Sunday, December 31, 2017
Trump seems to be losing his grip on reality. The latest weirdness is his claim that the voice on the Access Hollywood tape is not his. He is still claiming that he lost the popular vote in the election due to voter fraud. He thinks the Russia investigation will be over by 2018. Privately, he is still doubting President Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate. He tweeted 3 anti-Muslim videos, one of which was probably fake and not about Muslims. The Dutch Embassy had to correct the president about one, and the Brits chided him for using videos from a fascist RW group. Sarah HS: it doesn’t matter if it was fake. The threat is real. He tweeted more about fake news NBC, naming Phil Griffin, Andy Lack, and Joe Scarborough.
Jonathan Chat, New York Magazine: It really does seem that something has changed. He has brought fascist groups into the WH and administration that used to be outside the GOP tent.
Jill Wine-Banks, fmr prosecutor: She also feels that he has turned a corner and it may be time to examine the 25th Amendment. She said that generations later, people will ask the GOP, what did you do to resolve this situation?
Sen Chris Murphy: Richard Blumenthal shredded Trump today, called him “a disgrace.” Theresa May chided him earlier, so tonight Trump tweeted that she should focus on the “destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place in her own back yard.” The US is doing just fine, thank you.
Murphy: The president has always had a disregard for the facts. Trump seems to think that braggadocio and bluster will work and intimidate our enemies. He has burned any possibility that the NK could negotiate with the US. Trump and Tillerson just disagree and they don’t know what to think.
Matt Lauer, fired today for inappropriate behavior. Multiple women have agreed that he was a problem. The women complained, but until now, no one took it seriously or cared. Men are being fired all over the place. Garrison Keeler, Charlie Rose, CBS icon, Mark Halperin, senior political analyst for MSNBC, are all big names. This is a time of big change.
The bar in politics in the US has fallen so low, Roy Moore could win in AL. Rep Mo Brooks of AL is saying that the page in the year book where Moore signed his name was forged. [and I am aware of some Christians who believe that]. It was OK that 7 women said he pursued them when they were teens and he was in his 30’s because he never succeeded in raping or seducing them. [So we can dismiss the one who said he molested her and the one who said he almost seduced her. It’s looking in the polls like AL may send him to the Senate. GOPers are embarrassed by him, but Christians are all about pro-life attitudes, religious freedom issues, anti-gay candidates, prayer in the WH, and God mentioned in public speeches, and RW media.] Bannon will stump for him. Voters who supported Trump support Moore, so with them Bannon’s presence is fine. The result of the election will be about who turns out to vote. Moore co-authored a textbook that says women shouldn’t run for office. Moore’s spokesman today said that women making allegations of sexual misconduct should not be believed without a witness. Law officials are not happy about that because they want women to feel free to report sexual assault and harassment.
Trump claimed in Missouri that he is bringing back the greeting “Merry Christmas.” So All In showed probably 20 different clips of Barack Obama and Michelle saying Merry Christmas. During their early years in the WH, I caught a lot of fake news about them banishing Christmas from the WH. It totally wasn’t true. The WH website showed that Christmas was alive and well in the WH.
David Duke was happy about Trump’s 3 tweets this morning. Trump would not disavow the marchers in Charlottesville.
The tax bill overcame another hurdle in the Senate today. Trump combined the Merry Christmas statement with the promise that the tax bill will be wonderful for the middle class and that he and other rich people will be the losers. He says he’ll lose big and his rich friends are all mad at him because it will hurt them so badly. That is such a bunch of con artist manure. Bernie Sanders and other Dems say the middle class will pay more, the poor will pay the most, the deficit will go up, people will lose their health insurance, the billionaire class will win big time, and when the deficit goes up, the GOP will eliminate or cut entitlements and the budgets of agencies. 62% of the benefits will go to the top 1%.
Four Democrats are calling on Conyers to resign due to misconduct allegations.
NBC has analyzed the tax bill and what is known about Trump’s tax returns. They say he and his family may come out ahead by a billion dollars.
When Rick Santorum was running for president in 2012, he told some real whoppers, like the elderly people in the Netherlands who feared being euthanized. At the time, it upset the Dutch. Rachel brought a Dutch reporter on to comment on it. He denied every fact that Santorum claimed about it. Five or Six different claims were debunked. [When Santorum ran against Trump he was the last of 16 opponents standing. It pains me to think of any of them being president.]
Rachel had the same Dutch journalist for an interview about the 3 videos. One was a Dutch-born non Muslim beating up another minor. Neither were migrants, as claimed in the video. The one of a Muslim destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary was ISIS propaganda in Syria. The Dutch journalist said that people around the world loved Obama.
In March it was learned that Flynn and Kushner met with Kislyak. But in May we learned that the topic was a secret back channel using the Russian embassy’s apparatus to communicate with the Kremlin. Kushner met with Mueller’s team earlier this month to answer questions about that meeting. CNN source said that the meeting lasted about 90 meetings and the topic was Mike Flynn.
Last night Rachel came up with one more person on the hall of fame. They forgot Ike Kaveladze, money launderer. So 19, not 18.
Fri, Nov 24
The show is all about a review of the case for obstruction and collusion. Jill Wine-Banks said that there is definitely enough circumstantial evidence to prosecute both issues. The journalists are all excited about what Mueller is doing because Flynn’s attorneys have told the WH attorneys that there will be no more sharing of information. Twitter is on fire speculating that Flynn is going to talk and knows where a lot of bodies are buried.
Trump has offered, probably illegally, to pay the legal fees of anyone who is not indicted. You could interpret that as him saying, don’t roll on me, don’t confess, and I’ll pay your fees. It’s a little like a bribe. For those indicted, it’s too late.
Resistance: Women’s march, donations to Planned Parenthood in the name of Mike Pence, women are running for Dem positions, and they are diverse. 15 seat in the House of Delegates of VA turned blue, and maybe more. Conservative OK flipped several seats.
Rachel reviewed old clips tonight. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK lost the Senate primary election, but she got her seat by being a write-in candidate.
Old interview with Hillary and the vitriol she faced in 2016.
Eric Holder was the victim of many false impressions. People hated him and couldn’t say why. Vitriol against Janet Reno.
Now, the Atty Gen is a lightning rod from the president, not for the president. In January, Sen Cory Booker testified against Jeff Sessions in his confirmation hearing. Sessions was always known for hard line opinions. He was a Breitbart hero, the first to endorse Trump. Holder, in the October interview mentioned above, said that when the Atty Gen gets partisan, it’s not good for the country. There needs to be a wall between the Atty Gen and the president. That is not the case with Sessions and Trump. When Trump berated Sessions, it showed a lack of understanding about what the relationship should be [or a lack of caring as to what it should be normally. Trump may fully intend to change the relationship and dismiss the traditional wall.]. A vibrant press is the last line of defense.
Back to the interview with Hillary, they discussed Tillerson and the State Department. The Trump administration came in with a bias against diplomacy. Tillerson is shrinking the State Dept. Tillerson wanted to cut the State Dept budget drastically, but the Congress wouldn’t do it. Tillerson is surrounded with a cadre of people who are disdainful and don’t access the expertise of the State Department. They don’t reach out to anyone to share knowledge or take advice. Tillerson has canceled daily press briefings. Bannon spewed criticism of so many experienced people. Tillerson didn’t seem to want to learn. This president is a clear and present danger to this country. [Hillary is so eloquent and logical. She describes Trump perfectly. How sad that she is not our president.] The lock her up thing was astonishing, unlike anything she had ever seen. She is not worried that they will try to prosecute her, but she worries that if it isn’t reigned in that it could have serious national repercussions. Congress needs to restrain him. He is emotionally reactive, doesn’t listen.
Back to Eric Holder, he is working on redistricting because gerrymandering is an attack on our democracy. We are becoming inconsistent with our founding principles. He does not want Dems to do in 2021 what the GOP did in 2011. The lines won’t be redrawn until then when a new census takes place. Holder and Obama are working on other issues as well.
Tues, Nov 28
I’m a little behind in my notes here because it’s so tiring. So much happens so fast it’s hard to keep up with it. The latest is the attack on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The former chief’s position was going to term out next year, so he decided to resign early, but he didn’t feel too bad about it because the law that created the agency in 2011, Dodd-Frank, stipulated that when the chief is absent or resigned, the deputy would automatically step up and take his/her place as acting chief. This was strictly against the possibility of the president appointing a new temporary head. The agency is funded from the Federal Reserve to protect it from yearly budget threats. It was designed to be independent of partisan politics.
The acting chief does not have to be confirmed by the Senate. So Trump immediately and illegally appointed his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as acting head. Mulvaney showed up with a giant bag of donuts and took over the office, telling the 1600 employees to ignore Leandra English’s orders. She sued, and a brand new Trump appointed judge weighed in favor of Mulvaney. Judge Timothy J. Kelly acknowledged that the case raised consitutional issues. Mulvaney immediately ordered a hiring freeze. He once called the agency a sick joke and said it could just as well be gotten rid of. The GOP has always hated this agency since its inception because it inconveniences businesses and corporations. One news outlet indicated that Mulvaney had stopped payments to all kinds of clients, but I haven’t seen that confirmed.
