Trump Administration, Week 156: Friday, 10 January – Thursday, 16 January 2020 (Days 1,086-1,092)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 10 January 2020, Day 1,086:

 

Pelosi Alerts House to Be Ready to Send Impeachment Articles Next Week, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 10 January 2020: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi alerted lawmakers on Friday that she would move next week to send to the Senate articles of impeachment against President Trump, making a long-awaited announcement that paved the way for the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. The speaker’s statement effectively ended an impasse over the impeachment process that had left the president’s Senate trial in limbo for weeks. She did not announce which Democrats would manage the case, but said the House should be ready to appoint them next week and to formally deliver the Senate charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress…. Throughout the delay, the speaker had insisted that she was merely pushing for a fairer Senate proceeding after Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, promised publicly to collaborate with Mr. Trump’s legal team to secure a quick acquittal. Democrats claimed the maneuver successfully spotlighted the need for the Senate to hear from witnesses and see documents that Mr. Trump barred from the House impeachment inquiry. She ultimately failed to win any concessions from Republicans on the terms of the trial….” See also, Pelosi moves to end Trump impeachment standoff and signals she will send articles to Senate, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Rachael Bade, Friday, 10 January 2020: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved Friday to end a three-week standoff with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, signaling that she will send articles of impeachment to the Republican-controlled Senate next week, paving the way for a likely acquittal of President Trump. Pelosi (D-Calif.), who made the announcement in a letter to colleagues sent moments after lawmakers left Washington for the week, relented without securing the concessions she sought from McConnell (R-Ky.) — in particular, a detailed blueprint for how the coming Senate trial will proceed.” See also, Pelosi ends standoff with Senate Republicans over impeachment articles, Politico, Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan, Friday, 10 January 2020. See also, Pelosi prepares to send articles of impeachment to the Senate, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Haley Byrd, and Manu Raju, Friday, 10 January 2020. See also, Read Pelosi’s letter saying she is preparing for a vote next week to send articles of impeachment to the Senate, CNN Politics, Friday, 10 January 2020. See also, House to Send Articles of Impeachment to Senate Next Week, The Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews, Friday, 10 January 2020. See also, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is working with a ‘small group’ of Republican senators to allow impeachment witnesses, Bangor Daily News, Michael Shepherd, Friday, 10 January 2020: “U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told reporters on Friday she is working with a “fairly small group” of fellow Republican senators toward a goal of ensuring witnesses can be called in the chamber’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. The president is nearly a sure bet to be acquitted in the Republican-led Senate and the trial could start as early as next week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, indicated on Friday that she will send the House’s two impeachment articles to the upper chamber.”

U.S. Unsuccessfully Tried Killing a Second Iranian Military Official, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Edward Wong, and Julian E. Barnes, Friday, 10 January 2020: “The American military unsuccessfully tried to kill a senior Iranian military official in Yemen on the same day a drone strike killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most powerful commander, according to American officials. The disclosure of a second mission indicated that the Trump administration had plans for a broader campaign than was previously known [and] intended to cripple Iran’s ability to carry out proxy wars in other countries. After Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes on Iraqi bases that host American troops, both Washington and Tehran appear to have stepped back from escalating the conflict further, at least for now. The unsuccessful airstrike in Yemen was aimed at Abdul Reza Shahlai, an official with Iran’s Quds Force, a potent military organization that General Suleimani had led. Mr. Shahlai was known as a main organizer of financing for Shiite militias in the region.” See also, On the day U.S. forces killed Soleimani, they targeted a senior Iranian official in Yemen, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Missy Ryan, and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 10 January 2020: “On the day the U.S. military killed a top Iranian commander in Baghdad, U.S. forces carried out another top-secret mission against a senior Iranian military official in Yemen, according to U.S. officials. The strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander in Iran’s elite Quds Force who has been active in Yemen, did not result in his death, according to four U.S. officials familiar with the matter. The unsuccessful operation may indicate that the Trump administration’s killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani last week was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans as originally stated. U.S. military operations in Yemen, where a civil war has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, are shrouded in secrecy. U.S. officials said the operation against Shahlai remains highly classified, and many declined to offer details other than to say it failed.” See also, US unsuccessfully targeted another Iranian military official on the same day as Soleimani, CNN Politics, Barbara Starr, Zachary Cohen, and Ryan Browne, Friday, 10 January 2020. See also, Officials Say U.S. Targeted but Missed Senior Iranian Commander in Yemen, The Wall Street Journal, Michael R. Gordon and Warren P. Strobel, Friday, 20 January 2020. See also, Trump administration’s shifting stories fuel doubts over justification for Soleimani strike, CNN Politics, Nicole Gaouette, Jennifer Hansler, and Jamie Crawford, Friday, 10 January 2020: “A week after the US killed Iran’s second most powerful official, spiking tensions in the region and triggering fears of war, the Trump administration continues to present conflicting justifications for the deadly Reaper drone strike and clashing narratives about what has followed. Again and again, President Donald Trump’s national security officials have contradicted each other about how imminent a threat Qasem Soleimani posed, whether they had specific intelligence on the threat and even what that threat was, with Trump saying one thing then another, while officials offered varying explanations.” See also, The Real Backstory of Why Trump Ordered the Killing of Suleimani Is Becoming More Clear, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Friday, 10 January 2020.

Iran Says It Unintentionally Shot Down Ukrainian Airliner, The New York Times, Farnaz Fassihi, Friday, 10 January 2020: “Iran’s military announced early Saturday that it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, blaming human error because of what it called the plane’s sharp, unexpected turn toward a sensitive military base. After days of tension since the jet crashed near Tehran on Wednesday, the same day that Iranian missiles struck American bases in Iraq, the admission was a stunning reversal. Iran initially maintained that mechanical issues had brought the Boeing airliner down, killing all 176 people aboard.” See also, Furor in Iran and Abroad After Tehran Admits Downing Ukrainian Jetliner, The New York Times, Anton Troianovski, Andrew E. Kramer, and Farnaz Fassihi, published on Saturday, 11 January 2020: “Iran’s stunning admission that its forces errantly downed a Ukrainian jetliner — reversing three days of denial — did little to quell growing fury inside the country and beyond on Saturday as the deadly tragedy turned into a volatile political crisis for Tehran’s leaders and overshadowed their struggle with the United States.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Imposes Additional Sanctions on Iran, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Friday, 10 January 2020: “The Trump administration slapped another round of sanctions on Iran on Friday and, brushing aside demands from Democrats for evidence, elaborated on its assertions that the decision to kill a top Iranian commander was justified by an imminent threat to United States embassies and other American interests.” See also, Trump administration hits Iran with fresh sanctions after attack on U.S. forces, The Washington Post, Carol Morello, Friday, 10 January 2020: “The Trump administration hit Iran with more sanctions Friday in the first concrete response to the attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq this week, which were in retaliation for the U.S. airstrike that killed the most powerful Iranian military commander. The sanctions target Iran’s metal industries, and eight senior military and national security officials who U.S. officials said were involved in the ballistic missile attacks on two bases in Iraq that house U.S. military personnel.” See also, US imposes new sanctions on Iran, CNN Politics, Donna Borak, Betsy Klein, and Jennifer Hansler, Friday, 10 January 2020. See also, Trump now claims four embassies were under threat from Iran, The Washington Post, Shane Harris, Josh Dawsey, and Seung Min Kim, Friday, 10 January 2020: “President Trump said on Friday that a senior Iranian general killed by a U.S. drone strike had been planning attacks on four U.S. embassies, a claim made to justify the decision but that was at odds with intelligence assessments from senior officials in Trump’s administration.” Trump Says 4 Embassies Had Been Targeted by Iranians. He also asserted that he did not believe American citizens had a right to more details on the intelligence that prompted the killing of Iranian general Qassim Suleimani. The New York Times, Katie Rogers, Friday, 10 January 2020.

