connection to help DDT’s reelection campaign. 

The July 25 phone call between Zelensky and DDT was in the midst of a three-month quid pro quo process with specific, repeated demands to Ukraine for political investigations which were orchestrated by DDT’s personal lawyer. Taylor testified that State Department Mike Pompeo was an integral part of the quid pro quo process. A federal judge gave DDT 30 days to release documents related to Ukraine, including communications between his personal secretary Rudy Giuliani and Pompeo. Giuliani’s communications are subject to public disclosure because he doesn’t work for the government.

Philip Zelikow, a history professor at the University of Virginia, explained DDT’s crimes and cited 18 U.S.C. § 201(b), that any public official who “corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for… being influenced in the performance of any official act” is breaking the law. Zelikow added that things of value don’t need to be tangible to fit the bribery law.

The Bulwark cited the GOP shifts for DDT defenses: 

  • The quid pro quo wasn’t real because only the U.S. knew it existed.
  • Maybe both sides knew about it, but it was never enforced.
  • Because the quid (withholding military aid) was illegal, then by definition it couldn’t have been an actual thing.
  • Maybe it was illegal and maybe both sides knew about it and maybe it was enforced, but executive authority allows all of this.
  • Maybe executive authority doesn’t actually allow any of this, but the impeachment process in the House was tainted, so whatever the Senate thinks of Trump’s actions, they’re duty-bound to acquit him because they have to think about future precedent.

Because Republicans have no real defense for DDT’s actions, they wail and gnash their teeth about impeachment not being “fair”—although impeachment about Bill Clinton’s affair was fine because he is a Democrat. To understand the GOP definition of fair, think about their behavior toward Democrats for the past four terms.

More information about GOP corruption comes from Giuliani’s “butt dialing.” On October, he was overheard raving about his need for hundreds of thousands of dollars and referring to “Robert” who is in Turkey, possibly Robert Mangas who is a registered agent of the Turkish government and a lawyer at Greenberg Traurig, Giuliani’s former employer. Mangas provided an affidavit in the case of Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, charged in the U.S. with laundering money; his lawyer Giuliani had tried to persuade Turkey’s president to release the trader and and then sought help from DDT. In another butt-dial 18 days earlier, Giuliani railed against the Bidens with non-stop false allegations that he used for demanding investigations, a focus for the House impeachment inquiry into DDT.

With associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani worked with Ukrainian officials to get damaging information about DDT’s targets such as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and the Bidens. DDT’s lawyers are now claiming that Parnas has “executive privilege” because Giuliani also works for DDT. At this time, the public doesn’t know whose interests Giuliani represents—or even which country.

If DDT wants to investigate, he should look inward.

October 18, 2019

DDT: Week 143 – A World on Fire

Perhaps the best daily rundown of politics comes from Rantt Media, created two years ago. Today’s summary covers the damage of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in Syria:

“President Trump has singlehandedly undone years of progress in Syria, enabled atrocities against our allies, and eroded America’s credibility in a matter of days. The situation in Syria was relatively stable until the self-proclaimed stable genius decided to launch a betrayal of historic proportions and throw the region into chaos.

“On October 6, Trump announced the spontaneous withdrawal of 50-100 troops from Northern Syria and the abandonment of Kurdish forces who helped us diminish ISIS. The announcement came after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who wasted no time commencing his slaughter of the Kurds.

“Since last week, the Kurds have reported at least 218 civilians killed, including 18 children, and 650 injured. More than 160,000 people have been displaced. Over 700 ISIS supporters have fled prisons the Kurds were guarding. There have been reports of white phosphorous used against Kurdish civilians, which would constitute a war crime on the part of Turkey. After all of that, the Trump Administration then cut a deal with Turkey that puts a rubber stamp on all of their goals…

“Turkey’s objective is to push the Kurds out of Northern Syria. What Pence announced was actually that the US is now backing Turkey’s objective and that the Kurds must leave their homeland or be slaughtered. Meanwhile, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and Russia are able to move into newly ceded land. The move was surrender. And before the day was complete, the idea that it was a ‘ceasefire’ at all quickly unraveled when reports of gunfire and shelling began to pour in…

“After the announcement, President Trump claimed this surrender was a victory.”

Rachel Maddow tweeted this summary:

  1. turkey wants to push the kurds out of that part of syria.
  2. trump gives ‘em the OK to invade.
  3. pence brokers a “deal” in which the kurds… must get out of that part of syria.
  4. the US agrees to un-sanction turkey.

After the Kurdish debacle, Budget Director and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney held a press conference and confirmed that he held up military aid to Ukraine to force the country to investigate DDT’s political rival. For months, Republicans, including DDT, claimed no quid pro quo despite evidence that DDT, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and DDT’s political appointees illegally tried to extort the Ukrainians into interfering in the 2020 election. Mulvaney justified the extortion with the assertion, “We do that all that time with foreign policy” and then told concerned people “Get over it.” Those close to DDT, including his lawyer Jay Sekulow, disavowed Mulvaney’s statement who then released a statement falsely saying that his words were “misconstrued.” Fox’s Laura Ingraham excused Mulvaney’s “mistake” because Mulvaney isn’t a lawyer. Mulvaney graduated from the law school at the University of North Carolina in 1992 and practiced law for five years.

Mulvaney also announced that DDT will host the 2020 G7 summit at his personally-owned Doral Miami Golf Club in a brazen violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emolument Clause. The facility has such a bad reputation for cleanliness that the nickname for next year’s G7 meeting is Bedbug Summit. Even Fox journalist Chris Stirewalt was stunned by this announcement and recent events, saying, “The world is on fire.” In 2012, President Barack Obama held the summit at the government-owned retreat at Camp David in Maryland. Eric Trump promised that his father would not overcharge people; the government paid $546 per night for each staffer’s lodging at DDT’s Mar-a-Lago Club. A lawsuit against DDT illegally profiting from foreign and state governments will be heard before the entire 4th Circuit Court on December 12. DDT says that his court defeats are temporary because he’s appointing all the judges.

A detailed look at DDT tax documents with businesses appearing more profitable to lenders and less profitable to tax officials could be “versions of fraud,” according to a tax expert. Taken from DDT’s property tax appeal for nine years, the information comes from expenses, profits and occupancy figures for two Manhattan buildings with no explanation for multiple inconsistencies. Two former DDT associates, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, went to prison, in part for falsifying tax and bank records, some related to real estate.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walked out of DDT’s Wednesday meeting, DDT accused her of having a meltdown. CNN correspondent Jamie Gangel, however, reported that Republicans were seriously alarmed about DDT’s behavior, describing them as “completely shaken,” “shell shocked,” and “sickened.” In public, Republicans defended DDT; in private, they said that he isn’t in control of himself. DDT’s frenetic frustration with the impeachment inquiry was demonstrated with a massive number of tweets—almost 50 of them five days after the impeachment inquiry started and many more since then. Hashtags started using the term “meltdown” after DDT’s erratic behavior during a press conference with the Finnish president, and comments about DDT’s mental fitness accelerated. Since that time, he’s played the martyr, heckler, autocrat, projectionist, conspiracist, and bully.  

