This past week in impeachment inquiry was a doozy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trumpworld is shaking

Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said “The corruption of the country, whether or not other countries participating in support of Ukraine, and whether or not cooperating in an ongoing investigation with the department of justice. That is completely legitimate, yes.” When reporter then questioned Mulvaney on his explanation saying it sounds like a quid-pro-quo to which Mulvaney said: “We do that all the time with foreign policy.”

Mulvaney confirmed that Donald Trump asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry to work with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on policies related to Ukraine, but he denied doing so constituted a “shadow foreign policy,” as multiple witnesses have said Giuliani conducted.

Trump threatened to sue top congressional Democrats Rep. Adam Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid the House impeachment inquiry into Trump. Trump has a long track record of calling for lawsuits against his critics and not following through. Article 1, section 6 of the Constitution protects members of Congress from being sued over their statements made on the floor, which also would apply to committees.

Trump said he spoke to his lawyers about Schiff and told them, “Sue him anyway, even if we lose, the American public will understand.” Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence committee, is spearheading the impeachment inquiry. “And sue Nancy Pelosi,” Trump continued. “Or maybe we should just impeach them, because they’re lying and what they’re doing is a terrible thing for our country.” Members of Congress cannot be impeached, according to the Constitution. So, again, Trump knows nothing about the Constitution.

Giuliani said that he’s not aware he’s under investigation for his involvement with the unraveling Ukraine scandal, saying “No, nothing but leaks, which has to tell you whether they are or are not investigating, it’s a political attack. Otherwise, why leak it [the investigation]?” Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are looking into whether Giuliani violated foreign lobbying laws in his dealings with Ukraine.

Trump also denied knowing the two Giuliani associates arrested last week, but admitted they had donated to his campaign. “They’re donors,” Trump said, “but I have many donors.” Hmmm. You tend to know the names of the big donors and not the “small fish”. You think he doesn’t know them? There is a photo of one of them and Trump acting like friends.

“Such a one sided Witch Hunt going on in USA. Deep State. Shameful!” Trump added, perpetuating his baseless claim that bureaucrats are out to get him. It was unclear from Trump’s tweet whether he was attacking his own Justice Department or the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Behind closed door, Marie Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine, had detailed to Congress how Giuliani smeared her to Ukrainian officials and questioned whether Giuliani’s associates were looking to benefit financially from her removal. According to the indictment, they had asked former Rep. Pete Sessions, to help get Yovanovitch fired at the same time they committed to raising tens of thousands of dollars for that congressman’s reelection.

Even as House Republicans mount a vigorous defense of Trump amid the impeachment inquiry, some are growing uneasy about the role that Giuliani played in carrying out US policy with Ukraine. Several Republicans who sit on the key committees say more needs to be learned about Giuliani’s role, while also revealing new concerns about the continuing revelations that are emerging.

Meanwhile, Giuliani is parting ways with the lawyer representing him so far in matters related to the impeachment inquiry. His current attorney, Jon Sale, is ending his representation of the former New York City mayor shortly. People close to Giuliani are advising him to hire a criminal lawyer as questions linger about his connections to two of his associates who were indicted last week for campaign-finance violations.

Trump questioned why the US government is protecting the whistleblower whose complaint sparked House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. So basically he doesn’t like whistleblowers [that are after him] but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if they went after his [political] enemies. There goes democracy.

Recently Trump said “I used to think she [Nancy Pelosi] loved the country. She hates the country. Nancy Pelosi hates the United States of America, because she wouldn’t be doing this.” Why doesn’t he charge her with [say] treason. A government official hating her country. That should be enough [in his mind].

Trump tweeted “Republicans are totally deprived of their rights in this Impeachment Witch Hunt. No lawyers, no questions, no transparency!” No not Republicans. Just you and your swamp cronies. The House is following the same rules as the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

While Vice President Mike Pence called it a ceasefire, Turkey called it a 120 hour [5 day] pause in fighting. Trump called the US-announced ceasefire in Turkey an “incredible outcome”. Turkish operation would supposedly end when the Kurd forces complete the withdrawal.

Trump claims all are happy, yet the Kurds say they aren’t. They don’t know where they are going. Those in the US against the deal say Turkey got everything it wanted. Expect Trump to claim this “pause” as a ceasefire in the upcoming election – no matter how this works out.

So even with the “ceasefire” in place, the fighting still continues. Looks like another failure for Trump.

Trump continues to change his “facts” saying other US administrations have been trying to negotiate a Turkish-Syrian deal for “years”, then later said “10 years” [in Texas] and even later he said “15 years”. But p residents Barack Obama and George W. Bush never sought to give Turkey anything like the concessionary terms of Trump’s deal. In addition, the Syrian civil war had not even started 10 years ago or 15 years ago.

At a meeting in the White House regarding the Syrian invasion by Turkey, the Democrats walked out of the meeting after Trump started calling Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “third-grade politician” among other things. Trump later called Pelosi “a very sick person!” Of course the White House has a different story that reeks of bull crap.

