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.”

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 circus continues to implode

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced at a press conference that she is asking House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler to proceed with articles of impeachment. Articles of impeachment represent a key next step in the impeachment inquiry. The Constitution explains that offenses that could prompt impeachment are treason, bribery or “other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

House Intelligence Committee Democrats have released their report detailing how Donald Trump sought political gain through his dealings with Ukraine. The report from the House Intelligence Committee makes the Democrats’ case for impeachment includes exhibits and phone logs. The report will also compare Trump’s lack of cooperation with Congress with the cooperation in past administrations to argue that Trump has engaged in unprecedented stonewalling.

The committee is expected to vote to approve it on Tuesday evening to send it to the House Judiciary Committee, where it is expected to serve as the basis of articles of impeachment that would be drafted by that panel in the coming days.

Neither Trump nor his attorneys will participate in the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing. In a letter to Chairman Jerrold Nadler, White House counsel to Trump, Pat Cipollone said, “We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings…. Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.”

Cipollone accused Nadler in the letter of “no doubt purposely” scheduling the hearing while Trump will be at a NATO meeting in London. Cipollone said they would respond separately to the next deadline about their participation in future hearings.

Trump said that if House Democrats are going to impeachment him they should do it “now” and “fast” so he can have a “fair” trial in the Republican-controlled Senate. Trump also said he wanted Pelosi, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and the Bidens to testify at a Senate trial.

First, the Republican controlled Senate will vote most likely on party lines with maybe a couple of “normal” Republicans voting against him but not enough to impeach. With maybe the exception of Hunter Biden there is no need for the others to testify. That would be a “witch hunt” or just fishing for potential damaging information. In any case, he will be the fourth President to go through impeachment proceedings which isn’t great for his ego. [Or maybe it is. Makes him unique.] “We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to ‘Clean the Swamp,’ and that’s what I am doing!” If he was cleaning the “swamp”, wouldn’t those individuals be gone from the government after 3 years? Exactly what has he done in his cleaning?

Trump wants a fast trial now because he thinks by the time the elections come around no one will remember it – yet i think the Democrats will remind voters. And if the Republicans said that he wasn’t impeached., the Democrats will say it’s not surprising when all the Republicans Senators didn’t cross the aisle.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a statement today criticizing Pelosi’s decision to move forward with articles of impeachment, saying that Pelosi’s announcement “moves this Country toward the most partisan and illegitimate subversion of the Constitution in our history.” This from a constitution “expert”. Other White House officials and leading Republicans had similar comments.

Republicans have given a full-throated defense of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine in a 123 page report that rejects the Democratic allegations that the President abused his office or committed any other impeachable offense. Democratic committee will release a report that’s expected to lay out charges likely to form the basis for potential articles of impeachment.

Not surprisingly, the report largely ignores or downplays testimony from career officials who raised serious questions and concerns about the conduct of Trump and some of his top aides. Also not surprising is that the report give alternative versions or excuses for certain information.

At the NATO meetings, Trump said “Maybe I’ll deal with them [those who’s GDP is under 2%] from a trade standpoint. Maybe I’ll deal with them in a different way… we don’t want to have people be delinquent.” So more tariffs coming. He is policing an organization that he hinted on leaving at one point. He also claimed the US is giving 4.3% of its GDP to NATO when the last check a few months ago was 3.4%.

During an event at the NATO conference, a CBC camera picked up some of the audio where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte appear to share a laugh over Trump’s behavior. Johnson asking Macron why he was late. Macron’s response is inaudible but he can be seen nodding as Trudeau says, “He was late because he takes a … 40-minute press conference at the top.”

Trump’s first public reaction showed he was unhappy with that video surfacing, responding to a reporter’s question by calling Trudeau “two-faced.” He did this during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Trump adding “honestly with Trudeau he’s a nice guy… The truth is I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2% and I guess he’s not very happy about it,” Trump said adding “he should be paying 2% and that Canada “has money.” He didn’t go after the other leaders.

