Category Archives: President

Senator McCain rips Putin’s puppet for congratulatory call

Donald Trump routinely attacks U.S. intelligence agencies and federal law enforcement agencies, because they are investigating his ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin. But Trump has not once ever said anything negative about his pal Putin — even as Russia is engaged in cyber warfare against the U.S., Russian mercenaries have attacked U.S. troops in Syria, and Russian agents are using illegal chemical weapons to kill Putin critics in Britain.

One thing no American president does is to congratulate the murderous dictator of a criminal kleptocracy who barred political opposition and rigged his election to secure another term.

Especially after this man-child president was specifically instructed not to do so by the s0-called adults in the room. Trump’s national security advisers warned him not to congratulate Putin. He did it anyway.

President Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers Tuesday when he congratulated Russian President Vladi­mir Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” according to officials familiar with the call.

Trump also chose not to heed talking points from aides instructing him to condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow.

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Playboy president seeks to profit from porn star – and more!

When last we checked in on the reality TV show “the playboy president and the porn star,” Stormy clouds over the Trump White House: 60 Minutes and a court date, adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, had filed a lawsuit (and attached exhibits) (.pdf) to void a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) with Donald Trump, identified by the alias David Dennison in the NDA, drafted and entered into by Michael Cohen, the “top attorney” and “fixer” for the Trump organization.

Last Friday, Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” repeatedly said that his client had been threatened, but wouldn’t disclose by who. He also declined to give details on the nature of the threats. Stormy Daniels’ lawyer says she was threatened with physical harm:

“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski then asked whether Clifford was “threatened in any way.”

Avenatti responded, “Yes.”

“Was she threatened with physical harm,” Brzezinski then asked.

“Yes,” Avenatti said.

“Was her life threatened?” Brzezinski inquired.

“I’m not going to answer that. People will have to tune in,” he said, referring to an interview Clifford did with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that is scheduled to air March 25.

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The social media leg of the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation comes into focus (Updated)

Cambridge Analytica is a company created by Robert Mercer, a billionaire patron of right-wing outlets like Breitbart News. Mercer’s daughter, Rebekah, is a board member. Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Steve Bannon, is a former vice president of Cambridge Analytica, and the former editor of Breitbart News. Trump confidant Gen. Michael Flynn also had “a brief advisory role” with Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica, the shady data firm that might be a key Trump-Russia link, explained:

Cambridge Analytica specializes in what’s called “psychographic” profiling, meaning they use data collected online to create personality profiles for voters. They then take that information and target individuals with specifically tailored content.

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In June 2016, the Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica to take over its data operations.

We know from the reporting of Nicholas Confessore and Danny Hakim at the New York Times that Jared Kushner, who was charged with overseeing Trump’s digital operations, is the reason Cambridge Analytica joined the Trump campaign.

Kushner hired a man named Brad Parscale, a Texas-based digital expert who had worked previously for team Trump. According to Confessore and Hakim, Cambridge Analytica convinced Parscale (who has since agreed to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee) to “try out the firm.” The decision was reinforced by Trump’s campaign manager, Steve Bannon, a former vice president of Cambridge Analytica.

It’s not clear to what extent Cambridge Analytica helped (Parscale denied that Cambridge was of any use in a recent 60 Minutes interview), but we do know that Trump’s digital operation was shockingly effective. Samuel Woolley, who heads the Computational Propaganda project at Oxford’s Internet Institute, found that a disproportionate amount of pro-Trump messaging was spread via automated bots and anti-Hillary propaganda. Trump’s bots, they reported at the time of the election, outnumbered Clinton’s five to one.

Pro-Trump programmers “carefully adjusted the timing of content production during the debates, strategically colonized pro-Clinton hashtags, and then disabled activities after Election Day.”

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The March Madness of King Donald

The “Friday night news dump” of things the White House wants to delay media scrutiny of until the following week has been raised to an art form in the Trump administration. It has become a Friday night “wheel of fortune” to see which member of the administration is being fired or replaced this Friday.

Prior to Friday night, the breaking news story was retired four-star Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey slamming President Donald Trump as a “serious threat to U.S. national security” for his failure to protect the nation from “active Russian attacks.” McCaffrey accused Trump in a tweet Friday of being “under the sway” of Russian President Vladimir Putin” for some “unknown reason.”

