Saturday, March 16, 2019

Report: DNC Hack May Have Used Tech System In Steele Dossier | Rachel Ma...

GOP's Transcript Release Gambit Backfires Upon Actual Reading | Rachel M...

Mike Pence Extremism, Unpopularity Overlooked In President Trump's Shado...

Julián Castro: President Donald Trump's Leadership Is Entirely Missing ...

Trump: 'I Don't Really' See White Nationalism As A Rising Global Threat ...

Congress May Fight To Get Trump’s Tax Returns | The Last Word | MSNBC

Did Robert Mueller Fail? Paul Manafort Goes To Jail Without Flipping | M...

President Donald Trump Signs Veto, Twists Border Facts | The Last Word |...

President Donald Trump Makes Gross Mix Of NZ Condolences With Border Stu...

Rudy Giuliani's Secret Backchannels

Stephen Does The Math On Manafort's Jail Time

Trump Admin Tracked Individual Migrant Girls' Pregnancies | Rachel Maddo...

Friday, March 15, 2019

These 12 Republicans defied Trump and voted to overturn his declaration of an emergency
These 12 Republicans defied Trump and voted to overturn his declaration of an emergency at the border
By Colby Itkowitz
6-7 minutes

Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) and other Republicans said they support a border wall but want to preserve the constitutional separation of powers. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Colby Itkowitz

Congress, campaigns, health policy, Pennsylvania politics

March 14 at 6:24 PM

Twelve Republican senators defied President Trump on Thursday, rebuffing his public and private pleas for GOP unity and voting for a resolution overturning his declaration of a national emergency at the border.

The vote marked congressional Republicans’ first significant defection from Trump in more than two years. Throughout his presidency, he has enjoyed almost universal support from his party save for a few GOP lawmakers who bucked him in big moments like the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and some foreign policy issues.

But this was a rejection of Trump on his signature campaign promise. Since the day he announced his candidacy for president, Trump spoke about ending illegal immigration and building a wall along the southern border — that he originally said would be paid for by Mexico. It is the defining issue among his core supporters. “Build the wall” is a Trump rallying cry.

The Senate Republicans who voted to block Trump’s ability to unilaterally circumvent Congress and shift money to build his wall were swift to point out they still supported the wall, but they were voting to preserve the constitutional separation of powers.

“To make clear, a border fence, a border barrier is a policy that I support, wholeheartedly, unequivocally,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on the Senate floor, in announcing his support for the resolution.

Republicans had warned Trump not to declare an emergency under the National Emergencies Act to grab $3.6 billion appropriated by Congress for military construction projects nationwide to build barriers along the border.


Senate passes disapproval resolution of Trump's national emergency

volume mute

The Senate joined the Democratic-controlled House to pass a disapproval resolution for the national emergency declaration Trump issued to build his border wall. (Monica Akhtar, Rhonda Colvin, Joyce Koh/The Washington Post)

They warned that a future Democratic president could take a policy priority like climate change and declare it a national emergency to work around the legislative branch, which holds the power to appropriate money.

“Declaring a national emergency to access different funds sets a dangerous, new precedent,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said in a floor speech. “No president has ever used what’s called the National Emergencies Act in this way. As a result, it opens the door for future presidents to implement just about any policy they want and to take funding from other areas Congress has already decided on without Congress’ approval.”

In addition to Lee and Portman, the Republicans voting for the resolution were: Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Susan Collins (Maine), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.), Roger Wicker (Miss.) and Rand Paul (Ky.).

Collins, Murkowski and Paul had made known their decision to oppose the president’s action a week or more before the vote, while others were noncommittal.

The GOP senators who ultimately decided to buck the president had previously noted their discomfort with what they saw as executive overreach.

“Well before the president declared this national emergency, I made clear that such a declaration was ill-advised,” Toomey said in a statement. “The president’s emergency declaration undermines the fundamental constitutional principle of the separation of powers, and it sets a dangerous precedent that future presidents could use to advance controversial policies.”

