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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Sat 14 Sep , 2019 2:21 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
https://www.lawfareblog.com/thoughts-impending-prosecution-andrew-mccabe
Quote:
I confess that this story shocks me.

The New York Times reported yesterday that “Federal prosecutors in Washington appear to be in the final stages of deciding whether to seek an indictment of Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director and a frequent target of President Trump, on charges of lying to federal agents.”...

Let me translate this paragraph for you: Such meetings generally take place when indictment is imminent; they happen when the government plans to bring charges. You should thus expect charges against McCabe to be forthcoming any day. And if such charges don’t happen, that doesn’t mean they weren’t planned but, rather, that some extrinsic event has intervened.

Why is that shocking? Because as best as I can tell, the facts available on the public record simply don’t support such charges. The only visible factor militating in favor of the Justice Department charging McCabe, in fact, is that the department has been on the receiving end of a sustained campaign by President Trump demanding McCabe’s scalp....

To be sure, the inspector general’s report that prompted McCabe’s firing paints a deeply troubling portrait of McCabe’s conduct. ...

But criminal charges? At least based on what’s in the inspector general’s report, this is very far from a criminal case...

... the extraordinary thing about McCabe’s case compared to these ones is that the Justice Department appears to have engineered McCabe’s firing, ostensibly in response to the inspector general’s finding of a lack of candor, mere hours before his retirement eligibility. It’s true that the FBI routinely treats lack of candor as a fireable offense—but it remains unexplained why the Justice Department seemingly raced the clock in order to push McCabe out rather than proceed at the usual pace and note that he would have been subject to disciplinary proceedings if he had not retired. That alone is a vindictive level of harshness relative to the norm. Criminal prosecution is several standard deviations from the norm...
Quote:
I’ve watched the Justice Department for a long time. I am not quick to allege that a prosecution is political. I believe in a presumption of regularity with respect to Justice Department activity. If an indictment proceeds against McCabe, as I suspect it will, I will both presume his innocence and presume that the prosecutors who put their names on the document have a good faith basis for doing so...

But I would be lying if I said that, as I look at it now, it all seems on the level to me. I worry that what’s happening here is simple corruption of the Department of Justice in precisely the fashion I have been worrying about since before Donald Trump was even elected.



https://www.lawfareblog.com/mystery-mccabe-grand-jury
Quote:
Did a federal grand jury refuse to hand up an indictment of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe?

No media organization has reported that this is what happened Thursday, but something clearly happened when the grand jury met—and that something wasn’t the McCabe indictment that everyone was expecting.

McCabe’s indictment had been expected on charges related to alleged lies to internal Justice Department investigators about his contacts with the media in 2016... According to the Post, McCabe received a communication from the Justice Department informing him that “[t]he Department rejected your appeal of the United States Attorney’s Office’s decision in this matter …. Any further inquiries should be directed to the United States Attorney’s Office.” The Times writes that the decision was made by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, and that Rosen’s top aide, Ed O’Callaghan, reached out to McCabe’s team on the matter.

There is a great deal of uncertainty around what happened next, almost certainly because Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure forbids the government, court officials or grand jurors from disclosing matters before the grand jury. This may make the McCabe story a particularly hard nut for reporters to crack. But here’s what we know....



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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 17 Sep , 2019 7:14 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/461783-trump-border-wall-may-damage-archeological-sites-report
Quote:
President Trump's efforts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border could damage 22 archaeological sites currently supervised by the National Park Service (NPS), according to reporting by The Washington Post.

A 123-page internal NPS memo from July found that expanding an existing fence near Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument could harm artifacts from ancient Sonoran Desert peoples.

It noted previous research that found archaeological sites “likely will be wholly or partially destroyed by forthcoming border fence construction.”

Construction has already begun on converting a 5-foot vehicle barrier to the 30-foot-high border wall envisioned by Trump. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has sought to build at a quick pace in order to keep up with Trump’s campaign pledge of completing 500 miles of wall before the 2020 election...

According to the Post, the Department of Homeland Security has relied on a 2005 law to waive numerous federal requirements that could have been used to slow or stop construction, including those in the Endangered Species Act as well as the Archeological Resources Protection Act and the National Historic Preservation Act...




https://www.lawfareblog.com/mysterious-whistleblower-complaint-what-adam-schiff-talking-about
Quote:
The Mysterious Whistleblower Complaint: What is Adam Schiff Talking About?
Quote:
On Sept. 13, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff issued a subpoena to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to compel the production of a whistleblower complaint. The details of the complaint remain vague, but Schiff stated that it was filed by an individual in the intelligence community and determined by Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson to be credible and a matter of “urgent concern.” ...

According to Schiff, on Aug. 12 an individual (it’s not public who) in the intelligence community submitted to the inspector general a whistleblower disclosure intended for Congress. ......[but] it appears Maguire did not transmit the disclosure to the committee—as he was required to do under the statute—within seven days. Nor did he notify the committee about the disclosure or his decision not to transmit it to the committee.

On September 9, Inspector General Atkinson apparently wrote a letter (which has not been made public) directly to Schiff and the Intelligence Committee’s Ranking Member Devin Nunes...

...In the current circumstances, so far the Trump administration is honoring neither the letter of the law nor the spirit of good faith cooperation that the relevant case law contemplates. Maguire seems not to have notified the committee, in any form, that a credible issue had arisen. He blew through the statutory deadline with seemingly no attempt to communicate with the committee. It seems the only reason the committee found out about the issue was because of a letter sent to the committee chair by the intelligence community. In addition, from what is public about the communications between Schiff and Maguire, it seems that the agency head is not calling the shots here—as Clinton’s and Obama’s statements about the legislation seemed to envision—but, rather, some “higher power” outside of the agency is doing so. None of this looks good.

But in context, this incident looks even worse. In March, two senior administration officials told the Washington Post that the White House is “intent on challenging most, if not all, House Democrats’ document requests.” President Trump said in April he intends to fight “all the subpoenas” issued by the House...
Quote:
In the face of a statute that already self-limits the required reporting to instances of “particularly flagrant or serious” problems, the administration will need a very, very compelling reason that is rooted in the public’s interest—not the interests of a particular individual—to justify not providing the relevant information to the committee.

Practically speaking, however, the executive branch holds a lot of cards in this game—after all, it is in possession of the relevant materials. Litigation could take years, well beyond the 2020 presidential election. As the matter has been determined by the inspector general to be of “urgent concern,” years of litigation and delay is not merely the “mischief of polarization of disputes.” It may very well be a dereliction of constitutional duty.


Some are speculating that the administration is trying to hide it because it could involve Trump or a senior White House official. Maguire apparently consulted the Justice Dept. before deciding to withhold the whistleblower complaint from Congress. Considering some of the things that have been coming out of the DOJ under Barr, I don't find that reassuring.
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/13/schiff-maguire-intelligence-1496135


EDIT: Speaking of Barr's Justice Department...
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/461826-trump-administration-asks-supreme-court-to-take-up-challenge-to-consumer
Quote:
The Trump administration and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to take up a lawsuit challenging the agency’s constitutionality.

Top Justice Department and CFPB attorneys argued in a brief filed Tuesday that the structure of the powerful financial watchdog infringes on the president’s executive authority.

The lawyers urged the Supreme Court to take up a case that could have potentially fatal implications for the CFPB, halting or weakening its efforts to police the financial sector....







https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/09/17/trump-billingslea-torture-human-rights-228112
Quote:
Trump Wants a Torture Proponent to Lead U.S. Human Rights Policy. The Senate Should Say No

By ROB BERSCHINSKI and BENJAMIN HAAS

Rob Berschinski is senior vice president for policy at Human Rights First. Previously, he was deputy assistant secretary of State for democracy, human rights, and labor, and an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Benjamin Haas is advocacy counsel at Human Rights First. Previously, he was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.
Quote:
If confirmed, Billingslea would become the top U.S. executive branch official directly responsible for human rights policy: undersecretary of State for civilian security, democracy and human rights.

...Billingslea’s history promoting torture is well-documented. As a senior Pentagon official during the Bush administration, he advocated for the use of torture techniques, often in contrast to the sound advice proffered by top military lawyers. ..




https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/461798-trump-administration-allows-fewer-usda-inspectors-at-pork-plants
Quote:
Hog farms will have their products looked over in less time by fewer inspectors under a rule finalized Tuesday by the Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The new rule reduces the number of inspectors required at pork plants and also removes a cap on the speed inspection lines can run, prompting concern from groups that the rule will hurt public health as well as worker safety...
It seems they're reducing the number of federal meat inspectors by up to 40%, removing them from directly inspecting the meat, and letting the plant operators hire people instead - with no specific requirements for training the new inspectors. Considering that pigs can be infected with diseases that can spread to humans, and some diseases are not easy to find unless you're experienced and thorough, this doesn't strike me as in the public's best interest. Neither does the idea that inspectors will now be dependent on not being fired by the slaughterhouse owners.
Quote:
The USDA’s Office of the Inspector General has already opened a probe into whether the agency concealed information and used flawed data on worker safety when evaluating the new hog inspection system.


https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/461774-risking-food-safety-usda-plans-to-let-slaughterhouses-self-police
Quote:
The experience from a long-running pilot project that involved five large hog slaughterhouses offers some insight into the possible impact of such radical deregulation. Consumer groups reviewed the government’s data from the five pilot plants and other plants of comparable size. They found that the plants with fewer inspectors and faster lines had more regulatory violations than others.

Indeed, the pilot project gave no indication that allowing companies to police themselves produces safe food. Nevertheless, USDA concluded that self-policing would ensure food safety, based on a technical risk assessment that — in violation of OMB guidelines — was not peer-reviewed before USDA published its rule. Later, three of the five peer reviewers indicated that the study was fundamentally flawed. USDA has pressed forward with its rule regardless, dismissing this criticism as mere technicality....

It’s not only consumers of meat who would pay a price for this misguided and dangerous new rule. There are more than 90,000 pork slaughterhouse workers whose health and limbs are already at risk under the current line speed limit of 1,106 hogs per hour. Pork slaughterhouse workers will tell you that they can barely keep up with current line speeds. They work in noisy, slippery workplaces with large knives, hooks and bandsaws, making tens of thousands of forceful repetitive motions on each and every shift to cut and break down the hogs.

USDA is ignoring three decades of studies indicating that faster line speeds and the forceful nature of the work in meatpacking plants are the root causes of a staggeringly high rate of work-related injuries and illnesses....
Since slaughterhouses seem to hire a fair number of illegal immigrants and the rest are usually from the poorer groups in society (i.e., those without much political power), I somehow doubt that the administration cares at all about that aspect.

As usual, the Trump administration simply ignored Americans' comments on the proposed rule:
Quote:
Not only were there close to 80,000 comments from the public sent to USDA opposing this rule, but a survey found an overwhelming majority of Americans — in all parts of the country and across party lines — were opposed to this controversial rule.


In another story on this:
https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pork-industry-hogs-plants-trump-regulations-20190403-story.html
Quote:
Pat Basu, the chief veterinarian with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service from 2016 to 2018, refused to sign off on the new pork system because of concerns about safety for both consumers and livestock. The USDA sent the proposed regulations to the Federal Register about a week after Basu left, and they were published less than a month later, according to records and interviews.
Quote:
The agency will rely heavily on pathogen testing by plant owners, but those results will not have to be publicly disclosed. The hog plants also will no longer be required to test for E. coli, records show.
Quote:
Joseph Ferguson is a former USDA hog inspector who retired in 2015 after working 23 years under the traditional inspection system as well as with a trial program that created the new proposed system. He said federal regulators lost control when plant workers supplanted them. Hog carcasses whizzed by him and the plant-paid inspectors at speeds so fast that fecal contamination -- an important indicator for E. coli and salmonella -- could not be detected.

