This was really a busy week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump attacks Obama, MSNBC co-hosts

“Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it,” Trump said in an excerpt of his interview on Fox News. “The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even — before the election.”

The Washington Post reported the Obama administration’s efforts to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for trying to sway the presidential election in Trump’s favor.

Before the election, the Obama administration issued several warnings to Moscow about its activities, including one delivered by the President to Putin in September, the Post reported.

But as a person who has full clearance for the last 6 months, why is this coming out now? Trump didn’t know until now?

And I guess Trump finally agrees that Russia did meddle in the US election in November after calling it a hoax and fake news for the last 8 months.

Yet still White House counselor Kellyanne The Witch Conway dismissed the idea that Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election. “I think it’s very important to show no nexus has been proven between what Russia or any other foreign government tried to do in the actual election result,” Conway said. “Really the only person making that case prominently is Hillary Clinton.” Didn’t she get the memo [from her boss]?

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, cohost Mika Brzezinski said that “it’s not normal behavior” for any leader to be tweeting about people’s appearances, bullying, lying, undermining managers and throwing people under the bus if any business executive behaved the way Trump does, “There would be concern that perhaps the person who runs the company is out of his mind.” Trump then tweeted “I heard poorly rated @Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came … to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

White House social media director Dan Scavino similarly attacked the hosts saying “#DumbAsARockMika and lover #JealousJoe are lost, confused & saddened since @POTUS @realDonaldTrump stopped returning their calls! Unhinged.” What a pair of classy people!

After members from both parties are upset at his comments, the White House is blaming the left wing media for who knows what.

Then just a day later the two hosts from MSNBC were told that if they apologized to Trump [not the other way around], the Nation Enquirer will release some most likely ridiculous story about them. Blackmail. Trump and the publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, are friends and allies.

Melania Trump says when someone goes after her husband, he fights back 10 times. She supports even the latest comment. This also shows he can’t take criticism.

Now the health care vote in the Senate has been delayed until after July 4th so they can negotiate with the hold-outs in the Senate to get the bill going. The House version of the bill would have 1 million less people go uninsured. But there are big names who are voting no or leaning to vote no. They include Ted Cruz, Susan Collins and Rand Paul. Several others also are leaning towards voting no. CBO warned that in some rural areas, either no insurer would be willing participate in the individual market or the policies offered would be prohibitively expensive. Rural America was a stronghold for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Only 16 senators have given full support.

Already at least 5 senators are so far voting no – anything more than 2 Republican senators leaving and the bill will fail. This was before the Congressional Budget Office released a devastating report on its impact where an additional 32 million Americans insured under ObamaCare would lose their health care insurance. [Not surprising some Republicans think the CBO is now biased – if they don’t like things to go their way they mustn’t be unbiased just like everything else that hasn’t gone the Republican way.]

Even prostitutes are protesting Trumpcare as they will lose coverage and seniors [which make up a chunk of their clients] may not be able to afford both them and higher health care costs.

Trump was celebrating that his travel “ban” was allowed by the Supreme Court – rejoicing that all 9 judges agreed – but he obviously didn’t want to think about that it was only a partial victory. It was the no brainer part – ban those with no US connection from entering the US. But the remaining portion of the travel “ban” will not be decided by the court for a few months.

After it was reported, Time magazine asked Trump to remove some fake magazine covers that shows Trump on the cover of a fictitious Time magazine

Being childish as usual, Trump accused former President Obama of stealing his terminology when Obama said last week that there was a fundamental meanness at the core of the Republican health care bill. “Well he actually used my term, ‘mean.’ That was my term,” Trump said. I’m expecting him to copyright the word mean(TM) soon.

The Republicans [and in particularly Trump] keep on lashing out at Hillary Clinton almost 8 months after the election. At the same time, anything the Democrats do against Trump and right away the Republicans claim sore losers. So why is it that a year later [when Clinton won the nomination], Trump has nothing to do but whine?

Just this week Trump tweeted “Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!” Wow! Trump is defending Bernie. Not. Trump has nothing else to do but to open up another hornet’s nest?

The Trump International Hotel and Tower has been bought by a creditor for $298 million. As part of the change, the Trump brand and management will be dropped. Trump Organization did not own the place. Since it went up in 2012, there has been a series of issues such as delays in opening, construction issues, and twice glass fell below. The building has also been the target of a lawsuit from individual investors of units who allege they were misled by Trump and the building’s developer. Investors said they were led to believe the residential units, which were to be rented out as part of the hotel, would generate returns ranging from 7.74 per cent to 20.9 per cent, but instead they lost money. A court ruled in favour of the investors last year.

With no specific reason why but Vice President Mike Pence is replacing chief of staff John Pitcock with Nick Ayers. A source close to the Vice President says that the change of hands has been in the works for a while, insisting it not a shakeup, and the timing was to coincide with the congressional recess.

Trump has broken with recent precedent by not recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month. He did recognize the month for National Caribbean-American Heritage Month and African-American Music Appreciation Month among others. Ivanka trump did mention LGBT Pride Month at the beginning of the month.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been fighting to legalize sports betting and will make its case before the Supreme Court. He hopes that legal sports betting can help the state’s economy, particularly beleaguered Atlantic City casinos. So far, lower courts have ruled against him. Lawyers for the Trump administration had also urged the Supreme Court not to take up Christie’s appeal.

Nineteen US Senators have written a letter asking the White House “to direct the Department of Energy (DoE) to conduct a thorough analysis of Russian capabilities with respect to cyberattacks on our energy infrastructure.” Legislators made a similar request in March but received no response.

Ivanka Trump made an interesting statement saying that she tries “to stay out of politics.” This for a woman whose current job title is “adviser to the President of the United States.” Question is what does she advise her father on? Fashion [see below]? In most cases, when you are an adviser, you must have some expertise in something. [On the other hand, her father has some people in his cabinet assigned to departments where they have no expertise either.]

Ivanka Trump must give a deposition in a lawsuit by an Italian shoemaker claiming her fashion label copied its designs, a federal judge has ruled. Aquazurra Italia filed the suit against Ivanka Trump and her company in June 2016. It claims the brand has produced cheaper knockoffs of Aquazurra’s “coveted” and highly publicized shoe designs.

Before Donald Trump came into office, Ed Amoroso, the former chief security officer of AT&T, published an open letter recommending that Trump focus on a few simple initiatives in cybersecurity. Despite the fact that the Trump administration adopted some of the recommendations in its executive order on cybersecurity, Amoroso was not impressed with Trump’s approach.

“The executive order was terrible,” said Amoroso at the 2017 Borderless Cyber conference in New York. “It’s this amazing jumble of page after page after page of requesting reports… Who the hell is reading all those, and who’s writing them? … A thousand reports are just going to confuse us all.”

After a poll was done from some 30+ countries, only one country was all around happy with Trump in office. Russia.

Trump will be thrilled [or not] to know that even with the threats before the elections of left leaning voters and celebrities heading to Canada, very few did.