Donald Trump's attacks on broadcaster CNN are an "an outrageous assault" on freedom of speech, according to former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Michael Hayden.
“If this is who we are or who we are becoming, I have wasted 40 years of my life,” the former spy chief, who now works as a national security analyst for the broadcaster, said in a Twitter post.
General Hayden, who is also a former director of the National Security Agency (NSA), added: "Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment."
And that is only one story I didn’t get around to taking notes on in the past few days. Another is that a right wing group called Project Veritas, supported with Trump funds, hired a woman to go to the WP and say that she had been raped by Roy Moore when she was a teenager. The Post vetted her story and figured out that it was a scam. Rachel Maddow’s show was also approached by the same organization with a bogus NSA document. The idea is to show that stories coming from left wing news outlets are easily scammed and report things that are false. That would not only discredit the news agencies, but also discredit every woman who reported a true story about being harassed in her youth. But what they accomplished is that those news outlets do their homework and are well able to vet their stories well, unlike Fox News.
Only 9% of AL voters believe the allegations against Roy Moore. They have believed for a long time that CNN and the Washington Post are all fake news. 63% say they don’t believe them. Roy Moore is making holy speeches talking about God and morality. [Christian RWers see it as a spiritual battle against the kingdom of darkness, as represented by the evil Democrats. But God is winning, says their prophets.] Right now, Moore is ahead of Jones 53/47.
Rep Luis Gutierrez, D-IL is resigning in ’18 after 25 years and 13 terms in order to go through the east from north to south and promote Democratic issues. He loves Puerto Rico. His parents and wife came from there. Puerto Rico is broken and it hurts.
Review of attempts by Trump associates during the transition to create some kind of back channel communication with the Russians (plus one new name):
Education Chief Betsy DeVoss’s brother Erik Prince met with a Russian representative named Kirill Dmitriev in the Seychelles, a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Dmitriev’s name is the new information. He runs an organization called The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). In a video interview, Prince downplayed the encounter, saying that it was a chance meeting. Some Russian guy had flown in on a private jet, and they had a beer together. Prince said they did not exchange cards, he was just some fund manager, and he could not recall his name. Later he said they talked about business. Another lie by a Trump transition associate, because western intel agencies know that this meeting was arranged by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
Dec 1, 2016, Trump Tower, Kushner and Flynn met with Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador.
At the end of the month, after sanctions had been imposed, Flynn and Kislyak spoke again on the phone.
Some time in that month, at Kislyak’s request, Kushner met with Sergey Gorkov of the VEB Bank, which is known to be a tool of Russian intelligence and was under US sanctions. This bank was the parent company of the RDIF mentioned above.
Also that month, there was a meeting in New York between Kushner, Flynn, Bannon, and Mohammed Bin Zayd, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the same crown prince who arranged the meeting in the Seychelles between Prince and Dmitriev. All of these meetings were unreported and lied about. And Kushner still has a temporary security clearance. And no one in the GOP Congress is concerned.
On Maddow last night Adam Schiff was concerned that the intel committees do not seem committed to finishing their investigations. So much is being left undone. But both committees are being led by Republicans because they are the majority party. Although interviews have been scheduled, more could be done at a faster pace “and that is not happening.”
Elizabeth Warren made a claim some years ago that she was part Native American. She just believed that because her family said it was so. She had no proof, but when the situation was formally investigated, it turned out that she is 1/32 Native American. She says she did not ask for and did not receive any special career advantage because of her claim. No Republican believes for a minute that her claim is true, and stories have saturated RW media that she tried to use that heritage for some educational advantage. [I guess we will all believe the media preferred by our tribal politics.]
A lot of Native Americans are furious with Trump over using the yearly ceremony of honoring the aged WW II code talkers to skewer Warren by calling her Pocahontas. The left calls it a racial slur. It’s not really a racial slur, except that an honored name has been turned into a petty insult. From the left: It was childish and petty and ruined a nice ceremony. The Christian Right Wing (CRW) points out correctly that the news stories don’t report that the aged code talkers felt that they were treated well. They told Trump that with him being surrounded by all of the Marine Generals, the country is in good hands. But those code talkers probably don’t know about General Kelly’s disgusting speech in which he slandered a black, female senator. When called on his error, Kelly refused to apologize. [Kelly fits right in with the Trump template.]
Flynn had been involved in something called a “Marshall Plan for the Middle East.” He advised some US companies about building nuclear power plants in the Middle East before joining the WH. Once he was appointed to the NSC, he continued to promote the plan using NSC employees. NSC staffers pushed back, saying we can’t do that while you’re working for the WH, but staffers hired by Mike Flynn and loyal to him kept pushing for it anyway, even after Flynn was gone. The idea just fizzled out eventually.
Trump keeps telling anyone at Mar-a-Lago and his South Florida golf clubs who will listen that the Trump-Russia investigation will be done by the end of this year. He will be out from under the Russian cloud by 2018.
There are so many horrid things wrong with the tax bill and the method by which it is being rushed through Congress, I don’t even want to try to list it all. A strict party line vote today got it out of committee with no hearings and no debate. It will throw people off their health insurance and hurt the poor the worst, including teachers, law enforcement officers, and firement. The CBO says it will raise the deficit. They want to rush it through because they don’t want people to know how it will affect them. There is a law already existing which says that if the deficit goes too high, cuts are triggered cutting government agencies. This would actually be fine with the libertarians and traditional Republicans who always lobby for less government.
Review of all the Russians who met with Trump campaign and transition staff: The Russian ambassador Kislyak, the VEB banker Gorka, a Russian ex-con, a Russian real estate guy, another Russian, the money laundering god father of the Russian mafia, the attorney Veselnitskaya, other Russian dudes and ladies, adding up to 18 different individuals! [That doesn’t count Lavrov and Kislyak meeting with Trump in the Oval Office.] The RDIF is run by the Russian Govt. [You could add a long list of Trump appointees who have Russian financial ties or pro-Russian loyalties.]
When a company is under sanctions, no American business organization is supposed to do business with them, so when Erik says he just discussed a little business with this guy, he is shooting himself in the foot. There is NO reason for Prince to be there, to be associated with this Russian, and for the meeting to have been arranged by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
Hawaii has rolled out an emergency siren that hasn’t been used since WW II because today North Korea has launched a missile that may be able to hit anywhere on the continental US. The missile was an ICBM that could hit Washington, DC.
Joe Cirincione, nuclear expert: The 74 days since the last missile test probably had to do with the time of year rather than some concession. This is a serious step. The good news is we don’t know if it can carry a nuclear warhead weighing a ton. It’s not a surprise any longer. This is the third successful test. The Obama administration dropped the ball on dealing with NK, and we’re not sure what the Trump administration is doing. We haven’t exhausted diplomatic options, but there are more and more people in Washington saying that we’ll have to go to war.
Puerto Rico is still experiencing blackouts. The Whitefish, MT company announced that they would not finish the work they contracted for without a huge, multi-million dollar payment they feel they are owed. Another recovery scandal has arisen similar to the Whitefish situation. The blue tarps that keep the rain away were delivered by a new company with an unproven record formed by two brothers. Yet they got more than $30M from FEMA. The address of the company is a single family home in a subdivision in Saint Cloud, FL. They never delivered the tarps. It took FEMA 4 weeks to notice that.
Carmin Yulin Cruz, mayor of San Juan, PR: her parents haven’t had electricity for 72 days now. There is a $100M bill in the PR legislature that is being developed to help PR help itself. Foreign ships need to be able to come to port. The new tax bill would put a 20% tax on items exported from PR to the US, like the saline and drip bags for hospitals that are made there in PR. That would ruin the economy of PR. The GOP congress says they will change that language, but it doesn’t happen. Puerto Rico needs its debt to be eliminated. They need sustainable power. They need solar and put power sources all over the island. They created a foundation to provide funds from donation to rebuild homes. She said that they’re going to make sure the refugees who went to FL will vote in 2018.
In the interest of being non-partisan [a rare event], here is Ajit Pai’s explanation of his FCC plan for the internet. I don’t understand it all because I don’t know why Title II replaced Title I and why the regulations were put in place in 2015. This link comes from a loony RW site that supports Breitbart, but Pai’s remarks should be independent of that site and of the CRW site that republished them. https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/11/28/fcc-chairman-ajit-pai-calls-out-twitter-facebook-youtube-and-silicon-valley-for-censorship-and-internet-content-manipulation/
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Mon, Nov 20
Discussion of Roy Moore again, showing that a good portion of the GOP and a whole lot of Evangelicals have sold their soul to partisan politics. Evangelical pastors are supporting Moore, blaming the young teenage girls for being seductive. The WH has finally decided that the tax reform trumps all ethics and values. They are supporting Moore. However, all major AL newspapers are saying vote for Doug Jones.
Carter Page is in bigger trouble than ever because he met with Hungarians in Hungary that he did not disclose. He, like everyone associated with DT, is a serial liar. It is more suspicious, because there are strong connections between Russia and Hungary and the Russian intelligence apparatus is strongly located there.