Trump said that Turkey’s incursion of northern Syria “has nothing to do with us” and added that former US allies — the Kurds — “… are much safer now. The Kurds know how to fight and as I said, they’re not angels.” Trump also called his sudden and controversial decision to remove US troops from Northern Syria “strategically brilliant.”

Scratching your head time: “But they fought with us. We paid a lot of money for them to fight with us and that’s OK. They did well when they fought with us. They didn’t do so well when they didn’t fight with us,” he added. When was the latter [aside from the wrong tense]?

Meanwhile, Turkish President/Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he’s not worried about American-imposed sanctions or the advancement of Russian-backed Syrian forces toward the Turkish border. “Declare a ceasefire, they say. We will never declare a ceasefire,” Erdogan said. “We do not sit at the table with terrorist organizations.” [We will assume he meant the Kurds and not the US.] Erdogan is scheduled for a visit to the US soon. He has indicated that he may not take the trip now.

While Kurdish officials and Republican and Democratic lawmakers have argued that the pullback helped provide a de facto green light for the Turkish attack, senior members of the Trump administration have insisted Turkey would have invaded regardless of whether US troops had remained and that the US has not deserted the Syrian Kurds.

Trump tweeted “Kurds may be releasing some [ISIS followers] to get us involved. Easily recaptured by Turkey or European Nations from where many came, but they should move quickly.” The Kurds never released anyone, so none were captured quickly because none were released. However, Turkish warplanes and artillery have also repeatedly struck several detention camps, allowing the escape of several ISIS prisoners and others.

The invasion by Turkey has forced the SDF to strike a deal with the Syrian government. Under this deal, the SDF will disband as an entity and become integrated into Syrian forces, several units of which are currently under Russian control. A strange frenemies setup.

Then Trump wants to mediate a truce. If he didn’t pull the troops out of Syria, none of this would of happened. Or maybe it’s just a plan by him to show how he can mediate between warring parties [boast at election time]. Trump is also accusing Turkey of potential war crimes.

Trump tweeted a statement saying he would soon authorize via executive order new sanctions on current and former Turkish officials. He said he’d also reimpose heavy duties on Turkish steel and cut off trade talks. The number of lobbyists who have served in government jobs is four times more than the Obama administration had six years into office. Former lobbyists serving Trump are often involved in regulating the industries they worked for.

While Treasury Department has “very significant new sanctions authorities” against Turkey over its actions in Syria, nothing has been done. Trump tweeted that he is working with Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, and unnamed Democrats to impose “powerful sanctions” on Turkey. The unnamed Democrat means there is no Democrat in the talks.

But Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen introduced an outline for strict sanctions on Turkey, and the proposal has quickly picked up support among members from both parties which would be stronger sanctions than the white house has offered. It would sanction the assets of top Turkish leaders — including its President — and bar transactions involving the Turkish defense and energy sectors, among other penalties.

“The United States of America did not give a green light for Turkey to invade Syria,” Vice President Mike Pence said. Except Turkey really doesn’t need the US’s approval. Do they?

Several US military and defense officials, including personnel deployed to Syria, expressed dismay at how the Trump administration has handled the situation. One US official [although there are probably others] said it is well known that some senior US military officials are livid at how the Kurds have been treated given their role in helping the US fight ISIS.

The latest delivery of a Russian-made S-400 missile defense system — which Washington opposes Ankara buying — will arrive in November or December. The first delivery of components arrived in July and Erdogan’s comments are likely to further rile up US officials, who have threatened to level sanctions against Turkey if the system ever became operational. Unsure how Turkey, part of NATO, can use a Russian made defense system.

Trump tweeted hours after the 4th Democratic debate “Our record Economy would CRASH, just like in 1929, if any of those clowns became President!” Yes this coming from an economics expert whose only plan is to apply sanctions to get what he wants or to fix his mistakes.

Trump’s fight to keep his tax returns private is at odds with his own thinking in 2013 and 2014 that releasing them as part of a presidential bid would make him look like a smart businessman who had spent years lowering his taxable income. Trump ultimately changed his mind after an adviser says he convinced him not to release his taxes, and he has spent years claiming he can’t because he’s under audit by the IRS.

Claiming that he would pay little [or no taxes] would actually have backfired because people would look negatively at him. They would see this supposedly rich businessman not paying his taxes [finding loop holes] while the common middle and low class people have to pay taxes because they don’t have a team of accountants who can find ways for him not to pay taxes.

In May 2014, Trump told an Irish television station that he would “absolutely” release his tax returns if he entered the race. “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely,” he said. “And I would love to do that.” It wasn’t until November 2014 that Trump abandoned the idea. At that point it was still eight months before Trump announced for president.

Trump’s real estate business reported different financial figures for 40 Wall Street and the Trump International Hotel and Tower to lenders than to New York tax authorities. The different sets of numbers on expenses, profits and occupancy figures resulted in the two buildings appearing more lucrative to lenders and less so to city officials assessing property taxes.

