Nel's New Day

July 22, 2020

DDT’s ‘Law & Order’ Tries to Distract from the Real Crisis–Public Health, Economy

On the website Bulwark, Jonathan Last pointed out the problems of DDT’s latest ad. Brad Parscale was fired as DDT’s campaign manager after advertising about DDT protecting a statue of Jesus—in Rio de Janeiro. Parscale’s replacement, Bill Stepien, has this ad on Facebook promoting DDT as the “law and order” candidate.”

Problems with this image of protesters beating up a police officer:

The photo comes from 2014.

In Ukrainian.

As the protesters are pro-democracy. Beating up a member of the riot police protecting the authoritarian president Viktor Yanukovych who tried to use extralegal means in his attempt to make Ukraine a one-party state.

Worse, Yanukovych used a specialized federal internal police force answering only to him and used to assault his political opponents and tamper with elections. Yanukovych locked up his opponent, former Prime Minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko.

Worst. The photo was taken eight days before 338 of 447 Parliament members voted to remove Yanukovych from office. Three days later Yanukovych sought asylum in Moscow because he was Vladimir Putin’s puppet. The Ukrainian people filled charges of treason against Yanukovych and convicted him in absentia of “high treason.” Ten years earlier, Yanukovych had employed Paul Manafort to help his party.

The Bulwark may classify itself a Republican center-right publication, but it’s got lots of interesting stuff! Like this article by Mona Charen. She writes about how DDT is correct about a current crisis—injured people, property damage in the millions, fear, lack of control, a need for federal response because local governments can’t handle the situation, desecration of sacred things, a psychological cost, a toll on the national spirit. Charen’s point: “If it requires the full mobilization of federal forces to deal with the crisis, that’s what we should do.”

The crisis Charen describes is an emergency requiring “sustained attention, comprehension, and teamwork”—public health and the economy. DDT has done nothing for the economy and damaged the former. His economy was merely an extension of the expansion beginning in 2009: the average annual GOP growth rate for DDT’s first three years was only 0.2 percent higher than that of President Obama which includes the last few months of his inherited Great Recession.

“Stewardship of the economy requires more than signing a tax cut bill and discouraging over-regulation. It requires peering out over the bow and spinning the wheel hard when you see an enormous iceberg. Trump saw the iceberg. Or at least he should have: It was included in his security briefings for weeks. His first officer was mumbling nervously about it. But Trump refused to take action to save the ship. He told the crew it wasn’t an iceberg, just an ice floe. He said it would go away.”

The only two actions DDT can cite for his COVID-19 solution are restricting travel to and from China and to and from Europe. Even those bans didn’t include everyone. Otherwise, DDT ignored the pandemic, discouraged a systematic departmental/agency approach, and said governors had to fix the problem. At the same time, he stole their medical supplies before blaming them for the shortages. Several months later, DDT repeats testing is responsible for the huge number of infections.

DDT is responsible for the mask politicizing, convincing his voting base rejecting mask-wearing and social-distancing is masculine and brave. By the time the CDC got around to adding mask guidelines for staying healthier, DDT had convinced most Republicans to not protect themselves and others. To the GOP brain, “freedom” is getting physically close to everyone and avoiding masks.

As a distraction, DDT sends unidentified goons to cities, beginning with Portland (OR) where protesters sprayed graffiti, started fires, and three objects at policy. His personal unidentified militia beats people, shoots them, and snatches them off the street with no provocation. DDT claims, “We’re not going to let this happen to our country.” At the same time, over 4 million people have contracted COVID-19 and almost 150,000 people, probably far more, have died of the disease, and he lets “this happen to our country.”

Gregg Hurwitz followed Charen’s piece with “Income Injustice: The problem isn’t creeping socialism. It’s creeping oligarchy.”

“When Democrats rail against income inequality, that doesn’t mean they believe all incomes should be equal, in spite of what Trump and some Republicans want you to think. No Democrat—not Nancy Pelosi, not AOC, not any of them—believes that. What they are talking about is income injustice. They’re talking about:

  • “Wage growth for workers at the bottom of the income ladder growing 1 percent in the last 40 years, while income for the top earners rose by 347 percent.
  • “The 40 percent of Americans today who could not handle a $400 emergency.
  • “The 1-in-6 Americans who experience food insecurity daily—which amounts to 49 million of our fellow citizens, including over 16 million kids.
  • “All while Trump and his Senate enablers give a $1 trillion to the richest Americans in a tax cut; while Trump bails out a private jet company owned by one of his donors to the tune of $27 million; while the deficit reaches the highest percent of GDP since World War II; while Trump charges the American people hundreds of thousands of dollars to hold events at his private properties.

“None of this represents a free market. None of this has anything to do with the American values of innovation, hard work, and competition. It is simply a transfer of wealth: from the poor and middle-class to the rich. And the transfer happened not because the rich worked harder or created more value, but because they had more money to give to lobbyists and politicians.

“Every time a corporation gets bailed out with American tax dollars and uses it for stock buybacks or corporate bonuses, we are watching the market become less free, and capitalism continue its slide into oligarchy.

“The American Dream is about opportunity. It’s about making a fair wage that pays for food and medicine for your family, or having fair access to loans to create your own small business or sustain your family’s farm. The American Dream is a baseline of opportunity for all of us to have a shot to work hard and create a life for themselves and their families—which turns us into taxpayers and consumers, who in turn contribute to and benefit from our wonderful system of capitalism.

“It’s time to admit that the past 40 years has seen the system increasingly rigged and corrupted under both Republican and Democratic leadership. We can all agree on that, whether you’re a libertarian, a Bernie Bro, or a proud worker hoping to MAGA—whether you’re part of the white working class or a person of color struggling to get fair access to a loan or basic healthcare, whether you’re a suburban liberal or a country-club Republican.

“But it’s time to cut through the noise designed to distract and confuse you. There are no socialists in the 2020 election. Only people who want a fair version of capitalism, and oligarchs.”

Hurwitz’s statistics don’t take into account the impending huge disaster during the past couple of months—and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) finds the situation humorous. The $1,200 sent to millions of people is long gone: 12 million people didn’t even get the check although they were eligible. Unemployment for almost 30 million people runs out this week while DDT insists the elimination of payroll taxes be part of the bill and opposes an unemployment benefit extension. DDT wants the payroll tax eliminated to give more money to corporations and slash Social Security and Medicare benefits in the future. And the unemployed get nothing out of the deal. Republicans have been coasting on another stimulus bill since the House passed it in May. Asked if a bill will be passed to help the unemployed people to pay August’s rent, McConnell just laughed. And Congress vanishes for over a month beginning in early August.

Meanwhile, DDT wants to take the United States back two centuries to when the constitution had a “three-fifths clause,” making Blacks less than a full person. He wants to dehumanize undocumented immigrants by skipping them in the ten-year census population count, the basis for seats per state in the House of Representatives. This last week, DDT issued a “memorandum” announcing “the policy of the United States (aka DDT): not all people count. The Three-Fifths Clause was repealed by the 14th Amendment declaring the numbers of a state were “the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed.” The amendment also used the term “inhabitants.” DDT’s “policy” asserts undocumented immigrants are not “persons” under the 14th Amendment, instead equivalent to “visiting” diplomats, tourists, and businessmen. Immigrants, however, are members of their communities who established their presence in the U.S. DDT also argues a count of these immigrants will be “encouraging violations of Federal law.” As dictator, he believes he, personally, can determine who is a “person.”

The House may not accept DDT’s census count, and states can sue him. And DDT will avoid the real crisis—public health and economy.

February 22, 2020

DDT: Week 161 – The Chaos Continues

This last week Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) retaliation went beyond firing Director of Intelligence Joe Maguire. In his reign of revenge, DDT fired Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood, who began his federal career under George W. Bush. Rood made the mistake of questioning DDT’s freeze on military aid for Ukraine and warned Defense Secretary Mark Esper that withholding the aid would “undermine our defense priorities with a key partner in the strategic competition with Russia.” Another Rood sin, in DDT’s eyes, was telling Congress that Ukraine was initiating significant reforms to get the funding which undermined one of DDT’s arguments for keeping the congressionally-appropriated money from Ukraine. Rood is the ninth recent DDT-instigated departure from the DOD.

Victoria Coates, deputy national security adviser, was moved to the Energy Department because Peter Navarro, DDT’s trade adviser, thinks—with no evidence—that she is the anonymous author of the book A Warning and of the op-ed criticizing DDT in September 2018. A week ago, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, who hired Coates as his deputy to manage Middle East and North Africa issues, said she would not be moved from the job; a few days ago he confirmed her move. Navarro was given his job with the administration after DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner saw his name while browsing Amazon and seeing the title of his book, Death by China. Many of DDT’s misguided beliefs about trade can directly be traced to Navarro.

DDT is even threatening to get Neil Cavuto fired from the Fox network after the host allowed A.B. Stoddard to say, when she was making the point that Mike Bloomberg’s bad debate performance didn’t damage him:

“Donald Trump had many disastrous debate performances. Many answers were so cringeworthy that you couldn’t believe that he was still standing on the stage, and he’s President.”