“All the power gets handed over to the plant,” Ferguson said. “I saw the alleged inspections that were performed by plant workers; they weren’t inspections. They were supposed to meet or exceed USDA standards -- I never saw that happen.”
Beef is next. It seems the Obama administration already handed inspections of chickens over to the chicken slaughterhouse owners, though they didn't let them increase the speeds (they originally planned to, but decided not to allow it in the end). From what I understand, the unregulated use of chlorine baths and other disinfecting chemicals on chickens in our food also dates from that time. It seems that, before, chicken slaughterhouses had to apply to USDA for permission if they wanted to use such chemicals. I have no idea how often these requests were submitted and how often they were approved.




https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/461795-trump-to-revoke-californias-tail-pipe-waiver
Quote:
The Trump administration is set to formally revoke California's tailpipe waiver under the Clean Air Act on Wednesday, according to a source with knowledge of the change.

The move is a major strike in the ongoing battle between the Trump administration and California over the state’s right to enact more stringent air pollution standards due to its poor air quality.

...The announcement indicates the White House is moving ahead with plans to split its auto emissions rule into two parts, a move seen as a way to speed up the process of finalizing the hotly debated deregulation. The first section of the rule formally revokes California’s preemption and waiver under the Clean Air Act, according to two sources with knowledge of the regulation. The rule could be finalized within a week.

Removal of the waiver would affect 13 additional states that also follow California’s clean air rules.

But hey, the GOP is all about states' rights, isn't it? Or, at least, it used to be, before Trump and his merry band of crooks took over the Republican party.






https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/461785-trump-administration-plans-to-reduce-pesticide-testing-on-birds
Quote:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it plans to reduce the use of pesticide testing on birds as part of Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s push to roll back animal testing at the agency.

The draft policy unveiled Tuesday was created in collaboration with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and aims to avoid “unnecessary resource use, data generation costs, and animal testing,” the proposal states.

...The rule would limit testing requirements for conventional pesticides used outdoors. The draft guidance is specifically aimed at reducing dietary testing on birds for pesticide registration — a method traditionally used to determine a pesticide’s toxicity on avian species.

EPA officials describe the proposed rule change as a move toward favoring testing that doesn’t hurt animals. “The draft policy represents another step toward the agency’s commitment to reduce animal testing while also ensuring that the agency receives enough information to support pesticide registration decisions that are protective of public health and the environment,” the EPA said in a press release.

...Scientists, however, have criticized the agency’s recent plans to roll back animal testing, arguing it opens the door to allowing more chemical and pesticide use in general amid a lack of adequate testing on live species...

The EPA last week announced a draft rule to completely eliminate animal testing requirements for chemicals by 2035...

The Trump administration has faced criticism for appearing to roll back species protections by allowing the use of harmful pesticides on crops. For example, the EPA in in July announced it would allow for the expanded use of sulfoxaflor, a pesticide it considers toxic to bees. The move came just days after the Department of Agriculture said it was suspending data collection on the insects’ decline.

This news may sound good to animal advocates but I suspect its real purpose is to minimize knowledge of the impacts of pesticides on wildlife and speed approvals for chemical companies. I don't like animal testing either, but you can't always see what a chemical does to the body with just cells or computer models. And these are pesticides, not cosmetics ingredients expected to be safe.

That it's being done by Trump's EPA is suspicious in itself. And now they can have PETA tell the public how wonderful it is. Pretty cunning. Basically, I'm doubtful the Trump administration would do something with PETA unless it's simply a way to use them. There are reasonable groups they could have consulted instead, like NRDC, which employs experts and scientists. That they picked the extremists (in my opinion, PETA are often ignorant idiots) is odd.





Edited to add a story about Barr's Justice Department helping Trump destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and tidy up a couple of hastily written sentences. Also, the Trump administration is doing its best to destroy the BLM and make sure they have little contact with Congress. They're working so hard to demolish the agency ASAP that they aren't even letting people know where they've been reassigned.

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/461841-blm-misses-deadline-to-inform-staffers-of-move-after-failing-to
Quote:
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) missed its deadline to tell nearly 300 Washington-based employees where they will be reassigned as the agency moves out West, with leaders telling staff that higher-ups failed to formally notify state offices of the move.

The Department of the Interior announced in July that it would be moving all but 61 of its Washington BLM staff to various existing offices out West...

Critics of the move have argued that it has been poorly planned and implemented. Many see it as a way to dismantle the agency that manages the nation’s public lands and their resources, decentralizing its operations by spreading policy staffers across different offices.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 18 Sep , 2019 1:18 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/17/us/politics/john-mitnick-homeland-security.html
Quote:
The White House on Tuesday fired John Mitnick, the general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security, after months of shake-up at an agency responsible for carrying out President Trump’s immigration agenda...

A Trump administration official said Tuesday evening that Chad Mizelle, an associate counsel to the president, would replace Mr. Mitnick. But a Department of Homeland Security official said later that Joseph B. Maher, the department’s principal deputy general counsel, would be taking over...

It sounds like Trump might have wanted another loyalist put in place but regulations prevented him? The Times article suggests DHS is unhappy with being thwarted by the courts, regarding their treatment of would-be immigrants and asylum seekers.

Not that they pay much attention to the law. In spite of the judge ordering them to stop family separations at least a year ago, they took that 12-year-old girl from her godmother and refused to release her to her aunt. Hell of a way to treat a child who survived the hurricane in the Bahamas and came to the US expecting help. And that's just an outrageous case that made the news. I'm sure there are many others that don't.




https://thehill.com/homenews/house/461874-schiff-says-trump-intel-chief-declines-to-comply-with-subpoena-over
Quote:
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to comply with a subpoena regarding a whistleblower complaint.

“The [Intelligence Community Inspector General] determined that the complaint is both credible and urgent, which is why the Committee must move quickly. The Committee's position is clear – the Acting DNI can either provide the complaint as required under the law, or he will be required to come before the Committee to tell the public why he is not following the clear letter of the law, including whether the White House or the Attorney General are directing him to do so,” Schiff said in a statement to The Hill.
Silence from Nunes (R), who ought to outraged too. But I guess that's to be expected from that weaselly little Trump loyalist. There seems to be silence from the GOP, in general, these days, when they would have been loudly (and rightfully) outraged if President Obama did a tenth of what Trump does.


At least they confirmed that they're protecting someone outside the intelligence community. I can see why some are suspicious it's Trump or someone very close to Trump.
Quote:
Jason Klitenic, Maguire’s general counsel, said the whistleblower statute applies only if a complaint involves a member of the intelligence community and maintained that the specific complaint in question did not.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 19 Sep , 2019 1:20 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
More news on the whistleblower complaint. It's starting to look pretty bad, especially when you consider that it's coming from a member of the intelligence community. They're not much given to shaking things up or reporting officials. And couple that with the fact that the Inspector General thought it was urgent and credible, the attempts to hide it, and the IG's letter directly to Congress to let them know...
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/462098-trump-conversation-with-foreign-leader-part-of-complaint-that-led-to
Quote:
President Trump's conversation with a foreign leader is a part of the whistleblower complaint that prompted a standoff between Congress and the intelligence community, two former U.S. officials told The Washington Post.

An official in the U.S. intelligence community filed a formal whistleblower complaint after the president's conversation with the foreign leader involved a "promise," the Post reported.

A former official also told the Post the conversation took place over the phone. It is unknown which foreign leader the president was communicating with....

I'd say this might end up being something Congressional Republicans and the GOP leadership can't ignore - except that they've ignored every red flag (see, for instance, Trump kissing Putin's ass and throwing our intelligence services under the bus at Helsinki), Banana-Republic-Ahead warning, and sign of Trump's complete incompetence so far, so I don't expect them to care about this either. (To be fair, I won't be surprised if Nancy Pelosi waves it away, too. I've become fairly disgusted with her party-above-country politics, too.)

Edit: Someone pointed out that "urgent concern," used by an IG, is quite serious, since it's probably not just being used in the usual sense. It's defined by US statutes for IGs that discuss flagrant abuse of power and illegal acts.






https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/462089-interior-transfers-parts-of-public-land-to-army-for-border-wall
Quote:
The Interior Department approved a transfer of 560 acres of public land to the U.S. Army to build about 70 miles of border wall, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced Wednesday.

The approved land, which spans parts of New Mexico, California and Arizona, will not interfere with any national parks or segments of Native American land, according to the department’s announcement. ..

The transferred land includes portions of Luna and Hidalgo Counties in New Mexico, San Diego County, California and Yuma County, Arizona.

Berhardt claims this "crisis" requires extraordinary measures. (since when is a crisis something that has been going on for decades, often at much higher levels than now, just because Trump wants it to be?)

Edit: I presume this is a Trumpian trick so US laws and regulations no longer apply to the building of The Wall, because it sounds like the lands will probably return to the public after a few years.




And now Dear Leader is using the EPA for his vendettas:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/462103-trump-says-epa-will-cite-san-francisco-for-pollution-stemming-from
Quote:
President Trump on Wednesday said he expects the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to slap San Francisco with a violation notice in the coming days related to pollution associated with the city’s homeless people.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump again took aim at Los Angeles and San Francisco over the volume of homeless people in each city. But he escalated his rhetoric, saying an announcement citing San Francisco for environmental violations would come in the next week...




Edit to add:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/462124-gop-group-hits-pence-over-trump-alleged-business-conflicts
Quote:
An anti-Trump Republican group is targeting Vice President Pence with a new ad, calling him out for hypocrisy and complacency with President Trump’s alleged business conflicts.

The new ad from Republicans for the Rule of Law cuts together remarks Pence made criticizing 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's alleged business conflicts to argue he is being hypocritical over Trump.

“When it comes to Hillary Clinton, Vice President Pence believes ‘it would be a conflict of interest to accept foreign and corporate donations to your foundation if you were president,’” the add says, using Pence’s own words.

“When it comes to President Trump’s conflicts of interests, all Mike Pence has to say is, ‘Who cares?’” it continues.

The ad takes note of foreign leaders staying at hotels owned by Trump, among other issues, to suggest Trump could be profiting off the presidency. ..

Nice to see more people rejecting tribalism and standing up for what's right. They've also called out Lindsay Graham for some things he's said.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


Last edited by aninkling on Fri 20 Sep , 2019 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 19 Sep , 2019 9:37 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
Now Trump and his xenophobes are pressuring universities to modify or end academic programs they don't like. What's next - mandating that all K-12 students must take classes that expose them to right wing, pro-Trump talking points?
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/462202-trump-admin-say-unc-duke-programs-portray-islam-too-positively
Quote:
The Trump administration is pressuring the University of North Carolina and Duke University to revise their joint Middle East studies program or risk federal funding.

The Education Department wrote in an Aug. 29 letter to the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies that the program disproportionately portrays "the positive aspects of Islam." The agency requested they amend the program by Sept. 22 or lose a grant they've been receiving for almost a decade, The Associated Press reported.

The National Resource Center provides grants to programs that support foreign language learning.

The Education Department said in its letter that foreign language and national security have "taken a back seat to other priorities" that have "little or no relevance" to the objectives of the grant.

The Education Department wrote that the program places "a considerable emphasis" on the “understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.”

The program has until Sept. 22 to send a "revised schedule of activities" and describe how each relates to foreign language and national security, the department said in its letter...

Holding told the AP ...“This has fallen through the cracks, and this could be going on at other educational institutions,”

Pro-Israel groups and/or Netanyahu (who clearly has Trump's ear) may have a hand in this, according to the quote below, though I tend to think it's more likely to be the right wing evangelical groups. I've never heard of any Jewish group in America wanting to dictate the content of a college course (though I do know that some schools have tried to suppress Palestinian student groups and been struck down by the courts. But I assumed that was because those schools were afraid of offending donors or parents.). On the other hand, some conservative groups seem obsessed lately with fears about supposed "liberal indoctrination" at colleges.
Quote:
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos's investigation into the consortium began after Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.) sent her a letter condemning the program for holding a conference with "severe anti-Israel bias and anti-Semitic rhetoric."

The short-lived, cartoonish idiocy about forcing colleges to hire more Republican professors just because they are Republican was bad enough, but at least sane people in the state legislatures nipped that in the bud. Dictating the content of academic courses in college brings their plans to a disturbing new level.

