AuthorTopic: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread  (Read 244062 times)

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🤡 Republicans pray Trump holsters his tariffs
« Reply #1995 on: June 11, 2019, 03:37:02 AM »

“I’m hoping we can get that back on track and done by the August break," Sen. John Thune said. | Pete Marovich/Getty Images
Republicans pray Trump holsters his tariffs

GOP senators warn the president's agenda hangs in the balance.


06/10/2019 07:45 PM EDT

Senate Republicans want just one thing when it comes to Donald Trump’s global trade war: a cease-fire.

It’s a move that would benefit not just their caucus, senators argue, but the president too.

If Trump withholds new tariffs, he can reasonably expect Senate passage of his new North American trade deal this summer, assuming Speaker Nancy Pelosi budges in the House — still a big if. And if he imposes new tariffs, he could see a major effort to restrict his trade powers finally come to fruition at the hands of his own party.

Trump already got a taste of how Senate Republicans would confront him during his will-he-or-won’t-he vow to impose stiff tariffs on imports from Mexico.

Using the chance to approve a NAFTA replacement as a carrot and threats to block his Mexico tariffs as a stick, GOP senators last week helped stop 5 percent levies from being slapped on all Mexican goods. But Trump warned on Monday that “tariffs will be reinstated” if Mexico doesn’t follow through on his vague deal to stem the surge of Central American migrants, and senators take him at his word.

“If Mexico does not step up, I think the president will come back to it,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said. “I don’t want to see tariffs as a tool for everything that could possibly go wrong. I don’t think everything’s smooth. Mexico needs to step up.”
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Meanwhile, there’s a short window to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement in Congress, one that will close — perhaps permanently — if the president unleashes any more tariff threats.

“It’s too hard to judge precisely where we are on that,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah.) said. “The administration also heard that Congress is not in favor of tariffs on friends … [and] the USMCA would have faced a real challenge here and perhaps in Mexico.”

The long-running dispute between Senate Republicans and the president came to a head last week when several Republicans predicted that the president could face jaw-dropping defections in the chamber on a vote to block any effort to impose those tariffs on Mexico. That too would have put approval of the new North American trade deal back on ice in the Senate, where Republicans wield considerable leverage.

For most of the year, the USMCA has been in severe jeopardy, not just in the Democratic House but in the Senate, where Republicans first threatened to stall any vote as long as steel and aluminum tariffs remained on U.S. allies. Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is continuing to devise legislation that would allow Congress to stop those types of tariffs, which were imposed on the basis of national security.

After wiping away the threat of the Mexico tariffs, senior Republicans said once again conditions are ripe for passage of the president’s chief trade achievement of this Congress. So they need to move quickly.

“To me it feels like the near-term issues have been resolved,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the Republican whip. “I hope it removes any uncertainty about at least being able to get USMCA voted on.”
Donald Trump

White House
‘He needs some victories’: Trump lashes out over his Mexico deal


Yet what Republicans have learned after nearly 30 months with Trump in the White House is that the president can turn on a dime. The Mexico tariff threat was a perfect example: Trump’s tweet announcing the move to impose new tariffs without new immigration controls jolted nearly everyone in the Capitol and thrust Washington into a week of drama, even if some Democrats said they always thought Trump was bluffing.

“He made a bogus threat to impose tariffs, which the business community and Republicans in Congress rejected,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “And now the president claims a bogus agreement with Mexico which contains policies that Mexico volunteered to do months ago. Bogus, bogus, bogus.”

Yet Trump also experienced unprecedented Republican pushback: The party has not yet before offered to provide a veto-proof majority in opposition to his policies, a real escalation of the intraparty feud. But Trump seems unbowed, even threatening new tariffs on French wine on Monday.

“Without tariffs, we would be captive to every country, and we have been for many years,” Trump said on CNBC on Monday. “They take advantage of us in every way possible.”

The president sees tariffs as a blunt and unilateral tool that allows him to force foreign countries to take him seriously. Republicans said they have multiple fears about the specter that new levies could still be slapped on Mexico: That it would hurt USMCA’s support in Congress, that it could drive Mexico away from the agreement and that Republicans could mount an ugly rebellion in Congress against him.

Whether Trump would use the tariff threat again is only a matter of time, allies say.

“I’m certain of it,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said. “It’s always on the table with him as a strategy and when it works, it’s great.”
Pompeo defends immigration deal with Mexico

Pompeo defends immigration deal with Mexico


“He likes to use tariffs as a negotiating tool,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said.

Yet the blowback could only increase the next time the president brings them up. For one, any more significant delay could imperil the USMCA deal altogether. Pelosi is reluctant to bring it up in the first place, and Republican leaders have said that after the August recess the chance of approval decreases exponentially.

That’s because September will be filled with tough funding fights over the federal debt and government spending, all while the Democratic presidential primary heats up.

“I’m hoping we can get that back on track and done by the August break," Thune said. "That’s the goal.”

Yet there’s plenty of time for the deal with Mexico to fall apart or for the number of border crossings to continue its steep rise.

So while Republicans wait for Pelosi to move, they’re keeping one eye on their own whip count and the other on Trump’s Twitter feed, wary that this week’s relative calm could be upended at any instant with the tariff threat roaring anew.

"We've been pretty clear on that topic," Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, another GOP leader, said. "The president thinks that we've been very clear and that we don't know what we are talking about."
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🤡 How Trump's 'fake news' rhetoric has gotten out of control
« Reply #1996 on: June 12, 2019, 02:06:08 AM »

How Trump's 'fake news' rhetoric has gotten out of control
CNN Digital Expansion 2017 Jim Acosta

By Jim Acosta, CNN

Updated 9:41 AM ET, Tue June 11, 2019
Acosta: I wanted to send a message defending the press

Acosta: I wanted to send a message defending the press 02:02
Adapted from Jim Acosta's "The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America" set for release Tuesday

Washington (CNN)It was February 16, 2017, and President Donald J. Trump had just held a news conference in the White House East Room to confront questions about his decision to fire his national security adviser, Michael Flynn. As he was jousting with reporters over the still unfolding details of the Russia investigation, Trump offered a new twist on his recent line of attack on the press.
"I'm changing it from fake news, though," Trump said in response to a question from me.
"Very fake news," the President added, to laughter in the room. Trump has his share of flaws but comic timing isn't one of them.
Later in the afternoon, the phone rang. It was one of the President's most trusted aides, Hope Hicks.

"I wanted to let you know that I spoke with the President and he wants you to know that he thought you were very professional today," Hicks said.
"He said, 'Jim gets it,' " she added.
Hicks had offered an insight into Trump's thinking. When the President called the press "fake news," Hicks was essentially saying this was just an expression, part of the act, something I apparently "get." Other Trump aides and advisers confirmed this assessment.
Jim Acosta's new book: 'The Enemy of the People'

Jim Acosta's new book: 'The Enemy of the People' 05:18
But what may have begun as something of a reality TV-style parlor trick has mutated into a full-blown assault on the American free press, one that the President apparently can no longer control.
The following day, Trump demonstrated he was fully capable of escalating his rhetoric aimed at the news media. It was a dark and dangerous tweet that may well define much of his presidency.
"The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!" he wrote.
More than 30 current and former administration officials, as well as other outside Trump advisers and high-ranking GOP officials, spoke with me for my book "The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America," set for release Tuesday. Other officials from the administration, most notably Trump and White House press secretary Sanders, did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.
Asked where the term "the enemy of the people" came from, three former and current senior White House officials pointed the finger at the conservative firebrand Steve Bannon, an ex-West Wing strategist himself, as having coined the villainous label. Yet, in an interview, Bannon said that's not quite the case. The former Breitbart executive insisted he and Trump had conjured up the anti-press catchphrase together.
"I think it's safe to say that we both came up with it in discussion," Bannon said, making sure Trump received part of the credit.
"I think I threw out 'opposition media party' first, and then he threw out 'fake news is the enemy of the people,' " Bannon added, referring to his own description of journalists as the "opposition" during the early days of the Trump administration.
OPINION: Sam Donaldson: What Jim Acosta is doing is exactly right
Discounting the notion that such rhetoric could lead to violence against journalists, Bannon was careful to draw what he thought was an important distinction, noting that Trump doesn't regard all journalists as the "enemy." Only those reporters seen by the President as purveyors of "fake news" fit into that category, Bannon continued.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, in an interview for my book, said she did not agree with the use of that expression.
"It's fraught. It's danger --, " Conway stopped midsentence, catching herself before saying "dangerous."
"I think calling the President a Russian asset is dangerous," she added.
"I don't use that phrase. Yet there is ample evidence that the media are often the enemy of the relevant," she said.
trump acosta

