The Smoking Gun: Trump, The Least Charitable Billionaire

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by hushpuppy, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    NBC News‏ @NBCNews 6 minutes ago
    BREAKING: Jared Kushner is the “very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team” mentioned in the statement of offense against Michael Flynn, two people familiar with the matter tell @NBCNews
  2. The Wrong Guy Member

  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump White House caught off guard by Flynn plea | POLITICO

    The former national security adviser appeared in federal court to admit to a single charge of lying to FBI investigators just as the White House was focused on the passage of its landmark tax bill.

    The GOP Plan Is the Biggest Tax Increase in American History, By Far | The Intercept


    The Tax Policy Center estimated that about 80 percent of the benefit of the tax plan will go to the top 1 percent, who will enjoy the following elements of the tax cut:

    A full $1.5 trillion alone is going to slash the corporate tax rate. CEOs have said repeatedly they plan to pocket that money rather than invest it or give workers higher wages.

    The alternative minimum tax, paid almost exclusively by the rich, is also eliminated. That’s a $700 billion giveaway.

    Another $150 billion goes to repealing the estate tax, which currently exempts the first $11 million of the deceased’s estate, so nobody even remotely middle class pays it. The repeal benefits so few people you can practically list them out.

    More than $200 billion in cuts goes to a provision that allows a greater deduction for dividends on foreign earnings. That’s not for you.

    Roughly $600 billion goes to reducing taxes on “pass-throughs” and other businesses not set up as corporations, which law firms, lobby shops, and doctors’ offices often benefit from. Poor and middle-class people do not tend to set themselves up as pass-throughs.

    Under current law, many tax credits phase out at low-income thresholds. The GOP plan changes that by raising the threshold so richer people can also claim the credit. That provision alone is, by definition, a $200 billion tax cut for the wealthy.

    Individual and family tax rates are cut by about $1 trillion, and some regular people will indeed see some of that money as a tax cut — but not much. As the New York Times noted, by 2027, people making between $40,000 and $50,000 would see a combined increase of $5.3 billion in taxes. Where would that money go? Folks earning more than $1 million would see their taxes collectively cut by $5.8 billion a year.

    The list above brings the total well close to $5 trillion in tax cuts almost exclusively for the wealthy. The last major element of the bill, the doubling of the standard deduction, would benefit a broader range of people, but it comes at the expense of states, cities, and towns.

    While Obamacare was a transfer of wealth from the top to the bottom, this bill sends money back the other way.

    Even some of the ways the plan “raises” taxes on the rich wind up being a tax cut. Some $300 billion is raised by allowing companies who stashed profits offshore to repatriate it at a much lower rate. That repatriated cash will go straight to dividends for shareholders and stock buybacks — but it gets counted as a tax increase, which then allows the GOP to give an equal $300 billion cut on the other side of the ledger. It’s neat how that works.

    The bill raises $1.6 trillion by repealing the personal exemption everybody gets on their tax returns. Getting rid of it across the board is extraordinarily regressive, since it gives the same benefit to the likes of Jared Kushner as it gives to people who have much less money than he does, so they’re hit much harder.

    It raises another $1.3 trillion by going after deductions for state and local taxes, mortgage interest, charitable contributions, interest on student loans, medical expenses, teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses for paper and pencils for students, and a bunch of other nickel-and-diming of the middle class. No change drawer in the car, couch cushion, or plastic piggy bank is going untouched in the hunt for money to pay for the tax cut.

    (The state and local deduction is effectively a subsidy for state and local spending on things like schools, roads, and police departments. Removing that will pressure states and cities to cut spending, so future teacher layoffs at your neighborhood school will be used to pay for the tax cuts, but because that happens at the state and local level, it isn’t factored into the Congressional Budget Office or Joint Committee on Taxation analyses.)

    More at
  4. Conservative talking heads have a new line: trump fired the national security chief right away when his misdeeds were known. It was pointed out that 2 weeks before he was fired the AG had told them about Flynn's collusion.

  6. Disambiguation Global Moderator

    I'm gonna spend the night drinking White Russians and watching CNN :)
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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

    Robert Mueller’s deal with Michael Flynn neutralizes Trump’s pardon power.

    By Jed Handelsman Shugerman, Slate, December 1, 2017


    Michael Flynn has offered a guilty plea, and he cannot rely on Donald Trump’s pardons to save himself or his son. There is broad consensus that the plea, to a single charge of lying to the FBI, is a clear sign Flynn has agreed to very significant cooperation against a very significant target. Reports indicate that Flynn has agreed to testify against Trump.

    I write here to make three points. 1) The plea deal continues Robert Mueller’s strategy of neutralizing Trump’s pardon power. 2) The obstruction of justice charge against Trump just got a whole lot stronger. 3) Everyone is rightly focusing on Trump, but Vice President Mike Pence and White House Counsel Don McGahn are in bigger trouble than ever.

