And the public impeachment inquiry begins

[Note: As quite a bit of the public impeachment inquiry has repeated information from the part behind the closed doors, I will try not to repeat the news.]

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff made clear that the Ukraine whistleblower won’t be testifying in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry, arguing that the individual’s testimony would be “redundant and unnecessary.” House Republicans earlier Saturday had submitted a list of witnesses they’d like to testify as part of the chamber’s impeachment inquiry into Trump and Ukraine. The list included the whistleblower and Hunter Biden.

“The impeachment inquiry, moreover, has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence … that not only confirms, but far exceeds, the initial information in the whistleblower’s complaint. The whistleblower’s testimony is therefore redundant and unnecessary. In light of the President’s threats, the individual’s appearance before us would only place their personal safety at grave risk,” Schiff wrote to Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee.

You know that Trump will not go for this.

Rep. Liz Cheney [the No. 3 Republican in the House] said former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch “clearly is somebody who’s been a public servant to the United States for decades and I don’t think the president should have done that.” Trump “was wrong” to post tweets critical of Yovanovitch during her testimony in the impeachment hearings.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” tweeted Trump, pointing to the time she spent in war-torn Somalia and in Ukraine, where Trump said “the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavourably about her.” Yovanovitch described Trump’s tweets as “very intimidating.” Schiff suggested it was part of a campaign of “witness intimidation.”

Yovanovitch says she was told last April by a State Department official to return to the United States “on the next plane” because of concerns “up the street” — a phrase she understood to mean the White House. Yovanovitch says she had a reputation for championing anti-corruption interests in Ukraine. Maybe a reason why she lost her job.

Trump continues called himself the “most transparent president in history” while adding “It’s really sad when you see people not allowed to ask questions,” Trump said about the hearing of Yovanovitch. “I think it’s considered a joke. It’s a disgrace what’s happening.” How do you measure transparency?

So no Republicans can ask any questions? GOP Rep. Will Hurd rattled off a list of Yovanovitch’s accomplishments before going into questioning. GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik used her five minutes for questions to go after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and his remarks about having the whistleblower testify. Wasted 5 minutes.

Trump said he will release the transcript of another phone call with the president of Ukraine “probably” this communication having taken place in April before the July conversation at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. Unsure what this will accomplish.

Trump tweeted “The lawyer for the Whistleblower takes away all credibility from this big Impeachment Scam! It should be ended and the Whistleblower, his lawyer and Corrupt politician Schiff should be investigared [sic] for fraud!” Of course, as an expert in the legal system, he knows the chances of this being true. [And does he ignore Twitter apps’ spell checker?] Trump is claiming without proof that Schiff doctored the behind the close door transcripts.

Trump claimed that he wasn’t watching the impeachment inquiry but commented that those lawyers involved aren’t much better than TV lawyers. Then he finally admitted he has watched his impeachment inquiry. He claimed he was too busy with a White House visit from Turkish President/Dictator Recep Erdogan.

Some Republicans are pushing for Joe Biden’s son Hunter as part of the inquiry but for what reason other than for a deflection. They could ask Hunter Biden about his dealings in Ukraine but what would that accomplish as this is an inquiry for impeachment. They would then use the testimony to go after Biden if there is something illegal.

In her forthcoming book “With All Due Respect”, about her time in the Trump White House, former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley claims that she was recruited by White House chief of staff John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to subvert the wishes of Trump. Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the President, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country,” writes Haley.

Trump is demanding that South Korea pay roughly 400% more in 2020 to cover the cost of keeping US troops on the peninsula. The price hike has frustrated Pentagon officials and deeply concerned Republican and Democratic lawmakers. It has angered and unnerved Seoul, where leaders are questioning US commitment to their alliance and wondering whether Trump will pull US forces if they don’t pay up.

Trump’s $4.7 billion demand came out of thin air, sending State and Defense Department officials scrambling to justify the number with a slew of new charges that may include Seoul paying some costs for US personnel present on the peninsula and for troops and equipment that rotate through. To justify the price tag, officials at State and the Pentagon expanded the costs Seoul would cover from basing, sewage, the usual things, to include ‘readiness’.

A Trump-appointed federal judge decided that Trump can’t sue New York state officials in a Washington, DC, court at this time to stop the release of his tax returns to Congress. Trump then asked the Supreme Court to block a Manhattan grand jury subpoena for copies of his financial records and tax returns, teeing up a test of Trump’s expansive claims of immunity.

Trump’s personal attorneys are expected to ask the Supreme Court with an emergency petition asking the justices to put on hold a lower court ruling that cleared the way for the House to subpoena Trump’s financial records.

Trump associate Roger Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress and other charges in a case that has shed new light on Trump’s anticipation of the release of stolen Democratic emails in 2016 by WikiLeaks. Stone was found guilty on five counts of lying to Congress, one of witness tampering, and one of obstructing a Congressional committee proceeding.

Trump came to Stone’s defense after the verdict was released, calling it “a double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country.” Which double standard?

The staff at an Idaho public library spends most days helping patrons find books they need. But lately, librarians have had to become amateur sleuths — because someone keeps hiding books to prevent others from reading them. Most of the books seemed critical of Trump. Other books on LGBTQ issues, human rights, immigration and women’s suffrage have also been hidden.

“I noticed a large volume of Books attacking our President. I am going to continue hiding these books in the most obscure places I can find to keep this propaganda out of the hands of young minds. Your liberal angst gives me great pleasure,” said a comment card said. So much for freedom of speech.

[How about moving those books in a section where the staff can monitor them or maybe placed behind the counter (sounds a bit like porn at a magazine store).]

If the economy is doing so well as Trump says, why has the US household hit an all-time high of $14 trillion – student debt is at close to $10 trillion alone.

He’s not a legal scholar

We all know what kind of a legal scholar Donald Trump is.

He isn’t.

Over the past 3 years, Trump has been bullying politicians and others – basically anyone who says anything against him.

He accused at least one politician of treason. Why? Because the politician said something he didn’t like. If a politician can’t object to something the government wants to do or has done, what does that give us? A dictatorship.

Does he know the definition of treason?

Today, Trump tweeted “The lawyer for the Whistleblower takes away all credibility from this big Impeachment Scam! It should be ended and the Whistleblower, his lawyer and Corrupt politician Schiff should be investigared [sic] for fraud!” Of course, as an expert in the legal system, he knows the chances of this being true. [And does he ignore Twitter apps’ spell checker?]

Does he know the definition of fraud?

Add other legal phrases he has said over the past few years where again, he doesn’t know what they mean.

Of course, he brought up the fact that [he claims that] he can kill someone on the street and is immune to prosecution – which is untrue according to the Constitution [Article I, Section 3 or Article 2, Section 4 could apply].

A President is immune [at least] while in office for most crimes. Otherwise there would be a revolving door of Presidents which would make things confusing. So he can get away with his bullying. [However, it makes him look childish.]

He has also claimed other immunity as President. Some may be true, but others could have any prosecution delayed until he is out off in 2021.

Trump has even suggested [jokingly?] that his presidency could be extended past 2 terms. Of course, 2 terms are the maximum under the constitution and he would never get any change because of the Democratic majority in the House, not a super majority in the Senate for his party and frankly, his own party would probably flat out say no.

