AuthorTopic: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread  (Read 57659 times)

Offline RE

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Dick Durbin: Trump firing Rosenstein would trigger 'constitutional crisis'
« Reply #1095 on: February 04, 2018, 08:25:46 AM »
We need a good Constitutional Crisis about now.

RE

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/dick-durbin-thinks-trump-firing-rod-rosenstein-over-gop-memo-would-trigger-constitutional-crisis/article/2648057

Dick Durbin thinks Trump firing Rod Rosenstein over GOP memo would trigger 'constitutional crisis"


by Josh Siegel | Feb 4, 2018, 11:05 AM
"If the House Republicans believe they've set the stage for this president to end this investigation they are basically saying that in America one man is above the law and that's not a fact," Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday President Trump would trigger a “constitutional crisis” if he fired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as a pretext to ending the special counsel’s Russia investigation.

Durbin accused House Republicans of acting to protect Trump from potential vulnerability in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe by releasing a classified GOP-written memo that accuses the FBI and Justice Department of abusing their surveillance powers in investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
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“I'll just tell you, this could precipitate a constitutional crisis,” said Durbin, D-Ill., the second-ranked Democrat, in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “If the House Republicans believe they've set the stage for this president to end this investigation they are basically saying that in America one man is above the law and that's not a fact.”

Trump on Saturday said the contents of the memo, which he authorized House Republicans to release, “totally vindicates” him in the Russia probe.

The White House has said Trump does not plan to fire Rosenstein, who is overseeing Mueller’s investigation.

But Durbin said Republicans aimed to protect Trump by releasing the memo.

The memo alleges the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in obtaining a secret warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

House Democrats are eager to release their own memo they say would provide more context and tell a different story. The Democratic memo has been made available to all members of the House, but it has not yet been made public, which Republicans say is the proper process to go through.

“The fact that the Republicans in the House refused to allow a minority report, the Democratic response to their memo, is an indication that they're just bound and determined to continue to find ways to absolve this president from any responsibility,” Durbin said. “We ought to be trying to focus on an investigation in a professional level by Bob Mueller and not trying to find a way to obstruct justice or to absolve this president from any responsibility he has.”
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Offline RE

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🤢 Transparent Hypocrisy
« Reply #1096 on: February 10, 2018, 03:35:03 AM »
https://www.usnews.com/opinion/thomas-jefferson-street/articles/2018-02-09/predictable-hypocrisy-trump-wont-declassify-democrats-nunes-memo-rebuttal

Transparent Hypocrisy


Trump's refusal to declassify Dems' reply to the Nunes memo is predictable and ridiculous.

The Associated Press

By Robert Schlesinger, Managing Editor for Opinion | Feb. 9, 2018, at 10:05 p.m.
Transparent Hypocrisy

President Donald Trump declined Friday night to declassify the Democratic rebuttal to last week's risible "Nunes memo."

Pretty much nothing about this, from the transparent hypocrisy to the Friday night news-dump timing, is surprising. What comes next will be interesting to watch, though.

The House Intelligence Committee had voted unanimously Monday to release the Democrats' 10-page response to the blundering Nunes memo. That gave Trump until Saturday to either block its declassification or let it occur.

"Although the President is inclined to declassify the … Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time," White House Counsel Don McGahn wrote in a letter to House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes on Friday, citing concerns from the Justice Department and the FBI.

Trump's sudden concern for properly classified material and the views of Justice and the FBI is rich considering his handling of the Nunes memo. In that case, recall, he promised to declassify before he had read it; in that case, FBI Director Christopher Wray issued a rare public statement expressing "grave concerns" about the memo; in that case, White House spokesman Raj Shah told CNN that "the Department of Justice doesn't have a role in this process." Nevertheless, Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made a last-ditch appeal to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and were ignored. The memo was released, scoring a victory for febrile right-wing Trump boosters and Russian bots. "The memo totally vindicates 'Trump' in probe," the president triumphantly tweeted the next day. (No, it really didn't.)
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In this case, by contrast, Trump made a show of meeting with Wray and a senior Justice Department official – apparently this time they did have a role – to consider whether to release the Democrats' memo. This time he's deeply concerned about hastily or improperly declassifying the memo.

Please. The whole affair while predictable just underscores how utterly shameless this president and administration are. Right down to the timing, right down to the Friday release of the decision.
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Put it this way: If the Nunes memo was total vindication and the Democratic response were a transparent flop – if in other words the Democratic memo was a clear dud akin to the Nunes memo – does anyone think that Trump would feel especially constrained in releasing it?

Characteristically, Trump casually disses his fellow Republicans here: After all, his counsel is saying that every GOPer on the Intelligence Committee voted this week to recklessly declassify sensitive information (itself a reversal of field after the committee had initially voted along party lines to only declassify the Nunes memo and not the Democrats' reply).

Now the ball is back in that committee's court. McGahn's letter urged the committee to work with the Justice Department to produce a redacted version of the memo which might be released. Or as California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, put it on Twitter Friday night:

And Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted that Trump's decision represented "evidence of obstruction of justice by Donald Trump happening in real time." And House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement calling Trump’s decision a “stunningly brazen attempt to cover up the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal from the American people [and] part of a dangerous and desperate pattern of cover-up on the part of the President.”

The key thing to remember is that the Nunes memo was part of an ongoing campaign to try to give Trump an excuse to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with an eye toward his replacement eventually firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Nunes' missive largely flopped but the Dems' memo would presumably drive another stake through its heart.

