The ever revolving White House employment door

Is Attorney General William Barr the next to be given a pink slip by the ever revolving White Houses human resources department? More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials who served in Republican as well as Democratic administrations posted a statement calling on Barr to resign.

“Mr. Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words. Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign. But because we have little expectation he will do so, it falls to the Department’s career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice,” the officials wrote in a statement.

Even with all the hot water Barr has endured, he is ordering a re-examination of several high-profile cases, including that of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Barr had also been pressing for a sentence for Flynn that would spare him from prison.

In recent months, Flynn changed lawyers and has waged a campaign to portray himself as a victim of malicious prosecutors. He is asking a judge to dismiss his case or allow him to change his plea to not guilty. Flynn’s new counsel, has included unfounded conspiracy theories in the counsel’s filings and accused Robert Mueller of suppressing exculpatory evidence and scheming against Flynn for political purposes. Flynn has said under oath that he was guilty of lying to the FBI.

Prosecutors with the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York are considering whether to charge Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and at least one of his business partners with misleading potential investors for Fraud Guarantee, the Florida-based company that paid Giuliani $500,000. That payment to Giuliani for work with Fraud Guarantee came just as Parnas and an associate began helping Giuliani arrange meetings in Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Bidens.

In the case of Fraud Guarantee, investigators have focused on the marketing pitch, specifically examining whether the men duped investors about the value of the company and how they intended to use the proceeds, the people familiar with the investigation say.

US intelligence officials told lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign by aiming to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote and boost Trump’s re-election. But Donald Trump’s Republican allies on the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee questioned the assessment presented by officials of the Office of National Intelligence.

Trump rebuked acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for allowing his staff to appear before the committee and he was replacing Maguire on an acting basis with Richard Grenell, a strong Trump loyalist who has served as ambassador to Germany since 2018. Grenell has no experience in the intelligence community.

So here we go again. Over 3 years of Trump thinking [or otherwise] that the country thinks he won the election because of election interference from Russia and it is starting again before the elections. And again, Trump prefers not to believe his own intelligence agencies or maybe he thinks friend [or master] Russia President Vladimir Poutine would never do this or maybe he wants Russia to help him.

And yet, the US, UK, and Georgia [the country] accused the Russian military of being behind a major 2019 cyber-attack on Georgia that disrupted “several thousand Georgian government and privately-run websites and interrupted the broadcast of at least two major television stations.”

Trump’s acting [aren’t they really all?] chief of staff Mick Mulvaney railed against the so-called “deep state” during an appearance at the Oxford Union in the UK recently. Federal workers are not in their jobs to “make decisions” and should quit if they disagree with Trump’s agenda. Damn, if workers followed that, there would be huge government openings.

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has sentenced Roger Stone, an adviser and friend to Trump, to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress and threatening a witness regarding his efforts for the President’s 2016 campaign. Stone also receive two-years probation on each count, running concurrently.

“Roger has a very good case for exoneration in my opinion” said Trump after the sentence was handed down. Of course, he will decide who gets pardoned!

“He was treated unfairly.” Trump says that for any friend of his who was arrested and/or sentenced.

Trump claims that the forewoman of the juror had a heavy bias during Stones trial. Now he mentions it? The judge will look into it. But you know how Trump is – no proof.

Unsure why now [is there ever a reason with him?] but Trump gave clemency to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich [corruption] and financier Michael Milken [securities laws] as well as pardoning former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik [tax fraud and lying to DoHS] and former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. [gambling fraud]. Seven others, some Republican supporters, were also given clemency or pardons.

“I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country,” Trump said after the pardons and clemencies. Though the President is the head of the executive branch, America’s real chief law enforcement official is Barr. But he can believe what he wants. He can be the chief toilet bowl cleaner as well.

Not surprisingly, Barr had considered resigning over Trump’s interference in his department, including Trump’s tweets that he said recently made it impossible for him to do his job. Barr probably would deny this.

