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Mueller to Testify Wednesday

Robert Mueller will testify Wednesday. The New York Times has these questions for him.

But, it recommends, don't get your hopes up:

There is virtually no chance that will happen when he testifies for about five hours before two congressional committees this week. It took weeks of negotiations just to persuade him to show up. He has already said that his testimony won’t go beyond what is in the 448-page report he delivered, and he urged people to read it.

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Trump Cuts Aid to Central America, Ramps Up Surveillance in Ecuador

Donald Trump has cut foreign aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be diverted.

With its other hand, the Trump Administration has made a deal with Ecuador to allow the U.S. to fly military surveillance aircraft from the airport on the Galapagos Islands to "fight drug trafficking". Legislators in Ecuador are quite unhappy and calling on the Government to explain.

The Galapagos Islands, 563 miles (906km) west of continental Ecuador, are a Unesco World Heritage site renowned worldwide for their unique array of plants and wildlife.

In addition, the plan is said to violate Ecuador's constitution:

....any presence of foreign armies in Ecuadorean territory is unconstitutional. According to article five of the 2008 Constitution, Ecuador declares itself as a territory of peace, where "the establishment of foreign military bases or foreign installations for military purposes will not be allowed. In addition, it is prohibited to cede national military bases to foreign armed or security forces."

The U.S. should stop militarizing the War on Drugs, and stop encroaching on the sovereignity of other nations in its futile attempt to end drug trafficking.

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Trump Calls Off Tariffs on Mexican Imports

Trump has called off his plan to impose tariffs on goods imported from Mexico. Does he expect applause for creating a crisis and then avoiding it?

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Tromp and Circumstance: Trump Goes to England

I listened to Queen Elizabeth's opening remarks at the state dinner on the car radio early this afternoon on the way back to Denver from court. She didn't say a single nice thing about Donald Trump. She pretty much ignored him, and stuck to talking about the friendly relations the U.S. and Great Britain have shared, focusing on WWII. I only heard the beginning of Trump's remarks, in which he too stuck to WWII (although he did highlight a time in WWII when Queen Elizabeth fixed a vehicle engine.) It seemed like both of them had their aides research WWII to come up with quirky anecdotes that would offend no one.

I am beyond chagrined that someone let Trump out of the White House to represent America at an official function. In my constitutionally protected opinion, he belongs in a closet in the oval office, with his public appearances limited to the virtual world and his public comments restricted to Twitter.

As for Melania, all the media talks about are her clothes. It seems today she channeled Princess Diana. At least tonight at dinner, she didn't wear a tiara to match the Queen and Duchess Camilla. Update: I can't believe we are paying for the entire Trump brood to go on this vacation - what is Tiffany Trump's role? She not a minor, she doesn't live with Trump and she doesn't work for the White House or even the Trump re-election campaign. I wonder if D, Jr. got to bring his girlfriend. If so, they've been hiding her thus far.[More...]

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Trump Says 1994 Crime Bill Will Sink Biden

Donald Trump claims Biden's role in passing the 1994 crime bill will cause Biden to lose the African American vote.

Biden should lose all Democrats' votes over the 1994 crime bill -- and the other dracoian bills he drafted,supported or pushed through to passage.

Joe Biden was a one-man crime band.

Joe Biden the Crime Warrior has long roots. Of course, Trump is no one to talk. Remember the ads he took out in 4 newspapers calling for the death penalty for the teens in the Central Park jogger case before they were convicted? (Their convictions were later set aside and New York City agreed to pay them $40 million).

I hope Joe Biden does not get the nomination. He's no breath of fresh air. Trump is like exhaust fumes. His criticism is nothing more than the pot calling the kettle black.

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Michael Cohen House Testimony Transcripts Released

Two transcripts of Michael Cohen's appearances before the House Intelligence Committee, previously under seal, were released today. Here is Adam Schiff's statement on why the Committee voted to release them.

Cohen’s February and March 2019 testimony corroborate information previously received by the Committee, including the Trump Tower Moscow deal under negotiation throughout the 2016 election season by then-candidate Donald Trump. Cohen also presented significant and troubling new detail regarding the false statement that he provided to our Committee in August 2017 and for which, in part, he is now in prison.

Since Cohen’s testimony, the Committee has already begun to follow up on information that Cohen provided related to attorneys for others involved in a joint defense agreement – including Jared Kushner and Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump – to determine whether they aided in Cohen’s obstruction of the Committee’s investigation.

The February transcript is here, and the March transcript is here.

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Trump Ramps Up Vocal Threats to Iran

Donald Trump said today:

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran..."Never threaten the United States again!"

How about not threatening Iran? Shouldn't that be a two way street? Just yesterday, Iran's foreign minister said:

"There will not be a war since neither we want a war nor does anyone have the illusion they can confront Iran in the region," Mohammad Javad Zarif told state news agency Irna.

Is there anyone (besides his offspring) Donald Trump is capable of peacefully co-existing with?