The Trump National Golf Course Westchester, which Ossining, New York, said was worth $15.1 million, but which Trump, fighting for a smaller tax bill, argued in court was worth just $1.5 million. In a 2017 financial disclosure, Trump said the club was worth far more than the $15 million claimed.

A popular web development tool called Laravel was left with debug mode on. It seems that the developer of the campaign site for Trump left the debug mode enabled, exposing credentials to the site and other details.

As host for the next G7 summit, the US will have the economic summit take place at the Trump National Doral golf resort near Miami. “Doral was by far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,” White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said. “It’s almost like they built this facility to host this event.” Uh huh.

Mulvaney said Trump would not profit from use of the property and defended the decision and that the administration selected Trump’s resort after initially looking at about 12 potential locations in various other U.S. states. So let’s see. $5 for a can of Coke. $150 per rental chair for the main gala. $3 for a small pad of paper.

During a speech, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis insisted that Trump’s comments didn’t bother him. Mattis riffed that he “earned my spurs at the battlefield” while Trump “earned his spurs from a letter from the doctor” in a pointed jab at his former boss’ cited reason for avoiding the Vietnam War draft.

Mattis went on to joke that “the only person on the military that Mr. Trump doesn’t think is overrated” is “Colonel Sanders,” the founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant chain.

Retired four-star Admiral William McRaven, the architect of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, said Trump was working to “destroy” the country from “within” and “without.”

Hundreds of Trump supporters this week were left stranded by bus company US Coachways after the organizers for a “March for Trump” rally against House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry in Washington DC failed to pay them. After the buses never showed up, however, Trump supporters claimed that the bus company was part of a “deep state” conspiracy aimed at silencing their voices.

A new book detailing 43 new allegations of inappropriate behavior by Trump – including 26 alleged instances of unwanted sexual conduct – is coming out soon. Many of the allegations in the book, All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator, published by Hachette, have been leveled before.

At a rally Dallas rally this week:

  • Trump said the Obama administration spent “no money on that [AIDS/HIV].” – Except the Obama administration spent $10.8 billion on domestic HIV/AIDS research between the 2013 fiscal year and 2016 fiscal year alone and $85.1 billion more on domestic HIV/AIDS care Trump claimed that the Democrats “want to give more to illegal aliens than they give to American citizens.” – False.
  • Trump repeated his promise to “always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” – Except the Trump administration and congressional Republicans have repeatedly put forward bills and filed lawsuits that would weaken Obamacare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Trump claimed that President Barack Obama left him “142” judicial vacancies. – Except there were 104 vacancies on January 1, 2017. And what was his point of this?
  • Trump claimed that presidents before him were “always” left zero judicial vacancies to fill. – Except there were 53 vacancies on January 1, 2009, just before Barack Obama took office; 80 vacancies on January 1, 2001, just before George W. Bush took office. And so on.
  • Trump claimed the US did not win “any cases” at the World Trade Organization before he came along. Except the US had won 86% of the cases it had brought since 1995.
  • Trump said his wall on the Mexican border is “going up rapidly.” – Except no additional miles of border wall had been built during Trump’s presidency in places where barriers had not existed before, according to a fact sheet from Customs and Border Protection. 69 miles of barriers were fixed.
  • Trump claimed that there were “close to 30,000” outside the arena in Dallas. – Except the Dallas Police Department spokesman said at most 5000.

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.

Is Trump a racist or just plain dumb

Donald Trump tweeted “So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world….and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came….” Shows you what kind of a racist he is….

Trump took his racist tweets aimed primarily at four non-white Congresswomen – three of the four were born in the US – known as The Squad. But if he went after President Obama claiming Obama wasn’t born in the US, what stops him from going after the three? But the white nationalists support his tweets and Trump said “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” he said.

“As to whether or not they’re communists, I would think they might be. But this isn’t what our country is about,” Trump said. He accused one another of costing New York tens of thousands of jobs – with no proof.

Trump denied that the inflammatory tweets he issued were racist. Asked on the South Lawn during an event on American-made products if his tweets were racist, he said: “Not at all.” Yet it is what one group [usually white right wing] would say to another [usually not white]. He pointed to comments that one of the congresswomen made about Al Qaeda — but didn’t say who. Because they never said that.

“As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave.” Did any one of them said they hated the US? I’m sure not. More fake facts from the Fake Facts in Chief. Trump tried to come out with excuses when he revised his remarks by saying that if you are not happy with the country, you can leave. But he didn’t say that originally.

Trump tweeted “If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S.” He should talk about “foul language & racist hatred spewed”. He’s at least doing the latter now and has done the former before.

Then an hour before that he tweeted “When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!” He is really gone bonkers!

Trump claimed to be unhappy that his rally crowd in North Carolina broke out into chants of “send her back” as he denigrated a Democratic lawmaker he’d previously said should leave the US. But did he do anything to stop the chanting? He just stood there. He didn’t say something like “That’s not nice.” He also claimed he had tried to stop the chant at a reelection event. Video shows otherwise.

