Trump completely wimps out again and throws US Ambassador Nikki Haley under the bus

Thanks sir, I’ll have another!

On Sunday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, announced that the Treasury Department would be rolling out tough new sanctions against Russia on Monday as punishment for its continued support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

But not 24 hours later, the White House threw Haley under the bus with a clear, contradictory message: Not so fast.

“We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Sources familiar with the sanctions rollout process described a chaotic back-and-forth as lawmakers and staffers were struggling to figure out what Haley was exactly referring to. It was unlikely that Haley, who has been lauded by lawmakers from both parties for her tough anti-Kremlin positions, would have misspoken so egregiously if a sanctions regime was not already in the works.

Trump on Monday has now reneged on the preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the Kremlin had swiftly denounced as “international economic raiding.”

Preparations to punish Russia anew for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria caused consternation at the White House. Haley had said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” that sanctions on Russian companies behind the equipment related to Assad’s alleged chemical weapons attack would be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

After this announcement, Trump conferred with his national security advisers later Sunday and told them he was upset the sanctions were being officially rolled out because he was not yet comfortable executing them, according to several people familiar with the plan.

Administration officials said Monday it was highly unlikely Trump would approve any additional sanctions without at least another triggering event by Russia.

Sometime after Haley’s comments on CBS, the Trump administration notified the Russian Embassy in Washington that the sanctions were not in fact coming, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said Monday.

The Trump team decided to publicly characterize Haley’s announcement as a misstatement but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Monday: “We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future.”

An official at White House tried to spin the news as Haley got ahead of herself and made “an error that needs to be mopped up.”

But other administration officials expressed serious skepticism that Haley had merely misspoken. They said Haley is one of the most disciplined and cautious members of the Cabinet, especially when it comes to her public appearances. She regularly checks in with Trump personally to go over her planned statements before she sits for television interviews.

Haley issued no clarifying statement on Sunday after news organizations, including The Washington Post, reported prominently that the new sanctions would be announced Monday based on her comments to CBS.

Asked Monday morning why it had taken 24 hours for the administration to walk back Haley’s comments, one White House official said only that there had been confusion internally about what the plan was.

White House officials said Trump has been impressed with Haley lately, particularly her remarks about Syria over the past week, and stressed Monday that the president holds her in high regard.

In the absence of a permanent secretary of state, Haley has been the face of American diplomacy, playing an especially prominent role over the past week as the Trump administration responded to the attack in Syria.

Haley said Sunday on CBS: “You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn’t already. And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons used. And so I think everyone is going to feel it at this point. I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message, and our hope is that they listen to it.”

The Russians were listening. After Haley’s comments, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that the sanctions were a U.S. ploy to oust Russia from international markets and constituted “undisguised attempts of unfair competition.”

Sources: Daily Beast and Washington Post

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Trump’s house of lies, lies and more lies

Blackwater founder Erik Prince got caught lying

Special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained evidence that suggests Blackwater founder Erik Prince lied to Congress about his meeting in Seychelles with a Russian financier close to Vladimir Putin.

Prince, a campaign adviser to Donald Trump and brother of education secretary Betsy DeVos, told lawmakers that he ran into Russian sovereign wealth fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev by chance at a bar, but Mueller now has evidence that calls that into question, reported ABC News.

According to his congressional testimony, Prince says he was introduced to Dmitriev by a brother of United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed al-Nayhan, who said the Russian financier was also involved in oil, gas and mineral exploration.

“So, as I recall, I met him, this same guy I talked about, Kirill Dmitriev,” Prince testified. “Met him down in the bar after dinner, and we talked for 30 minutes over a beer, and that was it.”

However, Lebanese-American businessman George Nader told Mueller a different story after the special counsel granted him limited immunity.

Nader, who has been arrested twice in the U.S. and convicted once for possession of child pornography, has been interviewed seven times by prosecutors in the Russia probe on a wide variety of subjects, ABC reported.

The naturalized U.S. citizen told investigators he set up the Seychelles meeting between Prince and Dmitriev, and he told the Trump associate that the Russian financier had been appointed by president Vladimir Putin to oversee the state-run sovereign wealth fund.

Nader, who worked at the time for the UAE leader, said he personally facilitated and attended the meeting between Prince and Dmitriev at a resort owned by the crown prince.

He told Mueller that one of the primary goals of the meeting was to set up a line of communication between the Kremlin and the incoming Trump administration, sources told ABC News.

Prince did not mention Nader, who once represented Blackwater in Iraq, to congressional investigators — even after he was asked to list anyone present at his meeting with the Russian financier.

