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.

Finally, a quiet week

With Donald Trump “vacationing” in Miami, this is really considered a quiet week. Yet, he still tweeted crap and retweeted more crap. Actor Jon Voight tweeted something about him. Does anyone care? Same to the usual un-verified nonsense retweeted as well.

Shortly after Trump spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr on July 25, Trump’s political appointees were already tasked with carrying out a freeze on security funding for Ukraine, newly released government documents show. “Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration’s plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, please hold off on any additional DoD obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process,” said Mike Duffey.

Duffey is a White House official in the Office of Management and Budget responsible for overseeing national security money and a Trump political appointee, wrote to select OMB and Pentagon officials on the same day as the phone call.

Trump tweeted “Nancy Pelosi is looking for a Quid Pro Quo with the Senate. Why aren’t we Impeaching her?” No Pelosi is looking to make sure a Senate trial is fair. When you have Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham already giving a guilty verdict, this isn’t a fair trial.

Trump claims his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is picking up all kinds of information about Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s dealings in the Ukraine. We’ll see it when we believe it.

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told a local television affiliate that she’s “disturbed” by McConnell’s plans to use “total coordination” with the White House to set out Trump’s impeachment trial.

I was expecting Trump to go after Murkowski in tweets but with a thin majority in the Senate, I am guessing that Trump doesn’t want to lose a Republican senator – especially when there are a few other Republicans who could vote against him.

Trump tweeted “Last night I was so proud to have signed the largest Defense Bill ever. The very vital Space Force was created. New planes, ships, missiles, rockets and equipment of every kind, and all made right here in the USA. Additionally, we got Border Wall (being built) funding. Nice!” In all the tweets that came before and after this one, you think the Democrats in the House were mentioned [positively]? Nope.

Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law which also created the newest military service and the first new service since the US Air Force came into being in 1947. The US Air Force Space Command was designated the United States Space Force.

16,000 active duty airmen and civilians currently in the Air Force Space Command will be assigned to the new United States Space Force [USSF], though officials made clear those personnel will not actually become members of the Space Force and will remain in the Air Force for the time being. A bit crazy there? Some 5,000 to 6,000 personnel out of the 16,000 will eventually be transferred to the Space Force but could eventually reach 15,000.

Will the USSF be as laughable [at least in name] as the Star Wars program?

The Trump administration has tried multiple times to cut billions from foreign aid programs aimed at fighting corruption in Ukraine and other countries, despite Trump’s oft-repeated claim that fighting corruption in Ukraine is a top issue for his administration. The White House also sought to streamline a number of overseas democracy assistance and foreign aid accounts under one larger umbrella, hoping that by doing so, they would save more than $2 billion.

The State of the union is scheduled for February 4th. What could make thing interesting is that the Senate impeachment trial could be underway by then – or even completed by then – particularly the Republicans who are pushy for a fast trial.

Even while on his “vacation” at Mar-A-Lago residence for his 2+ weeks away from Washington, he still ranted about the impeachment, Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, etc. The usual. All just repeats.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently asked Trump not to sign any trade deal with China until China frees 2 Canadians held illegally in China.

Later Trump tweeted “Had a very good talk with President Xi of China concerning our giant Trade Deal. China has already started large scale purchaes [sic] of agricultural product & more. Formal signing being arranged.” So much for being an ally especially when all other G7 countries, the EU and others are siding with Canada in trying to get the 2 Canadians released.

Trump tweeted “So interesting to see Nancy Pelosi demanding fairness from Mitch McConnell when she presided over the most unfair hearing in the history of the United States Congress!” Unfair to whom? Republicans took part in the inquiry.

“Thank YOU Indian Country for being such an IMPORTANT part of the American story! I recently signed 3 bills to support tribal sovereignty….” tweeted the ignorant fool when only old hacks will still use the term Indians.

The Trump administration has proposed a rule that critics say will allow adoption and foster care agencies to receive federal grants, even if they choose to reject LGBTQ couples as potential parents for religious reasons.

