Trump will never learn

It is another busy week. Why doesn’t he learn? Stubborn? Stupid? Arrogant? All three?

Donald Trump has blamed the bombing on the protesters at the church earlier in the week even though there was no proof those who were scattering so Trump could make his way to the church were even involved in the church bombing the day before.

Trump also continues to blame “Antifa and other radical left groups” and “professional anarchists” for the protesting although various law enforcement agencies say that the protesters are a mixture of groups from all across the spectrum as well as many who aren’t affiliated with any political group. Trump, of course, would not mention groups from his base – the white nationalists and the like.

The White House twitter account retweeted comments from the white wing saying it is these leftist groups brought in bricks that were thrown at law enforcement and stores when in fact the bricks came from construction of a building – and again no proof those with the bricks are leftist groups. Similarly rocks in a caged barrier were to protect a Los Angeles synagogue but protesters used them in their protesting.

“I think there’s racism in the United States still but I don’t think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist. I understand the distrust, however, of the African American community given the history in this country,” Attorney General William Barr said.

“Painting law enforcement with a broad brush of systemic racism is really a disservice to the men and women who put on the badge, the uniform every day, risk their lives every day to protect the American people,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said.

Barr himself was thrown under the bus when the White House claimed that he ordered the police in Washington to use crack down on the protesters who were peaceful.

Former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Trump has “drifted away” from the Constitution and will endorse Joe Biden, adding to a growing list of former top military officials who have strongly criticized Trump’s response to the nationwide protests surrounding the police killing of George Floyd. Powell has worked for Presidents in both parties.

Didn’t take long for Trump to respond on Twitter by saying ” Colin Powell, a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars, just announced he will be voting for another stiff, Sleepy Joe Biden. Didn’t Powell say that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction?” They didn’t, but off we went to WAR!” No he wasn’t responsible. It is the President who makes the final decision to go to war.

Trump visited just one of just two manufacturers of the nasal swabs required to test patients for the novel coronavirus in Guilford, Maine, predictably refusing to wear a mask. Shortly after he left, all of the swabs produced during Donald Trump’s factory photo op were destroyed, according to a company spokesperson.

“Let’s see here. The Mayor of L.A. wants to defund police, take money away from police. Mayor DeBlasio wants to take money away from the police,” White Shack press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a briefing. “That means cutting of police. That means reducing police departments. That means defunding police departments, if not getting rid of them entirely. No, he [Trump] does not agree with that and the rest of America does not agree with that,” she said. Which part of “rest of America”? Republican?

America’s top general, Gen. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is apologizing for appearing in a photo-op with Trump after the forceful dispersal of protesters outside the White House last week, saying the move was a “mistake.” “I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it,” he said.

Trump has weighed in on a video of a 75-year-old protester who was seriously injured after being shoved by police officers in Buffalo last week, questioning whether it was a “set up.” Video of the demonstration showed a row of officers walking toward the man and two pushing him. His head bled onto the sidewalk as officers walked past him, some looking down at him.

Trump claimed in his tweet that the man, Martin Gugino, “fell harder than he was pushed….. Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur.” He got the Antifa part from an OAN reporter who claims that Gugino was using police tracking software on his phone. The man wanted to bleed on the sidewalk as part of the plan.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told Trump to “go back to your bunker,” after Trump appeared to suggest he would intervene in the city’s growing protests and called for law and order. “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will,” Trump warned Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Durkan. Trump can do nothing with the military to intervene without the governor’s approval.

Three key black law enforcement officials in the Dallas area who was not invited to attend an event with Trump that was promoted as discussing “justice disparities.” With this “president”, that makes sense.

Trump says the virus is now reduced to just the “embers” and “ashes” of a spent pandemic as patience for nationwide lock downs fades and states aggressively open up. The facts say the opposite. Over 1,000 Americans continue to die each day and more than 112,000 people in the US have died from the disease.

