Posted by: maboulette | July 25, 2017

Donald Trump Is the Biggest Leaker of Them All


trump tweet

Donald Trump’s obsessive and unhinged attacks on the media have finally come to a vaguely ironic head. Trump has long decried major news outlets for using inside sources to report on his scandals, often falsely asserting that these insider details are classified. But during a particularly Trumpian rant against the Washington Post, last night, Donald Trump appears to have leaked classified information about a secret U.S. military program in mid-tweet.

ATTACK ON WASHINGTON POST

Trump’s laser focused attack on the Washington Post, in which he attacked the respected newspaper for several of its stories on him, strongly hints that he knows the Washington Post is about to publish a major bombshell. But he created a whole new scandal with one of his tweets, which read like this: “The Amazon Washington Post fabricated the facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad.” Unless Trump is lying about the program and it doesn’t really exist, he just leaked classified intel by talking about it.

CLASSIFIED AS A CRIME

The president does have the right to declassify any information which he sees fit. But he’s supposed to issue a memo formally declassifying that information before revealing it. So, depending on which legal expert you ask, Trump’s twitter outburst can still arguably be classified as a crime. In any case, expert consensus is that he did in fact leak classified intel with his tweet.

For instance, former CIA agent Ned Price tweeted that “If the media reports are true, the President of the United States just confirmed a CIA covert action program. On Twitter.” New York Times national security editor Amy Fiscus tweeted that “This program is still classified.” This comes after Donald Trump leaked Israeli classified intel to the Russian government during an Oval Office meeting. Trump is also suspected of giving Vladimir Putin classified intel during their unofficial second meeting at the G20 summit.

 

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Posted by: maboulette | July 24, 2017

President Trump Speaking on Health Care Today July 24th


forget where he is

President Trump on Monday will speak to the press at the White House about health care, minutes after meeting with what he calls “victims of Obamacare.”

STATEMENT

The statement, announced late Sunday by the White House, comes nearly a week after Trump pressed Republican senators to agree to an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, before taking an August recess.

WHITE HOUSE LUNCH

At a White House lunch on Wednesday, he told lawmakers, “I don’t think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan.” Trump added, “We shouldn’t leave town until this is complete, until this bill is on my desk.”

He also said Republicans who favor a delay in debating the legislation would signal that they are “fine with Obamacare.”

TRUMP MAKING AGGRESSIVE PUSH

Trump is making an aggressive push on health care, in spite of the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been unable to secure enough support to repeal and replace President Obama’s signature 2010 health care law. McConnell has said he is willing to repeal the law and hold a vote on it next week, but three Republican senators have already indicated that they won’t vote to bring it to the floor.

 

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New 1 trump

Five weeks ago one of Donald Trump’s own advisers told the media that Trump wants to resign, but that he “doesn’t want to go down in history as a guy who tried and failed”. This established that Trump fails to understand anything that’s transpiring; he’s already covered as the least popular and most loathed president in U.S. history no matter how he finally ends up leaving. But now he’s found a way to leave office that’ll even make his exit historically humiliating.

INQUIRING

Simply by inquiring as to whether he can pardon himself, Donald Trump has found a new way to shovel dirt on the grave of his own legacy. He just branded himself as A) guilty of everything he’s been accused of, and B) a complete idiot. Sure, Richard Nixon went down as a failure because he resigned. But at least Nixon peacefully walked away once he finally realized his crimes were going to take him down anyway. Trump doesn’t even has that.

NO MATTER HOW

No matter how Trump finally leaves office, he will be remembered as the guy who was so historically guilty, so unimaginably guilty, that he actually floated the idea of trying to pardon himself. He’s now registered himself as an admitted traitor, and the day he leaves office will forever be remembered as a de facto national holiday. For the next thousand years, history textbooks will point to Trump as one of the most shameful figures in history, and a cautionary tale for what no nation, no public, can ever again allow to happen.