Trump decided to have a working lunch with the leaders of all NATO countries who have met or exceeded their 2% defense commitment. It is actually a small group consisting of US, UK, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Lithuania and Bulgaria. UK’s Boris Johnson couldn’t attend. Unsure what 9 countries can do on their own.

When someone that Trump has previously met is in trouble, Trump claims “I don’t know him”. Case in point, “I don’t know Prince Andrew, but it’s a tough story,” Trump said in London during a press appearance on the sidelines of the NATO summit. “I don’t know him, no.” And yet, how could he not know the Price, let alone the picture from June 2019?

Or maybe him with Melania and the Prince in 2000?

Trump told reporters in London that the signing of a US-China trade deal is entirely at his discretion, and indicated that an agreement may not come until 2020 – or later. “I have no deadline,” he said. “In some ways I think it’s better to wait for after the election, if you want to know the truth.” US stock futures turned negative after Trump’s comments, and yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond plunged.

Trump also told reporters that he would “stay out” of the UK election, but then he endorsed Boris Johnson and wading into a huge spat over Britain’s National Health Service.

Here we go again. Trump got nothing better to do on the way to the NATO meetings in London when he decided to announce that Argentina and Brazil will be hit with tariffs on aluminum and steel because they are “manipulating” their currencies. Both Brazil and Argentina were exempted from 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs last year when Trump was attempting to avoid a trade war with those countries. So unsure what tariffs he would “restore” when he said “I will restore the Tariffs on all Steel & Aluminum that is shipped into the U.S. from those countries”.

Trump has promised to reinvigorate US steel jobs, but last year, the steel industry added 2,400 jobs, an increase of just over 1%. Employment in the industry is still down about 43% since 1990. Oh. Both countries replaced the US as China imports soybeans from them after China hit the Us with tariffs on soybeans.

Trump said next year’s G7 summit will be held at Camp David. This surprised Trump’s aides who were surprised of the announcement. [So what else is new.] In October, Trump announced that next year’s G7 economic summit of world powers would be held at his own Trump National in Doral, Florida. But just over 48 hours later, he abruptly reversed course and said the summit would not be held at the resort.

After Kamala Harris dropped out of the Democratic nominee for President, Trump tweeted “Too bad. We will miss you Kamala!” she responded with “Don’t worry, Mr. president. I’ll see you at your trial.”

Seems US farmers are capitalization heavily on the bailout from the government. According to six academic studies, Trump’s $28 billion farm bailout may be paying many growers more than the trade war with China has cost them. Based on what the studies show, the damages were about half that.

A team of researchers estimated the trade conflict depressed US soybean prices by only 36 cents per bushel in its first year, a period in which the bailout program paid soybean growers more than four times that: $1.65 per bushel.

The USDA forecast last week net farm income will rise more than 10% this year to $92.5 billion, with additional government aid accounting for all of the increase in profits. Almost 40% of projected U.S. farm profits this year will come from trade aid, disaster assistance, federal subsidies and insurance payments.

George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne The Witch Conway, escalated his criticism of Trump by using a tweet from his wife to assail her boss over the continuing fallout from the House impeachment inquiry. After Kellyanne Conway tweeted that former Vice President Joe Biden is “Creepy” and asked, “We need Ukraine’s help to defeat THIS guy?” George Conway quoted her post with a terse response: “Your boss apparently thought so.”

A 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals court in New York said the Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives may subpoena Trump’s bank records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One. Trump sued to block a subpoena to Deutsche Bank and Capital One seeking financial records for Trump, his family and his business. A lower court judge denied Trump’s request for a preliminary injunction and Trump appealed the ruling.

Trump then asked the Supreme Court to block a subpoena for his financial documents, arguing that the House exceeded its authority when it ordered Trump’s long time accounting firm to turn over his personal records. Pelosi called it “an obstruction of justice.”

Trump contradicted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo [which seems to be often] when he told the press in London that he doesn’t back Iranian protestors, despite Pompeo saying last week that the US does support the protestors. Trump then clarified his earlier comments on Iranian protesters, saying, “We do support them totally and have supported them from the beginning.”

