The Senate impeachment – part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Inquiry ramps up and al-Baghdadi epilogue

The House passed a resolution formalizing the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry. No Republicans broke with their party and voted with Democrats to pass the resolution. 2 Democrats voted against the resolution. The impeachment inquiry will continue, under the protocols described in the resolution.

Not surprising Trump, cronies and Republicans aren’t happy with the vote. Before the House vote, Republicans and the White House claimed the impeachment inquiry was illegitimate because it did not receive a full House vote. They are staying on this message even after the vote. Weren’t they whining that the inquiries were too private – even though 47 Republicans are participating?

“In all the hearings, there’s nothing compelling, nothing overwhelming, so the speaker should follow her own words on what bipartisan vote on that floor…” said House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Yes bipartisan with just 2 Democrats.

The inquiry will move to “open hearings” where “staff counsel” will be permitted to do “sustained questioning for up to 45 minutes per side” of witnesses.

Questioning by counsel will be followed by “member questioning.”

In a recent face-to-face meeting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Trump to stop attacking Senate Republicans. If Trump is impeached by the House of Representatives, the Republican-controlled Senate will decide whether he should be removed from office. Trump has attacked numerous Republicans in the Senate and it is these same Senators who could decide his fate [i.e. don’t alienate them].

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the resolution “fails to provide any due process whatsoever to the Administration,” calling it “unconstitutional.” She seems to know nothing about the constitution. The resolution does not violate due process nor is it unconstitutional. In fact, part of the resolution explicitly details the rights available to the President in the impeachment inquiry.

“There is nothing in the Constitution or any law, nor any rules of the House, that prescribes a particular procedure for impeachment proceedings,” says a university law professor.

Trump said “In America, you are innocent until proven guilty” but then he adds that you don’t need to be investigated to find a crime. Seriously? That’s like saying unless you are caught doing something illegal, you go to court but there will be no investigation otherwise.

A witness expected to testify in the impeachment inquiry – former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman – didn’t show up for his. The night prior, the committees running the inquiry received a letter from Kupperman’s lawyer saying that he would ask a federal judge to rule on whether he had to appear.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who serves as the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, testified in the impeachment inquiries and was criticized by some Republican lawmakers. He had complied with the subpoena and answering questions from both Democratic and Republican Members and staff.

He was on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine’s president even though trump tweeted ” Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call.” Vindman told the House impeachment investigators that he was so troubled by Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president that he reported his concerns to a superior.

Trump joined in the criticism of Vindman, claiming without evidence that Vindman is a “Never Trumper.” Vindman served multiple overseas tours as a US infantry officer, including a deployment to Iraq where he received a Purple Heart after being wounded in an IED attack. He has served in Trump’s National Security Council since 2018.

Seem like every person who is against Trump is a “Never Trumper”.

Vindman tried to make changes to the White House’s rough transcript of the July phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s President, including that Trump mentioned tapes of former Vice President Joe Biden. These were left off the transcript.

The crackpots including Trump’s current propaganda department, Fox News, went after Vindman calling him a traitor for engaged in “espionage” on behalf of Ukraine and other comments because he wasn’t born in the US but Russia.

A district court “ruled that the impeachment inquiry is valid”. These are the same rules for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. But Republicans now, including those Republicans that created the rules for Clinton, don’t agree now.

“I said, whatever you do — and we were still in the process of trying to find someone to take my place — I said whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that,” former White House chief of staff John Kelly said. “Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”

No shocker, Grisham said, “I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.” Trump said “John Kelly never said that, he never said anything like that. If he would have said that I would have thrown him out of the office”.

The US diplomat to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, rose to global attention after testifying on Capitol Hill in the impeachment inquiry. He provided a damning account of how Trump told his appointees to establish a quid pro quo, trading much-needed US military aid for political favors from Ukraine. Trump claims, with no proof, “He’s a Never Trumper.” Taylor seems to be apolitical.

Trump declared that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead after a US military raid in northwest Syria. “He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place,” Trump said and added al-Baghdadi was “crying, whimpering, screaming, and bringing three kids with him. To die.” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper claims that ISIS has been hit with a “devastating blow” but al-Baghdadi will be replaced quite fast.

