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National Security Official: Spineless Trump Gets Rolled by Turkey

Donald Trump wouldn't know a winning hand if it fell in his lap. He is now alienating members of his own party, the military and the world with his decision to pull troops from Syria as Turkey prepares to invade. Via Newsweek:

Donald Trump got "rolled" by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a National Security Council source with direct knowledge of the discussions told Newsweek...

....President Trump was definitely out-negotiated and only endorsed the troop withdraw to make it look like we are getting something—but we are not getting something," the National Security Council source told Newsweek. "The U.S. national security has entered a state of increased danger for decades to come because the president has no spine and that's the bottom line."

On the Syrian Kurds:

Turkey has long considered the Kurdish militia in Syria to be a terrorist insurgency, despite the United States providing military and financial aid to the group in its fight against ISIS, the Islamic State militant group. A battle with the vastly superior military of Turkey, a NATO ally, could drive the Kurds into the arms of Bashar Al-Assad, the Syrian dictator that Washington wants ousted, and by extension into an alliance with Russia and Iran, two U.S. rivals with forces in Syria.


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Trump Ordered to Turn Over Tax Returns

A federal judge in New York has ordered Donald Trump to turn over his tax returns to DA Cyrus Vance, rejecting Trump's argument that he is immune from criminal investigations.

The 75 page opinion is here

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It's Official: Pelosi Announces House Impeachment Inquiry

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today announced the House will launch an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump for trying to pressure the Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden.

The process is explained here.

Today, impeachment is a longshot that may or may not succeed, but tonight, no one cares. We're just dancing in the streets.

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Trump's Ukranian Mess

The case for impeaching Donald Trump got an uptick last week when news emerged that Trump tried to get the Ukranian President to investigate Joe Biden as he was considering whether to provide the Ukraine with a military aid package.

CNN reports:

[I]f Trump used his power to try to coerce a foreign leader into influencing US elections, it could precipitate the worst political crisis of a presidency that has been mired in notoriety from its first hours.

It would amount to a situation in which Trump's team, which according to the Mueller report expected to benefit from Russian election meddling in 2016, is now using the power of the presidency to incite collusion ahead of the 2020 election.


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Nadler: Formal Impeachment Proceedings Have Begun

Rep. Jerome Nadler says formal impeachment proceedings have begun. The House Judiciary Committee has initiated the inquiry, and will make a decision as to whether to forward the matter to the full house. He was on CNN yesterday explaining that they are not just considering whether to bring an impeachment proceeding, but one is already underway.

He also said it will the investigation will be broader than the Mueller Report and Russia. He said he expects witnesses who are not refusing to appear to testify in September or October.

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Trump and Blago, Sitting in a Tree?

San Antonio was a lot of criticism for Trump. As usual he reacted with a deflections. He said he is considering granting clemency to Rod Blagojevich who has done 7 of his 14 year sentence.

Mr. Trump disclosed his initial plans aboard Air Force One on Wednesday after a day of highly critical news coverage that focused on the reception toward the president as he traveled to the sites of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, that left 31 dead.

The odd thing is that Blago's sentence was grossly excessive. I hope Trump does commute his sentence. Of course, since Blago is a Democrat, Republicans are pushing him not to commute the sentence.

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Jared's Most Excellent Middle East Adventures Continue On Our Dime

Jared Kushner and his team are traveling to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar this week. It's about trying to get support for what he calls a mideast peace plan, which has already been rejected by Palestinian leaders. This trip is just one month after a previous trip he took to Bahrain to sell interest in his plan.

Hani Abu Aker, a political analyst, told The Media Line from Gaza City that the Bahrain workshop failed to yield the results Kushner was hoping for, and the upcoming visit could be an attempt to keep whatever momentum the presidential adviser thinks he has going.

...The Palestinians boycotted the Bahrain conference and harshly criticized President Trump’s approach to the conflict....Fatah leader Rafaat Elyan told The Media Line that the US administration had no credibility and was “incapable” of conducting any mediations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

...Defense and government analyst Amir Oren told The Media Line... “Nothing is expected to come out of this mission, as [with] all others in this futile effort,” Oren said. ‘The only purpose is to show motion – even if without movement – and score political points with Donald Trump’s Evangelical base.”


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The Choices According to Donald Trump

In a two-punch whammy this week, Donald Trump brought back the death penalty and then, by packing the Supreme Court with conservative judges, got approval to use billions of dollars awarded to the military for his useless border wall, even though Congress had refused to authorize the expenditure.

Donald Trump's message to the American people: "You can eat dirt, or you can eat sh!t."

This should be the final nail in Trump's political coffin, but the Democrats seem in disarray. Until some of the 20 or so Democrats who think they should be President realize they are too old, or don't have a chance or are in it only to bring attention to one or two of their pet issues, it will likely be another lost opportunity.

(Hat tip on the quote to Teresa Mendoza in the antepenultimate epidsode of the fictional La Reina del Sur 2, referring to a most corrupt DEA agent who will kill anyone who gets in the way of the DEA's plan to choose the next President of Mexico. The Finale is Monday night.)

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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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