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Author Topic: The Trump thread: All things Donald  (Read 117036 times)
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« Reply #5220 on: March 11, 2019, 06:34:01 AM »

The Trump team’s double standard on lying

Quote
On Thursday morning, Rudolph W. Giuliani was up in arms about lying to congressional investigators. He accused Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, of lying in his testimony last week and said he should be charged with perjury. “Do they care about the truth?” he tweeted.

On Thursday night, though, Giuliani, one of Trump’s current attorneys, took a very different view of the severity of a Trump ally lying to investigators. This time, he cast Paul Manafort — who lost his cooperation deal with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III by lying — as a principled man who was unwilling to lie.

“The man was treated this way because he wouldn’t lie,” Giuliani told the Associated Press about the former Trump campaign chairman. He added in a later comment to PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor, “They should be ashamed of their horrendous treatment of Paul Manafort, who they pressured relentlessly because, unlike Michael Cohen, he wouldn’t lie for them.”

So to recap:

One former Trump ally and convicted felon who allegedly lied (again) to Congress: awful


One current Trump ally and convicted felon who lied to investigators: hero who refuses to lie

Trump also took both of these positions in tweets and comments Friday morning.

The Trump team’s relationship with the truth has always been a complicated one, not least because Trump himself has made more than 9,000 false or misleading claims as president. Even Friday morning, Trump incorrectly claimed for about the 200th time that a legal proceeding had cleared him of collusion when it had done no such thing.

But Trump and his team’s prosecution of the PR case against Cohen in recent weeks has been particularly rich, given their elevation of Manafort, and the likes of Giuliani have previously dismissed lying to investigators as merely a “process crime.”

They seem to regard people who hurt Trump as irredeemable liars but those who have lied and helped Trump as people just caught up in overzealous prosecutions. (It was the same with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and it’s looking the same with Trump friend Roger Stone, though he hasn’t been convicted.) They have even tried to argue that proven liars like Manafort are somehow principled because, while they’ve been willing to lie about certain things, they’ve been unwilling to lie specifically to hurt Trump. So they’re liars, but not that kind of liar.

The Trump team would certainly argue that it is just trying to apply the same standard across the board. If its allies are going to be prosecuted for lying, then why shouldn’t foes such as Cohen be brought up on charges again for lying to Congress? (The real reason is because it’s not clear what he said meets the high bar for perjury, even as he clearly left a misleading impression.)

But if someone like Cohen simply can’t be trusted because he lied to Congress, how are we to believe Manafort, another convicted liar, is actually a principled one? And shouldn’t the fact that he lied about contacts with a Russian associate allegedly tied to Russian intelligence raise a red flag or two about his credibility? He did it even after he had already been convicted once, so he clearly knew what was at stake.

In the end, both his and Cohen’s claims should be viewed skeptically, given their histories. But it looks a whole lot as though the Trump team is saying there is such a thing as telling the right kind of lies.

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« Reply #5221 on: March 11, 2019, 06:41:57 AM »

Exclusive: In budget, Trump to ask Congress for $8.6 billion for border wall

Quote
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Monday will ask the U.S. Congress for an additional $8.6 billion to help pay for his promised wall on the U.S-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking, officials familiar with his 2020 budget request told Reuters.

The demand, which drew swift criticism from Democrats, is more than six times what Congress allocated for border projects in each of the past two fiscal years, and 6 percent more than Trump has corralled by invoking emergency powers this year.

Democrats, who oppose the wall as unnecessary and immoral, control the U.S. House of Representatives, making it unlikely the Republican president’s request will win congressional passage. Republicans control the Senate.

The proposal comes on the heels of a bruising battle with Congress over wall funding that resulted in a five-week partial federal government shutdown that ended in January, and could touch off a sequel just ahead of a trifecta of ominous fiscal deadlines looming this fall.

“President Trump hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shut down the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall,” said Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer in a joint statement on Sunday.

“Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson,” said the two top Democrats in Congress.

Asked on Fox News Sunday about the new wall funding request and if there would be another budget fight, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said, “I suppose there will be ... He’s going to stay with his wall and he’s going to stay with the border security theme. I think it’s essential.”

Broadly speaking on the budget, Kudlow told Fox, “The president is proposing roughly a 5 percent across-the-board reduction in domestic spending accounts.”

Regardless of whether Congress passes it, the budget request could help Trump frame his argument on border security as the 2020 presidential race begins to take shape, with the president seeking re-election.

“Build the wall” was one of his signature campaign pledges in his first run for office in 2016. “Finish the wall” is already a feature of his re-election campaign, a rallying cry plastered across banners and signs at his campaign rallies.

“It gives the president the ability to say he has fulfilled his commitment to gain operational control of the southwest border,” an administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of the budget request.

“We have provided the course of action, the strategy and the request to finish the job. It’s a question of, will Congress allow us to finish the job,” a second administration official said.

Funding legislation needs to be passed before Oct. 1 - the start of the 2020 federal fiscal year - or the government could shut down again. If Congress and the White House fail to agree to lift mandatory spending caps set in a 2011 law, steep automatic cuts in many programs would kick in. Around the same time, Trump and lawmakers must agree to lift the debt ceiling, or risk a default, which would have chaotic economic fallout.

Trump’s wall request is based off a 2017 plan put forward by Customs and Border Protection officials to build or replace 722 miles (1,162 km) of barrier along the border, which in total is estimated to cost about $18 billion.

So far, only 111 miles (179 km) have been built or are under way, officials said. In fiscal 2017, $341 million in funding was allocated for 40 miles (64 km) of wall, and in 2018, another $1.375 billion was directed to 82 miles (132 km).

For fiscal 2019, Trump demanded $5.7 billion in wall funds, but Congress appropriated only $1.375 billion for border fencing projects.

Following the rejection of his wall funding demand, Trump declared the border was a national emergency - a move opposed by Democrats and some Republicans - and redirected $601 million in Treasury Department forfeiture funds, $2.5 billion in Defense Department drug interdiction funds and $3.6 billion from a military construction budget, for total spending of $8.1 billion for the wall.