Hackers are taking advantage of tweets from Giuliani that contain typos in domain names. Hackers buy the mistype domain names and redirect visitors to fake pages to spread malware. One would lead users to a website prompting visitors to download a Google Chrome extension, which would read people’s browsing history and change their default search engine.

“How bad were the Academy Awards this year, did you see? ‘And the winner is … a movie from South Korea,’…. What the hell was that all about? We’ve got enough problems with South Korea with trade, on top of it they give them the best movie of the year?” Trump said. The distributor responded with “Understandable, he can’t read,” as the movie has subtitles.

Trump will headline the most expensive fundraiser of his presidency at the Palm Beach, Florida, home of billionaire Nelson Peltz where each couple donates the $580,600 price of entry. Odd number. Over $10 million will go to his campaign, the Republican National Committee and 11 state Republican parties.

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said that a former US congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, offered him a pardon on behalf of Trump, in exchange for denying Russian involvement in the Democratic National Committee email leak. The White House and the congressman have strongly denied Trump’s involvement in the matter. Rohrabacher said he had never spoken to Trump about Assange and that the visit was “my own fact finding mission.”

White House Press Secretary Stephanie “Parrot” Grisham dismissed Fitzgerald’s claim as “a total lie…. The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman. He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.” Sounds like her boss. Hence the Parrot name.

Senate Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to unanimously pass three election security-related bills, marking the latest attempt to clear legislation ahead of the November elections. The Democrats tried to get consent to pass two bills that require campaigns to alert the FBI and Federal Election Commission (FEC) about foreign offers of assistance, as well as legislation to provide more election funding and ban voting machines from being connected to the internet.

Previous attempts by a bipartisan group’s hopes were dashed in December when a GOP senator insisted the bipartisan legislation had been “designed” to be bad for Donald Trump, and must, therefore, be defeated. Various rejected bills included voting systems to use backup paper ballots and mandate tech safeguards, require candidates to notify law enforcement authorities in the event of a foreign power offering campaign assistance, etc. Seems the GOP do want election interference.

Democratic presidential nominee Michael Bloomberg has been accused of allegations of profane, sexist comments against women. When White House counselor Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway was asked if that was worse than Trump’s “Grab them by the p***y” comments, she said of course it is way worse. But just remember that there has been no proof of the allegations against him.

In the ever revolving door, John Rood, the Pentagon’s top policy official, is leaving his post. Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, had lost support among senior national security leadership and was asked to resign. He has differed with the administration on a number of issues including Afghanistan and Ukraine. Rood was against withholding Ukraine aid.

As well, Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates is leaving the National Security Council and going to the Energy Department. Rumors have been circulating that Coates was the anonymous administration official who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in 2018 and published a book last November titled: “A Warning” by Anonymous. A senior administration official said that Coates’ move has been in the works for some time and she’s not involved in the authoring.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky strongly rejected Trump’s claim that Ukraine is corrupt. Trump claimed that Ukraine is known as the third-most corrupt country in the world.

Trump has said that he will look to block the release of John Bolton’s upcoming book over claims that their discussions were classified, adding that his former national security adviser is a “traitor.” He insisted that Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” shouldn’t be published before the November election.

After President Barack Obama tweeted “Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history”, Trump tweeted “Did you hear the latest con job? President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration.”

Seriously? If Trump thinking that he is taking sole credit for the economic upswing… Trump didn’t kill the Recovery Act Annualized GDP growth averaged about 2% after it bottomed out in 2009 through the end of Obama’s term but 2.4% average growth rate during the last three years of Obama’s last term. Under Trump, it is slightly better at 2.5% but Trump promised 4%. Another broken promise. I’m sure he will blame someone else for not getting to 4%.

Trump claimed the US now has the “best jobs numbers ever” except in the last 36 months of Obama’s second term there were 8.1 million jobs created. Under Trump’s first 36 months there were 6.6 million jobs created.

Trump can’t claim the economy is doing well when 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.