This will remove Obama-era regulations that had banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other identities, in HHS programs and service — including adoption and foster care agencies.
In another sign how the administration likes the LGBTQ community, the State Department is pulling the US ambassador to Zambia after the president there objected to his harsh criticism of the government’s record on corruption and gay rights.

But the Trump administration keeps on flip flopping regarding LGBTQ rights. US officials led an effort at the UN to call out 69 countries that criminalize same-sex relationships, and urged protections for the LGBTQ community. That effort was led by US Ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, and US Ambassador to Germany, Ric Grenell.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has sent messages supporting LGBTQ individuals as the top US diplomat, with statements celebrating LGBTQ pride month. But he has also restricted embassies from hoisting gay pride flags. Pompeo also supports organizations like the Family Research Council, which is opposed to gay marriage.

So much for democracy: Minnesota’s first presidential primary in nearly 30 years is facing a legal challenge over the Republican party ballot, which only lists Trump. A lawsuit was filed over the March 3 primary objecting to a new state law allowing party chairs to determine who appears on primary ballots.

American military officials say they’re expecting a long-range ballistic missile test from North Korea for Christmas. There were hints of this. “Maybe it’s present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test,” Trump said. “I may get a vase. I may get a nice present from him. You don’t know. You never know.” He got neither.

He tweeted “California leads the nation, by far, in both the number of homeless people, and the percentage increase in the homeless population – two terrible stats. Crazy Nancy [Pelosi] should focus on that in her very down district, and helping her incompetent governor with the big homeless problem!” California also has the largest state population in the US. It shows you that the economy isn’t doing well if there is an increase in homeless people. Pelosi can only do so much without any federal government help.

At a recent rally, while Trump went and bullied and criticized the usual people he then went way off script and decided to take on the dishwasher manufacturers by saying they aren’t as good as they use to be. And how does he know this? Because “women told me”. You think women are calling the White House, replying to his dumb Twitter tweets or meeting him at rallies to tell him this? Seriously?

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. confirmed that a version of ‘Home Alone 2’ released without Trump’s cameo was edited in 2014 along with other footage to fit the allotted time. The removed scenes did not affect the movie’s overall watching. How much of Trump was removed? 7 seconds. But that didn’t stop Fox Business News, Donald Trump Jr. or other Trump allies from criticizing the move. So diplomatic relations between Canada and the US haven’t broken off… Yet.

A funny tweet of his from 2014: “Windmills are the greatest threat in the US to both bald and golden eagles.” Yes. Not hunters but windmills.

But a couple of years prior he said “The Chinese are illegally dumping bird-killing wind turbines on our shores.” Yes. I saw one on Miami Beach and another one near Seattle.

Happy Holidays!

Impeached but will live on

As we witnessed something this past week that has only happened twice below, there is a lot to go through.

The House of Representatives took the historic step to impeach Donald J. Trump, charging him with high crimes and misdemeanors for just the third time in American history. A three-month Democratic investigation looked into allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals while withholding US security assistance and a White House meeting.

The Republicans claimed all along and with Trump’s comments that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted Trump impeached. But Pelosi had resisted the push for Trump’s impeachment from liberal advocates both inside her caucus and outside Capitol Hill.

With a Senate majority, the Republicans will surely not remove Trump from office in January and yet the Republicans and Trump are commenting as if it isn’t guaranteed. A charade or do they think 20 Republican senators would vote against Trump?

[I won’t even bother mentioning Trump’s or other Republicans’ comments/tirades because you know it will be the same repeated stuff.]

Democrats say that Trump was impeached because he abused his office by directing a pressure campaign for Ukraine to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, conditioning $400 million in US security aid and a one-on-one White House meeting on the investigation.

Then Trump covered up his misconduct, Democrats say, obstructing Congress by stonewalling all the subpoenas from Congress trying to investigate his conduct. Even if the first article was not the strongest legally, the second article surely was. Rather than fighting in court to force witnesses to appear – a move that could have prolonged the impeachment inquiry for weeks if not months – the Democrats used it as a defiance of subpoenas to evidence of congressional obstruction

Pelosi would not commit to sending the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Republican-held Senate, a surprise move that injects new uncertainty into Congress’ timeline of Trump’s trial in the chamber.