I hope the universities tell them to go to hell, but I'm afraid administrators might bow down to pressure.





btw, the Senate Intelligence committee met with the IG for the Intelligence Community for 3 hours today. As far as I know, all we know is that the IG didn't give them the text of the complaint and everyone including Nunes had only tight-lipped "no comment" remarks for reporters afterward. I don't know whether the GOP is getting ready to spin this for Trump or finally taking notice of what he is. Interestingly, the pro-Trump troll brigade was very active at first on one messageboard (mostly trying to deflect the discussion to other topics) but otherwise seems to be spinning in the wind so far, not knowing what their talking points should be.

I think this is going to come out eventually. CNN apparently reported that there were several things of concern and that the IG is not even being allowed to tell Congress the topic of the complaint, though he asked to.



EDIT: Some say it may be Ukraine:
https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/462209-george-conway-if-trump-pushed-ukraine-to-investigate-biden-he
Quote:
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's husband George Conway said Thursday that if a report detailing President Trump's involvement in pressuring Ukraine's government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden is true, Trump should be impeached "without delay."

The conservative lawyer and frequent critic of the president tweeted out a report from The Independent that detailed a phone call between Trump and Ukraine's president suggesting that U.S.-Ukraine relations would improve if the Biden investigation was launched.
As far as I know, this is just speculation at this point, though plausible. I can think of a few other candidates too.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

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Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 20 Sep , 2019 12:27 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
The US seems to be a little overeager to blame Iran for the attacks on Saudi oil facility and do something before impartial investigations are complete:
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/462281-pentagon-to-present-trump-several-military-options-on-iran-report
Quote:
The Pentagon on Friday will reportedly present President Trump with a range of military options on Iran after the U.S. officials have blamed the country for an attack on Saudi Arabia's oil supply.

Sources familiar with the plan told The Associated Press that the Defense Department will reportedly give Trump a list of options including airstrike targets inside Iran. He will also reportedly be warned that military action against the country could turn into a war.


This story has a brief rundown on the various responses from a number of countries, and includes the news that UN investigators were on their way to Saudi Arabia to investigate who might be responsible. Pompeo and the Saudis already blamed Iran without presenting any proof, as far as I can tell.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/saudi-oil-attacks-latest-updates-190916102800973.html
Quote:
Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have been locked in a war with a Saudi-UAE-led coalition since 2015, claimed responsibility for the attacks, warning Saudi Arabia their targets "will keep expanding".

But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo swiftly accused Iran of being behind the assault, without providing any evidence. The claim was rejected by Tehran that said the allegations were meant to justify "actions" against it.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, promised to "confront and deal with this terrorist aggression", while US President Donald Trump hinted at possible military action.

Here are the latest updates...

I thought this was interesting reasoning:
Quote:
The Saudi ambassador to Germany said all options were on the table in retaliation to attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities that the kingdom has blamed on Iran.

..."We're still working on where they were launched from but wherever they came from, Iran is certainly behind them as Iran built them and they could only be launched with Iranian help," he told Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio.

So, does that mean the US can be blamed directly for war crimes because we supplied the weapons the Saudis have been using to target civilians, including hospitals, in Yemen?



Speaking of the military (and drones), this seemed bound to happen, sooner or later. Seems the Trump administration finally admitted we're responsible, long after it became obvious to others. Until now, they were trying to blame the military forces of Afghanistan for messing up an attack on Islamic terrorists. But US military spokespersons are still claiming terrorists were somehow hiding among a bunch of pine nut pickers resting after a day of work and speculating whether there was "collateral damage," instead of just admitting they screwed up big time and killed or injured at least 70 innocent people.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/afghanistan-dozens-civilians-killed-drone-attack-190919072728303.html
Quote:
The US forces in Afghanistan have admitted that a drone attack that killed at least 30 pine nut farmers in Nangarhar province on Thursday was conducted by them. At least 40 others were injured in the attack in Wazir Tangi area of Khogyani district that was previously attributed to the West-backed Afghan government.

A spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan confirmed on Thursday that the drone attack was conducted by the US with the intention of destroying a hideout used by the fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group.

"Initial indications are members of Daesh [ISIL] were among those targeted in the strike," Colonel Sonny Leggett, spokesman for the American-led coalition in Afghanistan said. "However, we are working with local officials to determine whether there was collateral damage."

... Malik Rahat Gul, a tribal elder in Wazir Tangi, said the air raid happened at a time when tired workers, mainly daily wage earners, had gathered near their tent after harvesting pine nuts in a field nearby. "The workers had lit a bonfire and were sitting together when a drone targeted them," said Gul....
We're doing a great job of creating people who hate the US, IMO.

Seems there was even a letter warning of civilians in the area.
https://thehill.com/policy/international/middle-east-north-africa/462289-afghan-officials-were-warned-of-civilian
Quote:
Days before civilians were killed in a U.S. strike, village elders in Afghanistan's Wazir Tangi area reportedly sent a letter to the governor of the country's eastern Nangarhar province about plans to recruit 200 laborers and kids to help harvest pine nuts.

The letter was intended to protect those people and prevent them from being caught in fire between the U.S., Afghan security forces and insurgents, according to Reuters.





https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/462286-trump-officials-mull-plan-to-divert-billions-more-to-border-wall
Quote:
Trump administration officials are reportedly contemplating a plan to again redirect billions more in military funding to pay for wall construction at the U.S.-Mexico border next year, three administration officials told The Washington Post.

...the White House has requested $5 billion more for wall funding in 2020 from the Department of Homeland Security, but if that doesn't get approval, the administration will reportedly again take $3.6 billion from the Pentagon's construction budget.

A senior White House official told The Post that discussion was “a typical project-management meeting where administration officials discussed border wall progress” and to make sure “additional needs were being assessed in the event more funding became available.”

The newspaper also obtained planning documents showing that it will cost an average of more than $36 million per mile to build 509 miles of barrier. ..




https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/nyregion/trump-tax-returns-lawsuit.html
Quote:
Lawyers for President Trump argued in a lawsuit filed on Thursday that he could not be criminally investigated while in office, as they sought to block a subpoena from state prosecutors in Manhattan demanding eight years of his tax returns.

Taking a broad position that the lawyers acknowledged had not been tested, the president’s legal team argued in the complaint that the Constitution effectively makes sitting presidents immune from all criminal inquiries until they leave the White House.

Presidents, they asserted, have such enormous responsibility and play a unique role in government that they cannot be subject to the burden of investigations, especially from local prosecutors who may use the criminal process for political gain.

Several constitutional law scholars interviewed by The New York Times said that if the lawyers’ position were accepted by the court, it would set a sweeping new precedent...

Unique role? Isn't that why we have a chain of command, starting with the Vice President?





Are some of the Republicans finding a bit of a backbone?
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/462263-trump-judicial-picks-face-rare-gop-opposition
Quote:
President Trump’s judicial nominees are running into roadblocks from an unexpected group: Republican senators.

GOP leaders view the president’s court picks as their top priority — smashing records for the pace of influential appeals court picks. They are also on the brink of setting the fastest confirmation pace for judicial nominees overall.

But a recent string of nominees is facing skepticism from Republican senators who are either sinking their nominations or raising questions about their ability to be confirmed.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) ... said that Steven Menashi, nominated for the 2nd Circuit appeals court, could be “Oliver Wendell Scalia” but that he couldn’t vote for him unless he gets a clear picture of how Menashi thinks about legal issues. “If someone gets mad at that, they need to call somebody who cares, because that is my job and I'm tired of them playing games,” Kennedy said in an apparent opening shot at potential critics.

Menashi tangled with several senators, including Kennedy, during his confirmation hearing over frustration that he was dodging their questions. At one point, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close ally of Trump’s who chairs the committee, appeared exasperated with Menashi, warning it is “important that you tell us what you worked on.”...






Oh, and Ben Carson has the brains of a newt:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/462272-ben-carsons-remarks-during-san-francisco-visit-spark-backlash
Quote:
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson sparked backlash after he reportedly said "big, hairy men" were trying to enter homeless shelters for women during a meeting at the agency's San Fransisco office.

Three people at the meeting told The Washington Post that they interpreted his remark to refer to transgender women. Two agency staff members told the newspaper that he also complained that society did not know the difference between men and women anymore.

The staff members told the Post that the comment upset many people present at the Tuesday HUD meeting and at least one woman left in protest...


As usual, the party requires that you disbelieve the evidence of your own eyes and ears:
Quote:
“The Secretary does not use derogatory language to refer to transgendered individuals. Any reporting to the contrary is false," a senior HUD official told the Post in a statement after being asked about Carson's reported remarks.
Sounds like something the USSR would have said.




btw, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess the whistleblower alarm was over a conversation between Trump and Putin, or perhaps another dictator, and not the president of Ukraine, based on this Trump comment:
Quote:
"They think I may have had a 'dicey' conversation with a certain foreign leader based on a 'highly partisan' whistleblowers statement," he added. "Strange that with so many other people hearing or knowing of the perfectly fine and respectful conversation, that they would not have also come forward. Do you know the reason why they did not? Because there was nothing said wrong, it was pitch perfect!"

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/462291-trump-dismisses-growing-furor-over-highly-partisan-whistleblower
I don't think he would have said the pitch perfect" part about an illegal solicitation of foreign help. I'm also starting to wonder whether that would have alarmed a member of the intelligence service or the IG quite this much, given that the election is still more than a year away.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Sat 21 Sep , 2019 5:20 pm 
A green apple painted red
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Quote:
So, does that mean the US can be blamed directly for war crimes because we supplied the weapons the Saudis have been using to target civilians, including hospitals, in Yemen?


Yes.

You may have mentioned this already, but Saudi Arabia has one of the largest military budgets in the world and should need no assistance from the US. Certainly there is no excuse for sending American people to "help defend" anything over there.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 23 Sep , 2019 2:09 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
Ah, but they buy lots of our very expensive military weapons, so we want to please them and keep them in the business of buying even more. ;) Hell, the Trump administration defied Congress and didn't even let Kashoggi's murder put a temporary damper on arms sales. Since then, Trump went ahead and sold nuclear technology to the Saudis, with the blessings of the GOP.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/report-trump-rushing-sell-saudi-arabia-nuclear-technology-190219181918317.html
Quote:
Donald Trump rushing to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear technology

Experts worry tech transfer will allow Saudi Arabia to produce nuclear weapons, contributing to Middle East arms race.
Quote:
The administration of President Donald Trump is bypassing the United States Congress to advance the sale of US nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia, despite concerns it would violate US law guarding against technology transfers, according to a new report by a congressional committee...

https://www.newsweek.com/no-impropriety-trump-transfer-nuclear-technology-saudi-arabia-republicans-say-1450603
Quote:
'No Impropriety' by Trump in Transfer of Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia, GOP Probe Concludes

Oh course, it doesn't hurt that Kushner and the murderous prince bin Salman seem to be good buddies.




The Atlantic points out how the Democratic congressional committees are letting Trump call the shots.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/how-to-break-trumps-stonewall/598450/
Quote:
House Democrats Are Ignoring This Key Lesson of Watergate

When I worked in the Nixon White House, I learned what it takes for Congress to exercise effective oversight.
Quote:
For the past nine months, President Donald Trump’s strategy of obfuscation and delay has successfully denied the House of Representatives the witnesses and evidence it needs to document and publicize the mounting case for maladministration and malfeasance within the Trump administration...

There is no legal right simply to defy a congressional subpoena. However, from the outset the House has been content to rely exclusively on civil enforcement of its subpoenas and other investigative demands by the federal courts. It has made the naive assumption that they would be enforced expeditiously...
Quote:
At its inception in February 1973, the Senate Watergate Committee had only a June 1972 burglary and the well-publicized “dirty tricks” to investigate.... As evidence implicating the White House mounted, the administration displayed no inclination toward negotiation or accommodation with the Senate Watergate Committee. On March 15, 1973, Nixon issued an edict asserting executive privilege, declaring that White House aides and papers were entirely off limits to the committee. If the committee desired to press the issue, the president said, it could pursue a contempt prosecution through the courts.

Pressed for his reaction, Ervin said Nixon’s position was “executive poppycock, akin to the divine right of kings.” Ervin declared that his committee had no intention of submitting to the suggested judicial delays, but would instead utilize the Senate’s sergeant at arms to arrest any recalcitrant White House aide, bring him to the bar of the Senate for trial, and ultimately compel him to testify...