The administration has not estimated how far the 2019 funds will go, but officials said average costs are about $25 million per mile (1.6 km).

Trump’s $8.6 billion in proposed wall funding for fiscal 2020 would include $5 billion from the Department of Homeland Security budget and $3.6 billion from the Pentagon’s military construction budget. The budget proposal will also include another $3.6 million in military construction funding to make up for any projects delayed by the wall, officials said.

The Department of Homeland Security is one of a few priority areas to get a boost in Trump’s budget plan, which seeks to slash funding to many non-defense programs.

Trump will propose an overall 5 percent increase to the Department of Homeland Security budget over fiscal 2019 appropriations, including $3.3 billion, or 22 percent more, for Customs and Border Protection, and $1.2 billion more for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a 16 percent hike, officials said.

The budget proposal includes a plan to hire more than 2,800 law enforcement and support personnel for the agencies, and 100 immigration judge teams, officials said.

Trump faces both political and court battles to free up the money he wants for the current fiscal year. Many lawmakers accused Trump of overstepping his constitutional powers by declaring an emergency to free up the funds. The House has already voted to revoke the emergency, and the Senate is likely to do the same this week. Trump is expected to veto the resolution.

A coalition of state governments led by California has sued Trump to block the emergency move, though legal experts have said the lawsuits face a difficult road.

Well, if he thinks another government shutdown during his election year is his idea of winning, he should go for it.  What could go wrong for him?

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« Reply #5222 on: March 11, 2019, 06:43:38 AM »

Paul Manafort is about to face another sentencing judge: Amy Berman Jackson

Quote
The next federal judge to sentence former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has already been thrust onto the national stage during the year-long run of special counsel cases.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, set to decide Wednesday whether she will add prison time for Manafort, is the same judge who was recently in the spotlight for the Roger Stone case.

She comes primed for her role by three decades as an attorney and judge dissecting sensitive political corruption and white-collar criminal cases in the nation’s capital.

Jackson brings to her position a veteran litigator’s patience, restraint and deep appetite for facts — and an unsparing ability to take apart attorneys or parties who test her intellect or betray her trust, said several lawyers who have practiced with, against and before her.

“She is smart, fair, always prepared, and tough,” said Reid ­Weingarten, who represented former Democratic congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), whom she sentenced to 30 months in prison in August 2013 for spending $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items. Weingarten praised the judge’s restraint in his and other cases and for “bending over backwards” to maintain ­order without being harsh.

The looming question Wednesday is whether any prison time Jackson might impose will overlap or be tacked on to the 47-month term Manafort received last week from U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria.

Ellis fueled controversy with the sentence, which fell far below federal advisory guidelines of up to 24 years that Ellis called “excessive” for Manafort’s bank and tax fraud convictions. The order came after Ellis’s brusque courtroom demeanor toward prosecutors and frequent interjections during Manafort’s summer trial moved the case briskly and also drew some criticism of the judge, who was appointed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan.

Under the terms of Manafort’s plea agreement with prosecutors for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, the 69-year-old faces up to a 10-year sentence from Jackson after admitting to conspiring to hiding millions he earned as an unregistered lobbyist for Ukrainian politicians over a decade and attempting to tamper with witnesses after he was charged.

Jackson, a 2011 Obama appointee, also has found that Manafort breached his plea deal by lying to prosecutors, including about contacts with a Russian aide, freeing prosecutors from their promise to consider recommending leniency in exchange for substantial help.

In overseeing the Manafort case and the separate case of GOP operative and Trump adviser Roger Stone, who is accused of lying about his efforts to gather information concerning hacked Democratic Party emails, Jackson has given a master class in how to try high-profile cases, some colleagues on the bench said, by relying on preparation, discretion and a refusal to get drawn into side disputes.

During a tense February hearing in Stone’s case, Jackson kept lead defense attorney Bruce S. Rogow standing as she asked razor-edged questions about a photo of the judge on a Stone Instagram account that seemed to violate a limited gag order she had imposed on Stone to tamp down pretrial publicity.

“I’m not done with you,” Jackson said more than once to the men as she asked about an image that court security officials said appeared to place a gun sight’s crosshairs next to a photo of Jackson’s face. Stone, 66, said he wasn’t sure who had posted the image to his account but said he viewed it as a Celtic cross and apologized. Rogow proposed terms of a fuller gag order, which Jackson accepted.

“She doesn’t have any trouble with clarity,” said William D. Dolan III of Arlington, a former Jackson law partner and president of the Virginia State Bar, adding, “She will give both sides full opportunity to explain their position — but she isn’t going to give them the opportunity twice.

Jackson also showed that patience early in Manafort’s case before his plea, allowing a bail dispute to drag on for months while he was under house detention on unsecured bond. She also gave him a second chance after prosecutors complained that he violated a gag order by ghostwriting an op-ed in a Ukrainian newspaper.

The judge hammered Manafort only in June, after his indictment for attempted witness tampering — a bail violation that led to his jailing pending sentencing.

Dolan recalled winning the first felony conviction of a Virginia sitting state judge as a special prosecutor with Jackson. It was the early 1990s, and many jurors in Norfolk had not seen a female trial lawyer, he said. “They went quite quickly from, ‘Who is this little woman’ to ‘Who is this sharp lawyer?’ ” Dolan said.

The Baltimore-born daughter of a U.S. Army-trained physician, Jackson, 64, earned bachelor’s and law degrees from Harvard University. She prosecuted violent and sex crimes at the U.S. attorney’s office in the District for six years, then in 1986 joined a law firm that became part of Venable.

Switching from aggressive prosecutor to aggressive white-collar defender came easily. In 2000, Jackson became one of the bright stars among younger lawyers groomed at the law firm led by Robert P. Trout and Plato B. Cacheris, whose national security or scandal-scarred clients included John Mitchell, attorney general under President Richard M. Nixon; Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern involved with President Bill Clinton; and U.S. spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen.

Jackson became a protege of Trout, who keeps a photograph of her 2011 investiture as judge on his wall, and whose current clients include former Trump communications director Hope Hicks and former congressman turned lobbyist Vin Weber (R-Minn.).