Men are being accused of sexual misconduct all over the place. One person who has dodged a bullet for decades is Clarence Thomas. Anita Hill accused him years ago and he slandered her in return. Another person who has popped up in the news for lies and slander is Greg Gianforte, the guy who got elected to the House a day after body slamming a reporter from the Guardian. Gianforte apologized to Ben Jacobs, but he made a false statement to the police. He blamed Jacobs for assaulting him, a statement that both of Gianforte’s spokesmen affirmed. However, Jacobs had a recording of the entire event, and it proves that Gianforte is a liar, so he fits right into the modern Republican party. He is a man of no character, who will lie and slander his opponent or accuser and refuse to be shamed into resigning.
Financial analysis says that the middle class would pay more taxes and the rich will make out like bandits. Trump and crew are lying about that, too. Sen Orrin Hatch testified in a hearing that there were no cuts to Medicaid in the tax bill. Sen Claire McCaskill of MO shredded him about that. She is very passionate. One of the good guys.
Eight women are making accusations against Charlie Rose, really lurid ones, and his show is being suspended, as well as his place on two other shows. Glenn Thrush is alleged to have touched a woman inappropriately during his Politico days, so his present employer, NYT, has fired him. Fox News just paid out an additional $90M to shareholders due to all the sex scandals there. Another woman is accusing Al Franken while he was a Senator. Roy Moore is being urged by most GOP senators and all major AL newspapers to step down.
The Trump foundation is closing. It’s being investigated for violating a ban on “self-dealing” and other fraud issues. But he may not be able to close it because of the investigation. [It did close.]
“A long winter” is ahead for the WH. There are foreign meetings that have not been reported and lies and lies and lies that are being reported now. One is Jared’s meeting with a Russian banker. He hasn’t revealed any of them, yet he still works in the WH and still has a temporary security clearance. Well, his father-in-law doesn’t give a diddlysquat. Hope Hicks will be testifying soon.
The Trump admin is trying to pressure the DOJ to unseal cases again.
The DOJ is suing AT&T to stop the deal of buying Time Warner. DT is trying to weigh in on it, and he is not supposed to be doing that. He sees the DOJ and part of his personal arsenal.
There is new reporting that the DOJ has subpoenaed itself. Mueller has ordered the DOJ to turn over documents regarding the Trump-Russia investigation and the firing of James Comey and Session’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation.
Tomorrow the Trump FCC is going to announce that net neutrality is being repealed. There will be a vote next month. Corporations will be able to pick and choose who gets fast internet.
Bloomberg reports: “The Trump campaign’s legal bills have already topped more than $2 million this year, including payments related to the Russia investigations, as well as $287,924 for Trump Jr. Separately, in September, the Republican National Committee paid $166,527 to Alan Futerfas, who represents Trump Jr., according to the party’s latest filing with the Federal Election Commission.” So now Bloomberg reports that DT is going to start paying his own legal fees, and the Trump campaign is going to set up a campaign legal fund for Junior and staffers. If staffers have to pay their own fees, they could go bankrupt. They might have to liquidate their kid’s college fund or mortgage their home.
Veterans groups were blindsided by a proposal to fold veterans’ healthcare into a private health service. Conservative libertarian groups have been lobbying for this for years. The Koch brothers and their conservative network has been wanting this.
The cabinet officials around Trump aren’t saying anything about Roy Moore. The line is that the people of AL should decide what to do with Moore. The state governor is standing with him. The Young Republican Group is abandoning him.
Tues Nov 21
The water situation in Flint happened when the water got switched. That poisoned people in Flint and unleashed an epidemic of Legionnaires disease. 12 people died from that. 15 people have been indicted. Gov Rick Snyder got reelected for a second term before people figured out what had happened. The head of the Dept of Health was indicted. “Everyone has to die of something.” The state epidemiologist. The chief medical executive is a woman who is under a felony indictment is still serving in that position. The guy who said everybody has to die is also serving. The chief medical exec has been appointed to run a health advisory council for the state of Michigan.
Volunteers have gathered to challenge the gerrymandering. They want congressional and legislative districts drawn in a fair way. In 2012, the Michigan GOP bragged about how cleverly they had rigged the election through their districts. They get fewer votes but get more seats. There were nearly a quarter million more votes for Dems, but they got 5 seats to 9 GOP seats. 2016 was the same deal but only worse. This is why we don’t know if Virginia has flipped in spite of 10 point lead in votes. Dems have to win by 10 points to win anything. The 2020 census will require another redistricting, so Dems are working to make it nonpartisan. It’s important to win state legislature seats to be prepared for that because it is the states that draw the districts. Trump wants to put Thomas Brunell in charge of the census. He has never worked in government before or run a large agency. He wrote a book called Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America. He is not a statistician. He is an activist who promotes partisan districting. The person who ran the census under Obama was perfectly qualified and left that job to the chief statistician for the US government. Since Trump’s guy would have to be confirmed by the Senate for her job, Trump is leaving that office empty. Brunell can be appointed by Trump to be the deputy director. [One of Trump’s campaign promises was that he would get all the best people. Really smart, qualified people.]
Alarm is spreading about the firing of Dana Boente, and why it bodes ill for the US. Sen Chris Coons, D-DE of the Judiciary Committee has sent a letter demanding an explanation from the DOJ. Today is the deadline, but so far no answer. The firing came on the same day as the indictments of Manafort, Gates, and Mike Flynn. He wants Sen Coons wants Sen Chuck Grassley to hold a hearing on it. It looks like a pattern, more obstruction of justice. The Eastern District would be central to much of this investigation. Boente is fourth in line of succession if people resign for refusing to obey the president’s orders.
Discussion of the attack on internet neutrality.
Question about why the meeting between Trump and Putin is always reported first by Russian media. Our media gets news of it from them. This should really alarm anyone. The meetings during the Asia trip is the third case of this happening. The Kremlin revealed it to a Russian media source and Reuters got it from them. The meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak was the first occasion. Why does this keep happening?
Friday, December 29, 2017
Weds, Nov 15
MSNBC has been about more women coming forth to absolutely nail Roy Moore as a creepy predator in his 30’s. Today he is an angry bull, denying everything and accusing all those women of being liars. The election date is Dec 12. Tonight the AL GOP is going to take no action against Roy Moore. They are sticking with him because it’s too late to take him off the ballot. Moore is threatening to sue two of the women. Rachel predicts, as others do, that Moore will run, win, and be in the Senate forever. Richard Shelby, R-AL, said he won’t vote for Moore. A new NRSC poll has 51/39 for Doug Jones. That was only part of the poll. They wouldn’t reveal the rest of it.
The GOP is about to vote on a budget bill. They took out the individual mandate (the tax on those who don’t sign up for some kind of insurance), an important pillar in Obamacare. Dropping ti would raise prices on those older folks who are sicker and need more care. They also took out a $250 tax credit for teachers who buy equipment for their students. Sen Susan Collins fought for it in 2002 and 2007. In 2016 she got it made permanent. But this Congress is going to ax it because they have to find a way to benefit the wealthy.
A Fox News host had to gently remind Tom Price in September that his jet scandal was a genuine scandal. The House will vote tomorrow on the tax bill. Rachel calls it Don’t-Think-About-Rich-People Day. On the eve of the vote, Mnuchin published a photo of himself and his wife holding a sheet of money. She is wearing an expensive dress, jacket, and leather gloves, and they are both smirking triumphantly. 52% of Americans disapprove of the tax bill. That was before they put the repeal of Obamacare individual mandate in it. The mandate repeal will result in 13 million Americans losing their insurance. There are 5 GOPers who may not vote for it. Susan Collins is one. [This GOP Congress is incredible. They can’t even pretend to care about the American public.]
Elizabeth Warren, under Pres Obama, helped to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She got Richard Cordray involved in it. He was there a year, but today he resigned, maybe to run as governor of Ohio. Trump will put a corrupt politician in it.
Oklahoma is slowly turning blue. A gay woman just flipped a seat in the state legislature. Four this year.
Thurs, Nov 16
More stuff about Roy Moore, comparing his allegations to Al Franken. Against Franken there is one allegation, and he is fully acknowledging it, apologizing, and cooperating with any further investigation.
All In revealed what the ultra rich do with the billions they will gain in the House tax bill. They buy up their own corporate shares, raise the price of those shares, and benefit from the dividends. Then they move the money offshore so they don’t have to pay taxes on it. On the other hand, a graduate student will not be able to deduct the interest on their school loans, and if they get scholarships and fellowships, they’ll have to pay taxes on them as if they are income. Teachers will lose the $250/yr deduction for buying equipment for their classrooms. It’s unconscionable, but the big donors have made an investment and they want a return.
They showed a photo of Eric and Don Jr Trump holding a dead cheetah, and another photo of Don Jr holding an elephant tail. The GOP House passed a bill restoring the ability to import elephant heads and other wildlife trophies from a nation where the elephant population is dropping precipitously.
Subpoenas have gone out to about a dozen members of the Trump campaign.
Even George HW is being fried by a 7th women saying that he groped her. The other 6 accusations were passed over because of Bush’s age and debilitation. I don’t think they should even have been mentioned. However, the last woman said it happened in 1992.
Bob Menendez was not convicted of corruption after two juries were hung. That preserved his Dem seat in NJ where Chris Christy would have had two months to appoint a Republican Senator at a time when House and Senate are voting on tax reform and budget issues.
