We don’t trust John “chickenhawk” Bolton

 

Why would anybody trust “chickenhawk” John Bolton to tell the truth about his buddy Donald Trump? These belligerent bullies are cut from the same cloth. Bolton’s not going to turn on Trump unless it makes him some serious money.

Even rightwing republican apologist Joe Scarborough doesn’t trust John Bolton’s intentions when it comes to testifying before Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. The “Morning Joe” host said he believes the former national security adviser has cut a behind-the-scenes deal with the White House on his offer to testify.

“Forgive me for being cynical, but I think John Bolton wants to sell his book,” Scarborough said. (no shit!) “These people who were saying, you know what? We’ll give you Bolton. You give us, fill in the blank. I mean, whoever else is called, if the Republicans call (anyone), will not talk about executive privilege, but I guarantee you John Bolton will.”

“You talk about drug deals,” he said. “I think there’s a smaller drug deal going on between Bolton and the White House right now, where there’s a nod and a wink. Yes, I’m going to say that I’ll testify, knowing perfectly well the second he gets there to testify the White House will claim executive privilege, and he’ll say, you know what? I came here to testify, but this really does fit under executive privilege, and I’m not going to weaken the presidency and so then Republicans call who they want to call. I think the fix is already in here.”

We think Scarborough is right, this is Bolton injecting meth into his book sales. He’s teasing testimony knowing he’ll never give it so people will be forced to by his book.

John Bolton who always wants to send people to their deaths fighting in some war he’s provoked is a POS and always will be.

Trump flunky Bill Barr hard at work trying to prove fantasy plots

Willaim Barr Trump’s “Roy Cohn”

As the impeachment noose gets tighter and more and more alarming for Donald Trump, with damning new evidence emerging every day, there is an increasing urgency in the parallel counteroffensives underway by Trump’s “Roy Cohn” team in an attempt to defend him.

There are attacks against the witnesses giving testimony by Trump and his supporters, including attempts to smear Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, Ukraine expert at the National Security Council who this week provided crucial testimony about Trump’s telephone call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. And there have been the extraordinary scenes of congress Republicans breaking into the proceedings and disrupting them.

But going on relatively unreported at the same time is the ever-metastasizing investigation by William Barr, the “so-called” attorney general, which the White House fantasizes as a game-changer. A farfetched investigation which is seeking nothing less than to overturn the conclusion of the US intelligence services and special counsel Robert Mueller that Russia interfered in the last US presidential election.

To raise the ante this has actually now been designated a criminal investigation with the power of subpoenas and the possibility of prison sentences for those who have been (in Trump’s fantasy) allegedly involved in “criminal actions”, meaning not supporting Dear Leader.

It’s pretty odd that Trump has repeatedly claimed that the Mueller report was a “complete and total exoneration” of him over Russiagate, is now going to such lengths to try and discredit it.

Ukraine is a common factor in both the impeachment hearings and the Barr investigation. The House is looking into Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine to force the Zelensky government to reopen investigations into unproven allegations, with Trump’s own personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani playing a leading part in this subterfuge.

Bill Barr is focusing on the crazy theory, aired on far-right conspiracy sites, and raised by Trump and Giuliani, that Ukraine framed Vladimir Putin over the US election in a complex triple-cross operation by impersonating Russian hackers.

Trump and Barr have also been asking other foreign governments for help in investigating the FBI, CIA, and Mueller investigators. Trump has called on the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison for assistance, while his flunky attorney general has been on similar missions to the UK and Italy.

The information being requested has left our allies astonished. One British official with knowledge of Barr’s wish list presented to London commented that “it is like nothing we have come across before, they are basically asking, in quite robust terms, for help in doing a hatchet job on their own intelligence services”.

The UK, in particular, has been viewed by Trump followers, especially far-right conspiracy theorists, as a deep source of woes for Trump.

 

from a story in the Independent UK

The Barr B.S. press release spin

Trump’s current fixers and all around suck-up sycophants

Did Barr order Mueller to shut down the investigation before he was finished?

Handpicked Trump flunkey Attorney General William P. Barr has put forward what can only be called a press release setting forth what he views as the principal conclusions relating to the Russia probe conducted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Let’s first be clear about what the press release (letter) does not say.

It does not say whether Mueller found a preponderance of evidence of crimes. (The criminal standard, beyond a reasonable doubt, is much higher.)

It does not say whether Mueller found Trump lied to the American people.

It does not say Mueller exonerated Trump; to the contrary, it says the opposite. It does not say anything about possible financial crimes under investigation in the Southern District of New York.

It does not say why there were more than 100 contacts between the Trump presidential campaign and transition team and Russia-linked operatives, or why so many people denied there were contacts.

The report does not say whether Trump and his associates welcomed the help of a foreign hostile power.

It does not say anything about possible state prosecutions.

Here’s is what Barr’s press release does say:

There were two main Russian efforts, one through primarily through social media and the other via email hacks disseminated through intermediaries such as WikiLeaks, to interfere with our election. If we accept Mueller’s investigation, the claim that there is uncertainty about who interfered with the election and on whose behalf is false.