Trump’s campaign is demanding CNN retract and apologize for a recent poll that showed him well behind presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Biden. The CNN poll conducted by SSRS and shows Trump trailing the former vice president by 14 points, 55%-41%, among registered voters. It also finds Trump’s approval rating at 38% — his worst mark since January 2019, and roughly on par with approval ratings for one-term Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush at this point in their reelection years — and his disapproval rating at 57%.

Trump campaign argued that the CNN poll is “designed to mislead American voters through a biased questionnaire and skewed sampling…. It’s a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the President, and present a false view generally of the actual support across America for the President,” read the letter, signed by the Trump campaign’s senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis and chief operating officer Michael Glassner.

Trump’s upcoming rally in Tulsa has caused controversy because it is being help on the anniversary of a massacre of the black population Tulsa where an estimated 300+ died in an area called Black Wall Street – an affluent area for blacks in the city. For Trump to hold his first rally there in months with his anti-Black rhetoric, it is causing quite a stir. He later decided to delay it by one day.

Attendees of Trump’s upcoming rally must agree not to sue the campaign, the location and various people working for them if they contract coronavirus. Rally goers are asked to RSVP to gain admission to the event and by registering, they must agree to a disclaimer that states they acknowledge the “inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.”

A legal expert says that the waiver offer only a base-level protection against liability. “They only give limited protections, so they never would protect against, for example, gross negligence or recklessness. One could argue that holding a large public gathering that will draw people together in a context in which they’re not able to do social distancing or follow the directive of the CDC, et cetera. One could argue that is grossly negligent.”

The State Department Inspector General, Steve Linick, who was fired by Trump before he could complete investigations into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his office was carrying out five probes into potential wrongdoing, three more than were previously known, according to a transcript released by Congress.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski brushed off a series of critical tweets from Trump, including Trump’s promise to campaign against her when she’s up for reelection. Trump made the threat after Murkowski applauded a statement from former Marine Gen. James Mattis — in which the former secretary of defense castigated Trump as “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people”.

Remember how Trump took a victory lap when the unemployment rate dropped. Well, wasn’t quite true. The April jobs report listed the unemployment rate at 14.7%. But, the Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered that it misclassified a bunch of jobs in that report. Millions of people who should have been categorized as “unemployed” were mistakenly categorized as “employed but absent”. As a result, there were really 9 million more unemployed in April than previously reported and the April unemployment rate was really 19.7%, rather than 14.7%.

Jobs were added in May, but, once you adjust for the misclassification error, there are still 3 million more unemployed today [and the unemployment rate is 1.6% higher] than originally reported back in April.

Trump’s announcement that he is postponing an in-person summit of the G7 ends, for now, until September. As the last G7 summit, he would want to try to host the summit before what could be his last months as president. Having a pandemic in the middle of a pandemic where many countries aren’t allowing people from other countries to come in, is an issue.

He also named Russia, South Korea, Australia and India as potential invitees to this year’s gathering. Now Russia was thrown out of the summits since 2014 when they invaded Crimea. Trump has hinted previously in trying to get Russian back in but France and Germany are among those countries against the idea.

Trump authorized sanctions and additional visa restrictions against International Criminal Court personnel — the latest attempt by the administration to strong arm the international body out of an investigation into a potential war crimes by US military and intelligence officials. The ICC has authorized a probe into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan by US armed forces, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Taliban.

So he doesn’t want his own military personnel involved in a probe but I’m sure the US will push to get a military officer from another country sent to the ICC for crimes.

6 months away!

So, in 6 months from today, the citizens of the United States will be going to the polls to elect their next President, maybe their next Senator, their next house representative plus state and local officials.

Of course, the biggest question will be who will be the next President. Will the Democrats’ Joe Biden be elected or will the Republicans’ Donald Trump continue for another four treacherous years.

Say Trump wins again, he will be gloating. However, if he didn’t win the popular vote like in 2016, he will probably complain about voter fraud again. His ego will get in the way.

But say Biden gets elected as President [and he should the way things are going], Trump will complain about voter fraud. He will contest various voting polls. If COVID-19 is still lingering, he will complain about how his voters couldn’t vote or how some [in Democratic leaning counties] should be tossed out for whatever reasons he can dream up.