DDT spent 15 minutes of his Colorado campaign rally ranting about Cavuto, ending in incoherence about his enemies:

“They want to take you out. They want to change the results. They got caught spying—let’s say it like it is, right?—they got caught spying on our election, fake news. Hey, fake news: take your cameras for a change, and show them the room, and show them behind you.”

DDT told Defense Secretary Mark Esper that he could abolish collective bargaining rights for the Defense Department’s 750,000 civilian workers, a move unions decried as part of the administration’s far-reaching assault on organized labor. “national security” and that, if necessary, collective bargaining rights at the department should be scrapped in the interest of “protecting the American people.” The workers have been guaranteed by law since 1962.

Floridians passed an initiative allowing voting rights to up to 1.4 million people who served sentences for all but the most serious crimes, but the state legislature spent over a year trying to stop them by requiring them to pay all court-related fines and fees in order to register. Florida funds its court system with heavy fines. Disenfranchised blacks are five times the rate of any other state. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court has upheld a ruling opposing the Republicans’ poll tax for voting for the 17 plaintiffs. The decision opens the door for the remainder of affected people to vote, but a review by the entire court may change the decision because DDT has flipped the court to majority Republican. DDT’s Supreme Court could also overturn the ruling.

A judge has thrown out a lawsuit by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), that leaker/liar to DDT, most recently who got Director of Intelligence Joe Maguire fired for allowing a briefing to the House Intelligence Committee. Last year, Nunes filed a racketeering lawsuit against Fusion private investigation started by a GOP company to discredit DDT during his campaign. The judge not only refused the $9.9 million in damages but also indicated that he would sanction Nunes and his attorney if he pushed the lawsuit. Nunes claimed that he was a victim of “active, coordinated and ongoing corruption, fraud and obstruction of justice” in his efforts to investigate the firm’s role proving stoking DDT’s ties to Russia during his 2016 campaign. He is known for his litigious obsession.

In his budget, DDT has ghosted women to the point of making them invisible. Gone are programs for women in healthcare, family planning, and paid leave while making tax cuts for the wealthy and big business permanent. Almost 40 million women get their health coverage from childbirth and family planning to chronic disease and disability care from Medicaid, which is being erased.

Over half of all women—68 million—have preexisting conditions. These include six million pregnancies each year, considered by insurance companies as a “preexisting condition.” Women also have chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes at higher rates as well as cervical cancer. The budget also eliminates family planning funding for Planned Parenthood and an evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program. DDT’s paid leave plan ignores 75 percent of workers needing paid leave for their own health issues, care for ill or injured family members, and a military family member’s deployment. Also missing are solutions for sick days for shorter-term illnesses such as flu or care for a sick child.

While reducing domestic spending, DDT increased nuclear weapons spending by 20 percent in both the Defense Department ($28.9 billion) and the National Nuclear Security Administration ($19.8 billion) to a total of $46 billion.

Some people said that the impeachment trial was a waste of time, but DDT’s legal team provided arguments for Democrats suing to obtain DDT’s tax returns. When they asked a judge to lift a stay on the lawsuit, they used statements from Jay Sekulow and Alan Dershowitz who refuted the position “that the House is constitutionally barred from obtaining judicial enforcement of its subpoenas.”

During the impeachment inquiry and trial, DDT’s GOP supporters consistently cited the media as support for their lies about investigations into Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Without using the name of John Solomon, Republicans sourced the misrepresentations using conflicts of interest for opinion pieces in the sometimes-credible conservative publication The Hill. After an investigation into Solomon’s work, The Hill has released an evaluation—too little, too late—of problems in Solomon’s supposedly journalistic work and the changes that they are making as attempts to return “to report the news in a nonpartisan and fair way.” The problem is that this action was not taken before GOP Senators unleashed DDT in a virulent purge of quality career employees throughout the government through an acquittal of his unconstitutional behavior. 

Solomon’s columns guided DDT into demanding investigations of the Bidens, and DDT’s son, Donald Trump Jr, and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani promoted Solomon’s writings through Twitter. Fox’s Sean Hannity also promoted Solomon and his disinformation. Paul Farhi reported:

The Hill said Solomon amplified an inaccurate and one-sided narrative about the Bidens and Ukraine that was fed to him by Giuliani, ‘facilitated’ by businessman Lev Parnas, who was working with Giuliani at the time, and reinforced by Solomon’s own attorneys, who also represented clients embroiled in U.S.-Ukraine politics.”

According to the evaluation of 14 Solomon columns and related videos, The Hill didn’t retract or apologize the articles. Solomon still contributes to Fox.

A U.S. jury awarded a Missouri peach farmer over $265 million for years of crop losses because of drifting dicamba weed killer, produced by Monsanto. The farm, which lost 30,000 trees, didn’t use the herbicide, but Monsanto sold GMO soybeans and cotton seeds to their neighbors without EPA approval. This was the first dicamba legal challenge to go to trial, but it will be followed by many others affected by a destructive and untested product. German chemicals company Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018 and plans an appeal while fighting a multitude of lawsuits alleging that the weed killer Roundup causes cancer, 140 cases related to dicamba, safety risks from its Essure birth control device, and suits regarding PCB-contaminated waterways.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is in trouble after she ignored her staff and kept open a for-profit “accredited” college with neither faculty nor students. Originally tied to the University of Northern Virginia, Reagan National University moved to Sioux Falls (SD) having “among the laxest rules for colleges in the country,” according to a report.

DDT’s BLM is empowering far-right ideological “constitutionalist” theories negating federal government power by allowing local sheriffs to ignore BLM regulations. The current acting director, William Perry Pendley, believes that the federal government has no right to own federal lands. The “constitutional” approach originated with the Posse Comitatus, a racist and anti-Semitic organizations of the 1970s and 1980s and later developed from a Mormon ideologue and the 1990s Militia of Montana and Montana Freemen.

Fans protested because Fox sports didn’t show DDT’s campaign speech last Sunday although it was on Fox “news.” Maybe the sports channel didn’t want to embarrass DDT by showing him following the words on his speech like a beginning reader. Once again DDT broke the law by using taxpayer resources for campaigning during his lap today at Daytona in the presidential limousine. And once again Republicans won’t care.

February 8, 2020

DDT: Week 159 – End of Democracy in U.S.

The week started with Super Bowl LIV.  Anyone who doubts that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) may be suffering from dementia should watch this video as he kibitzes during the playing of the “Star Bangled Banner” kick off. On Fox & Friends, he had said that players who don’t stand “proudly for the national anthem … maybe … shouldn’t be in the country.”

Monday was the grand mess of the Iowa caucus, the first selection of delegates for the 2020 presidential conventions. Faulty coding and conservatives’ clogging the phone lines for reporting the results led to confusion about the “winner.” It also allowed conspiracy theorists, which include Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to claim that the “Bernie blowout and a Biden crash” may be related to poll and caucus problems in Iowa. Graham’s reelection campaign has made him increasingly desperate.

Tuesday night was DDT’s annual State of the Union reality show when he gave his feature guest, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, designated for “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” The award, which was presented on California’s Rosa Parks Day, has been given to Parks, the Apollo 13 Crew, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King Jr., and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall as well as noted people in the arts, education, military, etc. This year, DDT gave it to his racist, misogynist friend. A few of Limbaugh’s more infamous comments: 

  • Mocking Michael J. Fox for shaking from Parkinsons disease.
  • Calling 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton a “dog.”
  • Claiming that the way to stop HIV was “do not ask another man to bend over and make love at the exit point. That’s what you don’t do.”
  • Comparing the movement for marriage equality as a “movement on to normalize pedophilia.”
  • Calling President Obama “Barack the Magic Negro” and Michelle Obama “uppity.”
  • Supporting DDT in the birther movement.
  • Describing Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” because she campaigned to get free birth control for medical problems.
  • Declaring that ‘feminism was established so that unattractive ugly broads could have easy access to the mainstream.’”
  • Stating that “women mean yes when they say no.”

Of Limbaugh’s 42 statements checked by PolitiFact, 81 percent were lies. First Lady Melania Trump, who DDT lauded for her “Be Best” campaign to stop bullying, placed the medal around Limbaugh’s neck.

As Republican columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote, David Duke may be DDT’s next choice for the “Medal of Freedom.” She also wrote that the true accomplishments that DDT touted actually belong to President Obama and the rest of his self-glorification were lies.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said that the cult-like behavior of the Republican legislators at SOTU was like watching a North Korean military parade. When DDT entered, they chanted “four more years” just like at a campaign rally before “Make America Great Again.” DDT waited until a Friday rally to tell his audience to chant 12 more years or 16 more years instead of four years.

After the SOTU, State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo tried to attack House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) for tearing up DDT’s speech by comparing her to second-grader Lisa Simpson, on The Simpsons, ripping up a paper. He missed the context of the television program: Lisa had overheard a lobbyist bribing a congressional member for a corrupt act and talked about the “swamp” of Washington. The program on disillusionment from the realization of corruption was filmed in 1991. In the program, the corruption politician was arrested.

Wednesday was the day for DDT’s acquittal in his impeachment trial with only one GOP senator, Mitt Romney (UT), voting against even one of the two articles of impeachment. Almost one-third of the other GOP senators openly admitted that DDT “did something wrong” but claimed that he had “learned his lesson.” Sen. Joni Ernst (IA), up for reelection this year, thinks that DDT has learned “he needs to go through proper channels.” She claimed that Joe Biden might be immediately impeached if he were elected president but then tried to back down on her statement later. Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) said:

 “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a president from office.”  