Giuliani may have a connection to Dmitry Firtash’s attempt to avoid extradition to the U.S. Firtash’s associates worked to get dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for Giuliani’s help in Firtash’s legal case. Fox consultant Joe deGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing, both lawyers, billed Firtash $1 million that included costs for Lev Parnas, Giuliani’s associate who has been arrested for violating campaign-finance laws. Part of the “dirt” was a witness statement from Viktor Shokin, a former Ukrainian prosecutor-general, that helped Giuliani renew his conspiracy theory about Biden’s attempt to help his son in Ukraine. In June, diGenova and Toensing’s son, Brady Toensing, joined the DOJ as senior counsel in the Office of Legal Policy.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to break up the team that assesses the environmental impacts of major projects on the nation’s public lands and spread them across seven states. The Department of Interior already announced it would move Grand Junction (CO) in a building shared by Chevron with 300 staffers moved across the West. Only 61 employees would stay in D.C. The strategy seems to be a dismantling of the agency and its ability to conduct energy development.

In his claim to “drain the swamp,” DDT has thus far appointed 1 lobbyist for each 14 political appointments—a total of 261.

DDT’s Miami resort, Doral, was the site of a conservative event featuring Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Donald Trump Jr. The “entertainment” included a video with DDT in a church setting, slaughtering church worshipers and representatives of CNN, NPR, MSNBC and Black Lives Matter as well as politicians such as the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Hillary Clinton in the “Church of Fake News.” DDT never responded.

Conference-goers also chanted, “War! War!” after Pastor Mark Burns told the crowd three times, “We’ve come to declare war!” A white radio host Wayne Allyn Root also bragged about beating up black students at his high school and saying “it was funny.” Root added, “To win in politics … you’ve got to be a natural-born killer.”

Red-meat lovers rejoiced at a study that eating red meat isn’t the health problem purported in the past. Seems that the study was done by a group partially funded by the beef industry. Sort of like studies that Monsanto and GMO foods aren’t dangerous being subsidized by Monsanto.

It’s pretty shady when your international business success is all about your father’s name, Donald Trump Jr. said. DDT said that it was wrong that Hunter Biden make money off his father’s name. That was the same day that DDT said that the 2020 G7 summit would be at his personal resort, making him millions of dollars and charging taxpayers more millions of dollars for permanent upgrades–all also benefiting the man who carries DDT’s name, Donald Trump, Jr.

DDT was up to 13,435 false claims in his first 995 days, an average of 22 per day since the last check on April 26, 2019 and a drastic increase from the 5 to 7 during his first year. Ukraine alone accounts for over 250 lies in the past few weeks. One of the most dangerous was his accusation that Kurds deliberately released ISIS prisoners to get the U.S. involved in the conflict. The Kurds have always been U.S. allies. 

The wife of a U.S. senior spy killed a 19-year-old motorcycle rider in Britain because she didn’t know which side of the road to drive on and then fled the country. DDT wants to introduce her to the dead man’s parents in front of a gaggle of reporters. DDT defended the wife by saying that drivers have to “be careful” when driving on “opposite roads.” In Virginia, the woman had been ticketed for failing to “pay full time and attention.”

DDT’s approval ratings averaged 40.7% during his 11th quarter in office, beginning on July 20 and ending on October 19 and a two-percent drop from the previous quarter.

October 12, 2019

Impeachment Causes Panic, Disaster

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) presided over two campaign rallies in the past week, those in Minnesota and Louisiana, and ramped up his fury. While networks no longer televise his speeches because they lack information, the media publicizes clips, many of them “bleeped” because the man in the Oval Office uses such coarse language that it cannot be broadcast. Amidst abusive insults, DDT’s liberal sprinkling of “R-rated” vulgarities are delivered to an audience where small children are present. At one point, he seemed to be trying to imitate language during sex between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page. It’s the new normal for how the leader of the U.S. represents the nation throughout the world—foul fury delivered in profanities with no relationship to policy.

The visuals from DDT’s rallies always show wildly cheering people, ecstatic about every curse that comes out of DDT’s mouth. There is a reason: he orchestrates his rallies like a “reality” television program with section leaders guiding their every move. John Pence, VP Mike Pence’s nephew, acts as one of these section leaders who urge the audience to chant, leads them, and then tells them when to quit, according to Omarosa Manigault Newman. She added that Pence is “particularly responsible for all of the staging and choreography of the campaigns … to get the outcome that we saw from Donald Trump saying go back to your countries that you came from and if you don’t love it, leave it.” All of it is coordinated and manufactured “to stoke fear in this country and we’ve seen it, we feel it, and they’re going to continue on because they believe it’s a winning strategy,” Newman said. About the 13-second “send her back” chant in Greenville, Newman said:

“If he wanted to shut it down, he would have looked to his right which is where the lead is standing, and he would have given a signal. They would have been shut down immediately. The way that he stepped back and he basked in the glow of these ugly chants, it indicated to the section leaders to let them keep going, to stoke them up, to keep it going.”

DDT’s rallies look good for his campaign, but they’re bad news for city and county budgets. Knowing that DDT’s campaigns have already stiffed at least ten cities over millions of dollars in unpaid expenditures, Minneapolis demanded the $530,000 cost for this week’s rally upfront. DDT threatened to sue the city, and it backed down. 

At today’s speech for the hate group Values Voters Summit, DDT seemed to have a mental breakdown. After complaining about the IRS being used against him, he said:

“Generations of Americans before us … did not work. They fight. They sacrifice. They do so much.”

He apparently cleaned up his language for the evangelicals, however, who have criticized DDT for “using the Lord’s name in vain.”

The Scottish government also can’t get legal costs out of DDT after he lost his case to block windmills near his Aberdeen golf course and was ordered to the government’s bills. DDT lost $14.3 million at his two Scottish golf courses last year, adding to losses for each of several previous years.

DDT’s business is also selling off real estate—about $110 million—in about 100 transactions in a goal to hoard money.  In January 2018, the sale of land in the Dominican Republic for $3.2 million clearly violated DDT’s promise to have no foreign deals while he was in office. DDT’s mansion in Beverly Hills went for $13.5 million to a company tied to Indonesian billionaire and DDT’s business partner Hary Tanoesoedibjo. A woman running a business selling access to Chinese officials got a Manhattan penthouse. HUD Ben Carson okayed the $900 million sale of the biggest federal subsidized housing complex, Spring Creek Towers, with DDT having a four-percent ownership. Sales erased liabilities of $19 million in New York, $8 million in San Francisco, and $12 million in Las Vegas Condo as the business repaid $60 million liabilities since his inauguration. Details here.  