“Everything she does is very, very efficient,” Trout said in an oral history for the Historical Society for the District of Columbia Circuit, calling Jackson a “superb writer” who “pretty much” worked part-time 11 years for him while raising two children “although you wouldn’t know it from the amount of work that she would crank out.”

Jackson achieved her greatest prominence as a defense lawyer with Trout representing former Louisiana congressman William J. Jefferson on corruption charges in a complex, heavily litigated case — tried before Ellis — that is best known for the $90,000 in cash bribes found stuffed in the Democrat’s freezer and for a precedent-setting, separation-of-powers battle triggered by the 2006 FBI raid of his congressional office.

President George W. Bush himself stepped in at one point, ordering the Justice Department to seal all materials taken and stop reviewing them for 45 days.

“It’s not every day that a lawyer gets his motion granted by the president of the United States,” Trout said at the time — later confessing he was fed the line by Jackson.

Jackson’s rulings have cut across partisan or ideological lines. She blocked a $48 billion merger between health insurers Anthem and Cigna on antitrust grounds in 2017 and ruled for the mining industry in 2012 in halting an Environmental Protection Agency effort to revoke a permit for a “mountaintop-removal” coal mine in a closely watched regulatory case.

Jon B. Jacobs, a government attorney who prevailed in the Anthem fight before Jackson, called her meticulous and undaunted by complexity.

Having tried cases before judges “where there almost seemed to be some amount of resentment at the amount of paper pushed at the court,” said Jacobs, a Perkins Coie partner, he was impressed that

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« Reply #5223 on: March 11, 2019, 06:48:36 AM »

'Miami Herald' Reporters Investigate Ties Between Massage Parlor Owner, Trump


Quote
The Miami Herald has detailed how a woman who once owned a chain of day spas in Florida allegedly steered Chinese businessmen to a fundraiser for President Trump. NPR's Michel Martin speaks with Herald reporter Caitlin Ostroff.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

By now, you've probably heard the reports about Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots. He's been charged with soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Florida. And while at first, this story may have played like another embarrassing tale about celebrity mischief, it has now revealed much more. It's led to deeper reporting about how the sex trade actually works and how it's connected to human trafficking.

And now, thanks to reporting by the Miami Herald, yet another story has emerged. This one is about a woman who founded a chain of day spots where prostitution is alleged to have taken place and how she may have steered Chinese business executives to a fundraiser for President Trump. There's a lot to get through here, so we've called up Caitlin Ostroff. She's part of the team of reporters at the Miami Herald who broke this story, and she is with us now.

Caitlin, thanks so much for talking with us.

CAITLIN OSTROFF: Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: I'm going to start by asking you to tell us about the woman in question and how she got involved in politics. And I do want to make clear she founded the day spa where Robert Kraft was arrested, but she sold it several years ago, and she has not been charged in this case. But tell us more about her.

OFTROFF: Yeah. So that's kind of the big mystery - that when we were researching the spa where Kraft was busted, we wanted to know who owned it, who had founded it. And when we started looking up Cindy Yang - Cindy is the first name that she typically goes by - we were just following through her Facebook page, and all of a sudden, we found all of these pictures that popped up of her posing with President Trump and other high-ranking Republican officials.

She wasn't politically active before a couple years ago, so she hadn't really made political contributions. She hadn't registered to vote until a little bit before the 2016 general election. And so we were trying to figure out, how did she go from a business owner to donating a lot of money to Republican candidates and being in a position with high-ranking officials?

MARTIN: So, according to your reporting, she arranged for a group of Chinese business executives, Chinese nationals, to attend a fundraiser for President Trump. What more do we know about that? And is there anything wrong with them attending the fundraiser?

OFTROFF: It depends. And this is what, again, our reporting is kind of seeking to pose the question of and answer. So it's illegal for foreign nationals to directly contribute to a campaign. And so the question of that fundraiser, which happened in December of 2017 in New York - it was an RNC fundraiser - is how did Chinese residents happen to be at that fundraiser? How did they pay for their tickets to the event? And was there any influence of that exacted on the president or on other Republican officials?

MARTIN: So they could attend - foreign visitors can attend fundraisers as long as they don't pay their own way, and they cannot reimburse a U.S. citizen for paying their way.

OFTROFF: Yes.

MARTIN: So that is the question that you are investigating. Do you know the role that Cindy Yang played in getting those executives to that fundraiser?

OFTROFF: So we don't know exactly how she arranged for them to attend the fundraiser. But we do know that she had started a consulting business called GY US investments. And through that company, there was promises of getting Chinese investors into the president's orbit. So we do know that she has boasted of her political ties in order to get Chinese businessmen into the presidential orbit and give them access. But we don't know exactly how she got them into that fundraiser in New York.

MARTIN: And what does the RNC have to say about that? Have they responded to your queries?

OFTROFF: The RNC hasn't said how they got there or why they were guests yet.

MARTIN: That is Caitlin Ostroff of the Miami Herald. We reached her at a conference in California.

Caitlin, thanks so much for talking with us.

OFTROFF: Thanks for having me.

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« Reply #5224 on: March 11, 2019, 06:51:18 AM »

Wilbur Ross broke law, violated Constitution in census decision, judge rules

Quote
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted in “bad faith,” broke several laws and violated the constitutional underpinning of representative democracy when he added a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

In finding a breach of the Constitution’s enumeration clause, which requires a census every 10 years to determine each state’s representation in Congress, the 126-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco went further than a similar decision on Jan. 15 by Judge Jesse Furman in New York.

The Supreme Court has already agreed to review Furman’s narrower decision, with arguments set for April 23, but may now need to expand its inquiry to constitutional dimensions.

The Commerce Department did not respond to requests for comment.

The administration has been on the losing end of scores of court decisions involving immigration issues since President Trump took office. But the census case has taken on special significance because it strikes at the heart of the United States’ form of government and because of what Seeborg described as a “strong showing of bad faith” by a Cabinet secretary who, influenced in part by White House advisers, tried to conceal his motives.