Trump said he informed a few Republican members of Congress of the raid ahead of his announcement. Trump said he did not inform key Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Trump said a leak of the raid could have cost American lives. Yes, but maybe also because he doesn’t trust the Democrats.

Trump has claimed that taking down al-Baghdadi was more important than taking down Bin Laden. I am guessing 3000+ families would reject that though. But you know it is Trump’s ego.

McConnell calls the world a “safer place today” following Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper claims that ISIS has been hit with a “devastating blow” but al-Baghdadi will be replaced quite fast. The Iraqis claimed they gave the intelligence information to the US forces.

But the Russians said “The increasing number of direct participants and countries that allegedly took part in this ‘operation,’ each one giving completely contradictory details, raises legitimate questions and doubts about its existence and especially the level of its success” and that Syrian government backed by Russian air power had defeated ISIS, saying that al-Baghdadi’s death “has absolutely no operational significance on the situation in Syria.

Trump, days after the mission, continues to be pumped up about the “win”. He instead continues to be on his ego trip. For example, he said “Another president should have gotten him” [al-Baghdadi].

Note that Trump has a history of using “crying” in his comments when they never did cry. Al-Baghdadi cried before he blew himself up, farmers cried when he signed an executive order, etc.

Trump tweeted a “declassified” photo of the military dog that was wounded in the raid that led to the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The administration is “working on” arrangements for the dog to visit the White House, but said it might be difficult since the canine is “back at work” in the field.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said the name of the dog – who appears to be a very good boy or girl – remained classified. “We’re not releasing the name of the dog right now. The dog is still in theater…. We’re protecting the dog’s identity.” Later it was given out – Conan. Surprised that Trump didn’t ask why do the military use only German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois dogs but no “American” dogs.

Trump tweeted that “American troops” have “terminated” ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s “likely” replacement. Syrian Democratic Forces said that al-Muhajir was killed in a coordinated operation between the US military and SDF intelligence officers near Jarablus in northern Syria. There will always be replacements.

You can’t make this stuff up: Trump claimed he had been prescient about the danger posed by bin Laden, having called for the death of the al Qaeda leader in a “very successful” book he published in the year before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Trump said that he knew the threat from bin Laden at a time when “nobody” had “ever heard of” bin Laden. “Let’s put it this way: if they would have listened to me, a lot of things would have been different,” he said.

Trump said he still hears people marveling about his supposed declaration. “To this day, I get people coming up to me,” he said. “They said, ‘You know what one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen about you is that you predicted that Osama bin Laden had to be killed before he knocked down the World Trade Center.’ It’s true.” Bin Laden was known in 2000 and the book never mentioned that the US should go after him but was mentioned.
Maybe he has a revised book that isn’t out yet.

Trump has changed his permanent residence to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, in late September, and first lady Melania Trump followed suit in October, in forms filed with the Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

“Good riddance,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted after learning about Trump’s decision to move. “It’s not like Mr. Trump paid taxes here anyway. He’s all yours, Florida.”

The state Attorney General and the Manhattan District Attorney have launched multiple probes of Trump’s businesses, charities, political committees and personal conduct. He’s fighting, among other things, a defamation lawsuit by a former contestant on his “Apprentice” show; an investigation of his family foundation; and a subpoena seeking eight years of his tax returns.

Microsoft has won a hotly contested contract to provide cloud computing services to the Defense Department, besting Amazon in a months-long competition. The contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) is said to be worth billions of dollars over the coming decade. Trump called former Defense Secretary James Mattis during the summer 2018 and directed him to “screw Amazon” out of the opportunity to bid on the contract.

Trump began raising questions about whether the process had been fair. Trump has long been critical of Amazon and its founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos. Trump’s interjection was soon followed by an examination of the contract launched by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

A company, CertiPath, with ties to Trump’s brother, Robert, was awarded a $33 million government contract earlier this year, and two rival bidders, Venable and NMR Consulting, filed a complaint alleging potential favoritism in the bidding process. CertiPath specializes in digital security and verifying online identities and the contract was to provide security for federal courthouses and cell blocks.