But after he did say “I started speaking really quickly…” [yet he waited a reported 13 seconds while they chanted] “…I was not happy with it. I disagree with it. But again, I didn’t say that, they did.” But he did put the “send her back” into their minds when he tweeted that earlier in the week. He also said he “would certainly try” to stop any similar chant at a future rally. But you know he won’t do that.

Then the day after he call those who chanted “incredible patriots” and then made false accusations against both Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar. He said “They can’t call our country and our people ‘garbage.’ They can’t be anti-Semitic. They can’t talk about evil Jews, which is what they say. ‘Evil Jews.'” Neither have been quote anywhere of saying what Trump said. Omar has said some comments about Israel previously but not considered anti-Semitic.

If this was any other individual who is saying so much lies, false facts and racist or near racist comments – let alone comments that are generally not said by a world leader – he would be torched by just about every civilized person. But his party is backing him because they are riding on his coat tails and they don’t want to endure his wrath.

Prior to the House voting to vote on a resolution condemning Trump’s racist tweets about four minority lawmakers, Trump tweeted again “Why isn’t the House voting to rebuke the filthy and hate laced things they have said?” What comments of theirs were filthy and hateful? They may have made some comments but nothing in the same league as “go back” to “the crime infested places from which they came” and added “anti-USA, pro-terrorist” without any proof.

Trump tweets that he does not have “a Racist bone in my Body.” Then he added ” This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat. Congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country. Get a list of the HORRIBLE things they have said. Omar is polling at 8%, Cortez at 21%.” Where are these polling numbers from? In the end, those in their districts will be those that matter.

When asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said “….they talked more about impeachment than anything else.” Unfortunately, being a racist isn’t an impeachable offense. He then added “We should get back to the business of America.” Well, if the Racist in Chief kept his mouth [and keyboard] shut, politicians could actually do the job they were hired to do.

Basically, the Republican Party has shrugged off Trump’s comments. A total of 9 disagreed with Trump’s comments. Now you know why they won’t get much of the non-white vote. As well, Acting Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli said “So what?”

“I don’t think that the president’s intent any way is racist,” said Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice-President Mike Pence, repeatedly pointing to Trump’s decision to choose Elaine Chao, who was born outside the country, as his transportation secretary. Except Chao is also married to Mitch McConnell.

Trump tweeted “Friday’s tour [by Pence] showed vividly, to politicians and the media, how well run and clean the children’s detention centers are. Great reviews! Failing @nytimes story was FAKE!” Hum? Was he expecting a review of the detention centers in the entertainment section of all the newspapers in America? He is forgetting that they did not go to all the centers – most likely just the ones that are new or have been cleaned up.

Pence’s office said a tour of some detention centers in Texas was part of an effort to show the Trump administration is providing adequate care for migrants. And yet at a Border Patrol station there where hundreds of men were crowded in sweltering cages without cots.

When detainees saw reporters arrive, many began shouting, saying they had been there for 40 days or more and they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth. Agents guarding the cages were wearing face masks. The press pool covering the vice-president was removed within 90 seconds.

At least at one point, it didn’t seem that many of the people who ICE wanted to round up were actually rounded up. If ICE wanted to remove those who they claim are criminals, why are they waiting to round them up – just do it. If they are actual criminals. And of course advertising that there would be a round-up doesn’t help as those who believe are criminals will just leave a big city [as ICE is concentrating on big cities] and go ‘underground” for a while. Hide in a nice small rural Republican town.

A new rule bars migrants from seeking asylum in the United States if they’ve traveled through another country first. Tens of thousands of migrant families from Central America travel through Mexico to the US each month, many claiming asylum. The Trump administration claims families are taking advantage of legal loopholes it says allow migrants a free pass to the country while they wait out supposedly false asylum requests.

US law allows refugees to request asylum when they arrive at the US regardless of how they did so. But there’s an exception for those who have come through a country considered “safe”. Now is Mexico considered “safe”? The rule is almost certain to face a legal challenge.

Federal search warrants detail how Trump and his allies scrambled in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign to arrange a hush-money deal to hide his alleged affair and contain the fallout from related stories in the press. The internal chaos consumed Trump, then-attorney Michael Cohen, campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks and even reached campaign manager Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway.

If negotiations between Washington and Beijing falter, Trump has vowed to place tariffs on all of America’s imports from China. Book publishers are warning that those tariffs will cause the price of printing the Bible to soar and potentially spark shortages as most US publishers print the Bible in China because of the high cost and complexity involved in printing a text with roughly 800,000 words. HarperCollins Christian Publishing, a leading Bible publisher, estimates that about three-quarters of its Bible manufacturing expenses are in China.

China threatened to impose sanctions against any US companies who sold weapons to Taiwan as the Trump administration authorized a $2.2 billion US arms sale to Taiwan. What US companies who sell arms also sell to China?

In a future trade war looking Trump tweeted “India has long had a field day putting Tariffs on American products. No longer acceptable!” So he can dump tariffs on India but not vice versa?

Great quote from a voter: “At this point, I’d vote for BLT sandwich over Trump.”