The cases against Ross have been brought by jurisdictions with significant immigrant populations. Only two have completed trials, the case heard by Furman and brought by 18 states led by New York, and Wednesday’s challenge, initiated by the state of California and combined with a suit brought by the city of San Jose.

Unable to find any expert in the Census Bureau who approved of his plan to add the citizenship question, Seeborg wrote, Ross engaged in a “cynical search to find some reason, any reason” to justify the decision.

He was fully aware that the question would produce a census undercount, particularly among Latinos, the judge said.

That would have probably reduced the representation in Congress — and thus in the electoral college that decides the presidency — of states with significant immigrant populations, notably California.

Because census data is used to apportion distribution of federal funds, an undercount would also have cheated these same jurisdictions, the judge said.

Seeborg, like Furman, found after a trial that Ross misrepresented both to the public and Congress his reasons for adding the citizenship question last March. Ross claimed he was acting at the request of the Justice Department in the interest of enforcing the Voting Rights Act.

In reality, the “evidence establishes” that the voting rights explanation was just “a pretext” and that Ross “acted in bad faith” when he claimed otherwise.

He pursued the citizenship question after hearing from then-White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon and Kris Kobach, the vice chair of Trump’s now-disbanded voting fraud commission.

Apart from violating the ­Constitution, Seeborg ruled, the Commerce Department breached the Administrative Procedure Act by acting “arbitrarily and capriciously” and violated Census Act restrictions on modifying questions.

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« Reply #5225 on: March 11, 2019, 06:55:41 AM »

President pressured staff to grant security clearance to Ivanka Trump

Quote
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump pressured his then-chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn to grant his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump a security clearance against their recommendations, three people familiar with the matter told CNN.

The President's crusade to grant clearances to his daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, rankled West Wing officials.

While Trump has the legal authority to grant clearances, most instances are left up to the White House personnel security office, which determines whether a staffer should be granted one after the FBI has conducted a background check. But after concerns were raised by the personnel office, Trump pushed Kelly and McGahn to make the decision on his daughter and son-in-law's clearances so it did not appear as if he was tainting the process to favor his family, sources told CNN. After both refused, Trump granted them their security clearances.

The development comes on the heels of Thursday's New York Times report that President Trump ordered Kelly to grant Kushner a top secret security clearance despite concerns raised by intelligence officials. The President has denied he had any role in Kushner receiving a clearance.

The latest revelation also contradicts Ivanka Trump's denial to ABC News three weeks ago, when she said her father had "no involvement" regarding her or Kushner's clearances.
Several sources told CNN it is feasible that she was unaware of the red flags raised during her background check process, as well as the President's involvement in it. According to a source familiar with her process, she "did not seek, nor have, outside counsel involved in her process as no issues were ever raised." A separate person added that she was notified by career officials that her clearance had been granted.

Kushner's clearance was downgraded in February 2018 after Kelly stipulated new changes to the security clearance system because a senior West Wing staffer with a temporary clearance was accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wife. Aides who previously operated on "top secret/sensitive compartmentalized information" interim clearances saw their access changed to "secret," a classification for less sensitive material. In the months after Kushner's clearance was downgraded, Trump badgered aides about the hold up with his daughter and son-in-law, remarking that he didn't see what the issue was in granting them clearances because they would likely move back to New York in the coming months. Sources tell CNN that, for now, neither of them are expected to leave the West Wing.

Asked for comment, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, "We don't comment on security clearances."

"We cannot respond to every anonymous source," she added.

Kelly could not be reached for comment. McGahn declined to comment for this story.
Because they are a married couple, concerns that surfaced during one person's security clearance investigation could stall or block both of them from receiving a full clearance. But officials had concerns about granting Trump a clearance that were separate from those raised about her husband, according to one of the sources, though it's unclear what the concerns regarding her were. At the time, the couple told associates they believed Kelly was blocking them from getting clearances because he did not feel like they belonged in the West Wing.

The President pushed harder for his son-in-law to get a clearance because of his wide-ranging portfolio, which includes a Middle East peace proposal, and because of heightened scrutiny on Kushner's inability to secure a clearance, sources said. His daughter's portfolio did not require a high level security clearance, though as a senior adviser who sits in meetings with other senior officials, she is privy to sensitive information.

On Tuesday, the White House rebuffed a request from House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, who asked for documents pertaining to the security clearance process. White House counsel Pat Cipollone said the committee's request for the information was "without legal support, clearly premature, and suggests a breach of the constitutionally required accommodation process."

The White House's rejection increases the chances of a subpoena from the House.

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« Reply #5226 on: March 11, 2019, 06:58:31 AM »

Manafort isn’t out of the woods yet. In fact, now his lies to Mueller could cost him dearly.

Quote
The prevailing reaction to Paul Manafort’s 47-month prison sentence Thursday has been: Is that all!? How could a guy whose crimes merited between 19 and 24 years, according to sentencing guidelines, escape with less than four?

The irony for Manafort, though, is that it could make his decision to lie to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III all the more painful.

To recap: Manafort reached an agreement to cooperate with Mueller ahead of a second federal trial separate from the one he was just sentenced for. But the deal fell apart after the former Trump campaign chairman lied to investigators about his contacts with Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate allegedly tied to Russian intelligence (among other topics). Manafort will be sentenced in that second trial next week, where he could face as many as 10 more years in prison.

[Paul Manafort sentenced to about 4 years in prison in Virginia case]

Manafort’s attorneys have argued that his sentences should be served concurrently, i.e., at the same time. In that case, the first sentence would likely be all that mattered, practically speaking, given it carried many more potential years in prison.

But while that might have made sense if Manafort had been given a two-decade sentence by the first judge, T.S. Ellis, it might now look less appealing to the second judge, Amy Berman Jackson.