NIXON WASN’T THIS STUPID

Even Richard Nixon wasn’t stupid enough to try pardoning himself. It’s why he’s remembered as the corrupt criminal who spent a year trying to shred the Constitution to save himself, but at least walked away once he’d lost. Donald Trump will forever be remembered as the traitorous filthy animal who managed to make a criminal like Richard Nixon look noble in judgment. And even if that doesn’t bother Trump, this will: for the next thousand years, schoolchildren will laugh out loud at him for being the bleeping idiot who tried to pardon himself and ended up in prison anyway.

 

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robert mueller

Members of Congress were aghast on Thursday after President Donald Trump suggested that he would move to fire special counsel Robert Mueller if his investigation into Russia’s election meddling turned towards Trump’s finances.

PREEMPTIVELY SHIELD

But those same members said that they were unable to preemptively shield Mueller from the threat of presidential interference.

INDEPENDENT COUNSEL

“That’s not our lane. It’s an independent counsel. So he should be independent. And we should do our job and the two things should not be connected,” Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) told The Daily Beast. Heinrich sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is also investigating Russian meddling and potential collusion between Trump associates and Russian operatives.

CONGRESS COULD NOT STOP

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) also acknowledged that Congress could not prevent the president from dispensing of Mueller. In a reflection of the powerlessness of the legislative branch in such a scenario, he humorously suggested that a robust social-media campaign might do the trick.  

TWEET STORM

“I think that maybe we could have a tweet-storm—a tweet-storm directed at the president that all of us, Democrats and Republicans, would tweet the same message to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and say: Mr. President, don’t you dare,” Carper said with a laugh.

Mueller enjoys bipartisan support on the Hill, where lawmakers expressed continued confidence in his ability to oversee the investigation. But as Heinrich noted, that investigation remains under the purview of the executive branch, which leaves it vulnerable to Trump’s whims. And that’s not a particularly secure place to be.

STARK WARNING

In an interview Wednesday with The New York Times, Trump issued a stark warning to Mueller to avoid looking into look into his personal finances.

 

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new trump

The legal team representing Donald Trump in the Russia scandal had a headcount of five when the week began. That headcount is now at three. Attorney Marc Kasowitz has officially quit yesterday evening after being hired to defend  him in the Russia scandal. And this wasn’t even the first defection from Trump’s legal team of the day.

KASOWITZ IN OUT

Marc Kasowitz is officially out, according to Major Garrett of CBS News (link). This comes just hours after the news that Donald Trump has begun inquiring about pardoning himself and his children, and one day after Trump publicly attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a manner which further destabilized his tenuous grasp on the presidency. It also comes a few days after Kasowitz replied to an email from a stranger by threatening to hunt him down at his house. But Kasowitz wasn’t today’s only departure.

MARK CORALLO

Also yesterday, John Santucci of ABC News reported that Donald Trump’s Russia legal team spokesman Mark Corallo had resigned as well (link). No specific reason for Corallo’s departure was given. But this comes amid an on-air MSNBC report that Trump’s newest attorney Ty Cobb called a meeting with Trump yesterday and got him to agree not to speak with the media any further about the Russia scandal. Trump then immediately did an interview with the New York Times in which he extensively discussed the Russia scandal.

WHO WILL BE NEXT

So now we must keep an eye out for whether Cobb ends up resigning as well. Jay Sekulow is also still on Trump’s legal team, but he’s had multiple self-defeating incidents on the job. He tried to blame the scandal on the Secret Service, and he once contradicted himself so thoroughly during a Fox News interview that host Chris Wallace was left to mutter “Oh boy this is weird.”

 

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Posted by: maboulette | July 20, 2017

Now Eric Trump Is Accused of Stealing from a Cancer Charity


Eric Trump

Before we get into what the Trump kids have been doing with their time, let’s first acknowledge that life as a Trump is pretty dang plush. If they do absolutely nothing but wait, they’ll have more money than they could ever spend in a dozen lifetimes.

10 BILLION

The president’s stated fortune, $10 billion, is a bit larger than Forbes’s estimate, $3.5 billion. But no matter how you define it, he’s a very rich man and his family is firmly in the top 0.00001 percent of wealth holders.