DDT has failed to live up to his campaign promises in every major way except getting rid of regulations, and that goal is to help himself and big business at the cost of public safety and economic benefit. His focus, “drain the swamp,” has shifted to “fill the swamp.” In 33 months, DDT has put more ex-lobbyists into his Cabinet than either President Obama or George W. Bush did in their entire eight years. The $3.4 billion spent on lobbying in 2019 is the most since 2010, and DDT uses his office to make money for his personal businesses. Without DDT’s executive orders for two years hiatus before appointments or avoidance of conflicts of interest, these former lobbyists represent their earlier employers’ interests in the departments of Defense, Interior, EPA, Labor, Trade.

During his campaign, DDT suckered in voters by claiming to be a fabulous businessman, and he continues to brag about having “a lot of business ability” to make the right decisions. His narcissism drives him to be the most aggressive micromanager ever seated in the Oval Office. Former Jim Mattis disagrees with DDT’s style of telling people what to do with no background for his orders. In his memoir Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Read, Mattis, who has a personal collection of over 7,000 books, wrote:

 “If you haven’t read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, because your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you. Any commander who claims he is ‘too busy to read’ is going to fill body bags with his troops as he learns the hard way. Reading sheds light on the dark path ahead. By traveling into the past, I enhance my grasp of the present.”

DDT doesn’t know if Rudy Giuliani remains his lawyer because he hasn’t spoken to Giuliani for several days, starting to throw Giuliani “under the bus.” Giuliani stated that he is still DDT’s lawyer, and DDT today defended Giuliani after federal prosecutors began a criminal investigation into Giuliani’s breaking lobbying laws while trying to drive Ukraine’s U.S. ambassador Marie Yavonovitch out of the country.

Giuliani may have incriminated DDT in the Ukrainian crimes by saying that he wasn’t guilty of foreign lobbying violations because he was following DDT’s directions. Referring to his work to get Marie Yovanovitch, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, pulled out of the country, he said:

“It would be kind of ridiculous to say I was doing it on [former Ukrainian prosecutor] Lutsenko’s behalf when I was representing the president of the United States.”

DDT’s withdrawal of assistance from Kurds to allow Turkish invasion has reached a new level of disaster: Turkish forces are deliberately attacking U.S. forces in Syria to take over the land. Turkey knows where U.S. forces are stationed in Syria, and Brett McGurk, former special envoy for DDT against ISIS, said that the attack against the U.S. was deliberate. DDT’s military leaders Mark Esper and Mark Milley said that the Pentagon would not abandon the Kurds but have withdrawn forces to protect them from Turkey’s invasion.

In another unprecedented anti-immigrant action, DDT signed an executive order requiring state and local governments to consent in writing before people can arrive. He announced his move at his Minneapolis rally when he called their U.S. representative, Ilhan Omar, “an American-hating socialist.” No GOP governments and state officials are commenting on DDT’s new order. Case history shows that refugee and immigration policy is federal, not state.

In AG Bill Barr’s attack on the First Amendment separation of church and state before the Notre Dame’s law school audience, he blamed “secularists” and “so-called progressives” for destroying U.S. society. He said:

“This is not decay. This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

Barr profited off these industries while serving as general counsel at Verizon, being paid as a Time Warner board member, and representing telecom GTE. To Barr, freedom of religion is a “moral upheaval,” especially in public schools. This is the man selected to protect all the people in the United States.

Other Bits:

Two valuable advisory boards to protect marine life and fight invasive species disappeared after DDT refused to fund them. Both NOAA’s Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee and the Interior Department’s Invasive Species Advisory Committee had operated for over a decade.

If DDT gets his way, reporters will be exempted from the White House, in conflict with the constitution’s First Amendment, if DDT gets his way.

Microsoft discovered that Iran tried to identify, attack and breach email accounts belonging to DDT’s campaign last summer. Will Republicans who aren’t bothered by Russian interference in past elections mind if countries opposed to them do the same thing for the other side in 2020?

October 10, 2019

Corruption Begins at Home

With his current obsession in investigating corruption, which he claimed after the extortion call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) needs to look closer to home.

Today, two men who worked with DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested as they tried to board a plane to Vienna at Dulles airport near Washington, DC on charges of conspiring to skirt federal laws that prohibit foreign nationals from contributing to US campaigns. They allegedly laundered foreign money with corporate identities and “straw donors” in “secret agreements” to hide the plan from candidates and federal regulators. Parnas and Fruman had one-way tickets, and Giuliani had planned to fly there last night. He refused to comment other than he didn’t plan to meet with them there. DDT said, “I don’t know those gentlemen.” Parnas had posted photos of his dinner with DDT at the White House on May 1, 2018 that have since been pulled. [From left: Vice President Mike Pence, Igor Fruman, Lev Parnas, President Donald Trump, and Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani – Miami Herald]

Two other defendants, Andrey Kukushkin and Parnas’ longtime partner David Correia, a longtime business partner of Parnas, were also indicted on the same charges while allegedly working with Parnas and Fruman. Kukushkin was arrested last night in San Francisco. Bill Sweeney, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said that “this investigation is about corrupt behavior, deliberate lawbreaking.” Paul Manafort’s lawyers are representing Parnas and Fruman.

House Democrats had subpoenaed Parnas and Fruman for documents and testimony after they refused to voluntarily appear before House committees.  Both men are immigrants, Parnas from Ukraine and Fruman from Belarus. Parnas also worked with Guiliani to push falsehoods that Ukraine tried to interfere in the 2016 election on the part of Hillary Clinton.

Parnas’ involvement in the Ukraine scandal seems to go back to the beginning with his job as Giuliani’s fixer, the man who connected Giuliani to Ukrainian prosecutors willing to do bogus investigations on Joe and Hunter Biden. Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who lost his district in 2018, is also involved with Parnas. Sessions received money from Parnas for his campaign and wrote Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ask that Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch be recalled to Washington, DC because she wouldn’t pressure Ukrainians for the investigations. Parnas also donated to campaigns for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), and Florida GOP governor Ron Desantis. Sessions had been considering a run for a district 100 miles away from his old one.

Parnas’ company is called Fraud Guarantee.

Another Ukrainian player is Rick Perry, who urged Ukraine to fire the board of state-owned gas company Naftagaz and replace them with big U.S. donors to GOP campaigns. Parnas and Fruman, in partnership with oil magnate Harry Sargeant III, wanted to import natural gas to Ukraine. Sargeant told a senior executive at the gas company that he “regularly meets with Trump at Mar-a-Lago and that the gas-sales plan had the president’s full support.” The executive “perceived it to be a shakedown.” Parnas said that Yovanovitch would be removed, and Giuliani told reporters, “I did play a role in that.” Perry, who plans to resign soon, has been subpoenaed about his involvement in the Ukrainian scandal.