Some Democratic leaders want to withhold the articles until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, agrees to the parameters for the Senate trial that Democrats have called for, as well as agreeing to bring in firsthand witnesses like acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify. Exactly how do you have a trial without witnesses?

But the Democrats can’t send the articles because the Senate would have to take it up the day after, blocking votes on two spending packages that must pass before week’s end to avoid a government shutdown.

By delaying the start of what will be a fairly quick trial, Americans will have that acquittal fresh in their minds just before the beginning of the election campaign.

The next step to prepare for the trial is to name impeachment managers who will prosecute the case in the Senate. The vote also paved the way for the House to approve a resolution announcing the managers – though they aren’t likely to be named until the House sends the articles to the Senate.

“Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM into default if they refuse to show up!,” Trump tweeted. Not really Donnie. Pelosi said she’s waiting for the Senate to outline its process for the impeachment trial before names House managers.

He later claimed that the Democrats only has a “small” majority. Small? The Democrats have a 36 seats more than the Republicans.

Republican Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham told reporters “We cannot have a system where the House impeaches the president, tells the Senate how to conduct the trial, holds the articles of impeachment over the President’s head at a time of their choosing to unleash them.” He also called it “constitutional extortion.” There is nothing in the Constitution or rules say when the articles can be released.

Russian President Vladimir Poutine, Trump’s buddy, said in his annual news conference that Trump’s impeachment was based on “made-up reasons,” and expressed doubts that Trump will be removed from power.

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii voted “present” on both articles of impeachment against Trump, later slamming the process as politically motivated. But Gabbard announced in September that she had changed her mind and supported an impeachment inquiry.

At a rally in Michigan around the same time of the impeachment, Trump invoked his son’s name while criticizing Elizabeth Warren [calling her Pocahontas still]. But just 2 weeks prior, Melania Trump criticized a congresswoman for mentioning Barron’s name during the inquiry.

Trump said he wasn’t going to watch the impeachment debate. But he appeared to be tweeting about it. So he must of watched it. He said the same thing about other issues that affected him. But ten minutes prior to the tweet, White House Press Secretary Stephanie “Parrot” Grisham put out a statement saying that Trump would be “working all day. He will be briefed by staff throughout that day.”

Graham, one of Trump’s biggest allies, is now calling on Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to testify. Graham wants Giuliani to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee he chairs, and before the Senate trial on impeachment. Graham said Giuliani’s attendance “would be up to him.”

The day before the impeachment, Trump decided to send Pelosi a letter summarizing what the Democrats have done to him [of course, who cares about the country, right?]. While it has all the signs of Trump, it looks like it has been polished up – no swearing, limited bullying, standard lies but nothing out in right field, etc.

But he did threw a few blows. He wildly claimed that “(m)ore due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.” And he accused Pelosi of portraying a “false display of solemnity” during the impeachment process. As well “No intelligent person believes what you are saying,” Trump wrote. He still brings up Hillary Clinton’s loss in the letter! When will he give up?

Even the mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, told Trump today to “learn some history” after he claimed that the people accused in the Salem witch trials had received more due process than he has gotten in the impeachment inquiry. The mayor pointed out on Twitter that the Salem witch trials that occurred in 1692 included the “absence of evidence” when “powerless, innocent victims” were hanged or pressed to death. [I’m expecting Trump to blame him for the trials.]

Unsure what this letter does besides summarizes his frustrations, corruption, bullying and lying over the past 3 years.

Senate Republicans, during their coordination with the White House, have been pushing a speedy trial. Trump has been partial to the idea of a longer trial with witnesses, to make a spectacle of his impeachment. Republicans are most likely worried that if witnesses are called they may not tow the Trump line. Even worse if Trump wants to testify.

Graham is among a number of Republicans who want to resolve the trial as soon as possible, given the almost certain lack of a two-thirds Senate majority needed to convict Trump.

Republican have accepted Trump’s claims that his behavior was “perfect” and now argue that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense since it is not a crime — even though foreign interference in a US election was perhaps a fear that preoccupied the founders more than any other. Republican senators seem to want to avoid the possibility that Trump’s hopes to put up favorable witnesses in a televised show featuring his pet conspiracy theories could besmirch the dignity of their chamber and backfire politically.