Sen. Susan Collins (ME), extremely vulnerable in her reelection campaign, said she voted against witnesses and for DDT’s acquittal because DDT would be “much more cautious” but then backed down on her belief after she made those votes.  

The Senate impeachment trial culminating on Wednesday hit a new low in that chamber’s behavior and the pattern of trials in the United States. A comparison to DDT’s impeachment trial: Imagine that a person murdered someone you loved and there were witnesses to the killing. Before the trial, the killer meets with the jury to establish procedures for the trial to guarantee acquittal, and most of the jury, many of whom were paid by the killer, promised to acquit the murderer. The trial has opening arguments, closing arguments, and vote. No evidence, no witnesses, and no discussion of guilt. The jurors said that any witnesses or documents would make the trial last too long. Meanwhile the killer threatened jury members who voted against acquittal, and the defense attorneys, who were involvement in the killing, consistently lied in their arguments with no punishment. During the closing arguments, GOP jurors walked out of the proceedings, but they will still voted. This trial was worse than the Jim Crow trials in the South.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), one of the jurors who swore an oath to “do impartial justice,” continually bragged that he had “total coordination” with the White House and promised “no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this.” For example, McConnell advised DDT’s legal team about which arguments they should make to persuade undecided senators. McConnell called DDT so that he could sign off on a resolution to make the Senate acquittal vote on Wednesday.

The Senate has given DDT the same power as the Enabling Act (German: Ermächtigungsgesetz) of 1933, formally titled Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich (“Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich”) that gave the Chancellor Adolf Hitler the right to enact laws without the involvement of the German Reichstag, comparable to the U.S. Congress.

The DOJ admitted that they are blocking two dozen emails about withholding congressionally-approved aid to Ukraine until the Senate acquits Trump. Robert O’Brien, DDT’s fourth national security adviser in about three and a half years, is sticking with the “he didn’t withhold aid” argument. His inability to see evidence does not bode well for “national security.”

Romney isn’t the only GOP leader who believes that DDT abused his power. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said that DDT shouldn’t be in office. At the Fox network, once called “state TV” because of its overwhelming support for DDT, the research team warned colleagues to not trust some claims about Ukraine by its top commentators. The briefing book questioned credibility by “disinformation” deliverers such as John Solomon (a former opinion writer for The Hill), Rudy Giuliani, Victoria Toensing, and Joe diGenova and cited extensive examples of their falsehoods. These people frequently appeared on shows hosted by Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, and Tucker Carlson. DiGenova disappeared from the channel after he falsely make the anti-Semitic statement that liberal billionaire George Soros “controls” the State Department. He and his wife Toensing never explained that they made $1 million from Dmytro Firtash, an indicted Ukrainian oligarch and accused high-level Russian mafia associate who is trying to avoid extradition to the U.S. Giuliani is using Firtash to get damaging information on the Bidens.

DDT may have been acquitted of holding up congressionally-approved funding for Ukraine after some GOP senators falsely claimed his innocence because he released the money, but he’s still withholding approval for $30 million of arms and ammunition from U.S. companies for Ukraine. One sale has been delayed for over a year, despite down payments from Ukraine, but officials can’t get any explanations from DDT. Ukrainian officials think the delays could come from the U.S. attempts to block China’s purchase of a strategic Ukrainian aerospace company that manufactures helicopter and airplane engines. Officials in the U.S. have ignored all requests from Ukraine for information.

Almost one-third of GOP senators who voted to acquit DDT were in Congress during Bill Clinton’s impeachment and trial. Of them, only Susan Collins voted to acquit both men.

Senators representing 151.5 million people voted to acquit; senators representing 169.5 million people voted to convict. Once again, DDT lost the popular vote. Those voting to acquit represent only 44 percent of the U.S. population. Plus a majority of the U.S. public supported DDT’s impeachment and removal from office.

The rest of the week tomorrow!

January 17, 2020

DDT: Week 156 – ‘Trump Knew … What Was Going On’

Another busy, frustrating week for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), that Kerry Eleveld called a “five-alarm fire” for the White House.

  1. The Government Accountability Office reported that DDT’s administration broke the law freezing congressionally-allocated funding for Ukraine.
  2. Rachel Maddow’s interview with Lev Parnas, associate of DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, revealed the unethical and possibly illegal machinations of DDT, his administrations, and his shadow associates in Ukraine.
  3. Ukraine started a criminal investigation into DDT’s allies.
  4. Seven House “managers” took two articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial.
  5. GOP senators who vociferously claimed to exonerate DDT swore under oath to “do impartial justice.” Many of the 22 GOP senators up for re-election this year, including appointed Martha McSally from Arizona, search for exists from their dilemma such as lying, avoid facts, and smearing the media.

1. On the same morning that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swore in all the senators for DDT’s impeachment trial—senators who may have lied under oath when they swore they would “do impartial justice,”—the non-partisan federal GAO ruled that DDT violated the law in withholding aid designated for Ukraine. The Impoundment Control Act mandates that the Executive Branch cannot make funding changes without asking Congress to reconsider its allocations. Congressional members weren’t even notified of DDT’s decision.

The OMB claimed the freeze was “to determine the best use of such funds” and “necessary to ensure that the funds were not spent ‘in a manner that could conflict with the president’s foreign policy.'” The GAO called that reasoning “impermissible” because the president cannot “substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law.” The OMB’s claim of the hold being a “programmatic delay” has “no basis in law,” according to the GAO decision.

2. MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow show devoted almost two hours to Maddow’s interview with Parnas as he explained how DDT, Giuliani, and AG Bill Barr directed the extortion of Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky to force him into an announcement of an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter for DDT’s political benefit. Parnas has enough texts, documents, and notes to make many of his statements ring true, especially when members of the State Department, such as Gordon Sonderland, made the same testimony. Parnas said:

“President Trump knew exactly what was going on. He was aware of all of my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani [DDT’s personal secretary] or the president.”

Like DDT’s comments about other people who give damaging information about him, he kept declaring that he doesn’t know Parnas—nine times in two minutes. Multiple photographs of Parnas and DDT together have long been on the internet, and a video of them has also surfaced. Parnas’ phone records also have contacts with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who played a key part in defending DDT on the House Intelligence Committee during the impeachment inquiry. A month ago, Nunes couldn’t “recall” Parnas’ name but regained his memory this week although he claimed they were “talking about random things.” [Newly-released documents show extensive contact between Parnas and a Nunes aide to obtain damaging material from Ukrainian prosecutors about Joe Biden.] Despite photographs to the contrary, DDT’s White House aide Kellyanne Conway suffers from the same amnesia as does House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Parnas also gave information about VP Mike Pence’s involvement in the Ukrainian scheme, for example, when Pence went to Poland on DDT’s behalf to meet with Zelensky.

Knowing about Parnas’ actions, Barr refused to release Parnas’ documents for three months to the House for its impeachment inquiry. Parnas told Maddow that the DOJ would make corruption charges against Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash disappear if he would provide damaging information against Joe Biden and that Barr knew about the potential deal. Firtash gave Parnas $1 million, and Parnas retained Giuliani’s firm while working for Giuliani to give attorney-client confidentiality to DDT because Giuliani represented both him and Parnas. Barr ultimately did not intervene in Firtash’s case but met with his lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova. The DOJ refused to answer questions from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) about why Firtash has not been extradited.

Parnas told Maddow that he is being open about the events to protect himself from Barr. He said:

“[Officials in the Justice Department are] trying to scare me into not talking. My wife is scared. My kids are nervous.”

After claiming that she was putting together a “small” group of senators to vote for witnesses in the impeachment trial, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) accused the House of doing “an incomplete job” by not addressing evidence from Parnas until after the impeachment articles were released. Information that Barr was suppressing. Since her vote for the tax cuts for the wealthy and Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, Collins, up for re-election this year, has gone from the most popular GOP senator at 82 percent to the least popular at 42 percent, even below that of the generally-hated Mitch McConnell. Collins walks a very fine line between pleasing DDT to get money from him for her campaign and getting votes from dissatisfied constituents.

3. According to texts from Robert Hyde on Parnas’ phone, the DDT donor was tracking former U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch last March.  A few of his statements:

“They know she’s a political puppet. They will let me know when she’s on the move… They are willing to help if you/we would like a price.”

“Guess you can do anything in Ukraine with money… what I was told.”

These statements fit with DDT’s comments to Zelensky in the July 25 telephone call about Yovanovitch:

“Well, she’s going to go through some things.”

Robert Hyde is a member of conspiracy-theory ridden QAnon, designated by the FBI as a possible domestic terrorism threat.

Yovanovitch’s anti-corruption work threatened pro-Russians working with Parnas, Giuliani, and others. The U.S. ambassador escaped Ukraine last spring after she was notified by a superior during an important ceremony to “get on the next plane to the U.S.” She immediately left the country. After this information became public, Pompeo cancelled a classified congressional briefing about embassy security, a mandatory monthly event.

