Trump enters the stage

Discussion of the recent unfolding of history.

Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:46 am

derleydoo wrote:Greetings, Meno. May I ask if there has been any reaction to Mister Trump''s interference with the British electoral process? Was it reported in the USA?

Hello, Darelydoo,

That is a great question.
On the face of it, one is tempted to say, yes, but Trump's appearance on a radio show , where he was pushing conservative values can be this construed.

But this is different from undoing international structures that served not only Great Britain, but really the whole gamut of pre set international relations.
The Russia-Ukraine debacle is very similar to the South Vietnam-China problem , where the Mandarin regime was double crossed by then ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge.
The same with the Korean-debacle where major war was prevented.

Ukraine is a very splitting work of politocal intentions, and the Russian interference in U.S. elections is dwarfed by the duplicity in play, where various antimonies rely on non disclosed and redacted objectives.
The NWO underlies the whole idea of national politics, and duplicity is appearent to those who cam follow the trajectory .

The British problem is a mere sideline, an extension of the Washington led instigation.

I've pointed to the loss of a material dialectic, with an accompanied duplicitous Kantian transcendental, where that test, of a pure dialectic has been the foundation of regaining the momentum lost by the nominal-positivist defensive tactic, of basic apologetic interpretation.

Post modern philosophy failing, the simple naive thoughts that is pointed to in 'One Dimensional Man, can be seen a German counterpart of gross dissatisfaction with the ways things are poorly progressing with das Capital.
The duplex irony here is the nominal interpretation of equivalence k between freedom and the economy.

Liberalism had been given wide leeway, between the mid sixties and the present time, in order to stop the e genomic bleeding world wide.
Proofs are abundant, and if, the Brit pound can not hold it's symbolic muster, then the conservation of simulated economy premiership could not be sustained.

The Federal Reserve has to keep interest rates way down, so that the corresponding employment figures can sustain a steady foundation.
They are related.

At the same time, this artificiality has to appear as a real dynamic structural process.

The procedural critique in the impeachment proceedings reflect the structural ambiguity between a pure object distinct from rules of law, and the naive interpretations that be fit political process.
That a behemoth like the US economic political machine may be sensitive to Marx's warning of diminishing returns, has been tossed around for at least two generations, where President Carter pointed to the fast approaching limits to growth.
What did Reagan's policies do?
In terms of deregulation, it nearly wrecked the economy another generation hence, so a desperate insurance policy had to be underwritten : the unprecedented buildup of strategic weapons, by which the fate of the economy took second place.
The ideological triumvirate has always had an objective standing between nationalism, socialism and imperialism, and has always been the mid among these, that political ideology had been designated and redefined.
It is within the confines of a failed nominalism, that thinkers such as Sassure clothes meaning, while political capital afforded such utility.
But political capital has been devalued as deflated, and now dimensions of conservation, namely fiscally defined has become the trump card of those who expect more control than say, programmed trading.
AI can not yet fact It in psychological effects into abrupt changes in equity value, and that is the number one concern if the protectors of freedom and luberty, and not of concern for a desperate party like the Republican.
Trump will be overshadowed by the deficiencies, and he himself is acting out from desperation, since he has been bought out by the banks to whom he owes his solvency.
The media may be playing a reverse game of psychological warfare, because, the nominalism with which procedures are interpreted and understood, still present the situation as life as usual.

That it is not, only candy wrapping can alley.

It is a waiting game, a kind of false peace, phony, as can be, and God help those who still strive to seek a better, simpler world that does not cause borders to burst asunder in untimely fashion.

No England is in harmonic calculus with both: EU, and the US, their symbolic value more important then any lesser value can purchase.
There is no quick fix, and influence peddling there does not rise above or, lower below such limits that mere speculation can derive.

Legal problems loom , in the next 12 months and beyond, irrespective to any outcome.

Which will rise to the Supreme Court.?
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Re: Trump enters the stage - is Trumpism an effect of determ

Postby Meno_ » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:01 pm

Opinion, Analysis, Essays


Trump and Giuliani's impeachment defense pushes America closer to a 'mafia state'

Trump and Giuliani are operating as if Trump is — or owns — the United States.

Donald Trump walks with Rudolph Giuliani through the new Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, on Sept. 16, 2016.Mike Segar / Reuters file

Nov. 5, 2019, 4:28 AM EST

By Teri Kanefield, attorney and author

Neither President Donald Trump nor his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani deny the underlying facts of the allegations at the heart of £:_the impeachment inquiry. This seems like a relatively crazy thing to do, given that Democrats are out for blood — but they really have no choice givenhow much is already public. So instead of denying the facts, Trump’s defense appears to be: Yes, we did it, but there was nothing wrong with it.

Instead of denying the facts, Trump’s defense appears to be: Yes, we did it, but there was nothing wrong with it.

The “there was nothing wrong with it” defense does triple duty: It gives Trump’s surrogates something to argue, it muddies the water and confuses people with its sheer audacity, and — most important — it pushes the United States one step closer to becoming what the Hungarian scholar Bálint Magyar calls a “mafia state” to describe the kind of autocracies we see springing up in the former Soviet Union.

The defense also gives Senate Republicans little cover to hide behind. The GOP will soon be called on to tell the American people whether it agrees that it’s OK to use the levers of government to benefit Trump personally.

After all, Giuliani openly admits that he was in Ukraine to dig up information to support Trump’s harebrained theories that the real election interference in 2016 came from Ukraine. He also admits he was trying to find evidence that the Bidens were behaving corruptly and that the hacked DNC “server” is being hidden in Ukraine.

Trump, similarly, doesn’t deny that he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to look into each of these matters. Both Trump and Giuliani insist, though, that there was nothing wrong with any of this. Trump says the “perfect” transcript of the July 25 call proves it. Giuliani, too, justifies what he was doing as simply being part of his obligation as Trump’s personal lawyer to “vindicate his client.” In fact, Giuliani noted on Twitter that these attempts to “vindicate” Trump stretch back even further than July.

Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post nails it when she says that Trump and Giuliani “cannot grasp that there is a difference”between conducting U.S. foreign policy for national security reasons and conducting foreign policy to benefit Trump personally.

We’ve been talking about Trump and Giuliani running a “shadow” foreign policy alongside (and often in conflict with) the official State Department foreign policy. But Masha Gessen, relying on Magyar's work, explains that we are “using the wrong language” to describe what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine. A president, who is the chief foreign policy official in the nation, cannot, by definition, run a shadow foreign policy. What the president can do, however, is destroy the institutions that traditionally conduct foreign policy, in this case, the State Department, staffed by career diplomats.

Magyar talks about the three stages of establishing autocracy. Stage one, the “autocratic attempt,” is when potential regime change from democracy to autocracy is still reversible. Stage two is what he calls the “autocratic breakthrough.” The final stage is autocracy, or a mafia state.

A mafia state is essentially a criminal government. Mafia states — like Putin’s Russia — develop as the government takes over businesses. As the ruler consolidates power and wealth, both wealth and power come to be concentrated in one person. Eventually, the entire state comes under the control of the head of the family and expands across the entire country. In other words, the ruler ends up owning the country.

When this happens, the ruler’s personal interests and the interests of the nation become meshed into one. Trump has been open about his admiration for Putin, the head of a powerful mafia state. Trump, in fact, often acts like a mafia don.

It is therefore not surprising that Trump and Giuliani cannot discern a difference between foreign policy conducted for the good of the U.S. and foreign policy conducted for the personal gain of Donald Trump. Trump and Giuliani are operating as if Trump is — or owns — the United States. When Trump and Giuliani insist there was nothing wrong in using the levers of government to “vindicate” Trump, they are envisioning Trump as the head of a mafia state.

Trump makes the subtext text. He calls a spade a spade. By admitting to the facts but insisting there was nothing wrong with it, he’ll force Republican senators to state for the record precisely what kind of America they want. They won’t be able to hide behind euphemisms.

Do they want to uphold a clear separation between the president’s personal interests and the interests of the nation as a whole? Or do they want to go along with Trump’s argument that he has done nothing wrong? If Republicans choose the latter, they are helping Trump blur the distinction between his own personal interests and the interests of the United States.

Teri Kanefield

Teri Kanefield, a graduate of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, is the author of numerous articles, essays, and books, including the 2015 Jane Addams Book Award winner, "The Girl from the Tar Paper School." For 12 years she maintained an appellate law practice in California. 

The opinion gleaned from the above, is, that it is to early to tell.
The next few months to and through the next general election may solve this constitutional conflict as the dialogue will echo through the chambers of government, as the boundaries increasingly untangle the common tools of self monitoring, such as the checks and balances.

If no such self prescribed efforts bringing nation within respectively bound and credibly analyzed conclusions, then it will be fair to say that perspectives have been overblown to a degree, where emotional reactions can no longer bring an objective rationality into a manageable focus to distangle the original elements of the clear understanding of the founding fathers.
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Re: Trump enters the stage justice collusion? Tuesday electi

Postby Meno_ » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:32 pm

The Justice Department concluded senior White House advisers have "absolute immunity" from congressional subpoenas for their testimony, according to a letter obtained by CBS News.

Witnesses come forward:


Trump impeachment inquiry calls on White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify – live
Mulvaney, who implied there was quid pro quo with Ukraine, asked to appear while House intelligence panel prepares to release more testimony

Sign up for the US briefing and get a new perspective
Mick Mulvaney in October. Mulvaney said: ‘I have news for everybody. Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy.’
Show caption
Joanna Walters in New York
Tue 5 Nov 2019 13.50 EST
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Key events
13:49 EST
Sondland admitted quid pro quo with Ukraine - testimony
Testimony from European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland to the impeachment inquiry reveals that he told a top Ukrainian official that they wouldn’t get vital US military aid unless the country publicly committed to investigations that Donald Trump had been demanding from Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, into the president’s domestic political rival, Joe Biden.

Four new pages of sworn testimony released moments ago, from Sondland’s closed-door testimony last month, confirm he was involved in the quid pro quo between the US and Ukraine that is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, and which Sondland hasn’t admitted to before.

Updated at 13:50 EST
13:43 EST
Testimony from Sondland and Volker damaging for Trump
Some details of the testimony from EU ambassador Gordon Sondland and former Ukraine enjoy Kurt Volker to the impeachment inquiry last month are dribbling out, via CNN journalists so far.

There is a clear indication that they detailed a parallel foreign policy being carried out in Ukraine via Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Sondland indicated that secretary of state Mike Pompeo was told about it. Volker spoke of Giuliani as a conduit to Trump.
Typically, that would be official US diplomats, it almost goes without saying.

Nothing about this is normal!

Volker says Giuliani was a problem. Was hurting relations.

— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) November 5, 2019
Updated at 13:43 EST
13:33 EST
First trickle
The latest transcripts from the closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry are making their way rather painfully and fitfully into the public domain today. They’re kind of out, apparently, but most reporters don’t have them yet.

Here’s a tiny snippet from CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz, about back door diplomacy.

Excerpt from Volker’s testimony!!!

So official channels wouldn’t work, they decided on a back door. Here’s the counter intelligence concern. They knew their info would get to Trump.

Ukrainian’s “asked to be connected” to Mr. Giuliani as a direct conduit to President Trump.

— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) November 5, 2019
More to come, hang in there.

Updated at 13:33 EST
13:21 EST
What about the "blue wave" in Virginia?
Virginians go to the polls today to choose their state legislature. Despite a surge of Democratic success in the 2017 statewide elections, the Republicans hung on by a whisker to their traditionally-solid majority in the general assembly in Richmond.

Will it flip today? The so-called blue wave, which also elected a record number of women to the general assembly, was echoed in the 2018 national mid-term elections.

Key Republican districts flipped, notably giving the US Congress Virginia freshman Democrats Jennifer Wexton, who ousted moderate(ish) Republican Barbara Comstock on the outskirts of DC, and Abigail Spanberger, who beat glowing red Republican Dave Brat in a district closer to Richmond (with his infamously sexist remarks on the campaign trail).

There is a lot of interest to see if, this time also, what happens in Richmond in the election today is a forbearer of how Virginia will vote in 2020.

Since this time last year, Trump has been castigated in the Mueller report and engulfed by the impeachment inquiry centering on his conduct in relation to Ukraine.

And Virginia’s Democratic governor Ralph Northam narrowly survived a scandal over black-face photographs from the past, while his deputy, Justin Fairfax, was at the center of sexual assault allegations.

Local media are talking about the key districts voting today.STRINGER/Reuters
Updated at 13:21 EST
12:51 EST

Mick Mulvaney to be called as witness
He won’t turn up willingly, of course, but the impeachment inquiry investigators want to depose him to testify on Capitol Hill.

Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff to Donald Trump, will no doubt hove to the gag order imposed by the White House that pledges non-cooperation with the inquiry.

House impeachment inquiry now calling Mick Mulvaney for a deposition.

(Not without a fight, of course.)

— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) November 5, 2019

Last month Mulvaney suggested that there was a quid pro quo in relations with Ukraine in a rare, official White House press briefing, no less. He embarrassingly tried to walk back that statement later in the day. It was another unforced error from the Trump administration in the impeachment inquiry.

At the time he said the Trump administration’s decision to withhold millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine was part of efforts to clean up corruption in the country. He was apparently referring, at least in part, to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about a purported Ukrainian link to Russia’s hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 presidential election.

“The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation,” Mulvaney told reporters in the White House briefing room.

“Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption that related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that,” Mulvaney continued. “But that’s it. That’s why we held up the money.”

Asked about mixing politics with foreign policy, Mulvaney replied: “We do that all the time with foreign policy … I have news for everybody. Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy. Elections have consequences.”

Mulvaney’s statement contradicted Trump’s repeated denials that his administration had made military aid to Ukraine contingent upon Kyiv’s willingness to open an investigation into the debunked DNC theory and the dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of Trump’s 2020 Democratic election rival Joe Biden, in Ukraine.

Mick Mulvaney Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters
Mulvaney’s been asked to appear on Capitol Hill on Saturday. Don’t hold your breath.

Inbox: House committees have sent a letter asking Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to appear at a deposition on November 9, as part of the impeachment inquiry.

— Zachary Cohen (@ZcohenCNN) November 5, 2019
Updated at 12:54 EST
12:39 EST
Stone supporter holds up jury selection
Roger Stone trial was delayed briefly today by this chap.

At US District Court for DC. Roger Stone trial was delayed when this supporter, Anthony Haydenn, fell ill and ambulance was called. Haydenn, 54, from New York, said: “I suddenly got a confused, unstable, blackout feeling. I didn’t mean to embarrass him. He’s a good guy.”

— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) November 5, 2019

Jury selection had been slow to get underway anyway. Hoping for opening arguments to begin asap tomorrow - we’ll keep you posted and let you know when the jury has been picked so that this federal trial can get underway.

This associate of Donald Trump is accused of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction of justice, chiefly relating to the release to the public on Wikileaks of emails from Hillary Clinton’s election campaign, hacked by Russian operatives in 2016.

Harris on the ballot in New Hampshire - officially
Democratic 2020 candidate Kamala Harris is struggling to keep up in the election race, as her outgoing funds exceed the cash coming in from fundraising efforts and her poll numbers stay stubbornly paltry.

She’s made the Democratic debate in Atlanta, Georgia, this month (Nov 20) and has qualified for the December debate.

It’s 90 days to the Iowa caucuses, the first voting in the decision process to decide the Democratic party nominee for president, and the former California attorney general and now Senator Harris is focussing her efforts there.

But in the “Live free or die” granite state, New Hampshire, she is now also formally on the ballot. The NH primary is on February 11, 2020.

NEW: @KamalaHarris’ New Hampshire state director Craig Brown just filed on her behalf at the state house in Concord, NH to have Harris be officially on the ballot for the New Hampshire primary in February, a campaign aide confirms to NBC News.

The impeachment inquiry, which is likely to move to the congressional trial phase in the US Senate early next year, will take 2020 candidates and senators Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Harris off the campaign trail, but it will also give them a potentially useful platform to show off their chops in the questioning process - on TV.

‘Don't count her out’: can Kamala Harris salvage a languishing 2020 bid?
Harris on the campaign trail.

No-shows in impeachment inquiry
As we wait for the expected release, hopefully very soon, of transcripts from the testimony behind closed doors last month of Gordon Sondland, EU ambassador, and Kurt Volker, former envoy to Ukraine, it’s pretty certain that the two new witnesses expected on Capitol Hill today will not show up. This time yesterday, the first two transcripts to be made public were out, with an extraordinary account of the smear and ambush of since-ousted Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

In Yovanovitch’s transcript we see her describing her “shock” at discovering that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal emissary who has also worked for Ukrainian and Russian interests, was attempting to destroy her reputation.

Meanwhile, today, Wells Griffith, the US national security council’s international energy and environment director didn’t show this morning and Michael Duffey, associate director for national security programs in the office of management and budget, had never been expected to show up for his 2PM appointment with the House intelligence committee, so if he turns up out of the blue that would be a huge surprise.

Here is a handy recent piece on some of the main players in the impeachment inquiry.

Trump, the whistleblower and the comic: key players in the Ukraine scandal

Updated at 12:17 EST
12:01 EST
Mississippi voter turnout expected to be high
It’s a red hot race for the governorship of Mississippi today. The local leading paper, the Clarion Ledger daily newspaper and online site out of Jackson, has live coverage of the election today.

Like in Kentucky, the Democratic challenger to the Republican candidate is the state attorney general.

AG Jim Hood has a perhaps surprisingly decent chance at the governorship - which would be the first time a Democrat has been in that post for 16 years.

The voting system in the state favors the party in power in the state legislature, however, as the winner needs not just a majority of the popular vote statewide but a tallied results in a majority of the state electoral districts backing them.

Mississippi Lieutenant Governor, Republican Tate Reeves, is the guy to beat.

You can have any candidate as long as they’re white, male and wear a red tie and dark suit. Democratic candidate
Updated at 12:04 EST
11:50 EST
No opening arguments in Roger Stone trial today
That’s confirmed, jury selection is taking a bit longer than some estimated, in the Roger Stone trial in Washington today, and what with the incident with a spectator in the courtroom needing medical attention, it’s all behind the pace.

Latest forecast is that opening arguments will get underway tomorrow. Whether first thing or later in the day...well, watch this space and we’ll let you know as soon as we know. It should be a lively trial and an unwelcome echo for Trump from the Russia investigation, as the impeachment inquiry ramps up.

Updated at 11:50 EST
11:37 EST
Hiatus in Stone trial
The Roger Stone trial in federal court in Washington is proceeding a little more haltingly than expected. There’s been a medical incident involving a spectator and the courtroom has been cleared and the trial put in recess while this is dealt with.

It looks very much like opening arguments won’t get underway today.

Shady. Roger Stone turns up for court wearing comedy shades and a cheeky expression.
Updated at 11:37 EST
11:30 EST
Kentucky close race for governor
Will the Trump factor be enough to carry Republican incumbent Matt Bevin to victory in the Kentucky governor’s race tonight, or will it sink him, even?

Potus was effectively stumping for him in the state at his rally last night - where he spoke for 80 minutes straight, sheesh. What’s worse, 80 minutes of Trump or eight minutes of Rand Paul, who was the president’s sidekick last night and, disgracefully, called on the media to unmask the whistleblower who sparked the Trump-Ukraine impeachment inquiry. Just wrong.

The whistleblower is protected by law and, besides, their words have been overtaken as if by an avalanche by the substance of the testimony given by witnesses in the inquiry so far and the memo issued by the White House itself summarizing the fateful phone call in which Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate a rival in the 2020 US presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden.

Bevin is deemed to be unpopular in deeply-Republican Kentucky. His Democratic challenger, state attorney general Andy Beshear, was out stumping with his father, former governor Steve Beshear, yesterday on the last day of the campaign before voting today.

Local media say Beshear has been campaigning for 17 months in this hugely-important race. Trump won the state easily in the 2016 presidential election.

Bevin attended the Trump’s rally in Louisville last night. There was no escaping the impeachment inquiry.

Some supporters wore tee shirts saying “Read The Transcript”. A. the memo is not a transcript. Testimony so far has indicated there are even more damning bits in the full transcript, with more details of Trump asking Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Biden. B. the memo was damning.

Democratic candidate for governor, Kentucky attorney general Andy Beshear, talks with supporters on Saturday. Voters go to the polls today
11:07 EST
Voters fired up
But perhaps not in the way Fox sees it. There are important races in some key states today. Here’s the president’s echo-routine as he retweets Fox News. He’s tweeting up a storm this morning, so feel free to take a look yourself, but, if you’re busy, you won’t have missed anything earth-shattering if we don’t reproduce them here - nothing really moves the needle.

“The Impeachment Hoax has fired up voters in Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana.” @foxandfriends

Climate crisis - allies dismayed but the fight is far from over
The European Union has voiced regret at the US government’s confirmation yesterday of its decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. But the body expressed hopes that one of the world’s biggest CO2 emitters will backpedal on its decision and rejoin the accord.

That’s probably wishful thinking in terms of a policy U-turn from the Trump administration on the climate crisis. But one year from now who’s knows how the Trump-Ukraine impeachment inquiry and the presidential election will have turned out?

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said earlier today that the global deal signed in 2015 remains “the most important international agreement on climate change” and insisted that the EU will continue to “fight global climate change under this legal framework.”

Despite the US formal notice of departure, Andreeva added that the 28-member bloc will continue working with various US-based entities and stakeholders who remain committed to the deal, the AP writes.

“The Paris agreement has strong foundations and is here to stay. Its doors remain open and we hope that the US will decide to pass (them) again one day,” Andreeva said.

Scientists are warning of “untold suffering” in a new report.

Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’
Germany said the announcement from Trump’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo yesterday is “regrettable” but no surprise. (For a great commentary on what Pompeo is up to more widely in his career, read this from my colleague Julian Borger.)

Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said the US had announced its plan to withdraw from the pact two years ago and “luckily it has remained alone in doing so.”

Nearly 200 nations signed the landmark 2015 climate deal to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, with each country providing its own goals for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Meanwhile, the 2019 UN COP 25 climate conference will now happen in Spain not Chile, prompting more dismay from activists and one stuck on this side of the Atlantic to ask for a ride....

Since Friday afternoon I’ve been traveling east through the beautiful southern states in the USA to get to the east coast and hopefully find a transport to COP25 in Madrid...

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg)
First no-show of the day...?
Well. Wells. Griffith. Hasn’t turned up for his scheduled 9AM testimony behind closed doors to the Trump-Ukraine impeachment inquiry.

Happening today in the impeachment inquiry:

- NSC official Wells Griffith scheduled for closed-door testimony at 9AM. Appearance not confirmed.

- OMB official Michael Duffey scheduled for 2PM. Not expected to appear.

- Expecting transcripts of Sondland & Volker depositions.

— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) November 5, 2019
Here’s our Adam Gabbatt with a short, lively video explainer on how that whole impeachment thing works, anyway.

Warren warns on climate crisis and denier-in-chief
Whoah, sorry about the slow roll there, folks, some of us just had a connectivity issue in Guardian US HQ in the Big Apple, but after a nail-biting few minutes - just enough time to cook up a conspiracy theory about who might be jamming the wifi - we’re back live.

Leading 2020 Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren writes for us today on the climate emergency, just a few hours after Donald Trump formalized the process of pulling out of the 2015 landmark Paris climate accord. He promised ages ago that the US would pull out but there is an official process which involves notifying the United Nations and pulling out to a specific timetable, which Trump did yesterday at the first opportunity.

So now we’re on a climate countdown. Unless there is a policy earthquake, the US will leave the accord a year from now. Trump is busy dismantling environmental regulation as fast as he can anyway, while the world’s leading climate science experts give humanity very little time to make huge change and reverse the trajectory of the crisis for our planet.

A climate denier-in-chief sits in the White House today. But not for long | Elizabeth Warren
And here’s a wise note from my colleague Lauren Gambino.

In November 2020, it won’t just be Donald Trump on the ballot but also the chance to renew America’s climate leadership for a safer, cleaner, more secure and more prosperous future.” ⁦@ewarren⁩

— Lauren Gambino (@laurenegambino) November 5, 2019
Updated at 10:12 EST
09:38 EST
Trump crony on trial
Roger Stone will face a judge and jury in what is expected to be a two-week trial, beginning today in Washington.

It’s not known yet exactly when opening arguments will begin, because jury selection begins this morning, but there has been pre-screening of jurists and it could take just a day or less.

The Guardian’s David Smith is in the court house, where federal judge Amy Berman Jackson will preside, and he’ll bring us the drama as and when proceedings begin.

The case involves charges related to his alleged efforts to exploit the Russian-hacked Hillary Clinton emails for political the political gain of Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Stone, a longtime adviser to Trump, in January of this year pleaded not guilty to charges in the Trump-Russia investigation, then ran a gauntlet of protesters outside the courthouse waving Russian flags and playing the Beatles’ “Back in the USSR”.

Supporters had shouted, “We love Roger!” and held aloft signs such as, “Free Stone, fire Mueller”. Protesters yelled, “Lock him up!” and “Fucking traitor!”

The Republican strategist and self-proclaimed dirty trickster is charged in a seven-count indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller with obstruction, lying to Congress and witness tampering.

Roger Stone indictment packed with details that may make Trump sweat
Stone, briefly served on Trump’s campaign but was pushed out amid infighting with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Though sidelined, he continued to communicate with Trump and stayed plugged into his circle of advisers, the Associated Press adds.

The indictment says Stone repeatedly discussed WikiLeaks in 2016 with campaign associates and lays out in detail Stone’s conversations about emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and posted in the weeks before Trump beat Clinton.

After WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016, released hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, the indictment says, a senior Trump campaign official “was directed” to contact Stone about additional releases and “what other damaging information” WikiLeaks had “regarding the Clinton campaign.” The indictment does not name the official or say who directed the outreach to Stone.

Updated at 09:38 EST
09:01 EST
Impeachment woes pile on for Trump
Good morning, US politics watchers, it’s a massive day on Capitol Hill, in a courthouse in Washington, and in some key voting states across the country. We’ll be there for all the action – live, do join us. Today:

Wells Griffith, the US national security council’s international energy and environment director, is scheduled to testify behind closed doors in the Trump-Ukraine impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill today. It’s now yet known whether he will turn up or prefer to obey what’s effectively a gag order from the White House - a directive for administration figures not to cooperate with the investigation.
Michael Duffey, associate director for national security programs in the office of management and budget is also due to testify but is definitely not forecast to turn up.
But there’s more - the House intelligence committee is expected to release more transcripts today from closed-door testimony in recent weeks. Around about noon, US east coast time, get ready for the transcripts of EU ambassador Gordon Sondland and former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker. We can make a good guess that they will cast a poor light on Donald Trump - but also likely on themselves.
Roger Stone. Remember the Trump-Russia inquiry, all those lifetimes ago? The substance of all of that is merely dormant, not dead. Today, Trump loyalist, longtime conservative uber-fixer and all around mischief-maker Roger Stone goes on trial in federal court in Washington, DC. He’s chiefly accused of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction. Special counsel Robert Mueller found evidence of communications between Stone and WikiLeaks related to the public release of Democratic party emails hacked by Russian operatives during the 2016 election. Jury selection could be quick today.
There are key governor’s races in Kentucky and Mississippi, where Democratic hopefuls are battling Republican incumbents. And important and hopefully illuminating state house elections are taking place in Virginia and New Jersey, which should offer clues about how those electorates are leaning ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Updated at 09:01 EST

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Mitch MacConnel :


McConnell says Trump impeachment trial 'would not lead to a removal' if held today
A national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released this week found that a near-majority of Americans support Trump's impeachment and removal from office.

Nov. 5, 2019, 4:27 PM EST

By Dartunorro Clark
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threw cold water on the impeachment process Tuesday, telling reporters that if a hypothetical Senate trial were held today, the upper chamber would not vote to convict President Donald Trump.

"I will say, I'm pretty sure how it's likely to end: If it were today I don't think there's any question it would not lead to a removal," the Kentucky Republican said. "So the question is how long does the Senate want to take? How long do the presidential candidates want to be here on the floor of the Senate instead of in Iowa and New Hampshire?" (Six senators, who would serve as jurors, are running in the Democratic presidential primary.)

"And all of these other related issues that may be going on at the same time, it's very difficult to ascertain how long this takes," McConnell added. "I'd be surprised if it didn't end the way the two previous ones did with the president not being removed from office."

A national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released this week found that a near-majority of Americans support Trump's impeachment and removal from office while 46 percent said they do not. But 9 in 10 Republicans oppose the president's removal from office, which might help him in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Last week, the House adopted a resolution in a 232-196 largely party-line vote, formalizing the rules and procedure for the impeachment inquiry, which ushered in the public phase of the probe. No president has ever been removed from the White House through impeachment, but President Richard Nixon resigned rather face the likelihood of his removal in the Senate.

McConnell, who previously said he did not want to prejudge the process, also told reporters Tuesday that discussions on formalizing the process with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have not begun, but noted that “if the House acts, I think the place to start would take a look at what the agreement was 20 years ago [in the Clinton impeachment trial] as a starting place and discuss how we may be able to agree to handle the process.”

The Constitution requires that the chief justice of the United States presides over the trial.

"How long it goes on really depends on how long the Senate wants to spend on it," McConnell said.

Dartunorro Clark is a political reporter for NBC News.

Kentucky vote: Democratic governor upset

In stunning upset, Democrat Beshear is apparent winner in Kentucky governor race, a blow to Trump, NBC projects

With nearly all votes counted, Beshear was leading GOP Gov. Matt Bevin, endorsed by the president, by less than 1 percent.

Democrat Andy Beshear speaks to supporters on the last night of the campaign for governor, in Louisville,

WASHINGTON — Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear pulled off an upset Tuesday night in an apparent victory over Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and dealing a blow to President Donald Trump, NBC News projects.