TIFFANY TRUMP

Tiffany Trump appears to be the only one to truly understand the virtues of laying low. Her only major headline in recent months focuses on her recent vacation (or average Tuesday, to a billionaire heiress) on a yacht in Italy.

IVANKA TRUMP

Ivanka Trump has mostly stayed out of the news as well, albeit under very different circumstances, as one of her father’s closest advisers in the White House. Her only negative press in recent months involves allegations of poor labor conditions at supplier factories for her personal shoe brand — not a small scandal by any measure, though a depressingly familiar one in the workings of global capitalism.

So, what has the other Trump kid, Eric, been up to?

TAX EVASION

Investigative journalists at ProPublica tracked down real estate deals from April 2016 revealing that Donald Trump Sr. had sold real estate in New York at well below market value to a generic LLC. A bit of research showed the actual “buyer” was Eric Trump, Donald’s third-born.

TAX DODGE

Why sell below market value instead of just giving the property to his son, or selling it for the normal price you or I would pay? To dodge taxes.

GIFT TAX

Had Trump senior just gifted the units, they’d be subject to the gift tax, a levy of 40 percent on transfers of wealth. Actually, bargain sales count as gifts as well, but in order to avoid gift taxes here the Trumps likely misapplied a practice that allows real estate developers to reduce prices on first time sales of apartment units to arm’s length buyers.

Tax attorney and Institute for Policy Studies Associate Fellow Bob Lord asks, “This is really, really primo real estate. Why would you show a sale at $350,000 other than to play games for tax purposes?”

 

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healthcare

Republicans could actually screw this up, and they have Ted Cruz to “thank.” Extreme right-wing conservatives like Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah are insisting they won’t vote for any repeal bill unless it allow insurers to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and sell everyone junk insurance that doesn’t actually cover anything.

PROPOSAL ABHORRENT

Meanwhile, almost all other Senate Republicans find such a proposal abhorrent, and say they won’t vote for any bill that allows insurance companies to do that.

HEARTLESS

Cruz’s proposal is so heartless that even very conservative Republicans like Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Jerry Moran of Kansas are strongly opposed to it.

BEST PART

The best part is, as long as most Republicans stay opposed to Cruz’s demand, then Trumpcare cannot pass the Senate. This is because there is no way that Cruz and his small band of extreme right-wing Senators will back down from their outrageous demand, and so Republicans will just be at an impasse.

Let’s keep the pressure on and make sure Senate Republicans remain hopelessly divided.

 

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Donald Jr

 

So much for Donald Trump Jr. merely being guilty of attempting to conspire with the Russian government to rig the election against Hillary Clinton. Today a Russian spy was outed as having attended the meeting, and he now claims that the Russian government lawyer at the meeting brought actual files on Clinton with her, and left those files with the Trump campaign.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

This is coming from the Associated Press, which for some reason decided to bury this stunning bombshell all the way down in the tenth paragraph of an article (link) which otherwise focuses on the mere fact that the Russian spy was in attendance at the meeting. This sentence from the AP article could not be any more alarming: “Veselnitskaya brought with her a plastic folder with printed-out documents that detailed what she believed was the flow of illicit funds to the Democrats.” Except maybe for the sentence that follows it: “He said he thinks she left the materials with the Trump associates.”

RIG ELECTION AGAINST HILLARY

If this proves true, then it means the Donald Trump campaign didn’t just attempt to conspire with the Russian government to rig the election against Hillary Clinton; it did conspire to rig the election. Moreover, it means these documents may still be around. Everyone from Congress to the Special Counsel can now subpoena them. And because Congress long ago ordered the entire Trump campaign not to destroy any documents relating to Russia, if anyone in the campaign has since strategically trashed these documents, it means they’ve committed a crime.