Trump clashes with Acosta in testy exchange 02:58
One senior White House official rejected Bannon's comments, saying he should be taking full responsibility for the "enemy of the people" term.
" 'Enemy of the people' was first said in this White House by somebody who spent all of his time talking to the media," the senior official said, referring to Bannon. "It's absolutely Bannon."
Still, the original purpose of the expression was to taunt members of the press, not trigger threatening reactions from Trump supporters, the official said.
"It's meant to incite the media. Not the people," the official continued.
Bannon explained that Trump's use of the "enemy" label should be viewed as part of a larger media strategy aimed at mastering the nation's nonstop political news cycle, the same approach that allowed Trump to cut through 16 GOP presidential candidates like a "scythe through grass," as Bannon put it.
Still, some of the President's supporters have lashed out at the press after absorbing this volatile rhetoric, behaving in ways that have left journalists feeling endangered. This phenomenon can be seen in the death threats streaming into the social media accounts of news anchors and reporters who cover Trump on a regular basis. Popular apps such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have done little to stem the flow of these violent messages.
"If Trump is removed from office in any way, you are dead," read one message posted on my Instagram account.
Self-described Trump supporters have left messages recommending that I be castrated, decapitated and set on fire. Theirs was the same kind of hatred that had driven Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc to send pipe bombs to CNN and Democratic targets shortly before the midterm elections in 2018. His vivid threats directed at me on Twitter went undetected until authorities captured him.
Handling falsehoods and 'alternative facts'
Trump semantics: 'alternative facts'

Trump semantics: 'alternative facts' 00:19
Trump's unprecedented verbal attacks on the press, his chaotic management style and his assaults on the truth have often confounded his own advisers, placing some members of his beleaguered team in the position of explaining the President's outright falsehoods.
After then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed in January 2017 that Trump had drawn the largest inauguration crowd in US history, Conway came to the spokesman's defense with a catchphrase that she now regrets.
" 'Alternative facts' was a slip of the tongue. I rushed through 'alternative information and additional facts,' and it got mushed together," Conway said. "It was never meant to be Orwellian or to excuse lies."
But Conway and Spicer had their stumbles as they were attempting to explain outbursts from a President who excelled at creating disorder. As a former senior White House official said, much of Trump's chaotic behavior was by design.
"He rules by instability. He wins by making everything around him unstable," the official told me. That way, the official said, Trump controls the chaos.
Intense frustration with Trump's management style has also led some senior White House and administration officials to arrive at damning assessments of the President.
"The President's insane," one senior official said, in a moment of exasperation with Trump's behavior behind the scenes.
Asked what the aide meant, the official complained Trump failed to understand the constraints on the executive branch built into the US Constitution by the nation's Founding Fathers, the guardrails installed to protect American democracy from the possibility of a rogue president.
What were the rules for appointing Cabinet officials and how long can acting secretaries stay on the job, Trump wanted to know, according to the official.
Unpredictable behavior abroad and at home
donald trump vladimir putin phone call russia election meddling cooper kth ac360 vpx_00000206

Cooper: Trump is incapable of confronting Putin 05:15
Trump's behavior around foreign leaders, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, also puzzled senior members of his national security team.
Around the time of Putin's reelection in March 2018, Trump wanted to send the Russian leader a news clipping, signed by him, to wish the ex-KGB agent good luck, a senior administration official with direct knowledge of the situation said.
"Vladimir, you're going to do great," Trump was going to tell Putin, according to the official, who viewed the clipping but cautioned it was not certain whether the message was ultimately sent off to the Russian President. Still, the official raised concerns about Trump's gesture with other aides, worried that the clipping, should it somehow be released, could be an embarrassment for Trump and prompt more questions about the relationship between the two leaders.
"Other people were aware," the official said.
The official could not explain why Trump was so cozy with Putin.
"I can't answer that question," the official confessed.
Trump's unpredictable behavior with foreign leaders was a constant source of consternation for former chief of staff John Kelly, who did not hide his unhappiness from other West Wing aides.
"You didn't leave him alone, did you?" Kelly once blurted out to a senior aide, the official said.
Other officials in the administration questioned Trump's handling of his domestic agenda, such as his crackdown on migrants crossing the border with Mexico.
In a rare public expression of concern with an administration initiative, Conway said she disagreed with the "zero-tolerance" policy that resulted in family separations at the border in 2018.
"As a mother, as a Catholic, as a person of conscience, I don't want children ripped from their parents," Conway said with regret, before adding she also didn't want to see families taken advantage of by "smugglers and coyotes," a comment more in line with the administration's talking points on immigration.
In the two years since Trump's election, one constant of his time in office has been his rallies. During the 2016 campaign, Trump began his assault on the media, referring to news outlets as "dishonest" and "disgusting." That routine has continued right into Trump's presidency as he has excited his base with rhetoric steeped in hostility toward journalists. Some of the President's supporters have joined in on the act, hurling insults at reporters inside the press filing spaces at the rallies.
"You're scum. You're a scumbag," yelled one man repeatedly for approximately 30 minutes at a rally last year in Nashville.
"Out, out, out, out," shrieked an elderly woman at a rally later in the year in Columbia, South Carolina, whipping the crowd of thousands into a frenzy as she insisted that the CNN crew be ejected from the venue.

Another woman at the Columbia rally warned me to tone down my questions to both the President and press secretary Sanders or face the consequences.
"What's going to happen is we're going to end up with a civil war. You're going to have people shooting people," warned the woman.

At another rally a few weeks later in Tampa, Florida, large group of Trump supporters screamed and flashed middle fingers at me. Trump later retweeted a video of the incident, catapulting its viewership into the millions. The episode was followed by a string of disturbing messages left on my social media accounts.
"Hopefully he gets beaten to death at one soon," read one message left on my Instagram account.
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🤡 House Oversight votes to hold Barr, Ross in contempt
« Reply #1997 on: June 13, 2019, 12:12:08 AM »

House Oversight votes to hold Barr, Ross in contempt
By Jacqueline Thomsen - 06/12/19 04:42 PM EDT
The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted largely along party lines on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to comply with congressional subpoenas.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) broke with his party to vote with the panel's Democrats.

The high-stakes vote took place just hours after the Justice and Commerce departments announced that President Trump had asserted executive privilege over the subpoenaed documents, which were tied to the Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Wednesday’s vote, which comes just one day after the House voted to empower committee chairmen with more legal authority to enforce their subpoenas, is a further escalation of the battle between the Trump administration and House Democrats investigating the president.

The citizenship question has been hotly contested since Ross announced in March 2018 that it would be included on the 2020 census, stating that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had requested the question in order to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

In his opening statement, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) hit back at the president’s claim of executive privilege over the documents, calling it “another example of the administration's blanket defiance of Congress's mandated responsibilities.”

The chairman said that his committee has obtained evidence indicating that Ross had pursued the addition of a citizenship question to the census before DOJ officials asked for the question and that Trump advisers began discussing the question ahead of the president’s inauguration in 2017.

“Although we have limited information about this scheme, we have been blocked from fully determining the real reason the administration sought to add the citizenship question,” Cummings said. “That is because the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce have refused to turn over key documents requested by the committee.”
Cummings told reporters after the vote that it was "one of the more sadder days" of his career in Congress.
He said that the census is important not just for making sure that states get the amount of federal funds they need and for drawing district maps, but for making sure every hard-working person in America is counted, regardless of citizenship.
"The question is, what are they getting back, and the census allows them to get their fair share of the dollars that they put in," Cummings said.
And he echoed an impassioned speech he delivered earlier during Wednesday's hearing, emphasizing the importance of his committee's efforts to conduct oversight on the Trump administration.
"Two hundred to 300 years from now, people will look back on this moment. And they will ask the question, what did you do? What did you do when there was an effort to undercount your neighbors?" Cummings said.
"What we've got to say is that we stood up," he continued.
In a harsh statement released after the vote, Ross went after Democrats, claiming that they have "maintained their shameless, weekly attacks on this Administration without consideration for the truth."