Trump had endorsed Bevin and campaigned with him in Lexington the night before the election, where the president told supporters that a loss by the GOP governor would be portrayed as Trump's having suffered "the greatest defeat in the history of the world."

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, the candidates were separated by less than 10,000 votes. Beshear was leading with 49.4 percent, or 706,865 votes, to Bevin's 48.7 percent, or 696,918 votes.

Turnout appeared to be higher than expected and is estimated at 1.4 million — roughly 400,000 more than the last governor's contest in 2015, according to an NBC News analysis.

Trump injected himself into the race, traveling to Lexington on Monday to boost Bevin by trying to turn out the GOP base in the conservative state.

"You've got to vote," Trump told the crowd. "If you lose, they are going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. You can't let that happen to me!"

Now, though, Republicans may begin to worry about their prospects in next year's elections if the president is unable to deliver his base in a state he won by 30 percentage points in 2016.

The race was competitive from the start because Bevin is one of the least popular governors in the country, according to the Morning Consult poll, due in part to a history of incendiary comments and fights over public teachers and health care.

Bevin tried to nationalize the contest and tie himself to Trump to overcome that headwind, with a closing campaign ad tying Beshear, to "socialists in Washington (who) want to impeach Trump."

Democrat Andy Beshear speaks to supporters on the last night of the campaign for governor, in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 4, 2019.Dylan Lovan / AP
"Talk to the average person. Ask the next 100 people who come in here if they care about this impeachment process, and they will tell you almost to a person that they do because they find it to be a charade," Bevin said Tuesday at his polling place. "We don't appreciate when a handful of knuckleheads in Washington abdicate their responsibility as elected officials and try to gin up things that are not true because they can't handle the fact that Hillary Clinton didn't win."

Beshear, the son of the last Democratic governor in the state, Steve Beshear (who served two terms, 2007 to 2015), focused on bread-and-butter issues, including defending the Obamacare Medicaid expansion enacted by his father, and on his ability to work with Trump. But he aligns with national Democrats in support of abortion rights, putting him at odds with the bulk of Kentuckians.

"This is not about who is in the White House," Beshear said Tuesday before the polls closed. "It's about what’s going on in your house. It’s about the fact a governor can't affect federal policy but a governor can certainly impact public education, pensions, healthcare and jobs — four issues that Matt Bevin has been wrong on and we're going to do a lot of right."

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, backed by Trump, is hoping to defeat Democrat Jim Hood, the state attorney general, who has earned a nickname as "the last Democrat in Dixie" after winning four statewide elections as attorney general by sounding nothing like a national Democrat.

Hood's ads featured him hunting, repairing machinery and talking about God, and he's vowed to continue defending the state's strict new anti-abortion law in court if elected. "I bait my own hook. Carry my own gun. And drive my own truck," he says in one recent ad.

Reeves had nonetheless called Hood a "liberal and phony" who wants to take residents' guns, and a closing ad argued that Hood, as attorney general, sued Trump but "refused to challenge Obama, even one time."

"Now liberals are impeaching Trump. Do you stand with our president and Tate Reeves, or with the liberals and Jim Hood?" the narrator asks.

"All I know about Jim Hood is he fought very hard to elect crooked Hillary Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama," Trump said Friday at a Tupelo rally for Reeves. "He wanted Obama to win so badly and then he wanted Hillary to win, and that's not the kind of guy we need here, not Mississippi."

Meanwhile, in Virginia, where a 2017 Democratic wave was the first real bellwether of what would come in the 2018 midterms, every seat in both chambers of the state Legislature is up for grabs and Democrats maintain they have a good chance of winning complete control of the state for the first time in years. The Associated Press said Tuesday night that it appeared the Democrats had won control of the Senate, while the House of Delegates was still up for grabs.

Money has poured in to Virginia at unprecedented levels, as Democrats and gun control activists contest seats in wealthy suburbs outside Washington, D.C., and Richmond that were until recently GOP strongholds in the economically booming state.

Trump did not campaign in Virginia, but Vice President Mike Pence held a rally there on Saturday.

"Everything is on the line in these elections, and Virginians are deciding that radical socialists have no place in the state Legislature," said Austin Chambers, the president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, a national group that supports GOP candidates in state legislative race.

Seitz-Wald reported from Washington and Hillyard reported from Kentucky.

Alex Seitz-Wald is a political reporter for NBC News.

Vaughn Hillyard is a political reporter for NBC News.
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Re: Trump enters the stage GLARING CONTRADICTIONS

Postby Meno_ » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:01 pm

Simultenious impeachment process with underlying constitutional issues surrounding pivotal legal breaches , while some polls suggesting extreme popularity.

A dramatic reversal splinters Trump's impeachment defense

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN 

Updated 8:12 AM EST, Wed November 06, 2019


Washington(CNN)President Donald Trump's impeachment defense is being stripped away plank by plank by some of the administration officials caught up in his scheme to pressure Ukraine for political favors.

A dramatic reversal by Republican donor turned diplomat Gordon Sondland, who now says that a quid pro quo was needed from Kiev to free up military aid, rocked Washington Tuesday and undercut GOP strategy.

In testimony released by impeachmentinvestigators, the US ambassador to the European Union also testified that he assumed it would be "illegal" for Trump's fixer and personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to push Ukraine to investigate the President's political opponents.

Sondland's adjusted testimony did much to dismantle the President's core and repeated defense: that he did not hold up aid to Kiev to force it to open a probe into Joe Biden and that any suggestion to the contrary is simply the "crazed" delusion of "Never Trumpers."

Key diplomat changes testimony and admits quid pro quo with Ukraine

But his deposition was still punctuated by admissions that he could not remember what happened or did not know the motivations of key players -- signs of a potential attempt to protect the President.

Yet given the ossified political partisanship in the Congress, there were also signs that no disclosures, however damaging to the President, are likely to turn a party in thrall to his faithful political base against him and lead it to contemplate ejecting him from office.

Still, Sondland was not the only senior diplomatic figure to contradict the President's version of events on the second day of releases that threaten to turn into slow moving political torture for the White House.

The former US envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, threatened another pillar of Trump's defense -- that the July 25 call with the Ukrainian President that Trump has said was "perfect" was in fact a "surprise" and "extremely unfortunate."

Tuesday's developments were a critical twist in an investigation that is on the cusp of a new and public phase that could further imperil the President and his 2020 election plans.

The disclosures appeared to significantly weaken the White House case that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine and therefore no abuse of presidential power worthy of impeachment.

Democrats immediately seized on Tuesday's events to argue that a devastating hole had been blown in Trump's defense.

"This is a very grave development for both Ambassador Sondland and frankly for President Trump and his Republican defenders," Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

"The entire defense by President Trump and his Republican acolytes in Congress that there was no quid pro quo has now collapsed."

A growing list of witnesses, including the top diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor and National Security Council aide Tim Morrison, have testified that Ukraine opening political probes was linked to $400 million in aid and a potential meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Further damaging revelations are possible in the coming days as Democrats preside over the release of testimony taken behind closed doors as they prepare for public impeachment hearings.

The evidence from Sondland and Volker was far from the only damaging development over the last few days for Trump and his loyal troops on Capitol Hill.

Hundreds of pages of transcripts show that GOP lawmakers and counsel spent hours cross-examining witnesses in days of hearings, despite claims they were shut out of the process -- another pillar of the GOP objections to impeachment.

Growing evidence, meanwhile, of a shadow foreign policy scheme masterminded by Giuliani and stretching over months undermines Trump's focus on two events -- the call with Zelensky and a whistleblower report -- as the only significant data points in the scandal.

At one point, Sondland deepened the political plight of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who appears to have been aware of the Giuliani scheme but did nothing to stop it: "Pompeo rolled his eyes and said: 'Yes, it's something we have to deal with.' "

The White House responded to Tuesday's events in characteristic fashion, with press secretary Stephanie Grisham ignoring the existence of newly disclosed facts.

"No amount of salacious media-biased headlines, which are clearly designed to influence the narrative, change the fact that the President has done nothing wrong," she said.

But Grisham also seized on Volker's statement that he was not aware of the existence of a quid pro quo and belief that the new Kiev government did not know aid was held up. She also pointed out that Sondland did not directly tie Trump personally to the demand for a quid pro quo.

"Both transcripts released today show there is even less evidence for this illegitimate impeachment sham than previously thought," she said in a statement.

Grisham's commentary was undermined by Sondland's new testimony itself since he now says he told a Zelensky aide that the security assistance an announcement of a public investigation were in fact linked.

McConnell stands firm

McConnell advised Trump to stop attacking Senate Republicans

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, said on CNN's "The Situation Room" that Sondland's profile made his revised testimony even more significant and damaging to the President.

"This is not some anonymous whistleblower. This cannot be argued to be some action by a deep state opponent of President Trump," Coons said. "Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the EU, was a major Republican donor and a supporter of President Trump."

Tuesday's disclosures seemed to wound Trump in the fact-based environment of an impeachment probe, but his political future is playing out in front of diverse audiences. While Democrats see further proof of guilt, Republican lawmakers seem likely to simply fall back on a new set of arguments.

They can make the somewhat implausible case that since Sondland did not implicate the President in the quid pro quo, he could have been acting on his own initiative or the orders of someone else.

They can try to repurpose the argument that a quid pro quo is not illegal and a fact of foreign policy -- a point made last month by White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney that was quickly withdrawn.

Or they can reach a last resort position that Trump's conduct may not be acceptable but is not impeachable -- however much that might anger a President who insists he did nothing wrong.

Whatever they say, Tuesday's developments, while changing the legal and logical context of the impeachment inquiry are unlikely to shift the locked in political dynamics imposed by America's tribal partisan environment.

"I'm pretty sure how it's likely to end. If it were today, I don't think there's any question it would not lead to removal," GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, speaking about the prospects for an impeachment trial in the Republican-led Senate.

That doesn't mean Republicans aren't sweating. A source close to the White House who speaks to Trump regularly offered a grim assessment to CNN's Jim Acosta of the aftermath of Tuesday night's races in Virginia and Kentucky, where Democrats made solid gains.

"Totally bad. Kentucky and Virginia signal to GOP they are underestimating voter intensity against Trump, and it could be terrible for them next year," the source said.

"Bad omen for impeachment," the source added.

But the wider politics of impeachment are still tough to call. No revelations, however damning, are likely to shake Trump's hold on his political base glued together by his claim, last made in Kentucky Monday night, that the Democratic tactics are the "crazed" actions of a party seeking to overturn an election.

And new polls show that in the swing states that will decide whether he wins a second term, public opinion is closely divided on whether he should be impeached and removed from office.

But Sondland's testimony offered a preview of how damaging testimony by witnesses close to the President could undermine his narrative on Ukraine and wrongdoing. That could have the potential to reshape wider public opinion among more moderate voters Trump also needs a year from now.

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



Poll: Majority expect Trump to win in 2020
The president’s reelection prospects appear to be a motivating factor for potential voter turnout.

With less than a year to go before the 2020 election, a majority of registered voters say they think it’s at least somewhat likely that President Donald Trump will secure a second term in the White House, a new poll has found, with more than two-fifths of voters saying the president will be top of mind when casting their vote next November.

According to a POLITICO/Morning Consult survey released on Wednesday, 56 percent of voters expect the president to be reelected next year, including 85 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of independents. By comparison, more than a third of Democrats (35 percent) say the same.

The poll found that voter enthusiasm for the election remains high, even one year out.

More than eight in 10 voters say they are motivated to turn out and vote in 2020, with 69 percent saying they are “very motivated.” Majorities of voters across the political spectrum say they are “very motivated” to vote in the presidential election. That enthusiasm is driven by Democrats and Republicans — roughly three-quarters of voters in each party describe themselves as especially energized.

And that enthusiasm would seem to translate into voting prospects — 92 percent of respondents say they are likely to turn out and vote in the election next year, including 96 percent of Democrats and Republicans and 86 percent of independents.

“President Trump’s reelection prospects seem to be energizing voter enthusiasm across the political spectrum,” said Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult’s vice president. “Our data points show that Republicans and Democrats are equally inclined to say they are motivated and likely to vote in next year’s election.”

Indeed, about four in 10 voters say they will be thinking “a lot” about Trump while casting their ballot for president next year, including 68 percent of Republicans.

But Democrats and Republicans both have different potentially motivating sentiments about the election — voters are more likely to say they are hopeful about the presidential election (21 percent), followed by worried (18 percent.)

Democrats were most likely to say they are hopeful (26 percent) and worried (24 percent) about the election, while Republicans were most likely to say they are hopeful (19 percent) and confident (17 percent) about the election.

The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted Nov. 1-3 online among a national sample of 1,983 registered voters. Results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.


The significance of this exemplifies how the intenational vacuums of contraindicating lack resulting from the phantom ideological dialectic has effected internal politics, and viva versa.

The loss of meaningful substance in international relations, due to abrupt policy changes, as caused a n equally substantial constitutional demolition Dolby which such issues can be verified and substantiated.

That procedural shift, is appearent in the charge by Republicans of improper procedural clarity, and a disregard of accentuating the legal-rules of law within which the checks and balances between the parts of government can proceed.

The ultimate question may resound within perimeters of compatibility of democratic principles and the internationalization of capital methods of autonomous to authoritarian controlled ways of interpreting the intentional bridge between the construction and the erosion that is manifest in the will of society.

If arguments can reduce the appearent executive violations to politically justified ways and means, then, there may be forthcoming signs, that present social processes have wirm out heretofore conflicting results between viewing the evolving parallel between the authorities control of the ancien regime, and the new, capital based one.

If Trump wins in 2020, the new capital aristocracy will validate the idea, that a thousand years old conventional political structure will have always been an underlying element in life.

Viewing the myth of the nature of democracy, tangentially shifted alongside, and Das Capital was a mere play within a larger theater -within extreme validation of structural basis of the major caveat, the relationship between pure and material dialectics.
The almost mythical inception of it, in the very ancient classical source, belittles it"s modern counterpart.

Lot of events this week:

Trump impeachment inquiry: public hearings to begin next week, Schiff announces – live

House intelligence chair announces Bill Taylor and George Kent to testify on Wednesday and Marie Yovanovitch to appear next Friday – follow liv

Wed 6 Nov 2019 12.53 EST

Key events

Rep Ayanna Pressley endorses Warren

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley has broken with The Squad... to endorse Elizabeth Warren for president.

Pressley’s close House allies Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have all endorsed Bernie Sanders, but Pressley announced she would back Warren in a Twitter video this afternoon.

Big structural change can’t wait.

— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) November 6, 2019

Pressley, like Warren, represents Massachusetts, and is now set to join Warren on the campaign trail on Thursday.

“You’ve all heard about the senator’s plans but here’s the thing: The plans are about power, who has it, who refuses to let it go, and who deserves more of it. For Elizabeth and for me power belongs in the hands of the people,” Pressley said.

“That’s why she’s fighting for fundamental change that restores power to those who’ve been left behind, and centers those who’ve never had access to it in the first place.”

Updated at 12:53 EST

12:38 EST

Reuters is reporting that a meeting between Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping to sign an interim trade deal could be delayed until December “as discussions continue over terms and venue.”

US stock markets have hit record highs on suggestions that a trade deal is imminent, something Trump has been boasting about this week. They are now slipping back into the red.

Updated at 12:38 EST

12:17 EST

Donald Trump will travel to New York City next week, to kick off the city’s Veterans Day Parade.

According to the White House, Trump will offer a tribute to veterans at the opening ceremony of Monday’s 100th annual parade.

Trump has been roundly booed in larger cities recently – see the Washington Nationals-Houston Astros game – and he is far from popular in NYC.

The president might see the Veterans Day ceremony as safer territory. But who knows.

According to the White House, Trump will offer remarks then lay a wreath at the Eternal Light memorial in Madison Square Park.

Donald Trump, left.Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Updated at 12:21 EST

11:57 EST

Roger Stone trial begins in DC

The trial of Roger Stone, a longtime advisor to Donald Trump, began this morning in Washington DC – a trial resulting from charges in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Stone has pleaded not guilty to charges of obstructing justice and witness tampering. He is also accused of lying to the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee about the Trump campaign’s efforts to obtain emails hacked by Russia, which were published by the Wikileaks website.

The Guardian’s David Smith – @SmithInAmerica – will be reporting and tweeting from court throughout the day.

At US District Court for DC. Roger Stone, sitting at desk, fiddles with glasses and papers. Judge Amy Berman Jackson: The jury will be sworn in and given instructions. Then we will move to opening statements.

— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) November 6, 2019

Jackson: "The defendant has pleaded not guilty to all the charges contained in the indictment. He is presumed innocent."

— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) November 6, 2019

Updated at 11:57 EST

11:42 EST

The open hearings that Adam Schiff will be closely watched and could be incredibly revealing.

Bill Taylor’s behind-closed-doors testimony was particularly damning. Taylor testified that Trump explicitly put pressure on Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate former vice-president Joe Biden.

Taylor became the US’s top diplomat in Ukraine after Marie Yovanovitch was removed. The Guardian’s Luke Harding and Julian Borger reported that Taylor found in Ukraine:

It was clear that Trump wanted Zelenskiy to “investigate” two things. One was the conspiracy theory that Ukrainecolluded with Hillary Clinton in 2016 to help her win the presidential election. The other was Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company where Hunter Biden – son of Joe Biden – had served on the board. The allegation, subsequently found to be untrue, was that Joe Biden had put pressure on the previous government of Petro Poroshenko to fire the prosecutor investigating Burisma, in order to help his son. Taylor said Giuliani was behind the “irregular policy channel” and that Trump would only meet with Zelenskiy if the Ukrainian president carried out these investigations. There was an explicit quid pro quo, Taylor suggested.

Bill Taylor leaves Capitol Hill on October 22 after testifying before house committees.Photograph: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Updated at 11:42 EST

11:26 EST

Public impeachment hearings will begin next week

Open impeachment hearings will begin on Wednesday November 13, Adam Schiff has announced. Bill Taylor, the US’s top diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state, will testify first.

Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is due to appear on Friday November 15.

Next week, the House Intelligence Committee will hold its first open hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry.

On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, we will hear from William Taylor and George Kent.

On Friday, November 15, 2019, we will hear from Marie Yovanovitch.

More to come.

— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 6, 2019

Updated at 11:31 EST

11:21 EST

It seems flipping off Donald Trump is quite a successful campaign strategy: the woman who lost her job after famously giving Donald Trump’s motorcade the middle finger in 2017 won a local government seat in Virginia last night.

Woman who gave Trump the finger elected in Virginia

Updated at 11:21 EST

10:56 EST

Virginia Democrats are “promising swift action” on a host of liberal policy proposals after sweeping the state’s legislature, according to AP.

Democrats took control of the state House and Senate – they already had Ralph Northam in place as governor – on Tuesday night, and will now push through gun restrictions and raise the minimum wage. From AP:

Northam said at a cabinet meeting Wednesday morning that he’s going to push for the same gun safety laws he proposed at a special session earlier this year called in response to a mass shooting in Virginia Beach.

[Democrats] have also promised to approve the Equal Rights Amendment, making Virginia the final state needed for possible passage of the gender equality measure.

The Virginia State Capitol, where swift action is due to take place. Photograph: Jay Paul/Reuters

Updated at 10:56 EST

10:26 EST

Tulsi Gabbard has repeatedly said she won’t run as a third party candidate if (when) she fails to win the Democratic nomination. That hasn’t failed to stop chatter about her potentially going rogue, however... chatter that Democrats appear keen to shut down:

NEW — DNC Chair Tom Perez said Tulsi confirmed to the DNC last week that she wouldn’t run as a third party candidate.

— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 6, 2019

The speculation about Gabbard running as a third party candidate is fueled in part by her unconventional fanbase, described by the New York Timesas “an unconventional mix of anti-interventionist progressives, libertarians, contrarian culture-war skeptics, white nationalists and conspiracy theorists”.

But Gabbard could also be becoming disillusioned with aspects the Democratic party. Gabbard recently claimed that Hillary Clinton said she was being “groomed by the Russian government”. Clinton didn’t actually say that, but it riled up Gabbard nonetheless.

Updated at 10:30 EST

10:12 EST

Trump's EU envoy 'fabricated' parts of testimony - lawyer

Yesterday Gordon Sondland changed his impeachment inquiry testimony to confirm that the US president offered Ukraine a quid pro quo to investigate a political rival.

Now, it seems there are other aspects of Sondland’s original testimony that might not have been entirely correct.

Fiona Hill’s lawyer saying that the conversation Gordon claimed to have had with her over coffee - when she was supposedly shaking with anger at Trump - never happened

— Julian Borger (@julianborger) November 6, 2019

Updated at 10:12 EST

09:58 EST

The Democratic presidential candidates are out in force today... Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang are in New Hampshire, Joe Biden is in Washington, DC, and Tom Steyer is doing something in Wisconsin.

Here’s Klobuchar getting herself on the ballot in New Hampshire yesterday:

[email protected] is now officially on the ballot in New Hampshire

— Trent Spiner (@TrentSpiner) November 6, 2019

(And here is Tulsi Gabbard doing exactly the same thing yesterday.)

Updated at 09:57 EST

09:30 EST

Trump distances self from Kentucky GOP loss

Donald Trump, true to form, is insisting that the devastating Republican loss in the Kentucky governor’s election had nothing to do with him.

Early this morning Trump claimed Matt Bevin, the Republican incumbent in Kentucky, “picked up at least 15 points in last days” due to Trump’s appearance at a rally with Bevin. The polls suggest otherwise, however.

According to a survey by Trafalgar Group, Bevin was actually five points ahead at the beginning of November – before Trump’s rally. Make of that what you will. (And don’t forget thatTrump himself saidon Monday that defeat for Bevin: “sends a really bad message”.)

Meanwhile Trump, a man who famously managed to lose $1bn in less than 10 years, has also been tweeting out some financial advice.

Stock Markets (all three) hit another ALL TIME & HISTORIC HIGH yesterday! You are sooo lucky to have me as your President (just kidding!). Spend your money well!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2019

Updated at 10:14 EST

09:20 EST

David Hale is presumably being sworn in right about now. According to the AP report, Hale will tell Adam Schiff et al more about the circumstances behind Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch being hung out to dryafter she was targeted by Giuliani and other Trump allies.

In her own testimony, released on Monday, Yovanovitch revealed her “shock” upon learning that Rudy Giuliani was running a shadow foreign policythat involved attacks on her reputation. When she reached out to the State Department to ask for some defense against smears against her, none was forthcoming.

Hale will apparently say that Pompeo worried defending Yovanovitch could lead to further delays in releasing military aid to Ukraine – andthat the State Department “worried about the reaction from Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, also one of the strongest advocates for removing the ambassador”.

Updated at 09:20 EST

Good morning! And welcome to live coverage of the day’s political news.

•The State Department’s third-ranking official will tell Congress today that political considerations were behind the agency’s refusal to defend former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. According to Associated Press, David Hale will testify that Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, decided that defending Yovanovitch would hamper efforts to free up US military funding to Ukraine.

•Hale’s behind-closed-doors appearance on Capitol Hill comes as more testimony could be released in the impeachment inquiry: potentially that of Fiona Hill, Trump’s former top Russia advisor.

•Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo, who is increasingly getting drawn into all this, is in Germany at a to meet with leaders on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. With him on the plane: State Department Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, who was subpoenaed to give testimony today. So it looks like that won’t happen.

•This all comes against a backdrop of a strong Tuesday night for Democrats, of course. The party won control of Virginia for the first time in a generation after turning the state legislature blue yesterday, while the Democratic candidate for governor of Kentucky also claimed victory.

•Trump will be hoping to combat those losses when he holds a campaign rally in Louisiana tonight with Eddie Rispone, the Republican running in the state’s upcoming governor’s election.

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

Public hearings:

BBC News

Trump impeachment hearings to go public next week

 06 November 2019


Congressional Democrats have announced the first public hearings next week in an inquiry that may seek to remove President Donald Trump from office.

Three state department officials will testify first. So far lawmakers from three key House committees have heard from witnesses behind closed doors.

The impeachment inquiry centres on claims that Mr Trump withheld aid to Ukraine to prod it to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.

Mr Trump denies any abuse of power

House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, who is overseeing the inquiry, told reporters on Wednesday that an impeachment case was building against the president.

He said: "We are getting an increasing appreciation for just what took place during the course of the last year - and the degree to which the president enlisted whole departments of government in the illicit aim to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political opponent."

The Capitol Hill hearings will now be broadcast live, with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers questioning witnesses.

The first public witness will be Bill Taylor, acting US ambassador to Ukraine, who delivered some of the most explosive private testimony last month.

On Wednesday - a week ahead of his scheduled public hearing - House Democrats released a transcript of his evidence.

It shows Mr Taylor told lawmakers it was his "clear understanding" that the president had withheld nearly $400m (£310m) in US military aid because he wanted Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

Mr Trump has been making discredited corruption claims about former US vice-president Mr Biden, whose son, Hunter Biden, worked for a Ukrainian gas company.

Joe Biden is a Democratic front-runner for the presidential election a year from now.

Also scheduled to testify publicly next Wednesday is career state department official George Kent.

Mr Kent reportedly told lawmakers that department officials had been sidelined as the White House put political appointees in charge of Ukraine policy.

He testified that he had been warned to "lay low" by a superior after expressing concern about Mr Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was lobbying Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Mr Giuliani has denied wrongdoing.

Former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled in May after falling from favour with the White House, is due to testify on Friday next week.

She told the hearing last month that she had felt threatened by Mr Trump's remark to Ukraine's president that was "going to go through some things".

House Democrats formally launched the impeachment inquiry after an intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint in September.

The whistleblower raised the alarm about a 25 July phone call in which Mr Trump asked Ukraine's president to investigate the Bidens.

Quick facts on impeachment

Impeachment is the first part - the charges - of a two-stage political process by which Congress can remove a president from office.

If, following the hearings, the House of Representatives votes to pass articles of impeachment, the Senate is forced to hold a trial.

A Senate vote requires a two-thirds majority to convict and remove the president - unlikely in this case, given that Mr Trump's party controls the chamber.

Only two US presidents in history - Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson - have been impeached, but neither was convicted.

President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.

Copyright © 2019 BBC. 

Barr demurred:

Democracy Dies in Darkness
National Security
Trump wanted Barr to hold news conference saying the president broke no laws in call with Ukrainian leader
Attorney General William P. Barr, left, and President Trump before Trump signed an executive order on Oct. 28 creating a commission to study law enforcement and justice at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Convention. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)
Attorney General William P. Barr, left, and President Trump before Trump signed an executive order on Oct. 28 creating a commission to study law enforcement and justice at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Convention. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)
By Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey and Carol D. Leonnig
November 6, 2019 at 8:02 PM EST
President Trump wanted Attorney General William P. Barr to hold a news conference declaring that the commander in chief had broken no laws during a phone call in which he pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate a political rival, though Barr ultimately declined to do so, people familiar with the matter said.

The request from Trump traveled from the president to other White House officials and eventually to the Justice Department. The president has mentioned Barr’s demurral to associates in recent weeks, saying he wished Barr would have held the news conference, Trump advisers say.

In recent weeks, the Justice Department has sought some distance from the White House, particularly on matters relating to the burgeoning controversy over Trump’s dealings on Ukraine and the impeachment inquiry they sparked.

People close to the administration say Barr and Trump remain on good terms. A senior administration official said Trump praised the attorney general publicly and privately Wednesday, and deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement: “The President has nothing but respect for AG Barr and greatly appreciates the work he’s done on behalf of the country — and no amount of shady sources with clear intent to divide, smear, and slander will change that.”

But those close to the administration also concede that the department has made several recent maneuvers putting it at odds with the White House at a particularly precarious time for the president. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the politically fraught situation.

The request for the news conference came sometime around Sept. 25, when the administration released a rough transcript of the president’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The document showed that Trump urged Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter — while dangling a possible White House visit for the foreign leader.

Trump offered Ukrainian president Justice Dept. help in an investigation of Biden, memo shows

By then, a whistleblower complaint about the call had moved congressional Democrats to launch the impeachment inquiry, and the administration was on the defensive. As the rough transcript was released, a Justice Department spokeswoman said officials had evaluated it and the whistleblower complaint to see whether campaign finance laws had been broken, determined that none had been and decided “no further action was warranted.”

It was not immediately clear why Barr would not go beyond that statement with a televised assertion that the president broke no laws, nor was it clear how forcefully the president’s desire was communicated. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. A senior administration official said, “The DOJ did in fact release a statement about the call, and the claim that it resulted in tension because it wasn’t a news conference is completely false.”

From the moment the administration released the rough transcript, Barr made clear that whatever the president was up to, he was not a party to it.

Though the rough transcript shows Trump offering Zelensky the services of his attorney general to aid investigations of Biden and his son, a Barr spokeswoman said that Barr and Trump had never discussed that.

“The President has not spoken with the Attorney General about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former vice president Biden or his son,” spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement released at the same time as the rough transcript. “The President has not asked the Attorney General to contact Ukraine — on this or any other matter. The Attorney General has not communicated with Ukraine — on this or any other subject.”

It would not be the last time the Justice Department would have to distance itself from the White House on a matter relevant to the impeachment inquiry. After acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said at a televised briefing last month that Ukraine’s cooperation in the investigations Trump wanted was tied to hundreds of millions of dollars of aid that the United States had withheld from Kyiv, a Justice Department official quickly made clear to reporters that the department did not endorse that position.

“If the White House was withholding aid in regards to the cooperation of any investigation at the Department of Justice, that is news to us,” the official said.

The department — and Barr in particular — has similarly sought separation from Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer who was leading the effort to investigate the Bidens.

In addition to asserting that Barr and Trump had never discussed investigating the Bidens, Kupec said in her statement that the attorney general had not “discussed this matter, or anything relating to Ukraine, with Rudy Giuliani.” Barr’s allies had previously confided to reporters that the attorney general was unhappy with Giuliani, particularly over his going outside of normal channels to pursue investigations of interest to the president.

