Trump enters the stage

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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:18 pm

Money will buy you almost anything, top brand beats any vet, which he isn't.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:22 am

Congress should initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump
By Jeffrey Sachs
Updated 3:42 PM EDT, Sat April 20, 2019


Editor's Note: (Jeffrey Sachs is a professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author; view more opinion articles on CNN.)

(CNN) Congress should launch impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump for welcoming Russian interference in the 2016 election and trying to obstruct the Mueller investigation. Trump's high crimes and misdemeanors stare us in the face, and each day he remains in power is a day closer to the collapse of the rule of law.

Jeffrey Sachs

Trump welcomed Russian interference in the 2016 election while signaling his readiness to shift US foreign policy in favor of Russia by ending sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed his security apparatus to hack DNC emails and launched a disinformation campaign to troll the elections through Facebook and other means, according to Mueller's report. While Mueller did not find conclusive evidence that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government on the hacking and disinformation campaign, they knew that Russia offered assistance and "expected [the Trump campaign] would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts."

The hacking and social media campaigns "coincided with a series of contacts between Trump campaign officials and individuals with ties to the Russian government," according to the Mueller report, which includes a lengthy list of these contacts. Campaign chairman Paul Manafort, for example, shared internal polling data with a Ukrainian business associate with links to Russian intelligence, and discussed his strategy to win votes in the Midwest.

The Mueller report is shocking
And when the US intelligence community assessed Russia meddled in the US elections, Trump took Putin's side and refused to fully acknowledge Russia's involvement.

What were Trump's overarching motives? The first, of course, was to win the election. According to Mueller, Russians offered to help the campaign. Ahead of the famous Trump Tower meeting in the summer of 2016, for example, an email to Donald Trump Jr. offering dirt on Hillary Clinton explicitly stated that the information was being presented as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

The second motivation was at least as pertinent. Trump's greed appears to match or exceed his lust for power. During the 2016 campaign, Trump was trying to secure a lucrative Moscow Trump Tower real estate deal. For that to succeed, Trump needed Putin's blessing. Trump's allies reportedly even floated the idea of giving Putin a $50 million luxury apartment in the Moscow Trump Tower, which may have violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

After the election, Trump repeatedly tried to shut down, curtail or limit Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's illegal actions. The second half of the Mueller Report spells out many instances in which the President tried to undermine the investigation, which only failed because Trump's staff failed to carry out his orders.

Mueller's report looks bad for Obama
The Mueller investigation ultimately uncovered three devastating facts. The first, of course, was the extent of Russia's election interference and the Trump campaign's welcoming of that interference -- a double whammy that delegitimizes Trump's election victory. The second was Trump's brazen Russian business proposal during the campaign. The third included various financial dealings, including the hush money payment made to Stormy Daniels.

Trump poses a serious threat to this country. He tries to govern by one-man decree, declares phony emergencies to crack down on immigration, resists Congressional oversight and courts tyrants abroad.

Cautious Democratic leaders are reluctant to launch impeachment proceedings knowing that a conviction in a Republican Senate is currently against the odds, but they should recognize three overarching issues. First, as a matter of duty, they cannot shrug off rampant lawlessness without empowering thuggery in the future. Second, they can launch impeachment investigations now without deciding yet on whether to move to a vote, during which they and the public will gain information. Third, Trump's conviction by the Senate, or his resignation, remain plausible outcomes. During Watergate, public opinion was divided, even on the issue of Nixon's resignation, but the truth prevailed.

Trump recklessly welcomed Russian interference in the 2016 election for political gain while he was pursuing personal business interests in Russia, and those actions, together with his brazen attempts to obstruct Mueller's investigation, surely constitute high crimes and misdemeanors justifying the launch of impeachment hearings. According to Mueller's findings, Trump has egregiously undermined the rule of law and bid US officials to do the same. Congress now must defend the Constitution and initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump.

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

-------- ----- ~~~~



Los Angeles Times

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse
By ANDREW COAN
APR 20, 2019 | 4:00 AM

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse
President Trump at the White House on April 18, the day the redacted Mueller report was released. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report makes one thing clear: Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He is worse. And yet Trump seems almost sure to be spared Nixon’s fate. This will do severe — possibly irreparable — damage to the vital norms that sustain American democracy. There is still time for Congress and the American people to avert the worst of this damage, but the odds are long and time is short.

Despite his famous protestation to the contrary, President Nixon was a crook. He directed the CIA to shut down the FBI’s investigation of the Watergate burglary, in which several of his campaign operatives broke into Democratic National Committee headquarters. He also directed subordinates to pay hush money to subjects of that investigation. He then fired the first special prosecutor appointed to investigate these matters, hoping to protect himself and his senior advisors from possible criminal liability and untold political damage.



For these attempts to obstruct justice, Nixon paid the ultimate political price. When he terminated special prosecutor Archibald Cox, a ferocious public backlash forced him to appoint a widely respected replacement. That was Leon Jaworski, whose dramatic victory at the U.S. Supreme Court forced the release of secret White House tapes that destroyed the last vestiges of Nixon’s congressional support. He resigned the presidency days later. Had he failed to do so, impeachment by the House of Representatives and removal by the Senate were all but certain.

If Trump escapes unscathed, future presidents will take notice.



Nothing in Nixon’s presidency became him like the leaving it. For two generations, his downfall served as a cautionary tale for subsequent presidents who might be tempted to interfere with a federal investigation for personal or political reasons. Firing a special prosecutor, in particular, was almost universally understood to be political suicide. As Watergate showed, the American people simply would not stand for a president who sought to place himself above the law. This broadly shared understanding served as a crucial safeguard against the abuse of presidential power.



Then came Trump. After smashing through dozens of other deeply rooted norms of American politics to win the presidency, he treated the post-Watergate consensus with similar contempt. Just weeks after he took the oath of office, as the Mueller report details, Trump asked FBI Director James B. Comey to drop the investigation of national security advisor Michael Flynn. Before making this request, the president cleared the room, strongly suggesting that he knew his actions were improper. Requesting that the FBI drop an investigation of his friends is exactly what Nixon was caught doing on the famous “smoking gun” tape that sealed his fate.

Yet for Trump, this was just the beginning. A few weeks later, in early March 2017, the report shows that Trump lobbied vigorously to prevent Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation. When Sessions nevertheless followed the advice of ethics officials and recused himself, Trump exploded in anger and personally pressed Sessions to reverse his decision. Trump wanted an attorney general who would protect him to be in charge of the investigation.

In May 2017, the Mueller report shows that Trump removed Comey as head of the FBI and concocted a deliberately false explanation related to Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Along with Trump’s attendant criticism of the Russia investigation and personally vindictive treatment of Comey, this action “had the potential to affect a successor director’s conduct of the investigation.” The report catalogs significant evidence that the president was worried the investigation would turn up politically and legally damaging information, and that it threatened the legitimacy of his election.

The report’s most damning evidence of obstruction of justice concerns the special counsel’s investigation itself. Once Trump learned in June 2017 that he was himself under investigation by Mueller’s team, his efforts to thwart the investigation reached new heights of audacity. That month, in a series of frantic phone calls, he ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller. The report describes “substantial evidence” that this was an attempt to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation; Trump was acting to protect himself from potential criminal liability and political damage.



When McGahn refused to carry out the order to fire Mueller, Trump resumed his campaign to get Sessions to take over the investigation and curtail it — or resign, so that Trump could appoint someone who would protect him. Much of this information was already in the public domain, but it is no less shocking for that. The evidence available to Mueller’s investigators, including contemporaneous documents and testimony under oath, provides a far surer foundation than anonymously sourced news stories.

The report also contains a wealth of new information. When Trump’s order to fire the special counsel was publicly reported in January 2018, Trump demanded that McGahn fabricate “a record denying that the President had tried to fire the special counsel.” This is witness tampering, plain and simple, of a much more direct and personal kind than any that Nixon engaged in. It also amounts to falsifying evidence, which counts as obstruction of justice even on the narrowest possible reading of the federal statute advanced by Trump’s lawyers.

Along similar lines, the report describes substantial evidence that Trump privately urged Flynn, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen to “stay strong” and promised — through his lawyers — that they would “be taken care of” unless they “went rogue.” Together with the president’s public tweets praising Manafort and Stone for their bravery and baselessly accusing members of Cohen’s family of crimes, this conduct also amounts to witness tampering, plain and simple.

Enter the Fray: First takes on the news of the minute »
Lest it be forgotten, all of this took place in the context of one of the most serious law enforcement and counterintelligence investigations in the history of the United States. As the Mueller report explains, “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” on behalf of Donald Trump. The FBI and Mueller set out to discover whether Trump’s campaign was complicit, and Trump took extraordinary measures to thwart their efforts. Nixon’s obstruction of the Watergate investigation looks almost innocent by comparison.

And yet Trump seems very likely to escape direct accountability. House Democrats may well opt against pursuing impeachment, for entirely understandable reasons: It might be too wrenching for the country, in the absence of a clear popular consensus supporting Trump’s removal. It might not be good politics for 2020, with voters more concerned about bread-and-butter issues. Even if the House votes to impeach, a two-thirds Senate vote to remove Trump from office seems almost inconceivable.

But if Trump escapes unscathed, future presidents will take notice. The cautionary tale of Watergate will be superseded by the Trump triumph and its very different lesson: In the hyperpolarized political environment of the early 21st century, the president is a law unto himself.

Andrew Coan is a professor of law at the University of Arizona and the author of “Prosecuting the President: How Special Prosecutors Hold Presidents Accountable and Protect the Rule of Law.”


Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse
OBITUARIES
The mysterious life of James McCord, Watergate burglar whose death went unnoticed for 2 years

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times


----------- ------------ --------------- -----------

Donald Trump in front of a portrait of George Washington

The Observer view on the Mueller report: Trump is a disgrace not welcome in Britain
The president has been shown to be the biggest threat to US governance since Watergate. Britain must not honour this dishonourable man with a state visit
Observer editorial
Sun 21 Apr 2019 01.00 EDT
The prospect of Donald Trump making a state visit to Britain in June is stomach-churning. The corruption investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose damning report was published last week, provided ample evidence of what we already know: Trump is unfit to hold the office of president of the United States. By his words and actions over two wretched, destructive years in power, he has proved beyond doubt he is no friend of Britain.

The proposal that the British state should extend to this unworthy man its highest honours, including an address to parliament, and a banquet and carriage ride down the Mall with the Queen, is misjudged. It will do nothing to revive the “special relationship”, already torn apart by Trump’s reactionary policies on climate change, migration, race, multilateralism, Yemen, nuclear arms, civil liberties and other issues. What it will do is give an undeserved boost to a wounded charlatan.

This scandal looks certain to escalate, not fade. Barr’s many redactions will not be allowed to stand
If Americans are content to allow a habitual liar who has presided over systemic illegality, numerous ill-concealed attempts to obstruct justice and a foul-mouthed culture of venality and vendettas to continue to lead their country, that is a matter for them. But the British people cannot be expected to collude or condone such misbehaviour. And what’s to be gained? A fantasy post-Brexit trade deal? Trump’s word, evidently, cannot be trusted.

Trump and his supporters are hoping the Mueller fallout will quickly dissipate. Sycophantic attorney-general William Barr’s belated release of the report the day before Easter, like his earlier, misleading contents “summary”, was a dishonourable attempt at damage limitation. Yet this scandal looks certain to escalate, not fade. Barr’s many redactions, particularly concerning the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russian election meddling and the WikiLeaks connection, will not be allowed to stand. Mueller refers to 14 ongoing, related criminal investigations. Separate federal probes continue in New York.

The onus now falls on Congress to take the vast amount of information gathered by Mueller and move the process to a conclusion. Leading Democrats have signalled their intention to do so. Additional testimony will be sought from both Mueller and Barr. Some, like the presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, are pushing for impeachment. Others, like the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, want to further weaken Trump by besieging him with endless, enervating inquiries.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren was the first presidential candidate to call for the US House of Representatives to begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.
Such overtly political calculations are unhelpful. So, too, is criticism of Mueller himself. He performed an intensely difficult task with dignity and discretion. There is no evidence that Trump’s attempts to bully him, and threats to sack him, influenced his findings. According to his report, he ultimately felt unable to bring criminal charges because that would breach justice department rules disallowing prosecution of a sitting president. Amid so much impropriety, this was the properly legal course.

But Mueller has nevertheless lit the fuse to a very large bomb located under Trump’s Oval Office desk. It seems clear that, but for that rule on prosecutions and the refusal of top aides to carry out his illegal orders, Trump would already be in the dock. By identifying 11 instances of possible obstruction of justice, Mueller has effectively laid out a road map, and grounds for future indictments, that Congress – Democrats and Republicans – has a duty to pursue.

What has been alleged, and to some degree proved, is not, as Trump’s defenders claim, the product of partisan attempts to destroy him. It concerns grave wrongdoing at the heart of the presidency. It amounts to the biggest crisis in US governance since Watergate. At stake is Americans’ trust in their democracy and the effectiveness of their vaunted constitutional doctrines. Also in the balance is America’s standing in the world. Until the door shuts on Trumpgate – and the sooner the better – Trump will remain an international liability. He is not welcome here
© 2019 Guardian News
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:00 pm

Mueller report: Donald Trump failed us as commander in chief
A president who takes seriously his oath would be in shock to realize the astonishing level of penetration of his inner circle by agents of Russia.



The president of the United States, like all elected officials and public servants, swears to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies. But there is one responsibility the president must bear alone, and that is the obligation to act as the commander in chief, the guardian of our national security and the defender of our nation from malevolent foreign powers. The Mueller report makes clear that Donald Trump has failed miserably in this sacred obligation, and instead has traded his constitutional duty for his own safety.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions laid to rest some — but not all — of the legal issues surrounding the Russian attempts to subvert our democratic processes. As the report notes, Mueller’s team could not find a specific agreement between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to cooperate in an operation against American institutions.

For this, we should be grateful, but that’s about as far as the good news goes.

As a team of writers at Lawfare put it, Trump’s people “were aware the Russians sought to help them win. They welcomed that assistance. Instead of warning the American public, they devised a public relations and campaign strategy that sought to capitalize on Russia’s illicit assistance. In other words, the Russians and the Trump campaign shared a common goal, and each side worked to achieve that goal with basic knowledge of the other side’s intention. They just didn’t agree to work toward that goal together.”



Mueller report: A corrupt, unpatriotic president, a stark impeachment choice for Dems

Mueller report offers road map on obstruction. Despite Barr, Congress may use it.

Mueller investigation shows that if Donald Trump didn't break the law, he surely bent it

As a candidate and as a citizen, Trump had a responsibility to put a stop to this unethical and dangerous behavior in his organization. He had an obligation to report it to the FBI, and to work with the government to thwart the Russian efforts. Instead, he knowingly allowed his campaign and some of the people closest to him to continue their contacts with the Russians, and then he spent months lying, encouraging others to cover for him, and gaslighting an entire nation with talks of witch hunts and hoaxes.

This is execrable behavior from a citizen. But a citizen has the right to be execrable and to do bad things, as lawyers would say, that are “lawful but awful.” As president, however, it is now clear from the Mueller report that Trump knows, and has known for years, what Mueller knew. He knows that the Russian assault on the U.S. political system was real, sustained and serious. He knows now that he is surrounded by people who tried to benefit from that attack on his behalf. He knows that it is likely to happen again.

President Donald Trump and Robert Mueller

A president determined to fulfill his duty to protect the nation would admit these realities. He would come before the American people and their representatives with an admission, at the least, of poor judgement, and a plan to fight the continuing Russian attacks on our country. But Trump is still engaged in glorious gaslighting, with his partisans declaring victory while trying to focus the public’s attention on the few issues where the news media — who amazingly got the story mostly right — ended up chasing bad leads about immensely complicated matters into dead ends.

A president determined to defend the nation would take the Mueller report as a mark of shame, and then support a full and bipartisan investigation of the security of our election process. A president who takes seriously his oath as commander in chief would, in a better administration, be in shock to realize the astonishing level of penetration of his inner circle by agents of the Russian Federation. He would clean house and demand to know how his own campaign and how people who might still have access to the West Wing became threats to national security.

A commander in chief who cared about the country would put the Russians on notice, and would do everything in his power to protect the institutions of American democracy.

None of that will happen because Trump is less concerned about his role as commander in chief than he is about his own safety and reputation. Leave the lawyers to argue over whether laws were broken about things like obstruction; let Congress debate what price, if any, to exact in the political process. Let us forget about Attorney General William Barr’s shameful display on Thursday morning, and accept that he is yet another Trump appointee who is willing to commit political suttee and throw his reputation on the burning bier that is the Trump administration.

But we cannot look away from what is now, in the light of day, the undeniable reality that President Trump has no intention of defending this country from the Russians. At every turn, Trump has sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin against his own intelligence and law enforcement professionals. He has accepted Putin’s lies and denials, despite the fact — as we know now — that Russian interference was a fact and that Trump not only knew of it, but presided over a bunch of half-witted, morally compromised and unpatriotic minions who were trying to figure out how to make hay out of the Russian offers of help rather than doing their duty and calling the FBI.

Russia attacked our democracy. Trump and his cronies knew it and were glad for it. As president, Trump has steadfastly refused to accept his responsibility to do anything about this assault on our institutions. This is a dereliction of duty, and it continues even now.

Donald Trump is the president and the commander in chief until Congress or voters say he is not. But nothing will ever change the fact that Robert Mueller has dragged into the light one of the greatest and darkest stains on a presidency in U.S. history.

© Copyright Gannett 2019



Subscribe
OPINION
Mueller report: Donald Trump failed us as commander in chief
A president who takes seriously his oath would be in shock to realize the astonishing level of penetration of his inner circle by agents of Russia.

TOM NICHOLS | OPINION COLUMNIST | 17 hours ago

The president of the United States, like all elected officials and public servants, swears to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies. But there is one responsibility the president must bear alone, and that is the obligation to act as the commander in chief, the guardian of our national security and the defender of our nation from malevolent foreign powers. The Mueller report makes clear that Donald Trump has failed miserably in this sacred obligation, and instead has traded his constitutional duty for his own safety.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions laid to rest some — but not all — of the legal issues surrounding the Russian attempts to subvert our democratic processes. As the report notes, Mueller’s team could not find a specific agreement between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to cooperate in an operation against American institutions.

For this, we should be grateful, but that’s about as far as the good news goes.

As a team of writers at Lawfare put it, Trump’s people “were aware the Russians sought to help them win. They welcomed that assistance. Instead of warning the American public, they devised a public relations and campaign strategy that sought to capitalize on Russia’s illicit assistance. In other words, the Russians and the Trump campaign shared a common goal, and each side worked to achieve that goal with basic knowledge of the other side’s intention. They just didn’t agree to work toward that goal together.”

Read more commentary:

Mueller report: A corrupt, unpatriotic president, a stark impeachment choice for Dems

Mueller report offers road map on obstruction. Despite Barr, Congress may use it.

Mueller investigation shows that if Donald Trump didn't break the law, he surely bent it

As a candidate and as a citizen, Trump had a responsibility to put a stop to this unethical and dangerous behavior in his organization. He had an obligation to report it to the FBI, and to work with the government to thwart the Russian efforts. Instead, he knowingly allowed his campaign and some of the people closest to him to continue their contacts with the Russians, and then he spent months lying, encouraging others to cover for him, and gaslighting an entire nation with talks of witch hunts and hoaxes.

This is execrable behavior from a citizen. But a citizen has the right to be execrable and to do bad things, as lawyers would say, that are “lawful but awful.” As president, however, it is now clear from the Mueller report that Trump knows, and has known for years, what Mueller knew. He knows that the Russian assault on the U.S. political system was real, sustained and serious. He knows now that he is surrounded by people who tried to benefit from that attack on his behalf. He knows that it is likely to happen again.

President Donald Trump and Robert Mueller
SAUL LOEB, AFP/GETTY IMAGES
A president determined to fulfill his duty to protect the nation would admit these realities. He would come before the American people and their representatives with an admission, at the least, of poor judgement, and a plan to fight the continuing Russian attacks on our country. But Trump is still engaged in glorious gaslighting, with his partisans declaring victory while trying to focus the public’s attention on the few issues where the news media — who amazingly got the story mostly right — ended up chasing bad leads about immensely complicated matters into dead ends.

A president determined to defend the nation would take the Mueller report as a mark of shame, and then support a full and bipartisan investigation of the security of our election process. A president who takes seriously his oath as commander in chief would, in a better administration, be in shock to realize the astonishing level of penetration of his inner circle by agents of the Russian Federation. He would clean house and demand to know how his own campaign and how people who might still have access to the West Wing became threats to national security.

A commander in chief who cared about the country would put the Russians on notice, and would do everything in his power to protect the institutions of American democracy.

None of that will happen because Trump is less concerned about his role as commander in chief than he is about his own safety and reputation. Leave the lawyers to argue over whether laws were broken about things like obstruction; let Congress debate what price, if any, to exact in the political process. Let us forget about Attorney General William Barr’s shameful display on Thursday morning, and accept that he is yet another Trump appointee who is willing to commit political suttee and throw his reputation on the burning bier that is the Trump administration.

But we cannot look away from what is now, in the light of day, the undeniable reality that President Trump has no intention of defending this country from the Russians. At every turn, Trump has sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin against his own intelligence and law enforcement professionals. He has accepted Putin’s lies and denials, despite the fact — as we know now — that Russian interference was a fact and that Trump not only knew of it, but presided over a bunch of half-witted, morally compromised and unpatriotic minions who were trying to figure out how to make hay out of the Russian offers of help rather than doing their duty and calling the FBI.

Russia attacked our democracy. Trump and his cronies knew it and were glad for it. As president, Trump has steadfastly refused to accept his responsibility to do anything about this assault on our institutions. This is a dereliction of duty, and it continues even now.

Donald Trump is the president and the commander in chief until Congress or voters say he is not. But nothing will ever change the fact that Robert Mueller has dragged into the light one of the greatest and darkest stains on a presidency in U.S. history.

Tom Nichols is a national security professor at the Naval War College, a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors and author of "The Death of Expertise."

Sorry, for duplication.


© Copyright Gannett 2019
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:53 pm

Trump claims 'nobody disobeys my orders,' defying Mueller's account
By Kevin Liptak, CNN

Updated at 2:25 PM ET, Mon April 22, 2019

Play Video

01:52
See Lindsey Graham's thoughts on obstruction in 1999

02:56
Trump slams parts of Mueller report as 'total BS'

02:34
What Trump voters have to say after Mueller report dropped

04:30
GOP rep. resorts to attacking CNN over Mueller's findings

02:48
Giuliani snaps at Cuomo: Stop using the word lie

01:34
WH spokesman on if Trump has lied: Not to me

03:24
Chris Cuomo asks Giuliani: Will you apologize for Trump?

03:50
Sanders to Mueller: False comments were a slip of tongue

01:11
Trump: Nobody disobeys my orders

01:54
Panelist reacts to 1994 video of Barr: Wow

02:17
CNN anchors slam Sarah Sanders' ongoing lie

01:20
Marine veteran Seth Moulton joins list of 2020 candidates

02:18
Tim Ryan: Pretty clear Trump obstructed

01:59
Kim Kardashian on her relationship with the White House

02:05
GOP lawmaker tweets video climbing fake 'border wall'

01:52
See Lindsey Graham's thoughts on obstruction in 1999

02:56
Trump slams parts of Mueller report as 'total BS'

02:34
What Trump voters have to say after Mueller report dropped

04:30
GOP rep. resorts to attacking CNN over Mueller's findings

02:48
Giuliani snaps at Cuomo: Stop using the word lie

01:34
WH spokesman on if Trump has lied: Not to me

03:24
Chris Cuomo asks Giuliani: Will you apologize for Trump?

03:50
Sanders to Mueller: False comments were a slip of tongue

01:11
Trump: Nobody disobeys my orders

01:54
Panelist reacts to 1994 video of Barr: Wow

02:17
CNN anchors slam Sarah Sanders' ongoing lie

01:20
Marine veteran Seth Moulton joins list of 2020 candidates

02:18
Tim Ryan: Pretty clear Trump obstructed

02:05
GOP lawmaker tweets video climbing fake 'border wall'

Washington (CNN) — President Donald Trump contended Monday that none of his underlings routinely defy his commands, despite numerous examples contained in Robert Mueller's report showing aides ignoring or refusing his dictates.
"Nobody disobeys my orders," Trump said during a walkabout on the South Lawn for the annual Easter egg roll.
He was questioned by CNN's Kaitlan Collins about whether he was worried some of his staff were shrugging off his requests, as depicted by Mueller, whose full redacted report was made public last week.
The document contained anecdote after anecdote of aides refusing to carry out some of Trump's demands to short-circuit the special counsel's investigation. The trend was so marked the report's authors made note of it in their assessment.
Related Article: Undermining, but protective: How Trump's staff's insolence may have saved him
"The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,"
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:55 pm

ABCNews
Trump 'not even a little bit' concerned about impeachment, as Pelosi recognizes Democrats' divide
By Jordyn Phelps,Benjamin Siegel
Apr 22, 2019, 4:32 PM ET

WATCH: President Donald Trump blasted the special counsel's report as a "hit job" as some of his 2020 Democratic challengers called for impeachment proceedings to begin.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday appeared to discourage Democrats who are calling for President Donald Trump's impeachment, following the release of the Mueller report.

Also on Monday, Trump said he's "not even a little" concerned about the prospect of impeachment, though he sent a series of tweets in recent days blasting the idea.