    Mueller’s charges and Flynn’s plea still leave open the possibility of state charges, just in case Trump pardons Flynn federally. Presidential pardons apply only to federal crimes. I’ve written before about how Mueller’s prosecutorial strategy required him to navigate complicated state-level double jeopardy rules. His charges against Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos reflected a sharp strategy to bring certain charges, while leaving plenty of others available to state prosecutors. (I’ve provided a long list of state crimes that relate to Trump-Russia allegations.)

    Let me spell out how this strategy would apply to Flynn. The former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to one charge of making a false statement to the FBI. What are the other charges a state prosecutor could bring?

    In early November, the Wall Street Journal reported that Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr. allegedly discussed a scheme in which they would receive up to $15 million for taking part in an extradition scheme and an extralegal “rendition” of cleric Fethullah Gülen, an opponent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. These allegations could be grounds for charges of bribery and conspiracy to kidnap (as well as conspiracy to assault and perhaps other violent crimes).

    The state of Pennsylvania, where Gülen resides, offers extra protections against double jeopardy beyond the rights guaranteed by the federal Fifth Amendment. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court holds that “a subsequent prosecution and imposition of punishment for the same offense will not be permitted unless the Commonwealth’s interests are substantially different from the interests of the jurisdiction that initially prosecuted and imposed punishment.” Given that, Flynn’s federal deal — which does not include any charges related to the alleged Gülen incident — preserves a number of criminal charges relating to kidnapping, assault, and bribery in Pennsylvania, as well as parallel charges in New York and possibly Virginia. State tax fraud may also be in this mix.

    The case against Trump for obstruction of justice just got immeasurably stronger. I’ve written before that Trump already confessed to obstruction, more or less, on national television. His explanation for firing FBI Director James Comey indicated “corrupt intent” to impede the FBI’s investigation of his campaign’s potential collusion with Russia. Comey also testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Trump had repeatedly intervened to protect Flynn specifically. There has been a legal basis for an obstruction of justice case, then, even if there hasn’t been much smoke under all that fire. There is nothing in the statute or the precedents requiring an underlying crime in order to prove obstruction. The crime is called “obstruction of justice,” not “obstruction of investigating guilt.”

    Now that Flynn has pleaded guilty to a crime, and now that he reportedly is singling out Jared Kushner, and will probably acknowledge far more as he cooperates with special counsel Robert Mueller, those obstruction charges will now play stronger in the court of public opinion, before actual courts and jurors, and in front of arguably the most important juries, the House and Senate.

    Mike Pence and Don McGahn are in trouble. Everyone is rightly focused on Trump’s legal jeopardy, as well as that of Kushner, but another person whose legal fate changed significantly on Friday was Vice President Mike Pence. White House Counsel Don McGahn should also be concerned, as he, like Pence, was involved in Flynn’s appointment during the presidential transition. Pence and McGahn could be facing their own charges of obstruction of justice, even before we learn anything new from Flynn’s cooperation with the special counsel.

    Consider the following timeline:

    On Nov. 10, 2016, immediately after the election, President Obama warned President-elect Trump not to hire Flynn. The next day, Pence became head of the transition team. On Nov. 14, new allegations appeared about Flynn’s improper lobbying for Turkey. On Nov. 18, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the House Oversight Committee’s ranking member, notified Pence that Flynn was lobbying for Turkey without registration. Two days later, Trump announced Flynn as his choice for national security adviser. In the process of this hire, Flynn failed to disclose his contacts with Turkey as legally required, while also setting up contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, allegedly in interference with the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia.

    On Jan. 4, Flynn allegedly told transition counsel (and soon-to-be White House Counsel) Don McGahn that he was under investigation. McGahn failed to follow up. Keep in mind that Pence, as head of the transition, and McGahn, as transition counsel, were working together closely on all these matters. On Jan. 15, Pence denied that Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak were related to sanctions, and he also denied contacts between the campaign and Russia.

    On Jan. 26, Sally Yates warned McGahn that Flynn had been misleading Pence about his lobbying activities. On Jan. 27, she warned him that Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail. Nevertheless, Pence and McGahn did nothing, and Flynn remained national security adviser for more than two weeks, only resigning on Feb. 13. The next day, Trump lobbied Comey to “see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”

    In May, Trump decided to fire Comey. Trump’s initial letter was reportedly a “screed” about the Russia investigation, and he showed it to Pence and McGahn, among others. They moved to pare back the letter, allegedly because they recognized it created an impression that Trump was admitting his intent to obstruct justice.