Last month, after the department arrested two Giuliani associates who had worked on investigating the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine, the New York Times reported that Giuliani had participated in a meeting about a separate case with Brian A. Benczkowski, the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and lawyers in the department’s fraud section.

Two business associates of Trump’s personal attorney Giuliani have been arrested on campaign finance charges

The day after that report, the department issued an unusual statement saying those in the meeting were unaware of the case that led to charges against Giuliani’s associates for alleged campaign finance violations. Giuliani also is being investigated as a part of the case, though he has said he has not been told of that.

“When Mr. Benczkowski and fraud section lawyers met with Mr. Giuliani, they were not aware of any investigation of Mr. Giuliani’s associates in the Southern District of New York and would not have met with him had they known,” Peter Carr, a department spokesman, told the Times.

People close to Barr assert that while Barr is a strong believer in the power of the presidency, he has always recognized there might be times when he has to preserve the Justice Department’s independence.

“My take is that Barr hasn’t changed one bit, that he has had a healthy distance from the beginning,” one person close to the administration said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to candidly describe Barr’s relationship with Trump. “He knows the parameters of the relationship between a president and an AG.”

Trump had a famously dysfunctional relationship with his first Senate-confirmed attorney general, Jeff Sessions. The president blamed Sessions for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into whether his campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election because — in the president’s view — Sessions’s recusal from that case allowed for Mueller’s appointment and everything that followed. Mueller, though, was appointed by the deputy attorney general at the time, Rod J. Rosenstein, weeks after Sessions recused himself.

Trump publicly and privately attacked Sessions for virtually Sessions’s entire tenure in the top law enforcement job and toyed constantly with firing him. He finally did so after the 2018 midterm elections and nominated Barr as his permanent replacement. His resentment lingers to this day, as Sessions is expected to announce a run for his old Senate seat.

Though Barr was a relative outsider to Trumpworld when the president picked him as attorney general, he quickly won the president’s affection. In announcing Mueller’s principal conclusions — before Mueller’s final report had been issued — Barr declared that the special counsel had found insufficient evidence to allege coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. And while Mueller had not reached a determination on whether the president had obstructed justice, Barr said he had reviewed the case himself and determined Trump had not.

Barr’s descriptions so agitated Mueller that the special counsel sent a letter to the attorney general complaining that Barr “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the special counsel’s work. Barr ultimately would release Mueller’s final report — which painted a far more damning picture for Trump — but even as he did so, he held a news conference and endorsed one of the president’s famed talking points.

“As he said from the beginning,” Barr declared, referring to Trump, “there was, in fact, no collusion.”

Detractors have criticized the attorney general as eroding the Justice Department’s independence, though Trump has generally been pleased. Most recently, allies say he has been heartened as Barr has sought to investigate those involved in the Russia case, tapping U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead an inquiry into the origins of the Mueller investigation and whether the U.S. government’s “intelligence collection activities” related to the Trump campaign were “lawful and appropriate.”

Barr’s review of Russia investigation wins Trump’s favor. Those facing scrutiny suspect he’s chasing conspiracy theories.

On Ukraine, though, the White House and Justice Department have been somewhat out of sync.

Some time after The Washington Post began reporting on the nature of the whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s phone call, the Justice Department pushed to release the rough transcript. Leaders there believed — perhaps misguidedly — that doing so could quell the budding controversy, because in his conversation with Zelensky, Trump did not explicitly push for a quid pro quo tying U.S. aid for Ukraine to the politically beneficial investigations he sought. The White House was initially resistant.

The Justice Department had not always been on the side of full transparency, blocking transmission of the whistleblower complaint to Congress after its Office of Legal Counsel determined it was not appropriate to do so— even though the intelligence community inspector general felt the law required it to be handed over. Unbeknown to the public, the department weighed whether to investigate a potential campaign finance crime, though ultimately concluded there was not sufficient basis to do so after an inquiry limited essentially to reviewing the rough transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call.

Though Barr did not hold a news conference clearing Trump of any wrongdoing, the Justice Department did issue its statement saying it would not investigate the matter — at least for campaign finance violations. While that was a partial win for Trump, it has allowed Congress to expedite its impeachment inquiry without fear of impeding law enforcement — and make public unflattering testimony about the president and his allies’ dealings in Ukraine.

Tom Hamburger contributed to this report.

Impeachment: What you need to read
Updated November 6, 2019
Here’s what you need to know to understand the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

How we got here: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the beginning of an official impeachment inquiry against President Trump on Sept. 24, 2019. Here’s what has happened since then.

What’s happening now: Lawmakers are conducting an inquiry, which could lead to impeachment. An impeachment would mean the U.S. House thinks the president is no longer fit to serve and should be removed from office.

© 1996-2019 The Washington Post

Whistle blower: intel problem:


Intel officials want CIA Director Gina Haspel to protect Ukraine whistleblower from Trump

As Trump allies denounce the whistleblower, pressure is building on CIA Director Gina Haspel to take a stand, say current and ex intelligence officials.

CIA Director Gina Haspel at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on May 9, 2018.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Nov. 6, 2019, 4:42 PM EST

By Ken Dilanian

WASHINGTON — As President Donald Trump and his allies continue to denounce the CIA whistleblower whose complaint led to an impeachment investigation, pressure is building on the spy agency's director, Gina Haspel, to take a stand on the matter, current and former intelligence officials tell NBC News.

"It will be incumbent on her to protect the whistleblower — and by extension, the organization — moving forward," Marc Polymeropoulos, a recently retired CIA officer who oversaw operations in Europe and Russia, said in an interview. "This is a seminal moment for her leadership, and I'm confident she will do the right thing."

So far, Haspel has been publicly silent as Trump has railed about the whistleblower, a CIA analyst, on Twitter. So has the director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire.

On Wednesday, during Ukraine testimony, the lawyer for Republicans on the House Oversight Committee asked former Ambassador Bill Taylor about an individual who has been identified by some right-wing news organizations as the whistleblower. The president's son Donald Trump Jr. had already tweeted out the same name.

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Trump Jr.'s tweet came after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Monday he would probably disclose the whistleblower's name, and he urged the news media to do so. Also Monday, the president tweeted: "There is no Whistleblower. There is someone with an agenda against Donald Trump."

Andrew Bakaj, the whistleblower's lead lawyer, has said that disclosure of his client's name would deter future whistleblowers and he has threatened legal action against anyone who reveals the name. In a statement Wednesday, the whistleblower's lawyers said "identifying any suspected name ... will place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm."

The inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, found the whistleblower's complaint about Trump's alleged pressure campaign on Ukraine to be credible. The description of events in the complaint, which has been public for weeks, has largely been confirmed by the transcript of Trump's July phone call with the Ukrainian president and by the publicly available testimony of other witnesses in recent weeks.

Atkinson found that the whistleblower had an arguable political bias, but that it didn't undermine the credibility of his account.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, a Trump critic and NBC News contributor, said intelligence leaders should be pushing back both publicly and privately against what amounts to a campaign to punish the whistleblower.

"Since the affiliation of the whistleblower is unacknowledged, it is up to the Acting DNI Joe McGuire to take a firm public and private stance against any effort to expose the whistleblower," Brennan told NBC News. "Other leaders of the Intelligence Community should privately oppose any attempt to name the whistleblower. Senator Paul's appalling call for the naming of the whistleblower by the media should be denounced in the strongest terms possible; a statement signed by the heads of all the intelligence agencies would be most appropriate."

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Another former senior CIA official, who asked not to be named, added, "I think you would have to tell the president we cannot unveil this person — it will create a very bad feeling in the building that will not be good for national security or you personally, Mr. President."

U.S. intelligence officials say they have taken unspecified steps to assure the whistleblower's personal safety, but they have not said whether Haspel or Maguire have urged Trump behind the scenes to stop encouraging efforts to out him.

The law governing intelligence community whistleblowers makes it illegal for the inspector general or others who handled the complaint to reveal his name, but that provision is not binding on others who learn the name outside that formal channel, experts say.

CIA personnel in particular are watching Haspel closely, since the whistleblower is one of their own. That has long been clear, since he first complained to the CIA's general counsel before putting his concerns in writing to the inspector general.

Current and former intelligence officials say Haspel is widely liked and respected within the spy agency, even as she has managed to maintain a cordial relationship with a president who repeatedly has denounced the intelligence community.

Asked why Maguire has not spoken out publicly in response to efforts by Trump and his allies to denounced the whistleblower, a spokeswoman for the acting DNI pointed to his comments when he testified to Congress in September.

"I am committed to ensuring that all whistleblower complaints are handled appropriately and to protecting the rights of whistleblowers," Maguire said. "In this case, the complainant raised a matter with the Intelligence Community Inspector General. The Inspector General is properly protecting the complainant's identity, and we will not permit that complainant to be subject to any retaliation or adverse consequences for communicating the complaint to the IG."

A CIA spokesman said Haspel would have no comment.

"I agree with people who say it's defining moment and I'm confident she'll do the right thing," said Kevin Carroll, a former CIA and Army officer. "She absolutely has a responsibility to stand up for her office."

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Some former officers have said that Haspel should resign if Trump names the whistleblower. In 1998, then-CIA Director George Tenet threatened to quit when President Bill Clinton was considering pardoning an Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard. Clinton backed down.

"Threatening to resign or resigning would be a normal thing for a leader to do in these circumstances," said Larry Pfeiffer, a former senior CIA manager, who noted that he was not saying the whistleblower was a CIA officer. "But in this administration, we seem to see people making the calculation that they can do more to support and help the situation by not resigning."

Some former senior agency leaders told NBC News the risks to the country would be too great if Haspel were to step down and Trump were to appoint a partisan figure to lead the CIA.

"If Trump names the whistleblower, all intelligence community leaders should publicly condemn his blatant disregard of the law and the rights of Intelligence community officials," Brennan said. "They each would need to determine whether their resignation — if Trump didn't fire them first — would be in the best interests of their agency and national security."

Ken Dilanian reported from Washington, and Robert Windrem reported from New York.

Ken Dilanian

Ken Dilanian is a correspondent covering intelligence and national security for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

Robert Windrem contributed.

Mow unto Lousiana: damage control

Trump races to avoid a second electoral debacle in Louisiana

The president is itching to take out the state's Democratic governor.

Eddie Rispone has received the full support of President Donald Trump, including tweets lavishing praise on the Louisiana Republican gubernatorial candidate and rally appearances. | Gerald Herbert/AP Photo


11/06/2019 08:14 PM EST

Donald Trump couldn't save Matt Bevin in Kentucky. Now, the pressure is on the president to avoid a second black eye in Louisiana next week.

Trump is thrusting himself into the state’s gubernatorial contest: He held a Wednesday evening rally for Republican candidate Eddie Rispone, who is trying to unseat Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, and will make another visit two days before the Nov. 16 election. The president is also expected to record get-out-the-vote videos and robocalls, and on Wednesday morning he calledinto a popular Louisiana morning radio show to talk about the race.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby MagsJ » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:25 am

Meno_ wrote:
MagsJ wrote:How’s the impeachment going? I haven’t been watching the news.. has it fallen through?
It is down to another wire, the matter or impeachment has been subordinated to voting for it.

The issue with that one is, that premature voting on it will be used as a political springboard, whereupon, for the Republicans to argue that a Senate voting against it, signals how the Dems are negatively politically motivated.

On the other hand, critics of the immediate House vote express frustration at appearing weak, or something like it.

To impeach or not to impeach? that is the wondering..

It is all so unclear, as to where things are in the decision-process..

Ahhhhh, The Apprentice.. he was good in that.. great, in fact.. had a wide global fan-base, and then decided to run for President and blow it all on the crosses on ballot papers. I feel for the guy, I really do, and he’ll always be a legend in my eyes.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ
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 back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Huh! - MagsJ
You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:44 pm

MagsJ wrote:
Meno_ wrote:
MagsJ wrote:How’s the impeachment going? I haven’t been watching the news.. has it fallen through?
It is down to another wire, the matter or impeachment has been subordinated to voting for it.

The issue with that one is, that premature voting on it will be used as a political springboard, whereupon, for the Republicans to argue that a Senate voting against it, signals how the Dems are negatively politically motivated.

On the other hand, critics of the immediate House vote express frustration at appearing weak, or something like it.

To impeach or not to impeach? that is the wondering..

It is all so unclear, as to where things are in the decision-process..

Ahhhhh, The Apprentice.. he was good in that.. great, in fact.. had a wide global fan-base, and then decided to run for President and blow it all on the crosses on ballot papers. I feel for the guy, I really do, and he’ll always be a legend in my eyes.

May be quite the contrary! Affects before effects. At least make it appear as such. Look at Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. She would in all likelihood will be, remembered more as another material girl, quite the ticket.

In fact , ambition can blind one into possibilities, of such momentous proportion, as to dwarf the irresolute perspective that fame accords those irrespective of merit, or of historical significance.

If it was suggested today, that the constitutional crisis has developed from basic substantial , political misaligments do to the emergence of prior unnoticed and unexpected fissures within the changed use of rhetoric. Then, it would present a picture of a deterministic role of executive power, naturally evolving rather then an inflated , success raging narcissistic overblow.

Or, is the play, really, a play within a play, carefully crafted and drawn up by genius , who want to change geopolitical states of being, from a philosophical backwater to one the world finds relevant, ? Sign, seal and deliver unreachable realities flung fat and wide, casting the net, literally, into a very new, simulated world , governed by the evolved tools of higher , albeit simulated intelligence?

The two possibilities yearn to produce the third, as substitute for the worn out search for that object, that form of governance that has instituted necessary dissections between the public and the private theatres as a sine quo non.
What came before, the chicken?
Or, the egg.

Hello, brave, new world. !

For it is not enough to point to such publicly unacknowledged fissures, rather, the thing is, to surmise the false sense of unity that objectives , like the dying 5 year plans represented in sustenance of transcendence, as a cover for public acknowledgement?

Transcendence was defeated at the market place, and the dialectic reduced and withdrew into it's own preconception..

To impeach or not, is the battle cry which is becoming a rush to judgement, the focus of breaking into veritable uses of props, lighting and stymied characterization.

The storyline , can't realize the signifier without deluding the signified, such delusion changes the idea into its more home made, mechanical aspect, delude into delute , the subtle difference barely noticed .

Transfers of power, as these often do go unnoticed, especially in the most critical times, such are the very seeds of tenuous.

Who can notice the near catastrophe of the crisis of constitution and identity among the strewn about redundancy among the barrage of overfed populists?

To impeach or not, who can judge, and really, what difference does it make?

What the public really desures is repeat performances, and colosseum type revelry to prevent them from the boredom of the non event.

9-5 clock watching, especially passed hump day, and the desire for more spirits, obliviate the past into a general ennui of another lost lost weekend. Between great war entertainments real life gleans out of the rubble, the gay nineties, the roaring twenties, the fab. suxties, the lost generations.

Its building up again, and the orgy of desire us fueling it's nemesis.

This ticket, that explodes.

Book by "Anonymous" is said to paint "chilling" portrait of Trump


NOVEMBER 8, 2019 / 7:55 AM/ CBS NEWS

A forthcoming book by an anonymous author identified only as "a senior official in the Trump administration" describes President Trump as volatile, incompetent and unfit to be commander in chief, according to excerpts published Thursday by The Washington Post.

The newspaper says the book tells of racist and misogynist behind-the-scenes statements by Mr. Trump and says he "stumbles, slurs, gets confused, is easily irritated, and has trouble synthesizing information."

The Post says the book "paints a chilling portrait of the president as cruel, inept and a danger to the nation he was elected to lead."

According to the Post, the book describes Mr. Trump "careening from one self-inflicted crisis to the next, 'like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport."'

The Post acquired a copy of the book, "A Warning," and first reported on its contents Thursday.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a statement late Thursday saying, "The coward who wrote this book didn't put their name on it because it is nothing but lies."

She said reporters should "cover the book as what it is - a work of fiction."

In the book, due out Nov. 19, the writer claims senior administration officials considered resigning as a group last year in a "midnight self-massacre," but ultimately decided such an act would do more harm than good.

CBS News has learned that, in the book, Anonymous claims top White House staffers thought Vice President Pence was prepared to sign a letter invoking the 25th Amendment, which allows the president to be removed from office if he's deemed unable to perform his job.

But while campaigning in New Hampshire Thursday, Pence denied it, saying, "Those rumors, I dismissed them several years ago and I'm happy to dismiss them without qualification today."

On Monday, the Justice Department sent a letter to the book's publisher and the writer's literary agency, raising questions over whether any confidentiality agreement had been violated and asking for information that could help reveal the author's identity.

The publisher, Hachette Book Group, responded by saying it would provide no additional information beyond calling the author a "current or former senior official."

"A Warning" was written by the same official who wrote an opinion piece pub

Copyright © 2019 CBS Interactive Inc
Last edited by Meno_ on Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage Cambridge Analytica

Postby Meno_ » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:56 pm

MagsJ wrote:
Meno_ wrote:
MagsJ wrote:How’s the impeachment going? I haven’t been watching the news.. has it fallen through?
It is down to another wire, the matter or impeachment has been subordinated to voting for it.

The issue with that one is, that premature voting on it will be used as a political springboard, whereupon, for the Republicans to argue that a Senate voting against it, signals how the Dems are negatively politically motivated.

On the other hand, critics of the immediate House vote express frustration at appearing weak, or something like it.

To impeach or not to impeach? that is the wondering..

It is all so unclear, as to where things are in the decision-process..

Ahhhhh, The Apprentice.. he was good in that.. great, in fact.. had a wide global fan-base, and then decided to run for President and blow it all on the crosses on ballot papers. I feel for the guy, I really do, and he’ll always be a legend in my eyes.

Lol.Can't but feel sorry for the indigent!

Cambridge Analytica's role in the 2016 election: Steve Bannon v.p.


Further information: Timeline of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections

CA's involvement in the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries became known in July 2015.[9] As of December 2015, CA claimed to have collected up to 5,000 data points on over 220 million Americans.[10] At that time Robert Mercer was a major supporter of Ted Cruz.[7][127] The Mercer family funded CA directly and indirectly through several super-PACs as well as through payments via Cruz's campaign.[51]

Cruz became an early major client of CA in the 2016 presidential campaign. Just prior to the Iowa Republican caucuses, the Cruz campaign had spent $3 million for CA's services,[128] with additional money coming from allied Super-PACs.[128] After Cruz's win at the Iowa caucus CA was credited with having been able to identify and motivate potential voters.[129][130] Ultimately the Cruz campaign spent $5.8 million on work by CA.[131]

Ben Carson was a second client of CA; his campaign had paid $220,000 for "data management" and "web service" as reported in October 2015.[11] Marco Rubio's campaignwas supported by Optimus Consulting.[132]Meanwhile, the third competitor, Governor John Kasich, was supported by rivalling firm Applecart.[133]

After Cruz dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination in May 2016, Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer started to support Trump.[134] In August, it became known that CA followed their allegiance and worked for Trump's presidential campaign.[131][134]Trump's campaign also worked with digital firm Giles Parscale.[131] In September, the Trump campaign spent $5 million to purchase television advertising.[135] The Trump campaign spent less than $1 million in data work.[136][failed verification]

In 2016, the company said that it had not used psychographics in the Trump presidential campaign.[137] Cambridge Analytica targeted potential voters with bespoke messages. Cambridge Analytica's data head, Alexander Tayler said, "When you think about the fact that Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 3m votes but won the electoral college vote, [t]hat's down to the data and the research."[138]

The head of Cambridge Analytica said he asked WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, for help finding Hillary Clinton's 33,000 deleted emails.[139][140][141]

On 18 May 2017, Time reported that the US Congress was investigating CA in connection with Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. The report alleges that CA may have coordinated the spread of Russian propaganda using its microtargetting capabilities.[142] According to the Trump campaign's digital operations chief, CA worked "side-by-side" with representatives from Facebook, Alphabet Inc. and Twitter on Trump's digital campaign activities.[143]

On 4 August 2017, Michael Flynn, who is under investigation by US counterintelligence for his contacts with Russian officials, amended a public financial filing to reflect that he had served in an advisory role in an agreement with CA during the 2016 Trump campaign.[144]

On 8 October 2017, Brad Parscale, who was the digital media director for Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, stated in an interview with Lesley Stahl from CBS News on 60 Minutes that Parscale was able to utilize Facebook advertising to directly target individual voters in swing states.[145] Parscale cited the example in which he was able to target specific universes (audiences) who care about infrastructure and promote Trump and his message to build back up the crumbling American infrastructure.[146]Although he hired Cambridge Analytica to assist with microtargeting, and Cambridge Analytica stated that it was the key to Trump's victory, Parscale denied that he gained assistance from the firm, stating that he thought Cambridge Analytica's use of psychographics doesn't work.[147] He also denied any assistance with links to Russia.[147] According to Parscale, the Clinton Campaign turned down assistance from these platforms.[147]

On 25 October 2017, Assange said on Twitter that he had been approached by Cambridge Analytica, but that he had rejected its proposal.[148] Assange's tweet followed a story in The Daily Beast[149] alleging that Cambridge Analytica chief executive Alexander Nix had proposed a collaboration with Wikileaks to find the 33,000 emails that had been deleted from Clinton's private server. CNN said it had been told by several unnamed sources[150] that Nix intended to turn the Clinton email archive released to the public by the State Department into a searchable database for the campaign or a pro-Trump political action committee.

On 14 December 2017, it was revealed that Robert Mueller had requested during the fall of 2017 that Cambridge Analytica turn over the emails of any of its employees who worked on the Trump campaign, as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[151]

In 2018, following disclosures that the company had improperly used the personal information of over 50 million Facebook users while working on Trump's presidential campaign, The Times of Israel reported that the company had used what Nix had called "intelligence gathering" from British and Israelicompanies as part of their efforts to influence the election results in Trump's favor.[152]

Cambridge Analytica's executives said in 2018 that the company had worked in more than 200 elections around the world, including in Trinidad and Tobago, Nigeria, the Czech Republic, and Argentina.[57]

In the Philippines, Cambridge Analytica was also involved in the 2016 presidential election with reports citing it helped Rodrigo Dutertewin the race.[153] Duterte's camp denied this association.[154] The SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica's parent company, claimed that it rebranded the politician's image to target voters who they found are swayed by qualities such as toughness and decisiveness.[155]During the election cycle, Facebook confirmed that its data of more 1 million Filipino users were improperly shared with the communications company.[156]
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Re: Trump enters the stage public hearings start this week

Postby Meno_ » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:00 pm

Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Plum Line


An epic ‘Meet the Press’ rant unmasks the real goal of Trump’s lies

By Greg Sargent 

Opinion writer

November 11, 2019 at 10:03 AM EST

The public phase of the impeachment inquiry is set to begin this week, and it will shock you to learn that House Republicans are pushing for it to include testimonyfrom numerous people who are not in a position to shed any light whatsoever on President Trump’s conduct.

Republicans want to question Joe Biden’s son Hunter and other figures at the center of a nexus of conspiracy theoriesand lies that Trump and his propagandists have long employed to misdirect Americans away from Trump’s own bottomless corruption.

A remarkable and important series of exchanges on “Meet the Press” — including an epic rant from a Democrat about our media’s both-sidesing tendencies — demonstrates the true nature of the game plan we’re about to see from Trump and Republicans.

It all started when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered a spectacularly disingenuous new defense of Trump’s corruption. First, Paul claimed Trump was right to withhold military aid from Ukraine, because Trump truly believed that Biden was, in fact, corrupt.

Then Paul insistedthat in pressuring Ukraine to undertake “investigations” of Biden, Trump was doing the same thing Biden did when he withheld aid to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor. Trump’s propagandists have twisted that act into a tale of Biden-and-son corruption that is entirely fabricated. Trump extorted Ukraine to force it to somehow make that fabrication true.

Finally, Paul did concede Trump pressured a foreign country to investigate a political rival, but added that Hillary Clinton “hired a British spy to hire Russians to get dirt called the Steele Dossier,” and equated that with Trump’s conduct.

NBC News’s Chuck Todd seemed to allow Paul’s basic framing to stand unchallenged, saying at one point: “So two wrongs make a right?” That prompted this remarkable pushback from Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), which you should watch in full:

The core distinction here is between shaping foreign policy around some conception of what’s in the national interest (withholding U.S. aid to get Ukraine to battle generic corruption) and perverting foreign policy to serve Trump’s political interests (withholding aid to extort Ukraine into helping absolve Russia of 2016 electoral sabotage on Trump’s behalf and to smear a 2020 opponent).

Paul laughably tried to reconcile these things by arguing that, since Biden actually was corrupt, in withholding aid Trump was acting in the national interest, as if the fact that Biden is a 2020 rival is pure coincidence. But Biden wasn’t actually corrupt, and Trump was subverting the national interest to his own.

What Biden did in Ukraine

Fortuitously, the New York Times has a deeply reported look at what Biden really did in Ukraine during those years as vice president. Biden was carrying out U.S. foreign policy by prodding Ukraine — awash in civil unrest and corruption, getting plundered by oligarchs and under Russian assault — to undertake reforms to bring it in line with Western democratic ideals, as a bulwark against Russia.

This is the important subplot lurking beneath the scandal headlines — that in leaving Ukraine vulnerable to Russia in order to strong-arm Ukraine into carrying out his own self-interested corrupt designs, Trump retreated from the United States’ posture of siding with Ukraine in a broader battle between liberal democracy and illiberal authoritarian kleptocracy.

As Franklin Foer has shown, Biden was trying to pull Ukraine into a more democratic orbit, and Trump in effect pulled in the other direction, mingling his own corruption with Russian geopolitical interests.

Importantly, the diplomats horrified by Trump’s misconduct have also testified to this broader story. As Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr. suggested, Trump betrayed a “democratic neighbor” that is “eager to join Western institutions and enjoy a more secure and prosperous life.”

Thus, the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden sought was in keeping with U.S. policy and broadly supported by numerous international institutions. What’s more, that prosecutor was failing to investigate corruption, and wasn’t eveninvestigating Burisma (Hunter Biden’s company).

It’s legitimate to raise questions about what Hunter Biden’s Burisma work shows about the propriety of profiting off proximity to power. But this doesn’t alter our understanding of what Joe Biden actually was doing in Ukraine, which — unlike Trump’s conduct — was shaped around the national interest.

As for the comparison to Hillary Clinton’s supposed collusion and hiring of a spy, all that is based on wild exaggerations and fabrications as well. Naturally, the other witnesses Republicans want to call are supposed to shed (fake) light on that story.

Liberals and conservatives share basic common values, but leaders like Donald Trump use fear to exploit their differences for political gain. Abigail Marsh, a psychology and neuroscience professor at Georgetown University, analyzes the slippery slope between protecting your in-group and attacking the out-group. (Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

How Trump’s propaganda works

This episode on “Meet the Press” illustrates in a back-door way what the real aim of pro-Trump propaganda is, and how it will be employed in the inquiry’s public phase.

Remember, it was a longtime imperative for Trump and lawyer Rudolph Giuliani to get Ukraine to issue a public statementconfirming sham investigations that would rewrite the story of 2016 and help rig 2020 for Trump. This scandal is all about disinformation— about getting news organizations to treat disinformation seriously, to create a miasma of doubt around Russia’s 2016 sabotage and an aura of corruption around Biden.

Indeed, as former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon has admitted, the way to create this sort of aura is to get the mainstream media to cover such allegations, no matter how discredited, to introduce them into the mainstream discussion and get them treated as representing one side of a good-faith political dialogue.

That’s the obvious goal behind getting the impeachment inquiry to include public testimony from people like Hunter Biden. And along those lines, this “Meet the Press” episode is a cautionary tale. It shows what it looks like when a bad-faith actor — Paul — floats this kind of disinformation and succeeds in getting it treated far too respectfully.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog. He joined The Post in 2010, after stints at Talking Points Memo, New York Magazine and the New York Observer.Follow

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Re: Trump enters the stage more lies

Postby Meno_ » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:29 pm

Trump’s lie about impeachment transcripts is one of his laziest yet

The president suggested Adam Schiff “doctored” impeachment hearings transcripts. He did not.


President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attend the Veterans Day Parade in Madison Square Park on Monday in New York City.

 Steven Ferdman/WireImage

It’s not exactly news these days when Donald Trump tells a lie. As of August, he had made more than 12,000 false or misleading claims over the course of his presidency. Even so, Trump began one of the most critical weeks of his presidency — the House will hold its first public impeachment hearings starting Wednesday — with a whopper that ranks among the most unpersuasive he’s ever pushed.

On Twitter, Trump suggested that House Intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) released doctored transcripts of impeachment depositions conducted behind closed doors — an explosive claim belied by the fact that not a single Republican or witness who has been in the room for them has said anything of the sort.

Schiff’s committee conducted the initial round of impeachment inquiry depositions behind closed doors in part to prevent witnesses from being able to sync up their stories. Despite Republican complaints that the process has been partisan, the 2,677 pages of transcripts that were released over the course of last week show that Republicans were very involved in the questioning. An almost exclusively party-line vote on October 31 set the stage for the public hearings that will begin this week.

Ahead of the release of the transcripts, Trump preemptively complained on Twitter that Schiff “will change the words that were said to suit the Dems [sic] purpose.” But the transcripts were vetted by lawyers ahead of their release and nobody has complained about them. Nonetheless, Trump persists.

Trump’s tweet on Monday represents a departure from what he told reporters last Friday, when he said he wasn’t concerned about any of the impeachment hearing transcripts because it “has all been fine.” In reality, officials who testified in closed-door hearings before impeachment investigators broadly corroborated a whistleblower’s complaint alleging that Trump used military aid to Ukraine as leverage as part of an effort to get the Ukrainian government to do political favors for him. Perhaps most notably, the whistleblower’s account was corroborated in testimony from Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, who was on Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and reportedly said, “I did not think it was proper.”

