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White House Sunday Presser on Coronavirus

The White House is holding a press conference today on the coronavirus. If you are online now, you can watch it live here.

Trump begins with what he calls great news and he's very happy, the Federal Reserve has lowered the treasury rate to 0.

He wants to thank Google because they substantiated what he said on Friday (it was fake news that Google denied it.)

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Coronavirus Explainers

This is quite an explanatory multi-media graphic from the South China Post on the beginning and evolution of the Coronavirus. It is updated daily.

Also interesting, again from the South China Post, is an article on the search for "Patient Zero" who authorities now believe contracted the disease on November 17, 2019 (rather than December as previously believed).

According to the government data seen by the Post, a 55 year-old from Hubei province could have been the first person to have contracted Covid-19 on November 17.

...While the government records have not been released to the public, they provide valuable clues about how the disease spread in its early days and the speed of its transmission, as well as how many confirmed cases Beijing has recorded.

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Pandemic Grows, Trump Tests Negative

Donald Trump says he did not contribute to the coronavirus pandemic by removing the office created to deal with such things that had been established under Obama.

To the suprise of no one, the coronavirus is spreading around the globe. Now that three people Donald Trump shook hands with or was otherwise close to at Mar-a-Lago have tested positive, Trump changed course (yet again) and announced he has been tested. (Update: His results were negative according to his personal White House physician, Sean P. Conley, reports his tests were negative. (This is after yesterday when he said Trump didn't need to get tested.)

Spain and France have announced partial shutdowns. France has ordered all restaurants, bars, and shops closed (except grocery stores). Here is how it has been growing. [More...]

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The Unfortunate Trail Trump Leaves Behind Him

During Donald Trump's SOTU I mentioned a few things I thought would backfire big time. First, his spotlight on his guest, Juan Guaidó, who is an opposition leader in Venezuela.

Trump called Guaidó the “true and legitimate” leader of Venezuela and said President Nicolas Maduro is a “tyrant” as lawmakers applauded.

“Mr. President, please take this message back to your homeland,” Trump said to Guaidó. “All Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom.”

Here's the result of Trump's welcome of Guaidó:

Six American oil executives under house arrest in Venezuela were rounded up by police hours after President Donald Trump met Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s chief opponent at the White House, according to family members of the men.

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Trump's SOTU

Donald Trump sounds just like Alec Baldwin.

Is anyone listening to this bubbe meise?

If he touts Kushner's peace plan, I bet he neglects the direct threats ISIS made in response via an audio message released this week. ISIS is promising a world boom, not just a blue-collar boom.

Update: Trump claims great credit for the First Step Act -- a bill that excludes relief for deportable immigrants. What kind of reform is that? It's really not a progressive bill at all . (Trump's son in law Jared Kushner knows only slightly more about federal criminal justice than he does about Middle East peace solutions. [More...]

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Donald Trump's Staged Peace Plan Announcement

Donald Trump must be desperate to misdirect the world's attention from his impeachment trial. Today he upstaged his defense counsel by holding a presser with Benjamin Natanyahu to announce his middle-east peace plan.

He called it a two party solution but it is not.

Via the New York Times:

Rather than a serious blueprint for peace, analysts called it a political document by a president in the middle of an impeachment trial working in tandem with a prime minister under criminal indictment and facing his third election in a year in barely over a month.

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Adam Schiff Superstar

It is hard to think of enough accolades for Adam Schiff's many presentations at the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Update: An hour after writing this I have to take him to task for his cheap dig at criminal defendants in general. ("We all know if a defendant says he didn't do it, he didn't do it." (/snark)). Many who say they didn't do it in fact did not do it. Check the stats of the Innocence Project.) A much better way to make that argument is "It is true that some criminal defendants who insist they didn't do it in fact did not do it. Donald Trump would not be one of them."

Added: One other quibble: Schiff ended with the concept of a fair trial and said "Give America a fair trial." Sorry, but the Sixth Amendement guarantees a fair trial to the accused, the defendant on trial -- not crime victims. In fact, almost all of the Bill of the Ribhts is for the protection of the accused, not to protect crime victims.)

Republicans are too scared for their own hides to buck the Republican Party line. So Donald Trump won't be impeached. If they had an ounce of integrity they would vote to find Donald Trump's impeachment charges are high crimes and misdemeanors and have been proven. The penalty is not up to them, it's written in the Constitution. He shall be removed from office.

There can be only one way to make up for this, and that is for a Democrat to win the presidency in 2020 and appoint an attorney general who will seek and obtain an indictment against Donald Trump and Rudy Guiliani for the actions they undertook with respect to the Ukraine.

One small consolation: Donald Trump will never overturn the moniker that will forever be attached to his name: Donald Trump, impeached by the House of Representatives.

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Trump on Trial: Day One

Donald Trump's impeachment trial begins with arguments about the rules. Here is the House Manager's Statement on McConnell's rules. The New York Times reports that McConnell made two modifications after objections: there will be three rather than two days of opening statements and all the documents and evidence from the House proceeding will be entered in the Senate proceedings. The amended version of Sen. Res. 483 is here.

The House Brief and Statement of Facts is here. It's reply to Trump's trial brief is here. [More...]

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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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