Continue reading Week 156, Friday, 10 January – Thursday, 16 January 2020 (Days 1,086-1,092)

[Read more…]

Trump Administration, Week 155: Friday, 3 January – Thursday, 9 January 2020 (Days 1,079-1,085)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 3 January 2020, Day 1,079:

 

U.S. and Iran Exchange More Threats as Democrats Question Timing of The Killing of Major General Qassim Suleimani in Baghdad, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Peter Baker, Edward Wong, and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 3 January 2020: “The United States and Iran exchanged escalating military threats on Friday as President Trump warned that he was ‘prepared to take whatever action is necessary’ if Iran threatened Americans and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed to exact vengeance for the killing on Mr. Trump’s order of Iran’s most valued general. Although the president insisted that he took the action to avoid a war with Iran, the continuing threats further rattled foreign capitals, global markets and Capitol Hill, where Democrats demanded more information about the strike and Mr. Trump’s grounds for taking such a provocative move without consulting Congress. Democrats also pressed questions about the attack’s timing and whether it was meant to deflect attention from the president’s expected impeachment trial this month in the Senate. They said he risked suspicion that he was taking action overseas to distract from his political troubles at home, as in the political movie ‘Wag the Dog.'” See also, Congressional Leaders Call for Details After U.S. Airstrike on Suleimani, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Friday, 3 January 2020: “The top Senate Republican said on Friday that the administration would brief all senators next week on the United States drone strike ordered by President Trump that killed Iran’s top security commander. The morning after the strike on the powerful commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, lawmakers divided sharply along party lines over a move that could escalate United States tensions with Iran, which Mr. Trump undertook without authorization from Congress. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, lauded the strike as long-overdue justice…. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, called on the administration to ‘immediately’ provide answers to lawmakers, chiding Mr. Trump for failing to consult with congressional leaders on its rationale, strategy and plans for the aftermath before launching the strike.” See also, The Killing of General Qassim Suleimani: What We Know Since the U.S. Airstrike, The New York Times, Friday, 3 January 2020. See also, Qassim Suleimani, Master of Iran’s Intrigue, Built a Shiite Axis of Power in the Mideast, The New York Times, Tim Arango, Ronen Bergman, and Ben Hubbard, Friday, 3 January 2020. See also, Maps: How the Confrontation Between the U.S. and Iran Escalated, The New York Times, Sarah Almukhtar, Falih Hassan, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Lauren Leatherby, Allison McCann, Anjali Singhvi, and Jin Wu, Friday, 3 December 2020. See also, Iranian General Suleimani Traveled With Impunity, Until U.S. Drones Found Him. Trump’s decision to kill General Suleimani was one that his predecessors, Bush and Obama, had rejected, fearing it would lead to war. The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Helene Cooper, and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Friday, 3 January 2020: “[E]arly Friday, an American MQ-9 Reaper drone … — operating under President Trump’s orders — fired missiles into a convoy carrying General Suleimani as it was leaving Baghdad’s international airport. What remained unclear is why Mr. Trump chose this moment to strike the top military leader of Iran, after two presidents before him opted not to do so, out of concern that killing the general could incite a wider war with Iran. National security experts and even officials at the Pentagon said there was nothing new about Iranian behavior in recent months or even weeks; General Suleimani has been accused of prodding Shiite militias into attacking Americans for more than a decade. American officials have also blamed him, for more than a decade, of working with organizations in other countries, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel as well as the Houthis in Yemen, to attack American allies and interests. Senior Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, repeatedly said on Friday that new attacks under General Suleimani’s leadership were imminent. But one Defense Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning, said that there was nothing new in the threat presented by the Iranian general. And critics of the strike questioned whether its timing was meant to influence public opinion as Mr. Trump faces impeachment.” See also, What to Know About the Death of Iranian General Suleimani, The New York Times, Karen Zraick, Friday, 3 January 2020. See also, With Suleiman Assassination, Trump Is Doing the Bidding of Washington’s Most Vile Cabal, The Intercept, Jeremy Scahill, Friday, 3 January 2020: “There’s no justification for assassinating foreign officials, including Suleimani. This is an aggressive act of war, an offensive act committed by the U.S. on the sovereign territory of a third country, Iraq…. Trump campaigned on belligerence toward Iran and trashing the Obama-led Iran nuclear deal, and he has followed through on those threats, filling his administration with the most vile, hawkish figures in the U.S. national security establishment. After appointing notorious warmonger John Bolton as national security adviser, Trump fired him last September. But despite reports that Trump had soured on Bolton because of his interventionist posture toward Iran, Bolton’s firing merely opened the door for the equally belligerent Mike Pompeo to take over the administration’s Iran policy at the State Department.” See also, Targeted Killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani Puts U.S. at Crossroads in Middle East, The Wall Street Journal, Michael R. Gordon, Nancy A. Youssef, and Vivian Salama, Friday, 3 January 2020: “Trump’s plans to reduce military footprint in the region are now at risk after the airstrike that killed Soleimani…. Last month, the Pentagon began considering whether to send yet more forces—potentially as many as 14,000 additional troops, which could include sailors aboard ships. The promise of additional forces doesn’t guarantee that Iran won’t retaliate, Pentagon officials conceded. ‘They are going to respond. They have to,’ said a defense official.” See also, The Dangers Posed by the Killing of Qassem Suleimani, The New Yorker, Dexter Filkins, Friday, 3 January 2020: “The killing of Qassem Suleimani, the Iranian commander targeted by an American strike Thursday night, is the most consequential act taken against the regime in Tehran in thirty years—even if we don’t know what those consequences will be. One thing is clear: we’re entering a dangerous period, in which the conflict between the two countries could easily spin out of control.” See also, The Killing of Qassem Suleimani Is Tantamount to an Act of War, The New Yorker, Robin Wright, Friday, 3 January 2020: “On orders from President Trump, the United States killed Major General Qassem Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s élite Quds Force and the mastermind of its military operations across the Middle East, in an overnight air strike at Baghdad’s International Airport. The assassination was the boldest U.S. act in confronting Iran since the 1979 revolution, tantamount to an act of war. A brief statement from the Pentagon described it as a ‘decisive defensive action’ designed to protect U.S. personnel abroad. But the strike represented a stunning escalation between Washington and Tehran, and it may well have the reverse effect. Iran almost certainly will want to respond in some lethal form, whether directly or through its powerful network of proxies in the region. U.S. embassies and military bases—and thousands of American personnel across the Middle East and South Asia, and potentially beyond—were instantly vulnerable. On Friday, the State Department ordered all Americans to leave Iraq.” See also, Iran vows revenge for U.S. killing of top commander as Trump sends more troops to the region, The Washington Post, Louisa Loveluck, Friday, 3 January 2020: “Iran vowed revenge on Friday in response to a U.S. airstrike that killed Tehran’s most powerful military commander, sharpening tensions across the Middle East as the Trump administration said it was sending thousands of troops to bolster security in the region.” See also, U.S. strike on top Iranian commander sharply divides Congress, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz and Hannah Knowles, Friday, 3 January 2020: “Hours after ordering a lethal airstrike against an Iranian leader, President Trump endorsed a tweet comparing the top Senate Democrat to longtime adversary Iran, suggesting that neither could be trusted, as Democratic leaders criticized the White House for acting without congressional input. Amid a flurry of reactions from U.S. lawmakers on Friday, Trump retweeted conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who in response to a headline about Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) not receiving advance notice wrote: ‘Neither were the Iranians, and for pretty much the same reason.'” See also, How Trump decided to kill a top Iranian general, The Washington Post, Missy Ryan, Josh Dawsey, Dan Lamothe, and John Hudson, Friday, 3 January 2020.  See also, Qasem Soleimani: Who was Iran’s powerful military leader? The Washington Post, Adam Taylor, Friday, 3 January 2020. See also, Trump plunges toward the kind of Middle Eastern conflict he pledged to avoid, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Robert Costa, and Anne Gearan, published on Saturday, 4 January 2020: “With a single momentous decision to authorize a drone strike killing a top Iranian commander in Baghdad, President Trump immediately thrust himself into the center of a volatile and unpredictable region — taking his presidency into just the kind of foreign entanglement he pledged to avoid. Trump followed early Friday’s targeted strike on Qasem Soleimani — the leader of Iran’s special operations forces abroad — with a decision to send an additional 3,500 soldiers to the Middle East to respond to the heightened tensions.” See also, The killing of Qassem Suleimani and the road to war with Iran, Columbia Journalism Review, Jon Allsop, Friday, 3 January 2020: “Presidents Obama and Bush never took shots to kill Suleimani, fearing war with Iran. Trump went ahead and did it. Does that mean we’re now at war with Iran? Experts’ initial reactions, it seems, have fallen on a spectrum—from let’s keep things in perspective to war is now inevitable to we’re already there. (In The Atlantic, Andrew Exum, who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy under Obama, wrote that the killing of Suleimani ‘doesn’t mean war, it will not lead to war, and it doesn’t risk war. None of that. It is war.’)… Last night, as reporters scrambled to fill in the details of Suleimani’s killing, news outlets turned repeatedly to press releases, including the Pentagon’s assurance that the strike on Suleimani ‘was aimed at deterring future attack plans.’ As the Post’s Josh Rogin tweeted, ‘By the Pentagon’s own logic, if Iran retaliates, the strike mission failed its key goal. Remember that.’ That’s sound advice. Already, Iran is promising ‘harsh retaliation.’See also, Trump said in 2011 that Obama would start a war with Iran to get re-elected: ‘He has no ability to negotiate,’ Independent, Kate Ng, Friday, 3 January 2020. See also, Vice President Mike Pence Links Suleimani to 9/11. The Public Record Doesn’t Back Him. The New York Times, Zach Montague, Friday, 3 January 2020. See also, Trump Told Mar-a-Lago Pals to Expect ‘Big’ Iran Action ‘Soon,’ Daily Beast, Spencer Ackerman, Asawin Suebsaeng, Erin Banco, and Betsy Swan, Friday, 3 January 2020: “In the five days prior to launching a strike that killed Iran’s most important military leader, Donald Trump roamed the halls of Mar-a-Lago, his private resort in Florida, and started dropping hints to close associates and club-goers that something huge was coming. According to three people who’ve been at the president’s Palm Beach club over the past several days, Trump began telling friends and allies hanging at his perennial vacation getaway that he was working on a ‘big’ response to the Iranian regime that they would be hearing or reading about very ‘soon.'”