Questioned by a reporter at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll about impeachment, Trump dismissed the prospect of impeachment raised by some Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

President Donald Trump attends the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, April 22, 2019.
Pelosi, however, cautioned her caucus about moving against the president.

"While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth," Pelosi wrote in an open letter to colleagues ahead of an evening conference call with the House Democratic caucus. "It is also important to know that the facts regarding holding the President accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings."

"Whether currently indictable or not, it is clear that the President has, at a minimum, engaged in highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior which does not bring honor to the office he holds," she added.

Trump's certainty in responding to the question at the White House on Monday stood in contrast to a tweet he sent in the hour prior to attending the Easter festivities at the White House.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stands during a meeting with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 27, 2019.
The president's comments come after he spent a long holiday weekend at his Florida estate, where he golfed, spent time with family and -- at times -- fumed on Twitter about the Mueller probe and the fallout since the report's release.

As the president returned to Washington on Sunday afternoon, the president made no secret that he was thinking about the potential for impeachment proceedings.

© 2019 ABC News Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.



His finances may be incriminating :




Rolling Stone
Why Is Trump So Worried About His Finances Going Public?
The president and his business are suing Rep. Elijah Cummings to block a subpoena of his financial records

RYAN BORT
APRIL 22, 2019 2:50PM EDT


US President Donald J. Trump meets with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (Unseen) inside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 04 April 2019.President Donald Trump meets with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Washington, USA - 04 Apr 2019
Tom Brenner/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
President Trump really doesn’t want the public to know any details about how he conducts his business. During the 2016 campaign, he defied tradition by refusing to release his tax returns, claiming he couldn’t release them because he was under audit (which isn’t true). This was fine by Republicans, but now that Democrats are in control of Congress Trump has been forced to take extreme measures to stymie lawmakers’ efforts to glean insight into the potential criminality, conflicts of interest and any other unsavory aspects of his financial records.

On Monday, the president went so far as to sue House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), as well as his own accounting firm, in an attempt to block a subpoena of Trump’s accounting firm. The suit reads like an edited, longform tweet from the president.

Related

John Oliver's Take on Mueller Report: 'Incompetence and Obedience' Saved Trump
Kellyanne Conway Says Trump Is Innocent Because He Says So
“The Democrat Party, with its newfound control of the U.S. House of Representatives, has declared all-out political war against President Donald J. Trump,” it begins. “Subpoenas are their weapon of choice. Democrats are using their new control of congressional committees to investigate every aspect of President Trump’s personal finances, businesses, and even his family. Instead of working with the president to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, House Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically.”

The lawsuit also demands Rep. Cummings reimburse the legal fees Trump incurred in filing the suit.


Cummings initially wrote Mazers USA, the accounting firm in question, seeking Trump’s financial records on March 20th, weeks after the president’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testified publicly before the Oversight Committee that Trump had lied about his finances in an effort to mislead lenders. The company responded, Cummings said, by requesting a “friendly” subpoena to formalize the process, after which it planned to comply with Congress. Last week, Trump’s attorneys tried to pressure Mazers USA into not honoring a subpoena from Cummings, writing that it “would not be valid or enforceable.”

“This complaint reads more like political talking points than a reasoned legal brief, and it contains a litany of inaccurate information,” Cummings said in a statement responding to the suit filed on Monday. “The White House is engaged in unprecedented stonewalling on all fronts, and they have refused to produce a single document or witness to the Oversight Committee during this entire year.”

Suing a Democratic committee chairman is only the latest action the president has taken to prevent his finances from going public. After House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) sent a letter to the IRS formally requesting six years of Trump’s tax returns, the president said he was “not inclined” to comply the request, and, according to the Washington Post, is willing to take the fight to keep his returns secret to the Supreme Court.

Defying the request, which the Ways and Means Committee is entitled to make, would amount to a violation of federal law. Nevertheless, as they did with Mazers USA, Trump’s lawyers wrote a letter to the Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS, pressuring them to tell IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig not to comply with Neal’s request for Trump’s tax returns. While testifying before Congress earlier this month, Rettig, visibly shaking, said he was “working on a letter” to respond to Neal.



Neal initially asked the IRS to comply by April 10th. That deadline was missed, with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin arguing he was busy consulting with the Justice Department about oversight issues, according to Politico. Neal set a second deadline of April 23rd. Whatever response Mnuchin and Rettig do ultimately devise, it’s not expected to include Trump’s tax returns, which he is obsessed with keeping private, for some strange reason.


© 2019 PMC. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage Don Mc'Gahn

Postby Meno_ » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:52 am

House subpoenas Don McGahn, ex-White House counsel, in wake of Mueller report – as it happened
McGahn called before judiciary committee to testify on potential obstruction of justice linked to Trump-Russia investigation



Don McGahn has been asked to turn over documents by 7 May and testify in public on 21 May.

Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco (now) and Erin Durkin in New York (earlier)

Mon 22 Apr 2019 20.00 EDT First published on Mon 22 Apr 2019 08.54 EDT
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Key events
3h ago House Judiciary committee subpoenas former White House counsel
11h ago Trump sues House Oversight chair
12h ago Elizabeth Warren proposes free college and student debt cancellation


Summary
That’s all from me on this Monday. Here’s a rundown of the top stories in politics:

The House judiciary committee subpoenaed former White House counsel Don Mc'Gain




A few more details on the Democratic caucus conference call, via Lauren Gambino.

According to a source on the call, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made the following comments during the nearly 90 minute discussion:

We have to save our democracy. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about saving our democracy. If it is what we need to do to honor our responsibility to the Constitution – if that’s the place the facts take us, that’s the place we have to go … And I wish you would just read my letter because it, I think succinctly, presents some of the reasons I think – whether it’s articles of impeachment or investigations, it’s the same obtaining of facts. We don’t have to go to articles of impeachment to obtain the facts, the presentation of facts.



President Trump has signed a presidential memorandum directing the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security to combat visa overstays.

The administration is considering suspending or limiting entry for individuals coming from countries with high rates of people overstaying visas, according to a press release from the White House.

The most recent report by the Center for Migration Studies, covering 2016-2017, found that overstaying a visa accounted for about 62% of newly undocumented people, compared to just 38% who “entered without inspection” – ie crossed the border without authorization.



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Here’s my colleague Lauren Gambino reporting on an internal conference call among House Democrats:

Lauren Gambino
(@laurenegambino)
Pelosi told her caucus that there are no immediate plans to pursue impeachment and reiterated what she outlined in her letter: that Democrats would continue investigating Trump following what they view as a roadmap provided for them in Mueller’s report, per 2 sources on the call



Polls are beginning to come out, providing some insight into how the release of the redacted Mueller report is being viewed by the general public.

Trump’s approval rating dropped to 39% – the lowest of his presidency – in a new Politico/Morning Consult poll. The last time Trump’s rating was that low in the same poll was in the aftermath of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Another poll, by HuffPost/YouGov, which was conducted immediately after the release of the redacted report, found that 43% of Americans believe that Trump attempted to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation, compared to 34% who believe he did not.

USA Today’s Brad Heath pulled out an interesting tidbit from the details of that poll: nearly half of Republicans agree with the statement, “Nobody on President Trump’s campaign committed any crimes”, despite the fact that many people on Trump’s campaign have pleaded guilty to committing crimes. These include: former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former personal attorney Michael Cohen, and campaign advisers Rick Gates, Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulous.

Brad Heath
(@bradheath)
Nearly half of Republicans think "Nobody on President Trump's campaign committed any crimes," notwithstanding the fact that several of the aides who worked on his campaign have pleaded guilty to committing federal crimes.



Tom McCarthy Tom McCarthy
Here’s my colleague Tom McCarthy on what the McGahn subpoena could portend:

The subpoena of Don McGahn by the House Judiciary Committee could have the effect of bringing the Mueller report to life, in the sense that multiple key scenes from the report star McGahn. The former White House counsel could give a firsthand account of how Donald Trump allegedly broke the law in an effort to keep the Mueller investigation at bay.

If McGahn testifies in an open hearing about what Trump told him to do – namely, pressure deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to fire Robert Mueller, then publicly deny any such order had ever been given – that could make Trump look bad in a new way.

The request for documents in the subpoena is broad, and McGahn could be asked to testify about numerous other matters. That’s if it goes as well as it could for Democrats and others concerned about the special counsel’s findings.

On the other hand, McGahn could resist the subpoena. But he did sit for at least three voluntary interviews with Mueller’s team totaling 30 hours. His pattern of conduct to this point has been compliance.

There’s a scene in the Mueller report from a Saturday in June 2017. Trump is at Camp David and McGahn is at home in Virginia. The lawyer gets two calls from the president, which he later described to Mueller, whose report reads:

‘You gotta do this’,” McGahn recalls the president saying. “‘You gotta call Rod.’”

But McGahn did not call Rod.

McGahn considered the president’s request to be an inflection point and he wanted to hit the brakes.

Democratic members of the judiciary committee might want to hear more about that phone call and other interactions McGahn had with the president.

This is Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco picking up the live blog reins, by the way.

And here are some more details on the subpoena just issued to former White House counsel Don McGahn:

The subpoena names 36 categories of documents and communications that must be turned over, with topics including “The resignation or termination of Michael Flynn” (item No 4) and “Your resignation or termination, whether contemplated or actual” (item No 14).

Other items in the subpoena appear aimed at understanding what efforts to fight back against the Mueller investigation that may have been contemplated inside the White House, such as:

10. Reversing or attempting to reverse Jeff Session’s recusal from any matters ...

28. Prosecuting or investigating James Comey or Hillary Clinton.

29. Presidential pardons, whether possible or actual, for Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, or individuals involved in matters before the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

The full subpoena can be viewed here.




House Judiciary committee subpoenas former White House counsel
Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary committee, has issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Don McGahn for testimony and documents related to its investigation into potential obstruction of justice by Donald Trump.

“The Special Counsel’s report, even in redacted form, outlines substantial evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction and other abuses,” Nadler said in a statement. “It now falls to Congress to determine for itself the full scope of the misconduct and to decide what steps to take in the exercise of our duties of oversight, legislation and constitutional accountability.”

The committee is requesting McGahn turn over documents by 7 May and testify in public on 21 May.

“His testimony will help shed further light on the President’s attacks on the rule of law, and his attempts to cover up those actions by lying to the American people and requesting others do the same,” the statement continues. “The Special Counsel and his team made clear that based on their investigation, they were unable to ‘reach [the] judgment . . . .that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice.’ As a co-equal branch of government, Congress has a constitutional obligation to hold the President accountable, and the planned hearings will be an important part of that process.”

The subpoenas can be seen here.



4h ago 16:59

Summary
Democrats grappled with their next steps after the release of the Mueller report, acknowledging divisions over whether to pursue the impeachment of Donald Trump. In a letter to colleagues, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi advised caution on impeachment, but vowed that Democrats would continue to hold hearings and “uncover the truth.” Democrats have a conference call scheduled for 5pm.
Donald Trump sued to block a subpoena for his financial records, issued by the House Oversight Committee to his accounting firm. Committee chairman Elijah Cummings called the suit baseless.
Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton launched his presidential bid.
Donald Trump reversed course and said he would not appoint Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve board, saying Cain had asked to bow out.
Updated at 5.07pm EDT


Herman Cain explains his reasons for withdrawing from consideration for the Federal Reserve. For one thing, he said it would have been a big pay cut.

“I also started wondering if I’d be giving up too much influence to get a little bit of policy impact,” Cain wrote. “With my current media activities, I can reach close to 4 million people a month with the ideas I believe in. If I gave that up for one seat on the Fed board, would that be a good trade-off?”



The US is threatening to veto a United Nations resolution on combatting the use of rape as a weapon of war, the Guardian’s Julian Borger reports.

The US is objecting to language that says survivors of sexual violence should have access to comprehensive health services, including sexual and reproductive health. It’s part of a hard line taken by the Trump administration in recent months, refusing to agree to any UN documents that refer to sexual or reproductive health, on grounds that such language implies support for abortions.
5h ago 15:59

Democratic presidential candidate Wayne Messam said Monday he supports impeaching Donald Trump, becoming the third Democratic primary contender to do so.

“I believe the President should be placed under impeachment proceedings and let the weight of the full report carry out the justice the American people deserve,” Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Fl., told the Hill.

Senator Elizabeth Warren and former housing secretary Julian Castro have called for Trump’s impeachment.






Don McGahn, ex-White House counsel, subpoenaed over Mueller report





Robert Reich
2dTrump's moral squalor, not impeachment, will remove him from power


Giuliani rails against Mueller report as Democrats mull Trump impeachment
Teflon Don: how Trump the mafia boss fought the law … and won

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


---- ---- ----- --------


MUELLER TIME 12:27 P.M.
Mueller Exposed Trump’s Biggest Betrayal
By Barbara McQuade

Trump’s actions will only embolden Russia. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
The most important line in the Mueller report appears in the introduction to Volume I: “The Russian government interfered with the 2016 election in sweeping and systematic fashion.” Our president’s response has fallen woefully short. And now we know why.

As with all things, Donald Trump made the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller all about him. But it is about so much more: our national security and the future of our democracy. Trump’s failure to protect our country from future attacks is his biggest betrayal.


Mueller has published a detailed accounting of Russia’s attack on our presidential election. His report describes how Russia conducted a social-media disinformation campaign and weaponized email messages to sabotage the election. Mueller’s description of the Russia attack makes it clear that information warfare is the new battleground.

And yet Trump continues to minimize the threat to our national security. Concerned more about the legitimacy of his presidency than the integrity of future elections, Trump still downplays the Russian attack.

The Mueller report offers insights into Trump’s thinking: “Several advisors recalled that the President-Elect viewed stories about his Russian connections, the Russia investigations, and the intelligence community assessment of Russian interference as a threat to the legitimacy of his electoral victory.” Former communications director Hope Hicks said that Trump “viewed the intelligence community assessment as his ‘Achilles heel’ because, even if Russia had no impact on the election, people would think Russia helped him win, taking away from what he had accomplished.” Her predecessor, Sean Spicer, “recalled that the President thought the Russia story was developed to undermine the legitimacy of his election.” Former deputy campaign chairman Richard Gates “said the President viewed the Russia investigation as an attack on the legitimacy of his win.” White House chief of staff Reince Priebus “recalled that when the intelligence assessment came out, the President-Elect was concerned people would question the legitimacy of his win.”

In other words, Trump was more concerned about appearing to have won a decisive victory in the election than about acknowledging and addressing an attack on our country by a foreign adversary.


Trump’s receptiveness to Russia’s overtures may even have encouraged the attacks. Despite Attorney General William Barr’s characterization that Mueller found no collusion, Mueller’s report tells a different story. Mueller says that the evidence was not sufficient to charge any member of the Trump campaign with conspiring with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election. But “the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.”

Trump’s denials of Russian interference date back to the campaign. In July 2016, the Democratic National Committee announced that it had been hacked by Russian government actors. Rather than denouncing the attack, Trump playfully encouraged Russia interference, at one point publicly asking, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” According to Mueller’s report, within five hours, Russian hackers tried to hack Hillary Clinton’s personal email. While the episode was not part of a formal agreement to interfere with the election, it was the kind of mutually beneficial conduct that encouraged Russia to continue its aggression.

During his first debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump deflected blame from Russia, when he famously said, “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC … I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay?”


Even after winning the election and becoming president, Trump continued to shift blame from Russia. In June 2017, Trump tweeted that Russian hacking was a “big Dem HOAX,” asking “ … Why did the DNC REFUSE to turn over its Server to the FBI, and still hasn’t? It’s all a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election!”

Then last July, Trump stood next to Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and outraged many American government officials when he indicated that he believed Putin when he said that it was not Russia who had interfered with the election, despite such a finding by the U.S. intelligence community.

Now we know why Trump continues to minimize Russia’s role. Trump’s narcissism about the legitimacy of his election has prevented him from publicly acknowledging Russia’s attack and providing the leadership necessary to protect us from more. A president whose focus was on leading our nation would eagerly provide deterrence to Russia in the form of sanctions and retaliation for election hacking. (While the U.S. has imposed new sanctions, at times Trump has resisted congressional efforts to punish Russia.) In addition, a responsible president would make cybersecurity a top priority of the Department of Homeland Security. Instead, Trump sows discord in our country by making immigration enforcement his prime focus.


Trump’s reaction to Russia interference will only embolden our adversary for future attacks. His self-absorption prevents him from fulfilling his duty that the laws be faithfully executed. Now that the Mueller investigation is over, and Trump’s motives have been exposed, staffers and Congress must play a stronger role in pushing Trump to the side and hardening our election system against attacks.


© 2019, NEW YORK MEDIA LLC. VIEW




----------

Biden enters ra e for 2020 election

---- -------

Feverish pitcher to Trump tweets



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Trump’s 50 Tweets in 24 Hours Are a Frightening Window Into the Presidential Mind
Fox News is playing on loop in the background, reassuring him that all his critics are lying enemies of the state. What could go wrong?



"The Wall is being rapidly built!" our fearless leader declared. "The Economy is GREAT! Our Country is Respected again!"

It was a stirring message, something to boost the citizens of the United States as they roused themselves for work this Tuesday morning. It would have been a bit more convincing, however, if it did not contain some vintage truthlessness from Donald Trump, American president. In recent months, The Wall has become a quantum object: it is both Being Built and in desperate need of funding to be built—so much so that the president declared a phony national emergency to seize the money from Congress in a direct assault on the Constitution's separation of powers. In reality, parts of existing barrier have essentially undergone maintenance, and our nation's Respect-o-Meter is certainly not moving in a positive direction.
It would also be a bit more reassuring if it were not merely the latest of more than 50 (fifty) tweets the world's most powerful man has fired off in the last 24 hours. Yes, the last day or so has been a thoroughly frightening window into the Presidential Mind, a kaleidoscopic marescape where Fox News is playing on permanent loop in the background to reinforce the very important thing to remember, which is that The President Has Been Very Badly Mistreated!

It all kicked off as it would proceed throughout: with the President of the United States tweeting a clip directly from his favorite teevee channel.

It's unclear who this guy is, or why he had to make his grift a transatlantic one. Doesn't he have Brexit nonsense to peddle? Anyway, the idea Donald Trump would be America's Uniter-in-Chief if it wasn't for those meddling kids is a nice cortisone shot of unreconstructed delusion. Also, the Mueller Report confirms the vast majority of Russia reporting from The Fake News Lamestream Media—which also means that Trump and his team lied to the public, over and over again, about the Trump Tower Meeting and the Trump Tower Moscow deal and a whole lot else. You should read it for yourself!

This was the tenor of much of the last day's presidential activity. The president could be found tweeting Fox clips directly or retweeting Fox News personalities (or Republican congressmen) who praised his Strong Leadership in the face of The Witch Hunt by 18 Angry Democrats, who concluded their Witch Hunt by producing a report that TOTALLY EXONERATED! him. Confused? That's the goal. BELOW
Related Stories
Complete Exoneration! Total Bullshit!
The Mueller Report Is a Challenge to Congress
The Flaw in Nancy Pelosi's Plan Is Republicans
The Mueller Report was compiled by Robert Mueller, a registered Republican, and his team. The report presented a huge volume of evidence that Mueller and his team felt did not rise to a level where they could indict the president or his associates for conspiracy with the Russian government—a highly specific charge. In one case, Donald Trump Jr. avoided prosecution because, essentially, they did not think he knew what he was doing with the Trump Tower Meeting.

But none of this means there was NO EVIDENCE!, or that any of this behavior was acceptable for the President of the United States. He repeatedly subjugated the national interest to his personal business, and the second part of the report seems to be a referral to Congress to consider impeaching the president on the basis he repeatedly sought to abuse his power to obstruct justice in the investigation.

None of that stopped the steady stream of commentary from the Presidential Twitter Feed, however.

This is, needless to say, not how anything works. The "high crimes" in the Constitution do not just refer to criminal offenses, but could also include the president violating his oath of office. In fact, impeachment is a political process, by which the Congress decides whether the president has done things that indicate he is not fit to hold the office. The bar is, or should be, above "outright conspiracy with a hostile foreign power."


The president and his campaign knew Russia was interfering in an American presidential election, on their behalf, and they gleefully allowed that to continue without reporting it to the FBI. Junior and others on the campaign even sought out the Russians' help more directly. And then the president repeatedly tried to cover it all up by abusing the powers of his office to interfere in the subsequent investigation—an investigation that was also digging into the nature of the Russian attack on our democracy.

Elsewhere, it was even more desperate:

After he took a hiatus to mock CNN's ratings—because what else does a president have to do?—Our Leader weighed in on an issue for our times: would Herman Cain join the board of the Federal Reserve?

The prospect of this appointment was so absurd that Mitt Romney managed to rattle off a passable joke about it. There is no disputing now that this is the dumbest time in history: we have instant access to more knowledge than our ancestors could even have conceived of, and yet we choose to elevate the most ignorant people with the most pathetic excuse for critical thinking skills to run the show. Nobody knows nothing about anything, and nobody cares.


After another hiatus where he discussed his conversations with other world leaders, it was back to serving as a Fox News producer. Trump tweeted out three clips in a row, including a segment from Lou Dobbs, the Fashy Benjamin Button, who bounced off a report from Breitbart (!) and hosted the bizarro former acting head of ICE to discuss. Jesus. But then it was back to Legal Analysis:

It's not clear what in the hell this guy is saying here. One of his campaign managers, Paul Manafort, was a cooperating witness—albeit a deceitful one—in the Mueller probe. The deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, was a very cooperative witness. Steve Bannon, the former campaign chair, spoke to Mueller at least three times. Michael Cohen, Trump's fixer and an adviser on the campaign, cooperated with the feds. Jared Kushner spoke to Mueller's team. Hope Hicks spoke to Mueller. White House Counsel Don McGahn spoke to Mueller. One of the few people who did not speak to Mueller was Donald Trump, likely because his lawyers knew that if he sat down and had to speak the truth under oath it could be the end of him.

After directly plugging an upcoming show from Lou Dobbs—the president also apparently works in Fox News PR now—it was time for a retweet bonanza. He shared a 10 minute (!) clip from talk-radio shock jock Mark Levin, who helpfully put the cover of his new pro-Trump book on an easel in the background. Buy buy buy! Then the president retweeted Maria Bartiromo (a once-normal Fox Business host who is now one of the president's most reliable boosters), Ronna McDaniel (the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee whom he reportedly convinced to drop her maiden name, Romney, out of spite), and Tom Fitton (head of far-right activist group Judicial Watch and, apparently, a kind of decaying Baldwin Brother).


Surely the bunny agrees there was NO COLLUSION!
MANDEL NGANGetty Images
The Fitton tweets in particular referred to the Mueller investigation as a "coup," which isn't dangerous at all, but which makes a lot of sense considering the coup ended with the coup-orchestrators not charging the guy they supposedly were trying to remove from office. In a Trump Content Singularity, many of these friendly retweets featured more clips pulled directly from Fox News, all of which agreed that the Mueller Report was a COMPLETE EXONERATION! by the angry Democrat hacks who staged the investigation. Again, don't think too hard about all this.

After a spell retweeting his top congressional toads—Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, etc.—there was some Easter Egg Roll content and some retweets pushing the "Opportunity Zones" program, which offers investors tax breaks on capital gains if they invest in businesses located in certain areas. Some new rules issued by the Treasury Department last week seemed to confront some of the concerns critics raised, including that a disproportionate share of these benefits would go to real-estate developers rather than start-up businesses that could generate lasting, solid-wage jobs. That's a good thing, considering there were widespread reports that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner could be set to benefit in their private business from the policy they helped craft in public office. Of course, this kind of conflict-of-interest is why we have ethics policies, all of which have gone out the window during The Great American Heist.

After more Fox News clips—including one with a presidential caption of "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT"—it was time for some unfriendly-media-bashing. The president went after New York Times opinion writer Paul Krugman by name, calling the Nobel Laureate economist "obsessed with hatred, just as others are obsessed with how stupid he is." This nonsense from Trump's towering intellect places Krugman in very real danger. Then Trump repeated his zombie lie about The New York Times, once again suggesting the paper "apologized" to him for its 2016 coverage (it did not) and suggesting it should do so again for its Russia reporting (it won't, as the vast majority of that reporting was backed up by The Mueller Report. Again, this indicates that Trump lied constantly in response to these news reports.) And then there was this flurry of Presidential Activity:


Good God, man. As Daniel Dale pointed out, the president managed to call Joe Scarborough a "Psycho" who's "Angry, Dumb and Sick"; dismiss Democrats as "totally insane"; attack The New York Times as "Fake News" and the "Enemy of the People"; call Krugman "stupid"; and moan that Twitter is "very discriminatory." This was all by 7:30 a.m. on a Tuesday.

You would think the world's most powerful man might have better things to do. He does not, at least by his accounting. His inner world is now consumed by these wars against anyone who could hold him accountable for what he's done, the Fox News loop churning in the background, pumping the electric resentment and primal fear through his veins. We didn't need the Mueller Report to see he was unfit to wield the power he has, but the conduct it lays out only bolsters the case. It is not an EXONERATION, it's a plea for Congress to do its job in defense of the republic.



Trump Will Stop at Nothing to Keep His Cash Secret
Democrats Must Save the Republic, Not the GOP

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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:32 am

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats have been feuding, putting in question Congress' ability to carry out its constitutional oversight. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

CONGRESS

Trump showdown with House Democrats ignites into all-out war
The White House and congressional investigators are hammering each other with legal action and charges of bad faith.