    On May 10, a day after Trump fired Comey, Pence publicly denied that the Russia investigation factored into the decision. “Let me be very clear that the president’s decision to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general to remove Director Comey as the head of the FBI was based solely and exclusively on his commitment to the best interest of the American people and to ensuring that the FBI has the trust and confidence of the people of this nation,” the vice president said.

    As I have written before in much greater depth, Pence’s involvement in the letter, if he acted materially to assist the firing of Comey and to cover up Trump’s corrupt intent, could constitute conspiracy to obstruct justice as well as aiding and abetting the obstruction of justice. Moreover, if Pence had read Trump’s original letter, and if the letter in fact focused on the Russia investigation, Pence’s answers would be a combination of lies, misrepresentation, and concealment. If such allegations are true, then the combination of Pence’s participation in the letter revision and his lies afterward would constitute the affirmative acts by a public official necessary for misprision of a felony, 18 U.S. Code Section 4.

    Now with Flynn’s guilty plea, Pence’s and McGahn’s criminal liability for obstruction of justice runs even deeper. Flynn might now cooperate by telling the special counsel how much more Pence and McGahn (and Trump) knew of these matters, and how many times they may have misled the public and FBI investigators. Pence and McGahn might want to start getting their stories straight. Or they might want to consider their own deals to cooperate fully with Mueller’s investigation, lest they face their own indictments.

    Flynn’s cooperation represents a breakthrough for one final reason: the prisoner’s dilemma.

    The prisoner’s dilemma is a famous problem in prosecutions and in academic game theory. A prisoner (or more illustratively in this case, a defendant) knows if he holds out against making a deal, and if all his co-defendants in other jail cells also hold out, they will all go free. However, if he holds out and another defendant confesses and implicates him, he will get a much worse sentence. If everyone confesses, everyone gets something in between.

    So, the dilemma here is whether to assume everyone is holding out or whether to assume someone else is confessing to get a better deal. Up until now, only a very small figure — Papadopoulos — had confessed, not enough to make any central figure rethink his assumptions.

    But now that Flynn is cooperating with Mueller, all bets are off. Everyone knows the next few cooperators will get deals, but the later you cooperate, the worse deal you get. The last (and biggest) co-conspirators get no deals at all. Flynn’s deal could be a moment that breaks the silence, and opens the gates for others to cooperate with Mueller to get a deal while there are still deals on the table.

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  10. The Wrong Guy Member

    Over at the Palmer Report, Bill Palmer has had a busy day. Here are brief excerpts from some of the many articles he published today.

    MSNBC host: Donald Trump's handlers admit he's suffering from dementia

    Over the past week, Donald Trump has begun acting in an even more disturbing fashion than usual, leading to widespread questions about his psychological fitness and mental competence. The New York Daily News is calling him a “madman” while the New York Times has published a letter from a psychologist which states that it isn’t even safe for Trump to be around objects that could be used as weapon. Now an MSNBC host is reporting that Trump’s own handlers have told him that Trump is suffering from dementia.

    Michael Flynn deal with Robert Mueller is official: Flynn pleading guilty today, and Donald Trump is screwed

    It’s not just that Flynn has cut a deal. It’s that Flynn is pleading guilty to such a minimal charge. Yes, he can still go to prison for years for lying to the FBI. But this is the same deal that George Papadopoulos got, and in criminal terms, he didn’t do much more than lying to the FBI. On the other hand Flynn was facing potential charges on everything from conspiracy against the United States, to failure to register as a foreign agent, to conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

    A hardass like Robert Mueller doesn’t let charges like that slide for nothing. This means, in no uncertain terms, that Michael Flynn gave up enough evidence to utterly destroy Donald Trump. He probably gave up evidence to destroy the likes of Donald Trump Jr and Jared Kushner as well. Get your popcorn ready, because everything changes now. Mueller now has what he came for.

    Michael Flynn plea deal court filings reveal Donald Trump is guilty of conspiring with Russia

    The court document confirms that Michael Flynn called the Russian Ambassador on December 29th, 2016, and asked him to delay the Russian government’s response to President Obama’s newly unveiled sanctions. Flynn is pleading guilty to this charge today, meaning that he’s confessing to having done this. Guess what Donald Trump tweeted the next morning after Flynn’s phone calls?

    Michael Flynn just ensured that Mike Pence is completely screwed

    Vice President Mike Pence has been laying awfully low lately, trying to stay off the radar as much as possible. Some believe he’s trying to stay out of the way so he can quietly inherit the presidency once Donald Trump is finished off by his Russia scandal. Others believe Pence is worried that the Russia scandal will gobble him up as well. Michael Flynn just went a long way toward validating the latter, after officially cutting a plea deal this morning.

    For reasons known only to him, Mike Pence has spent all year trying to cover up the Trump-Russia scandal by lying about what he’s known. Most notably, a letter from Congress informed Pence in December of 2016 that Michael Flynn was illegally on the take from foreign governments, yet Pence later went on to insist on national television that he had no knowledge of Flynn having done anything wrong. The trouble for Pence: Flynn just confessed to it all.