This performance of the Senate Watergate Committee stands as one example of effective congressional oversight. There have been others. ..
Quote:
Once again this week, the White House demonstrated its determination not to allow any meaningful hearings about or investigations of Trump or his administration to take place. The White House counsel issued groundbreaking orders to two ex–White House aides, Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn, to defy subpoenas from the House Judiciary Committee to testify last Monday.....

The mocking performance of Corey Lewandowski on Monday may be just a curtain-raiser for what is to come...






https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/09/18/trump-administration-steps-up-war-on-reproductive-rights/
Quote:
The Trump administration is seeking to form a coalition of socially ultra-conservative governments from Brazil to Saudi Arabia to denounce international efforts to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights at a United Nations summit later this month, characterizing such concepts as “anti-family” and “pro-abortion.”

The effort sets the stage for a potential clash between the United States and its traditional liberal Western partners as world leaders arrive in New York later this month for a week of U.N. summitry and speeches. It adds another irritant to already strained relations between Washington and other capitals over a raft of issues, including trade, Iran policy, and climate change.

United Nations experts, advocates, and lawmakers say the U.S. position endangers millions of women and girls who rely on international programs for basic prenatal and postpartum health care services.

The campaign is modeled on a recent effort by the United States, Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and several other states to denounce sexual and reproductive rights at a major conference of the World Health Organization last May....






btw, I noticed that a number of newspapers, from the Wall Street Journal to the Washington Post to the New York Times seem confident that the whistleblower complaint involves Ukraine. Yet Trump is suggesting that he might allow the release of a transcript of "the" phone call with the Ukrainian president (whether or not he will is another question). https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/462520-trump-says-he-will-consider-releasing-transcript-of-ukraine-cal It also seems a little odd that the administration would go to such lengths to hide the whistleblower complaint when the questions about Trump pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden's son are not new. So I'm still suspicious Putin's in there someplace and the reporters may be chasing the wrong shadows, or only part of the equation, regarding Ukraine. Especially when you consider everything Putin's been up to secretly in eastern Ukraine, plus his blatant annexation of Crimea, and that the whistleblower complaint seems to involve multiple things (multiple conversations?). I could be entirely wrong. I suppose we'll find out someday.



https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/462659-mcconnell-says-gop-intelligence-chairman-wants-to-hold-closed-door-briefing
Quote:
The Senate Intelligence Committee is trying to schedule a briefing for this week on a whistleblower complaint reportedly involving President Trump's action toward Ukraine.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) disclosed during a Senate floor speech on Monday that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has been working to get a closed-door meeting on the books for this week...

A GOP aide confirmed that Burr is working to set up a briefing for the panel with the intelligence community's inspector general and acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire...

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 24 Sep , 2019 3:20 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
Yes, Trump has weaponized the EPA. I guess they couldn't find a plausible way to go after San Francisco for pollution from its homeless problem, so it seems the federal government is trying for selective enforcement of highway funds distribution:
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/462748-trump-administration-threatens-to-withhold-californias-highway
Quote:
The Trump administration is threatening to withhold highway funding from California for its air pollution--the latest move in a political showdown as the state fights to keep tougher vehicle emissions standards.

Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has rolled back the tougher standards California is fighting to keep, spurring a lawsuit from California and 23 other states on Friday.

In a letter to California leaders, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told the state owes the agency an urgent turnaround on a backlog of air pollution plans.

“Since the 1970s, California has failed to carry out its most basic tasks under the Clean Air Act. California has the worst air quality in the United States,” Wheeler wrote, saying the state has 34 million resident breathing air that does not meet National Ambient Air Quality standards. ...

Wheeler said the state has 130 outdated plans across various regions, some of which date back decades. He gave the state until October 10 to respond, nodding to withholding federal highway funds...

Wheeler had better be planning to send the same letter to every other state that doesn't have recent plans on file...

but I doubt very much that he is. At least not to GOP-controlled states.





Finally!
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/462829-schiff-says-whistleblower-wants-to-speak-to-house-intel-panel
Quote:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that the whistleblower who reportedly first raised alarm about President Trump’s conversations with the Ukraine’s leader, wants to speak to the panel, and that they are expecting the whistleblower’s testimony "as soon as this week."

“We have been informed by the whistleblower’s counsel that their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the Acting [director of national intelligence] DNI as to how to do so,” Schiff tweeted. “We‘re in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower’s testimony as soon as this week.”...
Provided there isn't more obstruction from the Trump administration, I presume.

Related:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/462822-trump-says-he-has-authorized-release-of-ukraine-call
Quote:
"I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine," Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon while at the United Nations General Assembly in New York....

Notably, this is one call, when there may have been more than one. Also, someone claimed there's no such thing as a transcript of a presidential call. There are apparently readouts, which are notes people take but write in a tactful way to avoid embarrassment to the president. Someone else mentioned there may be tapes of the calls. I have no idea which is true.

Rumors also say Nancy Pelosi will announce a formal impeachment inquiry this afternoon. She's careful about what she says, so I expect it's true.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-powers-does-formal-impeachment-inquiry-give-house
Quote:
What Powers Does a Formal Impeachment Inquiry Give the House?
Quote:
Several experts have argued that the House might have a stronger legal position in disputes with the executive branch over information and witness appearances if it were undertaking impeachment proceedings rather than investigations. ...Others are more skeptical—like Alan Baron, a former attorney for the House judiciary committee on four judicial impeachments, who has cautioned that impeachment proceedings don’t “make all the problems go away.” Certainly—as was suggested during our conversation on the Lawfare podcast last month—we would expect members to ask different kinds of questions during hearings if the goal is to establish a case for impeachment than if they are doing more general investigative work. But that is a separate issue from whether impeachment proceedings would meaningfully change the process members can use to obtain information in committee, the kind of material the committee could obtain and the speed at which the committee would be likely to obtain it. The answer to all these questions is: It depends.

While several House committees are engaged in oversight work that could bear on an impeachment inquiry, the House judiciary committee, which would conduct impeachment hearings, will be our focus here. Historically, the initiation of impeachment proceedings has had implications for the way the judiciary committee obtains relevant material. But broader changes in congressional rules and procedures in recent years mean that today’s judiciary committee may not need the same kind of special powers it was granted as part of previous impeachment inquiries...

Impeachment proceedings may also give the judiciary committee a stronger case for obtaining certain materials protected from disclosure by statute, like the grand jury materials from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation...

There are also important questions about whether impeachment proceedings would produce compliance with congressional subpoenas—by either the executive branch or the courts. The White House’s principal justification for its current stonewalling strategy for ongoing House investigations would not be relevant in the context of impeachment.... Beyond the substance, it’s unclear whether courts would consider and decide such cases more quickly in the context of impeachment proceedings than similar cases pursued under the Congress’s investigative authority. ...

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 25 Sep , 2019 4:24 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
Seriously, does the Trump administration have to break everything?
https://thehill.com/policy/international/462938-nearly-150-countries-meet-to-discuss-us-plans-to-exit-international
Quote:
Delegates from nearly 150 countries met Tuesday to try to prevent a potential massive disruption to the international postal service if President Trump pulls out of a United Nations agency that governs global postal rates, The New York Times reported...

The U.S. has threatened to leave the Universal Postal Union (UPU) over frustration with discounts that allow China and some other nations to ship products into the U.S. at cheaper rates than American companies receive to ship domestically.

The fees for Chinese packages, which have been in place since 1969, were modified and partly raised in 2016, but the administration has argued the changes did not go far enough...
Trump's trade advisor Peter Navarro has his fingers all over this one. IMO, he has a real obsession with China that goes way beyond the valid criticisms of its trade policies.




EDIT:

Watergate 2.0, here we go?
https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/463047-acting-director-of-national-intelligence-threatened-to-resign-if
Quote:
The acting director of national intelligence (DNI) reportedly threatened to resign if President Trump sought to block his testimony before Congress regarding the Ukraine scandal that has led to a formal impeachment inquiry in the House.

Acting DNI Joseph Maguire threatened to step down on the eve of his slated testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

Maguire reportedly told the White House that he was unwilling to withhold information from Congress, forcing the administration to make a decision on whether or not it would exert executive privilege over the whistleblower complaint at the center of the impeachment inquiry...



Except...
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/463038-wapost-pelosi-focused-on-narrow-impeachment-probe-on-ukraine
Quote:
House Democratic leaders emerged from a meeting Wednesday with a general consensus on framing the impeachment inquiry around President Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine's president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, according to The Washington Post.

The Post reported that while no firm decisions were made at the meeting, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged her colleagues to focus on the president's dealings with Ukraine for the sake of messaging during the leadership gathering.
I swear, the Democrats are great at pulling defeat out of victory. This is their perfect opportunity to publicize and investigate all those incidents of obstruction of justice Mueller listed for them, which would of course reinforce Trump's general corruption, and what does Pelosi do? I'm starting to think she's being very, very nice to Trump. And I wish I knew why.



And this is just funny. Competent help is just so hard to get these days. :D
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/463013-white-house-inadvertently-sends-ukraine-talking-points-to-democrats
Quote:
The White House on Wednesday inadvertently sent out its GOP talking points on President Trump's Ukrainian phone call to House Democrats.

Aaron Fritschner, the communications director for Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), said that "numerous Dem colleagues" received the email at 11:22 a.m., followed by a White House request to recall the email at 12:02 p.m. Fritschner said Beyer's office doesn't do email recalls.

The administration's snafu on the talking points for Republicans, which were quickly shared online, was also confirmed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) office.

The talking points followed the White House's release of a partial transcript of a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky...

Interesting that it's just a partial transcript now. I wonder why. There is also information that Trump wanted the Acting DNI to release only a partial whistleblower report. This is starting to look pretty damning for Trump. Seems he's going to give a national speech at 4pm. I'd watch out of morbid curiosity, but looking at him just makes me gag.


btw, Acting DNI Maguire denies that he threatened to resign unless the full report was released. The trouble is, this administration has been lie after lie after lie, and Trump has done nothing but obstruct. So I find it much easier to believe Trump tried to suppress something and Maguire had a modicum of integrity (or self-preservation), than that all of it was a lie.






And there's more interesting news, when you juxtapose these stories. Seems Zelensky didn't expect to be caught in a lie:
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/09/impeachment-testing-trumps-focus-unga/598801/
Quote:
When the press asked Trump about the call today, he complained about “corrupt reporting,” and denied that he had applied any pressure. By mid-afternoon, Trump was sitting side by side with Zelensky. What was supposed to be a routine photo opportunity turned into a joint news conference of sorts. Speaking in English, the Ukrainian leader, a onetime comedian and actor, said that he hadn’t felt pressured by Trump to look into the Biden family.

“It was normal; we spoke about many things,” Zelensky said. “So I think, and you read, that nobody pushed me.”

Trump jumped in: “In other words, no pressure.”

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463073-ukraine-president-says-he-thought-only-trumps-side-of-conversation
Quote:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that he though only President Trump's side of a call between the two leaders would be published, Reuters reported.

“I personally think that sometimes such calls between presidents of independent countries should not be published,” Zelensky told Ukrainian media in a briefing in New York that was broadcast in Ukraine, according to Reuters.

“I just thought that they would publish their part.”



This is going to infuriate and scare Trump :
https://thehill.com/homenews/media/463069-fox-news-shep-smith-defends-napolitano-for-saying-trump-already-committed-a
Quote:
Fox News host Shepard Smith on Wednesday defended his colleague Judge Andrew Napolitano over his assessment that President Trump committed a crime by asking the leader of Ukraine to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son. ...

"Last night on this network, a partisan guest who supports President Trump was asked about Judge Napolitano’s legal assessment. And when he was asked, he said, unchallenged, Judge Napolitano is a fool," Smith said, referring to remarks conservative commentator and former federal prosecutor Joseph diGenova made on "Tucker Carlson Tonight." "Attacking our colleague, who’s here to offer legal assessments on our air, in our work home, is repugnant."