Remember when Trump bullied 16-year old Greta Thunberg on Twitter telling the teenager she needed to “chill out” and “work on her anger management”? White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham implied that social media attacks on a minor are fair game as long as that child is a public figure. Say if a 7 year old who has parents as public figures said something that Trump didn’t like, it would be OK for Trump to bully a 7 year old?

Trump is nothing but a big bully, picking on a 16 year old that is less than a quarter of his age. He is an adult and [we assume] has some common sense and some experience. But this is Trump who will fight back hard if any negative comments [no matter how small] are directed at him.

Trump takes lap around track to open Daytona 500 as the Grand Marshal, commanding: “Gentlemen, start your engines.” He is the second American president to do so, behind George W. Bush who attended the Daytona 500 in 2004. Speaking of which, an image was posted by a Trump doofus showing the presidential jet near the race track. It was pulled after it was discovered that the jet was from 2004, when Bush attended the race.

Trump, always like to inflate his already inflated ego, decided to take a full lap around the track prior to the race with “The Beat” [his limousine] as well as other vehicles. But in the end the race was postponed for 214 hours because of bad weather.

Pigeons with tiny Make American Great Again hats glued to their heads were released in downtown Las Vegas this week in what appears to be a sarcastic statement of loyalty to Trump and a mock protest of Nevada’s coming Democratic presidential caucuses. A group calling itself P.U.T.I.N., Pigeons United To Interfere Now, claimed responsibility for the stunt.

The calm before the next storm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran drove him nuts this week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, a quiet week

With Donald Trump “vacationing” in Miami, this is really considered a quiet week. Yet, he still tweeted crap and retweeted more crap. Actor Jon Voight tweeted something about him. Does anyone care? Same to the usual un-verified nonsense retweeted as well.

Shortly after Trump spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr on July 25, Trump’s political appointees were already tasked with carrying out a freeze on security funding for Ukraine, newly released government documents show. “Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration’s plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, please hold off on any additional DoD obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process,” said Mike Duffey.

Duffey is a White House official in the Office of Management and Budget responsible for overseeing national security money and a Trump political appointee, wrote to select OMB and Pentagon officials on the same day as the phone call.

Trump tweeted “Nancy Pelosi is looking for a Quid Pro Quo with the Senate. Why aren’t we Impeaching her?” No Pelosi is looking to make sure a Senate trial is fair. When you have Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham already giving a guilty verdict, this isn’t a fair trial.

Trump claims his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is picking up all kinds of information about Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s dealings in the Ukraine. We’ll see it when we believe it.

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told a local television affiliate that she’s “disturbed” by McConnell’s plans to use “total coordination” with the White House to set out Trump’s impeachment trial.

I was expecting Trump to go after Murkowski in tweets but with a thin majority in the Senate, I am guessing that Trump doesn’t want to lose a Republican senator – especially when there are a few other Republicans who could vote against him.

Trump tweeted “Last night I was so proud to have signed the largest Defense Bill ever. The very vital Space Force was created. New planes, ships, missiles, rockets and equipment of every kind, and all made right here in the USA. Additionally, we got Border Wall (being built) funding. Nice!” In all the tweets that came before and after this one, you think the Democrats in the House were mentioned [positively]? Nope.

Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law which also created the newest military service and the first new service since the US Air Force came into being in 1947. The US Air Force Space Command was designated the United States Space Force.

16,000 active duty airmen and civilians currently in the Air Force Space Command will be assigned to the new United States Space Force [USSF], though officials made clear those personnel will not actually become members of the Space Force and will remain in the Air Force for the time being. A bit crazy there? Some 5,000 to 6,000 personnel out of the 16,000 will eventually be transferred to the Space Force but could eventually reach 15,000.

Will the USSF be as laughable [at least in name] as the Star Wars program?