    It looks like Paul Manafort is cooperating with Robert Mueller now too

    Just as Flynn’s deal was coming together last night, buzz began that Mueller was suddenly offering to let Manafort out of house arrest on bail. Some mistakenly interpreted this as Mueller letting Manafort go because he no longer needed him, but if anything, that would have gone in a more punitive direction. Instead, Mueller’s decision to suddenly go easy on Manafort strongly suggests that Manafort is now cooperating as well.

    Mueller is now reportedly reconsidering the Manafort bail deal

    After Michael Flynn rats out the Trump family, Donald Trump Jr goes off the delusional deep end

    Donald Trump Jr started the day in total denial of the Flynn deal, instead preferring to tweet and retweet vaguely racist things about immigrants. Then he began dishonestly defending his father’s tax scam for the wealthy. By the evening, Junior was finally ready to acknowledge that the Flynn deal had taken place, but tried to sell himself on the notion that there were somehow no crimes committed, retweeting this nonsense: “Lots of breathless talk about who ordered Flynn to ‘contact Russia.’ Less discussion of why that would be illegal. TV commentary just confidently repeating that it’s all really, really bad.”

    It’s difficult to determine whether Donald Trump Jr is in denial about the seriousness of the Flynn deal, or if he’s too stupid to understand what’s really going on here. Flynn was facing life in prison for a wide array of serious crimes. Special Counsel Robert Mueller handed Flynn a virtual free pass, making him plead guilty to a single reduced charge of lying to the FBI. Someone like Flynn would only get that kind of deal if he provided evidence that will allow Mueller to nail a higher value prosecutorial target, which means Donald Trump and his family members.

    After Michael Flynn incriminates Donald Trump, Fox News blames Trump-Russia scandal on a woman

    Fox News is now “reporting” (we use that word loosely when it comes to Fox News) that Michael Flynn was instructed to call the Russian Ambassador not by Trump or Kushner, but instead by KT McFarland. If you’re trying to place the name, McFarland was Deputy National Security Adviser under Flynn. After Flynn was exposed and forced to resign, McFarland was shipped off to become the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore.

    Up to this point there has been absolutely no evidence that McFarland was involved in the Russia scandal on any level, yet suddenly Fox News is blaming the entire thing on her anyway. The story makes even less sense when you consider that Flynn was McFarland’s boss; she took orders from him, and not the other way around.

    Donald Trump's White House is now officially blaming the black guy for Trump-Russia scandal

    Donald Trump’s White House is now incredibly claiming that President Obama gave Michael Flynn permission to conspire with the Russian Ambassador during the transition period, therefore making it legal, according to a CNN report (link). Trump is literally blaming Obama for the fact that Trump and Flynn have been caught committing treason against the United States.

    The details of Michael Flynn's plea deal with Robert Mueller are nothing short of brutal

    Legal experts dissected the Flynn plea deal during Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show on Friday night, and I’ll spare you the legalese and boil it down to three points for you. First: Flynn’s deal only grants him leniency on the charge of lying to the FBI. If Mueller doesn’t end up liking what he sees going forward, he can still charge Flynn with other crimes. Second: Mueller now officially owns Flynn. He can make him wear a wire, or dress up like a chicken. The third bullet point is the most astounding one.

    There is nothing in the plea deal which formally protects Michael Flynn Jr. By now we all know that Michael Flynn cut the deal in order to protect his son. But even that’s not guaranteed. If Mueller doesn’t like how things are going, he can go back and charge Junior with various crimes at any point. This motivates Flynn to work as hard as he possibly can to help take down the likes of Trump and Kushner, because his son is still far from officially being in the clear.

    Donald Trump's remaining fans go completely berserk after learning about Michael Flynn plea deal

    ...I’ve received more hateful emails today from Donald Trump’s fans than I have in the past year combined. That tells you how angry and dejected they’ve become upon hearing the news that Michael Flynn has sold Trump out. They know what comes next, and they know it’ll involve Trump’s departure from office.
  11. Jeff Jacobsen Member

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  12. You've got to laugh at the sheer hypocrisy of Trump and his son tweeting about immigrants when two of Trumps wives aren't exactly WASPish in their origins.
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    Attached Files:

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  16. The Wrong Guy Member

    Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump 4 minutes ago
    Biggest Tax Bill and Tax Cuts in history just passed in the Senate. Now these great Republicans will be going for final passage. Thank you to House and Senate Republicans for your hard work and commitment!

