Revenge and criticism is his specialty

Trump complained about news coverage of the firing of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council in a tweet, saying reporting was done “as though I should think only how wonderful he was. Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!).” You know that means he knows Vindman well.

Trump claimed that Vindman “reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly,” which those close to Vindman have disputed and claiming he was given a “horrendous” report by his superior that he had problems with judgment and leaking information. Vindman’s former boss, then-White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill praised his performance.

Alexander Vindman’s twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, a National Security Council attorney, was also fired, “suddenly and with no explanation, despite over two decades of loyal service to this country.” Yevgeny Vindman had never testified or spoke publicly about the Ukraine saga.

If it was just Alexander Vindman who was fired was one thing. But both? That makes things even more like revenge. Then it gets worse: Trump tweets that the military should punish Vindman for what he has done. Unless he has done something in the military that is wrong, good luck there. But what Trump wants is political. A US defense official with knowledge of the matter said there is no Army investigation into Vindman, the Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer weighed in on Trump’s tweets about Vindman, posting on Twitter, “Has any ‘President’ ever been more disrespectful to U.S. service members?”

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly said that Alexander Vindman, a key witness in Trump’s impeachment inquiry, was right to raise concerns about Trump’s July call to Ukraine’s president. Kelly also believes that Vindman told the truth during testimony before House investigators last fall. Multiple former generals and admirals have come out supporting Kelly’s comments. These include Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Adm. William McRaven.

Schumer sent a letter to the acting Department of Defense Inspector General requesting investigations into “any and all instances of retaliation” against witnesses who have made “protected disclosures of presidential misconduct.”

An adviser to Trump said the firings of the major impeachment witnesses was meant to send a message that siding against the President will not be tolerated saying “Flushing out the pipes.”

Prosecutors from the US Attorney’s office in Washington, who are employees of the Justice Department, had said that longtime Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone should be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison after he was convicted on seven charges last year that derived from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, including lying to Congress and witness tampering.

The sentencing recommendation, transmitted to a judge and signed off on by the office’s top prosecutor, had not been communicated to leadership at the Justice Department. The revised sentencing memorandum, which is expected to be filed in Washington federal court, comes hours after Trump publicly criticized the recommendation. Meanwhile, all 4 federal prosecutors quit the Stone case after DOJ pushes to reduce Stone’s sentencing. Other federal prosecutors could follow.

Attorney General William Barr has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month giving them a forum to press the attorney general on the sentencing of Roger Stone and other controversies that have emerged in the aftermath of Trump’s impeachment trial.

Congressional Republicans downplayed the involvement of Trump and Barr in the sentencing of Stone, saying they see no reason for the investigations that Democrats are demanding. Meanwhile, federal judge, Amy Berman Jackson, has denied Stone a new trial after he made a request for one under seal, according to a notice from the court.

“If I thought he’d done something that’d change the outcome inappropriately, I’d be the first to say,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said. Sure Lindsey.

Barr’s blunt warning that Trump’s constant Twitter commentary and meddling makes it impossible to do his job was a stunner. It set off a deluge of speculation about his motives and potential reprisals from Trump, who brooks no disloyalty. In an interview Barr said “I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

Trump claims he has the right to intervene. Seems very few presidents ever did – if any. You don’t like the sentencing? Pardon the person after – which I am sure he will.

Trump abruptly withdrew the nomination for Jessie Liu, the former US attorney who headed the office that oversaw Roger Stone’s prosecution, to serve in a top Treasury Department position. Liu had been nominated in December to serve as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes. Liu’s office inherited many of the major ongoing cases from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation. Liu submitted her resignation to the Treasury Department.

When Trump was asked what he learned from the impeachment ordeal he responded: “The Democrats are crooked… They got a lot of crooked things going. That they’re vicious. That they shouldn’t have brought impeachment.”

Regarding Stone “We have killers, we have murderers all over the place, nothing happens. And then they put a man in jail and destroy his life, his family, his wife, his children. Nine years in jail — it’s a disgrace.” Sounds like [of course] Stone did nothing wrong. Wouldn’t be surprised if he is pardoned at the end of the year.

The White House is preparing to present a budget that would not eliminate the federal deficit in the next 10 years. There will be a $4.8 trillion budget plan for 2021. US budget deficit ballooned past $1 trillion in 2019, marking the first time the country has crossed that threshold in a calendar year since 2012.

The deficit has continued to grow due in part to tax cuts and a two-year budget deal that has boosted federal spending under Trump. It’s swelled to $984 billion at the end of the last fiscal year, up from $665 billion during his first year in office in 2017. Only $2 billion was allocated to the funds for the Trump Wall – less than Congress approved. The Education Department budget will be cut by $6 billion.

As a candidate, Trump promised to “get rid of” the national debt, telling the Post in 2016 that he could make the US debt-free “over a period of eight years.”

Over 100 US service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries in the wake of the January 8 Iranian missile attack on the al Asad military base in Iraq. The Pentagon and Trump had initially said no service members were injured or killed in the Iranian missile attack. Approximately 200 people who were in the blast zone at the time of the attack have been screened for symptoms.

Last month, Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of the injuries suffered in Iraq. “No, I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it’s not very serious,” Trump said.

Construction crews blowing up parts of a national monument to make way for the Trump Wall could be on the verge of destroying sacred burial sites. Controlled blasts began inside Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument recently which is adjacent to the monument.

Seems New Hampshire wasn’t thrilled with Trump. At one point, about 14% of Republican voters did not vote for him. Yet he will probably still say it was a landslide or a huge victory or whatever.

Trump tweeted “I would say that was the biggest political Rally in New Hampshire history. Incredible evening!” Without actually checking – if it is possible to check.

Amazon has asked a federal court for permission to get testimony from Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper as part of its ongoing protest over the Defense Department’s handling of a multibillion-dollar cloud computing contract. The document also seeks permission to depose former Defense Secretary James Mattis and what he may have known about Trump’s attitude toward the contract, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure.

Amazon argues in the document that the Pentagon’s explanation for awarding the contract to Microsoft left out “crucial information and details that led to this flawed and potentially detrimental decision regarding DoD’s future cloud infrastructure…. President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use his position as President and Commander in Chief to interfere with government functions — including federal procurements — to advance his personal agenda.”

Last month, the company asked the court to block Microsoft from beginning work on the contract, which is valued at $10 billion over 10 years. The court has not decided whether to grant that request.

Seems Trump even couldn’t be true during his State of the Union address early this month.

Tony Rankins, a formerly homeless, drug-addicted Army veteran, got a standing ovation at the State of the Union after Trump described how he turned his life around thanks to a construction job at a company using the administration’s “Opportunity Zone” tax breaks targeting poor neighborhoods. But it isn’t quite true.