Trump retweeted a meme which in a fake quote where Ronald Reagan said “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with the president.” Trump also wasn’t that young in 1987. For a man who whines about “fake news”, he’s spreading it.

This has been such a busy week, looks like I’ll do another blog on the lesser stories of the week in a couple of days.

Trump’s national emergency challenged on all fronts

So far, sixteen states filed a lawsuit challenging Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration. Led by the California Attorney General, it was filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The attorneys general from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia joined California in the lawsuit.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Border Network for Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union also announced lawsuits. At the core of each lawsuit is the argument that Trump is circumventing Congress to fund the wall along the US-Mexico border by declaring an emergency.

Not surprising Trump tried to hit back at California after the lawsuit announcement by tweeting “The failed Fast Train project in California, where the cost overruns are becoming world record setting, is hundreds of times more expensive than the desperately needed Wall!” Trump of course exaggerates especially when a mile of the Trump Wall is expected to cost $25 million. No whining about the other 15 states?

Just 24 hours after California and 15 other states filed a lawsuit challenging Trumps “national emergency” that the Department of Transportation cancelled a nearly $1 billion grant for California to build a high speed rail line. The grant stipulated to build the rail line and said nothing about the rail cars that would be used. Trump used the words “fast train” in a tweet instead of the adult sounding “high speed rail”.

Right after declaring a national emergency, Trump went golfing.

House Democrats introduced a resolution to block Trump’s effort to build a wall on the southern border through his emergency powers, setting up votes in Congress to rebuke Trump’s proclamation. The Democratic-controlled House appears all but certain to pass the resolution Tuesday and put pressure on Republicans in the Senate, many of whom have concerns with Trump’s action.

Key members of the Trump administration pushed a plan to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia in the months after the inauguration despite objections from members of the National Security Council and other senior White House officials, according to a new report from congressional Democrats.

The 24-page report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee is based on internal White House documents and the accounts of unnamed whistle blowers. It said the objectors — including White House lawyers and National Security Council officials — opposed the plan out of concern that it violated laws designed to prevent the transfer of nuclear technology that could be used to support a weapons program.

Trump tweeted “Wow, so many lies by now disgraced acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He was fired for lying, and now his story gets even more deranged. He and Rod Rosenstein, who was hired by Jeff Sessions (another beauty), look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught….. This was the illegal and treasonous “insurance policy” in full action!” Mr. Trump, what is the definition of the word treason?

McCabe recently came out with a memoir called “The Threat” and not surprising those in the Trump administration are fighting back the best they could. Not surprised they were calling McCabe a “disgrace”, a “liar”, Trump’s “illegal and treasonous”. Interesting how they were quiet before the book was released. The book’s release date was delayed because due to the lengthy pre-publication review process conducted by the Justice Department and FBI. I would guess that both of them didn’t have much objection to the content.

The White House argues that McCabe has no credibility because he is under criminal investigation for allegedly misleading investigators in their probe of the FBI’s handling of the investigation into the Clinton Foundation. But he suggested that an independent departmental report used as justification for his dismissal was improperly influenced by Trump.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia [and related] investigation could be complete as early as next week. Attorney General William Barr may be preparing to announce the completion of the Russia investigation.

Rosenstein is expected to leave the Justice Department in mid-March, according to a Justice Department official. A departure next month could potentially serve as another signal that special counsel Robert Mueller’s work is coming to a close.

A judge has approved a request from Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen to delay his date to report to prison from March 6 to May 6. In the request, Cohen’s lawyers cited his recent shoulder surgery and upcoming congressional testimony as reasons to delay the report date.

A report came out said that Trump called acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker late last year to ask whether it was possible that Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, who was recused from the case, could take over anyway.

Prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office have prepared a criminal case against Paul Manafort in the event that he receives a presidential pardon. The New York state attorney general’s office has also been putting together a case against Manafort. Although double jeopardy laws generally prevent defendants from being prosecuted twice for the same offense, New York has a tax-related exemption.

The revolving door continues. White House officials have begun to have preliminary discussions about replacing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats amid concerns that Trump may soon dismiss him, despite Trump’s public denial he’s considering the move. Of course we have heard this before.

Trump said he intends to nominate the current American ambassador to Canada, Kelly Knight Craft, to be the new US ambassador to the United Nations. Craft would be replacing the popular [and one of the very few competent people under Trump’s nominees] Nikki Haley. Trump’s announcement comes a week after his first pick to replace Haley, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, withdrew her candidacy.

You would figure that the Trump Wall would be built near the actual border but in some cases the Trump Wall could be as far as a half a mile away from the actual from the border turning the land between the actual border into no-man’s land.

Actor Alec Baldwin reprised his Trump impersonation for an “SNL” skit that recreated the president’s speech about the border, the budget, and assorted other subjects. Then Trump’s tweet asked “How do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into.”

Peter Baker of The New York Times noted on Twitter that “no other president in decades publicly threatened ‘retribution’ against a television network because it satirized him.” In the past, Trump has also suggested that NBC station licenses should be challenged, without any evident follow-up.