Nunes has proven himself one of Trump's most enthusiastic toadies in Congress. And yet it will be up to him and his Republican colleagues to decide whether to refer the question to the entire House, which could vote to declassify the memo over Trump's objections. Does anyone think that's likely to happen? That the House GOP is going to suddenly find its collective spine and rise above partisanship on this issue?
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The president has neither the background nor acuity to skimp on his regular briefings.

Some on the right see a trap in the Democratic memo, arguing that they deliberately leavened their memo with classified information in order to force Trump not to declassify. But that theory begs the question of why all the Intelligence Committee Republicans voted to declassify? Were they in on the Democratic plot? Did the deep state get to them too? Or are they just dupes incapable of properly handling sensitive material? The truth is out there.

So what exactly is in the Democrats' memo? Per The New York Times Nicholas Fandos: "[P]eople familiar with the Democratic memo said it argues that the F.B.I. was more forthcoming with the surveillance court than Republicans had claimed" regarding the partisan origins of the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. "Democrats also say Republicans misrepresented the words of Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy director of the F.B.I., when they said he told the committee late last year that the agency would not have sought a wiretap of Mr. Page without Mr. Steele's dossier of information."

What's next? Now we'll get protracted haggling over what to redact from a revised version of the Dems' memo with attendant arguments about whether the most damning stuff has been removed for partisan reasons. One useful guideline here: The Trump administration has literally no credibility and the Nunes memo relieved committee Republicans of whatever trustworthiness they had. The Democrats themselves are partisans but they have to this point not torched their own credibility in quite as obvious a way as the Republicans have.

There is of course one other option: Any member of Congress could walk down to the House floor and simply read the Democratic memo into the Congressional Record. Members of Congress are constitutionally immune from prosecution when engaged in official "speech and debate."

Stay tuned.

Update: Now Nunes is out with a statement, admonishing in part that "Along with other Intelligence Committee Republicans, I had warned that the Democratic memo contains many sources and methods." This would be the same memo which he and the other Intelligence Committee Republicans voted to release.

Updated on Feb. 9, 2018: This post has been updated to include Nunes' statement.
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Tags: Donald Trump, Devin Nunes, Adam Schiff, FBI, Department of Justice, U.S. intelligence
Robert Schlesinger is managing editor for opinion at U.S. News & World Report. He is the author of "White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters ."... full bio »
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 03:47:36 AM by RE »
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Offline RE

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The Massacres are non-stop now, not just Saturdays.

RE

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/rachel-brand-is-leaving-doj-are-we-headed-for-a-massacre.html

Rod Rosenstein’s Next-In-Command Is Leaving DOJ. Are We Headed for a Massacre?

By Jeremy Stahl
Feb 09, 20187:03 PM

Rod Rosenstein and Rachel Brand participate in a summit to discuss efforts to combat human trafficking.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In a surprise move, Rachel Brand is stepping down as the No. 3 official at the Department of Justice, the New York Times reported on Friday. Brand was next in line to oversee the special counsel’s Russia inquiry after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Brand’s departure could have enormous consequences for Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference and President Donald Trump.

The New York Times has reported that Trump considered firing Rosenstein and Mueller over the summer, a situation that would have been reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre and the firing of Watergate investigator Archibald Cox. Trump will now get to hand-pick a replacement for Brand, who would step in to take over the investigation should he or she be confirmed by the Senate and should Rosenstein go. It’s also been noted that Rosenstein may ultimately have to recuse himself from the investigation; in that case, he wouldn’t even have to be fired for the Trump selection to take control of the investigation into Trump.

Last March, Trump issued an executive order modifying the line of succession for an acting attorney general, the person who would be in control of Mueller’s inquiry since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself. According to that order, under normal procedures, a potential replacement for either Brand or Rosenstein to oversee the Russia inquiry would need Senate confirmation.

Fordham Law professor and occasional Slate contributor Jed Shugerman has laid out the potential orders of succession at the current moment. According to the vacancy statutes, Solicitor General Noel Francisco would be designated by Jeff Sessions as acting attorney general if Rosenstein were to depart, and he’d be followed by the assistant attorneys general. The next in line after that would typically be the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, a position which is being vacated by Dana Boente. Since Boente is leaving that job, it would go to the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon Jr.

It’s worth noting that the executive order says Trump “retains discretion, to the extent permitted by law” to go around this line of succession to select an acting attorney general on his own. But doing so in an effort to squelch an investigation into himself, his allies, and his family would conceivably be such a transparent effort to subvert the rule of law as to be a political liability even within the Republican Party.
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Rosenstein has been personally attacked by Trump. He has come under additional fire recently from critics of the Russia investigation, who have been using a concocted and false narrative from a recently declassified talking points memo to go after the FBI, Mueller, and Rosenstein. When Trump was asked by reporters if he still had confidence in Rosenstein last week, he responded “you figure that one out.”

Brand is reportedly leaving to become the head of global corporate governance at Walmart. The move feels possibly odd for someone who has served in three presidential administrations, cultivated a reputation as a devoted public servant, and who has only been in her current job less than one year.

Politico’s Eliana Johnson reported that someone close to Brand and the administration said she was leaving “because she is very smart, accomplished, and talented, and wants to protect her career.”