"By holding a contempt vote, the committee has already demonstrated its scorn for the Constitution, continually refusing to engage in the constitutionally-mandated accommodation process. That is far more serious than the empty stunt the committee performed today," the secretary said.
And DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement that the vote "undermines Congress’s credibility with the American people."

"Despite the committee’s political games, the department will remain focused on its critical work safeguarding the American people and upholding the rule of law," Kupec said.

Republicans who voted against the contempt measures claimed that the vote is an attempt by Democrats to influence the Supreme Court’s current consideration of whether to allow the citizenship question on the census. They noted that past versions of the census have included the question and that it remains on a more frequently distributed survey that goes out to a smaller percentage of the American population.

“How do we get to the point today where we're going to hold the secretary of Commerce, the attorney general of the United States in contempt because we don't want to ask the question that everyone in the country thinks we're already asking and in fact we are?” asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the ranking member of the committee.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a member of the Oversight Committee, said after the vote that it is "basically a partisan attack on the president and everybody else" and "has a chilling effect on cooperation with with Congress."
"This has been consistent with every hearing from Michael Cohen on down that this Democrat majority are just intent on trying to hold de facto impeachment hearings without actually doing impeachment," Meadows told reporters.

Democrats pushed back against those claims, citing evidence that indicated that conversations about a citizenship question on the 2020 census dated as far back as the days of the Trump campaign. And they pointed to data and testimony from experts, including those at the Census Bureau, that states that asking about citizenship would lead to an inaccurate population count.

Census data is used for allocating federal funds, drawing congressional districts and more, meaning an inaccurate count of the population could impact those items.

GOP lawmakers on Wednesday also attempted to delay the vote, claiming that Cummings broke committee rules by announcing on Monday the vote scheduled for Wednesday. But the chairman said that he checked with the House parliamentarian and that he believed no bylaws had been violated.

The debate over the contempt votes dragged on for hours, and Cummings pushed the vote itself to later in the afternoon to allow members of his committee to read the administration's letters asserting executive privilege over the court documents.

"By proceeding with today's vote, you have abandoned the accommodation process with respect to your requests and subpoenas for documents concerning the secretary's decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census," Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter to Cummings.

And Charles Rathburn, the acting assistant secretary for legislative and intergovernmental affairs at the Commerce Department, wrote in a nearly identical letter to Cummings that the department “regrets that you have made this assertion necessary by your insistence upon scheduling a premature contempt vote.”

Cummings had offered late Tuesday to delay the vote if the agencies handed over unredacted copies of certain documents lawmakers had requested by Wednesday. But both departments rejected that deal, with the DOJ claiming that some of the information in the materials, such as attorney-client communications, is protected.

And both agencies pointed to thousands of pages of documents they had already supplied to the committee, as well as other testimony by current and former department officials, in showing they were complying with the subpoenas.

Cummings disputed that characterization on Wednesday, saying that many of the documents lawmakers were given were already publicly available, heavily redacted or didn’t fall under the scope of the subpoenas his committee issued back in April.

The committee vote also came one day after the House authorized House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nalder (D-N.Y.) to go to court to enforce subpoenas against Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in relation to special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

Nadler has indicated that he won’t pursue a legal case against Barr at this time after he and the DOJ struck a deal to start allowing members of his committee to see some of the Mueller materials. But the chairman has said that he will seek a court order against McGahn.

That resolution also gave committee chairmen more legal powers in enforcing subpoenas. That opens the door for Cummings to go straight to a group of top lawmakers for permission to request a court order to enforce the subpoenas without the entire House voting on it.

An Oversight panel spokesperson told The Hill that Cummings will consult with House leadership about going to that group of lawmakers, known as the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, about potential court action.

The Trump administration’s announcement that the 2020 census would include a question on citizenship status has faced intense scrutiny and several legal challenges.

Further questions were raised about the citizenship query last month when the American Civil Liberties Union, which has challenged the question in court, filed new evidence in a New York federal court alleging that a late GOP redistricting strategist played a previously undisclosed role in the orchestration of the question.

That evidence undercuts the Trump administration’s argument that there was no political motivation behind adding the citizenship question. But officials have disputed this new evidence,

Three federal judges have ruled against the question’s addition to the census. However, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority seems poised to rule in the Trump administration’s favor.
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🤡 House Democrats Inch Along on Impeachment
« Reply #1998 on: June 13, 2019, 12:16:24 AM »

House Democrats Inch Along on Impeachment

By Osita Nwanevu

12:39 P.M.

In his House Judiciary Committee testimony on Monday, John Dean, the White House counsel for the Nixon Administration, drew parallels between the Watergate scandal and the Mueller report. Photograph by Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty

As divided as House Democrats might be about impeachment—around sixty members, a small but growing minority, are thought to support beginning proceedings now—the caucus is united in support of facilitating the House’s ongoing investigations of President Trump. On Tuesday, the House voted to allow individual committees to sue the Trump Administration without the approval of the full chamber. The vote comes a day after the Justice Department agreed to turn over to the Judiciary Committee some of the documents that informed the special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions on obstruction of justice, in a deal that was evidently reached to avoid a contempt resolution against Attorney General William Barr. It also came amid reports that the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler, is privately pressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin impeachment proceedings. As Pelosi prefers, House Democrats are instead inching along with their investigations.

Monday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, on “Lessons from the Mueller Report,” was, as Nadler said in his opening statement, “the first in a series of hearings designed to unpack the work of the special counsel and related matters.” The witnesses included the former U.S. Attorneys Joyce White Vance, of Alabama’s Northern District, and Barbara McQuade, of Michigan’s Eastern District, who were invited to highlight and reëmphasize some of the Mueller report’s key conclusions on obstruction of justice. John Dean, the White House counsel for the Nixon Administration, was invited to draw parallels between Trump’s conduct and the Watergate scandal, in which Dean acted as both a participant and, later, a critical witness for investigators. The guest list should have signified the seriousness with which Democrats are taking the Mueller report’s findings, even though they have not compelled the Party’s leadership to pursue impeachment. But throughout the day, most of the seats on the Democratic side of the dais were empty, and several of the Democrats who showed up moved in and out of the hearing as it went on.

Republicans, by contrast, mostly stayed put, taking alternating swings at Dean’s reputation and his relevance to the committee’s investigation. In his opening remarks, Doug Collins, the Republican ranking member, jabbed at Dean and Democrats with reference to President Barack Obama’s dismissal of Mitt Romney’s 2012 warnings about Russia. “Just a few years ago, it was brought up by one of our candidates that Russia was a threat, and the former President Obama said that the eighties are asking for their foreign policy back,” he scoffed. “Well, guess what? This committee is now hearing from the seventies, and they want their star witness back.”

In his testimony, Dean stated what many commentators have surmised since the release of the Mueller report: that the special counsel’s findings were a directive for congressional action. “In many ways,” he said, “the Mueller report is for President Trump what the so-called Watergate roadmap, officially titled the ‘Grand Jury Report and Recommendation Concerning Transmission of Evidence to the House of Representatives,’ was for President Richard Nixon.” The two former U.S. Attorneys reiterated the conclusion shared by hundreds of former federal prosecutors in an open letter last month. “Based on my experience in over twenty-five years as a federal prosecutor,” Joyce Vance told the committee, “I support the conclusion that more than a thousand of my former colleagues came to, and that I co-signed in a public statement last month, saying that if anyone other than a President of the United States committed this conduct, he would be under indictment today for multiple acts of obstruction of justice.”

In defense of the hearing, Dean argued that the committee’s efforts to elevate Mueller’s findings have been meaningful. “I think this committee does have a role and it is adding something that the special counsel could not, and that’s public education,” he said. “This report has not been widely read in the United States. It has not even been widely read in the Congress, from some of my conversations. But I think it’s a very important function that the committee is serving by bringing these matters to public attention.”

It remains to be seen whether the public, apprised of Mueller’s findings, will urge Democrats to do more than hold informational hearings about them.