Trump Rule Would Mean Federal Agencies Would No Longer Have to Take Climate Change Into Account When They Assess the Environmental Impacts of Highways, Pipelines, and Other Major Infrastructure Projects, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Friday, 3 January 2020: “Federal agencies would no longer have to take climate change into account when they assess the environmental impacts of highways, pipelines and other major infrastructure projects, according to a Trump administration plan that would weaken the nation’s benchmark environmental law. The proposed changes to the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act could sharply reduce obstacles to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and other fossil fuel projects that have been stymied when courts ruled that the Trump administration did not properly consider climate change when analyzing the environmental effects of the projects. According to one government official who has seen the proposed regulation but was not authorized to speak about it publicly, the administration will also narrow the range of projects that require environmental review. That could make it likely that more projects will sail through the approval process without having to disclose plans to do things like discharge waste, cut trees or increase air pollution.” See also, Trump Administration update of key environmental law would exclude climate change, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey, and Brady Dennis, Friday, 3 January 2020: “The Trump administration will instruct federal agencies to no longer take climate change into account when measuring the impact of major infrastructure projects, according to two senior administration officials — a sweeping overhaul of one of the nation’s most consequential environmental laws. The proposed changes to the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act are aimed at speeding approvals for pipelines, oil and gas leases, highway construction and other kinds of development. The law, which was last updated in 1978, has proved one of the most potent stumbling blocks to President Trump’s push to accelerate oil, gas and coal extraction across the country.”

The Australia Wildfires in Pictures: Images of destruction, escape, and the struggle to contain dozens of blazes as the country faces one of the worst wildfire seasons in its history, The New York Times, Friday, 3 January 2020: “One of the worst wildfire seasons in Australian history has killed at least 18 people, destroyed more than 1,000 homes and left firefighters struggling to contain more than 100 blazes. Conditions are likely to grow worse, with high temperatures and strong winds expected to fan conflagrations across Australia’s southeast this weekend.” See also, Bracing for an Even Worse Weekend of Australia Fires, The New York Times, Isabella Kwai, Daniel Victor, and Jamie Tarabay, Friday, 3 January 2020. See also, Millions of Australians Are Choking on Smoke From Wildfires, The New York Times, Nadja Popovich, Friday, 3 January 2020.

Continue reading Week 155, Friday, 3 January – Thursday, 9 January 2020 (Days 1,079-1,085)

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Trump Administration, Week 154, Friday, 27 December 2019 – Thursday, 2 January 2020 (Days 1,072- 1,078)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 27 December 2019, Day 1,072:

 

Anguish and Anger From the Navy SEALs Who Turned In Edward Gallagher. Video interviews and group texts obtained by The Times show men describing their platoon leader in grim terms. The New York Times, Dave Philipps, Friday, 27 December 2019: “Video recordings of the interviews obtained by The New York Times, which have not been shown publicly before, were part of a trove of Navy investigative materials about the prosecution of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher on war crimes charges including murder. They offer the first opportunity outside the courtroom to hear directly from the men of Alpha platoon, SEAL Team 7, whose blistering testimony about their platoon chief was dismissed by President Trump when he upended the military code of justice to protect Chief Gallagher from the punishment. ‘The guy is freaking evil,’ Special Operator Miller told investigators. ‘The guy was toxic,’ Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens, a sniper, said in a separate interview. ‘You could tell he was perfectly O.K. with killing anybody that was moving,’ Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a medic in the platoon, told the investigators. Such dire descriptions of Chief Gallagher, who had eight combat deployments and sometimes went by the nickname Blade, are in marked contrast to Mr. Trump’s portrayal of him at a recent political rally in Florida as one of ‘our great fighters.’… Platoon members said they saw Chief Gallagher shoot civilians and fatally stab a wounded captive with a hunting knife. Chief Gallagher was acquitted by a military jury in July of all but a single relatively minor charge, and was cleared of all punishment in November by Mr. Trump.” See also, Four-Star Retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey Slams Trump’s Behavior in Navy Seal Controversy: If He Were a General, ‘We’d Fire Him,’ Newsweek, Jennifer Doherty, published on Saturday, 28 December 2019.

Federal judge to halt latest North Carolina voter ID law, CBS News, Associated Press, Friday, 27 December 2019: “Republican attempts to require photo identification to vote in North Carolina are being thwarted again by judges hearing arguments that the mandate is tainted by bias that would deter black and Latino residents. A federal court announced that next week U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs will formally block a photo ID requirement scheduled to begin in 2020. Unless the upcoming preliminary injunction is successfully appealed, the requirement will be halted until a lawsuit filed by the state NAACP and others is resolved. Thursday’s short written notice from the federal court in Winston-Salem previewed Biggs’ order because state election officials were planning to expand efforts to educate voters about the ID law within days. Although the mandate would be carried out beginning with the March 3 primary, the requirement would actually start in just a few weeks with mail-in absentee ballot filers, who also would have to provide an ID copy.” See also, Federal Judge Backs Georgia’s Purge of Nearly 100,000 Voters, The New York Times, Elisha Brown, Wednesday, 27 December 2019: “A federal judge on Friday backed Georgia’s removal of nearly 100,000 names from the state’s voter rolls. The decision comes as state officials face accusations of voter suppression, particularly against black and low-income voters. Scrutiny of voting rights in Georgia has been heightened since the governor’s race in 2018 brought long lines at polling sites and criticism of outdated voting machines. In the ruling, the judge, Steve C. Jones, said the lead plaintiff, Fair Fight Action, a voting rights advocacy organization, did not prove that the Georgia secretary of state’s decision to cancel the voter registration status of inactive voters violated the United States Constitution.” See also, Federal judge will not reverse Georgia’s decision to purge 100,000 voters, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Saturday, 28 December 2019: “Georgia does not have to reinstate almost 100,000 voters removed from its rolls this month, a federal judge ruled Friday, backing the state over activists who said the purge violates people’s rights. The decision is a victory for officials who called the removals routine and a blow to voting rights advocates who worry that such purges will disenfranchise Democratic-leaning low-income voters, young people and people of color. Georgia’s recent removal of more than 300,000 voters has launched a fight over registrations in a state where last year’s tight race for governor led to allegations of voter suppression and an investigation in Congress. A group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, who lost the gubernatorial race, has sought to undo much of the latest purge, which came days after a judge backed cutting as many as 234,000 voters in Wisconsin, another state that will be closely watched in 2020. Abrams’s group, Fair Fight Action, argues that 98,000 voters who were cut should have stayed on the rolls for longer under a change this year to state law that extends the process leading up to a voter’s removal. It also contends that Georgia has violated the Constitution by removing voters over-zealously for inactivity, echoing others around the country concerned by ‘use it or lose it’ policies.”

Congress Wants to Force Trump’s Hand on Human Rights in China and Beyond, The New York Times, Edward Wong and Catie Edmondson, Friday, 27 December 2019: “In a rare show of bipartisan unity, Republicans and Democrats are planning to try to force President Trump to take a more active stand on human rights in China, preparing veto-proof legislation that would punish top Chinese officials for detaining more than one million Muslims in internment camps. The effort comes amid growing congressional frustration with Mr. Trump’s unwillingness to challenge China over human rights abuses, despite vivid news reports this year outlining atrocities, or to confront such issues globally.”