Trump may even go as far as saying it was a coup d’état. Now that would rile up his base and could really cause problems such as violence. The party, however, may not be too happy. On the other hand, they may finally turn their backs on him.

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.

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.

This was really a busy week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump throws Giuliani under the bus

[And drives over him a few times.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impeachment inquiries continue and Trump isn’t helping himself

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said that Donald Trump froze security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats. He later backtracked his comments for which Trump responded with “I think he clarified it.” Hmmmm. Nobody believes them.

House Republicans are going to try and force a House floor vote on a resolution to censure Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff “for certain misleading conduct” in dramatizing a phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president – as if anything Trump said is not misleading. The censure will fail as the Democrats control the House.

Trump continues to claimed at his Cabinet meeting that the whistleblower who complained about his July phone call with the president of Ukraine “gave a false account” and has been “discredited.”

The top US diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, testified that he had been told Trump would withhold military aid to the country until it publicly declared investigations would be launched that could help his reelection chances — including into former Vice President Joe Biden.

Taylor said he was told that “everything” Ukraine wanted — from a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to hundreds of millions in security aid — was dependent on publicly announcing an investigation that included Burisma, the company that hired Biden’s son Hunter, and Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he never had — or at least doesn’t recall having — a conversation with Trump in which he described Trump’s call with Zelensky as perfect. Trump asserted earlier this month that McConnell deemed the White House transcript of the conversation, which is at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump, completely innocent.

Roughly two-dozen House Republicans stormed a closed-door deposition in secure House Intelligence Committee spaces to rail against the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, a political stunt ratcheting up the GOP complaints about the process that delayed the scheduled deposition for five hours. The conservative lawmakers barged into the deposition and demanded they be allowed to see the closed-door proceedings where members of three committees planned to interview Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Laura Cooper as part of the impeachment probe into Trump.

Why do this? 47 Republicans are in the hearings. They are hearing the testimony and asking questions. Childish and incompetent Republicans who stormed the session.

Trump used a racially charged term to describe the House of Representative’s impeachment inquiry, calling the process a “lynching” today. This marks his first use of the term “lynching” to describe the inquiry – a term deeply intertwined with horrific racial violence and a dark era in the United States.

His tweet was “So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching.” Even some Republicans are upset at the word being used.

“The Never Trumper Republicans, though on respirators with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats. Watch out for them, they are human scum!” Trump tweeted.

“To call anybody human scum is beneath the office of the presidency. You can’t say that, right? You’re the president. You have different standards,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican. Where was Kinzinger when Trump has called Democrats and other foes words that are such as bad?

Sen. Lindsey Graham and other congressional Republicans have slammed House Democrats for conducting their impeachment inquiry with depositions behind closed doors, but Republicans also used closed-door depositions during their impeachment inquiry of former President Bill Clinton two decades ago.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro declined to answer questions about whether China opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son has come up during trade talks with the US. Trump raised Biden’s political prospects during a June 18 phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump claimed that the Bidens have received millions of dollars from China, implying they capitalized on the then-vice president’s political power and connections. The allegations stem partly from an official trip both Bidens took to China in 2013, meant as a diplomatic mission to help ease tensions in the region.

Trump’s lawyers has asked the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear his attempt to stop a subpoena of his longtime accounting firm, this time with Trump asking the full appellate court to reconsider his case. Trump lost his attempt to stop the House subpoena of accounting firm Mazars USA before a trial-level judge and 2-1 before an appellate panel.

“We have secured the oil and, therefore, a small number of US Troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said. So now you know that Trump cared more about the oil than ISIS, the lives of the Kurds, etc. He said a “small number” of American troops will stay in Syria to protect oil in the region.

“We were supposed to be there for 30 days. That was almost 10 years ago.” Ummm. The US went after ISIS in 2014 and after Syria in 2017. Not even close to 10 years. He also lifted all sanctions against Turkey.

