Finally, what can be called a quieter week for Donald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much “fun” going on for Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boy was this one big week…

This will probably be one of the biggest week of the Trump “presidency”. With the exception of an actual impeachment or a resignation or the chance that he manages to survive through the full term and lose in the 2020 election [think he can win}] there won’t much bigger weeks.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. This after Trump repeatedly pushed for the Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky to reopen an investigation of his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, and asked the Ukrainian leader to work with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr on the issue, according to a transcript of the July call.

“So if you can look into it” is supposedly the big sentence that pushed for impeachment.

More than half the House are now saying that they would favor impeachment. While it has [at this point] not chance of passing in the senate, it will be just the 4th time a sitting President has had an impeachment inquiry.

Trump abused his official powers “to solicit interference” from Ukraine in the upcoming 2020 election, and the White House took steps to cover it up, according to a stunning whistleblower complaint. Several White House officials tried to “lock down” all records of the phone call, especially the word-for-word transcript produced by the White House.

The whistleblower alleged the US officials believed Giuliani was a conduit for messages between Trump and officials in Kyiv and that he was at the helm of a problematic “circumvention of national security decision making processes.” Supposedly two State Department officials intervened with Giuliani in an effort to “contain the damage” he was doing to national security. Giuliani said he wouldn’t testify if Trump said no.

The whistleblower also alleged that the White House tried to cover up the evidence of Trump’s behavior. The report said that officials were told to take the transcript of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky from the computer system in which it was stored to another classified system used for the most sensitive national security information. The move potentially corrupted a repository supposed to be used only for the nation’s most sensitive secrets with material being protected for a purely political purpose.

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson wrote that the alleged conduct by Trump “would also potentially expose” the President “to serious national security and counterintelligence risks with respect to foreign intelligence services aware of such alleged conduct.” If a hostile government possesses a recording or is aware of the details of Trump’s phone call, they could use it to blackmail Trump.

In his conversation with Zelensky, Trump claimed “that Biden stopped the prosecution” of Biden’s son and then “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it.” Biden did, however, bragged that he had successfully pressured the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor who was widely criticized for failing to bring corruption prosecutions. The prosecutor was already close to losing his job anyways.

Trump claimed in a tweet that the whistleblower “…only had second hand information”. But Trump said that later when the story exploded that whomever provided the whistleblower with information about his call with the Ukrainian president is “close to a spy”. Aren’t spies usually foreign? Of course he is also saying that the Democrats are “making up stories” and what “doing to this country is a disgrace.” If they are making up stories, there is no spy.

The Justice Department has said there are some indications that the whistleblower opposes Trump’s reelection, but the complaint was indeed credible. They used lawful channels to file the complaint and get the message to Congress. Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire told lawmakers today that he believes both the whistleblower who filed the complaint against Trump and the inspector general who handled it “acted in good faith.”

In the hours after the release of the rough transcript of Trump’s July phone call with Zelensky, the White House circulated an email with proposed talking points for Trump’s defenders. Unfortunately for the White House, the email was mistakenly sent to not only Republicans but also Democratic lawmakers and their staff.

The message, titled, “What you need to know: President Trump’s call with President Zelensky,” was quickly recalled – but not before Democrats took to Twitter to ridicule the White House over the error. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had already pushing back saying the transcripts probably wouldn’t be released because of some natural security issues.

Kurt Volker, US special envoy to Ukraine, has resigned one day after the release of a whistleblower report alleging a coverup by the White House of a call between Trump and Zelensky. Volker was named in the report.

[Some of the news items below came before the impeachment announcement. Decided to leave it in.]

Trump landed himself in more hot water. This time, it came out that Trump had a conversation with the Ukrainian president in July about digging up dirt about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden or his son, Hunter Biden, who is an executive at an Ukrainian energy company. Now if the digging is about Joe Biden, that could be an impeachable offense. If against Hunter Biden, it could still be impeachable [going after a family member].

Pompeo also revived debunked questions about Biden’s conduct. “America cannot have our elections interfered with, and if that’s what took place there, if there was that kind of activity engaged in by Vice President Biden, we need to know.” And what was Trump doing? Trump has also long rejected evidence that Russia intervened in 2016 to help him.

Trump tweeted “The real story involves Hunter Biden going around the world and collecting large payments from foreign governments and foreign oligarchs” from information from Fox News anchors. No proof given.

Supposedly 8 times in their conversation in July, Trump asked the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter. He also threatened to remove a $400 million US military aid package. Trump’s team is now using the power of the presidency to incite collusion ahead of the 2020 election. Congress passed the bill in August and the White House lifted a hold on the money in September.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden or Hunter Biden. The then-Ukrainian prosecutor general Yury Lutsenko said in May that Burisma Holdings, a major energy company, did not violate Ukrainian law by having Hunter Biden on its board and paying him. Trump’s claims that Biden pushed for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor because he investigated a business for which his son served as a board member have previously been found to be false.