Continue reading Week 154, Friday, 27 December – Thursday, 2 January 2020 (Days 1,072-1,078)

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Trump Administration, Week 153, Friday, 20 December – Thursday, 26 December 2019 (Days 1,065-1,071)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 20 December 2019, Day 1,056:

 

Evangelical Leaders Close Ranks With Trump After Scathing Editorial in Christianity Today, The New York Times, Elizabeth Dias and Jeremy W. Peters, Friday, 20 December 2019: “The publication is small, reaching just a fraction of the evangelical movement. But when Christianity Today called for President Trump’s removal in a blistering editorial on Thursday, it met the full force and fury of the president and his most prominent allies in the Christian conservative world. If the response seemed disproportionate, it vividly reflected the fact that white evangelicals are the cornerstone of Mr. Trump’s political base and their leaders are among his most visible and influential supporters…. Mr. Trump, after being impeached this week, is extremely sensitive to any signs of a fracture in his political coalition and has repeatedly insisted that the Republican Party and its voters are unanimously behind him. And on Friday he lashed out on two separate occasions at Christianity Today, seeking to brand it as a ‘far left magazine’ that was doing the Democratic Party’s bidding.” See also, Trump rages at Christian magazine that called him ‘grossly immoral,’ but he still finds evangelical support, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Friday, 20 December 2019: “President Trump, whose reelection campaign is counting on unstinting support from white evangelicals, mounted a fierce attack Friday against a prominent Christian magazine that harshly criticized his behavior, repudiated his actions toward Ukraine and said he should be removed from office. Trump’s evangelical supporters rushed to defend him, attempting to portray Christianity Today, which was founded by late famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, as an outlier and not representative of the voters that comprise their movement. But the magazine’s unsparing Thursday editorial, which said Trump has a ‘grossly immoral character’ and should be removed out of ‘loyalty to the creator of the Ten Commandments,’ clearly rattled the White House and the evangelical leaders who have tied themselves closely to the president…. Beneath the president’s angry outbursts lies a fear that, ahead of the 2020 election, Trump could lose some evangelical supporters, who as a group have remained durably bonded to him despite his payments to an adult-film star after allegations of an affair; attacks on war heroes, congressional widows and a teenage climate activist; boasts of sexual assault caught on tape; and the regular use of profanity at rallies from behind the presidential lectern.”

Trump administration demanded Democrats strip Ukraine aid language from spending package, The Washington Post, Erica Werneer, Friday, 20 December 2019: “Senior Trump administration officials in recent days threatened a presidential veto that could have led to a government shutdown if House Democrats refused to drop language requiring prompt release of future military aid for Ukraine, according to five administration and congressional officials. The language was ultimately left out of mammoth year-end spending legislation that passed the House and Senate this week ahead of a Saturday shutdown deadline. The White House said President Trump signed the $1.4 trillion package Friday night. The Ukraine provision was one of several items the White House drew a hard line on during negotiations to finalize the spending legislation, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the developments. It would have required the White House to swiftly release $250 million in defense money for Ukraine that was part of the spending package.” See also, Administration Threatened Veto Over Ukraine Aid in Spending Package, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Annie Karni, Friday, 20 December 2019.

Top scientists warn of an Amazon ‘tipping point,’ The Washington Post, Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis, Friday, 20 December 2019: “Deforestation and other fast-moving changes in the Amazon threaten to turn parts of the rainforest into savanna, devastate wildlife and release billions of tons carbon into the atmosphere, two renowned experts warned Friday. ‘The precious Amazon is teetering on the edge of functional destruction and, with it, so are we,’ Thomas Lovejoy of George Mason University and Carlos Nobre of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, both of whom have studied the world’s largest rainforest for decades, wrote in an editorial in the journal Science Advances. ‘Today, we stand exactly in a moment of destiny: The tipping point is here, it is now.’ Combined with recent news that the thawing Arctic permafrost may be beginning to fill the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, and that Greenland’s ice sheet is melting at an accelerating pace, it’s the latest hint that important parts of the climate system may be moving toward irreversible changes at a pace that defies earlier predictions.”

Continue reading Week 153, Friday, 20 December – Thursday, 26 December 2019 (Days 1,065-1,071)

[Read more…]

Trump Administration, Week 152, Friday, 13 December – Thursday, 19 December 2019 (Days 1,058-1,064)

 

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 13 December 2019, Day 1,058:

 

House Judiciary Committee Approves Impeachment Articles and Sends Charges for a House Vote, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 13 December 2019: “A fiercely divided House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Friday, setting up a historic vote as early as next week before the full House that would make him only the third president to be impeached. The impeachment articles, passed over fierce Republican protests, accused the president of abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress. The votes and a fractious two-day debate preceding them reflected the realities of the hyperpartisan divisions in American politics that have grown wider during Mr. Trump’s three years in office.” See also, House set for historic floor vote next week after the House Judiciary Committee approves two articles of impeachment against Trump, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, John Wagner, and Toluse Olorunnipa, Friday, 13 December 2019: “The House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Friday, officially laying out charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in a historic step toward removing him from office. With the party-line 23-to-17 vote, Trump became only the fourth president in U.S. history to face impeachment for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ The committee took just 10 minutes to approve both articles, following a 14-hour session Thursday, teeing up a history-making floor vote next week and a Senate trial in January to determine Trump’s fate.” See also, House Judiciary Committee sends articles of impeachment to the floor for vote next week, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Friday, 13 December 2019. See also, House Judiciary Committee approves articles of impeachment, paving way for floor vote, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio, Friday, 13 December 2019. See also, House Judiciary Committee Approves Trump Impeachment Articles, Setting Up a Full House Vote Next Week, The Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Hughes and Natalie Andrews, Friday, 13 December 2019. See also, House Judiciary Committee votes to advance articles of impeachment against Trump, The Guardian, Tom McCarthy, Friday, 13 December 2019. See also, The House Judiciary Committee Approves Articles of Impeachment, The Nation, John Nichols, Friday, 13 December 2019: “‘Abuse of presidential power and obstruction of Congress are the highest of constitutional crimes and the gravest of betrayals,’” Pramila Jayapal said during Friday’s vote.” See also, Fact-based impeachment can’t penetrate the pro-Trump Web, The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Friday, 13 December 2019: “As the House Judiciary Committee convened Friday to approve articles of impeachment against President Trump, a watch party got underway in a private Facebook group that rallies its more than 75,000 members around the banner, ‘THE TRUMP DEPLORABLES.’ The comments that streamed forth in the group illustrate how Trump’s most ardent supporters have fashioned alternative realities for themselves — as well as for Republican lawmakers aiming to turn the charge of corruption back on those investigating the president. The feed — from Fox News, a major source of news for the president’s supporters — showed the same scene available to viewers tuning in on various networks all over the country. But in the online enclave where the self-described ‘deplorables’ had gathered to watch the committee vote, Democrats are the lawbreakers who ‘should be impeached,’ as one viewer wrote. Trump’s word is truth. And the federal employees who question his version of events are not just mistaken, they are ‘scum,’ as Trump labeled members of the intelligence community at a rally this week in Hershey, Pa. The decision by the committee’s Republicans to close ranks around the president, as Democrats in a party-line vote approved two articles of impeachment, may have prompted head-scratching among Americans who learned on the nightly news or read on mainstream websites or in the morning paper how Trump had turned American policy in Ukraine toward his own ends. But the defense mounted by Trump’s allies made perfect sense to those following live on social media, in groups sealed off from general scrutiny, where facts are established by volume, and confirmation comes from likes.”