Claims that Trump was primarily concerned about corruption in Ukraine are likely to take center stage in the Senate trial. But their credibility is challenged because Trump did not actually mention such wider worries in his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He did specifically ask for an investigation into Joe Biden and a crackdown on corruption has not been at the center of administration foreign policy in any other nation.

Trump states explicitly that he believes that it was Ukraine — not Russia — that meddled in the 2016 election because Vladimir Poutine “told me.” Wow. He really is dumb. An enemy of the US tells your leader something and he believe that leader more than his own intelligence services.

[I wonder how Ukraine feels that not only did they end up in the middle of the impeachment in the US but then Trump threw Ukraine under the bus (and drove over the country a few time) by taking Poutine’s word that Ukraine was behind the election meddling. If you remember in 2017, Trump then denied there was any meddling.]

The Republican argument pushing back against Schumer’s proposal for four witnesses is starting to take shape, with senior GOP aides making the case that it’s not the job of the Senate to do the fact-finding that the House was supposed to do. Trump wanted to call witnesses at one point.

Republicans have pushed him not to as they think his big mouth would open and he’ll say something damaging. Some other top Republicans who have argued in that a shorter trial without witnesses would spare the Senate from becoming a partisan circus.

Schumer proposal calls for at least four witnesses to testify: Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney Former national security adviser John Bolton Senior adviser to the acting White House chief of staff Robert Blair Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey He also laid out his preference for how long House managers and White House counsel would have to make their cases, cross-examine witnesses and give closing arguments.

Schumer fired back at the Republicans who didn’t want any witnesses by saying a trial has witnesses. What trial has no witnesses. Just another way for the Republicans to stop top Trump administration officials from appearing before the senate. More obstruction.

Trump has already suggested by tweet that he might contest an impeachment in the Supreme Court. But the Supreme Court already has ruled that it has no role in reviewing impeachments. The Supreme Court firmly rejected Richard Nixon’s case in trying to overrule his impeachment, ruling that the Constitution commits impeachment and removal solely to Congress and that the Court plays no role in reviewing impeachment proceedings. Just add it to the many previous lies.

7 Republicans could or hinder the Republicans from having a short trial or a lengthier one. The list is a mix of moderates, those retiring at the end of this term and, well, Mitt Romney. While it is unlikely to get 67 Senators to impeach, McConnell could theoretically keep it short if he gets 51 Senators on his party’s side. In addition, there could be the odd Democrat who doesn’t want the impeachment either.

In 2008, Trump suggested it would have been “a wonderful thing” had Pelosi pursued impeachment against then-President George W. Bush over the Iraq War saying Bush lied. Trump also called former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment ” was totally unimportant and they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense.”

There are 26 formal rules to guide Senators through impeachment proceedings which were first written out in 1868. The rules cover everything from formal scripts to be used during proceedings, to oaths of impartiality that Senators must take – which sounds like some will fail that oath. McConnell and Graham are two – as they already made their decision before the trial started.

Historically, 15 federal judges have been impeached, three presidents, a cabinet secretary in 1876 and a US Senator in 1797 have also been impeached. Trump would be the first to be tried and get re-elected after an impeachment.

Trump said in November 2014 on Fox News that if former President Barack Obama was impeached by the House of Representatives, it would be an embarrassment for his record in office and a “horror show.” Trump claimed that Democrats successfully convinced Republicans not to impeach Obama. He claimed Democrats had convinced Republicans that it would actually help Obama politically. Talking about fake news.

On the night of his impeachment, Trump’s campaign sent out urgent messages to his donors asking them to donate to his “Impeachment War”? The war is over. He lost. He can’t appeal. Donate what? It probably didn’t cost him anything.

A leading Christian magazine founded by late evangelist Billy Graham — father of key Trump supporter Franklin Graham — published an op-ed calling for Trump to be removed from office and urging evangelicals not to support him. “Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment,” Christianity Today’s editor in chief, Mark Galli, wrote in the op-ed.