Jim Jeffrey, the US envoy for Syria and the coalition against ISIS, says the US believes that Turkish-supported opposition (TSO) forces in Syria have committed war crimes. Jeffrey said that he specifically was not consulted or advised in advance on President Trump’s decision to pull US troops from northeastern Syria.

Jeffrey also said that over 100 ISIS fighters have escaped since the pull put. Trump maintains that the ISIS fighters who escaped Kurdish jails during the attack have “been largely recaptured.”

Trump claimed that those service members who were in Syria will be coming home. Not according to the Pentagon, where they will be moved to Iraq. But “The [Iraqi] government has stated that it has not given permission to US forces that have withdrawn from Syria to remain in Iraqi territories, as some media had reported,” from a statement released today from Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi. Even the UK was not told about the US troop pullback from Syria in advance, UK Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace said.

A cease fire deal made it clear that Turkey and Russia are not interested in including the US in plans regarding Syria’s future. Russian President Vladimir Poutine and Turkish President/Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in the southern Russian resort city of Sochi and unveiled a 10-point memorandum about Syria.

The US was not included in a Syria deal reached by Russia and Turkey. Trump tweet says it all: “Big success on the Turkey/Syria Border. Safe Zone created! Ceasefire has held and combat missions have ended. Kurds are safe and have worked very nicely with us.”

Three-quarters of Americans, however, are concerned about the situation in Syria, and about 40% of Americans approved of Trump’s decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria, while half disapproved, according to a new poll conducted by SSRS.

Trump has been forced into a humiliating climb down over plans to host the next G7 meeting at his own luxury resort, following a political outcry. “Therefore, based on both media & Democrat crazed and irrational hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the host site for the G-7 in 2020,” Trump wrote. Quite a few Republicans also objected but he didn’t dare mention that.

“I would have been willing to do this for free, and it would have been the greatest G7 ever,” Trump said. Greatest based on what? Because he is chairing it or because it is supposedly free. Trump’s Doral resort was in need of a boost: in May the Washington Post reported that its operating income had fallen 69% since 2015.

More than 200 people attended Trump’s speech at Benedict College, but only about 10 actual students were invited to the event — his first appearance at a historically black college – and only seven students ultimately attended the speech. The others were brought in from somewhere else. More than 2,100 attend the school.

Months after Trump declared the GOP would become the “party of health care,” House conservatives are set to announce a sweeping health care proposal — one that has virtually no chance of becoming law. The Republican Study Committee unveiled what members described as a “framework,” nine months in the making, even as the White House continues to develop its own set of principles behind closed doors. It includes no legislative text and does not have the formal backing of the White House or broader GOP conference.

“We’re building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we’re building a wall in Colorado,” Trump said. Colorado, located directly north of New Mexico, is not on the US-Mexico border. Colorado? And from the last blog, still no new wall built along Mexico, just fixing walls.

Trump backtracked on his Colorado wall comment with a more confusing tweet by saying: “We’re building a Wall in Colorado”(then stated, “we’re not building a Wall in Kansas but they get the benefit of the Wall we’re building on the Border”) refered to people in the very packed auditorium, from Colorado & Kansas, getting the benefit of the Border Wall!” Love the spelling and a bit confusing. Eh?

Trump went after Barack Obama for a book and Netflix production deal that were made after he left office, claiming Obama wasn’t scrutinized for business dealings. But the difference is that Obama did the deals after he left the White House and Obama doesn’t have a supposedly billion dollar business.

Talking about childish: The White House is urging all federal agencies to cancel their subscriptions to The New York Times and the Washington Post. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that “not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving for taxpayers — hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Kit just so happens to be the two newspapers that Trump probably hates the most. Coincidence?

The Energy Secretary said he is resigning effective later this year. Perry’s resignation comes amid scrutiny over his role in the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine. Today Trump said he’ll nominate Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette to replace Perry.

Summer Zervos, who is a Republican, is a former “Apprentice” contestant who has accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in 2007, presented evidence Thursday in a new court filing to back up her claims. She is suing Trump for defamation after he essentially called her a liar following her public statement in October 2016 about the alleged assault.