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Trump Can Block the Release of His Financial Records, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 13 December 2019: “The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether President Trump can block the release of his financial records, setting the stage for a blockbuster ruling on the power of presidents to resist demands for information from prosecutors and Congress. The court’s ruling, expected by June, could require disclosure of information the president has gone to extraordinary lengths to protect. Or the justices could rule that Mr. Trump’s financial affairs are not legitimate subjects of inquiry so long as he remains in office. Either way, the court is now poised to produce a once-in-a-generation statement on presidential accountability. The case will test the independence of the court, which is dominated by Republican appointees, including two named by Mr. Trump. In earlier Supreme Court cases in which presidents sought to avoid providing evidence, the rulings did not break along partisan lines.” See also, Supreme Court will take up Trump’s broad claims of protection from investigation, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 13 December 2019: “The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether President Trump may shield disclosure of his financial information from congressional committees and a New York prosecutor, raising the prospect of a landmark election-year ruling on a president’s immunity from investigation while he is in office. Trump asked the court to accept the cases, and they will be heard in March, with a ruling before the court’s session ends in late June. It means that whatever the outcome of Trump’s separate impeachment proceedings, the controversies over investigations into Trump’s conduct will continue into the heart of the presidential election campaign.” See also, Supreme Court to hear Trump pleas to block subpoenas for financial records, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue, Friday, 13 December 2019.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Coordinating With the White House, Lays Plans for Impeachment Trial, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 13 December 2019: “With the House headed to a vote to impeach President Trump next week, Senator Mitch McConnell was working hand in hand with the White House to make plans for a Senate trial, a proceeding steeped in tradition and rules but one fraught with political peril for vulnerable Republicans. Mr. Trump said on Friday that he had no preference for how the trial — expected to begin in early January — unfolds, but he has privately pushed for a prolonged process that would allow him to mount a theatrical defense. Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has resisted that idea in favor of a shorter, more dignified event. Outraged Democrats, meanwhile, accused Mr. McConnell on Friday of abandoning his duty to render ‘impartial justice’ in an impeachment trial — a response to a television interview in which Mr. McConnell dismissed House Democrats’ articles of impeachment as ‘so darn weak.’ He added that he was ‘taking my cues’ from the White House in shaping the trial…. Representative Val B. Demings, Democrat of Florida and a member of the House Judiciary Committee who is being mentioned as a possible House manager during the impeachment trial, … called Friday for Mr. McConnell to recuse himself from the proceedings. ‘No court in the country would allow a member of the jury to also serve as the accused’s defense attorney,’ Ms. Demings said in a statement. ‘The moment Senator McConnell takes the oath of impartiality required by the Constitution, he will be in violation of that oath.'” See also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s vow of ‘total coordination’ with the White House on Senate impeachment trial angers Democrats, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Friday, 13 December 2019: “In a late Thursday interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, McConnell (R-Ky.) all but guaranteed a Trump acquittal, saying there was ‘zero chance’ the president would be removed from office, and promised ‘total coordination’ with the White House and Trump’s defense team. ‘The case is so darn weak coming over from the House,’ he said. ‘We all know how it’s going to end.’ Those remarks infuriated House Democrats as they voted to advance the fourth-ever set of presidential impeachment articles toward a Senate trial where, they said, the fix appeared to be in…. Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) [called] on McConnell to recuse himself from the Senate proceedings based on his Fox News remarks. ‘He’s working hand in hand with the White House, the president’s attorney, and yet we are supposed to expect him to manage a fair and impartial impeachment inquiry?’ she said.” See also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will work in ‘total coordination’ with the White House on impeachment trial. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reminds senators they will take an oath to render ‘impartial justice.’ ABC News, Mariam Khan and Libby Cathey, Friday, 13 December 2019: “[Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer released a statement Friday on the heels of McConnell’s comments, reminding his colleagues about the oath they must take before the trial to ‘render impartial justice. If articles of impeachment are sent to the Senate, every single senator will take an oath to render “impartial justice.” Making sure the Senate conducts a fair and honest trial that allows all the facts to come out is paramount,’ Schumer said, citing the Senate rules for impeachment trials.”

Continue reading Week 152, Friday, 13 December – Thursday, 19 December 2019 (Days 1,058-1,064)

[Read more…]

Trump Administration, Week 151, Friday, 6 December – Thursday, 12 December 2019 ( Days 1,051-1,057)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 6 December 2019, Day 1,051:

 

White House Signals Trump Won’t Mount House Impeachment Defense, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 6 December 2019: “The White House signaled on Friday that it did not intend to mount a defense of President Trump or otherwise participate in the House impeachment proceedings, sending Democrats a sharply worded letter that condemned the process as “completely baseless” and urged them to get it over with quickly…. The White House position clears the way for House committees to debate and approve impeachment articles as soon as next week, allowing a vote by the full House by Dec. 20, the final legislative day of the year. And it all but ensures that the president’s defense will not be heard before early January, when the Senate is expected to begin a trial to hear whatever case the House presents. The White House stance is a departure from impeachments past. When the House moved to charge Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton, their lawyers fully participated in the proceedings, including presenting lengthy defenses before the Judiciary Committee. In the case of Mr. Trump, the president and his allies have complained for months that they deserve legal representation in the inquiry. Now, they are refusing an invitation to avail themselves.” See also, White House rejects House Democrats’ invitation to participate in impeachment process as Trump focuses on friendly Senate, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim and John Wagner, Friday, 6 December 2019. See also, White House says it won’t participate in House impeachment hearing, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb and Jim Acosta, Friday, 6 December 2019: “Nadler responded to the White House’s refusal to participate, saying, ‘If the President has no good response to the allegations, then he would not want to appear before the Committee. Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is unfair,’ he continued. ‘The President’s failure will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty. The White House’s decision removes one potential hurdle to the House voting on articles of impeachment before Christmas. After Monday’s hearing where two committees will present their evidence, the Judiciary panel could debate and approve articles as soon as the end of next week.”

House Passes Voting Rights Bill Despite Near Unanimous Republican Opposition, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Emily Cochrane, Friday, 6 December 2019: “The House voted on Friday to reinstate federal oversight of state election law, moving to bolster protections against racial discrimination enshrined in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the landmark civil rights statute whose central provision was struck down by the Supreme Court. Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, who was beaten in 1965 while demonstrating for voting rights in Alabama, banged the gavel to herald approval of the measure, to applause from his colleagues on the House floor. It passed by a vote of 228 to 187 nearly along party lines, with all but one Republican opposed. The bill has little chance of becoming law given opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate and by President Trump, whose aides issued a veto threat against it this week.” See also, House passes voting rights bill to restore protections struck down by Supreme Court in 2013, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 6 December 2019: “The House passed legislation Friday restoring protections of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act that were undone when the Supreme Court struck down federal oversight of elections in states with a history of discriminating against minority communities. The bill passed 228 to 187, with unanimous Democratic support and the vote of one Republican — Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.). See also, House passes voting rights package aimed at restoring protections, Politico, Caitlin Oprysko, Friday, 6 December 2019: “The House on Friday passed a package of bills aimed at restoring protections of the Voting Rights Act rolled back by a key Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling. The Voting Rights Advancement Act would, among other things, update the formula used to determine which states must preclear their voter registration practices, require public notice for voting registration changes, and allow the attorney general to send federal observers anywhere in the U.S.”

Trump still uses his personal cell phone despite warnings and increased call scrutiny, CNN Politics, Kaitlan Collins, Maegan Vazquez, and Zachary Cohen, Friday, 6 December 2019: “President Donald Trump has continued to use his personal cell phone to make calls, despite repeated warnings from his staff that the practice could leave him vulnerable to foreign surveillance, multiple officials told CNN. The Democratic impeachment inquiry has resurrected concerns about the security and potential vulnerability of the President’s communications. Witness testimony revealed some top officials repeatedly failed to follow protocol intended to prevent sensitive phone conversations, including those involving the President, from being intercepted by foreign intelligence services. Several former US officials have told CNN it is highly likely that US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s cell phone call to Trump from a restaurant in Ukraine over the summer was picked up by intelligence agencies from numerous foreign countries, including Russia.” See also, White House officials say Trump ‘routinely’ made sensitive calls on lines open to Russian Surveillance, Independent, Paul Sonne, Friday, 6 December 2019: “Donald Trump has routinely communicated with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and other individuals speaking on mobile phones vulnerable to monitoring by Russian and other foreign intelligence services, say current and former US officials.” See also, Phone logs in impeachment report renew concern about security of Trump communications, The Washington Post, Paul Sonne, Josh Dawsey, Ellen Nakashima, and Greg Miller, Friday, 6 December 2019.

Continue reading Week 151, Friday, 6 December – Thursday, 12 December 2019 (Days 1,051-1,057)

[Read more…]

Trump Administration, Week 150, Friday, 29 November – Thursday, 5 December 2019 (Days 1,044-1,050)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 29 November 2019, Day 1,044:

 

Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax Has Wide Support, Except Among Republican Men With College Degrees, The New York Times, Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley, Friday, 29 November 2019: “Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to tax the assets of America’s wealthiest individuals continues to draw broad support from voters, across party, gender and educational lines. Only one slice of the electorate opposes it staunchly: Republican men with college degrees. Not surprisingly, that is also the profile of many who’d be hit by Ms. Warren’s so-called wealth tax, which has emerged as the breakout economic proposal in the Democratic presidential primary race. Nearly a year after Ms. Warren proposed it, the wealth tax has the support of six in 10 Americans, according to a new nationwide poll conducted by the online research firm SurveyMonkey for The New York Times. That support has dipped slightly since July, but Ms. Warren’s plan remains more popular than most proposed tax increases, and its appeal across coalitions is unusual among high-profile campaign proposals.”

