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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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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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