Ukraine’s national police has asked the FBI for assistance in its new investigation regarding these illegal activities.  According to Ukrainian authorities, an ambassador possibly being “under illegal surveillance and her electronic gadgets … interfered [with] by the private persons at the request of the US citizen” can be a violation of both Ukrainian laws and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which protects diplomats on foreign soil.

4. The seven managers from the House to prosecute DDT in the impeachment trial in the Senate delivered two articles of impeachment. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected these prosecutors with an emphasis on litigators, comfortable in the courtroom. Six are lawyers; the seventh, Val Deming, served as the first female chief of the Orlando (FL) Police Department. Leaders are Committee Intelligence Chair Adam B. Schiff (D-CA) and Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Pelosi also achieved diversity in her selection: three of the seven (Deming, Garcia, and California’s Zoe Lofgren) are women; Demings and Hakeem Jeffries (NY) are black; and Sylvia Garcia (TX) is Latina. Jason Crow (CO) and Garcia not only provide geographic diversity but also represent the freshmen House class.  

5. The GOP senators have presented two defenses for DDT: what he did wasn’t illegal and so what–known as the “what about it” response. 

DDT first wanted a big show for the trial but now wants the trial dismissed. GOP senators rejected the idea. McConnell first claimed he had enough votes to keep any witnesses or documents from the trial, but a few GOP senators consider joining Democrats to vote for a real trial with witnesses instead of a sham. McConnell plans keep the trial from media reporting and block the trial from being filmed although the House hearings were available for public viewing. He also wants to block media access to senators as they come and go from the chamber and deny access to reporters to and in the elevators.

The “imminent” trial is unhinging DDT. He kept a student audience waiting for an hour to hear about prayer so that he could watch senators sign their oath. After reporters’ questions, he whined and exaggerated his trade deals and furiously talked about the impeaching being a “hoax,” over and over again. Then he shouted in a tweet, “I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!” Following that, he begged retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to vote against witnesses in the trial. His meeting with aides also focused on impeachment. During his ceremony for national champion LSU football team, DDT devolved into swearing about an attempt to impeach him. (He’s already impeached.) Why is he so afraid if he’s done nothing wrong?

The Senate convenes for opening arguments in DDT’s impeachment trial at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

January 4, 2020

Bad Year’s End for DDT

Why did Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) attack Iran when Iraqis perpetrated the killing of the U.S. mercenary and the attacks against the U.S. embassy in Iraq? DDT was told he looked weak after he called off an airstrike following the unproved report that Iran had downed a U.S. surveillance drone. According to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), DDT killed Qassem Soleimani to look stronger than President Obama after lack of military action following the 2012 deaths of four people at the Benghazi diplomatic outpost. 

Nothing changed before DDT decided to kill Soleimani; the DOD had to make up excuses after the decision—just as they did with by freezing military aid to Ukraine. DDT’s major reason may be wooing evangelicals after Christianity Today called him “immoral.” All his actions this year will be based on his drive to be re-elected. As always, however, the main reason can be to distract from other negative news about him, such as these somewhat unreported bits from last week.

A whistleblower with access to documents from Deutsche Bank and Russia’s state-owned VTB bank claims that Russia underwrote DDT’s $2 billion loans from Deutsche Bank as well as being the proposed lender on DDT’s desired but uncompleted Trump Tower Moscow. The reason behind DDT’s huge loans from Deutsche Bank has been a mystery, especially because they occurred soon after his bankruptcy and high losses from several New Jersey casinos and his gigantic fine for money laundering in the resulting bankruptcies.

The documents supposedly came from a Deutsche Bank official who killed himself, one of two suicides connected to Deutsche Bank. In investigating Putin’s control over DDT, Congress should be able to obtain information. Judges at the district level and two ensuing appeals all ruled that Congress should receive the records, but the Supreme Court will hear arguments in March about whether Deutsche must comply with the congressional subpoena. SCOTUS usually doesn’t hear cases with no conflict at the lower level and ones between the two branches of government. 

DDT also had a chummy talk with Vladimir Putin last weekend when they talked about “mutual interests.” Russians have taken over the third U.S. base in northern Syria since DDT abandoned the area.

Making impeachment worse for DDT, a judge ordered the release of almost 300 pages of emails about DDT’s freezing the military aid to Ukraine.  “Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold,” Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller in an Aug. 30 email, only available in redacted form until now. A news source has seen unredacted copies from June through October that show how defense and budget officials frantically tried to cover for DDT’s illegal hold. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s senior adviser, Robert Blair, started the process on June 19 when he called acting head of OMB Russell Vought and told him, “We need to hold it up.” DDT rewarded Blair for not testifying about his part in the extortion of Ukraine by promoting him to a new position where Blair, with no experience, plays a prominent role in 5G work. After three months of blocking the funding release, After his order to freeze the funds, Duffey amazed McCusker by falsely blaming the Pentagon for not releasing the money. 

In late August, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo, and then national security adviser John Bolton failed to persuade DDT to release the aid. OMB’s lawyers worked on an argument permitting DDT to override the congressional law—that he had signed—to send the funding to Ukraine. Mark Sandy, who controlled the release of the money from the Office of Management and Budget, maintained that freezing the funds would violate the Impoundment Control Act protecting Congressional spending power, but Duffey told Sandy to say that the freeze was temporary. Orders to block the Pentagon spending were sent every few days for weeks.  

These revelations are even more awkward as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leads some Republicans in a coverup by refusing to call any witnesses for the impeachment trial including Bolton, Mulvaney, Duffey, and Blair. 

Weeks ago, DDT wanted a big show for his impeachment trial in the Senate; now he suggests that it be called off before it starts. His tweet supported a plan from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to move for a complete dismissal of the trial. This idea, showing the weakness of DDT’s position, follows his attempt to pick a lawyer for the trial. DDT was said to choose either personal lawyer Jay Sekulow or over White House counsel Alan Dershowitz Pat Cipollone because the former have more “television experience.” Dershowitz is fighting an Epstein-related rape allegation, which might make him DDT’s pick. DDT’s personal lawyer, also fighting an indictment, has volunteered for the job. Other TV hucksters who DDT wanted are the loudest screamers from the House, meaning Doug Collins (GA) and Jim Jordan (OH). Devin Nunes (CA) probably lacks the necessary volume and has been quieter after his connection with indicted Lev Parnas in the Ukrainian scheme has been made public. DDT doesn’t get to pick the House members at his trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is infuriating DDT with her delay, and his fury may land on Cipollone because he wants a fast quiet trial.

Parnas, an associate of DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, may provide more information for the impeachment after a U.S. district judge ruled he can share information with the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI had seized.

More trouble for both DDT and Giuliani comes from the public knowledge about Giuliani’s part in trying to depose Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in another part of Giuliani’s being assigned a leading part in foreign diplomacy with no official position. His communication with Maduro in late 2018 opposed the government’s policy to take up a harder line against the Venezuelan government and connected him with a client in the region, a wealthy energy executive investigated for money-laundering. Parnas is also connected to Giuliani’s deal-making.

DDT bragged about how he could get North Korea to denuclearize, but his strategy not only failed but also overturned 30 year of U.S. strategy to contain NK’s nuclear program. Nineteen month after DDT ignored lower-level diplomatic talks, negotiations are gone, and Kim Jong-Un is chortling about his “new strategic weapon,” possibly a long-range ballistic missile. Kim denies DDT’s claim that they will soon meet although DDT keeps talking about his “very good relationship” with NK’s leader. President Obama warned DDT that NK would be his most serious foreign policy challenge—before DDT’s massive blunders in the Middle East—but DDT raised NK to a major global stature. Lawmakers and analysts see the U.S. in a worse position with UK than two years ago: Kim develops his nuclear weapons while DDT stopped joint military exercises with South Korea and weakened international sanctions. Like everyone else dealing with DDT, Kim saw DDT as a patsy and played on his weaknesses.

DDT’s tariffs are failing despite all his bragging. He lies about tariffs’ generating government revenue and boosting U.S. manufacturers. Instead, manufacturing has shrunk for the fifth straight month, dropping to the lowest level in over a decade during the recession. At 47.2, December’s index is slightly above 46.3 in June 2009 and far below the expected 49. A federal study reports that “the 2018 tariffs are associated with relative reductions in manufacturing employment and relative increases in producer prices.” The economy also grew more slowly in 2019 than in 2018, and both years are below growth in 2015 when DDT declared his candidacy with complaints about the terrible economy. The year 2019 may also be the worst for job growth in the past decade. If DDT had not messed with the economy, it would have been in better shape.

Homelessness is increasing since DDT’s inauguration after shrinking while Barack Obama was president.  Last week, HUD reported a 2.7 percent increase, the third consecutive year the number spiked.

Polls supporting the impeachment of DDT indicate that people may be less entrenched in their views. Over half of those surveyed think that DDT should be removed from office, up from 42 percent immediately after the House voted for impeachment. Other results:

57 percent: DDT has committed an impeachable offense.

57 percent: The Senate should hear from new witnesses to learn about DDT’s conduct.

86 percent: Senators should be impartial jurors.

In an Economist/YouGov poll that was published this week, only 38 percent of respondents want DDT to run for president this year, and 51 percent wish he weren’t running. Only 33 percent have a positive view of the GOP, and only 40 percent said they would vote for DDT or for Republicans.