Trump faces December 6 deadline to say whether he’ll send lawyer to impeachment hearings, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Friday, 29 November 2019: “President Trump has until Dec. 6 to decide whether to have his counsel participate in the House’s impeachment hearings, according to a letter sent Friday by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). ‘In particular, please provide the Committee with notice of whether your counsel intends to participate, specifying which of the privileges your counsel seeks to exercise, no later than 5:00 pm on December 6, 2019,’ Nadler wrote in the letter, which was addressed to Trump. ‘I look forward to your prompt response.’ Trump and his Republican allies have repeatedly complained that the Democratic-led impeachment probe is being conducted unfairly, with several specifically saying that the president was not allowed to have his lawyers participate in the process.” See also, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Gave Trump Until Next Friday to Say If He Will Present Impeachment Defense, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Friday, 29 November 2019: “The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee asked President Trump on Friday whether he intends to mount a defense during the committee’s consideration of impeachment articles, setting a deadline of next Friday for Mr. Trump and his lawyers to decide if they will present evidence or call witnesses. In a letter to the president, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the committee chairman, said Mr. Trump has the right to review the evidence against him, ask questions of his accusers during public hearings that begin next week and present evidence and request witness testimony.”

Danielle Stella, a Republican challenger to Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), is barred by Twitter after suggesting congresswoman should be hanged, The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, 29 November 2019: “Twitter has shut down the accounts of Danielle Stella, a Republican challenger to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in Omar’s bid for reelection, after Stella twice tweeted about hanging the congresswoman. The campaign account for Stella, a candidate in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, posted Tuesday that ‘If it is proven @IlhanMN passed sensitive info to Iran, she should be tried for #treason and hanged.’ The account later tweeted a link to a blog post about her comment and added an image of a stick-figure being hanged. Stella’s remark about Omar’s supposedly giving information to Iran is a reference to the baseless allegation that Qatari officials recruited the congresswoman to give intelligence to Qatar and Iran. No evidence has been offered to support that claim.” See also, Twitter Permanently Suspends Accounts of Danielle Stella, Ilhan Omar’s Potential Republican Challenger, The New York Times, Derrick Bryson Taylor, published on Saturday, 30 November 2019: “Twitter suspended the accounts of Danielle Stella, a Republican candidate hoping to challenge Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota next year, after she suggested the congresswoman should be tried for treason and hanged.”

Continue reading Week 150, Friday, 29 November – Thursday, 5 December 2019 (Days 1,044-1,050)

[Read more…]

Trump Administration, Week 149, Friday, 22 November – Thursday, 28 November 2019 (Days 1,037-1,043)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 22 November 2019, Day 1,037:

 

Russia Inquiry Review Is Said to Criticize F.B.I. but Rebuff Claims of Biased Acts, The New York Times, Adam Goldman and Charlie Savage, Friday, 22 November 2019: “A highly anticipated report by the Justice Department’s inspector general is expected to sharply criticize lower-level F.B.I. officials as well as bureau leaders involved in the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation, but to absolve the top ranks of abusing their powers out of bias against President Trump, according to people briefed on a draft. Investigators for the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, uncovered errors and omissions in documents related to the wiretapping of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page — including that a low-level lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, altered an email that officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretap, the people said.” See also, Justice Department watchdog finds political bias did not taint top officials running the FBI’s Russia investigation, but it documents errors, The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, Matt Zapotosky, and Devlin Barrett, Friday, 22 November 2019: “The Justice Department’s internal watchdog is expected to find in a forthcoming report that political bias did not taint top officials running the FBI investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016, while at the same time criticizing the bureau for systemic failures in its handling of surveillance applications, according to two U.S. officials. The much-anticipated report due out Dec. 9 from Inspector General Michael Horowitz will allege that a low-level FBI lawyer inappropriately altered a document that was used during the process to renew a controversial warrant for electronic surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser, the officials said. The inspector general referred that finding to U.S. Attorney John Durham, and the lawyer involved is being investigated criminally for possibly making a false statement, they said.”

Charges of Ukrainian Meddling in 2016 Presidential Election? A Russian Operation, U.S. Intelligence Says. The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg, Friday, 22 November 2019: “Republicans have sought for weeks amid the impeachment inquiry to shift attention to President Trump’s demands that Ukraine investigate any 2016 election meddling, defending it as a legitimate concern while Democrats accuse Mr. Trump of pursuing fringe theories for his benefit. The Republican defense of Mr. Trump became central to the impeachment proceedings when Fiona Hill, a respected Russia scholar and former senior White House official, added a harsh critique during testimony on Thursday. She told some of Mr. Trump’s fiercest defenders in Congress that they were repeating ‘a fictional narrative.’ She said that it likely came from a disinformation campaign by Russian security services, which also propagated it. In a briefing that closely aligned with Dr. Hill’s testimony, American intelligence officials informed senators and their aides in recent weeks that Russia had engaged in a yearslong campaign to essentially frame Ukraine as responsible for Moscow’s own hacking of the 2016 election, according to three American officials. The briefing came as Republicans stepped up their defenses of Mr. Trump in the Ukraine affair.”

Trump Attacks Impeachment Inquiry and Accuses a Witness of Lying, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Friday, 22 November 2019: “President Trump unleashed a series of falsehoods on Friday in an effort to invalidate the impeachment inquiry and counter sworn testimony from officials in his own administration, after a week of damaging public hearings. In a 53-minute phone interview with ‘Fox & Friends,’ Mr. Trump accused David Holmes, a political counselor to the top American diplomat in Ukraine, of fabricating a phone call between Mr. Trump and the ambassador to the European Union. Mr. Holmes told impeachment investigators that he had overheard the president asking the ambassador, Gordon D. Sondland, about Ukrainian investigations into his political rivals, a consequential detail in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry…. In his own testimony under oath, Mr. Sondland corroborated Mr. Holmes’s account.” See also, Trump’s Long List of Inaccurate Statements on ‘Fox & Friends,’ The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Friday, 22 November 2019. See also, Trump makes at least 18 false claims in ranting Fox & Friends interview, CNN Politics, Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam, Friday, 22 November 2019: “Fox & Friends tried harder than usual — not especially hard, but harder than usual — to challenge President Donald Trump. It did not work very well. Trump ranted dishonestly for much of his 53-minute Friday interview with his favorite morning show, repeatedly refusing to let the show’s co-hosts get a word in edgewise. When they did manage to make a semi-critical point, Trump brushed them off.” See also, Impeachment Briefing: How Republicans Are Using Hearings, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Friday, 22 November 2019.

Continue reading Week 149, Friday, 22 November – Thursday, 28 November 2019 (Days 1,037-1,043)

[Read more…]

Trump Administration, Week 148, Friday, 15 November – Thursday, 21 November 2019 (Days, 1,030-1,036)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 15 November 2019, Day 1,030:

 