DDT said that if Zelensky wanted to meet with him, they should circumvent official diplomatic channels and go strictly through Giuliani, who created a more direct role than earlier known. Monday, Fiona Hill, DDT’s former Senior Director for European and Russian affairs, plans to testify that Giuliani and EU ambassador Gordon Sondland circumvented the NSC and normal White House process to run a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine. DDT had appointed Sonderland to perform ambassador responsibilities in Ukraine although the nation is not in the European Union and then blocked him from testifying before the House. He tried to do the same for Parnas and Fruman and lied about their working for the White House before he denied knowing them.

Other Corruption Tidbits:

DDT’s former national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said it was “absolutely not” appropriate for Mr. Trump to seek help from foreign powers for an election.

The eight-page letter written to House Democrats in an attempt to stop impeachment includes more quid pro quo in DDT’s “art of the deal.” Pat Cipollene wrote that if House Democrats “return to the regular order of oversight requests, we stand ready to engage in that process,” and ends by asking House Democrats to “abandon the current invalid efforts to pursue an impeachment inquiry and join the President in focusing on the many important goals that matter to the American people.” Earlier, DDT threatened Congress to shut down legislation, forgetting that if he refuses to either sign or veto a bill, it goes into law.

DDT is finally taking an interest in congressional affairs, calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) three times a day in an attempt to lock down GOP loyalty in case of impeachment.  

At least four national security officials raised concerns about DDT’s call with Zelensky that pressured Ukraine in exchange for DDT’s “favors.” Their worries began with Yovanovitch’s recall from Ukraine and continued with Giuliani’s promotion of Ukrainian conspiracies and DDT’s statements in White House meetings that he wanted damaging information on Biden. People who listened to the July 25 telephone call between DDT and Zelensky said that “alarm bells were kind of ringing.”

Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), released from Fox network for his plans to join DDT’s legal impeachment team, won’t be part of the group until January—if ever. DDT said that lobby rules prevent Gowdy from joining until next year. NYT Maggie Haberman questions the reason. She tweeted:

 “Someone in West Wing badly wanted a win internally and put out Gowdy before it was a done deal. So it was quickly done yesterday and then had to be undone.”

DDT assigned his politically appointed official Michael Duffey the authority to withhold $391 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine because career staff questioned the legality of delaying funds.

In an interview with Bob Schieffer, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talked about how DDT tried to break the law. In one of the times, DDT pushed Tillerson to persuade DOJ to drop a criminal case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, Giuliani’s client for money laundering. Tillerson refused to interfere in the ongoing investigation of Reza Zarrab and reported his objections to then-chief of Staff John Kelly. When asked if he talked to DDT about Zarrab, Giuliani said “So what [if I did].” Asked if he had talked to Tillerson, Giuliani said, “You have no right to know that.”

Zarrab was arrested in 2016 for evading U.S. sanctions against Iran. Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who DDT fired, wrote that Zarrab had “facilitated millions of dollars-worth of transactions on behalf of Iran . . . through a global network of companies located in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.” Bharara added that Zarrab was “engaged in a massive bribery scheme . . . paying cabinet-level [Turkish] governmental officials and high-level bank officers tens of millions of Euro and U.S. dollars” to facilitate his transactions. DDT’s interest in Zarrab ties into his facilitation of the Turkish invasion of the Kurds: the attempt at Zarrab’s release was another way that DDT could do a favor for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Republican lawmakers make themselves complicit by their silence, denial, of arguments that DDT’s behavior is wrong but not impeachable. The laws that DDT have broken could put anyone else in prison. For a start:

18 U.S. Code § 872, “Extortion by officers or employees of the United States”: “Whoever, being an officer, or employee of the United States or any department or agency thereof, or representing himself to be or assuming to act as such, under color or pretense of office or employment commits or attempts an act of extortion, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

2 U.S. Code § 192, “Refusal of witness to testify or produce papers”:  punishable by a year in prison.

In a bizarre twist to Turkey news, two Russian pranksters pretending to be Turkey’s minister of defense Hulusi Akar called Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Graham said that DDT would try to be helpful “within the limits of his power” to Erdogan on the case. Now criticizing DDT for abandoning “our Kurdish allies,” Graham also told the pranksters that Turkey’s “Kurdish problem is a big problem.” He continued by saying that Turkey needs to be “protected from this threat in Syria” and that both he and DDT are “sympathetic” to the problem. It is a big different from Graham’s criticism of DDT’s pulling the troops as “shortsighted and irresponsible.”

It’s a deep swamp, with many more stories to be uncovered. Republicans need to start their investigations at home.

September 24, 2019

Ukraine: DDT’s Road to Impeachment

A new Nixon era has been introduced: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that six committees will begin a formal impeachment inquiry of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in response to allegations that he tried to enlist a foreign power for his own political gain. The impeachment committee process against Nixon, lasting almost eight months, was completed over 25 years ago at the end of July with recommendations for articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. Nixon resigned less than two weeks later.

Pelosi directed the chairs of the committees investigating DDT to send their best cases for DDT’s impeachable offenses to the Judiciary Committee to lay the groundwork for articles of impeachment. That committee’s investigation already focused on Robert Mueller’s findings and DDT’s personal profits from state and foreign governments’ spending. An inquiry is the first step to a vote to charge DDT with high crimes and misdemeanors. Before Pelosi’s announcement, 149 House Democrats and one Independent, formerly a Republican, called for DDT’s impeachment; the number has increased since then.

Pelosi said:

“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections…

“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution. The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”

The impeachment impetus came from allegations that DDT violated the law in his refusal to release a whistleblower’s complaint about DDT’s “promises” to a foreign country and his pressure on Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden for corruption while withholding almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine to fight Russian aggression.

The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee entered the fray by inviting the whistleblower to a closed session by Friday and interviewing the intelligence inspector general who wanted to release the complaint to Congress as required by law. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) unexpectedly permitted a vote on Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) consent resolution to release the complaint to the Intelligence Committee that unanimously passed.

VP Mike Pence’s complicity in DDT’s apparent extortion and bribery plot comes from the transcript of his press conference in Poland when Pence said that he had talked to Zelensky about DDT’s “financial support in great detail.” Pence added that DDT “had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption.” Over three weeks ago, Pence spread the same story that DDT and Rudy Giuliani are trying to promote.