As the president, Trump should have a basic idea of what is in the constitution [“Cliff Notes”] but I don’t think he ever looked at it.

Impeachment inquiry ramps up

Andrew Bakaj, a lawyer for the whistleblower who raised alarms about Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine said his client is willing to answer written questions submitted by House Republicans. Attorney Mark Zaid tweeted that the whistleblower would answer questions directly from Republican members “in writing, under oath & penalty of perjury,” part of a bid to stem escalating efforts by Trump and his GOP allies to unmask the person’s identity. Trump said Bakaj should be sued. For what?

“Reveal the Whistleblower and end the Impeachment Hoax!” Trump tweeted. Trump pushed the news media to divulge the whistleblower’s identity, asserting that the person’s accounting of events is incorrect. The whistleblower’s complaint has been corroborated by people with firsthand knowledge of the events who have appeared on Capitol Hill.

A lawyer for the Ukraine whistleblower, whose complaint document triggered the House impeachment inquiry of Trump, has sent a letter to the White House warning Trump to “cease and desist” attacking his client. “I am writing out of deep concern that your client, the President of the United States, is engaging in rhetoric and activity that places my client, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower, and their family in physical danger,” Bakaj wrote to White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

Remember how the Republicans whined that the impeachment inquiry was bad because they were behind closed doors [even though they forget to tell their base that 47 Republicans were present? Now Trump said “They shouldn’t be having public hearings. This is a hoax. This is just like the Russian witch hunt.”

Just moments before his deposition was scheduled to begin, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s lawyer informed impeachment officials that he had been directed by the White House not to comply with the authorized subpoena and asserted “absolute immunity.”

Trump attacked the whistleblower who set off the impeachment inquiry as an, “Obama person,” a “never Trumper,” and “a radical.” To know all this information, Trump must know who the whistleblower is. So why is he asking?

Fox News has told their anchors and others not to reveal the whistleblower’s identity. I guess they are getting tired of Trump.

Trump asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for help to discredit former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal. Trump called Johnson to ask for the favor on July 26 – only two days after the prime minister took office, according to the Times of London. This was also one day after his much-scrutinized phone call to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, Trump told Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that Barr would contact his Australian counterpart for information on how the Mueller probe was linked to a tip from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer.

US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland amended his previous closed-door testimony with House impeachment investigators to say that he told a top Ukrainian political aide that the release of US security aid was likely conditioned on Ukraine publicly announcing an investigation that would help the Trump politically.

After his recent testimony, Trump claimed he does not know Sondland well. Trump previously called Sondland “a really good man and great American” and “highly respected.” Can he say that to a man he now claims he doesn’t know him?

Former US Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker rejected the conspiracy theories about Ukraine and Joe Biden that have been promoted by Rudy Giuliani, according to excerpts of his testimony to lawmakers. The conspiracy theory alleges that Biden held up $1 billion in aid for Ukraine to pressure their government to fire a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, an energy company where Biden’s son had a high-paid board seat.

White House senior counselor Kellyanne “the Witch” Conway said that she does not know if Trump withheld US military aid to Ukraine, but stood by the White House’s response that there was no quid pro quo between Trump and the country. So even she is unsure. Conway contended that asking a foreign leader to investigate a political rival is “not impeachable” – except if it was to dig up dirt on Trump’s political rival. She also said Joe Biden is not a top political rival of Trump. Until the Democratic nominee is announce, he is a rival. Makes no difference if he is at the top. He’s roughly in the top three. Obama came out of nowhere to win the nomination and eventually the Presidency [without asking for foreign help!].

Former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Michael McKinley, who testified behind closed doors on October 16, said that he raised [the former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie] Yovanovitch matter with Pompeo three times and proposed releasing a statement of support for the former diplomat, who was abruptly recalled from her post.

Yovanovitch felt threatened by what was coming out of the White House. McKinley did not receive a response from the secretary of state, including when he told Pompeo he was leaving the department.

When asked about it after Yovanovitch testified, Trump said she did a bad job. If she did a bad job, why was she ambassador for so long? Incompetence from Pompeo [we already know Trump is incompetence]. If a person is doing a bad job, the person should be dismissed.

The House committees leading the impeachment inquiry are hoping to hear from Robert Blair, an assistant to Trump and senior adviser to Mulvaney, though that looks unlikely considering Blair’s attorney said he has refused to testify in the probe.

Trump says he’s not concerned about depositions from current and former administration officials in the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Yet he continues to bully them and telling those still working for him not to give testimony. A future obstruction charge?

GOP leadership has officially assigned Rep. Jim Jordan to the House Intelligence Committee ahead of the upcoming televised impeachment hearings, a move designed to bolster Trump’s defense as Democrats take their probe public. Rep. Rick Crawford has agreed to temporarily step aside for Jordan, who is seen as one of Trump’s best attack dogs on Capitol Hill. Transcripts of the interviews released this week show Crawford hasn’t been asking many questions during the closed-door sessions.

Trump and other top 2016 Trump campaign officials repeatedly privately discussed how the campaign could get access to stolen Democratic emails WikiLeaks had in 2016, according to newly released interview notes from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation. Per a judge’s order, the Justice Department will continue to release new tranches of the Mueller investigative notes monthly.

A retelling of events from former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, who served alongside campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is the fullest detail revealed by the Justice Department yet on discussions within the Trump campaign as it pursued damaging information about its Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. The documents were stolen by the Russians, the American intelligence community has found.

The anonymous senior Trump administration official claims in their forthcoming book [“A Warning”] that Trump officials considered resigning together last year in a “midnight self-massacre” in hopes to sound an alarm about Trump. It is written by the same senior Trump administration official who was behind a 2018 New York Times op-ed expressing profound concern about Trump’s competence.

The book describes Trump as dealing with each new political crisis “like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport.”

After some tweets by Trump, “It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him. You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time.”

The book also contains an allegation that senior White House officials were certain Pence would support an effort to have Trump removed from office over concerns about his mental state.

The Justice Department is going on the offensive against the anonymous author, telling them in a letter that he or she may be violating “one or more nondisclosure agreements” by writing the anti-Trump book. The author’s publisher is rejecting the argument and saying the book will be released as scheduled and the author’s agents are accusing the government of trying to unmask the author.

A federal appeals court rejected Trump’s effort to block New York prosecutors from accessing his tax records and Trump’s sweeping claims of presidential immunity. The Manhattan District Attorney is investigating hush-money payments made in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. The ruling does not mean that Trump’s tax records will not be turned over immediately. Local prosecutors agreed to delay enforcement of the subpoena to Trump’s longtime accounting firm if Trump’s lawyers move quickly to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.

Trump continues to says he is under an audit. He supposedly has had no income other than his salary for the last [almost] 3 years. An audit is generally for a year, not 10+ years.

There were three state elections recently.

“Our big Rally on Friday night moved the numbers from a tie to a big WIN.” tweeted Trump. Mississippi is a state that the Republicans always win. Was it his “polling”? See a bit father down this blog.