Trump has dismissed the whistleblower as “fake,” only having “second hand information,” and being “almost completely wrong.” But those talking points are hard to square with the reality of the testimony made public last week. And so now, in addition to his unpersuasive suggestion that the transcripts released last week aren’t legitimate, Trump is trying to tarnish the whistleblower by association.

But that, too, is a problematic strategy for Trump and his defenders. Not only has the whistleblower’s complaint been corroborated by congressional testimony, it has also been corroborated by Trump’s White House— so details about the whistleblower’s background and associations don’t really matter. Nonetheless, Trump has taken to insisting that people read a summary of Trump’s call with Zelensky that was released by the White House in September and corroborates key aspects of the whistleblower’s account.

If it was the case that Schiff released doctored transcripts, Republicans who were in the room for the hearings would surely have raised a fuss about them. But they haven’t. Instead, they’ve tried to deflect from the substance of the testimony by raising concerns about process and attacking Adam Schiff.

The overall picture that emerges is one of a president who’s struggling to come up with a coherent response to a scandal whose next chapter will be public hearings. But even within that context, Trump’s suggestion that testimony transcripts have been doctored stands out as perhaps his weakest pushback yet.

© 2019 Vox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Are these lies character flaws and not out and out lies?
Remember a great actor is one that. Ompletely lives his lines believing them so that others can also believe them.
A great lier after all must believe his lies in order that others believe in his truthfulness.
Is Trump a great lies, or , is he a great politician, or both?
Or, neither?

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

'Anonymous' author warns that Trump 'will not exit quietly,' even if defeated or impeached
SUSAN PAGE | USA TODAY | 1 hour ago

A unnamed 'senior official' suggests Trump might refuse to leave office even if impeached or narrowly defeated.

The new book says Trump ordered a 'deliberate and coordinated campaign' to obstruct congressional probes.

The White House denounces the new book as "nothing but lies" written by an anonymous "coward."

The author claiming to be a senior official of the Trump administration is releasing "A Warning," a behind-the-scenes look into the presidency.
The anonymous official who has written a scathing account of the presidency of Donald Trump suggests the president might refuse to leave office even if convicted in impeachment hearings or defeated narrowly in the 2020 election – and says Trump is preparing his followers to see either outcome as a “coup” that could warrant resistance.

“He will not exit quietly – or easily,” the author, self-described as a senior administration official, writes in A Warning, a book that builds on an explosive op-ed by the same unnamed author last year. USA TODAY obtained an early copy of the book.

“It is why at many turns he suggests ‘coups’ are afoot and a ‘civil war’ is in the offing. He is already seeding the narrative for his followers – a narrative that could end tragically.”

President Donald Trump "will not exit quietly – or easily,” writes Anonymous in A Warning, a book claiming to offer an inside look at the administration.

From 'Anonymous': Read key excerpts from inside Trump White House on Putin, Pence, Hillary

As the House of Representatives prepares to open public impeachment hearings Wednesday, the book also says that Trump ordered aides more than a year ago to pursue a “deliberate and coordinated campaign” to obstruct an impeachment inquiry and other congressional investigations. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has said he is considering obstruction of Congress as a possible Article of Impeachment.

The book's author is identified only as “a senior official in the Trump administration,” and its forthcoming publication has created a firestorm over both its depiction of a dysfunctional president and the decision by the writer to remain anonymous.

Cover of "A Warning" by an anonymous senior Trump administration official.
"The coward who wrote this book didn't put their name on it because it is nothing but lies," White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

Many of the disclosures echo news stories that have portrayed the president as impulsive, sometimes uninformed and regularly willing to defy established norms. There is already no shortage of books by Trump critics, including former FBI director James Comey and others who have served in his administration, that raise questions about the president's fitness for office.

But The New York Times op-ed in 2018 and the new book, being published next Tuesday by Twelve, have commanded enormous attention because the author had an inside view, often participating in small White House meetings where crucial decisions were made.

The author portrays himself or herself as sharing some policy views with Trump and initially having a positive if wary view of the possibilities of his presidency.

The author says the intended audience for A Warning isn’t those who closely follow politics but rather those who don't, particularly voters from across the country who were drawn in 2016 to Trump's promise to shake up the establishment.

Dropping Pence from the ticket?
The book says that Trump "on more than one occasion" discussed with staffers the possibility of dropping Vice President Mike Pence before the 2020 election.

"Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley was under active consideration to step in as vice president, which she did not discourage at first," the author writes, saying some advisers argued that putting Haley on the ticket would help the president bolster his support among female voters.

In an interview Friday with USA TODAY, Nikki Haley dismissed out of hand the suggestion that she might replace Pence. In her new book, With All Due Respect, Haley offers a generally positive portrait of Trump, and the president rewarded her with a friendly tweet urging his millions of followers to buy a copy.

Nikki Haley, the former Governor of South Carolina and the former UN ambassador, discusses White House intrigue and attempts to undermine Trump.
Pathway of impeachment: How it works, where we are

"Anonymous" depicts Trump as impatient, immoral, cruel, even dangerous as he rejects the limits placed on presidents by Congress and the courts.

As the 2018 midterm elections approached, the book says, the White House counsel’s office began to develop a “contingency plan” to shield the administration if Democrats gained control of Congress, and with that the ability to launch investigations and issue subpoenas. New lawyers were hired and internal procedures revamped, the author writes.

“The goal wasn’t just to prepare for a barrage of legislative requests,” the book says. “It was a concerted attempt to fend off congressional oversight. When Democrats finally took the House, the unspoken administration policy toward Capitol Hill became: Give as little as possible, wait as long as possible. Even routine inquiries are now routed to the lawyers, who have found unique ways to say “We can’t right now,” “Give us a few months,” “We’re going to need to put you on hold,” “Probably not,” “No,” and “Not a chance in hell.”

Trump impeachment inquiry: Early findings and how Republicans are opposing them

The author says the administration's refusal to comply with congressional requests and even subpoenas "go beyond standard practice and have turned into a full block-and-tackle exercise against congressional investigators across an array of Trump administration controversies."

On the president's actions with Ukraine, now the heart of the impeachment inquiry, the author writes that the idea Trump was trying to battle corruption abroad – rather than gain some partisan political advantage at home – was "barely believable to anyone around him."

But the book provides no significant new information or insights into that episode.

'Get Out of Jail Free' cards

The author's agent, Matt Latimer, said the author didn't take an advance payment for the book and plans to donate a substantial amount of the royalties to nonprofit organizations that encourage government accountability and an independent press.

Among other allegations, the book says:

Several top advisers and Cabinet-level officials last year discussed a mass resignation, "a midnight self-massacre," intended to call attention to what they saw as Trump's questionable and even corrupt behavior. "The idea was abandoned out of fear that it would make a bad situation worse."

If a majority of the Cabinet called for Trump's removal under the rules of the 25th Amendment, Pence would have been willing to go along with them. But the author provides no evidence to back up that assertion, and Pence in recent days has strongly denied it.

Trump told officials that, if they took illegal actions on his behalf, he would give them presidential pardons. "To Donald Trump, these are unlimited 'Get Out of Jail Free' cards on a Monopoly board."

Trump was "particularly frustrated that the Justice Department hasn't done more to harass the Clintons." The president suggested to his first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, that he might "un-recuse" himself from the Mueller inquiry into Russian election interference, presumably so he would feel free to order a more aggressive inquiry into Trump's 2016 opponent. "You'd be a hero," the president told him.

Read the transcripts: All the closed-door testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiry

What have they said? The 15 witnesses in the Trump impeachment inquiry

The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump hits a new phase this week with televised public hearings. While both sides believe it will be their best chance to shape public opinion

© Copyright Gannett 2019


In private speech, Bolton suggests some of Trump's foreign policy decisions are guided by personal interest

The former national security director was especially critical of the president's handling of Turkey, according to multiple sources present for his remarks

Nov. 12, 2019, 12:15 PM EST / Updated Nov. 12, 2019, 12:54 PM EST

By Stephanie Ruhle and Carol E. Lee

Former national security adviser John Bolton derided President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law during a private speech last week and suggested his former boss’ approach to U.S. policy on Turkey is motivated by personal or financial interests, several people who were present for the remarks told NBC News.

According to six people who were there, Bolton also questioned the merits of Trump applying his business acumen to foreign policy, saying such issues can’t be approached like the win-or-lose edict that drives real estate deals: When one deal doesn’t work, you move on to the next.

The description was part of a broader portrait Bolton outlined of a president who lacks an understanding of the interconnected nature of relationships in foreign policy and the need for consistency, these people said.

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Bolton has kept a low public profile since he left the administration on Sept. 10, and efforts by Democrats to have him testify in the House impeachment inquiry into the president have stalled. But his pointed comments, at a private gathering last Wednesday at Morgan Stanley’s global investment event in Miami, painted a dark image of a president and his family whose potential personal gain is at the heart of decision-making, according to people who were present for his remarks.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

Bolton served as Trump’s national security adviser for 17 months. The Ukraine scandal began to unfold about a week after his contentious departure. Trump said he’d fired him, though Bolton said he had resigned.

Multiple people who attended Bolton’s private speech in Miami did not recall him mentioning Ukraine but said he told attendees that he had kept a resignation letter in his desk for three months. Bolton declined to comment for this article.

Bolton is a potential linchpin witness in the inquiry into Trump’s efforts to elicit help from the Ukrainian government to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden, given his central role in the White House during that time. The impeachment inquiry moves to public testimony this week.

Current and former administration officials have testified about Bolton’s strong opposition to the Ukraine pressure effort, which was led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and allegedly involved withholding military aid and a presidential meeting until the Ukrainian government publicly committed to investigations, including into 2016 U.S. election interference and a business associated with Biden's son Hunter.

Bolton’s lawyer teased his client's value last week in a letter to House Democrats that noted that the former national security adviser had been present for “many relevant meetings and conversations” on Ukraine, including some that have yet to be disclosed to investigators. His lawyer, Charles Cooper, said Bolton is willing to testify if a federal court approves it and issues a ruling that essentially says he can defy the White House’s position that he can’t speak to Congress.

Bolton, a long-time foreign policy hawk who also served in the administration of President George W. Bush, expressed support in his private remarks for Trump’s stance against China on trade, people present said. But Trump and Bolton had a litany of policy differences — on Iran, North Korea, Syria and, apparently, Ukraine.

Bolton told the gathering of Morgan Stanley’s largest hedge fund clients that he was most frustrated with Trump over his handling of Turkey, people who were present said. Noting the broad bipartisan support in Congress to sanction Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan purchased a Russian missile defense system, Bolton said Trump’s resistance to the move was unreasonable, four people present for his speech said.

Bolton said he believes there is a personal or business relationship dictating Trump’s position on Turkey because none of his advisers are aligned with him on the issue, the people present said.

The Trump Organization has a property in Istanbul, and the president's daughter Ivanka Trump attended the opening with Erdogan in 2012. Though it’s a leasing agreement for use of the Trump name, Trump himself said in a 2015 interview that the arrangement presented “a little conflict of interest” should he be elected.

During an Oct. 6 phone call with Erdogan, Trump agreed to pull back U.S. troops from northeast Syria so Turkish forces could launch an attack against America’s Kurdish allies in the area. The presence of U.S. forces had deterred Erdogan from invading Syria, which he had threatened to do for years. Trump’s decision, followed by an order for all U.S. troops to exit Syria, was widely criticized even among the president’s Republican allies and was seen by many as a gift to the Turkish leader.

Erdogan is set to visit the White House on Wednesday.

Like other former Trump advisers, Bolton said regardless of how much evidence is provided to Trump that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, the president refuses to take any action because he views any move against Moscow as giving credence to the notion that his election is invalid, the people present for Bolton's remarks said.

At one point in his closed-door remarks, Bolton was asked what he thinks will happen in January 2021 if Trump is re-elected, people present for his remarks said. Bolton responded by taking a swipe at Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump — both of whom are senior White House advisers — and at Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., three people familiar with his remarks said.

Bolton said Trump could go full isolationist — with the faction of the Republican Party that aligns with Paul’s foreign policy views taking over the GOP — and could withdraw the U.S. from NATO and other international alliances, three people present for his remarks said.

He also suggested that Kushner and Ivanka Trump could convince the president to rewrite his legacy and nominate a liberal like Lawrence Tribe — a Harvard Law professor who has questioned Trump’s fitness for office and was a legal adviser to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign — to the Supreme Court, the people present for Bolton's speech said.

Bolton said, with an eye roll that suggested he doesn’t take them seriously, that Kushner and Ivanka Trump could do so in an attempt to prove they had real influence and were in the White House representing the people they want to be in social circles with at home in New York City, the people present for his remarks said.

Those present said that at that point, the audience appeared shocked.

Bolton has been writing a book, having reached a deal with Simon & Schuster, and people present for his remarks in Miami said he suggested to the audience several times that if they read it, there would be much more material along the lines of what was in his speech.

Carol E. Lee is an NBC News correspondent.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:06 pm

Trump Is Surrounded

The president thrives on having an opponent to villainize. With impeachment, there are too many to choose from.


It is a strategy that President Donald Trump has deployed throughout his life, as instinctive and natural to him as the act of breathing: Villainize whoever is blocking his way.

Distasteful as Trump’s taunts might be, ridiculing adversaries has been the blunt-force instrument that propelled his political rise, with the president turning people into targets of scorn. As the impeachment fight enters its public phase, though, Trump faces a quandary. His go-to move may be inadequate in this moment for the very same reason the impeachment threat is so grave. There may be too many accusers who believe he shook down Ukraine, too many people who find fault with his behavior for the president to smack with a rhetorical mallet.

As dawn broke on the East Coast this morning, the name-calling commenced. Trump tweeted that Representative Adam Schiff, the Democrat from California leading the impeachment probe, is “shifty,” the latest in a scattershot series of attacks leveled against anyone and everyone who might be skeptical that he’s utterly blameless when it comes to Ukraine. Over the past month, he’s lampooned Schiff; the “fake” news media; “Nervous” Nancy Pelosi; “Sleepy Joe” Biden; the first whistle-blower; the second whistle-blower; the attorney for both whistle-blowers; the “spy” who fed information to the first whistle-blower; and the intelligence community’s inspector general, who fielded the first whistle-blower complaint.

No one seems to unnerve Trump more than that original whistle-blower, who kick-started the House impeachment investigation into how he browbeat Ukraine into digging up political dirt on Biden. Again and again, he’s painted this person as a deep-state partisan acting in cahoots with Democrats.

That the whistle-blower has stayed out of view seems to have left Trump only more aggrieved—he prefers a flesh-and-blood foe. “I want to find out who’s the whistle-blower,” he said yesterday at a joint news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as the first public impeachment hearing unfolded on Capitol Hill.

Donald Trump Is All Alone

Yet the case has moved far beyond a single person, and that’s precisely the problem for Trump. Now he has so little time, but so many to tarnish—some with sterling résumés. Still, Trump is giving it his best shot. “NEVER TRUMPERS!” the president tweeted in the hours before the first TV hearing opened yesterday, an apparent effort to sully the witnesses by claiming they don’t, well, like him all that much. “The president is very invested in constructing narratives that make him the aggrieved party in these investigations,” Michael Steel, a Republican strategist who was the press secretary to former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, told me.

Read: The whistle-blowers are multiplying

Discrediting the first witnesses who testified won’t be easy. William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, is a Vietnam War veteran who took the ambassadorial post at the explicit request of one of Trump’s closest allies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. George Kent is a State Department official who oversees Ukrainian policy, and like Taylor has served for decades under Republican and Democratic presidents alike. In his opening statement, Kent stressed his pedigree, mentioning how three generations of his family swore an oath to defend the Constitution. His father graduated first in his class at the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a captain on a nuclear submarine; a great-uncle was taken prisoner by the Japanese in World War II.

As Taylor and Kent described back-channel efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Biden family, the president spent time retweeting Republican allies who criticized the hearing.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump was working out of the Oval Office and didn’t see the proceedings. “I’m too busy to watch it,” Trump echoed during a photo spray with Erdoğan. Seconds later, however, he contradicted himself: “I see they’re using lawyers that are television lawyers; they took some guys off television.” It’s almost inconceivable that Trump wouldn’t watch: He spends hours each day in front of a television, former White House aides have told me. He hung a 60-inch TV in a private dining room off the Oval Office, and often reads newspapers and paperwork in front of it with the sound down. (He turns up the volume when he sees something that interests him, the ex-officials have said.)

Knowing Trump’s reflex is to lash out, aides have in the past warned him that character assassination is a bad idea. They told him to avoid savaging Special Counsel Robert Mueller, for example, advising that it would do him no good. Trump didn’t listen, treating Mueller as another in a long line of antagonists to be trampled.

“He’s a street fighter,” said a former senior White House official, who like others I talked with this week spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss Trump’s personality. “He’d rather be tearing the head off a rooster than putting caviar on a cracker.” A Republican senator told me the president “has two speeds: hostile, and hostile on steroids.”

Another president might try to avoid the scrum and argue his position on the merits. That’s one more norm Trump has effaced. A 2017 paper in Political Science Quarterly showed that Trump, more than his predecessors, uses hostility as a rhetorical tool. “Although personal attacks are a longstanding and indispensable part of politics, in recent times, those seeking the presidency have typically avoided ad hominem,” the authors write. “Not so Trump.”

Why exactly does Trump behave this way? Some mental-health professionals who have studied him—and a few politicians and aides who have worked with him—describe him as a narcissist whose self-image is mortally threatened by criticism of any sort. For Trump, criticism seems to amount to “an attack that is lethal to the public veneer,” Seth Norrholm, a neuroscientist who’s written about Trump’s mental state, told me. The invariable response is “not just [to] extinguish the threat, but to humiliate and destroy the threat.

Read: William Taylor’s big impeachment reveal

“Some of this comes from immaturity—you can imagine a person who’s narcissistic, but has the intelligence and brains to back it up,” said Norrholm, who believes that Trump is unfit for office. “But there’s not a lot of firepower behind [Trump’s] narcissism, so you end up with grade-school nicknames and playground-level insults.”

It would take far too much space to recount the long list of people demonized by the 45th president in recent years. But one family’s remembrance is especially revealing. Khizr Khan is the Gold Star father who pulled a copy of the Constitution from his jacket pocket at the 2016 Democratic convention, in Philadelphia, and dared Trump to read it. In an interview later with ABC News, Trump suggested that Khan, the father of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq, was parroting Hillary Clinton’s talking points. “Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s scriptwriters write it?” Trump asked. Trump also questioned why Khan’s wife, Ghazala, stayed silent during her husband’s speech. He suggested she had not been “allowed to have anything to say,” the implication being that as a Muslim woman, her speech was stifled for religious reasons. In fact, she had told her husband she was too distraught to talk publicly about her fallen son.

I spoke with Khan on the eve of the first impeachment hearing and asked how his family had weathered the moment. Disheartening as it was, Khan told me, he was more discouraged to see how the presidency had done nothing to ennoble Trump. “That is far more disappointing than our saga with him,” Khan said. “We were hoping that the office—the dignity of the position—would change him, but it hasn’t, because, fundamentally, the moral compass is missing. Fundamentally, there is no realization of where he sits.”

Witnesses are now getting a dose of the disrespect Trump showed the grieving Khan family. After the hearing yesterday, Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, released a statement denigrating Kent’s and Taylor’s long records of public service, calling them “unelected, career bureaucrats who think they know best.”

Ultimately, the screeds about dissident anti-Trumpers may be seen for what they are—an appeal to the tribalism coursing through a polarized country, and an attempt to preserve a presidency shaken by Trump’s own ill-advised schemes. “Of course it does worry me,” the Republican senator told me about Trump’s Ukraine gambit. “He’s not nature’s best diplomat. He doesn’t use a scalpel; he uses a meat ax.” As the hearings continue, Trump will be taking the meat ax to ever more witnesses—so many that the blade could end up dulling.

PETER NICHOLASis a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers the White House.

Copyright © 2019 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.


Rudy Giuliani says Trump will stay loyal to him but jokes that he has ‘insurance’

Exclusive: president’s personal lawyer has emerged as a key figure in the impeachment inquiry, with speculation Republicans will seek to paint him as a rogue actor

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington

Thu 14 Nov 2019 13.08 EST

Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has said he is confident the president will remain loyal to him as an impeachment inquiry unfolds in which the former New York mayor has become a central figure.

But Giuliani joked that he had good “insurance” in case Trump did turn on him, amid speculation Republicans will seek to frame him as a rogue actor.

In a telephone interview with the Guardian, in response to a question about whether he was nervous that Trump might “throw him under a bus” in the impeachment crisis, Giuliani said, with a slight laugh: “I’m not, but I do have very, very good insurance, so if he does, all my hospital bills will be paid.”

Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, who was also on the call, then interjected: “He’s joking.”

Whether it was a joke or a veiled threat, Giuliani has emerged as a key player in the impeachment proceedings, which center on the question of whether Trump sought to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.

Trump cared more about investigating Biden than Ukraine, key witness reveals

Testimony from diplomats in the lead-up to this week’s first public impeachment hearing has consistently pointed a finger of blame at Giuliani, who led the administration’s secret effort to pressure the Ukrainians to launch a corruption investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter.

In testimony, Bill Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state, have described how Trump seemed to care more about investigating Biden, his possible opponent in the 2020 election, than protecting a key ally from Russian aggression.

Taylor also described how one of his aides had heard a colleague, Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, talking to Trump on the phone in July. The aide asked Sondland what Trump thought about Ukraine, and Sondland allegedly replied that Trump cared more about the investigations into Biden, which “Giuliani was pressing for”.

Giuliani told the Guardian he had no knowledge of the call, and made disparaging remarks about the case the Democrats had presented on the first day of the impeachment hearing.

“I’m not sure this is very solid testimony. In court we would call it hearsay, triple hearsay. It would not even be admissible. But if you are asking me flat out had I ever heard of a conversation like that? No,” he said.

“I thought it was a weak way to start a trial.”

Giuliani also defended his role as Trump’s attorney, and repeatedly said he had spoken to the president on Wednesday night, and that Trump had wished him a good night.

Rudy Giuliani is Donald Trump’s real secretary of state | Lloyd Green

Asked about whether he believed Trump would remain loyal to him, amid speculation Republican lawmakers could seek to pin the blame for alleged wrongdoing on Giuliani personally in an effort to shield the president, Giuliani said he believed Trump, who he has known for three decades, was a “very loyal guy”.

“I acted properly as his lawyer,” Giuliani said. “I did what a good lawyer is supposed to do. I dug up evidence that helped to show the case against him was false; that there was a great deal of collusion going on someplace else other than Russia. And then I stepped on the number one minefield, which is Joe Biden, who is heavily protected by the Washington press corps.”

Sondland told Congress last month that Trump instructed his US diplomats to work through Giuliani to make it clear Ukraine’s access to the White House was contingent on their launching an investigation into his opponents.

The White House denounced the impeachment hearings as a “witch-hunt” and downplayed the serious corruption allegations.

Giuliani’s own ties to Ukraine date back to 2003. A Guardian investigation of his dealings in Ukraine, based on interviews with associates and business partners, showed Giuliani used his relationship with the president to gain access to high-ranking prosecutors and officials, and that his business associates traded on Giuliani’s name to seek to legitimize dubious business ventures.

Two of Giuliani’s business partners, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, helped to connect Giuliani to powerful Ukrainian prosecutors who claimed to have information about Hunter Biden, but also wanted to use Giuliani’s name to benefit their interests.

Parnas and Fruman, two Soviet-born Americans, were arrested on charges of violating campaign finance laws while attempting to travel to Vienna, shortly after they met Giuliani in Washington. Giuliani is also reportedly under investigation for whether his work in Ukraine broke laws on foreign lobbying.

The White House did not return a request for comment.

© 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
Last edited by Meno_ on Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - is the American Empire finished

Postby Meno_ » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:15 pm

How America Ends

A tectonic demographic shift is under way. Can the country hold together?

Story by Yoni Appelbaum

Democracy depends on the consent of the losers. For most of the 20th century, parties and candidates in the United States have competed in elections with the understanding that electoral defeats are neither permanent nor intolerable. The losers could accept the result, adjust their ideas and coalitions, and move on to fight in the next election. Ideas and policies would be contested, sometimes viciously, but however heated the rhetoric got, defeat was not generally equated with political annihilation. The stakes could feel high, but rarely existential. In recent years, however, beginning before the election of Donald Trump and accelerating since, that has changed.

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“Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage,” Trump told the crowd at his reelection kickoff event in Orlando in June. “They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.” This is the core of the president’s pitch to his supporters: He is all that stands between them and the abyss.

In October, with the specter of impeachment looming, he fumed on Twitter, “What is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!” For good measure, he also quoted a supporter’s dark prediction that impeachment “will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.”

Trump’s apocalyptic rhetoric matches the tenor of the times. The body politic is more fractious than at any time in recent memory. Over the past 25 years, both red and blue areas have become more deeply hued, with Democrats clustering in cities and suburbs and Republicans filling in rural areas and exurbs. In Congress, where the two caucuses once overlapped ideologically, the dividing aisle has turned into a chasm.

As partisans have drifted apart geographically and ideologically, they’ve become more hostile toward each other. In 1960, less than 5 percent of Democrats and Republicans said they’d be unhappy if their children married someone from the other party; today, 35 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Democrats would be, according to a recent Public Religion Research Institute/Atlantic poll—far higher than the percentages that object to marriages crossing the boundaries of race and religion. As hostility rises, Americans’ trust in political institutions, and in one another, is declining. A study released by the Pew Research Center in July found that only about half of respondents believed their fellow citizens would accept election results no matter who won. At the fringes, distrust has become centrifugal: Right-wing activists in Texas and left-wing activists in California have revived talk of secession.

Recent research by political scientists at Vanderbilt University and other institutions has found both Republicans and Democrats distressingly willing to dehumanize members of the opposite party. “Partisans are willing to explicitly state that members of the opposing party are like animals, that they lack essential human traits,” the researchers found. The president encourages and exploits such fears. This is a dangerous line to cross. As the researchers write, “Dehumanization may loosen the moral restraints that would normally prevent us from harming another human being.”

Outright political violence remains considerably rarer than in other periods of partisan divide, including the late 1960s. But overheated rhetoric has helped radicalize some individuals. Cesar Sayoc, who was arrested for targeting multiple prominent Democrats with pipe bombs, was an avid Fox News watcher; in court filings, his lawyers said he took inspiration from Trump’s white-supremacist rhetoric. “It is impossible,” they wrote, “to separate the political climate and [Sayoc’s] mental illness.” James Hodgkinson, who shot at Republican lawmakers (and badly wounded Representative Steve Scalise) at a baseball practice, was a member of the Facebook groups Terminate the Republican Party and The Road to Hell Is Paved With Republicans. In other instances, political protests have turned violent, most notably in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a Unite the Right rally led to the murder of a young woman. In Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere, the left-wing “antifa” movement has clashed with police. The violence of extremist groups provides ammunition to ideologues seeking to stoke fear of the other side.

What has caused such rancor? The stresses of a globalizing, postindustrial economy. Growing economic inequality. The hyperbolizing force of social media. Geographic sorting. The demagogic provocations of the president himself. As in Murder on the Orient Express, every suspect has had a hand in the crime.

But the biggest driver might be demographic change. The United States is undergoing a transition perhaps no rich and stable democracy has ever experienced: Its historically dominant group is on its way to becoming a political minority—and its minority groups are asserting their co-equal rights and interests. If there are precedents for such a transition, they lie here in the United States, where white Englishmen initially predominated, and the boundaries of the dominant group have been under negotiation ever since. Yet those precedents are hardly comforting. Many of these renegotiations sparked political conflict or open violence, and few were as profound as the one now under way.

Within the living memory of most Americans, a majority of the country’s residents were white Christians. That is no longer the case, and voters are not insensate to the change—nearly a third of conservatives say they face “a lot” of discrimination for their beliefs, as do more than half of white evangelicals. But more epochal than the change that has already happened is the change that is yet to come: Sometime in the next quarter century or so, depending on immigration rates and the vagaries of ethnic and racial identification, nonwhites will become a majority in the U.S. For some Americans, that change will be cause for celebration; for others, it may pass unnoticed. But the transition is already producing a sharp political backlash, exploited and exacerbated by the president. In 2016, white working-class voters who said that discrimination against whites is a serious problem, or who said they felt like strangers in their own country, were almost twice as likely to vote for Trump as those who did not. Two-thirds of Trump voters agreed that “the 2016 election represented the last chance to stop America’s decline.” In Trump, they’d found a defender.

Robert P. Jones:

In 2002, the political scientist Ruy Teixeira and the journalist John Judis published a book, The Emerging Democratic Majority, which argued that demographic changes—the browning of America, along with the movement of more women, professionals, and young people into the Democratic fold—would soon usher in a “new progressive era” that would relegate Republicans to permanent minority political status. The book argued, somewhat triumphally, that the new emerging majority was inexorable and inevitable. After Barack Obama’s reelection, in 2012, Teixeira doubled down on the argument in The Atlantic, writing, “The Democratic majority could be here to stay.” Two years later, after the Democrats got thumped in the 2014 midterms, Judis partially recanted, saying that the emerging Democratic majority had turned out to be a mirage and that growing support for the GOP among the white working class would give the Republicans a long-term advantage. The 2016 election seemed to confirm this.

But now many conservatives, surveying demographic trends, have concluded that Teixeira wasn’t wrong—merely premature. They can see the GOP’s sinking fortunes among younger voters, and feel the culture turning against them, condemning them today for views that were commonplace only yesterday. They are losing faith that they can win elections in the future. With this comes dark possibilities.