And the world opposes DDT’s assassination of Soleimani while people increasingly think it wasn’t a good idea.

December 13, 2019

Impeachment Heads to House Floor

The House Judiciary Committee approved the two articles of impeachment in a partisan vote of 23-17, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) unleashed more fury, and the vote goes to the full House next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who will swear “under God” that he will be impartial in the impeachment trial, said that there is “no chance” his chamber will vote to remove Trump from office. He’s undoubtedly right because this action would require 67 votes in a Senate with 52 Republicans, but deciding the outcome before the process shows an illegal public rigging of the system.

In his position as jury foreman, McConnell said, “I’m going to take my cues from the president’s lawyers.” At the same time, McConnell bragged and laughed about blocking confirmation of judges for two years until DDT was elected. The White House director of legislative affairs, Eric Ueland, said that he and the White House counsel, theoretically working for the people of the U.S., “are having a lot of good conversations with Senate Republicans.” The White House has been meeting frequently with the GOP senators, who will also be complicit in not following their sworn oaths when they become a jury for the proceedings. This approach to the trial may mean acquittal for DDT but not exoneration.

House Republicans stalled yesterday for over 15 hours of shouting and lying on television during the Judiciary Committee hearing after agreeing with Democrats to hold the hearing to five hours. GOP committee members cared nothing for the U.S. Constitution. For example, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) justified opposition to impeachment by saying that  Republican lawmakers were “sent here to obstruct this Congress.”

At the hearing’s 12th hour, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) called on GOP representatives to quit, saying, “I have not heard a new point or an original thought from either side in the last three hours.”  He described the hearing as an “institutional embarrassment.” At almost midnight last night, Committee chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) gaveled the session in adjournment and infuriated ranking member Doug Colling (R-GA) by announcing the vote on the next day. Stunned by not immediately voting, Collins bellowed about how wanted to leave Washington, but Nadler said that he wanted the vote during the light of day.

DDT showed his disregard for protecting the constitution by entertaining Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov while the impeachment articles were published. Although DDT claimed he told Lavrov not to interfere in U.S. elections and resolve Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, Lavrov said they didn’t talk about any interference. Lavrov did deny any Russian interference in the 2016 election when he talked with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. DDT tweeted a photograph of him and Lavrov in the Oval Office.  

Today, DDT met with his private lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the White House in their plotting to “prove” the false conspiracies about Ukraine instead of Russia interfered in the 2016 election and the Bidens’ corruption. Fresh from his trip to Ukraine, Giuliani supposedly said that he found “more than you can imagine,” a meaningless statement like the ones DDT made when he claimed to have proof that President Obama was not born in the United States. DDT continues to use a foreign government to get “dirt” on a political opponent while he may be impeached for the same reason. He also asked Giuliani to tell lawmakers and AG Bill Barr when he found in Ukraine. Leaving DDT in the White House also allows him to continue his illegal approach to smear his political opponents for the 2020 election.

After DDT froze aid to Ukraine, and the OMB scrambled to find a justification. Then they said that it was legal to freeze aid on a “temporary” basis—eight times in August and September to look legal. Now a new memo claims the aid was frozen to study whether the spending complied with U.S. policy. Congress passed the aid, and DDT signed it. No one made a “study” until DDT withheld the aid for his personal benefit. The memo cited times that Congress had withheld aid, but not the executive branch. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tried to defend DDT by saying that the money was released to Ukraine which takes away any problems, but at least $20 million legally owed Ukraine is still sitting in the United States. The biggest irony of Thursday’s “debate” was the desire of GOP House swamp creatures calling for draining the swamp. Where will GOP members of Congress go without a swamp?

DDT claims not to be watching the impeachment hearings, but his 123 tweets yesterday say differently. That number tops his former record of 105 last Sunday.

U.S. prosecutors may investigate corruption in Ukraine by focusing on associates of DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and their relationship to Ukrainian state-owned Naftogaz natural gas company that may have violated a law prohibiting paying bribes to foreign officials. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman offered to make a senior official at Naftogaz the CEO to get business for their own liquified natural gas operation. The two men used ties to Giuliani to try to get U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired because she might oppose their plans. The scheme fits a foreign bribery charge that doesn’t require consummation to be a violation. Parnas and Fruman have already been indicted for funneling foreign money into U.S. elections and hiding the source of other donations. Prosecutors are pursuing Giuliani’s involvement, and Ukrainians complained about his trying to change the Naftogaz board while seeking investigations of the Bidens.   

In the midst of impeachment publicity, DDT seems to be trying to put on his best face for his being in the midst of a maelstrom. He claims that he “wouldn’t mind the long process” and that yesterday’s approval of the articles of impeachment has politically benefited him. Before the Senate trial, however, the House must finish its business.

Tomorrow, the House holds a brief pro-forma session; on Sunday, the House Judiciary Committee releases its report to the Rules Committee. Jim McGovern (D-MA), chair of the House Rules Committee, said that the panel would meet Tuesday to debate the rules for the floor debate such as the length of the debate and the number of amendments. The process might be shorter than other committee debates because it has only 13 members, nine Democrats and four Republicans. A hot topic could be no Judiciary Committee hearing with GOP-chosen witnesses. Listeners can expect more repetition of the word “unfair.” Although the House rules require such a hearing, it could be held after the Judiciary Committee votes.

Another decision from the Rules Committee is whether to vote on GOP amendments to the articles of impeachment. Democrats could block them, but Republicans presented five amendments in the Judiciary Committee, including attempts to remove the articles. DDT and House Republicans are still protesting the allegation that DDT withheld a White House meeting and $391 million in military aid until Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky announced investigations into Joe Biden and his son Hunter along with admission of a false debunked allegation Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. Republicans say that DDT met with Zelensky and released the aid without the announcement; Democrats say DDT released the aid only because his threats became public. About $20 million has also not been released yet.

The second article, obstruction of justice, is based on DDT’s direction for aides and agencies to not comply with congressional subpoenas. Republicans claim that the articles detailed no specific crimes and still maintain, falsely, that impeachment cannot exist without crimes.

Democrats comprise 233 members in the House to the 197 Republicans and independent Justin Amash, who demanded impeachment when he shifted from his earlier GOP registration. Four seats are vacant—two Democratic and two Republican. Several “blue dog” Republicans who earlier said they preferred censure and might not vote for impeachment are moving toward votes for impeachment. If the House approves impeachment, it will pick lawmakers, called managers, to present the case against DDT for the Senate trial.  

The House is expected to impeach DDT on Wednesday, December 18, just one day shy of the 21st anniversary of Bill Clinton’s impeachment. U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the trial, and DDT’s legal team could respond to the House managers. Unless the Senate votes on the articles of impeachment immediately after the opening arguments, according to McConnell’s suggestion. He would avoid the trial if the law did not require him to at least vote—after all the senators swear “under God” that they will render “impartial justice.”

Former Florida AG Pam Bondi, who received a questionable donation from DDT’s now-defunct charitable foundation in exchange for quashing an investigation into DDT’s university, is senior legal adviser for DDT’s Senate trial defense. To get this job, she had to quit her job for Ballard Partners, a lobbying firm connected to both DDT and part of the investigation into Giuliani’s associates including Lev Parnas. The company paid Parnas, who referred a client, the Turkish government, to Ballard Partners which is cooperating with New York prosecutors. Bondi, Parnas, DDT, conspiracy theories about Ukraine, extorted investigations into the Bidens, frozen military aid to Ukraine, impeachment, the Senate trial—they’re all tied together, even the Turkish government.

The winner of the DDT’s polarization of U.S. politics? Russia.

December 11, 2019

Impeachment on Its Way

Well, the House Judiciary Committee really did it. They really prepared articles of impeachment against Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). The two articles seem brief, but they are clear—representing his corruption since his inauguration.

Article One charges DDT with abuse of power because he “solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election .. through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.” The charge added that DDT tried to pressure Ukraine “for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit … and compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.”  The charge proceeds with specific details about DDT’s corrupt actions and includes Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign to elect DDT.

Article Two charges DDT with obstruction of Congress after he “directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with … subpoenas [to testify]” and refused to provide documents requested through subpoenas despite the U.S. Constitution giving the House “the sole Power of Impeachment.” Both Nixon and Clinton impeachments used the argument and this defiance is an impeachable offense. According to the charge:

“In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’ This abuse of office served to cover up the President’s own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment — and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives.”

Bribery was not included because the criminal charge would end up in debate about statutory elements and judicial precedents. Impeachment does not require a specific crime.

Republicans have called for dragging out the impeachment, but House Intelligence committee chair Adam Schiff stated that time is of the essence to keep DDT from continuing his calls for 2020 election interference.

The impeachment inquiry came four days after the release of the second House impeachment inquiry report, this one 52 pages, from the Judiciary Committee. Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) tweeted:

Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) tweeted:

“President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain. The constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment.”

After the report was released, the White House counsel told House Judiciary Committee chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to “end this [impeachment] inquiry now,” indicating that he thinks the executive branch is in charge of impeachment. DDT also refused to send lawyers to the committee hearings.

