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Senate Begins Trump Impeachment Trial

U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts swore in the members of the Senate today as the impeachment trial of Donald Trump begins.

With great pomp and circumstance, the articles of impeachment were brought in by a team of 7 Democrats, and prior to reading them Adam Schiff called out:

“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye,” the sergeant-at-arms declared, using language from another era to admonish the senators not to speak while Representative Adam B. Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, prepared to read the articles aloud. “All persons are commanded to keep silent upon pain of imprisonment.”

Also today, a GAO report was released finding that Donald Trump broke the law in withholding aid to the Ukraine.

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Reactions to Trump's Targeted Killing of Quds Leader Soleimani

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads headin’ south
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

That's what I think of Donald Trump's decision to take out Iranian Quds Force leader Qassim Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes. What's next? [More...]

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Giuliani's Son's Cushy Golf Job at the White House

Remember Rudy Giuliani's son Andrew, who went from disrupting Rudy's swearing in as Mayor to being asked to leave the Duke University golf team?

Well we all knew he got a job at the White House. There was a big to-do when John Kelly revoked his clearance to the West Wing (he later got it back.) But I had no idea until I read it in the Irish Times today that his salary is reportedly $90k a year and his job is to serve as Donald Trump's "golf pro in residence".

Giuliani has been in the public eye since 1994 when, as a precocious seven-year-old, he stood next to his father while he made his inaugural address as mayor. As Rudy laid out his plans for cleaning up the city and remaking it as capital of the world, Andrew hammed it up on the podium beside him, blowing kisses to the cameras, mimicking his dad’s every hand gesture and even shouting out random declarations like, “It should be so and it will be so!


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Donald Trump's Reaction to his Impeachment: "I Fired His As*"

Donald Trump was in Michigan today at one of his rallies when the impeachment vote came in. Mike Pence came out for him at first, telling the crowd Trump was watching the vote.

He had plenty to say about the impeachment when he took the stage for over an hour and half. I cannot believe Trump actually said these things, but I'm taking them off the twitter feed of WAPO White House reporter Josh Dawsey who is in Michigan and live-tweeting. He's doing a terrific job. Donald Trump's mental deficiencies have never been as obvious. In no particular order:

Trump is now onto attacking Hillary Clinton, acting out the affair and comments between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Jim Comey. "Comey, who's another beauty, did I do a great job when I fired his ass?" he says. Loud "Lock Her Up" chant about Clinton, after he mocked her stamina.

"Whoa, wow," he says announcing the vote. "We didn't lose one Republican vote." Then says he got 3 Democrats to support him. "That's unheard of."


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Donald Trump Impeached for Abuse of Power and Obstruction

Update: 6:43 MT: Donald Trump has now been impeached on both counts: Abuse of Power and Obsturction of Justice.

People are dancing in the streets tonight. With 398 days left in his term, Donald Trump has been impeached on one count of Abuse of Power and a second count of Obstruction of Congress.

Regardless of what the Senate does, Donald Trump's legacy will be forever stained.[More...]

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Manifort NY Case Dismissed, Rick Gates Sentenced to 45 Days in Jail

Paul Manafort's New York mortgage fraud case has been tossed by the Judge on double jeopardy grounds. The judge said he found the factual overlap between this case and his federal case to be "extensive, if not identical."

Manafort wasn't in court to hear the ruling because he's been in the hospital for a "cardiac event."

Rick Gates, a former Trump deputy campaign chairman who cooperated with the Government against his former boss Paul Manafort and others, and who was charged in the same federal Indictments as Manafort before making his cooperation deal, has been sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years probation.

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Trump Impeachment Vote Today

The House Rules Committee has announced that the Impeachment Debate will begin Wednesday morning. There will be 6 hours of argument allowed.

The vote is expected around 6:30 to 7:30 this evening. You can watch live here.

The impeachment bill is House Resolution 755. text is here.

The 658 page Impeachment Report by the House Judiciary Committee is here.

The only proposed pending amendment is a non-starter hair-brain proposal not worth the time to read. Only a Republican in a place like Alabama would come up with this. Like a child who gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar and tells his mother "But he did it too", the amendment seeks a statement by Congress that by the standard being used for Trump, Obama and Holder should have been impeached as well for refusing a subpoena in Fast and Furious. Like I said, a non-starter not worth giving its author attention by naming him.

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The Year 2019: Where did the Joy Go?