He told lawmakers no one had been present but him, Dmitriev and Dmitriev’s wife, who he said left after a few minutes while they discussed terrorism and oil prices.

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/04/mueller-evidence-blackwater-founder-erik-prince-lied-congress-secret-meeting-russian-banker-report/

The latest news on Trumps crime family and their contacts with GRU – Russian Military intelligence

Former Trump campaign aide was in contact with a person who the FBI believed had ties to Russian intelligence during the run-up to the 2016 election, according to new court documents filed Wednesday by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The contact, identified in court documents as “Person A,” and Gates were “directly communicating” in September and October prior to the election, prosecutors asserted in court documents.

Gates has since pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI and has promised to assist Mueller’s continuing probe into Russia’s interference in the election.

The contacts were disclosed in court documents filed in a related case involving the sentencing of a Dutch attorney who pleaded guilty last month to lying to the FBI about his work for Gates and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Prosecutors claim that the attorney, Alex Van Der Zwaan, knew about the person’s ties to Russian intelligence.

Outstanding question: Was Manafort working directly for the Russian Government on assignment to the Trump campaign?

“Gates told him ‘Person A’ was a former Russian intelligence officer with the GRU (the intelligence arm of the Russian military),” the court documents state.

Pardon talk for crime family members

 

The New York Times reported that President Trump’s former lead attorney, John Dowd, last summer engaged in discussions about possible pardons for Manafort and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn as Mueller’s prosecutors were building criminal cases against the two.

Manafort was indicted along with Gates on conspiracy and money laundering charges in Washington, D.C. He faces related bank fraud charges in an Alexandria, Va., federal court. Both cases were brought by Mueller’s prosecutors and Manafort has pleaded not guilty.

Flynn, meanwhile, pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the weeks before Trump took office. And he is also cooperating with Mueller’s continuing investigation.

Dowd, who resigned as Trump’s lead attorney last week, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said pardons had not been discussed, referring to deputy White House counsel Ty Cobb’s statement: “I have only been asked about pardons by the press.”

Jay Sekulow, the president’s current lead attorney, said he did not take part in any such discussions.

“Never during the course of my representation of the president have I had any discussions of pardons of any individuals involved in this inquiry,” Sekulow said in a statement.

Rob Kelner, Flynn’s attorney, declined comment Wednesday. Reginald Brown, who represented Manafort last summer, was traveling Wednesday and not immediately available for comment.

Last July, when initial reports surfaced that the president and advisers were exploring Trump’s authority to grant pardons, Dowd flatly denied the account then reported by the Washington Post.

At the time, the report indicated that president and advisers were specifically researching Trump’s authority to pardon members of his family, and possibly himself, related to the Russia inquiry.

original story from –  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/28/robert-mueller-trump-campaign-deputy-rick-gates-contacted-russian-intelligence-source

Trump “dirty dancing” after-party at a raunchy nightclub with his Russia connected buddies

Trump partied with Russian oligarchs at Vegas nightclub shut down over ‘lewd’ acts involving women and urine: report

A bombshell new report suggests Donald Trump consummated a deal to hold his Miss Universe pageant in Moscow while hobnobbing with Russian oligarchs at a Las Vegas nightclub later shut down over lewd performances involving women and urine.

The future president invited himself to dinner June 15, 2013, with Aras and Emin Agalarov and British publicist Rob Goldstone while presiding over the Miss USA contest his company owned at the time, reported Michael Isikoff and David Corn.

The elder Agalarov is a real estate developer and businessman, like Trump, and Goldstone is the publicist for the Russian’s pop star son, and all three figure in the controversial June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr.

They were planning a dinner at CUT, a restaurant at the Palazzo hotel and casino, when Trump’s longtime security chief Keith Schiller called and asked if the pageant owner and reality TV star could join their party.

A group of about 20, including Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, dined in a private room, and Trump flattered his new friends and boasted that “nobody in the world” was better at self-promotion than he was, and referred to himself in third person.

Also at the dinner was Ike Kaveladze, the vice president of Agalarov’s Crocus International, who had been identified in 2000 by U.S. authorities as a conduit for money laundering $1.4 billion out of Russia and Eastern Europe.

Part of the group — including Trump, Emin, Goldstone, reigning Miss Universe Olivia Culpo and outgoing Miss USA Nana Meriwether — went after dinner to an after-party at a raunchy nightclub called the Act, where they arrived shortly after midnight.

The Act was ordered a few months later to stop its “lewd” and “offensive” performances — which involved activity that resembles salacious details of the Trump-Russia dossier compiled by a former British spy.