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That lede got buried when Confederate Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who is supposed to be recused from anything to do with the Russia investigation, fired former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe only 48 hours before he was set to retire, something President Trump had foreshadowed he would do out of spite back in December.

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Deputy Director McCabe was in charge of the FBI’s Russia investigation for a period of time, and he is a key fact witness in the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the obstruction of justice portion of the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Sessions has clearly violated his recusal, signaling his willingness to do it again for others at the request of “Dear Leader.”

Sessions short-circuited the normal review process in federal personnel matters in order to carry out the petty vindictiveness of “Dear Leader.” He relied on an Inspector General report and a FBI report that have not yet been made public. Andrew McCabe, a Target of Trump’s F.B.I. Scorn, Is Fired Over Candor Questions:

Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director and a frequent target of President Trump’s scorn, was fired Friday after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rejected an appeal that would have let him retire this weekend.

Mr. McCabe is accused in a yet-to-be-released internal report of failing to be forthcoming about a conversation he authorized between F.B.I. officials and a journalist.

In a statement released late Friday, Mr. Sessions said that Mr. McCabe had shown a lack of candor under oath on multiple occasions.

“The F.B.I. expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and accountability,” he said. “I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.”

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Stormy clouds over the Trump White House: 60 Minutes and a court date

On March 6, 2018, adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, filed a lawsuit (and attached exhibits) (.pdf) to void a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) with Donald Trump, identified by the alias David Dennison in the NDA, drafted and entered into by Michael Cohen, the “top attorney” and “fixer” for the Trump organization, on October 28, 2016.

Stormy Daniels received $130,000 in payment (consideration) for the NDA through Essential Consultants, LLC, formed on October 17, 2016 by Cohen, to hide the true source of funds that Cohen claims that he paid from his own personal funds from his home-equity line of credit. Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says he paid Stormy Daniels with his home-equity line.

Note: This is a violation of the Rules for Professional Conduct for attorneys, which has resulted in complaints being filed against Michael Cohen (discussed below).

Earlier this week Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, made a settlement offer to Donald Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen: Stormy Daniels offered to return a $130,000 payment she received from President Trump’s lawyer in 2016, in a bid to speak freely about a months-long affair she alleges she and the president began having in 2006. The deadline to accept the settlement offer or to proceed to trial has since expired.

The trial court has now set the hearing date. Hearing set in Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit against Trump: The hearing date has been set for July 12 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The lawsuit said Trump never signed a hush agreement to keep Daniels quiet late in the 2016 campaign about an alleged sexual encounter between the two before Trump was president.

The lawsuit said Cohen had signed it on Trump’s behalf and therefore the agreement was void.

The lawsuit also accuses Cohen of continuing the efforts to “intimidate Ms. Clifford into silence and ‘shut her up'” by initiating a “bogus” arbitration proceeding last month without notifying Daniels or allowing due process.

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Disgraceful House Intelligence Committee whitewash of Russia investigation ends (Updated)

Putin’s fifth column of fellow travelers on the House Intelligence Committee, led by “Midnight Run” Devin Nunes, has completed its whitewash investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. It’s cover-up and obstruction of justice is now complete. I truly hope that Rep. Nunes, at a minimum, will be charged as an accessory to obstruction of justice.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is nearly done with his investigation into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice but may wait to publicize his findings until he has completed other parts of the Russia probe, Bloomberg News reported on Monday.

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post reports, The Republican coverup for Trump just got much worse:

House Republicans may have the power to prevent important facts about President Trump and Russia from coming to public light. But here’s what they don’t have the power to do: prevent important facts about their own conduct on Trump’s behalf from coming to public light.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have announced that they are shutting down their investigation into Russian efforts to sabotage our democracy and into Trump campaign collusion with those efforts. Shockingly, they have reached conclusions that are entirely vindicating for Trump: There was no “collusion,” and while Russia did try to interfere, it didn’t do so in order to help Trump.

In an interview with me this morning, Rep. Adam B. Schiff — the ranking Democrat on the Intel Committee — confirmed that Democrats will issue a minority report that will seek to rebut the GOP conclusions.

But here’s the real point to understand about this minority report: It will detail all the investigative avenues that House Republicans declined to take — the interviews that they didn’t conduct, and the leads that they didn’t try to chase down and verify. And Schiff confirmed that the report will include new facts — ones that have not been made public yet — that Republicans didn’t permit to influence their conclusions.

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