The Senate saves Trump

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

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

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

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

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

He then went after others:

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

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

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

But let’s look at what he has done:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The senate impeachment – part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breaking News: The trial is technically over

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

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

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

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

The Senate impeachment – part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The calm before the next storm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran drove him nuts this week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even on vacation, he causes trouble

Well a new year and a new decade brings more of the politics of Donald Trump. Even while “vacationing” in Florida [of course golfing!] he couldn’t help in causing more problems.

Trump retweeted an attack that included an unsubstantiated name of the intelligence community whistleblower at the heart of the Ukraine scandal as part of a series of rants and conspiratorial posts recently. Trump or someone with access to his Twitter account removed the retweet. Publicly naming a whistleblower is illegal. Of course Trump may think he’s above the law.

Nearly every public official involved in the impeachment inquiry agreed that the identity of the original complainant should be protected. Some far-right media outlets and personalities have published stories claiming to know the name of the whistleblower but legitimate new media organizations have refused to name the individual.

An official from the Office of Management and Budget made it clear that the order to keep the freeze in place came directly from Trump, according to unredacted documents reviewed. It is from the documents that were released under court order last month but were either partially or completely blacked out.

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, continues to stun people on both sides. He wants to testify as a witness and to help defend Trump. Of course you can’t be both. If he is thinking of being on Trump’s defense team, he probably hasn’t been a lawyer in a courtroom in 40 years.

Trump tweeted “So sad to see that New York City and State are falling apart…. Governor Cuomo has lost control, and lost his mind.” Yes. This coming from the President of the United States. Isn’t that bullying? And something his wife is trying to get teenagers not to do in school?

Joe Biden says he will refuse any subpoena from the Senate because he has no knowledge of any personal knowledge of Trump and his infamous phone call. Clearly the Republicans would ask him questions that would have nothing to do with the trial but instead to try and dig up some “dirt” against him [possibly ruining his Democratic nomination] or his son.

Trump had the military assassinate an Iranian military leader, Qasem Soleimani, and are celebrating. Meanwhile, the deputy leader took over. You think this changed anything? Just briefly slowed down any further attacks. Probably a way to get impeachment and trial off the front page [briefly]. Democrat leadership was not notified but I’m sure just about everyone in the Republican party knew.

Note that prior to Trump entering office, Iran had limited access to Iraq. About three years later, militant Iranian leader assisting the Iraqi military? The assassinated militant even had his Iraqi assistant die in the same strike. Initially the US claimed it was a drone attack while Iran says it was a helicopter attack.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo [and Trump later] said the airstrikes disrupted an “imminent attack” in the region that put American lives at risk. There is no way to verify this claim, of course.

White House lawyers — in consultation with national security officials — put together a “strong rationale” claiming that the strike against Soleimani would not lead to war and that Trump, as commander in chief, had the authority to not ask for congressional authorization over a matter of self-defense. Of course the White House lawyers have been wrong before – more than once.

At a right wing evangelist conference for the King Jesus Ministry in Miami, Trump insisted that his administration is a “peaceloving” [sic] one. “Peace loving” nations don’t generally assassinate a top official of another country [in a third country].

Interesting development. The leader was subject to a 5 year travel ban by the United Nations. If he would of complied with the ban, he probably would still be alive today. Could the Trump administration use that as an excuse [he left Iran so he was fair game]?

The US and other governments really need to look at the Iraqi government and exactly what side they are on. First letting in Iranian backed militants to enter the supposedly fortified embassy area and now Iran advising Iraq on military issues?

[While I am not against the assassination, will it actually change anything? He has already been replaced. Will tension in the area escalate? I’m sure. Were allies (Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc.) notified? I doubt it. Those US allies could feel the brunt of possible reprisals.]

From the White House Twitter feed: “At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani…” So an admission – which could be used for legal reasons.

The Selective Service website crashed hours after the announcement that Soleimani was killed by a US airstrike ordered by Trump. The hashtag #WorldWarIII was one of the top trends on Twitter the day after the assassination.

Trump had already condemned Iran for “orchestrating” the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. He urged the Iraqi government to protect the embassy from further intrusion and attack. He also said Iran “will be held fully responsible” for the attack from Shiite militia forces.

“This will not be a Benghazi. Benghazi should never have happened. This will never, ever be a Benghazi,” he said, without explaining how protesters were able to breach layers of embassy security in Baghdad to begin with. The embassy at Benghazi was stormed during a President Obama term. The State Department has said that while the protesters forced their way into the embassy compound, there had been no “breach” of the facility itself.