Two days later both Democratic and Republican lawyers testified and answered questions before the Judiciary Committee. Monday’s hearing was a lot of hot air with Republicans focusing on process because they had no defense against the substance of DDT’s corruption. The GOP lawyer, Stephen Castor, used Russian propaganda to push the conspiracy theory about Ukraine meddling in DDT’s election and referred only on the July 25 telephone call, ignoring the senior federal officials who testified about a quid pro quo. Castor could only claim that Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky’s said that he felt no pressure. Zelensky was actually pressured into saying what he did because DDT holds the winning hand in a “power disparity.” Castor also claimed that Joe Biden isn’t a legitimate political opponent for DDT and implied that DDT was too incompetent to carry out corruption of foreign policy, an earlier GOP talking point. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) argued that people in the U.S. are doing fine so there should be no impeachment inquiry. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), rabid DDT supporter, may be breaking with him. About DDT’s private secretary Rudy Giuliani traveling to Ukraine this week to find “dirt” on the Bidens, Gaetz said:

It’s weird that he’s over there. It would seem odd having him over there at this time.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper avoided answering Chris Wallace’s question about whether military aid to Ukraine was held up because of political reasons. Sounds like a yes—from DDT’s GOP appointee.

According to Daniel Larison in The American Conservative, “The Case for Impeachment Is Overwhelming.” He concluded:

“Members of the House have been given a simple test of their fidelity to the Constitution. Are they enablers of presidential abuse of power and corruption, or will they do what their oaths of office require of them and hold a corrupt president in check?”

The ultra-conservative caucus leader Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) keeps sticking with DDT by claiming that Giuliani is “over there [in Ukraine] as a citizen” and that Giuliani should bring anything “inappropriate” to Congress. DDT, who claims he didn’t tell Giuliani to go to Ukraine, has already said that he wants Giuliani to take his discoveries to the House. On CNN, host Dana Bash cut down Meadows’ Russian propaganda after 15 minutes. Meadows also pushed the argument that DDT accidentally named his political rival’s son, Hunter Biden.

DDT said that Giuliani got “a lot of good information” on Biden during his trip to Ukraine, and Giuliani said DDT told him to brief Congress. Barr has told DDT that Giuliani is a liability for him.  One of Giuliani’s meetings in Kyiv was with Andriy Derkach, a Ukrainian lawmaker, formerly a pro-Russian party member and son of a KGB officer. Derkach attended the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in Moscow.

Zelensky is doing exactly that DDT said that he wanted—wiping out corruption. One of the at least 569 prosecutors who Zelensky plans to fire is Kostiantyn H. Kulyk, who gave Giuliani ammunition in the form of false information. Zelensky’s new prosecutor general, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, is auditing former investigations into the owner of Burisma, the energy company employing Joe Biden’s son Hunter. Anti-corruption activists believe that the probe will not show any corruption on the part of Hunter Biden because the alleged self-dealing of Burisma’s owner predates Hunter Biden’s relationship with the company. 

Tonight the House Judiciary Committee met to “markup”—in short, to address—the articles. The event was quieter than the earlier ones, but the same defense kept appearing. A popular GOP defense of DDT beyond conspiracy theories is not sending military aid to countries with corruption. Yet DDT hasn’t blocked military aid to Iraq and Afghanistan, countries receiving tens of billions of dollars in the 21st century. The research group Security Assistance Monitor reported that, in its examination of 36 countries receiving U.S. counterterrorism, 24 of them “posed serious corruption risks.” None of them has faced investigation—perhaps because they are not connected to any of DDT’s political opponents.

President Obama was concerned about providing military aid to Ukraine in an attempt to oppose Russian attacks. With his departure, DDT requested, and Congress complied, providing anti-tank missiles in addition to security aid to protect themselves from Russia. DDT did not concern himself with corruption. Last spring, two months before DDT suspended aid and talked about corruption to Ukraine, the Pentagon praised Ukraine’s “substantial” progress in tackling corruption. U.S. provides military aid to a avoid sending large forces overseas. DDT froze the $391 million to Ukraine for his personal benefit.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney won’t testify, but he’s still giving media interviews. This week, he said that “politics can and should influence foreign policy.”

Over 522 prestigious legal scholars have signed an open letter stating that DDT committed “impeachable conduct” and lawmakers would be justified in voting to remove him from office. The letter also stated:

“Conduct need not be criminal to be impeachable. Impeachment is a remedy for grave abuses of the public trust.”

The latest “reason” to close down the impeachment is that it will “hurt people’s Christmas experience.” Former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and former acting AG Matthew Whitaker have been spreading this concern through state TV (aka Fox). Gingrich may have forgotten that, as House Speaker, he led his party through a 14-hour debate before passing two impeachment charges against Bill Clinton—on December 19, 1998, a Saturday. The votes were largely partisan with some GOP defectors: perjury (228-206) and obstruction (221-212). Gingrich, involved in an extramarital affair while pushing Clinton’s impeachment for an extramarital affair, resigned because Democrats picked up five seats. He supported Dennis Hastert (R-IL) for House Speaker who was later convicted for evading bank reporting requirements while bribing the men who he had sexually molested when they were teenagers.   

The members of the House Judiciary Committee return tomorrow for debate. If they vote in favor of the articles, the entire House could vote as early as next week–maybe in time for the 21st anniversary of the vote to impeach Bill Clinton.

 

November 25, 2019

More Impeachment News

Although the impeachment inquiry may be moving onto writing articles of impeachment, the bad news for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues to pour out.

Lev Parnas, associate of DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, has given the House Intelligence Committee audio and video recordings and photographs. Giuliani used Parnas to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Parnas said he acted as translator as part of a “team” regularly meeting in Washington’s Trump International Hotel about spreading conspiracy theories among key Ukrainians. Team members included Giuliani, journalist John Solomon who spread the conspiracy theories through such media as The Hill, and married attorneys Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing who appeared on Fox for the same purpose.

Joseph Bondy, Parnas’ lawyer, said that his client worked for over a year with Giuliani to find damaging information about the Bidens while DDT and GOP members of Congress pushed false information that Joe Biden intervened in a Ukrainian criminal investigation and Ukraine meddled to the 2016 election to help Hillary Clinton. After the 2018 election, while Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was still chair of the Intelligence Committee but before the Democrats took over the House, he visited former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in Vienna who promoted the conspiracy theories. Because they would have to tell House Intelligence Adam Schiff (D-CA), Nunes’ aides called off this year’s trip to Ukraine where he planned to interview two former Ukrainian prosecutors about evidence helping DDT’s reelection campaign. Instead, Parnas set up the meetings with the two men over phone and on Skype.

Nunes is the first congressional member thus far who is directly implicated in the Ukrainian scandal. He first denied any meetings and then said he didn’t want to talk about the situation. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), chair of the Armed Services Committee, said that Nunes may face an ethics investigation about the possibility of this meeting. Nunes says that he will file a lawsuit against CNN and The Daily Beast for their articles about his alleged meeting. Mark Sumner has a timeline of Nunes’ sycophantic behavior since DDT’s inauguration.

Western leaders, including then-VP Joe Biden, ousted Shokin in 2016 because Shokin wouldn’t pursue corruption cases. No evidence exists that the Bidens acted inappropriately or that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

Almost a year ago at DDT’s Hanukkah party in the White House, DDT met with Giuliani and associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and asked them to undertake “a secret mission” to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Parnas and DDT have had at least eight meetings since 2014, including photo-ops and attendance at high-dollar fundraisers.

Giuliani’s recent subpoenas list allegations of money laundering as well as obstruction of justice, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements to the federal government, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the Justice Department, donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person, allowing someone else to use one’s name to make a contribution, mail fraud, and wire fraud. His involvement with Kremlin-connected Russian oligarchs, Dmitry Firtash and Ihor Kolomoisky, led to DDT’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, perhaps the catalyst for DDT’s impeachment inquiry. Energy tycoon Firtash offered to find dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for fighting extradition to the U.S. on bribery and racketeering. The convoluted relationships among people involved in promoting conspiracy theories is available here. Executives of the Ukrainian state-run gas company are cooperating with Giuliani’s criminal investigation.

Anticipating DDT trying to save himself by rejecting his private lawyer, Giuliani plans to protect himself. For the second time, Giuliani has bragged about having “insurance”:

“I’ve heard things written like he’s going to throw me under the bus. When they say that, I say he isn’t, but I have insurance.”

Giuliani tried to cover up his statement by claiming humor or another type of evidence against the Bidens, but his statement sounds like a threat.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may also be in trouble after newly released documents implicate him in connection with Giuliani regarding the Ukrainian bribery scam. Almost 100 pages show repeated contacts between Giuliani and Pompeo starting last spring. A lawsuit forced the release of the records showing that Pompeo had at least two phone calls with Giuliani in March during the time that DDT’s private lawyer was trying to oust Yovanovitch. The next month, Pompeo ordered her removal. According to the documents, the State Department sent congressional members a deliberately misleading reply about her departure that “reveals a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador,” according to Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight. Earlier, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified, “Everyone was in the loop.”

A federal judge has ordered the Pentagon and White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to release records about DDT’s withholding military aid to Ukraine. The 211 pages include communications between the Pentagon, its comptroller, and OMB. The first half are due by December 12, and the second by December 20.

