Category Archives: Campaigns

James Clapper destroys Trump talking point about collusion, says US institutions are ‘under assault’ from Trump

In March, Former Director of National Intelligence Clapper said during a March 5 Meet the Press interview that he had not seen any evidence of potential collusion through the time he left office on Jan. 20.

“There was no evidence whatsoever, at the time, of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” said Clapper.

Just like our Russia blog trolls who post comments on this blog, later that month, Trump tweeted about Clapper’s March statement:

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Trump again tweeted last week:

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James Clapper finally had enough of Trump’s mischaracterizaton and misuse of his statement and set the record straight last week. James Clapper doesn’t know if there was collusion between Trump and Russia:

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he does not know if there was collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia and that he was not privy to the details of the counterintelligence investigation.

I don’t know if there was collusion or not,” Clapper said during an interview Friday with MSNBC. “I don’t know if there was evidence of collusion or not, nor should I have.”

Clapper said it would have been former FBI Director James Comey’s discretion to notify him of any evidence of collusion and said it was his practice to always “defer” to the director.

It’s not surprising or abnormal that I would not have known about the investigation, or more importantly the content of that investigation,” Clapper said.

When he testified last Monday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, along with ousted Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Clapper also appeared to cast doubt on the president’s interpretation of his comments when he said he “was not aware of the counterintelligence investigation Director Comey first referred to during his testimony before the House intelligence committee on March 20th.”

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Thank God it’s sine die!

No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” –Mark Twain

One of the worst legislative sessions in recent years mercifully came to an end on Wednesday evening. Thank God it’s sine die! Now bar the windows and doors of the capitol before they can come back and do any more harm.

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona Legislature ends session with tax, welfare bills on final day:

State lawmakers ended their 2017 session Wednesday with a tax-break flourish, approving two tax-credit bills worth millions of dollars aimed at spurring business development, and a revision of a controversial cash-aid program for poor families.

The 122-day session ended at 6:58 p.m., a rare daytime close from a Legislature that has extended debate late into the night and into the morning in recent years. Lawmakers applauded the daylight end as a sign of the more genial tone of this year’s Legislature.

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Latest on the Trump-Putin campaign investigation, and more

I picked a bad time to take a vacation to visit family. Shit hit the fan this week in Washington.

On Monday, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and destroyed the Trump administration’s false narrative about its handling of Gen. Michael Flynn lying about his foreign contacts. The Washington Post’s conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin has a good summary of the testimony. Sally Yates just threw the White House under the bus.

The Trump administration’s response for ignoring Yates’ warnings that Flynn was lying and not firing him for 18 days only after the Washington Post reported the story? “Baghdad Sean” Spicer claimed that Yates was a Democratic partisan and “painted her as essentially a double agent.” Sean Spicer says Sally Yates was a ‘strong supporter’ of Hillary Clinton. His evidence: Rumors. “The White House dismissed warnings about Michael Flynn from both President Obama and Yates, the former acting attorney general, because they were viewed as opponents with axes to grind.”

This no doubt is the same attitude that led the Trump administration’s disregard for President Obama’s personal warning to Donald Trump not to hire Gen. Michael Flynn. The “partisanship” in handling Gen. Flynn was a one-way street on the part of Team Trump, ignoring genuine concerns for U.S. national security.

CNN reports that federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn seeking business records, as part of the ongoing probe of Russian meddling in last year’s election. CNN exclusive: Grand jury subpoenas issued in FBI’s Russia investigation:

The subpoenas issued in recent weeks by the US Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, were received by associates who worked with Flynn on contracts after he was forced out as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, according to the people familiar with the investigation.

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Follow the (Russian) money into the Trump business empire

Nancy Le Turneau at the Political Animal blog ties together several threads to new reporting over the weekend about Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump. Did Vladimir Putin Buy Himself a U.S. President?

During the 2016 presidential election, we often heard that Donald Trump filed for bankruptcy several times. As the Washington Post reported, he did so a total of six times.

Trump’s Taj Mahal opened in April 1990 in Atlantic City, but six months later, “defaulted on interest payments to bondholders as his finances went into a tailspin,” The Washington Post’s Robert O’Harrow found. In July 1991, Trump’s Taj Mahal filed for bankruptcy. He could not keep up with debts on two other Atlantic City casinos, and those two properties declared bankruptcy in 1992. A fourth property, the Plaza Hotel in New York, declared bankruptcy in 1992 after amassing debt.

PolitiFact uncovered two more bankruptcies filed after 1992, totaling six. Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts filed for bankruptcy again in 2004, after accruing about $1.8 billion in debt. Trump Entertainment Resorts also declared bankruptcy in 2009, after being hit hard during the 2008 recession.

Following that string of bankruptcies in the 1990’s, U.S. banks pretty much blackballed the Trump organization, but he rebuilt his financial empire with a heavy reliance on capital from Russia. That is pretty much what Donald Trump, Jr. affirmed in 2008.

“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

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Save Our Schools Arizona referendum to overturn the ‘vouchers for all’ bill

For activists looking to channel their energy into something more productive than attending marches, their dance cards just got filled for the long hot Arizona summer. Time to get yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Last week former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson formed “Voters of Arizona” (no web site yet) to file referendums against the Chamber of Commerce organizations’ bills to effectively strip Arizonans of their constituional right to enact laws by citizens initiatives in Arizona. Expect to hear more about this in coming weeks.

Now the long anticipated referendum to overturn the “vouchers for all” bill passed by anti-public education Tea-Publcans in the Arizona legislature is ready to launch as well. The Arizona Republic reports, Parent group will seek to overturn Arizona school-voucher expansion:

Public-education advocates are launching a referendum campaign to halt the controversial expansion of Arizona’s school-voucher-style program.

Members of the group “Save Our Schools Arizona” said they will file paperwork this week and begin gathering signatures to refer their proposal to the November 2018 ballot. The group has planned a rally and news conference on Monday at 5 p.m. at the state Capitol.

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Latest on the Trump-Putin Campaign investigation

Earlier this week, NBC News reported that President Donald Trump in an interview last Friday tried to turn some of the controversy around his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, on the administration of President Barack Obama, saying the retired general was previously vetted. Trump Tries to Deflect Flynn Vetting Questions on Obama Administration:

“When they say we didn’t vet, well, Obama I guess didn’t vet, because he was approved at the highest level of security by the Obama administration,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum.

“So when he came into our administration for a short period of time, he came in, he was already approved by the Obama administration and he had years left on that approval,” Trump said.

The implication is that the Trump transition team did not have to vet Flynn. But they did:

While Flynn served in the Obama administration — Flynn was fired by President Obama from his postion at DIA for clashing with other high-ranking officials andFlynn facts” — the Trump transition team and White House had an additional responsibility to do a separate background check, which is always done for people at that level.

The Trump team did do a background check and learned about Flynn’s business ties with Turkey, but Flynn was appointed anyway, people close to the investigation have told NBC News.

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