“Among the club’s regular acts cited by the judge was one called ‘Hot for Teacher,’ in which naked college girls simulate urinating on a professor,” Isikoff and Corn reported. “In another act, two women disrobe and then ‘one female stands over the other female and simulates urinating while the other female catches the urine in two wine glasses.’”

The club had been under undercover surveillance since March 2013 by the Nevada Gaming Con­trol Board and private investigators hired by its landlord, the Palazzo — which was owned by Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson.

The Act shut down after the judge’s ruling, which also cited simulated bestiality and sadomasochist acts, and there’s no public record of which acts were performed the night Trump visited with his Russian associates.

But the club’s management had been made aware Trump was coming and arranged to have plenty of Diet Coke ready for him, and even discussed some special performances for the future president.

“The owners had also discussed whether they should prepare a special performance for the developer, perhaps a dominatrix who would tie him up on stage or a little-person transvestite Trump impersonator,” Isikoff and Corn reported. “They nixed that idea.”

The group toasted to Trump’s 67th birthday the day before, and he affirmed his desire to do business with Emin.

Trump announced the following night at the end of the Miss USA broadcast that he would hold the Miss Universe pageant in Russia, and he signed a contract with the Agalarovs in front of the audience.

“Two days later Trump expressed his desire on Twitter to become Putin’s ‘new best friend,’” Isikoff and Corn reported. “Emin quickly responded with his own tweet: ‘Mr. @realDonaldTrump anyone you meet becomes your best friend — so I’m sure Mr. Putin will not be an exception in Moscow.’

”https://www.rawstory.com/2018/03/trump-partied-russian-oligarchs-vegas-nightclub-shut-lewd-acts-involving-women-urine-report/

More treason and instability at the White House

NEYET! no Mitt Romney for Secretary of State I want my buddy Rex

The latest news reports about how the Russians blocked Trump from appointing Mitt Romney as his secretary of state, as the former British spy Christopher Steele claimed in an unreleased memo. The Kremlin reportedly intervened through “unspecified channels” to make sure Mr Romney was not given the job, according to the secret memo, the contents of which have been reported by The New Yorker. The role eventually went to Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil who had a long-standing relationship with the Kremlin through his career in oil and was awarded the “friend of Russia award” by Putin himself.

Is Trump unraveling?

Trump’s leadership has been erratic since he entered the Oval Office, but his recent behavior has turned especially alarming. Aides speak of dysfunction and chaos at the White House. Politicians, pundits and psychiatrists have long warned that Trump might lash out in destructive ways if he comes under intense pressure and senses that his leadership is threatened. Some worry that the president might try to distract attention from his troubles by provoking an international crisis or war. Washington insiders hope that top generals close to the president, such as John Kelly, H. R. McMaster and James Mattis, can protect the nation and the world if the Chief Executive goes off the rails.

There is an eerie resemblance between the current situation in Washington and conditions late in President Richard Nixon’s Administration. When the Watergate scandal endangered Nixon, the President seemed to break down. During Nixon’s final days, officials tried to prevent him from risking war, including a nuclear attack.

There are striking differences in the political situations faced by Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. Trump has much more support from members of his party than Nixon received during the last weeks of his presidency. But if special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian intervention in the 2016 election brings charges against the president and his administration for obstruction of justice, Donald Trump might react in extreme ways.

Richard Nixon did not handle adversity well. When investigations of the Watergate scandal threatened to bring down his presidency, Nixon expressed anger toward journalists and politicians in late-night telephone calls, and he drank scotch heavily. Top officials in Washington worried that the disturbed president might attempt to show strength in a time of weakness. There was reason for concern. Nixon reportedly told a group of congressmen, “I can go to my office and pick up a telephone, and in 25 minutes, millions of people will be dead.” Senator Alan Cranston warned Defense Secretary James Schlesinger about “the need for keeping a berserk president from plunging us into a holocaust.” Schlesinger ordered military commanders to check first with him or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger if the president tried to launch missiles.

Politicians and pundits have expressed worries about President Donald Trump’s authority to launch nuclear strikes, as well. They criticized Trump for asserting that his “nuclear button” was “much bigger” than the North Korean leader’s button. President Trump warned the North Koreans that if they continued to threaten, “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Current apprehensions about Trump’s behavior apply to a much wider range of dangers than the kind that alarmed James Schlesinger prior to Nixon’s resignation. President Trump commands much more influence over national and international affairs than Richard Nixon did when his presidency collapsed in the summer of 1974.