Trump called Schiff “a deranged” and a “very sick man”. This is what the so-called President of the United States calls a politician who does not agree with his views. Very childish.

YouTube has prevented Trump from running 300 ads on its platform this election season, its CEO acknowledged, but didn’t say why. But the exact reasons for the decisions are unclear, once again raising questions about the policies of YouTube and its parent company Google.

The Trump administration unveiled a final rule that will require more food stamp recipients to work in order to receive benefits. The new requirement limits states’ ability to waive existing work mandates and could result in 688,000 people losing assistance.

Another proposed regulation, which would tighten the rules governing who qualifies for aid, could end up stripping more than 3 million people of their benefits and leave nearly 500,000 children without access to free school meals.

A poll conducted by the Economist/YouGov that found 53% of Republicans said that Donald Trump is a better president than Abraham Lincoln was. [OK. You can stop laughing now.]

Trump’s 2020 campaign announced that it will no longer credential Bloomberg News reporters for its events after the outlet said it would not conduct investigations into the Democratic presidential candidates, but would continue to probe the Trump administration. Bloomberg News announced that it would not investigate the Democratic presidential candidates after its owner, Mike Bloomberg, jumped into the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

This past week in impeachment inquiry was a doozy

Donald Trump tweeted he will “strongly consider” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s suggestion that he testify in the House impeachment inquiry. Pelosi suggested Trump could do so in writing. “Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!” Trump tweeted.

Trump described Pelosi later on as “crazy as a bedbug” and “not talented”. Was she in a reality show of his?

Trump said he would like a full Senate trial if the House votes to. “I want a trial,” railing against the House Democrats’ inquiry. Trump said he wants Hunter Biden and Adam Schiff to testify.

Hmmm. If he thinks the impeachment inquiry has always been a sham, why would you go? It gives credibility to the inquiry then. Just before his tweeted that the impeachment inquiry a “great fraud.” Of course the probability of Trump participating is just a bit higher than nil.

Trump tweeted “The rules are rigged by Pelosi & Schiff, but we are winning, and we will win!” Does he have a way to measure winning an impeachment inquiry.

Trump lashed out against Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, who described his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in her deposition as “inappropriate.” At one point Trump said he never met her. How is that possible? She is an aide to Pence!

US Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified that there was a quid pro quo for Ukraine to announce investigations into Trump’s political opponents that came from Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the “express direction of the President.”

Sondland provided House impeachment investigators with emails and texts showing it wasn’t just him and Giuliani pushing for the investigations outside government channels – Trump’s inner circle knew what was going on, too. He even said he raised concerns with Vice President Mike Pence that the freezing of $400 million in security aid to Ukraine was linked to the investigations.

Sondland, who was appointed by Trump to be US ambassador to the European Union, testified that he had kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “in the loop” about “activities” connected to the effort to get Ukraine to announce an investigation into Trump’s main political rival.

Sondland testified there was a quid pro quo for Ukraine to announce investigations into Trump’s political opponents that came from Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the “express direction of the President.” Giuliani said he “never met” Sondland.

Sondland said he and President Trump are “not close friends” and have a “professional, cordial working relationship.” trump claimed he doesn’t know Sondland well and hasn’t spoken to him much. On the question of how often they spoke, Sondland said around 20 times. In a tweet on Oct. 8, Trump called Sondland “a really good man and great American.”

But Trump has said the same thing about just about everyone who has testified. He said the same thing about Pence’s aide. Sondland was also a Trump appointee.

The Trump administration has still failed to give Ukraine all of the aid that is at the center of the inquiry.

David Holmes, the counselor for political affairs at the US Embassy in Ukraine, overheard Sondland say in a phone call “Dammit Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f—s everything up.” Trump tweeted after “Never have I been watching a person making a call, which was not on speakerphone, and been able to hear or understand a conversation.”

A lawyer for an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, said that his client is willing to tell Congress about meetings the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee had in Vienna last year with a former Ukrainian prosecutor to discuss digging up dirt on Joe Biden.