Kushner is in trouble again because some additional explosive emails were not turned over to the Senate investigators. They had them, and were miffed that he had not disclosed them. One was about a backchannel with Russia and a dinner invitation. Kushner still has a security clearance.
In Sept 2016, Flynn met with the Turkish officials about kidnapping Fethullah Gulan. But there was a second meeting in mid-Dec at the 21 Club, also about kidnapping him. They talked about transporting him to a prison island on a private jet, and discussed a payment in the amount of $15M to Flynn and his son. This was after the election.
Tom Winter, NBC, reported last week about the Dec meeting. They said Mueller’s investigation was looking into whether Flynn was shopping another plan to spring a guy who is being prosecuted in NY and is in jail. He’s Turkish, rich, well-connected. They hired Rudy Giuliani and another atty to get him out. Did they plan with Flynn to make the charges go away. We don’t know, but it’s being investigated by Mueller. Today, the guy is now out of jail. His trial will start in a few days. Reza Zarrab is now cooperating with federal prosecutors. He was moved from one jail to another before he was released. Zarrab was in jail for something to do with Iran, terrorism, and illegal transfer of money. Others are involved. They will be going on trial, but apparently Zarrab will not be in the trial with the others. Zarrab has 17 attys. Some kind of deal has been struck with the DOJ. Speculation is that he must have info that Mueller can use in his investigations, probably to do with Flynn.
The AL GOP put out a statement that Alabamians will be the final judge on Roy Moore. But now Jones is solidly ahead.
Dems are frying and fricasseeing Al Franken due to his groping allegation. He asked for an ethics investigation against himself. The bi-partisan ethics committee is happy to oblige. This event was before Franken was in the Senate, but still no excuse.
In Puerto Rico, there is a particular power line that keeps throwing thousands of employees into the dark. It is being repaired by Whitefish Energy until the end of the month, and they are charging a lot for their work.
Roy Moore is claiming that Mitch McConnell is behind all the allegations against him. He says McConnell should step down because he is trying to steal the election from the Alabamians.
Fri, Nov 17
Maddow, Richard Engel
Is the president receiving money from foreign governments in his businesses?
A Trump Tower in Panama City opened and has been attracting Russian money launderers. Trump doesn’t actually own it. His organization gets paid to have his name on it. Trump Ocean Club was promoted by DJT and Ivanka, but now he doesn’t own it. Alexander Ventura sold many units to people who were not vetted. No one cared. Mafia people would buy 20 units at a time. Units were sold but not occupied. Buildings were paid for by drug money. They were used to launder money. Ivanka was deeply involved in the building and renting.
[According to nbcnews.com, “Ventura isn’t the only person associated with the building who has had run-ins with the law. An NBC News investigation into the Trump Ocean Club, in conjunction with Reuters, shows that the project was riddled with brokers, customers and investors who have been linked to drug trafficking and international crime. Ceballos, who investigated the project, went as far as to call the skyscraper “a vehicle for money laundering.”
The buyer uses dirty money to buy unit 6, then it’s flipped and sold. Many of the units are owned by corporations with generic names. They are shell companies. Then they can be sold or transferred to anyone.
The building went bankrupt, but the Trumps continued to get money from it. The president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, was at the opening. Trump called him a friend. But Martinelli wound up in prison, got out on bail, and disappeared. He is now in Miami. The govt of Panama wants to extradite him. The question is, will Trump interfere to block it? And should the Trump organization be concerned about the reputation of the building in light of the fact that the organization did receive money per sale? You have to prove that the organization knew what was going on.
Sat, Nov 11
Last night, Richard Engle’s On Assignment was pretty scary. We seem doomed to go to war with North Korea as long as Trump is president.
This morning I was dreaming about painting or drawing a portrait of a woman’s head. That little dreamlet was interrupted (actually overlain) by this: “People are making mistakes and they are going to pay.” (Note from 12-2-17: This dream wasn’t about Russia. It’s about the many men who have lost their careers since this dream due to accusations of sexual harassment. The portrait wasn’t fully finished, but it was close. It represented all that women have become and will be in the future.)
[News this am: Trump said he met with Putin in Vietnam and asked him twice, did you mess with our election. “You can only ask so many times.” The old KGB agent assured him that no, Russia did not, and how insulting it is to keep accusing them of doing so. So Trump came away assured that his pal would not lie to him. It’s the entire intel community that is wrong, because they are “a bunch of political hacks.” Trump’s loyalist sock puppet Mike Pomeo, now head of the CIA, actually had the balls to disagree with Trump.
Trump gave a strong America First speech on the Asia trip. He actually said something I agree with. He disagreed with the TPP because it ties our hands, limits our sovereignty, and is difficult to enforce. A few hours later, 11 Pacific Rim countries signed their own version without us. It’s called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Pruitt is pushing all science out of the EPA and is replacing science with industry, as if the EPA’s existence is for their convenience.]
Mon, Nov 13
A fifth woman has come forward to claim that Roy Moore accosted her when she was 16. She was a waitress at a particular restaurant that he hung out at when he was a District Attorney in his 30’s. Everyone knew that he liked teenage girls and loitered around where High School kids could be found. He signed her year book, named the date, the restaurant, and said something very complimentary. Today he says he doesn’t know her and knows nothing of the restaurant. But she has it in tow, and it has been on camera. In spite of all that, he refuses to step down and in the polls, he and Doug Jones are neck and neck. There are enough GOP congressmen that believe the women and would probably expel Moore if he won. Mitch McConnell says he believes the women. The RNC is still supporting his campaign. [When they justified it, it was clear that political expediency scored higher than morality.]
If they expel him, Sessions could be put in his seat. Then a new DOJ chief could be appointed who could fire Mueller.
It has come out that Junior and WikiLeaks emailed back and forth in September, 2016. It was another contact that was not disclosed. WikiLeaks was really trying to get Trump elected, even by nefarious means. That totally blows the myth that they are a neutral, radical transparency organization. It shows that Assange was working with Russia. Cambridge Analytica was also working for the Trump campaign. WL gave Junior a link to documents, and Jr tweeted that link shortly after. The day he got the first message, he emailed the entire campaign. And on that same day, Mike Pence went on Fox and Friends and said there is no possibility that anyone on the campaign was contacting Russians. On Friday, it was confirmed that Camb Analytica contacted WL while they were working for the campaign. There were over 30 undisclosed contacts between the Trump campaign, transition, or administration.
Chuck Rosenberg, fmr Chief of Staff to Comey, someone who had a long relationship with him: He also worked with Mueller. Rosenberg was acting DEA administrator on into the Trump Administration. He left because he was uncomfortable, and didn’t want to make it be about himself. When Trump made a speech about mistreating defendants, not being too nice to them, which could encourage police brutality, Rosenberg wrote a memo to all those under him. He wanted them to know that we can’t mistreat our defendants. That memo became public. He lost confidence in the president’s respect for the rule of law. He said Jim Comey is a man of integrity. It was a privilege to work for and with him. He is not a “political hack.” Making notes about a situation is not unusual. It can be for good things or bad things. Rosenberg has done it himself. They are helpful in trials. They aren’t always admissible, but they could be used to refresh memory. Mueller ran the whole 9-11 investigation, so he has demonstrated he is up to the task of a huge, complex investigation.
Tues, Nov 14
Rachel did a history of the US embassy in Moscow. It began with IBM coming out with their new way of typing . . .font balls that swirl. From 1976 to 1984, 16 of our IBM typewriters in the US embassy were bugged by the Russians with a sophisticated devise inside the font ball. Every key stroke was recorded for 8 years. Another country that was also bugged tipped us off when they discovered it.
Then the US made a deal with Russia to build a new embassy building in Moscow. The Russians built one here and it was watched over very carefully by Russian overseers. All material was constructed there at the site and everything was x-rayed before it was put in place. When we built ours, we let the Russians construct a lot of the components. We did the windows, doors, and the inside of the building. After a while, it was discovered that there were bugs embedded into the floors, walls, and beams of the building. It was so utterly and irrevocably bugged that we tore down the top two floors and tried to make them secure.
Today, we have a situation where the security of the building was given in a no bid contract to a Russian company run by the son of a man who is closely tied to Vladimir Putin and the KGB. During the Asian trip, Trump met with Putin 3 times. The way we know is that our journalists read it in the Russian press. Then immediately he began to call for the sanctions to be lifted and for a “healing” to begin.
Rachel reminded the audience about how Tillerson has gutted the State Dept, about all the Russian spies that have met with administration officials, about how Trump brought Lavrov, a Russian camera man, and Kislyak into the WH without informing anyone that he was going to do that, how he called our fired FBI director “a nut job,” and how he gave the two Russians secret information that he had no permission to share.
She is right. There is something totally treasonous here. All the while, Trump is putting severe pressure on Jeff Sessions, who has lied over and over under oath and now says he has never lied to the investigators, to create a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Uranium One deal. Sessions already knows that there is nothing there. Quite a few GOP Congressmen are also pressuring him to comply, and he has had to tell them that he won’t do it because there is no cause to do so.