Trump recently tweeted that a new poll saying that most Americans don’t approve of the impeachment inquiry. Then when you take a look at this “nation-wide” survey, about 180 people were questioned by a pollster that nobody knows of. The percentage or error is probably huge but not even listed.

Finally, what can be called a quieter week for Donald

This was actually a quieter week for Donald Trump after a few weeks of plenty of new and old issues.

The lawyer for the first intelligence whistleblower who came forward with accusations concerning Trump and his interactions with Ukraine said he is representing a second whistleblower regarding Trump’s actions. The second whistleblower works in the intelligence community, has first-hand knowledge that supports claims made by the first whistleblower and has spoken to the intelligence community’s inspector general.

The second whistleblower has not filed their own complaint and doesn’t need to as anyone who speaks to the inspector watchdog is considered to have made a protected disclosure and is a whistleblower under law. No shocker with the White House saying the second whistleblower doesn’t change a thing as both are wrong, “treasonous”, etc.

Trump has pivoted to a new defense, saying his efforts were apolitical and solely motivated by his good-faith desire to root out “corruption”. “Let me tell you, I’m only interested in corruption,” Trump said. “I don’t care about politics. I don’t care about Biden’s politics…. I don’t care about politics. But I do care about corruption….” Ya-di-da.

But Trump has only claimed the corruption defense when it came to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Biden could be his political and presidential rival in 2020. The state department has also decreased anti-corruption spending – they spent $5 million in 2018 but only requested $3 million for 2019 and again for 2020. Trump has also praised and supported other world leaders such as Vladimir Poutine and Kim Jong Un.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff called the State Department’s blocking testimony of a key witness “strong evidence of obstruction” of Democrats’ impeachment investigation, and the move prompted House Democrats to issue a subpoena in response. The State Department directed US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland not to testify before Congress.

The White House and its Republican congressional allies have argued that a full House vote is necessary, and Trump’s lawyers told House Democrats in the letter that Trump and his administration won’t cooperate in the ongoing impeachment inquiry, arguing the proceedings amount to an illegitimate effort to overturn the 2016 election results. Yes. They still have this imaginary dream that the Democrats think the 2016 election wasn’t valid.

A vote on an impeachment inquiry resolution would give Republicans an opening to argue they should have subpoena power like in past impeachment proceedings, something that Democrats would almost certainly never allow. There is also no law or rule that requires a vote. Are the Republicans looking at which Republicans in the House are against Trump?

Trump has been lashing out at GOP senators he sees as disloyal, telling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell he will amplify attacks on those Republicans who criticize him. Trump is worried that if too many GOP Senators vote against Trump in a possible future impeachment vote, Trump may get impeached.

Trump has already demonstrated his willingness to go after Republican defectors. After Sen. Mitt Romney said it was “wrong and appalling” for Trump to suggest Ukraine and China investigate Joe Biden, Trump called Romney a “pompous ass” and suggesting Romney himself be impeached. Does he know the meaning of the word “impeached” [again for the 100th time]? A senator can be recalled but not impeached.

After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “No we didn’t speak about it. I didn’t know about it” and the subject of military aid to Ukraine “was not the subject of the phone call,” Trump said there should not be any impeachment. Except what trump failed to mention is that after the phone call Zelensky was told of the military aid issue.

Trump defended a decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, saying it was too costly to keep supporting US-allied, Kurdish-led forces in the region fighting Islamic State militants. “The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades,” Trump said in a series of tweets.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who is generally a vocal Trump supporter, wrote in a series of Twitter posts that he was trying to set up a call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and would introduce a Senate resolution opposing the withdrawal decision and calling for it to be reversed. Turkey could invade northern Syria now that the US will leave the area. McConnell joined the wave of Republicans and Democrats criticizing Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, allowing Turkey to take control of the military operations there.

Trump appeared to backpedal after giving Turkey a green light to attack US-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria, warning Ankara in a tweet that “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

After Turkey struck the Kurds in Syria and Trump claimed the Kurds ” /didn’t help us in the second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy for example”, quite a few Republicans, including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking Republican in the House, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, and others weren’t happy with the attack. Some have called on sanctions against high ranking members of the Turkish government.