By ANITA KUMAR and ANDREW DESIDERIO 04/23/2019 07:07 PM EDT Updated 04/23/2019 09:11 PM EDT
The showdown between the Trump White House and House Democrats reached a new level of hostility this week, as several investigative disputes veered toward federal court amid scathing rhetoric on both sides.

Three dramatic clashes between White House lawyers and congressional Democrats over the past 36 hours have created an atmosphere of total war between the president and Capitol Hill, suggesting that even modest compromise may be impossible and that protracted court fights likely are inevitable.




House Democrats threatened Tuesday to hold in contempt a Trump official who oversaw security clearances after the White House instructed him not to cooperate with Congress. Later in the day, the Trump administration refused to turn over six years’ worth of President Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns by a 5 p.m. deadline, instead requesting more time to consult with the Justice Department. And later Tuesday, Trump said he was opposed to his current and former aides — most notably, former White House Counsel Don McGahn — testifying on Capitol Hill, escalating the showdown even further.

Those moves came a day after Trump took the dramatic step of suing the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee to block a subpoena for his financial records.



White House lawyers said they are guarding the executive branch’s prerogatives against what they call politically motivated congressional inquests. But Democrats see an unprecedented — and indefensible — degree of White House defiance.



“It’s a pretty extraordinary and outlandish situation right now,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House Oversight panel, said in an interview. “It’s like a curtain has fallen down over the White House.”
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Since House Democrats took power in January, White House officials have resorted to a range of aggressive tactics — refusing to turn over documents, declining to send witnesses to testify and even going to federal court to protect Trump's financial records from congressional scrutiny.

“It’s putting forth a constitutional crisis about whether the Congress can effectively perform its oversight duties,” said Morton Rosenberg, who served as legal adviser to the House general counsel.



Trump’s White House and personal lawyers have repeatedly counterpunched Democrats, using harsh and hostile terms and painting a portrait of a frantic White House under siege from an opposition party out to destroy the president.

“The Democrat Party, with its newfound control of the U.S. House of Representatives, has declared all-out political war against President Donald J. Trump,” Trump’s personal attorneys wrote in a court filing challenging a subpoena for his financial records from an accounting firm. “Democrat Party” is a term often used by conservatives that Democrats consider intentionally disrespectful.

Story Continued Below

“Instead of working with the president to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, House Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the president politically,” added the attorneys, William Consovoy and Stefan Passantino.

Story Continued Below

Trump allies have echoed that partisan framing in their arguments that Democrats are making illegitimate requests.

“No one should be surprised that this White House is following a time-honored tradition of ignoring partisan subpoenas,” said a former Trump adviser who remains close to the White House.

In recent days, the White House has begun instructing current and former White House officials, including former White House personnel security director Carl Kline, to not cooperate with Congress. The White House will also try to block McGahn — who is emerging as a star witness for House Democrats — from testifying by asserting executive privilege, according to two people familiar with the plans.

Trump, for his part, told The Washington Post that the White House Counsel’s office had not made a “final, final decision.” But he indicated he had no intention of complying with House Democrats.


“There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan — obviously very partisan,” Trump said.

“I don’t want people testifying to a party, because that is what they’re doing if they do this,” he added.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) subpoenaed McGahn to appear before the panel May 21 as part of its obstruction of justice investigation into Trump. But lawmakers have raised questions about whether Trump is able to claim executive privilege on anything revealed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report because the report is now a public document. It includes detailed testimony from McGahn, they said, which is effectively an affirmative decision by Trump to waive the privilege.


"As such, the moment for the White House to assert some privilege to prevent this testimony from being heard has long since passed,” Nadler said in a statement Tuesday. “I suspect that President Trump and his attorneys know this to be true as a matter of law — and that this evening’s reports, if accurate, represent one more act of obstruction by an administration desperate to prevent the public from talking about the president’s behavior.”




IRS blows deadline to hand over Trump tax returns
By AARON LORENZO
Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said he would schedule a vote to hold Kline in contempt for refusing to comply with the committee’s subpoena for a deposition before the panel, which was scheduled for Tuesday.



Trump’s lawyers aren’t the only ones making their case in acerbic terms. Cummings released a scathing statement Tuesday ripping the Trump administration for routinely shivving congressional oversight requests.

“It appears that the president believes that the Constitution does not apply to his White House, that he may order officials at will to violate their legal obligations, and that he may obstruct attempts by Congress to conduct oversight,” Cummings said. “It also appears that the White House believes that it may dictate to Congress — an independent and co-equal branch of government — the scope of its investigations and even the rules by which it conducts them.”



Kline is accused of overriding career national security officials to approve security clearances for officials whose applications were initially denied. The allegations against him were revealed to the committee by Tricia Newbold, a whistleblower who told the Oversight Committee that Kline and others put national security at risk by granting security clearances to more than two dozen officials.



“It’s true with all of the committees — the White House is fighting each and every one,” said Ed Passman, Newbold’s lawyer. “This is just another example. It’s really disappointing because my client has come forward at great personal risk.”



In addition to Nadler and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Cummings has emerged as a leading persona non grata in Trumpworld. And now, he’s become the latest in a long line of defendants in a Trump lawsuit.

“Elijah Cummings is a gentlemen who treats everybody with decency and respect,” Raskin said. “And it seems pretty shocking to me that the president has injected this kind of negative personal tone into the whole thing.”



A contempt vote against Kline, who now works at the Defense Department, would be the first since Trump took office. That could lead Congress to ask a judge to force the administration to cooperate. It could also lead the U.S. attorney in Washington to press charges, though that’s unlikely to happen.

“This is as close to anarchy as I have seen,” said Charles Tiefer, former solicitor and deputy general counsel of the House who is now a professor at the University of Baltimore. “The administrations seems to think it has floated off into space and no longer subject to oversight.”



White House deputy counsel Michael Purpura sent a letter Monday asking Kline not to answer questions because it “unconstitutionally encroaches on fundamental executive branch interests.”

Kline's attorney, Robert Driscoll, wrote a subsequent letter to the committee saying that Kline would not answer questions. “With two masters from two equal branches of government, we will follow the instructions of the one that employs him,” Driscoll wrote in the letter to the committee.

Donald Trump
WHITE HOUSE

Mueller report exposes diminishing power of Trump denials
By ANDREW RESTUCCIA

Democrats had hoped they would quickly receive documents and information about the Trump administration, but it has become clear that a long and frustrating fight with the president’s lawyers lies ahead. The fight could end up in court and could take several months, possibly stretching well into 2020 as the president runs for reelection.



Since 2007, Congress has held two officials in contempt — White House counsel Harriet Miers during George W. Bush’s tenure and Attorney General Eric Holder during Barack Obama’s presidency — but still failed to receive all the information it has requested.

A lawyer who worked in Obama’s White House said a White House requesting an official not cooperate is not unusual but it is unusual to do so without invoking executive privilege, which allows a president to shield certain communications from legislative and judicial branches. “It’s a very difficult situation unless they invoke executive privilege,” the lawyer said.



Nearly every House committee has launched investigations into the Trump administration, on everything from the easing of sanctions on businesses tied to a Russian oligarch to the federal government’s lease with the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

“When faced with choice of cooperation or confrontation, Chairman Cummings picked confrontation,” a spokesman for the Republican side of the Oversight panel said Tuesday, slamming Cummings for his “insatiable quest to sully the White House.”



In total, the administration has at least 30 times refused or delayed turning over documents to 12 House committees, according to House Democrats. A half dozen officials have refused to appear before five committees while two officials have refused to come in for interviews with two other committees, they say.

On Monday, Trump sued Cummings in an effort to block the Oversight Committee’s subpoena to accounting firm Mazars USA. The committee is seeking eight years of Trump’s financial records from the company.



The White House and Driscoll did not respond to a request for comment.






Trump unleashes on the media in morning tweetstorm
What you missed in the Mueller report
Trump Isn’t Just Reversing Obama’s Foreign Policies. He’s Making it Impossible for His Successor to Go Back to Them.
The rude awakening creeping up on Kamala Harris
Mueller report exposes diminishing power of Trump denials
Barr gets waiver on case linked to inquiry into Trump's re-election effort
Dems move to hold former White House official in contempt
Trump showdown with House Democrats ignites into all-out war
Clinton says Trump escaped indictment only because of DOJ policy
Larry Hogan derides Trump as ‘dear leader’



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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:36 am

Treasury misses deadline to turn over Trump tax returns, says decision coming May 6
By Lauren Fox, CNN
Updated 7:41 PM EDT, Tue April 23, 2019

article video
(CNN) The US Treasury blew past a Tuesday evening deadline to turn over President Donald Trump's tax returns to House Democrats, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying his department will "take final action on the Committee's request by May 6."

"Although federal law establishes no deadline for a response to your request, we expect to provide the Committee with a final decision by May 6, after receiving the Justice Department's legal conclusions," Mnuchin wrote in a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal.

Neal had given the IRS until 5 p.m. ET Tuesday to respond to the request, appealing directly to the tax agency after Mnuchin -- who oversees the IRS -- stepped in to decline a similar request earlier this month citing ongoing consultation with the Justice Department.

Following delivery of Treasury's letter, Neal put out a statement saying "Mnuchin notified me that once again, the IRS will miss the deadline ... I plan to consult with counsel about my next steps."

The Massachusetts Democrat has indicated that defying his request -- as the IRS was expected to do -- would be interpreted as noncompliance and lead to an escalation in the standoff between the administration and House Democrats over the President's financial records.

Democrats cry foul over Mnuchin role in Trump tax return drama
Democrats argue that it is up to Rettig, a Trump appointee, and not Mnuchin to release the returns.

"It is not the proper function of the IRS, Treasury or Justice to question or second guess the motivations of the committee or its reasonable determinations regarding its need for the requested tax returns and return information," Neal wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. "Please know that if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request."

But Rettig said in a recent hearing that Mnuchin is his boss, and Mnuchin has made clear that he has no plans to hand over documents any time soon.

In a letter to Neal sent Tuesday night, Rettig said "we have not made a final determination on how to respond" to his request.

"(We) are awaiting further guidance and direction on legal issues external to the internal review laws before doing so," Rettig wrote.

Mnuchin told reporters earlier this month that it would be "premature" to conclude how long the agency's review with the Justice Department could take given the complexity of the legal issues. He also called Tuesday's deadline "arbitrary."

"I'm not going to make a commitment prematurely as to whether we will be able to conclude our legal review within that deadline or not," said Mnuchin when asked by CNN. "Obviously, given the importance of this issue we have people working on this diligently. But again I would emphasize this is a decision that has enormous precedence in potentially weaponizing the IRS."

The President's personal lawyer, William Consovoy, has sent two letters to the Treasury Department urging them not to relent, arguing that Neal reached beyond his congressional authority under the law.

Consovoy also filed suit Monday on behalf of Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization, to block a separate request from the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, for a decades' worth of financial records from Trump's accounting firm Mazars.

Trump has broken decades of presidential precedent with his refusal to release his tax returns, first as a candidate and since taking office. He has also maintained his stake in his family real estate business, now overseen day-to-day by his adult sons Don Jr. and Eric Trump, opening himself to challenges that he is violating the constitutional ban on presidents taking gifts or money from foreign governments or US state entities.

Democrats cite an obscure statute
Since taking control of the House in January, Neal has spearheaded Democratic efforts to obtain Trump's tax returns using an obscure statute created in the wake of the Teapot Dome bribery scandal under President Warren G. Harding.

Democrats are steadfast in their belief that Neal has the power under IRS code 6103 to request any individual's tax information, including Trump's. The law states that three people -- the House Ways and Means Chairman, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman and the chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation -- have the power to request the tax information in order to conduct their own legislative business and that the Treasury Secretary "shall furnish" the information.

The statute has been used by Congress before and was used in a high-profile case when Congress investigated whether the IRS was discriminating against conservative groups applying for non-profit status. Request for information using 6103 are also made on a regular basis for research purposes by JCT.

Neal argues that he needs Trump's taxes in order to conduct oversight of the IRS's presidential audit program, both to understand how the IRS is using the program and see if the program needs to be codified into law.

Trump's lawyer has argued that Neal is only using the presidential audit program as a pretense to embarrass the President and release Trump's private information to the public.

"Congress has no constitutional authority to act like a junior-varsity IRS, rerunning individual examinations or flyspecking the agency's calculations," Consovoy wrote to Treasury last week.

A lengthy legal battle is expected
The administration's denial of the request is expected to spark a lengthy legal battle over the 6103 statute, which has never been scrutinized in the courts before. The fight will also be a rare example of Congress suing the executive branch for information, and could go on for months or even years.

The most recent example was in the "Fast and Furious" scandal, named for an Obama-era gun-walking program overseen by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that left a Border Patrol agent named Brian Terry dead.

In 2012, the House voted to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress and the House Oversight Committee sued the Obama administration for information related to the program, but it wasn't until 2014 that the court ruled the administration had to hand over additional documents. Even so, the squabbling over documents continues today.

This story has been updated to include additional developments Tuesday.


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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:45 pm

POLITICO





Robert Mueller
Since a redacted versoin of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report was released, President Donald Trump has tweeted about it more than 50 times. |

LEGAL

‘This is risky’: Trump’s thirst for Mueller revenge could land him in trouble
Team Trump’s bellicose tweets and public statements in the last few days could expose the president to fresh charges of witness intimidation and obstruction of justice.


Special counsel Robert Mueller may be done, but President Donald Trump and his team are still adding to an already hefty record of evidence that could fuel impeachment proceedings or future criminal indictments.

Team Trump’s bellicose tweets and public statements in the last few days are potentially exposing Trump to fresh charges of witness intimidation, obstruction of justice and impeding a congressional investigation — not to mention giving lawmakers more fodder for their presidential probes — according to Democrats and legal experts.



Already, a fusillade of verbal assaults aimed at former White House counsel Don McGahn, a star witness in the Mueller report, have sparked questions about obstruction and witness intimidation as Democrats fight the Trump White House to get McGahn’s documents and testimony.

“This is risky,” said William Jeffress, a prominent Washington defense attorney who represented President Richard Nixon after he left the White House. “I find it surprising because he’s taking these shots at witnesses who gave information to Mueller, and I think he’s got to be careful because there’s an explicit federal statute punishing retaliation against witnesses.”

It’s a lesson some thought Trump would have learned during the Mueller investigation.






Examples litter the special counsel’s 448-page report describing how the president ignored the advice of his lawyers and senior staff by tweeting about the Russia probe and discussing sensitive material with other White House aides and even the FBI director. Mueller made clear that those statements and tweets can be used as evidence to support a criminal charge.






But Trump and his lawyers haven’t hit the mute button.

The president has tweeted about the Russia probe more than 50 times since last Thursday’s release of a redacted version of the Mueller report. And attacks in recent days have turned forcefully against McGahn, who is mentioned more than 500 times in the Mueller report and who delivered damaging testimony about Trump’s attempts to shut down the Russia investigation. The White House signaled Thursday they’d invoke executive privilege to block the Democrats’ subpoena for McGahn, and Chairman Jerry Nadler swung back that the move “represent[s] one more act of obstruction by an Administration desperate to prevent the public from talking about the President’s behavior.”



The months ahead are also littered with a bevy of opportunities that could entice Trump to offer more barbed opinions — and more material for his investigators. His longtime associate Roger Stone goes on trial this November, tempting Trump to weigh in like he did during Paul Manafort’s trial, when the president posted tweets that were later cited in the Mueller report as evidence of obstruction.



And allies of Manafort and Michael Flynn, Trump’s brief national security adviser who faces prison time for lying to the FBI, are likely to amp up the calls for Trump to issue pardons or commute the sentences for the president’s former aides, each of which Democrats would interpret as additional obstruction evidence.

“A bank robbery is just as much a robbery if everyone sees it, as if nobody sees it,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told POLITICO.



“The president and his team may think that the Mueller report represents the sum total of what’s in play with Congress,” Raskin added. “But from our perspective, the Mueller report just sets the table for an analysis of what’s been taking place.”

On Capitol Hill, Democrats have more leeway than in the courtroom to introduce evidence if they pursue impeachment. For now, the party’s leaders are urging a go-slow approach, fretful that an unsuccessful attempt to remove the president would only help him win re-election in 2020.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders
WHITE HOUSE

Mueller report exposes diminishing power of Trump denials
By ANDREW RESTUCCIA
But the president’s taunts and missives directed at their investigations — and the potential witnesses they may call — could end up serving a double purpose: goading Democrats into taking the plunge on impeachment and also delivering them evidence to support the case.



“It is unrealistic to expect that the president is going to suddenly change his behavior or suddenly manifest respect for the rule of law,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), another Judiciary Committee member. “The president ought to be accountable for any additional conduct that may constitute an attempt to impede or interfere.”

“We ought to consider not only the full contents of the Mueller report but any subsequent conduct,” Cicilline added.



Trump’s allies say the president feels emboldened by the Mueller probe’s conclusions and doesn’t fear potential legal implications going forward.

“I don’t think he’s afraid of anything,” said Michael Caputo, a longtime Trump associate and former 2016 campaign aide who thinks Trump is indeed engaged in a “briar patch strategy trying to tempt the Democrats into a suicidal venture of impeachment.”

“After enduring the beating he’s endured for two years and watching it crumble into rubble, he sees this as a risky opportunity to do exactly what he’s doing,” Caputo said.



Joe diGenova, an informal Trump legal adviser, also shrugged off the potential legal exposure that comes with the president swinging away at the events depicted in the Mueller report and any of the witnesses whom Democrats are interested in calling.

“The president is doing exactly the right thing,” he told POLITICO, before amplifying Trump’s recent calls for a sweeping investigation into the origins of the Mueller probe. “This narrative is going to be overtaken by the largest scandal in the history of this country, and it ain’t about Trump.”



Legal experts disagree, and many see the president’s continuous chatter as ripe material for federal prosecutors if they decided to take the monumental step of pursuing Trump after he’s out of office.

While Mueller nodded to longstanding Justice Department legal opinions that a sitting president can’t be indicted as he explained his decision not to conclude whether Trump obstructed justice, he also included a footnote near the end of his report highlighting the risks that Trump nonetheless faces in both Congress and the courts.

Don McGahn
Former White House Counsel Don McGahn was a star witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

“A possible remedy through impeachment for abuses of power would not substitute for potential criminal liability after a President leaves office,” Mueller wrote. “Impeachment would remove a President from office, but would not address the underlying culpability of the conduct or serve the usual purposes of the criminal law.”



Essentially, legal experts say, Mueller is signaling that Trump could face criminal charges even if he was impeached.

Any prosecutors who indict Trump after he’s out of office would be working with a five-year statute of limitations on obstruction of justice cases. That means the president could only be exposed for any behavior during his first term if he doesn’t win re-election next November. But anything Trump does from here on out would keep restarting that five-year clock, meaning a second term wouldn’t make him bullet proof.



“I don’t think Trump ought to be relying on the statutes of limitations at the moment,” Jeffress said.



To bring an obstruction case against Trump after leaving office, the Justice Department would need to prove both his intent and knowledge of an existing criminal probe.

Trump is certainly aware of the various tendrils of Mueller’s criminal investigations, which have spawned numerous probes in federal offices in Washington, D.C., New York and Virginia. And as for intent, Mueller’s report lays out granular detail about much of the president’s mindset over the past two years.

“Yeah, you’d be monitoring what he’s saying and doing and what his interactions are with potential witnesses,” said a former prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan that continues to examine Trump’s campaign, business and inauguration.



Mueller’s team has also already made the legal argument for using Trump’s tweets as potential evidence for obstruction of justice and witness tampering. He specifically pointed to Trump’s effort to intimidate his former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, in a way that would prevent him from testifying on Capitol Hill earlier this year.

“No principle of law excludes public acts from the scope of obstruction statutes,” Mueller wrote.



Mueller’s prosecutors also laid out a template for the pursuit of witness tampering charges. For example, one of the charges against Stone alleges that the longtime GOP operative pressured a witness, radio host Randy Credico, to mislead lawmakers.

Cory Gardner with Senate Republicans
2020 ELECTIONS

Mueller fails to detonate for endangered Republicans
By BURGESS EVERETT and MELANIE ZANONA
A House Intelligence Committee Democratic source argued that the panel is “uniquely positioned” to investigate obstruction of its own probes should the commentary continue.



“It’s clear that the White House plans to obstruct all legitimate congressional oversight, just like Trump obstructed in Mueller’s probe at every turn and witnesses previously obstructed our committee,” the source said.

Despite the risks, Trump has continued to use his preferred social media platform to blow off steam and blast his political opponents and journalists. He has tweeted dozens of times to his nearly 60 million followers his thoughts — or retweeted others’ — since the redacted Mueller report’s public release last week. The posts range from benign criticisms of the news media to encouragements to investigate members of the Obama administration.



But it’s Trump’s veiled references to McGahn — he complained on Twitter about “people that take so-called ‘notes,’” which McGahn memorably told Mueller he had done extensively — that have caught lawyers’ attention.



Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, also leveled his own direct charges at McGahn this week, telling the New York Times that he questioned the former White House counsel’s motives and memory.

“This is a cross examination a law student could perform — by the time he’s finished, you would come to the conclusion he’s hopelessly confused,” Giuliani said. “We have no choice to attack because the Democrats say there is impeachable material here.”



In a text message to POLITICO on Tuesday, Giuliani called it “ridiculous” to consider the president’s comments about the Mueller report as new evidence that could harm Trump.

“President’s tweets merely repeat and emphasize points made in report,” he wrote.



McGahn “has two or three versions of the conversation regarding Mueller,” Giuliani added. But Trump and his former personal counsel, John Dowd, “have a different but singular recollection” that runs counter to what McGahn told Mueller, he said.

Caputo, the former Trump campaign aide, brushed off the notion that Trump could face legal liability in his post-White House years.

“To the people who want to take on the president after he’s served out his term, my advice to them is pack a lunch because they’re in for the fight of their lives,” he said. “This kind of analysis is designed to intimidate lesser men and the president is unintimidatable.”



But the president’s critics welcome the Trump team’s double-down approach.

“I’m pleading with Rudy Giuliani. Please stay on television,” said Lanny Davis, the former Bill Clinton White House scandal manager who now represents Trump’s ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Added Julian Epstein, a chief counsel for House Judiciary Committee Democrats during the Clinton impeachment fight, “They’re acting like a scene out of ‘America’s Dumbest Criminals.’ They just keep fueling a fire that has been the bane of their two years in the White House.”





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Re: Trump enters the stage Denial redux or is it?

Postby Meno_ » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:10 pm

ABCNews
'We’re fighting all the subpoenas': Trump on battle with House Democrats
By Jordyn Phelps
Apr 24, 2019, 11:54 AM ET

WATCH: Trump called a subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGhan "ridiculous."
Declaring the Mueller investigation “the most thorough investigation, probably, in the history of our country,” President Donald Trump on Wednesday called the subpoena for his former White House counsel Don McGahn “ridiculous” and argued his team shouldn’t be subject to any further inquiry.

“I say it’s enough,” the president told reporters as he left the White House this morning for a trip to Atlanta.


Don McGahn, White House Counsel to President-elect Donald Trump, arrives at Trump Tower in New York City, Jan. 9, 2017.

“The subpoena is ridiculous. We have been -- I have been the most transparent president and administration in the history our country by far,” Trump said, repeating his usual claim that there was collusion, no obstruction, and that any potential wrongdoing was perpetrated by Democrats.

The president also seemed to be suggest that the Mueller probe, in its thoroughness, also cleared him of any questions related to his taxes and financial holdings.

“Mueller, I assume, for $35 million, checked my taxes, checked my financials, which are great by the way, but they checked my taxes and they checked my finances I assume,” Trump said.

But despite the president's assumption, the president’s personal finances were apparently not a target of Mueller’s investigation, which focused on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and questions of obstruction of justice.

Asked a second time about the subpoena for McGahn and White House plans to resist, the president said “we are fighting all the subpoenas,” arguing that all the investigative efforts from congressional Democrats are politically motivated.


“These aren't like impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020. They're not going to win with the people that I see, and they’re not going to win against me. The only way they can maybe luck out, and I don’t think that’s going to happen, the only way they can luck out is by constantly going after me on nonsense.”

© 2019 ABC News Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.


Another Denial

Trump thinks the Supreme Court can save him from impeachment (it can't)
04/24/19 12:45PM
By Steve Benen


Now that he's placed two far-right jurists on the Supreme Court, Donald Trump seems convinced that the nation's highest bench will effectively serve as a rubber stamp, clearing the way for everything he wants.

The White House agenda on DACA? The president expects the Supreme Court to rule his way. Birthright citizenship? The president expects the Supreme Court to rule his way. Redirecting funds through an emergency declaration? The president expects the Supreme Court to rule his way. Tearing down his own country's health care system? The president expects the Supreme Court to rule his way.

Two senior administration officials told NBC News in November that "with Justice Brett Kavanaugh now on the Supreme Court," the White House "expects to win."

With this mind, consider Trump's latest mini-tantrum on Twitter.

"The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn't lay a glove on me. I DID NOTHING WRONG. If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Not only are there no 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors,' there are no Crimes by me at all. All of the Crimes were committed by Crooked Hillary, the Dems, the DNC and Dirty Cops - and we caught them in the act! We waited for Mueller and WON, so now the Dems look to Congress as last hope!"

Much of this is gibberish, including the assertions that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings uncovered no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Reality tells a different story, especially as it relates to obstruction of justice.