Meanwhile, the RNC is backing away from their support of Roy Moore. The calls for him to step aside are becoming more numerous, but he is raging that he is falsely accused and won’t back down. One denial has been blown out of the water. He claimed that he had never met the fifth woman to accuse him of practically raping her. He never heard of the restaurant that she worked in where they met. Then she brought out her year book where everything she said was verified. He knew and admired her. He signed and dated the entry. It is this last accusation with that yearbook that is doing him in. Plus, those who knew him before in those days knew he had a problem with teenage girls. He was permanently banned from the local mall because he was stalking young girls there. There is no denying it. The man is scum and the GOP doesn’t know what to do about it. Doug Jones is pulling ahead in the polls.
Jeff Sessions’ statements today regarding what he knew about Mike Flynn: I don’t recall. I don’t think so. I don’t believe so. I knew nothing. I heard nothing. I saw nothing. I can’t recall.
Rep Mo Brooks, R-AL was seen running away downstairs from a reporter asking him about Roy Moore. He just shouted as he ran, The GOP really wants to keep that seat. They need it to get their tax cut and partial repeal of Obamacare.
It was Mitch McConnell who finally drove Bob Packwood out of the Senate in the early 90’s. McConnell has stated that he believes the women today. The GOP could start investigating Moore now as they did for 33 months when it was Sen Bob Packwood. Even Breitbart is backing away. Their field operatives have gone home.
Weds, Nov 9
Roy Moore has been accused by 4 women on the record of pursuing them when he was in his 30’s and they were ages 14-18. The 14 year old told friends at the time, and her mother found out after about a decade. Moore’s constituency may not care. He is a Bible thumping politician who condemns gay people and thinks homosexuality should be illegal. He thinks that a Muslim Congressman should be disqualified due to his religion. He was thrown out of the AL Supreme Court twice because he defied the law as defined by the US Supreme Court. He is a walking circus like Trump. There isn’t much the GOP can do about him on the ballot. Early voting has begun and there is no way to get him off the ballot. GOPers in the Congress always start with, “If the allegations are true…” and then, “We’ll need more information.” Moore of course is denying all. Many pundits predict the GOP base will choose not to believe it. They can say it’s a plot by the Dems to smear Moore. This is the Republican party where, as of last August, they still think Trump won the popular vote.
Betsy Woodruff, Daily Beast: What would convince these people? It’s astonishing. I can’t wrap my head around it. Breitbart is running interference for Moore.
Kurt Bardella, fmr Breitbart employee: this is classic Brietbart. Bannon is all in for Moore. If a Dem got that seat, it would be devastating for the GOP and RW media.
Some GOPers are going to stand with Moore because to lose him concedes the seat to a Democrat. They can’t deal with that, but Sen Lisa Murkowski, R-AK is horrified at the allegations.
During the 2013 Miss Universe in Moscow, one participant offered to send 5 women to Trump’s hotel room, but Keith Schiller, former bodyguard, rejected the offer. He thought it was a joke. The allegation in the dossier is that Trump was present for sexual acts between two women, including urination [and we’ve been told they urinated on the bed that the Obamas once slept in] but Schiller denies that and there is no proof of it. It did confirm some other allegations in the dossier in describing the run up to the attempt. Schiller stayed with Trump for a while that night, then left. He believes that nothing happened.
Natasha Bertrand, Business Insider: It does show that Russia does this kind of thing to gain kompromat on people. Some of the acts were alleged to happen in St Petersburg rather than Moscow. The dossier talks about other trips to Russia. Schiller says he can’t recall whether he traveled to some of the cities, which is hard to believe. Trump met with many powerful Russians in restaurants. He wanted to meet Putin. Trump’s ties to Russia go way back, and Mueller should interview the Agalarovs. It’s a common practice in Russia to use tapes against people.
Huff Post: “Another Trump Court Pick is rated ‘Not Qualified.’” This a rating by the ABA (American Bar Association). Leonard Gratz, this is the 4th Trump pick with that rating, and the 2nd with a unanimous qualified rating. It was a 14 to 0 vote.
Trump’s pick for a top environmental post, Kathleen White, doesn’t know what to think about climate change. She wasn’t able to demonstrate any expertise on climate change issues and admitted it.
Today GOPers were going to try and pass a tax bill today, but Moore situation hijacked that. There are 16 days left for the House to act on something and 20 days for the Senate. Chris Collins, R-NY: “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done, or don’t ever call me again.’” Lindsey Graham said that if they don’t get a tax bill passed by the end of the year, “the financial contributions will stop, among other repercussions.” But corporations are already making record profits.
Recent papers called The Paradise Papers showed the extent that many of the wealthy and businesses hide money offshore. Corporations pay taxes at a 35% rate, but with loopholes, they don’t actually pay that. The tax proposals will raise the debt by $1.5T. Bernie Sanders predicts that when it comes home to roost, the GOPers will come after Medicaid, education, and other entitlements to fix the debt.
In 2008, Dems thought they had a good shot at winning. There was a lot of acrimony between Obama and Clinton, but after he won, he asked her to be Sec of State. After the win, she was uber famous, and it made the State Dept important. Obama kept Bob Gates on. Cheney’s numbers were worse than Christy’s when he left DC. Once Clinton and Obama were sworn in, they went on the road together and made joint statements to build up the State Dept and depend less on the military. They wanted to boost diplomacy. By 2016, the applications for the foreign service were through the roof. There were 366 new officers were appointed last year. More than 17,000 people applied. It was prestigious. This year, less than half that number have applied and only 199 will be accepted. Ambassador Barbara Stevenson, head of the Foreign Service Association, wrote that “the Foreign Service officer corps at State has lost 60% of its Career Ambassadors since January. Ranks of Career Ministers, our three-star Equivalents, are down from 33 to 19. The ranks of our two-star Minister Counselors have fallen from 431 right after Labor Day to 369 today—and are still falling.” This is a decapitation of the State Dept. She titled her article “Time to Ask Why.” Trump has put utterly incompetent, unqualified people in many agencies. But what is the ideology behind gutting the State Dept? Who wants it? Tillerson was CEO of Exxon and hadn’t met Trump before he was appointed him as Sec of State. When we put the sanctions on Russia, Tillerson had just closed a huge oil deal, closed in Putin’s own home. The sanctions shut down the deal. 74 top State Dept positions are still vacant and no one is even nominated. The top leadership that is leaving have been honed in their expertise for decades and are not easily replaced, [especially if you put a Starbucks barista in the position].
Stevenson ends with, we need to shine a light on this. Why is this happening? [She is suggesting obliquely that Russia is behind this.]
In AL, 2 years ago, the sitting Speaker of the House was indicted for 23 felony corruption charges, but in spite of that, he won his race by a lot, and then he was elected to be their leader. When he was sentenced to 4 years in prison, he lost his top spot. The year after that, 2016 Gov Robt Bentley was caught in a salacious, recorded sexual conversation with his senior political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. The governor denied any physical reality. He refused to resign. He lasted more than a year after that. He was impeached in 2016, but the Atty Gen of AL said, back off, we’ll take care of it, then did nothing. The Atty Gen was Luther Strange. So when Jeff Sessions was appointed to be director of DOJ, Bentley appointed Strange to take his seat. Around then, Moore was thrown off the AL Supreme Court for the second “time for 6 charges of violation of the canons of judicial ethics.” Luther Strange lost to Roy Moore. Now Moore has been accused of child molestation. This is the guy who is in a charity scandal.
John Archibald, AL.com: 30 sources on the record for the Roy Moore sexual misconduct story. He had heard almost nothing about this. The only issue disputed was that he bought wine for a young girl in the 80’s, but it would have been a dry county. He thinks he can’t be removed, and he won’t resign. It may invigorate Moore’s base because they’ll think it’s a Mitch McConnell or a Democrat plot, in which case he may win by more. Other Bible thumping GOPers know it’s illegal and immoral, but politics reigns and they are saying it does not matter.
Poll numbers: In July, 27% of Americans were very concerned that the Trump campaign associates had contact with Russian operatives. Last week, it was 44%. 44% say that Russia’s attempts to interfere with the election is a major problem. 22% say it’s a full on crisis. 59% think Trump knew what was going on. 35% said no.
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Trump is being Trump, frustrated that he can’t order the DOJ to investigate HRC and the dossier, and he is calling for the death penalty for Saipov and he is angry that Sgt Bowe Bergdahl won’t get more prison time. He told a sycophantish interviewer on Fox News that it doesn’t matter that the posts at the State Dept aren’t filled, because he is the only one that matters, anyway.
He has assured us that he has the best memory ever, yet he only has a vague recall the meeting with Sessions and Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos was also at a convention panel July 20, 2016. After inauguration he was meeting with Israeli officials on behalf of the administration. He also met with Foreign Office officials in Britain.
Yesterday Trump was in an interview where he said he was innocent of any collusion. He didn’t say his campaign didn’t collude, and he didn’t say it was fake news or a hoax. He fully expected Mueller to take that into consideration.
Pruitt has dismissed, gagged, and reassigned scientists in the EPA and has taken all information supporting climate change off the EPA website. But every 4 years a report comes out called The National Climate Assessment that is written by members of 13 federal agencies. It confirms that we are in the warmest era of our history and that there is no other credible reason for changes in climate other than human CO2 emissions. It claimed that the warmer temperatures will cause there to be more moisture in the air and that in the end, whole cities will be under water. In other places, there will be less rain and crops will suffer. The WH had to sign off on it. EPA declined to comment on the report.