The most surprising was Blunt, the only member of GOP leadership to vote against Trump. He, like his colleagues, explained that it had nothing to do with the president or border security, but rather protecting the institution of Congress from future presidents.

Notably, of the GOP senators up for reelection in 2020 who could be vulnerable, just Collins voted against Trump. Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) ended up siding with the president.

“It should never have come to this, but in the absence of congressional action, the President did what Nancy Pelosi and Charles E. Schumer refused to do,” Gardner said.

Tillis had previously stated he would support the resolution, but he flipped under intense pressure from the White House and fear of a primary challenge from the right.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post on Feb. 25, Tillis had written: “As a U.S. senator, I cannot justify providing the executive with more ways to bypass Congress. As a conservative, I cannot endorse a precedent that I know future left-wing presidents will exploit to advance radical policies that will erode economic and individual freedoms.”

But in a floor speech explaining his reversal, Tillis said he would vote against the resolution in hopes of facilitating future debate around what constitutes an emergency actions.

“My main concern with this executive action is future potential abuses,” Tillis said. “I have a concern with the executive action that the president took, the emergency order, that’s why I voiced it. But I’m sympathetic to what he was trying to do.”

Also standing with Trump were GOP Sens. Ben Sasse (Neb.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), and Ted Cruz (Tex.), who had made a last-ditch effort to get Trump to work out a compromise in an unplanned visit to the White House Wednesday night.

Sasse, a self-described “constitutional conservative,” blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the “politically motivated resolution” and urged Senate leaders to change the law that allowed Trump to declare the emergency.

Conservative Praises 12 GOP, Calls Out Others Who Backed President Trump...

Lawyer Who Negotiated Trump Hush Money Dishes On SDNY Probe, Fox | The B...

House Votes To Make The Mueller Report Public, But What Will We Actually...

In Wake Of Scandal, Rethinking What Achievement Means | Morning Joe | MSNBC

BUSTED: Largest College Admissions Scam Includes Hollywood Actresses and...

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Paul Manafort Sentenced To 3.5 Additional Years In Prison, 7.5 Years Tot...

Paul Manafort Indicted By NYC DA After 7.5 Year Federal Prison Sentence ...

The Trump 2016 Job Ruined Paul Manafort's Life. So Why Did He Take It?
The Trump 2016 Job Ruined Paul Manafort's Life. So Why Did He Take It?
4-5 minutes

Well, she scalded him good and proper before sending him off to the pokey. Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who clearly was fed up clear to her eyeballs with Paul Manafort's crimes and shenanigans, took his lachrymose statement under advisement and then ate Ol' Ostrichskins alive.

    “That is not reflective of somebody who has learned a harsh lesson. It is not a reflection of remorse, it is evidence that something is wrong with sort of a moral compass, that somebody in that position would choose to make that decision.”

In addition:

    “The criminal conduct in this case was not an isolated, single incident. A significant portion of his career has been spent gaming the system.”

And about your lawyer, Knocko, and your old boss, El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago.

    “The ‘no collusion’ refrain that runs through the entire defense memorandum is unrelated to matters at hand. It’s hard to understand why an attorney would write that. The ‘no collusion’ mantra is simply a non sequitur.”

But as long as we're on the topic:

    “It’s not appropriate to say investigators haven’t found anything when you lied to the investigators.”

And, about 30 minutes after he was sentenced in Washington, a Manhattan grand jury unsealed an indictment against Manafort on 16 counts of various frauds. He will be off to the federal pokey for at least seven years, but now state prosecutors and local DA's will have their bite at his ass. And they can use his admissions in federal court against him in state courts, where a presidential pardon would not reach him, either.
Kevin Downing, lawyer for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, leaves the US District Court in Washington, DC on March 13, 2019.

MANDEL NGANGetty Images   

Read again, especially, Jackson's gutting of the now-familiar "no collusion" misdirection that Manafort's lawyers tried to pull on her prior to sentencing on Wednesday. From the Washington Post:

    “The ‘no collusion’ refrain that runs through the entire defense memorandum is unrelated to matters at hand,” she said. “The ‘no collusion’ mantra is simply a non sequitur. The ‘no collusion’ mantra is also not accurate, because the investigation is still ongoing.”