It's also bizarre that the erratic president believes his opponents have been "caught in the act" of committing crimes -- misdeeds that exist only in Trump's mind.

But what may matter most is Trump's intention to "head to the U.S. Supreme Court" if congressional Dems launch an impeachment effort.


We're occasionally reminded of just how little our amateur president understands about the basics of American governance and civics. We're also reminded that Trump doesn't feel the need to ask anyone for clarifications about how the system works, since his misplaced confidence overshadows his ignorance.

But as someone really ought to let the president know, Congress is responsible for initiating, overseeing, and executing the impeachment process. Lawmakers, and no one else, determine whether a president has committed impeachable acts.

Trump could "head to the U.S. Supreme Court," but there's literally nothing justices could do for him, even if they wanted to. The judiciary has no authority to help or hinder the impeachment proceedings.

The president doesn't know that, and while that's embarrassing, he nevertheless seems eager to let everyone know just how confused he is.

In the process, Trump is also offering a peek into his perspective on problem-solving. When he finds himself in a jam, the president seems to instinctively look for a fixer: Trump has spent his tenure assuming that everyone from his attorney general to his congressional allies to his White House counsel can simply make his problems go away for him.

As of this morning, the president seems to think the Supreme Court can even rescue him from the threat of impeachment.

It cannot.


©2019 NBC UNIVERSAL




And more defiance: whaaaat?




WHITE HOUSE
Trump goes to war for power over Congress
Analysis: Critics say the president is abusing his authority so badly that he could be impeached for actions that having nothing to do with Russia.

President Donald Trump waves as he greets supporters on the tarmac at Palm Beach International Airport, as he arrives to spend Easter weekend at his Mar-a-Lago club, Florida on April 18, 2019.Al Drago / Reuters

April 24, 2019, 6:59 PM ET
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is trying to show Congress that he's boss.

The release last week of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by Trump has unleashed the president's fury — as evidenced by a steady stream of angry tweets and threats of retribution against adversaries real and perceived — and his willingness to thumb his front tooth at Congress.


The result is an escalating assertion of the presidency as the dominant branch of government in a war over the balance of power. The battle has implications for the rest of Trump's first term, his re-election bid and the institutional authorities at the heart of American democracy.

There's even some thought that Trump is now baiting the House to impeach him.

"I think it's entirely possible he’s pursuing a briar-patch strategy, like bring your impeachment because you will be punished for it — not by me, but by the voters," said Michael Caputo, a GOP strategist and former Trump adviser.

Increasingly, constitutional experts say Trump is providing evidence to conclude that there are grounds outside Mueller's findings that he has crossed the Constitution's loosely defined "high crimes and misdemeanors" threshold for impeachment.


Most recently, for example, Trump has instructed subordinates to deny Congress access to witnesses and documents that House leaders have demanded for their investigations. The Washington Post reported that the White House plans to block a subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify by exercising executive privilege, though Trump told the paper in an interview that he had not "made a final, final decision" to do so.

But some longtime analysts of the Washington power balance say Trump's latest moves are the most contemptuous in a full-scale effort to stretch the bounds of his office.

"Trump is not inventing executive intransigence out of whole cloth," said Heidi Kitrosser, author of "Reclaiming Accountability: Transparency, Executive Power, and the U.S. Constitution" and a professor at the University of Minnesota law school. "At the same time, this is not same-old, same-old. He is taking longstanding pathologies in terms of an increasingly imperial executive branch and ratcheting it up many times over."

In recent months, Trump has declared a national emergency so he could re-appropriate money to build a border wall — a move congressional Democrats and several state attorneys general say is an unconstitutional encroachment on Congress' spending authority — and his administration has routinely denied lawmakers' requests for basic information from federal agencies.


It's not just Congress that has found Trump's regard for the rule of law wanting; the courts have also weighed in.

In a review of more than five dozen instances in which courts blocked actions by the Trump administration, The Washington Post found a common thread: judges ruling that officials had implemented policies without following the rules.

In his report to Attorney General William Barr, Mueller identified 10 instances in which Trump's behavior could be viewed as obstruction of justice. While Mueller declined to conclude the president had, in fact, obstructed justice — he said that Justice Department policy precluded him from recommending a prosecution of the president whether or not he believed it was warranted — he also said his report did not exonerate Trump.

Trump's angry reaction to the release of the redacted Mueller report, his ongoing commentary about witnesses and his demand that the White House fight congressional efforts to interview Mueller's witnesses has been taken by some critics as fresh evidence that he continues to obstruct justice.


Increasingly, constitutional experts say that Trump's actions, both within the context of the just-released special counsel report and outside it, represent abuses of office so serious they could rise to the constitutional impeachment standard of "high crimes and misdemeanors."

"The report’s details add to an existing body of information already in the public domain documenting the president’s violations of his oath, including but not limited to his denigration of the free press, verbal attacks on members of the judiciary, encouragement of law enforcement officers to violate the law, and incessant lying to the American people," several members of the group Checks and Balances, co-founded by conservative lawyer George Conway, wrote in a statement released Tuesday. "We believe the framers of the Constitution would have viewed the totality of this conduct as evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors."

In any event, Trump is demonstrating a resistance to the constraints on his office — and a disrespect for the powers of the other "co-equal" branches of his government — that is both familiar in nature and unfamiliar in degree to those who have watched authority ceded to the presidency in recent decades.

"I think this is an extension of a trend that has been occurring over the past several presidencies," said Mack McLarty, who served as President Bill Clinton's chief of staff. "President Trump has pushed the limit and that may be putting it diplomatically."

Kitrosser, the University of Minnesota law school professor, said the response to Trump will be important for the future of the balance of power.

"The big question is, will the Trump administration be a turning point that leads us to address some of these longstanding pathologies, particularly executive imperialism and Congress' abdication, or whether it is going to lead us to accept ever greater imbalance of power?" she said. "I think we're at a real turning point and it can go one way or the other."

Jonathan Allen
Jonathan Allen is a Washington-based national political reporter for NBC News who focuses on the presidency.

© 2019 NBC UNIVERSAL
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:00 pm

Rolling Stone


Trump’s Ego Is a Risk to National Security
Trump believes he’s earned everything he has — including the presidency — and that is why our elections are still vulnerable

JAMIL SMITH
APRIL 25, 2019 11:19AM EDT


President Donald Trump listens at Nuss Truck and Equipment, in Burnsville, MinnTrump in Minnesota,
One of the more comical episodes recounted in Robert Mueller’s report occurred in the summer of 2017 when President Trump, days after futilely ordering the special counsel fired, dictated a note to Corey Lewandowski. The president told his former campaign manager to copy down a speech for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to read. Trump thought Sessions could effectively un-recuse himself from the investigation and clear the president all at once, declaring, according to Lewandowski’s notes, that “there were no Russians involved with him. I know it for a fact b/c I was there. He didn’t do anything wrong except he ran the greatest campaign in American history.”




Where Will Trump's Obstruction Obsession End?
Last Thursday, for the first time, we could read between the redacted black lines and understand for ourselves what Robert Mueller found out about Russia’s interference in our elections on Donald Trump’s behalf. Discussing it as theoretical, or affixing a “-gate” to it as if it is some kind of media-generated scandal is something I won’t do. Despite the tired protestations of an increasingly desperate few, it is clear that the Russian government did this, that the president and his campaign knew about it and were largely fine with it. I say “largely” only because it is clear that Trump’s ego couldn’t quite handle it. As he sat in the Oval Office dictating that letter to Lewandowski, he had to have known how much help he got from the Kremlin. But not only could he not admit it, he saw self-aggrandizement as a way out of his mess.

Trump’s job makes all of his psychological pathologies our problem, and that is why a Wednesday New York Times story about election security was so alarming. Apparently Kirstjen Nielsen, the former Homeland Security secretary whom Trump pushed out weeks before the Mueller report’s release, was busy with something other than gaslighting the nation about the administration’s grotesque family-separation policy. She was trying to prepare for the evolving ways that the Russians would try to interfere in the 2020 election, whether by further perverting social media, disrupting power grids, hacking election machines, or whatnot. Before she even could convene a White House meeting on the urgent topic, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly told her not to bring it up in front of the boss, lest he feel that his 2016 victory was delegitimized. She eventually gave up. Nothing got done.


Trump and those closest to him continue to live in a universe where Russia just bought “some Facebook ads,” as son-in-law Jared Kushner incorrectly put it during a TIME magazine event in New York on Tuesday. It would be one thing if that willful ignorance manifested itself merely as the occasional sound bite at a public event, quickly debunked and dismissed. But the report reminds us that John Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, eliminated the position of cybersecurity coordinator last year, even as Silicon Valley was helping DHS to thwart foreign attacks during the 2018 midterms. The job of minding the very problem that the Russians exploited has been left to junior aides while people like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo say such believable tough-guy things about Russia like, “We will make very clear to them this is unacceptable behavior.” I’m sure that Vladimir Putin will take that under advisement.

Mueller’s report addresses Trump’s negligence, as well. While he was president-elect, Trump was fuming about the Obama administration’s December 2016 intelligence assessment that concluded Russia interfered in the election on Trump’s behalf. Former Trump communications director Hope Hicks told Mueller that the president-elect saw the Obama assessment as “his ‘Achilles heel’ because, even if Russia had no impact on the election, people would think Russia helped him win, taking away from what he had accomplished.”

It isn’t about how much or how little the Russians helped. It is that Trump knew that they were trying to help him, and he didn’t have the patriotism or good sense to take the action to stop them. Worse now that he is the president of the United States, and his ego is so weak, frail and easily bruised that he still won’t even entertain discussion of taking action to stop another potential Russian attack. It is more than an abdication of duty, somehow. It borders on treason. And for what? Not for some entrenched ideal or dogma, but because this grown man can’t take the criticism. Or he knows deep down that he can’t win in a fair fight.


Trump has committed many a transgression against the norms of American governance; that was to be expected, since he was utterly unqualified, in experience and character, to hold the position. What that Times report describes is a new abyss, however. We have seen Trump attempt to threaten American democracy before in a hackneyed fashion — encouraging his fans to oversee polls, spreading lies about undocumented voting and even forming that panel that found no voter fraud. Mueller’s report brought us back to the main way that Trump and his allies worked to subvert our elections, even if it was by doing as little as not picking up the phone to call the FBI when receiving offers of help from the Russians. Now, having accepted that help and refusing to own it, his fragility threatens American democracy.

If Trump were so concerned about being awarded full credit for an election victory, he should never have joined the Republican Party, the principal perpetrator of voter suppression. He did it one better by winning the first presidential election in 50 years without the protections of the Voting Rights Act, and he still felt compelled to welcome Russian assistance. Why else was he asking them, publicly, to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails? And in one of the most redacted parts of the Mueller report it divulges how Trump gave his aide Rick Gates, right-hand man to former campaign chief Paul Manafort, a heads-up in the summer of 2016 that more damaging information about Clinton via WikiLeaks was coming. Gates told Mueller that the campaign was planning, per Mueller, “a press strategy, a communications campaign, and messaging” around the leaked emails. You did all that, Mr. President, and still you want to act like you earned this win?


False meritocracy is essential both to the rancor that feeds the president’s politics and to the brand that helped make him a celebrity. If there is anything holding up the Trump name on the sides of those buildings, it is the lie of the American Dream, the notion that anyone can make it if they try. Yes, anyone can make it if they have a father setting them up with a six-figure salary at the age of 3, a father whose businesses Trump and his siblings can later exploit in fraudulent tax schemes to further enrich themselves. Perhaps Trump knows the truth. This is the guy who, after all, immediately dispatched his minions to bury his own grades right around the time that he felt compelled to question Barack Obama’s scholastic record.

Meritocracy is a myth, as I’m sure you realize by now. The notion that you have earned a benefit by virtue of being born who you are is the very invention upon which bigotry relies. This is why it remains essential not only to Trump’s brand, but to America’s. It is a common thread that both share as they seek to forget the truth about themselves.

The Mueller report punctured that narrative, perhaps fatally. Trump’s poll numbers sank after the release of the redacted report to tie his all-time low of 39 percent, but most important: everyone knows. Even the most fringe chatboard extremist will have trouble denying that Trump received help from an adversarial foreign power to win the election (and against a woman, which may truly eat at him).

It is unclear how much satisfaction we can derive from knowing, however. Despite being exposed as a fraud yet again, there is little standing in his way. The Supreme Court’s five conservatives, tipped that direction by Trump’s two picks, appear ready to rubber-stamp a citizenship question on the Census that will have a demonstrable discriminatory impact and may cement a Republican advantage in American politics for a decade or more. The president’s immigration hellion, Stephen Miller, has been given even more power to make life hell for non-white immigrants in the wake of Nielsen’s departure. Trump is stalling congressional efforts to probe his tax returns and interview Mueller’s key witnesses.


If Democrats opt not to use the constitutional tool available to them — despite presidential contenders like Elizabeth Warren and Julián Castro making cogent arguments for impeachment — it appears that they are less likely to attempt to hold Trump accountable than to validate him with their inaction. Should he go on to win re-election, possibly even with the conjoined suppressive efforts of the Republicans and Russians, there is little doubt that he will feel that he deserved it. He’ll surely tell us.




© 2019 PMC. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:59 am

Donald Trump sent 3 tweets on the Mueller probe this morning. He got (at least) 6 facts wrong.
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated 12:38 PM EDT, Thu April 25, 2019


(CNN) President Donald Trump has been, even by his own lofty standards, on a bit of a Twitter bender over the last week or so -- simultaneously rejoicing in the fact that he was not charged in the Mueller report and angry at all of his critics for their unwillingness to drop the so-called "witch hunt."

On Thursday morning, Trump launched a three-part Twitter rant about the Mueller, his former White House counsel Don McGahn and, well, all sorts of other things. By my count -- with a big assist from CNN Russia expert Marshall Cohen -- Trump got six facts wrong in just three tweets.

View this interactive content on CNN.com
Let's start with the primary source here. Here's the full tripartite Trump tweet:


"As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn't need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself. Nevertheless Mueller was NOT fired and was respectfully allowed to finish his work on what I, and many others, say was an illegal investigation (there was no crime), headed by a Trump hater who was highly conflicted, and a group of 18 VERY ANGRY Democrats. DRAIN THE SWAMP! Despite the fact that the Mueller Report was "composed" by Trump Haters and Angry Democrats, who had unlimited funds and human resources, the end result was No Collusion, No Obstruction. Amazing!"

Oh, it's amazing, all right.

Now, for the facts.

1.The Mueller report made clear that not only did Trump tell McGahn to get rid of Mueller but, when The New York Times broke that news, he called McGahn into his office again to ask him to issue a statement denying that the incident had occurred. McGahn refused. McGahn spent more than 30 hours in interviews with the special counsel's office as did numerous other members of McGahn's office and Trump's team. Now, did Trump tell McGahn to "fire" Mueller, or simply to get rid of him? Trump may be trying to hang his hat on the specific word "fire" but that's a distinction without a difference.

2. Trump's claim that he could have fired Mueller if he had wanted to isn't exactly accurate. First of all, Trump wouldn't be the one directly doing the firing -- that would fall to the Justice Department, where Mueller was technically an employee. Second, Department of Justice regulations make clear that a special counsel can only be removed for "good cause," like misconduct, medical reasons, or violating internal policies. And Attorney General William Barr, in his confirmation hearings, made clear that he would resign rather than remove Mueller without good cause.

3. The Mueller probe wasn't illegal. Trump repeats this over and over again based on a spurious claim: That the FBI's counter-intelligence investigation was begun because of the opposition research document put together by former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele. But that's not the full picture. The counter-intelligence probe started because Australian officials warned their US counterparts that a Trump aide -- George Papadopoulos -- had been bragging that he knew the Russians had dirt on Clinton. When WikiLeaks began releasing hacked DNC emails, the Australians got in touch with the Americans. And then there's the fact that multiple judges upheld Mueller's appointment, his authority, and the prosecutorial decisions he's made throughout the process.

4. There's zero evidence that Mueller was "conflicted" much less "highly conflicted," as Trump claims. Trump's entire premise is based on the fact that Mueller once was a member of his golf club in Virginia and, when he left, there was a debate over dues owed. (As Mueller explained in his report, the decision was based on the fact that his family lived in Washington and rarely was able to use the Virginia club.) In May 2017, the Department of Justice confirmed that Mueller had no ethical issues that would keep him from carrying out the investigation fairly. "(W)e can confirm that the department ethics experts have reviewed the matters and determined that Mr. Mueller's participation in the matters assigned to him is appropriate," said a DOJ release at the time. And, according to the Mueller report, McGahn, Trump's own top lawyer, explained to Trump that Mueller wasn't "conflicted."

5. Trump's claim that he "respectfully" let Mueller do his job is laughable. Put aside the near-constant Twitter attacks about the probe's illegality and the alleged biases of the investigators and you are still left with a series of episodes in which Trump seemed set on disrupting the probe. As documented in the Mueller report, Trump sought to have Mueller removed, tried to limit the scope of Mueller's investigation to only future election interference, tried to force then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself in the investigation and pressured several aides to issue public denials about incidents he knew to be true. That's a funny way of showing respect.

6. The idea that Mueller found Trump had committed "no obstruction" is disputed by the text of the report itself. Wrote Mueller and his team: "(I)f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. ... Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." In the report, Mueller also makes clear that one of the reasons he did not recommend Trump be charged with obstruction is because under Justice Department guidelines a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. Therefore, Mueller didn't even consider it.

View this interactive content on CNN.com
There's one other thing to keep in mind as Trump seeks to edit (or abolish) the established facts in the Mueller investigation: The President had the opportunity to sit down with Mueller and explain everything, and he chose not to do so. His lawyers resisted repeated pleas by Mueller for an in-person interview, eventually only submitting written answers. Why? Well, Trump's lawyers have complained of possible "perjury trap." You can't lie during interviews with investigators. It's a federal crime. (Just ask former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.) If Trump had repeated some of these lies to Mueller, we could be in a very different place right now.

Trump is actively working to mold the Mueller report and its findings to fit his own narrative. But as Thursday morning's tweetstorm proves, the President's narrative falls way short on facts.

CNN's Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.
View on CNN

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



-------------- - -----------!-!- - - !!!!! ---- ! - ----

The Trump Impeachment
Unfit To Lead
Mueller prosecutors: Yes, Trump did obstruct justice
By Dartagnan / Daily Kos (04/26/2019) - April 26, 2019304


Our president is a criminal.

Prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded last year that they had sufficient evidence to seek criminal charges against President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice over the president’s alleged pressuring of then FBI Director James Comey in February 2017 to shut down an FBI investigation of the president’s then national security adviser, Michael Flynn.



Murray Waas, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, is an independent investigative reporter who has worked for Reuters and as senior editor for the National Journal. Writing for the New York Review of Books, Waas confirms that he learned of the prosecutors’ conclusions from two federal officials who had been confidentially briefed by the prosecutors themselves.




Privately, the two prosecutors, who were then employed in the special counsel’s office, told other Justice Department officials that had it not been for the unique nature of the case—the investigation of a sitting president of the United States, and one who tried to use the powers of his office to thwart and even close down the special counsel’s investigation—they would have advocated that he face federal criminal charges. I learned of the conclusions of the two former Mueller prosecutors not by any leak, either from them personally or from the office of special counsel. Rather, the two prosecutors disclosed this information in then-confidential conversations with two other federal law enforcement officials, who subsequently recounted what they were told to me.



Of the 11 potential instances of obstruction investigated by the Mueller team, Waas concludes that, based on his reading of the report, the strongest basis for a criminal case was Trump’s attempt to pressure then-FBI Director James Comey to shut down the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn. And, unsurprisingly, this avenue was the one most feared by Trump himself.

Independently of the Mueller report, confidential White House records that I have been able to review, as well as correspondence between the president’s attorneys and the special counsel already made public, demonstrate that the president and his attorneys considered Trump’s alleged attempt to shut down the Flynn inquiry to be the most direct threat to Trump’s presidency.

Waas also explains in detail how his sources were provided with this information by the Mueller prosecutors.

In the course of such cases, prosecutors and FBI agents working for Mueller often interacted with their peers in US attorneys’ offices around the country and in the DOJ’s Criminal Division and Public Integrity Section. Some of Mueller’s prosecutors, who had been detailed from other Justice Department offices, have since returned to their previous jobs or taken new positions in the department. The special counsel’s office was thus less sequestered than is generally believed.


It was against this backdrop that prosecutors working for the special counsel spoke to their peers in the Justice Department. That is how I learned what, in particular, the two Mueller prosecutors had to say about the Flynn investigation. Two people present during one such conversation provided me with detailed and consistent accounts of what the special counsel’s two prosecutors had said to them. A third person present corroborated that the conversation took place but declined to provide details of what was said.

According to Waas, these sources were motivated to provide this information in part by what they saw as a blatant misrepresentation of the Mueller report to the American public by the Trump-selected Attorney General William Barr.

The finding of obstruction by Trump with regard to the Flynn inquiry was based on Mueller’s judgment that Comey’s account of Trump’s attempt to shut down the inquiry was credible, and that Trump fully understood the jeopardy Flynn was in and nonetheless attempted to influence the investigation with the goal of hiding his collusion with the Russians from the American public. According to what Waas has been told, the Mueller team not only found Trump to have acted to obstruct, but also found his actions were carried out with “corrupt intent.”

Finally, Waas believes that Mueller reasonably expected that career officials in the Justice Department would act on his findings and pursue potential criminal charges against Trump once he was out of office. What he did not expect was that Barr would act not as an officer of the law, but as a corrupt partisan hack, peremptorily attempting to whitewash the report and hide the truth from the American public.







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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:36 pm

DONALD TRUMP
Trump refers to Mueller probe as attempted 'coup,' says 'I didn't need a gun' to fend it off
Speaking at the annual NRA meeting, Trump accused Democrats and U.S. intelligence of using the Mueller investigation as an attempted "overthrow."
Image: Donald Trump
President Trump addressed the NRA's annual meeting Friday in Indianapolis. It was his third straight year appearing before the group as president.Evan Vucci / AP
April 26, 2019, 11:25 AM PDT / Updated April 26, 2019, 12:58 PM PDT
By Lauren Egan
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday accused Democrats and the U.S. intelligence community of attempting a "coup" in the form of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and said he didn't "need a gun" to fend it off.

"They tried for a coup, it didn't work out so well. And I didn't need a gun for that one, did I?" Trump told the crowd of gun-rights advocates at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Indianapolis on Friday. "All was taking place at the highest levels in Washington, D.C. You've been watching, you've been seeing.”

"Spying, surveillance. Trying for an overthrow," Trump continued. "And we caught them, we caught them. Who would have thought in our country?"



Trump on Mueller investigation: 'They tried for a coup'
During his speech Trump also announced he would remove the U.S. from the Arms Trade Treaty, which he described as "badly misguided" and promised to never allow foreign bureaucrats to "trample on your Second Amendment freedoms."

Trump also touched on issues of immigration and the border wall during the event. He promised the crowd he would have "over 400 miles of border wall built by the end of next year" and lamented that immigration laws could be changed in "15 minutes" if it were not for Democrats in Congress.

"Dealing with these people is very, very difficult if you haven’t noticed. Any other politician would have given up a long time ago," Trump said of Democratic lawmakers.

Trump also celebrated his appointments of federal judges, stating that "next week we will confirm our 100th federal judge," adding that he expects to have the second highest percentage of judges confirmed, other than George Washington. "He gets 100 percent."
White House celebrates Melania Trump's birthday with bizarre photo
Trump also appeared to have his 2020 re-election on his mind. He attacked Democratic presidential candidates, calling them "maniacs."

"We believe in the rule of law, and we will always protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," Trump said. "There are some people who are running right now and I don’t think they have that No. 1 on their list."

"You better get ready to vote," Trump added, noting that the election was still well over a year away.

The NRA spent more than it ever had on an election in 2016, shelling out over $36 million to help Trump. Friday was Trump’s third consecutive year addressing the NRA gathering as president.

The NRA is known as a fierce lobbying presence in Washington that critics say is unafraid to use scare tactics and fearmongering to achieve policy goals. But it has faced issues in the past few months.

The group is entangled in several lawsuits and has struggled to raise enough money to fully fund its operations. They have also seen some of their recent efforts fail: The House this month voted to approve an updated Violence Against Women Act that banned those convicted of domestic abuse from purchasing a gun.


NBC NEWS / NEWS

© 2019 NBC UNIVERSAL




Opinion + Live TV
Biden takes the fight straight to Trump
By Pat Wiedenkeller, CNN
Updated 9:08 AM EDT, Sun April 28, 2019

article video
Editor's Note: (Sign up to get our new weekly column as a newsletter. We're looking back at the strongest, smartest opinion takes of the week from CNN and other outlets.)

(CNN) Joe Biden kicked off his 2020 presidential bid this week with a video. He looked into the camera and talked about the torch-wielding white supremacists of Charlottesville, Virginia, with an opening argument that aimed to leap over his primary opponents, across the generation gap, straight at President Trump. "We are in the battle for the soul of this nation," he said.

He's older, he's white, he's straight, he's a guy -- but in a Democratic field that "looks like a Benetton ad," don't hold that against him, said Republican Ana Navarro. "Joe Biden brings a lot to the table. He is everything Trump is not. He knows policy. He is a uniter. He calls for our better angels. He is empathetic and draws on his own grief to console and encourage others through theirs. He laughs easily. He is decent."

And the main thing? "He is normal." Right now, Navarro said, "'normal' sounds really good to me."