Rankins, who indeed moved out of his car and into an apartment since landing a job refurbishing a Nashville hotel two years ago, doesn’t work at a site taking advantage of the breaks and never has done so. In fact, he started that job four months before the Treasury Department published its final list of neighborhoods eligible for the breaks. And the hotel where he worked couldn’t benefit even now because it’s an area that didn’t make the cut.

Trump also praised Rankins’ employer, R Investments, for “working to help 200 people rise out of homelessness every year by investing in opportunity zones.” But it also isn’t quite true.

CEO Travis Steffens said he has hired hundreds of homeless to work at the 400 buildings the company has owned over the years, taking advantage of various tax breaks. But when it comes to Trump’s Opportunity Zone breaks, he said, the company has only one building tapping the program now, a warehouse in Cincinnati where no one seems to be working, homeless or otherwise.

Trump’s former communications director Hope Hicks is expected to return to the White House in an adviser role. Hicks will be working for Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner and others in a number of strategic areas. She supposedly left her chief communications officer at Fox Corporation after about 18 months. Her title will be “counselor to the president.” She’s just 31 years old.

As of the end of 2018, only 15% of the 268 items on Trump’s web site shop had a made in the US label. Some don’t have any. Recently, Mark Meadows, Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump Jr were seen sporting “Team Trump” windbreakers indoors [so on purpose]. So you think the windbreakers are American made? I doubt it.

The Senate saves Trump

Right after the Senate easily voted not to remove him from office on the two impeachment charges, Donald John Trump tweeted “I will be making a public statement tomorrow at 12:00pm from the @WhiteHouse to discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!” He was [typically] 20 minutes late. Not surprising he went after just about everyone who opposes him.

He said “We’ve been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops, it was leakers and liars. And this should never, ever happen to another president, ever.” Trump told an East Room packed with conservative lawmakers, media pundits, and a number of Cabinet officials, who cheered as Trump meandered through a list of grievances and musings.

“As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” he said. Uh huh.

He apologized to his family “for having them have to go through a very phony rotten deal by some very sick people.” And whose fault was that? “I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it; some people said no, they wouldn’t have.”

He called Sen. Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican who voted to convict: a “failed presidential candidate” who “used religion as a crutch.” And yet Trump calls himself a church going Christian but he probably hasn’t stepped in a church since the last funeral that he was invited to.

He then went after others:

  • “A dirty cop” who represented “top scum” at the agency for James Comey, the FBI director he fired.
  • “It was all bullshit” regarding the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • “In my opinion, it’s almost like they want to destroy our country” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who led the effort to oust him from office.

At one point, he claimed but didn’t mention who – if even existed – that he got a call from a world leader praising the outcome. Blah. Blah. Blah. With his reputation, if you can’t offer the leader’s name, it didn’t exist.

Trump took the opportunity during the state of the union address to describe what he calls “the great American comeback” when he took office to revive the U.S. economy by “slashing a number of job killing-regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements.”

But let’s look at what he has done:

  • In the case of blue-collar workers and lower-income earners, in particular, the facts and the rhetoric don’t always quite match because of slowing median wage gains, as well as the struggles of certain sectors that tend to employ lower- and middle-income earners.
  • The farm bailout is twice what was given to the auto sector back in the financial crisis [of 2008] and this was because Trump applied tariffs on China.
  • The stock market is soaring. But the vast majority of stocks are held by the wealthiest Americans.
  • The GDP is still growing at a respectable pace, but it’s down from the high points under Barack Obama.
  • Job growth has slowed. There have been a large uptick in company bankruptcies costing thousands of permanent jobs. There has been large job loses in manufacturing, some replaced in the service industry.
  • Trump pushed for easing regulations for the coal industry, promising jobs. But the coal industry has actually lost jobs since he has been in charge.
  • The federal budget deficit surpassed $1 trillion last year – doubling 2017 and 2018 combined. Trump promised he would start paying down the national debt, but his tax cuts and sweeping spending plans have seen the deficit soar to record highs.
  • The national debt went over $22 billion for the first time ever – jumping 10% since he took charge.
  • Even with tax cuts, the economy grew 0.6% less from 2018.

Trump’s buddy, former convict Conrad Black, was on CTV News in Canada after and rambled on and on and on. He roasted Mitt Romney for voting in favor and says his career as a politician is finished. This genius was even against Richard Nixon’s impeachment. He says what Trump was doing wasn’t illegal. Telling his staff not to participate in the House impeachment is not obstruction of justice? Black then said that Trump will easily win the next election by a landslide. Time for Black to retire with the millions he frauded people of.

Trump began his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast by taking veiled shots at Pelosi, who was on the stage with him as he spoke, and Romney, the morning after the GOP-controlled Senate acquitted him. Man child.

You may lose your hair scratching vigorously after reading this: Senator Marco Rubio gave his reason why he would vote against the articles of impeachment by saying in a statement that “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office… I will not vote to remove the President because doing so would inflict extraordinary and potentially irreparable damage to our already divided nation.”

So Rubio’s comment is basically saying the [near] equivalent that individual can kill someone but because the individual is the breadwinner of the family, the individual won’t be arrested or tried in a court. Trump has already inflicted plenty of damage on the nation and the rest of the world. He is unstable.

Ummm. When Trump went to the front of the House, he shook Vice President Mike Pence’s hand but did not shake Pelosi’s hand. At the end of his speech, she tore up his speech that he did give her. I guess they are still angry at each other. Pelosi called Trump’s State of the Union address a “manifesto of mistruths”.

The pro-Trump Conservative base went after her calling her “classless” or “childish” but they didn’t seem to care that Trump did not shake her hand before the speech when she held it out.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo badly trolled Pelosi’s ripped speech by showing a screen capture of Lisa Simpson crying while ripping up a sheets paper. Yeardley Smith [does Lisa’s voice] took to Twitter to scold Pompeo. “Be a leader and fight you own fight!” she tweeted. “Oh, wait I forgot, you’re a follower.”

Trump could be working on [another] shake-up at the White House. He effectively lost confidence in his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, months ago but was told not to remove him until the impeachment was over. Trump denied Mulvaney is out – but you know him. North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows has been floated as a possible replacement.

Mulvaney himself is increasingly unhappy in the role. Trump has never graduated Mulvaney from his “acting” role, often ignores Mulvaney’s input and has opted on multiple occasions to do the opposite of whatever he suggests. Mulvaney has taken an active role in the administration’s efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak that originated in China and he travels regularly when Trump leaves town.

Trump was enraged when Mulvaney acknowledged a quid pro quo in Trump withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. Mulvaney was not a visible presence in the impeachment proceedings.

Lt. Col. Alex Vindman, the top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, was pushed out of his role earlier than expected. Vindman was not slated to leave until July. Trump has continued to fume privately about Vindman’s testimony during the impeachment inquiry, and some Democrats say the move is clearly retribution for it. Vindman is expected to return to the Pentagon.