Marie Yovanovitch, Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, ‘Devastated’ as Trump Vilified Her, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 15 November 2019: “The former United States ambassador to Ukraine told the House impeachment inquiry on Friday that she felt threatened by President Trump and ‘shocked, appalled, devastated’ that he vilified her in a call with another foreign leader, as Mr. Trump attacked her in real time on Twitter, drawing a stern warning about witness intimidation from Democrats. The extraordinary back-and-forth unfolded on the second day of public impeachment hearings as Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was ousted as the envoy to Ukraine on Mr. Trump’s orders, detailed an unsettling campaign by the president’s allies to undermine her as she pushed to promote democracy and the rule of law. In deeply personal terms, Ms. Yovanovitch described to the House Intelligence Committee how Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, worked hand in hand with a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor to circumvent official channels, smear her and push her out of her job.” See also, Key Takeaways From Marie Yovanovitch’s Hearing in the Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 15 November 2019: “Marie L. Yovanovitch recounted in powerful and personal terms on Friday the devastation and fear she felt as she was targeted first by President Trump’s allies and later by the president himself, saying she felt threatened. Removed from her post as ambassador to Ukraine, Ms. Yovanovitch said she was bereft when she came under fire from the president’s personal attorney and eldest son last spring, but was even more stunned in September when she learned that Mr. Trump himself had disparaged her in his now-famous July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president. ‘It was a terrible moment,’ she told the House Intelligence Committee on the second day of public impeachment hearings. ‘A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face. I think I even had a physical reaction. I think, you know, even now, words kind of fail me.’ In the July call, according to a rough transcript released by the White House, Mr. Trump called Ms. Yovanovitch ‘bad news’ and said that ‘she’s going to go through some things.’ Asked her reaction when she read that, Ms. Yovanovitch said: ‘Shocked. Appalled. Devastated that the president of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state — and it was me. I mean, I couldn’t believe it.’ Asked what the words ‘going to go through some things’ sounded like to her, she said, ‘It sounded like a threat.'” See also, Read Marie Yovanovitch’s Prepared Opening Statement From the Impeachment Hearing, The New York Times, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Marie Yovanovitch’s Account of Acid Attack on a Young Anticorruption Activist Spotlights Ukraine’s Anticorruption Wars, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Friday, 15 November 2019: “On the April night she answered a 1 a.m. phone call instructing her to take the next plane back to Washington, Marie L. Yovanovitch, the ousted United States ambassador to Ukraine, was at her home in Kiev — after having just finished hosting an event to honor a young anticorruption activist who had been killed in horrific fashion. The activist, Kateryna Handziuk, was outside her home in the Ukrainian city of Kherson in July 2018 when someone splashed her with a quart of sulfuric acid, severely burning more than 30 percent of her body. After 11 surgeries over three months, Ms. Handziuk succumbed to her excruciating wounds. She was 33. In public impeachment hearings, the former ambassador testified Friday about the chronology of her abrupt recall from Ukraine after a campaign of unsubstantiated allegations against her that reached President Trump. Speaking before a House committee, she also spotlighted Ms. Handziuk’s story, and underscored why she had been honoring her legacy that April night in an official award ceremony attended by Ms. Handziuk’s father. ‘She very tragically died because she was attacked by acid, and several months later died a very, very painful death,’ Ms. Yovanovitch testified. ‘We thought it was important that justice be done for Katya and others who fight corruption in Ukraine because it’s not kind of a tabletop exercise there. Their lives are in the balance.'” See also, Who Is Marie Yovanovitch? Former Ambassador to Ukraine Testifies in Impeachment Hearing. The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Impeachment Briefing: What Happened Today, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, With a Tweet, Trump Upends Republican Strategy for Dealing with Yovanovitch, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Trump Attack on Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch During Her Testimony Raised Charges of Witness Intimidation, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Michael D. Shear, Friday, 15 November 2019: “President Trump on Friday attacked Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former United States ambassador to Ukraine he summarily removed this year, even as she testified in the impeachment inquiry about how she felt threatened by Mr. Trump. Did his behavior amount to witness tampering? If the question is what could be charged in court, the answer is probably not. But impeachment is not limited to ordinary crimes. As House Democrats weigh bringing articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump — including one potentially based on his obstruction of congressional investigations — the president’s Twitter onslaught may well have handed them more fodder. As Ms. Yovanovitch was telling the House Intelligence Committee about the devastation and fear she felt this year when she was targeted first by Mr. Trump’s allies and later by the president himself during a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, Mr. Trump fired off a tweet denigrating her anew. ‘Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?’ Mr. Trump wrote, assailing her on Twitter to his 66 million followers.” See also, Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified at the impeachment hearing of Trump, and State Department career diplomat David Holmes says Trump asked about ‘investigation’ into Bidens by Ukraine, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Michael Brice-Saddler, Friday, 15 November 2019: “Democrats are seeking to build a case that Trump sought to withhold military assistance and an Oval Office meeting until Zelensky announced investigations into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, as well as an unfounded theory that Ukrainians interfered in the 2016 presidential election to hurt Trump.” See also, ‘Stand up’: Marie Yovanovitch uses moment in the spotlight to call on U.S. leaders to defend diplomatic corps, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Rosalind S. Helderman, Friday, 15 November 2019: “Former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch began her testimony in the House impeachment hearing Friday with praise for Ukrainians who took a stand against corruption in their country in a 2014 movement called the Revolution of Dignity. The reference doubled as a call to action that she directed at U.S. leaders — a pointed reminder of their obligation to defend the dignity of civilian career diplomats around the world. Yovanovitch — who was abruptly yanked from her post in Kyiv after being targeted in a smear campaign that reached President Trump — warned that the State Department was ‘being hollowed out’ and in ‘crisis.’ She called on its leadership ‘to stand up for the institution and the individuals who make that institution the most effective diplomatic force in the world.’ The testimony of the former ambassador put a compelling human face on a complex international scandal that has involved a cast of unfamiliar Ukrainian characters, descriptions of shadowy back-channels and constitutional debates… [O]ver and over again, Yovanovitch sought to turn the focus away from her personally and back on the larger implications of her ouster. ‘Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray, and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want,’ she said. ‘After these events, what foreign official, corrupt or not, could be blamed for wondering whether the ambassador represents the president’s views? And what U.S. ambassador could be blamed for harboring the fear that they cannot count on our government to support them?'” See also, 4 takeaways from Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Who is Marie Yovanovitch, and why does her public testimony matter? The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Defiant Yovanovitch says she was ‘kneecapped’ amid Trump ‘smear campaign,’ Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Friday, 15 November 2019: “The ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said Friday she was the target of a ‘smear campaign’ by President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — an effort she said undermined U.S. national security interests and emboldened Russia. Marie Yovanovitch, delivering emotional public testimony before House impeachment investigators, told lawmakers she was ‘kneecapped’ by Americans who allied themselves with corrupt Ukrainian interests, and was abandoned by State Department leaders who refused to publicly defend her.” See also, Witness intimidation in real-time’: Democrats see more evidence of Trump obstruction, Politico, Sarah Ferris, Melanie Zanona, and John Bresnahan, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Ousted Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Testifies in Impeachment Probe–Live Coverage, The Wall Street Journal, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Impeachment inquiry hearing with Marie Yovanovitch, former US Ambassador to Ukraine, CNN Politics, Veronica Rocha and Meg Wagner, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Read: Adam Schiff’s opening remarks at second public impeachment hearing, CNN Politics, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Read: Devin Nunes’ opening remarks at second public impeachment hearing, CNN Politics, Friday, 15 November 2019.

Rough Transcript of Trump’s First Phone Call With Ukrainian Leader Is Released. The call does not mention ‘corruption,’ which appeared in an earlier description of the conversation. The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Eileen Sullivan, Friday, 15 November 2019: “President Trump on Friday released a memorandum of an April telephone conversation he had with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that differed from a summary of the call released by the White House months ago. The memorandum of the call, which took place after Mr. Zelensky won a landslide presidential election, shows the two men praising each other’s political acumen and predicting an era of warm relations between the United States and Ukraine….  But a White House readout of the call in April offers a different account. In that summary, provided to reporters shortly after the call took place, the administration said that Mr. Trump promised to work with Mr. Zelensky ‘to implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity and root out corruption.'” See also, Read Trump’s First Call in April With the New Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, The New York Times, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, Rough transcript of call shows Ukraine leader Zelensky wanted Trump to attend his inauguration, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Friday, 15 November 2019: “Ukraine’s incoming president, Volodymyr Zelensky, repeatedly asked President Trump to attend his inauguration during their first phone call in April, according to a White House rough transcript of the call released Friday…. The rough transcript of the call does not match the White House readout of the call from April 21. A White House readout is the administration’s post-call description of the conversation. The White House readout said the call underscored ‘the unwavering support of the United States for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.’ The readout also said Trump spoke with Zelensky about ‘reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity and root out corruption.'” See also, White House releases rough transcript of Trump’s first Ukraine call, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins, and Kylie Atwood, Friday, 15 November 2019.

