You are browsing the archive for 2018 September 09.

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The 'Deep State' Calls Are Coming From Inside Trump's White House

September 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Frank Vyan Walton, Daily Kos

Steve Bannon reportedly has told people he thinks President Donald Trump has just a 30% chance of completing his four-year term.


In the past 10 days we’ve seen unindicted co-conspirator Donald Trump’s petulant and petty response to the press coverage of Sen. John McCain’s death, how’s he’s exploded in reaction to early excerpts of Bob Woodward’s latest book Fear, and his essentially nuclear meltdown in response to the New York Times’ anonymous op-ed by a senior administration official who that says that “many appointees” remain in their positions largely to stop him from driving the country over a national security cliff.

From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.[...]

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over

This, of course, has caused a major clamor from Trump and his supporters, saying this author must be found, “turned over” to the government, and even prosecuted for security violations, although there was clearly no classified material within the op-ed. But the op-ed author’s specific identity— who we shall refer to as R-Anon for the sake of brevity—is actually the least interesting thing about this mess.

There has been speculation that R-Anon is Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, adviser Kellyanne Conway, and White House counsel Don McGahn. Nixon whistleblower John Dean has said he thinks chief of staff John Kelly could have written it. Former Trump adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman says that it could have been a member of his family, indicating either son-in-law Jared …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Fox News’ Chris Wallace Hammers Pence After Trump Says Sessions Should Prosecute Op-Ed Writer: ‘Political Disloyalty’ Is ‘Not Illegal’

September 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

“What are the national security grounds to investigate that article?” Wallace asked.


Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday hammered Vice President Mike Pence about Donald Trump’s claim that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should “investigate” the author of the anonymous op-ed published Thursday in the New York Times, explaining there’s nothing illegal about the writer’s actions.

“What are the national security grounds to investigate that article?” Wallace asked the vice president. “What law did the writer break?”

“Well, we’ll find out,” Pence coyly replied. After Wallace reminded the president there was no classified information revealed in the Times op-ed, Pence repeated “we will see” about prosecuting the author of that piece,

“I think the president's concern is that this individual may have responsibilities in the area of national security,” Pence claimed. “If they've now published an anonymous editorial think they are misrepresenting themselves, that they are essentially living a lie within this administration, and trying to frustrate and subvert the agenda the president was elected to advance, that's an important issue.”

“Political disloyalty, it’s certainly troubling, it's not illegal,” Wallace replied.

Pence called the New York Times op-ed an “assault on our democracy,” urging the author to “do the honorable thing, step forward and resign.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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‘Not Good for the President’: Former Federal Prosecutor Spells Out How the Papadopoulos Case Proves Trump Team Collusion

September 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

Glenn Kirschner also said Rudy Giuliani made a “miscalculation” by assuming Trump will end up in an impeachment fight.


Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, on Sunday laid out why George Papadopoulos’ guilty plea proves members of Donald Trump’s team colluded with members of the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.

Papadopoulos on Friday was sentenced to 14 days in jail after agreeing to a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller. Asked if Papadopoulos is “the tip of the spear” for Mueller’s investigation, Kirschner agreed.

“H is but one of the Dominoes,” the former federal prosecutor said. “He has fallen. Many others will fall after him. And I look back to some of the court filings in the Papadopoulos case. Of course, Mr. Papadopoulos is now on the, you know, Papadopoulos rehabilitation tour, and I think we have to take everything he says with a grain of salt.”

Kirschner went on to read a line from the government’s sentencing memorandum regarding  Papadopoulos.

“It says that, ‘Mr. Papadopoulos repeatedly lied throughout the FBI interview in order to conceal the timing and significance of the information he had received regarding the Russians possessing dirt on Hillary Clinton as well as his own outreach to Russia on behalf of the campaig,’” Kirschner recounted.

“So in a word, what's in writing in black and white in the court file in the Papadopoulos case is that he, as a member of the Trump campaign, colluded with Russia and he lied about it,” Kirschner explained. “So the fact that Bob Mueller didn't need him as a cooperating witness, Bob Mueller virtually let him go with a simple 1001 charge for lying to the FBI agents. That tells me that the Mueller team has so much more information on hand as part of its investigation that they didn't even need Papadopoulos as a cooperating witness, and that's not good for the president or his associates.”

Kirschner later argued Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, made a “miscalculation” by assuming Trump will end up in an impeachment fight.

“I think it may be a miscalculation on Mr. Giuliani's part this will end up …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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NYT Op-Ed Proves The Republic Can Be Saved — But The Republican Party Cannot

September 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Laurence Lewis, Daily Kos

That Trump is unfit to be president has been obvious since he first floated the idea of seeking the office, seemingly on a whim, decades ago.