Donald Trump now appears isolated in the White House, according to aides, because he no longer receives assistance from people who provided valuable emotional and practical support. Last fall, his longtime bodyguard, Keith Schiller, departed. Shiller was often at the president’s side, serving as a valued confidant. Hope Hicks, another loyal aide, announced her decision to leave recently. In many respects Hicks had replaced Schiller as the President’s trusted friend. Rob Porter, Trump’s staff secretary, played an important role as an astute adviser, as well, but he, too, exited recently. Ivanka, the president’s daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, have also served him as important confidants. They are now under a cloud of accusations and may need to distance themselves from the Oval Office.

Trump has burned bridges with so many top figures in his administration that he cannot easily acquire a new group of trusted allies. He has often directed wrath at principal members of his leadership team. Trump allows rumors to fly suggesting that current leaders such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Generals H. R. McMaster and John Kelly will have to go. In this tense working environment, there has been a huge turnover of principal aides. “Morale is the worse its ever been,” a Republican strategist told the Washington Postrecently. “Nobody knows what to expect.”

Journalists now report that the president has become deeply frustrated, is seething with anger, and frequently lashes out against supposed enemies. That erratic and aggressive behavior could soon turn more severe. If threats against Trump’s leadership intensify, top officials in Washington may feel like Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, who worried about President Nixon’s capacity to govern in a time of severe personal stress. If a related emergency develops, leaders in Washington will need to step forward courageously and prevent a calamity.

Raw Story: originally published at History News Network

The bravest man in the world

Dear leader and fulltime blatant liar Trump on Monday delivered his most off the wall remarks to date on gun control. A few actual policy points where brought up in between ridiculous comments about how he would have run inside the Florida school during the Feb. 14 shooting there “even if I didn’t have a weapon” and how he wants to arm only teachers who have a “natural talent, like hitting a baseball or hitting a golf ball or putting,”

Let’s get this straight. Our five-time deferred president (aka Cadet Bone Spurs) has claimed that if he had been at the Florida school shooting he would have run inside even if he hadn’t had a gun. Based on his illustrious record, I’m betting that the only way he would have run inside is if the shooter were outside chasing him.

Donnie “bone spurs” comments about what he would have done had he been at the shooting in Florida: This human being has absolutely no shame. The whole country is embarrassed.

His statement that he would have jumped in there with or without a gun is mighty bold talk for a five-time draft-dodger.

Where was “Macho Donny” he during the Vietnam War when his country called? Talk is cheap. Action talks and bullshit bravado walks. He simply is exploiting a tragic event to boost his own self-image.

Too much emphasis has been placed on the campus sheriff school resource officer and the four sheriffs deputies called to the scene. Some people think they all should have gone after the shooter, but wouldn’t you hesitate if you heard an assault weapon blistering away and only had a handgun and no armor? There needs to be proper training and outfitting to make that a plausible solution.

The odds that those officers could have done something to stop the shooter are slim and none. Statistics show that a trained shooter should make 85 percent-plus on target hits but, in an active shooter scene, the percentage of target hits is only 17%. Certainly, you have to agree, that those odds would be much worse against an assault rifle.

The bottom line is that assault weapon ownership needs to be carefully regulated. They are a weapon of war. Also, we need more train and properly outfitted law enforcement present on campuses.

We just can’t wait until this delusional dotard and his cadre of sycophants are out of power, and most of them in jail.

Submitted by commenter  – re:pete

Nunes-Trump Memo resoundingly debunked

Heavily redacted Democratic memo refutes Republican “Nunes Memo” account of Russia Probe

Congressman Adam Schiff

Dear Leader Trump delayed the release of the Democratic memo earlier in the month, saying that he was responding to concerns about sensitive classified information in the document.

The House Intelligence Committee released a lengthy, extensively redacted Democratic response to a Republican memo falsely alleging bias and misconduct by the FBI and Justice Department early in their investigation of Russian election interference.

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff said after the memo’s release on Saturday that the document “should put to rest any concerns that the American people might have as to the conduct of the FBI, the Justice Department, and the FISC,” referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Democrats on the committee finally got to lay out their case: that Nunes and the panel’s Republican majority had cherry-picked and distorted information in an effort to undercut the probe that’s now being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

As usual Trump puts out a disjointed defensive spin. The memo is “a nothing,” Trump told Fox TV on Saturday night. Earlier, the White House quickly weighed in, terming “politically driven” the document entitled “Correcting the Record — The Russia Investigation.” Dear Leader Trump also took Twitter to term the missive “a total political and legal BUST.”