Also fired was the US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who testified at the impeachment inquiry. Sondland’s ties to the White House and Trump had deteriorated since his testimony. He was also pulled from overseeing the Ukraine portfolio, which wasn’t directly related to his position as EU ambassador.

The Department of Justice revealed in a court filing that it has two dozen emails related to Trump’s involvement in the withholding of millions in security assistance to Ukraine — a disclosure that came just hours after the Senate voted against subpoenaing additional documents and witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial, paving the way for his acquittal.

The filing marks the first official acknowledgment from the Trump administration that emails about Trump’s thinking related to the aid exist, and that he was directly involved in asking about and deciding on the aid as early as June. The administration is still blocking those emails from the public and has successfully kept them from Congress.

Days before the July 2019 call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, US officials were still working to expedite the delivery of Javelin anti-tank missiles to the country, according to emails and other internal documents. In an email to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, a top Defense official communicated his concern over Trump’s “reported view that the US should cease providing security assistance” to Ukraine and its impact on national security.

What a classy man. Just before the Super Bowl Trump ranted away. “I see the hatred. … They don’t care about fairness, they don’t care about lying,” Trump said in a taped interview with Fox News Channel.

In the same interview, Trump claims former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, of making a special request for a box to stand on if he qualifies for future presidential debates. Bloomberg’s campaign denies that is the case. Trump’s campaign and Bloomberg’s will be running dueling, multimillion-dollar ads during Sunday night’s game. “Why should he get a box to stand on? … Why should he be entitled to that, really?”

Minutes after the Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years, Trump sent a congratulatory tweet to the team’s fans and the state of Kansas. But the team is based in Missouri. “Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on a great game, and a fantastic comeback, under immense pressure,” Trump tweeted. “You represented the Great State of Kansas and, in fact, the entire USA, so very well. Our Country is PROUD OF YOU!” It was corrected 10 minutes later.

Trump tweeted “The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the Country. Remember the 5 Billion Dollar Obamacare Website, that should have cost 2% of that.” No shocker that he is confusing the state Democrats from the federal Democrats. It is the state Democrats that decide how voting takes place and are tabulated. The website’s final bill was $1.7 billion.

With the mess going on in the Democratic Iowa caucus, Trump was tweeting “I had the largest re-election vote in the history of that great state, by far, beating President Obama’s previous record by a lot. Also, 97% Plus of the vote!” Nope. Trump received just 24%. Ted Cruz beat him.

Trump, like presidents before him, typically invites anchors from all the major networks to dine with him at the White House in advance of his State of the Union address. The lunch conversation is considered off the record. This year, he has not invited CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer from attending with no reason given [other than his usual dislike for CNN].

In another one to laugh at, a tweet “My Approval Rating in the Republican Party = 95%, a record! Big Iowa win. Approval Rating overall = 53%, a new high. With our great Economy and other major successes, would be 20 points higher without the phony Witch Hunts and Hoaxes???” He thinks he would be at 73% if it wasn’t for the impeachment? He also looks at the Rasmussen poll because it always favors him – instead of all the other polls which consistently have him in the 40s.

The senate impeachment – part 2

Well, a true democracy where politicians voted with their conscious instead of their party [or their wallet or job] wasn’t seen today when the Senate voted 51-49 not to interview witnesses or view documents that has evidence.

With this vote, it is now all but guaranteed that the Senate will vote not to throw Donald John Trump out of the White House.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer forced votes on four amendments [including to call witnesses] and they were all not surprisingly defeated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Republicans’ vote against witnesses and documents “makes them accomplices to the President’s cover-up.”

If there was any bright side [and there really wasn’t], Trump won’t be able to walk in the House this coming week for the state of the Union address and not be able to gloat in his speech that he won. All he won was something that was obvious even before there was a Senate trial. The only question was whether there would be enough Republican Senators that would actually be unbiased. Only 2 changed sides.

Democrats demanding new witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial are seizing on a report that he ordered former national security adviser John Bolton to keep military aid to Ukraine frozen in a bid to coerce political favors. “I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens [Joe & Hunter]. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination,” Trump tweeted.

Yes. This is like all the other times he has denied he did, say or knew someone.

“The Democrat controlled House never even asked John Bolton to testify. It is up to them, not up to the Senate!” Trump also tweeted. House Democrats sent Bolton an official request to testify. He declined to appear — because the White House did not authorize him to do so. A letter was sent on October 30 to Bolton’s lawyers requesting Bolton’s voluntary testimony at a deposition on November 7.

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly says he believes Bolton’s allegation that Trump told Bolton that US security aid to Ukraine was conditioned on an investigation of Trump’s political rivals, adding that Bolton should be heard from. “If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton,” Kelly said.

The White House has issued a formal threat to Bolton to keep him from publishing his book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” In a letter to Bolton’s lawyer, a top official at the National Security Council wrote the unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s book “appears to contain significant amounts of classified information” and couldn’t be published as written.

Bolton’s lawyer notified the NSC last week that if Bolton is called to testify, he will use some of the part of the chapter related to The Ukraine mess.

Trump mentioned that Bolton’s book contained classified information. However, outside of Bolton’s people, the NSC, and the public was the book leaked and maybe the the NSC?

Bolton wrote that Trump gave him the instructions in May 2019 where the conversation also included acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s lawyer Rudy “Loose Lips” Giuliani and White House lawyer Pat Cipollone. Trump released a statement claiming he “never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani….”

A nearly 90-minute recording of Trump at a 2018 donor dinner that included indicted businessmen, Lev Parnas, a person Trump has claimed he doesn’t know. It includes Trump speaking animatedly about removing the US ambassador to Ukraine — at one point stating, “Get rid of her!” Parnas is the Soviet-born businessman who subsequently worked with Giuliani.

GOP Senator James Lankford was interviewed and was asked about this tape which occurred at a dinner. Parnas was chatting with Trump for 90 minutes. Lankford’s excuse? Trump came to the dinner, ate, chatted with a few people and then left. Surely you would remember a 90 minute conversation – let alone other times Parnas was with Trump. Lankford’s other excuse? Do you remember what you did 15+ months ago?

Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said “Not a single witness testified that the President himself said that that there was any connection between any investigation and security assistance, a presidential meeting or anything else.” Well, when you don’t allow any witnesses who were part of the administration to be called, of course there are none!

Sekulow also said “In the blind drive to impeach the president, President Trump, in reality, strategically has been the best friend and supporter of Ukraine certainly in our recent history. These are the facts.” Hmm. You sure? Withholding the aid [and supposedly not telling them]? If you are expecting a package and it is past a deadline, don’t you call the sender? Blame the Ukraine and not Russia] on 2016 election tampering when US intelligence servers said it was Russia?

Sekulow also said “The transcript shows that the President did not condition either security assistance or a meeting on anything.” Read the transcript.

Trump’s legal team continues to put the blame on Ukraine’s corruption for cutting off aid that partially led to his impeachment even though he hid nothing in the two previous years. Ukraine wasn’t corrupt then? They also claim – with no proof – that Ukraine interfered with the elections and not Russia.