Last month, 41% of Trump supporters thought Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win the election. As of Tues, that had gone up to 56%.
Trump’s pronouncements about who is guilty and who should get the death sentence impede the ability of the justice system to try and sentence people fairly without prejudice. During the campaign, Trump said that Bowe Bergdahl should be thrown out of a plane without a parachute. After the inauguration, he commented on the proceedings again, so the judge even stated that Trump’s comments made sentencing difficult. So Bergdahl got a reduction in rank and no prison time. Trump said that was a disgrace. Now Bergdahl’s lawyers say that they will use Trump’s comments in their appeals.
Today, Trump was bashing Jeff Sessions again and the FBI, saying Sessions should be locking up HRC. Then RW media responds, yeah, why isn’t Sessions going after HRC? Then Trump says, everyone is wondering why DOJ isn’t investigating HRC. This is the fourth time since Sessions’ recusal in March that Trump has lashed out against him. [Our president is an idiot, but a cunning idiot. GOP response: TAX CUT COMIN’ SOON!]
Maddow: If he fires Sessions, Trump will replace him with someone who is not recused from the Russia-Trump investigation. Then he WILL find someone who will do his bidding.
Breaking: NYT, Mark Mazetti: Carter Page testified yesterday. He was presented with an email that he sent after the meetings in Russia in the summer of 2016. The campaign provided that email. It is confirmed that the campaign approved of the trip and the meetings, confirmed that Page has been lying ever since about the trip. He met with actual Russian government officials, and afterwards, he told the Trump campaign officials all about it. With this all cleared up, it shows that Sessions and Trump lied about what they knew and when they knew it.
Puerto Rico still does not have power, and water is still making people sick. Since the hurricane, hundreds of bodies were cremated before they were accounted for. 911 people have died of natural causes since then. 76 cases are under suspicion of being associated with leptosperosis. PR will not release the information of who is alive and who is dead until they affirm whether 72 these cases are positive for lepto. They have promised that they would release the information this week, but it’s Friday, but it hasn’t happened so far.
In 2000 there was a GAO report about one guy, Irakly (Ike) Kaveladze, who was so prodigious at money laundering, he was like the poster child for it. He turned up at the meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016. Kaveladze had a partner named Boris Goldstein, a Soviet-born banker with ties to former KGB officials, The Guardian reported that “Kaveladze was involved in the $34M takeover of a US company by a Russian mining firm belonging to…Vladimir Potanin, one of Russia’s wealthiest oligarchs, who is so favored by Putin that he has played on the president’s “Hockey Legends ice hockey team.” Yesterday he testified to the House Intelligence Committee. One Republican member said Kaveladze was just kind of another guy in the room and was a good witness. They met with Mary McCord, Sally Yates, and 7 hours with Carter Page recently.
Trump is in Asia making speeches about how evil North Korea is.
It’s the one year anniversary of Trump’s election. Tues, yesterday, there was an election and Dems did very well. We took the governorship of VA, the Lt. Gov, and the Atty Gen of VA, the Gov of NJ, and in the VA legislature, the Dems needed to flip 17 seats to retake control. They took 15 for certain, beyond their wildest dreams. Four seats are still out for the count. It’s possible that the Dems may do it. Furthermore, many of the seats were won by women, some of whom had never run for anything. The last time there was an election for US House seats, there were 90 seats available, but Dems only ran 26 candidates. After the last presidential election, the Dems were “raining candidates” for everything. Not only were the seats in VA’s legislature won by scads of women, there was a transgender person, and a Latino woman. The guy who mocked the huge women’s march last year lost his seat to a woman.
Carl Icahn resigned as advisor in August. He started putting bets on the market that were related to the advice he was giving the president. That is a crime. The New Yorker posted a piece on this, and immediately Icahn quit. So the WH claimed that he never had a title. Walter Shaub raised an alert about Icahn and his actions. The Atty Gen’s office said that he is still on their radar, but last week Reuters reported that Icahn dumped half his “outstanding biofuel obligation to $127M…down from $280M.” His company has now been contacted by the US Atty office of the Southern District of NY for info regarding that and the connection with what he advised the president. This is “the most banana republic corruption in the Trump administration.”
Bill Binney, former US intelligence official, is a promoter of really crazy theories which he talks about on RT and Infowars. One of his theories is that Russia didn’t hack the election at all. Last month, CIA director Mike Pompeo met with him one on one. Binney said that Pompeo called him in and told him Trump urged him to meet with Binney.
Last month Mike Pompeo told the US National Security Summit that intelligence community’s assessment is that the Russian interference in our election didn’t affect the outcome of the election. That is not true. The intel comm made no such assessment, and the CIA had to rescind their director’s remarks. The CIA knows that Pompeo is an ardent Trump ally. He recently reorganized the CIA so that the Counter-intellgence Mission Center, a part of the CIA that didn’t used to report directly to the Director, now reports to Pompeo, who was a senator, and not in the intel community. This is the section that turned up the fact that Trump campaign members were contacting Russian officials.
Former US Atty Barbara McQuade has said that Pompeo could stop Mueller in his tracks by deciding to deny permission to use the evidence that the spec counsel might need to make their case.
Ned Price, fmr NSC spokesman: All this info bothers him and worries the intelligence community. The intelligence community needs space to do what they do without political interference. Trump has time and again put his finger on the scale. Trump telling Pompeo to meet with Bill Binney at Langley is a signal that Trump wants to promote that crazy theory. It’s not farfetched that Trump would use this to stop the investigation. He could refuse to hand over evidence that has been collected over two years. The good news is that a report was released on Jan 6. But what about evidence that is gathered in the future. CIA officers could take evidence gathered and run it over to the WH to muffle it, disappear it, or use it somehow in the favor of Trump.
Dan Rather: Just published a book called “What Unites Us.” It’s hard to know what his NK policy is. China is the key to making progress in slowing No Korea’s nuclear progress. We need some hope and optimism, and he finds it in the election results.
Cost of the dossier, according to DT, was $12M. Mark Hosenball of Reuters said it was $168,000. Mary McCord, fmr head of DOJ Nat Sec Div testified before House Intel Comm in a secure room. Her successor, Dana Boente, was actually fired from both his jobs the day before the indictments were sworn against Manafort and Gates. He did not resign. It would be interesting to know if there is a connection.
Hope Hicks, WH communications director will be interviewed by Mueller’s team later this month, and Keith Schiller, former body guard and fmr Director of Operations in the WH, will be testifying before the House Intel Comm next week. Ike Kaveladze, a Russian born CA businessman who attended the June 9 meeting in Trump Tower, and Carter Page will be testifying before the House Committee.
Brig Gen John Baker of the Marine Corp is a lawyer. He’s the second highest ranking attorney in the Marine Corp, yet he is locked up at Guantanamo. On Oct 12, 2000, USNS Cole pulled into port in Yemen. Two suicide bombers put a hole in the ship, killing 17 sailors. The mastermind was Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri. He was captured two years later. He was held in secret CIA facility where he was tortured and waterboarded. In 2006, he was sent to Gitmo. In 2011 they finally arraigned him. His case is still ongoing. Nashiri is charged with a capital crime, so you need a lawyer who has expertise and experience in death sentences. He had 4 lawyers. 3 weeks ago all 3 quit. Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald said it was because of an ethical conflict. There was a lack of confidentiality. It’s all so classified they can’t even talk to their client about why they quit. That decision was signed off on by John Baker on Oct 11. He has access to what their cause is. A judge, an AF Col, said that was wrong. He ordered the defense attorneys, who were already in the US, to come back to the case, but Baker argued against that. There is no case law or precedent for this in Guantanamo. They fought for 3 weeks until the judge ordered the general to swear an oath and answer questions about the episode. He said no, so the judge ordered him to rescind his orders saying it was OK for the attorneys to leave the case. Baker refused, “I’m definitely not doing that.”
Nashiri has another lawyer left, an ex-Navy SEAL and 2012 Georgetown Law School graduate named Lt Alaric Plette, who claims that he is not really qualified to represent Nashiri. The judge turned to Plette and ordered him to continue with his defense and to file legal proceedings. He also refused. So today the judge put the general in jail for 21 days for contempt of court. The general is a US citizen. The judge has no jurisdiction over US citizens. He also declared the order to release the attorneys null and void. That may mean that he will send armed US marshals to the US to somehow force those 3 lawyers to defend Nashiri, even if it’s by video calls. Will he confine them? The judge has no jurisdiction there, either.
So today, Trump said our justice system is a joke, a laughing stock. He would consider sending the guy who ran over people in Manhattan to Guantanamo. That guy has already been charged. Rachel is clearly being snarky about the difference between the civilian system and the Guantanamo system, making the point that Trump has no idea what he is talking about. He just wants to sound tough to his base.
Today and yesterday there was testimony by Google, Facebook, and Twitter. They showed samples of Russian ads. Rep Adam Schiff took the occasion to walk through the steps of how and when the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. They were approached in April 2016 and the campaign did gladly accept their help to hurt HRC and help DT get elected. He walked through the timeline of what has actually been proven so far.