When DDT became confused about who he should fire on the reality show The Apprentice, producers would engage in “retroactive narrative construction” to justify DDT’s statements. Now his staffers and agency officials face the same dilemma for his actions caused by his alternative realities, recently freezing the military aid to Ukraine with no legal rationale. Hundreds of documents show a frantic search for after-the-fact justification about the legality of the funds’ freeze. 

In Fox, Ken Starr, chief investigator of President Clinton for his impeachment, said:

“We now know that the president in fact committed the crime of bribery…I think articles of impeachment are being drawn up if they haven’t already been drawn up…. I think we’ve known that, it was just confirmed today [on Wednesday].”

Starr also said he wondered if senators would ask DDT to resign “in light of what we’ve heard today” from Sondland.

DDT’s biggest problem with Ukraine is the election of Volodymyr Zelensky for president last spring. The losing candidate, incumbent Petro Poroshenko, had agreed to drop investigations into DDT’s former campaign manager in exchange for anti-tank missiles, the Javelins, from the U.S. Before the Ukrainian election and accompanied by associates Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani met with key Poroshenko official, prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko, at least twice. Poroshenko agreed to announcing investigations into the Bidens and Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election for electoral help with a state visit to the U.S. John Solomon started writing articles with false information from Lutsenko in March with these claims and a smear campaign against Marie Yovanovitch, then-ambassador to Ukraine.

Poroshenko lost in a landslide on April 21, and DDT had to find an alternative route for his goals. DDT attacked Zelensky because he thought the new president might really oppose corruption instead of pretending to do so in an effort to please DDT. Without corruption by Poroshenko and Lutsenko, DDT needed a new game plan.

DDT’s latest strategy has been to bribe his jurors, an illegal practice in courts throughout the United States. He started out by transferring money from his campaign to those of four vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection. Then top White House officials secretly met with GOP senators to strategize the limiting of the impeachment trial, comparable to juries meeting accused criminals in their trials. They may have agreed to two weeks, long enough to look honest but short enough to not damage DDT. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already promised that DDT would be acquitted. Jury tampering also includes free lunches, specifically with Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) who have sometimes been critical about DDT’s actions. Romney went so far as to describe DDT’s asking foreign countries to investigate Joe Biden as “wrong and appalling.”

Upping the ante, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and other officials hosted over 40 GOP House members for overnight stays at the presidential retreat Camp David before any impeachment vote—at taxpayers’ cost. DDT doesn’t like the rustic setting so he avoided the hiking, bowling, skeet shooting, campfires, and friendly talk, but he called in during the dinners to compliment them. The representatives were impressed. DDT has met with or reached out to over half the GOP House members since the launch of the impeachment inquiry and given 50 of the 53 senators lunch with him.

With the goal of discouraging people who think that DDT should be impeached, Republicans are quoting new polls indicating that the majority doesn’t support his impeachment. Fivethirtyeight.com, which has conservative results, posted that 56.8 percent think that DDT committed an impeachable offense. Even more, 77.3 percent think that DDT asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, and 63.5 percent think that the action is inappropriate. Almost 60 percent believe that DDT tried to cover up his actions with Ukraine.

November 10, 2019

Open Impeachment Inquiry Hearings: Follow the Money

Despite frantic tweets from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and vehement denials from GOP lawmakers, the impeachment inquiry proceedings move forward this week with televised hearings. The focus will be on “three interrelated lines of inquiry“:

Did DDT ask a foreign leader for investigations to help his personal political interests, including an investigation into DDT’s political rival and possible opponent in the 2020 election?

Did DDT use the Office of the President to pressure Ukraine for his own personal political interests, including leveraging a White House meeting with Ukraine’s president or withholding U.S. military aid?

Did DDT and his administration try to hide information from Congress and the U.S. people about DDT’s actions and behavior, thus seeking to obstruct, suppress, or cover up information?

In closed-door hearings, GOP representatives tried to avoid these inquiries, for example asking about Marie Yovanovitch’s national heritage. (Her father fled the Soviet Union and then the Nazis; her mother grew up “stateless” in Germany. They moved to the United States when Marie was three.) Other questions tried to whitewash evidence from the Mueller investigation, and one member asked Yovanovitch whether her staff “monitored” the social media account of an alt-right conspiracy theorist who accused a pizzeria as being the site of a fictional Democratic pedophile ring. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), former chair of the Intelligence Committee who leaked information to the White House, questioned the origins of the FBI Russia investigation and pushed accusations of bias in the DOJ.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) gave GOP Intelligence Committee members inquiry parameters for witnesses, but Republicans want to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter by calling them as witnesses. Other GOP witness requests were for Hunter Biden’s business partner Devon Archer; the unnamed whistleblower who DDT and GOP lawmakers are determined to out; the researcher Nellie Ohr of Fusion GPS which commissioned a dossier about Russia and Trump; and Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian American who worked with the Democratic National Committee. Schiff said that Democrats would evaluate the GOP requests for witnesses but added:

“[The inquiry] will not serve … as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit, or to facilitate the President’s effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm.”

DDT announced that he will release a “transcript” of an April call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, perhaps hoping that it will wipe out the damaging July 25 extortion call. The public and Congress still have no access to the complete transcript of the July 25 call.

Republicans focused their defense of DDT’s extortion by claiming that former VP Joe Biden secured Hunter Biden’s position on a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, during Joe Biden’s time in the executive branch. Hunter worked for Burisma from 2014 to 2019, sometimes earning as much as $50,000 a month, but extensive investigations found no relationship between Hunter’s job and Joe’s influence. Other attacks on Joe Biden without evidence come from far-right conspiracy theorists evolving from attempts by DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to get a corruption inquiry dropped for an associate of Russian organized crime.

Giuliani’s and DDT’s corruption with Ukraine have business purposes indicated by their connection with Lev Parnas, arrested for campaign finance violation and planning to testify before the House. Businessmen used their connections with Giuliani and DDT, hoping to install new board members on Ukraine’s state gas company, Naftogaz, and get lucrative contracts. Part of the scheme, recently resigned Energy Secretary Rick Perry, had proposed a donor as a board member but refused to testify before the House. Sources claim Perry asked DDT to make his July 25 call to Zelensky and represented the U.S. at Zelensky’s inauguration while DDT was still extorting the new Ukrainian president. Federal prosecutors are investigating Giuliani.

A loud voice pushing the lie that Joe Biden’s position benefited Hunter came from Donald Trump Jr. On Sean Hannity’s Fox show to tout his new book, Triggered, DDT’s namesake said:

“I wish my name was Hunter Biden. I could go abroad, make millions off of my father’s presidency. I’d be a really rich guy.”  

Supposedly in charge of the Trump Organization, Trump Jr. has repeatedly leveraged political connections for business deals—selling condos in India for a Trump-branded property and fighting to save a Trump property by asking the president of Panama to intervene for him. Taxpayers paid for his travel. China gave a large number of trademarks to Ivanka Trump, who receives about $4 million each year from the DDT-promoted hotel chain, and her husband, Jared Kushner, has sold over $100 million worth of Trump Organization property since DDT’s election.

DDT’s son, Eric Trump, said, “When my father became commander in chief of this country, we got out of all international business, right?” Unbelievably wrong as this article shows. Eric also whined about Hunter’s advantages that are actually those of Eric:

“Money grows on trees, there are no rules, and the press will always cover for you ….”

Trumps’ views on nepotism:

“I like nepotism. I think, you know, a lot of people say, ‘Oh, nepotism.’ Usually these are people without children. But I like nepotism.”–DDT

Nepotism is “kind of a factor of life” and a “beautiful thing.”—Eric Trump

As for DDT’s newly-discovered concern for corruption, he, along with Ivanka, participated in a hotel development deal in Azerbaijan, which ranks 152nd out of 180 on Transparency International’s index of the world’s most corrupt countries. The Trumps partnered with the son of the country’s then-transportation minister, Ziya Mammadov, described in a U.S. diplomatic cable as “notoriously corrupt, even for Azerbaijan.” The Mammadov family has been connected to a corrupt scheme involving operatives from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. In Brazil, Trump partnered with Paulo Figueiredo, later arrested for his part in diverting pension funds into real estate developments, including the one with DDT. Just a bit of DDT’s corruption.

In a GOP strategy for impeachment inquiry hearings, House Minority Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) transferred Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to the Intelligence Committee because of Jordan’s aggressive questioning. Jordan faces possible lawsuits about at least eight ex-OSU wrestlers asserting that he ignored sexual abuse reports while Jordan was an assistant coach at Ohio State University from 1987 to 1995. A male student said Jordan shrugged when he told Jordan about sexual abuse by school doctor Richard Strauss. A recent witness said that Jordan “snickered” when he told Jordan about the abuse. Jordan replied, “I have nothing to do with this” before walking away. Originally, Jordan said he knew nothing about the abuse and then shifted to claim that “conversations in a locker room” aren’t the same. The head coach who Jordan worked for apparently knew about the claims. Defending Jordan, DDT and GOP lawmakers followed their pattern of supporting sexual abusers and their enablers unless they are registered Democrats.  

Strauss was accused of sexually abusing almost 300 men during a 17-year period. Ohio State knows of 1,429 cases of fondling and 47 cases of rape by Strauss, who killed himself in 2005. The most recent lawsuit is the 13th against the school, and an attorney said that this information “barely scratches the surface.”