After Trump’s tweet, Baldwin tweeted, “I wonder if a sitting President exhorting his followers that my role in a TV comedy qualifies me as an enemy of the people constitutes a threat to my safety and that of my family?”

Mike Pence was in Munich for a security conference when Pence announces “I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump”. Now Pence paused for about 5 seconds or so, expecting to get some applause but none [noticeable] came. Awkward!

Meanwhile, also speaking at the same Conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called out the Trump administration over Trump’s claim that German cars pose a security threat. Merkel says a large chunk of BMW cars are built in the US. Ivanka Trump was at the conference.

Puppet, Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said that “The President far and away was the better candidate. He had a better message and he outworked Hillary Clinton. That’s why he’s President. He didn’t need to, nor did he, collude with the Russians.” She might as well record what she wants to say to save her voice.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has refused to deny that he nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in helping to ease tensions with North Korea. Do you blame him? Trump has claimed week that Abe had submitted the nomination to the Nobel committee. A Japanese newspaper reports that Abe made the recommendation after the US government “informally” sought his support for the prestigious award in the wake of the historic US-North Korean summit in Singapore last June. Trump made frequent references to the Nobel peace prize, saying in May last year that “everyone thinks” he deserves it.

Trump recently criticized European allies for not taking back their own captured citizens. Many countries are reluctant to repatriate them because of the difficulty of prosecuting suspected ISIS members based on evidence collected on the battlefield, causing frustration among US national security officials.

Some 59 Americans are believed to have joined the Islamic State, and 13 have faced terror-related charges after being returned to the US. Many more are believed to have died on the battlefield. Us citizens are small in numbers compared to the UK and France who have hundreds who went to fight.

Trump said that he directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to allow Hoda Muthana, an Alabama woman who left in November 2014 to join ISIS, to return to the United States — despite her recent public plea to come back and stand trial in America.

“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Under US law Muthana would be a US citizen by nature of her birth in the country, though the State Department could argue that her claim to citizenship is flawed because of the immigration status of her parents at the time of her birth. A family representative of Muthana showed her birth certificate to the press.

[Personally, she should be allowed back in the US to stand trial. You can’t remove someone’s citizenship for someone born in the country – especially without any type of legal proceedings. A court should decide her citizenship. Trump and Pompeo have no right to do this. Soon, they will use this tactic to toss out US born citizens for robbing a bank or maybe just a speeding ticket.]

Muthana filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC, to prevent what he calls an “unlawful attempt” by the United States to rescind his daughter’s citizenship. The lawsuit filed by her father “seeks injunctive relief preventing the United States government from unconstitutionally robbing [Muthana and her son] of their rights as United States citizens.”

Regarding the Jussie Smollett “scandal”, Trump got in the act [surprised?] by tweeting “@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?” The so-called attackers were Trump supporters after the attack. This coming from a man who has made racist comments to just about anyone not part of his base supporters.

Could this happen in November?

I can see this happening after the mid-term elections: After devastating loses, Vice-President Mike Pence groups his henchmen and backers and say enough is enough. He now has a good excuse now to drop Donald Trump. He let Trump be in office long enough and will finally side with the Democrats to toss Trump out by either impeachment, maybe even treason or maybe something even more serious.

How else would politicians such as Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell stick with Trump after Trump went after them during and after the primaries? Just look at the comments Trump made at Ted Cruz’s father? And yet Cruz is still backing Trump – for now.

All this so that Pence could have 2 full years and he hopes for 8 additional years as the new dictator/president of the US.

Pence knew with Trump’s instability he could get into the Oval Office faster than an election after primaries. Also it’s cheaper. He’s not paying loads of cash if he was running an election. [He wasn’t doing well in the cash department before he became Vice-President.]

Aside from a Vice-President salary, you get to live in a place paid by the government. You don’t have to worry about food, electricity, cable, security, Internet, … And the added bonus of kickbacks!

Would Pence be better than Trump?

With Mike Pence, former governor of Indiana, as Vice-President and the man would succeed Donald Trump when Trump gets impeached, here is some highlights of Pence’s political career and who helped him rise to nearly the top.

Pence likes to say of himself, “I am a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”

Kellyanne Conway, the Trump advisor, who became a pollster for Pence in 2009, says he is “a full-spectrum conservative” on social, moral, economic, and defense issues. Pence leans so far to the right that he has occasionally echoed A.C.L.U. arguments against government overreach. He has, as an example, supported a federal shield law that would protect journalists from having to identify whistle-blowers in court.

According to former Chief of Staff and current Breitbart editor, Steve Bannon, Pence is “the outreach guy, the connective tissue” between the Trump Administration and the most conservative wing of the Republican establishment. “Trump’s got the populist nationalists. But Pence is the base. Without Pence, you don’t win.”

Pence has the political experience, the connections, the composure, and the ideological mooring that Trump lacks. He also has a close relationship with the conservative billionaire donors who have captured the Republican Party’s agenda in recent years.