DDT’s shifts about Ukraine keep dribbling out: 

  • DDT said he didn’t talk to Zelensky about Joe Biden.
  • DDT said he talked to Zelensky about corruption but not Biden.
  • DDT said he “might” have talked about Biden in the “beautiful conversation with Zelensky”
  • DDT said that he talked about the $250 million military aid in the conversation but didn’t connect it to Biden.
  • DDT forgot to mention that he gave Ukraine an extra $140 million after talking with Zelensky about investigating Biden; that information came from Zelensky’s announcement. 
  • DDT said, “Who wouldn’t speak to your son? Of course, you spoke to your son.” [Evidently DDT talked to his son about the June 2016 meeting with Russia to get dirt on political opponent Hillary Clinton.] 
  • DDT said he connected the money designated for Ukraine to the talk about corruption: “Why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”
  • DDT said he didn’t pressure Zelensky to investigate in exchange for the money, but that if “a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair right now.” [Actually, an investigation exonerated Biden of any wrongdoing, but DDT isn’t as lucky. DDT typically projects his behavior and crimes onto others. DDT’s only concern with “corruption” in Ukraine has been about Joe Biden.]
  • DDT told budget officials to block military aid for Ukraine three days before his telephone conversation with Zelensky and ordered officials to tell lawmakers that the delays were an “interagency process” with no additional information.
  • DDT said he didn’t tell anyone to withhold the funding to help Ukraine fight Russian aggression. (He did.)
  • DDT said he did withhold the funding but because NATO countries didn’t give Ukraine money. (They already are.)
  • DDT said he might give the telephone call transcript to a “respected source” so “everyone will say” his conversation with Zelensky was perfectly fine, much like Nixon’s offer to give his audio recording to a hard-of-hearing conservative senator for a summary.
  • DDT said that he will release the full transcript to the public tomorrow.

A timeline of the events in this debacle.

After Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) met with Zelensky in early September, he reported that Ukraine’s president“directly” expressed concerns that “the aid that was being cut off to Ukraine by the president was a consequence” of his unwillingness to launch an investigation into the Bidens. Murphy said that any demand from a U.S. president provides “an implicit threat” with “consequences.”

In mid-August, lawmakers discovered that acting chief of staff and budget director Mick Mulvaney took control of the Ukrainian aid from the Defense and State departments in a possibly illegal action that blocked money authorized by Congress. At the same time, the whistleblower filed a complaint about DDT and Ukraine to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is covering for DDT, avoiding answers about the telephone call with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press and with Jake Tapper about the difference between business dealings for Biden’s son and DDT’s family. Mnuchin said that following federal law in releasing the whistleblower complaint to Congress would “set a terrible precedent” with the current administration.

DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who claimed he was looking for “dirt on Biden,” claimed that the State Department sent him to talk to Zelensky’s right-hand man, Andriy Yermack. In doing so, he might avoid prosecution under the Logan Act which criminalizes a private citizen’s attempt to intervene without authorization in disputes or controversies between the U.S. and foreign governments. His statements leave him open to prosecution for bribery and extortion conspiracy because he has no immunity. The Hobbs Act defines extortion as “obtaining property from another, with his consent, under color of official right,” according to Barbara McQuade. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act criminalizes the act of a U.S. citizen to corruptly offer “anything of value” to a foreign official to retain business or influence an official decision. Giuliani clearly acts on the part of DDT to persuade Ukraine to “investigate” a political opponent, illegal under federal law that blocks a person from soliciting, accept, or receiving a “contribution or donation of money or other thing of value” from a foreign national in connection to a U.S. election and prohibits a foreign national from the same act. Damaging information fits the definition of a “thing of value.”

Giuliani’s stories change as swiftly as those from DDT:

  • Last week, Giuliani said, “I did what I did on my own, and then I told [Trump] about it afterwards. Because I’m his lawyer.”
  • Over the weekend, Giuliani told the Washington Post, about DDT, “I don’t do anything that involves my client without speaking with my client.”
  • Monday, Giuliani told Sean Hannity, about his meeting with Yermack, “I wasn’t operating on my own. I was operating at the request of the State Department.”

Giuliani is left hanging out to dry. DDT asked Zelensky eight times to talk to Giuliani, and the State Department said that that it didn’t ask him for help:

“Mr. Giuliani is a private citizen and acts in a personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump. He does not speak on behalf of the U.S. Government.”

On Sunday, however, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he approved of Giuliani “inserting himself in foreign affairs” and pressing Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, possibly encouraging Giuliani to break the law.

Because the law does not designate what to do if the DNI violates the law by not releasing the complaint, experts think that the IG, who wants to provide Congress with the complaint, is in charge of delivering the complaint. Jesselyn Radack, a national security lawyer, said that “the DNI cannot countermand the inspector general’s determination.” The DNI, however, consulted the DOJ, another violation of the law, whose opinions are “considered to be binding.” Employees of the executive branch can’t be prosecuted for not doing what the White House demands, but they can be fired, according to a former DOJ official.

Repubicans argue that they don’t know the facts but that DDT’s actions with Ukraine aren’t wrong because the people who want to know the facts are speculating. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) claimed that DDT didn’t talk to Zelensky about Joe Biden—after DDT said that he talked to Zelensky about Biden. The media has the same confusion about how to defend DDT after he admits to extortion by saying “So what if I did?” Republicans and DDT have spread around the blame—Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Ukraine, the whistleblower, the media—or just saying that DDT did nothing wrong by trying to blackmail Ukraine. It’s all part of the coverup pattern for DDT’s sole concerns, his reelection in 2020.

Failing to stop Pelosi’s impeachment plan by offering to release the transcript of the Zelensky telephone call, DDT called the Speaker to “work something out” with “this whistleblower complaint.” She said, “Tell our people to obey the law.” He should have listened to aides who told him not to call Zelensky.

September 20, 2019

DDT: Week 139 – Self-Serving, ‘Quid pro Quo’

The whistleblower debacle about a troubling “promise” from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has exploded—at least in the mainstream media. During a July telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, DDT told him eight times to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to investigate Joe Biden for corruption. Tightlipped Director of National Intelligence Joseph MacGuire is keeping his mouth shut about why he doesn’t follow the law to give the complaint to Congress, but DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has no problem talking about the situation. Last night, he told Chris Cuomo on CNN that he asked Ukraine to look into Joe Biden and that he didn’t ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden—in back to back answers. Last May, Giuliani said about his pressuring Ukraine to help DDT get reelected that it wasn’t “illegal” although “somebody could say it’s improper.” This follows the Russian scandal about a foreign government’s interference in a U.S. election. Now Giuliani—and perhaps DDT—are asking for intervention from another foreign government. The exchange and Giuliani’s meltdown are here.

Giuliani is as much of a con as DDT; he’s just not as good at doing it, which says he’s really bad in what he does. Here’s a timeline between May 2, 2019, when Giuliani and DDT pushed the scandal against Biden, and September 13, 2019, when DDT gave up on the blackmail and released the Congress-approved $250 million to Ukraine. The trail of breadcrumbs leads from the whistleblower to Ukraine.

Trying to hide his activities, DDT stopped the bipartisan practice of publishing “readouts,” official descriptions of his telephone calls with world leaders in June. People in the U.S. learn about his calls only through the foreign press, for example this week’s calls to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Without a U.S. readout, foreign leaders shape the narratives, and DDT demonstrates his level of paranoia.