Brand worked in the George W. Bush administration and has been considered a rising conservative legal star for more than a decade. It seems very possible that staying in that DOJ position might have ultimately left her facing a very difficult situation career-wise. In a world where Rosenstein was fired and Brand was placed in charge of the Mueller probe, she might have to choose between obeying a Trump order that might upend the rule of law and being fired by Trump. As congressional and mainstream Republicans have moved closer towards Trump’s apparent anti-Mueller, anti-rule of law position, such martyrdom does not sound like it would help her future in the GOP.

Either decision might have done long-term damage to Brand’s future career prospects in any branch of government.

Brand’s move, however, preemptively abdicates that possible decision, quite possibly leaving it to a Trump-approved successor. As Elie Mystal, the executive editor at Above the Law, wrote following the news, it seems as though we might be rolling towards a “slow moving Saturday Night Massacre.”
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Offline RE

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Senate Democrat wants documents from Trump’s 2008 sale of Florida estate to Russ
« Reply #1098 on: February 11, 2018, 12:01:06 PM »
About time they looked at the RE Ruskie money laundering operation.  More meat there than the election tampering.

RE

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/senator-docs-estate-trump-sold-russian-billionaire-article-1.3814034

Senate Democrat wants documents from Trump’s 2008 sale of Florida estate to Russian billionaire


Trump sold the Palm Beach estate 10 years ago after buying it out of bankruptcy in 2004. (Dennett / Bott / Splash News/Dennett / Bott / Splash News)
BY
Terence Cullen
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sunday, February 11, 2018, 12:18 PM

The Senate Finance Committee’s top Democrat wants a deep dive into a 10-year-old real estate sale President Trump’s company made to a Kremlin-tied oligarch.

Sen. Ron Wyden has requested the Treasury Department fork over all documents related to the July 2008 sale of Maison de l’Amiti — a Palm Beach estate purchased by former fertilizer king Dmitry Rybolovlev.

Wyden (D-Ore.), in a letter dated Friday and obtained by CNN, says the President was in dire financial straits at the time and sold it for $30 million less than its appraised value.

“In the context of the President’s then-precarious financial position, I believe that the Palm Beach property sale warrants further scrutiny,” Wyden wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Lawyers urge President Trump to not meet with Robert Mueller
Rybolovlev's representatives maintain that the oligarch has never met Trump.
Rybolovlev's representatives maintain that the oligarch has never met Trump. (© Eric Gaillard / Reuters/REUTERS)

“It is imperative that Congress follow the money and conduct a thorough investigation into any potential money laundering or other illicit financial dealings between the President, his associates and Russia.”

Trump scooped up the western Florida estate out of bankruptcy in 2004 for roughly $41.4 million, and sold it to Rybolovlev four years later for about $95 million.

The tycoon, a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, never lived in the home — since dividing the 6.3-acre estate into three separate parcels.
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Trump acknowledged the sale while still a candidate, saying it was one of his few transactions with a Russian.
Trump acknowledged the sale while still a candidate, saying it was one of his few transactions with a Russian. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

At least one sold for $34.34 million, with the other closing at $37 million, according to an October article in the South Florida Business Journal.

Trump tweets Nunes memo ‘totally vindicates’ him in Russia probe

The 2008 transaction is one of several potential connections with Russia special counsel Robert Mueller is looking at in his Russia probe, Bloomberg reported last summer.

The President acknowledged on the campaign trail that the Palm Beach estate was one of his few financial associations with a Russian national.
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Wyden said Trump's financial status at the time means the sale "warrants further scrutiny." (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Questions were raised about their associations last year, when Rybolovlev’s yacht was anchored close to one owned by Robert Mercer, a well-known Trump backer.

And his jet was spotted parked next to Trump’s plane twice during the campaign — first in North Carolina, then in Las Vegas.

Trump aide ensnared in Russia scandal pulls ambassador nomination

But a spokesman downplayed the proximity as nothing but a coincidence when McClatchy reported the sightings last year.

Trump has maintained he never met Rybolovlev, and that a broker represented the Russian oligarch during the sale.

Wyden is able to request the documents because of his role as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, CNN noted, although his colleagues across the aisle don’t want to look into Trump’s financial dealings.
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Offline Surly1

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About time they looked at the RE Ruskie money laundering operation.  More meat there than the election tampering.

Wyden is able to request the documents because of his role as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, CNN noted, although his colleagues across the aisle don’t want to look into Trump’s financial dealings.

No shit, Sherlock. THIS is where the money is.

It's what floats the entire Trump org. It's a laundry for filthy Russian money. And be sure Vlad has the receipts.
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Offline RE

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Trump Privatizes America
« Reply #1100 on: February 14, 2018, 04:59:14 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/14/trump-privatizes-america/

February 14, 2018
Trump Privatizes America

by Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson


SHARMINI PERIES: President Trump presented his infrastructure plan on Monday. The long-awaited plan proposes to spend $200 billion in federal funds over the next 10 years. This is to be complemented with another 1.3 trillion in spending from cities, states, and private investors for a total of 1.5 trillion. Another major component of the plan is to reduce red tape and approval processes so that projects are approved much faster.

Here’s what Trump had to say in presenting the plan.

    This morning, I submitted legislative principles to Congress that will spur the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American history. The framework will generate an unprecedented $1.5 to $1.7-trillion investment in American infrastructure. We’re going to have a lot of public-private. And that way it gets done on time, on budget.