    On Twitter, this is at the top of what's trending in the US:

    Senate Passes Massive Tax Cuts For The Rich In Middle Of The Night | HuffPost
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  17. The Wrong Guy Member

    Jimmy Kimmel Explains Trump Flynn Scandal Using Star Wars

    Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor to President Trump pled guilty today to one count of lying to the FBI about his communications with the Russian ambassador. Flynn's deal is somewhat confusing, but since it was Star Wars night, Jimmy thought of a simple way to explain it so that we could all understand it better.
  18. Disambiguation Global Moderator

    I would gleefully watch as Trump implodes but the glee is tempered by the horrible damage this is doing to us. The Russians have us chasing our tail and it won't stop until the fat orange sociopath is removed. And then there will be the clean up and half the country pretending they voted for Bernie.

    View attachment a-friendly-reminder-that-flynns-resignation-isa-re
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  19. Trump's greatest achievement is covfefe whatever that is.
    Don't mock.:D
  20. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump on Flynn deal: 'There has been absolutely no collusion' | CNN


    ...Trump said Saturday that he is not worried about what his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, might tell special counsel Robert Mueller's team as it investigates Russia's efforts to influence last year's election.

    When asked by reporters if he was worried about what Flynn might say, Trump said, "No, I'm not. And what has been shown is no collusion, no collusion. There has been absolutely no collusion. So we're very happy."

    Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia's ambassador and disclosed that he is cooperating with the special counsel's office.

    Trump made his brief comments about Flynn's plea deal before flying to New York for a fundraiser later Saturday. The President instead spent most of his time touting the Republican tax plan, which he repeatedly continued to sell as "the biggest tax cut in the history of our nation."

    "Frankly last night was one of the big nights," Trump said, referring to the Senate's passage of its bill.

    More at

    Trump's motorcade greeted with chants of 'lock him up' in NYC | TheHill


    President Trump’s motorcade was greeted in New York City on Saturday by a large group of protestors chanting “lock him up” and “traitor.”

    Video posted to Twitter shows the crowd of protestors as Trump’s motorcade passes by in Manhattan.

    The protestors also chanted “hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go” and booed Trump’s motorcade as it drove past.

    Trump is in New York City for a series of fundraising events. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway are also with Trump, according to pool reports.

    Continued at
  21. The Wrong Guy Member

    Aaron Sorkin Goes Off Script: Fears, the Critics and His Private Battles Behind 'Molly's Game' | Hollywood Reporter


    At this point, the industry's highest-paid screenwriter, who earns $4 million a script (and another $1 million if the film gets made), could make a fine living by simply rehashing his past successes. He already has agreed to tackle a live staging of his first breakout, A Few Good Men, for NBC, though now he reveals he'll need to push back its planned spring 2018 airdate another year. Filling out a cast led by Alec Baldwin (as Col. Jessep) has proven a challenge, and he can't quite figure out how to make the 1980s-set play feel fresh.

    There's also a standing offer from the same network to reboot The West Wing, which Sorkin considers on occasion. When asked if he'd introduce a Trump-like figure in his fictional White House, he winces, arguing that the current president holds no appeal for him, fictional or otherwise. "Trump is exactly what he looks like: a really dumb guy with an observable psychiatric disorder," he says.

    More at

    The West Wing Quote Aaron Sorkin Keeps Repeating To His Daughter In the Trump Era | Vanity Fair
  22. Trump's first tweet

    I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!

    Please let him loose on Twitter we need the win
  23. The Wrong Guy Member

    Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump 3 hours ago
    I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!

    Adam Schiff‏ @RepAdamSchiff 46 minutes ago
    If that is true, Mr. President, why did you wait so long to fire Flynn? Why did you fail to act until his lies were publicly exposed? And why did you pressure Director Comey to “let this go?”

    'Just unreal': Trump's latest tweet indicates he's 'utterly clueless about his own jeopardy,' experts say | Business Insider
    • President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that he "had to fire" former national security adviser Michael Flynn because Flynn "lied" to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI.
    • The statement indicates that Trump was aware, when Flynn was forced to resign, that he had lied to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.
    • The tweet sheds light on Trump's appeal to former FBI director James Comey to let go of the FBI's investigation into Flynn, and his subsequent decision to terminate Comey when he did not comply.

    Did Trump admit something he shouldn’t have in his first tweet about Michael Flynn’s guilty plea? | The Washington Post
  24. The Wrong Guy Member

    billy eichner‏ @billyeichner 3 hours ago
    Thank you to all the working class Trump voters who will get crushed by the new tax bill but whose vote just bought me a new swimming pool! You're all welcome to come over and use it!
    (Warning: there are a LOT of gay guys in the pool.)
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  25. White Tara Global Moderator

    Agreed, and the glacial speed at which this disaster for the US in unfolding is excruciating to watch.
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  26. The Wrong Guy Member

    Emails Dispute White House Claims That Flynn Acted Independently on Russia | The New York Times


    When President Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in February, White House officials portrayed him as a renegade who had acted independently in his discussions with a Russian official during the presidential transition and then lied to his colleagues about the interactions.