Smith, who hasn't shied from voicing criticism of the president, went on to cite a cadre of legal experts who shared Napolitano's views. The opinions came from a range of criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors who Smith says told him that Trump's request likely violated campaign finance law. ..




https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/462983-senate-again-votes-to-end-trump-emergency-declaration-on-border-wall
Quote:
The Senate again voted on Wednesday to end President Trump’s emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border wall, paving the way for a veto showdown with the White House.

Senators voted 54-41 on a resolution to end the declaration, which Trump used to shift billions of dollars from the military toward wall construction.

Under the National Emergencies Act, a resolution ending the declaration needed only a simple majority to clear the Senate, making it likely to be approved. But underscoring the broad swath of concern about Trump’s actions among the Senate GOP caucus, 11 Republican senators voted to nix the declaration...

Who was it who said that, in the end, there will be no one left but Hannity, sitting in a corner saying quietly "He was a great man.."?

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 26 Sep , 2019 12:15 am 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
Whew, this thing has tentacles.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463117-the-memo-trump-troubles-deepen-amid-ukraine-storm
Quote:
...Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president was far more problematic. Far from being exculpatory, as Trump had previously suggested, it gave new fuel to the impeachment effort.

It showed Trump pressing the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, currently the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. It suggested Trump had explicitly pressed the foreign government for a “favor.” And it showed Trump suggesting Zelensky should work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the attorney general, Bill Barr, in the efforts to excavate dirt on Biden and his son Hunter.

The final allegation was a new one and prompted a quick statement from the Department of Justice. Spokesperson Kerri Kupac asserted that Barr was not informed of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky until “several weeks after the call took place.”

Kupac added: “The President has not spoken with the Attorney General about having Ukraine investigate anything relating to former Vice President Biden or his son. 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.”...

Right. Trump just happened to mention Guiliani and Barr in particular, without being sure they would cooperate? I guess this also explains why Guiliani has been melting down in interviews the last few days.


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463107-zelensky-adviser-ukraine-understood-discussing-biden-was-condition
Quote:
An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “it was clear” to Ukrainian officials that President Trump would communicate with them only if they agreed to discuss former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, according to ABC News.

"It was clear that Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case," Zelensky advisor Serhiy Leshchenko, an anti-corruption advocate and former member of Ukraine's parliament, told the outlet. "This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood."...




I was wrong - no signs of Putin being involved, at this stage. (beyond the ongoing threat to Ukraine, including Putin's meddling in the eastern regions, that's behind the military assistance from the US. )
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463099-whistleblower-complaint-concerns-trump-communications-with-ukraine
Quote:
Whistleblower complaint concerns Trump communications with Ukraine [sic] leader


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463103-furor-grows-after-white-house-releases-readout-of-trump-call
Quote:
The Justice Department also said Wednesday that it received a referral related to the whistleblower complaint that cited Trump’s call with Zelensky as a potential violation of federal campaign finance law. The Justice Department reviewed the record of the call but declined to further investigate after determining there was no such violation, Kupec, the Justice Department spokeswoman, said.




https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/463100-gop-senator-on-whistleblower-complaint-theres-obviously-lots-thats-very
Quote:
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said Wednesday... “Republicans ought not to be rushing to circle the wagons to say there’s no there there when there’s obviously lots that’s very troubling there,” ... “The administration ought not be attacking the whistleblower as some talking points suggest they plan to do.”
Not to mention that this plan is likely to backfire when you accidentally sent it to the Democrats already. ;)
Quote:
“The media humbly should not pretend that this story is about something that’s going to be resolved in the next two hours,” he added. “Done right with lots of deliberation, this is going to take a lot of time, but there’s obviously some really troubling things here.”


https://thehill.com/homenews/house/463105-gop-house-intel-member-says-whistleblower-complaint-should-be-made-public
Quote:
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the confidential whistleblower complaint concerning Trump's interactions with the leader of Ukraine should be made public immediately.

Stefanik, who said she does not support impeachment, tweeted her call for the complaint to be released on behalf of "transparency" after reviewing it Wednesday along with House and Senate Intelligence committee members.

...Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he was "even more worried" after reading the report. Schumer also called for the complaint to be declassified and released to the public.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 26 Sep , 2019 2:06 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
I was wrong. It seems the EPA is also pursuing Trump's vendetta against California along the lines he suggested earlier:
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/463157-trump-admin-challenges-california-for-failure-to-address-human
Quote:
A Sept. 26 letter from Environmental Protection Agency head Andrew Wheeler to California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) outlines what EPA calls “significant public health concerns” and “deficiencies” in California’s air and water quality.

The letter, in particular, focuses on the state’s homelessness issues in Los Angeles and San Francisco citing articles on human feces on streets and warning of potential water quality concerns.... San Francisco, Los Angeles and the state do not appear to be acting with urgency to mitigate the risks to human health and the environment that may result from the homelessness crisis,” the letter reads.

The effort is the latest in a series of multi-pronged blows from the Trump Administration to California focused on flipping the script on the state's environmental leadership.

It's the second warning sent this week from EPA to California criticizing the state's pollution. On Tuesday the agency sent a letter to California leaders threatening to withhold federal highway funds to the state over its air pollution...
There are, of course, issues with the homeless. Everyone realizes that. But this is clearly a political vendetta from the same agency that has relaxed standards for pollution everywhere else. And what exactly is it doing about some of the raw sewage in poverty-stricken areas in the South? https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/22/opinion/alabama-poverty-sewers.html It seems to me that places struggling with these health concerns need help, not threats.

Not to mention that this seems like issues for the CDC/public health departments, not EPA.





More about the US military sending people to Trump's golf resort in Scotland:
https://thehill.com/policy/international/463161-scottish-airport-highlighted-trump-resort-in-pitch-to-us-military-report
Quote:
Materials obtained by a Scottish newspaper revealed that the Trump Turnberry resort was part of an advertising effort headed by Glasgow Prestwick Airport as part of its efforts to win a contract from the U.S. military to refuel its planes.

In promotional materials reportedly handed out by airport staff at meetings with U.S. personnel during the negotiation process, airport staff boasted about recent renovations to the Trump Turnberry and highlighted how the resort and other nearby locations could house U.S. service members overnight.

...One source told the newspaper that the Turnberry was prominently featured in the materials as the top lodging choice for U.S. service members.

“It’s made very clear that Turnberry is the most attractive option, especially if you’re on a longer layover,” one source explained. “It’s as much a pitch for Trump Turnberry as it is the airport," the source said.





https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463139-whistleblower-complaint-accuses-trump-admin-of-pattern-of-obfuscation
Quote:
The whistleblower complaint at the center of a brewing controversy involving President Trump reportedly focuses largely on his contact with Ukrainian officials and alleges a pattern of obfuscation within the White House.

...In addition, the complaint alleges that White House officials moved records of some of Trump's contacts with foreign officials onto a separate computer network from which they're usually held, the source told the Post.

The whistleblower reportedly wrote in the complaint that officials did this after Trump's phone call with Zelensky. The source told the Post that the detail provoked the intelligence community inspector general to call for the White House to retain the records of the leaders' conversation.

I also think Barr should step aside until his role in this, if any, can be investigated. Regardless of the denials, Trump mentioning both him and Guiliani in the phone call as contact people for Ukraine is troubling. So is Barr's pattern of defending Trump (starting with his biased summary of the Mueller report, before it actually came out) and pursuing Trump's enemies with unusually severe punishments for misdeeds (McCabe). There's also the antitrust lawsuit the DOJ is pursuing against car manufacturers who agreed to meet California's auto emissions standards, which I've mentioned before. https://thehill.com/policy/transportation/463127-trump-doj-under-fire-over-automaker-probe

It seems Pence is going down with the ship:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463119-pence-trump-has-been-completely-vindicated-with-ukraine-call
Quote:
Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that President Trump has been “completely vindicated” by the released transcript of his call with Ukraine’s president.

“The president did nothing wrong,” Pence told Fox News’ Lou Dobbs in an exclusive interview that aired Wednesday night. “He had a conversation with a world leader [and] spoke about issues that were appropriate issues related to our strong relationship with Ukraine, and it was nothing more than that.”
Makes me wonder what his role in this might have been. Or is he just being a sycophant?


Highlighting a couple of GOP members of Congress who put country over party. I'm disappointed but not surprised to see that many of the others are going to back Trump even in this. They got in bed with a crook and they're going to stick with him. :
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/463179-house-gop-lawmaker-trump-conversation-with-ukraine-leader-not-okay
Quote:
Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Thursday that President Trump's conversation with Ukraine's leader, during which Trump urged him to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, was "not okay."

Turner openly criticized Trump as he began his questioning of acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire at a House Intelligence Committee hearing concerning a whistleblower complaint about Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky...


https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/463167-gop-lawmaker-a-lot-in-the-whistleblower-complaint-is-concerning
Quote:
Rep. Will Hurd (Texas) on Thursday became the first GOP member of the House Intelligence Committee to say the allegations in the whistleblower complaint against President Trump should be further investigated.

Hurd, a former CIA officer, also called for hearing directly from the whistleblower who made the complaint that Trump pressured Ukraine's leader to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

"There is a lot in the whistleblower complaint that is concerning. We need to fully investigate all of the allegations addressed in the letter, and the first step is to talk to the whistleblower," tweeted Hurd, who is not seeking reelection in a swing district carried by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Hurd's comments were in stark contrast to most Republicans on the Intelligence Committee, many of whom have downplayed the allegations and dismissed the notion that they warranted Trump's impeachment....




As good a summary of the issues as any I've seen:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/whistle-blower-report-trump/598870/
Quote:
President Donald Trump and many of his aides engaged in a months-long effort to strong-arm the Ukrainian government into discrediting his political rivals, then worked extensively to cover up the evidence of their wrongdoing, according to a whistle-blower complaint released Thursday.

The document shows that a huge range of officials throughout the executive branch were aware of Trump’s pressure on Ukraine. Their reported efforts to keep the president’s behavior under wraps confirm that many of them also realized it was improper.....

Not all of the complaint has been substantiated, though the inspector general for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessed it, conducted additional interviews, and found it credible. Much of the report’s value, however, comes in its careful and thorough collation of information that has long been public and acknowledged by the president or his aides.

The whistleblower was not a direct witness to the events, but became aware of them from multiple officials as part of his work, suggesting that troubled aides brought their concerns to him or her...

There are many reasons the whistle-blower complaint is deeply damaging to the Trump White House, but one of the biggest is the sheer number of officials who were involved. According to the report, multiple officials in the White House, including both national-security staffers and lawyers, were aware of both the pressure campaign against Ukraine and the efforts to cover it up. So were State Department staffers...

This last point is something that not many seem to be focusing on. It makes sense, considering how Trump has long been filling positions with people based on a primary criterion of loyalty to himself. And firing those who aren't, or those who try to point out to him that what he wants to do is illegal, unethical or unwise.

In light of this, it's interesting that, a day or two ago, apparently Rudy Guiliani claimed that he was going to Ukraine on the direction of the State Department. I didn't see it but it seems he held up his cell phone as proof, in a weird sort of rant. Later, the State Dept denied it. I assumed this was just part of Guiliani's general meltdown and grasping at straws, but maybe I was wrong.


Edit: This gets even more interesting.
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/463227-pompeo-state-departments-ukraine-actions-entirely-appropriate
Quote:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended Thursday the State Department’s actions related to Ukraine as “entirely appropriate” amid an impeachment inquiry into President Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

“To the best of my knowledge from what I’ve seen so far, each of the actions that were undertaken by State Department officials was entirely appropriate and consistent with the objective that we’ve had,” Pompeo told reporters in New York.

Pompeo was also asked whether the claim from Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, that the State Department had enlisted him to talk to Ukrainian officials was true. Pompeo did not directly address Giuliani’s claim in his answer...
If he didn't categorically deny it, I know what I think, and it's not good.

Trump is, of course, ranting and raving (apparently he seemed subdued yesterday in his press conference but has now reverted to type). One report from The Hill implies that he wishes he could execute the whistleblower for treason:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463226-trump-said-white-house-official-who-gave-whistleblower-info-is-close
Quote:
“I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information? Because that’s close to a spy,” he continued. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
Let's hope the whistleblower stays anonymous and/or has good protection, because some avid and mentally imbalanced Trump supporter might try to do it for him. We've seen such people already.




