Trump intensifies feud with Pelosi by calling off her trip abroad | US news | The Guardian

Donald Trump has dramatically escalated his feud with House speaker Nancy Pelosi amid the US government shutdown by canceling her previously undisclosed trip abroad and denying her the use of a military aircraft to visit American troops in Afghanistan.

Hours after Pelosi said Trump had been “silent” in response to her request, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders posted a letter from Trump to the House speaker postponing her travel.

“Due to the shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan has been postponed,” the president wrote. “In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate.”

He added: “It would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement. If you would like to make your journey flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.”


Source: Trump intensifies feud with Pelosi by calling off her trip abroad | US news | The Guardian


Congress Vows To Investigate Evidence That Trump Told Cohen To Lie To Congress : Buzzfeed News

The House Intelligence Committee will investigate the revelation that President Donald Trump ordered his longtime personal attorney to lie to Congress about a potentially lucrative real estate project in Moscow.

On Thursday, BuzzFeed News reported that in 2017, Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about when negotiations to build a Trump Tower in the Russian capital ended and to obscure then-candidate Trump’s involvement in the discussions surrounding the project.

“The allegation that the President of the United States may have suborned perjury before our committee in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date,” committee chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement. “We will do what’s necessary to find out if it’s true.”

Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to House and Senate Intelligence committees about the Trump Moscow deal, and Schiff has already said the committee would like to re-interview him when Democrats reopen the committee’s shuttered Russia probe. Cohen misled lawmakers to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1,” an individual believed to be Trump, “in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations,” according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Other Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee agreed that the new revelation about Trump’s involvement in the Moscow project and Cohen’s testimony should be investigated as part of the panel’s reinvigorated Russia inquiry. Democrats, who won control of the House and its committees in November, plan to restart the probe in the weeks ahead after Republicans shuttered it last year.


Source: Congress Vows To Investigate Evidence That Trump Told Cohen To Lie To Congress : Buzzfeed News

Thousands more migrant kids separated from parents under Trump than previously reported : NBC News

WASHINGTON — Thousands more immigrant children were separated from their parents under the Trump administration than previously reported and whether they have been reunified is unknown, according to a report released Thursday by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services.

The report found a spike in immigrant family separations beginning in the summer of 2017, a year prior to the “zero tolerance” policy that prosecuted immigrant parents who crossed the border illegally while holding their children separately in HHS custody. The families separated under zero tolerance were represented in a class action lawsuit, where a federal judge ordered that the government reunify them.

However, the government had no such order to reunify children separated prior to “zero tolerance.” Some may have been released to family or nonrelative sponsors, but it is not known how many have been reunified.

HHS officials did not keep track of whether children they were releasing from their custody had been separated from their parents at the border or whether they crossed the border without a parent.


Source: Thousands more migrant kids separated from parents under Trump than previously reported : NBC News

Thinking the unthinkable about Donald Trump |

According to reports last weekend, the FBI first began to suspect Trump was working for Russia when he fired FBI Director James Comey in May of 2017. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” The New York Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

Let’s stop right there and have a look at the operative words in the Times report, “working for Russia.” People who have been following the Trump-Russia story, now more than two years old, have considered a lot of possibilities with Trump and Russia, but it seems from the reaction the Times story produced, whether Trump was actually “working for Russia” hasn’t been one of them for many. The subject of this particular corner of the FBI investigation raises a couple of interesting questions. What did the “work” Trump may have been doing for Russia consist of? Why would an independently wealthy businessman like Trump “work” for a country which has opposed us around the world for so long?

From Trump’s reaction to the Times report over the weekend, he appeared to have been unaware that the FBI was exploring the question of whether he worked for Russia. But if you look back at what we might call Trump’s “Russia denials,” especially those he made during the campaign — which were often spontaneous and unprompted by allegations by Democrats or questions from the press — it seems that at least working with Russia was constantly on his mind.

As early as July 26, 2016, during his campaign for president, Trump woke up and tweeted, “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.” He wasn’t even the Republican nominee yet.

Donald J. Trump


For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.

21.8K people are talking about this
On October 10, 2016, during the second presidential debate, Clinton speculated that Trump was always praising Putin “maybe because he wants to do business in Moscow, I don’t know the reasons.”  Trump quickly fired back: “I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia.” Clinton had not raised the question of “loans from Russia.” Trump did.

In the third debate on October 20, when Trump said Putin had “no respect” for her or President Obama, Clinton shot back, “Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.” Trump seemed threatened by the charge. “No puppet. No puppet,” he cried defensively. “You’re the puppet! No, you’re the puppet!”