The Trump administration has tried multiple times to cut billions from foreign aid programs aimed at fighting corruption in Ukraine and other countries, despite Trump’s oft-repeated claim that fighting corruption in Ukraine is a top issue for his administration. The White House also sought to streamline a number of overseas democracy assistance and foreign aid accounts under one larger umbrella, hoping that by doing so, they would save more than $2 billion.

The State of the union is scheduled for February 4th. What could make thing interesting is that the Senate impeachment trial could be underway by then – or even completed by then – particularly the Republicans who are pushy for a fast trial.

Even while on his “vacation” at Mar-A-Lago residence for his 2+ weeks away from Washington, he still ranted about the impeachment, Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, etc. The usual. All just repeats.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently asked Trump not to sign any trade deal with China until China frees 2 Canadians held illegally in China.

Later Trump tweeted “Had a very good talk with President Xi of China concerning our giant Trade Deal. China has already started large scale purchaes [sic] of agricultural product & more. Formal signing being arranged.” So much for being an ally especially when all other G7 countries, the EU and others are siding with Canada in trying to get the 2 Canadians released.

Trump tweeted “So interesting to see Nancy Pelosi demanding fairness from Mitch McConnell when she presided over the most unfair hearing in the history of the United States Congress!” Unfair to whom? Republicans took part in the inquiry.

“Thank YOU Indian Country for being such an IMPORTANT part of the American story! I recently signed 3 bills to support tribal sovereignty….” tweeted the ignorant fool when only old hacks will still use the term Indians.

The Trump administration has proposed a rule that critics say will allow adoption and foster care agencies to receive federal grants, even if they choose to reject LGBTQ couples as potential parents for religious reasons.

This will remove Obama-era regulations that had banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other identities, in HHS programs and service — including adoption and foster care agencies.
In another sign how the administration likes the LGBTQ community, the State Department is pulling the US ambassador to Zambia after the president there objected to his harsh criticism of the government’s record on corruption and gay rights.

But the Trump administration keeps on flip flopping regarding LGBTQ rights. US officials led an effort at the UN to call out 69 countries that criminalize same-sex relationships, and urged protections for the LGBTQ community. That effort was led by US Ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, and US Ambassador to Germany, Ric Grenell.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has sent messages supporting LGBTQ individuals as the top US diplomat, with statements celebrating LGBTQ pride month. But he has also restricted embassies from hoisting gay pride flags. Pompeo also supports organizations like the Family Research Council, which is opposed to gay marriage.

So much for democracy: Minnesota’s first presidential primary in nearly 30 years is facing a legal challenge over the Republican party ballot, which only lists Trump. A lawsuit was filed over the March 3 primary objecting to a new state law allowing party chairs to determine who appears on primary ballots.

American military officials say they’re expecting a long-range ballistic missile test from North Korea for Christmas. There were hints of this. “Maybe it’s present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test,” Trump said. “I may get a vase. I may get a nice present from him. You don’t know. You never know.” He got neither.

He tweeted “California leads the nation, by far, in both the number of homeless people, and the percentage increase in the homeless population – two terrible stats. Crazy Nancy [Pelosi] should focus on that in her very down district, and helping her incompetent governor with the big homeless problem!” California also has the largest state population in the US. It shows you that the economy isn’t doing well if there is an increase in homeless people. Pelosi can only do so much without any federal government help.

At a recent rally, while Trump went and bullied and criticized the usual people he then went way off script and decided to take on the dishwasher manufacturers by saying they aren’t as good as they use to be. And how does he know this? Because “women told me”. You think women are calling the White House, replying to his dumb Twitter tweets or meeting him at rallies to tell him this? Seriously?

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. confirmed that a version of ‘Home Alone 2’ released without Trump’s cameo was edited in 2014 along with other footage to fit the allotted time. The removed scenes did not affect the movie’s overall watching. How much of Trump was removed? 7 seconds. But that didn’t stop Fox Business News, Donald Trump Jr. or other Trump allies from criticizing the move. So diplomatic relations between Canada and the US haven’t broken off… Yet.