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Trump Jr. Agrees to Senate Interview

Donald Trump, Jr. has agreed to be interviewed in June by the Senate Intelligence Committee. He he will be questioned "for two to four hours on five to six topics".

One topic reportedly relates to inconsistencies between his 9 hour private testimony to the Committee in December 2017 about the the Trump Moscow project and testimony of Michael Cohen. The Wall St Journal reports:

The Senate committee wants Mr. Trump Jr. to answer questions about his previous testimony and possible inconsistencies with other witnesses’ accounts, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Trump Jr. in 2017 told a Senate panel he was “peripherally aware” of negotiations for a Trump Tower Moscow project. But former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told a House committee in February that he briefed Mr. Trump Jr. about the project about 10 times.

The New York Times reports the committee also has more questions about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. And an ally of Trump, Jr. tells the Times:

A person close to the younger Mr. Trump, who in 2018 was a highly in-demand Republican surrogate on the campaign trail, said he was grateful for the support that some Republican senators and members of the House gave him against Mr. Burr, and that he would remember it when the 2020 campaigns begin.

How typical of the Trump clan to offer re-election support in return for a showing of personal support. Only Trump Jr. has nothing to offer in 2020 other than maybe a personal appearance which is more polarizing than helpful to any Republican other than those on the far right. Just another illusion of grandeur by the non-prodigal son.

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Trump's Tax History: Spectacular Levels of Loss

I'm a loser
And I'm not what I appear to be

The New York Times has obtained information from Donald Trump's tax returns for 1985 to 1994 (not the returns themselves) and matched them up against an open database maintained by the IRS. The amounts he claimed as business losses are gargantuan by any standard.

The numbers show that in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses — largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade.

In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.

Over all, Mr. Trump lost so much money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years.


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Trump Pardons

Donald Trump has pardoned Michael Behanna, a former Army Lt. in Iraq from Oklahoma, who in 2009 was convicted by a military court of killing Ali Mansur Mohamed, an Iraqi citizen he suspected of being an al Qaida terrorist. Behanna was sentenced to 25 years but released on parole in 2014.

The story of his case is here.

Behanna comes from an influential, politically connected family in Oklahoma: [More...]

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Rudy Giuliani Drops to Less Than Zero

Rudy Guiliani has been acting like he has a few screws loose for a few years now. The only art he seems to have mastered is the art of speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

Nowhere is this more apparent than his remarks Sunday that there's nothing wrong with campaign officials accepting information from foreign nations. He even had the audacity to ponder aloud that maybe the hacking of DNC emails was a good thing because it alerted the country to Hillary's true nature.

Don't get sucked in. He's mimicking Donald Trump by trying to divert your attention from polls showing that Trump's approval ratings have sunk to their lowest level yet in the wake of the Mueller report.

And 68 percent said they were more likely to believe that the president or one of his cronies broke the law.

Donald Trump's most absurd claims come when he's about to face bad press -- it's his go-to diversion tactic. Rudy is just mimicking him.

There are 12 to 14 other federal and state criminal referrals from Mueller's office to other agencies who are considering whether Donald Trump, his children and others in his circle committed crimes. Some Dems are itching to start impeachment proceedings now. Diversion and distraction through outrageous comments is the new Trump game plan. I'm not playing Rudy's word games.

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Barr's Presser and Release of Mueller Report

Update: Barr's remarks are here. The 448 page Mueller Report is here.

It's tempting to get excited about today's release of the Mueller report. Personally, I expect so many redactions, edits and topic deletions, I'm not excited at all.

The showrunner, Attorney General William Barr, will hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. ET. Once the report is released, you can most likely find it on the Special Counsel's website

Yesterday, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia and Mueller's office laid out the plan for releasing the Mueller report in a filing in Roger Stone's criminal case (available here). They say there will be a separate version with fewer redactions for "some members of Congress" that will be made available at a secure location. [More...]

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Kirstjen Nielsen's Resignation

Once again, Donald Trump has catered to his underninformed, xenophobic voter base. He met with Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen Sunday and asked for her resignation, which she readily provided. She'd had enough.

While the 30-minute meeting was cordial, Mr. Trump was determined to ask for her resignation. After the meeting, she submitted it.

What happened? [More...]

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New Book Trashes Jared and Ivanka for Self-Dealing

As inexperienced, untalented, and "bubble-ized" as we all know the Trump offspring to be, the new book "Kushner, Inc" shows just how much Donald Trump has imperiled the nation with his nepotism and the tawdry list of characters he has appointed and fired. It's hard to take sides when they are all so appalling.

White House staffers mocked Kushner as the “secretary of everything” for his wide-ranging meddling and derided Ivanka Trump’s team as Habi – “home of all bad ideas”.

...John Kelly, formerly Trump’s chief of staff and homeland security secretary, is quoted as dismissing the couple as “just playing government”.


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Trump Vetoes Funding Bill

Donald Trump has issued his first veto in response to Congress's rejection of his emergency declaration of a border crisis.

It's unlikely Congress will have the votes to override the veto. Still, at least some Republicans refused to go along with Trump's shenanigans.

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