Meanwhile in Kentucky, where Trump won by 30 points in 2016, the Republican governor just barely lost the state. Trump predicted an easy win the night before.

Trump tweeted prior to the election that “Virginia has the best Unemployment and Economic numbers in the history of the State. If the Democrats get in, those numbers will go rapidly in the other direction. On Tuesday, Vote Republican!” – Except the politicians with low unemployment and great economic numbers are Democrats! And you know he probably inflated the “best” part anyways.

In Virginia, where the Republicans had slim majorities in the state legislature and senate, they lost both. The Democrats control both and the governor’s seat.

The Trump administration announced that it will begin formally withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord, the first step in a year-long process to leave the landmark agreement to reduce emissions of planet-warming gases. Trump said in 2017 that he intended to pull the US out of the agreement, the latest move is a procedural step that would lead to a complete withdrawal just after the 2020 presidential election.

The withdrawal will take effect one year from delivery of the notification. Is it a coincidence that the final pull-out will be around election time in 2020? When Trump loses the 2020 election, a new president could rejoin the agreement, but would have to put forth new climate commitments to the UN. A recent poll said that about 7 in 10 Americans think global warming is happening, and at least 6 in 10 are “somewhat worried” about it.

“I have the real polls. I have the real polls,” Trump claimed. “The CNN polls are fake. The FOX polls have always been lousy, I tell them they ought to get themselves a new pollster, but the real polls, and you look at the polls that came out this morning, people don’t want anything to do with impeachment. It’s a phony scam.” Trump did not give any more details on what he says are the “real polls.”

Trump tweeted that he may cut off federal government help in funding to help stop the fires raging in California saying [as usual] bad fire management. More like climate change and deforestation.

A judge ordered Trump to pay $2 million to a collection of nonprofit organizations as part of a settlement with the New York state attorney general’s office to resolve a civil lawsuit that alleged “persistent” violations of charities law that included unlawful coordination with the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

Filed in June 2018, the lawsuit alleged that Trump and his three eldest children — Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric — violated federal and state campaign finance laws and abused the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s tax-exempt status. According to the lawsuit, the Trumps allowed the foundation to be used “as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.” The foundation is dissolved.

Trump himself had vowed to fight the lawsuit, tweeting last year, “I won’t settle this case!” and politically motivated. The attorney general’s office had sought several outcomes, including $2.8 million in restitution, plus penalties, and a ban on Trump and his children serving on the board of any other New York nonprofit.

Magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation over what she says were his lies denying her public accusation in June that he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. The lawsuit, which includes a detailed account of the incident in which Trump allegedly raped Carroll in a dressing room at luxury Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman, was filed in New York state Supreme Court.

Trump said of Carroll that he “never met this person” Except there is a picture of them from about 7 years earlier.

Trump continues to be happy by tweeting that his approval rating is 50% [or better] according to polling firm Rasmussen. Problem is that a dozen legitimate polling forms say Trump is around 40%. Who’s right? Hmmmm. Oh and 49% in that same poll are against him.

A federal judge in Oregon temporarily blocked a Trump administration proclamation that would have required prospective immigrants to prove they would have US health insurance within 30 days of their arrival or enough money to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.”

Prospective immigrants had been scrambling to figure out how to get the necessary coverage, navigating a complex healthcare bureaucracy that has, for the most part, not previously catered to those who are not yet in the country.

Trump was met with loud, sustained boos and some cheers as he entered Madison Square Garden for the Ultimate Fighting Championship recently in New York. A handful of signs reading “Remove Trump” and “Impeach Trump” dotted the crowd. The day after, Trump didn’t address any negative reception he received the night before, instead writing that walking into the venue “was a little bit like walking into a Trump Rally. Plenty of MAGA & KAG present. Great energy.” Sure Donnie.

His trip to New York was just a handful of days after he changed his residence to Florida from New York and badmouthed the city and state. He was me with protesters outside as well.

Trump’s campaign web site is selling a “Read the transcript” t-shirt for $30 [plus shipping]. A plain white t-shirt with red text on the front. Wonder if the t-shirt is made in China like his MAGA hats.

If you want a book that will knock you out in minutes if you can’t sleep: Donald Trump Jr wrote a book. No. It’s not in crayons. But it could be a belong in multiple top 10 book categories, political fiction, science fiction, very young children, bathroom books, etc. Soon to be in the $5 bins.

According to one newspaper the “Trump Organization scrubs name from two Central Park ice skating rinks in a bid to rebrand and ‘downplay their connection to the president’s name”. Yes. That will do it.

Inquiry ramps up and al-Baghdadi epilogue

The House passed a resolution formalizing the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry. No Republicans broke with their party and voted with Democrats to pass the resolution. 2 Democrats voted against the resolution. The impeachment inquiry will continue, under the protocols described in the resolution.

Not surprising Trump, cronies and Republicans aren’t happy with the vote. Before the House vote, Republicans and the White House claimed the impeachment inquiry was illegitimate because it did not receive a full House vote. They are staying on this message even after the vote. Weren’t they whining that the inquiries were too private – even though 47 Republicans are participating?

“In all the hearings, there’s nothing compelling, nothing overwhelming, so the speaker should follow her own words on what bipartisan vote on that floor…” said House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Yes bipartisan with just 2 Democrats.

The inquiry will move to “open hearings” where “staff counsel” will be permitted to do “sustained questioning for up to 45 minutes per side” of witnesses.

Questioning by counsel will be followed by “member questioning.”

In a recent face-to-face meeting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Trump to stop attacking Senate Republicans. If Trump is impeached by the House of Representatives, the Republican-controlled Senate will decide whether he should be removed from office. Trump has attacked numerous Republicans in the Senate and it is these same Senators who could decide his fate [i.e. don’t alienate them].

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the resolution “fails to provide any due process whatsoever to the Administration,” calling it “unconstitutional.” She seems to know nothing about the constitution. The resolution does not violate due process nor is it unconstitutional. In fact, part of the resolution explicitly details the rights available to the President in the impeachment inquiry.

“There is nothing in the Constitution or any law, nor any rules of the House, that prescribes a particular procedure for impeachment proceedings,” says a university law professor.

Trump said “In America, you are innocent until proven guilty” but then he adds that you don’t need to be investigated to find a crime. Seriously? That’s like saying unless you are caught doing something illegal, you go to court but there will be no investigation otherwise.

A witness expected to testify in the impeachment inquiry – former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman – didn’t show up for his. The night prior, the committees running the inquiry received a letter from Kupperman’s lawyer saying that he would ask a federal judge to rule on whether he had to appear.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who serves as the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, testified in the impeachment inquiries and was criticized by some Republican lawmakers. He had complied with the subpoena and answering questions from both Democratic and Republican Members and staff.

He was on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine’s president even though trump tweeted ” Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call.” Vindman told the House impeachment investigators that he was so troubled by Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president that he reported his concerns to a superior.

Trump joined in the criticism of Vindman, claiming without evidence that Vindman is a “Never Trumper.” Vindman served multiple overseas tours as a US infantry officer, including a deployment to Iraq where he received a Purple Heart after being wounded in an IED attack. He has served in Trump’s National Security Council since 2018.

Seem like every person who is against Trump is a “Never Trumper”.