Trump accused the Christian magazine of being “far left” and not having links to the family of the magazine’s founder. This adds to Trump’s ego and personality: when he is attacked he attacks back – usually with lies and exaggerations. To call Christianity Today left wing is ridiculous and probably every right wing person knows that. But do they care?

Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, will depart from his temporary post on January 2. The former ambassador was brought out of retirement to take on duties in the embassy after former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was abruptly recalled to Washington at the direction of Trump. Taylor was a key witness in the public impeachment hearings.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, said he passed along information to Trump “a couple of times” about how Yovanovitch had frustrated efforts that could help Trump, including efforts to have Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden. Trump, in turn, passed the information on to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Giuliani said. Within weeks, Yovanovitch was told Trump had lost trust in her and she was recalled as ambassador.

Trump tweeted “Impeachment Poll numbers are starting to drop like a rock now that people are understanding better what this whole Democrat Scam is all about!” He’s reading a Rasmussen poll again. Notoriously pro-Trump.

Trump also tweeted “Approval Rating in Republican Party = 95%, a Record! Overall Approval Rating = 51%.” It is your party. You should be at 100%! And according to his polling numbers, George W. Bush had 99% after the beginning of the attack on Iraq in 2003.

The Washington Post’s database of false and misleading claims by the president recently topped the 15,000 mark.

Republicans said it was “inappropriate” for Trump to attack a beloved deceased lawmaker, John Dingell, and his widow, Debbie Dingell, also a member of Congress — by implying he was looking up at her from hell during a campaign rally.

A small group of protesters are gathered outside of McConnell’s office. They are wearing T-shirts that read, “Remove Trump.” They are holding a sign that reads, “Your Choice: The Constitution or Trump.”

Schumer criticized McConnell for blocking “literally hundreds of bills” passed by the House by not bringing them up on the Senate floor. Trump has constantly claimed that it is the Democrats are so busy trying to impeach him when in fact it is the Senate that are holding up bills. Case in point, the USMCA was fixed with the help of Pelosi.

There may be no government shutdown this year. The Senate approved of a nearly $1.4 trillion spending deal to keep the government funded. However, the White House insisted that House Democrats drop language in the year-end spending bill establishing a specific and quick timeline for deploying appropriated aid to Ukraine or risk a veto.

In legal news, a New York state judge dismissed a 16-count indictment against Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, citing double jeopardy laws. It was because of double jeopardy. The Manhattan district attorney’s office said it would appeal the ruling.

Rick Gates, one of the most significant former Trump campaign advisers who flipped on Trump in the Mueller investigation, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years’ probation by a federal judge Tuesday morning. Gates, a longtime deputy to 2016 Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, admitted to helping Manafort conceal $75 million in foreign bank accounts from their years of Ukraine lobbying work.

Gates will also pay a $20,000 fine and fulfill 300 hours of community service. He will be allowed to serve his jail sentence on weekends or intermittently during his three years of probation. The judge said his cooperation in the Mueller investigation helped him get a lighter sentence. The judge needed to give him at least some incarceration to deter others from committing crimes and to create respect for the law.

The Trump administration, eager to show progress on prescription drug costs, moved forward on its plan to allow Americans to safely and legally get access to lower-priced medicines from abroad – initially from Canada. Mainly pills would be covered under the plan. Insulin, biologic drugs, narcotics and certain other medications would be excluded, at least initially.

There are a number of bills to cut costs. A bipartisan bill in the Senate and House-passed legislation from Speaker Nancy Pelosi would authorize Medicare to negotiate drug prices and plowing back the savings to provide seniors with new dental, hearing and vision coverage. Republicans are against that bill even though candidate Trump was in favor of it in 2016.

A freshman Democrat, Jeff Van Drew, who strongly opposes House Democrats’ impeachment of Trump, is expected to switch to the Republican Party and is telling colleagues his intentions. More likely that Drew does not want to lose his cushy job in under a year. He won his district as a Democrat. Is he expecting many who voted for him would vote for him as a Republican? Doubt it. Some, but not many. He won by 7.7 points earlier this year.