Trump’s legal team are also still claiming that the whole reason to for the impeach Trump is to nullify the 2016 elections because just about everyone in government outside of the administration believe Russian interfered with the election. By nullifying the election, they would claim that Hillary Clinton would become President. Impossible. We would like the last three years of hell to disappear, but it won’t happen this way.

And of course if Trump was tossed out as President, Mike “Expressionless” Pence would become President. But the tossing out would hurt the Republicans’ chances of winning the next election.

Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump’s legal team, said the charges against Trump – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – were not impeachable offenses, which he said must be a crime under existing law. Legal scholars and Dershowitz himself argued the opposite view during the 1998 impeachment trial of Democratic President Bill Clinton. Dershowitz excuse for the change? He has done extensive research since then and has concluded that “no, it has to be a crime.” Sure Alan.

“When you compare that to what Trump has done with Trump University, with so many other things, I think there’s no comparison between who has engaged in more corruption and who is more likely to continue that if elected President of the United States,” Dershowitz said in 2016. “So I think what we’re doing is we’re comparing, we’re saying, look, neither candidate is anywhere close to perfect, let’s vote for the less bad candidate.”

In a 2016 book, the law professor called him a “destabilizing and unpredictable candidate” who “openly embraces fringe conspiracy theories peddled by extremists.”

In an odd statement, Dershowitz said that while he disapproved of Mike Pompeo berating a reporter, “if he can help bring about peace in the Middle East, I’ll forgive him his rudeness towards a reporter.” Trump praised Pompeo’s behavior toward a National Public Radio reporter [see later] as “very impressive” and having done “a good job on her”.

This coming from the President of the free world: “Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!” Sounds a bit like a death threat. Corrupt? How? Was he paid off by someone? Trump knows this topic well as he is using his administration with plenty of nepotism. How much was he charging the Secret Service to use golf carts again? [$588,000 in 3 years. Yes. Renting.]

Asked if he took Trump’s social media post as a threat, Schiff said, “I think it’s intended to be.” Critics have accuse Trump of using an anti-Semitic trope in referring to the Jewish lawmaker as “shifty.”

White House spokeswoman Stephanie “Parrot” Grisham told FOX News Channel she had not spoken to Trump about the tweet but, “I think he means he hasn’t yet paid the price with the voters.” Same for Lankford. And yet, Schiff had 78% of the vote in his district in 2018. The Republican didn’t even hit 20%. In a “blue” district, unlikely the voters will switch to the GOP. a.k.a. Useless excuses.

Schiff’s suggestion regarding witnesses: “We’re going to let the chief justice make a fair determination of who is pertinent and who’s not. We’re not going to let the House decide who the President’s witnesses are. We’re not going to let the President decide who the House witnesses are. We will let them submit their top priorities and let the chief justice decide who is material and who’s not. That is fully within your power.” That, of course, didn’t happen.

In the question and answer phase of the impeachment trial, various Republicans have sent questions to Chief Justice John Roberts, who reads all questions first, but would not read any questions that named the alleged Ukraine whistleblower.

The day before the Senate vote on having interviews and bring in documents, Trump did an interview with his propaganda, department, FOX News, where he raked up 27 false claims in a short interview. Everything from impeachment [he didn’t win 196-0 in the House], lower estate taxes and “Man of the Year” in Michigan, USMCA [“the biggest trade deal… in the history of the world”, 2016 election, etc.

At a rally in Des Moines, Iowa – not far from where the Democrats will have their first primary – Trump said about Schiff: “Shifty Schiff is a very sick person… He lies awake at night shifting and turning. Shifting… Shifting and turning in his bed, sweating like a dog…. “Oh what a sick guy he is.” Maybe he should attend one of his wife’s anti-bullying sessions.

“We’re having probably the best years in the history of our country, and I just got impeached. Can you believe it?” he asked. And what does the economy got to do with his corruption? He then added “They want to overthrow the entire system of government… Today I hit my highest poll numbers since I got elected.” You know that last sentence was definitely false.

He predicted a straight sweep for Republicans in the November election, saying the GOP would win the House, the Senate and he would stay in the White House. Sure Johnny.

How petty. Trump’s defense team showed a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi passing out pens to impeachment managers after signing the articles of impeachment earlier this month with Sekulow calling it a “celebratory moment.” So exactly why wait 4+ days to say so? Doesn’t every major signing usually have the president [and not just Trump] do the same thing?

The US doesn’t seem to like it when another country interferes in their election but it looks like Trump will interfere again in the upcoming Israeli election when he is expected to release a “peace” plan. When a part of it was released last year, the Arab countries easily rejected it [no shock that Iranian backed countries would, but others also.] The plan could give a boost to PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Others suggest it is a way to deflect attention away from his impeachment trial and Netanyahu’s issues as well.

More pettiness: A NPR reporter was notified that she was being removed from the press pool covering Pompeo’s upcoming trip to the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The sudden change came just a few days after Pompeo responded angrily to an interviewer from the public radio outlet.

According to the reporter, Pompeo shouted and cursed at her after the interview ended. Pompeo did not deny that, but he called the reporter a “liar” and accused her of violating an off-the-record agreement. The reporter and NPR said she did not do that, and dozens of journalists came to her defense. Now we know why Trump hired Pompeo.

The reporter said Pompeo also questioned her intelligence by directing the reporter to identify Ukraine on a blank map of the world. An aide fetched the map for Pompeo. The reporter pointed to Ukraine, and Pompeo moved on. In a statement the next day, he implied [without outright claiming] that the reporter actually pointed to Bangladesh, a country thousands of miles away.

And then another NPR reporter was being removed from the press pool covering Pompeo’s upcoming trip to the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan as well. The White House gave no reason for it.
Trump “spiritual adviser” and White House staff member Paula White is defending her recent prayer at her church in Florida that “satanic pregnancies” be miscarried.

Even FOX News, Trump’s former propaganda department, is getting into the polls with 45% approve his performance but 54% don’t [January 19-22 polling]. The same poll said 50% should convict and remove Trump, 44% said no.

Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s lawyers served notice to a Trump attorney. She accuses Trump of raping her in the 1990s are asking for a DNA sample, seeking to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress she says she wore during the encounter. Trump would need to submit a sample on March 2 in Washington for “analysis and comparison against unidentified male DNA present on the dress.” Carroll filed a defamation suit against Trump in November after Trump denied her allegation.

Trump said in June that Carroll was “totally lying” and he had “never met this person in my life.” While a 1987 photo shows them and their then-spouses at a social event, Trump dismissed it as a moment when he was “standing with my coat on in a line.” [Of course you know that Trump denies or gives an excuse for anyone who accuses him.]

Trump “won” a German poll as the greatest threat to world peace at 41%. Kim Jong Un, Ali Khameneni, Vladimir Poutine and Xi Jinping combined had less than Trump!