Vindman tried to make changes to the White House’s rough transcript of the July phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s President, including that Trump mentioned tapes of former Vice President Joe Biden. These were left off the transcript.

The crackpots including Trump’s current propaganda department, Fox News, went after Vindman calling him a traitor for engaged in “espionage” on behalf of Ukraine and other comments because he wasn’t born in the US but Russia.

A district court “ruled that the impeachment inquiry is valid”. These are the same rules for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. But Republicans now, including those Republicans that created the rules for Clinton, don’t agree now.

“I said, whatever you do — and we were still in the process of trying to find someone to take my place — I said whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that,” former White House chief of staff John Kelly said. “Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”

No shocker, Grisham said, “I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.” Trump said “John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that. If he would have said that I would have thrown him out of the office”.

The US diplomat to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, rose to global attention after testifying on Capitol Hill in the impeachment inquiry. He provided a damning account of how Trump told his appointees to establish a quid pro quo, trading much-needed US military aid for political favors from Ukraine. Trump claims, with no proof, “He’s a Never Trumper.” Taylor seems to be apolitical.

Trump declared that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead after a US military raid in northwest Syria. “He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place,” Trump said and added al-Baghdadi was “crying, whimpering, screaming, and bringing three kids with him. To die.” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper claims that ISIS has been hit with a “devastating blow” but al-Baghdadi will be replaced quite fast.

Trump said he informed a few Republican members of Congress of the raid ahead of his announcement. Trump said he did not inform key Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Trump said a leak of the raid could have cost American lives. Yes, but maybe also because he doesn’t trust the Democrats.

Trump has claimed that taking down al-Baghdadi was more important than taking down Bin Laden. I am guessing 3000+ families would reject that though. But you know it is Trump’s ego.

McConnell calls the world a “safer place today” following Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper claims that ISIS has been hit with a “devastating blow” but al-Baghdadi will be replaced quite fast. The Iraqis claimed they gave the intelligence information to the US forces.

But the Russians said “The increasing number of direct participants and countries that allegedly took part in this ‘operation,’ each one giving completely contradictory details, raises legitimate questions and doubts about its existence and especially the level of its success” and that Syrian government backed by Russian air power had defeated ISIS, saying that al-Baghdadi’s death “has absolutely no operational significance on the situation in Syria.

Trump, days after the mission, continues to be pumped up about the “win”. He instead continues to be on his ego trip. For example, he said “Another president should have gotten him” [al-Baghdadi].

Note that Trump has a history of using “crying” in his comments when they never did cry. Al-Baghdadi cried before he blew himself up, farmers cried when he signed an executive order, etc.

Trump tweeted a “declassified” photo of the military dog that was wounded in the raid that led to the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The administration is “working on” arrangements for the dog to visit the White House, but said it might be difficult since the canine is “back at work” in the field.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said the name of the dog – who appears to be a very good boy or girl – remained classified. “We’re not releasing the name of the dog right now. The dog is still in theater…. We’re protecting the dog’s identity.” Later it was given out – Conan. Surprised that Trump didn’t ask why do the military use only German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois dogs but no “American” dogs.

Trump tweeted that “American troops” have “terminated” ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s “likely” replacement. Syrian Democratic Forces said that al-Muhajir was killed in a coordinated operation between the US military and SDF intelligence officers near Jarablus in northern Syria. There will always be replacements.

You can’t make this stuff up: Trump claimed he had been prescient about the danger posed by bin Laden, having called for the death of the al Qaeda leader in a “very successful” book he published in the year before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Trump said that he knew the threat from bin Laden at a time when “nobody” had “ever heard of” bin Laden. “Let’s put it this way: if they would have listened to me, a lot of things would have been different,” he said.

Trump said he still hears people marveling about his supposed declaration. “To this day, I get people coming up to me,” he said. “They said, ‘You know what one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen about you is that you predicted that Osama bin Laden had to be killed before he knocked down the World Trade Center.’ It’s true.” Bin Laden was known in 2000 and the book never mentioned that the US should go after him but was mentioned.
Maybe he has a revised book that isn’t out yet.

Trump has changed his permanent residence to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, in late September, and first lady Melania Trump followed suit in October, in forms filed with the Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

“Good riddance,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted after learning about Trump’s decision to move. “It’s not like Mr. Trump paid taxes here anyway. He’s all yours, Florida.”

The state Attorney General and the Manhattan District Attorney have launched multiple probes of Trump’s businesses, charities, political committees and personal conduct. He’s fighting, among other things, a defamation lawsuit by a former contestant on his “Apprentice” show; an investigation of his family foundation; and a subpoena seeking eight years of his tax returns.

Microsoft has won a hotly contested contract to provide cloud computing services to the Defense Department, besting Amazon in a months-long competition. The contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) is said to be worth billions of dollars over the coming decade. Trump called former Defense Secretary James Mattis during the summer 2018 and directed him to “screw Amazon” out of the opportunity to bid on the contract.

Trump began raising questions about whether the process had been fair. Trump has long been critical of Amazon and its founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos. Trump’s interjection was soon followed by an examination of the contract launched by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

A company, CertiPath, with ties to Trump’s brother, Robert, was awarded a $33 million government contract earlier this year, and two rival bidders, Venable and NMR Consulting, filed a complaint alleging potential favoritism in the bidding process. CertiPath specializes in digital security and verifying online identities and the contract was to provide security for federal courthouses and cell blocks.

Trump attended the 5th game of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros and got mixed “reviews”. Trump, who has yet to throw out a ceremonial first pitch since taking office, arrived after the game is underway and leave before the final out, in hopes of making his visit less disruptive to fans, according to Rob Manfred, baseball’s commissioner. The first pitch went to a notable Trump critic, celebrity chef Jose Andres, whose humanitarian work has been widely acclaimed.

Tim Morrison, the top Russia and Europe adviser on Trump’s National Security Council, expected to leave the administration soon- a decision that was his and has been “planned for some time” given that he was an ally of former national security adviser John Bolton. The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena for Morrison’s testimony after an attempt by the White House to direct him not to appear.

The Trump administration is poised to undo an Obama-era regulation intended to limit emissions of toxins from coal-fired power plants, a move that environmental groups say could lead to significant health problems.
In a scathing letter issued to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the American Bar Association rated Lawrence J.C. VanDyke — Trump’s nominee for a seat on a controversial appeals court — “not qualified’ for the judicial bench after conducting 60 interviews. ” Mr. VanDyke is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules.”

Impeachment inquiries continue and Trump isn’t helping himself

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said that Donald Trump froze security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats. He later backtracked his comments for which Trump responded with “I think he clarified it.” Hmmmm. Nobody believes them.

House Republicans are going to try and force a House floor vote on a resolution to censure Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff “for certain misleading conduct” in dramatizing a phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president – as if anything Trump said is not misleading. The censure will fail as the Democrats control the House.

Trump continues to claimed at his Cabinet meeting that the whistleblower who complained about his July phone call with the president of Ukraine “gave a false account” and has been “discredited.”

The top US diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, testified that he had been told Trump would withhold military aid to the country until it publicly declared investigations would be launched that could help his reelection chances — including into former Vice President Joe Biden.