SHARMINI PERIES: Joining me now to analyze the infrastructure proposal is Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He’s the author of several books, the most recent among them is J is for Junk Economics….Michael, it sounds like you had your own infrastructure failure experience last night. Tell us about it.

MICHAEL HUDSON: I was coming back from Washington from a week at Democracy Collaborative on a $400 round trip on the Acela Express, which is supposed to be the elite Amtrak. We left Washington at 3:00. At 5:30, just before we got to New York, the train stopped. The conductor said, “We were told we can’t go any further, there is a track power outage, no trains are running in and out of Penn Station.” He suggested if anyone wanted to take the Jersey tubes across the station platform, they could do that. But there was no idea when things would be restored.

So, everybody waited about five minutes. Then about half the people got off and got into the New Jersey tube train standing shoulder the shoulder. But that wasn’t moving because they had an announcement there was no electricity going in and out of New York, you can’t get there. So, I shared an Uber cab with someone who was sitting next to me to get into Manhattan.

I may add that the trip was so jiggly that it was very hard to read or to write along the whole route. That means that the idea that somehow an infrastructure plan can develop a China-style, high-speed transit is just a fantasy. In order to have high-speed transit with anything really fast, you need a dedicated roadway. While I was in Washington, the Republicans, as you know, were going to their meeting down south, and their Amtrak train crashed into a garbage truck. You can imagine that a train track that goes through crossing gate crossings wouldn’t possibly work for high-speed rail.

Also, the cost would, I think, be closer to $20 trillion just to buy the land rights along the current railroad or other route, because the land is all built up in America. There’s a law of eminent domain and there have been so many lawsuits that it’s completely infeasible to rebuild the railroads.

SHARMINI PERIES: So, Michael, let’s go over some of the key points in the plan, which includes deregulation and the so-called private-public partnerships. And also, the private incentives that states and cities are supposed to offer in order to obtain matching funds. Let’s take up first the issue: deregulation. What effect will this have on communities?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, many states and localities have blocks to prevent privatization giveaways. They want to prevent what happened in Indiana with its toll road. They say, “Wait a minute. Privatization is going to be a giveaway. It’s going to triple the costs of providing infrastructure services. It’s going to price our cities and states out of the market if we go along with this plan.” Trump’s plan says that in order to qualify for public funding, states have to abolish its regulatory framework, environmental laws and restrictions on private funding.

What Trump basically said is that states and cities have to let themselves be robbed blind by the hedge funds and Wall Street. Just as the hedge funds robbed Chicago blind on the parking meters – getting a huge rate of return that probably will force Mayor Rahm out of office at the next election – local governments have to let privatizers come in and vastly increase their cost of living for the infrastructure they need.

This means that this so-called infrastructure plan would have the effect of destroying America’s competitiveness instead of contributing to it. It would vastly raise the price of the cost of living and doing business rather than making things easier for the population.

SHARMINI PERIES: Michael, the American Society of Civil Engineers agrees with you that this is inadequate in terms of funding, that the Trump plan is just not sufficient. In fact, it needs, they say, just to deal with the backlog a $4.6-trillion investment by 2025 and Trump’s plan doesn’t even come close. What do you make of this?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, to begin with, the way that Trump’s plan is to be financed would triple the cost of what the engineers say, to $22 trillion. The reason is that it’s a Thatcherite privatization scheme. Its economic philosophy reverses the last 150 years of public infrastructure in America. In fact, it’s the biggest attack on industrial capitalism in over 100 years.

America’s first professor of economics at the first business school – Simon Patten, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School – said that public infrastructure is a fourth factor of production. But it’s not like labor, land, and capital, because the role of public infrastructure is not to make a profit. It’s role is to provide public services that are basic for the economy’s living standards and capacity to produce, and to provide these at a subsidized rate. That’s how America got rich and came to dominate the world industrial economy: by publicly subsidizing its basic costs: Low-cost roads, and low-cost other infrastructure. The government bore these costs so that public infrastructure would subsidize the economy to lower the cost of doing business.

Trump’s plan would vastly increase this cost, because he forces its pricing into a highly financialized and debt-pyramided marketplace. Instead of offering roads at the cost of production, for instance, he’d actually triple their cost of production by insisting that it be privately financed, probably by hedge funds and bank credit that would add interest charges, capital gains charges, management fees and other overhead charges, not to mention the fines for financial fraud that goes with it. All this overhead would be factored into the prices that the new infrastructure would be required to charge its users.

Look at the Indiana Toll Road. That was done by a Trump-style private and public infrastructure. The tolls are so high – to try to pay off the hedge fund backers – a that people don’t use them. They choose to use the free, slower roads. That’s the sort of is a horror story that anyone who’s thinking of Trump’s plan should look at.

When Trump’s plan mentions water privatization, all you have to do is look at Thatcher’s water privatization in Britain. It has vastly increased the price of water. The water companies have been bought out by hedge funds, registered abroad by foreign owners who are opaque. It’s become probably the most unpopular privatization plan of all. So that part’s a disaster.

SHARMINI PERIES: Michael, another part of the plan is what is known as value capture financing in order to raise more funds. First of all, what is value capture financing? And what are its implications for states and communities that apply this principle?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Value capture financing is a wonderful idea. It’s so wonderful, I don’t know how it got into the plan. It recognizes that if you build transportation along a route, like New York City’s Second Avenue Subway, that transportation is going to increase the value of land and real estate all along the route. People are going to have closer access to the subways, or to roads and railroads. Many Hollywood movies in the 1930s were all about the corruption involved in building roads up to politicians’ houses.