While Trump is still promoting a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, Fiona Hill, a former White House adviser and Russia expert, said the debunked theory that Ukraine was behind election interference played into Russia’s hands. Trump repeated his assertion that Ukrainians might have hacked the Democratic National Committee’s network in 2016 and framed Russia for the crime.

“They gave the server to CrowdStrike, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian,” Trump said. In fact, CrowdStrike is a California based company owned by a Russian who immigrated to the Us when he was very young. CrowdStrike said it was 2 Russian hacking groups that was involved in the DNC hack.

In a classified briefing this fall, US intelligence officials told senators and their aides that Russia has engaged in a years-long campaign to shift the blame away from Russia and onto Ukraine for interfering in the 2016 American presidential campaign.

Trump’s aides have explored moving some impeachment witnesses on loan to the White House from other agencies, such as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, back to their home departments ahead of schedule. Trump is asking anew how witnesses such as Vindman and Ambassador Bill Taylor came to work for him. He has suggested again they be dismissed, even as advisers warn him firing them could be viewed as retaliation.

“America hired @realDonaldTrump to fire people like the first three witnesses we’ve seen. Career government bureaucrats and nothing more,” the Donald Trump Jr., tweeted as Yovanovitch began her testimony.

“You elected Donald Trump to drain the Swamp, well, dismissing people like Yovanovitch is what that looks like. Dismissing people like [George] Kent and Taylor, dismissing everybody involved from the Obama holdover days trying to undermine Trump, getting rid of those people, dismissing them, this is what it looks like,” Trump tweeted. They are still employed.

He also went after former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump recalled from her post in Kyiv. Trump claimed without evidence that she didn’t want his picture to hang on the walls of the embassy. In fact, his picture only arrived in 2018 and put up shortly after. Talking about petty.

The House of Representatives is now investigating whether Trump lied to special counsel Robert Mueller in written answers he provided in the Russia investigation, the House’s general counsel said in federal court.

Trump’s financial documents won’t be released at this time, after the Supreme Court put on hold a lower court opinion that allowed a House subpoena to go forward. The court did not set a timeline when it will rule or release the documents, but has asked for the House to respond very soon to Trump’s request to block the subpoena.

Right-wing media personalities, in addition to Trump himself, have recently resurfaced a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, and not Russia, hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails in 2016. The theory is popular in pro-Trump circles because it lets Russia off the hook for election interference, and suggests Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe was unnecessary and had corrupt origins.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that “clearly asking for personal favors and using United States assets as collateral is wrong,” a swipe at Trump as the investigation into his dealings with Ukraine intensifies.

BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick hit the nail on the head with this piece: “There Are Two Separate Impeachment Hearings Happening Right Now – And Republicans Are Winning Theirs.” Broderick explained, “Nothing Republican Rep. Devin Nunes does during the hearings makes sense if you watch it in the moment. When it’s posted on Facebook later, though, it works perfectly.”

Trump’s recent visit to Walter Reed did not follow the protocol of a routine presidential medical exam as medical staff at Walter Reed did not get a staff-wide notice about a presidential visit to the medical center in Bethesda. Typically, Walter Reed’s medical staff would get a general notice about a “VIP” visit to the medical center ahead of a presidential visit, notifying them of certain closures at the facility.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump decided to get parts of his physical done early because he had a “free weekend” in Washington, but did not responded to questions about why Trump did not get his full physical exam — which typically takes 4 hours. Grisham also denied Trump had any health issue. Who does a physical in 2 parts?

But two days later, Trump’s doctor described the hospital visit as an “interim checkup,” a term physicians implied a separate visit that is not part of an annual physical. “Anticipating a very busy 2020, the President is taking advantage of a free weekend here in Washington, D.C., to begin portions of his routine annual physical exam at Walter Reed,” is what Grisham initially said.

Trump, Grisham said, underwent a “quick exam and labs.” Several experts familiar with White House medical procedures said that Trump can get routine lab work done at the White House’s on-site clinic, indicating Trump needed tests that can’t be done there. His two previous physical exams in office were announced ahead of time by the White House and noted on his daily public schedule.