The United States is undergoing a transition perhaps no rich and stable democracy has ever experienced: Its historically dominant group is on its way to becoming a political minority.
The Republican Party has treated Trump’s tenure more as an interregnum than a revival, a brief respite that can be used to slow its decline. Instead of simply contesting elections, the GOP has redoubled its efforts to narrow the electorate and raise the odds that it can win legislative majorities with a minority of votes. In the first five years after conservative justices on the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, 39 percent of the counties that the law had previously restrained reduced their number of polling places. And while gerrymandering is a bipartisan sin, over the past decade Republicans have indulged in it more heavily. In Wisconsin last year, Democrats won 53 percent of the votes cast in state legislative races, but just 36 percent of the seats. In Pennsylvania, Republicans tried to impeach the state Supreme Court justices who had struck down a GOP attempt to gerrymander congressional districts in that state. The Trump White House has tried to suppress counts of immigrants for the 2020 census, to reduce their voting power. All political parties maneuver for advantage, but only a party that has concluded it cannot win the votes of large swaths of the public will seek to deter them from casting those votes at all.

The history of the United States is rich with examples of once-dominant groups adjusting to the rise of formerly marginalized populations—sometimes gracefully, more often bitterly, and occasionally violently. Partisan coalitions in the United States are constantly reshuffling, realigning along new axes. Once-rigid boundaries of faith, ethnicity, and class often prove malleable. Issues gain salience or fade into irrelevance; yesterday’s rivals become tomorrow’s allies.

But sometimes, that process of realignment breaks down. Instead of reaching out and inviting new allies into its coalition, the political right hardens, turning against the democratic processes it fears will subsume it. A conservatism defined by ideas can hold its own against progressivism, winning converts to its principles and evolving with each generation. A conservatism defined by identity reduces the complex calculus of politics to a simple arithmetic question—and at some point, the numbers no longer add up.

Trump has led his party to this dead end, and it may well cost him his chance for reelection, presuming he is not removed through impeachment. But the president’s defeat would likely only deepen the despair that fueled his rise, confirming his supporters’ fear that the demographic tide has turned against them. That fear is the single greatest threat facing American democracy, the force that is already battering down precedents, leveling norms, and demolishing guardrails. When a group that has traditionally exercised power comes to believe that its eclipse is inevitable, and that the destruction of all it holds dear will follow, it will fight to preserve what it has—whatever the cost.

Adam Przeworski, a political scientist who has studied struggling democracies in Eastern Europe and Latin America, has argued that to survive, democratic institutions “must give all the relevant political forces a chance to win from time to time in the competition of interests and values.” But, he adds, they also have to do something else, of equal importance: “They must make even losing under democracy more attractive than a future under non-democratic outcomes.” That conservatives—despite currently holding the White House, the Senate, and many state governments—are losing faith in their ability to win elections in the future bodes ill for the smooth functioning of American democracy. That they believe these electoral losses would lead to their destruction is even more worrying.

We should be careful about overstating the dangers. It is not 1860 again in the United States—it is not even 1850. But numerous examples from American history—most notably the antebellum South—offer a cautionary tale about how quickly a robust democracy can weaken when a large section of the population becomes convinced that it cannot continue to win elections, and also that it cannot afford to lose them.

The collapse of the mainstream Republican Party in the face of Trumpism is at once a product of highly particular circumstances and a disturbing echo of other events. In his recent study of the emergence of democracy in Western Europe, the political scientist Daniel Ziblatt zeroes in on a decisive factor distinguishing the states that achieved democratic stability from those that fell prey to authoritarian impulses: The key variable was not the strength or character of the political left, or of the forces pushing for greater democratization, so much as the viability of the center-right. A strong center-right party could wall off more extreme right-wing movements, shutting out the radicals who attacked the political system itself.

(Read: Daniel Ziblatt on why conservative parties are central to democracy)

The left is by no means immune to authoritarian impulses; some of the worst excesses of the 20th century were carried out by totalitarian left-wing regimes. But right-wing parties are typically composed of people who have enjoyed power and status within a society. They might include disproportionate numbers of leaders—business magnates, military officers, judges, governors—upon whose loyalty and support the government depends. If groups that traditionally have enjoyed privileged positions see a future for themselves in a more democratic society, Ziblatt finds, they will accede to it. But if “conservative forces believe that electoral politics will permanently exclude them from government, they are more likely to reject democracy outright.”

Ziblatt points to Germany in the 1930s, the most catastrophic collapse of a democracy in the 20th century, as evidence that the fate of democracy lies in the hands of conservatives. Where the center-right flourishes, it can defend the interests of its adherents, starving more radical movements of support. In Germany, where center-right parties faltered, “not their strength, but rather their weakness” became the driving force behind democracy’s collapse.

Of course, the most catastrophic collapse of a democracy in the 19th century took place right here in the United States, sparked by the anxieties of white voters who feared the decline of their own power within a diversifying nation.

The slaveholding South exercised disproportionate political power in the early republic. America’s first dozen presidents—excepting only those named Adams—were slaveholders. Twelve of the first 16 secretaries of state came from slave states. The South initially dominated Congress as well, buoyed by its ability to count three-fifths of the enslaved persons held as property for the purposes of apportionment.

Whether the American political system today can endure without fracturing further may depend on the choices of the center-right.
Politics in the early republic was factious and fractious, dominated by crosscutting interests. But as Northern states formally abandoned slavery, and then embraced westward expansion, tensions rose between the states that exalted free labor and the ones whose fortunes were directly tied to slave labor, bringing sectional conflict to the fore. By the mid-19th century, demographics were clearly on the side of the free states, where the population was rapidly expanding. Immigrants surged across the Atlantic, finding jobs in Northern factories and settling on midwestern farms. By the outbreak of the Civil War, the foreign-born would form 19 percent of the population of the Northern states, but just 4 percent of the Southern population.

The new dynamic was first felt in the House of Representatives, the most democratic institution of American government—and the Southern response was a concerted effort to remove the topic of slavery from debate. In 1836, Southern congressmen and their allies imposed a gag rule on the House, barring consideration of petitions that so much as mentioned slavery, which would stand for nine years. As the historian Joanne Freeman shows in her recent book, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War, slave-state representatives in Washington also turned to bullying, brandishing weapons, challenging those who dared disparage the peculiar institution to duels, or simply attacking them on the House floor with fists or canes. In 1845, an antislavery speech delivered by Ohio’s Joshua Giddings so upset Louisiana’s John Dawson that he cocked his pistol and announced that he intended to kill his fellow congressman. In a scene more Sergio Leone than Frank Capra, other representatives—at least four of them with guns of their own—rushed to either side, in a tense standoff. By the late 1850s, the threat of violence was so pervasive that members regularly entered the House armed.

As Southern politicians perceived that demographic trends were starting to favor the North, they began to regard popular democracy itself as a threat. “The North has acquired a decided ascendancy over every department of this Government,” warned South Carolina’s Senator John C. Calhoun in 1850, a “despotic” situation, in which the interests of the South were bound to be sacrificed, “however oppressive the effects may be.” With the House tipping against them, Southern politicians focused on the Senate, insisting that the admission of any free states be balanced by new slave states, to preserve their control of the chamber. They looked to the Supreme Court—which by the 1850s had a five-justice majority from slaveholding states—to safeguard their power. And, fatefully, they struck back at the power of Northerners to set the rules of their own communities, launching a frontal assault on states’ rights.

But the South and its conciliating allies overreached. A center-right consensus, drawing Southern plantation owners together with Northern businessmen, had long kept the Union intact. As demographics turned against the South, though, its politicians began to abandon hope of convincing their Northern neighbors of the moral justice of their position, or of the pragmatic case for compromise. Instead of reposing faith in electoral democracy to protect their way of life, they used the coercive power of the federal government to compel the North to support the institution of slavery, insisting that anyone providing sanctuary to slaves, even in free states, be punished: The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required Northern law-enforcement officials to arrest those who escaped from Southern plantations, and imposed penalties on citizens who gave them shelter.

The persecution complex of the South succeeded where decades of abolitionist activism had failed, producing the very hostility to slavery that Southerners feared. The sight of armed marshals ripping apart families and marching their neighbors back to slavery roused many Northerners from their moral torpor. The push-and-pull of democratic politics had produced setbacks for the South over the previous decades, but the South’s abandonment of electoral democracy in favor of countermajoritarian politics would prove catastrophic to its cause.

Today, a republican party that appeals primarily to white Christian voters is fighting a losing battle. The Electoral College, Supreme Court, and Senate may delay defeat for a time, but they cannot postpone it forever.

The GOP’s efforts to cling to power by coercion instead of persuasion have illuminated the perils of defining a political party in a pluralistic democracy around a common heritage, rather than around values or ideals. Consider Trump’s push to slow the pace of immigration, which has backfired spectacularly, turning public opinion against his restrictionist stance. Before Trump announced his presidential bid, in 2015, less than a quarter of Americans thought legal immigration should be increased; today, more than a third feel that way. Whatever the merits of Trump’s particular immigration proposals, he has made them less likely to be enacted.

For a populist, Trump is remarkably unpopular. But no one should take comfort from that fact. The more he radicalizes his opponents against his agenda, the more he gives his own supporters to fear. The excesses of the left bind his supporters more tightly to him, even as the excesses of the right make it harder for the Republican Party to command majority support, validating the fear that the party is passing into eclipse, in a vicious cycle.

The right, and the country, can come back from this. Our history is rife with influential groups that, after discarding their commitment to democratic principles in an attempt to retain their grasp on power, lost their fight and then discovered they could thrive in the political order they had so feared. The Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, criminalizing criticism of their administration; Redemption-era Democrats stripped black voters of the franchise; and Progressive Republicans wrested municipal governance away from immigrant voters. Each rejected popular democracy out of fear that it would lose at the polls, and terror at what might then result. And in each case democracy eventually prevailed, without tragic effect on the losers. The American system works more often than it doesn’t.

The years around the First World War offer another example. A flood of immigrants, particularly from Eastern and Southern Europe, left many white Protestants feeling threatened. In rapid succession, the nation instituted Prohibition, in part to regulate the social habits of these new populations; staged the Palmer Raids, which rounded up thousands of political radicals and deported hundreds; saw the revival of the Ku Klux Klan as a national organization with millions of members, including tens of thousands who marched openly through Washington, D.C.; and passed new immigration laws, slamming shut the doors to the United States.

Under President Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic Party was at the forefront of this nativist backlash. Four years after Wilson left office, the party faced a battle between Wilson’s son-in-law and Al Smith—a New York Catholic of Irish, German, and Italian extraction who opposed Prohibition and denounced lynching—for the presidential nomination. The convention deadlocked for more than 100 ballots, ultimately settling on an obscure nominee. But in the next nominating fight, four years after that, Smith prevailed, shouldering aside the nativist forces within the party. He brought together newly enfranchised women and the ethnic voters of growing industrial cities. The Democrats lost the presidential race in 1928—but won the next five, in one of the most dominant runs in American political history. The most effective way to protect the things they cherished, Democratic politicians belatedly discovered, wasn’t by locking immigrants out of the party, but by inviting them in.

Whether the American political system today can endure without fracturing further, Daniel Ziblatt’s research suggests, may depend on the choices the center-right now makes. If the center-right decides to accept some electoral defeats and then seeks to gain adherents via argumentation and attraction—and, crucially, eschews making racial heritage its organizing principle—then the GOP can remain vibrant. Its fissures will heal and its prospects will improve, as did those of the Democratic Party in the 1920s, after Wilson. Democracy will be maintained. But if the center-right, surveying demographic upheaval and finding the prospect of electoral losses intolerable, casts its lot with Trumpism and a far right rooted in ethno-nationalism, then it is doomed to an ever smaller proportion of voters, and risks revisiting the ugliest chapters of our history.

Two documents produced after Mitt Romney’s loss in 2012 and before Trump’s election in 2016 lay out the stakes and the choice. After Romney’s stinging defeat in the presidential election, the Republican National Committee decided that if it held to its course, it was destined for political exile. It issued a report calling on the GOP to do more to win over “Hispanic[s], Asian and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Indian Americans, Native Americans, women, and youth[s].” There was an edge of panic in that recommendation; those groups accounted for nearly three-quarters of the ballots cast in 2012. “Unless the RNC gets serious about tackling this problem, we will lose future elections,” the report warned. “The data demonstrates this.”

But it wasn’t just the pragmatists within the GOP who felt this panic. In the most influential declaration of right-wing support for Trumpism, the conservative writer Michael Anton declared in the Claremont Review of Books that “2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die.” His cry of despair offered a bleak echo of the RNC’s demographic analysis. “If you haven’t noticed, our side has been losing consistently since 1988,” he wrote, averring that “the deck is stacked overwhelmingly against us.” He blamed “the ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners,” which had placed Democrats “on the cusp of a permanent victory that will forever obviate [their] need to pretend to respect democratic and constitutional niceties.”

The Republican Party faced a choice between these two competing visions in the last presidential election. The post-2012 report defined the GOP ideologically, urging its leaders to reach out to new groups, emphasize the values they had in common, and rebuild the party into an organization capable of winning a majority of the votes in a presidential race. Anton’s essay, by contrast, defined the party as the defender of “a people, a civilization” threatened by America’s growing diversity. The GOP’s efforts to broaden its coalition, he thundered, were an abject surrender. If it lost the next election, conservatives would be subjected to “vindictive persecution against resistance and dissent.”

Anton and some 63 million other Americans charged the cockpit. The standard-bearers of the Republican Party were vanquished by a candidate who had never spent a day in public office, and who oozed disdain for democratic processes. Instead of reaching out to a diversifying electorate, Donald Trump doubled down on core Republican constituencies, promising to protect them from a culture and a polity that, he said, were turning against them.

The gravest danger to American democracy isn’t an excess of vitriol, argues Adam Serwer. It’s the false promise of civility.

When Trump’s presidency comes to its end, the Republican Party will confront the same choice it faced before his rise, only even more urgently. In 2013, the party’s leaders saw the path that lay before them clearly, and urged Republicans to reach out to voters of diverse backgrounds whose own values matched the “ideals, philosophy and principles” of the GOP. Trumpism deprioritizes conservative ideas and principles in favor of ethno-nationalism.

The conservative strands of America’s political heritage—a bias in favor of continuity, a love for traditions and institutions, a healthy skepticism of sharp departures—provide the nation with a requisite ballast. America is at once a land of continual change and a nation of strong continuities. Each new wave of immigration to the United States has altered its culture, but the immigrants themselves have embraced and thus conserved many of its core traditions. To the enormous frustration of their clergy, Jews and Catholics and Muslims arriving on these shores became a little bit congregationalist, shifting power from the pulpits to the pews. Peasants and laborers became more entrepreneurial. Many new arrivals became more egalitarian. And all became more American.

Americans Aren’t Practicing Democracy Anymore

By accepting these immigrants, and inviting them to subscribe to the country’s founding ideals, American elites avoided displacement. The country’s dominant culture has continually redefined itself, enlarging its boundaries to retain a majority of a changing population. When the United States came into being, most Americans were white, Protestant, and English. But the ineradicable difference between a Welshman and a Scot soon became all but undetectable. Whiteness itself proved elastic, first excluding Jews and Italians and Irish, and then stretching to encompass them. Established Churches gave way to a variety of Protestant sects, and the proliferation of other faiths made “Christian” a coherent category; that broadened, too, into the Judeo-Christian tradition. If America’s white Christian majority is gone, then some new majority is already emerging to take its place—some new, more capacious way of understanding what it is to belong to the American mainstream.

So strong is the attraction of the American idea that it infects even our dissidents. The suffragists at Seneca Falls, Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and Harvey Milk in front of San Francisco’s city hall all quoted the Declaration of Independence. The United States possesses a strong radical tradition, but its most successful social movements have generally adopted the language of conservatism, framing their calls for change as an expression of America’s founding ideals rather than as a rejection of them.

Even today, large numbers of conservatives retain the courage of their convictions, believing they can win new adherents to their cause. They have not despaired of prevailing at the polls and they are not prepared to abandon moral suasion in favor of coercion; they are fighting to recover their party from a president whose success was built on convincing voters that the country is slipping away from them.

The stakes in this battle on the right are much higher than the next election. If Republican voters can’t be convinced that democratic elections will continue to offer them a viable path to victory, that they can thrive within a diversifying nation, and that even in defeat their basic rights will be protected, then Trumpism will extend long after Trump leaves office—and our democracy will suffer for it.

YONI APPELBAUM is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.

Scott Jennings, advisor to George Bush & Mitch McConnell, of CNN and LA Times opinion writer says Dems lost the opening day public hearings:

....."Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, during President Obama's administration.....The Russians were testing Obama just as they they were embarking on their successful attempts to meddle in our 2016 presidential election....Obama dithered, when confronted with Russian aggression. For two years, Obama and Biden, supposedly a Ukranian savant, refused to send our allies lethal aid to beat back the Russians.
And we know from the report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III that they did nothing to stop election meddling. Russia beat Obama on both fronts.

An inconvenient truth is emerging for Democrats:if you are worried about Russian influence, Trump has done a much better job than Obama ever did. Under Trump, we actually sent the Ukranians lethal aid, a policy that Taylor and Kent admitted is better then it was before.
And under Trump, the 2018 midterm election was apparently conducted free from Russian meddling.
Democrats want to overturn an election based on merely a momentary halting of military assistance to Ukraine by Trump's White House because Trump raised questions about corruption in a notoriously corrupt country. But they never bothered to ask the Obama White House why they held up lethal aide for two years when it was sorely needed.

Democrats claim Trump's intent was corrupt and an abuse of power,
but the net result of Trump's decisions , by any measure, is a stronger response to the Russians than Obama ever delivered. Question Trump's judgement in sending people like Sondland and Giuliani to Europe all you want, but impeachment? Give me a break.

Yes the above could be true, but the timing is wrong , because at this stage of a newly elected Ukrainian president and it, s US counterpart, the media is the message, the sensitivity of the reliance of political reliance is especially of an intelligence bound bilaterally unsecured (insecurely based) tie in.
The Republicans try to disarray tie ins, where the patent verbalizations can glean that perception, increasing the latency to the internally explosive subjective view of the Ukrainian people , internally and externally.
The Russian preceptions are locked into this, as Trump has indicated to Taylor, and others that perhaps the Crimea does belong to the Russians, after all.
That said, the Jennings article misses these finer raised points.
His judgement may be misleadingly simple.
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Re: Trump enters the stage day 2

Postby Meno_ » Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:31 pm

It becomes very clear that the intelligences
vary proportionally to the degree of awareness to the facts , as they simply assume that the intelligence factored in is not worth their calibration.

Their quantified presumption does not require an equitable response.

Thus sparch the oracle.
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Re: Trump enters the stage. Corruption revealed

Postby Meno_ » Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:10 am

The impeachment so far verifies intelligence differences, as prescribed by the Budapest conference and the Trump -Orban meetings drawing down the line, of international barriers..

Basically the bottom line is intelligence variance surrounding the same type of agreements that were pre-scribes by the Malta Agreements, drawing lines of influence between the east and west.

That an agreement like that would utilize mob-collaboration, is no different from the Mafia's participation in WW2 .
What else is new?

This was a time when Democratic 'principles' meant something else then oligarchian collusion. It was affordable.

2 nd hearing:



Trump Is Writing His Own Articles of Impeachment
Disparaging a witness in the middle of her testimony, the president made the Democrats’ job a lot easier.


11/15/2019 11:28 PM EST

The second public impeachment hearing should have made less of an impact than the blockbuster first hearing. After all, the witness—former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch—had little testimony to offer about the aid-for-dirt scheme at the core of the inquiry.

President Trump changed that with a single tweet.

Trump often blasts his perceived enemies on Twitter, and the result is usually little more than handwringing on cable news. Thursday’s blast was altogether different and may end up changing the actual charges the House ultimately files against Trump.

The timing could not have been more dramatic, coming about an hour into the hearing and only moments after Yovanovitch testified about how mortified she felt reading what Trump had said about her to the Ukrainian president in July. And then he did it again: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” he wrote. Chairman Adam Schiff deftly turned the disparaging tweet against Trump by reading it to a stunned Yovanovitch.

Her response to the tweet—“It’s very intimidating”—spoke volumes and drowned out any other narrative that could have come out of her testimony.

Trump has been a master at distraction, and today he tried to do so by releasing the transcript of his first call with newly elected Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, dutifully read the entirety of the call into the record.

But that move landed with a thud, given how irrelevant the transcript was. His second attempt to distract—the tweet—succeeded only in making Yovanovitch’s testimony far more weighty and relevant than it might have been otherwise.

It’s not hard to see why commentators rushed to call it witness tampering. After all, Yovanovitch called it “very intimidating” herself, and knowingly using intimidation with the intent to influence testimony is the very definition of witness tampering.

It doesn’t matter that Yovanovitch would not be intimidated by a mere tweet, given how formidable she appeared during her testimony. As Schiff pointed out, the fear of a Trump tweet could influence other witnesses, such as Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who is scheduled to appear next week. Indeed, the picture painted by testimony during the inquiry thus far is of Trump officials working under the specter that a Trump tweet could turn their world upside down.

That doesn’t mean a federal prosecutor would actually charge Trump with witness tampering if he was not in office. It would be hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump intended to intimidate witnesses. Trump’s state of mind is a difficult thing to pin down in any context. In fact, he later denied he was trying to intimidate her, insisting he was exercising his “free speech” right.

But it really doesn’t matter. Impeachment is a political process, and you can expect House Democrats to add another article of impeachment charging Trump with witness tampering, which was also part of the articles of impeachment against former president Richard Nixon.

More importantly, Trump handed the narrative to Democrats on a day when his supporters could have otherwise argued that Yovanovitch didn’t really provide testimony of truly impeachable acts by Trump.

For her own part, Yovanovitch provided something important to Democrats. Her testimony not only set the stage for the core story to be told by subsequent witnesses, but she provided an emotional heft and counterpoint to Trump that had power beyond the substance of her words.

Yovanovitch reminded me of a type of witness who often testifies at a criminal trial—a victim of wrongdoing who possesses a quiet strength while detailing how a wrongdoer has impacted her life.

One weakness of the Democrats’ otherwise strong case against Trump is that the victim of Trump’s scheme was Ukraine—or our system of government as a whole. There was no tangible American who was the target of Trump’s scheme other than former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, who are too politicized to be portrayed as victims by House Democrats.

Although Yovanovitch was not the intended victim of Trump’s scheme, she paid a price for his wrongdoing. Her strength and dignity in the face of poor treatment by Trump drew a contrast to him and created an emotional weight to the Democrats’ case that it did not have before.

Trump may very well escape removal from office, given that the Senate Republicans appear to be all but impervious to any evidence that might emerge from the hearings. But he is his own worst enemy. His ham-handed mistreatment of Yovanovitch and impulsive desire to belittle her during her testimony made it even more difficult for House Republicans to distract viewers from his indefensible conduct. If he keeps this up, he might well be the author of his own political end.

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Opinion, Analysis, Essays


Trump's impeachment tantrums reveal a fragile ego obsessed with saving his legacy
Fear is dominating Trump's decision-making right now. It’s a sense of panic, masquerading as strength.

Impeachment is Trump's scarlet letter.Tom Brenner / Reuters
Nov. 16, 2019, 4:30 AM EST
By Kurt Bardella, NBC News THINK contributor
As the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, gave public testimony during the House Intelligence Committee’s second public impeachment hearing Friday, President Donald J. Trump unleashed a bizarre tweet attack, claiming, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him.”

Aside from the absurdity of blaming the ambassador for decades of turmoil in Somalia, Trump’s clear intent, as committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., noted, was to intimidate future witnesses and maybe even convince them not to testify.

While Trump may have deluded himself into believing that this kind of bullying projects strength, I think it reveals the exact opposite. Donald Trump is afraid. This is a man who has spent the entirety of his adult life plastering his name on skyscrapers and casinos; this is a man who is obsessed with his own legacy. And that’s why impeachment is the permanent stain that Trump deserves — and one he clearly fears.

While Trump may have deluded himself into believing that this kind of bullying projects strength, I think it reveals the exact opposite.

Axios reported recently that Trump has said privately impeachment is a “bad thing to have on your resume.” He doesn’t want impeachment to be the first thing written about him in the world's history books.

Conventional wisdom suggests that there are enough votes in the Democrat-controlled House to successfully impeach Trump, while the Senate will vote against it. But when it comes to Trump and how he is wired, it may not matter if he is thrown out of office. The fact that he would go down in history as only the third president ever to be impeached would psychologically cripple him.

Think about how Trump’s self-obsession manifests itself. In August, in the wake of yet another mass shooting, Trump visited a hospital in El Paso, Texas, and proceeded to brag about the crowd size at an earlier campaign rally, saying, “the place was packed … that was some crowd and we had twice the number outside.” During a rally last summer in Minnesota, the supposedly populist president riffed on “the elite” declaring, “I have a much better apartment than they do. I’m smarter than they are, I’m richer than they are.” Even his infamous “grab ‘em by the pussy” comment during the 2016 campaign was also a brag. Before going on to make what sure sounded like an endorsement of sexual assault, Trump noted “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

Trump revels in his own celebrity, fame and wealth. But what we’re talking about right now is infamy on a historic scale. Impeachment is his scarlet letter, a public rebuke that will be very hard to dismiss or minimize (although we can be sure that he’ll try).

And the increasing public meltdowns we have seen from the president suggest the fear of impeachment is getting to him.

Trump rages about the impeachment process. But the GOP created those rules.
It wasn’t long ago that the president of the United States tweeted about the possibility of “a Civil War like fracture” if he was impeached. Trump has begun to recycle his Mueller mantra describing this as “The Greatest Witch Hunt in American history!” He tweeted a fake conspiracy theory about changes to a whistleblower report that never happened. He even called for the resignation of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, suggesting he “should be looked at for treason.”

Trump’s tantrums reveal a fragility that is dominating his decision-making. It’s panic, masquerading as strength. He’s not even trying to hide his self-pity, tweeting, “there has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have.”

Trump’s unhinged tweets and press outbursts are a manifestation of what feels a lot like desperation. And the more desperate Trump becomes, the more outrageous his rhetoric will become and the more his paranoia will grow. He will continue to howl and bark in the hopes that he can both scare anyone willing to cooperate with impeachment and maintain his GOP-firewall of protection. But just remember, like any bully, the louder he yells, the more scared he is.

Kurt Bardella
Kurt Bardella is an NBC News THINK contributor and served as the spokesperson and senior advisor for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from 2009-2013.

Live TV
A day that underscored the corruption swamping the Trump presidency
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
Updated 5:33 AM EST, Sat November 16, 2019

(CNN) A fateful convergence of events Friday reflected a culture of corruption and intimidation endemic to the circle of a President who vowed to drain the swamp but instead became its incarnation.

First, a US ambassador told how her reputation was shredded and she was hounded out of her job by President Donald Trump's rogue associates after a faultless 30-year career advancing America's interests.

"Ukrainians who prefer to play by the old corrupt rules sought to remove me," former US envoy to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said at the House impeachment hearings. "What continues to amaze me is that they found Americans willing to partner with them."

Incredibly, her testimony was interrupted by a Trump attack tweet that visibly exacerbated her anguish over his bullying tactics, lent credibility to her testimony and could now be folded into articles of impeachment.

As she spoke, and less than a mile away across Washington's mall, Roger Stone became the latest associate who will pay for his loyalty to the President.

Trump associate Roger Stone found guilty of lies that protected Trump
Trump associate Roger Stone found guilty of lies that protected Trump
The Nixon-era political trickster was found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering, apparently motivated by a desire to protect Trump from embarrassment over the Russia scandal.

"Truth matters. Truth still matters, OK?" prosecutor Michael Marando had told the jury on Wednesday. "In our institutions of self-governance, committee hearings, courts of law ... truth still matters."

All this came during a week in which the President made a new last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court to shield his tax returns from public scrutiny.

And on Friday evening, things took another turn for the worse for Trump.

Diplomatic aide David Holmes testified that he had heard Trump on a telephone call ask US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland whether the Ukrainians were going to open investigations he had asked for into former Vice President Joe Biden and a conspiracy theory surrounding the 2016 election.

Sondland told Trump on the call in July that Ukranian President Vlodymyr Zelensky was ready to do "anything you ask him to," according to a transcript of an opening statement delivered by Holmes to a closed-door session of the impeachment investigation.

The revelation significantly raised the stakes for Sondland's testimony in a televised hearing next week and suggests that Trump was intimately involved in his lawyer Rudy Giuliani's scheme to pressure the Ukrainians.

Whether Americans ultimately come to believe that the President's alleged misconduct merits the terrible sanction of removal or come to believe the Democratic impeachment attempt is narrowly political and unjustified, this was a clarifying day.

At a time of swirling misinformation, propagandistic pro-Trump news coverage and conspiracy theories, it showed that while facts may be under assault, they can ultimately still emerge in a way that will allow history to render a judgment even if the fractured political climate makes that it impossible in the moment.

Friday piled more testimony on the mountain of evidence suggesting that the US is in the grip of not just the most unorthodox, but the most corrupt presidency of the modern era.

The Stone and Yovanovitch dramas did not take place in isolation. They fit into a pattern of questionable behavior clouding Trump's entire political career. The sheer weight of such evidence confounds his supporters' claims that the real problem is that Democrats and the media are caught up in some kind of "Never Trump" mania that amounts to a coup.

This, after all, is a President who demanded misplaced personal loyalty from FBI chief James Comey, then fired him and said he did it because of the Russia investigation. Trump also repeatedly berated his first Attorney General Jeff Sessions for honoring an obligation to recuse himself from the Russia probe.

While special counsel Robert Mueller did not establish cooperation between Trump's campaign and Russia, he said the President's team expected to benefit from his election meddling.

And he pointedly did not exonerate Trump of obstruction.

This is a President who tried to get the US government to cut him a check to host next year's G7 summit before backing off because of the political outrage. As if to underscore conflicts of interests posed by his financial entanglements, Trump filed suit with the Supreme Court Friday to stop prosecutors pulling his tax returns, setting up a landmark separation of powers showdown.