The guiding idea is that in the future, if New York City were to do something like building the Second Avenue Subway for $3 billion, that this would raise the rental value. It already has raised property valuations along the subway line by $6 billion, because people now don’t have to walk a mile to the overcrowded Lexington Subway.

Under Trump’s plan, in order to get federal funding, cities would have to help themselves by recapturing the real estate value created by this added transportation, instead of leaving the gains in the hands of the landlords. That was what happened with the Second Avenue Subway extension, and also the West Side extension to the Javits Center. This increased real estate values all along there. Rebuilding Wall Street’s luxurious subway station cost, another 3 billion.

This is the best idea of the plan, and the one thing that should be kept – which is, of course, why the Democrats don’t mention it at all. They’re backing the real estate and the financial interests. Rick Rybeck has written a wonderful article on this recently. There are a lot of followers of Henry George that love this aspect of the plan.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Michael, this is your opportunity to lay out a infrastructure plan that you think will work for this country.

MICHAEL HUDSON: The government would finance it, by creating its own credit in the same way that it created the $4.6 trillion to bail out the banks on Wall Street. Instead of creating money to give to Wall Street, you’d spend money into the economy to build up infrastructure. And ideally, you’d tax the rich for this. But now that Trump has untaxed the wealthy, the only way that you could possibly do it – under his tax giveaway to Wall Street – would be for the government simply to print the money. It would create the money as the Federal Reserve or the Treasure can easily do, and finance it all publicly to provide the basic infrastructure services at cost or freely. So, instead of tripling the cost of water, instead of tripling the cost of transportation, you’d actually reduce the cost of transportation, you’d reduce the cost of water, and you’d still get the value recapture tax. The basic idea is to make it less expensive for the economy to produce and to live.

SHARMINI PERIES: Michael, much of this country doesn’t believe that government is capable of doing this because they have been given example after example of how government bureaucratic structures aren’t working. And, of course, this deterioration of the civil service, it plays a big role in all of this. How do you rebuild confidence in the state structures?

MICHAEL HUDSON: You write a history of America’s success in doing this. You can look at Eisenhower’s road building plan of the 1950s, for instance. You can look at the whole history of America’s infrastructure spending and the whole logic that was spelled out by Simon Patten at the Wharton School and by the economic theorists of industrial capitalism when America was really taking off in the late 19th and early 20th century. The whole history of how America built its roads, how it built the communication system, public health are examples of how governments make things work.

You can look at Germany and other successful economies. You look at what went well, but you have to look at what went wrong to see how the financial interests can take over these plans, privatize them, and somehow gut them, making them predatory instead of productive.

This is a transcript of an interview on the Real News Network.
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Offline RE

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Did Trump’s lawyer just implicate Trump in the Stormy Daniels payment?
« Reply #1101 on: February 14, 2018, 09:03:52 AM »
The lawyer says he used "his own money" to pay off the porn babe.  What kind of pathetic alibi is that?  ???   :icon_scratch:   ::)

RE

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/02/14/trumps-lawyer-confirmed-the-stormy-daniels-payment-whats-conspicuously-absent-any-denial-that-trump-was-involved/?utm_term=.d6d17909e879

Did Trump’s lawyer just implicate Trump in the Stormy Daniels payment?


By Aaron Blake February 14 at 8:47 AM Email the author
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Trump's personal attorney says he paid adult-film star $130,000
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Here is what we know about the allegation that an adult-film star reportedly was paid to remain silent about a sexual relationship with Donald Trump. (The Washington Post)

When evaluating President Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen's new admission that he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket, it's worth focusing on what he doesn't deny: namely, that Trump had anything to do with it.

In a statement first reported by the New York Times and also shared with The Washington Post, Cohen says for the first time that he paid Daniels. The Wall Street Journal had first reported the payment as hush money to keep the adult-film actress from disclosing an alleged affair with Trump, but thus far nobody else had confirmed that the payment existed. Cohen's hand was apparently forced by the watchdog group Common Cause, which last month announced it was filing a complaint arguing that Cohen's $130,000 payment could be construed as an illegal 2016 campaign contribution.

Here's some of what Cohen said Tuesday:

    In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford [Daniels's real name]. Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly. The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.

You might notice there is one main Trump-related entity that Cohen doesn't deny was “party to the transaction” or reimbursed Cohen, and that's Trump. It's also noteworthy that Cohen uses the word "facilitate" -- a word that seems to leave open to the possibility that the chain doesn't end at the use of "my own personal funds."

It's difficult to dismiss either as a coincidence, given Cohen is a lawyer and has carefully parsed his comments throughout this situation. He has regularly offered what seemed to be denials but didn't totally deny the details of what the Journal had reported.

When the Journal first confronted him with its reporting in January, Cohen offered a denial that didn't directly address whether he had made the payment; instead, he focused on whether the affair happened. “This is now the second time that you are raising outlandish allegations against my client,” he told the Journal. “You have attempted to perpetuate this false narrative for over a year; a narrative that has been consistently denied by all parties since at least 2011.”

