Trump throws Giuliani under the bus

[And drives over him a few times.]

Donald Trump has now denied that he directed his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to go to Ukraine and seek out investigations on his behalf, contradicting his own words to the Ukrainian President in the White House-released transcript of the July 25 call. Trump also contradicted sworn testimony from members of his administration and claims from his own White House acting chief of staff.

“No, I didn’t direct him, but he’s a warrior, Rudy’s a warrior,” Trump added. “Rudy went. He possibly saw something. But you have to understand, Rudy (has) other people that he represents.”

But “My understanding was that the President directed Mr. Giuliani’s participation, and that Mr. Giuliani was expressing the concerns of the President,” was what US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland said. “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt… So we followed the President’s orders.”

There are reports that Giuliani pursued hundreds of thousands of dollars in business from officials in Ukraine at the same time that he was using his connections there to unearth damaging information about the Bidens. While the deals weren’t consummated, the revelations are important because, first, they undercut Giuliani’s repeated claim that he has no business in Ukraine, and second, they suggest Giuliani was preying on potential clients in Ukraine who were desperate for stronger ties to the United States and his main client, Trump.

Some no-name name, Mark Sandy, an official at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), testified earlier this month that he was told US security assistance to Ukraine had been held up because of Trump’s concerns that other countries were not giving enough. How many other excuses will come out?

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said that the aid was withheld to encourage Ukraine to investigate possible interference in the 2016 presidential election on October 17th. Trump said on November 27th in a tweet that “I held back the money from Ukraine because it is considered a corrupt country.” Nothing about other countries.

Federal Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before the House of Representatives, which has been trying to force his appearance since April over Robert Mueller’s findings that suggest Trump obstructed justice in the Russia investigation. Jackson dismissed the President’s claim that McGahn was subject to blanket immunity.

The House Judiciary Committee is setting a deadline of December 6 for Trump to decide whether his attorneys will participate in the committee’s impeachment proceedings against him. The letter to Trump and a separate letter sent to Judiciary Committee ranking Republican Doug Collins of Georgia were largely technical, referring to the rules established by the House’s impeachment resolution last month.

But the letter starts the clock for the White House to decide if it will take part in the House’s impeachment proceedings — which Trump and congressional Republicans have claimed are unfair — or wait until a potential Senate trial to make its case directly to Congress.

Trump announced in October that “we’ve come to a very substantial Phase One deal” which reportedly includes getting the Chinese to agree to a numerical amount of US agricultural purchases in exchange for reducing tariffs. Weeks later, they were close to a Phase One deal, but it has yet to materialize. He said last week that we were “potentially very close,” to an agreement.

Meanwhile, the trade war is having an economic impact on both the US and China — as well as globally. Trump is due to hike tariffs on December 15 [in under 3 weeks] on a lot of Chinese consumer goods. Do you think there was ever a “Phase ONE”?

Trump signed a law supporting Hong Kong’s months-long protest movement, handing anti-government demonstrators in the semi-autonomous Chinese city a moral victory and likely complicating trade negotiations with Beijing. The new law will require the US to annually confirm that Hong Kong’s special freedoms are being maintained by Beijing — failure to do so could result in Washington withdrawing the city’s special status, a massive blow to the Hong Kong economy.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the law “seriously interferes in Hong Kong’s affairs and China’s domestic politics…. It has seriously violated international law and basic rules of international relations,” the statement added. “Such plainly bullying behavior is firmly opposed by the Chinese government and Chinese people.”

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was “fired for proposing a secret agreement with the White House” involving the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. Gallagher was convicted of bringing discredit to the armed services after posing next to a dead ISIS fighter’s body, which is against regulations. He was then demoted in rank — a decision Trump a week ago reversed in a move that angered military officials.

Military officials then moved ahead with the process to review Gallagher’s status in the elite group. Spencer was proposing a review with a secret guarantee that Gallagher would be allowed to keep his status as a Navy SEAL and supposedly was not fired for failing to carry out Trump’s wishes, because Trump had not wanted a review at all.

The Trump administration has moved to substantially cut its contribution to NATO’s collective budget. Previously the US provided some 22% of NATO’s direct funding, which covers the cost of maintaining the NATO headquarters, joint security investments and some combined military operations.

US defense officials are saying that the Trump administration sought to reduce its contribution to about 16%, bringing it in line with Germany’s, which provides 14.8% despite the US having a larger economy. Trump has long slammed NATO allies for not meeting the 2% NATO defense spending target. Member countries have boosted defense spending considerably in recent years, something Trump has claimed credit for.

After quite a few deaths early this year related to vaping where Trump promised to do something about it. Months later and nothing has happened – just like the promises that were dropped for oil, coal, tobacco, firearms, etc. These all have huge lobby groups that mostly support the Republican party.

A long-serving military officer put it bluntly saying “there is a morale problem,” and senior Pentagon officials have privately said they are disturbed by the Trump’s behavior. Dismay in the Pentagon has been building over Trump’s sporadic, impulsive and contradictory decision-making on a range of issues, including his sudden pullback of troops in Syria.

But now there are new and significant worries, as multiple military officials and retired officers say Trump’s intervention into high-profile war crimes cases cannot be ignored. Now senior Pentagon officials believed it would undermine military discipline and order. Trump had upped the ante at a rally by issuing an extraordinary declaration that he took action in the face of “deep state” opposition.

In the “What is he smoking?” department: Energy Secretary Rick Perry, an evangelical Christian, said “You know, Barack Obama doesn’t get to be the President of the United Sates without being ordained by God. Neither did Donald Trump.”

Trump recognized Conan, the hero dog who was injured during a raid which led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, at the White House on Monday. Conan had received a “medal and a plaque.” Vice President Pence, a dog handler and Melania Trump [who didn’t seemed to be thrilled and who was standing a bit farther to the side] were there. Let’s hope Conan didn’t shake Trump’s paw.

Twitter announced that it would allow users to disable SMS two-factor authentication (2FA) and instead use a physical security key or a one-time code authenticator app. Until now, Twitter users who wanted to use 2FA were required to provide a phone number and enable SMS 2FA. I’m sure Trump doesn’t use 2FA – he may not even know what it is.

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.

Impeachment inquiry ramps up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were three state elections recently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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