Drew, currently still a Democrat, may switch parties, now has 8 aides leaving his Washington office. However he is claiming no aides have left his New Jersey district’s office. Sounding already like a Trump leaning Republican, Van Drew said the staff quit because “They were told to; they were told to… they had to or else they wouldn’t work again.”

If you are really bored, you can read the House Judiciary Committee released its impeachment report.

The Supreme Court said that it would hear arguments this term about subpoenas demanding Trump’s financial records. That means we’ll have a decision by June. This just as the election campaign is under way.

The Trump administration is pushing back on a wide-ranging piece of legislation meant to deter and punish Russian aggression and its interference in the 2016 election calling it “unnecessary” and in need of “significant changes.”

Even Fox News has turned on Trump with a recent poll saying 50% of Americans favor Trump being removed from office and 60% said it was “inappropriate” for Trump to ask a foreign country to investigate allegations against political rival.

He's impeached

Well, it’s done.

We now have the third President of the United States that has been impeached.

And the second President in just over 20 years.

This could make things very tricky in the future if a President loses a mid-term vote as the Republicans did about a year ago in the House as it is the House that votes with a simple majority for the impeachment while the Senate with a two thirds majority vote [in a trial] to see if the impeachment is worthy of the President losing his or her job.

After the next mid-term election, if the President loses his or her majority in the House, he or she would have to walk a fine line.

Anything that could be considered even a very lightly illegal could lead to an impeachment.

This was really a busy week

The House Judiciary committee voted along party lines to approve two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump – 23 Democrats voted in favor while all 17 Republicans on the committee voted against the articles. Not too shocking that every known Trump backer [and those who want to keep their job past 2020] are calling the inquiry a sham.

The articles of impeachment now go to the full House for a final vote next week where it should pass easily – before it goes to the Senate where it is expected to fail as the Republicans control the majority needed. Even then he is still impeached. The Senate vote is to decide whether Trump can be removed from office.

Democrats had debated adding a third article of impeachment on obstruction of justice, which would have captured the allegations against Trump that were detailed in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

As Trump’s lead White House counsel Pat Cipollone met with Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill to discuss those details, all indications pointed toward a short and swift Senate trial that would quickly dispatch the charges against Trump.

The Republicans were complaining throughout that the Democrat lead inquiry [there were 17 Republicans at the inquiry] that it was a sham, not a real inquiry, etc. If the Republicans plan on ramming through to fully acquit Trump with very little in witnesses or any evidence. While this is considered a trial as the Chief Supreme Court justice will act as judge and the 100 member Senate as jury, it surely won’t look like it if the Republicans immediately acquit Trump.

Judiciary Committee shutdown all the Republican amendments to the articles says that they weren’t necessary, were fishing for information against the Bidens, whistleblower, etc., or other reasons. Members voted along party lines.

Republicans proposed two amendments to simply remove the first and second impeachment articles from the resolution. That means no impeachment. Another GOP amendment sought to state that Ukraine did receive aid money from the United States.

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz offered the amendment to replace Joe Biden’s name in the impeachment resolution with the “well-known corrupt company, Burisma,” and Hunter Biden, saying that Hunter Biden’s appointment to the Ukrainian energy company “looks dirty as it is.” That would of killed the idea that Trump was going directly at a top contender for his job.

“He has a gun to his head,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said. “The gun is the fact that the President of the United States, upon whom he depends for military aid, for help in many different ways, has shown himself willing to withhold that aid based on what he says, based on what he’s willing to play along with the President for his own personal political goals.”

“The announcement of two baseless articles of impeachment does not hurt the President, it hurts the American people, who expect their elected officials to work on their behalf to strengthen our nation,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Grisham continued “The President will address these false charges in the Senate and expects to be fully exonerated, because he did nothing wrong.” No he will most likely be exonerated because the suck-ups and coward Republicans in the Senate want to keep their cushy jobs instead of actually looking at the fact. They made up their mind before the inquiry started.

It is interesting to note the first half of Grisham’s quote above. Either she made a mistake or he intends on defending himself as a witness. If it is the latter he would be forced to tell the truth or face a perjury charge.