Again, that sounds a lot like a denial, but he's denying something very specific — and turns out it wasn't the payment. (Cohen still denies that an affair occurred, for what it's worth. In his latest statement, he suggests that he was merely combating the rumors of an affair: “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump.”)

[The case for taking the Trump-Stormy Daniels saga seriously]

When the Journal reported a week later that Cohen formed an LLC in Delaware and used pseudonyms to facilitate the payment to Daniels, Cohen again offered a non-denial denial. “You’re obsessive drive to prove a false narrative, one that has been rebuked by all parties, must come to an end,” Cohen wrote.

But the lion's share of that “narrative” has now been confirmed by Cohen himself. And whether Trump actually engaged in an affair with Daniels is kind of beside the point — at least legally speaking.

And that's what Cohen seems concerned with. By singling out the Trump Organization and the Trump campaign as not having participated, he's suggesting that he wasn't serving as a conduit for either. In either case, failure to disclose such payments would be pretty easy to spot and could cause problems. (Philip Bump runs through the legal ins and outs here.)
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The big question is whether Cohen served as a conduit for anyone else -- especially Trump. Cohen emphasizes that he used his own personal funds to "facilitate" the payment, but he doesn't directly say that he wasn't reimbursed by anyone. Indeed, the word "facilitate" means to make something easy or less difficult, which could be read to describe serving as a middle man for such payments.

Given all of that, the fact that Cohen doesn't explicitly deny serving as a conduit for Trump personally — and then says he doesn't “plan to provide any further comment” — is tough to dismiss as a coincidence.

Almost as tough as it is to believe that Cohen would make such a payment without Trump having any knowledge of the situation.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Did Trump’s lawyer just implicate Trump in the Stormy Daniels payment?
« Reply #1102 on: February 14, 2018, 10:53:11 AM »
The lawyer says he used "his own money" to pay off the porn babe.  What kind of pathetic alibi is that?  ???   :icon_scratch:   ::)

RE

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/02/14/trumps-lawyer-confirmed-the-stormy-daniels-payment-whats-conspicuously-absent-any-denial-that-trump-was-involved/?utm_term=.d6d17909e879

Did Trump’s lawyer just implicate Trump in the Stormy Daniels payment?


By Aaron Blake February 14 at 8:47 AM Email the author
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Trump's personal attorney says he paid adult-film star $130,000
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Here is what we know about the allegation that an adult-film star reportedly was paid to remain silent about a sexual relationship with Donald Trump. (The Washington Post)

When evaluating President Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen's new admission that he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket, it's worth focusing on what he doesn't deny: namely, that Trump had anything to do with it.

In a statement first reported by the New York Times and also shared with The Washington Post, Cohen says for the first time that he paid Daniels. The Wall Street Journal had first reported the payment as hush money to keep the adult-film actress from disclosing an alleged affair with Trump, but thus far nobody else had confirmed that the payment existed. Cohen's hand was apparently forced by the watchdog group Common Cause, which last month announced it was filing a complaint arguing that Cohen's $130,000 payment could be construed as an illegal 2016 campaign contribution.

Here's some of what Cohen said Tuesday:

    In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford [Daniels's real name]. Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly. The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.

You might notice there is one main Trump-related entity that Cohen doesn't deny was “party to the transaction” or reimbursed Cohen, and that's Trump. It's also noteworthy that Cohen uses the word "facilitate" -- a word that seems to leave open to the possibility that the chain doesn't end at the use of "my own personal funds."

It's difficult to dismiss either as a coincidence, given Cohen is a lawyer and has carefully parsed his comments throughout this situation. He has regularly offered what seemed to be denials but didn't totally deny the details of what the Journal had reported.

When the Journal first confronted him with its reporting in January, Cohen offered a denial that didn't directly address whether he had made the payment; instead, he focused on whether the affair happened. “This is now the second time that you are raising outlandish allegations against my client,” he told the Journal. “You have attempted to perpetuate this false narrative for over a year; a narrative that has been consistently denied by all parties since at least 2011.”

Again, that sounds a lot like a denial, but he's denying something very specific — and turns out it wasn't the payment. (Cohen still denies that an affair occurred, for what it's worth. In his latest statement, he suggests that he was merely combating the rumors of an affair: “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump.”)

[The case for taking the Trump-Stormy Daniels saga seriously]

When the Journal reported a week later that Cohen formed an LLC in Delaware and used pseudonyms to facilitate the payment to Daniels, Cohen again offered a non-denial denial. “You’re obsessive drive to prove a false narrative, one that has been rebuked by all parties, must come to an end,” Cohen wrote.

But the lion's share of that “narrative” has now been confirmed by Cohen himself. And whether Trump actually engaged in an affair with Daniels is kind of beside the point — at least legally speaking.

And that's what Cohen seems concerned with. By singling out the Trump Organization and the Trump campaign as not having participated, he's suggesting that he wasn't serving as a conduit for either. In either case, failure to disclose such payments would be pretty easy to spot and could cause problems. (Philip Bump runs through the legal ins and outs here.)
subscribe
The story must be told.
Your subscription supports journalism that matters.
Try 1 month for $1

The big question is whether Cohen served as a conduit for anyone else -- especially Trump. Cohen emphasizes that he used his own personal funds to "facilitate" the payment, but he doesn't directly say that he wasn't reimbursed by anyone. Indeed, the word "facilitate" means to make something easy or less difficult, which could be read to describe serving as a middle man for such payments.