The New York Times did as much as anyone to create the Trump presidency, and now they’ve published an op-ed from a White House insider who claims to be part of a double secret probation cabal that is working to prevent Trump from being an even worse disaster than the public realizes he is. A cabal of White House insiders supposedly flouts Trump’s commands, even swiping papers off his desk, to prevent him from knowing what’s actually going on in his own administration, and to prevent him from doing what he intends to do. Rest easily, this anonymous cretin reassures, there’s resistance inside the White House itself.

I call bullshit.

Here’s a clue: If you’re violating constitutional norms to prevent a constitutional crisis, we’re already there. If Trump is too stupid and too unhinged to fulfill his constitutional obligations, the answer isn’t for those working for him to supercede his authority, it’s to use legal and constitutional mechanisms to remove him from office. But they don’t want to remove him, they want to control him for their own craven purposes. The op-ed was written by someone pretending to be principled while having no principles at all. Some only half-jokingly speculated that it was written by Mike Pence. It just as easily could have been the work of that queen of complicity, Ivanka. Everyone on the inside desperately wants people to believe they’re really secretly on the outside.

Trump is a disaster, undermining national security, likely at the behest of a foreign controller, and the best thing he has going for his tenure in office is the growing economy he inherited from the predecessor he routinely rants against. Perhaps nothing haunts him more than the idea that he really ought to be saying “Thanks, Obama!” But Trump is as incapable of gratitude as he is of contrition. Or self-reflection. Or empathy. Or dignity. Or any other basic trait that allows a child to evolve into a complete human being. The Oval Office has seen plenty …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Republicans Fear Trump Is 'Totally Delusional' About the GOP's Midterm Chances — But Are 'Not Willing to Tell Him The Truth'

September 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

Despite his optimistic tweets, Republicans worry the party will take a major hit in November.


Republicans are growing concerned that Donald Trump has unrealistic expectations about his party’s projected performance in the upcoming midterm elections, according to CNN’s Maeve Reston.

Reston spoke on Sunday with CNN’s John King, telling the new host Trump’s “optimistic tweets about the midterm elections” are causing consternation among GOP operatives.

“President Trump has been putting out a lot of optimistic tweets about the midterm elections but there is a real concern among Republican operatives and donors he is totally delusional about the chances of taking back the House,” Reston said.

“He’s not focused enough on what he needs to do to keep control of the House,” she added. “That is, in part, because there are not a lot of people around him not willing to tell him the truth. So they are trying to get him moving in the right direction on that.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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A U.S. Attack on Maduro's Venezuela Would Be a Mistake

September 9, 2018 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Extreme hawks in the United States apparently have not had their
fill of wasting American lives and tax dollars in futile military
adventures throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.
Increasingly, they are making noises about launching a
regime-change war much closer to home-in Venezuela. The latest
proponent of that option is neoconservative Senator Marco Rubio
(R-FL). Rubio appears poised to succeed the late Senator John
McCain as South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s partner in
being the most prominent and visible GOP spokesmen for an
ultra-hawkish foreign policy.

During an interview on Univision’s Miami affiliate in late
August, Rubio stated that the security threat Venezuela’s
leftist government now posed made it necessary to consider U.S.
military action. “For months and years, I wanted the solution
in Venezuela to be a non-military and peaceful solution, simply to
restore democracy,” Rubio said. “I believe that the Armed
Forces of the United States are only used in the event of a threat
to national security. I believe that there is a very strong
argument that can be made at this time that Venezuela and the
Maduro regime has become a threat to the region and even to the
United States.” He added: “Every day it gets worse and
worse, right here in our own hemisphere.” Rubio accused the
Venezuelan regime of “sponsoring and protecting
narco-traffickers,” as well as flooding neighboring countries
with “people seeking refuge from Venezuela.”

Unfortunately, Rubio is not alone in flirting with a military
solution and arguing that Venezuela poses a security threat.
President Trump seems inclined to embrace a similar view. Credible
news reports that surfaced in July of this year that Trump told
aides in August 2017 to prepare a contingency plan for U.S.
military intervention in Venezuela. The president indicated
considerable interest in that option. His
security advisers reportedly pushed back, arguing that resorting to
military force would have significant adverse repercussions
throughout the hemisphere. Despite such resistance, it is highly
probable that U.S. military leaders have such a contingency plan in
place if the economic and political situation in Venezuela
continues to deteriorate.

Washington’s growing annoyance with Venezuelan President
Nicolas Maduro’s government is understandable. Maduro and his
predecessor, Hugo Chavez, have created a nightmare for their
unfortunate country. In the nearly two decades that the supposedly
democratic socialist regime has held power, the economic situation
has produced a humanitarian catastrophe. At the beginning of the
twenty-first century, Venezuela had the highest per capita gross
domestic product in South America. Today, it is becoming
increasingly challenging to find even basic necessities on store
shelves, and unemployment has soared well into the double digits.
Last month, the annual …read more

Source: OP-EDS