“FBI and DOJ officials did not ‘abuse’ the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process, omit material information or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign,” Democrats said in the 10-page document released Saturday.

“Our extensive review of the initial FISA application and three subsequent renewals failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement and instead revealed that both the FBI and DOJ made extensive showings to justify all four requests,” said Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

The four-page Republican memo was written under Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and released with Trump’s approval on Feb. 2. It contended that a judge issued a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, primarily based on a Federal Bureau of Investigation warrant application that relied on a dossier of unverified allegations against Trump written by former British spy Christopher Steele who is held in high regard by the intelligence community.

 

Trump made a, completely unsupported by the facts, claim in an interview with his big supporter Jeanine Pirro on Fox News on Saturday night, saying the Democratic memo “really verifies” the Nunes memo and is “a very bad document for their side.” Trump said this while calling into Pirro’s show. Hilariously Trump is so defensive he hardly ever lets the normally verbose Pirro get a word edgewise.

The Nunes memo also asserts that the FISA Judge wasn’t told in the application that the dossier was funded by Trump’s campaign opponent Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Trump continues to falsely claim “FBI did not disclose who the clients were — the Clinton Campaign and the DNC,” said Trump on Twitter. “Wow!” The FBI had opposed the release of the Nunes Memo, citing inaccuracies.

Schiff said Republicans are attacking the FBI for following the proper procedure of minimizing the names of U.S. persons who aren’t subject to a warrant, including Trump and Clinton as candidates at the time.

“They’re supposed to mask the identities of people,” Schiff said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Representative Jim Himes of Connecticut, the No. 2 Democrat on the Intelligence panel, contradicted a key contention from the Republican memo. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe didn’t testify before the committee in December that no warrant on Page would have been sought without the Steele dossier, as the Republican memo says, Himes said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Rather, McCabe said all of the pieces of the warrant “were important,” said Himes, who added that he was present for the testimony while Nunes was not. “He absolutely did not say that it would not have been filed had it not been for the dossier information,” Himes said.

Democrats also said in their rebuttal memo that the FBI and Justice Department “would have been remiss in their duty to protect the country had they not sought a FISA warrant and repeated renewals” to conduct surveillance of Page, “someone the FBI assessed to be an agent of the Russian government.”

“The Democratic memo makes clear that Nunes cherry-picked and distorted information from sensitive intelligence to sow discord and undermine our nation’s premier law enforcement agency — the FBI,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said in a statement.

And Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said the memo “provides bombshell revelations about the extent to which the White House and its lackeys are willing to go to smear the Special Counsel’s probe and the FBI.”

Nunes was on stage at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington at the moment the memo was released. Nunes then came up with his new spin on the release “We actually wanted this out,” he said. “They are advocating that it’s OK for the FBI and DOJ to use political dirt” paid for by one U.S. political party to attack another, a very defensive Nunes said. “This is clear evidence the Democrats are not only trying to cover this up, but are also colluding with parts of the government to cover this up.”  He said continuing Trump-Bannon Deep State mythology.

In a revealing footnote, Democrats counter that the Steele dossier wasn’t the sole grounds cited for the warrant on Page sought under the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act, and they say a footnote in the application did indeed disclose that its origins were politically motivated.

In fact, the Democratic memo cites the FBI’s previous interest in Page and his contacts with Russians for several years, including an interview he had with the FBI in March 2016 about contacts with Russian intelligence. “The FBI’s concern about and knowledge of Page’s activities therefore long predate the FBI’s receipt of Steele’s information,” the Democratic memo stated.

The memo also said that the Justice Department “in fact informed the court accurately that Steele was hired by politically-motivated U.S. persons and entities and that his research appeared to be intended for use ‘to discredit’ Trump’s campaign.” They also included details of subsequent warrant applications that were obtained to continue surveillance of Page. The problem with this argument is, probable cause is probable cause.

Schiff has described the Republican memo as “an effort to circle the wagons around the White House and distract from the Russia probe.”

The American public now has two clashing, accounts that claim to be true interpretations of a detailed court document that they can’t read for themselves because it remains classified. It should be noted that The Democrats’ version was ok’d by the Justice Dept.  the Nunes Memo was not

Representative Trey Gowdy

Strangely breaking ranks with Nunes, Representative Trey Gowdy — the only Republican on the Intelligence Committee who actually saw the classified intelligence used to write the memo — has said it has nothing to do with other aspects of the Russian investigation, which Mueller took over last year.

“There’s going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier,” Gowdy said this earlier this month on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Original source info From Bloomberg

To read the entire memo click here.