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Trump's Criminal Ex-Campaign Chair Almost Reached Deal with Robert Mueller — But It All Fell Apart: Report

August 27, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Paul Manafort was found guilty on eights counts of federal crimes last week.


Only one person targeted by special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation has tried to fight the prosecutors' charges and taken the case to court: President Donald Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort.

Manafort was convicted last week on 8 counts, including bank and tax fraud. But according to a new report, his legal team actually met with Mueller to discuss to possibility of a plea deal, according to a new Wall Street Journal report. He faces another set of charges in an upcoming case from the special counsel in September:

The plea discussions occurred as a Virginia jury was spending four days deliberating tax and bank fraud charges against Mr. Manafort, the people said. That jury convicted him on eight counts and deadlocked on 10 others. Prosecutors accused Mr. Manafort of avoiding taxes on more than $16 million he earned in the early 2010s through political consulting work in Ukraine.

According to the new report, the plea talks “stalled” because of issues raised by Mueller himself. However, given the widespread belief that Mueller's team doesn't leak to the media, it's reasonable to suspect that this aspect of the report may be spin from someone on Manafort's side.

Many believe that Mueller is using the charges against Manafort to pressure him to flip and turn state's evidence against the president with regard to crimes committed during the election.

Manafort's next trial is scheduled to begin on September 17.

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Source: ALTERNET

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GOP Senator: John McCain 'Partially To Blame' For Trump Not Keeping White House Flag At Half-Staff

August 27, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

This actually came from one of the late senator's former colleagues.


President Donald Trump caused outrage on Monday morning when he allowed the White House flag to be raised to full-mast, despite the fact that flags all over D.C. were still at half-mast in honor of the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who succumbed to brain cancer on Saturday night. It was a move broadly seen as indefensible.

But incredibly, one of McCain's own colleagues, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), tried to defend it.

“Well, you know, frankly, I think that John McCain is partially to blame for that because he is very outspoken,” said Inhofe to reporters on Monday afternoon. “He disagreed with the President in certain areas and wasn't too courteous about it.”

This comment is utterly appalling. McCain has spent decades serving his country, both as a senator and as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He is one of the few politicians in America who, for the sake of our basic institutions in an era when they have never been under greater assault, must command apolitical respect. For a sitting U.S. senator to claim that it is understandable for the President of the United States to disrespect McCain because of perceived disloyalty to the party and to the leader, or even partly McCain's own fault, is the antithesis of American values.

Making matters worse, Inhofe is broadly expected to take over from McCain as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee — putting a group of senators with a powerful check on Trump's Pentagon in the control of a man who has made clear he believes loyalty to Trump is more important than loyalty to uniform and country.

McCain and Trump have been at odds for years, with Trump even going so far as to claim that being captured in Vietnam didn't really make him a war hero.

While McCain was mostly deferential to Trump in the Senate, voting with the president 83% of the time, there were clear moments when the two clashed. McCain cast the deciding vote against sending the Senate's “skinny …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Unpatriotic to Be This Petty': CNN's Dana Bash Slams Trump for Callous Response to McCain's Passing

August 27, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Chapman, AlterNet

Dana Bash had no patience for Trump's small-minded behavior.


After years of insulting him, blaming him for his legislative failures, and mocking his military service, President Donald Trump had a simple task: pay the proper respect to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in the wake of his death.

He utterly failed. From posting an image of himself rather than McCain in his Instagram tribute, to raising the White House flags to full-mast when the rest of D.C. was still mourning, to scrapping his own officials' plans to issue a statement honoring the late senator, Trump went out of his way, in characteristic fashion, to show a lack of respect for anyone else.

In response to Trump's final, belated statement paying respects to McCain, CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash had no patience for the president's behavior.

“It's not as if there wasn’t pressure before,” said Bash, “but Susan and I were talking about as we listened to Mitch McConnell, the veterans' groups coming out and making clear that this is ridiculous. These are my words, not their words, but basically, unpatriotic to be this petty.”