David Gergen, James Piltch and Blythe Riggan weren't so sure of Biden's chances, after watching five of his opponents appear in Monday's marathon of town halls on CNN. "His chief opponents are more formidable than they may have appeared in the early going, and the generational gap within the field may well work in favor of the younger candidates."

One of those opponents, Elizabeth Warren, is the star who may eclipse another high-flying Biden rival, Bernie Sanders, wrote Jess McIntosh.

Scott Jennings saw in the five-candidate evening "socialism on parade." As he watched, "I imagined my taxes going up. I imagined my guns and pickup truck being confiscated by the Green New Deal police. I imagined Donald Trump being impeached. I imagined Bernie Sanders ordering his bros to pick me up by the ankles and shake the change from my pockets."

Biden's pluses and minuses
Joe Biden's move to invoke Charlottesville was smart, wrote Dean Obeidallah. "I can assure the 2020 candidates that Trump's demonization of communities, from blacks to Latinos to the disabled to transgender Americans to my own -- Muslim Americans," is very much on the minds of the progressive base.

Susan Crabtree, in RealClearPolitics, took a look at bad things people say about Biden -- he's handsy, he bullied Anita Hill, he opposed desegregation, he's a gaffe machine -- and wondered whether Trump may have actually softened the ground for him.

"In the era of Donald J. Trump, with his freewheeling rallies and over-the-top combative Twitter jabs, authenticity reigns supreme over more scripted, polished pols," she wrote. "What amounted to weaknesses in Biden's previous presidential campaigns could emerge as strengths."

But Matthew Yglesias, in Vox, foresaw a Hillary Clinton problem. Biden may be likable enough, but he will still face "extended public scrutiny of every detail of a decades-long career in public life. ... Americans like outsiders and fresh faces, not veteran insiders who bear the scars of every political controversy of the past two generations."

Prepare to die, Game of Thrones characters
Tonight on HBO's "Game of Thrones," Gene Seymour warned, "we're prepared to have our guts wrenched and hearts broken." Someone is going to die, naturally. Who will it be? Seymour hates to spoil it, but "if you insist on some idle, haphazard speculation, you've come to the right place." We won't give his educated guesses away -- but Brienne of Tarth? Grey Worm? Gendry? Watch your back. (HBO is a subsidiary of WarnerMedia, which owns CNN).

Last week, of course, brought an altogether different shocker for Thrones fans: Arya, a young assassin, a character they've known since she was 11, lost her virginity. Some viewers balked. Double standard, wrote Holly Thomas: She is 18 now -- why shouldn't she get on top? "A young woman claiming her sexuality apparently still challenged some viewers," Thomas wrote. "For young female audiences who are too often fed a diet of nerves and submission around first-time sex however, Arya's approach marks a welcome shift toward sexual autonomy."

Mueller report: Now what?
As Democrats tangled over what to do in the wake of Attorney General William Barr's release of the (redacted) Mueller report, Hillary Clinton weighed in with an op-ed for The Washington Post. Robert Mueller's report is "a road map" for both parties, she wrote. "Congress should hold substantive hearings that build on the Mueller report and fill in its gaps, not jump straight to an up-or-down vote on impeachment," and look to Watergate for precedents. "We have to get this right," she wrote.

Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig dug in on reader questions about the report, among them, "How could the White House be given access to the report before Congress?" Honig's answer: It was legal and a "baldly political act" reflecting "Barr's political solicitude of Trump." Shanlon Wu, also a former federal prosecutor, lamented Mueller's obstruction of justice punt. A misplaced sense of modesty was the culprit, Wu surmised: "A decision to announce that the President of the United States had committed a crime but would not be charged would have placed him front and center at one of the most controversial decisions of the modern political era. I think Mueller did not want that to be his legacy."

What explains rich-kid terrorists
A week after suicide bombings in Sri Lankan churches and hotels killed and wounded hundreds, authorities there urged people to worship at home. As police searched for conspirators, Peter Bergen asked: "Why would well-educated, upper-middle-class folks with seemingly everything to live for blow themselves up and kill so many innocents?" Terrorism is often an endeavor of the privileged, he wrote. Osama Bin Laden, the "underwear bomber," the 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta, to name just a few, came from money.

Frida Ghitis, recounting her travels in Sri Lanka, warned that the attacks could revive deadly ethnic and religious tensions in a place that has grown welcoming to tourists. Decisive action to root out terrorists is needed, "but let's hope cool thinking prevails. Sri Lanka's peace is fragile," she cautioned. "Fanatics intent on sparking unrest, on boosting recruitment and weakening the state like nothing more than to see the state make life worse for their potential supporters."

The banishing of Kate Smith
Gene Seymour responded to the news that Kate Smith was suddenly persona non grata in sports arenas for singing racist songs in the '30s. "History, however mortifying, demeaning or sickening," cannot be changed, he wrote, after the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Flyers decided to stop playing Smith's recording of "God Bless America" at games because of ugliness in her old catalog. The Flyers also removed a statue of her outside their arena. Fine, said Seymour, but "instead of sweeping such anachronistic, paternalistic claptrap under the proverbial rug," shouldn't we be waging a more meaningful struggle against racism, like "eliminating disparities in housing, opportunities and everyday treatment under the law?"

Dump Pence?
As he heads into a tough re-election bid, with Democrats nipping at his heels over his tax returns, allegations from the Mueller report and more, Donald Trump may not be able to take a second term for granted. Here's an idea, wrote Arick Wierson: Trade in Vice President Mike Pence for former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Advantages abound, he argued: "Trump would make history by selecting a woman of color with a deep political resumé and foreign policy gravitas -- making it the most diverse ticket in the history of the GOP." It would deliver the "ultimate coup de grace" to Democrats' 2020 hopes.

Alice Stewart, the former communications director for Ted Cruz's presidential campaign, had some advice of her own -- for the 20 Democrats candidates. It's great to play to the base on core progressive issues such as Medicare for All and clean energy, but remember: Dems "need a candidate who can defeat Donald Trump in the general election, which may involve appealing more overtly to centrists." Be civil (polls say voters overwhelmingly want that) and "never, I mean never, eat a corn dog in front of the media at the Iowa State Fair. Just Google that last one -- you'll understand."

Other smart takes on politics today:

Julian Zelizer: Trump's stonewalling of Congress is a constitutional crisis.

John Avlon: Andrew Cuomo asked 35 questions. I have some answers.

Meghan and Harry
The royal baby watch is heating up, but there's another reason Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were all over the British tabloids. The couple is reportedly considering moving to Africa after Baby Sussex is born. Don't do it, pleaded a British professor, Kehinde Andrews, citing the ugly echoes of colonialism. The couple would "not be representing modern multiracial couples everywhere, but the colonial institution that is the British monarchy."

The couple made the British press even shirtier by announcing that they were having their baby at home and skipping the traditional post-birth public viewing. But Kara Alaimo fumed in their defense. "As a new mom, I'm outraged by all the outrage," she wrote. "It's deplorable to expect Meghan to get all dressed up after delivering a baby so she can be viewed by others, instead of focusing on her own needs and those of her family."

Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir differed -- with darts. "Is it too awful to suggest that perhaps they also need time to art-direct the first tasteful monochrome photoshoot of Baby Sussex swaddled in Soho House cashmere and then upload it to their Instagram account?"


The Supreme Court heard arguments on the Trump administration's request to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. "The result could be devastating for political representation," wrote Joshua A. Douglas, costing states with large minority populations congressional seats and reducing their Electoral College clout starting in 2024. "A citizenship question that undercounts states with heavy concentrations of noncitizens in urban areas would dilute the influence of more populous states even more."

Trump's mini-me?
Back in the 2000s, Stephen Moore lamented in the National Review: "Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women?" Moore, the former Wall Street Journal editorial board member and former CNN contributor, is President Trump's choice for the Federal Reserve Board (another candidate, Herman Cain, backed out amid concern over earlier allegations of sexual harassment). Moore's comments about women, surfaced by CNN's KFile, were made in jest, he insists. Roxanne Jones wasn't buying it. "Please," she wrote. "America needs a vacation from men like Moore. It's time to stop branding these type of men successful leaders. Stop electing them. Stop promoting them. Time for media to stop hiring them, excusing their misogyny while professing to respect women. The hate speech of the Trump mini-mes isn't funny. It never was."

Rape as a tool of war
The UN Security Council this week passed a resolution to help survivors of wartime sexual violence -- but only after weakening it under pressure from the Trump administration, which objected to its sections about providing sexual and reproductive health resources to victims. Jill Filipovic was outraged. "How shameful that the American government is in league with some of the world's worst human rights abusers in asserting that, in the name of 'life,' we won't help the world's most vulnerable rape victims recover."

"Shrill" flips the script on "fat" and "millennial"
"Fat. F-a-t. FAT. Roll the word around in your mouth until you can comfortably accept that fat is a truthful adjective devoid of intention," wrote Sarah Conley. She was speaking of the effort by fat-acceptance activists to reclaim the word. A Hulu show, "Shrill," and its star, Aidy Bryant, do just that. "We fall in love with her because for many of us, we finally see ourselves fully represented on screen," Conley wrote. "'Shrill' is a much-needed love letter to loving your body, standing up for yourself, and the power of community. For once, it feels like we're actually winning."

Hey, Meathead: Archie Bunker is back
Depending on your politics, Archie Bunker was either a retrograde racist or he was a righteous white man who, in 1970s America, "spoke to the anxieties of countless working- and middle-class families across the country," wrote L. Benjamin Rolsky. Whoever Archie was, he's back. The impresario Norman Lear is reviving the "All in the Family" character for a TV special. It's a tricky needle to thread, said Rolsky: The old show was satirical comedy, but "satire only works if its audiences understand it as such. Otherwise, satire can often cultivate the very thing it seeks to examine critically, such as bigotry and racism."


© 2019 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:47 pm

Rolling Stone

Watch Trump Dismantle Your Will to Live During His Unhinged Rally
The president falsely accused mothers and doctors of executing newborns, called the FBI “scum,” and basked in the crowd’s “Lock her up!” chants

PETER WADE
APRIL 28, 2019 1:54PM EDT


Donald Trump speaks at a podium
Andrew Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock
President Donald Trump went on a 90-minute extended rant during his rally in Wisconsin on Saturday night, programmed against the White House Correspondents Dinner that he refused to attend. During his unhinged monologue, the president said many ridiculous things that will sap your will to continue living in this nightmare dystopia, including: accusing mothers and doctors of executing newborns, calling the media “sick” and ex-FBI officials “scum,” claiming credit for the “sick” idea of sending undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities, and doing an impression of the Saudi king’s accent. Oh, and, of course, there were “Lock her up!” chants.


Speaking about abortion, Trump brought up a lie he’s been touting for a while: that newborn babies are “executed” by their mothers and doctors. He accused Democrats of “aggressively pushing extreme late-term abortion, allowing children to be ripped from their mothers’ womb right up until the moment of birth.”

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Then, he went even further, saying, “The baby is born, the mother meets with the doctor, they take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully, and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby. I don’t think so.”

Never mind that what he said was patently, demonstrably false. It doesn’t matter because Trump’s goal (and the goal of anti-choice activists) is to strip women of bodily autonomy by any means necessary. And yes, that includes lying about women going through the harrowing experience of having a baby who cannot survive outside the womb.


Trump also engaged in his typical name-calling, this time saying the media are “sick people” who say he won’t leave office “at the end of six years.” Wait, does the president not know that terms are four years each, or can he not do simple math?

No matter, because it’s time to move on to his next victims: leaders in the FBI and Department of Justice. “If you look at what’s happened with the scum that’s leaving the very top of government… these were dirty cops,” Trump said. “These were dirty players… They’re just leaving because they got caught like nobody ever got caught.”



The president also said he was “proud” of his “sick” idea to ship undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities.

“Democrats also support sanctuary cities that release thousands of dangerous criminal aliens onto our streets. In fact, they like the criminal aliens so much that when we are forced to release them into our country… we give them as many as they can handle,” Trump said, adding, “We’re sending many of them to sanctuary cities, thank you very much… They’re not too happy about it. I’m proud to tell you that was actually my sick idea.”

But, as The Daily Beast noted, the White House has never publicly announced such a policy is in action.


Speaking about America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, Trump talked about his defense of Saudi King Salman in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “I said, King, We are losing our ass defending you, King, and you have a lot of money,” Trump claimed he said to Salman. He then mimicked Salman’s accent, saying, “Why would you be calling me? No one’s ever made such a call before.” To which Trump said he answered, “That’s ’cause they were stupid!”


Before the rally, Trump promised it would be “very positive,” unlike the White House Correspondents Dinner. Glad to see he fulfilled that promise. Now I’m going to go drown myself in the ocean.



© 2019 PMC. All rights reserved.




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Donald Trump sues Deutsche Bank, Capital One in attempt to block congressional subpoenas
KRISTIN LAM | USA TODAY | 1 hour ago


Speaking to reporters on his way to Atlanta, President Donald Trump says his White House will be "fighting all the subpoenas" issued by House Democrats in their investigations into his administration. (April 24)
AP, AP
President Donald Trump is suing Deutsche Bank and Capital One in an effort to prevent them from providing financial records requested through congressional subpoenas.

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York late Monday, Trump asked the court to declare the subpoenas invalid and prevent the banks from complying with the orders.

The complaint is the latest in a series of disputes between the White House and Congress regarding Trump’s conduct. The president last week filed a federal lawsuit to block the Democratic-controlled House from obtaining financial records from his business’s longtime accountant.


Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and the Trump Organization are included as plaintiffs in Monday’s lawsuit.

'All the subpoenas': Congress and Trump prepare to battle over wide-ranging probes

Complaint: President Trump and his businesses ask a court to block Congress from obtaining accounting records

“The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the President and his family, and to ferret about for any material that might be used to cause him political damage,” the lawsuit states. “No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one.”

The chairs of the House financial services and intelligence committees, Reps. Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff, respectively, said in a joint statement that the lawsuit was “meritless.”

“This lawsuit is not designed to succeed; it is only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible,” they said.

At least six congressional committees are investigating Trump's personal finances, his inauguration committee, his business practices before he took office and his conduct since assuming the presidency for evidence of corruption or abuse.

Previously, Trump told reporters he will resist every subpoena. He has refused to provide his tax returns, breaking from more than 40 years of tradition by presidents and nominees.

"We're fighting all the subpoenas. These aren't like impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020," Trump said last week. "The only way they can luck out is by constantly going after me on nonsense."

Originally Published 3 hours ago




© Copyright Gannett 2019
Last edited by Meno_ on Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage constitutional crisis ? Yet?

Postby Meno_ » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:12 pm

OPINION
Trump's subpoena stonewall is his most dangerous outrage yet. Why even have a Congress?
The Founders anticipated our historical moment. They created the House, with 'the people' on its side, to guard against a president like Donald Trump.
LINDA J. KILLIAN | OPINION CONTRIBUTOR | 36 minutes ago


Speaking to reporters on his way to Atlanta, President Donald Trump says his White House will be "fighting all the subpoenas" issued by House Democrats in their investigations into his administration. (April 24)
AP, AP
There are fresh affronts to democracy daily with Donald Trump in the White House. But with the news that he and members of his administration plan to flout all congressional subpoenas no matter what the subject, Trump’s disrespect for the rule of law and constitutional norms has hit a new high (or low).

This is arguably the most dangerous thing to happen to the American system of government since Trump became president. Trump, his administration and all the congressional Republicans who go along are saying the executive branch is totally beyond any congressional oversight. Why even have a Congress? Trump believes that he can do whatever he wants (no matter how illegal or harmful for the nation) and that there is nothing anyone, including Congress, can do about it.

Trump and other congressional Republicans are acting as if the midterm elections of 2018, which decisively brought a Democratic majority to the House of Representatives largely to check Trump and his actions, didn’t even happen. Last fall, a majority of Americans signaled they wanted oversight of Trump, whose average approval rating since taking office has never reached 50% and who received almost 3 million fewer votes than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

James Madison wrote that the House would make sure presidents didn't become monarchs.


Stonewall Trump wages resistance against the U.S. Constitution

What would Republicans do with a Mueller report? Build an impeachment case.

Trump is suing Congress ... with a weak lawsuit: Today's talker

But damn the facts and full speed ahead. That’s Trump’s motto. The views and wishes of a majority of Americans are being thwarted by a president who believes he has complete and unchecked power. Trump thinks he is the only person who matters. He always has. But what is truly scandalous is that congressional Republicans are enabling such blatant disregard for American democracy and the system of government created by the Founders.

Many of those attending the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 agonized over the possibility that the system they were creating could lead to despotism. The delegates had fierce debates over how the president would be selected and how much power the office should have. It was widely assumed that Gen. George Washington would be the nation’s first president, but they were concerned about what kind of people would follow him in office.

Congress was created as a check on presidents
There is a reason Article I of the Constitution focuses on Congress and its powers to legislate and provide oversight of the presidency and executive branch, including the power of impeachment. The Founders believed a legislature elected by the people was the most important branch of government and would ensure future presidents would not be above the law.

A close look at what the Founders were thinking when they created the Constitution is especially important at this moment. In Federalist No. 48 James Madison wrote, “It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature, and that it ought to be effectually restrained.” Having rebelled against a nation controlled by a hereditary monarch, the Founders had a significant fear that in the future, the American government could be seized by a despotic president.

Madison and the other Founders expected Congress to protect the interests of the nation, provide oversight, and ensure that the president and executive branch were not above the law. In Federalist No. 51, Madison famously declared that the greatest safeguard against a concentration of power in any one branch of government, or by one political faction, was to create a coequal branch which could be a check on the other: "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. ... What is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. … Experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

Madison gave us tools for this moment in history
The Democratic House has issued subpoenas and formal requests seeking information about Trump’s tax returns, the citizenship question he wants to add to the 2020 Census, how White House security clearances are granted, and the full Mueller report. In almost every case, the White House has stonewalled, with Trump declaring Wednesday: "We're fighting all the subpoenas. These aren't like impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020." As if that weren’t all that was on Trump’s mind.

“To date, the White House has refused to produce a single piece of paper or a single witness in any of the Committee’s investigations this entire year,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who heads the Oversight and Reform Committee, said in a statement last week. He added a day later: “This is a massive, unprecedented and growing pattern of obstruction."

The House can vote to hold in contempt officials who refuse to show up or respond to subpoenas, and this fight is almost certainly headed for the courts. Previously, federal courts have respected the congressional oversight role — but will a Supreme Court packed by Republicans overturn this precedent? Will any congressional Republican speak up? These remain open and extremely important questions. The future of our democratic system rests on them.

The Founders could not have foreseen exactly what is happening now, but they did have a powerful understanding of human nature. In Federalist No. 63, Madison wrote about the possibility that the people could be “misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men,” a danger that would be made worse “where the whole legislative trust is lodged in the hands of one body of men.”

If the Senate failed to do its duty to protect the nation, a possibility Madison and the other Founders anticipated, “the House of Representatives, with the people on their side, will at all times be able to bring back the Constitution” to its original principles, Madison asserted.

We have reached just such a moment in American history. The House of Representatives must bring the nation back to its democratic principles.


Originally Published 5 hours ago
Updated 36 minutes ago

© Copyright Gannett 2019
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby MagsJ » Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:53 am

Those last few posts, wow! :shock:
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite

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

--MagsJ
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Tue Apr 30, 2019 5:50 pm

MagsJ wrote:Those last few posts, wow! :shock:



Yeah, minus the built in possible slant to them, which to all account, may one of these fine days, demand total transparency.

Or, may be they are working on the coverups of all uncharted territory, connecting dots, even before any are noticeable.

Nowedays with greatly progressing super intelligence, no missing possibility of damage control may be a feasable contingency.

The idea that the departments of security and national defense, and homeland security plus CIA and FBI assets coinjointly working on this is no
Sci-fi conjecture. Not to leave out Interpol .

Leave it to gut level, which as of yet has not been invaded, but for a Very Good Reason!
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Re: Trump enters the stage Biden ultimatum

Postby Meno_ » Wed May 01, 2019 3:35 am


TheHill
ADMINISTRATION
April 30, 2019 - 09:13 AM EDT
Biden: If Trump blocks investigations, Congress has no choice but to impeach him
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BY JOHN BOWDEN
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Former Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Congress should move forward with impeachment proceedings if the White House and Republicans work to block Democratic efforts to investigate matters "left undone" by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America," the 2020 presidential candidate said that Democrats would have "no alternative" but to impeach President Trump if he were to block a congressional investigation into whether he obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey and attempting to fire Mueller.

"There are elements of the report ... about seven or eight things that are left undone, he was not within his purview to investigate, he thought," Biden said of Mueller. "The Congress is attempting to take that up."

"If in fact they block the investigation, they have no alternative but to go to the only other constitutional resort they have, [which] is impeachment," he added. "But my job, in the meantime, is to make sure he's not back as president of the United States."


Biden's call for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings if the White House blocks its investigation falls short of the position of his fellow 2020 primary contender Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who said at a town hall last week that Congress should begin impeachment proceedings now.


"We have very good reason to believe that there is an investigation that has been conducted which has produced evidence that tells us that this president and his administration engaged in obstruction of justice. I believe Congress should take the steps toward impeachment," she told a CNN town hall in New Hampshire.


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Barr testifies on Mueller report before Senate Judiciary Committee -- live updates
BY GRACE SEGERS, EMILY TILLETT

UPDATED ON: MAY 1, 2019 / 10:28 AM / CBS NEWS


Attorney General William Barr is testifying about special counsel Robert Mueller's report before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday following the revelation Tuesday that Mueller confronted Barr about his four-page characterization of the report.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham in opening remarks said Mueller had left it to Barr to decide on whether the president had committed obstruction of justice. "He said, Mr. Barr, you decide," and Graham agreed with Barr that there must be an underlying crime in order to commit obstruction. Graham also said the committee would take a hard look at the origins of the Russia investigation, including the FISA process. Of the special counsel investigation and the Mueller report, Graham said, "For me, it is over."
The Justice Department confirmed that Mueller sent a letter to Barr in late March to express frustration with the public rollout of his report. This revelation drew immediate rebukes from Democrats, with the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee demanding the letter from the Justice Department ahead of Barr's testimony in the Senate.

Democrats have accused Barr of trying to protect Mr. Trump by making the determination that the president did not obstruct justice. Mueller found there was no conspiracy between Trump campaign officials and individuals associated with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

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However, Mueller did detail several instances of potential obstruction of justice by the president, although he ultimately did not make a determination on this issue. Congressional Democrats believe Mueller punted the issue to Congress, and now it is up to Congress -- not Barr -- to determine whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice.

Feinstein questions whether Barr was protecting the president
Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, used her opening statement to question why Barr did not release the introductions and executive summaries of the report, contrary to Mueller's wishes.

She condemned Barr's March 24 letter to Congress and the public summarizing the main points of the report, which the White House then used as a basis to publicly declare that the report found there was "no collusion," "no obstruction," and was a "total exoneration."

Unlike Graham, Feinstein emphasized that the report found several ties between Trump campaign officials and individuals associated with the Russian government, and that Mr. Trump's campaign expected to benefit from Russian interference in the election, although there was no direct conspiracy. She outlined the evidence Mueller presented of instances where the president may have obstructed justice.

Graham says Mueller was the "right guy" to conduct the investigation
Graham opened the hearing with testimony praising Mueller and calling the report very "thorough."

"Mr. Mueller was the right guy to do this job," Graham said about the investigation. He then pivoted to emphasize that the report had found "no collusion" between the Trump campaign and individuals associated with the Russian government.

"The president never did anything to stop Mueller from doing his job," Graham said. However, the report said that Mr. Trump asked his White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller, but McGahn did not do so.

Graham took a hard line on Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying that he would work with Democrats in an effort to strengthen American election infrastructure.

"My takeaway from this report is that we've got a lot of work to do to defend democracy from bad actors," Graham said.

He also took some time in his opening statement to question the origins of Mueller's investigation, and criticize Hillary Clinton -- two favorite topics of the president.

Of the special counsel investigation and the Mueller report, Graham said, "For me, it is over."

Mueller's letter to Barr urged DOJ to release special counsel's summaries
In a letter to Barr dated March 27, Mueller requested that Barr release the introduction and executive summaries for each part of the special counsel's report.

"As we stated in our meeting of March 5 and reiterated to the Department early in the afternoon of March 24, the introductions and executive summaries of our two-volume report accurately summarizes the Office's work and conclusions. The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this Office's work and conclusions," Mueller said in the letter.


CBS News reported Tuesday night that Mueller was dissatisfied with Barr's March 24 letter summarizing the report to Congress.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler told reporters that he had received a copy of Mueller's letter to Barr Wednesday morning. He also said that he has not reached a final agreement with Barr for his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee expected Thursday.

Democrats prepare for Barr testimony
Democrats have been preparing and re-writing questions after news that Mueller wrote to Barr expressing his concerns with Barr's characterization of his report. But the hearing will be controlled by Republican Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president's most ardent supporters. He will control the timing of the hearing.

Outside the White House Tuesday night, protesters strung lights that said "HUGE LIAR," and set up a cut-out of the attorney general with a sign around his neck and the words, "I lied to the American people for Trump."

Protesters hold up letters that reads "Huge Liar" beside a cardboard cutout of Attorney General William Barr ahead of Barr's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, following the release of the Mueller report, in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 30, 2019.
CLODAGH KILCOYNE / REUTERS
Schiff says Barr's "misleading" statements are "serious business"
House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff said that Attorney General William Barr has "deliberately" misled the U.S. Congress and the American public after he denied knowing about how Special Counsel Robert Mueller felt about his summary of the Russia report.