It claims Mueller did not find that Trump or those with his campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to interfere with the election, but we need to see the report to find out how all that unreported contact isn’t a conspiracy.

Mueller found a list of actions under the part of his investigation into obstruction of justice but did not reach a prosecutorial decision. Mueller explicitly did not exonerate Trump of obstruction. Trump’s appointed attorney general and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein decided it was not sufficient to establish that an obstruction-of-justice offense occurred. This is not their roll.

The demand for the complete report is overwhelming. Only the report can answer questions such as:

What was the series of actions that Mueller looked at when investigating obstruction?
Why did Mueller decide not to opine one way or the other on obstruction?
Did he find a preponderance of evidence of obstruction?
Why did Barr and Rosenstein conclude there was no obstruction-of-justice crime?
Did Mueller not find evidence of coordination/conspiracy, or did he rule it out (disprove it)?

What explains all the Russian contacts?
What financial incentives, if any, did Trump have to favor Russia?
Did the Russian government attempt to cultivate Trump as an asset or have leverage over him?
Why did Michael Flynn lie about Russia contacts?
Why did the president wait so long to fire Flynn?
Did any of Trump’s family members or associates lie to Congress, and if so, why is there as yet no indictment?
Barr does seem to concede that the demand for the report is bipartisan and compelling. He writes that he must separate out grand jury testimony and other material that could “impact other ongoing matters.” WAIT. WHAT?!  If Mueller came across evidence of crimes that the Southern District of New York or other parts of Justice are investigating, shouldn’t we know if the Trump is under investigation?

However, in a major respect, Barr’s action in declaring no crime of obstruction is inexplicable or is a blatant cover-up. Because it is the Justice Department’s position that Trump cannot be indicted as a sitting president, there is no requirement — indeed, it is inappropriate — for Barr to even weigh in. The job is up to Congress, according to Barr’s own department guidelines. Suspicions about Barr’s willingness to clear Trump, based on a memo he wrote to the Justice Department before being nominated as attorney general, look well-founded.

We now have an entirely untenable situation: The special counsel did not render a judgment on obstruction but clearly found evidence thereof. Trump’s own attorney general and deputy attorney general wouldn’t prosecute Dear Leader, but other independent prosecutors could certainly find that information sufficient to charge Trump now or later. Moreover, the evidence might be so compelling as to reach the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors.

We are, as has been suggested, at the end of the beginning. But the investigation into Trump is nowhere near completion.

 

 

An edited version of Jenifer Rubin opinion piece in Washington Post

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Stop waiting for Robert Mueller, it’s time to put Waters, Schiff, Nadler, and Cummings on the case!

 

People were stunned to learn that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office Friday night issued an extremely rare statement disputing aspects of Buzzfeed’s report that Trump instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.

First, it’s important to read the statement issued by Mueller’s spokesperson, Peter Carr.

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”

So, let us be very clear, Mueller spokesperson is not stating the story itself, that Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress, is false. He’s saying the way Buzzfeed described “specific statements,” documents, and testimony “are not accurate.”

It’s time to stop holding our breath waiting for the Mueller report that will probably never be released in its entirety to the public. It time for the House Democrats to conduct hearings and investigations on their own.

So many crimes so little time.

We want to see financial services chair Maxine Waters subpoena his tax returns.

We want Adam Schiff Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to investigate Trump’s conspiracy with Russians and Putin

We want Jerrold Nadler, the Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary to look in the Trump Crime Family’s operations and all the perjury

We to see Elijah Cummings the Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform look into the deep corruption of the whole crooked Trump Administration

Let’s get going, Democrats!

 

A megalomaniac who only sees the art of the deal

Trump has described the payments his bagman, Michael Cohen, made to two women during the 2016 campaign so they wouldn’t discuss their alleged affairs with him, as “a simple private transaction.”

When ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Cohen if Trump knew the payments were wrong and were made to help his election, Cohen replied “Of course … . He was very concerned about how this would affect the election.”

Even if Trump intended that the payments aid his presidential bid, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he knew they were wrong.

Trump might have reasoned that a deal is a deal: The women got hundreds of thousands of dollars in return for agreeing not to talk about his affairs with them. So where’s the harm?

After two years of Trump we may have overlooked the essence of his insanity: His brain sees only private interests transacting. It doesn’t comprehend the public interest.

Private transactions can’t be wrong or immoral because, by definition, they require that every party to them be satisfied. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a deal.

Viewed this way, everything else falls into place.

For example, absent a public interest, there can’t be conflicts of interest.

So when lobbyists representing the Saudi government paid for an estimated 500 nights at Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel within a month of his election, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman rented so many rooms at the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan that its revenues rose in 2018 after years of decline, Trump saw it as half of a private transaction.

The other half: Trump would continually go to bat for Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince, even after the Senate passed a resolution blaming the Crown Prince for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million,” Trump told a crowd at an Alabama rally in August 2015. “Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

Ethics smethics. Without a public interest, no deals can be ethical violations. All are just private transactions.