The administration’s efforts to stop Maguire from releasing the whistleblower report to Congress, and its opposition to releasing a transcript, are only fueling speculation the White House has something to hide. If there was wrongdoing such conduct could equal obstruction of justice, historically an impeachable offense.

Trump tweeted that he has “… authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo!” I’d like to see independent verification that there is nothing left out.

Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, threatened to resign over concerns he would be told to evade lawmakers’ questions during his testimony scheduled with House and Senate Intelligence committees. Maguire has come under fire for refusing to give the lawmakers the whistleblower complaint, which details Trump’s July phone call with Zelensky.

The Intelligence Community Inspector General in late August referred a criminal complaint to the Justice Department to investigate whether Trump’s pushing for Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a potential 2020 rival, was a violation of campaign finance law but the Justice Department’s criminal division recently determined to not open a formal investigation of the president for possible campaign finance violations.

Republican senators who have strongly supported Trump were largely silent but Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah tweeted Sunday “it would be troubling in the extreme” if Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden. Media supporters [a.k.a. Fox News mostly] have called the whistleblower a “punk”, part of the “deep state” and a “spy” among other names.

Trump admitted that he delayed aid to Ukraine ahead of a call to Zelensky, when he pushed the leader to look into potential rival Joe Biden and his son’s work, giving the excuse that he was waiting for European nations to contribute their fair share of aid. “I said hold it up. Let’s get other people to pay. And then everybody called me, ‘Oh please, can we pay?’ And there was never any quid pro quo”. Seriously?

Trump had directed his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to freeze nearly $400 million of US military and security aid to Ukraine in the days before he spoke with Zelensky.

“Even the Ukrainian government put out a statement that that was a perfect call, there was no pressure put on them whatsoever.” I’m suspecting that that the Ukrainian government doesn’t know too much about US laws.

Trump argued at a press conference that Democratic senators were the actual guilty parties. Trump spoke of a letter that three Democratic senators wrote in 2018 to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, claiming, “In the letter they implied that their support for US assistance to Ukraine was at stake and that if they didn’t do the right thing they wouldn’t get any assistance. Gee, doesn’t that sound familiar?”

He accused Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of having “literally threatened” Zelensky during a recent trip to Ukraine, alleging that Murphy said “that if he doesn’t do things right they won’t have Democratic support in Congress.”
There was a letter but the 2018 letter from Sens. Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin and Bob Menendez did not include any threat at all, about US assistance to Ukraine or anything else; it did not even mention US assistance.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted that the whistleblower’s attorney has informed the committee that he would like to testify.

White House efforts to limit access to Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders extended to phone calls with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, according to people familiar with the matter. Those calls — both with leaders who maintain controversial relationships with Trump — were among the presidential conversations that aides took remarkable steps to keep from becoming public.

In a retweet from another right-wing journalist with little credibility, Trump quoted in a tweet “It appears that an American spy in one of our intelligence agencies may have been spying on our own president. The complaint suggests that this intel agent was listening in on Trump’s conversation with a foreign leader. Was this person officially asked to listen to the conversation or was he or she secretly listening in?” Again. No facts, just speculation.

Giuliani first denied that there were walks and shortly after said there was. Of all the people who are in Trump’s corner, how Giuliani is still around is unknown.

Trump retweeted a tweet from Donald Trump Jr who re-tweeted a nobody’s tweet that the Democrats’ letter had asked Ukraine to “investigate Trump.” Might as well take anyone’s tweet as you know how accurate the tweets are on Twitter.

“What these guys are doing, Democrats are doing to this country is a disgrace, and it shouldn’t be allowed. There should be a way of stopping it,” Trump said on the airport tarmac. Yes. Just throw out democracy.

Texas Republican Rep. Mike Conaway argued that the President was entirely within his rights to ask a foreign counterpart to investigate corruption — borrowing the White House’ s explanation for the call between Zelensky and the US leader. Seriously?

Impeachment starts with 6 separate House inquiries. The results of the six are then sent to a judicial committee in the House who decide which if all or any are strong enough to impeach. A vote is taken by all House members where at least one member more than 50% [i.e. at least 218 of 435] are needed to continue.

If passed, it will then go to the Senate where the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will be the presiding judge, a group of House members will be the “prosecutors” and the 100 members of the Senate will be the jury. At least 67 of them must agree to the impeachment. At this time, that is unlikely as the Republicans control the Senate and very few have indicated they would vote to impeach.

Trump mocked Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter after the 16-year-old excoriated world leaders for not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis by tweeting “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

[Yes she came across a bit on the angry/rough/frustrated side, but unlike her Trump is supposed to have experience in diplomacy. He actually never has shown it. She has Asperger’s Syndrome which explains a bit.]

The Pentagon announced it will deploy additional US troops and missile defense equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as Trump has at least for now put off any immediate military strike on Iran in response to the attack on the Saudi oil industry. The US deployment would probably be in the hundreds and the defensive equipment heading to the Middle East would probably include Patriot missile batteries and possibly enhanced radars.