Schiff, speaking to "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday, said that Barr's false statements are "serious business" for the Congress.

"After getting now two or three misleading summaries from the Justice Department through the attorney general, I don't think we can rely on the Justice Department to be summarizing what Bob Mueller said in that conversation to Bill Barr," Schiff said.

Democrats take aim at Barr's previous testimony
Democrats are starting to accuse Barr of perjury in his representation of Robert Mueller's report, citing his previous testimony to Congress.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen tweeted ahead of Wednesday's hearing that during his earlier testimony last month, he asked Barr if Mueller supported his conclusion.

On April 20th, I asked Barr, "Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?" His answer was, "I don't know whether Mueller supported my conclusion."

We now know Mueller stated his concerns on March 27th, and that Barr totally misled me, the Congress, and the public. He must resign. pic.twitter.com/rod404BbYo

— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) May 1, 2019
His answer to the senator: "I don't know whether Mueller supported my conclusion." But CBS News confirmed that not only did Mueller send Barr a letter complaining about the way Barr described the special counsel's findings, but the two men also spoke on the phone.

During that conversation, Mueller asked for additional information to be released, but the attorney general only promised to release the full report as soon as possible, according to CBS News correspondent Paula Reid.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made similar claims, tweeting Tuesday evening that Barr "misled the public and owes the American people answers."

Barr on obstruction of justice claim
In his testimony, Barr is expected to defend the decision to weigh in on whether the president obstructed justice, asserting that "it would not have been appropriate" for him "simply to release Volume II of the report (the part addressing obstruction) without making a prosecutorial judgment."

He is expected to testify that, as he has said in the past, that he and Rosenstein disagreed with some of Mueller's legal theories regarding the possibility that President Trump obstructed justice.

According to his prepared remarks, Barr is expected to tell the committee that the two "felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law" but still "accepted the Special Counsel's legal framework for purposes of our analysis and evaluated the evidence as presented by the Special Counsel in reaching our conclusion."

"We concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense," Barr is expected to say, according to his prepared remarks.

His opening statement concludes, "From here on, the exercise of responding and reacting to the report is a matter for the American people and the political process. As I am sure you agree, it is vitally important for the Department of Justice to stand apart from the political process and not to become an adjunct of it."

Barr to testify on redaction process, White House input
Barr is expected to defend the Justice Department's handling of the Mueller report, saying that it made every effort to be as transparent as possible in its delivery of the report. According to his prepared remarks, he will point to one analysis found just eight percent of the report had been redacted, adding, "The Deputy Attorney General and I did not overrule any of the redaction decisions, nor did we request that any additional material be redacted."

Barr also asserts that while the Justice Department allowed the White House Counsel's office and the president's legal team to review the report before its release, "neither played any role in the redaction process."

Allowing the White House to review the report before its public release "was a mater of fairness," he is expected to say.

Mueller complained to Barr about letter summarizing the report
Mueller wrote a letter to Barr expressing his dissatisfaction with Barr's March 24 letter summarizing the key points of the report, the Justice Department confirmed Tuesday. In the March letter, Barr said Mueller concluded there was no collusion with Russia, and said Barr had determined that Mr. Trump did not obstruct justice.

Barr called Mueller to discuss the special counsel's letter, which was first reported by The Washington Post Tuesday night.

"In a cordial and professional conversation, the Special Counsel emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General's March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading. But, he expressed frustration over the lack of context and the resulting media coverage regarding the Special Counsel's obstruction analysis," a Justice Department spokeswoman said in a statement.

"They then discussed whether additional context from the report would be helpful and could be quickly released. However, the Attorney General ultimately determined that it would not be productive to release the report in piecemeal fashion," the statement continued. "The next day, the Attorney General sent a letter to Congress reiterating that his March 24 letter was not intended to be a summary of the report, but instead only stated the Special Counsel's principal conclusions, and volunteered to testify before both Senate and House Judiciary Committees on May 1st and 2nd."

Although Barr did not intend it to be a summary of the report, Mr. Trump took it as such, and has repeatedly asserted the report found "no collusion" and "no obstruction." However, Mueller's report explicitly said that it "did not exonerate" the president.

Congressional Democrats have called on Mueller to testify before Congress.

Barr, House Democrats spar over scheduled testimony
Attorney General William Barr speaks during a press conference on the release of the redacted version of the Mueller report at the Department of Justice on April 18, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES
Barr quarreled with congressional Democrats on Sunday over the conditions for his highly anticipated testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday.

Barr wants to be questioned only by lawmakers on the committee -- not by their staff and lawyers. But House Democrats believe Barr, as the committee's witness, should not dictate the parameters of the hearing.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, the committee chair, scheduled a vote on Wednesday to approve an additional hour of questioning -- by both lawmakers and their staff and counsel -- during Barr's testimony. The New York Democrat said he expects the attorney general to show up on Thursday, but vowed to issue subpoenas if Barr refuses to testify.

-- Paula Reid, Rebecca Kaplan, Camilo Montoya-Galvez

Barr claimed there was "spying" on Trump campaign in recent testimony
Barr testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee on April 10, before the redacted report was released to the public. The attorney general's remark that there had been unauthorized "spying" on the Trump campaign attracted attention, although he later seemed to soften that assertion.

"I'm not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it's important to look at that. And I'm not just talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly," Barr said.

"I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I'm saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it, that's all," Barr also said.

He told the Senate panel, "I just want to satisfy myself that there were no abuse of law enforcement or intelligence powers."

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc.
Copyright © 2019 CBS Interactive Inc.


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US Fed defies Trump and holds interest rates
01 May 2019 Business
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Image copyright GETTY IMAGES US President Donald Trump
The US Federal Reserve has kept interest rates on hold despite pressure from President Donald Trump to announce a cut.

The central bank said borrowing costs will remain at between 2.25%-2.5%.

The Fed made the decision despite Mr Trump tweeting on Tuesday that it should reduce rates by 1% to help the US economy "go up like a rocket".

The Fed indicated earlier this year that it would not change rates for the rest of 2019.

In his latest attack on the Fed, Mr Trump criticised the central bank for "incessantly" raising rates.

He said that although growth is strong at 3.2% in the first quarter, if the Fed cut interest rates "with our wonderfully low inflation, we could be setting major records".

Commenting on whether comments such as these affect the Fed's decisions, chairman Jerome Powell said: "We are a non-political institution and that means we don't think about short-term political considerations, we don't discuss them and we don't consider them in making our decisions one way or the other."

Interest rate graphic
In a statement explaining its decision, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) maintained its "patient" approach to interest rates.

It said that economic activity rose at a "solid rate" but said that "growth of household spending and business fixed investment slowed in the first quarter".


It also noted that inflation is below the Fed's target of 2%.

Inflation growth slowed to 1.6% in the year to March compared with 1.7% in February,

Mr Powell said the FOMC had "good reasons" to think that lower inflation growth "may wind up being transient".

But he said: "We did see inflation running persistently below, then that's something the committee would be concerned about."

At present, Mr Powell said the Fed is "comfortable" with its current stance.

Analysis: Andrew Walker, economics correspondent:
If you wanted some clear guidance on the Fed's plans you must be disappointed.

Continued patience was what Jerome Powell had to offer. He did not see a strong case for moving interest rates in either direction. Risks to the economic outlook have moderated he said, referring particularly to international developments.

Data from Europe and China have improved, there have been signs of progress in US China trade talks and the possibility of a disorderly Brexit has been pushed off for now he said.

Less risk means less need to hold back from raising interest rates. But the Fed statement also noted that inflation is now running below 2%, the Fed's target. Last time, in March, the statement said price rises remained near that rate.


Lower inflation is a reason for holding off on rate rises and could support the case for cuts if the economy weakens.

More on this story
Trump urges Fed to help economy 'go up like a rocket'
30 April 2019

Slower US growth means no rate rise for 2019, says Fed
20 March 2019

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Re: Trump enters the stage : its the economy , stupid

Postby Meno_ » Thu May 02, 2019 3:49 pm

CNN Poll: Trump's approval rating on the economy hits a new high
By Grace Sparks, CNN
Updated 6:00 AM EDT, Thu May 02, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 26: U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions as he departs the White House April 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump is scheduled to speak at the annual National Rifle Association convention in Indianapolis later today before returning to Washington. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(CNN) President Donald Trump hits a new high on his economic approval ratings in a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS, reaching 56% of Americans saying he's doing a good job on the economy.

The result comes on the heels of the announcement that the US economy grew at a much better rate than expected in the first quarter, and Trump's performance on the economy becomes one of his prime selling points for next year's general election.

Trump's previous high mark in CNN polling on handling the economy came in March 2017 when 55% approved. Since then, he's edged above 50% four times, but this is the first time it's been meaningfully over the 50% line.

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney spelled out Trump's 2020 economic message on Tuesday -- suggesting voters would still be willing to support the President even if they don't like him personally.

"You hate to sound like a cliché, but are you better off than you were four years ago? It's pretty simple, right? It's the economy, stupid. I think that's easy. People will vote for somebody they don't like if they think it's good for them," Mulvaney said during a talk at the Milken conference in Los Angeles.

The economy is the President's best issue tested in the new poll, with his other approval ratings all below 50%. Even among those who disapprove of the way the president is handling his job generally, 20% say they approve of his work on the economy. That's larger than crossover approval for any other issue by 12 points.

The President's approval rating on the economy dipped to 48% earlier this year on the heels of the government shutdown. Since then, Trump has improved his ratings on the economy by double-digits among those under age 35 (up 16 points), non-whites (up 13 percentage points), independents (up 11 points), women (up 10 points) and even Democrats (up 10 points).

Trump's approval on health care policy has improved slightly since June 2018, up five points to 38%, his worst approval rating tested in the poll. Slightly more, 42% approve of how he's handling immigration and foreign affairs, and 39% approve of his handling of race relations.

His approval on race relations has increased since September 2017 -- up 6 percentage points -- but the last poll was taken amidst the protesting in the NFL by kneeling, when Trump called for owners to fire protesting players. His increases since 2017 came largely among conservatives, Republicans and whites.

At the same time, Trump's favorability rating has hit its highest point since the 100-day mark of his presidency: 45% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the President.

More, 54%, continue to hold a negative view. But the latest movement marks a 5-percentage point increase since a December 2018 poll. His largest favorability increases come among independents (up 9 percentage points), those with a college education (9 percentage points) and women (8 percentage points).

Half of Americans say Trump is doing a good job keeping the important promises he made during his presidential campaign, steady from October 2018.

Those numbers on the economy, favorability and promise-keeping -- along with the President's best approval ratings since April 2017 -- ought to bode well for his chances in 2020. But head-to-head match-ups with the top Democratic contenders for the nomination in this poll aren't overwhelmingly positive for the President.

Registered voters in the survey were randomly assigned three of the top six Democratic contenders and asked whether they would be more likely to vote for that person or for Trump in 2020. Support for each Democrat tested ranged from a low of 47% backing South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren over Trump to a high of 52% backing Beto O'Rourke over the president.

Joe Biden (51%), Bernie Sanders (50%) and Kamala Harris (49%) fell in between. Trump's numbers ranged from 42% to 48%.

Although some of the Democratic contenders do hold a meaningful edge over the President, these results suggest a close race at this point, and there is a lot of time for voters to change their minds. In CNN's first test of a general election matchup between Trump and Hillary Clinton in June of 2015, Clinton led Trump by 14 points among registered voters.

Although it is very early in the process, some patterns emerged across all these matchups that are worth noting.

Each Democratic candidate topped Trump by a double-digit margin among women, while Trump held an edge among men over each candidate tested. Whites without college degrees broke for Trump in each case, but whites with degrees split, favoring Trump in match-ups with Buttigieg, Warren, Sanders and Biden, but breaking in the Democratic Party's favor for Harris and O'Rourke.

Harris prompts the largest gap between whites without degrees and those who hold a four-year degree, with a nearly 40-point swing in preferences between the two groups. Non-whites favored the Democratic candidate in each matchup.

The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS April 25 through April 28 among a random national sample of 1,007 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Random half-samples can result in smaller subgroup sizes that fall below our minimum for publishing crosstabs for those groups. Members of groups not shown in the published crosstabs are fully represented in the results for each question in the poll. Unweighted sample sizes for registered voters under age 45 for each of the hypothetical 2020 matchups ranged from 111 to 127, for non-white voters they ranged from 107 to 130.

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



Is there any sense of drawing some kind of comment on the predelictipn of economic changes having effects on the political agenda?

Maybe the art of politics surprisingly has changed, since Nixon days , to focus on the mode of survival in an increasing uncertain world, where people feel well, the permeable effect a that our shrinking planet has on the disappearance of national and ethnic differences per equal human rights.
There enters the political machinations, where by to enter the New World Order.

------------------------------------

Barr under fire by the Congress:



Out of USA Today, Thursday, May 2, 2019:



Briefly, leaving out the content of the appearance, (to be disclosed later as it becomes available), the nite of interest here, is the observation, that prior to the appearance, hours earlier, "the Justice Department confirmed Mueller had privately objected to a letter Barr delivered to Congress in March clearing Trump of having obstructed the investigation. In his March 27 letter, Mueller said Barr's summary three days earlier 'did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office's work and conclusions,' which led to ' public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation.'

According to Mueller's letter and a Justice Department statement released late Tuesday, the special counsel expressed his differences with Barr at least three times: in March 25, the day after the attorney General reeased his summary of Mueller's conclusions; then in the March 27 letter; and when the two spike by telephone March 28."

The disclosure of Mueller's letter promoted calls for Barr's resignation from lawmakers.

Sarah Sanders countered , " Democrats only disgrace and humiliate themselves with their baseless attacks on such a fine public servant."

"Barr, meanwhile, defended his March 24 letter disclosing Mueller's 'bittom-line objections, because the "body politic was in a high state of agitation."
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Thu May 02, 2019 6:29 pm

POLITICO

Pelosi accuses Barr of committing a crime by lying to Congress
'Nobody is above the law. Not the president of the United States, and not the attorney general.'

By HEATHER CAYGLE and ANDREW DESIDERIO

05/02/2019 10:35 AM EDT

Updated 05/02/2019 12:21 PM EDT


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Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused Attorney General William Barr of committing a crime by lying to Congress, blasting him in a closed-door meeting and later at a news conference.

“We saw [Barr] commit a crime when he answered your question,” Pelosi told Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) during a private caucus meeting Thursday morning, according to two sources present for the gathering.



“He lied to Congress. He lied to Congress,” Pelosi said soon after at a news conference. “And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law. Not the president of the United States, and not the attorney general.“

The allegation comes as Democrats have intensified their criticisms of the attorney general over his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, his refusal to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, and the Justice Department’s unwillingness to comply with a subpoena for the full unredacted report.

Pelosi’s comments were an apparent reference to Barr’s response to Crist last month during a House Appropriations Committee hearing, when the attorney general said he was not aware of any concerns that Mueller’s investigators might have expressed about his four-page summary of Mueller’s findings.

Barr’s response appeared to contradict the revelation earlier this week that Mueller himself wrote to the attorney general saying he was worried that Barr’s summary “threatens to undermine ... public confidence” in the Russia probe. Mueller also said Barr’s memo “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the investigation.

Barr defended himself Wednesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, saying he made a distinction between comments from members of Mueller’s team and Mueller himself.

The Justice Department also quickly hit back at Pelosi.

“Speaker Pelosi’s baseless attack on the attorney general is reckless, irresponsible, and false,” said Kerri Kupec, a DOJ spokeswoman.

Pelosi also told her colleagues at the caucus meeting that she couldn’t sleep Wednesday night after watching Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, during which he challenged Mueller’s legal theories and further endeared himself to President Donald Trump and his GOP allies.



Crist later told POLITICO he agrees with Pelosi that Barr committed a crime.

“It’s called perjury,” he said.

Asked what the result should be, Crist said, “We ought to have somebody who is in a law enforcement space charge him.”

When a reporter asked Pelosi if Barr should go to jail, she said, “There's a process involved here, and as I said, I'll say it again, the committee will act upon how we will proceed.“

Crist said he was also open to holding Barr in contempt of Congress or beginning impeachment proceedings against him, echoing comments from other Democrats who have ratcheted up their rhetoric against Barr and other Trump administration officials in recent days.

“I don’t think we should rule out anything. We’ve got the real essence of our form of government in jeopardy right now,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), who supports impeaching Trump.

But even as more Democrats demand impeaching the president, Pelosi is still resisting. During the closed-door meeting, Pelosi said impeachment is “too good for” Trump.

Asked at the news conference if it was time to consider impeachment in light of the administration’s broad rejection of Democratic oversight requests, Pelosi said no, even as she added that “a blanket statement that he's not going to honor any subpoenas is obstruction of justice.”



The speaker’s remarks underscored Democrats’ deep frustrations with the White House’s refusal to comply with their oversight demands and subpoenas as part of their investigations targeting the president and his administration.

CONGRESS

House Dems threaten to hold Barr in contempt
By ANDREW DESIDERIO
Barr refused to show up for a scheduled House Judiciary Committee testimony on Thursday amid a standoff with Democrats over the ground rules, and the Justice Department has said it would not comply with the panel’s subpoena for the full unredacted Mueller report and all of the underlying evidence and grand-jury information.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hit back at House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) Thursday, saying he should resign if he can’t do his job — a reference to Democrats’ desire to allow staff attorneys to ask Barr questions at the hearing.

“I think what we’re seeing from Chairman Nadler is he’s incapable of holding power. If he and his committee aren’t capable of actually asking the attorney general questions themselves and need to staff that out it seems like a pretty pathetic moment for the chairman of that committee.”

Some Democrats have called on Barr to resign, and Nadler threatened on Thursday to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for not complying with the subpoena for the Mueller report. Those proceedings could begin as early as Monday.

“We must do all we can in the name of the American people to ensure that when the Trump administration ends, we have as robust a democracy to hand to our children as was handed to us,” Nadler said.

Kyle Cheney and Laura Barròn-Lopez contributed to this report.


© 2019 POLITICO LLC




!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!



DONALD TRUMP
Hillary Clinton: 'I'm living rent free inside of Donald Trump's brain'
The former secretary of state and 2016 presidential contender appeared on "The Rachel Maddow Show" to discuss Trump, Barr, the Mueller report and more.

Secretary Hillary Clinton speaks with Rachel Maddow on May 1, 2019.Mackenzie Calle / MSNBC


By Bridget Brown
Hillary Clinton said Wednesday night that President Donald Trump keeps attacking her to distract the country from his own problems and to fire up his Republican base of supporters.

Appearing on "The Rachel Maddow Show," Clinton discussed the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's report that the president had pressed his then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate Clinton.


"I'm living rent free inside of Donald Trump's brain, and it's not a very nice place to be, I can tell you that," the former Secretary of State told Maddow in her first television interview this year, calling the president's ongoing fixation on her a "diversion attack."

"I guess it is one of their tools to fire up their hard-core base," Clinton said.

"When in doubt, go after me...They know better. But this is part of their whole technique to divert attention from what the real story is. The real story is the Russians interfered in our election. And Trump committed obstruction of justice. That's the real story."

On Attorney General William Barr's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Clinton said calling for his resignation "makes perfect sense," although she did not explicitly do so herself, as some Democrats have, and she cautioned that his conduct should not draw attention away from the Mueller report's findings.


She criticized Barr for behaving as "the president's defense lawyer."

"He is not the attorney general of the United States in the way he has conducted himself," Clinton added.

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Clinton also did not call for launching impeachment proceedings against Trump, but urged Congress first to continue to investigate the president and see where it goes.


"There's a lot of important material to be explored, so you have to do it in a way that creates a narrative," Clinton told Maddow. "What is it you're finding out? Where does it lead? But, if it leads to the conclusion that this president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, that's what should motivate the Congress to act."

Clinton said she was speaking out because of her concerns about continuing Russian efforts to interfere in U.S. elections, as Moscow did in 2016.

"I don't want it to happen again," she said.


© 2019 NBC UNIVERSAL


ABCNews
Hillary Clinton: Barr is acting as Trump's 'defense lawyer'
By Cheyenne Haslett
May 2, 2019, 11:42 AM ET

WATCH: Barr testified Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Hillary Clinton said Democrats had rightfully exposed Attorney General William Barr as "the president's defense lawyer" at his hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday and that calling for his resignation "makes perfect sense."

"I think that the Democrats on the committee did a good job today in exposing that, that he is the president's defense lawyer. He is not the attorney general of the United States in the way that he has conducted himself," Clinton said in an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Wednesday night. Clinton added that Barr was doing the job the president "hired him to do."

"Now, calling for his resignation makes perfect sense, because he's not discharging the duties of the office," Clinton said. The interview followed a day of testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that focused on Barr's rollout of special counsel Robert Mueller's findings.

Despite the calls for Barr's resignation, however, Clinton said that was unlikely to happen.

"He is not going to resign. And at this point, I think that we know what we need to know about him," she said, referencing a letter made public just before the hearing that showed Mueller believed Barr's initial summary to the public "did not fully capture the context" of the special counsel's investigation.

"I think now we need to get into the investigation, because let's not let Barr be the big shiny object that diverts people's attention from the two major findings of the Mueller report," Clinton said, one of which she said was Russia's "sweeping and systemic interference in our election."

"What I learned is that the Russians were successful. I don't think there is any way to read that report and not conclude they accomplished what they set out to do. They had an objective to sow discord and divisiveness within our society at large, and to help Donald Trump. And they succeeded," Clinton said.

The special counsel's report did find that the Trump campaign "expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts," Mueller wrote, though it did not establish members of the campaign "conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."

Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee May 1, 2019, in Washington.
Clinton said she's met with "most of the candidates" running in 2020 to answer questions and one of her constant warnings has been about foreign interference.

"I always tell them, you know, you can run the best campaign. You can be the person who gets the nomination, but unless we know how to protect our election from what happened before and what could happen again, because there is greater sophistication about it, you could lose. And I don't mean it to scare anybody, but I do want every candidate to understand that this remains a threat," Clinton said.

"I worry a lot that there's a greater sophistication. They've learned some things that they now are going to deploy against us. And us means the country, not just Democrats," Clinton said.

In a moment of sarcasm, Clinton described a hypothetical situation of escalated foreign involvement in 2020 that showed "how absurd" the election climate could be, saying because Trump was not held accountable, other candidates could seemingly also engage with foreign governments.

"Imagine, Rachel, that you had one of the Democratic nominees for 2020 on your show, and that person said, you know, the only other adversary of ours who is anywhere near as good as the Russians is China. So why should Russia have all the fun? And since Russia is clearly backing Republicans, why don't we ask China to back us," Clinton said.

"And not only that, China, if you're listening, why don't you get Trump's tax returns? I'm sure our media would richly reward you," Clinton said. As is described in Mueller's report, during a 2016 campaign rally Trump encouraged Russians "to find the 30,000 emails that are missing" from Clinton. Mueller found that "the Trump Campaign was planning a press strategy, a communications campaign, and messaging based on the possible release of Clinton emails by WikiLeaks."

"Now, according to the Mueller report, that is not conspiracy, because it's done right out in the open," Clinton said.

"So, hey, let's have a great power contest, and let's get the Chinese in on the side of somebody else," Clinton said in jest. "Just saying that shows how absurd the situation we find ourselves in," Clinton said.

© 2019 ABC News Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri May 03, 2019 2:47 am

Trump says he won't let McGahn testify to Congress: 'It's done'
Then-White House counsel Don McGahn and President Donald Trump on June 21, 2018.
Then-White House counsel Don McGahn and President Donald Trump on June 21, 2018.
JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE
REBECCA MORIN | USA TODAY | 2 hours ago

President Trump said Thursday that he won't allow former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress.


"I don't think I can let him and then tell everybody else you can because especially him because he was the counsel," Trump said during a clip of a 20-minute interview aired on Fox News.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, last week issued a subpoena to McGahn to testify before the committee. Senate Democrats have also indicated that they want McGahn to testify before Congress as Democrats on Capitol Hill seek to follow up on Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential race, an investigation that widened to include an inquiry into possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

Trump's comments come a day after Attorney General William Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the same day Barr refused to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

More: Attorney General William Barr refuses to testify at House hearing about special counsel Robert Mueller

According to Mueller's report, the president ordered McGahn to have the special counsel removed in mid-2017. McGahn refused and later told another White House aide that the president asked him to "do crazy s---." McGahn also told investigators that the president had asked him to deny having been asked to fire Mueller.

Barr, in a summary of Mueller's report, said he and the deputy attorney general concluded that Trump's actions did not constitute obstruction of justice. Barr, who on Wednesday testified on Capitol Hill, stood by his summary of the Russia probe report, despite Mueller's recently revealed rebuke of the attorney general's characterization on the issue of obstruction of justice.

According to The New York Times, President Donald Trump ordered White House lawyer Don McGahn to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last June. Trump pushed back Friday against the report calling it "Fake news." (Jan. 26)
AP
Trump has hinted that he intended to block aides — both current and former — from testifying before Congress, saying last month that the White House was looking into invoking executive privilege to block such testimony.

In an interview with the Washington Post last month, Trump said the investigations led by Democrats in the House are unnecessary given the results of Mueller's report.

More: Barr's vacant chair at House hearing wasn't the first empty seat to make waves in US politics

"There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan — obviously very partisan," Trump told the Post. "I don’t want people testifying to a party, because that is what they’re doing if they do this."