    But emails among top transition officials, provided or described to The New York Times, suggest that Mr. Flynn was far from a rogue actor. In fact, the emails, coupled with interviews and court documents filed on Friday, showed that Mr. Flynn was in close touch with other senior members of the Trump transition team both before and after he spoke with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, about American sanctions against Russia.

    While Mr. Trump has disparaged as a Democratic “hoax” any claims that he or his aides had unusual interactions with Russian officials, the records suggest that the Trump transition team was intensely focused on improving relations with Moscow and was willing to intervene to pursue that goal despite a request from the Obama administration that it not sow confusion about official American policy before Mr. Trump took office.

    On Dec. 29, a transition adviser to Mr. Trump, K. T. McFarland, wrote in an email to a colleague that sanctions announced hours before by the Obama administration in retaliation for Russian election meddling were aimed at discrediting Mr. Trump’s victory. The sanctions could also make it much harder for Mr. Trump to ease tensions with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote in the emails obtained by The Times.

    It is not clear whether Ms. McFarland was saying she believed that the election had in fact been thrown. A White House lawyer said on Friday that she meant only that the Democrats were portraying it that way.

    But it is evident from the emails — which were obtained from someone who had access to transition team communications — that after learning that President Barack Obama would expel 35 Russian diplomats, the Trump team quickly strategized about how to reassure Russia. The Trump advisers feared that a cycle of retaliation between the United States and Russia would keep the spotlight on Moscow’s election meddling, tarnishing Mr. Trump’s victory and potentially hobbling his presidency from the start.

    As part of the outreach, Ms. McFarland wrote, Mr. Flynn would be speaking with the Russian ambassador, Mr. Kislyak, hours after Mr. Obama’s sanctions were announced.

    “Key will be Russia’s response over the next few days,” Ms. McFarland wrote in an email to another transition official, Thomas P. Bossert, now the president’s homeland security adviser.

    In an interview, Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer handling the Russia inquiry, said there was nothing illegal or unethical about the transition team’s actions. “It would have been political malpractice not to discuss sanctions,” he said, adding that “the presidential transition guide specifically encourages contact with and outreach to foreign dignitaries.”

    The only problem, Mr. Cobb said, was that Mr. Flynn had lied to White House officials and to F.B.I. agents about what he had told the Russian ambassador. Mr. Flynn’s misstatements led to his firing in February and his guilty plea on Friday to charges of lying to federal agents.

    With Mr. Flynn’s plea and agreement to cooperate with Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating the Russian election interference, the inquiry edges closer to Mr. Trump. The president tried to persuade the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to drop the bureau’s criminal investigation of Mr. Flynn, and fired Mr. Comey after he failed to comply.

    Mr. Trump and his aides have suggested that his concern about Mr. Flynn’s potential legal jeopardy was motivated mainly by the president’s admiration for his former national security adviser’s military service and character.

    But the new details about Mr. Flynn’s Russia contacts underscore the possibility that the president may have been worried not just about Mr. Flynn but also about whether any investigation might reach into the White House and perhaps to the Oval Office. That question will be at the center of any consideration by Mr. Mueller of whether Mr. Trump’s actions constituted obstruction of justice.

    The Trump transition team ignored a pointed request from the Obama administration to avoid sending conflicting signals to foreign officials before the inauguration and to include State Department personnel when contacting them. Besides the Russian ambassador, Mr. Flynn, at the request of the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, contacted several other foreign officials to urge them to delay or block a United Nations resolution condemning Israel over its building of settlements.

    Mr. Cobb said the Trump team had never agreed to avoid such interactions. But one former White House official has disputed that, telling Mr. Mueller’s investigators that Trump transition officials had agreed to honor the Obama administration’s request.

    Mr. Bossert forwarded Ms. McFarland’s Dec. 29 email exchange about the sanctions to six other Trump advisers, including Mr. Flynn; Reince Priebus, who had been named as chief of staff; Stephen K. Bannon, the senior strategist; and Sean Spicer, who would become the press secretary.

    Mr. Obama, she wrote, was trying to “box Trump in diplomatically with Russia,” which could limit his options with other countries, including Iran and Syria. “Russia is key that unlocks door,” she wrote.

    She also wrote that the sanctions over Russian election meddling were intended to “lure Trump in trap of saying something” in defense of Russia, and were aimed at “discrediting Trump’s victory by saying it was due to Russian interference.”

    “If there is a tit-for-tat escalation Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia, which has just thrown U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote.

    Mr. Bossert replied by urging all the top advisers to “defend election legitimacy now.”