You will be happy to hear that Trump authorized his doctor to release the fact that Trump’s cholesterol level is at 165 – within range for his body – if you believe his doctor. That is a 30 point drop from his previous physical. Considering he hasn’t changed his eating habits or does any physical activity [other than lifting a fork or knife], you need to wonder how accurate that number. His weight wasn’t released but in the last physical, he gained weight.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he wishes the President “well” from “whatever he’s recovering from.” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s longtime cardiologist, said he remains “very skeptical” of the White House’s explanation, particularly because the White House did not disclose what exam Trump underwent beyond having blood drawn.

The Senate passed a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown as the clock ticks down to an expiration of government funding that would trigger a shutdown if lawmakers don’t act in time to prevent it. Trump could not blame the Democrats for anything as the vote was 74-20. At one point, Senate Republican leaders were still working to relieve objections on their side of the aisle to components of the month-long continuing resolution to keep the government operating past the deadline when funding expires.

Shortly after he left Texas, Trump tweeted: “Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America. Today Nancy Pelosi closed Congress because she doesn’t care about American Workers!” Except it opened 6 years ago. Apple doesn’t even own the plant but that’s where Apple products are made. He went to Texas for a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook.

In addition, even though the impeachment inquiry was going on the last couple of weeks, the house was still in session, passing two bills. This includes the House passing a short-term funding bill to try to avert a government shutdown.

“Since resigning as National Security Advisor, the White House refused to return access to my personal Twitter account,” former national security adviser John Bolton tweeted. “Out of fear of what I may say? To those who speculated I went into hiding, I’m sorry to disappoint!”

Trump pardoned an army lieutenant serving 18 years for ordering the murder of unarmed Afghan civilians in 2012 and he preemptively pardoned a former Green Beret officer accused of ambushing and killing an Afghan prisoner a short time after his release by military authorities. He also ordered the promotion of demoted Navy SEAL who was reported by his own comrades for shooting at civilians and posing with the corpse of a 15-year-old prisoner after accusers say he shoved aside a medic and stabbed him.

Not only did Trump make it clear he considered the Navy SEAL a hero and that the Navy might as well not bother with the prosecution, he actually lashed out at Navy prosecutors, declaring that he’d directed the Pentagon to rescind their military achievement medals. Trump has said: “You know, we teach them how to be great fighters, and then when they fight sometimes they get really treated very unfairly.”

Trump is also reportedly considering pardoning the only US mercenary punished for the wanton civilian killings the State Department’s hired guns carried out in Iraq after the 2003 American invasion. Trump is sending a bright and clear message to troops in the field: Go ahead, do what you have to do, forget the rules of war, there will be no punishment.

John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, narrowly won re-election, overcoming the intervention of Trump, who visited the state multiple times in an effort to help Mr. Edwards’s Republican challenger and demonstrate his own clout. It was the second blow at the ballot box for Trump this month in a Republican-leaning state, following the Democratic victory in the Kentucky governor’s race, where Trump also campaigned for the GOP candidate.

Chief of staff Mick Mulvaney will have been in his job for year in January – and there’s little indication Trump is prepared to drop “acting” from his title.

Trump claims he’s the reason China hasn’t taken steps to crush pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong by asking his “friend” Chinese President Xi Jinping not to send in the military. But China has warned it will retaliate against the U.S. if Trump signs a bill supporting the Hong Kong protests. Trump says if it weren’t for him “thousands of people would have been killed in Hong Kong right now and you wouldn’t have any riots.” Sure Donnie.

In a speech Trump said “She [Pelosi] can’t even get the USMCA bill passed. OK. And every Democrat wants it — the Democrats, the Republicans, it’s on her desk for three months. And she hasn’t done anything on it.” The Trump administration has pushed Pelosi to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement but it has not sent her any legislation to implement the trade deal as the Democrats object to certain issues.