Turkish Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would release 3.6+ million Syrian refugees into Europe if he is criticized by the European Union. Taking a page from Trump’s playbook.

Trump signed an executive order giving the Treasury Department “very significant new sanctions authorities” against Turkey, but the US doesn’t have any immediate plans to use them, Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said. “We are not activating the sanctions. These are very powerful sanctions. We hope we don’t have to use them, but we could shut down the Turkish economy if we need to.”

Did he state this before? Probably not. Retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters said that “you can’t believe a word Trump says,” in between laughing on air after reading Trump’s tweet.

Trump’s ousted ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, strode into a deposition on Capitol Hill. Three days earlier, the White House had issued a letter declaring the administration would refuse to comply with Democrats’ requests as they speed ahead in their impeachment efforts, saying the proceedings were “illegitimate.” Democrats said the White House tried to prevent Yovanovitch’s testimony and were forced to issue a subpoena.

The White House said that “we are not concerned with any information Yovanovitch might share, because the President did nothing wrong.” If so, why did they try to block her from testify?

Two associates of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, connected to efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have been arrested and indicted on criminal charges for allegedly funneling foreign money into US elections. Another one was arrested on lesser charges and a forth was indicted but not arrested.

Attorney General William Barr held a mysterious meeting with News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch. Critics of the White House have been raising questions about why the attorney general was meeting with a media mogul at a time when Trump has been openly critical of the network.

Meanwhile, Shepard Smith, one of the few voices at Fox News who has been willing to be critical of Trump, is stepping down from the network after 23 years. “Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter. After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged,” Smith said in a statement. Hmmmm.

Trump lost his appeal to stop a House subpoena of his tax documents from his longtime accountant Mazars USA. In a 2-1 ruling, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a lower court ruling saying the firm must turn over eight years of accounting records.

Then right after, judges in New York, Texas, Washington state and California sided against Trump administration initiatives meant to limit immigrants from entering the country — both through a physical barrier and by raising the requirements on migrants seeking legal status.

In a rare bright spot, Trump announced a “phase one” trade agreement with China that he hopes will signal the beginning of the end of a withering trade war. News of the emerging deal sent stocks soaring, even as Trump acknowledged it still requires “papering.”

Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security since April and the fourth person to serve in that post since the Trump presidency began, submitted his resignation to the White House. Seems like McAleenan wanted to go back to the private sector. His replacement [acting acting secretary of homeland security?] will be announced soon.

Former Trump Organization Trump Organization vice president, Barbara Res, says she thinks Trump may resign rather than face possible removal from office by impeachment. “He does a lot of things to save face…. my gut [instinct] is that he’ll leave office, he’ll resign. Or make some kind of a deal, even, depending on what comes out.” She claims that while working for Trump, he would make [light] racist jokes.

A hacker group with ties to the Iranian government attacked 241 Microsoft email accounts “associated with a US presidential campaign, current and former US government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran,” the company said in a blog post. 2,700 email accounts were attacked but primarily to go after the 241 accounts in which most of the campaign accounts were tied to Donald Trump. The campaign has said they have no indication that they were compromised. No presidential candidate was attacked.

In a Fox News poll, more than half of US voters want Trump impeached and removed from office. Shocker! 51% of registered voters want Trump impeached and removed from office and another 4% want Trump impeached but not removed from office. Forty percent of respondents were opposed to impeachment altogether.

Trump then attacked Fox News tweeting “whoever their Pollster is, they suck” adding that the network is “much different than it used to be in the good old days.”

With a rally being held shortly in Minneapolis, the city’s mayor billed the Trump re-election campaign for $500,000 for extra security but later withdrew after legal action. Meanwhile Trump tweeted that the website selling “Cops for Trump” t-shirts had crashed because they were so popular. It never crashed.