QUALIFIERS

There are some qualifiers here. According to the above linked AP article, Donald Trump Jr. didn’t seem to think the secret files on Hillary Clinton were particularly useful once the Russian government lawyer explained that they weren’t completed research. So, it’s possible they hit the trash the minute the meeting was over. But if Junior was willing to take this meeting to try to get dirt on Hillary, it’s likely that he would have at least looked at the documents afterward and tried to find anything useful in them. Who else in the campaign might have helped him pore over these documents? This is where the scandal goes next.

 

 

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worried trump

With the floodgates having been thrown open last week in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, it seems inevitable that we’ll see a tidal wave of new revelations and incriminations going forward. Trump seems to think that a major new Russia bombshell is coming in the next day or two. I’m basing that conclusion on a bombastic new story that just landed in a British newspaper that actually has nothing to do with the Russia scandal but telegraphs what’s coming.

THE DAILY MAIL

The Daily Mail just published a bombastic article highlighting some of the most humiliating revelations from a new insider book about the Donald Trump campaign. It’s really ugly stuff. Trump fired Chris Christie from his transition team because he was forced to touch Christie’s germ-covered cellphone. Trump screamed at paul manafort about whether or not he was a “baby.”

BOMBASTIC ARTICLE

But the Daily Mail doesn’t generally publish anti-Trump stuff. And yet here comes this sensational new anti-Trump article out of nowhere. This article is also precisely the kind of distraction that Donald Trump likes to leak about himself when he knows that a truly damaging revelation is coming. His gambit is that the embarrassing stuff will dominate the news cycle and drown out whatever truly incriminating story he thinks is going to come out that day. It’s worked for him in the past.

ANTI-TRUMP

Reading over this uncharacteristically anti-Trump article in the Daily Mail, I can’t help but conclude that Donald Trump asked the tabloid to put it out as a distraction. That way Tuesday morning’s headlines in America will all be about what a small minded buffoon Trump is, which doesn’t really hurt him because everyone already knows as much. And whatever incriminating Russia bombshell story Trump thinks is about to land, it’ll have to compete for attention with this checkout aisle crap about him and Christie and Manafort. We’ll see.

 

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Posted by: maboulette | July 18, 2017

Questions Grow Over Kushner’s Security Clearances


MW-FJ933_kusner_20170406150525_ZH.jpg

Jared Kushner is moving closer to the eye of the storm surrounding President Trump and Russia.

CALLS FOR DELETING SECURITY CLEARANCE

Calls for Kushner to loser his security clearance have mounted, as congressional investigators probe whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – run by the president’s son-in-law – coordinated efforts with Russian bots spreading fake news about Hillary Clinton.

KUSHNER FIGURE IN MEETING

Kushner is also a figure in Donald Trump Jr.’s controversial meeting with a Russian lawyer promising damaging information on Clinton. He and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort both attended the meeting, as did a Russian-American lobbyist with past ties to Russian intelligence. Kushner reportedly left the meeting after 10 minutes.

PARTISAN ATTACKS

Most of the attacks on Kushner have been partisan, but even some Republicans fed up with the drama surrounding Trump’s family are now calling for Kushner’s exit.

ALL CHILDREN REMOVED

“I’m going out on a limb here, but I would say that I think it would be in the President’s best interest if he removed all of his children from the White House,” Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), a former chairman of the powerful conservative Republican Study Committee, told local radio Thursday morning. “Not only Donald Trump, but Ivanka and Jared Kushner.”

Kushner, who works on a broad foreign policy portfolio, has now had to amend his security clearance form twice to account for previously-unreported meetings with Russian individuals.

HARD TO BELIEVE

“It’s very hard for me to imagine anyone else being allowed to continue their clearance if they participated in a meeting like the one that just became public,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told The Hill in an interview.

TROLLS PUSH NEGATIVE STORES ABOUT CLINTON

Schiff is also probing whether the Trump campaign’s analytics operation made any attempt to help Russian social media trolls push negative stories about Clinton to certain valuable segments of voters. He declined to name Kushner specifically, but the first son-in-law headed that arm of the campaign. The data and digital director for the campaign, Brad Pascale, said Friday that he will speak to the panel as part of its investigation.