Taylor said he was told that “everything” Ukraine wanted — from a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to hundreds of millions in security aid — was dependent on publicly announcing an investigation that included Burisma, the company that hired Biden’s son Hunter, and Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he never had — or at least doesn’t recall having — a conversation with Trump in which he described Trump’s call with Zelensky as perfect. Trump asserted earlier this month that McConnell deemed the White House transcript of the conversation, which is at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump, completely innocent.

Roughly two-dozen House Republicans stormed a closed-door deposition in secure House Intelligence Committee spaces to rail against the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, a political stunt ratcheting up the GOP complaints about the process that delayed the scheduled deposition for five hours. The conservative lawmakers barged into the deposition and demanded they be allowed to see the closed-door proceedings where members of three committees planned to interview Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Laura Cooper as part of the impeachment probe into Trump.

Why do this? 47 Republicans are in the hearings. They are hearing the testimony and asking questions. Childish and incompetent Republicans who stormed the session.

Trump used a racially charged term to describe the House of Representative’s impeachment inquiry, calling the process a “lynching” today. This marks his first use of the term “lynching” to describe the inquiry – a term deeply intertwined with horrific racial violence and a dark era in the United States.

His tweet was “So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching.” Even some Republicans are upset at the word being used.

“The Never Trumper Republicans, though on respirators with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats. Watch out for them, they are human scum!” Trump tweeted.

“To call anybody human scum is beneath the office of the presidency. You can’t say that, right? You’re the president. You have different standards,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican. Where was Kinzinger when Trump has called Democrats and other foes words that are such as bad?

Sen. Lindsey Graham and other congressional Republicans have slammed House Democrats for conducting their impeachment inquiry with depositions behind closed doors, but Republicans also used closed-door depositions during their impeachment inquiry of former President Bill Clinton two decades ago.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro declined to answer questions about whether China opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son has come up during trade talks with the US. Trump raised Biden’s political prospects during a June 18 phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump claimed that the Bidens have received millions of dollars from China, implying they capitalized on the then-vice president’s political power and connections. The allegations stem partly from an official trip both Bidens took to China in 2013, meant as a diplomatic mission to help ease tensions in the region.

Trump’s lawyers has asked the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear his attempt to stop a subpoena of his longtime accounting firm, this time with Trump asking the full appellate court to reconsider his case. Trump lost his attempt to stop the House subpoena of accounting firm Mazars USA before a trial-level judge and 2-1 before an appellate panel.

“We have secured the oil and, therefore, a small number of US Troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said. So now you know that Trump cared more about the oil than ISIS, the lives of the Kurds, etc. He said a “small number” of American troops will stay in Syria to protect oil in the region.

“We were supposed to be there for 30 days. That was almost 10 years ago.” Ummm. The US went after ISIS in 2014 and after Syria in 2017. Not even close to 10 years. He also lifted all sanctions against Turkey.

Jim Jeffrey, the US envoy for Syria and the coalition against ISIS, says the US believes that Turkish-supported opposition (TSO) forces in Syria have committed war crimes. Jeffrey said that he specifically was not consulted or advised in advance on President Trump’s decision to pull US troops from northeastern Syria.

Jeffrey also said that over 100 ISIS fighters have escaped since the pull put. Trump maintains that the ISIS fighters who escaped Kurdish jails during the attack have “been largely recaptured.”

Trump claimed that those service members who were in Syria will be coming home. Not according to the Pentagon, where they will be moved to Iraq. But “The [Iraqi] government has stated that it has not given permission to US forces that have withdrawn from Syria to remain in Iraqi territories, as some media had reported,” from a statement released today from Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi. Even the UK was not told about the US troop pullback from Syria in advance, UK Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace said.

A cease fire deal made it clear that Turkey and Russia are not interested in including the US in plans regarding Syria’s future. Russian President Vladimir Poutine and Turkish President/Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in the southern Russian resort city of Sochi and unveiled a 10-point memorandum about Syria.

The US was not included in a Syria deal reached by Russia and Turkey. Trump tweet says it all: “Big success on the Turkey/Syria Border. Safe Zone created! Ceasefire has held and combat missions have ended. Kurds are safe and have worked very nicely with us.”

Three-quarters of Americans, however, are concerned about the situation in Syria, and about 40% of Americans approved of Trump’s decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria, while half disapproved, according to a new poll conducted by SSRS.

Trump has been forced into a humiliating climb down over plans to host the next G7 meeting at his own luxury resort, following a political outcry. “Therefore, based on both media & Democrat crazed and irrational hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the host site for the G-7 in 2020,” Trump wrote. Quite a few Republicans also objected but he didn’t dare mention that.

“I would have been willing to do this for free, and it would have been the greatest G7 ever,” Trump said. Greatest based on what? Because he is chairing it or because it is supposedly free. Trump’s Doral resort was in need of a boost: in May the Washington Post reported that its operating income had fallen 69% since 2015.

More than 200 people attended Trump’s speech at Benedict College, but only about 10 actual students were invited to the event — his first appearance at a historically black college – and only seven students ultimately attended the speech. The others were brought in from somewhere else. More than 2,100 attend the school.

Months after Trump declared the GOP would become the “party of health care,” House conservatives are set to announce a sweeping health care proposal — one that has virtually no chance of becoming law. The Republican Study Committee unveiled what members described as a “framework,” nine months in the making, even as the White House continues to develop its own set of principles behind closed doors. It includes no legislative text and does not have the formal backing of the White House or broader GOP conference.

“We’re building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we’re building a wall in Colorado,” Trump said. Colorado, located directly north of New Mexico, is not on the US-Mexico border. Colorado? And from the last blog, still no new wall built along Mexico, just fixing walls.

Trump backtracked on his Colorado wall comment with a more confusing tweet by saying: “We’re building a Wall in Colorado”(then stated, “we’re not building a Wall in Kansas but they get the benefit of the Wall we’re building on the Border”) refered to people in the very packed auditorium, from Colorado & Kansas, getting the benefit of the Border Wall!” Love the spelling and a bit confusing. Eh?

Trump went after Barack Obama for a book and Netflix production deal that were made after he left office, claiming Obama wasn’t scrutinized for business dealings. But the difference is that Obama did the deals after he left the White House and Obama doesn’t have a supposedly billion dollar business.

Talking about childish: The White House is urging all federal agencies to cancel their subscriptions to The New York Times and the Washington Post. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that “not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving for taxpayers — hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Kit just so happens to be the two newspapers that Trump probably hates the most. Coincidence?

The Energy Secretary said he is resigning effective later this year. Perry’s resignation comes amid scrutiny over his role in the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine. Today Trump said he’ll nominate Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette to replace Perry.

Summer Zervos, who is a Republican, is a former “Apprentice” contestant who has accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in 2007, presented evidence Thursday in a new court filing to back up her claims. She is suing Trump for defamation after he essentially called her a liar following her public statement in October 2016 about the alleged assault.

Trump recently tweeted that a new poll saying that most Americans don’t approve of the impeachment inquiry. Then when you take a look at this “nation-wide” survey, about 180 people were questioned by a pollster that nobody knows of. The percentage or error is probably huge but not even listed.