He told the Post that the White House Counsel’s Office was seriously debating asserting executive privilege, which it did not do with information compiled in Mueller's report, to block congressional testimony. Trump said White House lawyers had yet to make a "final, final decision.”

Attorney General William Barr skipped a House hearing Thursday on special counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia report, escalating an already acrimonious battle between Democrats and President Donald Trump's Justice Department. (May 2)
AP
The Post had reported that the White House was specifically looking into asserting privilege to block McGahn’s testimony, as he was one of the star witnesses for Mueller’s investigation and outlined some of the most damning, behind-the-scenes episodes at the White House.

More: Trump: White House considering asserting executive privilege to hinder congressional probes

Trump maintained that there is no need to investigate further now after Mueller's report.

"I would say it's done," the president said Thursday in the Fox News sit-down. "Nobody has ever done what I've done, I've given total transparency. It's never happened before like this.

"Congress shouldn't be looking anymore. It's done," he said.

Contributing: Christal Hayes


Attorney General William Barr refuses to appear before House Judiciary Committee








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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri May 03, 2019 8:34 am

At this time, as a showing of not being totally unaware of social cues, feeling that the brazen persisting anomalies that I suggest is as present in a narcissistic personality, I shall limit my contribution to occasional earth shaking events which may further effect not merely the constant prodding, but expose the overt ways in which the executive function tries to overreach.
By this token, the effect is doubly anti Democratic, as it tries to encapsulate the intelligentsia's opinions, which showes a certain kind of saturation point, that is nothing else but the changing of the effect on others of such a relentless politically used devices , as to alienate and divide by such fragmented contextual unusual tricks.

Such tricks were used less skillfulky in another era of similar executive (Nixon) overreach, but that era was different, because here certain limits were allowed to pass.

Why? I n my case I tried to solve a seeming appearance of an exposed nerve, a sensitive psyche of others:reacting to execution of sudden and drastic changes , as a conflation of the singular ok to the constituency , to which more is owed. by way of responsibility than representation.

It appears that Congress has indeed been conflated in this way, negatively, and the judicial as well. My recognition of the persisting daily erosion of this forum , has achieved this as well, and I must assume social responsibility within these limits. Presently here, a microcosmic shadowy realm I personally would prefer not to be identified with.

I consider myself suffering from more then appropriate self identification with similar situ, as has been prevy to , as society itself can create weary resemblance with an intentional underlying and overbearing political process .


While I do find the necessity of indicating personal opinion, regarding the extreme possibility of the opposite effecting negative value as well, differentiating the intentional and unabiding refusal to recognise a social problem, is indication of good will and social consciousness., as well to avoid marginalizing and alienating myself.
Which I have recognized and plan to represent otherwise, as non intentional reaction of the imminent and ongoing climate.

In the year remaining, or even further, the transparency can either get better or worse, and I will reduce the frequency of publishing to show a more personal and intentionally motive of a more objective sign of resistance against propaganda. social commitment and factual honesty.as a goal I hope will come out from further posts, because enough has been exposed over the past year, to enable to show a systemic delineation of procedural misconduct, at the very least.

Thank You for bearing with it so far.
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Re: Trump enters the stage -Contempt? Constitutional problem

Postby Meno_ » Fri May 03, 2019 5:39 pm

https://photos.app.goo.gl/KtzSTvT1rDhokgKN7


-- -- --





California bill: President Trump won't appear on ballot unless he releases tax returns
ASSOCIATED PRESS | USA TODAY | 4 hours ago


President Donald Trump says he "would not be inclined" to provide his tax returns in response to a request from a House committee chairman. (April 3)
AP, AP
The California Legislature is attempting to force presidential candidates to publicly disclose their tax returns — a move that could bar President Donald Trump from appearing on the state's primary ballot if he does not make the documents public.

The state Senate voted 27-10 on Thursday to require anyone appearing on the state's presidential primary ballot to publicly release five years' worth of income tax returns. The proposal is in response to Trump, who bucked 40 years of tradition by refusing to release his tax returns prior to his election in 2016.

California's presidential primary is scheduled for March 3. If the bill becomes law, Trump could not appear on the state's primary ballot without filing his tax returns with the California secretary of state.

"We believe that President Trump, if he truly doesn't have anything to hide, should step up and release his tax returns," said Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat from Healdsburg and the co-author of the bill along with Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat.

Congress fights for returns: Treasury misses second deadline to release Trump's tax returns, will make decision by May 6

Opinion: It's April 15. Do you know where President Trump's tax returns are?

Sarah Sanders: This Congress not 'smart enough' to understand Trump's tax returns

The Legislature passed a nearly identical bill in 2017, only to have it vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, telling lawmakers he was concerned the law was unconstitutional. Brown, a Democrat, refused to release his tax returns while in office.

He left office in January and was replaced by Gavin Newsom, who has released his tax returns and embraced his role as a national "resistance" leader to Trump and his policies.

Newsom's office didn't say whether he'd sign it. If the bill reaches his desk, "it would be evaluated on its own merits," spokesman Brian Ferguson said.

McGuire said he has had "initial discussions" with the Newsom administration about the proposal.

"I never want to put words into his mouth, but here's what I'll say: Gov. Newsom has led by example," by releasing his own tax returns, McGuire said.

The bill would also apply to the more than a dozen candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. But many of them have already released their tax returns. They include California Sen. Kamala Harris and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who released his tax returns last month after refusing to do so in 2016.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has a strong message for the Democrats about President Donald Trump's tax returns.
BUZZ60, BUZZ60
Candidates would have to submit tax returns to the secretary of state's office, which would work with the candidates to redact some information before posting the returns online.

The bill echoes similar legislation being considered in Illinois, Washington and New Jersey.

In New York, Democrats have examined multiple approaches in hopes of helping release Trump's tax returns, including bills requiring officials to release tax returns to appear on the ballot. State lawmakers last month introduced a bill that would allow the state to release Trump's state tax returns if any of three congressional committees — the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation — ask for the documents.

Trump is a resident of New York and does much of his business in the state.

'I’m not gonna do it': Donald Trump says he won't give his tax returns to Congress

All of the bills come as Democrats in Washington continue to fight for access to Trump's returns.

Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal officially requested six years of the president's tax returns last month from the IRS but it hasn't been easy. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who also oversees the IRS, has missed two deadlines, imposed by Neal, to hand over the documents and instead said he would wait for the Justice Department to weigh in on the legality before making a decision.

In his latest letter last month to Neal, Mnuchin detailed both the constitutional concerns and his department's worries with releasing the president's financial information. He also accused Democrats of attempting to skirt the law in order to obtain the documents, something they have been after since even before Trump was elected.



© Copyright Gannett 2019



........?..?...........?????......??....??????


POLITICO

Nadler delivers ultimatum to Barr before holding AG in contempt
By ANDREW DESIDERIO and KYLE CHENEY



Jerrold Nadler
As part of his new offer, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is asking the Justice Department to allow more members of Congress to immediately view a less redacted version of Robert Mueller’s report. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is making what he calls a final “counter offer” to Attorney General William Barr’s refusal to grant immediate access to the underlying evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

In a new letter to Barr on Friday, Nadler (D-N.Y.) gave the Justice Department until 9 a.m. Monday to comply with his adjusted request before moving forward with an effort to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a committee subpoena demanding Mueller’s full unredacted report and underlying documents by May 1.



“The committee is prepared to make every realistic effort to reach an accommodation with the department,” Nadler wrote. “But if the department persists in its baseless refusal to comply with a validly issued subpoena, the committee will move to contempt proceedings and seek further legal recourse.”

Democrats have said they’re trying to show that they’re engaging in good-faith negotiations with Barr before rushing to take punitive actions — like holding him in contempt or fighting Barr in court.

Nadler’s new offer comes as the Justice Department said earlier this week it would not comply with Nadler’s subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and all of the underlying evidence and grand jury information. In a letter to Nadler, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said Congress is not entitled to the information, adding that the request is “not legitimate oversight.”

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As part of his new offer, Nadler is asking the Justice Department to allow more members of Congress to immediately view a less-redacted version of Mueller’s report. The chairman is not backing off his demand that Barr join Congress to seek a court order granting lawmakers access to grand-jury material that Barr has already blocked from public view, citing statutes prohibiting him from disclosing such information.

Nadler also said he’s willing to prioritize Mueller’s underlying evidence in order to streamline its production to Congress, with a focus on materials that were specifically mentioned in the redacted version of the report.

“[T]he department has offered no reason whatsoever for failing to produce the evidence underlying the report, except for a complaint that there is too much of it and a vague assertion about the sensitivity of law enforcement files,” Nadler wrote.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday said Nadler’s Monday deadline makes Democrats “look ridiculous and silly.” Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said Nadler was placing “absurd demands” on the Justice Department.



“His accusations do not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this situation,” Collins said, borrowing Mueller’s exact words from a letter the special counsel wrote to Barr last month expressing concerns about the attorney general’s handling of the probe.

“Democrats continue to deliver inaccurate statements and abusive politics, while demanding the attorney general either break the law or face contempt charges,” Collins said. “Their chief complaint against the attorney general is his upholding the rule of law when they wish him to disregard it.”

The committee is conducting its own obstruction of justice investigation into President Donald Trump, and Democrats have demanded that they have access to all of Mueller’s evidence so they could use it for their own probe. Mueller outlined evidence in his report that Trump obstructed justice, but he ultimately decided not to charge the president with a crime, citing in part a long-standing Justice Department stating that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

“As the Mueller report makes clear, this need is amplified where, as here, department policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president and instead relies upon Congress to evaluate whether constitutional remedies are appropriate,” Nadler wrote, likely referencing impeachment.

CONGRESS

House Dems threaten to hold Barr in contempt
By ANDREW DESIDERIO
The Justice Department has already offered for a select number of lawmakers and staffers to view a less redacted version of Mueller’s report in a secure setting. Nadler has objected to those restrictions, and Democrats have yet to view the less redacted version.

Nadler’s new offer also comes amid escalating tensions between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats over House committees’ various investigations targeting the president and his administration.

On Thursday, the Judiciary Committee held an empty-chair hearing on Barr’s handling of the Mueller report after the attorney general backed out of the testimony amid a disagreement with the panel over its insistence that committee lawyers be allowed to question Barr. Nadler has threatened to issue a subpoena to compel Barr’s attendance at a future hearing.

Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and challenged many of Mueller’s legal theories. Democrats said Barr was trying to spin the contents of the report in the most favorable light possible for the president.

This story tagged under:
House Judiciary Committee DOJ Jerry Nadler Jerrold Nadler Mueller Investigation William Barr The Mueller
© Sat May 04 00:29:06 EDT 2019 POLITICO LLC


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Live TV
This is not the '60s and Donald Trump is not Richard Nixon
Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN
Updated 1:12 AM EDT, Sat May 04, 2019


(CNN) The last time the unemployment rate was this low, the Beatles were still together. Woodstock was right around the corner. There was a new President named Richard Nixon and Donald Trump was just a recent college grad.

That's how long it's been.

The unemployment rate was at or under 4%, as it is now, from December of 1965 until January of 1970, according to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was a pivotal time in US history -- but now it is not remembered for the unemployment rate.

US economy has added jobs for 103 straight months. Unemployment rate falls to 3.6%
US economy has added jobs for 103 straight months. Unemployment rate falls to 3.6%

They were not quiet years. Those were the years in which Medicare was passed into law and the Civil Rights movement was in full swing. They also saw most of the US casualties in Vietnam. Things were so bad that Lyndon B. Johnson decided not to run for reelection in 1968, which ultimately led to violence at the Democratic convention that year and gave Nixon an opening to return from his political wilderness.

So what's the lesson?

"A good economy is not the be-all and end-all to elections," said Princeton political historian Julian Zelizer, asked about the 1960s vs. today. "That was a period when the economy was still doing very well -- even better than today in many ways."

Today there is no war like Vietnam, although Trump does his best to make things seem uncertain with his trade wars and his tweets and his complaints about the Russia investigation. But there is vigorous debate about social change and progress, particularly for minorities and women.

Americans have time to focus on those efforts, perhaps, because they're not looking for work.

"A good economy can create expectations for social movement politics," said Zelizer. "In the 1960s, the strong economy gave support to civil rights movement, with demands that African Americans be included in the growing middle class; it produced more educated young people who were the heart of movement politics with the war; and it gave support to ideas like fighting poverty, since the country could afford to do so."

Fast forward 50 years and a lot of the change that started in the '60s feels unfinished, particularly to Democrats talking about economic inequality even as, according to the data over which economists obsess, everyone who wants a job has one and that the economy continues to grow.

The unemployment rate was 3.6% in April and annualized GDP growth was over 4% for the first quarter of the year.

Trump's argument is things are going really well
Trump should be the beneficiary of all this good economic news. But he has seen his approval ratings on the economy pop up even if his general approval ratings hang below 50%.

His chief of staff this week said it doesn't really matter how voters feel about Trump, they'll give him another four years in the White House if it means sitting pretty like they are now.

"You hate to sound like a cliche, but are you better off than you were four years ago? It's pretty simple, right? 'It's the economy, stupid.' I think that's easy," Mick Mulvaney told an audience at the Milken Conference in Los Angeles. "People will vote for somebody they don't like if they think it's good for them."


And by some pretty objective standards that won't make your eyes glaze over, people are sitting pretty.

Trump is struggling despite a strong economy. Here's why.
Trump is struggling despite a strong economy. Here's why.
Most people in the country just got a tax cut, even if some people in mostly blue states didn't realize it at the time because their tax refunds were lower.

Contentedness with the economy extends nationwide if you drill down into the most recent CNN data. Seventy-three percent of Americans generally in the South said the economy was good or somewhat good. That matched 71% of Northeasterners and only a slightly lower percentage (69%) of Westerners and Midwesterners, which includes several of the key Rust Belt states.

If the economy is to carry Trump to a second term, it will be in spite of the divisions he has spread in the country, said Timothy Naftali, a professor at NYU and former director of the Nixon presidential library.

"Certainly there have been times where the economy is strong, but the country is stressed because of a foreign policy challenge, as in the case of Vietnam," Naftali said. "In this case, we're not stressed by a foreign policy problem; I would argue it's the nature of the President himself, who is creating stresses. If Donald Trump were a unifier, I would think the public would be much more behind him given the strength of the economy."

A time for transformation?
It is not at all clear there is enough pressure to create change today. Democrats have seized on the issue of inequality and some, particularly Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, progressives running for the Democratic presidential nomination, have argued the fact of the good economy is exactly the reason to transform US society.

"I've spent my career getting to the bottom of why America's promise works for some families, but others who work just as hard slip through the cracks into disaster," Warren said in her campaign announcement video.

She and Sanders have proposed sweeping reforms to remake the health care and education systems and create a stronger safety net with the country's wealth. Trump and Republicans are already painting these ideas as socialism.

Dems' town hall was socialism on parade
Dems' town hall was socialism on parade
Arguing the government should do more is certainly in stark contrast to Republicans, who will point to their permanent tax cuts for corporations as evidence that giving more to business can help the economy.

But that may not even ultimately be a debate Americans have in 2020. Only 13% in the most recent monthly Gallup survey said the economy is the most important issue, down from more than 80% at points during the financial crisis. To the extent the economy affects voters, it may be a lack of economic urgency.

Joe Biden, the former vice president and current Democratic front-runner, entered the race last month without mentioning the economy in his kickoff video. He wanted to focus entirely on Trump's rhetoric and white nationalists and argue Trump is changing the moral fabric of the country.

Plus, Trump has shown an innate ability to distract Americans from the news that benefits him, such as his preoccupation with the Russia investigation, his divisive insistence that a wall be built on the southern border or that the Affordable Care Act be repealed.

These issues may ultimately be more important to voters.

"The point is the good economic news does help an incumbent, but other problems, policies and challenges can undercut that advantage," Zelizer said. "Whereas in 1968 it was a war in Southeast Asia, today it is a political war over the meaning of this presidency."

And sometimes there's nothing to explain what happens. By November 1972, the unemployment rate was over 5% and had been for more than two years. The country already knew a lot about Watergate. It didn't matter. Nixon, promising to end the war he'd prolonged, won in a landslide.


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




----------------- ----------------------------- -----------




The New York Times


James Comey: How Trump Co-opts Leaders Like Bill Barr
Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive this president.


By James Comey
Mr. Comey is the former F.B.I. director.

May 1, 2019
People have been asking me hard questions. What happened to the leaders in the Trump administration, especially the attorney general, Bill Barr, who I have said was due the benefit of the doubt?

How could Mr. Barr, a bright and accomplished lawyer, start channeling the president in using words like “no collusion” and F.B.I. “spying”? And downplaying acts of obstruction of justice as products of the president’s being “frustrated and angry,” something he would never say to justify the thousands of crimes prosecuted every day that are the product of frustration and anger?

How could he write and say things about the report by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, that were apparently so misleading that they prompted written protest from the special counsel himself?

How could Mr. Barr go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and downplay President Trump’s attempt to fire Mr. Mueller before he completed his work?



And how could Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, after the release of Mr. Mueller’s report that detailed Mr. Trump’s determined efforts to obstruct justice, give a speech quoting the president on the importance of the rule of law? Or on resigning, thank a president who relentlessly attacked both him and the Department of Justice he led for “the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations”?

What happened to these people?

I don’t know for sure. People are complicated, so the answer is most likely complicated. But I have some idea from four months of working close to Mr. Trump and many more months of watching him shape others.

Amoral leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them. Sometimes what they reveal is inspiring. For example, James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, resigned over principle, a concept so alien to Mr. Trump that it took days for the president to realize what had happened, before he could start lying about the man.

But more often, proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.


It starts with your sitting silent while he lies, both in public and private, making you complicit by your silence. In meetings with him, his assertions about what “everyone thinks” and what is “obviously true” wash over you, unchallenged, as they did at our private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017, because he’s the president and he rarely stops talking. As a result, Mr. Trump pulls all of those present into a silent circle of assent.

Speaking rapid-fire with no spot for others to jump into the conversation, Mr. Trump makes everyone a co-conspirator to his preferred set of facts, or delusions. I have felt it — this president building with his words a web of alternative reality and busily wrapping it around all of us in the room.

I must have agreed that he had the largest inauguration crowd in history because I didn’t challenge that. Everyone must agree that he has been treated very unfairly. The web building never stops.

From the private circle of assent, it moves to public displays of personal fealty at places like cabinet meetings. While the entire world is watching, you do what everyone else around the table does — you talk about how amazing the leader is and what an honor it is to be associated with him.


Sure, you notice that Mr. Mattis never actually praises the president, always speaking instead of the honor of representing the men and women of our military. But he’s a special case, right? Former Marine general and all. No way the rest of us could get away with that. So you praise, while the world watches, and the web gets tighter.

Next comes Mr. Trump attacking institutions and values you hold dear — things you have always said must be protected and which you criticized past leaders for not supporting strongly enough. Yet you are silent. Because, after all, what are you supposed to say? He’s the president of the United States.

You feel this happening. It bothers you, at least to some extent. But his outrageous conduct convinces you that you simply must stay, to preserve and protect the people and institutions and values you hold dear. Along with Republican members of Congress, you tell yourself you are too important for this nation to lose, especially now.

You can’t say this out loud — maybe not even to your family — but in a time of emergency, with the nation led by a deeply unethical person, this will be your contribution, your personal sacrifice for America. You are smarter than Donald Trump, and you are playing a long game for your country, so you can pull it off where lesser leaders have failed and gotten fired by tweet.

ADVERTISEMENT
Of course, to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises. You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values.

And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.

James Comey is the former F.B.I. director and author of “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”




© 2019 New York Times Company




Another deadline approaching Monday:





(CNN)A showdown between the White House and House Democrats over the release of President Donald Trump's personal tax returns comes down to one man: Charles Rettig, head of the Internal Revenue Service.

Rettig, 62, a veteran California tax attorney, spent more than 35 years representing taxpayers in disputes with federal and state tax agencies until he was sworn in as IRS commissioner last October.

That makes him the only person in Washington with the authority to turn over the President's personal tax returns under an obscure tax law-- though Rettig has argued in hearings that the decision to comply with Democratic requests nonetheless rests with his boss, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Trump has refused to release his returns, first as a candidate and now as president, breaking precedent going back to Watergate. And he has held fast to that argument even after House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal of Massachusetts formally asked Rettig to release six years of Trump's personal tax returns.

Read: House Committee letter to the IRS demanding Trump's tax returns

The latest deadline is Monday, after Mnuchin asked for more time to consult with Department of Justice lawyers.

Treasury and IRS spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rettig was not a traditional choice by Trump to run an underfunded bureaucracy with nearly 80,000 employees.

Previous commissioners from the past two decades were picked for their deep business management experience. Rettig's predecessor, John Koskinen, who left the job in November 2017, spent two decades as an executive of management consulting firm Palmieri Co. His predecessor, Douglas Shulman, a George W. Bush appointee, came to the agency after serving as vice chairman of the Finra, the finance industry self-regulator.

Instead, Rettig, a Beverly Hills lawyer, who earned his economics degree from UCLA and went to Pepperdine University for law school, spent more three decades of his career representing wealthy taxpayers and businesses in complex disputes with the government.

Democrats blasted him during his June confirmation hearing for failing to disclose that he had a stake in two rental units in Hawaii at a Trump-branded hotel. Those ties were resurfaced last week by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, known as CREW, after disclosure documents showed Rettig earned as much as $1 million in rental income from his Trump-related branded properties while under political pressure to release the President's tax returns.

Rettig previously noted the existence of those properties on his disclosure form but did not specify that they were located at a Trump-branded hotel. Instead, he described them at the time as a "Honolulu, Hawai'i residential rental property," according to a memo from committee staff obtained by CNN.

At the same June hearing, Democratic senators also pressed Rettig on whether he would resist political pressure from the White House given the prospect Democrats were likely to demand the President's tax returns if either chamber seized control after the 2018 midterm elections.

Rettig pledged he would remain independent from the Trump White House during his five-year term, which expires in November 2022, and would serve in an "impartial, unbiased" manner. He renewed his pledge not to cave to political pressure to senators before the same committee last month.

Today, Rettig's role following Neal's request for Trump's tax returns has been blurred by Mnuchin's intervention in the process, arguing that as Rettig's boss, the responsibility falls to him to oversee the decision. Mnuchin has also separately asked the Justice Department to review the matter.

Democrats argue that the authority lies solely with Rettig. They claim that Treasury long ago delegated the responsibility to comply with congressional demands by the heads of the respective tax-writing committee to the IRS commissioner. They also argue that any change would require notification to Congress, which hasn't happened.

"It's your job and your job alone to respond to Chairman Neal's request," Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, told Rettig at a hearing in April.

Rettig replied, "We are a bureau of the Treasury. We are supervised by Treasury."

So far, Mnuchin has interceded twice in responding to Democratic congressional demands to release Trump's tax returns despite directing their request to Rettig.

In his response, Mnuchin has argued the "unprecedented" request raises "serious constitutional issues" that could have dire consequences for taxpayers' privacy, and has made the case for his oversight of the matter.

"This is a decision that has enormous precedence in potentially weaponizing the IRS," Mnuchin told reporters in April on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund annual meeting in Washington.

View on CNN

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





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Trump on collision course with Supreme Court; justices may avoid interference in 2020 election

RICHARD WOLF | USA TODAY | 41 minutes ago

   



 

 

The Justice Department wants the Supreme Court to look at some legacy cases before the lower courts have finished with them.

HANNAH GABER SALETAN, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Trump is on a collision course with the Supreme Court, a trajectory that threatens to put the justices in the middle of the 2020 election.

Disputes over congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony, as well as legal battles over administration policies and Trump's businesses, finances and personal affairs, are moving inexorably toward a court Trump has sought to shape in his image. 

In one box are myriad disputes over immigration, as well as health care and transgender troops in the military. In another are lawsuits seeking to pry open – or keep secret – Trump's business dealings, financial records and tax returns. Even his Twitter account is a target. 

Most recently, the president's vow to fight all subpoenas from House Democrats and Attorney General William Barr's refusal to testifybefore a House panel have threatened to add another layer to the looming high court showdown. 

Some battles already have reached the justices. They ruled narrowly last year in favor of the president's travel ban on several majority-Muslim countries. They seemed inclined last month to allow the Commerce Department to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census, again by the slimmest of margins.

The question now is how many hot-button squabbles the high court will settle or sidestep in the 18 months remaining before Election Day.

Several factors may delay or derail many of the confrontations. The wheels of justice turn slowly. The Supreme Court turns down 99 of every 100 cases that come its way.

And the justices likely want to stay "three ZIP codes away" from political controversy, as their newest colleague, Brett Kavanaugh, put it during his confirmation hearing last year.

"All these cases are long shots for multiple, independent reasons," said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas who follows the high court closely. "If this is a one-term presidency, the clock will run out while these cases are still percolating."

The likelihood that the Supreme Court will face a flurry of Trump-related cases increases exponentially if he wins re-election, however. Second terms tend to be litigious; think Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal and Bill Clinton's Whitewater investigation. If Democrats retain control of the House or win the Senate in 2020, the collisions could come in bunches. 

Special interest groups challenging Trump up and down the federal court system hope they don't have to wait that long. 

“I think it could be next year that we get the beginnings of the Trump rule-of-law docket,” said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center. "You don’t want the court to essentially sit on these issues simply to avoid grappling with the tough questions."

Mixing politics and law

President Donald Trump shakes hands with federal appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee, in the East Room of the White House last July.
Meno_
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 5292
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon May 06, 2019 3:49 pm

Mueller. Now what?