Giuliani’s admission makes him a co-conspirator in the situation, possibly a federal crime. The day after DDT’s call with Zelensky about investigating Joe Biden’s son, U.S. Special Representative Kurt Volker met with Ukrainian leaders. Soon after, Giuliani was sent to Spain to meet with one of Zelensky’s closest associates, Andriy Yermack. As DDT delayed appropriated military aid for Ukraine, Giuliani explained the quid pro quo—literally “something for something”—when he told Yermack,  “Your country owes it to us and to your country to find out what really happened.” Giuliani was referring to Ukraine’s investigation into corruption about Joe and Hunter Biden’s involvement with a gas company and Joe Biden’s advocacy for firing a Ukrainian prosecutor overseeing an anti-corruption probe of the company’s owner. The next prosecutor general said he found no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden. Giuliani said his goal is to make sure Biden doesn’t become president without answering for the problems in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine for Russia. What would stop DDT from promising Putin he’ll give Ukraine to Russia if he gets elected in 2020?  https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/giuliani-raises-alleged-corruption-joe-biden-and-son-whistleblower  Giuliani’s latest scam to please Fox is declaring that Biden took $1.5 billion out of China. 

DDT’s diversion for the Ukraine blackmail scandal is sending an unspecified number of troops to protect oil in Saudi Arabia despite no evidence that Iran was behind the attacks. He’s also punishing Iran by putting sanctions on its central bank.

NRA, Republicans, and DDT are avoiding any gun safety legislation, but Colt announced that it will no longer manufacture rifles, including the AR-15, for civilian use.

Brett Kavanaugh stays in the news as NYT reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, authors of a book investigating his scandals, said that Kavanaugh agreed to talk to them if they publicly lied for him. His offer was to provide background information in exchange for a claim in the book that he declined to be interviewed. Authors of The Education of Brett Kavanaugh refused his offer and therefore did not speak with him about the book. Kavanaugh isn’t commenting on the matter.

In late December, most voters polled by the research firm Perry Undem believed Kavanaugh had lied about his teenage years. Forty-nine percent had a largely unfavorable impression of him, as compared with the 29 percent who had a favorable one. Thirty-five percent said the Senate did the right thing in confirming him; a close 41 percent disagreed. A poll from Perry Undem found that 57 percent of voters said Kavanaugh lied under oath and that, except among “self-identified Republicans and white men (both minorities of the electorate),” most voters believed Christine Blasey Ford over Kavanaugh. Every time I look at Kavanaugh’s photos, I think about his pushing his penis in a young woman’s face—that the NYT called “harmless fun.” 

On tonight’s Bill Maher show, both Maher and Andrew Sullivan defended Kavanaugh with the claim that his behavior came from teenage bad choices. They skipped over the fact that he lied under oath in all his confirmation hearings and now asks writers to lie in a book about him. The GOP talking point is blame the victim. It’s a man’s world even when women are doing the attacking.

One might wonder if DDT is trying to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) by retweeting a lie that she celebrated the anniversary of 9/11. The video he copied came from a Congressional Black Caucus event on 9/13. Twitter didn’t take down the tweet because it was from the man in the Oval Office. When DDT copied the originator, Terrence Williams, he called him “a very highly respected conservative pundit” with “half a million followers” on Twitter. DDT has made Omar the target by millions of racist white supremacist followers who believe everything DDT says.

DDT has been ordered back to court, this time by a New York state Supreme Court justice who wants a videotaped deposition for a civil suit about a 2015 occurrence between protesters and DDT’s security guards. Plaintiffs claim that DDT’s guards assaulted them on the sidewalk outside the Trump Tower when they demonstrated against DDT’s calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals.”

Although DDT pretends he’s concerned about homeless people, but he admitted that his reason for “rounding up” homeless people in California cities and dropping them into government facilities is that foreign investors may not want to rent or buy real estate if they see homeless people. Last July, DDT told Tucker Carlson that homelessness started only two years ago but he had cleaned up the problem in Washington, D.C. The city has a slightly larger homeless population than San Francisco.  DDT is looking out for the 30 percent of the former Bank of America tower in San Francisco and properties in Los Angeles that he owns. He is so concerned about pollution going into the ocean from the homeless people that he plans to have the EPA cite San Francisco for environmental violations. DDT made this announcement shortly after he blocked California from restricting pollution from automobile exhaust and sued four car manufacturers for voluntarily cooperating with the state’s clean air rules. 

Republicans claim states’ rights as part of their policies, but DDT is removing California’s right to set tailpipe pollution rules stricter than federal regulations. To do so, he will revoke a legal waiver granted to the state by the 1970 Clean Air Act, an act that affects 13 other states comprising one-third of the auto market. DDT wants the change now to defend his legal right to undo emissions regulations in the Supreme Court before the 2020 election. Twenty-three states have joined California in its 60th lawsuit to stop DDT’s administration from blocking states’ authority to set higher emission standards than the U.S. for cars and trucks.

The Feds cut the interest rate another 0.25 percent to 1.75 percent—bad news for retirees and savers—and the stock market went down. Ten of the 17 Fed leaders look to keeping or raising the rates for the rest of 2019. Bad news for DDT as business executives and lawmakers blame him for the trade uncertainty. DDT inherited a stable economy, but his irrational actions required the NY Fed to borrow $128 billion in Treasuries and other securities at between five and 10 percent interest over a two-day period so that banks could maintain their reserve requirements, its first rescue since the 2008 recession. The feds may start printing new money before the end of the year to make up for the gap.

According to a Fox survey, 52 percent of the country feel exhausted with DDT’s administration, and he caused only 37 percent to feel energized about politics. The percentage of people nervous about the economy has increased from 43 percent to 48 percent in the past six months, and a plurality of 43 percent believe that DDT’s policies hurt the economy. More poll results here.

January 25, 2019

DDT: Week 105 – The ‘Dealmaker’ Caves

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) blinked not once but twice this week—the first time when he discovered that he cannot go to the House without its permission and the second time this morning when he reopened the government—for three weeks—without his wall money. He did deliver a threat about a “very powerful alternative” if he doesn’t get his wall money by February 15—likely meaning a “national emergency” to bypass Congress and added this probably illegal and not-so-oblique threat:

“If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15 again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”

Republicans followed DDT’s today’s bidding, and both congressional chambers unanimously passed a bill—that DDT has already signed—to fund the government for three weeks while working on DHS funding. Conservatives pundits like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh scuttled the same bill to start the shutdown five weeks ago. DDT the dealmaker got nothing in return for reopening the government.

After 35 days of criticism and sinking ratings, DDT changed his May 2017 statement when he said, “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September.” After 18 months calling for shutdowns and driving the country downhill, DDT achieved his desired goal and didn’t like it.

DDT still isn’t off the hook. FBI Director Christopher Wray is furious—and he’s a DDT appointee. In a video, Wray told agents and other employees, “It takes a lot to get me angry, but I’m about as angry as I’ve been in a long, long time.” He called the government shutdown “mind-boggling” and “short-sighted.”