Larry Shannon Hargrove “wrote” a song with the lyrics “You are so impeachable to me/Can’t You See/You Lie and you lie, you just lie and you keep on lying” — all sung to the borrowed tune of “You Are So Beautiful.”

Breaking News: The trial is technically over

The Senate voted 51-49 against showing documents or having any witnesses.

In essence, the trial is over as they will soon vote whether or not to push Donald John Trump out of the White House in the coming days.

Chances of that happening is the same chances as the US withdrawals all of its military personnel within the next week.

Trump will claim vindication, that he won, etc. But he was impeached. That can’t be changed. It will never be removed.

The Senate impeachment – part 1

Note: As most of what was already repeated in the Senate inquiry in the House and elsewhere, I won’t bother repeating them.

The 31st of January could be a big day. There will be four hours of debate on whether to subpoena witnesses and subpoenas, a vote on witnesses and documents and a vote on other motions. If all votes fail, the Senate could move to the acquittal vote.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to have the trial’s opening arguments go into the wee hours of the night, asking, “If the President is so confident in his case, then why won’t he present it in broad daylight?” Is McConnell trying to hide something? He said McConnell is pushing the trial late into the night in “hopes the American people will not be watching.”

McConnell unveiled a trial plan that would give each side 24 hours over two days to present their side. The trial is expected to begin at 1 p.m. ET each day – meaning arguments could go until 1 a.m. ET, or later if there are breaks. Why start at 1 PM and at say 8 AM and therefore finish at 8 PM or so? Eventually an extra day was added and now the 24 hours is spread over 3 days each and not ending late.

Schiff said if the Senate does not allow witnesses and documents at trial, the chamber will be guilty of “working with the President to obstruct the truth from coming out.” As well house evidence will be admitted unless there is a vote in opposition to it.

Schumer has introduced three amendments — all requesting relevant documents from the White House, State Department and Office of Budget and Management. The Senate voted along party lines to table, or kill, the amendments.

Schumer could add amendments for subpoenas for each of the four witnesses they’ve asked for. They are next turning to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, but Schumer also has wanted to subpoena Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton, White House aide Robert Blair and Michael Duffey, a Trump appointee who served in the Office of Management and Budget.

Schiff hit back at the Republicans and Trump by using Trump’s own footage against him.

Trump’s legal team filed a lengthy response to charges he abused his office and obstructed Congress, decrying the attempt to remove him as a “charade” and calling on senators to quickly reject it. 110 pages of boring crap, I’m sure. They warn against dangerous precedents should Democrats’ efforts prove successful and they insist Trump was well within his prerogatives to raise the issue of his political rivals with a foreign leader.

“The Articles themselves — and the rigged process that brought them here — are a brazenly political act by House Democrats that must be rejected. They debase the grave power of impeachment and disdain the solemn responsibility that power entails.”

“He’s been charged with abuse of power, which is not treason, which is not bribery, which is not a high crime and misdemeanor,” GOP Sen. John Cornyn. He’s been drinking the orange flavored Kool-Aid. What Trump did was very close to bribery and corruption.

On the second day of the Senate impeachment, Trump tweeted and re-tweeted over 130 times. An unofficial record for him. He had nothing else to do while flying back from Europe. Instead of, say, governing the country.

Trump, still thinking it is a television game, said he wants a “high profile” legal team that can perform on television and still doesn’t know why he was impeached. This in part may explain why Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz were added to the legal team and Rudy “Loose lips” Giuliani wasn’t.

Dershowitz has been telling his own associates he didn’t want to participate in Trump’s trial. Maybe he thinks it is a losing situation or maybe because it is Trump and his previous comments about him 20 years ago. Trump called him a lunatic then. In an interview from 1998 about the President Clinton impeachment, Dershowitz says it “certainly doesn’t have to be a crime” to be impeachable. This is opposite of his defense of Trump over the weekend.

The Democrats filed to the Senate their trial brief, a summary explaining why the House passed two articles of impeachment last month charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“President Donald J. Trump used his official powers to pressure a foreign government to interfere in a United States election for his personal political gain, and then attempted to cover up his scheme by obstructing Congress’s investigation into his misconduct,” the managers wrote in the brief. “The Constitution provides a remedy when the President commits such serious abuses of his office: impeachment and removal. The Senate must use that remedy now to safeguard the 2020 US election, protect our constitutional form of government, and eliminate the threat that the President poses to America’s national security.”

Hilariously, Trump’s legal team claim that the impeachment is nothing but a way to overturn the 2016 election [seriously!] and to tamper with the 2020 election.

Trump’s legal team argues that the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, “alleges no crime at all, let alone ‘high crimes and Misdemeanors,’ as required by the Constitution.” The team cited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s repeated denials that he felt any pressure from Trump as evidence that Trump did not abuse his power during the July 25 phone call.

The team pointed to the fact that Trump released transcripts of both the July 25 phone call and an earlier one on April 21 to argue the conversations were “perfectly legal, completely appropriate and taken in furtherance of our national interest.” I guess the Democrats got a different transcript.

It will be harder to win with the second article of impeachment – obstruction. He clearly told members of his administration not to participate in the House impeachment.

White House counselor Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway says Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be against impeaching Trump.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the House impeachment managers have been “very professional, very respectful” in presenting their case, despite a couple of “dust-ups” at the beginning of the trial. But he criticized Democrats for being repetitive, saying the managers are “over-trying their case…. It became mind-numbing after a while,” said Graham. “Eventually it gets just hard to follow.” Considering most of what was said was repeated in the House and the media, it shouldn’t be hard to follow.

Normally, if the Senators followed their oath at the beginning of this phase of the impeachment, it wouldn’t be newsworthy. But it’s not the case. Many Republicans made up their mind before the oath. So it was newsworthy when Senator John Hoeven said he will not “prejudge” anything about whether he would support additional witnesses before arguments have finished. Assuming there are witnesses.

White House press secretary Stephanie “Parrot” Grisham repeated that Trump “would love” for witnesses to be called but quickly added: “Also you have to think about executive privilege… This President is actually trying to protect future presidents against this kind of abuse.” When was the last time there was a trial anywhere [of this importance] with no witnesses?

A note that many Republicans have argued that the House should have subpoenaed more witnesses before turning the articles of impeachment over to the House. House Democrats argue that with lengthy court battles over subpoenas, the process would have been drawn out until the 2020 election. The Republicans would of challenged probably every single subpoenas. So what’s the point? Trump himself basically told his staff not to testify [this is for the second article of the impeachment].

At least three Republicans – Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney – have suggested they’re open to considering witnesses. A forth Republican [assuming no Democrats changes sides] would be needed to have witnesses.

Trump shrugged off the proceedings as “impeachment lite” and suggested it was nothing compared to Watergate. But he didn’t appear overly consumed by it. However, he is having some Twitter storms. 130+ on the way home from Europe on Wednesday. 54 before noon on Friday.