When Trump announced that his signature wall at the US’s southern border would be “virtually impenetrable” while visiting San Diego last month, Rick Weber, who co-founded the Muir Valley rock climbing park in Rogers, Kentucky, was listening. Several people have already managed to climb up the wall replica including an 8-year-old [who didn’t use any ropes or other tools to climb the wall, but wore a belay, a safety device designed to catch a falling climber].

Trump has said that 20 mountain climbers claimed the border wall design is difficult to climb, but Weber and other climbers have said that seems unlikely. “We were all very puzzled because none of us in the climbing community had heard of these 20 people that had supposedly tried this wall,” Weber says.

So much “fun” going on for Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump’s Tariffs

Donald Trump tweets “…But China has taken so advantage of the U.S. for so many years, that they are way ahead (Our Presidents did not do the job). Therefore, China should not retaliate-will only get worse!” [Double header. Takes jabs at China and previous Presidents.] Right after China announced it will be raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods beginning on June 1. And right after that, the stock market tumbled again.

Trump has promised as much as $15 billion in aid to the agricultural industry to make up for China’s retaliatory tariffs, but farm trade associations say they don’t know yet how the assistance would work. “There is a lot of speculation about what form it might take and how much it might be, but it does sound like it is on a faster track than the first package was,” said Mace Thorton, spokesman for the American Farm Bureau Federation, the leading agricultural trade association.

The Trump administration has previously provided aid to farmers to cover the impacts of retaliatory tariffs, announcing last year that it provide as much as $12 billion to the industry of which only $8 billion was actually given.

So let’s get this straight. Trump claims that the tariffs will have little to no effect on Americans and yet the government could shell out as much as $27 billion to help farmers [or about $7.50 per American] so he can look like he’s doing something and feed his ego.

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani intended but cancel a trip to investigate matters connected to the release of negative information about Paul Manafort. The former New York mayor also said he will continue to pursue questions about Vice President Joe Biden’s call in 2016 to remove the top Ukrainian prosecutor, who at one point had been investigating a Ukrainian natural gas company connected to Biden’s son. So Trump is aiming at Biden already.

Giuliani claimed, in 2016, while then-Vice President Biden was pressuring the Ukrainian government to oust its top prosecutor as part of a broad anti-corruption push by the US, his son Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian company under investigation by that same prosecutor. Ukraine’s new prosecutor general dismissed the case against the natural gas company controlled by one of Ukraine’s top oligarchs.

But the Ukrainian government’s case against the company had been “dormant” since 2014, two years before Biden successfully pushed to remove the prosecutor general. Biden was also joined in his anti-corruption push against the prosecutor by numerous leaders in Europe as well as the International Monetary Fund — none of whom had any family ties to the company.

I think someone got to him finally to cancel the trip. Giuliani reversed course and canceled the trip a day later, claiming without evidence that the Ukrainians surrounding president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky are “enemies of the President … in some cases enemies of the United States” who have ties to Democrats.

Others [including I] would of thought it was because he is getting a foreign government to get dirt on competitor in the US elections was basically what Trump has been accused of for the 2016 elections. He denied these accusations, saying that it wasn’t meddling since the presidential election is a year and a half away. When the dirt you are going for is a potential nominee for president, it makes no difference when.

The Trump Administration is preparing to release a broad outline of proposed immigration reforms that will make the Republicans happy but not the Democrats. But the proposal is short of concrete details and omits discussion of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Democrats have repeatedly said they want resolved.

The White House is selling the plan as addressing border security and moving toward a merit-based immigration system, which gives preference to highly skilled and educated individuals. The officials touted Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan as examples of where merit-based immigration systems work. Except in Canada, they also allow those with no merit and some with merit who were [say] a doctor in their old country is now driving a taxi because their qualifications aren’t at the same level to practice in Canada.

Meanwhile, Stephen Miller, who is widely known as Trump’s key adviser on immigration, was not the author of the immigration proposal. Instead it was Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Expect Trump to whine if the Democrats don’t allow the proposal to pass in the House – probably complain that they are “soft” on immigration. We’ve heard it before. But If the proposal doesn’t address some Democrat concerns, why would they pass it?