Given all of that, the fact that Cohen doesn't explicitly deny serving as a conduit for Trump personally — and then says he doesn't “plan to provide any further comment” — is tough to dismiss as a coincidence.

Almost as tough as it is to believe that Cohen would make such a payment without Trump having any knowledge of the situation.

Trump is lucky to have a great humanitarian for a lawyer. I've never been that lucky. My lawyers always made me pay, and up front too.

We all know that the money was really  paid from some secret cash slush fund. From campaign donations, most likely, although there will be no paper trail.
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Offline RE

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Former Playboy Model Details Affair With Trump and Paid Cover-Up in New Yorker
« Reply #1103 on: February 16, 2018, 10:19:26 AM »
How come the fucking Evangelicals don't give a shit about this?

Trumpsky is about the most obvious womanizer on the planet.  ::)

RE

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/former-playboy-model-karen-mcdougal-describes-affair-with-trump-in-a-new-yorker-story.html

Former Playboy Model Details Affair With Trump and Paid Cover-Up in New Yorker Story

By Molly Olmstead
Feb 16, 201811:06 AM


Karen McDougal at Playboy’s Super Saturday Night Party on February 6, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Playboy

A former Playboy model who claims she had an affair with Donald Trump starting in 2006 detailed for the New Yorker her experience with the future president and the system by which he and his friends kept his affairs quiet.

The model, Karen McDougal, described a legal agreement—one she willingly signed but claims she did not fully understand—that silenced her. She also spoke of the affair, which she said began just a few months after Trump’s son Barron was born, and recounted behavior similar to that of affairs he reportedly had with other women around the same time. The New Yorker report, by Ronan Farrow, cites dozens of pages of documents supporting her account.

McDougal met Trump in 2006 at a pool party at the Playboy Mansion, she said. A man described as her friend provided an eight-page letter she wrote, in which she described the affair that followed:

    Trump and McDougal began talking frequently on the phone, and soon had what McDougal described as their first date: dinner in a private bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. McDougal wrote that Trump impressed her. “I was so nervous! I was into his intelligence   charm. Such a polite man,” she wrote. “We talked for a couple hours – then, it was “ON”! We got naked   had sex.” As McDougal was getting dressed to leave, Trump did something that surprised her. “He offered me money,” she wrote. “I looked at him (  felt sad)   said, ‘No thanks - I’m not ‘that girl.’ I slept w/you because I like you - NOT for money’ - He told me ‘you are special.’ ”

    Afterward, McDougal wrote, she “went to see him every time he was in LA (which was a lot).” Trump, she said, always stayed in the same bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel and ordered the same meal—steak and mashed potatoes—and never drank.

    McDougal recalled that Trump would often send her articles about him or his daughter, as well as signed books and sun visors from his golf courses.

Adult film star Stormy Daniels, who has acknowledged having an affair with Trump beginning in 2006, recalled in an InTouch Weekly interview that Trump also offered her money after sex and that she too joined him at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, has said Trump assaulted her in 2007 at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

While McDougal said Trump made efforts to hide public evidence of their affair—his bodyguard would escort her to his hotel rooms; she would buy plane tickets herself and he would then reimburse her—he didn’t try to hide her from his family:

    During Trump’s relationship with McDougal, she wrote, he introduced her to members of his family and took her to his private residences. At a January, 2007, launch party in Los Angeles for Trump’s now-defunct liquor brand, Trump Vodka, McDougal, who was photographed entering the event, recalled sitting at a table with Kim Kardashian, Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Trump, Jr.,’s wife, Vanessa, who was pregnant. At one point, Trump held a party for “The Apprentice” at the Playboy Mansion, and McDougal worked as a costumed Playboy bunny. “We took pics together, alone   with his family,” McDougal wrote. She recalled that Trump said he had asked his son Eric “who he thought was the most beautiful girl here   Eric pointed me. Mr. T said ‘He has great taste’   we laughed!”

    Trump gave McDougal tours of Trump Tower and his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club. In Trump Tower, McDougal wrote, Trump pointed out Melania’s separate bedroom. He “said she liked her space,” McDougal wrote, “to read or be alone.”

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McDougal also spoke of offensive comments from Trump, including one instance in which he called her mother an “old hag” and another in which he said that one of her friends, who spoke of a relationship she had with a black man, liked “the big black dick.” McDougal said she ended the relationship in April 2007.

What followed years later, she said, demonstrated the mechanism by which affairs with Trump were kept quiet.

In November 2016, just before the election, the Wall Street Journal reported that American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, paid $150,000 for rights to McDougal’s story. People who worked for the company told the New Yorker that the CEO and chairman of AMI, who was described as a personal friend of Trump’s, often bought stories to kill them, sometimes to protect the subject of the story and sometimes to hold the story as a sort of leverage over celebrities. “Someone in a high position that controls our country, if they can influence him,” McDougal said, “it’s a big deal.’” AMI told the New Yorker it didn’t run the story because it didn’t find it credible and that it had no leverage over Trump.

According to the New Yorker, McDougal was initially persuaded by a friend—the one who provided documents to the New Yorker—to sell her story in order to make money and also have some control over the story. She signed the story rights to AMI in August 2016, not long before Trump’s personal lawyer negotiated a nondisclosure agreement with Daniels. AMI promised to promote McDougal’s career with several business and visibility-boosting ideas. Those ideas did not translate into real opportunities. AMI also intervened in media requests sent to McDougal. AMI has “repeatedly approached” McDougal to try to extend her contract.