Jackson, after all, is the judge who ruled that Manafort had indeed lied to investigators. In doing so, she officially voided his cooperation agreement. And while Ellis is known to be skeptical of sentencing guidelines for the kinds of white-collar crimes Manafort was convicted of — and suggested he wasn’t all that impressed with Mueller’s investigation — Jackson is known to be tougher. She’s the judge who jailed Manafort for witness-tampering. In ruling Manafort had lied, she said that his “concessions comes in dribs and drabs, only after it’s clear that the Office of Special Counsel already knew the answer” and that he was “withholding facts if he can get away with it.” And she’s also the judge who recently read Roger Stone the riot act for his social media posting featuring her face next to what she deemed to be crosshairs.

Judges have broad latitude when it comes to sentencing. While Jackson is supposed to sentence Manafort according to the severity of his crimes, her decision on whether the sentences should run concurrently is completely up to her. And it seems possible she might now look at his first sentence and decline to do that — or even, if she does run them concurrently, sentence him to more years than Ellis did.

And if that were the case, it would mean that Manafort’s lies to Mueller would have come back to bite him in a big way. It would mean that Manafort could have been out in just a few years if he had played ball with Mueller, but that his decision not to would extend his sentence significantly.

We don’t yet know Manafort’s motivations for continuing to lie to investigators. There is some thought that perhaps he never really intended to cooperate because he was headed to prison for a very long time anyway. Except we’re now learning that wasn’t a given. And Manafort, it turns out, may have done himself a real disservice.

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« Reply #5227 on: March 11, 2019, 07:02:08 AM »

Trump inauguration took money from shell companies tied to foreigners

Quote
Donald Trump’s inauguration received tens of thousands of dollars from shell companies that masked the involvement of a foreign contributor or others with foreign ties.

The Guardian has identified the creators of three obscure firms that contributed money to Trump’s inaugural committee, which collected a record $107m as he entered the White House in 2017.

The three companies each gave $25,000 to Trump’s inaugural fund. At least one of the contributions was made for a foreign national who appears ineligible to make political donations in the US.

A spokesman for Thomas Barrack, the chairman of Trump’s inauguration committee, declined to comment. The contributors denied wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors in New York and the attorney generals of New Jersey and Washington DC have in recent weeks issued subpoenas to the committee, demanding records and information on its contributors and spending.

US election law prohibits non-resident foreigners from contributing to political campaigns, including inaugurations. Donors or campaigns who “knowingly and willfully” breach this rule may be fined or prosecuted.

One of the $25,000 donations to Trump’s inauguration was made through a Delaware shell company for a wealthy Indian financier based in London, who appears to not hold US citizenship or residency.

Another was made by a company formed in Georgia by a lobbyist with connections to the Taiwanese government. His wife said the firm was funded by Chinese investors. One of their daughters was later given an internship in Trump’s White House, which they said was unrelated to the donation.

A third $25,000 contribution was made through a company formed anonymously in New York by an Israeli real estate developer who has helped other foreign developers with legal issues in the US. The Israeli developer said he held US residency, commonly known as a “green card”, which permitted him to contribute legally.

Ann Ravel, a former commissioner at the federal election commission (FEC), said the use of anonymous companies was the biggest problem for authorities trying to ensure transparency and legality in political donations.

“We need stronger regulation,” said Ravel. “But our campaign finance system is structured to not let us find out who is behind these contributions.”

Authorities including Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US election, are looking into issues around foreign money in American politics and possible attempts to buy influence with Trump’s administration.

A Washington-based lobbyist, Sam Patten, admitted last year that he illegally funnelled $50,000 to Trump’s inauguration from a Ukrainian oligarch. Patten, a former colleague of the convicted ex-Trump aide Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress and failing to register as a foreign agent.

One $25,000 contribution to Trump’s inaugural fund came from a shell company tied to Cyrus Vandrevala, a Mumbai-born financier based in London. Vandrevala has said he funds property developments in India, where Trump owns luxury towers.

Vandrevala’s father-in-law, Niranjan Hiranandani, is one of the wealthiest figures in Indian real estate. He currently serves as president of an influential real estate industry lobby group in the country.

In an interview published days after Trump’s inauguration, Hiranandani said he hoped the new president would not hinder India’s real estate industry by restricting US visas. He suggested it was unlikely Trump would “want to do something that can have a negative impact on his ongoing projects in India”.

Vandrevala, 46, has an Indian passport and declares his nationality as Indian, according to business records obtained from authorities in Delhi. A source familiar with his arrangements said he did not hold US citizenship or a “green card”.

The contribution appears to have paid for two VIP tickets to Trump’s inauguration. He and his wife, Priya, attended the event in Washington and also enjoyed a “private breakfast” with Trump, according to an article in the UK’s Asian Lite newspaper, which was written by a veteran Indian reporter who knows the Vandrevalas.

Another British-Asian newspaper, Eastern Eye, reported Vandrevala was “friendly with Trump’s daughter Ivanka”. Editors did not respond to questions about the source of that information. The White House did not respond to an inquiry.

The link between the contribution and Vandrevala is hidden in the public record. FEC filings list a $25,000 donation from a limited liability company (LLC) calling itself Sierra Vista. Its stated address is a suburban office park in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Vandrevala’s US investment company, Intrepid Capital Partners, has an office at the same complex in Wayne. Separately, an LLC named Sierra Vista 1 has also cited the office park as its address in business records.

Sierra Vista 1 was formed in Delaware, a state renowned for its low-tax and high-secrecy regime, in which companies are not required to disclose the names of officers, directors or owners.

The only person named in paperwork filed to Delaware when Sierra Vista 1 was set up in 2014 was John Teaford, a businessman who has worked on several Vandrevala ventures since the 1990s.

An executive at Intrepid Capital Partners, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said Sierra Vista 1 was an investment vehicle funded with Vandrevala’s money.

Vandrevala did not respond to emails and messages left at his office in London. Reached by telephone and asked whether he handled Sierra Vista’s payment to the inauguration for Vandrevala, Teaford said: “I probably did.”

Intrepid Capital Partners has a property arm, ICP Real Estate, which was created to finance developments in India. It claimed to be amassing a $7bn investment fund for building homes and has targeted the cities of Mumbai and Pune, both of which are home to Trump-branded towers.