Rachel: Is this collusion?
Schiff: Well collusion includes conspiracy. You have to have an agreement, an offer, an acceptance, and furtherance. The dumping of the emails is what closes that loop. That gives the campaign some deniability and distance. If you can prove that they knew that the dump was coming, that would qualify.
Rachel: The fact that they didn’t go to the FBI, does that make a criminal liability?
Schiff: At a minimum it’s certainly unpatriotic, but he is not sure that is enough.
Rachel’s two questions: Why are the headlines against Manafort for tax fraud but not tax evasion? How is he being charged with money laundering when you have to do something criminal. You can’t launder ordinary money.
Jaimie Nawady, fmr US Atty for the Southern District of New York: There may be additional charges in the future. It may be that Mueller was under time pressure. They also need memos and approvals from the IRS. The defendants would expect tax filings to be used, but that wouldn’t be what they would use to justify no bail.
Rachel: What crime are they declaring to validate money laundering?
Nawady: There are two definitions of money laundering. One is that a crime has been committed and the laundering is to hide the proceeds. The other is to promote a crime or criminal activity. There doesn’t have to have been a crime committed already.
The USNS mercy ship is a symbol of horribly botched relief. It was almost entirely unused for weeks. They saw an average of 9 people a day. This weekend, they decided to move it from its off-shore position into port. Immediately, there were long lines of people waiting to get on. Now it’s 60% full. They saw 700 people in one weekend. [“Heckuva job, Brownie.”]
Sam Clovis’s nomination for a science position in the Dept of Agriculture will probably be withdrawn due to the fact that he is in the recent indictments and he is cooperating with the grand jury and special prosecutor. Did he get immunity for his testimony? He will probably not be asked science questions because he is not a scientist. [The EPA dismissed all scientists from its advisory board today.]
Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair says a source told him that when Steve Bannon called Trump recently, Trump blamed Jared for the bad political advice to fire Flynn and Comey. Another source admits that Jared Kushner is the worst presidential advisor in modern history. On Monday and Tuesday, Bannon called the WH and suggested that a more aggressive Trump attorney should be put over Ty Cobb. He also called on Congress to check the “unchecked power” of Robt Mueller by defunding the investigation. According to another source, (Roger Stone?) when Roger Stone told Trump that Jared was giving him bad political advice, Trump agreed. So Trump is disenchanted with his son-in-law.
Roger Stone wants Trump to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Uranium One deal. It’s interesting that Trump is still talking to the two men and listening to their advice.
Two weeks ago Bannon did an analysis of who in the cabinet would be loyal to Trump if the cabinet used the 25th amendment to remove him and put Mike Pence in as president. There is really no way that that would ever happen.
Nick Ackerman: Referring to Trump’s comments about George Papadopoulos, the president should not be calling a witness who had pleaded guilty a liar. It’s against all ethics and protocol. Mueller should ask for a gag order on him. He has no business interfering with it. Besides, the charges are from documentary evidence rather than he said, she said. He could finger all of them. All the WH staff should be worried that any one of them could be wearing a body wire or any email or call or statement could be leaked or reported.
Today Trump called the NYT to say that everything is fine and he’s enjoying himself.
If the tax bill fails, Trump said he would blame Mnuchin. Trump wants to call the bill the Cut, Cut, Cut Bill. Congress thinks that is stupid. Why would they think they have to do what he wants?
George F. Will, conservative writer for the WP: Taxes are complex. This GOP congress decided not to worry about the national debt. It will be $30 trillion soon. Let it explode. The new mantra is, “Deficits don’t matter.” You assume rapid growth, full employment. That’s like being in a rain storm and saying, “We’ll assume an umbrella.”
Gen John Kelly refuses to apologize to Sen Wilson for his deliberate smear. His defenders said he made an honest mistake because he is an honorable man. He claims he is a noble man of yesteryear who honors women, but then he attacks one, calling her an empty barrel and suggests that the wife of a slain soldier is a liar. One can no longer give him the benefit of a doubt. This week he said that Robert E Lee was an honorable man who was just more loyal to his state than to his country. That’s how it was back in those days. You were loyal to your state. He also said that the Civil War happened because of a lack of compromise. O’Donnell shredded him for his “poisonous” understanding of American history, “which he shares with the most ignorant president in American history.” Lee’s sister and nephew supported the Union. They got it right. Lee owned slaves, beat his slaves, and bought and sold family members to different buyers. He levied war against the US and has been accused of treason. He oversaw the death of more American soldiers than Hitler. He never took a stand against slavery. All that death was to preserve slavery.
“He deserves nothing but dishonor for his conduct in the last two weeks.”
Betsy Woodruff, Daily Beast: New Manafort links to Russian mafia was revealed today. He was one step away from a guy named Semion Mogilevich who, “according to the FBI, was responsible for weapons trafficking, contract killings, and international prostitution. In 2009, he made the bureau’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.” Starting in about March of 2012, Manafort began throwing around a lot of money. The connections with the mafia get really complex, so this is the link to the article about it. https://www.thedailybeast.com/mueller-reveals-new-manafort-link-to-organized-crime Ivan Fursin put millions through a Cyprus based business called Lucicle Ltd, and those millions wound up with Manafort. Fursin and Mogilevich are connected. That puts Manafort a step away from association with the most dangerous mob leader on the planet.
Kushner attorneys turned over documents pertaining to the firing of Comey. Sam Clovis withdrew his name today as Ag scientist when it was revealed in the documents that he was Papadopoulos’s supervisor who encouraged him to contact the Russians and accept their offer.
Carter Page is telling All In tonight that he told Sessions ahead of time that he was making a Moscow trip in summer of 2016. Congress wants Sessions to come back to Congress and revisit the questions that they asked him previously. Sessions has shown a pattern of forgetting and then having to remember again. He remembers when something has been shown to be a fact by journalists or investigators.
Hayes: There weren’t that many people involved in the campaign. It’s inconceivable that the upper level wouldn’t be in on the information.
There were multiple emails between Papadopoulos and members of the campaign. J. D. Gordon, advisor, gave his own version of that March 2016 meeting. Papadopoulos made his pitch right away about the Russian ambassador in London who could set up a meeting with Putin. Trump listened with interest. Sessions shut the idea down and told people not to talk about it because it might leak.
Hannity loved the president’s tough talk about sending Sayfullo Saipov, the NYC mass killer, to Gitmo. Today Trump finally realized that Gitmo processes take much longer. Also, he should not be talking about the case in the press.
Kelly is under fire, because he refuses to apologize for lying about Sen Wilson. “I stand by my comments.” Rep Ruben Gallego, D-AZ reamed him on All In. He doesn’t get to live in both worlds. At this point he is not an honorable man. He is not acting like an adult. If Gallego had lied about another Marine during his service and wouldn’t apologize, he’d have been busted a rank. The event has changed how people think about Kelly. Gallego was offended when he would not call on anyone who was not part of a gold star family. Kelly has gone with Trump and has become Trump.
Name of the new tax reform bill is Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill. Four GOP House members and 2 GOP senators have problems with it. Lots of groups don’t like it.
A white, male US citizen in CO walked into a Walmart and shot 3 random people. No word from Trump yet.
Sayfullo Saipov planned his attack for weeks. People say he was a hot head. His phone was full of ISIS propaganda. Five of the victims were friends from Australia. There was a group of them that came here for a school reunion.
There were 37,000 accounts linked to Russia, and many celebs tweeted them, including Chris Hayes. Zuckerberg said that Facebook is going to take this seriously in the future.
In 2014 Tom Harkins retired, and Sen Joni Ernst, R-IA, got his seat. She ran against a talk show host, Sam Clovis, who claimed to be a fmr Pentagon/Russia expert. When he was interviewed on the radio, Russia had just taken Crimea, and Clovis said taking Crimea away from Russia is not realistic. It’s mostly Russian speakers. “This is just the expansion of the Russian empire going back to more traditional historic borders.” After he lost, Clovis went back to being a talk show host. In 2015 he tried to support Rick Perry. 2016 he joined the Trump campaign. Peter Smith, the guy who tried to connect with Russian hackers to find Clinton’s missing emails, claimed that he was in contact with Bannon, Flynn, Conway, Lisa Nelson, and Clovis. He has never been grilled about it. Clovis brought Carter Page onto the campaign. He also brought George Papadopoulos, and encouraged Papadopoulos to take the trip to Russia. He has now testified to the grand jury. [So Clovis joins the long list of people with pro-Russia opinions and connections in the Trump circle.] He is still the liaison between the WH and the Dept of Agriculture. The WH first learned of his testimony before the grand jury when they read about it in the media this week. They don’t know if he sought immunity. It’s clear that Mueller is working his way up the food chain.
Manafort and Gates had a court hearing today. They are both wearing an electronic ankle bracelet. The judge rebuked Manafort’s attorneys for speaking publically about the case on Monday. His attorney kept misspelling Cyprus. He also filed an incorrect form. Their trial will be in April, 2018.