So someone donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee and subsequently received a $5 billion loan from the Energy Department. What’s the problem? Both parties got what they wanted. (Federal prosecutors are now investigating this.)

Trump aide and former Fox News executive Bill Shine continues to rake in millions each year from Fox News, and Fox News continues to give Trump the positive coverage he wants. What’s the worry? It’s a good deal for both sides.

This private transactional worldview also helps explain Trump’s foreign policy.

According to Trump, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un writes him such “beautiful letters,” that “we fell in love.”

So what if Kim continues to develop nuclear missiles? Trump gets bragging rights as the first American president to have a good private relationship with the North Korean president.

He and Russian President Vladimir Putin have a “beautiful relationship,” presumably opening the way to all sorts of private transactions.

In July 2016, after emails from the Democratic National Committee were leaked to the public, Trump declared “Putin likes me” and thinks “I’m a genius.” Trump then publicly called on Russia to find emails Hillary Clinton had deleted from the private account she used when she was secretary of state.

That same day, Russians made their first effort to break into the servers used by her personal office, according to an indictment from the special counsel’s office charging twelve Russians with election hacking.

So what? Trump asks.

Even as evidence mounts that Trump aides were in frequent contact with Russian agents during this time, Trump insists he wasn’t involved in any collusion with Putin.

Collusion means joining together in violation of the public interest. If Trump’s brain comprehends only private interests, even a transaction in which Putin offered explicit help winning the election in return for Trump weakening NATO and giving Russia unfettered license in Ukraine wouldn’t be collusive.

When private deals are everything, the law is irrelevant. This also seems to fit with Trump’s worldview.

If he genuinely believes the hush money he had Cohen pay was a “simple private transaction,” Trump must not think the nation’s campaign finance laws apply to him. But if they don’t, why would laws and constitutional provisions barring collusion with foreign powers apply to him?

As we enter the third year of his presidency, Trump’s utter blindness to the public interest is a terrifying possibility. At least a scoundrel knows when he is doing bad things. A megalomaniac who only sees the art of the deal, doesn’t.

This article was originally published at RobertReich.org

“Trump campaign was a criminal conspiracy from its beginnings”

During an MSNBC discussion on the various entities of Donald Trump’s empire that are under investigation, one of his biographers pointed out that his entire presidential campaign was constructed like a “criminal enterprise.”

Speaking with AM Joy host Joy Reid, author and columnist Tim O’Brien sat back and put the most recent revelations from special counsel Robert Mueller in context:

“What we have learned from these documents is that there is the very real possibility that the Trump campaign was a criminal conspiracy from its beginnings and that criminal acts might have been committed,” O’Brien observed. “Now you have the Trump White House dealing with the consequences of all of these.”

“When you have Rudy Giuliani distracting people, focussing only on campaign finance issues, focussing inaccurately on campaign finance issues, it distracts from this larger halo of illegality hanging over this entire Trump team,” he offered.

“You know, Trump and his advisers have put out three defenses in the wake of Cohen’s sentencing memo that Michael Cohen cannot be trusted,” the biographer continued. “He is a dishonest narrator, that he was giving the president advice and it wasn’t the other way around and none of it had anything to do with the election.”

“You can pick apart on the fact pattern in all three of those things,” he explained. “Specifically, it had nothing to do with the election and that it was Cohen taking advice from Trump, rather than Trump being the architect of those of these issues.”

Addressing the Mueller investigation, among others, he added, “These are smart, veteran prosecutors who are assembling a case and Michael Cohen is a small part of that.”

From Raw Story

Trump is not the only one in love with Russians…..

Seems that southern white racists just absolutely love those White Christian Russians 

The conservative news source The Hill reports:

An Alabama organization designated as a white supremacist hate group by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is launching a Russian-language page calling on Russia and the American South to become allies.

A letter posted to the League of the South’s website first reported by AL.com spoke of natural similarities between Russian culture and the conservative southerners.

“As fellow Whites of northern European extraction, we come from the same general gene pool. As inheritors of the European cultural tradition, we share similar values, customs, and ways of life. And as Christians, we worship the same Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and our common faith binds us as brothers and sisters,” the group’s leader Michael Hill wrote.

Hill’s letter continued that the site’s Russian-language page would be the “first step” toward building “[a] firm and resolute understanding and commitment to cooperation between the Russian people and the people of the South [that] could indeed be the foundation for a better world in which our peoples thrive and prosper far into the future.”

The group’s move to establish the page comes days after President Trump’s bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which the two leaders spoke about decreasing tensions between their two nations.

Trump was criticized after a press conference including both leaders for appearing to agree with Putin’s dismissal of Russia’s election interference efforts, which he later clarified he did not intend in a statement at the White House.

ADL researchers have recorded chapters of the League of the South group in 16 states, first appearing in 1994 after Hill, a former professor at Stillman College, a historically black school, founded the group.

The group is described by ADL as “espouse[ing] white supremacist ideology and southern nationalism, advocating for an independent southern nation devoid of Jews and other minorities.”

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/398195-alabama-based-league-of-the-south-launches-russian-language