Donald Trump Jr, the president’s eldest son, has described India as “the biggest push for our organisation”. The Trump company lists four Indian developments in its portfolio. A visit to the country last year by Trump Jr incurred almost $98,000 in publicly funded security costs.

Two months before election day in 2016, a new shell company was registered in Georgia. The company, Jan Castle LLC, was formed by a man named David Sean, who paid the $100 fee and signed the simple one-page form required by the state.

Sean listed his office address as a numbered “suite” on a street that runs past a country club in Sandy Springs, one of the country’s wealthiest suburbs.

The state’s paperwork said explicitly that a physical address was required – a mailbox was not acceptable. But Sean’s address was, in fact, a mailbox inside a shipping store on a strip mall. Sean, a Taiwanese-American businessman, is based more than 2,000 miles away in southern California and is also known as Pong Hsiang.

Shortly before Christmas in 2016, Jan Castle LLC contributed $25,000 to Trump’s inauguration fund.

Sean, 59, said he was a US citizen. He declined to discuss the activity of Jan Castle or the status of any other people involved in the company, and the Guardian was unable to locate records on either.

But Sean’s wife, Joann, said in a brief telephone interview in late January that Sean created Jan Castle for three Chinese investors. Sean later denied his wife had said this. The company’s original filing to Georgia identified someone named Jianning He as its “organizer”, but gave only the same mailbox address as contact information.

Sean rejected requests over several weeks to discuss the contribution to Trump’s inauguration. Eventually he agreed to a meeting in person, but then changed his mind. Finally, in a series of text messages, Sean said: “I refuse to collude with Chinese communists and insist [on] investment with no condition attached.”

He went on to say: “My company objective is to take back stolen trillion dollar from communist China and put into manufacturing sector in United States. And I will work hard to achieve this mission objective til the day I am perished from the earth.”

Sean, who describes himself as an enthusiastic Trump supporter, also provided copies of complaint letters he said he had sent to the FBI, the CIA, the FEC and the IRS, requesting that each agency investigate the author of this article.

One of Sean’s daughters carried out a White House internship last year. She posted photographs to social media, including one of her class of interns posing with Trump. Sean said the internship had no link to the contribution.

During the 1990s, Sean worked in Taiwan as a consultant for the Hsinchu Science Park, according to his résumé. The park was developed by the Taiwanese ministry of science and technology from the 1980s as its answer to Silicon Valley.

Later, according to the résumé, Sean became a “US federal government relations consultant”. Records filed to Congress say that from 2012-14, he registered as a lobbyist in Washington, representing his own financial advisory firm.

In some lobbying filings, Sean registered jointly with an associate named Johnny Lu, who was said to be an “international trade consultant”.

Lu, who is also known as Lu Zhongying, is an adviser to Taiwan’s overseas community affairs council, according to a Taiwanese government spokeswoman in California. Lu did not respond to messages left with his family. A cellphone registered in his name did not accept incoming calls.

The pair told an ethics watchdog they were lobbying on issues such as international trade and foreign investment in the US. They reported lobbying the White House, Congress, and government agencies including the bureau of export administration and the federal trade commission. They did not list any foreign clients.

Records obtained from state authorities across the US show Sean has used at least 10 mailboxes around California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Wyoming to open many other companies over the past two decades. The purpose of some of the companies was unclear. One named Johnny Lu as president.

In 2015, Sean created a company named Global Prosperity Foundation Corp from the mailbox near Atlanta. He told regulators it would “facilitate communication with US major trading partner’s trading organizations and promote the investment advantages of United States” (sic). It was closed shortly before the donation to Trump’s inaugural fund was made.

Another $25,000 came into Trump’s inaugural fund three days before the president’s swearing-in from a company named New York State Property Management Corporation. The company gave as its address a house in the Long Island town of Hewlett, close to John F Kennedy airport.

A company with that name is registered with New York authorities at a small office building elsewhere in the region. The Guardian traced the firm back to Elon Lebouvich, an Israeli businessman in his mid-40s, who is involved in New York real estate.

According to court records, Lebouvich has also gone by other names, including “Allen Lebo”, and has served as a representative for a family of wealthy Moroccan investors in US legal disputes. A member of the family declined to discuss their relationship.

Lebouvich is currently developing a $5m retail property in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, according to sources familiar with his work. According to city records, the building is owned by an LLC controlled by the 74-year-old mother of Lebouvich’s attorney. The attorney and his mother declined to comment.

In a brief telephone interview, Lebouvich said his $25,000 contribution paid for two tickets to the inauguration for “me and somebody else”. He would not say who used the second ticket. When asked if he was entitled to contribute, he said: “I don’t have the time to talk about it” and ended the call.

In a subsequent email, Lebouvich said he had held permanent US residency for about five years, which would mean he was entitled to contribute. He declined to discuss the contribution and threatened legal action.

The FEC has seemed unwilling to actively guard against foreign contributions in US politics. In 2017, two dissenting commissioners said the FEC had failed to properly investigate a complaint alleging foreigners donated $55,000 through LLCs to a campaign group supporting a congressman.

The commission is understaffed. All four current commissioners have served well beyond their six-year term limits. For the past year, the FEC has operated with four commissioners instead of six because Trump has not filled two vacant seats.

Ellen Weintraub, the FEC chairwoman and the only sitting Democratic commissioner, has frequently criticised her colleagues for what she views as an unwillingness to adequately regulate campaign finance, including the threat of foreign money.

In a letter to Congress sent last September, Weintraub said the FEC was “naively and dangerously” ignoring the reality of foreign interference and had no plan to counter it.

“This situation will not improve until this commission has at least four members who are willing to enforce existing law barring foreign-national political involvement and address dark money,” Weintraub wrote.

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« Reply #5228 on: March 11, 2019, 07:06:54 AM »

FLORIDA MASSAGE PARLOR OWNER MAY HAVE SOLD CHINESE EXECUTIVES ACCESS TO TRUMP

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Somehow, the already-incredible tale of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s arrest and the woman who founded the massage parlor he allegedly patronized has gotten even stranger. After it was reported that Chinese entrepreneur Li “Cindy” Yang had palled around with the Trump family and donated thousands of dollars to the president, a new investigation has uncovered possible evidence of Yang selling access to Trump to Chinese officials.