Trump was captured on tape at a 2018 dinner with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman [Rudy “Loose Lips” Giuliani’s associates] demanding the firing of Marie Yovanovitch, who was then the US ambassador to Ukraine, according to an attorney for Parnas. “Get rid of her!” a voice appearing to belong to Trump says on the recording. “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”

Trump, marking his second meeting of global political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF), also told a packed auditorium that trade deals struck this month with China and Mexico represented a model for the 21st Century. If you mean coercion to get the two countries to agree, then yes, they are a “model”. In the case of China, it is the first phase after Trump hit them with huge tariffs.

“I’m a very big believer in the environment. I want the cleanest water and the cleanest air,” he added. Yes. This from a man who relaxed EPA regulations, allowed more oil drilling and pushed for more coal output when coal isn’t in bigger demand and it is one of the dirtiest resources – let alone harmful for miners.

Even with his bilateral meeting with the President of the European Commission in Davos, Switzerland, Trump is still calls the trial a “hoax”.

Thirty-four US service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries following the Iranian missile attack on US forces in Iraq earlier this month, Pentagon spokesman Jonathon Hoffman said. Trump and his cronies, after the attack, said no service members were injured. Days later it was 11 [not announced by the Trump administration either].

Earlier this week Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of the injuries suffered in Iraq. “No, I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it’s not very serious,” Trump said in Europe.

The attorney general for Washington, DC, filed a lawsuit alleging Trump’s inaugural committee abused non-profit funds by “grossly overpay” for event space at Trump’s Washington hotel for events [in conjunction with the Trump family] around his 2017 inauguration.

An Iranian lawmaker offered a US$3-million reward to “anyone who kills” Trump to avenge the assassination of a top general. He did not say who would pay the bounty offer, which comes a month ahead of a parliamentary election.

In 2019, US retailers announced 9,302 store closings, a 59% jump from 2018 and the highest number since Coresight Research began tracking the data in 2012. Another 1400 job losses from 178 greeting card stores including Carlton Cards and Papyrus was recently announced. Yes. Trump’s US economy is doing well.

The calm before the next storm

Just moments after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the seven Democrats who will prosecute at the impeachment trial, Donald Trump tweeted “Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats. All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!” If he would actually do some work [instead of tweet, watch Fox News and play golf], the managers are to show the results from the impeachment.

The impeachment managers will prosecute the case against Trump. They will act as prosecutors for House Democrats who will outline the case against Trump in the Ukraine scandal. The opportunity to serve as an impeachment manager will offer a high-profile turn in the spotlight for whoever is chosen and the chance to elevate their standing in Congress and with liberal voters.

The impeachment managers are: House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Jason Crow, Rep. Val Demings, Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Rep. Sylvia Garcia. The impeachment articles were later delivered to the Senate by these seven people. The actual trial will begin on January 21st.

Trump is adding some lawyers to his impeachment legal defense team. This includes Kenneth Starr, the hard-charging prosecutor whose work led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and Alan Dershowitz, the constitutional lawyer. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy “Loose Lips” Giuliani, wasn’t included. I am guessing he’s not happy.

Trump commented during the Clinton impeachment era that Starr was a “lunatic” and a “disaster”. So he has no issue of using him about 20 years later. Dershowitz is also busy with a defamation lawsuit by one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers where he claims the accusations against Epstein are false. Dershowitz is also accused of sex trafficking in the lawsuit.

Also on the legal team is White House counsel Pat Cipollone and outside attorney Jay Sekulow, who are still expected to deliver statements on Trump’s behalf on the Senate floor. Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Trump’s longtime personal counsel Jane Raskin will also supplement Trump’s impeachment legal team.

Trump is asking for donations to help fund his Senate impeachment hearings and vote. He doesn’t have enough money of his own? Isn’t he a billionaire?

Trump, I’m sure will continue to whine about the “hoax”, “do nothing Democrats”, and his other comments while the trial goes on. Since it is unlikely 20 Republicans will vote against Trump [assuming no Democrats vote for Trump], Trump should easily win the trial. He will claim that he will be exonerated, vindicated, etc. However, this trial is not to see if he will be impeached – he has by the House – it is to see based on the evidence presented in the House [and by some fluke the trial allows] whether he should be removed from office based on the evidence.

This is about an equivalent of a sentencing hearing after someone is convicted. Him and his cronies will pitch this for months and his followers [who believe him over anything] will agree with what he says – no matter how true it is.

Joseph A. Bondy, attorney for Soviet-born businessman Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Giuliani, has turned over photos, dozens of text messages and thousands of pages of documents to House impeachment investigators in an effort to win his client an audience with lawmakers. Parnas is increasingly under pressure by federal prosecutors who have said they are likely to file additional criminal charges against him. If successful it could win him an audience with prosecutors and possibly leniency.

House Democrats unveiled new evidence that they plan to send to the Senate as part of their case to remove Trump from office. The evidence includes text messages and hand-written notes from an indicted Rudy “Loose Lips” Giuliani associate that add more details about the push for Ukraine to announce an investigation against Trump’s political rivals.

The documents show how Parnas sought to set up a meeting between Giuliani and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and connect with members of his government.

Parnas implicated the Trump in an interview in which he said that their efforts were “all about 2020” and not about working in the interest of the United States. “That was the way everyone viewed it,” Parnas said, disputing Trump’s claim that the push to unearth damaging information about his political rival, Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, stemmed from concerns about corruption in Ukraine.

The records also add more details about the push by Giuliani to seek the ouster of the then-US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Trump and cronies denied Parnas and Trump knew each other. Parnas released photos of the two of them. Reminder that Trump tends to deny he knows people who accuse him of things that he did.

The Government Accountability Office says the Trump administration broke the law [Impoundment Control Act], when it withheld US security aid to Ukraine for his political gain last year that had been appropriated by Congress. Not surprising, Trump cronies denied the problem saying the GAO is wrong and not enough for evidence in the impeachment.

“While no US service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad Air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” the US military said in a statement. US military added that 11 service members had been injured in the attack. Following the attack, the Pentagon had initially said that no casualties had resulted from the 16 missiles fired by Iran.

But Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said after the attack that “Most importantly, no casualties, no friendly casualties, whether they are US, coalition, contractor, etc.” The US military defines a casualty as either an injury or fatality involving personnel.

Not surprisingly, on Sunday, Trump’s cronies and mouthpieces headed to the Sunday TV news shows, pushing what Trump said during the past in week. Case in point, they probably all said 4 embassies were being targeted – the latest version of the reason why Iranian military leader, Qasem Soleimani, was killed. But none could give any evidence that 4 embassies [originally just one] were under threat. I don’t think it gives any top secret information if giving out just which embassies were involved.