A funny tweet of his from 2014: “Windmills are the greatest threat in the US to both bald and golden eagles.” Yes. Not hunters but windmills.

But a couple of years prior he said “The Chinese are illegally dumping bird-killing wind turbines on our shores.” Yes. I saw one on Miami Beach and another one near Seattle.

Happy Holidays!

Impeachment inquiry ramps up

Andrew Bakaj, a lawyer for the whistleblower who raised alarms about Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine said his client is willing to answer written questions submitted by House Republicans. Attorney Mark Zaid tweeted that the whistleblower would answer questions directly from Republican members “in writing, under oath & penalty of perjury,” part of a bid to stem escalating efforts by Trump and his GOP allies to unmask the person’s identity. Trump said Bakaj should be sued. For what?

“Reveal the Whistleblower and end the Impeachment Hoax!” Trump tweeted. Trump pushed the news media to divulge the whistleblower’s identity, asserting that the person’s accounting of events is incorrect. The whistleblower’s complaint has been corroborated by people with firsthand knowledge of the events who have appeared on Capitol Hill.

A lawyer for the Ukraine whistleblower, whose complaint document triggered the House impeachment inquiry of Trump, has sent a letter to the White House warning Trump to “cease and desist” attacking his client. “I am writing out of deep concern that your client, the President of the United States, is engaging in rhetoric and activity that places my client, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower, and their family in physical danger,” Bakaj wrote to White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

Remember how the Republicans whined that the impeachment inquiry was bad because they were behind closed doors [even though they forget to tell their base that 47 Republicans were present? Now Trump said “They shouldn’t be having public hearings. This is a hoax. This is just like the Russian witch hunt.”

Just moments before his deposition was scheduled to begin, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s lawyer informed impeachment officials that he had been directed by the White House not to comply with the authorized subpoena and asserted “absolute immunity.”

Trump attacked the whistleblower who set off the impeachment inquiry as an, “Obama person,” a “never Trumper,” and “a radical.” To know all this information, Trump must know who the whistleblower is. So why is he asking?

Fox News has told their anchors and others not to reveal the whistleblower’s identity. I guess they are getting tired of Trump.

Trump asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for help to discredit former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal. Trump called Johnson to ask for the favor on July 26 – only two days after the prime minister took office, according to the Times of London. This was also one day after his much-scrutinized phone call to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, Trump told Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that Barr would contact his Australian counterpart for information on how the Mueller probe was linked to a tip from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer.

US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland amended his previous closed-door testimony with House impeachment investigators to say that he told a top Ukrainian political aide that the release of US security aid was likely conditioned on Ukraine publicly announcing an investigation that would help the Trump politically.

After his recent testimony, Trump claimed he does not know Sondland well. Trump previously called Sondland “a really good man and great American” and “highly respected.” Can he say that to a man he now claims he doesn’t know him?

Former US Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker rejected the conspiracy theories about Ukraine and Joe Biden that have been promoted by Rudy Giuliani, according to excerpts of his testimony to lawmakers. The conspiracy theory alleges that Biden held up $1 billion in aid for Ukraine to pressure their government to fire a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, an energy company where Biden’s son had a high-paid board seat.

White House senior counselor Kellyanne “the Witch” Conway said that she does not know if Trump withheld US military aid to Ukraine, but stood by the White House’s response that there was no quid pro quo between Trump and the country. So even she is unsure. Conway contended that asking a foreign leader to investigate a political rival is “not impeachable” – except if it was to dig up dirt on Trump’s political rival. She also said Joe Biden is not a top political rival of Trump. Until the Democratic nominee is announce, he is a rival. Makes no difference if he is at the top. He’s roughly in the top three. Obama came out of nowhere to win the nomination and eventually the Presidency [without asking for foreign help!].

Former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Michael McKinley, who testified behind closed doors on October 16, said that he raised [the former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie] Yovanovitch matter with Pompeo three times and proposed releasing a statement of support for the former diplomat, who was abruptly recalled from her post.