Yang sold her massage parlor in 2013, years before Kraft was arrested for soliciting prostitution. (He denies the charge.) In 2017, she founded a firm called GY US Investments LLC. An exposé from Mother Jones published Saturday reports that Yang’s company advertises itself as an “international business consulting firm that provides public relations services to assist businesses in America to establish and expand their brand image in the modern Chinese marketplace,” and also promises “the opportunity to interact with the president, the [American] Minister of Commerce and other political figures.”

The firm’s website evidently stopped functioning sometime after Yang spoke with the Miami Herald, but reportedly featured photos of Yang and alleged clients at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s club in Palm Beach. As previously reported, Yang’s now-defunct Facebook page also featured shots of her with Donald Trump Jr., Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, Sarah Palin, and other influential conservative figures. Yang is said to have donated $42,000 to a Trump political action committee, as well as upwards of $16,000 to Trump’s campaign.

The GY US Investments website also allegedly featured a number of upcoming Mar-a-Lago events, presumably advertising access to various members of the Trump circle. According to Mother Jones, one section showed photos of Chinese executives and a Chinese movie star with Donald Trump Jr. Even stranger: while GY is said to have offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and Wuhan, China, the Washington address apparently matches that of a UPS store.

No one involved—Yang, her business partners listed on the website, or press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders—has responded with any comment on the matter.

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« Reply #5229 on: March 12, 2019, 06:58:46 PM »

New York Attorney General Opens Investigation of Trump Projects

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The New York attorney general’s office late on Monday issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for records relating to the financing of four major Trump Organization projects and a failed effort to buy the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League in 2014, according to a person briefed on the subpoenas.

The inquiry opens a new front in the scrutiny of Deutsche Bank, one of the few lenders willing to do business with Donald J. Trump in recent years. The bank is already the subject of two congressional investigations and was examined last year by New York banking regulators, who took no action.

The new inquiry, by the office of the attorney general, Letitia James, was prompted by the congressional testimony last month of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, the person briefed on the subpoenas said. Mr. Cohen testified under oath that Mr. Trump had inflated his assets in financial statements, and Mr. Cohen provided copies of statements he said had been submitted to Deutsche Bank.

The inquiry by Ms. James’s office is a civil investigation, not a criminal one, although its focus and scope were unclear. The attorney general has broad authority under state law to investigate fraud and can fine — or in extreme cases, go to court to try to dissolve — a business that is found to have engaged in repeated illegality.

The request to Deutsche Bank sought loan applications, mortgages, lines of credit and other financing transactions in connection with the Trump International Hotel in Washington; the Trump National Doral outside Miami; and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, the person said.

Investigators also requested records connected to an unsuccessful effort to buy the Bills, the person said. Mr. Trump gave Deutsche Bank bare-bones personal financial statements in 2014 when he planned to make a bid for the team, The New York Times has reported. The deal fell through when the team was sold to a rival bidder for $1.4 billion.

Mr. Trump worked with a small United States-based unit of Deutsche Bank that serves ultra-wealthy people. The unit lent Mr. Trump more than $100 million in 2012 to pay for the Doral golf resort and $170 million in 2015 to transform the Old Post Office Building in Washington into a luxury hotel.

New Jersey-based Investors Bank was subpoenaed for records relating to Trump Park Avenue, a project it had backed.

A spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank said on Tuesday that it had received the subpoena.

Investors Bank declined to comment. The Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment.

The subpoenas are a culmination of months of threats from Ms. James that she would aggressively investigate Mr. Trump. In August, referring to the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election, she said “the president of the United States has to worry about three things: Mueller, Cohen, and Tish James.”

In her victory speech on the night she was elected in November, she said, “I will be shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings, and every dealing, demanding truthfulness at every turn.” The next month, before taking office, she told NBC that “we will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family.”

Mr. Trump has a rich recent history of grievances against the New York attorney general’s office. Before former Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman resigned amid allegations of assault and abuse against women, he pursued cases against the Trump Foundation and Trump University. Mr. Trump has referred to him as “sleazebag AG Eric Schneiderman” and “Shady Eric.” He also assailed Mr. Schneiderman’s temporary successor, Barbara D. Underwood, and has referred to Ms. James as “yet another AG” who “openly campaigned on a GET TRUMP agenda.”

“Will never be treated fairly by these people — a total double standard of ‘justice,’” he added on Twitter.

In Congress, the House Intelligence Committee has been exploring real estate transactions related to Russia and other foreign interests, including Deutsche Bank loans to the Trump Organization.

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« Reply #5230 on: March 12, 2019, 07:05:48 PM »

Trump vowed to eliminate the debt in 8 years. He’s on track to leave it at least 50 percent higher.

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In March of 2016, then candidate Donald Trump told The Washington Post he could eliminate the entire U.S. debt in eight years. Now that he’s president, Trump is doing the exact opposite.

Trump’s budget — his own budget — projects debt held by the public will hit $22.8 trillion by 2025, more than 50 percent higher than the year he took office (debt held by the public was $14.7 trillion in 2017).

That’s the rosy forecast. Trump’s budget relies on “gimmicks” to keep the debt rising by “only” that much, experts across the political spectrum say. Trump predicts the economy will grow at a home-run pace with no recessions for the next decade, and he proposes massive cuts to education, health care and other nondefense parts of the budget that will not be enacted.

“The president makes heroic assumptions about economic growth and deep cuts to domestic discretionary spending and health care and yet he still can’t balance the budget,” said Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and former chief economist for Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

The president’s budget forecasts about 3 percent growth every year for the next decade, while most other experts, including the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, predict growth will be just under 2 percent a year. That extra percent of growth saves Trump more than $3 trillion, according to Riedl’s calculations.

To put it another way, if the economy does not have an awe-inspiring ride in the next decade and instead performs more like what CBO anticipates, Trump would be on track to add close to $10 trillion to debt held by the public by 2025 — more than the $7 trillion added under former president Barack Obama.