Trumpworld is shaking

Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said “The corruption of the country, whether or not other countries participating in support of Ukraine, and whether or not cooperating in an ongoing investigation with the department of justice. That is completely legitimate, yes.” When reporter then questioned Mulvaney on his explanation saying it sounds like a quid-pro-quo to which Mulvaney said: “We do that all the time with foreign policy.”

Mulvaney confirmed that Donald Trump asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry to work with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on policies related to Ukraine, but he denied doing so constituted a “shadow foreign policy,” as multiple witnesses have said Giuliani conducted.

Trump threatened to sue top congressional Democrats Rep. Adam Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid the House impeachment inquiry into Trump. Trump has a long track record of calling for lawsuits against his critics and not following through. Article 1, section 6 of the Constitution protects members of Congress from being sued over their statements made on the floor, which also would apply to committees.

Trump said he spoke to his lawyers about Schiff and told them, “Sue him anyway, even if we lose, the American public will understand.” Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence committee, is spearheading the impeachment inquiry. “And sue Nancy Pelosi,” Trump continued. “Or maybe we should just impeach them, because they’re lying and what they’re doing is a terrible thing for our country.” Members of Congress cannot be impeached, according to the Constitution. So, again, Trump knows nothing about the Constitution.

Giuliani said that he’s not aware he’s under investigation for his involvement with the unraveling Ukraine scandal, saying “No, nothing but leaks, which has to tell you whether they are or are not investigating, it’s a political attack. Otherwise, why leak it [the investigation]?” Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are looking into whether Giuliani violated foreign lobbying laws in his dealings with Ukraine.

Trump also denied knowing the two Giuliani associates arrested last week, but admitted they had donated to his campaign. “They’re donors,” Trump said, “but I have many donors.” Hmmm. You tend to know the names of the big donors and not the “small fish”. You think he doesn’t know them? There is a photo of one of them and Trump acting like friends.

“Such a one sided Witch Hunt going on in USA. Deep State. Shameful!” Trump added, perpetuating his baseless claim that bureaucrats are out to get him. It was unclear from Trump’s tweet whether he was attacking his own Justice Department or the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Behind closed door, Marie Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine, had detailed to Congress how Giuliani smeared her to Ukrainian officials and questioned whether Giuliani’s associates were looking to benefit financially from her removal. According to the indictment, they had asked former Rep. Pete Sessions, to help get Yovanovitch fired at the same time they committed to raising tens of thousands of dollars for that congressman’s reelection.

Even as House Republicans mount a vigorous defense of Trump amid the impeachment inquiry, some are growing uneasy about the role that Giuliani played in carrying out US policy with Ukraine. Several Republicans who sit on the key committees say more needs to be learned about Giuliani’s role, while also revealing new concerns about the continuing revelations that are emerging.

Meanwhile, Giuliani is parting ways with the lawyer representing him so far in matters related to the impeachment inquiry. His current attorney, Jon Sale, is ending his representation of the former New York City mayor shortly. People close to Giuliani are advising him to hire a criminal lawyer as questions linger about his connections to two of his associates who were indicted last week for campaign-finance violations.

Trump questioned why the US government is protecting the whistleblower whose complaint sparked House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. So basically he doesn’t like whistleblowers [that are after him] but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if they went after his [political] enemies. There goes democracy.

Recently Trump said “I used to think she [Nancy Pelosi] loved the country. She hates the country. Nancy Pelosi hates the United States of America, because she wouldn’t be doing this.” Why doesn’t he charge her with [say] treason. A government official hating her country. That should be enough [in his mind].

Trump tweeted “Republicans are totally deprived of their rights in this Impeachment Witch Hunt. No lawyers, no questions, no transparency!” No not Republicans. Just you and your swamp cronies. The House is following the same rules as the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

While Vice President Mike Pence called it a ceasefire, Turkey called it a 120 hour [5 day] pause in fighting. Trump called the US-announced ceasefire in Turkey an “incredible outcome”. Turkish operation would supposedly end when the Kurd forces complete the withdrawal.

Trump claims all are happy, yet the Kurds say they aren’t. They don’t know where they are going. Those in the US against the deal say Turkey got everything it wanted. Expect Trump to claim this “pause” as a ceasefire in the upcoming election – no matter how this works out.

So even with the “ceasefire” in place, the fighting still continues. Looks like another failure for Trump.

Trump continues to change his “facts” saying other US administrations have been trying to negotiate a Turkish-Syrian deal for “years”, then later said “10 years” [in Texas] and even later he said “15 years”. But p residents Barack Obama and George W. Bush never sought to give Turkey anything like the concessionary terms of Trump’s deal. In addition, the Syrian civil war had not even started 10 years ago or 15 years ago.

At a meeting in the White House regarding the Syrian invasion by Turkey, the Democrats walked out of the meeting after Trump started calling Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “third-grade politician” among other things. Trump later called Pelosi “a very sick person!” Of course the White House has a different story that reeks of bull crap.

Trump said that Turkey’s incursion of northern Syria “has nothing to do with us” and added that former US allies — the Kurds — “… are much safer now. The Kurds know how to fight and as I said, they’re not angels.” Trump also called his sudden and controversial decision to remove US troops from Northern Syria “strategically brilliant.”

Scratching your head time: “But they fought with us. We paid a lot of money for them to fight with us and that’s OK. They did well when they fought with us. They didn’t do so well when they didn’t fight with us,” he added. When was the latter [aside from the wrong tense]?

Meanwhile, Turkish President/Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he’s not worried about American-imposed sanctions or the advancement of Russian-backed Syrian forces toward the Turkish border. “Declare a ceasefire, they say. We will never declare a ceasefire,” Erdogan said. “We do not sit at the table with terrorist organizations.” [We will assume he meant the Kurds and not the US.] Erdogan is scheduled for a visit to the US soon. He has indicated that he may not take the trip now.

While Kurdish officials and Republican and Democratic lawmakers have argued that the pullback helped provide a de facto green light for the Turkish attack, senior members of the Trump administration have insisted Turkey would have invaded regardless of whether US troops had remained and that the US has not deserted the Syrian Kurds.

Trump tweeted “Kurds may be releasing some [ISIS followers] to get us involved. Easily recaptured by Turkey or European Nations from where many came, but they should move quickly.” The Kurds never released anyone, so none were captured quickly because none were released. However, Turkish warplanes and artillery have also repeatedly struck several detention camps, allowing the escape of several ISIS prisoners and others.

The invasion by Turkey has forced the SDF to strike a deal with the Syrian government. Under this deal, the SDF will disband as an entity and become integrated into Syrian forces, several units of which are currently under Russian control. A strange frenemies setup.

Then Trump wants to mediate a truce. If he didn’t pull the troops out of Syria, none of this would of happened. Or maybe it’s just a plan by him to show how he can mediate between warring parties [boast at election time]. Trump is also accusing Turkey of potential war crimes.

Trump tweeted a statement saying he would soon authorize via executive order new sanctions on current and former Turkish officials. He said he’d also reimpose heavy duties on Turkish steel and cut off trade talks. The number of lobbyists who have served in government jobs is four times more than the Obama administration had six years into office. Former lobbyists serving Trump are often involved in regulating the industries they worked for.