For sure, there are legal questions about immunity and the extent to which individual in that job should expect financial privacy at play here.

But Trump's move still raised the question about what he has to hide from the people for whom he holds a public trust.

The human toll of the Ukraine scandal
Yovanovitch's only offense may have been that she got in the way of a plan by Giuliani, working at Trump's direction, to get the Ukrainian government to investigate one of the President's domestic political opponents -- Biden.

It was notable that while Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee protested the process and highlighted that Yovanovitch was gone before Trump's alleged scheme to get dirt on Biden came to fruition, they did little to counter her story of a back door diplomatic scheme led by Giuliani.

Democrats scheduled the former ambassador in their second televised impeachment hearing to suggest the human cost of the President's Ukraine scheme.

She also helped them flesh out an argument that Giuliani, acting at the direction of the President, and with associates in Ukraine like now indicted Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, had trampled over America's foreign policy interests in pursuit of their own personal and political enrichment.

Yovanovitch also found herself the target of a fierce campaign by conservative pundits that including the President's son, Donald Trump Jr.

Far from working to drain corruption as Yovanovitch was in Ukraine, she testified that Giuliani's team was working with corrupt figures in Kiev and importing their methods to the US.

Like her colleagues, George Kent and Bill Taylor who testified Wednesday, she seemed like an envoy to a country she no longer understood -- her own -- where governance is beginning to share characteristics of corruption-laced nations where they served.

"How could our system fail like this?" Yovanovitch asked.

"How is it that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our government? Which country's interests are served when the very corrupt behavior we have been criticizing is allowed to prevail?" Yovanovitch said.

Like other witnesses from the foreign service bureaucracy, Yovanovitch also warned that current turmoil will damage America's reputation.

"Such conduct undermines the US, exposes our friends and widens the playing failed for autocrats like President Putin," she said. "Our leadership depends on the power of our example."

Trump's tweet in which he accused Yovanovitch of making each country that she served in -- for instance Somalia -- worse, only lent credibility to her account of feeling intimidated by the commander-in-chief's smears and threats.

Several Republicans decried Trump's attack as counterproductive.

"It was idiotic to tweet today about her," one Trump campaign source told CNN's Jim Acosta. "She seems legitimately worried."

The President's intervention could be a sign that he understood the damage the ambassador's testimony was doing. But he insisted later that he had every right to go after her.

"You know what? I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do, but they've taken away the Republicans rights," the President said.

It's unclear whether the tweets reach a standard of witness tampering that might stand up in court. Democrats suggested they could become part of eventual articles of the political process of impeachment in any case.

But the attack couldn't have been a clearer sign of the intimidation that characterizes Trump orbit.

And the assault by the most powerful man in the world will surely be on the mind of witnesses called to testify in next week's frenetic week of impeachment theater.

Trump rails at 'double standard'
6 Trump associates have been convicted in Mueller-related investigations
Stone's conviction stems directly from the Mueller investigation. He was accused of lying about his efforts to contact Wikileaks to get information that could helped Trump during his 2016 election campaign against Hillary Clinton.

Prosecutors argued that his crimes were partly motivated by a desire to save the President from political embarrassment.

Stone became the sixth Trump associate to be convicted -- a list that includes former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the campaign's ex-deputy chairman Rick Gates, short-lived national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos.

So far, the President has largely avoid such legal consequences. But each of these men now has cause to regret their decision to jump aboard the Trump train. If a man is judged by the company he keeps, their convictions reflect poorly on the President.

Trump reacted furiously to Stone's conviction, claiming his fate at the hand of a jury of his peers was another example of an establishment plot against him.

"So they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come," Trump tweeted, before raging at his usual punching bags including Clinton, Comey and Obama administration intelligence community officials.

"A double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country?" the President wrote.

Speculation is already running high that the President could use his power to pardon Stone -- a move -- at the time of an impeachment drama that would be politically radioactive.

The President has exceedingly broad power to pardon offenders, but saving Stone would suggest that people around him are above the law. And it would further color in a portrait of rampant corruption already threatening to dominate his legacy.

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Trump tweets Saturday , Nov 16 2019

If her were impeached, there will be the biggest depression , wiping out all 401 K's .......

Could this really happen ? You bet! From what we have seen so far, nothing is impossible.

In spite of everything can the Dems win the 2020 general election?


High anxiety: Jittery Democrats fear their candidate won't beat Trump

Acknowledging the concern, former President Barack Obama told his party's moderates to chill and the left to get more realistic.

Nov. 16, 2019, 9:48 AM EST / Updated Nov. 16, 2019, 10:15 AM EST

By Alex Seitz-Wald

WASHINGTON — The offer: A $1 million check from a major Democratic donor to a major Democratic group. The one condition: The money would be refunded if Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warrenbecomes the party's nominee.

That offer was rejected, according to an official familiar with it, but it was indicative of the larger anxiety felt by many in the Democratic Party's elite circles about the state of the 2020 Democratic presidential field. "Ninety to 95 percent of our donor base is terrified about Warren," said a prominent Democratic official.

Democrats, often prone to fretting about elections, have been increasingly worried that their large and divided presidential field, currently led by four imperfect front-runners, doesn't have what it takes to beat President Donald Trump next year.

They worry that Biden is too old and stumbling; that Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, is too young and too inexperienced; and that Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are too far left and can't win. And they tend to write off the rest of the field, assuming that if those contenders haven't caught on yet, they never will.

That angst reached a fever pitch this week and helped push one new candidate and another potential challenger from the party's more moderate wing into the race — former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who announced he's running, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who's thinking about it — just ahead of a New Hampshire filing deadline, which essentially barred the door to new candidates when it expired at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Former President Barack Obama, who is loath to speak publicly about internal party politics, felt the need to tell an influential group of donors on Friday night to essentially calm down,while also warning progressives that the country is "less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement."

"Democratic voters and certainly persuadable independents or even moderate Republicans are not driven by the same views that are reflected on certain, you know, left-leaning Twitter feeds or the activist wing of our party," Obama said at the private meeting of the Democracy Alliance donor group at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington.

"That's not a criticism to the activist wing. Their job is to poke and prod and test and inspire and motivate," he continued. "But the candidate's job, whoever it ends up being, is to get elected."

And Obama reminded them that he faced his own messy primary and won.

"Not only did I win ultimately a remarkably tough and lengthy primary process with Hillary Clinton, but people forget that even before that we had a big field of really serious, accomplished people," he said.

Not everyone is so sure, though, even though polls show all of the party's front-runners beating Trump at the moment in head-to-head tests.

"With stakes this high in the election, Democrats from coast to coast are in search of the perfect candidate,” said Rufus Gifford, the former national finance director for Obama's 2012 re-election campaign and ambassador to Denmark. "That person doesn't exist. He or she never has."

Democratic voters have expressed little interest in expanding the field. Eighty-fight percent said they are "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with their present options in a September NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, while other surveys have found a sizable number of Democrats wanting to winnow their options.

But many party insiders, who have watched the field take shape and studied the candidates closely, feel none of them measure up to Obama, who remains the model presidential candidate for many in the party.

"Donors are casting around for someone who can fill those shoes because they feel that Joe Biden hasn't closed the deal yet," said David Brock, a Democratic fundraiser who runs a constellation of progressive groups, including Media Matters and American Bridge. "Donors are always kind of anxious, it's in their DNA. They're nervous that Biden has proven to be a shaky front-runner and they're nervous about the rise of Elizabeth Warren and/or Bernie Sanders."

President Barack Obama waves as he is followed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, right, upon his arrival on Air Force One at Logan Airport in Boston on March 5, 2014.Charles Krupa / AP file

And they looked around for other potential white knights:

Hillary Clinton? "I'm under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about it," the 2016 presidential nominee told the BBC.

Stacey Abrams? "I've been urged to reconsider. I have said no," the former nominee for governor in Georgia said at lunch at the National Press Club.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown? "How many times do I have to answer this question? No. No, no, no," Brown, who had considered running this year before deciding against it, told reporters in the Capitol.

In some circles, the search is driven largely driven by deep concerns that Warren or Sanders would fall to Trump and would be an albatross around the neck of Democratic candidates running for the Senate and House in 2020.

A new analysis by political scientist Alan Abromivitz found that support for "Medicare for All," the single-payer health care plan Warren and Sanders favor, could have cost Democratic congressional candidates as much as 5 percentage points in the 2018 midterms.

Some on the left wonder which is scarier to donors: Warren or Sanders losing to Trump or winning against him and raising their taxes.

"Makes you wonder if they're trying to save us from Trump or are they really just trying to save themselves from Bernie and Warren," said Rebecca Katz, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who now advises insurgent progressive candidates.

Warren's campaign has begun selling mugs to drink "billionaire tears" and engaged in public fights with wealthy financiers who feel, as many of them did under Obama as well, that they're being unfairly targeted.

Former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, one of the more prominent Democrats on Wall Street, condemned Warren's incivility against the wealthy while taking a not-so-subtle shot at the controversy over her Native American ancestry and DNA test.

Patrick Murray, the pollster who runs the well-regarded Monmouth University poll, said the unsettled state of the field is not uncommon, historically, and more a product of voters waiting to chose a candidate than not liking any of them.

"It's not a sign of weakness," he said.

Needless to say, the new entries are frustrating to candidates who have been pitching themselves for months, as alternatives to Biden on one hand and Warren and Sanders on the other, just as Patrick is now.

Obama himself praised the current field and said he was sure that in the end, "we will have a candidate who has been tested and will be able to proudly carry the Democratic banner."

Alex Seitz-Wald is a political reporter for NBC News.

Republican congressman calls new details about Trump revealed in impeachment testimony 'alarming'

By Devan Cole, CNN 

Updated 4:05 PM EST, Sun November 17, 2019


Washington (CNN)A Republican member of one of the House committees involved in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump said Sunday that information provided about Trump during a closed-door deposition of a former National Security Council official"is alarming" and "not OK."

"Well, of course, all of that is alarming. As I've said from the beginning, I think this is not okay. The President of the United States shouldn't even in the original phone call be on the phone with the president of another country and raise his political opponent," Rep. Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."

"So, no, this is not OK," he added on Sunday.

On Saturday, Morrison testified that US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was acting at Trump's instruction in his dealings with Ukraine. According to Morrison's deposition, Sondland said the President told him that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "must announce the opening of the investigations" into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Morrison also testified that US aid to Ukraine was conditioned on the country announcing an investigation into the Bidens. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden in Ukraine.

Ex-NSC official corroborates Sondland said he was directed by Trump on Ukraine

Morrison's testimony, which was released by House impeachment investigators on Saturday, adds additional corroboration to the testimony of others, like US diplomat Bill Taylor, that Sondland said he was acting at Trump's direction when he was urging Ukraine to announce political investigations.

In his CNN interview on Sunday, Turner also addressed tweets Trump posted last week during former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's public testimony before the panel. Responding in real-time to the President's tweets, which claimed that "everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," the former official said they were "very intimidating."

"It's certainly not impeachable, and it's certainly not criminal and it's certainly not witness intimidation. It certainly wasn't trying to prevent her or wouldn't have prevented her from testifying, she was actually in the process of testifying. But nonetheless, I find the President's tweets unfortunate," the congressman said.

"I think along with most people, I find the President's tweets, generally, unfortunate," Turner said.

CNN's Jeremy Herb, Jennifer Hansler, Kevin Liptak and Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.

© 2019 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Re: Trump enters the stage : it is getting into big time

Postby Meno_ » Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:30 pm

Trump is finally facing impeachment, but another, bigger cover-up is continuing in broad daylight

Andrew J. Bacevich,


Oct 21, 2019, 10:49 AM

President Donald Trump mocks US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a rally with supporters in Dallas, October 17, 2019. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Democrats in Congress have started impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

But many of the policies and policymakers who laid the groundwork for Trump, and enabled his misdeeds, are going unquestioned, writes Quincy Institute cofounder and president Andrew Bacevich.

There is blood in the water and frenzied sharks are closing in for the kill. Or so they think.

From the time of Donald Trump's election, American elites have hungered for this moment. At long last, they have the 45th president of the United States cornered. In typically ham-handed fashion, Trump has given his adversaries the very means to destroy him politically. They will not waste the opportunity. Impeachment now — finally, some will say — qualifies as a virtual certainty.

No doubt many surprises lie ahead. Yet the Democrats controlling the House of Representatives have passed the point of no return. The time for prudential judgments — the Republican-controlled Senate will never convict, so why bother? — is gone for good. To back down now would expose the president's pursuers as spineless cowards. The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC would not soon forgive such craven behavior.

So, as President Woodrow Wilson speaking in 1919 put it, "The stage is set, the destiny disclosed. It has come about by no plan of our conceiving, but by the hand of God." Of course, the issue back then was a notably weighty one: whether to ratify the Versailles Treaty.

That it now concerns a "Mafia-like shakedown" orchestrated by one of Wilson's successors tells us something about the trajectory of American politics over the course of the last century and it has not been a story of ascent.

Trump with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the UN General Assembly in New York, September 25, 2019.Associated Press

The effort to boot the president from office is certain to yield a memorable spectacle. The rancor and contempt that have clogged American politics like a backed-up sewer since the day of Donald Trump's election will now find release. Watergate will pale by comparison. The uproar triggered by Bill Clinton's "sexual relations" will be nothing by comparison.

A de facto collaboration between Trump, those who despise him, and those who despise his critics all but guarantees that this story will dominate the news, undoubtedly for months to come.

As this process unspools, what politicians like to call "the people's business" will go essentially unattended.

So while Congress considers whether or not to remove Trump from office, gun-control legislation will languish, the deterioration of the nation's infrastructure will proceed apace, needed healthcare reforms will be tabled, the military-industrial complex will waste yet more billions, and the national debt, already at $22 trillion — larger, that is, than the entire economy — will continue to surge. The looming threat posed by climate change, much talked about of late, will proceed all but unchecked. For those of us preoccupied with America's role in the world, the obsolete assumptions and habits undergirding what's still called "national security" will continue to evade examination. Our endless wars will remain endless and pointless.

By way of compensation, we might wonder what benefits impeachment is likely to yield. Answering that question requires examining four scenarios that describe the range of possibilities awaiting the nation.

Trump meets with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, standing left, Congressional leaders, and others at the White House, October 16, 2019.Associated Press

The first and most to be desired (but least likely) is that Trump will tire of being a public piñata and just quit. With the thrill of flying in Air Force One having worn off, being president can't be as much fun these days. Why put up with further grief? How much more entertaining for Trump to retire to the political sidelines where he can tweet up a storm and indulge his penchant for name-calling.

And think of the "deals" an ex-president could make in countries like Israel, North Korea, Poland, and Saudi Arabia on which he's bestowed favors. Cha-ching! As of yet, however, the president shows no signs of taking the easy (and lucrative) way out.

The second possible outcome sounds almost as good but is no less implausible: A sufficient number of Republican senators rediscover their moral compass and "do the right thing," joining with Democrats to create the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump and send him packing.

In the Washington of that classic 20th-century film director Frank Capra, with Jimmy Stewart holding forth on the Senate floor and a moist-eyed Jean Arthur cheering him on from the gallery, this might have happened. In the real Washington of "Moscow Mitch" McConnell, think again.

The third somewhat seamier outcome might seem a tad more likely. It postulates that McConnell and various GOP senators facing reelection in 2020 or 2022 will calculate that turning on Trump just might offer the best way of saving their own skins. The president's loyalty to just about anyone, wives included, has always been highly contingent, the people streaming out of his administration routinely making the point. So why should senatorial loyalty to the president be any different?

At the moment, however, indications that Trump loyalists out in the hinterlands will reward such turncoats are just about nonexistent. Unless that base were to flip, don't expect Republican senators to do anything but flop.

That leaves outcome number four, easily the most probable: While the House will impeach, the Senate will decline to convict. Trump will therefore stay right where he is, with the matter of his fitness for office effectively deferred to the November 2020 elections. Except as a source of sadomasochistic diversion, the entire agonizing experience will, therefore, prove to be a colossal waste of time and blather.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gestures to fellow Democrats as President Donald Trump acknowledges women in Congress during his State of the Union address. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Furthermore, Donald Trump might well emerge from this national ordeal with his reelection chances enhanced. Such a prospect is belatedly insinuating itself into public discourse.

For that reason, certain anti-Trump pundits are already showing signs of going wobbly, suggesting, for instance, that censure rather than outright impeachment might suffice as punishment for the president's various offenses. Yet censuring Trump while allowing him to stay in office would be the equivalent of letting Harvey Weinstein off with a good tongue-lashing so that he can get back to making movies. Censure is for wimps.

Besides, as Trump campaigns for a second term, he would almost surely wear censure like a badge of honor. Keep in mind that Congress's approval ratings are considerably worse than his. To more than a few members of the public, a black mark awarded by Congress might look like a gold star.

Not removal but restoration

So if Trump finds himself backed into a corner, Democrats aren't necessarily in a more favorable position. And that ain't the half of it.

Let me suggest that, while Trump is being pursued, it's you, my fellow Americans, who are really being played. The unspoken purpose of impeachment is not removal, but restoration.

The overarching aim is not to replace Trump with Mike Pence — the equivalent of exchanging Groucho for Harpo. No, the object of the exercise is to return power to those who created the conditions that enabled Trump to win the White House i

Just recently, for instance, Hillary Clinton declaredTrump to be an "illegitimate president." Implicit in her charge is the conviction — no doubt sincere — that people like Donald Trump are not supposed to bepresident. People like Hillary Clinton — people possessing credentials like hersand sharing her values — should be the chosen ones.

Here we glimpse the true meaning of legitimacy in this context. Whatever the vote in the Electoral College, Trump doesn't deserve to be president and never did.

For many of the main participants in this melodrama, the actual but unstated purpose of impeachment is to correct this great wrong and thereby restore history to its anointed path.

In a recent column in the Guardian, professor Samuel Moyn makes the essential point: Removing from office a vulgar, dishonest, and utterly incompetent president comes nowhere close to capturing what's going on here.

To the elites most intent on ousting Trump, far more important than anything he may say or do is what he signifies. He is a walking, talking repudiation of everything they believe and, by extension, of a future they had come to see as foreordained.

Moyn styles these anti-Trump elites as "centrists," members of the post-Cold War political mainstream that allowed ample room for nominally conservative Bushes and nominally liberal Clintons, while leaving just enough space for Barack Obama's promise of hope-and-(not-too-much) change.

These centrists share a common worldview. They believe in the universality of freedom as defined and practiced within the United States. They believe in corporate capitalism operating on a planetary scale. They believe in American primacy, with the United States presiding over a global order as the sole superpower. They believe in "American global leadership," which they define as primarily a military enterprise.

And perhaps most of all, while collecting degrees from Georgetown, Harvard, Oxford, Wellesley, the University of Chicago, and Yale, they came to believe in a so-called meritocracy as the preferred mechanism for allocating wealth, power, and privilege.

All of these together comprise the sacred scripture of contemporary American political elites. And if Donald Trump's antagonists have their way, his removal will restore that sacred scripture to its proper place as the basis of policy.

"For all their appeals to enduring moral values," Moyn writes, "the centrists are deploying a transparent strategy to return to power." Destruction of the Trump presidency is a necessary precondition for achieving that goal.

"Centrists simply want to return to the status quo interrupted by Trump, their reputations laundered by their courageous opposition to his mercurial reign, and their policies restored to credibility." Precisely.

High crimes and misdemeanors

For such a scheme to succeed, however, laundering reputations alone will not suffice. Equally important will be to bury any recollection of the catastrophes that paved the way for an über-qualified centrist to lose to an indisputably unqualified and unprincipled political novice in 2016.

Former President George W. Bush hugs his wife, Laura Bush, during the George W. Bush Presidential Center Topping Out Ceremony on October 3, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Holding promised security assistance hostage unless a foreign leader agrees to do you political favors is obviously and indisputably wrong. Trump's antics regarding Ukraine may even meet some definition of criminal. Still, how does such misconduct compare to the calamities engineered by the "centrists" who preceded him?

Consider, in particular, the George W. Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 (along with the spin-off wars that followed). Consider, too, the reckless economic policies that produced the Great Recession of 2007-2008. As measured by the harm inflicted on the American people (and others), the offenses for which Trump is being impeached qualify as mere misdemeanors.

Honest people may differ on whether to attribute the Iraq War to outright lies or monumental hubris. When it comes to tallying up the consequences, however, the intentions of those who sold the war don't particularly matter. The results include thousands of Americans killed; tens of thousands wounded, many grievously, or left to struggle with the effects of PTSD; hundreds of thousands of non-Americans killed or injured; millions displaced; trillions of dollars expended; radical groups like ISIS empowered (and in its case even formedinside a US prison in Iraq); and the Persian Gulf region plunged into turmoil from which it has yet to recover.

How do Trump's crimes stack up against these?

The Great Recession stemmed directly from economic policies implemented during the administration of President Bill Clinton and continued by his successor. Deregulating the banking sector was projected to produce a bonanza in which all would share. Yet, as a direct result of the ensuing chicanery, nearly 9 million Americans lost their jobs, while overall unemployment shot up to 10%. Roughly 4 million Americans lost their homes to foreclosure. The stock market cratered and millions saw their life savings evaporate.

Again, the question must be asked: How do these results compare to Trump's dubious dealings with Ukraine?

Trump's critics speak with one voice in demanding accountability. Yet virtually no one has been held accountable for the pain, suffering, and loss inflicted by the architects of the Iraq War and the Great Recession. Why is that? As another presidential election approaches, the question not only goes unanswered, but unasked.

To win reelection, Trump, a corrupt con man (who jumped shipon his own bankrupt casinos, money in hand, leaving others holding the bag) will cheat and lie. Yet, in the politics of the last half-century, these do not qualify as novelties. (Indeed, apart from being the son of a sitting US vice president, what made Hunter Biden worth $50Gs per month to a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch? I'm curious.)

That the president and his associates are engaging in a cover-up is doubtless the case. Yet another cover-up proceeds in broad daylight on a vastly larger scale.

"Trump's shambolic presidency somehow seems less unsavory," Moyn writes, when considering the fact that his critics refuse "to admit how massively his election signified the failure of their policies, from endless war to economic inequality." Just so.

What are the real crimes? Who are the real criminals? No matter what happens in the coming months, don't expect the Trump impeachment proceedings to come within a country mile of addressing such questions.


* Copyright © 2019 Insider Inc. All rights reserved.

{The almost occult. Pan psychic instigator? Carrying a modicum of responsibility for the two key basis of evidenciarily collusive medium?:

1. The evidence for Iraqis possession of weapons of mass destruction and

2. The deregularion

Great minds are destroyed by mad gods. Whooooooooe!

Final arbiter: it is most probable, that it is the variant displacement of the levels of intelligence between the various agencies of procurement of it( intelligence), whether they be private, public, representative, legal, illegal, secure or not.

The issue is indeed entering the stage of irreducibility between real and artificial simulation.

The rate of ready access determines the success of pertinent policy decision making, reducing the number of availabilable probable scenarios.}

{........} bracketed are pure singular opinions.

Day 3 impeachment hearings:

Impeachment may pass but Senate will not convict, yet how with this effect the general election?

Watch live: Volker, Morrison testify at Trump impeachment hearing
Updated Nov. 19, 2019, 5:41 PM PST
The second week of public hearings in the House's impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump kicked off on Tuesday with testimony from four current and former administration officials.

Former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former National Security Council staffer Tim Morrison began testifying starting around 3:30 p.m. ET. Earlier Tuesday, NSC staffer Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, testified for around 4.5 hours starting at 9 a.m ET.

Alex Moe

3h ago /

And that's a wrap on Tuesday's hearings
The Volker and Morrison hearing has concluded. It lasted roughly 5 hours. That’s roughly 9.5 hours total today between the two impeachment inquiry hearings.

As the hearing ended, Volker approached the dais to shake hands with several members. He specifically called to Rep. Heck to thank him for giving him time to answer.

Dartunorro Clark

3h ago / 5:48 PM PST
Schiff scorches GOP: They only care that Trump got caught
Schiff delivered a fiery closing statement, reminding everyone of the facts gathered from witnesses so far and arguing that it points to an abuse of power.

In one of his most animated moments so far, Schiff cast the pressure campaign on Ukraine as Trump using corruption as a pretense to open an investigation into the Bidens, saying that Republicans are more upset that “somebody blew the whistle” and not potential abuse of power by the president.
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Re: Trump enters the stagea. -Sondland

Postby Meno_ » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:27 pm

Very believable
The case is resolving.It amounts to a Democratic versus a Republican approach to foreign relations, the prize Crimea, and prior affiliation away or toward the issue of Russian or Ukranian title to Crimea.

The value? Is it in the interest of oligarcic international dominance to .subjugate nationalism to a prior existing union? (Szoviet).
The effect is reversible applicable to the personal fortunes of those elected by non Democratic means(electoral college)

Nunez and Castro are good examples of. disaffiliation especially Castro being from California. He is fighting for his life , alongside T.

I wonder of Arminius &/or Saint James was here , who saw a vision of a mushroom clouded sky as a result of disallowing the contrary possibility of the contingency presented, how it would sustain their initial opinion?

Within the borderline question , left unresolved, within the bounds of synthetic unity, by the simulated objectively valid , reconstructed rationale, - (within again the reams of deconstructed intelligence) , ?

Arminius , if You are still a member, or anyone speaking for You, & if You followed today's procedure, especially regarding the charge that Germany is not paying it's share of upkeeping Nato costs , and other international agencies?

That would be great


Stunning testimony links Trump to abuse of power

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN 

Updated 5:27 AM EST, Thu November 21, 2019


Washington(CNN)Gordon Sondland wrote his name in history and triggered a turning point in the House impeachment inquiry with stunning testimony implicating the Presidentin an abuse of power.

In effect, one of President Donald Trump's political appointees confirmed the core allegation of the entire scandal: that he conditioned aid and recognition for Ukraine on personal favors that could help him in his 2020 reelection campaign.

This was no "Never Trumper" bureaucrat perpetrating what some of the President's conservative backers have called a coup. He was a glad-handing businessman who paid $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee and ended up with a plum job.

Sondland destroyed once and for all the earliest presidential talking point that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine. He explicitly said the prospect of a White House visit for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was conditional on Ukraine announcing an investigation against Trump's possible 2020 rival Joe Biden.

'It was no secret': Ambassador says quid pro quo came at 'express direction of the President'

"I know that members of this committee frequently frame these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: was there a quid pro quo?" Sondland said.

"As I testified previously ... the answer is yes."

And Sondland broadened the scope of the conspiracy -- testifying that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Vice President Mike Pence and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney all knew what was going on.

"Everyone was in the loop," said Sondland.

Testimony by Sondland -- the most anticipated impeachment witness so far -- came on the penultimate day of the currently scheduled televised hearings that built a new wall of facts against the President and will wrap up on Thursday with testimony from witnesses including former White House adviser on Russia, Fiona Hill.

Disastrous day for Trump

Gordon Sondland just saved himself -- and jeopardized Donald Trump's presidency

On the face of it, this was a disastrous day for Trump.

Yet the President declared total victory in the face of a factual defeat. Conservative media and Trump's Republican allies seized on the inconsistencies in Sondland's testimony. Their reactions made Wednesday's revelations seem unlikely to shatter Trump's political base, which is almost certain to prevent GOP senators deserting him.

The President seized on a comment by Sondland in which he said Trump told him he didn't want a quid pro quo with Ukraine, despite a pattern of backdoor diplomacy that appeared to be demanding just such a concession.

"I want nothing, I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing," Sondland quoted Trump as saying in the conversation.

For the President, despite hour upon hour after devastating testimony, that was enough.

"If this were a prize fight, they'd stop it!" he declared in a tweet.

But in any version of reality outside of the Trump bubble, Wednesday's dramatic events took the impeachment saga into a more foreboding phase and leaves critical players including Trump, his Republican defenders and Democratic investigators faced with important strategic decisions.

The US envoy to Europe, a forgetful witness at times, still dismantled the foundations of Trump's impeachment defense.

He erased any idea that the scheme to go around traditional US diplomats and pressure Ukraine's rookie president, Zelensky, was a black diplomatic operation dreamed up and largely run by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Sondland said he and other senior officials worked with "Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the President of the United States."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told reporters midway through the hearing that Sondland's testimony "is among the most significant to date."

"It was the conditioning of official acts or something of great value to the President these political investigations it goes right to the heart of the issue of bribery as well as other potential high crimes or misdemeanors," Schiff said -- apparently all but guaranteeing House Democrats will go ahead and make Trump the third President to be impeached.

Democrats face strategic questions

As the dust settles from Sondland's testimony, the Democrats, given their House majority, are in the driving seat.

They now have testimony from inside the heart of the plot that sheds damning new light on the transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky.

The question will be whether they can distill a concise, effective indictment of the President that will move Americans comprehensively against him. While their hopes of getting Senate Republicans to ditch Trump may be hopeless, they are also playing for the 2020 presidential election and are trying to grab back the Senate itself.

Each Washington scandal unfolds against the backdrop of every previous one. The scale of Trump's impeachment saga is drawing increasing parallels to Watergate, that doomed Richard Nixon.

Sondland was in no sense one of the President's Men ready to sacrifice himself in a bid to shield his boss. He was reasonably open and blew the lid off the back-door scheme to pressure Kiev. He clearly had no appetite to follow the fate of Trump acolyte Roger Stone who was recently convicted of lying to Congress.

His testimony essentially offers Democrats validation for moving ahead with impeachment -- a significant political risk in itself.

And it was a reward for a process that has laid building blocks of a case started with a black diplomatic initiative before moving closer and closer to the President himself.

"This is a seminal moment in our investigation," Schiff declared after Sondland left to go back to Europe.