“There is no blame here for America. America stood up once again for freedom. Iran went past a red line they had not gone past before, killing a U.S. citizen. Iran shot down an innocent, commercial airliner. There’s no doubt where the blame lies,” claiming House minority leader Kevin McCarthy. Those who lost their lives, lost their freedom.

Trump tweeted “To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching.” If he’s talking about the recent protesting, I’m doubting there has been a thousand who were killed but I’m sure plenty were imprisoned. The Iranian regime wouldn’t obviously announced how many have been injured, killed or imprisoned.

The Trump administration has abruptly canceled four classified congressional briefings related to the ongoing Iran crisis, in some cases providing little or no explanation for doing so.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indirectly blamed rising tensions in the Middle East for the destruction last week of Flight PS752 just after takeoff outside Tehran. “I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” Trudeau said. Yes, Iran claimed that they thought the flight was a cruise missile supposedly flying to a military installation.

Asked whether the Trump administration should have warned Canada of the plan to kill Soleimani, McCarthy ducked the question by citing Iranian acts of aggression in the region. “… And Trudeau did not have to mention Iran because the facts are purely on Iran … Trudeau is right about what Iran had been doing.” Except Trudeau laid the blame on Iran and the US.

Trump said in an interview “When, during the campaign, I would say Mexico is going to pay for it [The Trump Wall]. Obviously I never said this.”

Scratching head time.] Huh? You said it many times and recorded on video.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden used Trump’s own words in an add to show that he is the candidate that should lead the Democrats against Trump.

Michael McCain, chief executive of Canadian food packaging company Maple Leaf Foods [MLF], lashed out against the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis in relations between the United States and Iran on Twitter. Someone [from the US I gather] replied to boycott the company’s products. The boycott will be useless as MLF probably doesn’t sell much to the US. If a Canadian boycott, it won’t mean much either as Canadian right wingers aren’t as [far] right as those in the US and would less likely follow.

The Secret Service has spent $588,000 renting golf carts since 2017 when Trump decided to go golfing. Maybe cheaper to own? In the first five months of his presidency, the Secret Service paid more than $250,000 to Trump’s private businesses. Eric’s 2017 promotional trip to Uruguay, where he attended a party at Trump Tower Punta del Este, cost the Secret Service close to $100,000.

In July 2015, Trump said, “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done. I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off.” Trump has spent at least 252 days at a Trump golf club, and 333 days at a Trump property since inauguration since the end of 2019.

It has been just over 300 days since there has been a White House press briefing. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham hasn’t held a briefing since taking her role in July, deciding instead to participate in interviews with friendly conservative television outlets – mostly Fox News. Nice job if you can get it. So instead of appearing in tens of millions of Americans [let alone those outside the US], her interviews is limited to one news network. Other networks will need to grab Fox News’ feed.

Apple once again is drawing the line at breaking into a password-protected iPhone for a criminal investigation, refusing a request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help unlock the iPhones of a shooter responsible for an attack in Florida in December.

Attorney General William Barr declared that the shooting was an act of terrorism and reiterated law enforcement’s plea to Apple to unlock the killer’s phones-an iPhone 7 and iPhone 5. Trump, of course, weighed in as well.

Stephen Colbert recently referred to Mitch McConnell as a pair of googly eyes glued onto a chicken thigh.

Iran drove him nuts this week

“We have … targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture” and “if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets… Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD,” Donald Trump wrote in a series of tweets. I’m surprised he didn’t list them. And what about American allies? Good chance Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others will be on heightened alert.

Attacking cultural sites is considered to be a war crime. A 2017 United Nations Security Council Resolution “condemns the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage, including the destruction of religious sites and artifacts.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended Trump’s tweet, arguing that such an action would not violate international law and instead suggesting it would be a continuation of the administration’s attempts at deterrence and defense.

And if you believe Trump wouldn’t go after Iranian cultural sites….

“They’re allowed to kill our people, they’re allowed to torture and maim our people, they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people, and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump said aboard Air Force One.

After the assassination of Iranian military leader, Qasem Soleimani, Trump claims that killing Soleimani will actually prevent a war – with no reasons for saying that. I think most experts would probably disagree. To start, this fired up Iran and their allies with anti-American protests. Then Soleimani was immediately replaced. His replacement may or may not be as good when it comes to orchestrating attacks. Plus, every US ally in the region now are on high alert.

The Trump Administration told Congress it plans to send a formal notification under the War Powers Act of the Trump-ordered drone strike that killed Soleimani, according to a senior White House official. The notification was sent within 48 hours which was done.

Trump claimed that his tweets are sufficient notice to Congress of any possible US military strike on Iran, in an apparent dismissal of his obligations under the War Powers Act of 1973. Trump’s declaration was met with disbelief and ridicule from congressional Democrats, who called on the president to respect the role of the legislative branch in authorizing new military action abroad.

In that act, according to the Library of Congress web site, “The second part requires the President to consult with Congress before introducing U.S. armed forces into hostilities or situations where hostilities are imminent, and to continue such consultations as long as U.S. armed forces remain in such situations.” That didn’t happened until after the drone strike. Whether or not the drone operators were in country or somewhere else, armed forces were involved and now an additional 3500 troops heading to the area.

Senate Democrats and two key GOP senators – Mike Lee and Rand Paul – slammed a classified briefing on the strike that killed Soleimani, charging that administration officials failed to provide evidence to show the attack was imminent and dismissed the role Congress should play in deciding to take military action. Lee called the way the briefing played out “un-American” and “completely unacceptable”.

Paul and Lee also announced they would support the War Powers resolution sponsored by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, which would limit the President’s ability to use military force in Iran. The administration representatives ended up leaving before all questions were asked — departing after the allotted time of 90 minutes.

Trump originally said it was because an American contractor died. Later he said that a US embassies Baghdad was targeted by Soleimani. Later it was four including the one in Baghdad. Trump administration didn’t know precisely when or where the attack would occur, but insisted it was imminent. Those at recent security briefings said the 4 embassies weren’t mentioned then. Thought of on the spot? Of course knowing how Trump has changed stories in the last, it could be 6 embassies tomorrow or maybe 5 McDonald’s somewhere.

Russia said that the assassination was a “gross violation of fundamental international laws”. This coming from a country that assisted Syria in kicking thousands of Syrian enemies [both militants and civilians] over the past 5 years or so.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House of Representatives will vote this week on legislation to limit Trump’s military actions on Iran in the wake of increased tensions between the two countries after Trump ordered an airstrike killing top Soleimani.

A few hours after Trump praised Tucker Carlson and other conservative Fox News anchors, Carlson tore into Trump’s decision to authorize the US airstrike by saying “Is Iran really the greatest threat we face? And who’s actually benefiting from this? And why are we continuing to ignore the decline of our own country in favor of jumping into another quagmire from which there is no obvious exit?”

Carlson, if you noticed, said “the decline of our own country”. So even right wing conservatives believe the economy is starting to tank. They are ignoring Trump’s only indicator that the economy is doing well: stock market ticker. After all, who owns most of the stock? The rich. Not the middle or lower class. And yet, Trump’s followers [literally] don’t care.