Speaking of which:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/26/us/politics/who-is-whistleblower.html
Quote:
The whistle-blower who revealed that President Trump sought foreign help for his re-election and that the White House sought to cover it up is a C.I.A. officer who was detailed to work at the White House at one point, according to three people familiar with his identity.

The man has since returned to the C.I.A., the people said. Little else is known about him. His complaint made public Thursday suggested he was an analyst by training and made clear he was steeped in details of American foreign policy toward Europe, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of Ukrainian politics and at least some knowledge of the law.

The whistle-blower’s expertise will likely add to lawmakers’ confidence about the merits of his complaint, and tamp down allegations that he might have misunderstood what he learned about Mr. Trump....

Lawyers for the whistle-blower refused to confirm that he worked for the C.I.A. and said that publishing information about him was dangerous....
I'm not crazy about how the news media is handling some of this in their avid quest for scoops. I think the NY Times was reckless to publish so many details. This sort of thing will only discourage future whistleblowers.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Fri 27 Sep , 2019 4:15 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/09/26/ukraine-reacts-putin-is-loving-this/
Quote:
Ukraine Reacts: Trump’s Call Is Putin’s Victory
Quote:
For years, Ukrainian anti-corruption activists like Daria Kaleniuk looked to the United States for support in her country’s fight against graft and fake news. ...

But the release of a July 25 memo detailing a conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump and Zelensky has, for many Ukrainians, turned the United States from a model of good governance and truth into a dispiriting example of the very kind of corruption and disinformation they are battling.

“We have faced intimidation and manipulation in Ukraine for quite a long time. Now this is happening at the highest possible level of the United States, where the personal lawyer of the president of the United States is carrying out speculation and manipulation,” said Kaleniuk, the executive director of Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Center, a Kyiv-based watchdog group. “Usually the United States [was] the key [ally] of Ukrainian civil society to stop political pressure into law enforcement investigations. But I am reading the transcript where the president of the United States is doing the contrary than what we were encouraged to do.”

The chief beneficiary of this behavior will be the Kremlin, say Ukrainian activists and Western officials involved with Ukraine. ..
Quote:
“Oh, Putin is loving this. It makes the Americans look unreliable and strengthens the hand of the Russians and the pro-Russians in the east,” said Alex Crowther of the National Defense University. “By withholding aid, you are injecting instability into an already unstable situation and strengthening the Russians.” ...
Quote:
Other reactions in Ukraine to the conversation between Trump and Zelensky ranged from confusion to disappointment to even a political opportunity. Some said the call did considerable damage to Zelensky in the opening months of his presidency, undermining his image as someone trying to defeat corruption. In response to Trump’s comments about the former prosecutor general and his request to investigate Biden, Zelensky offered support. “The next prosecutor general will be 100 percent my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September,” Zelensky told Trump, according to the memo. “He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned.”

“This ‘100 percent my person’ is the worst part for Ukraine,” said Liubov Tsybulska, the head of the Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group in Ukraine. “Zelensky triumphed with slogans about justice, about reforming the court, fighting corruption, and now it turns out the new prosecutor general is his puppet.” ...




As far as I know, this is the only source at the moment and the report has no detail. But it does make you wonder why they felt the need to say this publicly. And what else there is on the depository where the White House transferred the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. According to some reports, it was not the only call moved for political rather than national security reasons.
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/09/27/kremlin-says-it-doesnt-want-trump-putin-transcripts-to-be-made-public-a67477
Quote:
The Kremlin has said it hopes that discussions between President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump will remain secret following the scandal that erupted over Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s leader.

Transcripts from Trump and Putin’s face-to-face meetings have not been made public, with reports saying Trump has gone to “extraordinary lengths” to conceal them. ..

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Sat 28 Sep , 2019 4:45 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
It turns out that the letter from the EPA to California about water quality was even stupider than it appeared. I assumed it concerned fecal coliforms or something sane. Nope, the homeless are supposedly contributing arsenic, lead and copper to the water.
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/463439-water-experts-tell-trump-no-the-homeless-arent-hurting-california
Quote:
“No self respecting EPA scientist or regulatory staffer is going to claim there’s a direct connection between the homeless and the issues raised in that letter. It’s a pure political stunt,” said Steve Fleischli, senior director of water initiatives at the Natural Resources Defense Council, who knocked the EPA for various proposals to roll back water quality regulations...

“The EPA is aware of the growing homelessness crisis developing in major California cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the impact of this crisis on the environment,” the letter said, noting reports of “piles of human feces.” ... The letter then goes on to site exceedances in lead, arsenic and copper.

... Fleischli said. “It’s completely nonsensical.”

When asked by The Hill to further explain ties between homelessness and the state’s water quality issues, the EPA referred back to earlier statements contained in its letter that blamed California policy choices for the level of homelessness.

“It was a remarkably silly letter,” said Carl Reeverts, who retired from the EPA in 2014 after serving as deputy director of the drinking water protection division. “It was like a very smart summer intern was given the task to write this letter.”...




More news about Trump's Ukraine scandal. I'm starting to wonder if the GOP will have no recourse but to ask him to resign "for health reasons" soon, because the scope of this thing seems to be spreading fast.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463482-trump-told-russian-officials-in-2017-he-was-unconcerned-about-moscows
Quote:
President Trump reportedly told two senior Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting in 2017 that he was unconcerned about Moscow’s election interference the previous year, saying the U.S. did the same thing to other countries.

Three former officials with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post that Trump’s comments sparked alarm among White House staffers, prompting them to restrict access to the remarks to an unusually small number of people with the highest security clearances to prevent the conversation from being leaked.

The conversation took place at a now-infamous meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in which the president revealed highly classified information that exposed an intelligence source on ISIS, The Post reported....


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463473-white-house-sought-to-keep-trump-calls-with-putin-saudi-arabia-from
Quote:
The White House sought to limit access to conversations President Trump had with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to CNN.

A person familiar with the matter told the outlet that officials who would have ordinarily been given access to a rough transcript were not provided one and that a transcript was never circulated after the call with Mohammed was complete. The source told CNN the call did not contain sensitive national security interests.

Officials also tightly restricted access to a transcript for at least one of Trump’s conversations with Putin....


https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/463487-democratic-senator-presses-pompeo-on-ouster-of-former-us-ambassador
Quote:
Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.) ...sent a letter to Pompeo on Friday questioning State Department official's interactions with Ukraine, including demanding answers about the ouster of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in May....

The Associated Press reported that while Yovanovitch's resignation drew little attention when it happened earlier this year – with the State Department saying she was merely ending her term ahead of a scheduled exit – others in the diplomatic community were "appalled" by her removal.

The ambassador was mentioned in Trump's July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine that was integral to the start of a formal impeachment inquiry this week, with Trump telling the Ukrainian leader that Yovanovitch was "bad news" and "going to go through some things," according to a memo released by the White House....

I had actually wondered who was "going to go through some things" in the readout from that call. It sounded like a mob boss threat.


https://thehill.com/policy/international/europe/463470-special-envoy-for-ukraine-steps-down-report
Quote:
President Trump's Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker has stepped down from his post, days after revelations that Trump had pressed Ukraine's government to investigate Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden...

The whistleblower alleged that Volker visited Kiev with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and met with Zelensky and other political figures the day after the call and that readouts indicated they did so to “navigate” demands made by Trump.


This seems to be pure speculation by The Guardian, but they may be onto something:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/sep/27/dan-coats-dni-trump-firing-ukraine
Quote:
Three days after his now infamous phone conversation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Donald Trump abruptly fired his director of national intelligence in favour of an inexperienced political loyalist.

According to a New York Times report, the White House learned within days that the unorthodox call on 25 July with Zelenskiy had raised red flags among intelligence professionals and was likely to trigger an official complaint.

That timeline has raised new questions over the timing of the Trump’s dismissal by tweet of the director of national intelligence (DNI), Dan Coats, on 28 July and his insistence that the deputy DNI, Sue Gordon, a career intelligence professional, did not step into the role, even in an acting capacity.

Instead, Trump tried to install a Republican congressman, John Ratcliffe, who had minimal national security credentials but had been a fierce defender of the president in Congress. Trump had to drop the nomination after it emerged that Ratcliffe had exaggerated his national security credentials in his biography, wrongly claiming he had conducted prosecutions in terrorist financing cases.

Despite the collapse of the Ratcliffe nomination, Gordon was forced out. She was reported to have been holding a meeting on election security on 8 August when Coats interrupted to convince her that she would have to resign...






https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/463333-impeachment-investigation-should-focus-on-more-than-ukraine
Quote:
Impeachment investigation should focus on more than Ukraine
By James Pardew, opinion contributor
-James W. Pardew is a former US ambassador to Bulgaria and career Army intelligence officer. He has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO
Quote:
The newly released whistle-blower report is more broadly detailed and more alarming than the phone call transcript — implicating Attorney General Barr in the scheme to smear Biden.

Donald J. Trump as a champion of a legitimate anti-corruption campaign in Ukraine is about as realistic as my son’s Labrador Retriever becoming responsible for food security in the kitchen....

The level of naivety that Trump and his supporters expect from the American people is breathtaking....
Nevertheless, they seem to be getting it from some people IMO. I have been surprised by some of the people who have been burying their heads in the sand and sticking their fingers in their ears. Not to mention twisting themselves into pretzels trying to normalize Trump's behavior. Just because the media has sometimes gone overboard on manufacturing controversies or criticizing Trump for silly stuff like cofveve doesn't mean they're wrong now.
Quote:
Trump is a master of deflecting, obscuring and hiding the truth about his actions, and he gets Vladimir Putin’s help. As the internet is ablaze with Russian trolls attacking Trump’s opponents and defending Trump, the president, with the help of Attorney General Barr, blocks every legitimate attempt to get at Trump’s finances or to allow aides to testify openly before Congress. What is he so desperate to hide?

Robert Mueller exposed a massive Russian attack on American democracy in 2016. However, Mueller left a glaring, unexplainable, hole in his report by avoiding critical questions related to Trump’s financial relationship to Russia. I have been writing for months that no investigation of Trump is complete without following the money — especially the Russian money. Congress must give priority to the investigation into the details of this relationship...


https://thehill.com/policy/finance/463451-deutsche-bank-reveals-it-has-two-tax-returns-tied-to-trump-businesses
Quote:
Deutsche Bank revealed Friday that it has the tax returns of two individuals who are covered under subpoenas from House committees investigating President Trump's finances.

The bank made the disclosure in a court filing, shedding more light on one of the cases involving efforts to obtain information about Trump's tax returns and financial information.

The tax returns in Deutsche Bank's possession were redacted in a court filing to protect the names of the individuals involved, but the filing narrows down the list of possible candidates, acknowledging that they are individual tax returns and not for Trump corporations or businesses...



https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463454-trump-met-with-nra-chief-to-discuss-financial-support-report
Quote:
President Trump met Friday with National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre to discuss how the gun rights organization could possibly provide financial assistance to help defend the president as he faces a scandal, The New York Times reported Friday, citing two people familiar with the situation.

An administration official confirmed to The Hill that Trump and LaPierre met, but did not say what they discussed.

The Times reported that it was not clear who initiated the meeting, but that in it, LaPierre requested that the White House “stop the games” on gun control legislation.

Following mass shootings earlier this year, Trump has floated various possible gun legislation measures...
Some ties between the NRA and Russians have also come out lately.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Mon 30 Sep , 2019 1:11 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-lawyers-biden-digenova-toensing-ukraine-2019-9?r=US&IR=T
Quote:
"Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace said Sunday morning that top US officials confirmed President Donald Trump was working with more than one personal lawyer "off the books" to pressure Ukranian officials for damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden.

Wallace reported that in addition to his known personal lawyer, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has publicly admitted to his involvement in the matter, Trump has been working with the controversial legal team and married couple Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, who run a firm in Washington, D.C., to communicate with Ukraine. ...

Giuliani has denied working with any other lawyers in Ukraine dealings multiple times in Fox News appearances - a narrative that the network itself contradicts with these latest developments. ...