KUSHNER SECURITY CLEARANCE

Democrats have trained their fire on Kushner’s security clearance.

The discovery of the emails led Kushner to amend his security clearance form, which in turn sparked federal investigators to interview him for a second time.

NANCY PELOSI

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday called for Kushner’s security privileges to be revoked “immediately.” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the former head of the Democratic National Committee, put forth two appropriations amendments crafted to revoke his clearance; both failed along party lines.

SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) both in the past have raised questions with Kushner’s security clearance. They have yet to receive an answer to a letter about the status of Kushner’s clearance and the circumstances surrounding his eligibility, sent to Marcia Lee Kelly, director of the office that handles White House security clearances, and acting FBI director Andrew McCabe.

RANKING MEMBER

Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner (D-Va.) said that his committee will ask Kushner and Trump Jr. for additional documents, while Grassley has said that he wants to speak with Kushner.

KUSHNER TO RESIGN

Other Democrats took it a step further, calling for Kushner to resign.

IF IT WERE OBAMA

“You don’t think the Republicans would be calling for the resignation of an Obama official who allowed the president and vice president to openly lie about a major national security issue?” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told reporters. “He watched his father-in-law on TV say no one in [the Trump] campaign talked to the Russian government.”

DIGITAL OPERATION

The Kushner-led campaign digital operation has provided another thread for federal and congressional investigators.

LEAD UP TO ELECTION DAY

In the lead-up to Election Day, a loose network of hackers, bloggers and other online figures helped spread false and negative reports about Clinton on Twitter and Facebook to millions of voters living in key states, cities and precincts.

ARMIES OF BOTS

The network used armies of social media “bots,” that run automated functions, to accelerate the spread of reports.

CYBER OPERATION

Investigators are considering whether Russia identified its targets with the help of the Trump campaign’s cyber operation, which had detailed information about voters, according to McClatchy.

CENTRAL TO UNRAVELING

Kushner has long been central to unraveling any coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

FOCAL POINT

In May, The Washington Post reported that Kushner was considered a focal point of the federal investigation into Trump’s campaign and Russia, now in the hands of special counsel Bob Mueller.

MET WITH RUSSIANS

He met last December with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a meeting that he did not initially disclose on his security clearance form. Kislyak reportedly relayed to Moscow that Kushner wanted to explore a secret back channel with Russia, according to The Post.

FAILED TO DISCLOSE

He also failed to disclose a separate December meeting with the head of a prominent sanctioned Russian bank.

OVERSIGHT?

Kushner’s lawyers have characterized the omissions as an oversight. Intentionally omitting information on the form, known as a SF-86, is a felony.

“As we have previously stated, Mr. Kushner’s SF-86 was prematurely submitted and, among other errors, did not list any contacts with foreign government officials,” Kushner’s attorney, Jamie Gorelik, said Saturday.

INFORMATION WAS UPDATED

“The next day, Mr. Kushner submitted supplemental information stating that he had had ‘numerous contacts with foreign officials’ about which he would be happy to provide additional information. He has since submitted this information, including that during the campaign and transition, he had over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most of which were during transition.

“Mr. Kushner has submitted additional updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr. As Mr. Kushner has consistently stated, he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows.”

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders this week accused Democrats demanding his clearance be revoked of “trying to play political games,” but declined to say whether he still has a clearance.

“We don’t discuss security clearances,” she said.

KUSHNER STIL HAS CLEARANCE

Kushner does still have an interim clearance, according to Yahoo News.

GORELIK LAWYER DROPPING OUT OF THIS CASE

Amid the intensifying scrutiny of the probe, Gorelik, a well-known Washington lawyer, is dropping out of the case and turning all Russia-related matters over to another high-powered attorney on Kushner’s team: Abbe Lowell.

Lowell, a Democrat, is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has represented former presidential candidate John Edwards and GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

A spokesman for Kushner did not respond to a request for comment.

 

 

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