    Mr. Flynn, who had been fired by Mr. Obama as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was the point person for the transition team on policy toward Russia and other countries. After Mr. Trump named him as his national security adviser in November, Mr. Flynn began briefing him — some say daily — on foreign policy.

    Ms. McFarland, who served until May as deputy national security adviser and is awaiting confirmation as ambassador to Singapore, was sometimes referred to by other transition officials as “Flynn’s brain.”

    Continued at

    Donald Trump faces obstruction of justice claims after admitting he knew Michael Flynn lied to FBI months ago | The Telegraph
  27. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump’s campaign: Big Macs, screaming fits and constant rivalries

    By Michael Kranish, The Washington Post


    Elton John blares so loudly on Donald Trump’s campaign plane that staffers can’t hear themselves think. Press secretary Hope Hicks uses a steamer to press Trump’s pants — while he is still wearing them. Trump screams at his top aides, who are subjected to expletive-filled tirades in which they get their “face ripped off.”

    And Trump’s appetite seems to know no bounds when it comes to McDonald’s, with a dinner order consisting of “two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted.”

    The scenes are among the most surreal passages in a forthcoming book chronicling Trump’s path to the presidency co-written by Corey Lewandowski, who was fired as Trump’s campaign manager, and David Bossie, another top aide. The book, “Let Trump Be Trump,” paints a portrait of a campaign with an untested candidate and staff rocketing from crisis to crisis, in which Lewandowski and a cast of mostly neophyte political aides learn on the fly and ultimately accept Trump’s propensity to go angrily off message.

    “Sooner or later, everybody who works for Donald Trump will see a side of him that makes you wonder why you took a job with him in the first place,” the authors wrote. “His wrath is never intended as any personal offense, but sometimes it can be hard not to take it that way. The mode that he switches into when things aren’t going his way can feel like an all-out assault; it’d break most hardened men and women into little pieces.”

    The authors “both had moments where they wanted to parachute off Trump Force One,” but they said they got used to it.

    Lewandowski provides a largely admiring portrait of his former boss, saving the skewer for score-settling anecdotes about Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman and rival whom Lewandowski blames for his ouster. The Post obtained an advance copy of the book, which is scheduled for release on Tuesday.

    In a section of the book written by Lewandowski, Trump is described as flying on his helicopter when he learns that Manafort has said “Trump shouldn’t be on television anymore, that he shouldn’t be on the Sunday shows” and that Manafort should appear instead. Trump was angrier than Lewandowski had ever seen him, ordering the pilot to lower the altitude so he could make a cellphone call.

    “Did you say I shouldn’t be on TV on Sunday? I’ll go on TV anytime I goddam fucking want and you won’t say another fucking word about me!” Trump yelled at Manafort, according to Lewandowski. “Tone it down? I wanna turn it up! . . . You’re a political pro? Let me tell you something. I’m a pro at life. I’ve been around a time or two. I know guys like you, with your hair and skin . . .”

    Lewandowski called it “one of the greatest takedowns in the history of the world.”

    The aide’s satisfaction at the takedown didn’t last long, however, as he “immediately got a phone call” from Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, “telling me I wasn’t a team player and that I’d thrown Paul under the bus.” Lewandowski wrote that Manafort soon arranged for him to be fired.

    Continued at
  28. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump's Anti-Muslim Propaganda Snuff Film Tweet Party | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May wasn't pleased with Trump after he retweeted an anti-Muslim fringe group three times.
  29. “I think U.S. marshals should follow [Obama], and anytime he wants to go follow the president like he is and behave [like that],” Dobbs said on his show Friday. “I mean, this is just bad manners. It’s boorish and it’s absurd and he doesn’t realize how foolish he looks.”

    “I mean, he should be brought back by the marshals. Isn’t there some law that says presidents shouldn’t be attacking sitting presidents?”
    Obama should be arrested for implying Trump needs a filter, Fox Business host suggests
    It's Lou Dobson ar his most crazy.
    • Like Like x 1
  30. The Wrong Guy Member

    Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 7 minutes ago
    I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!
    • Like Like x 1
  31. The Wrong Guy Member

    CBS News poll: Alabama Republicans call allegations against Roy Moore false


    A new CBS News poll finds 71 percent of Alabama Republicans say the allegations against Roy Moore are false, and those who believe this also overwhelmingly believe Democrats and the media are behind those allegations.

    The poll found 92 percent of Republicans who don't believe the allegations against Moore say the Democrats are behind the charges, and 88 percent say newspapers and the media are behind them.

    Multiple women have come forward to accuse Moore of inappropriately pursuing or touching them when they were teenagers. The youngest woman to accuse Moore says she was 14 and he was 32 at the time.

    Continued at Republicans
  32. The Wrong Guy Member

    Trump's lawyer says he was behind @realDonaldTrump tweet about firing Flynn | CNN


    President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, John Dowd, told CNN on Sunday that he wrote a tweet for the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account about the firing of former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.