David Holmes, an Official From the American Embassy in Ukraine, Confirms Trump Asked About Whether Ukraine Was Going to Move Forward With an Investigation He Wanted Into One of His Leading Political Rivals, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 15 November 2019: “An official from the United States Embassy in Kiev confirmed to House impeachment investigators on Friday that he had overheard a call between President Trump and a top American diplomat in July in which the president asked whether Ukraine was going to move forward with an investigation he wanted. The official, David Holmes, testified privately that he was at a restaurant in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, when he overheard Mr. Trump on a cellphone call loudly asking Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, if Ukraine’s president had agreed to conduct an investigation into one of his leading political rivals. Mr. Sondland, who had just come from a meeting with top Ukrainian officials and the country’s president, replied in the affirmative. ‘So, he’s going to do the investigation?’ Mr. Trump asked, according to a copy of Mr. Holmes’s opening statement posted by CNN and confirmed by The New York Times.” See also, David Holmes, a US official in Kiev, says he overheard Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the European Union, tell Trump that Ukraine would investigate Biden, CNN Politics, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, Friday, 15 November 2019: “David Holmes told lawmakers in a closed-door impeachment inquiry Friday that US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had told Trump the Ukrainian President would do ‘anything you ask him to’ and that Sondland had confirmed the Ukrainians were going to ‘do the investigation,’ one day after Trump had asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, according to a copy of Holmes’ opening statement obtained by CNN.” See also, Read: State Department aide David Holmes’ opening statement, CNN Politics, Friday, 15 November 2019. See also, The Impeachment Inquiry Reveals the Absurdity of Claims That Trump Wanted to Clean up the Corruption in Ukraine, The New York Times, Editorial Board, Friday, 15 November 2019: “Republican defenders of Donald Trump have argued that he withheld congressionally mandated military aid to Ukraine and a promised White House meeting because he wanted assurances that Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was serious about fighting corruption. Sworn testimony in the House impeachment inquiry on Friday obliterated that defense, revealing that Mr. Trump was interested in assurances of a very different kind. David Holmes, an official in the American Embassy in Kiev, testified to lawmakers privately that he had overheard a telephone conversation in which the ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, assured the American president that his Ukrainian counterpart ‘loves your ass’ and will do ‘anything you ask him to,’ including to open investigations into the family of Mr. Trump’s leading Democratic rival, Joe Biden.” See also, Impeachment witness David Holmes provides firsthand account of hearing Trump demand ‘investigation’ of the Bidens by Ukraine, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade, John Hudson, and Toluse Olorunnipa, Friday, 15 November 2019: “President Trump specifically inquired about political investigations he wanted carried out by Ukraine during a July phone call with a top U.S. diplomat who then told colleagues that the president was most interested in a probe into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, a State Department aide said Friday in closed-door testimony that could significantly advance House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. David Holmes, an embassy staffer in Kyiv, testified that he overheard a July 26 phone call in which Trump pressed U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland about whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would ‘do the investigation,’ according to three people who have read his opening statement and spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe its contents.” See also, A Friday night surprise: David Holmes throws a wrench in Trump’s impeachment defense, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, published on Saturday, 16 November 2019.

Continue reading Week 148, Friday, 15 November – Thursday, 21 November 2019 (Days 1,030-1,036)

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Trump Administration, Week 147, Friday, 8 November – Thursday, 14 November 2019 ( Days 1,023-1,029)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Friday, 8 November 2019, Day 1,023:

 

The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Latest Updates, The New York Times, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Transcripts of testimony from Fiona Hill and Lt. Col Alexander Vindman are released, Republicans add a Trump ally [Republican Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio] to the Intelligence Committee for public hearings, and Mulvaney ignored a subpoena to be questioned by House investigators.” See also, Hill and Vindman Testimony: Key Excerpts From Impeachment Inquiry Transcripts, The New York Times, Friday, 8 November 2019: “House impeachment investigators on Friday released two more transcripts of closed-door depositions before the first public hearings in the inquiry begin next week. The transcripts include the testimonies of Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former adviser on Russia and Europe, and Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. Significant portions of what they had to say have already been reported, but the transcripts offer a fuller picture of what they knew about an apparent effort by the president and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to pressure Ukraine to conduct investigations of political rivals. New York Times reporters read through the depositions, highlighting key excerpts and offering context and analysis.” See also, Read the Transcript of Alexander Vindman’s Testimony, The New York Times, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council who heard President Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president, told impeachment investigators last month that he tried and failed to restore key details from the conversation — that the White House had removed — to a rough transcript of the call.” See also, Read Fiona Hill’s Testimony to Impeachment Investigators, The New York Times, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe, told House investigators that John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, objected strongly to the effort by Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to pressure Ukraine for political help. Ms. Hill, who stepped down last summer, also said that Mr. Bolton called Mr. Giuliani a ‘hand grenade that is going to blow everybody up.'” See also, Impeachment Briefing: Anatomy of a Scene From the Hill Testimony, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Impeachment investigators released interview transcripts on Friday for two major witnesses: Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, and Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former adviser on Russia and Europe. Tucked into Ms. Hill’s testimony is a cinematic scene at the White House. She describes how she and Mr. Bolton tried to foil attempts by Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, to pressure Ukraine into an investigation, racing through the West Wing to stop him from promising a presidential meeting. (The scene can be found on pages 66 to 71.)” See also, 5 Impeachment Developments From This Week, The New York Times, Kaly Soto, published on Saturday, 9 November 2019. See also, Lt. Col Alexander S. Vindman, Ukraine expert who listened to Trump’s call, says ‘there was no doubt’ the president was seeking investigations of political rivals, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Michael Brice-Saddler, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a Ukraine expert who listened to President Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said ‘there was no doubt’ that Trump was seeking political investigations of political rivals, according to a transcript of his deposition. The transcript was one of two made public Friday by House impeachment investigators, who also released one documenting the closed-door deposition of another National Security Council official, Fiona Hill, who also expressed concerns about efforts to pressure Ukraine. Both Vindman and Hill are in discussions to testify publicly after open hearings begin next week, according to people familiar with the plan.” See also, ‘There was no ambiguity’: What Alexander Vindman told House impeachment investigators, Politico, Natasha Bertrand and Andrew Desiderio, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Impeachment investigators on Friday released the much-anticipated deposition transcript of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer and Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council staff. Vindman, a participant in the now-famous July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, told lawmakers in his Oct. 28 testimony that he was troubled by what he saw as political considerations impinging on U.S. national security — and that he was told by a top White House lawyer to keep quiet about the call.” See also, National Security Council Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman and former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill testify quid pro quo effort was coordinated with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Two White House officials told lawmakers the ‘blatant’ push for politically motivated investigations from President Donald Trump left ‘no ambiguity’ what the Ukrainians needed to do to secure a highly sought meeting — and the effort was coordinated by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, according to deposition transcripts released Friday.” See also, 4 big takeaways from Fiona Hill’s and Alexander Vindman’s transcripts, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 8 November 2019. See also, ‘Hateful calls and conspiracy theories”: What Fiona Hill told impeachment investigators, Politico, Nahal Toosi and Kyle Cheney, Friday, 8 November 2019. See also, The five most important things that happened this week in the impeachment inquiry, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Friday, 8 November 2019.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney refuses to comply with House subpoena and doesn’t show up for impeachment deposition, CNN Politics, Caroline Kelly, Jim Acosta, and Jeremy Herb, Friday, 8 November 2019: “Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney refused to comply with House impeachment investigators’ subpoena for a closed-door deposition Friday, citing ‘absolute immunity’ from testifying…. The subpoena came Thursday night following House investigators’ request on Tuesday that Mulvaney testify on Capitol Hill, ratcheting up their investigation to target the President’s top aide. The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees sent Mulvaney a letter requesting he appear for a closed-door deposition as part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump and Ukraine. Mulvaney dramatically confirmed last month that Trump froze nearly $400 million in US security aid to Ukraine partially to pressure the country into investigating Democrats — and proceeded hours later to deny having said so.” See also, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney defies subpoena to testify in impeachment inquiry, Politico, Kyle Cheney, published on Thursday, 7 November 2019: “House impeachment investigators late Thursday subpoenaed Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, demanding that he testify about his knowledge of President Donald Trump’s decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine. Mulvaney had already signaled he would probably refuse lawmakers’ demands to testify, and on Friday an official said Mulvaney’s outside counsel said the acting chief of staff wouldn’t comply with the subpoena and asserted ‘absolute immunity.’ The White House has issued a blanket order against cooperating with the impeachment inquiry.”

Lawyer Says Former National Security Adviser John Bolton Knows About ‘Many Relevant Meetings’ on Ukraine, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 8 November 2019: “John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, knows about ‘many relevant meetings and conversations’ connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign that House impeachment investigators have not yet been informed about, his lawyer told lawmakers on Friday. The lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, made that tantalizing point in a letter to the chief House lawyer in response to House committee chairmen who have sought Mr. Bolton’s testimony in their impeachment proceedings, arguing that his client would be willing to talk but only if a court rules that he should ignore White House objections.”

Continue reading Week 147, Friday, 8 November – Thursday, 14 November 2019 (Days 1,023-1,029)

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