Source: Thinking the unthinkable about Donald Trump |

Former Bush official Richard Painter: ‘Substantial chance’ Trump is being blackmailed by Putin |

President Donald Trump has fulfilled almost all of Vladimir Putin’s dreams and plans to expand the global power of Russia by diminishing the power, respect and influence of the United States.

The New York Times reported this week that during the past year Donald Trump repeatedly and in private expressed the desire to withdraw the United States from the NATO alliance. Beyond an almost heretofore unthinkable betrayal of one of the most successful alliances in modern history — and one founded by the United States after World War II to counter the influence and power of the former Soviet Union in a war — such a move could be seen as surrendering Europe to Vladimir Putin and Russia.

This is one more example of Donald Trump’s behavior that validates the logic and reasoning behind the counterintelligence investigation opened by the FBI in 2017, in order to determine whether the president of the United States, is actually a Russian asset.

This may all seem unimaginable. However, a nightmare scenario where a foreign country could buy (or otherwise install) an American president to do its bidding was anticipated by the framers of the Constitution.

Is Donald Trump an agent of Russia? What impact is the revelation that Donald Trump may be a foreign asset having on members of the FBI and those others charged with protecting the United States from foreign threats? How was the “emoluments clause” and the Constitution’s requirement that the president be a “natural-born citizen intended as a protection against foreign control of the United States government? With the mountains of public evidence that Donald Trump is doing the bidding of Putin, why are both Democrats and Republicans reluctant to remove him from office?

In an effort to answer these questions I recently spoke with Richard Painter. A longtime Republican until his recent decision to quit the party, Painter was White House chief ethics counsel under George W. Bush and is a frequent political commentator and analyst on CNN, MSNBC and other news networks. He is also a professor of corporate law at the University of Minnesota and the author of several books, including “Getting the Government America Deserves.


Source: Former Bush official Richard Painter: ‘Substantial chance’ Trump is being blackmailed by Putin |

Trump’s call-in to Fox News backfires, and he may have committed a felony in the process : Daily Kos

Donald Trump had a terrible weekend. The Washington Post reported that Donald Trump concealed the details of five meetings with Putin and that he even went so far as to physically take possession of interpreter Marina Gross’ notes, further instructing her not to speak to anyone about the contents of the meeting, not even senior White House or State Department officials. That’s rather damning behavior on the face of it. Why wouldn’t Trump want his closest national security advisers to be aware of the content of the discussion between him and Putin?

As media outlets worldwide blasted out this bombshell of a story, Trump turned to good ol’ reliably friendly Fox News in an attempt to take control of the media narrative and diminish the obviously damning news. He called in to speak with Fox host Jeanine Pirro, whose dedication to Trump rivals that of Sean Hannity. He was obviously expecting fluff questions, and Pirro delivered, but even then, he couldn’t help himself. When asked directly whether he was working for Russia, he just couldn’t bring himself to say no. Seeing the negative headlines that resulted over the past 24 hours, he addressed the issue when asked again this morning and finally said, “No, I never worked for Russia,” before berating the reporter for even asking the question. You can see this exchange below.

But, let’s get back to the Pirro interview, because he did something else remarkable during the call: He suggested that the Fox News host and other media look into Michael Cohen’s father-in-law. Here’s the full exchange between Pirro and Trump, discussing Michael Cohen’s upcoming public testimony before the House Oversight Committee. [Shout-out to Daily Kos community member KeithDB for the transcript and felony details; join the community discussion in his post here.]


Source: Trump’s call-in to Fox News backfires, and he may have committed a felony in the process : Daily Kos

Trump Has Repeatedly Floated The Idea Of U.S. Leaving NATO: NYT | HuffPost UK

President Donald Trump has made his disdain of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, amply clear. He’s lambasted the decades-old alliance as “obsolete,” erroneously accused other members of owing the U.S. money and even came close last summer to threatening to withdraw America from the alliance if other members didn’t increase their defense spending.

Trump reportedly told NATO allies at a July summit that the U.S. would “go it alone” unless they boosted their financial contributions. He later appeared to soften his tone, however, reaffirming America’s “very strong” commitment to NATO.

But according to a New York Times report published Monday, the possibility of a U.S. withdrawal from the alliance was repeatedly floated by Trump behind closed doors last year.