Democratic leaders now face new questions raised by his testimony. Given his evidence implicating Giuliani, Pence, Pompeo and outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry, is it incumbent for the legitimacy of the probe to make a new effort to secure testimony from officials who are refusing to appear.

Democrats have wanted to avoid a long court showdown that would stretch the impeachment drive for months, could test the public's patience and could bleed into 2020 primary season.

An attempt to at least give the impression of pursuing other officials could take the unofficial timetable that seeks a full House impeachment vote before Christmas into next year.

Testimony reinforces call transcript

Trump quickly reacted to Sondland's testimony by characteristically denying he knew his Europe envoy well -- despite the fact that the star witness boasted about their expletive-laden phone calls.

Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee did manage to pick up a few crumbs on Wednesday despite the core of Trump's defense being dismantled

They seized on Sondland's statements that the President did not direct him personally to withhold military aid to Ukraine in return for an announcement of a probe against Biden.

And while he admitted that there was a clear scheme to demand a quid pro quo for an Oval Office meeting for Zelensky, Sondland did not quite as far on the $400 million in military aid that was mysteriously held up by the President.

He said he presumed that the aid was held up for the same reason as the meeting -- and expressed the concern about the possibility to Pence on September 1.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham provided the updated White House version of the President's relationship with Ukraine.

"Ambassador Sondland's testimony made clear that in one of the few brief phone calls he had with President Trump, the President clearly stated that he 'wanted nothing' from Ukraine and repeated 'no quid pro quo over and over again.' In fact, no quid pro quo ever occurred. The U.S. aid to Ukraine flowed, no investigation was launched, and President Trump has met and spoken with President Zelensky. Democrats keep chasing ghosts," Grisham said.

Her statement was a blueprint for Trump's Republican and media friends.

But it contained inconsistencies in itself.

Evidence suggests that while Trump told Sondland that he didn't want a quid pro quo, such a statement is not the same as not demanding one. Threatening to withhold aid for political favors can be an abuse of power in itself. And the military aid only started flowing on September 11 when it was clear that Democrats were investigating why it had been held up following a whistleblower's report.

Trump's own call with Zelensky on July 25 actually shows him asking his counterpart in Kiev for a "favor" immediately following a discussion of US military hardware that Ukraine hopes to acquire.

Sondland's testimony caused an immediate headache for officials such as Pence and Pompeo -- who are getting more and more dragged into the Ukraine mess.

The vice president on Wednesday tried to put out the fire in an interview with a local television station in Wisconsin saying he didn't "recall" a conversation with Sondland in Poland on September 1.

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


{It is almost an era now when partisan politics are playing into a ditch of non recovery, where amazingly the fears of the seeds of distrust are morphing into actual hateful paranoia of distrust, sarising out of the hunger for absolute power.

It was inconceivable back in the day for Nixon to survive such a scenario , which now overwhelmingly is snowballing into a much larger set of wrongdoings, but as most paranoid operate, the more fissures the while system reveals, the more a new conflation of them into new and larger objects of concern loom below awareness.

This sandwitching the known with it's negative seems to offer no relief in sight, and the moderates are slowly looking their cautionary margins. The borderline is melting into the inescapable birth of a tragic state if affairs , where reality is turning into tactics resembling delusions if invincibility.
Let's see if these really are, as some suggested, the myopic last days if a grand experiment of social justice.}
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Re: Trump enters the stage-Fiona Hill

Postby Meno_ » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:17 pm

After her testimony, the objectives become clear that the Ukraine problem was manufactured by Putin,who is using his Szoviet day operational techniques to undermine US political structural integrity

The fact is, that Russia has a lien on Trump. For what?

For the 'help received from RUSSIA?, the help to build a Trump tower in Moscow, for Deutche Bank financing irregularities, for perhaps a hidden threat, to underlying ' peace processes-such as those nuclear treaties which have been abrogated & other unmentionables'
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:10 pm

Trump and His Corrupt Old Party
For Republicans, there is no bottom.

By Paul Krugman
Opinion Columnist

Nov. 21, 2019
House Republicans before testimony at an impeachment hearing.
House Republicans before testimony at an impeachment hearing.Credit...Damon Winter/The New York Times
Formally, the House of Representatives is holding an inquiry into the question of whether Donald J. Trump should be impeached. In reality, we’ve known the answer to that question for a long time. In a different era, when both parties believed in the Constitution, Trump’s abuse of his position for personal gain would have led to his removal from office long ago.

No, what we’re actually witnessing is a test of the depths to which the Republican Party will sink. How much corruption, how much collusion with foreign powers and betrayal of the national interest will that party’s elected representatives stand for?

And the result of that test seems increasingly clear: There is no bottom. The inquiry hasn’t found a smoking gun; it has found what amounts to a smoking battery of artillery. Yet almost no partisan Republicans have turned on Trump and his high-crimes-and-misdemeanors collaborators. Why not?

The answer gets to the heart of what’s wrong with modern American politics: The G.O.P. is now a thoroughly corrupt party. Trump is a symptom, not the disease, and our democracy will remain under dire threat even if and when he’s gone.

The usual explanation you hear for G.O.P. acquiescence in Trumpian malfeasance is that elected Republicans fear being defeated in a primary if they show any hint of wavering. And that’s certainly an important part of the story.

Republicans haven’t forgotten what happened in 2014, when David Brat, a Tea Party insurgent, ousted Eric Cantor, at the time the House majority leader. Cantor was a hard-line conservative, but mild-mannered in affect, and perceived as soft on immigration. The lesson was that the G.O.P. base demands red meat, and these days that means supporting Trump no matter what.

But electoral fears aren’t the only thing keeping Republicans in line.

On one side, I don’t think most observers realize, even now, the extent to which many Republicans view their domestic opponents not as fellow citizens but as enemies with no legitimate right to govern.

William Barr, the attorney general, says that progressives are “militant secularists” out to “destroy the traditional moral order.” If that’s how you see the world, you’ll support anything — up to and including soliciting and/or extorting intervention by foreign powers in U.S. elections — that helps defeat those progressives.

On the other side, it’s notable that with few exceptions even Republicans who are leaving or have left office still refuse to criticize Trump. There has been a wave of Republicans announcing retirements from the House, and there’s little question that some of these politicians are leaving because they’re disgusted with serving this administration. Yet almost none have said so explicitly, even though they won’t be facing any more primaries. What keeps them in line?

The answer is, follow the money.

What, after all, do retired officials do for a living? Many become lobbyists, and in an era of extreme polarization that means lobbying their own party. Being honest about why you quit would be bad for future business.

Beyond that, the modern U.S. right contains many institutions — Fox News and other media, right-wing think tanks, and others — that offer sinecures to former officials. However, this “wing-nut welfare” — which has no counterpart on the left — is available only to those who continue to toe the line.

Earlier I mentioned David Brat, who ousted Eric Cantor. As it happens, Brat himself was defeated in last year’s Democratic landslide. So what’s he doing now? He’s dean of the business school at Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Liberty University.

So financial incentives keep even retiring Republicans in line. And the exceptions prove the rule.

As far as I can tell, Gordon Sondland, who is ambassador to the European Union — but surely not for long — was the first political appointee, as opposed to professional civil servant, to attest to the Trump administration’s abuse of power in Ukraine. A key point about Sondland, however, is that he’s a rich man who doesn’t need wing-nut welfare.

He’ll live comfortably in retirement as long as he doesn’t go to jail. So his incentives were very different from those facing most G.O.P. figures.

So are all Republicans corruptly subservient to Trump? No, there are some honorable Never Trumpers, including many of the foreign-policy neocons like William Kristol. Some of us will never forgive this group for misleading us into war, but it turns out that they really do have principles, and deserve recognition for their current political courage.

But the modern G.O.P. as a whole is overwhelmingly fanatical, corrupt, or both. Anyone imagining that the mountainous evidence of Trump’s malfeasance will lead to a moral awakening, or that Republicans will return to democratic political norms once Trump is gone, is living in a fantasy world. Even catastrophic electoral defeat next year probably wouldn’t do much to change Republican behavior.

The big question is whether America as we know it can long endure when one of its two major parties has effectively rejected the principles on which our nation was built.

Paul Krugman has been an Opinion columnist since 2000 and is also a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He won the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on international trade and economic geography. @PaulKrugman

© 2019 The New York Times Company
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Re: Trump enters the stage- time - systemic failure

Postby Meno_ » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:04 pm

The above indicated a systemic political failure to conform the principles of Democracy as laid down by the founding fathers , framed within the boundaries of political rules , to the substantiality of what it means to be free in accordance to the meaning of freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Those words have derived their meaning from processes of anti-authoritarianism , which the economy of the United States can no longer afford.
The devalued conditions by which the depreciation of values came about, through the inflation of the qualified aspects of life, in inverse proportion of it's quantified, value searching middle, has created a scene of diminishing returned abstraction of the very means of assurance through which a stable governance can guarantee such a vision.
No one in particular, no person, party , rule or procedure , only this erosion in an expanding economy of wasteful procurememt of sustaining the welfare of US society.
The diminishing returns of happiness is certainly due to similar to the Roman Empire's disintegration, where more and more satiations resulted in more and more orgies of expressions of inadequacy.
Is it human nature that acts in accordance with Marx's famous tenet that really is nothing else but a return to primal aesthetic values of pre Marxian pure dialectics? Perhaps the effort would be inauthentic if it was not be compared with the process that paralleled the prehistorical pre-Socratic efforts of human intelligence to overcome the primal authorities by means that transcend the religious by the aesthetic , natural yearnings , in the manner in which, rough alabaster , marble and diamond cutting along pre-formed natural fissures are recognized.

The rules and institutions are under attack by demands for processes which even if wrong and immoral, are temporalized through inadequate reasons, inadequate because the forms of projection can not ever be simulated backward.
Computer learning will always miss this process by the faulty application of this backward look, until the science unlocks these missing links
This is why democracy can not be learned from people who have been repressed within loops of colonialism for extended times, and short cutting such learning is reminiscent of the methods by which and the reasons put forward by Augustus toward a Christian Roman Empire,
which lasted a millennium and a half, and now for about a hundred fifty years, we are victims to a sudden reversal, with no quick quid quo pro in sight that can trade in the old model.
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Re: Trump enters the stage-wag the dog?

Postby Meno_ » Sat Nov 23, 2019 5:22 pm



‘Combustible’: Trump’s pivotal moment with Iran

Popular protests across the Middle East — in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon — are intensifying as Washington appears consumed with the impeachment of President Donald Trump. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo

A cauldron of violence and tension overseas is threatening to boil over and grab attention just as President Donald Trump is fighting for his political survival back home.

It may seem like a “Wag the Dog” scenario — but this one’s actually dangerous and not manufactured as a distraction. Protests are rippling across the Middle East, potentially bringing long-simmering friction between the U.S. and Iran to a head in the coming months, exactly when Trump is expected to face a Senate impeachment trial.

In recent weeks, Iraq, Lebanon and Iran have been beset by demonstrations that are, at least in part, opposing Tehran. At home, Iranians are frustrated with an economy that’s sputtering under U.S. sanctions, while protesters in Iraq and Lebanon are objecting, among other things, to Tehran’s sway over their own governments. Iran is known to react violently in such situations — the country’s regime was accused over the summer of sabotaging oil tankers and downing an American drone, and it has more recently been blamed for killing Iranian protesters. If Tehran takes similar steps in Iraq, Lebanon or elsewhere in the Middle East, it could put pressure on Trump to respond militarily, as he almost did after the U.S. drone was taken out in June.

It’s all creating a pivotal moment for U.S. policy towards Iran. But thus far it’s gotten little attention back in the U.S., where foreign policy specialists of all political stripes fear the Trump administration and Congress are too consumed by an impeachment inquiry and the 2020 election.

“There's a real risk that over the coming months, Iran does something in the Gulf or elsewhere, and you’ve had no routine deliberative process of which the president’s been a part to assess courses of action,” said Brett McGurk, who served until late 2018 as the Trump administration’s special envoy overseeing the coalition to fight ISIS. “That means a unilateral reaction, not considered policy, in moment of crisis.”

The unrest is occurring against an already unsettling backdrop. Turkey is starting to deport Islamic State fighters back to Europe and the U.S. as military experts warn of a possible ISIS resurgence. Russia is eyeing an increased role in Syria after the recent partial U.S. troop withdrawal and is selling warplanes to American allies in the region. And Iran continues to take incremental steps to test the boundaries of an international deal it struck to restrict its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

A bank closed down after being attacked and burned during protests in Tehran. | Ebrahim Noroozi/AP Photo

“People are clamoring in the streets for democracy and prosperity, but we have a president who seems more interested in cozying up to authoritarian leaders and a Congress that is more interested in political bickering rather than uniting beyond the water’s edge,” said Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank that has pushed for the Trump administration’s sanctions against Iran.

It’s not an opinion unanimously shared in foreign policy circles. James Carafano, a national security and foreign policy expert at The Heritage Foundation, called the Trump administration’s Middle East policy “pretty resilient” and said the president is in a good position to handle future conflicts.

“The U.S. position in the Middle East is better than it was three years ago,” he said. “There’s still a ton to be done, but nothing to suggest the president needs to majorly overhaul his strategy.”

In recent days, the Trump administration has started to draw more attention to the situation in Iran. Trump on Thursday tweeted about Tehran’s move to shut down the internet amid the ongoing protests. “They want ZERO transparency, thinking the world will not find out the death and tragedy that the Iranian Regime is causing!”

And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday directly appealed to the Iranian protesters, asking for “videos, photos, and information documenting the regime’s crackdown,” adding, “The U.S. will expose and sanction the abuses.” He then trumpeted new sanctions on an Iranian official over the internet shutdown.

But cracking down on the Iranian regime could cause Iran to lash out elsewhere in the region, analysts said, putting pressure on the U.S. to respond with more than statements and sanctions.

Iraq is one place where the U.S. is monitoring Iran’s violent behavior. In recent weeks, Iraqis have taken to the streets to demonstrate against Iran’s influence in the country, where Tehran wields power at the highest levels of the military and government. The situation has turned deadly, with the government’s Iranian-backed militias firing off tear gas and live ammunition, killing at least 320 people since the unrest began in October, according to The Associated Press.

Protesters are calling for a complete overhaul of the government in response to Iran’s influence, lack of jobs, rampant corruption and failed public services.

The protests “are not necessarily pro-American, but they’re very distinctly anti-Iranian,” said a senior administration official. “And we think that’s one of the most positive developments we’ve seen in Iraq in a long, long time.”

It’s unclear that the situation will ultimately benefit the U.S., though. In addition to the violent crackdown that has occurred, Iraq’s ruling parties are considering an Iran-blessed package of political reforms to try and address protesters’ demands.

The Trump administration has not yet signaled it will take any action to try and influence the outcome beyond public statements. Pompeo has said the U.S. is watching the protests “very, very closely,” adding, “we support the Iraqi people as they strive for a prosperous Iraq that is free of corruption and Iranian malign influence.”

The White House has not publicly said much about the protests, issuing only one statement earlier this month.

“It’s a great opportunity for Iraq, but obviously it’s a very dangerous time,” said the official. “It will be an enormous shame if they decide to embrace the Iranian repression apparatus that’s on offer to them and quell these protests violently.”

A similar calculus is playing out in Lebanon, where protesters have marched against dysfunction, corruption and Iranian influence. While Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation in response to the crisis, there’s no clear succession plan. The country’s leaders have called for a new government of technocrats, but concerns remain about the role that Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia that looms over Lebanese politics, might play in forming a new government.

Anti-government protesters block off a street in Beirut. | Sam Tarling/Getty Images

So far, the White House has not weighed in on the situation in Lebanon. But days after the protests broke out, it emerged that the White House had halted all military aid to the Lebanese army. It’s unclear why the White House made the move. The White House did not comment on the aid.

Pompeo, for his part, has said the protests send “a clear message. The Lebanese people want an efficient and effective government, economic reform and an end to endemic corruption.” On Friday, he tweeted out more support, declaring that the U.S. “proudly stands with the Lebanese people in their peaceful demonstrations calling for reform and an end to corruption.”

As Iran struggles with how to manage protesters’ rebukes in other countries, it has also been confronted with demonstrations at home over fuel price hike that was done, in part, to counteract the economic squeeze of U.S. sanctions. The protests quickly turned deadly, with security forces killing over 100 protesters according to Amnesty International.

It’s the second time during the Trump administration that mass protests have swept across Iran. In late 2017 and early 2018, the Iranian people took to the streets over economic anxieties and opposition to Iranian leadership. The senior official said the administration didn’t do enough to support the demonstrators during that stretch.

“I think we really did miss an opportunity with Iran in the 2017, 2018 time frame with the protests and our ability to respond effectively to those and support those aspirations of the Iranian people,” the official said.

McGurk, the former U.S. envoy for the coalition fighting ISIS, argued the Trump administration misses such opportunities because it doesn’t proactively plan for these inevitable Middle East hot spots.

“The Middle East is combustible, and it’s combustible somewhat on its own but also because American policy has not taken into account second- and third-order effects of our own actions. Trump then seems surprised when friction points inevitably arise,” McGurk said.

And some fear that with so much political attention diverted toward impeachment and reelection, the Trump administration is going to face similar tough decisions without proper planning.

“The Trump administration response is purely reactive and scattershot,” said Mike Rubin, a Middle East scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. “You have so many moments where a more proactive strategy might nudge trends in the right direction. But we have seemed a.) completely obsessed with our own politics; and b.) even when we are paying attention abroad, we don’t have any coherent strategy.”

Others say the U.S., for now, is right to let things play out.

“The United States has done the right thing by staying away from heavy-handed interference, unlike what the U.S. did in Venezuela,” said Dr. Abbas Kadim, director of the Iraq Initiative at the Atlantic Council, referencing the administration’s vocal public campaign to oust Venezuela’s strongman leader, Nicolás Maduro. “You could criticize the United States for a lot of things in Iraq, but not this.”

McGurk simply fears the uncertainty of a major conflict exploding overseas.

“If you think things are bad now, imagine how this administration would handle a major crisis,” he said.


People are taking notice
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Re: Trump enters the stage. Politics in major key trump mino

Postby Meno_ » Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:44 pm

Tucker Carlson: Democrats have lost the Trump impeachment war. Even Adam Schiff knows it

Can Trump be defeated?

The New York Times


Can Anyone or Anything Dislodge Trump From the White House?

Diplomats and Democrats are doing their level best.

By Gail Collins and Bret Stephens

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are opinion columnists. They converse every other week.

Nov. 26, 2019

Fiona Hill, former National Security Council senior director, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee last week.Credit...Damon Winter/The New York Times

Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. I hope you have plans for a beautiful Thanksgiving.

Gail Collins: Happy holidays to you, Bret. I bet I can guess what you’re not going to be thankful for.

Bret: Bill Belichick?

In the meantime, here’s a riddle for us: Donald Trump just had what most of us thought was, for him, a no good, very bad week. His ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, acknowledged after past equivocations that there was indeed a quid pro quo with Ukraine — and that everyone senior in the administration knew about it. Then Fiona Hill, the Russia expert formerly on the National Security Council, gave a stark warning to congressional Republicans that they risked becoming dupes to Russian propaganda being peddled by the president himself.

So what happens? Trump gets a modest bump in the polls. Are we in Media World just completely misreading the mood in the rest of America regarding this impeachment inquiry?

Gail Collins: Don’t let polls ruin your week. For one thing, they’re not all that reliable, particularly in the short term. For another, I’m pretty sure most of the people who were really paying attention to the impeachment hearings had long since decided how they felt about the president.

The 2020 election will probably be all about turnout. And the recent state contests suggest we’re going to have a heck of a lot of anti-Trump voters showing up next year.

Bret: This is the (inflation adjusted) $64 trillion question. If it’s a turnout contest, then Democrats will do better with a more polarizing candidate, like Elizabeth Warren, though I’m beginning to doubt she can win the nomination, never mind the general election. And yet I still think the race is going to come down to a fairly small number of persuadable voters in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, who will be won over by a centrist Democrat in the same mold of other centrists who helped flip the House in the midterms.

But go on.

Gail: Another observation from the sunny side: My biggest takeaway from the hearings was the quality of the people who testified. You had a bunch of career diplomats nobody had ever heard of, who the right wing might call denizens of the deep state. And they were incredibly impressive — smart and so clearly dedicated to their jobs.

Bret: Agreed. If this is the “deep state,” well then, please, sir, I want some more. And it’s worth pointing out that people like Bill Taylor and Fiona Hill were never a part of any “resistance.” They were public-spirited people who believed that, when the president of the United States asks you to serve, the answer should be yes, no matter who the president may be. That they are now being treated so disdainfully by the G.O.P. is yet another one of those Joseph Welch “have you left no sense of decency” moments.

But we’ve had so many of those in the past three years.

Gail: Let’s gossip for a minute. All of a sudden we’re hearing rumorsthat Mike Pence might be on the way out, that Trump will replace him on the ticket next year with somebody with more appeal, like Nikki Haley. Think there’s any chance?


Bret: A strong one, yes. Trump has no sense of loyalty, so the thought of dropping Pence isn’t exactly going to keep him up at night. And Pence is so loyal that when Trump dumps him (probably via Twitter) he’ll just give that constipated nod of his.

Gail: And tell his wife: “Mother, it’s time to go bye-bye.”

Bret: As for Haley, she does everything Pence does in terms of her appeal to the Trump base, including with evangelical voters, and probably widens Trump’s appeal somewhat, for instance with Republican-leaning suburban women. And her new book goes out of its way to showcase how loyal she was to Trump, as opposed to people like the former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the former chief of staff John Kelly. That’s purposely designed to ingratiate herself with the Trump voters who weren’t entirely sure she was onboard the MAGA Express.

Gail: And, of course, to ingratiate herself with the president. Who I’m sure didn’t read the book, but probably got a one-paragraph summary.

Bret: Whatever Trump decides — and whatever she decides — she’s clearly setting herself up for a presidential run in 2024. She’ll be formidable. The shame is that, after being an early Trump critic, she clearly feels she can win the nomination only by drawing closer to the president, not distancing herself. It just shows how thoroughly Trump has captured and corrupted the party.

Meanwhile, Democrats! I thought that last debate was a bit of a snoozefest. The big story, it seems to me, is that Pete Buttigieg is approaching front-runner status, at least when it comes to Iowa. I’m more of a fan than you are. Can he go the distance?

Gail: Don’t think so. And it’s not a good idea. We just talked about the importance of turnout next year, and a lot of that is about making sure younger people and people of color show up to vote. That’s exactly where Mayor Pete is weakest.

Bret: I understand his weakness with African-American voters but remain mystified by why he isn’t polling better with the younger electorate. Even so: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president who makes you enjoy the English language every time he speaks?

Gail: Mayor Pete is certainly a good speaker, but he’ll be even better when he runs again a few years down the line. I don’t think it’s a rejection if you just feel he could use a little more political experience outside of South Bend.

And speaking of mayors, are you still high on Mike Bloomberg? Talk about terrible poll numbers. How much do you think he’d need to spend to turn things around? More or less than the national budget of Canada?

Bret: He is my first choice by far, whatever misgivings I might have about his micromanaging style. (We former Republicans have to stick together.) I’m convinced he can trounce Trump in a general election, and he would have a winning message to the so-called exhausted majority that is sick of our hyper-ideological, polarized politics. And I wouldn’t read too much into his poll numbers right now. He’s a candidate of the head, not the heart. He has the money to keep going all the way to the convention, which might prove very useful if, as I think is entirely possible, the Democrats wind up with a brokered convention between two or three uncertain or unpalatable front-runners.

Gail: Ah, yes, a brokered convention. The last one was so exciting. King George VI had just died, the hydrogen bomb was about to get its first test and people were talking about the great new picture “Singin’ in the Rain.”

We haven’t had one since 1952, Bret. But tell me what you’re envisioning.

Bret: Imagine a scenario in which Buttigieg wins Iowa, Warren wins New Hampshire, Biden wins South Carolina and then goes on to win Super Tuesday, causing Bernie Sanders to drop out of the race. Some Sandernistas will go to Biden, but I suspect most of his supporters then shift to Warren. The rest of the field drops out for lack of funds — except, of course, for Bloomberg. At that point, the Democratic Party takes a deep breath, clenches some posterior muscles and realizes the former mayor offers the best shot at dethroning Trump, who at that point will be celebrating his impeachment “victory” after an acquittal in the Senate.

Am I 100 percent insane, or just 95 percent?

Gail: Hesitant to dismiss any wild possibility in the current climate. But when crazy stuff happens, it’s always because of Donald Trump. On the Democratic side things are actually pretty boring considering that we’ve got a wide-open presidential race.

Bret: Too boring. I really think posterity will look back at this election as an inflection point. Are Democrats up to their historical responsibility to nominate the candidate most likely to defeat Trump? Or are they too consumed by ideology to appeal to the middle of the country, politically speaking, and win over the voters who aren’t in sync with everything Democrats stand for but are ready for a change?

Gail: Sounds like a post-turkey thought to me, Bret. Enjoy your family and friends. Watch some football games. Think of all our politicians as leftovers you’ll deal with next week.

 By Tucker Carlson | Fox News

The Democrats have been talking about impeachment since the very day that President Trump was inaugurated. But until recently, no one here in Washington took that idea very seriously. Maxine Waters would rant about a trial. Then Pilates moms in Santa Monica would fantasize on Twitter about removing Trump by force.

But the adults in the party -- Nancy Pelosi, for example, the House Speaker -- opposed impeachment on the grounds that it was bad politics, and might boomerang on them.


And then in what seemed like a day, everything changed completely. Suddenly, we had impeachment hearings playing out live in TV. Nobody explained why. Looking back, what exactly happened? Well, part of the answer is the Democrats were simply responding to their own cheerleaders on cable news.

Lawrence O'Donnell, host of "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" on MSNBC: If precedent means anything in the Trump era, Donald Trump will be, must be impeached.

Chris Matthews, host of "Hardball with Chris Matthews" on MSNBC: But if they don’t impeach, Democrats will abdicate a clear, constitutional chance to hold this president fully accountable.

Chris Todd, MSNBC host: The national nightmare is upon us. The basic rules of our democracy are under attack from the president. We begin tonight with a series of admissions by the president that all but assures his impeachment in the House of Representatives.

Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC host: I don’t understand why the fact that impeachment is polarizing is some sort -- it makes them just as cowardly as the Republicans.

Eddie Glaude, Princeton University professor and MSNBC contributor: Absolutely. And to my mind, it also is an abdication of their constitutional responsibility.

Don Lemon, CNN host: Will there be any consequences for this president, who is continuing to defy the rule of law?

"The rule of law." Hear that, Mr. and Mrs. America? It’s a national emergency! And if they don’t impeach, Democrats -- listen carefully -- Democrats will abdicate their solemn, constitutional responsibility. Democrats literally have no choice but to undo the 2016 election.

Yeah. That’s what the hair hats on TV, the men who wear makeup and yell at their assistants, were telling Democratic leaders night, after night, after night. And remarkably -- and it is remarkable looking back -- Democrats believed them.

So, what happened next? Let’s see. Have you read the new Vanity Fair? Sorry, rhetorical question. Nobody reads Vanity Fair anymore. It likely won’t exist by this time next year.

But before the title disappears forever, check out this month’s issue. There’s a fascinating piece by Ken Stern that assesses new polling on impeachment. Here’s the headline: Among independents, the only group that matters in an election, support for impeachment -- impeaching Trump -- has dropped by 10 points since the process started.

How to explain this? In political terms, this is the Andrea Doria, a routine cruise that suddenly becomes a disaster, a debacle. They spent two weeks telling you that Donald Trump is a criminal. And by the end, more people sympathized with Donald Trump.

How’d that happen? Take a close look at the numbers and it’s obvious how it happened. Independent voters were asked to rank 11 issues in order of their importance. First on the list was fiscal health. Seventy-four percent of independent voters said that the budget deficit was their main concern. Seventy-two percent said health care was the main concern. Seventy percent said infrastructure. Pretty conventional.

This is what happens when you let Jeff Zucker run your political party. You start to imagine that CNN's primetime lineup somehow speaks for America, rather than for a tiny, out of touch little part of it.

Impeachment? That came in dead last, 11 out of 11. Only 37 percent of independents thought it was a priority -- at all. By a margin of 3 to 1 -- and this is hilarious -- independents said that impeachment was more important to politicians and to the media than it was to them.

These are not subtle numbers. So, how did Democrats miss them? Well, because they only talk to each other. This is what happens when you let [CNN President] Jeff Zucker run your political party. You start to imagine that CNN’s prime time lineup somehow speaks for America, rather than for a tiny, out of touch little part of it.

Zucker tells you that impeachment is the only issue that matters. His unit agrees with him. And you believe them. Come fall, you lose the election.

In a moment like this, weirdly, it’s the non-politicians who seem to see things the most clearly. Here’s Andrew Yang after last week’s presidential debate.

Andrew Yang, 2020 presidential candidate: When I talked to voters around the country, well, I have to say, I get very, very few questions about impeachment. I know that there are people who are very intent on the impeachment proceedings day-to-day, but that doesn’t line up with what I’m hearing from voters here on the ground.

New York Times

The beat go on:

New revelations put Trump on shakier ground
Analysis by Maeve Reston, CNN
Updated 10:19 AM EST, Wed November 27, 2019

(CNN) New transcripts of witness testimony and news reports revealing key details on the Ukraine scandal timeline show in vivid detail the way President Donald Trump and top officials maneuvered behind the scenes to block aid to Ukraine as the President sought an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden.

The new revelations, coming at a time when half of Americans support impeaching and removing the President even though impeachment proceedings have not moved the needle of public opinion, underscored the problem for Trump and his supporters in Congress: Public hearings in the impeachment inquiry may be in the rearview mirror, but new details about his pressure campaign on Ukraine continue to trickle out.

The developments on Tuesday illuminated the fact that there's still much to learn about the President's actions regarding Ukraine as the House races toward a potential vote on impeachment by Christmas.