Everybody knows the boat is leaking
Everybody knows the captain lied
Everybody's got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

The New York Times has published its annual "Year in Pictures". The majority of the photos, many of which are visually stunning, range from sad to tragic. The best thing about the collection: Out of 116 photos, Donald Trump only appears in a handful. Is the message that he had very little impact on the year's events, especially abroad? Or, since all but one or two of the photos in which he appears pertain to his leaving and arriving at his own campaign events, that he had no significant accomplishments, and his only relevance is to his die-hard base of supporters?

The Times' editors say they looked at 500, 000 pictures to arrive at their final 116. [More...]

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Judiciary Committee Approves Articles of Impeachment

The Judiciary Committee has voted to impeach Donald Trump on two impeachment charges: Abuse of power and Obstruction of Congress. Next week there will be a full House vote.

The articles of impeachment are here.

Republicans seem to be straining their vocal cords in vain as they advance a bunch of crackpot nonsense -- like insisting the impeachment charges must match a specific federal offense. Or the charges aren't serious enough to topple Trump. (But lying about sex with an eager and willing intern is enough for a full house impeachment vote?)

The Senate is unlikely to impeach Donald Trump, but he will forever have a well-deserved big ugly stain on his blue suits that no cleaner on the planet will be able to remove.

"Discredited, unpopular, dishonest, ineffective, and crass" will be just some of the adjectives the history books will use to describe him.

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Federal Court Rules Banks Must Turn Over Trump's Financial Records

A federal appeals court has ruled Deutsche Bank and Capital One must comply with a congressional subpoena seeking years of Donald Trump's business records. The AP has more here.

The case is likely to go to the Supreme Court. Will packing the Court help Donald personally? What a shame, if it does.

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Second Circuit Rules Against Trump OnTax Returns

Another loss for Donald Trump. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the subpoena for 8 years of tax returns to Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance is enforceable and he is not entitled to a prelimary injunction. You can read the decision here. The Court emphasized the "narrowness" of its ruling:

We emphasize again the narrowness of the issue before us. This appeal does not require usto consider whether the President is immune from
indictment and prosecution while in office, nor to consider whether the President may lawfully be ordered to producedocuments for use in a state criminal proceeding. We accordingly do not address those issues. The only question before us is whether a state may lawfully demand production by a third party of the President' s personal financial record sfor use in a grand jury investigation while the President is in office.

With the benefit of the district court's well
articulated opinion, we hold that any preside ntial immunity from state criminal process does not bar the enforcement of such a subpoena.

Trump will appeal to the Supreme Court.

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Mueller Secret Memos Revealed

Buzzfeed has obtained secret Mueller probe memos through several FOIA lawsuit. Saturday it published the first installment, which touch on "revelations about the Ukraine conspiracy theory, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, and more."

The released documents are here.

The New York Times provides some analysis here.

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House Releases Some Impeachment Transcripts

The House released two transcripts of testimony in the impeachment probe. The witnesses were former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Michael McKinley. They testified in closed hearings before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees

You can read Yovanovitch's testimony here and Mike McKinley's testimony here.

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Donald Trump's Predictably Self-Aggrandizing Speech:

I like this OpEd by Sean O'Grady in the UK's Independent on Donald Trump's bizarre speech on the death of al-Baghdadi.

I will just add: From the first line of the Trump's announcement, it was clear he lacks comprehension of even the most fundamental concept of "justice." Donald Trump believes justice is done by the U.S. exercising the full power of its military to bring a single individual who has done bad things to his knees and killing him.

Memo to Drama Queen Donsld Trump: Justice is done when a suspect is captured and brought before a neutral court for trial. As O'Grady writes:

If America and the west believe in universal human rights, as Isis did not, then we could have set a new example to the world, demonstrating our superior, civilised standards. Instead, now the armed jihadists have another martyr.


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Trump Insists He Captured ISIS

Donald Trump today insisted he is the one who wiped out ISIS.

“ISIS was all over the place … It was me…who captured them,” Trump told reporters at a cabinet meeting Monday in the White House. “I’m the one who did the capturing. I’m the one who knows more about it than you people or the fake pundits.”

ISIS was not captured by Trump. ISIS lost its geographic holdings. It remains a significant insurgent group. It will grow and return.

The New York Times today: Trump's order to withdraw troops from Syria provides a gain to ISIS. [More...]

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