    Osita Nwanevu is a staff writer at The New Yorker.Read more »
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🤡 The Cult of Trump - Chris Hedges
« Reply #1999 on: June 13, 2019, 12:44:10 AM »

The Cult of Trump
by Chris Hedges

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

Editor’s note: The 45th president’s approval ratings remain steady despite numerous scandals and missteps. Below is an Oct. 29, 2018, column in which Hedges analyzes Donald Trump’s seemingly indefatigable appeal. On Tuesday, Truthdig will publish a new column by Hedges, one that will present the text of a speech he will give that same day in London in support of Julian Assange.

Cult leaders arise from decayed communities and societies in which people have been shorn of political, social and economic power. The disempowered, infantilized by a world they cannot control, gravitate to cult leaders who appear omnipotent and promise a return to a mythical golden age. The cult leaders vow to crush the forces, embodied in demonized groups and individuals, that are blamed for their misery. The more outrageous the cult leaders become, the more they flout law and social conventions, the more they gain in popularity. Cult leaders are immune to the norms of established society. This is their appeal. Cult leaders demand a God-like power. Those who follow them grant them this power in the hope that the cult leaders will save them.

Donald Trump has transformed the decayed carcass of the Republican Party into a cult. All cults are personality cults. They are extensions of the cult leaders. The cult reflects the leader’s prejudices, worldview, personal style and ideas. Trump did not create the yearning for a cult leader. Huge segments of the population, betrayed by the established elites, were conditioned for a cult leader. They were desperately looking for someone to rescue them and solve their problems. They found their cult leader in the New York real estate developer and reality television show star. Only when we recognize Trump as a cult leader, and many of those who support him as cult followers, will we understand where we are headed and how we must resist.

It was 40 years ago next month that a messianic preacher named Jim Jones convinced or forced more than 900 of his followers, including roughly 280 children, to die by ingesting a cyanide-laced drink. Trump’s refusal to acknowledge and address the impending crisis of ecocide and the massive mismanagement of the economy by kleptocrats, his bellicosity, his threats against Iran and China and the withdrawal from nuclear arms treaties, along with his demonization of all who oppose him, ensure our cultural and, if left unchecked, physical extinction. Cult leaders are driven, at their core, by the death instinct, the instinct to annihilate and destroy rather than nurture and create. Trump shares many of the characteristics of Jones as well as other cult leaders including Marshall Herff Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Nettles, the founders of the Heaven’s Gate cult; the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who led the Unification Church; Credonia Mwerinde, who led the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God in Uganda; Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong; and David Koresh, who led the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas. Cult leaders are narcissists. They demand obsequious fawning and total obedience. They prize loyalty above competence. They wield absolute control. They do not tolerate criticism. They are deeply insecure, a trait they attempt to cover up with bombastic grandiosity. They are amoral and emotionally and physically abusive. They see those around them as objects to be manipulated for their own empowerment, enjoyment and often sadistic entertainment. All those outside the cult are branded as forces of evil, prompting an epic battle whose natural expression is violence.

“A cult is a mirror of what is inside the cult leader,” Margaret Thaler Singer wrote in “Cults in Our Midst.” “He has no restraints on him. He can make his fantasies and desires come alive in the world he creates around him. He can lead people to do his bidding. He can make the surrounding world really his world. What most cult leaders achieve is akin to the fantasies of a child at play, creating a world with toys and utensils. In that play world, the child feels omnipotent and creates a realm of his own for a few minutes or a few hours. He moves the toy dolls about. They do his bidding. They speak his words back to him. He punishes them any way he wants. He is all-powerful and makes his fantasy come alive. When I see the sand tables and the collections of toys some child therapists have in their offices, I think that a cult leader must look about and place people in his created world much as a child creates on the sand table a world that reflects his or her desires and fantasies. The difference is that the cult leader has actual humans doing his bidding as he makes a world around him that springs from inside his own head.”

George Orwell understood that cult leaders manipulate followers primarily through language, not force. This linguistic manipulation is a gradual process. It is rooted in continual mental chaos and verbal confusion. Lies, conspiracy theories, outlandish ideas and contradictory statements that defy reality and fact soon paralyze the opposition. The opposition, with every attempt to counter this absurdism with the rational—such as the decision by Barack Obama to make his birth certificate public or by Sen. Elizabeth Warren to release the results of her DNA test to prove she has Native American ancestry—plays to the cult leader. The cult leader does not take his or her statements seriously and often denies ever making them, even when they are documented. Lies and truth do not matter. The language of the cult leader is designed exclusively to appeal to the emotional needs of those in the cult.

“Hitler kept his enemies in a state of constant confusion and diplomatic upheaval,” Joost A.M. Meerloo wrote in “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing.” “They never knew what this unpredictable madman was going to do next. Hitler was never logical, because he knew that that was what he was expected to be. Logic can be met with logic, while illogic cannot—it confuses those who think straight. The Big Lie and monotonously repeated nonsense have more emotional appeal in a cold war than logic and reason. While the enemy is still searching for a reasonable counter-argument to the first lie, the totalitarians can assault him with another.”

The cult leader grooms followers to speak in the language of hate and violence. The cult leader constantly paints a picture of an existential threat, often invented, that puts the cult followers in danger. Trump is doing this by demonizing the caravan of some 4,000 immigrants, most from Honduras, moving through southern Mexico. Caravans of immigrants, are, in fact, nothing new. The beleaguered and impoverished asylum seekers, including many families with children, are 1,000 miles from the Texas border. But Trump, aided by nearly nonstop coverage by Fox News and Christian broadcasting, is using the caravan to terrify his followers, just as he, along with these media outlets, portrayed the protesters who flooded the U.S. capital to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as unruly mobs. Trump claims the Democrats want to open the border to these “criminals” and to “unknown Middle Easterners” who are, he suggests, radical jihadists. Christian broadcasting operations, such as Pat Robertson’s The 700 Club, splice pictures of marching jihadists in black uniforms cradling automatic weapons into the video shots of the caravan.

The fear mongering and rhetoric of hate and violence, as I saw in the former Yugoslavia, eventually lead to widespread acts of violence against those the cult leader defines as the enemy. The 13 explosive devices sent last week to Trump critics and leaders of the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, along with George Soros, James Clapper and CNN, allegedly by Cesar Sayoc, an ex-stripper and fanatic Trump supporter who was living out of his van, herald more violence. Trump, tossing gasoline on the flames, used this assault against much of the leadership of the Democratic Party to again attack the press, or, as he calls it, “the enemy of the people.” “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” he tweeted. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its acts, FAST!”

It should come as no surprise that on Saturday another enraged American white male, his fury and despair seemingly stoked by the diatribes and conspiracy theories of the far right, entered a Pittsburgh synagogue and massacred eight men and three women as he shouted anti-Semitic abuse. Shot by police and arrested at the scene was Robert Bowers, who believes that Jewish groups are aiding the caravan of immigrants in southern Mexico. He was armed with a military-style AR-15 assault rifle, plus three handguns. The proliferation of easily accessible high-caliber weapons, coupled with the division of the country into the blessed and the damned by Trump and his fellow cultists, threatens to turn the landscape of the United States into one that resembles Mexico, where at least 145 people in politics, including 48 candidates and pre-candidates, along with party leaders and campaign workers, have been assassinated over the last 12 months, according to Etellekt, a risk analysis firm in Mexico. There have been 627 incidents of violence against politicians, 206 threats and acts of intimidation, 57 firearm assaults and 52 attacks on family members that resulted in 50 fatalities. Trump’s response to the mass shooting at the synagogue was to say places of worship should have armed guards, a call for further proliferation of firearms. Look south if you want a vision of our future.

Domestic terrorism and nihilistic violence are the natural outcomes of the economic, social and political stagnation, the total seizure of power by a corporate cabal and oligarchic elite, and the contamination of civil discourse by cult leaders. The weaponization of language is proliferating, as seen in the vile rhetoric that characterizes many political campaigns for the midterm elections, including the racist robocall sent out against Andrew Gillum, an African-American candidate for the governorship of Florida. “Well, hello there. I is the negro Andrew Gillum and I’ll be askin’ you to make me governor of this here state of Florida,” a man speaking in a caricature of a black dialect accompanied by jungle noises said in the robocall. Cults externalize evil. Evil is embodied in the demonized other, whether desperate immigrants, black political candidates and voters, or the Democratic Party. The only way to purge this “evil” and restore America to “greatness” is to eradicate these human contaminants.