Trump tweeted “To Impeach a President who has proven through results, including producing perhaps the strongest economy in our country’s history, to have one of the most successful presidencies ever, and most importantly, who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness!” The economy has nothing to do with impeachment and how do you measure a successful presidency. Definitely by approval rating.

Trump says he faces “two flimsy, pathetic, ridiculous articles of impeachment.” He then added that “these two things, they’re not even a crime.” He also said “Everyone said this is impeachment-lite. This is the lightest impeachment in the history of our country, by far. It’s not even like an impeachment,” Trump said. Wonder who “everyone” is.

He argued that by not including articles of impeachment on “collusion” or “obstruction of justice,” the Democrats are “admitting” that neither of those occurred. But the Democrats are including obstruction of Congress and they are only going after the articles that they have an excellent chance of winning [like in any court case] in addition not to act high and mighty.

Getting a bit picky or dotting “I”s and crossing “T”s: Nadler introduced an amendment to change references of “Donald J. Trump” to “Donald John Trump” in the articles of impeachment.

McConnell is expected to hold a final vote to acquit Trump, should he be impeached, when a majority of senators believe his trial has run its course instead of holding a vote on dismissing the articles of impeachment.

Trump is now claiming the Democrats are impeaching him because it’s the only way for the Democrats to win the next election. If you think about it, it could also show that he doesn’t think Vice President Mike Pence is a real leader. If Trump is forced to resign prior to the election, Pence takes over as president. There could be a leadership convention to decide if Pence is their candidate in the next election.

Trump seems to want to be impeached. He is claiming his fundraising for his campaign has never been better. Of course this from a man who is a habitual liar.

The Republicans continue to say the impeachment hearings are a shamble, unconstitutional, etc. even when the White House administration were invited to send representatives to the hearing. It also doesn’t help them when the administration has blocked any current staff from testifying. This could be one of the impeachment articles.

Nadler said that he sees the Ukraine evidence as part of “a pattern” of conduct by Trump. Nadler would not commit to including the evidence of obstruction of justice outlined in Robert Mueller’s special counsel report as part of the articles of impeachment. He thinks his party’s case “if presented to a [bipartisan] jury would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat.”

“We all know how it’s going to end. There is no chance the President is going to be removed from office,” McConnell said. True. But he will still be the third President to be impeached. It will be a stain on his “legacy”.

Republicans are repeatedly highlighting that Schiff was absent from a hearing [even though the hearing is being convened by the House Judiciary Committee and not the intelligence panel]. Does he have to be there?

Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee got into a heated exchange with Nadler after calling for a minority hearing day. Nadler said that he is considering the hearing. The Republicans want this minority hearing to call all these “witnesses” to testify so they can dig up dirt on them.

Rep. Doug Collins sent Nadler a letter requesting eight witnesses, including Schiff, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, the anonymous whistleblower and anyone the whistleblower relied on to prepare the complaint alleging Trump solicited election interference from Ukraine. Later, Nadler has denied the GOP’s requests for witnesses.

Vice President Mike Pence’s counsel has rejected House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s request to declassify information “concerning the Vice President’s classified call on September 18th, 2019 with President Zelensky of Ukraine” as it “serves no legitimate legislative or impeachment inquiry purpose.”

Trump’s senior aides have further restricted the number of administration officials allowed to listen to Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders. I wonder why!

Former Attorney General Eric Holder believes William Barr is “unfit” to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. He went after Barr for “a series of public statements and … actions that are so plainly ideological, so nakedly partisan and so deeply inappropriate” for an attorney general to make. He pointed to a number of recent headline-grabbing remarks by Barr, including his comments this week that the FBI may have acted in “bad faith” when it opened an investigation into the origins of the Russia probe despite the Justice Department’s inspector general report that said the bureau was justified in doing so.

After teen climate crisis activist Greta Thunberg was named Time Person of the Year, Trump tweeted “So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”

Thunberg responded by updating her Twitter bio to reflect Trump’s comments: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”

Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry and Hong Kong protesters were also on the shortlist for the accolade.

“I knew last year that @TIME Magazine lost all credibility when they didn’t include me in their Top 100…,” Trump tweeted in October 2012. After chose German Prime Minister Angela Merkel in 2015, “I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite.”