Republicans are caught in a bind of bribery and blackmail. DDT will campaign against anyone who doesn’t support his every action, and he has promised to give money to senators who don’t appear to be 100-percent behind him. Those who face a tight election and sign a resolution condemning the inquiry as “unprecedented and undemocratic” may receive campaign funds; those who have offended him get nothing.

GOP senators benefiting from DDT’s largesse are Cory Gardner (CO), Joni Ernst (IA), David Perdue (GA) and Thom Tillis (NC). DDT also plans to appear at a reception for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s PAC. Receiving no money, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) not only didn’t sign the resolution but also called for a retraction of his tweet comparing impeachment and “lynching” and said that DDT made a “big mistake” asking China to investigate the Bidens. Martha McSally (AZ) was also overlooked in DDT’s gifts because she won’t use WinRed, the DDT-endorsed online fundraising site.

For the 2020 election, 22 Republican senatorial seats are up for election, and the GOP senators on the ballot are behind in fundraising. In the first ten months of the 116th Congress, Jonny Isakson (GA), Mike Enzi (WY), Pat Roberts (KS), and Lamar Alexander (TN) announced that they won’t run for re-election in 2020. About DDT’s donations to some of the GOP senators, Richard Painter, George W. Bush’s top ethics lawyer, tweeted:

“Any other American who offered cash to the jury before a trial would go to prison for felony bribery. But he can get away with it? Criminal.”

DDT and GOP lawmakers sent out a hue and cry for public hearings—until they were announced. Now Republicans use the same decibel level to decry the public hearings that start this week. Follow the money.

October 27, 2019

DDT: Week 144 – Disasters Grow

Last week ended with more bad news for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) after Philip Reeker, acting assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, testified on Saturday. Like others, he said he saw top DDT officials stopping their support for former U.S. ambassador for Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, after DDT took her out of Ukraine. About his testimony, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) said, “It’s a much richer reservoir of information that we originally expected.”

DDT’s chief argument for blocking subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry was that there is no inquiry. A federal judge disagreed, ruling that the House had launched “an official impeachment inquiry” because “a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry.”  AG Bill Barr has also been ordered to turn over grand jury material he redacted in Robert Mueller’s final report by October 30. Beryl Howell, chief judge for the Washington, D.C. district court, responded to the DOJ claim barring “disclosure to the Congress of grand jury information” by declaring, “DOJ is wrong.”

A month into the impeachment inquiry, DDT becomes increasingly frustrated with his inability to block subpoenas. Earlier, he said that only “crooks” need a “war room” to defend themselves from impeachment, but he has brought back Jane and Marty Raskin, criminal defense attorneys who were part of his legal team during the Mueller investigation. White House officials are also having regular impeachment strategy meetings and discussing the possibility of hiring a veteran lawyer with impeachment experience and a communications strategist.

Depositions this coming week:

  • Monday – Former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman. (He has asked a court to rule on whether he should after receiving his subpoena.)
  • Tuesday – Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council’s top expert on Ukraine.
  • Wednesday – Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security.
  • Thursday – Tim Morrison, a White House adviser on Russia and Europe.

More reports show DDT’s responsibility for deaths in Ukraine because he held up military aid for personal political reasons. Russia has been firing artillery shells at Ukrainian soldiers in rural areas in spite of the Moscow-signed ceasefire. In one case, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and another eight injured. Approximately 13,000 people, one-fourth of them civilians, have been killed since 2014 when Russia illegally annexed Crimea and started a separatist uprising in Donbass. The death rate in Donbass dropped after $1.5 billion in U.S. military aid. The congressionally-approved $391 million was designated not only for weapons but also for defensive systems against Russian artillery attacks. DDT’s indifference about saving lives in Ukraine is like his abandonment of Kurdish allies so that Turks could kill them.

DDT’s high point is killing people. “He died like a dog,” crowed DDT about the U.S. military killing ISIS leader Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria last night and continued with a gleeful description of the death. CNBC reporter John Harwood tweeted, “Trump relishes describing ghastly violence.” Once again, DDT violated protocol by not notifying Democratic congressional leaders of his raid but did tell Russia before the attack. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) demanded a briefing on DDT’s action. Although the Kurds were instrumental in the attack on al-Baghdadi, DDT gave Russia and Iraq credit without their taking part. Before President Obama’s raid that killed Osama bin Laden, he informed leaders of both parties. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that there were no recorded airstrikes in the Idlib zone on Saturday where the operation is said to have taken place and that al-Baghdadi’s presence there was unlikely because the area is controlled by either Syria or a rival al-Qaeda. Al-Baghdadi’s death has been reported at other times.

Despite the possibility of al-Baghdadi’s death, impeachment still looms large over DDT with past officials’ negative interviews. Yesterday, former acting chief of staff John Kelly told a conference audience at the conservative Sea Island Summit that he had warned DDT:

“Whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man’—someone who won’t tell you the truth. Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”

DDT denied that Kelly “said that.” He accused Kelly of wanting “to come back into the action like everybody else.” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said that Kelly “was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.” Yes man Mick Mulvaney replaced Kelly, and DDT isn’t happy with him either. He snapped at him in front of his aides when Mulvaney reminded him of the Hatch Act, prohibiting all executive branch employees except DDT from using their positions for political activities, and called Mulvaney “weak.” In dictator fashion, DDT said, “I’m in charge of the Hatch Act,” meaning that people don’t need to follow the law.

A month ago, DDT floated the idea of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin or Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Liddell as his chief of staff. DDT also suggested Kellyanne Conway as a possibility. Others one the list for his “yes man” chief of staff are former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and veteran political operative Wayne Berman.

DDT’s advisers are also trying to push out Mulvaney. Fox’s Sean Hannity called him “dumb” and “interpretation of things,” “idiotic.” Fox’s Lou Dobbs called Mulvaney’s press conference “thoroughly confusing” and that it “seemed to contradict what the president has said.” Mulvaney may have been “dumb” when he defended Trump’s selection of Doral for the G7 Summit, now rescinded, by saying that DDT still thinks of himself as working in the “hospitality business.” 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may also be moving on. DDT was upset that he hired acting ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, who testified about the quid pro quo.  

DDT can hire anyone for chief of staff, but he’s restricted in his appointees for agency directors. Ken Cuccinelli is out as head of the DHS after Kevin McAleenan left because he hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate for any position and hasn’t been at the agency for 90 days before the vacancy. Immigration is currently such a hot potato that infighting about McAleenan’s replacement will make DDT’s life worse. DHS has had four DHS secretaries in less than three years.  

Rick Perry, totally inadequate for the position of Energy Secretary, is gone, and DDT found another lobbyist to add to his Cabinet. DDT picked Dan Brouillette, top lobbyist for Ford Motor Company, to replace Perry one month after he told an audience, “We stared down the unholy alliance of lobbyists and donors and special interests, who made a living bleeding our country dry. That’s what we’ve done.” He does stare them down in his Cabinet meetings—secretaries of Defense, EPA, HHS, Labor, Interior, and now Energy.

DDT repeatedly claimed that he opposes corruption, but his own affairs indicate that corruption begins at home. Earlier this year, the U.S. Marshals Service awarded a $33 million contract to CertiPath, owned in part by DDT’s younger brother, Robert Trump. The company failed to disclose that DDT’s close relative will benefit financially. Protests led to a “stop work order” on the contract.   

When the Pentagon picked Microsoft instead of Amazon for its new $10 billion cloud computing contract, the military may have proved Jim Mattis’ claim that DDT had called the former defense secretary and ordered him to “screw Amazon” as part of DDT’s ongoing vendetta against Jeff Bezos, owner of both Amazon and Washington Post. Mattis refused, saying that the bid procedure “will be done by the book, both legally and ethically.” DDT fired Mattis six months after the altercation.

Mystery traders made $1.8 billion from stock purchases placed hours before DDT tweeted talks with China were “back on track” at the G20 meeting in June. Other trades are netting people in the know, one just before Iranian drones attacked Saudi Arabian oil production facilities ($180 million) and another made shortly before DDT announced a delay in tariffs on Chinese goods ($190 million). Democrats are seeking a probe into the suspicious stock trades connected to DDT’s statements.  

Two top HUD officials admitted at a congressional hearing that the agency deliberately and illegally missed a legally required deadline to make billions of desperately needed hurricane relief funding available to Puerto Rico. They managed to issue funding notices to 18 states by the deadline and published all notices except Puerto Rico.

DDT’s administration is also blocking the report from an interagency working group that describes environmental risks for low income communities. Of the multiple agencies required to file annual progress reports about actions each one takes to address environmental justice, only four have done so, and most haven’t updated environmental justice strategic plans.

The National Archives is investigating Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross‘ use of private email for official business, discussions with the European Commission for Trade, a U.S. ambassador’s meeting with German car manufacturers, a dinner with the ambassador of Japan, an event related to billionaire businessman Bill Koch, and meeting requests from a far-right Internet troll.

DDT’s highly touted whistleblower protection office at the VA was designed to punish whistleblowers and held no wrongdoers accountable. it shelled out over $300,000 last month on ineffective and at times irrelevant training for its staff who work on misconduct and whistleblower retaliation allegations.

More corruption tomorrow!

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