For two years, terrified Republicans demonized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to convince her caucus that she shouldn’t be Speaker. The most conservative Dems, some belonging to a DDT-supporting group, accused her of being too old. Nancy, DDT’s “nickname” for the speaker, won, just as she did in passing the Affordable Care Act, now popular with a majority of people. Earlier, Pelosi quashed George W. Bush’s plan for privatizing Social Security and sent his ratings into the tank. Pelosi stays firm and holds her caucus together.

Republicans blame Mick Mulvaney, DDT’s acting chief of staff, for their shutdown troubles after he lobbied them to give DDT his $5.7 funding for “wall.” One Republican said that Mulvaney “seems to have screwed this up and put us in a box.” Another said that DDT “wants a chief of staff who isn’t in charge of anything. Mulvaney is the right man for the job.”

For the past five weeks, DDT’s approval ratings have tanked, and confidence in the economy has dropped. His supporters continually wailed about “bad optics,” and the FAA’s brief closure of flights at LaGuardia, where DDT keeps his private jet, caused ripples of delay across the nation. Ten percent of air traffic controllers called in sick, and 3,000 TSA screeners didn’t come to work last Sunday.

Roger Stone, the DDT friend who created the monster of “wall” as a campaign gimmick, became Robert Mueller’s 37th arrest in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home and been charged with seven counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction. As intermediary between DDT’s campaign and WikiLeaks’ hacking Democratic emails in he latter part of DDT’s 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton, his indictment tightens the connection between the Russia connection and DDT. Federal officials believe that DDT ordered his former fixer, Michael Cohen, to benefit his campaign with other secret duties.

The indictment accuses Stone of false testimony to the House, and his threats toward associates come straight out of a Godfather movie. DDT didn’t refute the charges against Stone; he just ranted and lied that the FBI had alerted CNN, which had a stakeout at Stone’s house. Stone claimed he would never testify against DDT, something that Cohen promised before he testified against DDT. The New York Times is keeping tabs on all charges and their dispositions from Mueller’s investigation.

In 2017, Foreign Policy reported that the newspaper owned by DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, published all of WikiLeaks releases and sent a freelancer in 2014 to meet with founder Julian Assange, avoiding arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The New York Observer published laudatory articles about Assange and stories refuting Russia’s involvement in DDT’s presidential election.  

The best headline about Roger Stone’s arrest comes from Charles Pierce: “FBI agents arrested Roger Stone for Free. I would have, too.” The reference is to lack of paychecks during the government shutdown, and the article is well worth reading.

DDT is rapidly sinking in the polls—as low as his 34 percent approval rating in the AP poll and down eight points from his 42 percent a month ago. [visual poll] With women, he’s up to 71 percent disapproval, from 58 percent disapproval only a month ago.

Other events of the past week:

The GOP party is so afraid that someone will run against Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the 2020 primaries that a committee has passed a resolution to do away with them because of his “effective presidency.” The resolution is headed for the full GOP governing body. South Carolina’s GOP had already considered this possibility.

To build his wall, DDT wants to use the civil forfeiture asset “slush fund,” money that law enforcement takes from people and keeps even if they are never charged with any crimes.

The DOJ changed the definitions of “domestic violence” and “sexual assault” to only physical harm constituting a felony or misdemeanor and eliminating emotional abuse to eliminate asylum seekers and reduce investigation into college sexual assault victims.

Four women who left water and food in the desert to keep migrants from dying were convicted of trespass and littering with sentences of $500 fines and six months in federal prison. With no jury, the judge ignored their defense of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act and misrepresented the area where the women left help, false accusing them of being in a place “littered with unexploded military ordnance” and an uncited federal law that they needed permits to enter the property. The last prosecution for this offense was from George W. Bush’s second term; a 2009 conviction was overturned by the 9th Circuit Court. Border Patrol agents regularly destroy food and water, and DOJ prosecutes only volunteers of No More Deaths.

In story straight out of a mob movie, DDT’s former fixer Michael Cohen has postponed his testimony to the House Oversight Committee because of threats to his family. He has now been subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee for mid-February.

In DDT’s “nobody is sure” defense that he used for the killing of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia royalty, DDT said that “nobody is sure” who killed the four U.S. citizens in a suicide bombing last week. ISIS took responsibility for the killings in Syria, and the bombing was shortly after DDT bragged about pulling out all the troops with his rationale that ISIS was “defeated.”

DDT and Rudy Giuliani claim that there were no plans for DDT’s Moscow Trump Tower, but Buzzfeed has proved they are lying by releasing hundreds of business documents, emails, text messages, architectural plans, and its goal to be “the tallest building in Europe.”

Other memorable Giuliani comments from the past week:

  • Failed to say that no DDT campaigner colluded with Russia before he added, “If the collusion happened, it happened a long time ago” and finished by asserting that it “wouldn’t be a crime.”
  • Quoted DDT as saying that talks to build a Trump Tower Moscow were “going on from the day I announced to the day I won.”
  • Suggested that DDT talked to Michael Cohen about his false testimony to Congress before saying that his statements were “hypothetical” and “not based on conversations I had with the President.”

The General Services Administration rented a federal property to DDT for his Washington hotel even knowing that it might violate the U.S. Constitution.

Last April, the day after T-Mobile announced its $26 billion merger with Sprint to double T-Mobile’s value, nine top staffers stayed at DDT’s hotel for up to three days and making repeated visits while they curried support from DDT for the merger. The Senate Commerce Committee is calling for another hearing on T-Mobile’s proposal.

Since DDT was inaugurated, 7 million more people are without health insurance, going to a four-year high from 10.9 percent in late 2016 to 13.7 percent.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar allowed Miracle Hill Ministries, a federally funded Protestant foster care agency in South Carolina, to deny foster children to Jewish families because of the South Carolina agency’s “strict religious requirements.” Texas AG Ken Paxton, several times indicted, is working on a federal waiver allowing discrimination against both religion and LGBTQ people.

Penalties for polluters in the last fiscal year dropped 85 percent from $500 million to $72 million, the lowest level since 1994.

The best thing from the past week was Sen. Michael Bennet’s (D-CO) response to Democrats rejecting DDT’s bill demanding his “wall” and adding punitive measures to immigration. His 30-minute speech went far more than lambasting Republicans for perpetuating the shutdown into a history of how they blocked Democrats from a $46 billion measure for border security and the intrinsic problems of the current Congress. Everyone should watch this video.