This strategy by the defense was universally identified as a sub rosa plea for a pardon from Manafort's most prominent former North American client. And Jackson's stern rebuke became especially piquant given the fact that Manafort's lawyer, Kevin Downing, came out of the courthouse and, standing before an array of microphones and cameras, repeated this irrelevant mantra again, before protestors heckled him into a hasty retreat, where he undoubtedly received news of the Manhattan indictment and wished he'd become a commercial fisherman.

But it was something Downing said before the sentence was pronounced that sticks in the mind. Of his client, Downing said:

    "But for a short stint as campaign manager in a national election, I don’t think we would be here today.”

This is probably true. But, if it is, why did Manafort take the job at all? He only had the gig for a couple of months, and his experience with this particular candidate was every bit as miserable as you'd imagine it would be. I know he probably was running the ball for his pals in Ukraine, and that he was desperate for money, but that game seems hardly worth the candle, and he probably could have achieved both of these objectives without being put in nominal charge of the campaign, where the spotlight undoubtedly would be more intense.

There's still a lot more sewage running underground in this story but, I have to say, being indicted in one court immediately after having been sentenced in another does make for a pretty awful half-hour.

Respond to this post on the Esquire Politics Facebook page here.

Republicans Eviscerated Over Bill To Keep Gun From Convict Killer | The ...

Rash Foreign Policy Leaves Trump With Limited Venezuela Options | Rachel...

Trump’s Goose Now Cooked Like Al Capone’s Taxes, Says Top Lawyer | The B...

Freshmen Dems ‘Changing Everything’ For Trump | The Last Word | MSNBC

Freshmen Dems ‘Changing Everything’ For Trump | The Last Word | MSNBC

Trump Admin Assurances On Plane's Safety Ring Hollow Abroad | Rachel Mad...

Closer Look At Paul Manafort Lie Raises New Questions About Trump PAC | ...

Nancy Pelosi Sets The Impeachment Bar High | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Why This Week Could Be A Big One For The Mueller Probe | Morning Joe | M...

Cooper lists the times Trump hasn't denounced racism

Anderson Cooper: Here's where Sanders left the factual world

NYT: New York Atty. General Opens Probe Into Multiple Trump Org. Project...

President Donald Trump's Changing "Tim Apple" Story | All In | MSNBC

Fmr. Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Gets Called Out For Apparently Lying...

Chris Discusses Exclusive New Audio Of Fox News Host Tucker Carlson | Al...

Trump Lies About Paul Manafort and "Tim Apple": A Closer Look

It’s Time to Tell the Truth: Israeli Journalist Gideon Levy Supports Ilh...

Monday, March 11, 2019

Tucker Carlson knew he was on-air when he defended older men taking child brides

Don Jr. Praises Tucker Carlson After Uncovered Audio
Only a twisted mind would think Carlson covered himself in glory -- by refusing to apologize for stating forced child marriage and rape isn't that bad.
By John Amato

Donald Trump Jr., praised Trucker Carlson's pathetic response after he was outed for making light of child forced marriages and the rape of young women at the hands of polygamist cult leader Warren Jeffs After Media Matters exposed the audio, Carlson said to just watch his show to know his opinion.Immediately Junior jumped in and acted like his usual buffoonish self [click here].

The Russian Scandal: The Crème De La Kremlin III | The Daily Show

Trump Has Been Living A Double Life

President Trump Says Democrats 'Anti-Jewish'; Evidence Suggests Otherwis...

China Expresses Concerns Over President Donald Trump Trade Talks | Morni...

John Delaney: This is most damaging part of Trump's presidency

Unfortunately America is owned and operated by foreign powers who have broken the code to power. America has been fooling itself to keep itself comfortable and to do that precludes critical thinking. So we must keep thinking magically. That means we cannot manage a country that's supposed to be run by the people for the people.

Fmr. Federal Judge On What Manafort Could Face Next Week | The Last Word...