Budget official testimony undermines impeachment defense on freezing Ukraine aid
Budget official testimony undermines impeachment defense on freezing Ukraine aid

The President's claims of innocence looked even more incredulous Tuesday night after The New York Times reported that Trump released the hold on Ukraine aid after he was briefed on the whistleblower report outlining his dealings with Ukraine.

That report and newly released transcripts of impeachment witness testimony undercut key arguments that the Republicans have been making as they have defended the President, who cast the impeachment inquiry during his Florida rally Tuesday night as a "scam," a "witchhunt" and a "hoax."

During the impeachment hearings earlier this month, Republicans spooled out various theories about why the White House might have frozen aid to Ukraine -- from the notion that Trump was concerned about corruption to the idea that he wanted to see more financial contributions to the Ukraine aid from other foreign countries.

But the timeline revealed Tuesday, in conjunction with the transcript of testimony from Office of Management and Budget Official Mark Sandy, outlines an indisputably clear set of facts about the bizarre way the Ukraine aid was handled.

The confusion that Sandy and other line-level OMB aides felt about why the Ukraine aid was being withheld, along with their inability to get answers, showed how the Trump administration's unusual enterprise was shrouded in secrecy, even from the very people who were handling the money.

Timeline undercuts Trump's defense
First the timeline: We now know that White House budget office took its first official action to withhold $250 million in aid to Ukraine on the evening of July 25, according to a House Budget Committee summary of the office's documents.

That was the very same day that Trump spoke by phone with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, prefacing his request for an investigation of the 2016 election with the now infamous phrase "I would like you to do us a favor, though." Agencies had been notified at a July 18 meeting that the aid had been frozen by the President, a week before the call.

Sandy, the Office of Management and Budget official who signed off on the initial Ukraine aid freeze before a Trump political appointee took over that task, testified that the President's interest in the aid dated back to June, but that he couldn't get an explanation of why the aid was withheld in July or August.

The request was so unusual that Sandy immediately told his boss that the freeze could violate an obscure federal law known as the Impoundment Control Act, which prohibits a sitting president from unilaterally withholding funds that were appropriated by Congress.

Sandy knew that the aid fell into the category of "one-year funds" -- meaning the money (totaling nearly $400 million) was only available until September 30. He told his boss, Trump political appointee Michael Duffey, that he wanted to talk to the lawyers at the Office of Management and Budget.

Sandy and other OMB aides were so alarmed by the inexplicable hold that they also sent a memo to Duffey recommending that hold be released because "assistance to Ukraine is consistent with the national security strategy," Sandy testified, and had the added benefit of "opposing Russian aggression."

In his closed-door deposition, Sandy also directly debunked the Republican talking point that the hold on the aid was related to Trump's concern that other nations should be contributing more in national security assistance to Ukraine.

Sandy testified that the White House didn't ask the budget office for information about how much other nations were contributing until September -- months after the hold was placed.

"I recall in early September an email that attributed the hold to the President's concern about other countries not contributing money to Ukraine," Sandy testified. By that time, lawmakers were asking questions about the freeze on aid to Ukraine and reports questioning the reasons for the withholding had already hit the press.

New testimony from State Department official Philip Reeker underscores the fact that the administration's hold on aid to Ukraine was orchestrated at the highest levels of power in the White House.

Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, testified that he believed the security assistance to Ukraine was "being held by Mr. Mulvaney, the White House Acting Chief of Staff," but that he did not have "definitive knowledge that Mulvaney was behind the holdup."

"Our operating understanding was that this was being held by Mr. Mulvaney, the White House Acting Chief of Staff," Reeker told lawmakers, according to the transcript.

READ: State Department official Philip Reeker's closed-door impeachment inquiry testimony
Reeker also testified about the concerns of veteran diplomats like Kurt Volker about the maneuverings of Rudy Giuliani, the President's personal lawyer, who has been accused of trying to orchestrate the quid pro quo of a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation of the Bidens. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

"I do recall him telling me ... that, well, he was going to reach out to or was going to speak to Giuliani," Reeker said of Volker, the former US special representative to Ukraine. "And I think Ambassador Volker felt that there was this very good story to tell about President Zelensky and a new chapter in Ukraine. And that was his goal, was to hopefully take away some of that, what we sense was a negative stream coming from Mr. Giuliani to the President."

Court of public opinion
It remains unclear whether the new details of the President's Ukraine timeline will do much to move public opinion.

The inquiry moves to a new phase next week with the Judiciary Committee, holding its first hearing on December 4, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler has also extended an invitation to Trump and his lawyers to participate in the probe. So far the Trump administration's strategy has been to stonewall and not participate in the process.

For now, Trump is trying to claim victory after the two weeks of blockbuster testimony by pointing to a new CNN poll showing that 50% of Americans believe that he should be impeached and removed, because that figure was unchanged from mid-October when CNN asked the same question.

At his rally on Tuesday night, Trump described Democrats leading the inquiry as "maniacs" who are "pushing the deranged impeachment."

"The radical left Democrats are trying to rip our nation apart," Trump said Tuesday night to boos at his rally in Florida. "First it was the Russia hoax, total hoax. It was a failed overthrow attempt and the biggest fraud in the history of our country and then you look, the Mueller deal, you remember that mess? They had nothing."

No, the new CNN poll is not good news for Donald Trump on impeachment
"Now the same maniacs are pushing the deranged impeachment -- think of this: Impeachment. Impeachment. A witch hunt. ... They're pushing that impeachment witch hunt and a lot of bad things are happening to them. Because you see what's happening in the polls? Everybody said, that's really bulls---," Trump said to cheers and applause.

But beneath the steady topline poll numbers on impeachment, there is strong evidence that the Ukraine matter has eroded confidence in the President's motives -- and that many Americans have heard enough to disapprove of his conduct.

While the views on impeachment and removal did not change in the CNN poll released Tuesday, 53% of Americans said Trump improperly used his office to gain political advantage, up from 49% who said the same in October.

Moreover, 56% said the President's efforts to get Ukraine to launch investigations into the Biden family, a Ukrainian energy company and the 2016 election were intended to benefit him rather than root out corruption in Ukraine.

The question looming over the 2020 election is whether the stain of impeachment could irreparably damage Trump and cost him the White House.

It too early to draw conclusions, but the ground he is standing on gets shakier each day as new revelations point toward questionable conduct on his part.

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

Postby Meno_ » Wed Nov 27, 2019 6:34 pm

Trump Has Begun the Process of Selling Out Rudy Giuliani

It might not make a difference, but anyone still arguing for the defense on Ukraine now looks even dumber.


NOV 27, 2019


And, right before the holiday season officially begins, the last piece of the puzzle locks into place, and the last alibi falls apart like an overcooked turkey. From The New York Times:

Lawyers from the White House counsel’s office told Mr. Trump in late August about the complaint, explaining that they were trying to determine whether they were legally required to give it to Congress, the people said. The revelation could shed light on Mr. Trump’s thinking at two critical points under scrutiny by impeachment investigators: his decision in early September to release $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine and his denial to a key ambassador around the same time that there was a “quid pro quo” with Kyiv. Mr. Trump used the phrase before it had entered the public lexicon in the Ukraine affair.

Now we have the whole thing. The president* used military aid money already appropriated by Congress to shakedown the government of Ukraine, an ally, in order to get Ukraine to help him ratfck one of his prospective opponents in the 2020 presidential election. As last week’s testimony confirmed, everyone in this massive loop knew this at the time. Then someone, and we still don’t know who, took a complaint to the intelligence community’s inspector general. This was at the end of July. And, by August, they had briefed the president*, who, having been caught borscht-handed, released the aid in early September. Every episode in that chronicle is an impeachable offense, and the entire timeline is one very big one.

Remember what Rep. Adam Schiff said last week, when the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee tried to argue that nothing untoward had happened because the president* eventually released the aid?

"My Republican colleagues, all they seem to be upset about with this is not that the president sought an investigation of his political rival, not that he withheld a White House meeting and $400 million in aid we all passed in a bipartisan basis to pressure Ukraine to do those investigations.Their objection is that he got caught. Their objection is that someone blew the whistle, and they would like this whistleblower identified, and the president wants this whistleblower punished. That's their objection. Not that the president engaged in this conduct, but that he got caught.”

Now, even that most threadbare irrelevancy is denied to all but the most fervent members of the cult. The president* released the aid because his lawyers told him he’d been caught. On this matter, at least, the case is airtight, and there is no daylight to be found. The president*, among others, is stone busted. That may matter. It may not. But anyone arguing for the defense on the Ukraine matter is bound to look like even more of an idiot than they already do, and those people look like the succulent, ripe fruit of the Stupid Tree already. That’s something, anyway.

Trump’s Ukraine defenders now look even dumber.

As this news was breaking, the president* was having another one of his traveling wankfests, this one in Sunrise, Florida. His trolley left the track early and never returned. From NBC News:

"The same maniacs are pushing the deranged impeachment. Think of this. Impeachment. Impeachment. A witch hunt. The same as before," he said referring to former Special counsel Robert Mueller's report. "And they're pushing that impeachment witch hunt. And a lot of bad things are happening to them. Because you see what's happening in the polls? Everybody said: that's really bullshit.”

He looked awful and sounded worse. There’s something hinky about one of his arms. His voice was raspy. I’m beginning to think it was a bad idea to let the story of his Midnight Ride to Walter Reed fade as quickly as it did. Before the rally, the president* did an interview with Bill O’Reilly in which he began the process of selling out Rudy Giuliani. From The Daily Beast:

Asked point-blank if Giuliani was acting on his behalf in trying to dig up dirt on former vice president Joe Biden—an issue now at the heart of an impeachment inquiry—Trump said, “No, I didn’t direct him, but he is a warrior, he is a warrior...I know that he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he cancelled the trip. But Rudy has other clients, other than me. He’s done a lot of work in Ukraine over the years.”

That’s his story and he’s sticking to it. For now, anyway.


CHARLES P. PIERCECharles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976.

©2019 Hearst Magazine Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Perceptions change within folksy fox news: Tucker Carlson uses reverse psychology.

Some suggest Senate may actually change opinions when the trial begins in Congress:



Conservative commentator Tucker Carlson launched an unusual defense of President Donald Trump Wednesday night, describing the president as a "racist liar" and a "full-blown BS artist."

Carlson made the claims on his Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight. He began by bringing up the Washington Post's claim that Trump has made more than 13,000 "false or misleading claims" since taking office in January 2017. Carlson seemed to agree that the president frequently fails to tell the truth and used a clip of Trump wrongly claiming that the crowd attending his inauguration ceremony was the "biggest ever."

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"We're not going to lie to you: that was untrue," said Carlson. "The crowd at the 2017 inauguration was not the largest ever measured on the national mall. Sorry, it wasn't."

The pundit then explained he believes Trump made the false claim because it is part of his nature, likening the president's alleged repeated lying to the skill set of a car salesman.

"That's who he is," said Carlson. "Donald Trump is a salesman. He's a talker, a boaster, a booster, a compulsive self-promoter. At times, he's a full-blown BS artist. If Trump hadn't gotten rich in real estate, he could have made a fortune selling cars."

Carlson appeared to discount the importance of Trump lying, saying that "most people know" Trump is a frequent liar because it's "obvious." Although Carlson's monologue initially seemed bizarre coming from a Trump supporter, it soon became clear that he was setting up an attempt to defend the president, suggesting progressives focused on lying are using it as a type of smokescreen to obscure the supposed anger they have over Trump "telling the truth."

"Is lying really the reason the left despises Donald Trump?" Carlson asked. "Or could the real problem be, as is so often the case, the exact opposite of what they claim it is? Think back over the last four years. When have the CNN anchors been the angriest? Was it when Donald Trump told some whopper, or exaggerated his own accomplishments? No. They're used to that kind of lying, everyone who spends time around politicians is used to it. What infuriates official Washington is not when Trump lies, it's when he tells the truth. Truth is the real threat to their power."

Carlson claimed that "people in charge of our country" avoid any reflection on societal problems, while participating in an "increasingly strict policy of mandatory reality avoidance" to avoid the truth as presented by Trump.

"Diversity is our strength! Shut up, or we'll hurt you," shouted Carlson, apparently impersonating a fictional person he disagrees with politically.

"But Trump won't shut up, he keeps talking," Carlson said. "That's his crime, that's why they hate him."

In support of what he believes is Trump's truth-telling, the Fox News host recalled the then-candidate's statement in 2015 regarding undocumented immigrants from Mexico. Trump claimed the immigrants were "bringing crime" and drugs and consisted of "rapists" before qualifying the statement by adding "and some of them, I assume, are good people."

Carlson claimed progressive opposition to the statement was evidence that "you are absolutely, under no circumstances allowed to say" undocumented immigrants ever commit crimes. The pundit did not specify who was prohibiting the speech, or what happens when the supposed prohibition is broken.

Later in the show, a graphic claimed "left hates Trump because he exposes their flaws" as Carlson blamed crime in Baltimore, Maryland on "50 years of uninterrupted Democratic rule" while praising controversial disparaging statements Trump has made about the city, before mockingly taking on the screeching tone of a fictional political opponent, saying "let's just agree that Trump is a racist liar and move on."

Fox News host Tucker Carlson described President Donald Trump as a "racist liar" and "full-blown BS artist" during a segment defending Trump on the Wednesday edition of his television program

© Copyright 2019 NEWSWEEK

Comment: {Here comes the inverted paradigmn, which is precedential, as in ductatirs's attempt to invert truth from falsity, to inadvertently put a smokescreen, upon preceptions, by projecting the idea underneath unto the public opinionated media.

This 'objectuvisation of the inversion, in-version, where the public's -shaped- version, is inauthentic, puts the public media pitted against the "outed'president.

No less, the middle waters created by a collusive media/public hype, creates an image of a hard working-mashable genius, who is trying to swim upstream by any means possible, back there, where the absolute executive power lays.

This is why his biographer if his deal making characterizes this 'pricess' as nothing more as an effort to gain power, an illusive effort , underlying which is the reversal, where the public's pretension of backward look into investigation after investigation , creates the effect of confusion from undermining or, revising 'facts'.

It becomes a show of effects, rather then the original points that would still exist, if they could still be retained in the loop.

This transcendental objectivity, in Stalin's time-was the much hyped t year plan, very much material fodder of trying to substantiate the Engels'immaterial Heglelian dials tic.

The emperor can go around with no clothes for only so long, before credibility is heavenly attacked by some brave souls.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - COLLUSION

Postby Meno_ » Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:20 pm

{Arminius where are You?

The major premise (Russia) and the minor one, Ukraine have been colluded , yes but the collusion, the primal collusion is the military egalitarian mix of both - Russia and the USA, with the
former nuke blackmailing the latter, with the mix of applied force to create a new world-consisting of the rightness of territorial expansion into a -remade revised great USSR again.
The threats are obvious, and planners developed the minor key as am adjunct of rationality tied to public awareness.
Are the Dems the ones who don't think in terms of public safety but to 'prninciples'?}

So if it Your partner are out there, or anyone concerned enough to raise the issue, can you comment?
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Re: Trump enters the stage - COLLUSION

Postby obsrvr524 » Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:53 am

If any of you are actually giving credibility to The New York Times, Washington Post, or Daily Beast, you are getting very seriously mislead into a very contorted bubble of misbelief.
Member of The Coalition of Truth - member #1

              You have been observed.
    Though often tempted to encourage a dog to distinguish color I refuse to argue with him about it
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:07 pm

Opinions can and do change. The many facets of opinions pfnmedia so change, as well, with in and without the multiform personalities of each person reading them

Lately the awareness of this has been noticed by both pro and con party line and media outlets.
In fact Fox News opinions have lately begun to have negative opinions while some liberal commentators expressed increased positive opinions about Trumpism.

The media is not a static opinion based outlet, and this bears true by opinions that really show the public polls mainly unaffected either way.
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Re: Trump enters the stage - Rudy insurance?

Postby Meno_ » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:33 pm

Six degrees of Rudy: Giuliani's web tangles three Trump controversies
Ukraine only skims the surface of the former mayor's influence in the administration.

Nov. 30, 2019, 7:46 AM EST
By Dareh Gregorian
All roads lead to Rudy.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, is in the news constantly for his role in the impeachment inquiry. But while Giuliani's efforts to have Ukraine launch investigations politically beneficial to Trump are much discussed, it's not the only way he and his associates have woven themselves into the fabric of Trump's world.

Asked in a text Wednesday by NBC News about how his circle has been able to be so influential in the Trump administration, Giuliani responded, "I don't know."

Here's a look at Giuliani's key players and how they intersect with Trump:

Giuliani's ties to Ukraine go back to at least 2008 when he did consulting work for Vitaly Klitschko, a former boxer who is now mayor of Kyiv. While he's had other business dealings there over the years, Giuliani said he started focusing on Ukraine's alleged role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as a way of countering special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference.

This year, Giuliani seized on unfounded allegations that Ukraine had scuttled an investigation into Hunter Biden at the behest of his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 Democratic presidential rival. Giuliani said his investigative efforts had the president's blessing, which has been confirmed by multiple witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.

But Giuliani had some help with his efforts.

Parnas, a Trump donor, told the New Yorker earlier this year that he became "good friends" with Giuliani after the 2016 election. The friendship was lucrative for Giuliani, who told Reuters that Parnas' company Fraud Guarantee paid his consulting company Giuliani Partners $500,000 for business and legal advice last year.

Parnas, who was born in Ukraine, told the New Yorker he volunteered to help Giuliani's efforts there. "Because of my Ukrainian background and my contacts there, I became like Rudy's assistant, his investigator," he told the magazine.

Parnas and Fruman, his business partner in another company called Global Energy Producers, had already been agitating against U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Federal prosecutors said they raised money for a congressman in 2018, later identified to NBC News as former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, in order to push for his help in getting rid of the ambassador.

Igor Fruman exits federal court after an arraignment hearing in New York on Oct. 23, 2019.Stephanie Keith / Getty Images file
As NBC News reported in October, the plot against Yovanovitch was driven by Ukraine's former chief prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, who claimed without evidence that the ambassador had given him a "do not prosecute" list. Parnas and Fruman helped Lutsenko connect with Giuliani, and the two discussed a possible investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. Lutsenko later said that he didn't think Hunter Biden did anything wrong.

Parnas and Fruman also helped connect Giuliani with Lutsenko's predecessor, Viktor Shokin, who claims he was fired for investigating Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company where Hunter Biden worked. There's never been any evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden, but that hasn't stopped Trump and his allies from pushing this narrative.

In addition to their work for Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman had another side gig — doing work for two of Giuliani's longtime friends.

DiGenova is a longtime friend of Giuliani's who was the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., while Giuliani was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. DiGenova and his attorney wife, Victoria Toensing, have their own Washington-based law firm, diGenova & Toensing, and are fixtures on Fox News, where they've been staunch defenders of the president.

Trump announced they were joining his legal team in March of last year, but had to pull back the offer because of conflicts of interest involving the Mueller probe. "However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters," Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said at the time.

As the New York Times and Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the couple, along with Giuliani Partners, had been in negotiations to represent Lutsenko earlier this year.

The husband and wife also worked with a Ukrainian oligarch, Dmytro Firtash, who has been fighting extradition to the U.S. Firtash told The New York Times he'd hired the couple in June at the urging of Parnas and Fruman. Toensing has said she hired Parnas as "a translator" to do work on Firtash's case.

Giuliani has strong ties to the Turkish government and represented a Turkish-Iranian banker, Reza Zarrab, who was jailed in March 2016 on money laundering charges. Zarrab, who had an office in Trump Tower Istanbul, was close friends with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and had politically damaging information involving a government-run Turkish bank, Halkbank.

In February 2017, Giuliani met with Erdogan in Turkey about the case, and he later met with Trump and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about Zarrab as well. He had company at both meetings.

Mukasey, a former prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, worked with Giuliani at a New York City law firm, and the pair remained close over the years even after Mukasey became then-President George W. Bush's attorney general.

Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.Yuri Gripas / Reuters file
Mukasey teamed with Giuliani on the Zarrab case, but their addition to Zarrab's legal team did not sit well with New York prosecutors or the judge presiding over the case. The judge, Richard Berman, accused the men of having conflicts of interest — Mukasey's law firm had represented eight of the banks that were victimized by Zarrab, as had Giuliani's firm. Giuliani's law firm had also served as an "agent" of Turkey, Berman found — but he allowed them to stay on the case because Zarrab had "voluntarily and knowingly" waived the issue.

How far they went to do so became clear recently. While NBC News first reported Mukasey and Giuliani's meeting with Erdogan in 2017, the Washington Post last month reported that Mukasey and Giuliani had also met with Trump in the Oval Office about Zarrab that same year. Trump called Tillerson in to meet with them as well. "The president says, 'Guys, give Rex your pitch,'" a source familiar with the meeting told the paper.

They suggested swapping Zarrab for an American pastor who was in Turkish custody. Tillerson considered the request inappropriate, and later complained to Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, who told him to ignore it, the Post reported.

Zarrab wound up pleading guilty and giving testimony in a related case that was devastating to Erdogan and Halkbank. Federal prosecutors in New York charged Halkbank last month in a multibillion-dollar scheme to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran, and Zarrab is expected to be the star witness at trial.

Two other Giuliani associates have been center stage in a case involving Eddie Gallagher, a Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in the death of a wounded ISIS prisoner.

His cause had been championed by Fox News personalities and was taken up by another Giuliani friend.

Kerik, an Army veteran, is a former New York City police officer who once worked on Giuliani's security detail when he was mayor. Giuliani gave Kerik the top job in the city jail system, and in 2000 named him police commissioner. The pair worked side-by-side on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

In 2010, Kerik would be sentenced to four years in prison for offenses including failure to pay taxes and lying to the White House during his scuttled nomination to be Homeland Security chief.

Since his release, he's become an advocate for prison reform. Like diGenova and Toensing, he's also a frequent presence and Trump advocate on Fox News.

Kerik started acting as an adviser in the Gallagher case earlier this year. He helped set up a legal team that included Timothy Parlatore, who's worked for Kerik in the past, and another Giuliani friend: Marc Mukasey.

Mukasey, the son of Michael Mukasey, is a former federal prosecutor who worked with Giuliani at two law firms. Mukasey left the firm Greenberg Traurig earlier this year to start his own firm and quickly landed high-powered clients, representing members of the Trump family and the Trump Foundation in a civil case that had been brought by the New York State Attorney General's office. That case officially settled in early November.

Marc Mukasey, defense lawyer for Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, arrives to military court on Naval Base San Diego on July 2, 2019, in San Diego.Julie Watson / AP file
Kerik, Parlatore and Mukasey scored a huge victory over the summer when Gallagher was acquitted of the most serious charges against him. Gallagher was convicted of posing for a picture with the corpse, and the court ordered him to be dropped in rank from chief to petty officer first class. The legal team vowed to fight the rank reduction, too.

Trump became a vocal advocate for Gallagher, both restoring his rank and ordering the Pentagon to drop a planned disciplinary hearing against him that could have resulted in his expulsion from the elite unit.

Kerik celebrated the developments with a picture of him, Mukasey and Gallagher. His "prayers have been answered," Kerik wrote.

Giuliani weighed in on Twitter as well, saying Trump's actions in the case "shows his courage and integrity."

"Not many Presidents would put their neck out on the line," Giuliani said. "It shows how much he values those who protect us!"

Dareh Gregorian
Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.

Allan Smith contributed.

Trump better Potus then Lincoln?



53 Percent of Republicans Say Trump Is a Better President Than Lincoln

Yep, you read that right


NOVEMBER 30, 2019 1:24PM EST

Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock

According to a new weekly tracking poll from the Economist/YouGov, a majority of Republicans prefer President Donald Trump over former President Abraham Lincoln. Yep, you read that right.

The poll, which surveyed 1,500 Americans, showed Republicans favoring Trump over Lincoln by 6 percentage points, 53 to 47. But the same poll gave us hope that not all Americans have lost their minds, with a total of 75 percent saying that Lincoln was indeed the better leader.

Both Democrats and independents disagree with Republicans by a wide margin. Ninety-four percent of Democrats saying that Lincoln was the better president, and 78 percent of independents agree that Lincoln was better.

After former Hillary Clinton press secretary Jesse Ferguson tweeted the Lincoln/Trump poll nugget, the term “53% of Republicans” began to trend on Twitter.

One reaction that garnered a lot of engagement on social media was a GIF from actor Billy Baldwin. Baldwin posted an animated photo of the Lincoln Memorial with the former president flipping the bird at both President Trump and Melania Trumpand included the viral phrase along with a shot at the GOP faithful, writing, “53% of Republicans apparently don’t even know who Abraham Lincoln was…”

However, the never-ending love from party loyalists for former president Ronald Reagancould not be toppled even with the seemingly unshakeable support for the current president. Reagan still bests Trump 59 percent to 41 percent as their favorite.


© 2019 PMC. All rights reserved.

Trump's week: from 'ordained by God' to dethroned by a judge
Opinion by Richard Galant, CNN
Updated 10:21 AM EST, Sun December 01, 2019

(CNN) The sweetest sound Donald Trump could hear last week was that of his outgoing Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, proclaiming him the chosen one "ordained by God" to be President of the United States. But this was soon followed by the ringing declaration of Ketanji Brown Jackson, a US District Court judge: Trump is no king, she said, decisively rejecting Trump's effort to shield his former White House counsel Donald McGahn from testifying before Congress.

"The primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings. This means that they do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control," Brown wrote.

"Perry says he told Trump to his face that he was 'the chosen one,'" wrote Jay Parini. (Perry also said he believed Barack Obama had been ordained by God.) "This notion has been going around the administration like a strange virus, infecting Sarah Sanders and Mike Pompeo as well," Parini suggested. "I don't have any easy answers, and it worries me to see evangelicals who do. There is a deep mystery here that precludes the arrogance implied in Rick Perry's stance. We just don't know what the Divine has in mind."

Anthea Butler noted the support for Trump that comes from such inheritors of the American evangelical tradition as Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham. "Trump's popularity with leading evangelical Christians brings a lot of 20th-century religious history full circle," Butler wrote. "Perhaps what the Trump era has laid bare is how nakedly church leaders' support of him is about political power."

Perry is one of the onetime Trump critics and opponents who surrendered to him as he gained mastery of the GOP, wrote Michael D'Antonio. Along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, Perry and others are "too weak to resist" and "see survival in joining the cult that degrades the nation a little bit more every day."

The President's week had it all -- a rally in his new home state of Florida, an unexplained tweet of Trump's head on the body of Rocky Balboa and a surprise visit to American troops in Afghanistan.

Bring on Bolton
While religion's connection to politics may be a matter of mystery, the law on the limits of presidential power is clear in Judge Jackson's view. Ken Ballen, staff counsel to the congressional committee that investigated the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s, applauded the judge's ruling and argued that its logic, "that White House aides must answer congressional subpoenas to testify applies to former national security adviser John Bolton's possible testimony before the House Intelligence Committee as well."

Bolton has been strongly hinting that he has a compelling story to tell about the withholding of aid from Ukraine, which is the subject of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into Trump. But he also has resisted testifying. And Democrats, eager to move ahead on impeachment before the 2020 primary voting begins, may not wait to hear from him.

That's a mistake, argued Charlie Firestone, suggesting that censuring the President and continuing to investigate him would be a wiser course. "It essentially places a marker of condemnation pending a further possibility of bringing in an impeachment".

Trump's defense doesn't hold water
Circumstantial evidence of a plot to withhold military aid from Ukraine in return for a political favor for President Trump continued to accumulate: the aid was ordered withheld the same day Trump had his now famous phone call in July with Ukraine's president, and Trump knew of the whistleblower complaint against him before he decided to release the money. But the President stuck to his "I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo" defense.

The problem, according to Elie Honig: "The vast weight of the evidence -- supported by logic and common sense -- indicates Trump wanted a quid pro quo. And upon scrutiny, Trump's self-serving denial carries little persuasive or evidentiary weight, and provides a flimsy shield for Trump and his supporters to hide behind."

Regular rules of evidence don't apply to an impeachment proceeding, Honig noted, but "our established legal rules likely would deem Trump's self-serving denial too unreliable to use in court. The logic is so plain that even a child can understand it: Once you've been caught with your hand in the cookie jar, it doesn't make you innocent to announce, 'I want no cookies!'"

As more facts come out, you might expect public sentiment to shift, but so far the pro- and anti-Trump camps have become only more entrenched. Writing for CNN Opinion's Fractured States of America project, Martin Bisgaard noted, "Republicans and Democrats have the same evidence at their disposal -- the log of the call, the text messages and the depositions -- and still they reach opposite conclusions about whether the President should be impeached." Rather than being swayed by facts and then arriving at a conclusion, "they do the exact opposite -- deciding on a conclusion and then twisting the facts to support it."

SEALs and military justice
Trump sided with a Navy SEAL who had been accused of committing crimes on the battlefield. Rather than support the findings of the military justice system, he used his presidential powers to undercut them, and in the process the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer was fired. In the Washington Post, Spencer wrote that the case offered a reminder that "the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices."

A Navy commander will have to clean up the mess left behind by the case, observed Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling. "There will be repercussions within the command, and within the Special Operations community, if someone who violated the standards and the culture of the military and his force is treated as 'special.'"

John Kirby, a retired rear admiral in the US Navy wrote, "What makes our military great is not the money Trump claims he has thrown at it, but the standards of conduct to which it adheres and the high bar for ethics to which it subscribes. We do not always reach that bar, to be sure, but in the struggle to do so we have earned a reputation for integrity, fairness and professionalism that is the envy of the world."

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

{I think fiscal conservatism will trump Democratic Wefare conduits, at a time of critical opinions on good economic indicators cover middle-class insecurities-it's once again-'the money, stupid' that deflects the vagaries of political wrongdoing from effective adjudication. }
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