August 3, 2018

DDT: Week 80 – Lies, Disagreements, Attacks

As Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) becomes more unhinged, his administration disagrees with him:

  • DDT promotes a government shutdown this coming fall if he doesn’t get his border wall. Both congressional leaders, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), say there will be no shutdown.
  • DDT says he’ll talk to Iranian leaders any time with no conditions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out the conditions for any talks with Iran.
  • DDT says he’s doing fine with Kim Jong-Un, but Pompeo says North Korea is far from denuclearization and still violates UN Security Council resolutions. GOP congressional members doubt that DDT made a good deal with North Korea. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) pointed out that “these guys cheated on every single agreement,” and the nation is building at one or two intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) from his classified materials. Satellite images show North Korean construction of missiles.
  • DDT upped his trade war on China, increasing tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of goods because China wouldn’t do what he wanted. In order to impose tariffs, DDT must prove that they concern national security, according to a 1962 law because the U.S. Constitution put Congress in charges of tariffs. Some of the products in the tariff are dog food and furniture. A bipartisan group of senators led by Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced legislation to restrict presidential power to impose tariffs.
  • White House officials announced that Russian meddling in U.S. elections is serious and ongoing, DDT said it’s all a “witch hunt” and “hoax,” and GOP congressional members are trying to ignore the whole issue by refusing to provide funding to stop it. House members are gone for five weeks, and McConnell is fixated on approving Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court justice.

While Paul Manafort’s trial for money laundering and fraud finished its fourth day this week, Roger Stone’s longtime former aide Andrew Miller will be required to testify before Robert Mueller’s grand jury after losing his appeal and produce subpoenaed documents. DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani gives DDT illogical arguing points to add to his ranting about witch hunts. He contends that obstruction of justice must be secret because no one would obstruct justice out in the open and that collusion is not a crime because the law doesn’t use that word. “Conspiracy to defraud the United States” and “Contributions and donations by foreign nationals” are crimes. This week, Giuliani obsessed between the words “should” and “must,” that DDT didn’t order AG Jeff Sessions to end Mueller’s investigation because DDT’s tweet said “should.”

DDT started waging war on the Koch brothers, maintaining “I never sought their support because I don’t need their money….” At the same time, he considers making them wealthier with his unilateral plan to cut $100 billion in taxes mostly for the rich by allowing people to figure their capital gains by adjusting the original price to inflation. The Koch brothers won’t support anyone who supports DDT. Two reasons: either they don’t like the possibility of a recession from DDT’s tariffs or they think that Democrats will win in the fall and are hedging their bets. Or both. In the last tax cut, no one got DDT’s promised $4,000 raise in wages, and his tariffs are destroying the economy for farmers.

During the last couple of week, DDT accelerated his war on the media, perhaps because of his new hire and confidante Bill Shine. Last week, Shine banned CNN Kaitlan Collins from a press conference because she asked questions—a reporter’s job—and then said that he had only “disinvited” her.

Fox network president, Jay Wallace, stated:

“We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.”

DDT’s attacked the New York Times after he misrepresented a July 20 conversation its publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, after the White House told the publisher not to tell anyone about the meeting. Sulzberger set the record straight about the conversation in this article, and DDT became furious.

This week, CNN’s Jim Costa appeared to be threatened at one of DDT’s rallies where he added a few “fakes” to his statement about “fake media.” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended DDT’s treatment of the media, although she claimed it wasn’t violent, and lied about their reporting regarding Osama bin Laden. DDT also retweeted his “like” for a video showing Acosta’s mistreatment.

DDT hates CNN so much that he was furious at Melania Trump turning the television on Air Force One to the network. He ordered two additional televisions on the airplane with a streaming device that will permit himself and the first lady to watch TV in their separate hotel rooms when they travel. DDT’s television must be automatically turned to Fox; the first lady watches “any channel she wants,” according to her spokesperson.

Requests using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal past cracks in DDT’s administration. Last fall then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke that DDT’s cancelation of Temporary Protected Status for 300,000 Central American immigrants would “likely drive increased illegal migration to the United States and the growth of MS-13 and similar gangs.

Other newly released emails from FOIA expose Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ lies when she said that DDT had told the Pentagon about his red line for Syria last summer. He failed to communicate with the Pentagon before it issued a statement about a possible Syrian chemical attack.

A FOIA filing followed by a lawsuit disclosed that DDT lied to the public in an official speech to Congress in February 2017 when he claimed that the DOJ provided data that “the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.” The DOJ has no corroborating data.

DDT’s rallies are rapidly adding his daily average of lies, now up to 7.6. The increase of 978 in the past two months brought the total for his 558 days to 4,229 as of July 31, 2018. Immigration and trade top the subjects of lies, followed by taxes and NATO spending.

Despite media complaints, the White House failed for nine days to correct its “official record” of the Helsinki press conference to include the part in which Putin answered “yes” to questions about whether he directed officials to support DDT in his campaign. At least, the media nagged the White House into the correction; the Russian version left that part out.

Finished being a tool for right-wing union busters, Mark Janus, the central figure in a Supreme Court case, quit his job days after the decision was announced in late June that all workers receive union support whether or not they pay fees. Janus falsely claimed that his fees to the union, that protected his rights, would go to political activism. The ruling overturned the 1977 SCOTUS decision Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. 

The White House will no longer keep any record of DDT’s phone calls to foreign leaders.

The next time you hear that 80 or 90 percent of the Republicans support something—like DDT—remember that Republicans comprise only 24 percent of the nation, down almost 10 percent in a year. Ninety percent of the Republicans means under 22 percent of the nation. “Three-fourths” of Republicans means only 18 percent of the people in the U.S. Of the 42 percent independents in the U.S., only 36 percent approve of DDT, down seven points from June. The independents also prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress by over 20 points, 48 to 26 percent. This article gives a number of charts showing the increase of disapproval for DDT and the GOP by the large voting block of independents. The GOP may like the idea of $1 trillion deficit this year with only 21 percent disapproving, but 56 percent of people disapprove the handling of budget deficit—81 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of independents.

The one piece of good news for DDT is the job market. Although July’s job increase was only 157,000, which was 37,000 under predictions, the Labor Department upgraded job additions for May and June to make the three-month average at 224,000. Wage growth, however, is still at 2.7 percent, and most of the jobs added are in low-wage sectors.

Good news for others is that the National Rifle Association has been unable to renew its media liability insurance which could force the group to close its TV network, NRATV, and a number of print publications. Lack of insurance would also mean that it “cannot maintain its physical premises” or “convene off-site meetings and events.” The NRA blames New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo for pressuring insurers. The state levied over $8 million in fines against the insurance companies supporting the NRA’s “Carry Guard” self-defense program in New York State by insuring participants for legal fees and liabilities caused by self-defense shootings. The NRA ended 2016 with a $43 million debt and an additional 40 million in pension liabilities because people are no longer afraid of federal gun control, and the NRA counted on “Carry Guard” to bail them out of their fiscal problems.

Best DDT quote of last week: “Just remember: what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Best quote of this week: In a GOP senators’ press conference whining about Democrats wanting to see paperwork on Brett Kavanaugh, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said, “Frankly, we didn’t treat their candidates for these positions the way [Democrats are] treating ours.” In one way, he’s right: Democrats are willing to talk with DDT’s nominee for Supreme Court justice; Republicans wouldn’t even speak to President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, let alone consider him for a hearing.

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