DiGenova and Toensing seem to have been pushing conspiracy theories for quite a while. DiGenova also seems to be calling for a civil war and suggested that Trump supporters buy guns to prepare for the conflict. And he was the person who called Fox news' legal analyst (Napolitano) a fool on air, for saying Trump committed a crime in the phone call with the Ukrainian president, just a a few days ago. I guess we now know why.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/29/us/politics/tom-bossert-trump-ukraine.htmlsmid=nytcore-ios-share
Quote:
Trump Was Repeatedly Warned That Ukraine Conspiracy Theory Was ‘Completely Debunked’
Quote:
President Trump was repeatedly warned by his own staff that the Ukraine conspiracy theory that he and his lawyer were pursuing was “completely debunked” long before the president pressed Ukraine this summer to investigate his Democratic rivals, a former top adviser said on Sunday.

Thomas P. Bossert, who served as Mr. Trump’s first homeland security adviser, said he told the president there was no basis to the theory that Ukraine, not Russia, intervened in the 2016 election and did so on behalf of the Democrats. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Bossert said he was “deeply disturbed” that Mr. Trump nonetheless tried to get Ukraine’s president to produce damaging information about Democrats...

Other former aides to Mr. Trump said on Sunday that he refused to accept reassurances about Ukraine no matter how many times it was explained to him, instead subscribing to an unsubstantiated narrative that has now brought him to the brink of impeachment....


Trump seems completely off the rails, the last few days, demanding to meet the whisteblower, saying he wants Schiff questioned for treason, and just generally tweeting like a some mad king. I suppose, for the first time in his life, he's facing the consequences of his actions and can't just have his staff and lawyers make it go away.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Tue 01 Oct , 2019 12:40 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463773-us-to-join-trump-lawsuit-over-ny-subpoena-for-tax-returns
Quote:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said on Monday that it would join a lawsuit filed by President Trump that aims to block a subpoena for his tax returns...

The move comes after the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office subpoenaed Trump for his tax returns and other documents dating back to 2011.

The district attorney’s office, led by Cyrus Vance, is also investigating the Trump Organization’s handling of hush money payments made to two women who claim that had affairs with Trump, though the president has denied both encounters.

Two weeks ago, Trump responded by suing the district attorney's office, arguing that criminally investigating a sitting president is "unconstitutional” and asking the judge to suspend the subpoena until he is no longer in office..



https://thehill.com/policy/international/asia-pacific/463709-trump-asked-australian-leader-to-help-look-into-mueller
Quote:
President Trump pressed the Australian prime minister to assist Attorney General William Barr obtain information about the Russia probe's origins in a recent phone call, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The White House has limited access to the transcript of the call between the two world leaders to a small group of presidential aids [sic], sources told the Times.

Echoing another call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which sparked an impeachment inquiry in the House last week, the conversation with Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly involves the president pressuring a foreign leader to look into domestic political matters. ...

The Australian government passed along the tip once George Papadopoulos – Trump's campaign foreign policy adviser – told an Australian official about Russia having access to damaging information on Clinton and "thousands" of her emails...
This was when Papadoulos got drunk and told this to an Australian official, who was alarmed enough to pass the information to US intelligence services. (as far as I know, it's one of the real origins of the Russia inquiry.)

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463726-barr-sought-help-from-foreign-intel-officials-for-inquiry-of-mueller
Quote:
Attorney General William Barr has requested assistance from foreign intelligence officials as part of a Department of Justice (DOJ) inquiry into U.S. intelligence agencies' probes of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the DOJ confirmed on Monday.

In private meetings, Barr personally sought help from these officials for an inquiry President Trump wanted to discredit the U.S. intelligence community's handling of the Russian probe, The Washington Post reported.

The Justice Department confirmed Barr's outreach, saying in a statement that U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is leading the DOJ’s inquiry, is "gathering information from numerous sources including a number of foreign countries."..
This is apparently NOT an investigation of Russian interference but the attempts to discredit those who investigated Russian interference/ Trump's ties to Putin.

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/463689-gop-senators-urge-barr-to-probe-clinton-ukraine
Quote:
Two GOP Senate chairmen are pushing the Justice Department to look into any ties between Ukraine and top Democrats amid the growing impeachment fight linked to President Trump's interactions with the country.

Republican Sens. Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa) sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking him to probe any ties to former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and pressing the Justice Department for any information it has received from Ukraine tied to former Vice President Joe Biden...
Ah, the loyal foot soldiers following the accidentally released talking points of deflection... :D No surprise, considering these two.


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463712-pompeo-took-part-in-trump-zelensky-call-report
Quote:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took part in the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that led to last week's impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

A senior State Department official told the Journal that Pompeo was among the administration officials who listened in on the call....
So, at a minimum, it looks like Pompeo was involved in the cover-up. I'm also very uneasy about the things coming out about the DOJ under Barr.

Another interesting thing, considering that Trump fired Bolton recently:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463683-bolton-opposed-trump-calling-ukraines-zelensky-report
Quote:
Former White House national security adviser John Bolton opposed the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the center of an impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats, NBC News reported Monday.

Three current and former administration officials told the network that Bolton was opposed to the call because he was concerned Trump wasn’t coordinating with advisers on what to say and might air personal grievances.

Officials reportedly noted that Bolton did not listen in on the call...
Much as I disagree with Bolton and want his policies far, far away from the government, I have to note that he had integrity and sense here.




https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/463724-advocate-for-selling-off-public-lands-will-remain-blms-acting
Quote:
A newly signed secretarial order means acting Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director William Pendley will stay in his position despite objections from lawmakers over his anti-government philosophy.

The order signed Monday by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt leaves Pendley in that position through Jan. 3.

Pendley is a controversial figure in conservation circles given his longtime advocacy for selling off public lands. His ethics pledge includes a 17-page recusal list that shows his ties with a number of industries that stand to benefit from greater access to public lands. ...“As the BLM considers a major reorganization, there is no reason for this effort to be led by an Acting Director who spent his career attempting to dismantle the agency,” the senators wrote, saying the role should go to someone who believes in multiple balanced uses of the agency...




https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/trumps-impeachment-plan-opposite-clintons/599095/
Quote:
Bill Clinton Had a Strategy. Trump Is Doing the Opposite.

During the Lewinsky scandal, Clinton focused on doing his job. Trump isn’t even pretending.
Quote:
Donald Trump may have no impeachment war room, but he does have an impeachment strategy. He deployed it this past weekend.

It’s the same strategy he brought to his presidential campaign, then to his presidency: all base, all the time. In 1998 and ’99, Bill Clinton directed his anti-impeachment messaging to voters who did not necessarily approve of him, but who feared impeachment as disruptive. Trump’s message is aimed only at his most all-in supporters, those who see him as a victim of plots and persecution by shadowy, unseen forces...

At this distance of 20 years, we can reconstruct what might be called “the Clinton rules”:

1. Don’t be defined by impeachment. ...

5. Never read the stage directions aloud. ..

Now contrast Trump’s approach.

1. Talk more about impeachment. In these precious first defining days, Trump has been raving nonstop against the whistle-blower, the House, and all his political foes—seen and unseen. His Twitter account is wholly obsessed with impeachment....

2. Show no contrition. Trump’s message is aggrieved victimhood...

3. Leave fingerprints everywhere. ..

4. Make no attempt at persuasion. Suppose you do not like Trump much, but do appreciate the prosperity of the past few years. This White House has nothing to say to you. Unless you are up-to-speed on conspiracy theories from Infowars or QAnon, you cannot even comprehend the president’s defense—much less believe it. ...

5. Read the stage directions aloud. On September 28, Rudy Giuliani tweeted a warning that impeachment of Trump would jeopardize “domestic tranquility.” The next day, President Trump warned that impeachment would “destabilize” the United States. Team Trump is ramping up threats of disorder and potential violence—even a “Civil War like fracture”—if the president is held to account, and sending those threats from its own return address. The intended message is: Removing these people might be dangerous. But what Team Trump is really communicating is: Leaving them where they are is definitely more dangerous...




EDIT:

I'm surprised this isn't getting more attention:
https://medium.com/@effdot/an-open-letter-to-american-journalists-its-not-a-transcript-and-yes-that-matters-654a49c4dcb8
Quote:
An Open Letter to American Journalists: It’s NOT a Transcript, and Yes, that matters.
Quote:
This morning, the Washington Post broke a story under their National Security header, “Trump offered Ukrainian president Justice Dept. help for Biden investigation, memo shows.” The opening of the piece says this:

President Trump told his Ukrainian counterpart to work with the U.S. attorney general to investigate the conduct of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and offered to meet with the foreign leader at the White House after he promised to conduct such an inquiry, according to a rough transcript of the call released Wednesday.

The link takes you to another link on the Washington Post’s website, which shows the document in question. Here’s a picture of the first page of the memorandum. It’s not called a transcript in the official documents. It’s called a “MEMORANDUM OF TELEPHONE CONVERSATION.”

If you look more closely, you can even see, in BOLD, a CAUTION at the bottom of the page that says, “ … A Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation (TELCON) is not a verbatim transcript of a discussion.”

In other words — this is NOT a Transcript. And yes, this matters, for the same reason that it mattered that Barr’s Memo was not the same thing as the Mueller Report, even though our political media treated these as equivalent when Barr’s Memo was released. When political media outlets accept Trump’s narrative and repeats their story, they’re doing the work of a PR agency for free....

There’s enough of a scandal here, but there’s a second scandal in political media that won’t get enough attention. Namely that, by calling the memo a transcript, and aligning with Trump’s narrative, it hides the fact that the memorandum itself appears to have been edited...

But look closely. Did you see the ellipses in the transcript? Why would someone include those in a summary paragraph, if the document isn’t a transcript? ...
Someone who seems to have knowledge of such matters said that classified information is supposed to be blacked out, with an explanation of why it was deleted. They think the ellipses contain damaging information that was removed, rather than classified info. If this is true, it's going to be a big deal. Not to mention pointing to some shoddy journalism in the the race to be the first to get something in print.




https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/fbi/463870-judge-tells-justice-dept-to-charge-mccabe-or-drop-investigation
Quote:
A judge told federal prosecutors on Monday that they needed to charge former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe or stop investigating whether he lied to authorities.

Judge Reggie B. Walton said at a hearing that if prosecutors don't make a decision by Nov. 15, he would order the Justice Department to release internal FBI documents connected to McCabe's ouster, The Washington Post reported, citing a court transcript. ..

The comments came after Justice Department lawyers spoke to Walton about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for documents on the FBI's probe of McCabe, according to The Post. The government has reportedly said it would not release the documents due to their potential effect on law enforcement actions.

The FOIA suit was brought by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)...CREW lawyer Anne L. Weismann sad during the hearing that the delays look like a "mad effort to find some way to indict Mr. McCabe to appease the president." “We’re in dark times where there’s growing evidence that the president aided by the attorney general is using the power of his office to go after perceived political enemies. He’s going after the intelligence community. He’s going after the law enforcement community,” Weismann said.

“I totally appreciate what you just said and share many of the same concerns,” Walton responded...
btw, this judge was appointed by Bush. Trump supporters can't play their usual idiotic game of "but Obama appointed him."


https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article235501772.html
Quote:
Meet the Soviet-born businessmen tangled in Trump’s impeachment inquiry. They live in Florida.
Quote:
Two South Florida businessmen from the former Soviet Union could find themselves dragged into an impeachment inquiry targeting President Donald Trump over their political activities in Ukraine.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were cited — although not by name — in a government whistleblower complaint released Thursday alleging improper behavior by the president. Parnas and Fruman helped introduce Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, into top Ukrainian political circles, according to widespread media accounts...

“The connections and associates which Giuliani had on President Trump’s behalf in Ukraine ... those really should be the heart of the investigative process,” said Kenneth F. McCallion, a former federal prosecutor and attorney for former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko in the United States.

Reached on his cellphone Thursday, Parnas called the impeachment inquiry a “soap opera” and defended Trump....

Parnas’ and Fruman’s newfound political prominence, including major donations to GOP candidates, belies a history of financial troubles...

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 02 Oct , 2019 2:28 am 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/state-dept-inspector-general-expected-urgent-ukraine-briefing/story?id=65991911
Quote:
The State Department’s inspector general is expected to give an "urgent" briefing to staffers from several House and Senate committees on Wednesday afternoon about documents obtained from the department’s Office of the Legal Adviser related to the State Department and Ukraine, sources familiar with the planned briefing told ABC News.