Trump attended the 5th game of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros and got mixed “reviews”. Trump, who has yet to throw out a ceremonial first pitch since taking office, arrived after the game is underway and leave before the final out, in hopes of making his visit less disruptive to fans, according to Rob Manfred, baseball’s commissioner. The first pitch went to a notable Trump critic, celebrity chef Jose Andres, whose humanitarian work has been widely acclaimed.

Tim Morrison, the top Russia and Europe adviser on Trump’s National Security Council, expected to leave the administration soon- a decision that was his and has been “planned for some time” given that he was an ally of former national security adviser John Bolton. The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena for Morrison’s testimony after an attempt by the White House to direct him not to appear.

The Trump administration is poised to undo an Obama-era regulation intended to limit emissions of toxins from coal-fired power plants, a move that environmental groups say could lead to significant health problems.
In a scathing letter issued to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the American Bar Association rated Lawrence J.C. VanDyke — Trump’s nominee for a seat on a controversial appeals court — “not qualified’ for the judicial bench after conducting 60 interviews. ” Mr. VanDyke is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules.”

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.

On a somber day, Trump does what he does best

[Or not.]

9/11 continues to be a day of remembrance for Americans but that’s not as much of the case for Donald Trump.

“If it weren’t for the never ending Fake News about me, and with all that I have done (more than any other President in the first 2 1/2 years!), I would be leading the “Partners” of the LameStream Media by 20 points. Sorry, but true!” He tweeted that just 27 minutes before the first airplane hit New York 18 years ago.

[And for the 100th time, there is no way to confirm that he has done more than any other President within the first 2.5 years. You know it is a #FakeFact by him.]

He also tweeted ” In a hypothetical poll, done by one of the worst pollsters of them all, the Amazon Washington Post/ABC, which predicted I would lose to Crooked Hillary by 15 points (how did that work out?), Sleepy Joe, Pocahontas and virtually all others would beat me in the General Election….” Don’t think it was 15 points.

Outside of an image the only thing he tweeted about 9/11 was that he would speak at the Pentagon.

Trump remembered the victims, first responders and U.S. troops who have battled in Afghanistan. “For the families who join us, this is your anniversary of personal and permanent loss,” Trump said. He then ruined things by adding “If anyone dares to strike our land, we will respond with the full measure of American power and the iron will of the American spirit.”

Trump also made statement on how he helped but some of Trump’s statements about his 9/11 experiences cannot be verified, including claims that he sent construction crews to help clear the site, that he had “hundreds” of friends die at ground zero and that he witnessed television coverage of Muslims in the US cheering the destruction. This isn’t surprising.

President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was in his Pentagon office when the plane hit the building, held a separate private wreath-laying several hours later at the Pentagon. A snub maybe?

Trump claimed that he would host a secret meeting at Camp David with leaders of the Taliban and the President of Afghanistan. There was an agreement in “principle” and would require Trump’s approval. Trump then tweeted that he scrapped the meeting after the Taliban took credit for an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed a dozen people, including an American soldier.

Trump said the US has made “a lot of progress” toward ending the war in Afghanistan in negotiations with the Taliban in recent weeks and made clear his disdain for the US’ ongoing military presence in Afghanistan. But he also claimed “I could win Afghan war in a week”. Sure Donnie. Why don’t you try that except most allies would object because there would be many civilian and US casualties.

Critics, including in within “his” party, wonder how he can invite the enemy so close to 9/11 to Camp David.

Even opposition from within his own national security team, including Vice President Mike Pence, could not deter Trump from pressing forward with his plan to host Taliban leaders at the rural presidential getaway.

Trump tweeted that he has asked national security adviser John Bolton to resign, saying “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation…”

Bolton tweeted minutes after Trump’s announcement, “I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow.'”

The tweet came just one hour after the White House press office said Bolton was scheduled to appear at a press briefing alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Bolton clashed with Trump over a number of issues including inviting Taliban leaders to Camp David, Venezuela and North Korean issues.

Trump supposedly had received multiple phone calls and appeals to replace Bolton with someone who agreed with him more and was willing to follow through with his decisions when he didn’t. So what’s the point of having an advisor? Can’t always agree with your boss.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Moscow Mitch” McConnell has said that any federal election security mandates would trample on states’ rights to run their own elections. In an impassioned 25-minute Senate floor speech recently, he claimed Democrats’ real goal was “nationalizing election authorities” and that they were pushing for “partisan wish list items that would not actually make our elections any safer.”