    "I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI," the Saturday tweet reads. "He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!"

    Dowd said he drafted the tweet and believes White House social media director Dan Scavino posted it online. He declined to answer additional questions about whether Trump reviewed the tweet before it was posted.

    "Enough already," he said in an email. "I don't feed the haters."

    The Washington Post reported Saturday that Dowd drafted the tweet, citing two people familiar with the Twitter message. NBC News' Chuck Todd also reported Sunday on "Meet the Press" that Dowd confirmed he authored the message.

    Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with Russia's ambassador to the US during the transition and disclosed that he is cooperating with the special counsel Robert Mueller's office.

    Dowd previously said the tweet paraphrased White House special counsel Ty Cobb's Friday statement on Flynn's guilty plea.

    "The tweet was a paraphrase of Ty Cobb's statement yesterday," Dowd told CNN. "I refer you to (former FBI Director James) Comey's testimony before Congress about FBI view of Flynn's answers."

    However, Cobb's statement on Friday does not say anything about Flynn's lies to the FBI being a factor in his firing.

    Pressed about whether the tweet signaled Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI before firing him, Dowd rejected the assessment.

    "At the time of the firing no one including Justice had accused Flynn of lying," Dowd told CNN. "Yates had reported he told the (agents) the same things he told VP. He was not accused of lying until last week."

    Continued at

    Trump lawyer's backstory for a stunning tweet | Axios


    John Dowd, President Trump's personal lawyer, tells me that a Trump tweet that caused an eruption yesterday was "my mistake," made in a tweet he had drafted and passed to White House social media director Dan Scavino.
    • "I'm out of the tweeting business," Dowd said with a chuckle. "I did not mean to break news."
    Did President Trump admit obstruction of justice? That was the instant question online after he tweeted:
    • "I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!"
    • Dowd: "The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion."
    Why it matters: If Trump knew, before he fired Flynn, that the aide had lied to the FBI, that would further taint Trump's months-later firing of FBI Director James Comey. It would also make his appeals to Comey to go easy on Flynn all the more problematic.

    Here's what Dowd says happened ... When acting attorney general Sally Yates (later fired by Trump) went to the White House on Jan. 26, she told White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn had "given the agents the same story he gave the Vice President" about his interactions with Russians.
    • Those statements were clearly incorrect — the point of her warning to the White House.
    • But Dowd says there's a crucial distinction: "For some reason, the [Justice] Department didn't want to make an accusation of lying."
    • McGahn then briefed Trump: "All the president knew was that the department was not accusing him of lying."
    • Dowd added: "The point of that tweet was entirely correct. It's just very sad. I don't know why the guy lied. He didn't need to."
    Be smart: The tweet, and this explanation, are just plain suspicious and weird. Flynn was fired for lying to Pence. FBI agents said he told them the same story.

    Breaking ... "Trump is attacking his own FBI in a series of tweets and says the law enforcement agency's reputation is 'in Tatters - worst in History!' The president says in a tweet that 'we will bring it back to greatness.'"
    • Trump: "Report [in apparently not-fake WP and NYT]: 'ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE' Now it all starts to make sense! ... Tainted (no, very dishonest?) FBI 'agent's role in Clinton probe under review.'"
    • "I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!"
  33. The Wrong Guy Member

    Operative Offered Trump Campaign ‘Kremlin Connection’ Using N.R.A. Ties | The New York Times


    A conservative operative trumpeting his close ties to the National Rifle Association and Russia told a Trump campaign adviser last year that he could arrange a back-channel meeting between Donald J. Trump and Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, according to an email sent to the Trump campaign.

    A May 2016 email to the campaign adviser, Rick Dearborn, bore the subject line “Kremlin Connection.” In it, the N.R.A. member said he wanted the advice of Mr. Dearborn and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, then a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump and Mr. Dearborn’s longtime boss, about how to proceed in connecting the two leaders.

    Russia, he wrote, was “quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and would attempt to use the N.R.A.’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., to make “ ‘first contact.’ ” The email, which was among a trove of campaign-related documents turned over to investigators on Capitol Hill, was described in detail to The New York Times.

    Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, secured a guilty plea on Friday from President Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, for lying to the F.B.I. about contacts with Moscow’s former ambassador to the United States. But those contacts came after Mr. Trump’s improbable election victory.

    The emailed outreach from the conservative operative to Mr. Dearborn came far earlier, around the same time that Russians were trying to make other connections to the Trump campaign. Another contact came through an American advocate for Christian and veterans causes, and together, the outreach shows how, as Mr. Trump closed in on the nomination, Russians were using three foundational pillars of the Republican Party — guns, veterans and Christian conservatives — to try to make contact with his unorthodox campaign.

    Continued at

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