The Trump administration has sent letters to dozens of residences in California, New Mexico and Texas notifying owners that the government is going to survey their land for future border barriers, according to two US defense officials.

“Should the landowner decide not to sign the Right of Entry letter, the Army may refer the matter to the US Department of Justice to initiate a condemnation for court-ordered temporary access to the property,” said the US army spokesperson. For privately owned, the federal government needs to seek permission before surveying the land. This doesn’t give owners much of a choice.

The Trump administration has sent the first migrant to Guatemala as part of its agreement with the country to accept asylum seeking migrants from the US, according to Guatemalan officials. Migrants from Honduras and El Salvador are eligible to be sent back to Guatemala under this program.

Michael Knowles, president of a local union that represents US asylum officers, denounced the Trump administration’s asylum policies during a House hearing saying “These policies are blatantly illegal, they are immoral, and indeed are the basis for some egregious human rights violations by our own country.”

The Republic National Committee spent $100,000 to prop up Donal Trump Jr’s book. If getting the typical bulk discount, that could mean up to 7,000 copies. 70,000 copies were sold in the first week.

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.

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.

So much “fun” going on for Trump

The fallout over the Ukrainian controversy with Donald Trump continues into a second week.

Trump confessed to asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden, and he publicly doubled down, urging China to interfere in US democracy. This is officially an impeachable offense.

“Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called ‘Whistleblower,’ represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,” Trump tweeted before taking aim at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff who confirmed that there is a tentative agreement for the whistleblower to testify before his committee.

Is Trump forgetting that even without the whistleblower, there is still the transcript of his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. So all Trump would do is basically bully the whistleblower on Twitter.

Trump promised “Big Consequences” for anyone who assisted in providing the person information. That sounds like a threat. What will he do? Use the FBI to do his dirty work or maybe get a new “fixer” to take out the whistleblower.

Then three House chairmen including Schiff said “The President’s comments today constitute reprehensible witness intimidation and an attempt to obstruct Congress’ impeachment inquiry. We condemn the President’s attacks, and we invite our Republican counterparts to do the same because Congress must do all it can to protect this whistleblower, and all whistleblowers.”

“It should be criminal. It should be treasonous. He made it up; every word of it, made up,” saying Trump of Schiff and called former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden “stone cold crooks”.

“His [Schiff] lies were made in perhaps the most blatant and sinister manner ever seen in the great Chamber. He wrote down and read terrible things, then said it was from the mouth of the President of the United States. I want Schiff questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason,” Trump said. As usual Trump exaggerates in his comments and doesn’t know the definition of fraud and treason. Schiff is doing his job. Without any opposition to question him, this would be nothing but a dictatorship.

Trump went on to accuse “Shifty” Schiff of having a “mental breakdown” during his questioning of acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and maybe even co-authored the whistleblower’s complaint form and even knowing the name of the whistleblower. Schiff’s office denies this.

The purpose of this letter is to formally notify you of serious concerns we have regarding our client’s personal safety. The events of the past week have heightened our concerns that our client’s identity will be disclosed publicly and that, as a result, our client will be put in harm’s way,” was in a letter from the lawyers for the whistleblower sent to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire says, adding that recent comments by Trump are reason for “heightened” concern.

“Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump added. Except like in the Ukraine, there is no evidence of either Bidens doing anything wrong or anything at all.

“The whistleblower stated on the form that he or she possessed both first-hand and other information,” the statement read from the intelligence community inspector general. “The ICIG reviewed the information provided as well as other information gathered and determined that the complaint was both urgent and that it appeared credible.” So conspiracy theories from Trump and supporters that the whistleblower only knew second or third hand knowledge went out the window. Of course they will deny this.

Trump also tweeted “Who changed the long standing whistleblower rules just before submittal of the fake whistleblower report? Drain the swamp!” As if the whistleblower rules changed because it is him in the hot seat. Funny. He whined about “draining the swap” before the election but since taking control he has yet to do so even with 2 years of the Republican party controlling the House and Senate. Does he know where the drain is?