At the time, as he declared his candidacy, he did not need support from “rich donors” because of his real-estate fortune and he denounced super pacs, their depositories of unlimited campaign contributions, as “corrupt.” While Trump disliked big donors because he has the money, Pence’s political career has been sponsored at almost every turn by those same big donors. Chief among them are the Koch brothers.

The Koch brothers [second largest private company in the US and worth an estimated $90 billion], along with several hundred of their donors, had amassed almost $900 million dollars to spend on the Presidential election, but they declined to support Trump’s candidacy. At one point, Charles Koch, at one point, described the choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton as one between “cancer or heart attack.”

The Koch brothers support an anti-tax and anti-regulatory agenda as it is good for their businesses and it is also something Trump is pushing for [but failing]. But Trump is not conservative enough to get their support and dislike the way he handles himself.

Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island has previously accused the Kochs of buying undue influence. He said “if Pence were to become President for any reason, the government would be run by the Koch brothers.”

Bannon is also nervous at the prospect of a Pence Presidency by saying that “I’m concerned he’d be a President that the Kochs would own.”

An editor for an Indiana newspaper said “Mike Pence wanted to be President practically since he popped out of the womb. He’s very ambitious, even calculating, about the steps he’ll take toward that goal.”

In 1990, Pence tried and failed for the second time to beat a Democrat for Congress, waging a campaign that is remembered by many as especially nasty. One ad from Pence featured an actor dressed in Middle Eastern clothing and sunglasses, who falsely accused Sharp of being a puppet of Arab oil companies. But Pence’s campaign tanked when the press announced that he had used election donations toward personal expenses, for example, his mortgage.

In 2000, Pence used the tobacco industry talking points by saying “Smoking doesn’t kill. In fact, two out of every three smokers doesn’t die from a smoking-related illness.”

Pence pushed for policies that intruded on people’s private lives. There is a far-right group that supported the criminalization of abortion, unmarried women should be denied access to birth control and campaigned against equal rights for homosexuals called Indiana Family Institute. In the early .nineties, he joined the board.

As well in 2000, Pence ran as the favorite when a Republican congressman in Indiana vacated his seat. Pence ran on a platform that included a promise to oppose “any effort to recognize homosexuals as a discrete and insular minority entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws.” He won, by 12 percent.

In 2002, he declared that “educators around America must teach evolution not as fact but as theory,” alongside such theories as intelligent design, which argues that life on Earth is too complex to have emerged through random mutation.

As he was now in Washington, appeared on Sunday talk shows as well as the conservative speaking circuit. He was invited to talk in front of property-rights groups, pro-life groups, and gun owners’ groups. But throughout his twelve years in Congress, but never authored a single successful bill.

Mike Lofgren, a former Republican congressional staff member  and a critic of Trump said “He was as far right as you could go without falling off the earth. But he never really put a foot wrong politically. Beneath the Bible-thumping earnestness was a calculating and ambitious pol.”

In addition he was an early voice of the Tea Party movement. That group opposed taxes and government spending with an angry edge.

But in 2011, he threatened to shut down the federal government unless it defunded Planned Parenthood. He pushed harder than most if not all the other Republicans on that subject.

He unsuccessfully sponsored an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that. That amendment would allowed for a government-funded hospitals to turn away an abortion by a dying woman. In a few years later, as governor of Indiana, he signed a bill barring women from aborting a physically abnormal fetus. That bill said a miscarriage would also require fetal burial or cremation. A federal judge would eventually find the law unconstitutional.

When the Koch brothers enlisted Pence to kill the bill when they felt threatened with the “cap and trade” bill in 2009. A Koch supported group called  Americans for Prosperity called the bill “the largest excise tax in history.” Meanwhile, Pence called it “the largest tax increase in American history.” [Neither statement was true.]

Pence became Charles Koch’s favorite potential candidate for President in 2012, but he instead ran for governor of Indiana and won with only forty-nine per cent of the vote. Not too impressive. After Pence was elected, he began taking controversial far-right stands. Some critics believed they were geared more toward building his national profile than toward serving Indiana voters.

At one point, he pushed for a tax cut for Indiana residents earning fifty thousand dollars a year received a tax cut of about $3.50 per month. Pence claimed that the cut stimulated the economy and “the largest income-tax cut in the state’s history” [shades on Donald Trump!].

He killed an application for an eighty-million-dollar federal grant to start a statewide preschool program. Education officials in Pence’s own administration favored the grant, but conservative opponents of secular public education had complained. It was killed because the federal government had attached “too many strings”. There weren’t any.

The Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the Koch brothers’ Virginia-based membership group for big conservative donors,  serves as a dark-money bank, allowing donors to stay anonymous while distributing funds to preferred campaigns and political organizations. [During the past decade, the group gave out an estimated billion and a half dollars in contributions.]

As Indiana governor, in the spring of 2015, Pence signed a bill called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Pence claimed it protected religious freedom, but then a photograph of the closed signing session surfaced which showed Pence surrounded by monks and nuns, along with three of the most virulently anti-gay activists in the state. The image went viral and  Indiana residents discovered that what it really did was to essentially legalized discrimination against homosexuals by businesses in the state.