Trump is embracing a controversial Florida proposal to import cheaper drugs from Canada, which Republicans have long opposed and many health experts have questioned. Health Secretary Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, originally called drug importation a “gimmick” seems to be more on the fence now. He’s not against it now.

“Canada simply doesn’t have enough drugs to sell them to us for less money, and drug companies won’t sell Canada or Europe more just to have them imported here,” said Azar a year ago. In addition he said that the last four commissioners of the Food and Drug Administration have said there’s no way to effective ensure that the medication is really coming from Canada, and not a counterfeit factory in China.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented a military plan at a meeting of top national security officials recently that would send as many as 120,000 US troops to the Middle East in the event that Iran strikes American forces in the region or speeds up its development of nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported.

Trump signed an executive order barring US firms from using telecom gear from sources the administration deems national security threats. White House officials declined to identify China and Huawei as the intended target of the executive order. Commerce Department formally added Huawei to the list of companies the U.S. government considers to be undermining American interests and therefore covered under the new order.

“The administration is like a shit show in a dumpster file,” George Conway said once. He is the husband of Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway and is staunchly anti-Trump. Recently he called Trump a “malignant narcissist.”

In further chopping of some money from those who need it to questionably those who don’t, money for Pell Grants for college education [which help low-income students pay for college] will now mostly go to NASA “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!” Trump tweeted. Because of declining enrollment in the Pell Grant, with a surplus of $9 billion, $1.9 billion was added to the already $2 billion taken away.

Trump had initially also pulled money to help clean up the Great Lakes but caved in after three Republican lawmakers from Michigan lobbied him during a ride from the Grand Rapids airport. Previous cuts included Special Olympics but he also reversed that.

Trump made at least $479 million in 2018, according to his annual financial disclosure by the White House. Since taking office, Trump has broken presidential precedent by maintaining his interest in the Trump Organization, which is run on a day-to-day basis by his adult sons Don Jr. and Eric.

Not surprising here. In the 1990s, Trump would quietly purchase stock in companies. He would then claim that he was thinking of buying shares in the company which would generally increase the price of the shares of the company. Then he would quietly sell the shares, making profit. Eventually investors caught on when he never bought.

Occupancy of Trump Towers, where Trump called it a great place [what else!], in New York has dropped from 99% in 2012 to 83% in 2019 – twice Manhattan’s average. Plus it also has 42,000 square feet of vacant office space. 13 condos since the election in 2016, with 9 where the selling price was listed and 8 lost money on the sell. Issues for this drop include political reasons and security issues getting in the building.

Meanwhile, at Doral in Miami-Dade, which is Trump’s biggest moneymaking hotel, room rates, banquets, golf and overall revenue were all down since 2015. In two years, the resort’s net operating income – a key figure, representing the amount left over after expenses are paid – had fallen by 69 percent. The club expected to take in $85 million in revenue in 2017 but took in just $75 million.

Eric Trump, who runs the business day-to-day, rejected the idea that the Trump brand is damaged. “This story is completely senseless,” he said in a statement. “Our iconic properties are the best in the world and our portfolio is unrivaled by anyone.” A Trump Organization issued a statement implicitly contradicted its own tax consultant and blamed factors that had nothing to do with Trump’s name. The company cited fears of the Zika virus in 2016, and hurricanes in 2016 and 2017, for driving tourists away from South Florida.

Trump to claim that his unwillingness to release any past tax returns — the first post-Watergate president not to do so — was a non-factor in the 2016 election. Instead, he claimed that was a reason that people voted for him. It is impossible to verify.

There are major issues across the globe that is affecting the US including instability in Venezuela, trade pact with China and heightened tensions with Iran and Russia. What did Trump do recently? Play a round of golf [did he cheat?]. I guess he doesn’t think they are critical.

You know that this will happen often. Trump has pardon 2 friendlies. One is Patrick Nolan, a former Republican legislator who allied with Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner. He pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge after an FBI sting and spent 29 months in federal custody. The other is Lord Conrad M. Black who wrote a book about Trump and who was convicted on four counts of fraud in 2007 and spent three-and-a-half years in prison.