Yovanovitch felt threatened by what was coming out of the White House. McKinley did not receive a response from the secretary of state, including when he told Pompeo he was leaving the department.

When asked about it after Yovanovitch testified, Trump said she did a bad job. If she did a bad job, why was she ambassador for so long? Incompetence from Pompeo [we already know Trump is incompetence]. If a person is doing a bad job, the person should be dismissed.

The House committees leading the impeachment inquiry are hoping to hear from Robert Blair, an assistant to Trump and senior adviser to Mulvaney, though that looks unlikely considering Blair’s attorney said he has refused to testify in the probe.

Trump says he’s not concerned about depositions from current and former administration officials in the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Yet he continues to bully them and telling those still working for him not to give testimony. A future obstruction charge?

GOP leadership has officially assigned Rep. Jim Jordan to the House Intelligence Committee ahead of the upcoming televised impeachment hearings, a move designed to bolster Trump’s defense as Democrats take their probe public. Rep. Rick Crawford has agreed to temporarily step aside for Jordan, who is seen as one of Trump’s best attack dogs on Capitol Hill. Transcripts of the interviews released this week show Crawford hasn’t been asking many questions during the closed-door sessions.

Trump and other top 2016 Trump campaign officials repeatedly privately discussed how the campaign could get access to stolen Democratic emails WikiLeaks had in 2016, according to newly released interview notes from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation. Per a judge’s order, the Justice Department will continue to release new tranches of the Mueller investigative notes monthly.

A retelling of events from former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, who served alongside campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is the fullest detail revealed by the Justice Department yet on discussions within the Trump campaign as it pursued damaging information about its Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. The documents were stolen by the Russians, the American intelligence community has found.

The anonymous senior Trump administration official claims in their forthcoming book [“A Warning”] that Trump officials considered resigning together last year in a “midnight self-massacre” in hopes to sound an alarm about Trump. It is written by the same senior Trump administration official who was behind a 2018 New York Times op-ed expressing profound concern about Trump’s competence.

The book describes Trump as dealing with each new political crisis “like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport.”

After some tweets by Trump, “It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him. You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time.”

The book also contains an allegation that senior White House officials were certain Pence would support an effort to have Trump removed from office over concerns about his mental state.

The Justice Department is going on the offensive against the anonymous author, telling them in a letter that he or she may be violating “one or more nondisclosure agreements” by writing the anti-Trump book. The author’s publisher is rejecting the argument and saying the book will be released as scheduled and the author’s agents are accusing the government of trying to unmask the author.

A federal appeals court rejected Trump’s effort to block New York prosecutors from accessing his tax records and Trump’s sweeping claims of presidential immunity. The Manhattan District Attorney is investigating hush-money payments made in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. The ruling does not mean that Trump’s tax records will not be turned over immediately. Local prosecutors agreed to delay enforcement of the subpoena to Trump’s longtime accounting firm if Trump’s lawyers move quickly to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.

Trump continues to says he is under an audit. He supposedly has had no income other than his salary for the last [almost] 3 years. An audit is generally for a year, not 10+ years.

There were three state elections recently.

“Our big Rally on Friday night moved the numbers from a tie to a big WIN.” tweeted Trump. Mississippi is a state that the Republicans always win. Was it his “polling”? See a bit father down this blog.

Meanwhile in Kentucky, where Trump won by 30 points in 2016, the Republican governor just barely lost the state. Trump predicted an easy win the night before.

Trump tweeted prior to the election that “Virginia has the best Unemployment and Economic numbers in the history of the State. If the Democrats get in, those numbers will go rapidly in the other direction. On Tuesday, Vote Republican!” – Except the politicians with low unemployment and great economic numbers are Democrats! And you know he probably inflated the “best” part anyways.

In Virginia, where the Republicans had slim majorities in the state legislature and senate, they lost both. The Democrats control both and the governor’s seat.