The cult leader, unlike a traditional politician, makes no effort to reach out to his opponents. The cult leader seeks to widen the divisions. The leader brands those outside the cult as irredeemable. The leader seeks the omnipotence to crush those who do not kneel in adoration. The followers, yearning to be protected and empowered by the cult leader, seek to give the cult leader omnipotence. Democratic norms, an impediment to the leader’s omnipotence, are attacked and abolished. Those in the cult seek to be surrounded by the cult leader’s magical aura. Reality is sacrificed for fantasy. Those who challenge the fantasy are not considered human. They are Satanic.

Meerloo wrote:

    The dictator is not only a sick man, he is also a cruel opportunist. He sees no value in any other person and feels no gratitude for any help he may have received. He is suspicious and dishonest and believes that his personal ends justify any means he may use to achieve them. Peculiarly enough, every tyrant still searches for some self-justification. Without such a soothing device for his own conscience, he cannot live. His attitude toward other people is manipulative; to him, they are merely tools for the advancement of his own interests. He rejects the conception of doubt, of internal contradictions, or man’s inborn ambivalence. He denies the psychological fact that man grows to maturity through groping, through trial and error, through the interplay of contrasting feelings. Because he will not permit himself to grope, to learn through trial and error, the dictator can never become a mature person. … It is because the dictator is afraid, albeit unconsciously, of his own internal contradictions, that he is afraid of the same internal contradictions of his fellow man. He must purge and purge, terrorize and terrorize in order to still his own raging inner drives. He must kill every doubter, destroy every person who makes a mistake, imprison everyone who cannot be proved to be utterly single-minded.

Behavior that ensures the destruction of a public figure’s career does not affect a cult leader. It does not matter how many lies uttered by Trump are meticulously documented by The New York Times or The Washington Post. It does not matter that Trump’s personal financial interests, as we see in his relationship with the Saudis, take precedence over the rule of law, diplomatic protocols and national security. It does not matter that he is credibly charged by numerous women with being a sexual predator, a common characteristic of cult leaders. It does not matter that he is inept, lazy and ignorant. The establishment, whose credibility has been destroyed because of its complicity in empowering the ruling oligarchy and the corporate state, might as well be blowing soap bubbles at Trump. Its vitriol, to his followers, only justifies the hatred radiating from the cult.

The cult leader responds to only one emotion—fear. The cult leader, usually a coward, will react when he thinks he is in danger. The cult leader will bargain and compromise when afraid. The cult leader will give the appearance of being flexible and reasonable. But as soon as the cult leader is no longer afraid, the old patterns of behavior return, with a special venom directed at those who were able to momentarily impinge upon his power.

The removal of Trump from power would not remove the yearning of tens of millions of people, many conditioned by the Christian right, for a cult leader. Most of the leaders of the Christian right have built cult followings of their own. These Christian fascists embraced magical thinking, attacked their enemies as agents of Satan and denounced reality-based science and journalism long before Trump did. Cults are a product of social decay and despair, and our decay and despair are expanding, soon to explode in another financial crisis.

The efforts by the Democratic Party and much of the press, including CNN and The New York Times, to discredit Trump, as if our problems are embodied in him, are futile. The smug, self-righteousness of this crusade against Trump only contributes to the national reality television show that has replaced journalism and politics. This crusade attempts to reduce a social, economic and political crisis to the personality of Trump. It is accompanied by a refusal to confront and name the corporate forces responsible for our failed democracy. This collusion with the forces of corporate oppression neuters the press and Trump’s mainstream critics.

Our only hope is to organize the overthrow of the corporate state that vomited up Trump. Our democratic institutions, including the legislative bodies, the courts and the media, are hostage to corporate power. They are no longer democratic. We must, like liberation movements of the past, engage in acts of sustained mass civil disobedience and non-cooperation. By turning our ire on the corporate state, we name the true sources of power and abuse. We expose the absurdity of blaming our demise on demonized groups such as undocumented workers, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinos, liberals, feminists, gays and others. We give people an alternative to a Democratic Party that refuses to confront the corporate forces of oppression and cannot be rehabilitated. We make possible the restoration of an open society. If we fail to embrace this militancy, which alone has the ability to destroy cult leaders, we will continue the march toward tyranny.
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🤡 How far down his throat can Trumpovetsky stick his Foot?
« Reply #2000 on: June 13, 2019, 12:10:06 PM »
Or other appendage...


"My full answer is rarely played by the Fake News Media,” President Donald Trump said Thursday, suggesting that some of his recent comments were being taken out of context. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

White House
Trump rushes into damage control after saying he’d accept foreign help in 2020

The president, who said he talks to foreign leaders every day, turned to his familiar tactic of blaming the media.


06/13/2019 10:36 AM EDT

Updated 06/13/2019 02:50 PM EDT
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President Donald Trump and his senior advisers moved quickly on Thursday to downplay and muddle his explosive assertion that he might not report to the FBI offers of election help from a foreign entity.

As Trump's Democratic opponents eviscerated him and one of his leading Republican supporters called his comments a "mistake," the president tried to recast his remarks, drawing a misleading comparison between accepting dirt from a foreign agent and his recent conversations with Queen Elizabeth and other world leaders.

“I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day. I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Wales, the P.M. of the United Kingdom, the P.M. of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland. We talked about ‘Everything!’” Trump wrote on Twitter across a pair of tweets, correcting an initial misspelling of Wales. “Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again.”

Every president regularly communicates with other heads of state. Accepting negative information from a foreign agent about a campaign opponent is a different matter, however. It is a crime for a campaign to solicit or accept something of value from a foreign entity, which some lawyers say could apply to information.

Amid the firestorm, Trump and his top aides also turned to a familiar tactic: blaming the media. They argued that the president's comments were taken out of context, insisting the reporting about his ABC News interview lacked nuance.

"My full answer is rarely played by the Fake News Media,” Trump said on Twitter without offering evidence to support his claim. “They purposely leave out the part that matters.”
Trump: 'I think I'd take' dirt on 2020 opponents from foreign help

Later Thursday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley echoed Trump's assertion. "Look, I wish the media would take the time to look at the full clip. I was standing just feet away from the president in is exchange with George Stephanopoulos. It was very clear the president said if there was wrongdoing, of course he'd turn it over to the F.B.I," he said during an interview with Fox News.

However, the president's full statement shows he was equivocal about whether he'd alert the FBI if he was presented with damaging information about his political opponents. ABC News later released a full transcript of the interview, which shows the network accurately represented the president's comments.

Trump scoffed when asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos whether his son should have alerted federal authorities when he found out about a 2016 meeting with Russian nationals who claimed to have damaging information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

"I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI," he said, adding later, "Give me a break. Life doesn't work that way." He also said FBI Director Christopher Wray was “wrong” for saying that candidates should report to the agency efforts by foreign agents to interfere in an election.

Later, Stephanopoulos asked if he would call the FBI if Russia, China or other foreign entities offered negative information about an opponent. Trump said, "I think, maybe, you do both. I think you might want to listen. There's nothing wrong with listening."

Trump's team has repeatedly been pressed about how to handle foreign offers of campaign help after it became public that his son, son-in-law and campaign manager met in June 2016 with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who claimed to have information about Clinton. Trump's team has said nothing came of the meeting. While special counsel Robert Mueller found that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election to help the president, he did not find enough evidence to conclude Trump's campaign colluded with Russians in that effort.

Trump's comments triggered a barrage of criticism. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Trump's latest comments “invited” more foreign interference in U.S. elections.

“Our foreign adversaries listen to every president — every word the president of the United States has to say, as we clearly saw when he encouraged the Russians to hack his opponents’ emails and hours later they tried to do exactly that,” Schiff (D-Calif.) told POLITICO. “So I think he has invited another round of interference. As long as it’s to help his campaign, he seems more than happy to engage in any act, no matter how unethical or unlawful.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi also expressed outrage, but signaled Trump's comments didn't change her opposition to pursuing impeachment. "Everyone in the country should be appalled by what he said last night, totally appalled,” Pelosi said Thursday.

Numerous Republicans distanced themselves from Trump's comments on Thursday. Even Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a frequent Trump defender, said the president's remarks were wrong. "I think it's a mistake. I think it's a mistake of law. I don't want to send a signal to encourage this," he said.