Trump reverses stance and says Mueller should not testify – live updates
The president has backed away from an earlier claim that he would support William Barr’s decision on the special counsel testifying


The morning sky over the White House in Washington DC Monday.

Amanda Holpuch in New York


Mon 6 May 2019 10.13 EDT First published on Mon 6 May 2019 08.59 EDT
Key events
10.13am

The US House Judiciary Committee took its first step to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress this morning, after Barr failed to provide a copy of the unredacted Mueller report before the committee’s deadline.

On Wednesday, the committee will debate a resolution and a 27-page report on Barr being held in contempt, then hold a vote on the resolution. If the vote goes through, it will move to a full vote in the House to authorize legal proceedings.

House Judiciary committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said in a statement:

Even in redacted form, the Special Counsel’s report offers disturbing evidence and analysis that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice at the highest levels. Congress must see the full report and underlying evidence to determine how to best move forward with oversight, legislation, and other constitutional responsibilities.

Facebook Twitter
10.05am

Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, just navigated through a swarm of photographers and television cameras outside his apartment in New York City, before hopping into a black SUV to take him to prison, about 70 miles north of the city.

Cohen made a brief statement to reporters:

I hope that when I rejoin my family and friends that the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm of our country. There still remains much to be told and I look forward to the day the day I can tell the truth.

Cohen was sentenced last December to three years in prison for tax evasion, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations. He is the third former Trump aide to go to prison in the past 12 months.

Khaki uniform, jingling keys, snoring: what Michael Cohen will find in prison

Facebook Twitter
9.51am

2020: Booker unveils gun violence prevention plan
2020 update: New Jersey senator Cory Booker, a Democrat, this morning unveiled his plan to tackle gun violence – which in 2017 saw gun deaths in the US rise to its highest rate in more than 20 years.

Booker’s campaign outlined the ambitious plan on Medium. It included several measures which Booker said would be a focus on day one of his presidency:

Universal background checks.
Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
More funding for gun violence research.
Requiring gun owners to obtain a license to purchase and own a firearm.
A national database to register and track guns.
Repealing a law that protects the gun industry from nearly all lawsuits.
Require “microstamping,” which helps trace shell casings to a specific weapon.
Expand the law so people found guilty of non-felony abuse for violence against a partner of former partner are prohibited from purchasing a firearm - known as the “boyfriend loophole.”
Facebook Twitter
9.23am

Donald Trump shocked global financial markets this morning with an unexpected threat to further raise tariffs on Chinese-made goods.

In September, Trump imposed a 10% tariff on $200bn in goods from China, including food, chemicals and electronics. On Twitter last night, Trump said he planned to hike that tariff to 25%. He also said another $325bn in goods would be subject to the 25% tariff.

This has upended global stock markets after months of seemingly positive negotiations between the US and China. Trump himself has declared that the discussions were moving in a positive direction, helping to boost global markets anticipating a positive outcome from the talks.

China’s market closed down 5.8% on Monday, its worst day since Feb 2016. Europe and US markets also fell, with oil prices – a benchmark for global trade – falling sharply.

Liu He, Beijing’s lead trade negotiator, was due in Washington this week for trade talks that experts predicted would be the last round of discussions before reaching a deal. China has not announced how Trump’s announcement will impact Liu’s travel plans.

And if you’re wondering, who pays for these tariffs? A long explanation is here. The quick version: Companies pay these tariffs when they import goods from China, despite Trump’s claims they are paid by China. US importers then decide to either pass the increased costs on to consumers by raising prices, absorb the cost and take a hit to their profits, try to negotiate costs down or find outside suppliers.

Nick Twidale, Sydney-based analyst at Rakuten Securities Australia, told the Guardian:

There is still a question of whether this is one of the famous Trump negotiation tactic, or are we really going to see some drastic increase in tariffs. If it’s the latter we’ll see massive downside pressure across all markets.

Facebook Twitter
8.59am

Trump reverses position on Mueller testimony
Happy Monday and welcome to today’s politics live blog. The Mueller report saga is far from over.

Donald Trump has reversed his earlier position on whether special counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to testify before a Congressional committee about his 448-page report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Last night, Trump tweeted “Bob Mueller should not testify,” backing away from an earlier claim that he would support William Barr’s decision on whether Mueller should testify. The attorney general has said it would be fine if he did.

Barr is also due to respond to Representative Jerry Nadler, the House judiciary committee chairman, who gave the attorney general a Monday deadline to provide an unredacted version of the Mueller report.

Trump has repeatedly mischaracterized the report’s findings. Mueller did not assess collusion because it is not a legal term and instead focused on potential criminal conspiracy between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia. Mueller said there was not sufficient evidence to establish criminal charges for obstruction, but wrote the president couldn’t be exonerated from such allegations, either.

Elsewhere:

The president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is set to begin serving his three-year prison sentence today in New York. Cohen is the third Trump campaign aide to go to prison in the past 12 months.
Trump unexpectedly announced he would further raise tariffs on Chinese-made goods, sending global financial markets tumbling.
And the US is sending an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to “escaltory indications” from Iran, according to National Security Adviser, John Bolton, who did not identify what caused the US to escalate tensions in the region.
We’ll have more on all this throughout the morning, as well as rolling updates through the day.


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



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Democrats move to hold Barr in contempt over failure to release full Mueller report – live
House takes first step to hold attorney general in contempt of Congress after Barr failed to provide unredacted copy of Mueller report before deadline


On Wednesday, the committee will debate a resolution and a 27-page report on Barr being held in contempt, then hold a vote on the resolution.

Amanda Holpuch in New York


Mon 6 May 2019 11.20 EDT First published on Mon 6 May 2019 08.59 EDT
Key events
11.20am

The top Republican on the House Judiciary committee, representative Doug Collins, of Georgia, was critical of Wednesday’s planned vote on contempt for Attorney General William Barr.

“Democrats have launched a proxy war smearing the attorney general when their anger actually lies with the president and the special counsel, who found neither conspiracy nor obstruction,” Collins said.

Collins said the upcoming vote is “illogical and disingenuous” as negotiations are underway with the Justice Department for access, according to the AP.

Facebook Twitter
10.47am

Donald Trump is complaining about disaster funding to Puerto Rico, again.

On Twitter, Trump said Puerto Rico has already received more money from Congress than any state in the history of the US and complained Democrats won’t back a bill that gives disaster relief money to states including Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama.

“Puerto Rico should be very happy and the Dems should stop blocking much needed Disaster Relief!” Trump tweeted.

The president is in a standoff with Democrats, who want a disaster aid funding bill to include money for Puerto Rico, as well as the others states.

In the tweets, Trump said Puerto Rico had received $91bn in disaster relief funding - which is not true. There has been $41bn in announced funding. The additional $50bn is money that one internal estimate said could need to be committed in the long-term.

This weekend, Boston Red Sox manager, Alex Cora, said he wouldn’t visit the White House to celebrate the team’s 2018 World Series win because of the Trump administration’s response to the hurricane. Cora is Puerto Rican. Several other Red Sox players have also said they would be skipping the ceremony.

Since Hurricane Maria devastated the entire island of Puerto Rico in September 2017, Trump has routinely minimized, dismissed or ignored the scale of destruction– including denying the official death toll.

Facebook Twitter
10.13am

The US House judiciary committee took its first step to hold the attorney general, William Barr, in contempt of Congress this morning, after Barr failed to provide a copy of the unredacted Mueller report before the committee’s deadline.

On Wednesday, the committee will debate a resolution and a 27-page report on Barr being held in contempt, then hold a vote on the resolution. If the vote goes through, it will move to a full vote in the House to authorize legal proceedings.

House Judiciary committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said in a statement:

Even in redacted form, the Special Counsel’s report offers disturbing evidence and analysis that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice at the highest levels. Congress must see the full report and underlying evidence to determine how to best move forward with oversight, legislation, and other constitutional responsibilities.



Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, just navigated through a swarm of photographers and television cameras outside his apartment in New York City, before hopping into a black SUV to take him to prison, about 70 miles north of the city.

Cohen made a brief statement to reporters:

I hope that when I rejoin my family and friends that the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm of our country. There still remains much to be told and I look forward to the day the day I can tell the truth.

Cohen was sentenced last December to three years in prison for tax evasion, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations. He is the third former Trump aide to go to prison in the past 12 months.

Khaki uniform, jingling keys, snoring: what Michael Cohen will find in prison

Facebook Twitter
9.51am

2020: Booker unveils gun violence prevention plan
2020 update: New Jersey senator Cory Booker, a Democrat, this morning unveiled his plan to tackle gun violence – which in 2017 saw gun deaths in the US rise to its highest rate in more than 20 years.

Booker’s campaign outlined the ambitious plan on Medium. It included several measures which Booker said would be a focus on day one of his presidency:

Universal background checks.
Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
More funding for gun violence research.
Requiring gun owners to obtain a license to purchase and own a firearm.
A national database to register and track guns.
Repealing a law that protects the gun industry from nearly all lawsuits.
Require “microstamping,” which helps trace shell casings to a specific weapon.
Expand the law so people found guilty of non-felony abuse for violence against a partner of former partner are prohibited from purchasing a firearm - known as the “boyfriend loophole.”

9.23am

Donald Trump shocked global financial markets this morning with an unexpected threat to further raise tariffs on Chinese-made goods.

In September, Trump imposed a 10% tariff on $200bn in goods from China, including food, chemicals and electronics. On Twitter last night, Trump said he planned to hike that tariff to 25%. He also said another $325bn in goods would be subject to the 25% tariff.

This has upended global stock markets after months of seemingly positive negotiations between the US and China. Trump himself has declared that the discussions were moving in a positive direction, helping to boost global markets anticipating a positive outcome from the talks.

China’s market closed down 5.8% on Monday, its worst day since Feb 2016. Europe and US markets also fell, with oil prices – a benchmark for global trade – falling sharply.

Liu He, Beijing’s lead trade negotiator, was due in Washington this week for trade talks that experts predicted would be the last round of discussions before reaching a deal. China has not announced how Trump’s announcement will impact Liu’s travel plans.

And if you’re wondering, who pays for these tariffs? A long explanation is here. The quick version: Companies pay these tariffs when they import goods from China, despite Trump’s claims they are paid by China. US importers then decide to either pass the increased costs on to consumers by raising prices, absorb the cost and take a hit to their profits, try to negotiate costs down or find outside suppliers.

Nick Twidale, Sydney-based analyst at Rakuten Securities Australia, told the Guardian:

There is still a question of whether this is one of the famous Trump negotiation tactic, or are we really going to see some drastic increase in tariffs. If it’s the latter we’ll see massive downside pressure across all markets.


Trump reverses position on Mueller testimony
Happy Monday and welcome to today’s politics live blog. The Mueller report saga is far from over.

Donald Trump has reversed his earlier position on whether special counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to testify before a Congressional committee about his 448-page report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Last night, Trump tweeted “Bob Mueller should not testify,” backing away from an earlier claim that he would support William Barr’s decision on whether Mueller should testify. The attorney general has said it would be fine if he did.

Barr is also due to respond to Representative Jerry Nadler, the House judiciary committee chairman, who gave the attorney general a Monday deadline to provide an unredacted version of the Mueller report.

Trump has repeatedly mischaracterized the report’s findings. Mueller did not assess collusion because it is not a legal term and instead focused on potential criminal conspiracy between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia. Mueller said there was not sufficient evidence to establish criminal charges for obstruction, but wrote the president couldn’t be exonerated from such allegations, either.

Elsewhere:

The president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is set to begin serving his three-year prison sentence today in New York. Cohen is the third Trump campaign aide to go to prison in the past 12 months.
Trump unexpectedly announced he would further raise tariffs on Chinese-made goods, sending global financial markets tumbling.
And the US is sending an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to “escaltory indications” from Iran, according to National Security Adviser, John Bolton, who did not identify what caused the US to escalate tensions in the region.
We’ll have more on all this throughout the morning, as well as rolling updates through the day.


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




----------- -----------------



The Guardian -

Trump would have been charged with obstruction if he wasn't president, say prosecutors – live
More than 370 former federal prosecutors signed a statement saying Mueller’s investigation would have resulted in charges for Trump





Mon 6 May 2019 15.47 EDT First published on Mon 6 May 2019 08.59 EDT
Key events
3.47pm

Donald Trump’s bitter confrontation with his political opponents continued to intensify on Monday, after House Democrats set up a vote to hold his attorney general, William Barr, in contempt of Congress, writes David Smith, the Guardian’s Washington Bureau Chief.

A contempt vote would carry symbolic force but it would not compel Barr to hand over the report. The full House would need to approve it, sending a criminal referral to the US attorney for the District of Columbia – a justice department official likely to defend the attorney general.

Democrats argue they need to see the full report, including underlying materials, in order to conduct a complete review of Mueller’s investigation. Nadler said the committee wants to see witness interviews and “items such as contemporaneous notes” that are cited in the report. He also asked that all members of Congress be allowed to review an unredacted version.

As the conflict with Barr has worsened, Democrats have been in negotiations to hear from Mueller himself. Trump complicated those negotiations on Sunday when he tweeted that he would oppose Mueller’s testimony. Trump had previously said he would leave the question to Barr, who has said he has no objection to Mueller testifying.

Nadler said last week the committee was “firming up the date” for Mueller’s testimony, hoping it would be 15 May.

Trump escalates fight with Democrats as they move to hold Barr in contempt

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3.30pm









The prosecutors, who have worked for administrations hailing from both sides of the political aisle, contradicts the conclusion made by attorney general William Barr after Mueller did not come to a decision on whether the president should be indicted, that there was not a criminal case for obstruction.

Mueller had specifically said that Trump was not exonerated.

The prosecutors say in their statement:

“Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice,” the former federal prosecutors wrote.

“We emphasize that these are not matters of close professional judgment,” they added. “Of course, there are potential defenses or arguments that could be raised in response to an indictment of the nature we describe here . . . But, to look at these facts and say that a prosecutor could not probably sustain a conviction for obstruction of justice — the standard set out in Principles of Federal Prosecution — runs counter to logic and our experience.”

Facebook Twitter
1.24pm

Prosecutors sign statement saying Trump would have been charged with obstruction if he wasn't president
More than 370 former federal prosecutors have signed a statement saying they believe special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation would have resulted in obstruction of justice charges for Donald Trump if he wasn’t the president of the United States.

The statement has been issued on publishing platform Medium this afternoon. More details in the coming moments.

Facebook Twitter
12.56pm

Republican Rick Scott, Florida’s ex-governor and now US Senator, really doesn’t like 2020 Dem candidate Cory Booker’s progressive gun violence prevention plan, unveiled this morning.

Scott tweeted the, to him, outrageous notion that “if you want to buy a gun, @CoryBooker wants you to register with the federal government”, adding: “This would be scary if Booker had any chance of becoming president.”

He called it the latest terrible idea from Dems in the 2020 race.

He then went on, or possibly off the rails, in the second of a two-post tweet shower, thus: “What’s next? Will we have to register sharp knives? Maybe @AOC will make us register every time we buy meat as part of her #GreenNewDeal.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez promptly countered with her trademark blast of straight-talking fresh air.

The freshman Democratic representative from New York, aka @AOC, tweeted: “That a sitting US Senator can say something lacking so much critical thinking + honesty is embarrassing to the institution. If you were a female candidate, maybe you’d be called “unlikeable,” “crazy,” or “uninformed.” But since you’re not, this inadequacy is accepted as normal.”

Updated at 12.58pm EDT
Facebook Twitter
12.28pm

Afternoon summary
Donald’s Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, just arrived at prison in New York to begin serving his three-year prison sentence today in New York. Cohen is the third Trump campaign aide to go to prison in the past 12 months. Outside his New York City apartment this morning, Cohen promised: “There still remains much to be told and I look forward to the day the day I can tell the truth.”
In a series of Tweets last night, Trump attempted to control the aftermath of the Muller report, which has seen Congressional committees calling up Trump associates for testimonies and requests for additional, unredacted documents.
The House Judiciary committee announced it would vote Wednesday on whether to find attorney general William Barr in contempt of Congress.
Trump unexpectedly announced he would further raise tariffs on Chinese-made goods, sending global financial markets tumbling.
Trump complained about disaster relief funding in Puerto Rico, amid a standoff with Democrats to approve a disaster aid bill that includes Puerto Rico as well as several US states.
US senator Cory Booker, a 2020 Democratic hopeful, unveiled an ambitious gun violence prevention plan.
Facebook Twitter
12.05pm

Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, has arrived at an upstate New York prison around 11:30 am on Monday.

Here’s what he can expect, writes the Guardian’s Tom McCarthy:

The prison, which houses about 800 inmates, has been rated among the country’s cushiest, thanks to its facilities for non-violent offenders which include bunkhouse-style sleeping and personal lockers.

It is also especially set up for Jewish inmates, such as Cohen will be, with availability of such specialty foods as matzoh ball soup, gefilte fish and rugelach pastries, as well as access to a full-time rabbi.

Prison consultants say Otisville has become a requested destination for Jewish inmates due to its proximity to New York City’s large Jewish population and upstate New York’s Orthodox Jewish enclaves.

But it’s still prison, former Otisville case manager Jack Donson said.

“Prison is disrespectful. It’s impersonal,” Donson said. “He’s never going to get any sleep because there’s always lights on, there’s always inmates snoring. There are officers walking around jingling keys. You shower out in the open. It’s very demeaning.”

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen leaves Manhattan apartment to serve three-year prison sentence
Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Facebook Twitter
11.42am

A majority of Americans support getting rid of the Electoral College and having elections determined exclusively by the popular vote, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Of those polled, 53% said the presidential election should use a popular vote, while 43% should continue to use the electoral college.

The findings fall pretty closely in line with whether people backed Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million votes, while Trump won 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232 electoral votes

Of the people surveyed who voted for Trump in 2016, 74% wanted to keep using the electoral college, while 78% of Clinton voters want to use the popular vote.

The Electoral College allocates electoral votes to each state based on how many representatives and senators it has. Because each state has two senators, electoral votes tilt toward giving smaller states more power in the election. For instance, California has one electoral vote per 712,000 people and Wyoming has one for 195,000 people, according to NBC News.

How does the US electoral college work?
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11.20am

The top Republican on the House Judiciary committee, representative Doug Collins, of Georgia, was critical of Wednesday’s planned vote on contempt for Attorney General William Barr.

“Democrats have launched a proxy war smearing the attorney general when their anger actually lies with the president and the special counsel, who found neither conspiracy nor obstruction,” Collins said.

Collins said the upcoming vote is “illogical and disingenuous” as negotiations are underway with the Justice Department for access, according to the AP.

Facebook Twitter
10.47am

Donald Trump is complaining about disaster funding to Puerto Rico, again.

On Twitter, Trump said Puerto Rico has already received more money from Congress than any state in the history of the US and complained Democrats won’t back a bill that gives disaster relief money to states including Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama.

“Puerto Rico should be very happy and the Dems should stop blocking much needed Disaster Relief!” Trump tweeted.

The president is in a standoff with Democrats, who want a disaster aid funding bill to include money for Puerto Rico, as well as the others states.

In the tweets, Trump said Puerto Rico had received $91bn in disaster relief funding - which is not true. There has been $41bn in announced funding. The additional $50bn is money that one internal estimate said could need to be committed in the long-term.

This weekend, Boston Red Sox manager, Alex Cora, said he wouldn’t visit the White House to celebrate the team’s 2018 World Series win because of the Trump administration’s response to the hurricane. Cora is Puerto Rican. Several other Red Sox players have also said they would be skipping the ceremony.

Since Hurricane Maria devastated the entire island of Puerto Rico in September 2017, Trump has routinely minimized, dismissed or ignored the scale of destruction– including denying the official death toll.

Facebook Twitter
10.13am

The US House judiciary committee took its first step to hold the attorney general, William Barr, in contempt of Congress this morning, after Barr failed to provide a copy of the unredacted Mueller report before the committee’s deadline.

On Wednesday, the committee will debate a resolution and a 27-page report on Barr being held in contempt, then hold a vote on the resolution. If the vote goes through, it will move to a full vote in the House to authorize legal proceedings.

House Judiciary committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, said in a statement:

Even in redacted form, the Special Counsel’s report offers disturbing evidence and analysis that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice at the highest levels. Congress must see the full report and underlying evidence to determine how to best move forward with oversight, legislation, and other constitutional responsibilities.

Updated at 10.46am EDT
Facebook Twitter
10.05am

Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, just navigated through a swarm of photographers and television cameras outside his apartment in New York City, before hopping into a black SUV to take him to prison, about 70 miles north of the city.

Cohen made a brief statement to reporters:

I hope that when I rejoin my family and friends that the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm of our country. There still remains much to be told and I look forward to the day the day I can tell the truth.

Loading video
Michael Cohen hints at more Trump revelations on way to prison – video
Cohen was sentenced last December to three years in prison for tax evasion, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations. He is the third former Trump aide to go to prison in the past 12 months.

Khaki uniform, jingling keys, snoring: what Michael Cohen will find in prison

Updated at 1.51pm EDT
Facebook Twitter
9.51am

2020: Booker unveils gun violence prevention plan
2020 update: New Jersey senator Cory Booker, a Democrat, this morning unveiled his plan to tackle gun violence – which in 2017 saw gun deaths in the US rise to its highest rate in more than 20 years.

Booker’s campaign outlined the ambitious plan on Medium. It included several measures which Booker said would be a focus on day one of his presidency:

Universal background checks.
Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
More funding for gun violence research.
Requiring gun owners to obtain a license to purchase and own a firearm.
A national database to register and track guns.
Repealing a law that protects the gun industry from nearly all lawsuits.
Require “microstamping,” which helps trace shell casings to a specific weapon.
Expand the law so people found guilty of non-felony abuse for violence against a partner of former partner are prohibited from purchasing a firearm - known as the “boyfriend loophole.”
Facebook Twitter
9.23am

Donald Trump shocked global financial markets this morning with an unexpected threat to further raise tariffs on Chinese-made goods.

In September, Trump imposed a 10% tariff on $200bn in goods from China, including food, chemicals and electronics. On Twitter last night, Trump said he planned to hike that tariff to 25%. He also said another $325bn in goods would be subject to the 25% tariff.

This has upended global stock markets after months of seemingly positive negotiations between the US and China. Trump himself has declared that the discussions were moving in a positive direction, helping to boost global markets anticipating a positive outcome from the talks.

China’s market closed down 5.8% on Monday, its worst day since Feb 2016. Europe and US markets also fell, with oil prices – a benchmark for global trade – falling sharply.

Liu He, Beijing’s lead trade negotiator, was due in Washington this week for trade talks that experts predicted would be the last round of discussions before reaching a deal. China has not announced how Trump’s announcement will impact Liu’s travel plans.

And if you’re wondering, who pays for these tariffs? A long explanation is here. The quick version: Companies pay these tariffs when they import goods from China, despite Trump’s claims they are paid by China. US importers then decide to either pass the increased costs on to consumers by raising prices, absorb the cost and take a hit to their profits, try to negotiate costs down or find outside suppliers.

Nick Twidale, Sydney-based analyst at Rakuten Securities Australia, told the Guardian:

There is still a question of whether this is one of the famous Trump negotiation tactic, or are we really going to see some drastic increase in tariffs. If it’s the latter we’ll see massive downside pressure across all markets.

Facebook Twitter
8.59am

Trump reverses position on Mueller testimony
Happy Monday and welcome to today’s politics live blog. The Mueller report saga is far from over.

Donald Trump has reversed his earlier position on whether special counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to testify before a Congressional committee about his 448-page report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Last night, Trump tweeted “Bob Mueller should not testify,” backing away from an earlier claim that he would support William Barr’s decision on whether Mueller should testify. The attorney general has said it would be fine if he did.

Barr is also due to respond to Representative Jerry Nadler, the House judiciary committee chairman, who gave the attorney general a Monday deadline to provide an unredacted version of the Mueller report.

Trump has repeatedly mischaracterized the report’s findings. Mueller did not assess collusion because it is not a legal term and instead focused on potential criminal conspiracy between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia. Mueller said there was not sufficient evidence to establish criminal charges for obstruction, but wrote the president couldn’t be exonerated from such allegations, either.

Elsewhere:

The president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is set to begin serving his three-year prison sentence today in New York. Cohen is the third Trump campaign aide to go to prison in the past 12 months.
Trump unexpectedly announced he would further raise tariffs on Chinese-made goods, sending global financial markets tumbling.
And the US is sending an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to “escaltory indications” from Iran, according to National Security Adviser, John Bolton, who did not identify what caused the US to escalate tensions in the region.
We’ll have more on all this throughout the morning, as well as rolling updates through the day

Fired by Trump: former US attorney Preet Bharara on American justice
Fired by Trump: former US attorney Preet Bharara on American justice
‘The NRA is in grave danger’: group's troubles are blow to Trump's 2020 bid
‘The NRA is in grave danger’: group's troubles are blow to Trump's 2020 bid
Why did Trump threaten to raise China tariffs – and what now?
Why did Trump threaten to raise China tariffs – and what now?
Markets slide after Trump threatens to dramatically increase China tariffs
Markets slide after Trump threatens to dramatically increase China tariffs
'Tentative date' of 15 May agreed for Mueller to testify before Congress
'Tentative date' of 15 May agreed for Mueller to testify before Congress
American democracy is broken.
© 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage whaaaaat?

Postby Meno_ » Tue May 07, 2019 1:19 am

Steven Mnuchin Refuses to Release Trump’s Tax Returns to Congress
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