While Treasury Department has “very significant new sanctions authorities” against Turkey over its actions in Syria, nothing has been done. Trump tweeted that he is working with Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, and unnamed Democrats to impose “powerful sanctions” on Turkey. The unnamed Democrat means there is no Democrat in the talks.

But Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen introduced an outline for strict sanctions on Turkey, and the proposal has quickly picked up support among members from both parties which would be stronger sanctions than the white house has offered. It would sanction the assets of top Turkish leaders — including its President — and bar transactions involving the Turkish defense and energy sectors, among other penalties.

“The United States of America did not give a green light for Turkey to invade Syria,” Vice President Mike Pence said. Except Turkey really doesn’t need the US’s approval. Do they?

Several US military and defense officials, including personnel deployed to Syria, expressed dismay at how the Trump administration has handled the situation. One US official [although there are probably others] said it is well known that some senior US military officials are livid at how the Kurds have been treated given their role in helping the US fight ISIS.

The latest delivery of a Russian-made S-400 missile defense system — which Washington opposes Ankara buying — will arrive in November or December. The first delivery of components arrived in July and Erdogan’s comments are likely to further rile up US officials, who have threatened to level sanctions against Turkey if the system ever became operational. Unsure how Turkey, part of NATO, can use a Russian made defense system.

Trump tweeted hours after the 4th Democratic debate “Our record Economy would CRASH, just like in 1929, if any of those clowns became President!” Yes this coming from an economics expert whose only plan is to apply sanctions to get what he wants or to fix his mistakes.

Trump’s fight to keep his tax returns private is at odds with his own thinking in 2013 and 2014 that releasing them as part of a presidential bid would make him look like a smart businessman who had spent years lowering his taxable income. Trump ultimately changed his mind after an adviser says he convinced him not to release his taxes, and he has spent years claiming he can’t because he’s under audit by the IRS.

Claiming that he would pay little [or no taxes] would actually have backfired because people would look negatively at him. They would see this supposedly rich businessman not paying his taxes [finding loop holes] while the common middle and low class people have to pay taxes because they don’t have a team of accountants who can find ways for him not to pay taxes.

In May 2014, Trump told an Irish television station that he would “absolutely” release his tax returns if he entered the race. “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely,” he said. “And I would love to do that.” It wasn’t until November 2014 that Trump abandoned the idea. At that point it was still eight months before Trump announced for president.

Trump’s real estate business reported different financial figures for 40 Wall Street and the Trump International Hotel and Tower to lenders than to New York tax authorities. The different sets of numbers on expenses, profits and occupancy figures resulted in the two buildings appearing more lucrative to lenders and less so to city officials assessing property taxes.

The Trump National Golf Course Westchester, which Ossining, New York, said was worth $15.1 million, but which Trump, fighting for a smaller tax bill, argued in court was worth just $1.5 million. In a 2017 financial disclosure, Trump said the club was worth far more than the $15 million claimed.

A popular web development tool called Laravel was left with debug mode on. It seems that the developer of the campaign site for Trump left the debug mode enabled, exposing credentials to the site and other details.

As host for the next G7 summit, the US will have the economic summit take place at the Trump National Doral golf resort near Miami. “Doral was by far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,” White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said. “It’s almost like they built this facility to host this event.” Uh huh.

Mulvaney said Trump would not profit from use of the property and defended the decision and that the administration selected Trump’s resort after initially looking at about 12 potential locations in various other U.S. states. So let’s see. $5 for a can of Coke. $150 per rental chair for the main gala. $3 for a small pad of paper.

During a speech, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis insisted that Trump’s comments didn’t bother him. Mattis riffed that he “earned my spurs at the battlefield” while Trump “earned his spurs from a letter from the doctor” in a pointed jab at his former boss’ cited reason for avoiding the Vietnam War draft.

Mattis went on to joke that “the only person on the military that Mr. Trump doesn’t think is overrated” is “Colonel Sanders,” the founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant chain.

Retired four-star Admiral William McRaven, the architect of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, said Trump was working to “destroy” the country from “within” and “without.”

Hundreds of Trump supporters this week were left stranded by bus company US Coachways after the organizers for a “March for Trump” rally against House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry in Washington DC failed to pay them. After the buses never showed up, however, Trump supporters claimed that the bus company was part of a “deep state” conspiracy aimed at silencing their voices.

A new book detailing 43 new allegations of inappropriate behavior by Trump – including 26 alleged instances of unwanted sexual conduct – is coming out soon. Many of the allegations in the book, All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator, published by Hachette, have been leveled before.

At a rally Dallas rally this week:

  • Trump said the Obama administration spent “no money on that [AIDS/HIV].” – Except the Obama administration spent $10.8 billion on domestic HIV/AIDS research between the 2013 fiscal year and 2016 fiscal year alone and $85.1 billion more on domestic HIV/AIDS care Trump claimed that the Democrats “want to give more to illegal aliens than they give to American citizens.” – False.
  • Trump repeated his promise to “always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” – Except the Trump administration and congressional Republicans have repeatedly put forward bills and filed lawsuits that would weaken Obamacare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Trump claimed that President Barack Obama left him “142” judicial vacancies. – Except there were 104 vacancies on January 1, 2017. And what was his point of this?
  • Trump claimed that presidents before him were “always” left zero judicial vacancies to fill. – Except there were 53 vacancies on January 1, 2009, just before Barack Obama took office; 80 vacancies on January 1, 2001, just before George W. Bush took office. And so on.
  • Trump claimed the US did not win “any cases” at the World Trade Organization before he came along. Except the US had won 86% of the cases it had brought since 1995.
  • Trump said his wall on the Mexican border is “going up rapidly.” – Except no additional miles of border wall had been built during Trump’s presidency in places where barriers had not existed before, according to a fact sheet from Customs and Border Protection. 69 miles of barriers were fixed.
  • Trump claimed that there were “close to 30,000” outside the arena in Dallas. – Except the Dallas Police Department spokesman said at most 5000.

Finally, what can be called a quieter week for Donald

This was actually a quieter week for Donald Trump after a few weeks of plenty of new and old issues.

The lawyer for the first intelligence whistleblower who came forward with accusations concerning Trump and his interactions with Ukraine said he is representing a second whistleblower regarding Trump’s actions. The second whistleblower works in the intelligence community, has first-hand knowledge that supports claims made by the first whistleblower and has spoken to the intelligence community’s inspector general.

The second whistleblower has not filed their own complaint and doesn’t need to as anyone who speaks to the inspector watchdog is considered to have made a protected disclosure and is a whistleblower under law. No shocker with the White House saying the second whistleblower doesn’t change a thing as both are wrong, “treasonous”, etc.

Trump has pivoted to a new defense, saying his efforts were apolitical and solely motivated by his good-faith desire to root out “corruption”. “Let me tell you, I’m only interested in corruption,” Trump said. “I don’t care about politics. I don’t care about Biden’s politics…. I don’t care about politics. But I do care about corruption….” Ya-di-da.

