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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.

[More....]

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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”.

[More...]

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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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Trump Wants $8.6 Billion for Worthless Wall

Donald Trump is asking Congress to pass his budget bill includes $8.6 billion to help pay for his worthless wall.

I do not want a wall. We do not need a wall. Mexico will not pay for a wall. America will not see a dime from El Chapo. Instead, Americans will pay $60,000. a year to warehouse him at Supermax in Florence (assuming that's where he is designated to serve his sentence.) [More....]

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Trump's Most Deranged Speech Yet?

Donald Trump went off-script today in his speech at Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. It may have been the most deranged speech he has given yet (in addition to making out with the American flag -- I pity the poor thing.)

"Mothers who love their daughters give them massive amounts of birth control pills, because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border. Think of that. True story told to me by the Border Patrol. Think of how evil that is."

..."They are embracing open borders, socialism, & extreme late-term abortion...lawmakers in NY cheered as they passed legislation to allow babies to be ripped from the womb of their mothers. Right up to the very moment of death... the will execute the baby."

If you had any doubt that the United States is leader-less and running on empty,this speech is all you need. [More...]

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Former Campaign Staffer Sues Trump

Alva Johnson, a former Trump campaign staffer, sues Donald Trump for a forcible unwanted kiss and lower pay than males and non-African American employees received.

The Complaint is here. In the Introduction, Johnson alleges

Plaintiff Alva Johnson brings this lawsuit to hold the President of the United States, Defendant Donald J. Trump, accountable for his sexually predatory conduct.

The Complaint recites the long litany of such claims against Donald Trump. She is suing the Trump campaign and Trump individually on her behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated.

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Mueller Report Almost Done

The Special Counsel (Team Mueller) report on Russia and the Trump Campaign should be out soon.

I wonder if Donald Trump, Jr. gets a pass.

While I don't expect that his father will get indicted, I think he will receive the distinct dishonor of being the man who sits at the desk in the Oval Office with the most number of indicted aides during his time there, ever.

My next thought: I wonder if the next person to occupy the office will insist on fumigating it first, and all new furniture. I sure would.

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Un-President's Day #3 Open Thread

Oh well, at least most people have the day off.

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Trump's State of the Union

Has anyone thought of taking their blood pressure before and during Trump's State of the Union speech? Mine would rise so much I'm not going to risk it by watching.

If you are watching, please fill us in.

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