Carlson added later “But Mexico and China are also linked to the deaths of Americans. Each has flooded our country with narcotics from which tens of thousands of Americans die every single year, not that anyone in power cares. So does that mean we get to bomb Oaxaca? Can we start assassinating generals in the People’s Liberation Army?”

Fox Business anchor/propogandist, Lou Dobbs, gushed about Trump the night after the attack, saying Trump has “set a standard” for presidents “that most mortals won’t be able to meet. He out-works them, he out-thinks, he is remarkably resourceful, he’s bright, his judgment is second to none.” Let’s just say critical weren’t thrilled with the comments.

Dobbs’ show even showed an on-screen banners said “TRUMP SECURES ANOTHER MIDDLE EAST VICTORY.” Victory? What victory?

The Iraqi Parliament voted to obligate Iraq’s government “to work towards ending the presence of all foreign troops on Iraqi soil,” according to the media office of the Iraqi Parliament. This could allow Iran to further cement their presence in Iraq. Considering Iran and Iraq had two major wars within the past 50 years, this could be interesting.

“If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis. We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever,” Trump said aboard Air force One. “We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.” Everything with him is money.

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, praised Trump for ordering the drone strike that killed Iran’s top general last week and said the only ones outside of the regime who are upset about his death are Trump’s domestic political opponents. “The only ones that are mourning the loss of Soleimani are our Democrat leadership, and our Democrat presidential candidates,” Haley said.

“You don’t see anyone standing up for Iran. You’re not hearing any of the Gulf members. You’re not hearing China. You’re not hearing Russia,” Haley said. False allegations is typically something that Trump would say but I thought she was sane. Syria, Lebanon and other Iran backed countries plus China and Russia have all condemned the strike.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that the Iranian cabinet members decided the country will no longer limit itself to the nuclear restrictions set forth by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the international nuclear deal reached in 2015 between Iran and a handful of other countries including the US.

Not even days later, Iran fired over a dozen ballistic missiles at 2 Iraqi bases where US and other allies are stationed. While Iraqi soldiers were hurt or killed, no American soldiers. The thinking is that Iran avoided where Americans were stationed as it could of increased tensions even further. After, Iran said if any Iranian location is attacked, Iran will attack the US from within.

Sen. Lindsey Graham just tweeted that US retaliation for Iran’s overnight missile strikes “is not necessary” right now, marking a dramatic shift in tone from his comments previously. This is just one of a few “hawks” who have flip-flopped. He is also a huge Trump supporter.

“In my view, retaliation for the sake of retaliation is not necessary at this time,” Graham tweeted. “What is necessary is to lay out our strategic objectives regarding Iran in a simple and firm fashion.” Graham is like a propaganda arm of the administration. He also added “A homerun speech by President Trump about the challenges we face with Iran. It was measured and firm.” Is that propaganda or what?

Trump held off on any retaliation as well as any response for over 12 hours. Then at a press conference Trump said that “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.” Hmmm. Wonder how he decided that they were standing down and then announced more sanctions against Iran.

Some believe Iran didn’t specifically go after US military personnel [even though Iraqi soldiers were injured or killed. But Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told reporters “I believe based on what I saw and what I know that they were intended to cause structural damage destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft and to kill personnel.”

Without providing any evidence to support their claim, Iranian media are reporting that “80 US military personnel have been killed” and more than “200 US military personnel were injured” in the missile attack on two Iraqi military bases.

Meanwhile, Iraq received “an official verbal message” from Iran about the missile attack before it happened. Iraq said the warning was reportedly passed to the US.

The House of Representatives voted to approve a resolution aimed at restraining Trump’s ability to use military action against Iran without congressional approval, amid simmering tensions between the US and the country. Some representatives crossed party lines. The Senate will vote and likely defeat the resolution.

An Ukrainian International Airlines flying from Tehran to Kiev crashed after take-off in Iran. All perished. This was a Boeing 737 aircraft and the Iranian government does not want to give up the “black boxes” to Boeing [or the US]. I am guessing the tensions between the US and Iran are a reason for Iran’s refusal. At one point, a missile fired at the jet wasn’t ruled out. After all, the Russians supposedly shot down an Ukrainian jet a number of years ago. [This was a 737-800 – not the 737-MAX which crashed twice last year.]

Ukraine is investigating multiple possible causes of the deadly jetliner crash that killed 176 passengers and crew shortly after takeoff in Tehran. These include the theory that the plane was hit by at least one anti-aircraft missile. Some experts believe that because of the way the airplane exploded that it may not be a mechanical issue but maybe a missile.

Even Trump climbed on this missile option but didn’t blame Iran directly but maybe a rogue group. Iran denied any Russian-made missile was fired but it looks more and more like that. Over 80 Iranians were on the flight plus a number of dual nationals.

Iran may have also cleaned up some of the wreckage in the days since the crash as some videos before and after shows quite a bit of the wreckage was missing. Investigators from Canada and elsewhere expected to be allowed on scene.

Iran, late in the week, finally admitted that the flight was mistakenly shot down by at least one missile and announced that those involved will be reprimanded. It claimed that the flight flew too close to a military site.

The head of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham, said he wants the Senate to launch an impeachment trial of Trump within days and wrap it up this month, even if it means changing Senate rules.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate cannot proceed with a trial under its rules until it receives them. McConnell has argued that any decision on potential witnesses should come after senators have heard opening arguments and have had a chance to ask questions.

Pelosi said she’s preparing to send the impeachment articles to the Senate next week to start the trial of Trump. The House needs to pass a resolution naming impeachment managers before the articles are formally sent to the Senate, and the Senate will also have to take procedural steps before the trial gets underway.

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said he is willing to testify — if he is subpoenaed — in the Senate’s impeachment trial of Trump. Bolton issued a statement after the courts did not rule whether he would be compelled to testify during the House’s impeachment proceedings, saying he was trying to meet his “obligations both as a citizen and as former national security adviser.”

The economy is doing so great [sarcastically] that there are now to large dairy producers in the US to file for bankruptcy. Dean Foods file in November and Borden Dairy filed this week.

Borden noted that more than 2,700 family dairy farms went out of business last year, and 94,000 have stopped producing milk since 1992. Higher milk prices and less consumption are part of the blame.

Trump said during a press conference that he “cares for the environment”. Yes Donnie, like you basically dismantled the EPA, relaxed environmental regulations including vehicle emissions, pushed for more coal [one of the dirtiest environment damage], etc.

In fact, the Trump administration plans to rewrite decades-old regulations to make it easier to build major infrastructure such as pipelines, which would have the effect of relaxing government efforts to fight the climate crisis.

The Washington Post and ABC released a poll that found 49% of those surveyed said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, and 71% think he should allow senior administration officials to testify in a likely Senate impeachment trial.