At that time, Pence was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos and asked him five times during the interview if it was now legal in Indiana for a business to discriminate against homosexuals. Each time Pence was asked, he tried to deflect the question. Pence also would not answer weather he personally supported discrimination against gays.

Even with a PR firm using gays and others in the various ads, there was a huge backlash to the bill. Conventions in the state were canceled, tourist stayed away and companies that were willing to expand in the state held off. Pence finally gave in and signed a watered down bill. With such a huge defeat, he felt the best he can do now is be on Trump’s ticket instead of running for President.

As well, In 2015, there was a big outbreak in HIV diagnoses – blamed primarily on the opioid users sharing needles. Pence’s campaigning against Planned Parenthood had contributed to the closure of five clinics in the region. None of them actually performed abortions, but all had offered HIV testing.

In the legislature, there was talk about studying the possibility of legalizing a syringe exchange, but the right wing blocked the idea. Pence threatened to veto any such legislation and  he scheduled his own event, where he announced that he would pray about the syringe-exchange issue. On the following day, he said that he supported allowing an exchange program on a limited basis as an emergency measure but only in Scott County where there would be no state funding. The number of HIV case dropped after in that county. Surprised Pence did not credit his praying for the change.

After the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, Pence would issue a controversial executive order barring the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana – even with the pressure of the Bishop of Indianapolis. Pence told him, “I need to protect the people of the state” even though a family from Syria was vetted for two years. Eventually, federal courts struck down Pence’s executive order as discriminatory. The now Cardinal said “No” when asked if there was a Christian argument in support of turning the refugees away.

When it was proven that a man who spent nine years in prison for an armed robbery that he didn’t commit should be released, Pence left him to rot in prison with no pardon. Pence finally left the decision to his successor, another Republican governor who granted Cooper a pardon within weeks of taking office.

As governor, he proclaimed his opposition to any expansion of the gaming industry but used executive orders to quietly grant several of the gambling industry’s wishes, such as allowing riverboat casinos to expand onshore. Gaming companies channeled money to various Republican groups who then gave the money to Pence’s team.

In 2016, when it came time for a running mate, Trump was worried because Pence had little money and one bank account according to a campaign-finance disclosure form which held less than fifteen thousand dollars. Recognizing that Trump was susceptible to flattery, he told the media that Trump “beat me like a drum.”

After left hanging for days, Trump called Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie [Trump’s second choice for vice president] and said, “They’re telling me I have to pick him. It’s central casting. He looks like a Vice-President.” Unsure who the “they” are unless the same “establishment” he was fighting not to be connected to.

After Trump’s “grab her by the p?ssy” comments, Pence refused to take Trump’s calls for a while and sent him a letter saying that he and Karen, as Christians, were deeply offended by his actions and needed to decide whether to remain with the campaign. Pence, of course, stayed even if it was a bit against his religion. It is ambition over religion for him.

After the election Trump dumped Christie who was in charge of the transition team. Christie’s team had been quietly gathering résumés and making plans for months. But Pence’s team threw out the research, dumping thirty binders of material into the trash. Right after, very religious conservative groups started to weigh in on the choices that Pence brought to the table.

Trump began to appoint many people with ties to the Kochs and to Pence in positions that affected Koch Industries financially, such as those dealing with regulatory, environmental, and fiscal policy. Dozens of Koch friends and employees quickly got jobs in the new administration in all areas including Scott Pruitt to head the EPA after he came from the oil industry.

With most nonpartisan analyses saying that it would favor the very wealthy, the Kochs enthusiastically support the White House’s proposed tax-cut package. [The proposed elimination of the estate tax alone would give the Koch brothers’ heirs a windfall of billions of dollars.]

When officials were discussing laying charges against Mike Flynn, several law professors have argued that the Pence as Vice-President could be vulnerable to charges of obstructing justice, or “misprision of a felony,” for participating in a meeting about shutting down the federal investigation and then providing a false cover story to the public.

Unlike most Vice-Presidents, Pence has never been given any particular portfolio of issues or projects. He’s continued to serve as the key contact for conservative groups and campaign donors.

Pence readily complied when Trump asked him to stage a protest at an NFL game in Indianapolis on October 8th, by leaving the stadium when some players refused to stand for the national anthem. They knew the players would protest. [Pence’s trip reportedly cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.]

Pence’s religious fundamentalism exceeds others who have been in the White House. Pence has been hosting a Bible-study group for Cabinet officers, led by an evangelical pastor named Ralph Drollinger who has said “women with children at home, who either serve in public office, or are employed on the outside, pursue a path that contradicts God’s revealed design for them. It is a sin.” Drollinger also describes Catholicism as “a false religion”, calls homosexuality “a sin”, and believes that a wife must “submit” to her husband.

So the question is: Is Pence considered overall an improvement over Trump or will make things worse if Trump is impeached.

[Primarily with information from The New Yorker magazine.]