Trump also sought to shift focus to Democrats, accusing Schiff and Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, of accepting negative information about him without calling the FBI. The pair were both involved in investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump did not cite any evidence to support his claim that they did not alert the FBI about information they found.

Rachel Cohen, Warner's communications director, tweeted that she didn't know what Trump was talking about. "This never happened," she wrote.

"The fact is that the phony Witch Hunt is a giant scam where Democrats, and other really bad people, SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN!" Trump said over two tweets. "They even had an 'insurance policy' just in case Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats lost their race for the Presidency! This is the biggest & worst political scandal in the history of the United States of America. Sad!"

Schiff, for his part, was pranked in 2017 by Russian comedians who told him in a phone call that Russia had compromising materials about Trump. However, Schiff, during the phone call, said he would work with the FBI to review the information, according to an audio recording of the conversation released by the pranksters.

The White House said Thursday that Democrats were being hypocritical since Clinton's campaign was at one time involved in funding research into Trump that eventually yielded a dossier of information about him. The research, which was initially funded by Republicans, wound up in the hands of the FBI.

Cristiano Lima, Caitlin Oprysko and Kyle Cheney contributed to this story.
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🤡 Trump, election interference, and hollow nationalism
« Reply #2001 on: June 14, 2019, 03:28:43 AM »

Trump, election interference, and hollow nationalism

Trump’s nationalism isn’t about sovereignty. It’s about xenophobia.
By Zack Jun 13, 2019, 2:30pm EDT

President Donald Trump participates in a roundtable discussion on the administration’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on June 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

There are a lot of incredible things about President Donald Trump’s open admission that he would accept dirt on his political opponents in the 2020 election: namely, his comment in an ABC interview that “I’d want to hear” any information on a 2020 opponent on offer from foreign powers, and his suggestion that he wouldn’t call the FBI unless he thought “there was something wrong.”

I can’t imagine why Trump would think it’s a good idea to admit that he’s interested in election collusion under any circumstances, let alone when Democrats are considering bringing impeachment charges based on the Mueller report. Perhaps the president is just so brazen that he thinks he can get away with admitting the worst about himself and his approach to politics openly.

But this admission has another, more subtle effect: It exposes Trump’s vaunted “America First” nationalism, which so many “intellectual” defenses of Trump have valorized, for the sham that it is.

A principled nationalist would see foreign efforts to interfere in a US election as an unacceptable infringement on American sovereignty and independence. But Trump’s nationalism isn’t principled. It doesn’t value American independence and self-determination all that much. It is an exclusive nationalism centering on hating foreigners and difference, xenophobia by another name.
Trump’s sham nationalism

High-minded defenses of Trump and his peers among the European far right often point out that nationalism has been often been a tool of national liberation. In 19th-century Europe, nationalist movements in Italy and other places challenged empires and contributed to the spread of democracy on the continent. After World War II, nationalist movements in Asia and Africa helped throw off the yoke of European colonialism and allow formerly marginalized people to govern themselves.

The conclusion we’re supposed to draw from this history is that Trump and other far-right politicians aren’t unthinking xenophobes; they’re part of a venerable political tradition with real value, even today. It’s a perspective that sees nationalism as a check on imperialism and democratically imperfect international organizations like the European Union.

I should say I’m not a nationalist in any sense of the world. I’m an avowed globalist, someone who believes deeply that borders between nations and barriers between people contribute to war, poverty, and the persistence of bigotry. But there are thoughtful versions of nationalism, worldviews I can respect even if I disagree with them. Read Oxford political theorist David Miller’s book On Nationality if you’re looking for an example.

The problem, though, is that Trumpian nationalism has none of these virtues.

Some historical nationalists were admirable in large part because they worked to end foreign interference in their domestic affairs. Trump actively welcomes such interference if it helps his political fortunes — as he admitted Wednesday. European far-right politicians take a similar view: A number of them have benefitted from Russian support, including direct funding from Russian banks.

Any nationalism worth its salt would see Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, which involved the illegal hacking of a major American party and attempts to misinform the American electorate through social media, as an unacceptable form of interference with American sovereignty. Trump not only doesn’t care, but is all but openly calling on Putin to do it again. Labeling him the heir of nationalist heroes like Italy’s Giuseppe Garibaldi and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah is laughable.

When Trump says “nationalism,” what he really means is ethnonationalism: A politics in which a certain kind of person, white native-born Americans, deserve privileged access to political power and favor.

His ethnonationalism is about marginalizing immigrants, making them afraid and miserable, while telling non-immigrant minorities that they don’t quite belong in Trump’s America. His deep hostility to international trade and skepticism about America’s traditional alliances do not add up to a cogent nationalist political doctrine, nor do they not erase the true heart of Trump’s nationalism: the border wall, the Muslim ban, and family separation.

So while there may be defensible nationalisms out there, it’s painfully clear that Trump’s isn’t one of them.
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🤡 White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders leaving job at end of June
« Reply #2002 on: June 14, 2019, 03:35:30 AM »
Another one bites the dust.


White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders leaving job at end of June

Sanders, one of the president's most trusted White House aides, will leave at the end of the month, Trump says.
an hour ago

Trump has not immediately named no replacement for Sanders [File: Saul Loeb/AFP]

more on US & Canada

    White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders leaving job at end of June
    Flint water scandal: Charges dropped against eight people
    US holds Iran 'responsible' for reported Gulf attacks on tankers
    Pelosi criticises Trump's remark on foreign election interference

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders will leave her job at the end of the month.

Announcing her departure after three and a half years in the job, Trump tweeted that Sanders was "a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job".

"[Sanders is] going home to the Great State of Arkansas," he said. "I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas - she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!"

Trump has not immediately named a replacement for Sanders.

Sanders is one of the president's closest and most trusted White House aides and one of the few remaining who worked on his campaign.

Sanders joined the Trump campaign in February 2016. In July 2017, she took over as the top spokeswoman for the administration.

Her tenure was marked by a breakdown in regular White House press briefings and questions about the administration's credibility.

The last briefing was 94 days ago, but Trump answers questions from reporters on a near-daily basis, including two extended sessions with them on Wednesday.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's revealed that Sanders admitted to investigators that she had made an unfounded claim that "countless" FBI agents had reached out to express support for Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.
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🤡 Trump isn’t a president, he’s a gangster
« Reply #2003 on: June 16, 2019, 01:34:34 AM »


Donald Trump being interviewed by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos (ABC News)

Trump isn’t a president, he’s a gangster
Russia, if you’re listening, La Cosa Nostra has moved into La Casa Bianca

Lucian K. Truscott IV
June 15, 2019 12:00PM (UTC)

The FBI had to wiretap mafia bosses like John Gotti and Vincent “The Chin” Gigante to catch them breaking the law. All they had to do to catch Donald Trump on Wednesday night was turn on ABC News. Trump proceeded to commit multiple felonies out in the open on national television when he told George Stephanopoulos he would be happy to accept dirt on his opponent from foreign governments in his 2020 re-election campaign.

"Somebody comes up and says, ‘hey, I have information on your opponent,' do you call the FBI?" Trump asked rhetorically. "It's not an interference, they have information — I think I'd take it," Trump said. "I'll tell you what, I've seen a lot of things over my life. I don't think in my whole life I've ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don't call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do.” He paused for a moment. “Oh, give me a break — life doesn't work that way."

He looked like he’d been gobbling Adderall. His pupils were pinned, and he kept doing that thing with his hands, holding them in front of himself and moving them apart and then together impatiently, talking to Stephanopoulos like he was a school child just learning about politics rather than the seasoned operative he is (Stephanopoulos was one of the architects of the Bill Clinton campaign when he won the presidency in 1992 and has covered political campaigns as a reporter and news anchor in the decades since then).

But perhaps Trump was right. Maybe Stephanopoulos needs a good talking to from the Capo du tutti capo on Pennsylvania Avenue. Doesn’t George get it that politics in the age of Trump is a criminal enterprise, that politicians are no different from gangsters? They don’t go to the FBI and turn each other in. They don’t report crimes. They commit them, and they keep their mouths shut. My buddy’s having sex with underage girls? Call the FBI? Are you kidding?