This came from a right-wing web site which said that “between May 2018 and August 2019, the intelligence community secretly eliminated a requirement that whistleblowers provide direct, first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoings.” While the submission form that whistleblowers from the intelligence community fill out was revised in August 2019, the revision did not change the rules on who can submit a whistleblower complaint.

House Democrats issued a subpoena to the White House for documents related to the July 25th call, ratcheting up the Democratic impeachment inquiry into Trump. The subpoena came after the three committees leading the impeachment inquiry separately sent a letter seeking documents from Vice President Mike Pence as part of their investigation into Trump and his conversation with the President of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, a House Foreign Affairs Committee said “Secretary Pompeo has failed to meet the deadline to produce documents required by the subpoena…. Apart from the outstanding subpoena, we look forward to hearing from Ambassadors [Gordon] Sondland [of the European Union] and [Marie] Yovanovitch [of the Ukraine] next week.”

Trump ordered the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch from her post in Ukraine following complaints by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others. Yovanovitch was accused by Giuliani without evidence of trying to undermine Trump and blocking efforts to investigate Democrats like Joe Biden. Asked why Yovanovitch was recalled, Trump said, “I don’t know if I recalled her or somebody recalled her…” He doesn’t remember?

“As the President of the United States, I have an absolute right, perhaps even a duty, to investigate, or have investigated, CORRUPTION, and that would include asking, or suggesting, other Countries to help us out!” Trump tweeted. Yes. But not for political reasons such as a potential rival for the next election.

The former Special Envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, was the first witness in the impeachment probe. He told House investigators he warned Ukrainians not to meddle in the US election after Trump’s phone call with Zelensky. He also warned Giuliani that the conspiracy theories he was spreading about Biden were not credible. Volker left last week.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is preparing for his exit from the Trump Cabinet with his name squarely in the middle of the Ukrainian controversy, raising the prospect that a once largely clean tenure could be clouded at the very end. Perry was one of what one official called the “three amigos” leading US relations with the country, meeting at least three times with Zelensky.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chamber’s most senior Republican and a longtime defender of whistleblowers, rebuked Trump when he said the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry “appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected.”

House Democrats issued a stark warning to Pompeo after Pompeo accused lawmakers of “intimidating and bullying” State Department officials by calling them for depositions related to the Ukraine inquiry. The chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees told Pompeo that any effort to prevent those officials from speaking to Congress “is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.”

In non-impeachment news, Trump suggested shooting migrants in the legs in order to slow them down after they crossed the southern border at the White House with many of his senior staff and those related to the border issue during a March meeting in which he called for a shutdown of the entire US-Mexico border.

From a tweet by Fox News contributor Robert Jeffress, an evangelical pastor from Texas, warned that if Trump were successfully removed from office, civil war would follow. Of course Trump re-tweeted it. But while people may not take Jeffress seriously, once Trump retweets it, it becomes more official.

Wow. Trump has hinted again that a new news network should be started as he is unhappy with the media coverage. Wait! What about his propaganda department, Fox News? Even if he did start a network, unsure if the federal government can run it. How about the Trump Organization? Would that be a conflict of interest maybe?

A majority of Americans say they think Congress opening an impeachment inquiry into Trump is necessary, according to a CBS News poll. The poll, conducted by YouGov, shows 55% of Americans think the newly-opened probe necessary, while 45% of Americans think it unnecessary. 87% of Democrats approve of the inquiry, while 77% of Republicans disapprove, according to the poll. Among Independents, 49% approve and 51% disapprove, the poll found.

But in another poll from SSRS, among independents, support for impeachment and removal has risen 11 points to 46% among independents and 8 points to 14% among Republicans. Sixty percent of those under age 35 now say they support impeaching Trump and removing him from office, up from 43% who felt that way in May, while support for the move among older Americans has held about even [42% now vs. 40% in May].

While Breitbart News web site claims it is a poll and Trump retweeted them, they are not a real poll. First, you have a web site that spews conspiracies and stories that aren’t stories. Then you can vote as many times as you want. So if Trump isn’t getting 100%, something is wrong.