In 2017, a year after winning in 2016, “Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named ‘Man (Person) of the Year,’ like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!” No. time doesn’t deny the win if they don’t agree to the interview and photos.

Then of course, in 2009, he put up a fake cover. Now that was fake news.

The Supreme Court justices agreed to resolve in spring 2020 if a sitting president should be immune from any criminal proceeding, whether related to conduct before taking office or even — to use Trump’s famed example — shooting someone on Fifth Avenue in New York. The high court also said it would determine the oversight authority of Congress in paired disputes arising from attempts by House Democrats to obtain Trump’s financial documents.

When asked if he had any concerns with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani heading to Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Biden, Collins declined to comment on Giuliani. New excuse from the Republicans is that Giuliani went on his own to Ukraine and that Trump did not know about it. Uh huh.

“I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me,” Trump tweeted. This is his reaction to a Justice Department inspector general’s report examining the bureau’s investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The 434-page report rebutted conservatives’ accusations that top FBI officials were driven by political bias to illegally spy on Trump advisers as part of the probe into Russian election interference, but it also found broad and “serious performance failures” requiring major changes. Wray, a Trump appointee, said he had ordered more than 40 corrective steps to address the report’s recommendations.

“Right now, the only soldiers we have in that area are essentially the soldiers that are keeping the oil,” Trump said of the redefined role of American troops in eastern Syria. “So we have the oil. And we can do with the oil what we want.” So you know what the US is really going after. Trump his sacrificing his soldiers to protect the oil that they want.

What made this performance especially jaw-dropping was his suggestion that America should have pillaged the oil resources of other nations. “We’ve taken the oil. I’ve taken the oil. We should have done it in other locations where we were. I can name four of them right now,” said Trump. But he didn’t name them.

“It is totally consistent with our campaign to defeat to Daesh, to defeat ISIS, and we’re going to hold on to those oil fields as long as necessary to make sure ISIS doesn’t reconstitute,” Robert O’Brien, Trump’s national security adviser said. Ya. Sure.

The Republicans have whined that with the impeachment inquiry the government is at a standstill. That is, of course, untrue. Case in point: the Democrats have been working with Mexican authorities to modify the new NAFTA agreement to the point where the updated deal will be passed by the House and Senate just before the government breaks for the winter recess. The updated NAFTA was actually agreed by all 3 countries this week and now needs approvals.

Shows who Trump relies on: Stephen Miller, senior White House policy adviser who holds hard-line views on immigration, promoted stories from white nationalist and fringe media organizations to staffers of the far-right website Breitbart, a trove of leaked 2015 emails revealed. Former Breitbart News reporter, Katie McHugh, confirmed that Miller is a white supremacist, as says she was one.

Trump is paying up $2 million after conceding that he used his charitable foundation at times as a personal piggy bank. This is to pay a court-ordered fine for misusing the Trump Foundation in part to further his business interests and 2016 presidential run. The money will be distributed to eight charities.

The New York Attorney General’s office had sought to block Trump from writing off the fine payment as a charitable donation on his taxes, but the judge in the case hasn’t ruled on that request.

Did you know that at the Trump golf course in suburban Loudoun County, near Washington, Trump’s staff put up a historical marker declaring that there had been a Civil War battle on the site – and that the adjacent Potomac River became a “River of Blood.” Historians say this battle never happened.

It is a historic day

It is a historic day. Only the fourth time in US history has articles of impeachment been announced. Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

In the first article, Donald Trump used his Presidency to obtain foreign help [Ukraine] to dig up dirt on John Biden and his son Hunter in order to help secure a second term in office.

In the second article, Trump declared himself above accountability, above the American people and above congress’ power of impeachment and above the law. Trump has even said so with his killing a person on a New York street remarks.

The Democrats could of added other articles decides not to as it may look greedy and about 30 Democrats up for election are in tight races in 2020.

While it took about 200 years between the first and second impeachment, this is the third impeachment in about 45 years. A sign that there is quite a bit of a political war between the Democrats and Republicans.

This will be an issue for future Presidents who don’t have a majority in the House. They will need to double check and triple check that everything they and their staff does are perfect.