McDougal, who said she is a Republican, told the New Yorker she regrets signing the contract and that she didn’t understand its scope at the time. She said she decided to come forward despite fears of retaliation because of “changes in her life” and the ongoing public conversation about the sexual misconduct of powerful men.

Trump denies the affair.
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Offline RE

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Trump's troubles deepen as report offers new details of alleged affair with Play
« Reply #1104 on: February 16, 2018, 12:53:22 PM »
I can't see how even the Teflon Don can get out from under this one.

RE

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-mcdougal-affair-20180216-story.html

Trump's troubles deepen as report offers new details of alleged affair with Playboy Playmate


By Michael Finnegan
Feb 16, 2018 | 12:15 PM
Trump's troubles deepen as report offers new details of alleged affair with Playboy Playmate
Karen McDougal at Playboy's Super Saturday Night Party in Miami Beach on Feb. 6, 2010. (Dimitrios Kambouris /)

President Trump's political troubles with alleged extramarital affairs deepened Friday with publication of new details of his reported sexual relationship with a former Playboy model.

In handwritten notes accompanying a Ronan Farrow article in the New Yorker, Karen McDougal, Playboy's 1998 Playmate of the Year, recalled having sex with Trump in 2006, a few months after his wife Melania gave birth to their son, Barron.

Trump and McDougal met at a pool party at the Playboy Mansion, where Trump was taping an episode of his television show, "The Apprentice," McDougal wrote.

The New Yorker article, citing previously undisclosed texts, emails and legal records, elaborates on a Wall Street Journal report in 2016 about a deal requiring McDougal to keep quiet about the alleged affair.

It included a $150,000 payment to McDougal from American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, which never printed her story about Trump. David Pecker, chairman and CEO of AMI, is a close friend of the president.

McDougal, who confirmed the authenticity of her notes in an interview with the New Yorker, said she was speaking out in part because of the #MeToo movement.

"Every girl who speaks is paving the way for another," she told the magazine.

A White House spokesperson told the New Yorker that Trump "never had a relationship with McDougal."

McDougal's comments appeared to buttress the accounts of two other women who said Trump pursued them for sex in the early years of his marriage to Melania Trump. Both cases have sparked legal action against the president.

Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told the New York Times this week that he used "personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000" just before the November 2016 election to porn actress Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels. In return, Clifford reportedly agreed to keep quiet about her affair with Trump, who denied it ever occurred.
Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal attorney, in Washington on Sept. 19, 2017.
Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal attorney, in Washington on Sept. 19, 2017. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

Common Cause has filed a Federal Election Commission complaint saying the payment was an illegal campaign contribution, which Cohen denies.

Like Clifford, McDougal says she had sex with Trump at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe in July 2006.

Orange County restaurateur Summer Zervos, a former contestant on "The Apprentice," has accused Trump of trying to force himself on her in 2006. She filed a defamation suit against him after he called her a liar.

All three women say their interactions with Trump included encounters in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. All three also say they were escorted to the bungalow by Keith Schiller, a longtime Trump bodyguard who left his job in September as the director of Oval Office Operations and deputy assistant to the president.
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Offline Surly1

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I can't see how even the Teflon Don can get out from under this one.

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I read your and Eddie's posts earlier. I have to feel that between this nooze and the Russia indictments, the atmosphere at the Trump WH is like the American Embassy during the fall of Saigon in April 1975. Everyone trying to crowd onto the last helicopter out.

I just passed a TV tuned to Fox, and Shep Smith was intoning to his viewers how this was real, this was no witch hunt, Russians had interfered with the elections and you better get used to the idea. No doubt for 95 per cent of FNC watchers, this will come as fresh news and a real surprise.

Should also shut the fuck up the Caitlin Johnstones and other left and libertarian deniers who can't see past the Deep State long enough to realize that two separate tings can be true: yes, the Surveillance state is oppressive, and yes, the Russians had and have an interest in weakening the US through fair means or foul. I continue to be amazed at how people can turn this into an either-or proposition.
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Offline RE

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I read your and Eddie's posts earlier. I have to feel that between this nooze and the Russia indictments, the atmosphere at the Trump WH is like the American Embassy during the fall of Saigon in April 1975. Everyone trying to crowd onto the last helicopter out.

SOMEBODY is going to rollover here in the attempt to save his own ass.  It's baked in the cake now.  Mueller indicted 13 Ruskies, and I am sure one of them provided Donalditry with Playmates during his visits to Mother Russia.

It's Popcorn time for sure now. :happy1:

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Offline Eddie

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1107 on: February 16, 2018, 01:52:08 PM »
And Trump is tweeting that the Mueller indictments exonerate him and everyone he knows. LOL.
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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1108 on: February 16, 2018, 02:01:51 PM »
And Trump is tweeting that the Mueller indictments exonerate him and everyone he knows. LOL.

And everyone they know too, through 6 degrees of spearation and Kevin Bacon!  ::)

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Offline Golden Oxen

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1109 on: February 16, 2018, 02:23:03 PM »
And Trump is tweeting that the Mueller indictments exonerate him and everyone he knows. LOL.

Why shouldn't he. It's true. Unless of course your a Trump Hater and so prejudiced you lose your ability to read the statement.



"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity," Rosenstein said, adding there "there is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.".

 

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