Trump’s budget underscores how he is piling on the debt and how difficult it will be for any president to effect change.

Trump’s debt binge is occurring for two reasons. First, he has cut taxes and increased spending so far in his tenure, a recipe that is causing the annual deficit to top $1 trillion for the first time in good economic times.

The White House argues Trump has proposed the most spending reductions of any president and that the tax cuts will pay for themselves and spur higher growth for years, which should also help reduce the deficit.

“It’s not that Americans are taxed too little, it’s that Washington spends too much,” wrote Russ Vought, the president’s acting budget director in a Fox News op-ed.

But Trump’s own budget calculations show that reducing taxes and making heavy cuts to domestic programs do not balance the budget (at least not for 15 years and not without some big assumptions). If he serves eight years, Trump would leave with higher debt as a percent of GDP than when he entered office, according to White House forecasts.

“This budget uses every gimmick and huge assumptions, and it still doesn’t get somewhere to be proud of,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Second, Social Security and Medicare are starting their rapid growth so many budget experts have been warning about for years, making it even more difficult to bring the budget into balance.

“The room to maneuver is shrinking because the vast majority of U.S. government spending goes toward entitlements and not discretionary spending,” wrote Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank in a note to clients that included the chart below.

Trump also promised during the 2016 campaign he would not touch Medicare or Social Security. In his latest budget proposal, he includes a $845 billion cut to Medicare. (Some of that money — one analyst estimates around $300 billion — would be redirected to other government health programs.)

Democrats pounced on it, saying Trump broke his vow and that they would blast this in 2020 campaign ads. Many budget experts, however, thought this was one of the few parts of Trump’s plan that was worthy of some applause.

Trump proposes reducing “wasteful" Medicare spending by expanding the list of treatments that require prior authorization before the procedure can be done and putting medical providers on notice who charge significantly more than others. These are largely bipartisan ideas and are backed up somewhat by reporting by The Washington Post and other media outlets on Medicare scams.

“Their health care reforms on Medicare are really smart policies that would help control costs and decrease out of pocket expense by seniors, but you won’t hear the president talk about this,” MacGuineas said. “This will be the first and last time we hear him push for these.”

Some health and hospital groups warned these types of Medicare cuts would lead to some seniors not getting the care they need, especially if more pre-approvals are required for certain procedures.

Trump’s proposed Medicare tweak is wrapped in a bigger budget package that does not look bipartisan. It raises military spending while making a 12 percent cut to the Education Department, a 16 percent cut to Housing and Urban Development and a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, among other slashes to the safety net that Democrats and Republicans in Congress are not embracing.

Presidential budgets are usually dismissed as overly political and unrealistic, akin to a lengthy holiday wish list for gifts. But for budget experts, this is the latest reminder that there is little appetite in the White House or in Congress to bring down the annual deficit, let alone the debt.

“We are the only major OECD economy that is significantly adding debt right now in good economic times,” Riedl said. “We’re the only country making our debt worse, which means when we hit a recession or national security crisis, the wheels are really going to come off fiscally.”

I wonder where that tax cut he promised right before the 2018 election went.

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« Reply #5231 on: March 15, 2019, 01:14:59 AM »

Trump is losing control: 12 GOP senators defect

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President Trump got walloped for the second time in 24 hours by the Senate. In a stunning repudiation of the president, 12 Republican senators crossed party lines to vote with Democrats to end Trump’s fraudulent declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border. The final vote was 59 to 41, with GOP Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Susan Collins (Maine), Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), Mike Lee (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) voting to end the president’s declaration — which seeks to confiscate Congress’s power of the purse.

Laughably, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who had declared his opposition to Trump’s declaration in an op-ed for The Post, flip-flopped and voted with Trump, a singular moment of breathtaking cowardice. Also joining Trump were Republican Sens. Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Cory Gardner (Colo.) Tillis, Ernst and Gardner are all up for reelection in 2020, and their voters should understand that these senators voted to give their jobs away, to emasculate the Senate. As such, they serve no purpose and do not fulfill their oaths of office to represent their states. There is no reason to return them to the Senate.

Also voting with Trump were constitutional conservative hypocrites — Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas, Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) to name a few. They have no standing to lecture any of us on the rule of law, the Constitution or the separation of powers. They cringe in Trump’s presence, afraid apparently to stand for anything other than their own reelection. As such, they pronounce their own uselessness.

Twenty-five Republicans — 12 in the Senate and 13 in the House — took their oaths seriously in opposing an unconstitutional power grab. The rest? If Trump told them to amend the Constitution and toss out the Bill of Rights, they’d likely do it. After all, Article I means nothing to them, so why should any other portion of the Constitution? This marks the inevitable result of a party that has sacrificed its principles and decency for . . . what? For the right to sit in the Senate, doing nothing? For fear that they cannot justify themselves to the mob Trump has drummed up?

It’s a clarifying moment. If #NeverTrumpers still think the Republican Party is worth saving, they will have to start with only 25 people. The rest are so intellectually and morally corrupt as to not be worthy of their association.

Meanwhile, overall, the wide margin of defeat for Trump is embarrassing to say the least, but entirely understandable. Trump’s border wall is unpopular with voters, and his declaration even more so. He’s the captain of a sinking ship, devoid of any post-tax-cut accomplishment (if one considers a very unpopular gift to the rich, on which Republicans couldn’t run in 2018, an “accomplishment”) and beset by scandal after scandal. In all likelihood, barring an act of political suicide by the Democrats (i.e., nominating an unelectable, self-described socialist), he’ll be out of office and facing prosecution in less than two years. And the Republicans who defended and enabled him? They’ll have gone down with the ship.

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« Reply #5232 on: March 16, 2019, 12:44:42 AM »



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« Reply #5233 on: March 16, 2019, 12:45:09 AM »

Trump Gives New Zealand Attack 20 Minutes Before Returning to Religious Demagoguery

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« Reply #5234 on: March 18, 2019, 04:12:25 AM »

Donald Trump Is Out of His Mind, Again

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