A New York judge ordered Trump to provide video testimony as part of an upcoming lawsuit brought by protesters who say they were assaulted by Trump’s security guards during a 2015 protest outside of Trump Tower. The trial centers around a protest in September 2015 in front of Trump Tower in New York City where two protesters wore parody Ku Klux Klan outfits to protest Trump’s rhetoric on illegal immigration.

“I’m leading in the polls. They have no idea how they stop me. The only way they can try is through impeachment. This has never happened to a president before,” Trump has said. One word: Nixon.

Trump chastised a “permanent political class” that is “overly disdainful” during remarks at the United Nations, claiming they – along with the media, economic institutions and technology companies – were pushing ” flat-out assaults on our histories, traditions and values.” Who is this “permanent political class”? He doesn’t mention it.

“And a free people must never, ever be enlisted in the cause of silencing, cancelling or blacklisting their own neighbors.” Something Trump never does.

“I have made clear that we stand ready to complete an exceptional, new trade agreement with the UK, that will bring tremendous benefits to both of our countries,” Trump said after a meeting with embattled UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who may not have a job for long. What makes Trump think he can hammer a trade deal in a short time when some trade deals take years to complete?

Trump continued to praise Johnson by saying “He’s doing a fantastic job. Not easy, but doing a really good job.” This after Johnson lost a UK Supreme Court ruling?

Twitter has removed 10,000 accounts across six countries/regions after discovering coordinated activity among nation states designed to spread misinformation.

So they remove Trump’s account?

Trump’s Tariffs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on the Ukranian crisis

So the citizens of Crimea are going to vote in a referendum this Sunday. Many of the countries around the world have already denounced it as it is skewed – let alone not enough proper time to properly hold it.

One report states that there are 2.5 million ballots but something like 1.8 million actual votes. Will we see ballot stuffing?

Citizens in Crimea will not actually be able to vote no. Instead, they can vote yes for one of two options: either join the Russian Federation or revert back to Crimea’s 1992 constitution.

The 1992 constitution refers to the Republic of Crimea as a Soviet state and describes it as a sovereign entity that grants Ukraine only such powers as it sees fit.

So basically join the Russia Federation or become a Russian puppet state. No option to stay with the Ukraine.

While ethnic Russians make up 60% of the population, the remainder is divided mostly between Tatars and Ukrainians. So if the final vote sees a huge majority for either of the two options, then there is something definitely wrong.

Note that most countries with separatism issues have laws that state that unilateral succession isn’t allowed but some type of negotiation has to be worked out.

In this case, it will be unilateral succession. Even worse, the future puppet master has invaded the region [i.e. a bit of forced persuasion].

 

More on the Ukranian-Russian crisis

So Russia is still claiming they have the right to send in troops into the Crimea from some agreement signed with the Ukraine.

They are claiming the current [interim] president shouldn’t be there because of the way the exiled president Viktor Yanukovych was thrown out. [Even still Russia says that Yanukovych shouldn’t be president]. They accept those who are elected in the Ukrainian government. But those same elected officials voted the interim president in as interim president. So if Russia accepts the officials, then by extension they must accept the interim president.

Meanwhile, the Russians also claim that they entered Ukraine to defend ethic Russians because Russia claimed they were threatened. There has been no actual reports that ethnic Russians were killed or injured.

This would be like China saying it will invade Canada because it believes those of Chinese descent are being threatened in some way. [By extension, Italy could do the same for anyone under the Roman empire.]

Another dictator want to be on the run

Not really surprised. Any time a dictator [or one who isn’t but acts like one] has his political life threatened, he right away blames the extremists.

First [well not really] is Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and now we have former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych doing the same.

Before running to Russia, Yanukovych was elected but also a Russian backed. But now on the run [and at one point in a sanitarium of all places!], he has now changed his stance a bit. See, his puppet masters, the Russians, have decided that he poorly handled the situation in the Ukraine and hasn’t been well received in Russia.

His new stance? He is now blaming the west for all his troubles. Interesting, since it was Ukrainian people who pushed Yanukovych out of office.

Meanwhile, now that Yanukovych is gone, his presidential palace is now opened up to the public and they have seen the excesses of his presidency. Many rare and expensive cars, huge estate, man-made lake, rooms made of gold and marble, manicured lawns. You get the idea.

Meanwhile, we have the Russians who decided to invade Ukrainian territory of Crimea claiming that Russians living in the Ukraine have been threatened – but by whom? Crimea includes the Russian naval base on the Black Sea [leased to the Russians for another 28 years].

Majority of the world [well those that are not allied or paid by the Russians] have come to Ukraine’s defense and have told Russian President [for life and almost dictator] Vladimir Putin to leave the Ukraine.

Russia itself wants a couple billion dollars that Ukraine owes them for a deal signed by Yanukovych that obviously went wrong. Ukraine itself is in financial trouble since this mess started.