Not even hours before his New Year’s Eve party, he sent a series of tweets and retweets going after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and French President Emmanuel Macron. He’s got nothing else to do.

Trump was seen playing golf but abruptly stopped and then said “I did NOT! [play golf]” he insisted, “I had meeting in various locations, while closely monitoring the U.S. Embassy situation in Iraq, which I am still doing.”

Trump cronies are spinning the facts saying how fast the Trump administration got the Shiite militia forces to leave the embassy area but failed to acknowledge how easy it was for them to get so close to the embassy. The embassy area [and not just the US embassy] are supposed to be in a heavy secure area in Baghdad but the militants got through too many checkpoints.

Later Trump was tweeted say that it was a “victory” for the US. Results were better than Benghazi. What exactly did the US do aside from throw some gas grenades? Can’t call it a victory when the militants got to the gates of the embassy. What happened to the security?

North Korean dictator/crazy-man Kim Jong Un is reversing all the potential deals with the US to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. On top of that Un announced on New Year’s Day that his regime will soon unveil a new strategic weapon.

Trump said Un had signed a “contract” and believed Un would abide by the “contract”. That isn’t happening. Trump doesn’t need another “deal” to fall apart especially getting so close to an election. However, like everything else he will say as part of his term that he arranged a deal with Un and not that it fell apart. Will voters remember or care?

Trump tweeted “California and New York must do something about their TREMENDOUS Homeless problems. They are setting records!” Well, when you get increased homeless, the economy is at least partially to blame. But Trump’s indicator is the stock market with more “records” set.

These are also two heavily Democratic voting states with two heavy political foes [Governor Cuomo in New York and House Speaker Pelosi in California]. Coincidence?

Trump signed a bill that increases fines on criminal robocall violations and cracks down on companies making the calls, as part of a federal push against telephone scammers. This had bipartisan support. So much for Trump saying nothing has been done because of the impeachment inquiry.

45 judges left the immigration courts in 2019. Some retired or passed away. Other went onto to other jobs. In comparison 24 left in 2018 and 21 left in 2017. The reasons why individual judges have moved on from their posts on the bench vary, but in interviews with judges who left in recent months, one theme ties them all together: frustration over a mounting number of policy changes that, they argue, chipped away at their authority.

Trump also re-tweeted about “illegal alien” Juan Sanchez, who was supposedly deported six times, was arrested after killing a mother-of-six in Denver, Colorado. That means the border guards and legal system aren’t doing their jobs. You think a wall would of stopped him? No.

Obama lists his favorite 2019 books. Maybe Trump will list his favorite comic books. Actually while Obama’s books included fiction, non-fiction and sports with none related to politics, Trump’s list are all pro-Trump books including from his son. Whether or not he actually read them is a different story.

Obama also list his favorite movies [a few well known] and 3 TV shows. Is there any pro-Trump movies or TV shows? Maybe he’ll invent some.

The Trump New Year’s Eve at the Mar-A-Lago party has nearly doubled its ticket prices for guests of Mar-A-Lago members. In 2016, just weeks after Trump was elected, guests could get in for $575. Now it is at $1000. After last year when Trump decided to stay in Washington during a government shutdown, you would of figured he’d give a discount to those who attended last year.

Trump’s 4 adult children and significant others [and in some cases children] appeared with only Eric Trump going a bit political. Others tried to avoid reporters.

According to the UK betting site paddypower.com:

  • 1/12 chances of completing his term and 7/1 chance he doesn’t
  • 1/50 chance that he won’t be convicted by the senate and 12/1 chance he does
  • 2/1 chance that Area 51 will be opened to the public during his first term in office
  • 200/1 chance Melania to run for President against Trump in 2020
  • 12/1 chance Mexico to directly fund construction of a border-wall with the US [Mexico must state this – not what Trump says]
  • 7/1 chance a US navy ship will be named after him
  • 12/1 chance a US military base will be named after him
  • 50/1 chance to surgically enhance his penis
  • 500/1 chance to surgically enhance his hands
  • 7/1 chance Trump to withdraw the US from the UN
  • 3/1 chance Trump will ban abortions in his first term
  • 6/1 chance Trump will ban gay marriages in his first term
  • 9/1 chance Trump will ban burkas or hijabs in his first term
  • 500/1 chance Trump will ban stairs [!!!] in his first term

The a web site that keeps track of how many times Trump has golfed since becoming president – 230 times – or roughly one out of every 4 days in his term.

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.