Details of the briefing, requested by Steve Linick, the inspector general at State, remain unknown. Linick is expected to meet with congressional staff in a secure location on Capitol Hill...


https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463926-state-dept-inspector-general-expected-to-brief-congressional
Quote:
State Dept. watchdog expected to brief congressional panels on Ukraine: reports




https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463943-trump-likens-impeachment-inquiry-to-a-coup
Quote:
"As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP," Trump tweeted.

The president wrote that the investigation into his alleged abuse of power is "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!"...
Non compos mentis.



https://thehill.com/homenews/house/463951-gop-lawmaker-pushes-back-against-trumps-attack-on-whistleblower
Quote:
Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.), a member of House Republican leadership, pushed back against President Trump on Tuesday after the president tweeted criticism of the whistleblower at the center of the Ukraine probe.

“Whistleblowers are protected by law, even if we don't necessarily like what they say. We must respect that law,” the Michigan Republican tweeted at Trump.

His comment came in response to a tweet from the president that questioned the credibility of the whistleblower and called for his identity to be revealed....
Mitchell is one of the many GOP members of Congress that have announced they're not running for reelection. This may have freed them to find a backbone.



Interesting - for once Trump seems to have made the right choice:
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/10/article/saudi-crown-prince-changes-tune-on-war-with-iran/
Quote:
Left hanging by Trump, MBS changes tune on Iran
Quote:
Saudi Arabia’s 33-year-old crown prince, two years after ruling out dialogue with his Shiite rival and threatening to make war inside Iran, has changed his tune.

“The political and peaceful solution is much better than the military one,” Mohammad bin Salman told the Columbia Broadcasting System’s 60 Minutes in an interview on Sunday.

The crown prince added that a recent ceasefire announced by the Houthis, the Iranian-backed rebels on his southern border, was a positive move that could pave the way for engagement....

Of course, the trouble with always using the same move - disengage with other countries - is that it backfires as often as it's helpful. Ukraine seems to be moving toward accepting Putin's de facto control of its eastern regions.



Perdue doesn't seem to be doing helping Trump with farmers:
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463955-trump-agriculture-chief-no-guarantee-small-farms-can-survive
Quote:
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Tuesday in Wisconsin that he’s unsure if small family dairy farms can survive as larger institutions continue to boom.

“In America, the big get bigger and the small go out,” Perdue told reporters after appearing at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, according to The Associated Press. “I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.”...
From some things I've read, one reason farmers voted for Trump is that they felt betrayed by the Obama administration - small farmers hoped for help, but President Obama's policies favored big agribusiness corporations. Now the Trump administration seems to be going down the same route. Even if he manages to hang on to the presidency somehow (I suspect he won't - things are getting too hot and the GOP seems to be starting to turn), this doesn't bode well for his reelection.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Wed 02 Oct , 2019 10:10 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 1827
That "urgent" meeting called by the State Dept's IG? It was apparently to spread the Trump administration's disinformation and propaganda defending Dear Leader:
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/464124-dems-say-state-watchdog-gave-us-packet-of-propaganda
Quote:
Democrats say the State Department watchdog used a closed-door briefing on Wednesday to give them "conspiracy theories" tied to Ukraine, former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and former Vice President Biden.

"It's essentially a packet of propaganda, and disinformation and spreading conspiracy theories. Those conspiracy theories have been widely debunked and discredited," Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told reporters after an hour-long briefing with State Department inspector general Steve Linick...

Are we living in the US or the Soviet Union? I'm starting to wonder.

What bothers me the most is that the IG was involved in this as well. If you can't trust them, who can you trust?
- Edit: I was probably being unfair with that comment. It seems the material also contained emails from the State Department that called them out as “false narratives.” (Here's the conspiracy theory, and here's the email telling you it's nonsense. Huh?) The IG refused to answer any questions. Sounds like an edict might have come down from the mad king and had to be followed. I did think it was funny the materials were in Trump Hotel folders.


Speaking of insanity, Trump has decided to impose 25% tariffs on European wine, cheese, Scotch whiskey, sweaters, etc. in retaliation for EU subsidies on planes (Airbus). The tariffs are legitimate, in a sense - they follow a World Trade Organization ruling in a case the U.S. won about Airbus.* But who the hell would impose tariffs on food, in this situation? He's loony.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-wto-aircraft-drink-food/us-hits-scotch-whisky-italian-cheese-french-wine-with-25-tariffs-idUSKBN1WH2G7

(and damn. I suppose I'd better make lebkuchen this year because I'm not buying them at a 25% markup. Luckily, I still have a packet of wafers for making them. I'd hate to be one of the small businesses that deal in imported foods right now.)

*Edit: I should probably mention that a) It seems the Bush administration started this case in 2004 and it was continued by the Obama admin before being continued by the Trump admin, and b) The EU apparently has a similar case against Boeing, to be decided next year - oops, I was wrong, already decided in the EU's favor. So, if they like, we can just go ahead and shoot each other in the foot.

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


Last edited by aninkling on Thu 03 Oct , 2019 4:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 03 Oct , 2019 12:30 am 
Aspiring to heresy
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Location: Canada
aninkling wrote:
Scotch whiskey

Ahem. Scotch whisky or Irish whiskey. What you're describing is some weird hybrid. :P

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 Post subject: Re: You've been Trumped!
PostPosted: Thu 03 Oct , 2019 12:33 pm 

Joined: Fri 10 Aug , 2012 4:42 pm
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:D Sorry. Out of curiosity, why the difference in spelling? DH is more of a bourbon drinker and I don't like any of them except in Irish coffee (which is probably sacrilege to some).

In any case, I suppose you should prepare for a lot of thirsty American tourists at your liquor stores. :)





Now it seems VP Pence was in on it. (I guess Trump's earlier comments about "ask Pence," which I ignored, were not just him flailing for legitimacy.) I thought Pence had more brains than this and would have kept himself clean. No wonder the Republicans are in such a panic. :
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/464145-top-pence-adviser-was-on-trump-zelensky-phone-call-at-center-of
Quote:
The Post reported Wednesday that current and former U.S. officials said a top Pence adviser was on the July 25 call during which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's dealings in Ukraine.

Pence should have had access to a transcript of the call within hours, officials told the paper.

White House officials told the Post the vice president likely would have received detailed notes from the call in his briefing book a day later and that the document should have been part of the briefing materials he took to prepare for a meeting in Warsaw with Zelensky on Sept 1.

Officials close to Pence told the Post the vice president traveled to Poland for the meeting without having read or fully registered the transcript of the call. Officials close to Pence also insist the vice president was unaware of Trump’s push for Ukraine to investigate Biden, a leading 2020 candidate, the Post reported....
And no wonder Trump is panicking. If he's impeached, he would be counting on Pence to pardon him. Pelosi (she's next in line) probably would too "for the good of the country" (i.e., we can't let people know the details about our dirty politicians), but I'm sure he's afraid she wouldn't. People like Trump never expect anyone to do anything that wouldn't benefit them personally.



https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/464151-giuliani-consulted-with-manafort-on-ukraine-info-report
Quote:
Rudy Giuliani contacted President Trump's imprisoned former campaign chairman Paul Manafort through the federal prison's lawyer several times in recent months, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The paper reported that Giuliani contacted Manafort for information about Giuliani's theory that Ukraine supported Hillary Clinton in her unsuccessful 2016 presidential race against President Trump.


I already mentioned part of this (the Southern District US Attorney) but now Barr is more prominently involved. I was already sure he was, behind the scenes, when the Southern District joined Trump's lawsuit. Though the DOJ seems to be pursuing a different approach than Trump's own lawyers, who argue that criminally investigating a sitting president is "unconstitutional.” I suppose Barr knew that argument wouldn't fly, so he came up with a different tack.*
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/464139-doj-joins-trumps-side-in-ny-tax-return-subpoena-fight
Quote:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday intervened in President Trump's lawsuit over New York prosecutors' subpoena for his tax returns.

Government lawyers agreed with Trump's personal lawyers that the case belongs in federal court and argued that Trump should receive temporary relief as needed....

The filing was submitted by top lawyers in the Justice Department's civil division as well as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman.
Seriously, what is in these returns, that Trump and his supporters fear their release so much?!


*I expect Barr is quite experienced at this stuff after Iran-Contra.
https://www.npr.org/2019/03/24/706206090/who-is-attorney-general-william-barr

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/171025



https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/464165-giuliani-mocked-in-anonymous-nyc-subway-ad-need-a-lawyer-call
Quote:
A satirical advertisement that says "Need A Lawyer? Call Crazy Rudy" has been spotted on a New York City subway train. ..

A photo of the blue-banner shows Giuliani alongside a list of legal services, which include "back-channel deals" and "cable news appearances." The ad also declares that Giuliani "has no shame" and "will work for free!"..





And it seems the GOP leadership is more concerned about protecting Trump and "messaging" than finding out the truth.
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/464153-house-republicans-voice-messaging-concerns
Quote:
House Republicans are expressing frustration with how the White House is handling the Democratic charge on impeachment.

They say the administration has suffered from an ineffective, inconsistent message with some going as far as questioning whether the White House has a plan at all for taking on the Democrats.

“Who knows what playbook they are on,” one GOP lawmaker told The Hill. “[Trump’s] pulling it out of his ass as he goes along.”

Senior staffers say members have privately taken issue with the lack of central coordination on a plan, even as most Republicans have avoided publicly criticizing Trump or the White House...

The House Republican Conference is regularly sending members readouts to keep them informed on the latest developments and news. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) office is providing lawmakers with daily guidance emails filled with rhetoric pushing back against Democrats talking points.
Someone who hates Trump but is/was a Republican says he's now getting emails 5 times a day from the Trump campaign. I think they may also be telling people to put out pro-Trump signs because DH and I have been scratching our heads over the ridiculously premature Trump2020 signs in some people's yards. The interesting thing, to me, is that these signs are very few and far between though this area leans Republican. (likewise, I've never seen a MAGA hat on anyone, though there's one T-shirt shop that has gone all-out for Trump with huge displays of pro-Trump T-shirts, often with offensive, nasty messages. I suppose if they want to turn off half their customers, that's their prerogative, but I think they're fools. You rarely see people browsing in there since they started displaying their nastier pro-Trump T-shirts so prominently. )

Another interesting thing I noticed this morning is that there are fewer American flags. Flying the flag year-round has become the tactful and/or deniable way to show your support for Trump. Maybe 5% of the households in our neighborhood fly it, though it's tough to tell how many are Trump supporters and how many always had a flag and just don't want to let him take over this particular symbol. When the news about Ukraine broke, these people all kept their flags up and a noticeable number joined them. Today, at least 30-40% of the flags were gone. One guy used to have his yard and house plastered with American flags, big and small, to the point where I used to chuckle at it. Today there wasn't a single one. (On the other hand, a couple of households exchanged the normal US flag for supersized ones that come within a few feet of the ground. I think we can all guess who they support. :D )



Speaking of messaging.
https://thehill.com/homenews/house/464148-new-york-times-reporter-fact-checks-mccarthy-on-claim-he-reported-schiff
Quote:
A New York Times reporter fact-checked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Twitter ...

“Chairman Adam Schiff just got caught orchestrating with the whistleblower before the complaint was ever filed. Democrats have rigged this process from the start,” McCarthy tweeted Wednesday, linking to an article co-authored by reporter Matthew Rosenberg.

“Nope. Not what the NYT reported. The whistleblower went to an intel committee staffer with a vague account of the complaint, and was told to file through proper channels,” Rosenberg tweeted in response.

The Trump loyalists are in an absolute frenzy, if you follow political messageboards, though their approaches are all over the place and often bizarre.



And this is just a random thought, but I've always wondered why the Panama Papers scandal didn't make bigger waves in the U.S. I just looked it up, though, and it seems the first people are being charged in the US. I can't help wondering if Trump was involved. He's clearly afraid of people looking into his finances.
https://www.icij.org/investigations/panama-papers/

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. ― Voltaire


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