Trump acted like a bank robber who walked up to a cop standing in front of the bank and said, “hey, man, I’m going in there in a minute, and I’m going to rob that bank, and what are you going to do about it?” We got our answer from Republicans the next day. Nothing. Zip. He’s going to rob that bank? We’re cool with that. By the way, we’ll be happy to pick up any bills he drops on the way out.

Stephanopoulos looked like Lester Holt the day Trump told him on TV that he fired Comey because of “the Russia thing.” He knew he was onto a big story, so he pressed him. “You want that kind of interference in our elections? he asked, fishing. Trump allowed that he might call the FBI “if I thought there was something wrong,” but he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with accepting campaign help from the Russians or anybody else. He has admitted he didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking Russian help when he begged them during the 2016 campaign, “Russia, if you’re listening,” and urged them to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. That’s what he does. That’s who he is.

The only thing that’s new is that Trump has dropped any pretense he’s going to follow the law. He doesn’t care what the law is. When Stephanopoulos reminded him that Christopher Wray, the Director of the FBI, had testified to Congress that any campaign receiving a solicitation from a foreign government should report that fact to the FBI, Trump told him, “The FBI director is wrong.”

Trump just warned the chief law enforcement officer of the land that if he does his job, he’ll be fired. This should come as no big news to Wray, however. He watched it happen to former FBI director James Comey. He watched it happen to former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe. Trump treats law enforcement officials like subcontractors on one of his buildings. Stiff the stupid fucker, and if he comes back at you, fire him. And if he doesn’t like that, sue him.

Trump just put up a banner outside the White House telling autocrats around the world that he’s open for business. You want a few F-22’s over there in Poland or the Czech Republic? Bring me some crap on Biden, or Bernie, or Warren! You want to get that oil flowing out of the ground up there above the Arctic Circle, Putin my pal? Get those damn hackers clacking those keyboards! Hey, MBS! You want some more smart bombs to drop on goat herders over there in Yemen? How about putting some bucks in my buildings!

Are the Democrats up for this kind of open-field thievery and in-your-face treachery? Is anybody? One of the anchors on MSNBC asked Frank Figliuzzi, the former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, what FBI Director Wray should do now that Trump has pointed to the corner and told him to go sit down and keep his mouth shut. Get this: Figliuzzi said Wray should write a memo telling the most important law enforcement agency in the land to keep their heads down and do their jobs.

Trump could have the White House painted high gloss black and order the Treasury Department to deliver pallets of hundred dollar bills to the front door, and the Democrats would accuse him of a cover-up and order another hearing.

Pelosi had a chance on Thursday at her weekly press conference to tell the world that Trump is an out and out felon, and we’re going to impeach him starting today. Instead, she called Mitch McConnell the Grim Reaper and put up a poster showing a cemetery filled with the headstones of the bills he hasn’t passed.

The next time Trump has Stephanopoulos over to the Oval Office for a lecture on the Way the World Works, he’s going to call off the election, turn to the camera and say, now what are you going to do?

Impeach him? Is it even a question anymore? If not now, when?

Lucian K. Truscott IV

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He has covered stories such as Watergate, the Stonewall riots and wars in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels and several unsuccessful motion pictures. He has three children, lives on the East End of Long Island and spends his time Worrying About the State of Our Nation and madly scribbling in a so-far fruitless attempt to Make Things Better. He can be followed on Facebook at The Rabbit Hole and on Twitter @LucianKTruscott.
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🤡 Support For Impeachment Grows Among Democrats
« Reply #2004 on: June 16, 2019, 03:15:33 PM »
The vid isn't about impeachment at all.  It's about Trumpovetsky's "Crisis Creation" method of maintaining his 44% Approval Rating.  Bad titling job from NBC.


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Offline RE

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🤡 Trump campaign makes a radical break from 2016
« Reply #2005 on: June 17, 2019, 12:00:02 AM »
As usual, it's all about the money.


Trump campaign makes a radical break from 2016

The president’s 2020 campaign is flipping the script from its ham-fisted approach the first time Trump sought elected office.


06/16/2019 07:02 AM EDT

President Donald Trump speaks during a recent rally in Pennsylvania. Trump's reelection campaign comes armed with resources it could only dream of in 2016. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is sitting on a war chest topping $40 million, has boots on the ground spread across nine regions crucial to his 2020 map and owns a sprawling network of volunteers who’ve been rigorously trained for the months ahead.

When he takes the stage Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., to announce his bid for reelection, Trump will be joined by 20,000 guests whose personal information — names, zip codes, phone numbers — was meticulously recorded when they requested tickets to the rally. First-time attendees will receive relentless emails and texts in the coming weeks, reminding them they can help “Keep America Great” by contributing $5, $10 or $15. Some maxed-out donors who gave generously to his 2016 campaign will trek to Florida to witness what they delivered — and decide whether to give big again.

It’s a straightforward strategy to get the president four more years in the White House: be the political juggernaut Trump lacked in 2016.

While 23 Democratic presidential candidates scramble for attention, Trump’s 2020 campaign is quietly flipping the script from its ham-fisted approach the first time he sought elected office. His team has spent two and a half years building a robust, modern and professional operation to optimize as many variables as possible and amassing an unprecedented pile of cash to keep it all afloat.

It’s worked so far. The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee had a combined $82 million in the bank as of April — the result of a joint fundraising operation — and staffers have yet to devolve into the bitter infighting that strained the president’s first campaign and stained his earliest days in the White House.

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“In 2016, the people on the campaign like to say that they were building the airplane while it was in flight. This time, he will have a campaign that is befitting of an incumbent president of the United States,” said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the new-and-improved Trump campaign.

Indeed, one official involved in Trump’s first presidential campaign likened the experience to a slow-motion plane crash: “We were strapped in on a sloppily assembled machine that was gradually spiraling out of control.”

Even with a better-financed and well-ordered campaign, Trump has found the developing 2020 landscape to be tough. State investigators are still probing his past business ventures and financial history. Court rulings have delivered devastating setbacks for his agenda. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has encouraged congressional Democrats to do everything short of impeachment to hold his administration accountable.

On top of all that, the outburst-prone president has struggled to boost his approval rating above 42 percent — where it hovers — and could encounter difficulty billing himself as an outsider while occupying the center of the swamp.

“He’s an incumbent. It’s hard to run the same way in 2020 as he did in 2016,” a person close to the Trump campaign said.

The challenges are not lost on the president’s campaign staff. This time, Trump will launch his 2020 campaign with organizational and financial advantages his previous crew could have only dreamed of — soothing allies who worry the current political environment is less conducive to victory.
Elizabeth Warren

2020 elections
Trump campaign zeroes in on a new threat: Elizabeth Warren


From a 14th-floor suite originally designed to house the offices of a capital markets firm, Trump’s modest campaign team of about 50 employees has spent the past several months laying the groundwork for a 2020 race that diverges from 2016 without sacrificing his insurgent populist message. Extensive assistance from the Republican National Committee — driven by a massive staff, existing presence in all 50 states and a staunch Trump ally at its helm — has helped, bringing institutional knowledge and resources that were notably absent in 2016.

Officials at the RNC’s Capitol Hill headquarters are in constant contact with counterparts who work out of the Trump campaign’s Arlington, Va., office, and staffers from each side often travel to the same events to show simultaneous support for the party and for Trump. For example, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel both attended a dinner this week hosted by the local Republican Party in Macomb County, Mich., often called the “home of the Reagan Democrats” and a must-win for Trump in 2020.

“If you look at where the campaign was in 2016 and where it is today, it’s a completely different organization. It has a united Republican Party behind it that also has one of the best fundraising operations we’ve ever seen,” a Michigan Republican Party official said, adding the Trump campaign plans to deploy significant staff to Michigan beginning in early July.

A campaign official said Parscale plans to have “a fully functioning ground game by the end of summer,” as well as several coalition groups that will specifically target female, Latino and African American voters.

Many of those campaign staffers, along with members of the GOP’s state party affiliates, have gone through a program known as GROW, or Growing Republican Organizations to Win. The custom workshop-type classes were created by the Trump campaign and the RNC to train field staff in fundraising, communications, data and digital efforts that will be unique to their states in 2020. One state party official who recently completed the training said they were asked to draft mock news releases and budgets as part of the programming.