“This man has served this country for so many years under such duress, was beaten and tortured for defending the values of this country when he was a Vietnam prisoner of war,” she went on. “Never mind the fact that he's the sitting [Senate] Armed Services chair.”

“I’m not even talking about politics, I’m talking basic American values,” she added. “So you know what? It’s about time. It's a pity that this was even a discussion, that this was even, frankly, a distraction from what should have been a united front from every single person who is an American citizen. Never mind the President of the United States.”

Watch the segment below:

McCain made ruffled the feathers of everyone at some point in his career on one issue or another. But his duty to country and his sacrifices for the good of all are beyond any reproach, and for that, he deserves the highest honor from the American people as he is laid to rest.

That …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Calling People and Screaming': Report Says Trump's Fragile Emotional State Leaves Aides Scrambling to Rein Him In

August 27, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

His recent legal troubles are raising serious concerns for his closest allies.


As President Donald Trump inches ever-closer to serious legal and political peril, his aides and advisors are increasingly worried that he will do even more damage to himself by lashing out while he fluctuates between extreme moods, according to a new report from Vanity Fair reporter Gabriel Sherman.

The latest round of the drama was ignited last week when two of Trump's former associates, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, were found guilty in two separate courts at nearly the exact same time. Cohen's guilty plea also implicated the president in campaign finance violations.

At first, Sherman reports, Trump was despondent — “bummed” and “down and out” according to one source. But over the weekend, his rage reportedly flared — one aide told Sherman that Trump spent the days “calling people and screaming.”

But the legal developments are not only leading to emotional distress and outbursts — Sherman reports that they're driving Trump's policy decisions. He reportedly made the decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance last week even after his son-in-law and daughter, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, counseled against it.

Sherman also says that in light of White House Counsel Don McGahn's contention that Trump shouldn't pardon Manafort, Trump may have another attorney write up the paperwork to grant clemency to his former campaign chair anyway.

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North Korea Lashes Out After Trump's Latest Tantrum

August 27, 2018 in Blogs

By Hunter, Daily Kos

“Such acts prove that the U.S. is hatching a criminal plot to unleash a war against the DPRK,” a state-run newspaper wrote.


On Friday, Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he was canceling the next meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean negotiators and, in fact, would be suspending negotiations with North Korea entirely for the time being. Because Trump is a liar, we don’t actually know if this is true or if it will remain true past, say, next Thursday, but his announcement seems largely due to Trump finally realizing that North Korea has been playing him for a chump, rebuffing even preliminary denuclearization discussions while insisting that the United States lift sanctions first if any progress is to be made.

This was all both predictable and predicted by everyone not in Donald Trump's immediate family. Trump may have been gulled into the pomp and circumstance of a meeting with the North Korean dictator in exchange for super-duper promises of denuclearization (translation: photo op), but ever since the meeting took place the dictatorship has been proudly uninterested in any follow-up. Trump is now said to be genuinely peeved that the rogue state has been messing with one of his best would-be storylines, that of him as worldwide negotiating super-genius.

Anyhoo, North Korea has now responded to Trump's possibly-real, possibly-fake suspension of negotiations in (again) the most predictable manner, using the state-controlled newspaper to assert that the United States is still holding secret military drills with South Korea and is “hatching a criminal plot” and so on and so forth.

“Such acts prove that the U.S. is hatching a criminal plot to unleash a war against the DPRK and commit a crime which deserves merciless divine punishment in case the U.S. fails in the scenario of the DPRK's unjust and brigandish denuclearisation first,” the paper said.

“We cannot but take a serious note of the double-dealing attitudes of the U.S. as it is busy staging secret drills involving man-killing special units while having a dialog with a smile on its face,” it noted.

Yup. Everything's going swimmingly after the Trump North Korea summit. And to …read more

Source: ALTERNET