The Trump administration announced that it will begin formally withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord, the first step in a year-long process to leave the landmark agreement to reduce emissions of planet-warming gases. Trump said in 2017 that he intended to pull the US out of the agreement, the latest move is a procedural step that would lead to a complete withdrawal just after the 2020 presidential election.

The withdrawal will take effect one year from delivery of the notification. Is it a coincidence that the final pull-out will be around election time in 2020? When Trump loses the 2020 election, a new president could rejoin the agreement, but would have to put forth new climate commitments to the UN. A recent poll said that about 7 in 10 Americans think global warming is happening, and at least 6 in 10 are “somewhat worried” about it.

“I have the real polls. I have the real polls,” Trump claimed. “The CNN polls are fake. The FOX polls have always been lousy, I tell them they ought to get themselves a new pollster, but the real polls, and you look at the polls that came out this morning, people don’t want anything to do with impeachment. It’s a phony scam.” Trump did not give any more details on what he says are the “real polls.”

Trump tweeted that he may cut off federal government help in funding to help stop the fires raging in California saying [as usual] bad fire management. More like climate change and deforestation.

A judge ordered Trump to pay $2 million to a collection of nonprofit organizations as part of a settlement with the New York state attorney general’s office to resolve a civil lawsuit that alleged “persistent” violations of charities law that included unlawful coordination with the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

Filed in June 2018, the lawsuit alleged that Trump and his three eldest children — Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric — violated federal and state campaign finance laws and abused the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s tax-exempt status. According to the lawsuit, the Trumps allowed the foundation to be used “as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.” The foundation is dissolved.

Trump himself had vowed to fight the lawsuit, tweeting last year, “I won’t settle this case!” and politically motivated. The attorney general’s office had sought several outcomes, including $2.8 million in restitution, plus penalties, and a ban on Trump and his children serving on the board of any other New York nonprofit.

Magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation over what she says were his lies denying her public accusation in June that he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. The lawsuit, which includes a detailed account of the incident in which Trump allegedly raped Carroll in a dressing room at luxury Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman, was filed in New York state Supreme Court.

Trump said of Carroll that he “never met this person” Except there is a picture of them from about 7 years earlier.

Trump continues to be happy by tweeting that his approval rating is 50% [or better] according to polling firm Rasmussen. Problem is that a dozen legitimate polling forms say Trump is around 40%. Who’s right? Hmmmm. Oh and 49% in that same poll are against him.

A federal judge in Oregon temporarily blocked a Trump administration proclamation that would have required prospective immigrants to prove they would have US health insurance within 30 days of their arrival or enough money to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.”

Prospective immigrants had been scrambling to figure out how to get the necessary coverage, navigating a complex healthcare bureaucracy that has, for the most part, not previously catered to those who are not yet in the country.

Trump was met with loud, sustained boos and some cheers as he entered Madison Square Garden for the Ultimate Fighting Championship recently in New York. A handful of signs reading “Remove Trump” and “Impeach Trump” dotted the crowd. The day after, Trump didn’t address any negative reception he received the night before, instead writing that walking into the venue “was a little bit like walking into a Trump Rally. Plenty of MAGA & KAG present. Great energy.” Sure Donnie.

His trip to New York was just a handful of days after he changed his residence to Florida from New York and badmouthed the city and state. He was me with protesters outside as well.

Trump’s campaign web site is selling a “Read the transcript” t-shirt for $30 [plus shipping]. A plain white t-shirt with red text on the front. Wonder if the t-shirt is made in China like his MAGA hats.

If you want a book that will knock you out in minutes if you can’t sleep: Donald Trump Jr wrote a book. No. It’s not in crayons. But it could be a belong in multiple top 10 book categories, political fiction, science fiction, very young children, bathroom books, etc. Soon to be in the $5 bins.

According to one newspaper the “Trump Organization scrubs name from two Central Park ice skating rinks in a bid to rebrand and ‘downplay their connection to the president’s name”. Yes. That will do it.

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.

Trumpworld is shaking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At a rally Dallas rally this week:

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