Campaign officials readily admit that Trump determines the message on any given day, making it difficult to create a fixed communications strategy that volunteers and staff can follow. Earlier this year, for instance, Trump son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner instructed campaign staff to avoid targeting specific 2020 Democratic candidates only to watch the president lob repeated insults at former Vice President Joe Biden weeks later. Trump has also insulted Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.

“The key for the Trump campaign is to successfully build its operation around the most unconventional candidate in history,” said Jason Miller, a former campaign adviser who remains close to the president. “Parscale has a good enough relationship with Trump to know that you always follow his lead and your job as the campaign is to build upon and amplify his message, not force feed him some message that you cooked up.”
Donald Trump descends an escalator at Trump Tower

The Friday Cover
The Escalator Ride That Changed America


Parscale has declined to foist soundbites on Trump, opting instead to let the president weaponize Twitter at his own discretion. But the campaign has begun crafting candidate-specific messages that it hopes Trump will test out and eventually deploy regularly, depending on who becomes the Democratic nominee. Officials have largely focused on Biden, Sanders and Warren, believing Trump’s opponent be one of those three.

“If it’s Sanders or Warren, they immediately become advocates for radical change that’s a step too far for most voters, and Trump becomes the centrist. But against Joe Biden, the race is much more of a change vs. status quo dynamic,” Miller said.

Campaign allies who are aware of internal polling said they also want Trump to tout his accomplishments constantly. He will only outperform his Democratic opponent if he’s “getting the right amount of credit for the progress he’s making on immigration, the economy and national security,” one outside adviser said. Several 2020 Democrats have argued that the economy is booming because of policies put in place by former President Barack Obama, although Trump’s economic approval rating reached a new high in a CNN poll last month.

Trump’s campaign has been briefing him almost weekly on polling, according to two aides familiar with the conversations, one of whom said the president is more obsessed with polls than anything else, despite repeatedly questioning their reliability after 2016.

The campaign’s first internal reelection poll found Biden trouncing Trump by 7 percentage points in Florida when it surveyed Sunshine State voters in March, ABC reported Friday. The state is key to Trump’s campaign strategy: Without it, a single loss in the Rust Belt could trigger the end of his presidency.

Campaign officials said that isn’t going to happen. They said fundraising has been too successful and that their massive data-gathering operation is unmatched by any Democratic presidential hopeful.

But as Trump prepares to launch his reelection bid 17 months before voters hit the polls in November 2020, perhaps his most distinct advantage is time.

“It’s important to remember that we are not on the same timetable as the Democrats,” Murtaugh said. “We are already in the general election.”
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Offline RE

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Trumpovetsky is, as usual, FULL OF SHIT 💩.


Trump Says Next Week ICE Will Begin Sweeping Crackdown to “Remove” Millions of Undocumented Immigrants

By Elliot Hannon
June 18, 20196:09 AM

White House advisor Stephen Miller smiles as he leaves after US President Donald Trump announced a new immigration proposal in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 16, 2019.


President Trump tweeted out Monday night that his administration plans on a sweeping immigration enforcement crackdown on individuals who have already arrived in the country that could see U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement stage coordinated raids in multiple cities. “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump wrote. “They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

Whether not the anti-immigration blitz actually takes place is another matter and all (practical) signs point to this being another example of the president’s trumped up bravado. “U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said in recent days that the operation was not imminent, and ICE officials said late Monday night that they were not aware that the president planned to divulge their enforcement plans on Twitter,” the Washington Post reports. “Executing a large-scale operation of the type under discussion requires hundreds—and perhaps thousands—of U.S. agents and supporting law enforcement personnel, as well as weeks of intelligence gathering and planning to verify addresses and locations of individuals targeted for arrest. The president’s claim that ICE would be deporting ‘millions’ also was at odds with the reality of the agency’s staffing and budgetary challenges.”

Whispers of a mass detention plan being pushed by adviser Stephen Miller did emerge last month; the initiative aimed to make as many as 10,000 arrests across 10 U.S. cities. The Trump administration wants the intentionally high-visibility effort to act as a deterrent to undocumented immigrants considering coming across the border. The practical and human implications of the plan however prompted both then-acting ICE director Ronald Vitiello and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to balk, citing operational shortcomings and the potential public blowback to arresting families in the streets. Both lost their jobs in short order.

Former FBI and Border Patrol official Mark Morgan is now in control of ICE and has stated publicly that part of his mission is to enhance immigration enforcement inside the country by increasing deportation orders. So far, the Washington Post reports, Morgan’s more Trumpy (and Miller-esque) stance has unsurprisingly impressed Trump, particularly during cable TV interviews.
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Offline K-Dog

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Re: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #2007 on: June 18, 2019, 09:51:41 AM »
If posting such a big picture of Stephen Miller is not a violation of the CoC it should be.  Saying he is a POS is not a violation unless he is on the membership rolls.  I don't think he is so a total POS he is.

I stopped in for a $7 dollar pastry and coffee experience in a coffeeshop halfway to work from the parking garage I now have to walk from about a year ago.  ICE was in the place and nobody was happy they were there.  This place competes with Starbucks and I know they can't pay as good but any illegal aliens in this place would have been Canook and that is totally fine and always has been in America.  Locals from the white north have always been able to work here so no problem.  I've missed out on a job or two from them myself.  But I digress.  It always did piss me off that they could work here and I could not work in Toronto.

So I was not fearing for any brown people, I knew any there were making at least $75 K a year, dressed the part and so got the automatic pass.  I was fearing for ICE; but not so much.

This place is high end liberal and it was busy.  The rainbow contingent was fully represented.  Everyone was acting like the ICE guys were Nazis and pretending they were not there.  Walking by them looking at the floor and all sorts of passive meanness.  Exaggerated peering at laptops.  A zone of silence surrounded them like a bubble.  The fact that 3 of the 4 were in full SWAT getup did not help the impression.  Only one got coffee to go.  The other 3 were watching the crowd in ominous anticipation of an excited outburst.  I did not blame them, the room was ready for it.  ICE was in sanctuary city central. 

So now Trump is going to do a roundup on Stephen Miller's advice.  Things could get interesting.  There may be blood. 
« Last Edit: June 18, 2019, 09:54:09 AM by K-Dog »
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Offline RE

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Re: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #2008 on: June 18, 2019, 10:44:35 AM »
So now Trump is going to do a roundup on Stephen Miller's advice.  Things could get interesting.  There may be blood.

As the articles indicate, ICE has neither the money nor the manpower to do the kind of "Million Man Roundup" Trumpovetsky is boasting to his base about.  They also won't get a whole hell of a lot of cooperation from local Gestapo in Sanctuary Cities, which is about the only place they could conceivably locate and corral so many wetbacks.

Then you have the logistical problems, which are beyond belief.  Where pray tell are they going to detain these folks while they arrange for buses to ship them to the Mexican border?  And if they have no papers and aren't Mexicans, why would the Mexicans accept them?  If they are Nicaraguan (if you can determine that), you have to ship them to Nicaragua and dump them off the boat on a beach somewhere.

What will happen is a few flashy arrests for the TV cameras which El Trumpo will claim are a part of his new hard line against those brown people over here stealing Amerikan Jobz.  A total sham.

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Offline Surly1

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Re: 🤡 Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #2009 on: June 18, 2019, 06:48:04 PM »
So now Trump is going to do a roundup on Stephen Miller's advice.  Things could get interesting.  There may be blood.

As the articles indicate, ICE has neither the money nor the manpower to do the kind of "Million Man Roundup" Trumpovetsky is boasting to his base about.  They also won't get a whole hell of a lot of cooperation from local Gestapo in Sanctuary Cities, which is about the only place they could conceivably locate and corral so many wetbacks.

Then you have the logistical problems, which are beyond belief.  Where pray tell are they going to detain these folks while they arrange for buses to ship them to the Mexican border?  And if they have no papers and aren't Mexicans, why would the Mexicans accept them?  If they are Nicaraguan (if you can determine that), you have to ship them to Nicaragua and dump them off the boat on a beach somewhere.

What will happen is a few flashy arrests for the TV cameras which El Trumpo will claim are a part of his new hard line against those brown people over here stealing Amerikan Jobz.  A total sham.


2020 Campaign theater to send his base of mouth-breathing deplorables a message. Plain and simple. Keep Uncle Cracker pissed and riled enough to get up off his cousin and vote next November.
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