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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Donald Trump's golf habit has already cost taxpayers at least $102 million in extra travel and security expenses, and next month will achieve a new milestone: a seven-figure presidential visit to another country so he can play at his own course. read more


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A federal judge in New York is refusing to block congressional subpoenas seeking financial records from two banks that did business with President Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos said during a hearing Wednesday that Trump and his company were unlikely to succeed in a lawsuit arguing that the subpoenas were unlawful and unconstitutional. read more


President Trump showed up angry in the Rose Garden on Wednesday, an apparent continuation of his mood from the morning's activity on Twitter. "I don't do coverups," he said. "You people" -- the media -- "know that probably better than anybody." Well, about that, Mr. President. read more


Saturday, May 18, 2019

The point of impeachment is to use it to so thoroughly expose Trump's crimes, most Americans decide he must go. That would leave Senate Republicans with the no-win choice of removing Trump to save their own individual prospects of reelection, or not removing him and losing their own seats for it. That way, no matter what the GOP Senate ultimately decides, the Democrats -- and America -- win. That means the Democrats need the majority of Americans to want impeachment before it starts. read more


A CNBC analysis of data from the Treasury Department ranks the combined $72 billion in revenue from all Donald Trump's tariffs as one of the biggest tax increases since 1993. In fact, the tariff revenue ranks as the largest increase as a percent of GDP since 1993 when compared with the first year of all the revenue measures enacted since then, according to the data. read more


Comments

There was, you might recall, the matter of Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who alleges that she had a consensual affair with you in 2006. After David ------, the chief executive of American Media Inc., told your team in August 2015 that he would help bury negative stories (according to the Justice Department), AMI paid McDougal to buy the rights to her story but never ran it. You and Cohen wanted to buy the rights from AMI in case ------ was "hit by a truck" (in your words), and someone else at the company decided to run with it.

If that doesn't ring a bell, there's also the payment that was made in October 2016 to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Daniels alleges that you and she had a sexual encounter in 2006, a claim that she detailed to InTouch magazine in 2011, well before you were a candidate for political office. Cohen admitted to federal investigators that he made the arrangement with and payment to Daniels at your behest. You essentially admitted in a tweet that you had approved the agreement. Those agreements could reasonably be described as coverups.

There's also your effort to mask the meeting that occurred at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016. When the New York Times learned about the meeting in July 2017, you wrote a misleading statement for your son Donald Trump Jr. to provide the paper in response. [Your current] argument ... is that Mueller already investigated and came up empty, an argument that both overstates the scope of what the special counsel was looking at and misrepresents what he found. There's a term for going out of your way to prevent investigations from moving forward, though it escapes me at the moment.

In essence, the Wednesday news conference itself was an effort to maintain a coverup.

Nancy Pelosi keeps saying that she wants to wait on impeachment until the evidence is there. But even as she says this, she keeps moving forward with an impeachment strategy – she simply isn't calling it that. If she announced tomorrow that impeachment has begun, it would largely consist of the same slow process we're seeing now: subpoena battles in court and carefully scheduled hearings. In fact, if Pelosi were calling it "impeachment" right now, Trump would boast that the necessarily slow and complex process was a sign that the Democrats had nothing on him.

Even as opportunist pundits and confused observers within the Resistance continue to yell and scream at Nancy Pelosi for not waving a magic wand at Donald Trump – or whatever it is they think they want her to be doing – the reality is that this process keeps tilting more heavily in her favor. When it comes to taking Donald Trump down, everything is lining up just as any realist with an understanding of the process would hope.

Something very important happened today and Nancy Pelosi nor the Democrats had anything to do with it. The event is the first one of its kind and will most certainly change the dynamic of the impeachment question. An elected Republican congressional representative with a 91% Voting-with-Trump record in the 116th Congress publicly announced that after his thorough reading of the Mueller report he has come to two substantial conclusions: 1) AG Barr "... intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's analysis and findings...;" and 2) "President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct."

Now, does this event give the Democrats more or less impetus and public momentum to move closer to formal impeachment hearings? Would even a slow trickle of other elected Republican representatives coming forward with the same conclusions help or harm any impeachment efforts?

Bottom line, haven't today's events made it easier for the Democrats to move forward toward impeaching Donald Trump? The only answer is a resounding "yes," so why in the holy hell would Nancy Pelosi want to stop the momentum brought forth by Republicans and move for immediate impeachment without finding out if other Republicans are willing to admit the same thing once asked if they too have read the entire report as Rep. Amash did, and if not why not?

Every elected congressional Republican should be publicly asked to comment as to whether they've bothered to read the entire Mueller report as Justin Amash has admitted, and if they don't agree with his assessment, then what do they base their feelings on? And if they haven't read it, the follow up should be "Why haven't you? Doesn't fellow Republican Amash's conclusion give you pause and a need to form your own conclusion based on the report instead of how others portray what it says and doesn't say? Don't you think the issues surrounding this President are important enough for you to read the report yourself?"

Once you get past the pundits who are falsely framing impeachment as a magic wand, so they can score cheap points with a frustrated populace by disingenuously attacking Democratic House leaders for not waving that wand, the reality is that impeachment is a complex equation. If the Democrats want a positive result from it, they have to do it in a very specific and calculated way.

The polls make clear that the Democrats' strategy is working: the William Barr hearings drove the pro-impeachment poll numbers from the 37-40% range, to the 45-49% range – and this was as a result of the testimony of a guy who was trying to help Trump.

We now have a House Republican getting out slightly ahead of the Democratic House leaders on impeachment. That gives them significant cover when it comes time for them to make the argument to the public – after Mueller and McGahn testify – that they're left with no choice but to impeach Trump. Talking heads aside, this is how the process works when it comes to taking Trump down – and it's falling into place.

Can't say I disagree with these points, but it's fun watching all the Trump-humpers huff and puff while decrying the Democrats for not jumping into impeachment before the public is ripe. While no sentient person is expecting Trump's loyal base to change their minds, even most Congressmembers obviously haven't read the entire report with all the detailed information exposing Trump's malfeasance, so placing its enormity into the proper context through hearings and testimony may make all the difference in the world to the majority of the public who haven't read it either.

The U.S. Ethics Office just rejected Mnuchin's 2018 financial disclosure statement because he sold his stake in a movie production company to his girlfriend and then married her, which kind of defeated the divestiture concept.

The next tier of cabinet members have not fared any better. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also had his 2018 financial disclosure statement rejected. In March, a federal judge ruled that Ross had acted in "bad faith" and broke several laws related to his job overseeing the U.S. Census. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt have both resigned in disgrace. Zinke faced federal probes into his "travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest," while Pruitt's sins are too extensive to list.

Trump has plowed through two Homeland Security secretaries. He promoted John Kelly to be his chief of staff, but fired him from that position after learning that Kelly had called him "an idiot" on multiple occasions. He fired Kirstjen Nielsen for being insufficiently cruel to asylum seekers, but not before her cruelty to asylum seekers made her a household name.

Trump's first Health and Human Services secretary lasted 231 days before he was forced out over his extravagant travel habits. His first Secretary of Veterans Affairs was fired after thirteen months for the same reason. Then Trump briefly tried to get Ronny "the Candyman" Jackson confirmed as his Vets secretary before it became clear that a drunk and abusive man known for tossing around prescription medications like the Easter Bunny wasn't going to make the grade in the Senate.

On the campaign trail, Trump told us over and over that he'd hire only the best people to serve him, but his choices just haven't worked out well for him or for the country.

Ya think?

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