Kushner and Sessions are both in trouble for lapse of disclosure. Sessions lied about meetings with Russians, then yes, maybe we did meet, but we didn’t mention the campaign, then well, we did mention the campaign, but we didn’t talk about Russians interfering with the campaign. Then no surrogates from the campaign had discussions with Russians. All these statements were under oath, all 4 statements were lies [GOP response: none]. Al Franken D-MN, sent Sessions an 8-page letter today asking for explanation for the pattern of obfuscation. Sen Leahy, D-VT, wants him back to explain in person.
Sen Chuck Schumer, D-NY, minority leader: Perjury is serious. He’s got to come back. No one can say that the issue of collusion is fake news. It needs to go forward unimpeded. If it’s interfered with, it would be “the ultimate test of this Republican congress.” The strategy of the far right is to divert attention away from the investigation. The Right can’t say a legitimate bad thing about Mueller. A poll today showed that the public thinks Mueller is doing the right thing. Sen Warner keeps bringing the Senate investigation back on track. We have norms and laws that we’ve had for two centuries, and they are fundamental to our democracy. Trump is breaking them.
Cont.: The tax bill is so warped and greedy, that they’re stuck. They have to figure out how to reduce the deficit. The hard right doesn’t care about the deficit. We have a problem with income inequality. The government has to help people stay in the middle class. The GOP has rejected bipartisanship. They are embarrassed about the bill. The hard right is running the show. There has not been one hearing about his bill, no analysis by outside experts, because they’re afraid of it getting too much public exposure. It’s a dead fish. The more it’s in the sun, the more it stinks. New York will be hurt by this bill. If GOPers vote for this they will hurt their constituents. It will take money away from middle class people and give it to the wealthy. It will not make more jobs. The GOP has think tanks and professors to promote bull shit.
Cont: Trump reaction to Saipov attack. Trump makes it political. This is so demeaning to this country. His attack on me didn’t bother me personally, but it’s so bad for the country.
[Deleted item here written for therapy.]
Indictment Day! Three actors, George Papadopoulos, Manafort, and Rick Gates. Money laundering, tax fraud, conspiracy. The big news is that Papadopoulos has been cooperating with the Mueller investigation. He was the guy who found out in April 2016 that the Russians had thousands of emails on HRC and allegedly had “dirt” on Clinton. He tried repeatedly to set up meetings between the Russians and the campaign. There is a photo of Papadopoulos in a meeting with Sessions, Trump, and many others. He was listed as a voluntary foreign policy advisor. During the debates, Trump indicated that no one knew who hacked the DNC. But they did know because Papadopoulos told them in no uncertain terms that it happened and it was the Russians. He was in communication with two cut-outs, a Russian professor and a woman who had been described as Putin’s niece, although Putin has no niece.
Manafort and Gates are pleading not guilty. Soon after Manafort was hired Eli Lake of Bloomberg had a headline “The Trump Campaign Just Hired it’s Next Scandal.” Manafort was tied to one corruption scheme after another. [Remember, too, he was the guy who said to Trump’s long time friend, “I have to get to Trump.”] So Manafort’s past was no secret. He was known to be a sleazy guy. He had already emailed a spokesman for Deripaska about getting whole. He promised the campaign that he would not bring Washington baggage. After Manafort resigned, Gates stayed on. Last June Trump’s friend Barrack showed up at the WH with Gates in tow.
The charges are all about things proven on paper. Reminder that Manafort was deeply in debt when he joined the campaign. He was trying to leverage his position to deal with that debt. A really damning email was sent May during campaign about meetings between “low level campaign people” rather than Trump. A senior Republican said that WH staff is “freaking out.”
Gates was Manafort’s protégé. He helped set up hundreds of shell companies and arranged flights. He went everywhere with Manafort.
On Mar 21, 2016 Trump announced to the WP editorial board 5 potential members of his foreign policy team: Walid Phares, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Lt Gen Keith Kellogg, Joe Schmitz, and many more that came on later.
When Carter Page was interviewed by Hayes, Page was evasive. He just wanted to say that all stories about him were false. He said he was not one of the low-level people when he went to Russia as a private citizen that summer. He shared that there was a lot of positive feelings among Russians on the street about Trump. Said he wasn’t part of it, doesn’t remember anything, nothing was serious. [Page can’t be officially linked to collusion, but he was already here and there where things were going on.] He says his civil rights were violated with the FISA warrant. He dismisses the “dodgy dossier.”
Papadopoulos was arrested at the airport the day after the FBI literally busted the door down at Manafort’s house at 2 am. They kept that arrest secret for 3 months. The neighbors kept the secret about the FBI raid for two weeks. During the 3 months, Papadopoulos was cooperating. Yesterday Manafort and Gates had to hand in their passports.
Putin’s niece wasn’t his niece, but did she pretend to be? Papadopoulos thought she was. What did he do as a “proactive” cooperator? Why were his charges kept a secret until today? What is the connection between the raid and the arrest? Another point, the damning May 2016 emails between Papadopoulos and the campaign were given to the WP in this August, but they were redacted to look like the campaign officials rejected the idea of meeting with Russians. But the unredacted answer in the unsealed plea of guilty by Papadopoulos was “Great work.” “And I would encourage you to make the trip.” Papadopoulos wrote to foreign contact #2 on July 14, 2016 and suggested that a meeting should be held in the UK and should include contact 2, himself, Manafort and maybe one other foreign policy advisor, members of Putin’s office and the MFA to hold a day of consultation and to meet one another. “It has been approved from our side.”
Gates and Manafort pleaded not guilty, but the government is alleging that Manafort kept files at his house, files that he said didn’t exist. There was a list of companies and wire transfers showing money laundering. One bank that he used over and over is the bank in Cyprus where Wilbur Ross, our80-year-old Secretary of Commerce, worked. Manafort used wire transfers to pay his gardener from a Cypriot company. Then he didn’t have to pay a tax on $12M in goods and services.
The indictment said more than $75M flowed through offshore accounts. But they can’t account for about $50M. Where did it come from? Was it legitimate work or something else? In Oct, NBC reported that about $60M came to Manafort from Deripaska.
Money laundering has to be associated with a crime. In this case, it’s also the failure to register as a foreign agent.
Paul Fishman, US Atty fired by Trump: Papadopoulos was interviewed twice by the FBI and both time he lied, deleted his whole Facebook account and put up a new one, but the FBI had the old one archived. He may have worn a wire and had conversations with other Trumpists. The FBI obviously has a lot of emails. The people not named are not indicted yet, but still could be.
Chris Matthews was there plugging his book Raging Spirit, about Bobby Kennedy. Beautifully written. Bobby was the spirit of America.
This is the date referenced in a dream that I had on April 21 about the wedding being called off. The wedding was supposed to take place on Halloween, but by then it was way over. I’m not sure if that dream was perfectly accurate because Trump still has a lot of support. I do know that the Mueller investigation is in full swing. I don’t know what the wedding would have been in reference to that particular date unless the new indictments signal the beginning of the end of Trumpworld. It may also refer to a blue wave by October ’18.
Today a typical ISIS inspired attack occurred in NYC. 8 dead, run over by a truck, and 15 injured.
The Papadopoulos plea that was released yesterday implicated more WH insiders. Sam Clovis was one. He is Trump’s nominee to be chief scientist for the Dept of Agriculture, a man who is neither scientist nor farmer. He was a policy director for a time. He has been testifying. He was Papadopoulos campaign supervisor. Clovis is the guy who responded, “Great work.”
Jake Sullivan, Clinton campaign advisor: There is no longer any doubt about Russian interference and the positive response of the Trump campaign. Call it what you will, it smells like collusion. Implausible that Trump didn’t know that the Russians were serving hacked and stolen emails. Corey Lewandowski was in there as well.
Manafort had 3 passports, multiple phones, and alias emails, like a drug cartel lord. Manafort has paid a huge bail and is confined to his home with an ankle monitor. Mueller isn’t going to try him for tax evasion. They designed the indictment to get the most years in jail for the least amount effort to convict. Manafort’s lawyer is blowing it.
Sessions testified that he knew nothing of any Russian connections but he was at a meeting with Papadopoulos when he introduced himself and stated about his Russian connections. That puts Sessions in peril. Trump was in the same meeting. “Stunning level of lying.”
Today new information was unsealed, including arrest warrants. The co-chair has given testimony to the grand jury. Gates was released on his own personal recognizance. He can only leave home for certain events. He must check in once a day, cannot apply for a new passport. Manafort was released into a high intensity supervision program. He may be wearing an ankle monitor. A 17-page doc notifies them what is coming in the future and why they are released as they were. Both are considered a flight risk. The reasons are laid out, including their wealth and foreign connections.
There is a new document that describes the money laundering and how it went through various accounts that were handled and owned by Manafort, Gates, and a Russian national. That may be Konstantin Kilimnik, or “Kostya.” He used to brag about his background in Russian intelligence (GRU). He was called in one headline Paul Manafort’s Man in Kiev. One of their businesses, DMI, which Manafort owned and where Gates worked, had staff in Kiev and Moscow. They both have connections to Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, who have provided millions to the two men. The declaration sounds like it has turned up how much these guys are worth. Gates recently listed the worth of him and his wife as $30M and his own liquid worth as $25M. A month later it was much less. Manafort has listed his worth as very different in various loan applications. Every month it was different. Their case will include hundreds of thousands of documents, including tax filings.