But Trump has only claimed the corruption defense when it came to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Biden could be his political and presidential rival in 2020. The state department has also decreased anti-corruption spending – they spent $5 million in 2018 but only requested $3 million for 2019 and again for 2020. Trump has also praised and supported other world leaders such as Vladimir Poutine and Kim Jong Un.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff called the State Department’s blocking testimony of a key witness “strong evidence of obstruction” of Democrats’ impeachment investigation, and the move prompted House Democrats to issue a subpoena in response. The State Department directed US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland not to testify before Congress.

The White House and its Republican congressional allies have argued that a full House vote is necessary, and Trump’s lawyers told House Democrats in the letter that Trump and his administration won’t cooperate in the ongoing impeachment inquiry, arguing the proceedings amount to an illegitimate effort to overturn the 2016 election results. Yes. They still have this imaginary dream that the Democrats think the 2016 election wasn’t valid.

A vote on an impeachment inquiry resolution would give Republicans an opening to argue they should have subpoena power like in past impeachment proceedings, something that Democrats would almost certainly never allow. There is also no law or rule that requires a vote. Are the Republicans looking at which Republicans in the House are against Trump?

Trump has been lashing out at GOP senators he sees as disloyal, telling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell he will amplify attacks on those Republicans who criticize him. Trump is worried that if too many GOP Senators vote against Trump in a possible future impeachment vote, Trump may get impeached.

Trump has already demonstrated his willingness to go after Republican defectors. After Sen. Mitt Romney said it was “wrong and appalling” for Trump to suggest Ukraine and China investigate Joe Biden, Trump called Romney a “pompous ass” and suggesting Romney himself be impeached. Does he know the meaning of the word “impeached” [again for the 100th time]? A senator can be recalled but not impeached.

After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “No we didn’t speak about it. I didn’t know about it” and the subject of military aid to Ukraine “was not the subject of the phone call,” Trump said there should not be any impeachment. Except what trump failed to mention is that after the phone call Zelensky was told of the military aid issue.

Trump defended a decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, saying it was too costly to keep supporting US-allied, Kurdish-led forces in the region fighting Islamic State militants. “The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades,” Trump said in a series of tweets.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who is generally a vocal Trump supporter, wrote in a series of Twitter posts that he was trying to set up a call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and would introduce a Senate resolution opposing the withdrawal decision and calling for it to be reversed. Turkey could invade northern Syria now that the US will leave the area. McConnell joined the wave of Republicans and Democrats criticizing Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, allowing Turkey to take control of the military operations there.

Trump appeared to backpedal after giving Turkey a green light to attack US-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria, warning Ankara in a tweet that “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

After Turkey struck the Kurds in Syria and Trump claimed the Kurds ” /didn’t help us in the second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy for example”, quite a few Republicans, including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking Republican in the House, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, and others weren’t happy with the attack. Some have called on sanctions against high ranking members of the Turkish government.

Turkish Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would release 3.6+ million Syrian refugees into Europe if he is criticized by the European Union. Taking a page from Trump’s playbook.

Trump signed an executive order giving the Treasury Department “very significant new sanctions authorities” against Turkey, but the US doesn’t have any immediate plans to use them, Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said. “We are not activating the sanctions. These are very powerful sanctions. We hope we don’t have to use them, but we could shut down the Turkish economy if we need to.”

Did he state this before? Probably not. Retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters said that “you can’t believe a word Trump says,” in between laughing on air after reading Trump’s tweet.

Trump’s ousted ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, strode into a deposition on Capitol Hill. Three days earlier, the White House had issued a letter declaring the administration would refuse to comply with Democrats’ requests as they speed ahead in their impeachment efforts, saying the proceedings were “illegitimate.” Democrats said the White House tried to prevent Yovanovitch’s testimony and were forced to issue a subpoena.

The White House said that “we are not concerned with any information Yovanovitch might share, because the President did nothing wrong.” If so, why did they try to block her from testify?

Two associates of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, connected to efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have been arrested and indicted on criminal charges for allegedly funneling foreign money into US elections. Another one was arrested on lesser charges and a forth was indicted but not arrested.

Attorney General William Barr held a mysterious meeting with News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch. Critics of the White House have been raising questions about why the attorney general was meeting with a media mogul at a time when Trump has been openly critical of the network.

Meanwhile, Shepard Smith, one of the few voices at Fox News who has been willing to be critical of Trump, is stepping down from the network after 23 years. “Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter. After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged,” Smith said in a statement. Hmmmm.

Trump lost his appeal to stop a House subpoena of his tax documents from his longtime accountant Mazars USA. In a 2-1 ruling, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a lower court ruling saying the firm must turn over eight years of accounting records.

Then right after, judges in New York, Texas, Washington state and California sided against Trump administration initiatives meant to limit immigrants from entering the country — both through a physical barrier and by raising the requirements on migrants seeking legal status.

In a rare bright spot, Trump announced a “phase one” trade agreement with China that he hopes will signal the beginning of the end of a withering trade war. News of the emerging deal sent stocks soaring, even as Trump acknowledged it still requires “papering.”

Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security since April and the fourth person to serve in that post since the Trump presidency began, submitted his resignation to the White House. Seems like McAleenan wanted to go back to the private sector. His replacement [acting acting secretary of homeland security?] will be announced soon.

Former Trump Organization Trump Organization vice president, Barbara Res, says she thinks Trump may resign rather than face possible removal from office by impeachment. “He does a lot of things to save face…. my gut [instinct] is that he’ll leave office, he’ll resign. Or make some kind of a deal, even, depending on what comes out.” She claims that while working for Trump, he would make [light] racist jokes.

A hacker group with ties to the Iranian government attacked 241 Microsoft email accounts “associated with a US presidential campaign, current and former US government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran,” the company said in a blog post. 2,700 email accounts were attacked but primarily to go after the 241 accounts in which most of the campaign accounts were tied to Donald Trump. The campaign has said they have no indication that they were compromised. No presidential candidate was attacked.

In a Fox News poll, more than half of US voters want Trump impeached and removed from office. Shocker! 51% of registered voters want Trump impeached and removed from office and another 4% want Trump impeached but not removed from office. Forty percent of respondents were opposed to impeachment altogether.

Trump then attacked Fox News tweeting “whoever their Pollster is, they suck” adding that the network is “much different than it used to be in the good old days.”

With a rally being held shortly in Minneapolis, the city’s mayor billed the Trump re-election campaign for $500,000 for extra security but later withdrew after legal action. Meanwhile Trump tweeted that the website selling “Cops for Trump” t-shirts had crashed because they were so popular. It never crashed.

When Trump announced that his signature wall at the US’s southern border would be “virtually impenetrable” while visiting San Diego last month, Rick Weber, who co-founded the Muir Valley rock climbing park in Rogers, Kentucky, was listening. Several people have already managed to climb up the wall replica including an 8-year-old [who didn’t use any ropes or other tools to climb the wall, but wore a belay, a safety device designed to catch a falling climber].

Trump has said that 20 mountain climbers claimed the border wall design is difficult to climb, but Weber and other climbers have said that seems unlikely. “We were all very puzzled because none of us in the climbing community had heard of these 20 people that had supposedly tried this wall,” Weber says.