Some are saying he doesn’t want to potentially anger Trump – who still contends that Russia didn’t interfere in the 2016 election even though the government intelligence community said they did. It would make his 2016 less legitimate.

Trump said that the United States needs to be “careful” in making sure everyone entering the country from the Bahamas has proper documentation, suggesting dangerous individuals could sneak into the US along with those seeking refuge following Hurricane Dorian. “I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members, and some very, very bad drug dealers.” So no “bad hombres”?

Trump has privately and repeatedly expressed opposition to the use of foreign intelligence from covert sources, including overseas spies who provide the US government with crucial information about hostile countries. Spying on countries that the US consider enemies are one thing. But it is getting blurred with Trump chummy with Russia and North Korea. A report said that the United States in 2017 removed one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government.

Trump claims that if you cheat on your spouse, you shouldn’t hold office. Well, he cheated on wife #1 with wife #2 and has had plenty of reported affairs and flings. Maybe he gets a special statute of limitations” because he announced this rule for him like a week.

Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote against Trump’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, but only after changing his position behind the scenes. He began to believe that Ross’ rationale for the citizenship question had been invented, and that, despite the deference he would normally give an executive branch official, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ claim had to matter in the court’s final judgment.

A panel of judges for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York revived a lawsuit alleging that President Trump is illegally profiting from his hotels and restaurants in New York and Washington in violation of the Constitution’s anti-corruption, or emoluments, clauses. It found that a lower court had wrongly dismissed the lawsuit.

Gregory Cheadle, the man then-candidate Donald Trump called “my African American” at a 2016 rally is leaving the Republican Party and no longer supports Trump. “I’m just sick and tired of the way blacks and other people of color have been treated by this administration and by the GOP,” Cheadle said.

At a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina recently, among the dumb comments:

  • “You know we won the greatest election, certainly one of them but maybe the greatest but we won one of the greatest.” – Over 1,000 days later, he’s still talking about it. Maybe his only true great thing he did in life. He talks about that win more than about his 5 children and his 3 wives.
  • “Every time I meet a foreign leader, almost every time, they say congratulations on what you’ve done with the economy.” – Uncheckable and most likely untrue.
  • “More Americans are working today than ever before in the history of our country almost 160 million Americans.” – But there are also more Americans in the working class.
  • “You know the other side, I don’t think they’re big believers. They’re not big believers in religion that I can tell you.” – As in the Democrats aren’t religious.

The Federal Reserve should cut US interest rates to “zero, or less,” said Trump in a tweet. Lower rates would give the country the chance to refinance its debt pile at lower rates. The United States does not refinance its debt this way.

Republicans won the special elections in North Carolina recently [House 9] but wasn’t much of a win. Trump won by 12 points the last time and the Republican barely won this time – 2 points. The Democrats haven’t won that district since 1962! Trump claimed that the Republican winner was losing by 17 points just 3 weeks ago. Unlikely. The Republicans, however, won the other special election easily.

Microsoft’s President Brad Smith recently released his book “Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age” where he revealed how the Trump administration wanted Microsoft to help spy on other countries. The paragraph read, “As an American company, why won’t you agree to help the US government spy on people in other countries?” Brad Smith noted that Microsoft made it clear to the government that they weren’t open to any discussion on the issue.

Trump says the United States has agreed to a two-week delay in a planned increase in tariffs on some Chinese imports as “a gesture of good will.” He says Chinese Vice Premier Liu He requested the delay “due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary … on October 1st.” October 1st was the day for the increase to take effect.

Yahoo claims that 300,000 jobs have been killed by Trump’s trade wars with another 700,000 by the end of 2020.

Andrew Harris tried to hack his way into systems belonging to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to steal Trump’s tax returns just before the 2016 US election. The 24-year-old pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of computer fraud in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania court and faces up to two years in federal prison and a fine of up to $200,000.

Swedish authorities say that a man has been denied a vanity plate with the letters TRUMP because it violated motor vehicle department rules, calling the letter combination “offensive.” The rules state nothing political.