Source: Trump Has Repeatedly Floated The Idea Of U.S. Leaving NATO: NYT | HuffPost UK

William Barr to Dems: ‘Ludicrous’ to say my Mueller memo was a bid for AG job : NBC News

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee, William Barr, said Tuesday that the idea that a memo he wrote last year criticizing the Mueller investigation was a veiled job application is “ludicrous.”

Shortly after Barr’s confirmation hearings got underway Tuesday, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. told Barr that some have said that the memo was intended to draw the president’s attention to his potential as a possible attorney general.

“That’s ludicrous,” Barr responded. “If I wanted the job and was going after the job, there are many more direct ways of me bringing myself to the president’s attention than writing an 18-page legal memorandum.”

Barr faced a barrage of related queries about — and criticism of — his views on Mueller’s Russia probe from the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday as proceedings began, including a memo he sent to the Justice Department last year in which he criticized Mueller’s investigation.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee — including at least three potential 2020 presidential contenders — had been expected to zero in on that memo.


Source: William Barr to Dems: ‘Ludicrous’ to say my Mueller memo was a bid for AG job : NBC News

Trump’s pick for AG says he’ll protect the Mueller probe. But what if his boss disagrees? : NBC News

WASHINGTON — At 9:30 am ET today, the Senate Judiciary Committee holds its confirmation hearing for Trump’s pick to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, William Barr, who has promised to protect the Mueller investigation.

“I believe it is vitally important that the special counsel be allowed to complete his investigation,” Barr is expected to tell the committee, according to a released copy of his opening remarks. “If confirmed, I will not permit partisan politics, personal interests, or any other improper consideration to interfere with this or any other investigation. I will follow the special counsel regulations scrupulously and in good faith, and on my watch, Bob will be allowed to complete his work.”

He adds, “I also believe it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the special counsel’s work. For that reason, my goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law. I can assure you that, where judgments are to be made by me, I will make those judgments based solely on the law and will let no personal, political, or other improper interests influence my decision.”

But two hours before Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the man who nominated to be attorney general tweeted this: “The rank and file of the FBI are great people who are disgusted with what they are learning about Lyin’ James Comey and the so-called “leaders” of the FBI. Twelve have been fired or forced to leave. They got caught spying on my campaign and then called it an investigation. Bad!”

Over the weekend, President Trump added this: “My firing of James Comey was a great day for America. He was a Crooked Cop … who is being totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller, & the 13 Angry Democrats – leaking machines who have NO interest in going after the Real Collusion (and much more) by Crooked Hillary Clinton, her Campaign, and the Democratic National Committee.”

And, of course, Trump said things like this to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia probe: “‘Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.’ Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the “other side” including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr……”

It raises this essential question for Barr: What happens if his boss doesn’t want an independent attorney general and transparency regarding the Mueller probe? Would he resign?


Source: Trump’s pick for AG says he’ll protect the Mueller probe. But what if his boss disagrees? : NBC News

U.S. House Democrats eye reported FBI probe of Trump | Reuters

The New York Times reported that the probe began in the days after Trump fired James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in May 2017 and said the agency’s counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether Trump’s actions constituted a possible threat to national security.

Trump rejected the Times piece in a late Saturday night interview on Fox News as “the most insulting article I’ve ever had written” and lashed out at Comey and the FBI in half a dozen tweets.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said his panel “will take steps to better understand both the president’s actions and the FBI’s response to that behaviour” in coming weeks. He also said lawmakers would seek to protect investigators from the president’s “increasingly unhinged attacks.”

“There is no reason to doubt the seriousness or professionalism of the FBI, as the president did in reaction to this story,” Nadler, a New York Democrat, said in a statement.

“We have learned from this reporting that, even in the earliest days of the Trump administration, the president’s behaviour was so erratic and so concerning that the FBI felt compelled to do the unprecedented – open a counterintelligence investigation into a sitting president,” Nadler said.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said he could not comment on the specifics of the report, but said his committee would press ahead with its probe of Trump’s contacts with Russia.

“Counterintelligence concerns about those associated with the Trump campaign, including the president himself, have been at the heart of our investigation since the beginning,” said Schiff, a California Democrat.

Schiff said meetings, contacts and communications between Trump associates and Russians, as well as “the web of lies about those interactions, and the president’s own statements and actions,” have heightened the need to follow the evidence where it leads.

Trump took notes from his interpreter made during a 2017 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg and took other steps to conceal details of their conversations, a report in the Washington Post said on Saturday.

Trump denied on Fox News that he was keeping anything under wraps on his face-to-face meetings with Putin.


Source: U.S. House Democrats eye reported FBI probe of Trump | Reuters